733 Barcelona Senior Cruise Reviews

Good - the staff. Every one gave 110%. We often were greeted with "welcome back" as if the staffer recognized us from a prior cruise - or from a prior day onboard - or observed our color-coded prior cruiser room card. In any ... Read More
Good - the staff. Every one gave 110%. We often were greeted with "welcome back" as if the staffer recognized us from a prior cruise - or from a prior day onboard - or observed our color-coded prior cruiser room card. In any event, a nice feeling. Good - the ship decor, cleanliness, and appointments. As a new ship, the cleanliness was to be expected, but the pleasant decor was a plus. Other ships had hideous wall designs and coloration. The atrium was a continuous gentle swirling of color - very relaxing. Room decor was also well done. Each room has a large, flat-screen TV. Good - in-room safe. The safe opened and closed with a 4-digit pin, so all occupants had access without needing the one person with the specific credit card to be available. Good - the daily Carnival Fun Times was concise and efficiently presented. Small enough to be folded into a man's pants pocket without difficulty. A nice improvement is the addition of movie ratings and length for all movies, not just some (movie length helps immeasurably in planning for the busy daily schedule). Good - main dining room food. Equal to the best of any other Carnival ship. For those familiar with the 3-part menu, it was mostly repetitive as to the leftmost two pages. But the right page ("Ports of Call" foods) represented Spain, Italy, France, etc. and was distinctly several steps above Caribbean, Caribbean, Caribbean, etc. Bad - operating hours of the Salad Bar in the seniors-only (Serenity) area were not posted. It was open on our first day of the cruise. We intended to go there on future days but it was always closed. Eventually I asked a staffer what was up. He said it was only open on sea days. The only sea day on this particular cruise was the first day, so we missed out. The hours need to be posted (and maybe put a heads-up in the Fun Times to avoid passenger disappointment). Tip: visit it early and verify your sea days. Bad - Serenity whirlpool safety. The warning sign outside the whirlpool tells users to limit time to 15 minutes. But there is no clock visible! Carnival needs to put up a clock nearby. Tip: if you are sensitive to long-term exposure to heated water, or in any way concerned, bring your watch to keep track of the time. Bad - limited number of whirlpools. The ship is much larger with so many more things to do, but whirlpool availability has become limited. There is no whirlpool in the fitness center as on other Carnival ships. There is an age-restricted (21+) whirlpool in the Serenity area and only two whirlpools open to everyone else. Very crowded and usually very populated with children. Good - music all around the ship. The Vista had the best performers we've seen in the various lounges and atrium. Exceptionally skilled violinists, piano players, and guitarists. The piped-in music seemed to be better, too (maybe my imagination as I can't be sure what I remember about piped-in music on other ships.) BAD - the layout of the main showroom (the Liquid Lounge) is a huge disappointment. The main level is basically that - LEVEL! The rows barely increase in height so you can't see over the heads of the people in front of you. Also, the designer must have thought that a flexible seating area would allow rearrangement to suit various productions so the majority of seats are chairs. But since the showroom is rather tiny, Carnival squeezed in a row of chairs between the fixed seats and packed in the rows of chairs very tightly, so that there are very few aisles to move around the room. It's hard to get to many of the seating areas. And the waiters can't get through most of the rows to serve drinks. Tip: arrive early for shows to scope out the location of the moveable chairs and to get the better seats. Good - the productions in the main showroom are terrific. And the cast is particularly talented in singing and dancing. Their choreography is worthy of Olympic synchronized events. Bad - the casino layout (done by the same company that did the Liquid Lounge) was again a disappointment (possibly due to Carnival's placement of the slot machines and tables). In several locations against the wall it is impossible to pass behind the player's chairs. This was true of the interior walls as well as the outer, seaside walls. Also, in the center there is a circular bar with a circular wall around it. To pass between the wall and one of the huge pillars, one must turn sideways. Bad - male restroom access from the casino. You probably won't believe this, but I swear it is true. When a male asks a casino staffer "Where is the nearest men's room?", the answer is "It's not on this floor. Take the elevator up one floor and it is right there!!" That's the only time I have ever been told to take an elevator to get to a restroom on a Carnival ship. (BTW - not a problem for ladies. They have a nearby restroom.) Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
First time cruisers, 40th anniv from S.A. Travel agent recommended Brilliance. Stayed in Barcelona 2 days Mariano Cubi, lovely hotel but tiny double bed. Embarkation quick and very organized. Helpful, obliging, friendly staff from cabin ... Read More
First time cruisers, 40th anniv from S.A. Travel agent recommended Brilliance. Stayed in Barcelona 2 days Mariano Cubi, lovely hotel but tiny double bed. Embarkation quick and very organized. Helpful, obliging, friendly staff from cabin attendant, to pool, to dining rooms and customer care. Huge variety of food on offer on buffet, snack bar and formal dining room. Beautifully presented and readily available. Full drinks package for my husband and beverage package for me. Could have done without mine as there was iced tea, flavoured water, lemonade, tea and coffees available free all day. Beautiful balcony cabin 8516 with ample storage cupboards and shelves on dresser and in bathroom. Shower is tiny! Cruise compass gave daily activities from early till late. I took the "all access tour" of laundry, kitchens, engine room, bridge, staff areas which was very interesting but very expensive. Tender to 2 ports ran efficiently and smoothly. Shore excursions booked from the ship very expensive. Did research beforehand and booked our own. Did lots of "hop on hop off" buses to get a general view of each city. There is a putt-putt course, rock climbing wall, table tennis, billiards, plenty on offer. Gym fully equipped. Entertainment was good but not wow. Singing, dancing, tenors, magician, comedy. Disembark went smoothly. Security excellent, cleanliness excellent, loved every minute of our 1st cruise. Need to start saving for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I love new ships and couldn't wait for the Carnival Vista. My difficulties with the ship are really ship specific. Between the forward elevators and the atrium there is a significant hump, approximately 4 inches above the floor ... Read More
I love new ships and couldn't wait for the Carnival Vista. My difficulties with the ship are really ship specific. Between the forward elevators and the atrium there is a significant hump, approximately 4 inches above the floor level. It is finished with a metal track that causes a constant problem when walking between the atrium and the elevators. The eight forward elevators are totally unsynchronized, causing multiple elevators to arrive at the same time at the same floor going in the same direction??? Also, pushing one "up " button does not call any elevator available but only certain cars. The casino and dining room are both very congested and navigating through either is difficult. I did not see any of the shows so I can not comment on the Liquid Lounge. The shops are located on two floors of the atrium which took a little while to find some items. I did try to use the sky bike but it is only accessible by an outside staircase, and after waiting in line for 45 minutes was told that I needed to wear closed toe shoes. I was referred to a sign on a wall covered by other people waiting, which mentions the closed toe shoe requirement near the middle of a long list. Ramps for prt visits seemed shorter than usual and therefore were very steep at all ports. The removal of table cloths in the MDR on all but Formal nights caused the dining room to be extremely noisy, reminiscent of a large cafeteria. Otherwise, the Vista is a delightful if not typical Carnival ship. I had recently been on the Breeze (for the third time) and still love the basic design of three elevator banks with familiar layout. My balcony room was fine and included three large drawers in one of the closets and the shampoo and shower gel on the wall. The food in the MDR was fine. I enjoyed the seafood available at the back of deck 10 and the Italian specialty restaurant, both have an extra charge. Employees were as friendly and accommodating as usual and my own room steward "Eddye" was delightful. The ship was spotless and well maintained. The casino hosts were charming and really available when the casino was open This cruise was very port intensive and I had to cancel one tour and change one tour for a shorter excursion due to exhaustion. I would have enjoyed one more seaday. Four port days in a row were just too much for an old lady like me. I will know better next time.b Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We are long time Carnival cruisers, this being our 22nd cruise and all but 2 with them. Thus we had a pretty good idea of what to expect and Vista did not let us down. While there are some big changes from the normal layout, we ... Read More
