525 Barcelona Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise to cross the Atlantic. Cabin was nice. Service was somewhat lacking. Food on the buffet was on par with other cruise lines, but dining room food was very poor. No steak and lobster, not even once. No dress up night or ... Read More
Chose this cruise to cross the Atlantic. Cabin was nice. Service was somewhat lacking. Food on the buffet was on par with other cruise lines, but dining room food was very poor. No steak and lobster, not even once. No dress up night or even a Captains dinner. I would compare the cruise to traveling in coach on a discount airline. Not one of the crew ever called us by our name. Entertainment for the most part was top notch. Nowhere onboard to buy a bottled drink (i.e. gatoraid), only in the bars. Even the restaurants that you had to pay for were average at best. Purchased the transfer for leaving the ship, going to the airport. Disembarkation was late, took more than an hour to load each bus, then the process started over. After standing in line for more than an hour, had to take a taxi to make our flight. Will not cruise on NCL again Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long ... Read More
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long lines checking in at the terminal. While I found this a bit of a speed bump to the start of our cruise I didn’t let it bother me. Everyone was doing their best to get us onboard as quickly as possible, and let’s face it sometimes that takes time. The layout of the ship didn’t bother me too much. Every ship has its own quirks. I did miss the lack of windows and quiet spaces to sit during the day, but they do make the specialty restaurants available to use when they are closed so there are still plenty of quiet places to go. I also missed the running track, but this ship has the biggest and best set up gym I’ve seen on any ship. I found it easy to find my way around the ship. I agree they are missing a bank of elevators, but I have no problem taking stairs. Also if you don’t mind walking a little you can usually find elevators that aren’t busy. The food was fantastic, and the service was amazing in the restaurants. I didn’t eat at the buffet because I just am not a buffet person. My only time up there was to get ice cream and I have no complaints there. Disembarking was a bit of a process. Not sure what happened but they halted disembarking for at least an hour just as we were going to get our stuff out of our cabin. Our cabin steward told us to just stay there and relax until they started to allow people off the ship again. Which was sweet that he offered this to us. We left our luggage in our cabin and walked around the ship a little so they could still get in and do as much as they could to get the cabin ready. When it was time to get off the ship we were off in 15 minutes. I think the crew got handed some tough situations on this cruise with the embarkation and disembarkation, but I feel that they handled everything as best as they could and very professionally. I was very impressed. I would also like to add that I haven’t see a crew work together so well and genuinely like each other. You could tell these guys are all family. Like I said earlier I wouldn’t hesitate to book a cruise on the Epic again. I loved my time with her and the crew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is my 2nd cruise on Viking Jupiter this year. As with our previous cruise in July, Into the Midnight Sun, this 3 week transatlantic did not disappoint. Enjoyed seeing some previously unvisited ports, Malaga, Spain, Casablanca, ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise on Viking Jupiter this year. As with our previous cruise in July, Into the Midnight Sun, this 3 week transatlantic did not disappoint. Enjoyed seeing some previously unvisited ports, Malaga, Spain, Casablanca, Morocco, Dakar, Senegal, Recife, Brazil and Montevideo, Uruguay. Lovely sea days for relaxing, enjoying spa and pools, programs and even a cooking class with a chef. As always, the staff/ crew service was amazing. Cheerful and always helpful. Our Junior Penthouse suite was spacious and kept immaculately. I enjoyed the complimentary laundry service, which surprised me. I am a little picky about how my clothes are handled. The wait staff was quite attentive, even during “rush” conditions. Complimentary wine and beer flowed at lunch and dinner. The quality and variety of the wines was good. Food was yummy with many local/ regional foods served throughout the cruise. The spas on Viking Ocean cruises are awesome and not to be missed. Many passengers new to the ship sometimes miss this area...so be sure to check it out. The snow grotto and the thermal beds are really amazing. We have three more future cruises now booked with Viking....I’ve said goodbye to the other cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Barcelona to Miami in 17 days. This was our first time on Oceania and our second cruise ever. This is considered a smaller ship with only ~600 passengers - we liked the smaller size. This ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Barcelona to Miami in 17 days. This was our first time on Oceania and our second cruise ever. This is considered a smaller ship with only ~600 passengers - we liked the smaller size. This ship was re-done in 2019 so everything was lovely, clean, and fresh and decorated in calming colors. We had great weather most of the trip with only one rain day - seas seem calm to us but other noted the movement. The ports were all convenient to the cities- it was an extra treat to go up the river to dock in Seville - only the smaller ships can do this. We booked our own smaller tours and were glad we did as we do not like the large bus tour experience. The best was an electric bike tour in Seville (used Viator). The ship could not pull into St. George, Bermuda and went to Kings Wharf instead, luckily we did not have a plan for that day so the change was fine and we spent the day at the Commissioners House/Fort/ Dolphin training center. Most people seemed to enjoy the food; I thought some of the food was done well but I would still say it is institutional food service. The chef seems to limit salt and sugar so food was never too salty or too sweet. The best food was what you could have prepared onsite - so the Waves Grill was the place to eat lunch. It had both meat and fish choices, as well as salads. There was steak or lobster on every menu on the ship at dinner - that seem important to many but if you were vegetarian, you would has almost as many options. A fellow passenger with diet restrictions had a special menu just for her each meal. The most impressive thing about this cruise was the service. The entire crew worked hard - you saw the same faces morning, noon, and at night smiling and getting/doing anything you asked! I was almost uncomfortable with how hard they worked to keep me satisfied. The free internet was terrible- like stone age internet. They offered a higher data rate for a high fee but we did not hear from anyone that it was any better - and only one person per room could use it at a time. The connection and speeds were better in port because we had cellular service so that's when we called family, texted photos, etc... The average age of people on this ship seemed 75+? A much older and less ambulatory crowd than I expected. The ship provided activities and entertainment catered to an older demographic. The crossing was quiet and peaceful. You did need to bring your own things to do but they had the "old-school" activities of board games, puzzles, cards, shuffle board, needlepoint kits and a good lending library for books and a historical medical lecture each day. The fitness classes were few and far between with room for only 6. But there are machines available to use on your own. They let you bring wine (and even spirits from the duty free shops) onboard at each port. The policy says there is a limit but I never really saw one mentioned or enforced. Alcoholic drinks are expensive, but there was a 2 for one each day if you needed to budget. There is a dress code, but barely - like no swimsuits in dining areas. People were dressed casually, no fancy evening clothes are needed for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were interested in seeing the ports on this cruise Combining with the relaxing sea days at the end. Everything about this cruise was fabulous. The ports included Ibiza, Cartagena, Gibraltar and Tenerife. We went five days early since ... Read More
