132 Barcelona Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We tool a cab to the port as we were to tired (after an overnight flight) to go sightseeing. We had requested assistance for embarkation. There were no signs for disabled patrons. The embarkation took several hours and no assistance was ... Read More
We tool a cab to the port as we were to tired (after an overnight flight) to go sightseeing. We had requested assistance for embarkation. There were no signs for disabled patrons. The embarkation took several hours and no assistance was provided. The wheelchairs and the aids are on availability basis which we were not informed about. There was no place to sit and there was no priority boarding though we are gold members. The boarding procedure was pathetic. They did not have trained clerks to check the passengers in and they were lacking supervisors on the floor to keep the lines moving. The disembarkation in Barcelona was no better. We were declined entry in the special lounge for gold members and again no assistance was provided. We picked up our luggage from Baggage Claim and lined up for a cab. It took about 45 minutes to get a cab which took us to our hotel in Barcelona. We had to make our own hotel arrangements. The travel agent who sold us the package told us that we had up to four days prior to departure to book our excursions. Apparently they have different rules for the disabled. Those excursions have to be booked 21 days prior to departure. Nowhere on their website they provide this information. Once we got to our cabin things got better. Our attendant was great. Service was good. The entertainment was good. We could only go to a couple of venues as it clashed with our dinner timing. We spent most of our time on the promenade level where there was some shopping and live music. The dinner choices were good in the main dining room. There was a lot of variety. The only excursions we could take were the city tours in Rome and Naples. In Rome we stopped at the Vatican. The rest of the city tour was a bus ride through town In Naples we stopped at a coffee shop for a break. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Food and service in main dining room was excellent. The Park Cafe was good for light lunch or snacks. The Windjammer was poor, just like a large canteen. I didn't try any of the speciality restaurants. Cabin was clean and a good size ... Read More
Food and service in main dining room was excellent. The Park Cafe was good for light lunch or snacks. The Windjammer was poor, just like a large canteen. I didn't try any of the speciality restaurants. Cabin was clean and a good size for disabled use. It was very cold though. There were no suitable excursions for my disabled son. RC quoted $1200, $1200 and $1100 for private excursions to Rome, Athens and half day to Herculaneum. Needless to say I didn't take them up on them and booked my own excursions to Rome and Athens for €600 and €390. No one on board at guest services could tell me if there were wheelchair accessible shuttles at any of the ports and told me I would have to go down and find out for myself. The entertainment was awful, very holiday camp at times. There were not enough teens on board to have teen club activities, so I cannot comment. I bought the unlimited wifi package for two devices on the first day and paid $239 the next day you could get it for $15 per day. Some of the staff in the bars were offhand and didn't look as if they could be bothered. I couldn't get any information up front about what was freely available to drink onboard and pre bought 24 bottles of water. Then found out you could get water, tea, coffee and fruit juices for free. Also purchased the soda package for my son and then found they didn't charge for draft soda anyway. We didn't take any formal clothes with us and asked at guest services if we could eat in the main dining room on formal nights and we were told no. Next night the waiter asked where we had been and we explained we had no formal clothes and he said we were fine as we were. We ate in the main dining room on the next two formal nights and there was no problem. We were restricted in what we could participate in because of my sons disability so realise I may have had a more negative view than most, but I don't see us cruising again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I have just returned from my first ever solo cruise. was worried about being on my own but need never have worried. signed up to a cc roll call and at the meet and greet met some great new friends who were really greatand always took the ... Read More
I have just returned from my first ever solo cruise. was worried about being on my own but need never have worried. signed up to a cc roll call and at the meet and greet met some great new friends who were really greatand always took the time to stop and chat when we met on this gigantic ship. I also for the first time took my mobility scooter and it was a fantastic hewlp getting around the really big ship. would have given the cruise a 5 * review but was very disappointed by the lack of variety of big shows in the epic theatre . legends was good , but was repeated several times. did not like burn the floor at all , just not up to n c l great show standards , and this too was also repeated several times. there are a lot of other entertainment venuse on board some shows were good some not so. the cirque show was great. the beatles tribute in fat cats were also very entertaining. I stayed in a studio cabin and thought it was really great plenty of space for one . didn't understand all the complaints about the small shower and toilet , im a big guy and I didn't struggle. the lighting was no where near as complicated as some of the previous reviews have stated , but it is fairly low level light. had a problem with the sliding wardrobe door sticking and it did take 5 or the 7 night cruise to get fixed but hey it didn't stop me having a great time. met several crew members who were on the jade last year and was totally surprised to be recognised by them , fantastic service. read bad reviews about the smoky atmosphere , I spent a lot of time in the casino and did not notice it at all. food. I booked the dinning package and chose to eat in cagneys every evening and absolutely loved it. didn't normally bother with breakfast just grabbing juice and pastries from the studio lounge. didn't even bother with lunch much but did taste once and while the food was good the service was really not up to cagneys standard . did o'sheans twice and while it was ok the food was , just that ok service was uninspiring. great things; fantastic crew. fantastic food. great ports of call. bad things: very slow bar service. quite rude bar tenders in the waves bar. lack of big shows I found one thing very strange that was if you wanted to get to the atrium and reception and could not walk stairs , as I cant , you had to go to the total other end of the ship take the elevator and go the entire length of the ship again as the elevators at the back of the ship do not stop on the 5th deck , goodness knows why they built it this way. as a studio cabin passenger I loved the studio lounge , except for the fact that there were some times families with children in there. to me this should be a kid free zone as old solo travellers like me don't like kids being allowed to run around unsupervised as these were . the final thing I can say about the whole cruise was IT WAS GREAT , im even thinking of re booking later in the year Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having read reviews on NCL Cruises I decided to bite the bullet and book a holiday with Norwegian Epic. The main attraction for me was that it was my first Cruise and I was traveling alone. I checked out the website and found that this ... Read More
Having read reviews on NCL Cruises I decided to bite the bullet and book a holiday with Norwegian Epic. The main attraction for me was that it was my first Cruise and I was traveling alone. I checked out the website and found that this particular Ship had Solo Staterooms and a Singles' lounge. The price was so good and the reviews made me feel confident that this was the one for me. All the bookings and the information on tickets etc were online. I did however book originally through an agent. I finally flew to Barcelona and had a transfer to the Ship. Once at the Dock, everything was efficiently sorted out and in no time I was on the Ship. I have to use a crutch to walk with due to my disabilities problem. I was looked after in many ways on the ship and any time when I went on any excursions. The Service on board was very good and the Solo cabin was more roomy than it looked on the website. Plenty of storage and comfortable bed. The Steward was very efficient and nothing was too much trouble. He was friendly and worked hard but always had a smile and a greeting whenever he saw me in the corridor. The food on the Ship in the main restaurants was very good and presented well. The staff on the ship always made sure that everything went smoothly and everything was kept clean and tidy. There were various restaurants where for a charge did something different. The Moderno Restaurant also Brazilian was very good. Especially if you enjoy your meat. Service second to none. The Buffet had plenty of choice and iced tea, water and tea and coffee were free at the Buffet area. So was ice cream. The pub also served meals 24 hours free of charge. The Theatre had two main shows. The 'Burn the Floor' show was excellent and it was amazing how good the dancers and singers were. It was something quite original and not the day to day type of musical. The other show was three different acts impersonating three different people. On my trip it was Sting, Gloria Estaphan and Rod Stewart. Not perfect but most of the audience enjoyed it. There are various other forms of entertainment and plenty of different lounges. Singing and dancing outside on the pool deck and an outside Cinema with very up to date Films. If you have children it was great as there were special entertainment areas for them. There were a number of various excursions on each day of various prices and levels of walking etc. It was a perfect way of having a holiday alone and if you are willing to join in with others, you soon make some friends. I think because it is not as formal as some other Ships people are more friendly and are ready to enjoy their holiday. The Ship gave you a newsletter every day so you can see what is happening in different parts of the ship. The Captain spoke over a loud speaker and also kept us up to date on where we were etc. The television gives you up to date information on what you have spent on board (in Dollars). It also has information on all the excursions so you can work out what is best for you. There are different information desks so you can always be sure to speak to someone if you have a problem or need advice on anything. When it came to the end of the cruise disembarkation was very efficiently handled and labels for your Suitcases were given the day before leaving the ship. A wonderful holiday. I am sure that I will go again in the next year or so. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I took my Mom to her first European trip. Since she has mobility issues, I arranged all the necessary specialty assistance possible. The transport from the airport to the port was smooth. However, it was completely chaotic at the port ... Read More
I took my Mom to her first European trip. Since she has mobility issues, I arranged all the necessary specialty assistance possible. The transport from the airport to the port was smooth. However, it was completely chaotic at the port processing. I booked a Haven suite which has special checkin line for all Haven suite guests. The person whom greeted us upfront has absolutely no clue where to send us. The special assistance line is right next to the Haven suite guest checkin line and that was where we waited. We were the only people waited there. After the whole 5 min, no one even paid attention to us. There was a guy running around trying to provide guidance to other guests, I got his attention and he said that he would get us some help, especially my Mom can't stand for too long. But he NEVER CAME BACK TO US. It was awful! Finally, there was a second woman came to the Haven Suite checkin desk, and I went up to her for checkin. Apparently, there is no manner or politeness needed .... The Haven suite was amazing. The personal Concierge and Butler service was worth the money. Our steward was also attentive. However, the so-called mobile phone available to us to reach them has no battery attached to it. It took 2 days to locate it... Since this is a 3day weekend, it rendered useless. There was a "Haven Grill" restaurant for Haven Suite Guests. I found torn fabric chair. I took a picture of it as well. Its menu is lack of vegetarian options. Disappointing. But overall, the Haven suite experience was great due to the great service from David, Jomar and Ronald. The specialty restaurants do have better quality of food. But again it lacks of vegetarian options. The Maitre'd left me a letter in my room to contact him as I indicated my vegetarian preference. But I called, he could do NOTHING for me. Since I have been to all the locations on this cruise, I chose excursions that fitted my Mom's physical capabilities. Needless to say that most of the crowd on these excursions had some kind of mobility issues. I am quite surprised the lack of Norwegian's lack of attention to special assistance needs as over 50% of the passengers are at retirement age. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First time cruising with Costa, enjoyed it very much. We found the staff very accommodating and helpful. However if you are expecting a formal night with ambience then forget it. Anyone thinking of going to the expense of buying Dinner ... Read More
First time cruising with Costa, enjoyed it very much. We found the staff very accommodating and helpful. However if you are expecting a formal night with ambience then forget it. Anyone thinking of going to the expense of buying Dinner suit or special dress then save your money! We arrived in the dining room on the 'Gala night' all done up to the nines with suits and black tie to be seated at our normal table,and next to us were our fellow diners dressed in casual attire. It would seem that formal on the Diadema is that Men wear a jacket. We and our friends were very disappointed. The all inclusive package is a must. If you are a light sleeper then avoid cabin 9244 as the staff start cleaning on deck 10, the outside eating area from about 5.30/6am each morning dragging tables & chairs about! Our friends were in this cabin, and to give Costa their due our friends were moved that same day to a much quieter area. Holly, the English rep on the ship was very helpful. Will we cruise with Costa again? Not sure as we were looking forward to a more formal way of cruising. Cannot understand why hot food was not available in th dining room on deck 10 for breakfast as it was served in the same place as hot food was served at lunch! Our friend is disabled and nothing was too much trouble to assist by all members of staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise and exceeded all expectations, my husband and I, our 11 year old son and my mother who is disabled and uses a wheelchair full time. Our cabin was a balcony fantastica grade which although compact had all ... Read More
