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35 Barcelona to Middle East Cruise Reviews

Staff in the Lighthouse restaurant were fabulous and service exceptional, in particular Iveth Valle and Ovilen Pumbien. Our cabin attendant Juli Antara was also amazing. Trushant Ligam from masters of the seas was a very professional ... Read More
Staff in the Lighthouse restaurant were fabulous and service exceptional, in particular Iveth Valle and Ovilen Pumbien. Our cabin attendant Juli Antara was also amazing. Trushant Ligam from masters of the seas was a very professional employee & always remembered our name and our family members. Eka was also very efficient and very new to the ship. These staff were very accommodating and work very hard. The negative experiences for our family was the attitude of majority of passengers, rude and pushy and at times staff just let them push in even when there was a line. Hygiene is important and staff were not able to enforce this in buffet and restaurants, and people would wash there mouth out in the sink where you should be washing your hands!! Disgusting! too much up sell, I felt sorry for the staff who literally stalked you to upgrade or buy something. If people want to buy something extra they will. We had access to the spa as part of our package and were still hounded as we walked out. We had the drinks package and to our shock this was not unlimited as advertised. Of course, again we had to pay extra as the limit was $5 euro for a glass of wine, and of course there were two to choose from (the cheapest and most horrible wines) and all others were at least $5.50 euro. Very strategic tactic to con paying passengers. After a week on board I became very unwell, visited doctor and was diagnosed with chest infection and treated with medication and antibiotics. I also suffered sea sickness and asked to change rooms, to a lower level as we were on 13 and was told that we could not downgrade. Again, how ridiculous when we had already paid and I was not asking for money back. We were very excited when planning this trip and looking forward to cruising on the new ship and it is a shame that we felt so let down. There was no where to sit and enjoy the outdoors, the front of the ship is closed off to those who can afford it and the outside area at the back is way to small for all the passengers on board, and the designated smoking areas were not enforced. I would hate to be be on the ship when all the children would be on, another 1000 people would make it even worse. I understand that the company can not control the behavior of passengers, but the lack of consideration to people when seeking assistance is very unhelpful. The main customer area was staffed with unhappy and unhelpful staff who always appeared that they did not want to be there, again these staff are key to the service and who ever managed this team perhaps needs some help in increasing staff morale. We have cruised on many cruise lines before and I know that it is probably not been worth writing this review. However, I would really hope that the staff I have mentioned above are made aware of what a great a job they are doing and how grateful we were as they made the cruise for us, funny how it only takes a few people. MSC please take more time to care for your staff and for the people on board and not use it as an opportunity to make more money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Itinerary was very good Barcelona to Dubai via Suez Canal. 19 days so plenty of time to check out most things. Embarkation at Barcelona was a nightmare. Three hours to board & no organisation in terminal what-so-ever. Cabin very ... Read More
Itinerary was very good Barcelona to Dubai via Suez Canal. 19 days so plenty of time to check out most things. Embarkation at Barcelona was a nightmare. Three hours to board & no organisation in terminal what-so-ever. Cabin very good. Dining in restaurant & buffet very good. No complaints about the food at all. Entertainment was poor, especially for a 19 day cruise. Same trio or quartet in two of the bars every night. In the Sky Bar it was the same trio every night, singing the same songs every night!!!! I would class a lot of the entertainment as self creating. Watching people dancing or watching people learning to dance. Theatre shows were of mixed quality. Cirque Du Soleil was very good. We went to the 2 different shows they put on. The large screen by the pool showed, for example Duke Ellington in concert, they were all very old videos! We went on 3 excursions from the ship. Two were very good, but one was an absolute nightmare. On this one, at Muscat, the guide was a disgrace! 1) Didn´t know how many people should have been on the tour, so put everyone´s name in his table & then we had a roll call after every stop. Should have known the expected number & then do a headcount! Started off the excursion by asking if everyone was there !! 2) 2.5 hours late getting back to ship, so we went from 9:30 - 16:30. He gave us a bottle of water to keep us going, nothing to eat. Held up by waiting for non-existent people. 3) People at back of coach could not hear him, as we set off from ship. He turned the volume up, but that didn´t help, so he switched the whole thing off & we never heard another word from him on the coach all day. I went to MSC Excursions to let them know what a disaster the excursion had been & took time to write everything down. I wanted them to know so that they did not employ this guy again, as I didn´t want anyone else to waste their money. The lady on the desk did not seem interested, and told me to go to reception to ask for a refund. I told her that I was not doing this to get money back, but for the reason I explained above. Only when I said I wasn´t after a refund did she show any interest. I have not had any response from MSC Excursions. Overall, enjoyed the cruise, but some things need improvement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife and I have just finished our cruise on RCCL “Ovation of the Seas “. We boarded the ship in Barcelona and disembarked in Dubai , we wish we would have got off in Rome (which was the first port of call ) . The ship is ... Read More
My wife and I have just finished our cruise on RCCL “Ovation of the Seas “. We boarded the ship in Barcelona and disembarked in Dubai , we wish we would have got off in Rome (which was the first port of call ) . The ship is brand new ,this cruise is part of its Maiden voyage . The ship is built to a price not a recipe , how cheap can you build a big ship. The cabins are modern and basically comfortable . Insulation between the cabins (if there is any) is almost nonexistent. When the people in the next cabin decide to stop talking or go to sleep we can to ,when the get up ,everybody up! If during the night you can’t sleep ,instead of counting sheep you can listen to the toilets flushing , it can be 1 deck up ,1 deck down or 10 cabins away and you can hear them . We had an issue with the noise from the adjoining cabins and went to Guest services who took the time to listen and do absolutely nothing . After 5 nights we changed cabins due to the noise . Getting them to change our cabin was an ordeal ,apparently other people were also changing cabins due to noise . It must be like musical cabins . Guest services is where you go if you have a question or problem .,staffed by a Chinese team (as are many of the restaurants and shops on the ship ) who listen and say yes to everything but have no idea of what to do . It is very clear that many of the Chinese staff on board got their jobs by connections and who they know not on an understanding of service. If RCCL continue in this direction they can leave all their ships in China . If I want to do a cruise with a crew like this ,I would book a cruise up the Yangtze. Lucky the ship is going to be based in China ,as a European Ovation of the Seas is not for us . My wife is Asian so we understand what they are saying , we both said they have no idea of how to treat the passenger and it is obvious this is a learning cruise . Lest try to relax and swim in the single outdoor pool on a 167,000 Ton Ship , if you want to swim outdoor between 2 and 4.30 forget it ,this is volley ball time , if you came on board to play Volley ball great but many people like to be able to enjoy the outdoor pool. The indoor pool is lovely if you like to sit inside with a fresh smell of Chlorine . If you wish to sit on the top deck in the shade and there is very little shade ,good luck . The ship has a great system , the guys that look after the towels take money on the side and no matter what time you get up in the morning the chairs in the shade are reserved .Try 6.30 AM and these chairs are taken ,the rest are all empty. Wonder where this scheme came from ?? Dinning on board is an experience , there are a number of restaurants , Windjammer is a buffet for Breakfast ,Lunch and Dinner with a wide variety of food , staff are rude . The rest of the restaurants , Icon Grill ,Chic , The Grand and Silk are ok ,1 time in each on a 16 night cruise they become monotonous , the food is ok but boring and the menus do not change. We much prefer eating in a dining room with a varying menu that has variety and interesting food . Many of the restaurants on board that you pay extra for are a hard sell by the crew. We arrived back on board from our day in Athens and had not even got to the elevator and the staff are trying to sell Jamie’s Kitchen amongst other restaurants .When you get on board after a day ashore the first thing most people want to do is go to their cabin and freshen up . RCCL tours are a real take , they push the tours telling you how experienced RCCL is . Really ! we took the tour to Petra in Jordan ,we booked this 4 weeks before we went on the cruise , pre leaving for the tour RCCL wanted to sell everybody a bottle of water , the tour only cost USD475 for 2 , understandable that a bottle of water is extra ,how could they include a bottle of water for this cost? Got on the bus and the windows were filthy ,asked the tour guide why ,he said that it was a rush to get the number of buses ,obviously cleaning the windows was a rush job as well . Thanks RCCL for the arranging the tour 4 weeks before we got on the bus .Top job. You would think on a Maiden Voyage RCCL would want the guest to have a really great time and go out of their way and give them the WOW factor so when they get of a new ship the comments would be great . We kept discussing what does RCCL stand for we now know. “Really Crummy Cruise Line” RCCL you really have lost the plot and if this is the future of the ships you are putting into service and the staff you are manning them with ,then we better book our cruises with other lines very early as you are going to lose your loyal customers . We have cruised many times on different cruise lines ,we normally cruise with Princess and look forward to our next cruise on Princess . Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have been "Loyal to Royal" for over 20 years. This was the worst cruise of our life. Cruise Director poor at best. When describing Suez Canal all that was said was " sand and more sand, lots of sand". Would have ... Read More
We have been "Loyal to Royal" for over 20 years. This was the worst cruise of our life. Cruise Director poor at best. When describing Suez Canal all that was said was " sand and more sand, lots of sand". Would have been nice to have commentary while transiting canal but we got nothing. Our toilet kept flushing on its own every night except the last 3 nights. Overflowed once. Food in dining room poor institutionalized . One item on dinner menu was "Vegetarian chicken chunks" Guest lecturer on aviation was great however there was no place to sit except on floor or stand until 4th presentation after complaints to change to larger room. After declaring level 2 nuro virus outbreak you think they would change serving procedures in buffet but that didn't happen. We won't be booking RCCL anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
THIS cruise was certainly a weird one, perhaps memorable more for the things that went wrong than right. It was our first run-out with Royal Caribbean (although our 13th cruise in all) unimaginatively entitled “14-night Suez Canal ... Read More
THIS cruise was certainly a weird one, perhaps memorable more for the things that went wrong than right. It was our first run-out with Royal Caribbean (although our 13th cruise in all) unimaginatively entitled “14-night Suez Canal Cruise on Explorer of the Seas” from October 9 to 23, 2015. What first made it attractive to us was the visit to Israel and an excursion to Jerusalem, a trip down the Suez Canal and a return to the fabled Jordanian Rose Red City of Petra. The ship had undergone a multi-million dollar refit in April to install a FlowRider surf simulator, new restaurants, new bars, new engine, virtual balcony cabins overlooking the Royal Promenade but with pictures of the sea, and refurbishment of all public areas and cabins. It began peacefully in sunny Barcelona, then ran into poor weather for most of two cruising days before reaching the port of Souda in Crete. The following day we were told our excursion to Jerusalem had been cancelled because of the violence and political unrest. The captain took the decision, soon backed up by Royal Caribbean Miami Headquarters. It was a sensible course of action. Everyone who had booked the trip immediately had their money refunded, a day’s free Internet (don’t laugh, it was expensive), and a one-off payment of $150 per cabin. And we duly set sail a day early for Port Said. So far not too good. But things improved with the stunning passage, leading the convoy through the Suez Canal. We had deliberately chosen a Starboard balcony. What a difference! It was a very impressive, interesting few hours. And why not? In August 2014, construction began to expand and widen the Ballah Bypass, for 35 km (22 miles), costing $8.4 billion, to speed the canal's transit time. Funding was arranged by issuing interest-bearing investment certificates exclusively to Egyptian entities and individuals, and the target amount was collected over eight working days. The expansion is expected to double the capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day. The "New Suez Canal", as the expansion was named, was opened with great fanfare in a ceremony on 6 August, 2015. After entering the Red Sea and the end of the canal, we changed course for Aqaba, arriving next morning for the visit to the Petra, of Indiana Jones fame (just jesting). It was our intention to hire a horse and carriage for the journey both ways through the Siq but it was soon established we would have to wait anything up to an hour. So we chose to walk the whole six miles round trip. Another glimpse of the fabled Treasury (Al Kazneh) was worth it but those who had not been before were completely misled by being informed that this magnificent highlight was all there was. They were not told by the courier of the amphitheatre, the vast temples built into the rock faces and various other masterpieces down the whole three miles the other side of the Treasury. Wonder why? After Aqaba, there was nothing but six days of