We are long time Carnival cruisers, this being our 22nd cruise and all but 2 with them. Thus we had a pretty good idea of what to expect and Vista did not let us down. While there are some big changes from the normal layout, we adapted easily. The lobby is not the normal Carnival towering space, but a high tech LED display and only a few decks high. I did miss the atrium and its glass elevators to the top, but they added some new items like an IMAX and a 3D theatre. Dining was fun but the treat of reserved seating is going away being replaced by large anytime seating. For us older folks, we like the designated seating. The dining room staff was outstanding and we met once again the great MD Ken Burns, the singing gentleman. I was quite disappointed at the Liquid Lounge, being used to the large, well seated type on Breeze etc. The chairs were moving all over the place, the balcony too small and generally a mess. The staff seemed to be aware of this situation and suggested it may be changed in its first dry dock. These changes did not distract from an excellent cruise. We met staff from prior Carnival cruises and this made it even better. Looking forward to Horizon in 2018. The casino is way too smoky for us non-smokers so we did not visit it. We are from Ohio where smoking is not permitted in casino's so avoided Carnival's casino. This needs to change if they want our attendance there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
All in all for the price the cruise was really good! I didn't pay too much at all so the things that might have bothered me otherwise didn't. I was in the Solo Cabin so I also believe my experience was different from the non ... Read More
All in all for the price the cruise was really good! I didn't pay too much at all so the things that might have bothered me otherwise didn't. I was in the Solo Cabin so I also believe my experience was different from the non solo. The biggest issue I have is with the men in the solo cabins (not all!) but a lot of them seem to be on the cruise for one reason and many of the ladies in the solo cabins felt it and when I polled them they said they would not do the solo cruise again because of this reason. Norwegian can't really control that. The food in the specialty dining was amazing! But the service was quite slow. The food in the buffet was great but I didn't like the pizza at all. Horrible. I loved the smoked salmon and capers for breakfast. Yummy!!! All the staff were really friendly and helpful except for just one or two. Embarkment is a mess. I didn't like that process what so ever. They also don't warn you that you will have to do a safety drill in the afternoon after boarding in Barcelona. Flying from the USA I had not been to sleep and wanted to nap. It was not a great experience. The drinks are amazing!! The espresso martini in the martini bar is DY-NO-MITE!! I had about 10 lol. The bushwacker is also amazing!!! All drinks were really good and not watered down at ALL so beware lol The ship is noisier than I expected. Most mornings around 7am have announcements. I didn't sleep in once. The pools are small and filled with kids. Even the pool on the H2o adult spice area is tiny and people stated it was hot like bath water. I WILL DO THIS AGAIN!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Being our first cruise as a family I was very reluctant to go on the Norwegian Epic due to the low rating I noticed on different sites but that was too late as I had already paid the full trip amount and wasn't ready to bare the ... Read More
Being our first cruise as a family I was very reluctant to go on the Norwegian Epic due to the low rating I noticed on different sites but that was too late as I had already paid the full trip amount and wasn't ready to bare the cancellation fees. To my amazing surprise that was my best vacation ever and the Epic was so great that I'll never cruise in a different ship. We were 3 adults (my wife, my 21 years old son and myself) in a triple cabin with balcony. The cabin was spotless clean, very good size for a ship cabin as I was expected a much smaller size, the balcony with 2 big size beds was a very big plus. The room design in all aspects including the bathroom was so creative with great space for storage . Dinning at different a la carte restaurant (still complementary) and the big open buffet restaurant was a great part of the trip with endless excellent choices of food and great quality. Non stop Entertainment and different shows were a big problem as we were torn between going down to different port and to stay to enjoy the entertainment. Service, staff, food, entertainment, .... just name it, every thing was perfect. The only draw back was: 1- They don't allow you for even a small bottle of water to bring with you and to buy it there is too pricey. A daily complementary water bottle at the cabin will be a nice gesture to Epic guests. 2- Organized shores excursions are soooooo expensive, so better plan your excursions by yourself in advance and it will cost just a fraction of what they are offering. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chose this cruise mainly because of itinerary, price and timing. Had been in Med before & toured Rome, Athens, Sorento & Pompeii - but this time took professional tour of Rome so saw more sites. Went to some countries we probably ... Read More
Chose this cruise mainly because of itinerary, price and timing. Had been in Med before & toured Rome, Athens, Sorento & Pompeii - but this time took professional tour of Rome so saw more sites. Went to some countries we probably would not have otherwise chosen - so glad we did. Shore excursions way too expensive. Service we received in our room and at dinner in Windows was superb - food was average - people we met from our Roll Call were delightful. Ship is a bit 'tired' in spots - but we like the size - some of the entertainment was great, some was average - but enjoyable. Although folks don't typically spend a lot of time in their rooms on a cruise, it would be nice to have more variety from the TV satellite service for those extended times (like afternoon after a tour, etc.) in the room. Size of ship was just right for our purposes. This was a great trip for us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Picked up this cruise as a fantastic late bargain and were thoroughly pleased with our choice. Our first cruise was taken on the Spirit 10 years ago, so it had a little significance for us. That said the experience of those ten years did ... Read More
Picked up this cruise as a fantastic late bargain and were thoroughly pleased with our choice. Our first cruise was taken on the Spirit 10 years ago, so it had a little significance for us. That said the experience of those ten years did show how our expectations of cruise ships has changed as the ship is long overdue some TLC from Norwegian. Apparently that is scheduled for this winter so good for that. Anyway the decor and upkeep deficiencies didnt detract from our experience as we cruise for the itinerary, which was superb. Embarkation and disembarkation at Barcelona and Venice respectively was excellent, and the transfer to staterooms and arrival of luggage was very good too. We felt that the storage opportunities for a 14 day cruise were a little limited. The cabin was comfortable enough although I did find the nighttime air con noise too loud and had a lot of disturbed sleep. Our cabin steward was very efficient although he wasn't the most communicative fellow. Because we picked up the cruise at a considerable discount we didn't have access to beverage or dining packages. Prior to the cruise I was very unhappy about the new liquid rules as this included drinking water - the essential of life, but I was pleased to find that NCL had a water package on board. Even so, at just over $2.50 per 750mil bottle that still came as a steep price. Added to that you needed to make sure that that which you took off got drank or you had to tip away any unused water. In respect of other beverages we were quite happy to go with a wine package, although they are quite limited in choice. There are three package levels with 4 red 4 white choices at each level. However as each level could duplicate varietals within the package the choice was quite sparse. In respect of dining we were more than happy to frequent Windows at breakfast and evening meals, together with lunchtime on sea days. We found the experience to be excellent. Amanda and her front desk team colleagues were very friendly and efficient. As gold Latitudes members we were able to get a table for 2 by or near a window at every meal. We had several different waiters and Mizhat, Sandra and Hannah all excelled. For any cricket loving cruiser, Mizhat is your go to guy. He loves his cricket and will keep you up to date with test match scores. Cruise Critic members often complain about variety of meals in main dining rooms, but I can report that I only repeated meals on two occasions and that was out of choice rather than necessity. On two evenings we dined near to two Israeli couples and the ship did provide kosher meals. The only limitation I could see was for vegetarian, vegan diets. That said, I eat to refuel so work of that what you will! The buffet was what the buffet often is and we only used it on port days. We tend to eat salad lunches and there was usually a reasonable choice although we did miss the roasted joint options that were available aboard the Epic buffet earlier in the year. A couple of final dining remarks. Firstly