This was our first cruise and exceeded all expectations, my husband and I, our 11 year old son and my mother who is disabled and uses a wheelchair full time. Our cabin was a balcony fantastica grade which although compact had all facilities and ample storage space for 3, my son actually used the sofa and was perfectly comfortable ( not a sofa bed - as we had opted for this type of room to be next door to mum and the disabled cabin which was extremely spacious, approx 1.5 times the width of the standard cabin, perfect for the wheelchair to maneuver, the bathroom was also a level floor wet room and there was a ramp out to the balcony so mum was able to be totally self sufficient, much thought had gone into the design with low level shelving / clothes rail etc. One benefit of the fantastica package was the option to order breakfast in the cabin, and this was an invaluable service particularly for my mother, but also enjoyed greatly by our son who preferred to take time getting up and also the breakfast in the main buffet could be rather busy at peak times ie prior to disembarkation for the day trips. I found the service and staff attitudes to be helpful and accommodating and did not experience any negativity at all. The main buffet bora bora / pago pago was enormous with certainly something to suit all tastes, we only discovered the "ethnic" section after a few days and enjoyed a wonderful biriani & some thai food there, there was also fresh pizza and always a carvery roast joint, plus everything you can imagine and more, yes occasionally quite busy but we always found an accessible table quickly. The evening restaurant we were assigned was the La Reggia, & the food was lovely except for the "always available" chicken option which was really a very bland grilled breast with fries, maybe ok for kids. For us the only problem was you had either first or second sitting, first being at 6.30 which we felt was too early, particularly on the day in Rome when we only arrived back to the ship at 5.30 pm and second sitting was at 9.00 which again for us is far too late, it would be an improvement if you could have a flexible timetable, or at least be able to swap on occasion but i was told if we changed we wouldn't be able to change back again later in the week. Pools: 2 x outdoor & 1 indoor not unsurprisingly a little cold at the time of year! - but plenty of jacuzzi's with lovely hot water, sometimes busy but we found the back ones usually less busy / empty, fab to watch the sunset at the end of the day mmmmm!! Bars: So many to choose from, most with music or entertainment of a very high standard, plus the fabulous broadway style shows which were so professionally performed. Again all areas of the ship we found to be very wheelchair accessible, at peak times ie just before dinner sittings the main midship lifts were often crowded and we had to wait a while, however we solved this by walking along the passageway to the lifts at either end and found there often was no one else there. Drinks: We opted for the allegrissimo all inclusive package and found it well worth the money, (certainly saving us overall quite a lot) e.g: wine by the glass was 5 euros per glass / gin & tonic 6.50, cocktails approx 7 euros. With ice cream, coffee, tea & water included too it made sense for our party. Ports of Call: All were extremely accessible with ramps/ or passenger tunnel & lifts in the terminals so no problem for the wheelchair or people with pushchairs. ON ARRIVAL: Our tickets stated 3pm for check in, but luckily they opened it early and we were on board by 11.30. ON DEPARTURE: I hadn't realised that usual cruise practice is to disembark all guests as early as possible, i had expected it to be more like an Hotel with room check out by 10 ish and leave ship maybe by midday, however, all guests were given a disembarkation time of 9.20, and out of the room by 8 am & were ushered out in groups enmass to collect luggage in the terminal. I am sure this could be vastly improved to facilitate a more relaxed departure, especially as the brochure states "8 days / 7 nights cruise" which in this case is not! Having said that... when i asked at reception if it were possible to do something for us to delay the early departure as our flight home did not depart until 6pm and with my mum having to be sat then all day in her wheelchair, they were very helpful and allowed us to leave our luggage at the reception area and to stay on board a little longer which made all the difference to us, otherwise i think it would have marred an otherwise perfect experience on board. Tips for Civitaveccia /ROME: Had a fantastic tour of Rome with : CIVITA TOURS Departed ship approx 9am On the advice of another guest we took the "FREE SHUTTLE" which is available from the ship to the terminal just outside the port ( this is because the port authority does not allow the public to move around inside the port area on foot, so the free shuttles are laid on by the port) and there as you get off the shuttle there are several touts offering various options such as car hire, shared taxi or mini bus trips & bus tours, but the "Panoramic Tour" by Civita ( who are the same operator as the shuttle and were there parked visibly just where you get off the shuttle) proved to be fantastic both in value for money, and quality of what we got to see and do. At 28 euros adult / 20 eu Child it was far cheaper than the trips on offer on board. Departed at 9.30 and promised we would be back by 5 in time for the shuttles back b4 the 5,30 deadline ( I think there was probably an earlier one too) First stop the Vatican: With an hour to look around outside and in st Peters square, for us this was ideal, we even had time to pop into a small trattoria for a pizza lunch ( good job we did as not too much time avail later in the day) Surprisingly inexpensive at 30 eu inc wine, (it was in a little side street just off to the right side before the square) Cheap trinkets and souvenirs were better price here than in Rome later. NB: The line to go inside the Basilica was phenomenal, no chance unless you had several hours to wait!! there was a skip the line option with Civita at an extra 15 eu pp. (Outside there are many other independent touts offering to get you inside quickly - But not sure if this was a good idea as someone told me they paid for this then the chap was sent back to get & provide his "License" after which so much time was wasted their other party members had reached the front of the Q, they asked for a refund and of course were refused, and once inside they still had to pay a guide!! So beware.) Back on the bus the guide pointed out important places of interest and showed us some more of Rome. Next was a quick photo stop at the Colosseum, perhaps a tad brief, but enough for a few lovely photos, and our guide ( Elena, I think was her name, was really informative and knowledgeable, even if she could hot foot it along from one spot to the next pretty quickly!) Then on foot we walked through the center visiting Trevi fountain ( unfortunately at this time was hidden mostly by scaffolding) however, was nice to see and also to have a 30 min stop to browse the local shops We then had a walk over to the Pantheon ( fabulous for me the best building) followed by the lovely Navona Square ( beware here very expensive, it cost more for a quick glass of wine and a coke - really to use the loo, than it did earlier for the lunch!!) and finally back to meet the bus at the Justices' Palace and we arrived back to the shuttle as promised at exactly 5 pm. Excellent Day Out, Highly Recommended. GENOVA: We decided to visit the aquarium, 24 eu entry adult / 12 child, great and well stocked and presented aquarium. A nice visit and great place to look back from the outside deck towards the ship gives you a real perspective of its huge size! From the ship looking left over the port you can see the Spherical Dome of this Aquarium, it is only about 15 - 20 mins to walk, but we taxied there and walked back ( taxi 15 eu) TUNIS: The port area is better organised than we expected, taxis are official, regulated and fixed price, eg to medina 40 euros return per taxi , the driver will wait for you and you pay him when you get BACK which was really comforting! Plus 20 eu extra to add an additional stop in Sidi Bousaid. Medina: Personally i say don't bother..... Horrible, dirty and not at all the quaint bustling market place i had expected, we decided to go on to Sidi Bou Said in the hope of leaving with a better image of Tunis than that left by the medina! Sidi BouSaid: Yes this was more like it, a lovely picturesque blue & whitewash town, with market place tourist oriented and good place to pick up some nice pottery or mosaics etc, bargain hard as they start high!! For those who don't wish to travel from the ship it is worth getting off just to look around the fake souk they have made there at the port, again can pick up a few souvenirs.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Best cruise Best cruise and this trip the first time I was out with Royal Caribbean from Barcelona excellent and was the most fantastic I enjoyed it very much and I wish more days out and became addicted cruise I hope everyone from ... Read More
Best cruise Best cruise and this trip the first time I was out with Royal Caribbean from Barcelona excellent and was the most fantastic I enjoyed it very much and I wish more days out and became addicted cruise I hope everyone from the flight experience with Royal Caribbean I was with the family and we hope to go again with Royal Caribbean, where they're the best Many of the areas that you visit, there are cruise It was planning another trip to the New Year's Eve from Singapore with Royal Caribbean Actually it with pleasure And not intend to travel with Royal Caribbean each year because they are excellent Everyone claimed to do this experiment with Royal Caribbean, where I claimed all friends to go to this trip with Royal Caribbean And actually I can not find words to describe the journey magnificence and more of the activities and many meals and eating very diverse And wonderful events Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My husband and I recently sailed with our 4 children(13, 11, 6 & 3) this was our 4th cruise, having previously sailed, Disney Wonder, Oasis of the Seas(x2). We stayed at the Hotel Alexandra, who were really good, we would stay there ... Read More
My husband and I recently sailed with our 4 children(13, 11, 6 & 3) this was our 4th cruise, having previously sailed, Disney Wonder, Oasis of the Seas(x2). We stayed at the Hotel Alexandra, who were really good, we would stay there again. We took a private taxi to the cruise port, and had no problems with embarkation, very efficient and speedy. We booked two interconnecting balcony cabins(6120 & 6122) which were pretty spacious, we had an issue with a leaking water sprinkler, but thanks to Fanny from Guest Services for sorting everything out. Food was good, it had improved vastly from when we had sailed before in 2010, and our servers Angelina and Janna were amazing, and went way beyond the call of duty! Thank you so much ladies for your memorable service! We have two children with food allergies, one to gluten and the other to nuts, this was no problem to these ladies, Deneval, the head waiter was also brilliant, thank you! Kids' clubs were great, my 11 year old son has special needs, and was included there without any problems, my other two(6 & 3) loved it, and they all had a ball! My 13 year old loved the Edge, unfortunately he accident there, where he fell over whist running and dislocated his knee, medical staff were great and put it back into place, but be warned if you need any medical treatment at sea, you have to pay all fees upfront to ship, we were presented with a bill of over $1,880-charged to your room card! You claim from your travel insurance afterwards, but always make sure you take out the additional cruise cover, so glad we did... A special shout out to Lauren from Edge, she was great! Entertainment was good, but night life was a bit flat, not too much of a problem as the cruise was quite port intensive, so lots of early starts...we used a company called Rome and Florence Connections, for our excursions and they were excellent, cheaper than Disney, and we had a private tour, would definitely recommend them. We loved the Irish bar, and the waitress Danielle was lovely, always smiling, and always made time for a chat. Thanks also to our cabin steward Edwin for looking after us so well, he deserves a holiday after putting up with us lot for the week lol! Disembarkation was again speedy and efficient. Despite the dramas of that week, we had an amazing time, and loved it! The personal and friendly service of the staff really made the holiday, and the scenery of a Med cruise is breathtaking....still miss the ship, we will be back :-)   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Flew direct from Toronto on Air Canada Rouge Sat. , August 23. Arrived in Barcelona on schedule Sun., Aug. 24 at 10 AM. Husband is partially disabled. We travel with a scooter as he cannot walk too far & his balance is not good at all. ... Read More