We were interested in seeing the ports on this cruise Combining with the relaxing sea days at the end. Everything about this cruise was fabulous. The ports included Ibiza, Cartagena, Gibraltar and Tenerife. We went five days early since there is so much to see in Barcelona. The Reflection is a great ship and the staff could not have been more accommodating. We went Aqua Class and I highly recommend it. The Blu dining room was an absolute dining pleasure and the staff just wonderful. I cannot say enough about the food on this ship. It was the best of any cruise we have been on. People were actually photographing the desserts on the buffet! They looked too good to eat. The entertainment was equally good and we loved Giuseppe the activities director. In conclusion, transatlantic will always be my first choice for cruising. And I hope to go on the Reflection again in the future. But Celebrity has become my cruise line of choice. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife and I did this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. On the ship there was definitely an older crowd. It was had to find anyone younger than us without a name tag. It made us feel young, but I am sure my kids would have felt ... Read More
My wife and I did this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. On the ship there was definitely an older crowd. It was had to find anyone younger than us without a name tag. It made us feel young, but I am sure my kids would have felt out of place. Overall, we had a great time meeting people. Crew The best think about celebrity is the crew. Before we left, I read some CC reviews about the service slipping on this ship. We did not see that at all. The service was excellent, many of the crew members went out of their way to make sure we were attended to. Most of the crew were very pleasant and fun to interact with. Entertainment The entertainment was good. The production shows by the Celebrity team were outstanding. My favorite part of the entertainment was the live music in the lounges. They had five separate groups, all were very good. We also enjoyed the lectures as sea, Italian lessons (more of a comedy show), and the normal events such as trivia. Dining I found dinning to be a big problem. As hard as I tried...I still gained 7 lbs. We primarily ate in Blue, we tried the main dining room one night had found the food and service very comparable. We tried each of the specialty restaurants. Murano was our favorite the food was top notch. The lawn club was a fun experience (I recommend cooking yourself). Qusine is a fun experience. The Porch is good for sea food lovers, make sure you go in hungry. The sea food tower Tuscan Grill had a very nice great environment. The anti pasta plate was our favorite. CONS The disembarkation time could have be managed better. It was too long and we spent over an hour in line. Celebrity could have done a few things better. 1. They called you out too early to sit in the huge customs lines. 2. Their practice of moving suite guests and wheelchairs to the the front made your time in line much longer. 3 They did not set any expectations of a long delay. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is my second ocean crossing with Celebrity Reflection. We love ocean crossing and we love Celebrity cruises, so why not 5 stars,,,, No rock & roll live bands, it is a bit boaring evening time, Celebrity abandonned some thematic ... Read More
This is my second ocean crossing with Celebrity Reflection. We love ocean crossing and we love Celebrity cruises, so why not 5 stars,,,, No rock & roll live bands, it is a bit boaring evening time, Celebrity abandonned some thematic lunches at the buffet, they falsly charged us 2 glasses of wine at the Tuscan grill for 22$ even if we havnt ordered anything and it took 4-5 calls at the desks plus a talk with the wine manager to get it removed, more than half of the treadmill machines at the gym got the TV not working and some that works havnt any news channels,,, Finish for the bad sides now the good,,, Excellent food at the MDR, the Tuscan grill and the Murano, the buffet is very good also above competition Exceptional service staff Very clean, comfortable and beautiful ship I already booked another cruise on the Reflection for January Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this crossing as we were headed back to the States after a long holiday in Europe and the departure and arrival ports fit our plans. This was our 35th cruise and our 5th time on Azamara. The best part of the trip were the ... Read More
We booked this crossing as we were headed back to the States after a long holiday in Europe and the departure and arrival ports fit our plans. This was our 35th cruise and our 5th time on Azamara. The best part of the trip were the people we met on board. We had many fun evenings over drinks in the Living Room before dinner and dancing after dinner. We booked a large suite and were very happy there enjoying the vast amount of space and amenities. We had continental breakfast each day in the suite and spend a good part of the day working on our hobbies there. Suite service was impeccable. Staying in the suite gave us unlimited access to the specialty restaurants so we dined in one of the other almost every night. Excellent food there, although we did get a bit tired of the menus. We took advantage of the special Indonesian Rice Table and loved that spicy food. Lunch each day in the buffet or on the Patio was quite good with lots of quality to choose from. Our one time in the Discoveries main dining room was not a success. Good service on board and the staff try very hard. Often there was a problem with a server unable to understand us and a number of requests or orders got mixed up. I think the problem is too many staff have limited English language skills, and this creates problems. There was also too much upsell such as in the spa/salon and in the specialty restaurants where the wine servers tried to talk us out of the wines we bought and tried to sell us a more expensive selection. That was truly annoying. There was a lack of quality activities on board. Just about everything going on was down market or a sales pitch, so after many sea days, I got bored. AZ is not the right line for those who crave high brow activities on sea days; they just don't happen. Most of the entertainment was mediocre cruise ship fare. The exceptions were the White Night (great fun) and a guest comedian who was quite clever. We walked out of many shows and avoided the rock band who were just not very good. I went to the fitness center everyday and it was OK. They need to buy another recumbent bike as the 2 are often in use and I had to wait my turn. My biggest disappointment is the demise of the black jack tables with human dealers. They currently have ugly machines where one can play black jack or roulette,, and these will eventually be removed along with the slot machines. These big machines were so unpopular that they created a negative buzz and as a result the whole casino area was empty day and night. On a long crossing this was deadly dull. Playing black jack is one of my favorite activities on board a ship, so I am not sure I will return to AZ with the demise of the casinos. Overall this was a mass market experience was a few perks like free gratuities and free cheap wine. If we had not met so many nice people and had not had such a comfortable suite, I would have been unhappy. And as I wrote, as the casinos to away, I will probably go away as well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our third transatlantic crossing, our tenth cruise in our five years of cruising together and our fifth cruise on Celebrity and it was, perhaps, the best yet. Just about everyone seemed at the top of their game. Everything cannot ... Read More
This was our third transatlantic crossing, our tenth cruise in our five years of cruising together and our fifth cruise on Celebrity and it was, perhaps, the best yet. Just about everyone seemed at the top of their game. Everything cannot be perfect but almost all of this was with a couple of exceptions and they are noted below. Some people complained about embarkation and I suspect those are the folk who are likely to complain about everything but for us it was a breeze. It took less than an hour from our taxi drop off to being in our cabin - very efficient and very easy. Unlike the miserable disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale which seemed to take forever with long walks, long lines and lots of congestion creating some tense situations - not the way you'd like to end a wonderful trip. This was perhaps not Celebrity's fault - the ground staff in Terminal 25 seemed very unprepared, unlike the Reflection's own staff - but it was a bummer nevertheless. I suspect you'd be hard pressed to find a prettier or cleaner ship in this category than the Reflection. I also suspect you'd find it difficult to find a nicer or more accommodating crew. Staff went out of their way to be kind and helpful. Our cabin steward on Deck 7, Merilee, was especially sweet and hardworking. She anticipated all of our needs and kept our well appointed stateroom glistening. You'll be fortunate to get her. Storage space in the staterooms is well thought out and generous. One of the areas in which the Reflection really excels is in the dining rooms. The food in the MDR is very, very good. The menu is varied and imaginative, the