cruising. But they passed pretty quickly with all the activities on the ship. And, of course, there was always the threat of an attack from Somalian pirates to pique interest. The ship took adequate precautions, certain areas were blacked out and all cabin curtains closed at night and “technical equipment” was taken on board from a small boat. There was considerable conjecture that these were guns and people who could use them. It was all rather to different to our last trip through the Suez Canal into the same “piratical waters” in 2009 on the late, and lamented by many … Ocean Village Two where we undertook serious pirate drill, the ship was sheathed in barbed wire and we had HMS Cornwall and attendant helicopter for company. This time, the “technical equipment” was later dropped off in Muscat, Oman. But before this the captain had also dropped his clanger, cheerfully announcing that the ship would be docking in Dubai on October 24. This set alarm bells ringing, since most people were catching flights to various parts of the world on October 23. There were immediate reassurances, and several more throughout the day, that “someone” had made a mistake and we would, after all, dock in Dubai on the 23rd. Captain Kjetil gallantly made a public apology for his error the following day. Well done, sir. Highlights: Most of the entertainment was typical cruise fare, good production shows and other lively acts. Variable music in various bars, particularly in the Star Lounge where the Top Notch, a band from the Philippines, performed most nights for dancing. Cherry Mae Fernandez, who lived briefly in Portsmouth, is their lead singer and if there is better one on any cruise ship we certainly haven’t heard her. The ice-skating show was excellent and spectacular, the new FlowRiders area provided joyful spectator sport at the rear of the ship as well as an ideal place for dolphin watching. The cabins were spacious, well cared for and it was sunshine all the way after the initial gloom. Amusing diversions: A buxom woman of Northern English descent (alright, so are we!) charged her way into the lift on the final morning, using an enormous suitcase as a battering ram, bruising people in the process, and then proceeding to insult “every American onboard the ship” in fluent and colourful language. A pathetic library without books. Oh, sorry, there were half a dozen in Swedish. A large and bustling casino where we actually managed to win a fistful of dollars. Could have done with a few dollars more. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable 14-night experience … which almost became 15. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
It has been on my bucket list for years to sail thru the Suez Canal and my husband and I decided to book on Explorer of the Seas sailing from Barcelona. Embarkation was fairly swift and our balcony cabin was excellent. It was kept very ... Read More
It has been on my bucket list for years to sail thru the Suez Canal and my husband and I decided to book on Explorer of the Seas sailing from Barcelona. Embarkation was fairly swift and our balcony cabin was excellent. It was kept very clean & tidy by our Cabin Steward (Jose). We opted for My Time Dining and had no problems booking our desired time for dinner in the dining room. We alternated between the dining room one night and the buffet the next. Food in both was excellent and an amazing variety in the Windjammer at the buffet. Service in both was first class. It was my husband's "special" birthday whilst we were on the cruise, so that particular evening, we dined at Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. Again, the food was excellent, but the service we received from Dante, our Waiter was amazing. He was so friendly - nothing was too much trouble for him and he certainly helped us have a memorable night. A lovely dessert in the form of a birthday cake was delivered to the table for hubby's b/day. We didn't have any problems finding seats at the bars for drinks or in the shows (as advised by some people in previous reviews). The only disgruntles I would like to point out are: 1. There were not enough activities during the day to partake in apart from sports or bingo. 2. It would have been preferable for more movies to be shown during the day/evening. When the few were shown, the quality of the picture on the screen was dreadful - very dark and difficult to make out the picture etc. 3. With the ship going thru the Suez Canal, it would have been the perfect opportunity for the ships company to have lectures on this landmark giving passengers an overview of its history. Also a commentary whilst passing thru sections of the canal would have been helpful. Even a pamphlet delivered to cabins wouldn't have gone astray. 4. Most other cruise companies give passengers a printed log of their entire cruise on the last day - but unfortunately, this was not forthcoming from Royal Caribbean. In regards to ports of call, Chania, Crete was lovely with an interesting market. Due to the problems in Israel, the shipping company decided not dock at Ashdod. This was disappointing, however, understandable. Decided not to go to Petra, due to a leg injury, so hired a private driver who took us around Aquaba. Drove to the border and showed us the city in depth. Well worth a visit. Apart from the few points above, it was an enjoyable and interesting cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Positives Friendly and on the whole, helpful staff No corkage fee for any wine you bring to the restaurant. Very spacious room, (But we paid a premium for a Junior Suite) Very generous shipboard credit given in lieu of not ... Read More
Positives Friendly and on the whole, helpful staff No corkage fee for any wine you bring to the restaurant. Very spacious room, (But we paid a premium for a Junior Suite) Very generous shipboard credit given in lieu of not being able to stop at a port due to security reasons. I have to say Royal Caribbean was not for me. I am used to, and prefer Cunard. I found there was very little to do on the ship (other than sports related) and spent a lot of time in my cabin, the entertainment during the day was predominantly Bingo or the Pub Quiz, or worse still the Art Auction. Most of the other ‘entertainment’ revolved around the selling of the jewelry or the health spa. The evening shows were poor. The Ice show was VERY good, however in our 14 day cruise, you only get to see ONE show in that whole time. The ship appeals to many American’s therefore expect lots of “Whoop Whoops’ at regular intervals. There are no fresh flowers on the ship, and no florist to buy your own flowers for the room. The buffet was of very poor quality, and there are only plastic plates for food. I found the ship very elitist, there were so many exclusive areas and benefits for repeat guests RCL care very much about repeat clients which is great, but not at the cost of the other guests. The alcohol prices are ridiculous $16 for cocktails and $10 for a glass of cheap wine, $8 for a beer. There was a daily special cocktail for ‘only’ $8 (plus service charge of 18%) where you got to keep the plastic glass it came in. The new clients are obviously subsidising the free alcohol for the repeat guests. Don’t expect any canopies, or even bowls of crisps or nuts with your drinks, you get nothing of the sort. In The specialty Japanese restaurant beware of the $9 a glass for their cheapest wine; they pour this into the smallest wine glass I have ever seen, more a sherry than a wine glass. The repeat guests are allowed free alcohol from 5pm until 8pm, you will see them queuing outside their exclusive rooms around the ship from 5pm, and then from 8pm carrying as many glasses of wine they can in their hands to take to the restaurants after. This lead to many tipsy, and even drunk guests every evening. The ‘Specialty’ restaurants: Giovanni’s was absolutely terrible, how they even have the nerve to charge $25 per person is outrageous. They claim to be ‘Fine dining’ they serve Lamb chops with no finger bowl, and Ossobuco with no marrow scoop, (not such a problem, but don't pretend to be fine dining if you are not) The water glasses there are plastic. The cheapest bottle of white wine was $42 The maître D sat on his computer all evening, and not once did he come round to any of the guests and ask how the food was. The food was mediocre to say the best. The funniest part was when the sweet trolley came around, I could see there was no Tiramisu left in the bowl, and I wanted to try some, so I asked the waiter for some, and he literally just scraped the bowl of the cream that was left in the inside of the bowl onto my plate. The Japanese restaurant was good, (although watch for the wine prices). Chops restaurant was by far the best on the ship. (Although it is very popular with the ships staff also, as it was mainly staff and their family/friends eating in there) The bathtub in our room was blocked and after reporting it 3 times, it still took 5 days for anyone to repair it. I felt sorry for our maid who had to empty it each night after we used it. A light bulb was not working in our room and was never replaced. A bottle of water cost $6 (plus of course the 18% service charge) for 1 liter in the room. No chocolates on pillows at night. Just a towel animal made by the maid. (Although to her credit she did stop making them when we asked her too) No slippers or bathrobes in the cabin, even in the Junior Suite. Apparently you have to request them and then you get one only if one is available. They are allocated from a certain membership level upwards, regardless of the class of cabin. Internet was the worst ever. IF you were lucky enough to get online, forget trying to use Facebook, or any Google searches or websites, AOL would not even load, thankfully we only needed the internet for work emails, it struggled, but most days it managed to download our emails. The cost of the Internet was $280 for the cruise. Many people complained and the desk were very good at refunding anyone that asked, they are obviously used to it. Along with the next day's agenda, there are no daily newspapers given at night, just the sales pitch newsletter. There is NOWHERE to sit on the ship inside, if you are lucky enough to find somewhere, do not expect it to be peaceful. Music, (most of it loud) is pumped out everywhere on the ship. The coffee is the most disgusting you will find anywhere thankfully there is a Starbucks on board where you can purchase coffee. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first taste of Royal Caribbean having cruised on Cunard and Celebrity. The booking was many months in the planning and was looked forward with much excitement. Thinking that this brand new ship with the “WOW” would ... Read More
This was our first taste of Royal Caribbean having cruised on Cunard and Celebrity. The booking was many months in the planning and was looked forward with much excitement. Thinking that this brand new ship with the “WOW” would be something not to be missed with long sea days and interesting ports (apart from the risk of going along the Arabian Sea.) I travel often with my son and we pay for separate accommodation. He had a Family Spa suite and I a Junior Spa Suite. However, the cabins are lovely as were the verandahs, the cabin attendants were sweet and smiling. The amenities were extremely poor. No shower caps or slippers, nothing other than No Named soap shampoo and conditioner, body lotion and shower gel. We had tea making but “not allowed” coffee saches as we were NOT ink a full suite. Also, no wine on arrival or fruit. I did get a pot plant! The bed was not as comfortable as the other ships I have been on but the pillows were uncomfortable. I asked for softer pillows which I am not sure came as I continued to have a sore neck for the 16 days. The cruise director was more like a second hand car dealer with ‘have I got a deal for you’! I think as I feel the whole concept of Royal Caribbean is directing all attention to teenager or boofheads. Yes, one can have a blast, if all you seek is rock climbing, dodgems and iFly, and a ride over the side of the ship…all tasters until you have to pay. The entertainment on board was abysmal. There was only one show for 14 days which was far from a ‘feel good’ show. The same every night Complaints to the Cruise Director got the response from him - Go sit in another seat where you scan get a different angle…what? if you don't go for the extremely poor and small variety of television on the big WOW TV screen full of the same Polish repetitive advertisements, non stop, then there are movies available @ $12 a pop. There was one very second rate serial, TCM where the films were perhaps black and white and the stars dead fort 50-75 years! There were 3 nature channels which were not bad if you are into that type of entertainment. Oh the you can go to Bingo @ $32 and $42 a pack of a few games. The shops were poorly stocked except for designer and jewellery stores “duty free”. I visited the Spa and spent $500 + on Elemis products “duty free” to find I could buy them at home marginally cheaper and delivered. Wifi was heart rendering disappointing and expensive…so slow that it is basically non-existent. There was always trouble logging on, staying on, and trouble logging off, which all takes away from the minutes that I paid for. The WOW advertised high speed Internet and makes us pay for high speed, but the best speed available throughout my cruise was 56k. trouble desk that 56k was the speed. There were queues and queues of people angry and trying to get some solution bt always the same excuse. OH the satellite is in the wrong place. I was going to have it disconnected for rebate but thought I do need my emails as contact with home.The Internet was worthless in trying to do anything. Reimbursement should be made due to false advertisement of high speed and lack of net capability. I can only say that this cruise First Class Sydney to Barcelona and Dubai to Sydney was such a waste of money to suffer the boredom and irritation of WOW NOT BEING DELIVERED. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Our cabin was fantastic. Large, and next to the stairs and elevator, so easy to get to the spa and fitness center. Large balcony and high quality deck furniture. The only noise was when people above us moved deck chairs, but not a big ... Read More