Flew direct from Toronto on Air Canada Rouge Sat. , August 23. Arrived in Barcelona on schedule Sun., Aug. 24 at 10 AM. Husband is partially disabled. We travel with a scooter as he cannot walk too far & his balance is not good at all. On arrival in Barcelona as usual a big headache as we had to wait until the entire plane was emptied & for the scooter to arrive. It always amazes us how this happens as it is the last to be put into the cargo hold of the plane!!!! & even the pilot said it should be the first thing off. NOT!!!! We collected our luggage, found the RC reps & were directed to our accessible transfer to the ship. The ramp to the ship had a number of dips where my husband's scooter got stuck & subsequently would not run again for at least 24 hours. Luckily we had reserved a 4 wheeled walker for the week so he was at least able to get around. We had a wonderful young fella who pushed him & the scooter onto the ship. Thanks again..... Why are they unable to make the ramp absolutely flat with no dips?? The 1st stop was Marseilles. We did an accessible tour through RC with Jeanne & a driver in a van with a ramp for the scooter. It was an amazing excursion as she was very knowledgeable as well as being a very nice person. Very enjoyable day... Next stop was Villefranche for Nice. We tendered in so my husband stayed on the ship while I did a tour to Monaco / Monte Carlo. Was also an amazing tour. Had a great time, met a family from New York who let me accompany them around so I wouldn't get lost. Lots of steep sidewalks & stairs. Only hurt for a few days.... wouldn't have missed it for the world.. Next stop was LaSpezia for Florence - it was to be a wheelchair accessible tour through RC BUT the only part accessible was the lift on the bus. Jon the guide after a long drive led us to square in Florence where my husband sat on his scooter for 3 hours until the guide returned to take us back to the bus. The large cobblestones were not accessible because they were not even at all. An absolute waste of $$$$ & time. Next stop was Civitavecchia for Rome. We did a private tour with Driver In Rome. Our driver/guide was Giancarlo. Really nice guy. Took us to all the required sites & some. Very knowledgeable. We had a guide also for the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's. Her name was Stefania. She was a walking encyclopedia of all Vatican, etc. Went above & beyond - even pushed husband's wheelchair so I could take pics. Thank you again to Driver in Rome & Giancarlo & Stefania for making this day so unforgettable. If ever we return to Rome, they will be our first choice... Worth every $$$... Last stop was Naples. Again through RC - was to be wheelchair accessible but again only the lift was. Had an altercation with the bus driver at the pier. The RC shore excursion person Nik sorted it out & off we went. After seeing what the tour was, I would say that the entire bus wished they had stayed on the ship. All we did was drive up & down streets where basically all the buildings & statues, etc. were covered in graffiti. Apparently it is a big drop off area for the refugees from North Africa. Extremely dirty city. Have filed a complaint with RC regarding both Florence & Naples handicapped accessible shore excursions. It's been 6 days now & no reply.... apparently they don't care...... Nik the shore excursion guy indicated that he would suggest they cancel that particular Naples one. We had a handicapped accessible promenade stateroom #8315. Really nice room. Loads of room to turn the scooter around. Everything you would need. Missed having a balcony though.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from our 7 day Mediterranean Cruise Sunday July 6th, 2014. The Epic Ship has many wonderful qualities which I will list first. The crew at all levels were super nice and very accommodating to our needs. Getting on the ship ... Read More
Just returned from our 7 day Mediterranean Cruise Sunday July 6th, 2014. The Epic Ship has many wonderful qualities which I will list first. The crew at all levels were super nice and very accommodating to our needs. Getting on the ship and off was extremely organized and impressive from disembarking to getting us a cab/taxi to our hotel in Barcelona. The food on the ship was exceptionally good for cruise line food including the Garden Buffet on the Lido deck. All of our excursions went like clockwork and were easy to get to from the ship to the busses except for one bus which we called the bus from hell because it had seats so small that two small persons could not fit and the bus had NO shocks so for 6 hours in Rome we were bounced around like ping pong balls. We did get a minor adjustment after we complained but it did ruin most of our tour that day. We ate Sushi one night which was very good and also had breakfast in O' Sheehans which was okay, best to eat breakfast in the dining room or at the buffet. Our suite was smaller than some balcony rooms I have had but it had a wonderful balcony for three of us. The shows had to be reserved in advance and the BLUE MAN GROUP AND THE CIRQUE SHOW WERE excellent but the legend show was three impersonators doing CHAICERA, PRINCE AND DIANA ROSS. It would have been much more like a true legend show had they had more personalities that were truly legends......I did not consider these people legends at all. They were good but not the show I expected. The show room shows were okay, the dueling pianos, the Piano player in the bar area were very good. Little other than the big TV, a few games of bingo were things to do during the day. No tea time events were on this ship at all. The cons on this ship were the HORRIFIC CONFIGURATION OF THE BATHROOMS. There is a tub so tall that I had a very difficult time even trying to get into it to take a shower, and when you get out you are right in the middle of the room with a cheap curtain that goes from the tub to the TOILET which is across the room behind a glass door. The SINK is not even behind the curtain so if you want to wash you private areas after going to the toilet forget it.....you are right there in the cabin. I do not know who designed these bathrooms but it had to be a MAN because women like privacy when they bathe and use the toilet and sink areas. BAD DESIGN. Everything is primarily on deck 5,6,7 mid ship. The casino is not in a contained area but spread out down the center isle, around the corners etc. with children running through the area and even playing machines like a toy game until they get told to stop. The ADULT pool was more like a extra big hot tub and they water was so low that it barely covered your waist, again very bad design. There was a very large deck area surrounding the pool that on most ships is filled with water 8-8 inches deep so that you can sit in the water and sun bathe but this area was just dry and could never hold water at all. There were NO chairs to be had at the adult only pool or even at the mid ship pool on the one and only sea day. In fact I did finally find a chair but could never get to the water because of all the children jumping in and out of the water. The pool areas are both entirely too small for 5000 cruisers. I really missed not having my two formal nights on the ship, few dressed for dinner and it was just not a very elegant evening in the dining room. No lobster was served and not one night did they even have shrip cocktails which is an every night choice on all the other ships I have cruised on and that is 25 cruises on many different lines. All in all this was not a cruise ship that I would ever book a cruise on again because of the bathroom situation but it had many good points too.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Our trip started on Mother's Day and ended on our Anniversary (great way to not have to think up gifts). It was a "sandwich" trip with a land portion, the cruise and then more land travel. I should also mention my wife is ... Read More
Our trip started on Mother's Day and ended on our Anniversary (great way to not have to think up gifts). It was a "sandwich" trip with a land portion, the cruise and then more land travel. I should also mention my wife is totally blind since birth. Also, you should know we've cruised 19 times with 7 different cruise lines. We are mellow and don't get excited because something minor went wrong. To begin, I regret it is with a "bad". Since our very 1st cruise we've asked for Braille menus, not received one and wrote the cruise line afterward. We've suggested everytime we'd be happy to Braille their menu for other blind folk. We talked with a Carnival rep this time who sent us printed menus ahead of time but said "No" when we offered to Braille them. We've suggested putting the menu on a dedicated phone # onboard, same with the Daily Activity newsletter on our bed every night. Nope. Sadly, Carnival seem uninterested in meeting this need. Okay, the cruise itself was very nice. Food was good, service good, room steward good. Movie offerings were better than most ruises BUT good luck finding what time they started -nothing in the daily schedule. Opening show was the usual Cruise Director welcome but that was the only similarity to introdction night. Instead of introducing the Captain, Food Director, etc. John Heard, Cruise Director, was as good a stand up comedian as I've seen. He basically did a show while giving info. Later he did port talks in a comedic waythat was great. Great job BUT never saw John except at the theater. He did a TV show each day that was not impressive at all. The rest of the shows were the usual mixed - some god, some bad but one night it was just a movie! Tour organization was pretty good getting us off the ship. Tours were normal and good except our Venice "Gondola, Murano Island, etc." The boat captain that picked us up at the ship couldn't find a place to park his boat, wasted time looking for one, then we had to walk 25 minutes to get to the gondola. We were late and instead of 1st class gondolas with singers, we got 2nd class ones. It wasn't a good tour and felt like rookies all around. The boat itself is way too gaudy with a Roman urn theme repeated way too much. Cruise excursion staff helpful but hours are poor, Automatic tips - bad idea. Cabin service seems unaffected but all the rest, in general, has slipped. Waiters have too many tables now and it just isn't as good. The buffet is mixed good and not so good. Food is fine except desserts were ho-hum. The problem is pizza had one guy working, very slow going. Wrap/sandwich station great sandwiches but took too long. Design of the drink/dessert/pizza/salad area threw too many people in one area. Salads were very good. Ice cream machine is well hidden! First cruise we've been on that seemed to understand people like Trivia Games a lot. Several versions every day. Very good idea. Self-serve laundry is a great idea. Very clean and nice. $3 a pop is a bit much but easy to use with ship card instead of quarters -great idea. Small jogging track with miniture golphers constantly stepping in front of us. Best disembarkation ever in Venice. Great way to do it Carnival. Overal a good cruise that went smoothly except for power outage of about 40 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I can't believe I am the first to review this fabulous cruise! Been home four days, and am still glowing. Background information: I am a mobility challenged traveler, but very adventurous. Being dissatisfied with Oceania shore ... Read More
I can't believe I am the first to review this fabulous cruise! Been home four days, and am still glowing. Background information: I am a mobility challenged traveler, but very adventurous. Being dissatisfied with Oceania shore tours on two previous cruises, I arranged private tours for us in most ports, but my husband did take 2 Oceania tours that I did not. Getting to the port of embarkation, Barcelona from our lovely quiet Hotel Gaudi was a snap of a short taxi ride. Embarkation was handled smoothly, including getting our luggage to our room in good shape promptly. No fuss; no hassle, great lunch awaiting us 12 ish. Our Stateroom, 8125 was not far from the rear elevator, which turned out to be a big plus for me: most dining spots, the bridge/card room were located in that end of the ship. This was the largest, nicest stateroom of our three Oceania tours, and we didn't even use all the storage space for a change.Dining? As close to perfection as you can get, including the Terrace Cafe, all four specialty dining rooms, and the Grand Dining Room.For a foodie to make that statement is saying a lot. Tasty, varied menus, consistency, hot food hot, cold food cold; from soup to dessert the food was top notch. We enjoyed eating alone sometimes, but whenever we wanted a table for 4 or 6, we met interesting fellow travelers. Service was outstanding in all respects. The ports on this cruise were much to our liking: Malta, Rhodes, Barcelona, Israel, Crete, Cyprus, and the crown jewel: Istanbul, where we spent 4 days on our own, post cruise. I'm going to mention the private guides we had in most of those ports before I get to the criticism of the Oceania shore tours. Ram_dreng@yahoo.com made Istanbul come alive for us; can't recommend him highly enough. (Ramazan Guloglu)We took taxis everywhere in Istanbul, and they were comfortable, very inexpensive and fun. In Malta: Rita Fsadni: ritafsadni@gmail.com; in Rhodes: Nicholas of Rhodes (taxi) nick-ax@rho.forthnet; in Israel: Mickey of info@guidedtoursisrael.com all did a super job of catering to my mobility limitations while giving grand tours for our small groups we put together, using cruise critic to get other passengers to join us. A quick word about our one complaint: my husband's Oceania tours in Emphasis and Knossis in Crete were sadly lacking. Other passengers complained bitterly about the ship's tours in other ports. One Canadian friend we met muttered "never again!" after an extensive tour of Istanbul at the end of the cruise. There were so many complaints about the quality of the tours that the expensive side of them didn't get as much mention as the poor quality. Back to the positives:a new feature on this cruise were the Culinary Center programs. I took two, and enjoyed the chef/intructor, the recipes, the facility, the reasonable cost of 69/small group hands-on instruction. Other passengers were very pleased with the entertainment; we were just too tired by the end of dinner to partake. String quartet aboard was excellent; we enjoyed the tea most afternoons. Tiny complaint: the chairs in the Marina Lounge were too low and could use replacement. Service on this ship was outstanding in all respects: friendly, helpful, cheerful. We had a prepaid gratuity credit from our travel agent, but we did tip in addition due to total satisfaction with our cabin attendants. Disembarkation handled smoothly on the ship, but it was a madhouse waiting for taxis that we were not involved with, as our Istanbul arranged for a private pickup for us. A caution re Israel: Jerusalem is quite far from Ashdod port; private tours with small vans can get into places the large buses cannot. The Egyptian ports were cancelled due to caution on Oceania's part, but Cairo is VERY far from Port Said, and imho only Oceania tours would be a good idea for future Lands of Time sailings. We've done about 15 cruises previously, but for us, this was the best overall. The ports were wonderful without exception, and no tender service was required. Oceania's Marina crew had its act together, and that added to the experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We loved our family Mediterranean cruise on the Equinox in August 2011 so much, that we did it again this year! This time, a 12 night cruise out of Barcelona on the Solstice, with an overnight in Venice. There are five of us - my husband ... Read More