big praise for a little lady. Kusuma works as washy washy outside Windows Restaturant. The restaurant has a dress code of no shorts or vests at evening meals and boy does she work it! Turn up improperly dressed and you don't get past her, and good for her. Freestyle is a great opportunity for all and there are plenty of shorts allowed options for dining. It's not asking a lot for passengers to comply in ONE instance. Secondly, every praise to the Kids activities leaders who did an excellent job of ensuring that the kids got their full choice of meal and dining space without affecting other passengers. Less effective parents take note! We've always considered NCL to be excellent providers of entertainment so were a little disappointed on this cruise. Absolutely nothing to do with the choice of entertainment, although a comedian would be preferable to the posing illusionist, our main concern was with the over amplification of Stardust theatre. It did no good at all to the two female company singers who spent much of the performance screeching, and detracted from the performance of Pop Opera group 4ever, who could easily have filled the theatre with their voices unplugged. Simple maxim, if it's good, it doesn't need volume. However we still enjoyed the bulk of our evening entertainment provoked by Patricia Watson in Champagne Charlie's. Billed as a pianist her show was much more with audience singing and percussion participation as well as occasional solo performances, well done Matthew, Katy and others plus star turns from waitress, Priscilla, and head bar tender, Jimmy. Great till late fun and well worth the trip. It's some time since we did cruise ship booked excursions, and on this cruise we found ourselves with a mix o familiar and brand new destinations, so rarely moved far from town. As a result we did all our excursions for ten ports for less than the average cost of two ship excursions and got bundles out of most of them. Here's a quick run through Toulon - little train just off the ship, not really worth it but town has a bubbly market and some quirky back streets for interesting strolls so we did OK Livorno - town transfer for €5, then all aboard Tuscany Bus.com to Florence and Pisa. First to Florence drop off by the railway station and be back in 4 hrs. Easy walk to The Duomo, Ponte Vecchia and all sights in between. However if you want to go somewhere specific probably best to book ahead and go straight there. If just wandering try to find the Central Market and go upstairs, fantastic food court serving local produce. Later on 1 hour in Pisa and guide took us to the Tower etc. Again if you want to climb tower get their quick. Limit to how many go up at a time and it could be a rush. At end brought back to ship at dock €39 adults 20 for kids. Civitavecchia- Civitavecchia tours bus €19 drop you off for 5 hours by Tiber near St Peters. We strolled between Piazza Navare, Campo di Fiore, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, had lunch in between and got round in plenty of time! Back to dock transfer point in plenty of time. Naples - did Amalfi Coast and Pompeii and Isle of Capri on two previous trips so decided to just stroll round city Mykonos - transfer bus to town and spent a few hours wandering the back streets in search of windmills. Make sure your camera batteries are charged, classic Greek Calendar photos at every turn. Masses of bars and restaurants, you won't go thirsty or hungry! Athens - old familiar so just jumped aboard the BLUE hop on hop off bus€20. Does a good route calls in all the main sites so made for a good morning. Corfu - shuttle to the port terminal, although it's an easy walk. Hop on hop off bus available so jumped aboard then spent time wandering the streets of Old Town. Kotor, the jewel in the crown. The sail in was fantastic, think Norwegian Fjords with towns and villages instead of waterfalls. Up and out on the balcony and wallowing in the early morning views, DW hit the camera, I hit the sketch book. View after view with early light adding its own special magic. Once arrived and docked we were tendered ashore by a local ferry boat and joined the hop on etc again. Took us to an excavated Roman villa with great mosaics and did a stop for a village with a good beach and / or a boat trip out to a couple of islands in the bay. Back in town the streets were char,ing and the old city walls were easily accessible. For the hardy there's a steady climb up to the fort way above the town, which offers great views apparently. The city is surrounded by a high pinnacle mountains, which really close the space in. Hope to get back there one day and explore further. Dubrovnik - another transfer to another fabulous walled city. The walls are an excellent walk and there's a cable car taking you up above the city for some great aerial views. Several interesting old halls , churches and monasteries so again plenty to interest the independent visitor. Although the city is home to Game of Crowns, I didn't find it as mysterious a tour as Kotor. Koper- interesting little town with a good aracelogical museum, a bell tower climb and numerous churches. Time the bell tower carefully, I didn't and was about a third of the way up when the bells started! And then we had a three night stopover in Venice. This was a great cruise which I wouldn't hesitate to do again, even though it appears it was a one off for NCL. As I said, sadly, never to be repeated Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We had sailed with M.S.C. before and really enjoyed the experience. We went in July, having gone in June the pervious year, and we found a lot more children on board. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights before the cruise, and 2 nights ... Read More
We had sailed with M.S.C. before and really enjoyed the experience. We went in July, having gone in June the pervious year, and we found a lot more children on board. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights before the cruise, and 2 nights after the cruise. It is one of our favorite cities and we love exploring it, M.S.C. embarkation must be one of the smoothest in any cruise line, luggage is taken from you as soon as you arrive, you are on board before you know it. Our cabin was not ready for an hour, so we were directed to the welcome buffet where a delicious was waiting. Our balcony cabin was waiting in one hour, met our steward, we even had a pillow menu! There was four in our party and we had a table for four at dinner. the menu changes every night and if you decide that you do not like your choice, there is no problem in getting you a replacement from the menu. In the evenings there is a range of entertainment, although with the ship being full. there was a problem with seating in some of the reception areas, but usually once the second seating dinner went, we had ample room. We enjoy going on tours but were disappointed in La Spezia when the wine tasting tour was cancelled, we only knew the night before, but the shuttle bus took you from the ship for free. I think the tours are good value and very informative. Already looking forward to next year, but think we will try a smaller M.S.C ship and we will be going in June. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My concept of a Mediterranean cruise is Barcelona to Venice. We've sailed with Celebrity, Princess and Azamara and based on everything I knew I was fully expecting Holland America to meet or exceed our past experiences. It was not ... Read More
My concept of a Mediterranean cruise is Barcelona to Venice. We've sailed with Celebrity, Princess and Azamara and based on everything I knew I was fully expecting Holland America to meet or exceed our past experiences. It was not to be. The ports of call and HAL's shore excursions we all wonderful. But the ship design (pools and atrium), and more importantly the food and service fell very short of our expectations. The embarkation process was chaotic. After check-in, everyone was given a boarding number. Unfortunately, the announcement system was almost impossible to hear/understand. We felt like cattle in a holding pen. Our cabin was fine for the most part, and we very much appreciated the extra large balcony. But there could have been a magazine rack mounted on the wall to hold all the ship provided magazines and our various file folders and information. Precious surface space was wasted. The bed was too hard for our taste, but I understand it's impossible to please everyone. The water and AC temperatures were excellent, although a bit more water pressure would have been appreciated. Overall we were quite comfortable in our cabin, # 4042. We also weren't impressed with the muster drill. Is it really necessary to make everyone stand on deck, cheek by jowl for over 30 minutes? Other cruises we are mustered in public spaces like the casino or specialty restaurants, where we can sit comfortably. Real problems began to surface our first night in the main dining room. Our expectation is that we order drinks/wine first, and then our meal. After not receiving my wine until my dinner was almost finished, I made a point of refusing to order my food until my wine order had been taken. And then I learned that if I wanted a second glass before dessert, I must order two glasses at a time. With the exception of two nights when we ate elsewhere, this was the drill. They always wanted me order my food first. One night we elected to order room service for dinner. We liked that it was included int the price. Our food was delivered cold. There was a card asking us to call to have the tray picked up when we were finished. I called at 8 pm and