Our cabin was fantastic. Large, and next to the stairs and elevator, so easy to get to the spa and fitness center. Large balcony and high quality deck furniture. The only noise was when people above us moved deck chairs, but not a big problem. Plenty of storage space. The TV was good, but after Barcelona they dropped Fox news which upset some people. They still had CNN and BBC, which no one watched. Our attendant, Chunyan Yan, was the first female attendant we've had. She did a fantastic job and fun to chat with. The ship is in good shape, showing only very minor signs of wear. The Life Fitness cardio fitness equipment was fine, but the weight area was a little old, but functional. My wife went to the spa several times and loved it. The food at dinner was very good, not great IMHO, and it seemed to me that the portions have been downsized. The waiters were very good and pleasant to talk with. We heard that there were about 60 people with the virus, and lots of folks hacking away, but RCCL did what they could and provided the sanitizer everywhere. The captain did a good job on communicating, although to us he seemed to be a little too enthusiastic. The translater then spoke in Italian, French, German, and Spanish, which dragged on forever, but I understand the need. Although some Japanese and Chinese on board, there was no translation for them. The ship took security measures while passing by Somalia and it didn't seem that anyone was concerned. We had a drill on "Operation Safe Haven". The crew were all fantastic and very polite. All very pleasant and no frowns. They all seemed to be happy to be there. We had heard that the ship has been leased to the Chinese for 5 years (we heard several versions) to be a gambling ship. The casino had been modified and several stores were upgraded to expensive merchandise. The internet worked reasonably well with wireless available in the stateroom, although the signal was weak. RCCL had a major glitch in Barcelona. There were a lot of passengers who were doing a B-2-B from Galveston, and the procedure for switching cabins and getting new keys was a complete bomb - very angry people. Some waited until 2:00 to get access to their room, so they missed seeing Barcelona. I understand they changed the procedure in Dubai. Because there were so many Diamond members, they opened the Jade Lounge from 5-8 p.m. for free munchies and drinks. It was, needless to say, well attended. The cruise director was very annoying to us and our friends, so we went to very few shows and never listened to them on the TV. All-in-all a terrific cruise, one of the best we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
WHO WE ARE: - Sandra (me): 33yo, works as consultant, from Brussels (Belgium) - Adrienne (my mother): 63yo, retired, from Brussels (Belgium) - Not our first cruise on RCCL (we are both Platinum) but our first trip to the Middle East. ... Read More
WHO WE ARE: - Sandra (me): 33yo, works as consultant, from Brussels (Belgium) - Adrienne (my mother): 63yo, retired, from Brussels (Belgium) - Not our first cruise on RCCL (we are both Platinum) but our first trip to the Middle East. SHIP - RCCL Mariner of the Seas • General Itinerary: Barcelona (Spain) - At sea - Alexandria (Egypt) - Suez canal - Safaga (Egypt) - Aqaba (Jordan) - At sea - Dubai (UAE). Second leg of a 3-leg repositioning (Galveston, TX to Singapore) Condition of the ship: Imho, the ship looked great. When we boarded, one shop was closed and being remodelled, the casino was open but some remodelling was still being done and during the cruise, more stores were closed en reopened after remodelling. Crew: Mainly Asian. Our stateroom attendant, the (assistant) waiter and the girls in the spa were very very nice. Some of the crew working in the stores and in guest relations were rather cool, some even bordering on rude. It was a different experience from being on a cruise ship where there is also a lot of crew from Central and South America. Passage through Gulf of Aden: The Gulf of Aden is known for pirates. While cruise ships are usually not their target, RCCL wanted to rather be safe than sorry. On the first sea day after Aqaba (Jordan), we had a pirate drill, so everyone (especially the crew) knew what to do in case of pirates. Also, each day during the Gulf of Aden transit, around 6pm the outside decks were closed, lights turned off, curtains in rooms and dining room etc had to be closed, ... There were extra security people brought on board + the ship received from the British navy a "security kit" (i.e. weapons and ammunition). According to "Captain Flemming from the bridge" we always had uneventful nights and no pirates were encountered. • Room - 6238 Balcony room, on 6 floor, front of the ship. Room was nice, stateroom attendant (Hassan) did his job well, we received some towel animals and room was always clean. The only little negative was that no matter how low we turned the AC, it stayed rather warm in the room, and in the bathroom we had the choice between warm and hot water. We heard from other people that this was not only the case for us. We had pre-ordered an Evian water package, and the water bottles were waiting in our room when we boarded the ship. The cardboard boxes from the water were re-used on our balcony to put our feet on, lol. • Dining - My Time Dining, Windjammer & Cafe Promenade Food: In general, the food was good. I think there was only one thing I didn't finish eating, namely the most pathetic meringue pie I have ever tasted. But other than that, no issues. The old menus had more items on them that I liked, but that is subjective and up to everyone's taste. (But I do admit that I missed some old favourites.) One thing I missed in the Windjammer were the sandwiches. Everything was available to make a sandwich yourself, but I liked having the premade ones, as they were easy to grab and take to the Solarium, to eat them there without too much of a mess. I also have the feeling that the pizza and desserts offered at the Cafe Promenade used to be better than they were now, but they were still good. Service: We were seated the first night with waiter Michael and assistant waiter Elisabeth in the MTD section of the MDR, and liked their service so much that we always asked to be seated in their section. Service declined just a little bit halfway through the cruise but I think it was because they kept on expanding Michael and Elisabeth's section. Service in Windjammer was fine too; this was the first time I noticed them bringing around drinks during breakfast and lunch. One girl working at Cafe Promenade was grumpy for the whole 15 days. Oh well... • Spa We both had a pedicure done at the spa, and I also took advantage of a special "Happy Hour" offer. Both treatments were heavenly. Pedicure was well done, and the nail polish was beautifully done (not always the case, in my experience). The girl was very nice and we had a great time at the spa. The happy hour offer consisted of a back/neck/shoulder massage, foot massage, scalp massage and a facial. I wished it would never end because it was so so wonderful. I almost fell asleep and I so wanted to stay awake to enjoy it; lol! Both experiences are worth repeating! • Shopping Shopping was quite pathetic on the ship. As the ship was in full remodelling-modus, there was always a shop closed. When we boarded the ship, the Logo shop was closed and was opened later on as a fancy watch store (it carried also MontBlanc pens). When I say fancy, I mean expensive. Like $12.500 for a watch expensive. Omega, Chopard, Mont Blanc, Baume & Mercier, Hublot, Tag Heuer, ... It was obviously targeted to the future Chinese passengers but not really to the current passengers. I highly doubt that they sold anything on the cruise. I had the feeling many people were even kind of "afraid" to go inside and look. Next, the "cheap jewelry and sunglasses etc" store closed. On the final night, this opened again as a fancy cosmetics & perfume store. Cosmetics & Perfume store closed to be opened a day later (without remodelling) as a purse store (Burberry, Guess and Bottega Veneta). If I remember correctly, the last night, the liquor shop also closed. The regular stuff that is usually sold on the cruises I have been on, was now sold on the promenade, usually at a discount. However, it made the shopping experience rather boring. Also, regarding the Cosmetics store: it made me somehow feel like a second class passenger. I mean, for "regular" cruises, the small shop with the crappy displays is good enough. But, they go to China, and all of a sudden, a big store with nice and shiny displays, and staff that actually knows something about what they sell, is needed. • Entertainment While we had good intentions, we didn't go to many shows. We saw one production show (OK), the ice show (great, but it was the last show of the cast on the ship, they were leaving in Dubai), Quest (hilarious) and the guest talent show (hilarious). In the Planner, which we received on the first day, other things were mentioned, like crew talent show (usually our favourite show during a cruise) and 3D movies in the theatre. These never happened. We listened a few times to Fleur de Lys trio (violin, viola, piano) and really liked the music they played (even bought the CD). We tried trivia twice, but it wasn't a very pleasant experience. Cliques had been formed on the first leg of the repo, and we were basically chased away. It was so unpleasant that after these two times, we didn't bother with it anymore. I participated in the Sudoku and math terror competitions, which was fun. We watched a cake decorating demonstration which was OK. In the end, we wanted to just rest relax, and spent a lot of time in the room just doing that. • Internet Imho, when one is on a ship, surrounded by only water, one shouldn't be complaining or whining about crappy internet-connection. On the other hand, on previous Celebrity cruises, it worked just fine. Many of RCCL's computers in the computer area never worked. If the computer worked, it was hit or miss to get online (chances you missed were WAY higher than the chances you hit). It was quite a challenge to get online, and to stay online. It usually involved the musical chairs dance. It was impossible for us to get on the WiFi. I managed to create an account on the RCCL-computers, managed to find the network on the netbook, but then, when I had to log in, it never worked. On Celebrity, there is a crew member at the computer room who helped with all these issues. It would have been nice if that had been the case here too, because there were many issues (and no, I wasn't the only one with issues). What was really nice, was the possibility to print (I forgot to print a hotel reservation; many people were printing boarding passes). That is, after you knew the trick to get the printer working (turn it off, count to 30, turn it back on). • Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle/ Crown & Anchor events The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was held on the first day at sea in the Lotus Lounge. A huge amount of people had signed up (and showed up). Cuddy, the activities manager, had some fun game to get the meeting & mingling going on. However, after this short game... the meeting was basically over and we were basically thrown out of the lounge, which was a bit of an issue as we had a gift exchange planned and people were also having small meetings regarding private excursions. It would have been nice to have the Meet & Mingle at a venue that is also free after the official time frame, so people can hang around and chat and get to know each other without being hurried. We received 2 invitations for Crown & Anchor events (a welcome back drink and something for platinum people) but forgot both times to go. Both events were also held at the Lotus Lounge. • Visa Upon boarding in Barcelona, we had to hand in our passports. Egyptian immigration officers apparently were sailing with us in order to do whatever was necessary (i.e. put a stamp in the passport) for our arrival in Alexandria. The passport was handed back to us during a well-organised process on a sea day. After getting back on the ship in Alexandria, we had once again to hand over our passport in order to get the correct stamp for Safaga. The passport was handed back to us during a well-organised process on the day we went through the Suez canal. After getting back on board in Safaga, we handed over once again our passports in order to get the Jordan stamp in it BUT did not get it back before we went on land in Jordan. Set Sail Pass was enough. However, this stressed me a bit since I like to have my passport with me when I am on land. You never know what happens and you end up in the hospital, you miss the ship, etc. So it's good to have a back-up ID for cases like this. Upon arrival in Dubai, we got our passports back just before leaving the ship and it had the necessary stamps for Dubai. However, when we were at the passport check in the airport a few days later, there seemed to be an issue with it. I didn't understand what they were saying among each other, but it was clear there was something with the stamp. However, they let us go through. • Excursions We did not go on any ship excursions but went on private excursions with people from the roll call here on Cruise Critic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Embarkation was wonderful compared to the nightmare in Dubai trying to get passports to get off the ship. Waiting in line 1.5 hours, which didn't matter as we were only going to a hotel. That needs to be addressed. Cabin: the ... Read More
Embarkation was wonderful compared to the nightmare in Dubai trying to get passports to get off the ship. Waiting in line 1.5 hours, which didn't matter as we were only going to a hotel. That needs to be addressed. Cabin: the rounded corners on the bed were not good for my husband as he is 6'4" and his feet hung off. Cabin Stewart fine, not best, irratated me after 21 days and he said he was here to make us happy, didn't say that on day one, but extra tip day was coming. Bathrooms should be condemned. If you dropped anything in shower, you had to open the door to bend down to get it, and forget washing your feet without opening the door. You could sit on toilet brush your teeth in sink Food and Dining: Dining room waiters wonderful once we got our My Time Dining schedule and table settled, it is more like Their Schedule dining, but it worked out. Food okay, a few good dishes, no lobster tails, surf and turf was shrimp. Desserts nothing special, only one souffle in 24 days and no baked alaska. Windjammer food was never hot or warm, just the soup. Bacon in a.m right when they opened was cool and egg omlette maker was pathetic. Asked for eggs over easy one day the 3rd attempt, I said never mind. Wine package minimum is 5 bottles which is too much for 10 days if only one drinks wine, should be addressed. Drinks with added tax on first leg of trip were 11.88 a piece. Crazy, I had one in 10 days. They should also address laundry needs for people on extended cruises, instead of $25 for wash and bundle, which was sad. More wrinkled then when they went in to be washed. And what is that mystery stuff they put in the dispenser in the shower that is suppose to wash hair, condition, wash body, bring on the bottles of shampoo and conditioner. And where are the chocolates on the pillow? Seems everything with RCCL has a price attached. Free Lattee, etc in Chops yet in Giovanni's I was charged for it. Regular dining menu shows selections with small print there is a charge???? Would I take RCCL again, yes if they had the itinierary I was looking for, but needs to improve and not just cater to their "special category" passengers, because they won't get many new ones if the others aren't looked after better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
It wasn't my first choice of destination but it fitted in perfectly with holiday allocation, one night in Barcelona and a final night in Dubai. the Serenade is not the newest of ships but it was in good condition. Now I do like ... Read More