We loved our family Mediterranean cruise on the Equinox in August 2011 so much, that we did it again this year! This time, a 12 night cruise out of Barcelona on the Solstice, with an overnight in Venice. There are five of us - my husband and I and our three technically adult children, ages 22, 20 and 18. Our daughter has a physical disability, cerebral palsy, and although getting around Europe with a walker or wheelchair is not the easiest thing to do, the staff of Celebrity make the journey very easy. The Solstice Class of ships in particular, are extremely handicapped accessible. Her stateroom this cruise, and last summer on the Equinox, was expertly outfitted with mobility/usage aids, including an automatic door opener - all she had to do was insert her SeaPass card and the cabin door automatically opened - super convenient and promoted her independence. All public doors, including the public bathrooms, on the Solstice Class ships open automatically or have a button to push - NO heavy doors to pull open, none. The Millennium Class ships, however, cannot make that same claim - most of the public doors do not open automatically, none of the bathroom doors do, and some of the doors which go out onto the outside decks are not only extraordinarily heavy, but are quite narrow. This is important information, I believe, if you are traveling with an assistive mobility device - the Solstice Class ships are definitely fully accessible, in our experience, but not so the Millennium Class. We arrived in Barcelona 2 days before embarkation, allowing for one afternoon/evening of independent exploration and one full day of touring with Barcelona Day Tours. We stayed 2 nights at the Hotel Casa Camper, which we absolutely loved. It is in a fantastic vibrant central location of the city. Please refer to my TripAdvisor review for more extensive details. We booked a full day tour with Barcelona Day Tours, months in advance of our arrival. We were thrilled with their knowledge and expertise. We did a full day tour of Barcelona including a drive to Montserrat where we saw the Black Madonna at the basilica. From home, we reserved timed admission to La Sagrada Familia. Again, for more extensive details on our tour with Barcelona Day Tours, please refer to my TripAdvisor review, but the bottom line is that we had a fantastic all inclusive super informative fun day! We boarded the ship on August 3 and had several sea days before our first port of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Having sailed on the Equinox last year, the Solstice, although older, did not show it - she is a beautiful ship, super clean, extremely elegant, all up to Celebrity standards. Throughout the voyage, we engaged in lots of trivia games; my husband again became very familiar with all of the poker dealers; our boys frequented the gym and engaged in the ship's version of the Olympics games, the official version of which was being held concurrently in London; and we enjoyed the onboard professional entertainment thoroughly. I don't know where Celebrity finds the talent in their shows - the dancers, several in particular, are always exceptional, Dancing with the Stars calibre. The Cirque-du-Soleil-style show, the various musicals including Doug Cameron and funny men Paul Boland and Steve Rawlings, for which I would pay big money to see, the dance parties, the acappella group and the flamenco guitarist, the party band - there seems to be a standard formula that Celebrity has for it's entertainment - all acts are exceptional and entertaining. We loved our cruise director, Alejandro, who as all cruise directors on Celebrity do, had boundless energy and addressed all pursuits with ultimate enthusiasm. The food ranged from excellent to very good. We had the 2nd seating in the Grand Epernay dining room and were very pleased with our serving staff. Since there were five of us, we had two cabins, 7139 which is accessible for our daughter, and 7137. Our stateroom attendant was notably fantastic - responsive, friendly, efficient, effective - not to mention quite adept at towel art! We discovered on our last cruise that on shore excursion days, it is difficult to mobilize a family of 5 and have them totally ready to go by 8 or 8:30 am. We came up with the idea that we would be able to maintain our sanity much easier if we had breakfast in our cabins - to not attempt to go to the dining room or buffet. This allows us to have more time in the bathrooms, time to dress, etc, while eating at the same time - one of the kids could be in the bathroom at the same time one of them was eating, etc. So on most shore excursion days, we ordered in-cabin breakfast service, and found that our stateroom attendant was our food server! He did everything for us, our in-cabin food as well as our laundry! Once when we had to call him to come and lock the stocked-for-purchase refrigerator in the cabin that our kids had, he was actually in the laundry room at that moment, doing our laundry! Apparently, the attendants carry phones with them so that calls from their guests go directly to them - very efficient and excellent for the guests, continuity of care, so to speak. (We did not find that to be the case on the Summit, however.) One of the absolute highlights of a cruise on a Solstice Class ship is the wine and cheese party on the lawn, in the Lawn Club. There was only one on this cruise, I was hoping for two, but at least there was one. It was held during the sail away from Naples. There you are, on a blanket on the lawn - ACTUAL REAL GRASS - with pillows, and a small stool used as a table to hold your wine of choice as well as a gratis cheese and fruit tray - relaxing as the classical guitarist plays in the background, as the sun is setting over Naples, looking out at Mt. Vesuvius - and you wonder how can such a magical perfect experience be happening to you? And then there is the Sunset Bar, which is also on Deck 15, my favorite place on the ship, when there is no wine and cheese party on the lawn, that is. It is situated aft, with the ocean around you on 3 sides. The Lawn Club is just behind you, port and starboard. The fresh air envelops you, the sun shines or sets on you (unless you want to sit under the tent top), all as your friendly server who knows you after the first day, serves you your favorite libation. Heavenly! Sadly, the Millennium Class ships don't have a Lawn Club, and their Sunset Bar is really the Oceanview Bar, so it isn't quite the same. I wanted to mention that the Captain's Club event is very nice - the Captain and top officers are there to greet you, wine and cosmopolitan cocktails are served gratis, lovely food stations, as well as an award presentation to the person/couple with the highest number of Captain's Club points on that sailing. We were very lucky to have been playing trivia with this couple, from Belgium, the whole cruise, so we felt almost like part of their family when they were presented with their award. The higher the number of points you accumulate through frequent cruising with Celebrity, the more of these events that are available. On this cruise, we were still a "Classic" member, but the party, though technically the most basic, was anything but that. Celebrity rewards their loyal customers, and I have "Elite" in my sites! Our first port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia, on August 6, 2012. We booked the shore excursion DU10 Highlights of Dubrovnik Riviera. The stop at the Konavoski Dvori Restaurant was a bit of a throwaway as we spent nearly all of our allotted time there waiting in a very long line for the bathroom. We managed to snap a few photos and eat a quick snack of local ham, cheese, bread, wine, which was very nice, but hurried. I do wish the bathroom situation there had been better, as it was a picturesque spot - an old mill next to the Ljuta River. Cavtat was a beautiful seaside village, very lovely, scenic, although for us, frankly the highlight of this excursion came after our children took the bus back to the ship, leaving my husband and I to explore Dubrovnik on our own. We discovered the most charming local jeweler inside the old city, inside the wall; here is their information - BENI, vi Toma Barisa, Od Puca 25. It was a family run store, the son, his wife, and the 'old man'. I found a pair of traditional Dubrovnik Puca/Kolarin earrings - round silver balls, fairly ornate but also simple at the same time. I wasn't happy with the length of the hook, so the 'old man' in his broken English with the help of his daughter-in-law, completely replaced the hooks, put in a chain - all very nice, and extremely reasonably priced. My husband and I then walked the entire wall of the old city, up and down, in blistering heat, but loved every minute, finding the views unparalleled. He and I then grabbed the Celebrity shuttle outside of the walls and returned to the ship on our own. That is something crucial to know about nearly all of the Celebrity excursions - usually, you don't need to return to the ship with your actual guide/bus - the ship nearly always runs shuttles to the key destinations and you can leave your shore excursion and return to the ship on your own - very handy! Our next stop was Venice, the city of cities! The sail into Venice was spectacular - the ship really played this up, as they should have, as there is nothing like it - to slowly sail in on the Grand Canal with St. Mark's Square RIGHT THERE, a stone's throw from the decks, really amazing! For over an hour on the dramatic approach to the city, theme music was broadcast throughout the ship and on the public outer decks, by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Boccelli to name a few, setting the mood very effectively. On Day 1 of our stay in Venice, we booked the shore excursion VE02, Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Cathedral & Glass Showroom. This was an excellent excursion, covering key highlights of the city. Our guide was very good. I would enjoy returning in order to spend more time in St. Mark's Cathedral. It is definitely a spot where you just want to sit, stay quiet, and simply take it in. The tour of the Doge's Palace was excellent. The glass showroom, eh, was ok - there was a quick demonstration then time to shop, and given the world renown reputation of Murano glass, something to see for sure, but not really our style. After the tour, we were free to return to the ship on our own. We used this opportunity to take a gondola ride. This, we recommend strongly, you must do on your own - do not do this as a shore excursion. We are a family of five, and the ship shore excursion price for a gondola ride for the 5 of us was approximately $100 per person!!! However, doing it on our own, that is how much we paid IN TOTAL for the 5 of us - a tremendous and overwhelming savings!! To get a gondola ride is very very easy. There are reputable stands all over. We went to one of the ubiquitous Paul & Shark Yachting stands - they operate nearly all of the gondolas in Venice! - and had a wonderful tour, approximately 45 minutes in length, very memorable. Someday, my husband and I will return and take a romantic gondola ride at night, just the two of us, with the sun setting, but this ride was a wonderful family experience, for sure! On Day 2 in Venice, our 3 kids stayed on board, according to plan, and my husband and I went on shore excursion VE06, Secret Venice Walking Tour. WOW, we loved this excursion!! Our tour guide was super engaging, very informed, and to see the sights of Venice on foot, venues that are far away from the fray of Piazza San Marco - definitely a highlight of our cruise! We HIGHLY recommend this excursion!! Everything that we saw was as detailed in the description, but after the walking tour, instead of returning immediately to the ship, we spent several hours on our own in the city. We feel so lucky to have been able to have had this magical experience of exploring Venice completely on our own (with a map!), truly an opportunity of a lifetime, at least the lifetime of yours truly. Based upon a port exploration talk given on board, we took the gondola "bus" across the Grand Canal from the San Marco District to explore the Artistic District or Dorsoduro, and simply fell in love with the area - few people, secluded, lovely. We loved discovering the gondola workshop, Squero san Trovaso (as seen by us on CBS Sunday Morning several years ago!) as well as enjoying some delicious gelato at Bar Laguna. We walked back to the San Marco District on the Academia Bridge, spanning the Grand Canal, and returned to the Solstice on the Celebrity water shuttle. Split, Croatia, was our next port of call, and we booked shore excursion AT06, Dalmatian Coastline & Village Life. The Solstice docked at sea and the ship's lifeboats acted as tenders - this was handled efficiently and effectively. We met our tour guide at the dock in Split, where he ultimately brought us through Split as well as Trogir. The palace of Emperor Diocletian now essentially encapsulates the modern city of 'old' Split, the old and the new seamlessly meshing together. We especially enjoyed the smaller town of Trogir, a World Unesco Heritate Site. The Cathedral of St. Lawrence, with the klapa singers in the square, was very memorable. I had 'visions of Rick Steves' with the klapa singers - very enjoyable! Our guide then took us to Jurlinovi Dvori in Draga-Primosten for a full lunch - amazing! Authentic, delicious, very local! The pork chops there were the best ever! All of the dishes were served family style by the 'lady of the house'. Very lovely. Naples was our next port of call. Since we had docked in Naples last year, August 2011, on the Equinox, and had seen SO VERY much on our shore excursion NP08, Exclusive Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento & Pompeii, we decided to do Naples on our own this year. We decided to divide our family of 5 into 2 groups, my 20 year old son and I, and my husband with the other 2 kids. Since my daughter has a physical disability, my husband and she and our 18 year old son, decided to go into Naples with the wheelchair and do the Rick Steves self-guided walking tour of Naples which focuses on the Centro Storico/Spaccanapoli. As it turned out, from an accessible perspective, the whole area was frought with hazards - lots of construction was going on at the time, so many walkways were hard to pass. They took a cab from the port directly to the start of Spaccanapoli - the cab driver ignored all red lights and made the drive particularly exciting/terrifying for my 18 year old son, who would go to Naples again any time if he could have the same cab ride experience! The city itself, other than parts of the Centro Storico, was heavily graffiti-ed and in general, ill kept, full of loose garbage, dirty - very sad considering the historic nature of the area. They happily stumbled upon Scaturchio, patisserie and gelateria. The sfogliatelle, the clam shell-esque pastry, was warm, with a delicious lemon filling - exquisite! My 20 yr old son and I, in the divide and conquer plan of attack on Naples, went to Capri. Since Capri demands a higher level of physical agility, I knew that my daughter who needs a walker/wheelchair, would be far less able to negotiate many of the aspects of the island. My son and I took the 8:05am SNAV Hydrofoil from the dock at Naples to Capri, arriving in Capri at approximately 