spoke with a friendly lady who said it would be collected immediately. By 10 pm, we put the DND notice on the door and went to sleep. We were also disappointed in the variety and quality of the food. I had cruised with Norwegian in May and was totally wowed by the food. Not with HAL. While totally edible, in general we found the meat and fish over cooked and dry. And no flavour. Breakfasts were the best, and we enjoyed the Dive In for hot dogs and hamburgers, and there were a few excellent desserts. Otherwise, our food experience was mediocre at best. Mediocre is also a good word to describe the nightly entertainment. Some nights were good, most were either too loud, or simply boring. We have sailed on ships this size and smaller - there really is no excuse. Until about day 9 we were happy with our cabin stewards and their service. Then I noticed that there was mold on the shower curtain. I left a note, assuming they would simply replace the curtain. We returned after a day of sightseeing to a cabin reeking of bleach. The shower curtain sparkled. Later my husband noticed that the royal blue top I had been wearing had bleached out marks on the back. They had used bleach to get rid of the mold, but then didn't rinse it off. I inadvertently bumped into it, and my top was ruined. The hotel manager arrived promptly and explained that beach is never allowed in cabins, period, and that I was entitled to a claim. He would arrange to have the shower curtain replace immediately. Our cabin steward arrived and said he didn't understand the problem, why didn't I just send my top to the laundry? I did get $40 US for my top, which since I bought it in France a couple of years ago, and was my favourite, is irreplaceable. I could likely ramble on longer, but I think you get my point. Overall we had a great time, but we will never sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Harmony of the Seas is a new ship. As a new ship. It has many options. It also has many people - about 6,000. It has approximately 2,500 crew. Sometimes it seems like it is not crowded. Other times not so. When I talk to friends and ... Read More
Harmony of the Seas is a new ship. As a new ship. It has many options. It also has many people - about 6,000. It has approximately 2,500 crew. Sometimes it seems like it is not crowded. Other times not so. When I talk to friends and family, some like cruising, some do not. We were interested in trying out a new ship (One of the largest in the world) but the destinations were what caught our attention. Barcelona, Mallorca, Marseilles, Naples, Rome. The cruise started from Barcelona on July 3rd and ended on July 10th. If you enjoy pools, slides, lounge chairs and continuous access to drinks and food, cruising is for you. A ship has to be designed to manage the large numbers of people, keeping them entertained and satisfied. Elevators and equipment must be working at all times and information should be constantly available. There are many choices for entertainment and dining. We found that a large new ship is the same as any other cruise ship in many respects. Here are some of our experiences on this very large, very shiny ship. We booked a cabin for two a year in advance and had our choice of cabin. Later in the year we decided to offer our grandchildren the option of coming with us and called the RC agents to make the change to include two of our grandchildren. Royal Caribbean did not confirm the new cabin for us until it was time to fly to Barcelona. There is some anxiety involved in waiting the rest of the year for a cabin confirmation. The Cabin - The cabin was called a state room. It was in quite a state throughout the voyage so perhaps it was well named. For sure it was not stately. We were essentially four adults. Our granddaughters had as much luggage (1 bag each) as my wife and I and were 12 and 13 years old. The clothing storage was inadequate and we kept our luggage on the floor as extra storage. There was no privacy curtain for the adults and no night light in the room to find our way to the bathroom as we tried to navigate the trundle bed which had about a 10" clearance to the cabinets. This is where cell phones or iPads come in useful, you can use them as flashlights. The cabin was a mess from day 1 with bathing suits hanging from every protuberance that was available. There was a long wall next to the main bed but alas, there were no hooks available. We lived in squalor for 7 days while we "enjoyed" our cruise. Comfort has become important in our retired lives and our "camping" days were over quite some time ago. The lights came on if you put your "sea pass" into the reader slot near the door. If you take your card out all the lights will go out and you will be in a dark cavern with obstacles in your path. The shower was OK and there was plenty of hot water. The toilet had a quick flush to conserve water. If you put a card in the reader by the door and switch off all the cabin lights there is a night light in the bathroom but a phone will do a better job. The couch beds were not very good. I’m glad my wife and I did not have to sleep on them. Throughout the cruise, the cabin was my least favorite place to be. A huge ship with nasty little cabins that are not very well thought out. I should add that the person looking after our cabin was very nice and concerned about us. We gave him an extra tip. Ship features - Our two grandchildren are 12 and 13 and were looking forward to trying out the various offerings on deck. We obtained the notarized waivers that were required from their parents. When one of the girls went to go rock climbing she was turned away because she needed an adult with her. No problem, I went with her. We were then told we needed the waiver document. The cabin was not close by so it would have been useful if she had been informed about that initially. I went and got the waiver. One of the staff was gesticulating at the other when shown the waiver and accused me of presenting a copy and not the original. I pointed out the different color inks and he said that I must have used a color copier (It was the original). A second staff member said that I should go to Customer Service and get a copy made so that they could keep a copy. Again, this could have been handled quite differently. I went to Customer Service and obtained the requested copy but my granddaughter was now so upset that she gave up. She had been looking forward to the rock climb since the girls had read about the ship online and she said that they would just find something else that was wrong. I was very angry at having been called a liar and heartbroken on behalf of my granddaughter. We were not treated well at all and she did not get to climb. She also hurt herself on one of the water slides, slipping and bruising her ribs (We hope they are not cracked) when she stepped out of the tube. Main Dining - The Main dining areas were on three decks. We had made arrangements to go to what is known as "My time" dining which is reserved for a time of your choosing. There are other dining areas, some included in the fee and others that are charged on top of the fee you have already paid. We had a large group of 17 people so we looked forward to the reservations that we had made. You can bring two bottles of wine on board when you board the ship and the waiters will store the wine for you until you need it. This is the ONLY time you are allowed to bring wine aboard. Any drinks that you buy will be expensive and will have tax and a service charge added so be warned. If you buy the drink package and want to receive your full value you will likely be tipsy most of the time. If you are careful and pay as you go (keep your receipts) you will enjoy a nice drink when you would like one and pay less. Food - As with all cruises the food is abundant and there is a cafeteria-style restaurant called the Windjammer that is available much of the time. We found the food quality to be mediocre, especially in the main dining room. Salmon cooked to a brick and steak still frozen in the center with no taste. We not impressed at all. Of course you can forget the payment you made that included the “meal” and go to the restaurants spread around the ship where you pay extra for a meal that may be better quality. We tried another complimentary restaurant called the Bistro. This was less crowded and had some different menu items. All waiters were pleasant and helpful. Casino - There is a casino on board also but if you don't like second-hand smoke you may need an oxygen mask to pass through the casino or take an elevator to another floor and walk down on the other side of the casino. We like to put aside some money to have some fun in the casinos but we could not bring ourselves to spend time in a place where the smoke stung our eyes and made us cough. Onboard Entertainment - Shows are scheduled for different nights but we found that by the time we finished dinner we missed all the shows we reserved with the exception of the comedy act which was quite entertaining. Photographers - You may remember film, negatives, processing and prints. These are no longer. Like many of us who converted years ago, the ship photographers use digital SLR cameras with flash. We suggest you do the same. These days a 16GB flash drive costs about $5 on Amazon. I usually buy 64GB drives. You will be bombarded by photographers on the two formal dinner nights and every time you go ashore. The resulting pictures are displayed on one of the decks and typically at least one member of the family will want to buy a package (Not me). The pictures are often poorly constructed, not centered and cost $20 each. You