It wasn't my first choice of destination but it fitted in perfectly with holiday allocation, one night in Barcelona and a final night in Dubai. the Serenade is not the newest of ships but it was in good condition. Now I do like Royal Caribbean but we did have an issue about the On Board Credit which is not what you want to start your holiday - it was eventually sorted but I was not impressed - RCI have since apologised to us and sent a voucher to all of us. The food - as usual the food was very good, a few dishes were disappointing but was it the dish or was it me ?, but overall for I was paying it was very good indeed. there was a shortage of tea bags and back bacon about which some passengers became extremely worked up and quite rude to the staff. stuff happens, may be the there was a problem with delivery, who knows, it is not the end of the world and why let it spoil your cruise. One couple were so distraught that there were no Walkers crisps on board they uttered the words disgusting and we are going back to Thomson where they never run out of Walkers crisps - it takes all sorts. The entertainment was very good as usual for RCI. We were blessed with superb weather which always helps, the ports excursions were good and value for money apart from Safaga which wasn't worth the effort so I didn't and enjoyed having a near empty ship . Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was an astounding cruise and an interesting mix of exotic ports and many days at sea. The embarkation process was smooth in Barcelona and we were quickly aboard. The cruise started well with a celebratory glass of champagne as we ... Read More
This was an astounding cruise and an interesting mix of exotic ports and many days at sea. The embarkation process was smooth in Barcelona and we were quickly aboard. The cruise started well with a celebratory glass of champagne as we embarked. What we didn't know is that Celebrity allows passengers on board while entire corridors of staterooms are blocked off (this was a first in our many cruises). We were on board ship several hours before the announcement was made that the rooms were open. This left thousands of people roaming around with their carryon luggage trying to find a spot in the buffet or on the decks. Kind of messy and not the best first impression. The cruise took a turn for the worse when our luggage did not arrive by the time we sailed. We had already been aboard ship for 7 hours and had no idea where the luggage was hiding. Our cabin steward took me downstairs to the area where luggage is quarantined because there is a suspected forbidden item that requires security clearance. Our luggage was not there, wasn't on any list, no one knew anything, etc. Fortunately the bags arrived after we returned from supper. Our cabin steward said that he had received a call from his supervisor about the luggage, but the steward declined to give us details. Nothing was missing from the bags including the bottle of wine Celebrity allows per passenger and a corkscrew. Go figure. My anxiety level was running high because I wanted to complete the long job of putting everything away and getting a good nights sleep and that is a little hard to do when nothing has arrived yet. This glitch turned out to be our biggest issue on this cruise so all in all things went smoothly for us. We really liked the service and attitudes of the crew. In 16 nights aboard ship we could probably count on two hands the number of times an individual crew member did not take time to greet us or talk to us, and that includes the officers. Our cabin steward Miguel was completely accommodating to our needs and we appreciated the fact that he delivered a pitcher of water and ice to our room twice a day, and clean glasses. We were probably easy passengers for him as we always kept our room picked up and we tried to minimize the work our steward needed to do but when we made rare extra requests they were always granted, including obtaining another mattress pad as the beds are hard on arthritic hips. We were lucky about this as on the day we asked for the extra pad someone else had decided he didn't want his. Normally there are not extra pads around. The cabin on Celebrity Solstice was strange. We are used to a setup where the closet and shelves are located in the entryway. This closet was small and located next to one person's side of the bed. If my husband piled up a bunch of books or shoes next to his side of the bed I had to lean over sideways to try to get into the closet. Don't know what the designers were thinking when they came up with this. There is a lovely large storage space above the bed and the shelving situation in the bathroom is more than adequate so that made up for the closet inconvenience. The shower stall also has a closable door instead of the usual shower curtain and this was much appreciated. Our room was very far aft and so we had minimal traffic and noise outside the room. The balcony in this room (#7305) is also about 50% larger than others we have had. The down side was that because of the design of the ship it is not possible to look directly down into the water from the balcony, something we enjoy. We also had very loud neighbors who partied until bartime and then threw a mini party on their balcony every night. Sigh. The entertainment crew aboard ship was topnotch. Not only were they relaxed, fun loving people, but they were talented. The cruise director and his assistant were sometimes heard singing with the band--and yes, had voices that were enjoyable to hear. The list of activities was creative and although we did not participate in a lot of group activities we did enjoy spectating the Pool Olympics and a few other competitions. We also participated in the egg drop contest in which we had to build a craft that would carry 3 raw eggs and safely land on a target 4 stories down into the atrium without breaking the egg. The creativity of the competitors was amazing and watching this competition was lots of fun. Sadly 2 of the 3 eggs in our vessel did not make it but it was still fun. The dance lessons were given by the Stars of Solstice staff and were excellent although always very crowded. On the cruise before ours we heard that only 4 people attended the dance classes--try about 50 people on our cruise! My husband was disappointed that only one other person wanted to enter the casino poker tournament and so the tournaments were always cancelled. Even the slot tournament was canceled for lack of entries. The slots on this cruise were horribly tight and very few people were in the casino even at the tables. We loved the danceband Intenz who performed several times a day and were always fun whether it was ballroom dancing or get down and have fun dancing. We ponied up an extra $100 per person to have privileges to the Persian Garden heated stone recliners, showers, sauna, and private relaxation room. The latter was a nice refuge and excellent observation post on the day we went through the Suez as it is directly in the front of the ship. Was this $100 worth it? Maybe, considering how tired we were after some of the excursions and how good the heated benches felt to us. Maybe not when the benches were filled and the spa staff told us that they limit people to 20 minutes (and then don't enforce it in the least). I don't know if we would spend this money again. One of our other complaints was that chairs on the pooldeck would not be monitored by crew for inactivity. A towel on the chair seemed to guarantee that the chair was yours the entire day no matter how little time you were in it. That certainly hampered our enjoyment of the pool deck as it was hard to get a chair until late afternoon. The entertainment on board ship was very good. We enjoyed the production shows especially Ghostlight, and the Cirque du Soleil type of show. Don't miss the presentations by Glenmore Trenear-Harvey who is an expert about international intelligence and spies. His presentations about Mossad, Russian intelligence, and the Liberty, were especially good. We missed his presentation on piracy and couldn't see to catch the rerun on the TV. Drats! Would have enjoyed it. Another astounding presentation is the Corning Museum Hot Glass Show in which talented artists create blown glass vases, urns, etc. Wow! We are Celebrity Select members and the perks given with this patronage level were very much appreciated. We went to a theater backstage tour, a wine tasting, and a welcome party. We missed the Celebration Event but heard that that was very nice too. The food in the dining room was quite good of course depending on the day and type of food. We frequently tire of 3 course, 2 hour meals or have schedule conflicts such that we go to the buffet or the pool hamburger place for some variety. The fries and burgers at the latter are outstanding. I thought the buffet was the best I've had aboard 6 different cruiselines. The food was appropriate in temperature and hadn't seemed to be sitting around forever under a heat lamp, there was a significant variety in the food, a very nice salad bar,the crew was accommodating, there was always a place to sit and enough dishes and silverware. A bonus was the ice cream available about 10 hours every day and served by one of the bubbliest people on earth, Andreea Rau. How anyone could scoop ice cream 10 hours a day and be so happy and delightful is a wonder! The connectivity to the internet was advertised as being problematic on this cruise because of maintenance issues. I just wish that they had charged 1/2 of the usual price because it took so long to get anything done on the internet and even a quick check of email was impossibly long. It was amazing to us to be sailing in this part of the world passing Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Dijibouti, and of course Jordan, the Sinai peninsula, and Egypt. At one point we actually saw Yemen on the port side and Somalia on starboard! Yes, there were piracy precautions once we entered the Gulf of Aden. For the last 6 nights we were not allowed to open our stateroom drapery when we had lights on in the cabin, some ship lights were turned off, and most significantly, we were not allowed on the open decks after sunset. This did cut down on the enjoyment of the pool deck and their dancing lighted water show and we would have liked to have sat out on the deck at night under the stars but so be it. We felt safe and weren't worried about pirates, just had to plan ahead a little more. By the way, speaking of enjoyment of the pool deck, we do wish that the Celebrity Solstice had movies under the stars like Princess. Celebrity offered movies but the seats were quite uncomfortable and there is something about being wrapped in a cozy blanket eating popcorn and watching the big screen under the stars. We took this cruise because of the ports and the Suez Canal transit and all of these completely met our expectations. We would have liked 2 days in Aqaba, Jordan so that we could travel both to Petra and Wadi Rum, and we could have given up the extra night stay in Safaga, Egypt. Most people stayed on board ship the second day in Safaga so this is wasted time. We contracted with Our Egypt Tours for private tours of Giza, Dashur and Sakkara (Alexandria port for Cairo); Alexandria city tour; and the Valley of the Kings and the temples of Hatsheput and Karnak (from Safaga, Egypt port). We were very pleased with the services we received from this company, from the booking process in which we negotiated about what we wanted to do and did not want to do, the prices (which are less expensive or competitive with the ship's), and the trained and professional Egyptologist guides that explained and instructed us as we travelled through Egypt. It was fascinating to hear about the "peaceful revolution" from the viewpoint of our guides, and yes, we were very fortunate to be in Egypt before hostilities heated up in Israel, and before Morsi proclaimed total power setting off a new wave of protests. Our excursions into Egypt were wonderful and we felt safe and well informed because of our excellent guides and drivers. In Aqaba we took the ship's excursion to Petra and it met our expectations although it had the usual hassle of dealing with a busload of people, some noncompliant with the time expectations stated by our guide of when we would meet to start the trip back to the ship. Oh well. Debarkation in Dubai was smooth and we hailed a taxi into the city for the next stage of our adventure. It was probably one of the best cruises we have been on and we are very happy we experienced the long days at sea and the exciting shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Sorry in advance, My English is not so good ( we are Germans) and the translation comes from Google. We are just back from our Cruise on the Celebrity Solstice from Barcelona to Dubai and we are Elite Members. Advance as a small ... Read More
Sorry in advance, My English is not so good ( we are Germans) and the translation comes from Google. We are just back from our Cruise on the Celebrity Solstice from Barcelona to Dubai and we are Elite Members. Advance as a small Info, we met a lot of old friends and crew members and have felt very comfortable on board. We had booked the Aqua Class and also the Blue Restaurant. The quality and presentation of the food were OK, but the Selection was disappointing.Specially wish for a Rib eye steak or Fillet Mignon were generally denied. Due to this unacceptable behavior, we moved into the main restaurant, which received more and flexible to the guests' wishes. But there were some things that not only ourselves but also others on board very disturbed The Port in Safaga is for a 5 star ship a real impertinence. No Infrastructure, no shuttle bus to the port gate, Dirty, filthy. It was a shame. There really Other alternatives. But the worst thing what did were annoyed us were the last 6 days of the Cruise. The ship was from sunset to sunrise darkened, all open decks 5,12,14 and 15th are closed and darkened The balconies were eclipsed and it was forbidden to use the balcony. Because of alleged attacks by pirates. (My wife wanted to see "Jack Sparrow" but absolutely nothing. The Sports Center the Hairdresser all lit up, the the same when they cleaning the Aqua or Blue the Restaurant brightly illuminated.The Pollbar remained open and enlightened because of the protests of the smoker but the pools were not allowed to be used. That was all quite ridiculous We were cruising also in January 2012 with the Brilliance of the Seas from Dubai to Oman, there was partying and no blackout. What is Eritrea or Oman to do with pirates. Absolutely Nothing. We are sailing only for one Day in the Gulf of Aden near the Coast of Somalia and by the Way very slow, only 15 Knots. This Safe Petrol for the Company. Understandable from an economic view, who can not use the Balcony or the Pools or the other open Decks for a walk around the Ship drink more at the bars, and allowing more money on board. And that makes me very angry, if one is fooled so obvious. It was totally exaggerated but I can still understand, " Safety first" But, ..... Why were we are not informed about these restrictions, as we had not booked the expensive Aqua Class but an inside cabin or we would not have booked the whole ride. However, anyone who thinks that there is a small compensation ( A Sorry Cocktail ) or even one, looks disappointed. Nothing I'm curious how the shipping company responds to the many disappointed comments. I can think of right now on until I write these sentences .... we got no Comment Card to fill .... funny. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