9am. Our plan was to go directly to the Blue Grotto but we learned that the chop was too high that day, as well as the next, and so the Blue Grotto was 'closed', much to our disappointment. So, we took the funicular to Capri Town and then the bus to Anacapri. We then directly accessed the Ski Lift to the top of Anacapri Mountain. This is a single seat chair lift with no lock or bar over your lap - something that here in the USA would never be approved, for obvious safety reasons! We were a bit freaked out with no locking mechanisms on the lap bar, as the chair lift goes on and on, a 12 minute ride, very very high, with the land well below your dangling feet, ending at the top awarding the hearty traveler with amazingly spectacular views of the entire island but particularly of the Faraglioni rocks, the iconic rock formations that are the symbol of Capri. We took the ski lift back down to Anacapri, explored Anacapri for some time enjoying the fresh granitas, then the bus back to Capri. The sights and scenes that are viewed from the bus themselves and from every vantage point on the island are spectacular, beautiful, not to be missed. In Capri Town, as I had mentioned earlier, we had wanted to go to the Blue Grotto, but since it was 'closed' due to high chop, we wandered around the dock area, not sure what to do but not willing to give up on our quest, looking a bit forlorn and disappointed, when we were approached by a hearty soul, a local fisherman who's t-shirt advertised himself as the Pizza Man, "Rent a Boat with the Pizza Man" - is what his shirt said. He looked super local, authentic, and he seemed to know everyone around (thus, I though, hmmm, he must be safe!). He asked us if we wanted to take a cruise in his fishing boat around the island and the long sublimated adventurer in me said, "YES! WHY NOT!!??" We negotiated a price, which actually means that I accepted without question the price that he quoted, and off my son and I went. I am so glad that we did! Though the Blue Grotto was off the list, we still saw fantastic scenic water sites, rock formations that were breathtaking, other less famous but stunningly beautiful grottos that he negotiated his boat into, plus, he took us through the Faraglioni rock formations! He even opened a bottle of white wine which the 3 of us shared, on our 80 minute journey. We have fantastic photos that Pizza Man took of us going through the rocks! He was a skilled tour guide, broken English but still able to get across his points, such an adventure, in his smallish fishing boat, just my son and I, an adventure never to be forgotten! I know I am using the word 'adventure' often, but truly, that's what it was! Our next port of call was Civitavecchia, the gateway to Rome. Since we spent nearly three days touring Rome last summer and enjoying it thoroughly, we decided to take an alternate non-Rome shore excursion, deciding on CV25 Olive Oil Tasting & Scenic Drive. We enjoyed this very much. We saw a good deal of Tuscany/Tarquinia/Piansano, and got a fantastic narrative from the tour guide as we proceeded along. We enjoyed the historical village of Tuscania but the highlight was the lunch at the Cerrosughero Estate, which is a working olive oil plantation, as well as an Inn, where many varieties of olive oil are produced on site. We were served a lovely lunch of several varieties of their olive oil, their own jams and honey, several hams, artichokes, salads, breads - very rustic, authentic, delicious. We sat on the outdoor grape-vine-enwrapped patio overlooking the estate, quite picturesque. We were there for a bit over an hour, and were given an opportunity to purchase the olive oil, but at no time was any pressure put on us to do so. We did buy some to take home with us, as the oil was outstanding, and also very reasonably priced. On the drive back to the ship, we saw several Roman aqueducts still in place along the roadside dating back to Emperor Trajan, very neat to see. Our next port of call was Florence. This was our first time in Florence, and we were rather devastated after we booked the cruise, to learn that we would be there on a Monday - the one day of the week when the two most notable major museums in Florence are closed, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. (WHY do these museums close once a week??? GRRRR!!!) What this meant is that we would not be able to see the actual "David" by Michelangelo nor Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" - two of the most iconic works of art anywhere, ever. I was seriously ready to cancel our plans for the cruise, but, luckily, sanity prevailed and though it is true that we did not get to go to these two museums, Florence is a huge gorgeous uber historical city unto itself, and along with Pisa, there was no shortage of things to do. Not to mention that though we didn't see the ORIGINAL "David", we saw umpteen life-size copies, including the one in Piazza della Signoria which is where the original stood for centuries, where Michelangelo intended it to be. The ship docks in Livorno, about 12 miles from Pisa. We did not book a ship shore excursion as we knew that we wanted to not only see as much of Florence as possible, but also to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa - myself and my 2 sons - and there was no shore excursion that combined both, for obvious reasons of time constraints. Therefore, months earlier, we booked a private excursion for the five of us through Tuscany Car Tours "www.tuscanycartours.com", and we are so thrilled that we did. Our driver/guide, Paolo Rigacci, picked us up at the Solstice at 8am for a 9 hour private tour. Paolo was very friendly, and very informative. He took us directly to Pisa (we had pre-booked our timed tickets to climb the tower); he parked very close. We spent probably two hours in Pisa, climbing, exploring, taking lots of the kitschy photos of us trying to prop up the tower. On our ride to Florence, Paolo continued his informative talk about the area - Tuscany - focusing in on wine production and classifications, knowing our interest in wine. In Florence, he took us first to Michelangelo Square which offers a breathtaking panorama of the city, including the famous Ponte Vecchio. Paolo made sure that we saw all of the major sites in the city, parking very close to them. Though we weren't able to go into many, as there is so much to see, we had time to walk around on our own and ultimately we were glad that the two major museums were closed. We got a fantastic thorough overview of the city itself, and next time we visit, as Florence will surely be an overlapping port of call on a future Celebrity cruise for us, we will visit specific museums. Paolo recommended a local authentic cafe for lunch which we absolutely loved - La Grotta Guelfa (please refer to my TripAdvisor review for more specifics.) We had a fantastic day in Florence and Pisa! Our next port of call was Toulon, France, where we decided to book the shore excursion TU03 Aix-en-Provence. Such a beautiful picture perfect postcard of a town! Our guide gave us an informative guided walking tour, leaving us plenty of time at the end to explore on our own. We happened to be in town while two markets were going on, a big clothing market and a farmer's and flower market. At the farmer's market, we purchased fresh peaches and fresh apple-pear cider. The cider was delicious but the peaches were extraordinary, ranking in our minds as the best peaches we have ever had along with the peaches from last summer's cruise on the Equinox, the peaches from the village of Sirince in Turkey. We definitely recommend this shore excursion as it provided an excellent trip into the countryside and a lovely visit to Aix. We had no interest in seeing Marseille, from our research, and we were very happy with our choice. An excellent cruise, and in our opinion, for our family, a Celebrity cruise is the best way to see Europe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was my second cruise with NCL, after having one of the best Vacations of my life with them last year. That was Alaska (on the Pearl), due to some really great deals, I was excited to get the chance to take a trip in Europe. I ... Read More
This was my second cruise with NCL, after having one of the best Vacations of my life with them last year. That was Alaska (on the Pearl), due to some really great deals, I was excited to get the chance to take a trip in Europe. I traveled with my wife and my father (who's in a wheel chair). Overall this was a great vacation - it was so close to being Amazing, but there were just a few things that kept it from being that way. 1) The Epic is simply not a wheelchair friendly as the Pearl was. There are lots of really big seams on the floor that I could not get my father across going forward. Eventually I got to know these, but it was hard telling them apart at first, eventually the trip across deck 6 became a dance of going forward, spinning across the seems and then heading forward again 2) Rooms seemed smaller and less comfortable than the Pearl. I don't know if the room itself was smaller, but it had this sort of "wavy" shape to it that made whatever space we did have harder to make use of. Storing the wheelchair was especially difficult since, with the exception of the toilet, there really wasn't any good place we could put it that didn't block access to the toilet. The good things: 1) The staff was great. Every time we had to get on and off the cruise they went completely out of their way to make sure my dad was able to get to our excursion. There was never any waiting to find someone with a moment - they always had someone ready to help. 2) The Ship itself was great. Even though the rooms were cramped, the public areas were beautiful. I didn't do any swimming, but with the exception of the Sea day (which was packed), it was very possible to find some place to just get a little sun. 3) Food was great - It's not always the greatest gourmet experience, but even the main dining rooms had some great options. 4) Ports were amazing - The greatest parts were the ports. The trip in Rome is going to be something that I keep with me for the rest of my life. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just returned from canaries cruise on the jade, On boarding went to our mini suite, a bit tired but very comfortable. Did a tour of ship never seen such ghastly decor or clashing colours, some areas need refurbing badly, Le Bistro very ... Read More
Just returned from canaries cruise on the jade, On boarding went to our mini suite, a bit tired but very comfortable. Did a tour of ship never seen such ghastly decor or clashing colours, some areas need refurbing badly, Le Bistro very dull and smelt very stale, Eat here on first night, Paid cover charge $25 0r $30, only to find some dishes carried a supplement, meal was okay. Ship very crowded pool deck on sea days like a holiday camp from the 1970s, lot of trouble getting a sunbed or even a chair. Food on ship mostly very good, but was ill after eating some fish tried to deal with this myself went to doctors after 5 days of feeling less than great went to medical centre explained was told i would still have to pay $100 plus $50 for medication, spoke to cruise director met with food and beverage, very indifferent told no one else was ill, well lucky them. I am sure a one time this was a lovely ship, but now apart from the Grand pacific dinning room, every bit of style and taste had been thrown overboard, This ship use to be in the Hawaiian islands, some areas were no better than a cross channel ferry. Service very good and friendly. What a shame this cruise seemed to be a poor standard offering just the basics whilst trying to extract a lot of money from you at every opportunity. I did a cruise on the Norwegian crown many years ago its was excellent. Could someone remind me if this was a 3 or 4 star ship!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Been back a few days from a 9 night cruise on the Jade , Barcelona - Canaries . Going to try and be balanced , As i personally don't enjoy reading reviews either stating everything was shockingly bad , or everything thing was ... Read More
Been back a few days from a 9 night cruise on the Jade , Barcelona - Canaries . Going to try and be balanced , As i personally don't enjoy reading reviews either stating everything was shockingly bad , or everything thing was perfect .... find them hard to trust . Spend 2 night prior to cruise at the Hotel Grums - only paid £65 per night , including a great breakfast , hotel is only 1 year old and included a fab little spa , with pool , sauna , etc all in the price , located along side the port a 5 mins walk from the columbus monument on Las Ramblas. Excellent Value for money. Embarkation was as smooth as ever , barcelona is very well set up with a well built terminal. Only problem was it was pouring with Rain ! Eat at Blue lagoon as have learnt not to even try Garden Cafe , was peace and good food , rooms were ready at 1pm ( ish ) Overall a great Holiday - I still Champion that something has to be REALLY wrong not to have a good holiday , especially a cruise ! As we had sailed on the sister ship Jewel , almost everything was exactly the same , so had no problem finding our way around ( apart from the odd occasion where certain stairs don't go to certain floors ) The ship was in Good condition , however having recently been dry docked , I didn't really show . there were a few 'Worn' signs around , nothing major but noticeable . ( And as has been stated a number of times on here, surprised the didn't take the chance to change the old CRT Tv's for LCD in the rooms ) We cruise mainly for 2 reasons - Food and entertainment , and Both were very good . Entertainment was mixed , and although nowhere near as good as EPIC , it was still enjoyable and my DD loved showtime. My ONLY issue was that over the 9 night , 2 nights they only did 1 show , which meant you had to get the the theatre early for any kind of decent seat , you could see so many people being turned away with 15 mins until show time. Food was ate at the Main dinning rooms ( apart from 1 night ) I try to avoid the buffet as much as possible as I HATE the places at the best of time , however the few time we did go fro snacks , I could see what a lot of other have commented on as it was Busy almost all the time and very difficult to get a table. Food was still good in there , But just very loud and people racing around like ants , piling plates up with food . MDR were excellent quality food , service excellent apart from a few minor mistakes , but nothing to worry about . Weather was slightly hit and miss , Not terrible but although sunny , sometimes quite cold . This meant less time on top deck , especially sea days . I was a bit disappointed with the activities available during the day . Big ship , good staff , yet little to no family activities to get involved in ( if you ignore the art auction , bingo and port talks ) . Staff were overall Excellent , The Washy Washy Staff who have by far the most boring task for 12 hours a day are amazing , ALWAYS happy , always with a big smile , a credit to them ! For the first time ever since I started cruising I did come across a few miserable people , 1 Bar waiter from Jamaica ( I forgot his name ) , served mainly at the bar on deck 13 looking down to the pool around , never smiled or spoke for 9 days . also a waitress in the Tepenyakki , who argued with me a couple of times , rushed around and never offered us a drink ! But overall 99% were EXcellent , as you come to expect these days on a cruise. The cruise Director Gio and his staff tried - I actually felt sorry for them. The mix of passengers was almost all european ( ourselves included ) and are no where near as outgoing as the Americans ( both north and south ) that we have experienced on other cruises . From the sail away parties , to the mr and mrs shows , etc , they were hard work , no fault of the Cruise staff , but there was a definite need for some Latin passion mixed with some North american confidence to liven things up on this sailing. Pool area was Very crowded , we just accepted that to get some reasonable bed on a sea day , we had to be outside by 8.30/9am , not the end of the world to us , but could annoy some people. The worst thing about this ship was Medussa Lounge - On the sister ship Jewel , this bar was fantastic , every night karaoke , or some kind of find show with the cruise staff , really funny , lively place . On the Jade it has a group called Guys and Doll ..... O Dear , they are terrible , Sorry Guys but one of them MUST have a family member or friend in the recruitment office because this place was DEAD , EVERY single night , I never counted more than 14 people in there ........ such a waste of a great Bar area . We did pay for Tepenyakki 1 night , $25 cover charge , and to be honest it wasn't bad , but I wouldn't do it again . Waitress was poor , had to wait 50 mins before we had our starter , Chef Was Good , But Experience felt very unorganized. Food Quality was Excellent , however if your honest with yourself , It just meat and noodles , I would Personally recommend that anyone considering it , eat at the Jasmine ( only $15 ) , food is as good , more choice and you can watch the 'Show' from outside . WE did none of the NCL excursion , were not big fans of being 'cattled' around. Overview - Madeira - As it was good friday lots of things were shut , however the ship is close to the town , went up the cable car ( 15 euros ) nice views , watched the toboggans ( wait line were massive ) had a nice walk around and few drink along the front . Tenerife - Got taxi to south of the Island and went to Siam Park , Great Water park for families , the best in Europe. Lanzarote - Beach day - ( 20 euros in taxi to playa del carmen ) Malaga - Strolled around the city ( although wished we had gone to One of the many resort north or south as we were not impressed with Malaga at all ) The Casino was the quietist I have ever witnessed ( both on land and at sea , on every night apart from the last ) . To reiterate , we had a Great holiday , I know it may seem like quite a negative review , but as previously stated , if I write everything was Terrible / Fantastic I feel it looses credibility . 85% of everything I came across was impressive , NCL cant do a lot about the passengers on any particular ship , but there are a few thing that could massively improve the trip . Anyone thinking of going on the Ship should give it a try , but as for us , we going to try Disney and either Oasis / Allure before heading back to see what the new NCL ships have to offer. ( Sorry About spelling , Grammar , etc , Written on my Ipad while waiting for someone ) If anyone has any questions they need answering , feel free ...... Thanks Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Background - We joined Norwegian Epic in Barcelona on 25th September having spent 3 nights at the Bacardi Apartments on Las Ramblas. We are from the UK with about 30 cruises having tried most of the major lines, this was our 7th time with ... Read More
Background - We joined Norwegian Epic in Barcelona on 25th September having spent 3 nights at the Bacardi Apartments on Las Ramblas. We are from the UK with about 30 cruises having tried most of the major lines, this was our 7th time with NCL. Maybe not the most luxurious line but we have always been very satisfied with the Jewel, Gem & Pearl and consider NCL to offer good value for money. This time we travelled with our family from Malta on their 2nd cruise. The Ship - The Epic was everything we expected and overall exceeded our expectations in many ways. We all considered the inside cabins absolutely fine although perhaps a little smaller than on some ships. We had no problem with the separate shower and toilet, actually we thougt it was a good idea, it worked fine for us and we could not see what the fuss is all about. There were a few minor issues - the light in our daughter's cabin stopped working and was not fixed for over 24 hours (son-in-law 'mended' it with cocktail sticks), our granddaughter's TV continually stuck and she could not access her onboard account on it. The balcony cabins looked quite a bit bigger, we are not balcony people but our family tried to pay to uograde to a balcony on check-in but none were available. The ship did seem full but not too many children this time of year, only really the under 5s. It did seem busy at time, noteably trying to get a lift after lifeboat drill and in the Garden Cafe on sea days, but we did not experience too many queues for anything. We ate most breakfast and lunchtimes in the Great Outdoors. Unlike the other ships this is not aft but midships by the main pools and it worked very well, it was especially nice to be able to get water, tea or coffee or an ice cream without having to get dressed and go inside. In the evenings we preferred the Manhattan Room to Taste and thought the meals in both were in general of a higher standard than we had experienced on the Pearl last October (which were very good, just we felt they had upped things a bit on the Epic). We also ate at Cagneys, which was excellent as usual, and went to the Cirque Dreams. That is a difficult one to comment on as everyone had different expectations. We thought the show was excellent, the food less so. Trio of starters is not impressive. The surf and turf main course was OK but quite small (this was the only evening we felt the need to hit the late night buffet). In our party we had one person who cannot eat shellfish and he got an extra half piece of steak in place of the prawns which was fine. Granddaughter is vegetarian and had mushroom ravioli and her dinner looked awful, just 3small ravioli on a plate with some sauce. The trio of desserts was the best part, very nice and beautifully presented. One point of note is that nearly all of the seating is "premium" IE $30, the only $20 seats are the few booths around the very edge under the balcony. The standard seats were all booked up for all thelate shows by the time we got on board so if you only want to spend $20 book online. I think the view from the cheaper seats would be OK just a little further away from the action. Certainly the dinner show idea is good and no doubt the way of the future, but I think NCL still need to do a little work on the diner side. The show was,as I said, fabulous and very fast action which made it seem rather chaotic with waiters trying to serve around the acts. Entertainment - we saw the Legends concert which was good but only 3 acts - Elton John, Shakira & Whitney Houston - the posters gave the impression there would be more. Blue Man Group - what can I say - 4 of our group thought it was absolutely awful - a good many people left during the show despite being asked not to move, to be honest had we been on our own at the end of a row we probably would have slipped out too, but then 90% of the audience seemed to be having a whale of a time, obviously we do not share their sense of humour. There were funny moments but I certainly would not want to see them again. On the other hand Howl at the Moon were quite amusing, we went a second time but a lot of the material was repeated, but it was nice just to be able to wander in. I did not particularly like having to be organised and book shows in advance, I know it has to be done that way to accomodate the sheer number of people but I must say I prefer the traditional one main show per night - less thinking involved ! We were excited to see the pianist Tommy McPhee listed as he had been a star of a previous cruise but did not seem to have much of a following on the Epic, the bar he played in above the casino was nearly empty each time we walked through. To be honest I am surprised to say that the entertainment was a but of a 'miss' on the Epic despite the hype. We found plenty to do as a family but had we been travelling as a couple I think we would have struggled to fill the evenings as I think we saw all the shows but still had time to spare. However, the casino was lovely, loads of low value slots, we did not find it smoky at all and it is huge - you could easily forget you are at sea, it is more like Las Vegas. Wine - During our stay in Barcelona we had visited the Friexenet Cava factory - it is 45 minutes by train from Placa Catalunya and a really good afternoon out of the city. We had purchased a 1.5 litre bottle of sparkling wine for each evening of the cruise (13 euros each)and printed out NCL's alcohol policy (from their website) stating that corkage is $15 per bottle "regardless of size". The waiter on our 1st evening did not seem to be aware of this and tried to charge more but soon corrected it and we had no further problems, it worked out to be a good deal for us. As widely reported on CC there is no hand luggage scan when embarking (apart from the scan by Barcelona based staff in the terminal) so we just walked on with our wine. We could of course have just drunk it in our cabins but were very happy to pay the corkage for the service in the restaurants. The waiters just gave us a bill to sign for the $15 each evening, it was no problem at all. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Both were efficient and simple. We joined the ship using the port bus from near the Colon statue at the bottom of Las Ramblas (2 euros each) and pleased we had not taken a taxi as there was a major traffic jam getting into the port. On leaving, 3 of our family took a taxi straight to the airport which cost them 40 euros, quite a bit more than we had paid in Barcelona previously. NCL were offering a transfer for $15 each so for a couple not in a hurry that would be a good deal. Our flight was later in the evening so we walked to Barcelonetta for a few hours on the beach and watched an airshow that happened to be taking place. Later we walked back, up Las Ramblas, past Placa Catalunya to Passieg de Gracia station (not the metro station you get to first, the RENFE station a couple of blocks further up). Overall that was a good walk, took well over an hour, pulling our case, which was an OK way to kill some time. We took the train rather than the Aerobus from Placa Catalunya because we had some T10 tickets left and knew we could use them on the train. However, I could not believe there is no lift/elevator at Passieg de Gracia station, so I had to carry our case, hand luggage and DH's mobility scooter down several flights of stairs to the platform. Apart from that the train was fine, took about 30 minutes and as we were flying from terminal 2 we could walk to the terminal without the shuttle bus like T1. However, Easyjet have their own terminal ('C') at the far end of T1, we had to walk all the way there to check in, the special assistance lady then walked us all the way back to the train entrance to go up in the lift, then all the way back through the airport past all the departure gates to our gate back at the far end ! That took nearly an hour of walking from check in to gate - after our long walks earlier in the day I was pretty tired ! Accessibility - DH was using a small folding mobility scooter and had no problems at all on the ship, everywhere was completely accessible, NCL sent a letter to the cabin explaining access routes for some of the speciality restaurants etc. As usual the lifts were often full but they are large and we rarely waited long. Ports - it is a classic Western Med itinerary. Livorno we had pre-arranged a car from Hertz which was brought to the ship for us, not cheap at 140 euros but much easier than the public transport route. We went first into Livorno to the market (the Hertz lady thought we were mad but we always pick up a few bargains there) then headed out to Pisa. It was an easy drive, although our SatNav was not very accurate and we seemed to get caught up in Pisa airport. We had hoped to visit Lucca but our time was running down, so that is one for next time. Civitavecchia - we took the 8.59 train into Rome, getting off at San Pietro where we just caught the last part of the Holy Father's public audience, an event we had attended in the past by obtaining tickets in advance, however this time the square was only about half full so plenty of room for everyone. Just be aware (we were not) that this means that St Peters Basilica does not open until 1pm on a Wednesday. We had all been there before so wandered around some other areas (Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain etc) before taking the metro (included in the BIRG ticket for 9 euros) back to the Vatican later in the day. We generally get back on the train at Termini and have known it to be very crowded but this time (both ways) there were plenty of seats despite several large cruise ships in port. A lot of people seemed to be taking the cruise express train, maybe this freed up the local trains ? Accessibility on the trains is a bit hit and miss - we had prebooked the 'lift' via Trenitalia but it turned out there is still no lift at Civitavecchia, leaving the train happened to be on the platform near the station building, at the other places an employee walked DH & his scooter over the lines. Naples - the family took the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii, we walked around Naples, finding some nice shopping streets close to the cathedral by bearing left just inland from the port. We did not buy much but wandered around for several hours, this area seemed much nicer than the main street we had found before by turning right out of the port. It was a pleasant surprise that siesta did not seem to happen, nearly everything stayed open well into the afternoon. Mallorca - Palma cruise port was complete chaos with long queues for both the public & tourist buses and for taxis. We walked to the Porto Pi shopping centre (turn left at the main road outside the port gates and follow around the coast for about 10 minutes or so) and took a taxi from there to Palma cathedral (8 euros for 4 of us - we had lost son-in-law to the marina and beach by then) but the public bus stops there too and this was before the port so would be a good place to get on. Palma city is lovely, hundreds of little craft type shops and good deals on shoes & clothes. We easily spent the rest of the afternoon there and again the shops stayed open. Only trouble on a Saturday afternoon was that the buses back to port seemed few and far between - for 4 us a taxi was not much more than the bus so it was fine. We were just sorry to have to return to the ship and prepare to leave. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Sailed with my Mother(81 and Disabled), companion, Wife and Teen son. Flew in from NY-arrive 7am. Royal Caribbean personnel there to greet and direct. Barcelona Customs and baggage claim NO Problems. Cruise check-in at Airport which was ... Read More