food always comes out quickly and is always hot and cooked to order. How they manage escapes me. Sokie, one of the hosts who deftly sat the independent diners, was charming and superb. Unfortunately, she was ill for several days and replaced by someone lacking in patience and good humor who seemed brittle and genuinely unhappy in her job, the only surly staff member we've ever encountered on Celebrity. Among those who must be singled out for fine service in the dining room staff: Ida, our frequent sommelier, Orville and Pavel. Seek them out if you can. Of the specialty restaurants we dined in two: Murano, which was superlative. Exquisite food beautifully prepared and served. Oswaldo, our waiter, was great. Get your reservations early as Murano tends to be full every evening. Not on the same level was Tuscan Grill; the food was very good but not exceptional and the servers were a bit over attentive, being a little too present and hovering over the table and the conversation. Other dining venues were perfectly pleasant. We never had an excessive crowding issue at the Oceanview Cafe and often snagged a table outside. The cafe in the Solarium is delightful. And the Mast Bar is always a treat when you crave a good hot dog with all the trimmings and lots of fries. The staff in the bars were always cheerful. While we much enjoyed many of the small acts that performed in the intimate spaces such as the Ensemble Lounge, we, once again, found the shows in the theatre underwhelming and at best mediocre. Our recommendation: stick to the smaller venues. There was a lecture series on board on, of all things, the Titanic (!) which was excellent and very well attended. Educational, spellbinding and very well worthwhile. Other facilities such as the outdoor deck space, pool areas and the gym were all very good to excellent. Alas, the running/walking track weaves its way through congested areas and a smoking section which is not a plus. Last, but far from least, a special shout out to the Captain who could often be seen around the ship, was always approachable and full of good cheer. We did not participate on any of the shore excursions, preferring to head out on our own, so are unable to comment on them. All in all, this was an excellent cruise. Celebrity has now become out cruise line of choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Excellent in every way! Boarding was fast and efficient; luggage delivered quickly; room steward ("D" as he wanted to be called) was nearby to greet us and explain what he was going to provide and asked if we had any special ... Read More
Excellent in every way! Boarding was fast and efficient; luggage delivered quickly; room steward ("D" as he wanted to be called) was nearby to greet us and explain what he was going to provide and asked if we had any special request. Fantastic service. Cruise was a combination of celebrations my wife and I usually celebrate (birthdays, anniversary) as we do not do anything special during the year. Cruising is our time for the celebrations we share with other passengers. One of our stops was in Casablanca, Morocco. I was stationed there with the Navy in 1971 thru 1973 at a location north of Casablanca called Sidi Yahia near Kenitra. Wanted to show off the country to my wife. Was a good experience for her. The activities were plentiful and there was plenty to do. The sea days my wife was able to do some quilting project and I was sitting nearby reading or working on a project. All of the crew and officers were friendly and very helpful. The only glitch was disembarking and clearing customs in Florida. We were held in the lounge for an extra 45 minutes or so. No fault of the Princess Cruise line. Will do another one with them again within a year. We try to do at least on cruise a year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. ... Read More
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. This is the reason for each star I knocked off. 1. Lets start with entertainment. It was bad, the shows they put on were cheap and the crew performing were poor. The Queen night vocalists were far worse than you could hear in a karaoke bar by amateurs. The guy from Cuba (don't know his name) whom I partially blame for being one of the low points of the whole cruise destroyed the main pool area twice a day. He screams in to the microphone and has no talent to engage a crowd. It was just terrible. There were many bars and if they had live music it was often depressing and sad acoustic music, a sure way to kill atmosphere. 2. The next problem is the food. It just isn't good. As I said earlier I have travelled with MSC before and it is never the best but its been better before than this. I am fully aware its an Italian company but as I have also travelled with Costa who are also Italian and have food 10x better. The buffet whilst large offered such little variation it was not something to look forward to. The main dining room food was a huge let down. Service in the dining room was also poor, some days you would get dishes rapidly other days the waiter would be apologising as he left you for 20minutes waiting to have your plates cleared. It was disappointing to always have to ask to refill the wine or water and not have our needs attended to. 3. We booked an Aurea cabin one of the more premium choices. The cabins are meant to be in better locations. We were on deck 13 and we had a terrible view due to the above overhang. It really spoilt our enjoyment of looking out of the window. I would seriously class this as an obstructed view if you can only look down and not see above the horizon. Whilst I appreciate no cruise is ever perfect, these 3 things stood out so much it left us regretting going on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We did both this cruise and the subsequent leg (Transatlantic in Cabin 4060. Positives --The ship is well laid out and easy to get around. --With the exception of the Officers' BBQ (come early!) and the White Night (come ... Read More
We did both this cruise and the subsequent leg (Transatlantic in Cabin 4060. Positives --The ship is well laid out and easy to get around. --With the exception of the Officers' BBQ (come early!) and the White Night (come early!) it was easy enough to get a seat at any dining venue whenever you liked. --The crew was well trained, helpful, and seemed to enjoy their work. --The local entertainment brought in from off the ship was good, especially the Portuguese Tuna Band. Embarkation/disembarkation dead easy. Neither Positive nor Negative (or some of each) --The food was middling. Or rather, sometimes it was pretty good and sometimes it was pretty poor. Overall we would say it met our minimum standard for cruising, but there were mistakes. When I say mistakes, I'm not talking about subjectivity of taste, I'm talking about basics like food temperature and doneness. Gazpacho is supposed to come cool, not warm. Rare steak is supposed to be red inside, not brown. --The Chef's tables were hit and miss as well. The Stateside one was, in out opinion, worth the money. The French one was not. The Italian one was a pinot-grigio drenched crime against food. --The regular entertainment staff ran from great (Amanda Poulson, CD) to competent (most of the musiciands) to High School Musical Reject (three of the four "Signature" singers, who screamed their way though numbers) --There seemed to often be no rhyme nor reason as to whether the gangway was set up on Deck 3 (piece of cake) or deck 4 (treacherous stairs). --The people who liked White Night seemed to like it a lot. We found it pathetic on the first leg, and gave it a miss on the second. Negatives --Air quality in our OV room was bad --A lot of people on the TA leg (pax, crew, officers, Captain, CD) got very sick. Re: above two points: I wish I'd thought to ask to have the air filters changed in our cabin, as I later found out other people did. It might have helped. --Included wines were generally vile (exceptions: rosé [same every day, drinkable]; Portuguese red blend [very good] and cabernet sauvignon from California and Chianti from Italy [drinkable]; viognier [drinkable]). --They kept cancelling ship-sponsored shore-ex for lack of interest. Thank heavens we mostly went private. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
PART ONE - Horrendous Our holiday got off to a terrible start. I had booked to go away with my mother and a few of her [elderly] friends. We booked early and chose our cabins so that we were all together and conveniently located to the ... Read More