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
This was our first Oceania trip, after having sailed with Carnival, NCL and Azamara before. We chose this cruise mostly due to the itinerary, and after checking Oceania's reputation we expected Oceania to be similar to Azamara, which ... Read More
This was our first Oceania trip, after having sailed with Carnival, NCL and Azamara before. We chose this cruise mostly due to the itinerary, and after checking Oceania's reputation we expected Oceania to be similar to Azamara, which we had liked a lot. Oceania delivered in most cases, failed in others. Check-in and embarkation: We showed up relatively late for check-in (4 pm), later than most other passengers, so check-in and embarkation were a breeze. Riviera was the only ship in port in Barcelona that day, and we were the only passengers checking in at that time, so we got all the personal attention and expedited service we could ask for. A porter met us at the car to take our luggage, we breezed through security, and check-in was fast and simple. The ship: From the outside, the shipped looked a lot larger than we expected. We thought this might be a problem for getting into some smaller ports, but fortunately there would not be any small ports on our itinerary. Well, maybe Ibiza. I think if the ship was smaller it might have been able to dock at the old port in Ibiza, which is downtown, instead of at the new port which is out in the middle of industrial construction mayhem. Once inside, the ship felt just the right size. Not too long to walk from anywhere to anywhere on the ship. Elevators were plentiful and always worked well. We really liked the common area decoration, especially the very tasteful art collection throughout the ship. Very nice. Space in common areas was always available. We always found pool chairs available, or tables in Terrace Cafe or Waves Grill, or sitting at the piano bar, computers in the computer room, anything common was no problem. The ship was full but did not feel crowded. One very bad thing about this ship: it rocks a lot. Way more motion on this ship than any of our previous cruises, and other passengers we talked to felt the same way. The sea was not to blame, as we always sailed in calm Mediterranean waters. I am pretty sure there is something wrong with the stabilization on this ship. Our cabin: We were in a veranda class cabin on deck 8, non-concierge. The cabin was well appointed and everything worked. Bedding was very comfortable. Cabin included a king bed, two night stands, desk with drawers and a chair, both US and Euro electrical outlets (both 110 and 220 volts), LCD TV (non-interactive), sofa for 2, coffee table, safe, mini fridge, closet with about 1.2 meters of hanging space, and about 10 drawers if you count closet, nightstands and desk. Room amenities included slippers, bath robes, hair dryer, drinks in fridge (alcoholic $, non-alcoholic free). There were not enough hangers in the closet, but our cabin attendant got us extras by the second day. The bathroom was large but a lot of the room was taken up by the bathtub, which we never really used for bathing (we used it to hang swimsuits, wash shoes, and such). Perhaps a more clever layout with a generous shower stall and more overall room would work out better. Toiletries were okay, towels were very good. Veranda was large, with two chairs and a small table. Table in veranda was a bit too small for meals. I like to take meals from room service in the balcony, and the table is just a bit too small for that. Small even for one person's meal, and impossibly small for two. On Azamara's smaller ships the table was much larger, allowing for meals on the balcony. Not so on Oceania. Perhaps this is their way of getting people to upgrade to penthouse level, or to dine in the restaurants. TV channels selection was small. That is normally not a problem because we don't watch much TV during a cruise. But this was Olympics time. There was a total lack of Olympics coverage, except for news clips in news channels. Apparently people complained, and by day 3 of the Olympics they proudly announced they had gotten Olympics coverage, but alas it would be in German. This is not Aida, this is Oceania, you cater to an English language population and the Olympics had been scheduled a long time ago. Oceania should have anticipated this and arranged for TV coverage. Also, TV had no interactive features as I have seen on other ships, lacking features such as checking your bill, or making excursion or restaurant reservations. I would expect these features to be standard on a modern ship, as I have seen it on older ships. Dining: There was much anticipation for the very highest quality food and dining experience. In that respect, Oceania did disappoint a bit. Don't get me wrong, the food and service were very good. But occasionally the food would be bland, as you would get in any other cruise line or mainstream restaurant, and not superb to live up to the expectations that Oceania sets. We had no trouble eating where we wanted. We had booked our four specialty restaurants for early in the cruise. After experiencing all specialty restaurants we decided two more times to dine at Red Ginger and one more time at Polo Grill. We were always able to get both Red Ginger and Polo reservations for the dates we wanted, on short notice. Never a problem there. Other passengers we met complained of difficulty getting reservations, but that was not our experience at all. We did have some trouble eating when we wanted. There is a gap in food service from 4-6:30 when it is very hard to get any food whatsoever (well, you can get tea from 4-5) because everything is closed. I had never been on a ship where it was just about impossible to get any food at the typical times of returning from shore. If you arrive on board at 4:30 you have to rush to shower and dress for tea before they close at 5. If you arrive at 4:45-6, forget it, there is no food anywhere, as you do not have time to dress for tea and everything else is closed. Similarly after 9:30 pm. No food anywhere, except room service. Longer hours for Waves Grill would solve some of this. Best dining experiences: Red Ginger and the Tea hour, both excelling in food quality, presentation and service. Staff: Staff were generally very well trained and very proficient at what they were supposed to do. This was amazing, considering it's such a new ship, where one would expect a learning curve. But it seems they have topped the learning curve already and are functioning very well. Our cabin attendants, all wait staff, reception, excursions, everyone seemed to be working very well. Having said that, I believe they are working very well as trained, but there are some weaknesses. First and foremost, I think they are trained to do their job well, not necessarily to please the customer. If what the guest needs is something they were trained to do, they will do it exceptionally well. If it falls even a little bit outside their duties, they fail. I'll give some examples. When ordering from Waves Grill, the order taker writes down your order and table number, for a waiter to later deliver the food. "What 's your table number, sir?" "I don't know, but it's that table over there in the far back by the window." "I don't know which one you refer to sir, do you know the number?" "No, I'm afraid I don't". At this point he should just go there or have someone go there to get the number, if he really needs it. Instead, he asks the customer to go there (all the way to the far back) and come back with the table number. Other example: "Where can I find band-aids?" "I don't know sir, perhaps the boutique or the medical center, but I'm not sure". We had asked this very same question on Azamara, where the answer was "How many do you need?" and they were soon brought up on a silver tray. These are just some of the many examples. It seems that Oceania trains its crew very well to do their jobs exceptionally well, but gives them no training or flexibility to think outside the box to please the customer when a request falls outside the normal duties. Another area of weakness is the English language skills. Many crew members seem to have only the minimal English language skills to do their job and no more. One time I called for room service, ordering tea among other items. When asked what tea I wanted, he could not understand, probably because my requested tea was not on his menu. Another day, we asked our cabin attendant if he had, or where could we get, toothpaste. The work "toothpaste" was not in his vocabulary, probably because the item is not in his cart so he doesn't need to know. No amount of gesturing and explaining got him to understand what toothpaste was. He eventually said "sorry sir, we do not have on this ship". I am sure he never understood what I really wanted. BTW, the boutique does sell toothpaste. Similar language problems with wait staff, even in specialty restaurants, when making any special meal request. Overall worst English skills of any crew on any of our cruises. No language problems at all at reception, so I learned to go to reception for any requests out of the ordinary. And finally, a word about the officers. I am sure we had officers, but I never saw any. They place themselves in a different class and never interact with passengers. When you see one on the ship, you're never sure if it's a real officer or a robot in an officer uniform. They don't speak to passengers, they don't greet, they don't smile. I didn't even see the captain at all, not even at the "captain's reception". The captain announcements on the days at sea were at exactly 12 noon every day (you could set your watch), and with exactly the same sentence structure every day, only changing the variables of the current temperature, etc. Something like this: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. We are currently sailing in the ______ sea, at latitude __ degrees __ minutes north, longitude __ degrees __ minutes east. We are maintaining a course of __ degrees at a speed of __ point __ knots. The air temperature is __ degrees and the sea temperature is __ degrees. Have a nice day." An automaton would do just as a good a job. Entertainment: I did not expect much from the entertainment, and with those low expectations the entertainment actually turned out pretty good. There was a different show nightly in the Riviera lounge at 9:30, and the few we attended were quite entertaining. The shows were not amazing Broadway productions, but entertaining shows put on by very versatile and dedicated performers. My favorite was Mio the magician, he was absolutely amazing. A special mention also to the string quartet, who delighted us in the lounges and at tea time. Excellent string quartet from Poland. Excursions: Oceania's excursions were very expensive, and so we only took one and did every other port independently. Yet, credit should go to the excursions desk, for they provide good information for passengers wanting to go ashore independently. They are aptly named "Destination Services". Their talks describing the excursions (available on TV in your room) were actually informative, always starting with local orientation and basics, helping people go independently, rather than withholding information to get people to fear independent travel and sign up for ship excursions. Big kudos for this. The only ship excursion we took was out of Port Said, to visit the Pyramids in Giza, Memphis and Saqqara. Typical excursion by bus with tour guide. The bus was only about 2/3 full, making the ride more comfortable. And again I give credit to Oceania for this. They had dozens of buses going, and could have chosen to run fewer buses, filling every bus and cramming every seat. They chose to have the buses only partially full, making for a more comfortable ride and smaller groups per tour guide. The excursion was, well, a large group excursion, with stop times and limited time for each site. If you got done early with any site you would have to wait for others, if you wanted to stay longer you couldn't. But that comes with any group tour. What was disappointing about the tour was a visit to a local bazaar, presumably so that the tour guide or Oceania could get commission from sales. This visit was not in the tour description when we bought it, and they actually allowed us more time at the bazaar than at the Pyramids or any other site. I resent them using my time for their shameless profit attempt. If I really wanted to go shopping I would have signed up for a shopping tour. Instead, I had my time at the pyramids shortened so they could profit from my shopping at the bazaar. Wrong move. Port shuttles: Port shuttles were provided, free, wherever the docking location was not within easy walking distance of the city center. This was well organized and worked well at every port where it was needed and offered, except in Ibiza where the bus lines were horribly long (not enough buses?). But overall, good job with port shuttles. Laundry: We used the self-service laundry once. Ship has one laundry room per floor. Each laundry room has three washers, three dryers, two ironing boards, a couch, refrigerator with free drinks and TV. Washer/dryer sizes were quite large. Detergent is free, but did no seem to be good because it did not wash my clothes all that well. Each load of washer/dryer needs a token, available from reception for $2. This is a nuisance, having to go to reception for tokens. Can't they make it free, or allow the machines to work with a card swipe? Internet: I did not use their internet, but noted that is cost $0.95/minute, or $27.99 for 24 hours, or $21.99/day for the entire cruise. There was WiFi with strong signal in my room. But like I said, I never used their internet service, so can't comment on the quality of the service. Billing: On board charges were promptly placed on our account, but the only way to check the account was to get a statement from reception. They erroneously charged me $98 for Turkish visas, when I had already provided my own Turkish visas. They charged for a service they did not even provide. In order to reverse the charge, they made me take the passports down to reception, where they determined that indeed they had not obtained those visas. Still, they would not reverse the charge until they made sure that my visas were valid. I told them in no uncertain terms that the visas were valid, and if there was a problem I would deal with the Turkish authorities myself, and in any case since they had not gotten the visas they should just reverse the charge. Still, they refused to reverse the charge and return the passports to me. We were at sea, where they are the law, so I had to comply. About 30 minutes before docking they called, finally apologizing and agreeing to return the passports and reverse the charge. What was missing: A lot was missing from what other cruise lines offer, and in my opinion that was a good thing. There are no formal nights, it's all country club casual all the time. There were no screaming kids. There were no chair hogs at the pool. There were no lines anywhere (except the Ibiza shuttle). There was no photographer (yeay!). There were no art sales. There was no pressure to buy anything else during the cruise (no spa specials, no pushing drinks poolside, nothing like that). No rude passengers. Just an all around classy environment. Very good job, keep up the good environment and keep the annoyances away. In summary: Oceania delivered a quality product, and value for the money. But they put too much emphasis on delivering their product and too little attention and flexibility to meet customer needs. When I buy a cruise I don't just buy a cruise, I buy it as a place to have my vacation. On vacation I expect to let go of rules (within reason), not have to comply to someone else's strict rules. Oceania makes me comply to their rules a bit too much. I wish they made a stronger effort to accommodate my individual wishes rather than make me fit their mold. Bottom line: would I sail with Oceania again? Yes, absolutely, if the itinerary was right. But if other cruise lines were offering similar itinerary for similar value propositions, would I choose Oceania? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarkation and disembarkation procedures are rigidly adhered to at the start and end of the trip and are handled well. Though we arrived earlier than suggested, the ship's crew accommodated all arrivals well. The best thing is ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation procedures are rigidly adhered to at the start and end of the trip and are handled well. Though we arrived earlier than suggested, the ship's crew accommodated all arrivals well. The best thing is that the ship's decor is most impressive. The restaurant facilities and food do not disappoint, though Oceania's food offering is not overly more or less than what is provided on any other good shipping line. The speciality restaurants, as an inclusion in the cruise price are definitely perceived as an advantage as the choice available is interesting and most comprehensive. Not a bad drop was discovered on the wine list and the Wine Package was generous. Cabins do not feel cramped and are well arranged. Being such a new vessel, I was surprised that the stateroom TV sets were not interactive. A person had to visit the Destination Services desk or Reception to book a tour or check one's account at any stage. Having a web site that is so interactive, allowing pre-booking of excursions etc, it would have been nice had the level of technology been extended as a facility to the staterooms. We resided in a B4 non-concierge veranda stateroom. On Oceania, at this level, service is definitely not akin to some other companies offerings. Friends we travelled with, were in a Penthouse and had a butler and therefore had a level of service that was commensurate with that level of accommodation. On other cruises lines, either at Suite level, Concierge level or simple Veranda Stateroom, we have enjoyed a more comprehensive level of personal service throughout all levels without a noticeable fall off in service provision. With Oceania we did not find this to be the case. To me it seemed that if you did not take the level of Concierge or above, the service offered by stateroom stewards was noticeably less and delayed. We have not found this on either Celebrity, nor Princess. Norwegian or Costa Cruises also. Service on these lines was excellent at whichever level we chose to participate in at the time. It was a surprise that with Oceania, at Veranda Stateroom level, follow up was lacking in attention to detail. All crew and staff on board were warm, friendly individuals. they also seemed happy to be working with/for Oceania as an employer. Two problems arose for us during our time on board. Our room stewards constantly failed to replenish the 'price inclusive drinks' in our mini bar fridge. Often they had to be reminded. We had a daily shortage of what we requested and a fridge full of ginger ale. The same situation occurred daily. It did not change. In addition, used towelling face cloths were removed but not replaced. Constantly I had to go on the hunt for replacement face cloths for our cabin. The excursions on Oceania ships seem to be more expensive than other lines we have travelled with. During the early phases of the voyage, assembly and dispersal of excursion participants was handled very badly, but this did improve with time and subsequent organisation of disembarkation for excursion participants was running quite well towards the end and for final disembarkation. The standard of entertainment on board was from Fair to very good. The air-conditioning in the public areas was often fierce. Any negatives mentioned here have not deterred us from making further bookings with Oceania, though we would not use them solely for our cruise holiday requirements as many seem to do. The ship itself when docking at ports, seemed to make very loud and groaning mechanical noises. The ship was fine but it did not sound normal. It is very nice to have most beverages included in the price of the cruise, unlike many other cruise lines. The Barista facility is a nice experience and not having to worry about acquiring a supply of drinking water each day is an asset to one's peace of mind. The $49.95 per cruise day alcoholic beverage package was a good offering. Being partial to a glass of champagne, the offering was Perrier Jouet NV, the wines, beers and spirits listed for consumption within the package were all very good, through to excellent in style, choice and quality. The Country Club Casual approach is very comforting. There are no 'gala' nights during the various sailings, which a lot of people seemed to like. Many did dress more elaborately but it was not necessary if so desired. The beds, pillows and quality of the linens used and towelling in the bathrooms were fabulous. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I was not certain as to whether or not I should do a review of our 21 night cruise from Barcelona to Dubai on the Voyager. The sailing was excellent -- it is just a matter of too much information to fit into a review properly. Obviously, ... Read More
I was not certain as to whether or not I should do a review of our 21 night cruise from Barcelona to Dubai on the Voyager. The sailing was excellent -- it is just a matter of too much information to fit into a review properly. Obviously, I've decided to give it a try. Vancouver to Barcelona: We deviated the flights to insure that we were booked on the exact flights we wanted. The pre-cruise hotel choices were not to our liking in terms of area so we took the credit and booked our own hotel (Duquesa de Cardona -- a delightful boutique hotel near the waterfront for 140 Euros including breakfast). Flying Lufthansa is great on one hand and not so great on the other. The food and service are excellent. The Business Class seats move into many configurations -- none of them comfortable or flat. The cabin was also kept too warm. Frankfurt airport presented typical challenges. You arrive at one terminal and must go through Passport Control and x-ray in order to take the long walk to the terminal you will depart from. The Business Class lounge is adequate but always crowded. Upon arrival in Barcelona, we took a taxi to the hotel (31 Euros -- you pay extra for each piece of luggage). Many restaurants are closed on Sunday nights. Tourist restaurants remain open. We have been to Barcelona before and decided to go to an Irish Pub (Dunne's) for some bangers and mash (aka sausages and mashed potatoes) and beer. It was a lovely restaurant -- walking distance to the hotel. The included breakfast the next morning was fresh and delicious. After breakfast, we took a stroll down Las Rambla and visited the Boqueria Market (such an interesting place to visit). We were quite pleased with our short visit to Barcelona and headed to the ship close to noon. Embarkation: Embarkation was quick and easy and began promptly at noon. Being served "real" champagne was nice after years of sparkling wine. Within a few minutes we were up in La Veranda ordering wine with our lunch. Suites were ready on time and soon we were drinking more champagne in the suite and unpacking. Condition of the Ship: The Voyager was refurbished in September, 2011 and looked like new. All carpeting and wallpaper was removed and replaced -- wood floors redone, etc. There is a video of the refurbishment on television. My only comment concerns the carpeting. I am guessing that extra carpeting was purchased when the three ships were refurbished 2-3 years ago. Either that or they purchased the same carpet. IMO, the selected carpets work in all areas except hallways and the atrium. The carpet was already looking stained in these areas -- in only two months. It is particularly noticeable prior to entering the Observation Lounge on deck 11. Hopefully, the powers that be will select a carpet for these areas that does not show spilled drinks/stains quite as much. The highly touted beds are not that great. My DH asked our Steward (lovely man) to set up twin beds because he could not sleep on the double padded memory foam. His comment was that the only memory it had was from the last people that slept on it. He had his mattress turned upside down which worked better. Service: The service we received for the three weeks we were on the Voyager was nothing short of extraordinary. Starting with the wonderful Captain and General Manager, everyone on board did a wonderful job. Our Cruise Director, Paul Reynolds, endears himself to everyone he meets. Chris Martin, Asst. Cruise Director, is constantly at hand with a smile on his face and endless energy. We hope that he will have gained the title of Cruise Director when we see him again. I do not believe I have ever commented on a Cruise Consultant. Michael Coleman is by far the best Cruise Consultant we have met. The last week there was a booking frenzy on board due to generous onboard incentives. Michael handled the enormous amount of bookings -- met with the passengers and kept his smile and sense of humor the entire time. We saw him at his computer working at 11:00 p.m. On top of all that, he loves his job! Our Butler, Raju is amazing. He sought us out to make certain that everything we needed was being taken care of. He made suggestions for special orders (like the fabulous mushroom soup) and insured that we had them at dinner. He is a top notch Butler and a great human being. Our Steward, Putu was also quite amazing. Our suite was kept perfectly all of the time. We never had to wait for our suite to be cleaned. He knew when we went to breakfast and insured it was done before we returned. Dining Venues La Veranda was the biggest surprise for us. The food was improved (especially loved the salmon in a puffed pastry with butter sauce . . . . no calories of course?) The service was usually slow or absent on our prior cruises. On this cruise the service was consistent and excellent. Abigail, one of the managers in La Veranda has been in La Veranda for quite some time and insures that everything is handled promptly and efficiently. An up and coming "star" in La Veranda is "Mi Made". She remembered our names from the beginning and always greeted us with a smile. Some of the servers and wine stewards work both LV and CR. We received amazing service from Laksman and Andy (our drinks appeared at our table almost before we did), Wilson and Jackson as well as many more. Each and every person working in La Veranda was a pleasure to be around. Bravo La Veranda! We generally receive good service and food in Compass Rose. One reason for is that we intentionally dine early -- before the crowds (plus, it leaves more time for after dinner drinks in the lounge). The first time we entered Compass Rose we were pleasantly surprised to see Head Waiters Francisco and Joey. We have cruised with them both before and they are delightful. Next we discovered "Zaldy" -- the perfect waiter (he also gives good hugs). Emmanuel and Andrew made sure we had our favorite wine at our table each night. I need to make a special note at this point because there have been discussions on CruiseCritic as to whether or not you need to find a server and sit mostly in their section. You absolutely can find excellent service anywhere in Compass Rose. However, for us, when we get to know the crew working in a certain area of the restaurant, it enriches our experience. I asked Zaldy about this and he also enjoys seeing the same people as it gives him a chance to anticipate their needs since he served them previously. While nothing can ever be perfect, the food in Compass Rose was right on target most of the time. We enjoyed many excellent meals there. Signatures is a restaurant we want to like. I have come to the conclusion that we do not like French food. We dined at Signatures on the first night of the "new" menu. The foie gras was undercooked (for me) and the accompanying chutney did not compliment the foie gras. Half of the halibut was tasty-- the other half undercooked. This was due to the way it was cut (much thicker on one side than the other). We did enjoy one item very much -- the tomato soup! Prime 7, IMO, needs consistency. We have had the best and worst crab legs at Prime 7. This time I wonder if the crab was held over from the last cruise. For the first time we asked for the crab to be taken out of the shell. Both of our plates had small bits and pieces of crab -- not very flavorful. Overall we find the food on Regent to be good to excellent. The Dining Room Manager Chimmy was everywhere at the same time (or so it seemed). He wants perfection and I believe it is being achieved most of the time. We spend our evening time in the Observation Lounge. The Head Bartender, Joe (Jose?) has been with Regent from the beginning and can make just about any drink you can think of. He must be one of the top bartenders in the world. He knows the science of alcohol -- not just how to pour a drink. He teaches others in his area with patience and caring. He was a joy to talk with -- learning about his background with Regent as well as his very well rounded life. Excursions -- this is a huge topic and heavily debated on the boards. I have been quite outspoken about not wanting included excursions and have been unhappy with the "cattle call" atmosphere we had on a previous cruise with hallways filled with guests trying to get off of the ship. On this cruise, I would say that there is a 90% improvement. It was organized with shorter lines (or no line) to get off of the ship. We did not tender at any port so this should be considered. There is still a little confusion when people try to leave the theater -- they walk out of the entrance and exit -- even though they are clearly marked. Still -- much improved. Due to confusion at the head office, the Destination Services desk was overwhelmed with guests immediately upon embarkation. We understood that