Sailed with my Mother(81 and Disabled), companion, Wife and Teen son. Flew in from NY-arrive 7am. Royal Caribbean personnel there to greet and direct. Barcelona Customs and baggage claim NO Problems. Cruise check-in at Airport which was very impressive. Received Sea Pass there. Short Bus ride to Ship and we were on board by 11am. Waited 2 hours for room to be ready but plenty of things to do while waiting-touring promenade deck and all others. Plus we were tired and rested in cafe. Left port on time.Staff for ship was always helpful, courteous and friendly. Cabin attendant not so talkative but always kept our Suite clean and organized. We always had Ice, bed was always made, towel animals were great! The Jr. Suite is spacious and has nice Balcony. We were mid-ship by main elevator - great location for handicapped. Jr. Suite with Handicapped access was great for my Mother - roll in shower, plenty of room for stroller or wheel chair access.Meals were good but not excellent. Dining room staff was very attentive and no complaints. Head Waiter handled any Special Requests for food (crab claws!) and bar-waiter always had a scotch for me! The buffets on deck 11 was very extensive and great for Breakfast. Had dinner one night but was not impressed with the selection. CHOPS was Not good - very disappointed. Easy disembarkation at all ports. Staff made it very easy. Embarkation was just as easy! Ship was always on time. We did not use the ships tours (hired private day tours) but never heard any complaints from other passengers about them. We made sure we arrived back on board with plenty of time since they don't wait for passengers that are not on ship designated tours.Used their Gym - which was very extensive - the equipment I used worked well.Ship computers worked fine to access emails and surf web as needed. Glad did not bring computer.Teen had a great time at night - used the flow rider and even got a semi-private lesson one night with 2 pretty staff members. He met up with plenty of other kids his age and we hardly saw him after dinner.Ship had plenty to do if we had more Sailing Days but we only had 1 Sail Day. Enjoyed it very much sitting by the pools and watching people! Got too much sun! Final day - no hassle getting off the ship. Baggage claim was quick. Plenty of Cabs waiting for passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
In planning a cruise for someone with a movement disorder, I purposely sought a travel agent who had experience with travelers with disabilities, or so I thought. I also had many contacts with RCI online to assure information about taking ... Read More
In planning a cruise for someone with a movement disorder, I purposely sought a travel agent who had experience with travelers with disabilities, or so I thought. I also had many contacts with RCI online to assure information about taking the scooter and using it on excursions. Let me first say that I had never spoken with anyone who traveled to Europe with a medical scooter, just a wheel chair. This was not an option as my husband has Parkinsons Disease and is too large for me to push, and he can not move himself manually. A power wheel chair would have probably been a better choice, as it is more stable. Using the scooter on the ship was a wonderful experience. We got around easily and except for the humanity that would never move over for us to pass, we got around just fine, including in the dining room, the cafe and the movie theatre. Our handicapped accessible cabin was large enough to keep the scooter inside and have a party. I have never seen a larger cabin for an inside stateroom at this level. It had an automatic door and a very large bathroom with accessible shower. Our room stewardess was very accommodating. We dined about equally in the dining room and the Windjammer Cafe..due to the fact that my husband never wanted to change into long pants for dinner, but that was our personal preference. The food in the Windjammer exceeded out expectations and the food in the dining room was below our expectations. All ship services were great and although we did not participate in much, we enjoyed people watching and sitting on the deck. I fell in Florence and when I got back to the ship the medical services were not available and the room stewardess was off, so I went to the Windjammer Cafe and asked for ice. the gentleman there made me two great ice packs out of garbage bags...he went well above and beyond and my injuries healed quite fast. As far as the excursions are concerned, this is were we had a breakdown. I strongly suggest that a notation be made that excludes medical scooters on excursions . While they are fine for even surfaces, they do not ride well on cobblestone and uneven pavement and are actually flimsy, compared to a wheel chair. We were not able to go to some places, due to the lack of available excursions to that particular area. Some of the tour guides were quite insensitive to our needs and had to be reminded not to leave us on the bus and walk away when our equipment is under the bus and has to be taken out! At one point in Athens when I asked the tour guide where I could get onto the sidewalk where she had gone, she replied " Walk in the street and meet us there." This is not acceptable. Our hotel in Barcelona was terrible for us. That was the travel agent's fault as she did not research if there were handrails and a ramp, not to mention a tub too high for even me to step into. The Hotel Dante was lovely, but very overpriced and not at all suitable for a disabled person. We had a wonderful transfer company..Barcelona Day Tours, and they also took us on a 4 hour tour of Barcelona in a van. They picked us up in a van each time so I would not have to disassemble the scooter. All in all we had a good time. I now know that traveling with disabilities means you must read between the lines and try and get in contact with others in your circumstances that have taken the trip you want. I reiterate, a medical scooter is NOT appropriate for land excursions, especially on uneven cobblestone or sand. ( One of the ship agents tried to get us to go to the beach as there would be no walking!) Be realistic and don't bite off more than you can chew! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get ... Read More
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get him off the ship. We booked a Cove Balcony and set out with expectations of sitting on our balcony and watching Europe sail by. Well, the Cove Balcony was wonderful and we didn't want to leave. Private and quiet with a beautiful water level view. Our room was spotless and roomy, the beds very comfortable. We had left over drawer space after unpacking. If we had never left the room, we would have had a wonderful vacation.Boarding was a breeze. We booked through Autism on the Seas and they provided Carnival with our son's information including his quirks and limitations. We had priority board and were on board relaxing within minutes. Once on the ship we were given a cell phone to carry so that our son could reach us when we were out of the room. He never called but it gave us peace of mind to go to shows or get a drink at night while he watched a movie in the room. Carnival was more than happy to have our son participate in either of the teen clubs but he choose not to and was actually so worn out by sight seeing that he needed to crash in our room after dinner each night. We were assigned a table for four in the Southern Lights dining room by the window in the back. Watching the water and the sunsets provided us with a show each night which was followed by Ken the maitre d's song of the night and dancing by the staff. We loved it. Our server Bianca was fabulous and attentive as was the entire wait staff. Our son had a made to order dinner each night that Bianca tweaked the first few days until she came upon the perfect combination of chicken fingers, basmati rice and papadam. Not on the menu but always ready when we arrived. Our skinny son who has been loosing weight for the past year put on over five pounds during the cruise. A miracle! And the food was so good that we ended up canceling our reservation at the Steak House. We did do the Chef's table and had the meal of our lives. Wonderful wine and creative, gourmet courses made for a memorable experience. That night our son's dinner was brought to our room which made our night that much easier. For lunch, the Tandoori grill had Indian food better than anything available at home. We ate there every day when we were on the ship.We enjoyed the shows, particularly anything with the CD John Heald. Yes, we are huge fans of his. Faulty Towers, Extras and John. Love British "humour". The two main singers were very talented and the magic show had the expected glitz and tricks that still have us scratching our heads.All in all, the trip was what we dreamed of and more than we ever hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
WARNING: Royal Caribbean refused to take my food allergies seriously. I suffered severe to life-threatening symptoms throughout my cruise because of staff providing misinformation about ingredients and the mishandling of my food orders. ... Read More
WARNING: Royal Caribbean refused to take my food allergies seriously. I suffered severe to life-threatening symptoms throughout my cruise because of staff providing misinformation about ingredients and the mishandling of my food orders. Other passengers expressed similar problems to me. RCI has been non-responsive.I sincerely wish the following didn't happen but I hope you can benefit by reading my review.1 out of 5...Guest Relations I cannot speak more poorly of any guest services cruise experience than of that on the Brilliance. Every encounter, every transaction with this department ranged from ineffective to insulting. This included meetings with supervisor Lotfi and Dept. Manager Adrian Fernandez and even Patrick Olin, Hotel Director, who we spoke with on the final day of the cruise for over an hour. Patrick said he understood the significance of the health issues and constant problems we faced and would speak with corporate about it. Nothing was done to encourage us to give Royal Caribbean another opportunity.2 out of 5...Dining I had to use emergency medications to breathe after dining on specially prepared 'allergen-free' dishes which I pre/special ordered at the main dining room. Misinformation from chefs at the buffet caused moderate to severe allergy reactions from foods I was assured were 'safe' for me. No on-board dining was safe no matter what I did to impress the staff about my medical condition.We elected for "My Dining" - open-time dining, so we could eat when we were hungry. By day 5 we were told reservations were required. We found the limited hours at both the dining room and buffet inconvenient.3 out of 5...Dining Staff The dining staff tried to please but often shared excuses as to why service was less than optimal. The Head Waiter tried to correct errors as her sister also had food allergies and so was sympathetic. But the errors were coming from the kitchen and there was little she could do about that. She was congenial and we admired that she worked very hard to coordinate a busy dining room.3 out of 5...Food The food presentation was very good, the quality did not always match. At buffet, friendly signs encouraged asking for a Chef to be called whenever there was a question about ingredients, sometimes the staff resisted. The worst part was receiving inaccurate information causing me to suffer multiple symptoms throughout the cruise as I could not identify the offending food items. On day 10, my gums were bleeding so a dining supervisor insisted the Head Chef come speak with us. That's when we finally learned about the ingredient misinformation. This is Outrageous!1 out of 5...Room Service One night, after discovering the dining room was too full to accept reservations until near closing, we elected to have our dinners brought to our cabin. One dinner arrived an hour and a half later, the second arrived 45 minutes after the first - Neither labeled 'allergy-free' so I couldn't eat either. Although we canceled the second dinner, Room Service still knocked and woke us despite the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on our door. Dishes would clutter hallways for several hours.4 out of 5...Ship dEcor We appreciated the tasteful muted colors with richly colored woods and nautical theme throughout. It was kept very clean. We especially liked the art deco elevators. Most rooms and areas were easy to find and offered comfortable seating.2 out of 5...Ship Design Yelling over the live band 20 feet from Guest Relation's is required every afternoon/evening. We don't know how they do it. Enjoyable live music seemed everywhere in the evenings, however, there were no quiet places as an alternative. Even Guest Relations was unable to suggest a quiet place and our first cabin was too noisy to rest.The beautiful centrum was impressive but so many rooms (library, Internet and more) opened to it that band noise made it hard to read/focus.3 out of 5...Cabin Our first cabin had plumbing issues and the bathroom door trapped me inside for several minutes. It was never fully repaired. 3006 is right under the theater near the orchestra pit so noise was significant. We lost a lot of sleep the first 5 days/nights due to late night performances and daytime rehearsals. We missed out on Florence, Italy due to exhaustion. Everyday, as staff suggested, we renewed our request to be moved to another cabin. 6 days later we were finally moved to an cabin which had been empty the entire time. Our second cabin was much quieter and we were finally able to get the rest we needed. The cabins show obvious signs of wear and tear an short shower curtains caused the bathroom to flood with every 3 out of 5...Cabin Service Our first cabin's steward was the bright star of the staff. Idewa was excellent, friendly and very helpful in virtually every way. Like many staff, he struggled with English but ultimately exceeded at fulfilling our requests. The cabin steward to the second cabin, 3082, was the opposite and even missed cleaning the cabin twice. By the way, ice is not directly available to passengers and must be special requested. 