PART ONE - Horrendous Our holiday got off to a terrible start. I had booked to go away with my mother and a few of her [elderly] friends. We booked early and chose our cabins so that we were all together and conveniently located to the facilities we planned to enjoy. However, a few weeks before we were due to travel, one of our cabins was pulled and we were told we were going to be placed 3 floors higher and at the opposite end of the ship. This was a big problem for us as we had all planned to convene on each others balconies to enjoy afternoon teas and coffee; also, to enjoy pre-dinner drinks. I complained to customer services who did their best to get our original cabin back but to no avail. Their 'allocation team' would not budge and neither would they locate our friends near to our new cabin. We were all gutted, as separating the group prevented us from popping in and out of each others cabins and enjoying the usual camaraderie. As a compromise, they managed to find us another cabin on the same floor but still this was a trek and left us isolated. To make up for it, we were given 50 euros onboard credit and Prosecco on arrival and although this did little to make things better, it was a gesture we appreciated. That was, until we boarded the ship and discovered our newly-allocated cabin 9084. For anyone allocated this cabin, please note that even though it is classed as a Bella Balcony cabin, IT HAS NO VIEW WHATSOEVER UNLESS YOU ARE STANDING UP!!! When sat on the chairs provided all you can see is solid white metal. All the saving up to pay extra for a balcony on which we could relax and enjoy the views out to sea, was therefore wasted. The disappointment and upset was beyond words. It was bad enough being parted from our friends but to be denied the benefits of our balcony too was just the final straw. We demanded a proper balcony cabin or to be refunded the cost. Unfortunately, this was not something the cruise staff could sort out as - any claim would have to be handled by UK admin staff - and there was no other cabins available to move us to! All we could do was wait to see if anyone with a balcony cabin failed to show up at the next port and we could then have theirs. As suggested, we waited. We had embarked on a Sunday afternoon and waited until Monday evening to see if there was any change. Still nothing but we were told to check again another 24 hours later, after the next lot of passengers embarked. We did so but by this time, and having lived out of our suitcase for 2 days, we had given up hope. At this point, we all felt our holiday had been ruined. It had put a complete dampener on it, especially as my mum was so upset she had burst into tears and said she just wanted to go home. She was totally unsettled and could not bear having to rummage in her case every time she wanted something. We therefore decided to unpack and resigned ourselves to the isolation and having no balcony/view. Ironically, we then received a telephone call in our cabin from reception. They had found us a cabin - not near to our friends, but it had a glass fronted balcony so at least we had a view! Of course, we then had to repack everything in order to move and it was a real pain, but considered worth it as we still had a number of days left. It took us a while but eventually we got settled and our holiday finally began!!! PART TWO - fantastic With only one or two exceptions, the staff on this ship simply could not do enough. They worked extremely hard to ensure passengers had a good time and the atmosphere onboard was a party one. Our waiter was exceptional and nothing was too much trouble. We did not see much of the cabin steward but our room was always neat and tidy when we returned. As for the food, it was much better than the last MSC cruise we went on. The menu choices were varied and appetising and portion sizes were also reasonable. The buffet restaurants (Inca and Maya) were always far too busy to be an enjoyable experience so we chose to eat breakfast and lunch in the restaurant or ice-cream parlour instead. However, the choices there were very limited and in the ice-cream parlour/coffee shop we had to pay for our drinks but still it was the best option for us. To prevent the main buffets from being so busy it would have been better jf the coffee shop and Il Cappuccino lounge offered a greater selection of sandwiches or snacks - together with free tea/coffee/water (as in the main dining areas.) This would have evened things out so that certain areas were less crowded at any one time. In relation to the excursions offered by MSC, these were not so good. I realise that they rely on outside companies to provide the service and they merely act as agent. Nevertheless, they need to take on board the feedback and get some of these companies to change how they do things. There were a LOT of complaints and the exclusion staff had to take the flak. We did the Casablanca/Rabat tour and had looked forward to it more than all the others we took but it was a terrible tour and a complete waste of a day's holiday. Our tour guide was rude, disinterested, ill-informed and was incentivised only by taking us to venues where it was clear he earned a commission. On a 10 hour tour, he refused to let us stop for a coffee break (apart from the 1 hour lunch stop) and when a number of us asked about visiting a bazaar/souk, he said there was no time and took us instead to what can only be described as a 'junk souvenir shop' in a back street. The next such stop was at an argan oil factory in Rabat where we all had to sit through a boring presentation lasting about half an hour. We were all then handed a basket to purchase their products and take them to the till. Needless to say, there were very few takers and most people on the tour were furious - especially as we had been denied any free time to explore either Casablanca or Rabat again due to 'lack of time. When we reported back to reception the next day we were met by many others queuing there for the same reason and some were on other buses also part of the same trip. It was a disaster and I felt sorry for MSC as it was really down to the tour operator. Where MSC did excel was the entertainment. All our party are avid cruisers and we agreed unanimously that this ship offered the best entertainment we have ever had. The theatre shows were second to none and were astoundingly good - standing ovations nearly every night. The shows varied from musical performances, serious style opera, comedy, circus style acrobatics (within theatrical setting), to drama and plain fun evenings. The variety and standard of performance was absolutely incredible and I'm worried we are seriously spoilt for the future! Whoever the theatre production company is they deserve recognition and commendation for first-class entertainment. So, all in all, a bad experience at the outset only turned round by the attitude and professionalism of Paula from customer services and the staff on board. They saved our holiday from complete disaster, meaning we lost only part and not the whole of it. I had already booked another cruise with MSC (2021) and had planned to cancel but they turned this fiasco around so I've given them a reprieve. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
1. Room 8040 was terrible we keep hearing super loud thumping sounds from somewhere, my four year old who always sleeps like a baby woke up so many times and said it’s just too noisy 2. Food service was terrible, they ask you how you ... Read More
1. Room 8040 was terrible we keep hearing super loud thumping sounds from somewhere, my four year old who always sleeps like a baby woke up so many times and said it’s just too noisy 2. Food service was terrible, they ask you how you want the meat cooked but it’s never cooked to our preference and most things are cold when they reach us. We weren’t very happy that there were many times when we were hungry but there wasn’t any food available to us other than soggy fries and pizza that tasted like plastic. The dining rotations were so bad by day 3 we wanted to skip it and just go to the buffet but only to realize there is no dinner buffet! Desserts were unbearable! Breakfast buffet was so 1980’s. No gluten free options and it’s just a bunch of flour and sugary foods but are not even considered real food. We could choose either cheap waffle pancake or donut, with lots of sugary dressings, or we go for boxed cereal that aren’t even real food but synthesized. The butter wasn't even real butter it was margarine! People who care about their bodies and health and watch what they eat don’t eat these packaged processed foods. My daughters are gluten/corn/soy sensitive, they ended up having no appetite for breakfast. I am not sure about you but from where I live everyone is aware that eating like that causes obesity and diabetes. But I don’t mind eating that stuff if it’s good but it wasn’t even good! 3. Most of us were so seasick we couldn’t really enjoy it, and I have never been seasick at all on any cruise ship, not to mention one time I was on a cruise when I was in between first and second trimester. But this time I felt so sick I was lying down one time for 36 hours straight and one of the kids threw up right in the middle of the show that’s how bad the ship was moving and swaying. 