will be very lucky to escape with $100 of your well-earned savings for this very amateurish service. Find a good spot and take your own photographs, you will have them on your own flash drive. The ship will not put their photographs on your flash drive but they will sell you a small flash drive for $10 to put them on in addition to the $20 fee if you wish. Internet service - If you think that you pay too much for internet service at home then get ready for a shock. Typically home internet service costs about $30/month. On board ship it is $77 per person per device for the duration of the cruise. We had two granddaughters who spend most of their day sending messages and email etc. We purchased the internet service for them and one for my wife and I so that we could communicate with their parents and the girls on board ship. It turns out that there is also a messaging service on board that costs $7/day (In addition to the Internet service). So $49 plus tax for messaging each while you are on board. It’s not included in your $77 plus tax internet charge. Go figure. You will need to “forget” the service on your device if you want to move it to another device. Go figure. Yet another expensive overhead on top of insurance and tours and photographs and restaurants and drinks. Off-ship tours/trips - The dock areas where the ship arrives are not pretty and it will take time to get from here to the town close by. You need your ship pass and your passport and it was very hot wherever we went so take some shade and plenty of water. Do not take the water from your cabin fridge. I was thirsty in the middle of the night and after fumbling around in our dark cabin I found a water bottle for which I was billed over $12.00 in my final bill. The last day - Remember that you are now onboard with 6,000 other guests and they are all competing for food and loungers, pools and hot tubs. Plan the last day ahead of time if you want to read a book in a comfortable lounger near to some reasonable food. I suggest the Bistro in the Solarium. In theory there are no kids allowed in the Solarium but I’m not sure at what age the kids become adults on board. We did find a good spot and managed to stay put for most of the day. Also, be sure that you get off early enough to get transport back to the airport because you will be competing with thousands of people at every stage of your trip home including taxis, boarding passes, security checks, meals - what a treat! Final Bill - Check your final bill carefully. I found that it was not accurate and had to call after I got home to get an explanation. Items are added and removed and you may have more than one version of a final bill like we did. We did resolve the issue in the end with the help of the web site number. Summary - For the four of us including airfares from the USA the trip was expensive. I know we could have done much better. If you enjoy being held to a schedule from the time you leave home to when you get back, being herded around like cattle, bumping into people constantly while you get your own food, waiting for elevators, pushed around on tours, bruising your shins and other parts as you try to get around a cabin for four that would be hard-pressed to serve two and fast marched around historical places this is for you. If you want a relaxing, memorable vacation with your wife where you can buy your own wine anytime you want, choose reasonable restaurants with amazing menus and take a trip when you feel like it, think about renting a place where you will be left alone until you are ready to explore and come back happy, refreshed, with a big smile and money left in your wallet. We are now quite sure that cruising is not for us. Instead, we will make enquiries with friends who have taken a different approach and do things in peaceful surroundings at our own pace and with no Captain announcing at the top of his/her voice hot hot we are going to be in an annoyingly cheerful way that reminds me of the cheap self-contained holidays of my youth. The ship is not cheap but it is definitely not for us. In general, the staff on the ship were pleasant and eager to help. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We had never travelled on Oceania but our travel agent recommended this cruise as we were going with our parents who are older people and need help in many ways. She said the service was great and the food was excellent and the itinerary ... Read More
We had never travelled on Oceania but our travel agent recommended this cruise as we were going with our parents who are older people and need help in many ways. She said the service was great and the food was excellent and the itinerary was also interesting for all our age ranges (from 10 to 82). Since we embarked the cruise we felt a personal service, we went to have lunch at the buffet and the waiters were ready at any moment to help my parents carry their plates or ask them if they needed something else. Before the drill someone from the crew came to my parents cabin and told them he was in charge of taking them to the drill station, help them put on their life jackets etc.. very nice of Oceania to do that. The cabins are very spacious and the shower is great. The cabin attendants great and the laundry area in each floor very useful. The food is simply fabulous either at the buffet or at any of the dinning rooms. You have many options to choose from. What I really liked is only the staff serves you the food from the buffet, you are not allowed to serve yourself which is good because you reduce the risk of transmitting viruses. We loved the ports, and the excursions were great. The Destinations crew was very professional and open. We were lucky that is was not too hot. The pool area is also very nice and the afternoon tea was great. My mom hurried us every day from the excursions so she could arrive in time for tea. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Mine and my cousins first time cruising! We flew from Birmingham to Barcelona (a city we have had the pleasure of a 3 day city break so didn't explore further, we wanted to see our Epic ship!) on Ryanair- not an ounce of ... Read More
Mine and my cousins first time cruising! We flew from Birmingham to Barcelona (a city we have had the pleasure of a 3 day city break so didn't explore further, we wanted to see our Epic ship!) on Ryanair- not an ounce of turbulence and plenty of leg room!- We arrived at the airport and was kept waiting for our cruise rep who arrived after 30 minutes, we were unfortunately kept waiting a further 1 hour for our coach which was running late and was then a further 2 hours till we arrived at the port waiting for other passengers at other terminals due to delayed flights. When we arrived we were greeted with a mass of people in a modern style airport hanger being divided up into number groups to be called up to queue at our allocated reception (we found a pop up bar type thing and got a Pepsi and a pastry and was promptly called) a further 20 minutes queuing and we were greeted by a friendly polite lady who explained embarkation, took photos, wanted credit card details and gave us our on board cards etc to us novice cruisers. At last we were on the ship!!! It was worth the wait! excitement overload, walking up the gantry being greeted by friendly crew checking our cards and scanning hand luggage (for security) and pointed to the correct lift, blue side and red side! The Cabin!!! Fab-u-lous. up there with the loveliest hotel rooms iv stayed in around the world, dark wood, nice shower with shampoo conditioner and shower gel, pleasant toilet (similar to airplane toilet-same suction so a loud noise when you flush), a curtain dividing sleeping area and bathroom area ( i can understand some people moaning but wasn't an issue for us, your sharing a room with someone for a week there isn't much your going to be able to keep private and modest!! get over it!!) the sink area kitted out in hand wash soap and hand cream, over head mirrored cabinet, a big plastic bin which i thought was the sick bucket but my cousin later pointed out was the used towel bin lol! tea coffee making facilities (get used to UHT cream as they cant keep milk fresh on a ship, not going to taste like your moms brew, so get over it and no biscuits) large dressing table with mirror lighting and leather stool with hairdryer, an absolute pleasure to get ready every night, large sofa, safe, storage ,wardrobes, loads of hangers and storage for your suitcases with life jackets and pool towels provided. The balcony was my only moan it was bland and dirty and your over looked, my concerns were proved right. People on the above decks were smoking and flicking there buts over their balcony the buts falling short and landing on our balcony, im not anti smoking and miss smoking in pubs my gripe is put a cover over the balcony then if someones sick or chucks something over board it wont fall short land on our balcony? or common sense dont throw stuff over the balcony! Room attendant!!! Mohammed, he was soooo cute friendly and appeasing, there is a note pad and pen provided and i asked him 2 things in a week, please keep us stocked of tea coffee milk and sugar and clean our balcony of tissue bird muck and fag ends to which he did -hassle free. Legend!!! he made the cabin up and did our turn down service. Public areas!! spotless, casino, restaurants, bars, pool, spa, toilets, shops, theater, cirque tent, corridors and the viewing deck all easy to find and move around baring in mind there were 6000 souls on board to capacity. Restaurants!! did not have a bad meal, i suffer with IBS and iv never felt better, hand