4 out of 5...Ports/Destinations Without a doubt, the very best part of our cruise was off ship! Hint: if you like to travel independently, do your homework first. This cruise line offers overviews but did not offer enough specifics on transportation and other necessities for easy independent excursions. Some ports have helpful tourist information desks, others don't so pre-trip preparation is a necessity.N/A...Tours/Excursions We considered booking tours but after our extremely poor Guest Relation's/staff experiences so we decided not to risk it. We weren't expecting this and it did make things a little harder but we enjoyed the ports on our own. The main problem we had with the cruise, other than the obvious food/health issues, was there were so many minor problems and such poor attitudes among the staff. Finger pointing and blaming others was common. We are from California and have neutral accents, my companion is fluent in Spanish too, yet staff often had trouble understanding us or wouldn't make the effort to. We would ask an easy question like, "What time may we call to make a reservation?" and the staff person would say "Yes" even though we spoke slowly and repeated ourselves. We also couldn't get answers to simple questions such as: What do we do if the ship leaves port without us since you took our passports? (If it wasn't for reading Cruise Critic we wouldn't have even known they were going to take our passports from us. RCI's website has a small side note that says they might take them.) It wasn't until the last day of the cruise, when we met with the hotel director that we finally learned that the passports of any who missed the ship would be left with the port authority for retrieval. Was that really so tough a question for the boarding personnel or guest relations to answer? We discovered Cruise Critic reviews to be spot on. One said the ports were the best part of the cruise - we agree. Another said the food looked great but fell short on taste - we agree. Another warned that staff was not quick to rectify cabin and plumbing issues, correct again. We also agree with other reviewers that the dEcor was warm muted colors with richly colored woods. The public areas were kept clean and the nautical theme tasteful. But we didn't see anyone mention the cavalier attitude toward food allergies and I felt that this was so significant that it needed to be posted on Cruise Critic. A passenger I met said he bribes a chef to personally oversee his food preparations, another said they absolutely insisted on being provided with food ingredient labels even if personnel resisted, that being rude was the only way to get the necessary information. Neither of those options appealed to me but on Royal Caribbean, extreme measures appear necessary - Whether or not you have any food allergies, pass over Royal Caribbean - you'll be glad you did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Have just returned from a 2 week cruise in the Med and it was wonderful. From embarkation at Palma to disembarkation everything was so smooth. No waiting in long queues as we had on other cruises.Everyone was so helpful and nothing too ... Read More
Have just returned from a 2 week cruise in the Med and it was wonderful. From embarkation at Palma to disembarkation everything was so smooth. No waiting in long queues as we had on other cruises.Everyone was so helpful and nothing too much trouble.Once on the ship it remained the same. The service we received in the lounges, dining areas, in fact everywhere on the ship, was second to none. We were accompanied by our daughters, their husbands and 2 grandchildren. There was so much to keep everyone entertained all the time. They were first time cruisers and they now are already looking forward to the next cruise. It has spoilt their thoughts of staying in hotels etc. We think some people must have made deliberate studies to find all the faults even after being in dry dock. In fact we witnessed a woman making her entries on paper and she hadn't even boarded then.The ports of call were amazing also, just a pity not a couple of toilet stops on the coach trips to destination.Passengers from the first week (9th April) were lovely and very sociable. The second week all change. I don't believe it costs anything to say good morning to someone but only 2 couples did reply. We just kept being asked what we thought of the ship. We have been on quite a few cruises and told them we were happy with the Dream. They thought it very 3rd rate compared to others and I ask myself why they hadn't stayed with them if so good. At least you could get food after any show which I know on a very well known opulent and expensive company if you saw the show the restaurants were all closed at 9 so food was sent to your cabin. Who enjoys that I wonder. The moaners should stay with the cruise lines they go on so much about and not spoil other peoples holidays. The entertainment on board was excellent and lovely the way the performers interacted with the children especially when on board during the day. I think Thomson's entertainment must be amongst the best so carry on Thomson and keep delivering great holidays. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My husband and I were on the last sailing of the season to Western Mediterranean, but did not continue on for the transatlantic. We disembarked back in Barcelona. I have mobility issues so I will talk about that as well. The ... Read More
My husband and I were on the last sailing of the season to Western Mediterranean, but did not continue on for the transatlantic. We disembarked back in Barcelona. I have mobility issues so I will talk about that as well. The Constellation was a beautiful ship, I don't know what it looked like before the renovations, but all we could see was beauty and glamour. Our stateroom was a handicap accessible room with a veranda. Everything was gorgeous, and the bathroom was quite large, which suited my needs perfectly. The shower was a roll-in with a seat. I rented a mobility scooter from CareVacations, and when the one at the hotel in Barcelona did not work properly, we called them up and they had a new one delivered directly to the ship. It was in our stateroom when we arrived. I was able to scoot around the ship although the dining room was tight, I had to leave it outside the room and walk to my chair. Now to the dining. We were on a Celebrity cruise in 2000, before they decided to institue "specialty dining". The food and the presentation back then was impeccable. We raved at the choices and the quality of the food. All the food back then was "special". Since they've decided that we should be paying extra for the "special food", the main dining room fare was exactly that...fair! We were disappointed in the food, although our dinner at the Tuscan Grille for $30.00/pp was wonderful. Apparently, they decided to sacrifice the main dining room in order to charge you for the good meals. Quite disappointing. Another thing that upset me was the internet. They charged for your package which was no problem, except that you were paying per minute, and the speed of their internet was nothing other than slow. I wasted 10 minutes @ .61 cents per minute doing nothing but waiting. Finally, we were disappointed in the photography. The best picture of my husband and myself was one where there were drinking glasses on a tray behind my head, so it looked as though they were coming out of my skull. We did not buy any pictures. We did enjoy the cruise, we had a wonderful time, we met wonderful people. We were especially happy with our tours. We only booked one from the ship, the others were private tours with individual drivers. Romeinlimo.com was who we chose for Florence & Rome. We were utterly thrilled with them. We added two people to our tour, so they sent us a minivan which also fit my mobility scooter. We were taken to places that accommodated the scooter and I was able to see everything. Our drivers were knowledgeable and friendly. Memories were made because of them, and I would highly recommend them to anyone. All in all, it was a great cruise, and we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Embarkation Our flight didn't arrive until 2:00 p.m. so by the time we arrived at the dock most of the crowd had thinned out. We sailed through this very quickly and painlessly. The Ship To my husband and I this was a ... Read More
Embarkation Our flight didn't arrive until 2:00 p.m. so by the time we arrived at the dock most of the crowd had thinned out. We sailed through this very quickly and painlessly. The Ship To my husband and I this was a trip of a lifetime. Not only were we finally going to see part of Italy, the pyramids and much more, we were going to be cruising again. For us, one of the most exciting things about boarding a ship is when you first walk into the atrium and see the openness and grandeur of the atrium. There is something magical about it unless you are on the Jade. There is nothing grand about the ship especially the atrium area. What a disappointment. The whole theme of the ship is wrong. Originally it sailed in Hawaii so the theme was bright colors, flowers, etc. Not the theme I would expect for Europe. To me it appeared old and tired even though the ship is not that old. A. The Cabin - We had a category BA Balcony stateroom. If we hadn't had the mobility scooter it would have been a perfect size. Do not make the same mistake we did - make sure you have a cabin equipped to handle a scooter. The bathroom was a decent size with a roomy shower area. We had a lot of storage (drawers, shelves, closet and even under the beds). The balcony was perfect. We could not imagine being onboard for that long without it (21 days). The only issue we had with the cabin and the hallway for that matter was the smell of rotten eggs always being present. When you first turned the corner from the forward elevators into the hallway you were hit with a horrible smell of rotten eggs. B.. The Casino - Upon entering the casino you were hit with a musty "old" oder which would disappear once you were there for a while. It was very dark and dingy. On the few occasions I was there during the late night/early morning hours I did not see a staff member. C. Laundry Facilities - From what I have heard, the laundry room was removed to make the casino bigger. When you are on a cruise longer than 10 days I feel laundry facilities are essential. How many people want to spend $1.95 for one pair of under garments. They did have the "all you can fit in the bag" deal for $25.00 which was nice but it took almost two days to get your clothes back. We hung a clothesline out on the balcony for socks, under garments and an occasional shirt. I tried to make sure they were gone while we were in port. D. Dining - We loved the Freestyle Cruising aspect of NCL. It doesn't make sense that when on vacation you always have to dress for dinner. For this reason we usually ate dinner in the Alizar dining room (my husband could wear his shorts) or the Cafe buffet on ``deck 10. The dining room itself was very dark and somewhat drab. Not much glitz there. I don't remember having a bad meal there. I am a picky eater so there wasn't a lot of choices for me but my husband truly enjoyed all the different fish dishes, escargot and any other weird thing he could find on the menu. The staff in this dining room were all great. The buffet usually had a good variety of foods. There is not enough seating and at times the noise can be deafening. After we to be dished up by kitchen staffwho were very unfriendly and rude a lot of the time. Didn't make for a good dining experience. We also found the hours of operation a little confusing. Never knew when they would close down to start preparing for lunch and/or dinner. We also ate in the Blue Lagoon (for breakfast and lunch). The only trouble with this place was the menu never changed. It was supposed to be open 24 hours a day but we found that it closed from 4-6 a.m. to start preparing for room service. So for early risers like us we had no place to go (other than room service which also has a menu that never changes) to get a cup of coffee and a danish until 6 a.m. Entertainment The cruise director was great. He had a wonderful personality and really seemed to enjoy his job. The entertainment was marvelous. We have no complaints about any of the shows we saw. We are early to bed early risers so we did not partake in any of the evenings activities. We also did not visit any of the many bars throughout the ship. We did play bingo several times but found the cost to high and the bingo callers were somewhat annoying. We did not attend any of the art auctions. We did utilize the Internet Cafe and found the person in charge to be quite helpful. Photo Gallery We thought that the photo's taken on the ship were very expensive. It was very difficult to find your picture in the photo gallery because they were spread out every where and the headings were not very explicit. Staff Overall the services we received from staff was O.K. We had two room stewards, a young man and a young lady. Neither of them were as conscientious as they could have been. The only item we asked for repeatedly was ice and for some reason they just couldn't understand that we wanted ice everyday, all day. They were both very friendly but just didn't seem to want to go that extra mile to make us happy. As stated above the Cafe staff were very unfriendly and rude with the exception of a few. The young ladies at the door were always pleasant and cheerful making everyone feel special. The young man who usually made the fried eggs was exceptionally nice. All of the young ladies we had as servers in the Blue Lagoon were very sweet and did a good job. All of the servers in the dining room were excellent as were the greeters. Most of the staff in the customer service area were rude and acted like they were doing you a favor if they helped you. The shore excursion personnel were the exception - they made sure you left their counter happy. We had luggage that was lost for 3 days and had it not been for me calling the airlines to see if it had been found and being told it was delivered to the ship I might never had known. No one from the customer service desk called, left a message on the phone, left a message on the door or just brought it up to the room to let us know it had arrived. I had to call down and was told "yes it's here, come and get it". Not my idea of good customer relations. I hope this doesn't sound like we didn't have a good time. We had a wonderful time. Saw a lot of places we wanted to see, met a lot of nice people and just relaxed and had fun. I think we will cruise on NCL again but probably not the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010

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