4. The Club House was terrible, they just hand my 4&6 year olds iPads! For the money we pay we would think the people there would have been giving them some more interesting things to do but our kids come back and say they are bored because they just get an iPad which my 4 year old never got any instruction and isn’t even fluent in English, so she had no idea what she was doing and was utterly bored! 5. The UK customs clearance was unbelievable, we were in line for almost two hours only to have to give up because we didn’t want to miss the Lion King premier and then had to go back in the line again after the movie! That’s just really poor coordination, we wasted so much time and it’s quite obvious that people were pissed too. They even asked us if we had any intentions to work in the UK! As if anyone would pay 17000 USD just to sneak in and find illegal work? 6. Laundry was so frustrating when half of the machines would always be broken at any time! So the functional machines were scarce and people ended up having to bite or fight each other to use them. It just reminded me of my college dorms! And people were taking my stuff out of dryer even before I got the message from Disney Cruise app! I had semi dry clothing lying all over when I got there a few minutes before my dryer time is up! 7. When we got to Dover, the shuttle bus to Dover train station actually cost 10 USD per person including our small children, that’s 40 USD in total while local taxi which we ended up taking only costs 10 pounds! 8. For all the coffee at our dining rotations, it actually costs money! For a coffee to go with the dessert after our meal, it costs 2-3 dollars I think that’s just too obvious Disney is trying to charge for whatever they could. We paid 17000 USD for 7 days and we couldn’t get a coffee to go with our dessert? 9. The Disney Cruise wasn’t even very Disney, I thought it would give us the feeling when we walk into Disney Orlando but it was nowhere near. Other than the shows and occasional characters posing for photographs (which again costs money), nothing was Disney! No Disney Music, no Disney decor, no Disney colors, not even the famous Disney parade....which we actually had even at non Disney Cruise Ship one time, the Oasis. For 17000 USD I think we definitely have many other options. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much less enjoyable and disappointing. Wouldn't have taken it if had known this fact. Scheduled for two days in Barcelona and left after first evening. Afternoon or morning on five other destinations. Also not clear on personal touring transportation option which were limited. If you promote a stop/city then don't have transportation for sell guided tours readily available very disappointing. Most excursions were good but a few tried to pack too much activity into too short a time in port. We have done numerous river cruises with Viking and self guided is a big plus. Ship was nice and having taken an Amazon cruise in December we were familiar with the ship offering. Staff was always pleasant and accommodating. New ship so facilities were good. Enjoyed the Restaurant and the World Cafe'. World Cafe' staff was solicitous to passengers compensating for self service format. Had two occasions in Resturant that staff wasn't good and reflected staff either overworked or focused on certain passengers Selection of items was good in the World Cafe'.. We were not fans of the Chiefs Table due to the presentation and selection of menu but that is just a personal choice. Heard lot's of compliments about Chiefs Table from others. Manfradi's was pleasant but often portions were too large. Also some staff more pleasant than others. Again just a personal choice and observation. Service was good so would recommend this to other travelers. Enjoyed Mamsens and Explorer Lounge. Staff was great and environment was great place to meet other travelers. Sorry that this cruise wasn't what we had hoped for. Compared to our Amazon Cruise with Viking, our first Viking Ocean Cruise, this was a disappointment. Undecided on future Ocean cruising with Viking but would recognize that they do a good job on board. Will always consider Viking River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have sailed Azamara a number of times and really enjoy the on-board experience. This itinerary attracted us because of the variation in cultures and climate. The embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly processed. . Because ... Read More
We have sailed Azamara a number of times and really enjoy the on-board experience. This itinerary attracted us because of the variation in cultures and climate. The embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly processed. . Because of an upgrade, we were staying in a Club Continent Suite as opposed to our usual Veranda 2. We really enjoyed the extra space, but did not utilize all the perks associated with the Suite. One of the perks was complimentary dining in the Specialty Restaurants, a choice we made for four of the 14 nights. For other dinners, of course, we ate in Discoveries (the main dining room), and on the Patio. Most breakfasts we frequented Windows, the buffet area. We were very pleased with the food in all the venues, especially the attention paid to certain food intolerances that limit some of our choices. One of the attractions for us on Azamara is the friendly and attentive service on board..From the room stewards to the waiting staff in the dining areas, this cruise was no exception. The friendliness is true of most officers as well. Although not noted for entertainment, in this case Azamara provided some of the best we have enjoyed. From The Azamazing Evening to more casual events, we found a lot to enjoy. Hard to pick out a port that was more enjoyable than the others. Because of our travelling through four countries, each port provided some interesting contrasts. As we sailed further North the weather cooled and rain became a sometime occurrence. That added to the variety of experiences on this itinerary. We participated in only two shore excursions. The trip to see Bayeux and its famous tapestry was well worth the cost. The walking tour of Cadiz was good but not amazing. In both cases we were travelling in relatively small groups. Most of the ports were quite accessible for those who wanted to explore on their own, and Azamara provided free shuttles where needed and appropriate. As part of that service, usually there was a guide at the drop-off points with maps and helpful suggestions. After sailing up the Thames the previous day, disembarkation at Greenwich was a little more complicated than at most ports. But the staff on the ships had it well under control, and there was a surplus of attendants on shore to assure that you made your connection with taxis for the airport, for travel home, or for extended stays in London. For the reasons above, out of 18 cruises this was one of our favourites. Although the itinerary is not one of the common ones offered, we think others should give it serious consideration. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was a standard veranda. It was nicely appointed and comfortable. We liked the world cafe for dinning. It had a wide variety of foods each meal. The restaurant was very good. Similar food to that served in the world cafe. We ate once in the chef’s table. The service and food were excellent. Great wine selection. Service on the ship was excellent. All the staff did their best to make our cruise comfortable. There was an issue with the ship staying in barcelona overnight so we had to move down the coast. This caused several of the shore excursions to be canceled or you had to ride a bus back for the excursion. The excursion to london required an 1.5 hour bus ride each way along with a ride around the highlights of city. Too much time on the bus and not enough time on foot at a destination. The foodie walking tour in copenhagen was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to disembark in Athens because we could not travel further with temporary passports. On an inaugural cruise, one must expect irregularities but this cruise was an exception - in the negative. A) Workmen were regularly encountered all over the ship trying to repair malfunctioning equipment, including the elevators, electrical issues in the hallways, etc. The outdoor speakers did not work for movies....AC could not be used for the gym...etc.etc. The casino seemed to work perfectly though... B). The entertainment was subpar. That is not to say that what we did get wasn’t excellent, but there just wasn’t enough of it. After a wonderful opening performance by Mo5aic we were treated to two evenings of movies in the main theatre....really? That was the evening show offering? To be honest, there just wasn’t enough to do on board throughout the day, especially considering that the adventure deck had such limited hours. C) Staff training. At the start of the cruise the Captain announced that we were in for an extraordinary experience as the crew was all hand picked from other ships. Conversations with crew members and our own experience quickly punched huge liar holes in that claim. It was obvious that many crew members were brand new and had no idea about how to perform their jobs. Nobody likes to be lied to. It was gratifying to see that cafeteria supervisors gradually got a grip on staff and service improved over the five days. For a ship designed for the Asian market, there were a few major design misses. I think that the biggest miss was in the lack of a games room. Every ship I have travelled on has had a big mahjong playing component and have had a place to play. This wasn’t so on Spectrum as the cafeteria was walled off much of the time. The library was tiny and poorly equipped with books, lined with locked cabinets containing inaccessible board games - but no place to play. As well, it was open to the theatre area adjoining the library, so no quiet space. The gym space was totally inadequate from a Western perspective. There was a small space forward on Deck 13 with machines placed too closely together and the space was not adequately cooled. This ship was a curiosity to me. I thought it was beautiful and the cabin spaces were some of the best I have encountered. The recreational facilities were wonderful - except for the very limited access. I am curious to find out how other people experienced this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from ... Read More