sanitiser provided everywhere, i recommend everywhere to eat particular the Manhattan for steak. Never queued, never waited for a table but then again never ate later than 8.30, people seemed to queue from 9pm on wards. Entertainment!! Made the holiday, first class Broadway shows with Burn the floor and Priscilla queen of the desert- you were warned 4 times before show there's swearing and adult content so was annoyed at family's getting up 10 mins into show dragging kids out in disgust, no sympathy your own fault leave the adults to enjoy the show thank you. Howl at the moon and the Soul Sensations were the best for music not to mention the Beatles tribute in the freezing cold cavern club- aircon to cold, take a cardi or jumper- there was something different every night so you wont be board, just plan you meal times around your entertainment that way you'll avoid queuing and sit where you want on both accounts. The pool!! Adults only pool small but i just wanted a dip to cool off, too small to swim and kids area i have no idea about, i dont have children and dont want to hear or see them on holiday so stayed in the adults only section more peaceful and relaxed to what looked like mayhem walking through the kids pools to the restaurants lol! the open air cinema is in the adults only section so that was nice being shown different cities on the screen whilst relaxing and also watched the Euro's live-great atmosphere! if you didn't like football it was tough. Activities and excursions!! never took part in any activities- if i wasn't off the ship discovering new places i was on a sun lounger or in the spa but that's my holiday. your given a new itinerary every night for the following day with a full list of on shore or on board activities starting with yoga at 6am every day. the "treble is the new double" proper Malibu and Pepsi put paid to any rising before 9.30am apart from Rome day. We visited Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Marseilles all very stunning and beautiful. Cannes i shall be re visiting again. simply divine. Summary!! It is an American ship "Vegas on water" is how we described it. the currency on board is US dollars and predominantly American passengers. No one told us and we took euros to which NCL wanted 9 euro with every transaction for not paying in dollars so was forced to hand over a credit card to pay for on board shopping, shows, spa treatments, room service and supplemented food and drink. they charge you 27 dollars per cabin a day service charge but if your like me and prefer to tip as you go ask for a form and it will get deducted that saves you 170 dollars a week before you've started. You get a 9.30 Ding Dong from cruise director Monica every day and the odd message from the captain- very HI-DE-HI! 24 hour English film channel sports channel and news channel. on board medical center and guest services so always somewhere to go for help. Would definitely go in the ship gain and recommend for a first time cruise!! Elemis Spa ans would recommend........ if you've booked have a fab time!! and if you haven't....why not??? Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chose this cruise as had previous bad experience with very rough seas and felt a fly/cruise on med would be a better option. Joined ship in Barcelona and surprised our friends who were also on the cruise. Embarkation process was really ... Read More
Chose this cruise as had previous bad experience with very rough seas and felt a fly/cruise on med would be a better option. Joined ship in Barcelona and surprised our friends who were also on the cruise. Embarkation process was really efficient, arrived before the coaches so had no queues and was onboard within 15 mins. Disembarkation was good but as we were staying in Athens were almost the last off the ship, in future I think we would opt to take our luggage off ourselves to save hanging around the ship waiting for our number to be called. We found all the dining options had good choices with quality food, friendly staff etc - only negative comment would be a couple of times in the self-service restaurant wine was served to us in glasses which were not properly washed - issue was dealt with promptly but this can take away from the overall experience. Found staff to be very helpful and pleasant throughout our trip. Would certainly consider cruising with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I travelled with my wife, 5 year old son and 81 year old mother in law so I was worried that it would be hard to find a cruise to suit the needs of such a mixed group. My worries were unfounded. The cabins were very nice and fairly ... Read More
I travelled with my wife, 5 year old son and 81 year old mother in law so I was worried that it would be hard to find a cruise to suit the needs of such a mixed group. My worries were unfounded. The cabins were very nice and fairly spacious. The staff attending to the rooms were incredibly hard working and polite. I can't thank them enough. The whole family loved the towel animals that would be left in the room each evening.. My 5 year old loved the kids club and basically wanted to go every day. This was great as it gave us plenty of free time to relax. This was worth the money alone and the kids club team were amazing. It also provided an opportunity for my son to mix with the other kids on-board and make new friends. They also run a late night kids club from 10 pm - 1 am) although this does incur a modest fee whereas the main kids club is free. You can even leave your kids on the ship while you enjoy an excursion. If parents are off on an excursion the kids get to eat meals with the kids club team. The food on board was excellent. The main dinning room provided an upmarket experience and I found the food and service to be consistently high most nights. The buffet restaurant was also excellent throughout. The poolside food joints such as Guys Burger Bar were also very good. My wife is a vegetarian and she was well catered for and also thought the standard was high. The ship had a good selection of pools. Perhaps slightly small when busy but as someone who loves having a swim I was more than satisfied. The kids water park was amazing and my son absolutely loved it. We tried out all of the flumes and had a real blast together. The ropes course and sky ride were both nice additions although I would have preferred to have a climbing wall. The only area where I'd possible mark down the actual ship experience was the night time entertainment. Compared to NCL I felt that Carnival hadn't really put the same level of effort into it's entertainment. There was still plenty to entertain guests including some good live bands. It's really a very minor criticism and actually in no way had any impact on my time aboard. The excursions were a bit of a let down though. Over priced and too busy. I'm not going to mark down the review for this as I think this is a problem common to all cruises. Embankment was a long process but I felt that the staff did a very good job of keeping everything running in an orderly fashion. Disembarkation was fast and smooth although I advice against paying for the Carnival Airport Transfer. There's plenty of Taxi Cabs available at the port at a far more reasonable rate. Overall we had an amazing time. If you are looking for a multi-generational cruise then Carnival Vista is well worth considering. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Our second cruise, the first being on P&O Ventura. Liked the ports of call and also trying out a brand new ship sailing from Barcelona. Having had a great one night stay in Barcelona, the first problem however was our pick up from ... Read More
Our second cruise, the first being on P&O Ventura. Liked the ports of call and also trying out a brand new ship sailing from Barcelona. Having had a great one night stay in Barcelona, the first problem however was our pick up from the Hotel to the Ship. Took a taxi in the end - not Carnival's fault. Embarkation not too bad considering number of passengers involved. Cabin was Havana Premium Balcony near the back of the ship and whilst adequate was not roomy. One fault with the room was that the bathroom door opened outwards toward the bed and had a very sharp edge to it, raised off the floor, and I did end up with a small cut to my foot. Use of Havana pool area during the day was a great thing for us though and also a quiet area to have breakfast some days. I think the Med was a try out for the ship moving to the US later in the year. I was quite surprised at the number of Americans on board however and most things seemed to be aimed at them, as mentioned by other reviewers. Evening Dining - you had to book 15 mins in advance of eating and it was pot luck where you sat in Horizon Dining Room. Sometimes you felt as though in a thoroughfare, with waiters stacked up with trays 5 plates high. This could be dangerous I feel. Also some waits were experienced, but I have to say we found the meals to be excellent and most of the waiters very helpful. Deck10 Buffet Dining - bit of a free for all but good choice most of the time. Lots of food available but a lot of wastage also. The Deli was useful for just ordering sandwiches to order etc. Burger Bar and Pizzas are definitely worth trying out. "Matt, Cruise Director" (as he likes to call himself) was excellent and should be on TV! Service - if you like queueing at Customer Services then go for it. They did not find a higher chair for balcony as requested and end of cruise bill differed from actual, but they were very helpful in trying to sort out our pick up from the Ship. Entertainment - okay. One comedian we encountered was very funny indeed. Shore Excursion Desk- I found the gentleman there most helpful in trying to rearrange some trips we had pre-booked as I had a bad back and had to change for something less strenuous. Definitely 5 star. Spa Talk - informative and useful. However $75 for a cut and blow dry expensive. Drinks - $8.95 for cocktails and if not on some sort of package a good option. I felt I did not get great value out of the Bubbles package over the 8 days because we went on a number of trips. Debarkation (as they called it) - Felt a little like we were being pushed off - luggage was waiting on shore for collection quite early and I would have preferred to take own luggage off and stay on the boat longer. Not fully explained. Overall , experience was good though. Probably a better option for groups/families of all ages. A Fun Ship as they say. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have cruised with Celebrity for over 15 years. We chose the Iberian Peninsula cruise as we had not been to the Ports on this cruise earlier. The Check-in took ages in spite being Elite Members. They had the bookings messed up - we ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity for over 15 years. We chose the Iberian Peninsula cruise as we had not been to the Ports on this cruise earlier. The Check-in took ages in spite being Elite Members. They had the bookings messed up - we had two cabins allotted to us. They took time to resolve the issue. Disembarkation was a breeze. Constellation is an old ship. With the refit and adding extra cabins it is a mess at Common areas of Swimming Pool/Jacuzzis, Oceanview Cafe & the Gym. The Cabin was normal Balcony Cabin.\ The Dinning Restaurant - Dinner was crowded with tables close to each other. Not so earlier. Food in the Dinning Hall was good. In the Oceanview Cafe it was a challenge to find a place to sit and then to get food. The Crockery & Cutlery cleanliness was pathetic. They kept WET plates, unwashed plates & mugs. Plates with black marks. They had an excuse for everything, but set things right. Very disappointing from this point of view. The some Shows were good rest average. Celebrity Life did a good job of their activities We wanted to book two tickets for the "Under Siege" shore excursion at Gibraltar. Only one was confirmed, second waitlisted. Next day the status did not change. On asking to cancel the confirmed one. They immediately confirmed the second one. We had some friends who we met on board and advised of this excursion. They went to book the same. Got their reservation without a hassle. Never understood this game. The Guides at Shore excursions had no regards to people with difficulties, continued on at their own pace. Most Ports we visited were fantastic. Since we were at Bilbao - overnight, on arrival we picked up a rental car (AVIS) at the Port area and drove (4Hours one way) to Lourdes in France. It was the High Point of the Vacation. We cruise every year - have done 15 cruises with Celebrity. This one was amongst the last favourable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Very informative active cruise with many Ports & Cities to visit. Could have spent a little longer in some places than others but overall it gave you the opportunity to sample a variety of lands & customs. The cruise itself was ... Read More
Very informative active cruise with many Ports & Cities to visit. Could have spent a little longer in some places than others but overall it gave you the opportunity to sample a variety of lands & customs. The cruise itself was very smooth , cabin 495 comfy and fairly quiet. Entertainment was good without being outstanding apart from a couple of standout acts. Overall a very enjoyable cruise with some fabulous places of interest to visit. I am a diabetic (type2) and the range of "sugar free" selections was very poor especially compared to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The other annoying thing is that Eurodam does not have a public laundry or access to an iron which does help when you are onboard for 24 nights! The meals were good and seemed to improve as the cruise progressed.The staff were excellent and looked after us really well.The ship didn't feel crowded and was well run. Overall I'd go for it if you want a taste of Europe. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This is the Second time we have been on this ship (last year Caribbean for 10 nights) Loved the ship. Holds a lot of people but we never felt crowded except when boarding for the first day and when getting off in Athens. Good size rooms ... Read More
This is the Second time we have been on this ship (last year Caribbean for 10 nights) Loved the ship. Holds a lot of people but we never felt crowded except when boarding for the first day and when getting off in Athens. Good size rooms with balcony's. Very nice touch is the Concierge lounge on the 14th floor. Quality of food in the main dinning room not up to last year but the Buffet upstairs was first class and the room service for breakfast was also first rate. Staff always ready to please and or help with anything. Only complaint would be that they try to sell you everything from coffee cards to spa products. Cruise was reasonable priced so maybe that s how they try to make it up. We were supposed to go to Istanbul but after the trouble there they changed it to Rhoades, which turned out to be fabulous, and they gave us a credit. Well done Princess. I will use Princess again, fair price for a good product. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
DISAPPOINTING (1) msc up graded our cabin (or so they claimed) and relocated us directly under the uper dance deck ..... imagine untill 2 am in the morning thump - thump - thump over your head. (2) 80% of the pasengers on the ... Read More
DISAPPOINTING (1) msc up graded our cabin (or so they claimed) and relocated us directly under the uper dance deck ..... imagine untill 2 am in the morning thump - thump - thump over your head. (2) 80% of the pasengers on the cruise were non english speaking people. ok if you speak italian or spanish but no good for english speaking pasengers. (3) dining room - in their wisdom seated us with a chinese family who spoke little or no english.. . . . . . . . el a cart menue was lousy. (4) auditorium - the standard of entertainment was disappointing. same faces every night on the stage . . .. . . . different dance routines. (5) hotel reception- proved difficult to deal with and at one stage we actually went " face to face" with them, and asked for a full refund. on that particular day (2nd day of cruise) we would have been happy to disembark and make our own back to barcelona. (6) bar cocktail drinks were dreadfull. in the end we gave up ordering them and just purchased simple drinks such as gin and tonic. Cruise is not recommended for english speaking passengers. . . . In future we will be travelling with another cruise line Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
12 Night Mediterranean Cruise Brilliance of the Seas Sail Date: 05/14/2016 To whom it may concern: I’m sorry to say that the cruise experience on this last trip was not one of the worst that I have experienced; it was THE ... Read More
12 Night Mediterranean Cruise Brilliance of the Seas Sail Date: 05/14/2016 To whom it may concern: I’m sorry to say that the cruise experience on this last trip was not one of the worst that I have experienced; it was THE worst I have ever experienced. I will not be selecting Royal Caribbean for any future cruise vacation. - Food I have cruised on other cruise lines, and have never seen all of the food venues closed by 9:00PM. The only option for eating after 9:00PM was a small snack bar that only had cold sandwiches and salads or a small selection of pizza until they ran out! Or, room service with a fee after 10:00PM, again, with a limited menu. Not very ‘guest friendly’ in my opinion. This was particularly a problem the evening of the 1st night in Venice Italy when we docked at 3:00PM and were expected back by 10:00PM or so. After getting to the port of call, disembarking and taking the initial walking tour, there was not too much time to eat a nice dinner in Venice as the European custom is a long leisurely dinner. It was getting late, and the group of 9 that we were traveling with decided to forego dinner in Venice and return to the ship at about 9:00 or 9:30 PM and just eat on the ship only to find out there was nothing open on the ship to get anything to eat! When we went to the snack bar, we were stunned to find hundreds of other passengers in the same predicament crawling all over each other like ants for a slice of pizza before it ran out! When we went to Guest Services, we told that we should have eaten dinner in Venice and that we could just go to an early breakfast! And while the room service fee was nominal at approximately $4.00, it was not offered to be waived! - Ports of Call Again, I have cruised on other cruise lines, and have never been expected to pay additional transportation fees to actually get to the port of call! In Venice, we were expected to pay an additional $25.00 a day for a 2 day docking ($50.00 per person) in order to get from the port to the city! And in Kotor Croatia an additional $12.00 for bus transportation back to the port. However, if you had an excursion booked through Royal Caribbean, the fees were not charged. This is unacceptable! If there is a port of call, there should be accessibility for ALL passengers to disembark and enjoy it without having to pay any additional fees! I paid for the port of call when I booked the cruise, and you should be aware of the