changing the port of Ashdod was a big deal. In my opinion, it would have been far better to give no information than to consistently give incorrect information on the telephone. This clearly was not the fault of the Customer Service Representatives as many times they checked with their supervisors. After questioning the conflicting answers on the telephone, they began telling everyone to go to Destination Services when they get on board. This caused very long lines for the first two or three days. Ports Valletta, Malta -- is a gorgeous port to sail into -- especially on a beautiful, sunny day. We took the "Scenic Sights of Malta" excursion -- a 4 hour tour. The excursion was well done and quite enjoyable. Rhodes, Greece -- also a beautiful port to sail into. In Rhodes we did the "Culinary Delights" excursion as we had been to this port previously. It included a city tour and a cooking demonstration with lunch (included excursion). The food was to die for -- definitely would rate this a "10"! Limassol, Cyprus -- We decided to stay local and not do an excursion at this port. We may have taken a shuttle into town. Haifa, Israel -- We docked in Haifa for three days due to the cancellation of the port of Ashdod. Docking in Haifa added a minimum of two hours each way to our excursion driving time. We did the following included excursions: Day One -- We took an excursion to a Kibbutz that resides in an area that was formerly Syria (Syria is now 2 miles away -- visible from where we were). Bunkers remain from when Syria occupied the area. The kibbutz is lovely -- we learned about life on a Kibbutz (which is non-denominational) -- much too detailed to go into. There are air-raid shelters throughout the Kibbutz -- not an easy way to live. Day Two -- We took an 8 hour Jerusalem tour that ended at the David Citadel Hotel where Regent provided an overnight stay. Dinner was on our own and we found a delightful café across the street where we dined with three CC members. Day Three -- The return bus back to the ship left at 10:30 a.m. We had a good buffet breakfast at the hotel. There were so many Regent guests staying at this hotel (I believe they had 200 rooms) that a large ballroom type facility was set up for breakfast. After transiting the Suez Canal we continued on to Safaga, Egypt where the majority of guests took the 3 ½ hour bus ride to Luxor where there was another included night at a hotel. Having visited Luxor previously, we decided to take the Jeep Safari to a Bedouin camp for tea and unleavened bread. The ½ hour ride into the desert (quite bumpy) was lovely. We were glad that the jeeps were enclosed so the sand stayed outside. On the second day we took the shuttle into town and returned to the ship immediately as there is nothing to see or do in town. We enjoyed a nice restful day and were aware that we had a big day ahead of us in Petra, Jordan the next day. Aqaba, Jordan -- Much has been written about Petra -- a stunning area to see and worth the time to go there (note: this tour was $139/person). There is a tremendous amount of walking unless you wish to take the carriage ride ($35) which goes so quickly that you cannot really enjoy the scenery. There are also horses. . . . and, for the last portion of the journey, camels are available. My "walking partner" and I -- both suffering from knee injuries that are in the process of healing, took it slowly and managed to walk all but the last section. At that point, knowing that we had to do the same walk back -- only uphill -- decided against going down the steep hill that takes you to the amphitheater. My DH took pictures for me. We shopped in Aqaba during the second day in port as we cancelled our 2nd excursion -- to Wadi Rum. Although probably more scenic than our similar excursion in Egypt, Wadi Rum goes into the desert in an open jeep to a Bedouin camp. People did get cold and sand was blowing. Finally we had our anticipated four sea days. There were wonderful (even though we spent half of it transiting the Gulf of Aden.) There were plenty of events onboard and there also had a Country Fair in the atrium of decks 4 and 5 (probably because having this event on an open deck in the area we were traveling in was not a good idea). Our next port was Salalah, Oman -- a lovely port with beautiful white sand beaches. We did the "Scenic Salalah" excursion that took us around the city. We could only view the beautiful mosque from the outside as it was Friday. Fortunately, it was not Friday when we reached Muscat, Oman as they have the most incredible mosque we have seen in our travels. Women had to dress in a way that their arms were covered (beyond their wrist), and they legs were covered below the ankle. We were checked prior to entering the mosque. In anticipation of this day, I purchased an abaya (traditional "dress" worn by Muslim women) and had a scarf around my head covering my hair. IMO, the beauty of this mosque exceeds that of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Oman is very different than the other countries in the Middle East as it has water and therefore, rather than all desert, there were palm trees, gardens, lawns -- a lot of natural beauty. I found Jordan to be the most surprising country -- very advanced -- growing -- progressive (they education female children before males if money is an issue) and the people feel kindly towards "Westerners". Egypt was sad -- it was no longer the thriving country we visited in 1989 as it is torn by unrest. Passengers that went to Luxor shared stories of very aggressive beggars and dirty conditions around the ruins. Israel opened my eyes to many things. I will be pondering what I learned there for a long time. I leave Dubai for last. It is glitz and glamour amongst "secrets". Dubai is not as it appears. . . . I'll leave it at that. Regent provided different accommodations for their passengers -- depending upon their departure time. We were on our own and stayed at the Airport Millenium Hotel which was very nice and a good price. We dined at the "Blue Elephant" which I highly recommend. It isn't in a high rise hotel with beautiful views (actually, the visibility in Dubai isn't very good), but is a beautiful restaurant with rich woods and a koi pond. Conclusion (finally) -- This was a magnificent cruise! From the service to the food and even the excursions (which I must admit were quite good) -- everything was at or near perfection. We cannot wait to be back on the Voyager in four months and have also booked 3 new cruises through May, 2013! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We embarked from Barcelona without incident and were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the dock. Unusual to us was that cabins were not ready when we boarded the ship so we were left to wait in the halls for them to open up the ... Read More
We embarked from Barcelona without incident and were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the dock. Unusual to us was that cabins were not ready when we boarded the ship so we were left to wait in the halls for them to open up the cabins. I had never experienced this on any other cruise line. It was 2 pm before cabins were ready. Maybe RCCL needs to investigate how Princess and many other lines get cabins ready by noon on all their ships. We arrived in our aft Grand Suite to find broken drawers, a broken closet door, stained carpet among many worn and stained places in the suite. The space of the suite was wonderful as well as the balcony. We thoroughly enjoyed transiting through the Suez Canal with this aft view and oversized balcony. Our bathroom was really beautiful and spacious except for the stained, old worn out towels and lack of a bath rug. We used a small chintz towel when we exited out of the bath tub for the entire cruise. We found a complimentary bottle of water and fruit basket in our suite and everything else was available for a charge. We received a letter in our suite outlining all the things we were to get because we were in a suite. Most of the things listed were insignificant. We had a DVD player that we reported several times as not working, they would come and look a it and tell us nothing was wrong with it. That was not true as all the DVDs we brought and all the ones we checked out of the ships DVD library continually stopped and would not work. Room service food was excellent. It always took 30 to 40 minutes even for ice tea and water only. It is too bad the dining room food was not as good as the room service food. We asked about what night we would be having lobster during our 18 night cruise and was told by the head waiter that Europeans did not eat lobster and since we cruised out of Europe we would not be having lobster at all. We have cruised many many times in and out of Europe and every cruise line served lobster at least once during the cruise. I really could not believe what he said about Europeans because our friends that were born and raised in Europe eat lobster so obviously RCCL corporate has told their employees this lie and they are telling it to passengers. Unbelievable! We looked at the schedule and discovered there would only be three production shows during the 18 night cruise. The first production show was horrible. The next two production shows were better but more like a regular show on Princess or Celebrity. The musical entertainment was usually good during the entire cruise. The music in the atrium was good but they played the same songs many times each night. The atrium was beautiful and was a great place to sit on any deck and hear the music each night. The elevators were great as they faced the ocean, they were just slow to arrive to the deck and then you had to run to catch one before it left once it arrived. Being in a suite gave us access to the Concierge Club. We were able to get complimentary drinks from 5 to 8:30 pm each night. Doc who served us drinks each night was wonderful. The club is very small and the entire cruise we sat in the beautiful Yacht Club just outside as a very loud woman was in there every night and talked the entire time about how wonderful she was. We enjoyed having our drinks each night before dinner and some times after dinner there as well. We found the ship to be in continual cleaning and repairing. This is an older ship but we found the public areas mostly in good repair. It is the cabins that need a complete overhaul. We did not participate in very many ship activities but the ones we did we found the Cruise Director Paul to be wonderful and very upbeat. The Concierge Edson was nice but we found that asking him for anything to be done was like talking to the wall. Everything we asked of him in regard to problems etc were never addressed and he never got back to us as well as when I ask him to send strawberries to my parents cabin and charge my room. It never happened and that was the only thing I ask him to do the entire cruise. There was a couple in one of the grand suites that were mad about something and became very vocal and we heard physical with the Captain. This resulted in their being held captive in their suite for five days and put off the ship in Oman. From what we heard the Captain did the right thing as they were violent and a possible danger to other passengers. We really enjoyed the Captain and thought he sense of humor was great as well as his personalty. We met the Captain at a cocktail party for passengers in the suites. He was very personable and had a great way with the passengers as well as his crew. The crew seemed to love the Captain and respect him. Overall, we will NOT cruise RCCL cruise line again as we found it to remind us of Carnival cruise line which we cruised in the 1980s when we were in college. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The on board experience was wonderful. It was definitely worth getting a room with a balcony for this trans canal cruise. The rooms are serviced regularly. The ship was clean, well cared for with little deferred maintenance. The staff is ... Read More
The on board experience was wonderful. It was definitely worth getting a room with a balcony for this trans canal cruise. The rooms are serviced regularly. The ship was clean, well cared for with little deferred maintenance. The staff is fabulous and very attentive. Formal Dining room (Minstrel) was very good and my advice would be to have both lunch and breakfast there rather than the Windjammer (too frenetic) where everyone shovels food, there are no tables and is generally tacky. The Spa and Gym area were well managed and well worth visiting, although over priced. The bars and drinks are pricey. Pre-purchased Wine Packages are not the best deal but all that is available. Buy the cheapest as they duplicate ALL the wines on the pricier packages. If you buy the pricier package and order wines on the least expensive package you've totally wasted your money so beware. Finally, my chief complaint was the excursions. The excursions were terrible! I've cruised enough to know to avoid the ships tours mainly because of the price but also because of the whole group herding issue. However, at some destinations it is just not feasible to go on your own. So it was on this cruise (11/3/11 Trans Canal (Suez) Brilliance of the Sea) in both Rome and Eliat that I chose a ship's tour. In all the other ports I had arranged private tours or just did them on my own. Although for the most part the ships tours I have taken have ranged from very good to just OK, I was surprised when these two tours turned into disasters, particularly the one in Eliat enroute to Masada and the Dead Sea. Let's take each trip one at a time: Rome: I took the "Rome on your Own" trip (basically just transportation). Our guide sold us tickets to the Vatican enroute. Because the weather looked marginal, like it was going to rain any minute, I bought the tickets just in case we had a downpour. What a mistake. Not only did this guy make us wait for a half hour in front of the Vatican due to "timing issues" but it took another half hour to actually get the tickets. When you have one day in a city, having some inept guide burn your precious time there is really unacceptable. If I had known this was going to happen, I never would have signed up for these tickets. Masada and the Dead Sea: I took this tour at the Eliat port because it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to visit both of these sites. Again, what a mistake. When we got out of the ship we were held at the port for over an hour while two Israeli's grilled over a thousand people. Once we were on the 7 buses going to our destination, our guide (an older sort of inept gentleman) went on and on - on a microphone that was way too loud. As the buses raced to be first to our destination, they ALL stopped at the same rest stop at the same time. The stop had two women's bathrooms, had a line a mile long and stunk to high heaven. Again, we had to spend way to long at this stop which again ate into our time. At this point we were almost two hours late. Once we were at the destination, the guide again took way too long to get tickets; we had to wait in a huge line before we were crammed on a gondola going up to Masada. The guide then continued to dawdle through the tour eating up time that could have been spent at the Dead Sea. Long story short, a tour that was supposed to include Masada, a lovely lunch and a dip in the Red Sea turned into being the above nightmare. We ended up being rushed through the Dead Sea, were only able to spend 15 minutes there as the sun was setting and another 15 minutes wolfing down lunch at 4:30 in the afternoon. No one had eaten this entire time!!!!!!!!!! It could have been handled much differently (trading off destinations - taking 3 buses to Masada, 4 buses to the Dead Sea and then switching) and organizing rest stops at places that can accommodate the group. So the moral to the story again. If I had known how many buses were going, I never would have gone!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We recently returned from an 18 night cruise from Barcelona to Dubai. We chose the cruise primarily because of the itinerary. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, and found it below the quality of lines such as Celebrity. In ... Read More