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from Day 2 onward. We could have had Lu the first day, but we didn’t know the Silver Dining Room was open till we got to our cabin. I called about Dn the first night, but was confused by their answer. We went to the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 14 and got a Noodle Bowl. Br was the usual assortment on Eggs, Pancakes, fruits, Oatmeal, Yogurt, Juices, etc. They have a Latte, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, etc. machine so you don’t need a coffee card. Sometimes you can get the Waiters to make the drinks for you. They use real plates and silverware + glass drinking glasses. Lu was a big spread with multiple Meats and Seafoods, lots of salads and vegs, and desserts like Tiramisu & Cheesecake. Dn was Appetizers. They always had 4 hot appetizers like small Chicken Legs, Shrimp, Spring Rolls, Onion Balls and Sausage Rolls. They always had 4 cold appetizers plus Cheeses and Wafer Bread. Small desserts, but you can have free alcoholic and soft drinks from 5:30pm till 8pm (and lots of people do). We never saw the need to go to the Dining Room! We had reserved a Transfer Tour from the Barcelona Airport to the Port. But, the Immigration line took over 1 hour and we missed the bus (they don’t wait). Fortunately, a RCCL rep was there that got us on a direct transfer bus from the airport to the ship at less cost. Great!!! NOTE: You have to reserve the direct transfers from the Reservation people (they are not shown in the on-line Shore Trips). Check-in was very fast. The rooms were ready early at 12:15pm. We had reserved the 10.5 hr The Best of Rome shore trip, but my wife wasn’t feeling good after the long flight from the US. A Shore Excursion rep refunded our money. We had a pleasant walk in Civitavecchia, the Port for Rome. We had Lu in town overlooking the MedMer. We walked around the Port area in Naples, and had a Pizza Lu. We walked a mile from the Port in Athens @ (37 56.23N 23 37.46E) to the spectacular Church of the Holy Trinity @ (37.943651° 23.644060°). NOTE: It is a 2.5 mile walk one-way from the Port large ships must use to the Subway Station to go to the Acropolis. We took the 10 hr ship tour to Petra. We walked the 3 Kms thru the Siq to the Treasury façade and back in 2.3 Hrs. I took 400 pictures. The light is really good for pictures in the Siq in the morning. You could rent horse-drawn carts for a fast ride to the Treasury. Our ticket included a ride down and back on a slow horse led by a local tribesman. You could also rent Golf Carts with a driver for a moderately paced ride. We passed on all of them because we wanted to look for birds and take pictures. In my view, if you took the horse carts, you would largely miss the beautiful views in the Siq. NOTE: The main trail goes on for another 3-miles (5Km) to the 4000-seat ancient Amphi-Theater carved into the rock, the Colonnaded Street (where ancient shops had been located), and the 135,000 sq ft Great Temple. There were mobs of People coming downhill to the Treasury at Noon as we were walking back to the entrance. I’m glad we got here earlier. Our only delay was where a woman had fallen at a narrow place in the Siq. This created a real bottle neck for the horse carts. There seemed to be Park Staff caring for her already. Petra is not Handicap accessible. Our tour included a Buffet Lu at the MovenPick 5-Star Hotel next to the entrance to the Petra Park: Hummus, Zucchini Hummus, Tomato slices, Mint sauce, Olives, 3-Peppers w Cheese Sauce + Pulled Pork w Rice + Pita Bread ++ Chocolate Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Beautiful!!! The bus ride to and from Petra was interesting as well. I took 170 pictures on these drives. Part of the drive was on the Kings Highway mentioned in Numbers Chapter 20. We didn’t get off the ship in Dubai till time to go to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary ... Read More
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary for this trip has been a cultural smorgasbord. From Spain through Italy and Greece, through Jordan and the middle east to Dubai and the Arab rich. Oman to see more rich Arabs then India to see hoards of people and the chaos of Mumbai. Cochin was more laid back and less crowded but still had the chaotic flavor of how they do things in India. Malaysia and Singapore complete the banquet with South East Asia cultures of two distinct sub flavors. This has been a great banquet and the ship is aptly named as the Spectrum of the Seas. The ship itself is a marvel. Being brand new it was fun to participate in the maiden voyage. Lots of swag handed out by the various departments, some of it even useful like the drinking mugs. Throughout the ship, they have invested in interesting art and some spectacular lighting. Technology is heavily used, for the most part, quite successfully. The journey is smooth and quiet and the ship purrs along at some 21 knots without breaking a sweat. For a ship this size, I am amazed at how small the wake is. On deck, there are many deck chairs. Not so many that provide a shady seat for everyone but lots of them anyway. There are still many people who ignore the “No Saving” rule and leave their possessions on the seat while they take an hour for lunch. The ship's propaganda says that the deck staff will remove your possessions after 30 min. of no occupancy. Never saw it happen. But is was not really a problem. Nowhere on the ship are you pressured to buy drinks. Bars are plentiful as are the bar waiters. They even have mobile bars that patrol the upper sundecks. The ship can sleep almost 5000 passengers if you put more than 2 people in all of the rooms designed for that. We had some 3700 on the first leg I think. Even with all of that, the ship does not seem crowded. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well at all ports. In fact, surprisingly well. To get that many people off the ship and onto the 50 or so tour buses waiting for them seemed to go smoothly from our perspective. The quality and variety of the entertainment was great. We enjoyed every show and some of them were exceptional. There are many “out there” activities available to do. Things like the climbing wall, the surfing wave, the North Star crane that lifted you up 100 feet and out over the side of the ship to get a unique view of the ship, the I Fly sky diving tube that allowed you to be a skydiver no more than 4 feet off of the ground, the Seaplex where you could play pickle ball, soccer, basket ball, do laser tag, and ride bumper cars. We especially liked the bumper cars. They also had something called the sky pad where you hooked bungy cords to yourself and bounced on a trampoline, all the time wearing virtual reality goggles. There was table tennis, fencing, and many forms of dancing available to learn. They had 3 different lecturers onboard, one to talk about our destinations, one to talk about the internet for fun and profit, and one to talk about crime and psychology things. So, all in all, never a dull moment. Both our inside and our balcony cabin were extremely well laid out. Maybe the best we have ever experienced. There seems to be a massive cleaning staff on board and they did their job very well both inside and out. And all of the staff were very friendly and very obliging. Many of them went out of their way to deal with your question or problem. The food has been great and easily available. The Windjammer, (the Lido deck on other cruises), was a very well laid out set of food islands where the variety seemed endless. A bit hectic during the prime meal times but easily manageable if you watched where you were going with your plateful of food. The Main Dining room was great and we had some terrific serving staff. There were several other places around the ship where you could get some snack food should you feel the need. The chocolate chip cookies were especially appreciated. The use of technology on board was good. The elevators seemed to perform flawlessly and, for the most part, had very tolerable wait times. Interactive displays at various points around the ship helped you get around. You had access, for free, to a phone app that let you do several things like find out what was on for entertainment, check out the times for various activities, learn what food outlets were available at that very moment in case you were hungry, you could reserve a spot at particular activities and events so there was no line up problem, you could bring up a map of the ship deck by deck to find out where you were and where you really needed to be, you can load up your calendar so you know what you are supposed to do at any given time, and you could check on your account amount right up to the minute to find out how big the sticker shock would be. To do all of this, you were allowed free access to the ship's WIFI but were limited to just this app. Things I would like to see added to this app are: Text messages between passengers, location of passengers so it would actually give you a path to where you wanted to go like the interactive displays do, a way to leave messages for appropriate ship staff, and maybe even order drinks to be delivered to wherever you are. All in all, this ship is great. THE BAD It's difficult to be totally objective here because of my culture, previous experiences and general expectations. Others may see things differently. That being said, here is what I would put in the “Bad” category. The Bionic bar where two robot arms mix and serve you a variety of drinks chosen from a tablet at your table. Interesting once, technically amazing, but boring and avoided in the future. I like talking to the bar and wait staff. I don't really need my drinking automated. While there are many deck chairs on the sundeck, they are too close together and also roped together at the back so that you can't move them around or out of the way. This is a nuisance. Even though I was able to un rope a few occasionally, they were tied together the next day. If we had super high winds and/or rough seas, I would understand this but such was not the case. Maybe they will untie them or mean to untie them in the future but so far, it hasn't happened. Of all things, we found the seats in the theater uncomfortable. Maybe it was us and our butt shapes and the seats we chose but by the end of the performance, I had butt ache. There seems to be 8 specialty restaurants on this ship. That, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it costs significant coin to eat there. In my expectations, I get the finest food and the finest treatment in the Main Dining room. I don't like to feel that the really good stuff is available elsewhere. For a fee. I realize this is a trend in the industry but the prices for that on this cruise are out of line. Speaking of costs, the drink prices on board seem very high. Yes, there is a drink of the day but there are no happy hours. Yes you can buy a drink package but you would have to drink like a fish to make it pay. For 30 days. And both stateroom members. For us, this would have added some $3900 CDN to the price of the cruise. No thanks. The cruise line brags about the fastest Internet at sea. It may be, but it is expensive. I get it that some people feel they must be totally connected and able to stream movies for their entire trip. The cost of doing that for 30 days would approach $1000 CDN. What I need and probably others need is 10 minutes of access every 3 or 4 days. This is not available. It should be. It is on other ships. Even if they charged an a la carte rate of $10 per hour, that would work fine for us. Again speaking of costs, rumour has it that many of the activities we have now at no charge will carry a fee when the ship reaches Shanghai. For example, I heard, with no validation, that they are going to charge $60 for a ride on the North Star. It simply isn't worth it. I suppose the price will find its own level depending upon the market it is in. Before I move on , I need to set the cultural stage a bit. This ship is designed for the Asian market. It is different than the market I am used to, that being mainly Western. So what I find bad, perhaps is because it is culturally a problem for me. In the Asian market, gambling far exceeds the drinking urge. In fact, the bar staff will be reduced by 50% when the ship goes “Full Asian” when it hits its base in Shanghai. The Casino is extra large and will have a “Golden Room” for the high rollers. The reason for the high priced shops on board will become more apparent as the ship gears up for the “Crazy Rich Asians”. Now, you cannot buy basic toiletries like toothpaste but you can buy Asian cough medicine for $111 USD. So I get it. I get it that the first language on board will be Chinese. I get it that all the signs on board are in English and Chinese. I get it that there are a lot more Asian food offerings. I get it that the entertainment will cater to the Asian market rather than to the Western. All this is well and good and I commend it. However, without getting too specific, there are two areas of what seems to be Asian culture that the ship might want to address by additional signage. One is spitting. The lovely and well used communal washbasins outside of Windjammer are not spittoons and spitting off of your balcony is unfriendly at best. And toilets in the public ladies room are to be sat on, not squatted on where you can't aim properly. Perhaps I over step. Apologies, I don't mean to offend. And finally, THE UGLY There are only two things that I think qualify for my “ugly” designation. Neither of them are the fault of the ship and its staff. Rather, these are Royal Caribbean policies determined by Head Office. The first is what we experienced as back to back cruisers. In the Main Dining room, we had a table of 6 people with whom we had bonded and become friends with. So to with the great wait staff. At change over to the second leg, they assigned us all to different tables. New people, new wait staff. This was done by head office at the last minute. We protested as did many others caught in the same situation. But head office had determined that they needed to accommodate those getting on in Dubai at the dis-accommodation of those already on board. To head office, we are just names. Need a table for 10? Take the table for 6 and the one for 4 and combine them; shove those people somewhere else. Our protests resulted in at least being re united with our new friends but we learned from the dining room staff that this was a common occurrence with head office and that they had told them repeatedly about it to no avail. It happens every trip and the dining room staff has to scramble to address the problems it creates. The staff were very apologetic and we received a bottle of wine and 6 lobster tails by way of showing this. (Normally, you have to pay for the lobster dinner.) The second ugly item is more critical to us. As a matter of fact, it is a deal breaker. This issue alone will discourage me from travelling Royal Caribbean again. It is this. RC has started classifying passengers and has created at least 3 different “statuses”. Now I am in favour of all the loyalty benefits that I can get. If I travel a lot with one cruise line, I like to get rewarded in return for my loyalty. I like getting the perks that are available. Things like drink and meal packages, internet access, free laundry, free drinks in my stateroom, perhaps priority boarding or a cabin upgrade. All these are great. And none of them take away from what the rest of the passengers are getting. RC sees it differently. They have created significant prime areas of the ship which are for the exclusive use of the few. We can't go there. They have created special reserved seating in the best seats in the theaters. We can't sit there. They have special deck space, pools, lounges and dining rooms where the privileged can hang out away from the rest of us. I do not know what percentage of the ship has been taken away but it is significant. Why would someone want to join a ship of 4000 passengers so that they can be alone with 200? This is a backward step in cruising in my opinion. And I know there will be those who totally disagree with me. As is your right and privilege. I sincerely hope you enjoy all of your future cruises on Royal Caribbean. I will likely be on another cruise line. I remember my early days in cruising when everybody was made to feel like they were first class passengers. Now, we can't help but feel we are somehow less valued. Maybe this retrograde step will permeate throughout the industry. I hope not. Did I still enjoy this cruise? Of course. Did I let this dividing of passengers get to me? I tried not to but perhaps failed a little. But if it signifies a trend, then I want to speak out. We all saw how things turned out on the Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food ... Read More