We recently returned from an 18 night cruise from Barcelona to Dubai. We chose the cruise primarily because of the itinerary. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, and found it below the quality of lines such as Celebrity. In addition, I had read several negative reviews just prior to cruising, so we had some trepidation as to what our experience would be. We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of everything on the cruise, and the obvious effort all staff are making to ensure a pleasurable cruise. Because we booked fairly late, we were only able to secure an outside cabin (no balcony). However, it was well designed, with adequate storage space for the three of us (our daughter accompanied us). We checked in early, were able to obtain our seapass with no wait, and returned to sightsee in Barcelona until just before sail time. We found we had made it off the wait list and were able to enjoy "my time dining". The transit through the Suez canal was a highlight, and we enjoyed the captain's commentary. The captain was one of the best we've ever had. He was able to strike the fine balance between the superegos we've sometimes encountered and those who feel they have to moonlight as the main comedian. The overnight stop at Petra allowed us to book an independent tour to Wadi Rum and Petra, with an overnight at the Movenpick hotel there, so we were able to enjoy "Petra by night" as well as being able to see much of Petra the next day before the tour buses arrived. The food was better than I expected. Drinks were reasonable. There was a nice range of daily activities. The shows were hit and miss, but since our nightly cost was less than tickets to a Broadway show, who could complain? We would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
It's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a cruise on this beautiful ship. Well maintained, easy to get around, cabins with good storage space - this ship will not disappoint. Our sailing, from Barcelona to Dubai, had several ... Read More
It's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a cruise on this beautiful ship. Well maintained, easy to get around, cabins with good storage space - this ship will not disappoint. Our sailing, from Barcelona to Dubai, had several highlight ports. The port of Aqaba was near Petra and Wadi Rum, so most all passengers took an excursion or two. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, with none of those usual bottlenecks and confusion that sometimes occur. The Brilliance provided shuttle service for most of the ports, which made it easy to go off on ones own. In Eilat, the shuttle service took passengers, at no charge, to a shopping mall and beaches. Dining on the Brilliance did have a couple of flaws and some highlights. The highlight for us was Breakfast. The baked goods offered - breads, muffins - were exceptional. There was even a chocolate breakfast with a chocolate banana bread that was die for. The breads at all the meals were admirable. However, the dinner menu and the food served were at times rather ordinary. No one will go away hungry, for there is always something to please the palate, but after the first week of our cruise, the food did go downhill. We tried Chops, the specialty restaurant. Our suggestion would be to save your money. Our filet minions was grizzly and the food was like from a 1960s restaurant. Too much cheese and rich stuff over everything - ruining (at least for us) some of the dishes served. Service on the Brilliance was excellent, as one would expect it to be. We liked that up at the Windjammer buffet, servers came around and offered to bring drinks to ones table. Our cabin steward and the wait staff in all the dining venues were excellent. Be aware that there is no more shampoo, conditioner or lotion provided to cabins other than suites. Bring your own. There is no more chocolates on the pillows or lobster or lamp chops. But there is a beautiful experience on a lovely ship. Our vacation was enhanced by the ports and the Suez Canal and an almost daily trip to the well equipped gym. As is usual on a cruise, some of the shows were better than others, but still a nice way to spend 45 minutes before or after dinner. RCCL did have lecturers on board who talked about a variety of subjects and were of excellent calibre. We wish we could go around again. It was a wonderful cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
On the whole this cruise was exactly what we wanted, and we in the main thourghly enjoy our trip. Good Ship, Great Staff, Interesting ports of call, Food of a very good standard. Lots of onboard activities. Theatre every night, some ... Read More
On the whole this cruise was exactly what we wanted, and we in the main thourghly enjoy our trip. Good Ship, Great Staff, Interesting ports of call, Food of a very good standard. Lots of onboard activities. Theatre every night, some good shows some very average shows. Fellow passengers very friendly. Some of the ports of call were either at the weekend or a local holiday when the shops were shut ( I did not mind this, but the wife had this down as not the best planning from RCI). These factors could have been taken into consideration when RCI was planning the cruise schedule. We were in outside balcony cabin( They call it stateroom) 8532, and for the first 5 days when the weather and the sea state were not at its best, we had a terrible constant loud banging noise that kept us awake at night. If you use this ship avoid booking your cabin in this area of the ship for this reason. The only real complaint we have about the cruise was the ridiculous prices being charged for all types of drinks. The cheapest bottle of very average wine was nearly €40 a bottle. When will the cruise companies realise if they sold their drinks at half the price they are charging now , their clients would buy 5 times the amount of drinks they purchase now and their profits would at least double. Take myself as an example. If the price were more reasonable we would have had a bottle of wine every night with our dinner, that would have been 18 bottles sold. With prices as they are I reluctantly only had two bottle of wine with our diner at night during the whole 18 days of the cruise. Would we Cruise again RCI on the Brilliance of the Seas, most probably yes, the good points outweighed the bad by a very long way. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
CRITICISMS Dining Room: Second night on board, we were told the kitchen had misestimated the demand for racks of lamb hence the main course for four or five tables' was delayed by 40 minutes and lamb cutlets that were chared on ... Read More
CRITICISMS Dining Room: Second night on board, we were told the kitchen had misestimated the demand for racks of lamb hence the main course for four or five tables' was delayed by 40 minutes and lamb cutlets that were chared on the outside and raw the inside were served to those who had ordered them. On our table, all three dishes were returned to the kitchen. An alternative was offered but as it was already 10.40pm and most of us wanted to attend the evening show, (that had already started, they were declined. Complaints to the head waiter over the next couple of days, and the head chef on his near-the-end-of-tour visit to the dining room, were met with platitudes. There is an automatic inclusion of a 15% gratuity for the purchase of all wines, fresh orange juice, and quality coffee. It seems to me that if a gratuity cannot be avoided, then it is deceitful not to include it in the published purchase price. The prices of wine are exorbitant: US$27 (+15%) for the cheapest white plonk whilst most others are over US$40 (+15%). Not only are the charges for the internet the highest I have ever come across — varying from US$0.65 per minute for pay as you go, to US$0.30 if you pre-pay for 500 minutes, but there is no timer visible when you are connected, so it is impossible to determine at what point the charges start or stop. For the tests of our connection duration we established that the charges seemed to last at least half as long again as we timed them. The frequency of the reminders urging passengers (referred to as guests) to sign up for the recommended US$9.75/day/passenger gratuities to be added to one's 'end of cruise' account were tiresome. RCI now a) use plastic cups and plates at eateries other than the dining room b) have abolished both the availability of instant coffee throughout the ship and c) the post of wine waiter. Royal Caribbean International's pre-occupation for both cost cutting and developing new income streams, in order to keep the headline price of the cruise down, could be considered as entrapment. Fortunately, we didn't go on any tours. PRAISE Very clean throughout the ship and good towels and fresh ice in the cabin every day. The Captain's addresses to the ship were often amusing and always informative. Probably the best we've ever heard. "If you see land, please let me know because we are not supposed to be anywhere near land," and "I apologise for the rain and have now replaced the helmsman," are just two of his quips. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Our impression of the ship was very positive. Despite it's December listing incident where it was damaged, it looked teriffic. We were in the Family Oceanview cabin #8000 which sleeps six for the three of us. We loved all of the ... Read More
Our impression of the ship was very positive. Despite it's December listing incident where it was damaged, it looked teriffic. We were in the Family Oceanview cabin #8000 which sleeps six for the three of us. We loved all of the space. The beds were comfortable. We are big fans of the Windjammer. The way it is set up is perfect, prefilled tall cups of lemonade were the best, plenty of good food to choose from! The salad bar was terrific except people were frequently dripping the salad dressings into each other. Our son (age 6) was always happy to go to Adventure Ocean. The staff was first class, always had excellent learning activities each day. Family activities were held once or twice a day. There were only seven children in Adventure Ocean and they all got along well. The staff is really amazing. They understand kids, like them and know how to keep them busy. Graham was the manager and was professional yet fun. The facilities for the kids are just fantastic. We left them with a nice tip and recommend people tip them even though it is not required. They deserve it! One complaint though- the video arcade leads to the entrance of Adventure Ocean. The games are turned on max. volume and some of the games are not kid friendly with suggestive characters and violence. They also were making repairs in there during our cruise and the industrial odors were noxious. Just wish we weren't forced to go through there. Our servers were absolutely amazing. They were attentive, knew the menu, bent over backward to please us and gave us extra dishes to sample. We tipped them extra. RCI's menu is truly wonderful. It amazes me how they can offer so many choices each night. For some reason on this cruise I was on a fish kick. I ate fish nearly every night and was amazed at the variety of ways they prepared it. The quality of the fish was first rate. My husband ate lots of beef and was always pleased with it. The new children's menu is a mom's dream come true. Plenty of healthy choices!! My son loved his food in the dining room. Kid friendly- yet healthy! Way to go RCI!!! Five stars for wonderful dining! It was one of our favorite parts of the cruise. We enjoyed the Cruise Director- Gordon. He was lots of fun. The entertainment was terrific! So many wonderful shows, I'll just mention a few- Tracey Chield singing Celine Dion was tops. The McDonald Brothers were excellent. The East Coast Boys and Enrico Cifiello were fabulous. The singers and dancers of the Brilliance were great of course! It was all wonderful. Missed a few shows after busy touring days though. I enjoyed the Thermal suite immensely. Paid $138 for the 14 night cruise and it was worth it. Spent at least an hour each day there relaxing and I recommend spending the extra money to use it. I used the gym once but mostly enjoyed the walking track in the mornings in the fresh air. We met many wonderful people through cruise critic. Mostly an older crowd since it was a repositioning cruise- very international. Were annoyed with the people who reserved deck chairs when signs everywhere say it is not allowed. Cabin steward was a sweetie and very responsive to our requests. We were very pleased with all of the service we received on the cruise. We enjoyed the lectures and I had fun at the dance classes. Oragami classes were taught by a very impatient woman who kept getting annoyed with people. We loved the game room and had a lot of fun playing games after dinner. We enjoyed the ping pong and mini golf. The kid's swimming area and slide were fantastic! Kept our son happy when the weather warmed up. Sailing the Suez Canal was a fantastic experience. Loved the captian's interview on the tv about the canal. Good lecture about the canal too. Ports: Alexandria- in light of recent anarchy in Egypt we consider ourselves very fortunate to have had a safe time. Took our son to see the pyarmids with a private company "American Star Travel." Long day, lots of driving though. Aqaba- the most amazing travel day in my life! Petra is in a league all it's own. You must see if you haven't. RCI tour was perfect. Had a fabulous day. Safaga- Used "American Star Travel" again. 3 hour drive each way to and from Luxor. Saw the Valley of the Kings and Karnack Temple. Incredible experience but tiring. Took our son with us on both Egypt tours, but left him onboard for Petra. DO NOT MISS PETRA!! I've been to 30 countries and it was one of the top place I've been to. We would love to sail on Brilliance again. The staff, food, entertainment, facilities were all five stars! Thank you RCI for an incredible family vacation. We loved it all!! Please people- tip the staff extra until they get their raises. They deserve more! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011

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