This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food was very good at night and we couldn’t complain about the service. Entertainment was hit and miss and we waited so long for the big productions to come on. The Silk Road didn’t appear till near the end of the second cruise. They had 3 different boy acts which were fabulous. We mainly went to the Two70 bar which was a lot quieter and we had one bar staff who knew our names and what we had. Couldn’t afford anything in the high end shops and like $US 9 for a bar of chocolate REALLY. Room for improvement in many areas. We tried all the bars and were very annoyed that no nibbles were available and they ran out of Lavender syrup. Drinks were also pricey. The coffee shops were very good would have liked to see some pastries on offer. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and meeting some interesting people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All ... Read More
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All are now healthy and we tried again. Very excited about being the first to sleep in the bed, eat at that table, see a show in the theatre etc. We sailed from Barcelona to Singapore. That constituted 2 cruises by RCCL. We soon found out maiden voyages are not without many issues. But first they many positive things: We loved our Silver Jr. Suite. This was cruise #27 for us and this was our favorite cabin. It came with perks we didn't expect like access to Silver lounge which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were told that the silver lounge and the gold lounge would be taken out once the ship reached Shanghai its home port. The 2 lounges will be made into VIP gambling lounges instead. We loved trying new things: (1) North Star which we did twice. Once taking lots of pictures and once just for the enjoyment of being 300 feet above the ocean and seeing the sides and top of the ship from a whole new view. (2) I-Fly the skydiving simulator. It was fun and really didn't warrant the nerves that led up to entering cylinder. (3) Bumper cars at sea. Have not been on bumper cars in 20 maybe 30 years. Much nicer than any from past. The ship has many whimsical decorations i.e. pandas and food truck sculptures on outside deck. There was also 3 pools: outside, inside and solarium. The solarium had 2 small decks off each side. I don't think many people knew they were there because hardly anyone was out there. When we told our friends about them I don't think they believed us because they had been in the solarium and didn't see them. Food was ok in dining room. Our friends insisted on eating every night in dining room. We chose anytime dining but made reservations for a certain table at the same time each night. There were many mix ups and the table was often filled when we arrived. After speaking with several people who were suppose to be in charge, it finally got straightened out. Enjoyed breakfast and some lunches in silver lounge. It was quiet and more relaxed. The entertainment was very good for the most part. I think they brought on some top acts for the maiden voyage. We greatly enjoyed the production show (there was only one in theatre) Showgirls. We saw it twice. There was a production show in the Two70 lounge called Silk Road. It wasn't ready until after Dubai so anyone getting off Barcelona-Dubai didn't get to see it. The costumes, dancing and special effects were amazing, but I still have no idea what the story line was. Neither did anyone I talked to. Ports: Did ship shore excursions except for last port in Penang. That was the only port after Dubai you could get off and walk around on your own. Checked many bucket list places: Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Acropolis, Petra, Suez Canal, Dubai, Amalfi Coast. Stops in India would be classified as one and done. It was as expected, dirty and noisy. Not the highlight. Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. It gave me great pleasure to introduce it to our friends traveling with us. Gardens by the bay night light show as well as daytime visit, Marina Bay Sands light show over the water can not be missed. One of the reviews talked about the RCCL app for the phone. Not to be disrespectful, but he could not possible have used it. Yes it was suppose to do all the things he claimed but they didn't work. Dinner reservations made were suppose to show up on calendar and never did - at least not all of them. We went through activities on the app first day and put things on our calendar. The problem was those events never happened on the ship. The activities in the Cruise Compass and the app often didn't agree. You could look up your folio. That was the only reliable thing on the app. We talked to staff members and learned it wasn't a Spectrum of the Seas issue but a RCCL issue. My husband marked it low on our mid-cruise survey and received a call from IT. They couldn't disagree with anything he told them and thanked him for his input. Nothing changed however. There were a lot of little things that I attribute to the fact the ship was made for the Asian market and when the ship reached Shanghai it would operate differently. There were only extremely high end stores on board. You rarely saw anyone in any of them. Those will stay. People complained about no bingo but Asian market doesn't support bingo so too expensive for short trip. Different bars had different things. It was a real complaint of our traveling companions that there were no bitters on board until after Dubai. Olives & cherries for their drinks were often none existent at the Schooner bar. Since I don't drink anything that requires those items it wasn't a big deal to me. There were other things but honestly I believe the screwups or lack of supplies was simply because they would not be used in China market. Even the cruise director staff will be exiting in June when arriving in Shanghai and speaking Mandarin is the new requirement for staff. Since I do not plan to take a cruise in the Asian market I am glad I got to take the 30 day maiden voyage and enjoy this beautiful ship even with all the hiccups. I could tell more but it won't matter because there will not be another cruise like this one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a ... Read More
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a cake on your birthday. Plus all the great restaurants, shipboard amenities, very nice spacious cabins, and comfort while you cruise. Really enjoyed the aquivet terrace for lunch al fresco. Excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The transfers to the hotel and ship were smooth and the transfer from hotel to ship even included a free tour of Barcelona. We have already explored much of Barcelona on the extension before the cruise and enjoyed tapas and watching the Spanish (Catalans) celebrate the end of the holiday season on Three Kings Day when they actually celebrate and give. Gifts so our Barcelona tour on the morning of January 6 was very quiet. The cabin is very nice. Every cabin has a veranda and ours was a penthouse veranda on a middle deck. The bathroom is very functional and roomy for a ship. Good toiletries and high quality towels plus lots of storage for your kit. The heated floors in the bathroom are very nice especially on a cold morning. The cabin has lots of storage for clothes and everything that you might bring aboard. There is even a mini refrigerator with complementary drinks. Plus binoculars to use on the veranda, a hair dryer, and robes to wear to the spa. We used the outdoor hot tub, very nice. On previous trips we have used the indoor spa with hot tub, pool and snow grotto - a lot of fun. This trip we finally used the exercise room, which is included free, and has good quality machines. All of the restaurants are nice. We had lunch in the World Cafe and it has great variety of food and also had sit down multi course lunch one sea day in the Restaurant. Dinner was in The Restaurant most nights with local specialties or European food. The nights we ate in the upgraded restaurant - Manfredi’s was excellent - great Italian food and especially the steak Florentine. The Chef’s Table is also nice with food and wine pairings although frankly we don’t like it as much as the other restaurants. Breakfast is great with lots of choices at the World Cafe and one day we tried the Norse food at Mamsem’s although really just had a waffle. The ports on this trip are nice but not as special as other trips. Barcelona and Malaga were the best. Cartagena almost as nice. Vigo was interesting and we did the optional tour to Bayona. Portsmouth was a good port especially cruising right by the old town as we left the harbor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019

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