transportation challenges and address them without affecting the passengers’ experience. - Tender Disembarking At the 1st port requiring tenders, the process was awful! There were hundreds of passengers all in queue through the deck blocking access to the staterooms on that deck; it was hot, crowded and utter confusion. The next port requiring tenders was just slightly better as they were issuing tender passes. However, there was so much miscommunication about when the passes were available and how you could obtain one. It was originally announced that they would not be distributed until 12:15PM after docking/anchoring, but many people were able to get them MUCH earlier than that. And, when 1 member of our group of 9 went to get 9 passes, they were told that they could only get them for themselves. Then, another person was able to get them for additional people/rooms, and finally a 3rd person finished getting them for us! This meant that our group of 9 was separated into 3 groups on 3 different tenders with 3 different departure/arrival times in the port of call. We were not able to enjoy that port of call together. - Activities The activities scheduled for times we were aboard the ship were inadequate. They were either scheduled for such a short time, cancelled with no notice, not interesting or had additional costs associated with them to be able to participate. The worst example I can tell you is the $500.00 jackpot bingo. Bingo can be a fun activity even if there is a fee for the cards to play. But, the way it was done on this cruise was a charge of $20.00 per card for only ONE game of bingo, and you either won the $500.00 or you didn’t! Why don’t you just play bingo for a few or several games, and at the end announce that the last game is for the $500.00 jackpot! I know I would have purchased cards and played for a while (as nothing else was going on) whether I was playing for the $500.00 or not! In the 12 days on the ship, there were only 2 ‘parties’ where the cruise director and the staff participated and engaged passengers. While they were entertaining and fun, there were no ‘complimentary’ drinks or anything for the passengers. Many days, reviewing the daily ‘newsletter’ for activities, if you removed the activities with a $ indicating a fee to participate, a sale in the shops, the art gallery hours or auctions, there was only 1 or 2 ‘real’ activities! And, they were not exciting! One day I saw that I all that was really left to do was to learn how to fold napkins into animals! To further explain the boredom throughout the ship, the TV programming was an issue with many people complaining that they were ‘hostages’ forced to watch the same programs and episodes over and over again for 12 days! I honestly have never had an issue with TV programming on a cruise because I have never been left with only the option to be in my stateroom watching TV for entertainment! I don’t know anyone who goes on a cruise to watch TV in their stateroom! Charging for movies in the stateroom that were being shown at different times for free on the ship is just being greedy! The movie theater only holds about 30 or so people, the weather in the evenings made it uncomfortable to watch a movie on the pool deck (when they were showing them!) so charging to watch the same movie in your stateroom is ridiculous. Overall, I have never felt like a cow being herded from one place to another with a $ sign branded on my forehead! You have perfected the art of ‘nickeling and diming’ people for everything in order to enjoy the comforts of cruising. - Missing ‘niceities’ There were no snacks (peanuts, pretzels, chips, popcorn…) at any bar where you were expected to sit and spend a lot money drinking! There were no waiters anywhere except for in the bars offering to get anything for you. The free coffee was left for hours making it bitter or cold or both! The free beverage stations were closed at certain times, and you had to go to a bar for a drink. I did bring these concerns up with the Front Desk Manger, Robert Marshall. 1st, getting an appointment was not easy! It took 3 days to finally straighten out a time and place. While he did seem interested in what was being said as he seemed to be taking notes, his response was just, ‘I’m sorry that you are having a bad experience.’ He did offer a discount of 15% of the cost of this cruise toward our next cruise but made no attempt to address the concerns of this cruise by refunding the port transportation fees, offering a free drink package for the last 2 days we were onboard at sea or offering a day tour of Barcelona when we arrived there at the end of the cruise. And, we have yet to receive the confirmation of the 15% discount offered that he said we would get. If this cruise experience was so bad, do you really think that a 15% discount would entice us to come back again? Absolutely not! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The itinerary for this Cruise was good. Left from Barcelona, then Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Almalfi coast, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey, and Athens as the final destination. The ship was only on its third sailing. Carnival labels ... Read More
The itinerary for this Cruise was good. Left from Barcelona, then Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Almalfi coast, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey, and Athens as the final destination. The ship was only on its third sailing. Carnival labels itself as the fun ship and the decor in some of the public spaces seems to be child oriented with the bright orange and yellow combinations. The Havana lounge had the best decor. A tropical theme was used with various seating areas. The main dining room was quite plain like you would expect to see in a very inexpensive restaurant. A very long booth seat along walls served for seating for many tables. The deck spaces offered plenty and a variety of seating options. There were lounges, tables and chairs, sofa and chair groupings, stools and benches in the shallow pool areas , hammocks, and covered sunbeds. The rattan-looking seating was high quality and had comfortable cushions. The main atrium with a bar, shops, and entertainment area did not have the wow factor. The liquid lounge was a two story theater that had comfy seating but not ideal viewing from the back. The inside cabin on floor 9 in the center of the ship was roomy enough and allowed for storing 26" sized luggage under the bed. We were able to store all our clothes in the closet and toiletries on the bathroom shelves. The bed and pillows were great. Just include the charge for wifi with the cruise. There are too many extra charges. Pros.. Carnival does a great job providing transportation for guests at the ports. Even if you were not on Carnival excursion, there were buses to get you to the train, bus, or city center. Transportation was easy to use and readily available. The Vista was launched in May 2016. The entertainment was first rate. There was something to appeal to everyone. Shows with singing and dancing were amazing because of talented performers and beautiful sets. The live music in three more areas provided great entertainment for any taste. The deck seating spaces were plentiful. The cruise director did a great job providing information for the day and and acting as an MC for many performances. The 2 excursions booked through Carnival were well run and a good value. Cons.. food, quality, variety, and availability. I was told in a very curt manner all items are pre-prepared and could not be changed so order something else. There was only a burger stand or a small deli open after 2 pm. We were looking for something when we came back from being on tours all day. Very disappointing. Service was overall lacking. At a pool bar, I could not get a blender drink unless it was on their menu. Because this was a brand new ship, there were glitches. I asked for directions many times on this huge ship and half the time was given the wrong way to go. The most obvious example was when I asked 2 staff and they each pointed a different direction. Bad smell (made me nauseous) in the Serenity area due to painting or sealing on 2 days. On sea days, the 2 pools for 4,000 guests were too crowded. This ship definitely needs an adult only pool. We ate at the steakhouse for an additional $70. The service was better, but the food was not fabulous. I did not eat at the other 5 places that had upcharges. Some nights, there was a long wait (over 30 minutes) for any time dining. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was the trip of lifetime. the ship was incredible. The service and food were divine. The entertainment was excellent. The ports were wonderful except Crete, which was not as interesting as the others. 13 of us traveled together ... Read More
This was the trip of lifetime. the ship was incredible. The service and food were divine. The entertainment was excellent. The ports were wonderful except Crete, which was not as interesting as the others. 13 of us traveled together and used the pleasant spa frequently. Our only complaint was we had to walk through the smoking casino each time we went to our large reserved dining area on the fourth floor at the stern of the ship. Barcelona is magnificent and one of my all time favorite cities. We enjoyed Axe and Arles in Southern France. Florence and Rome can't be seen enough. The history, buildings, museums, and places to eat never get old. Amalfi and the southern Coast of Italy are beautiful. Crete was pleasant but not that exciting. Rhodes was an amazing ancient city with lots to see. The shops inside the old city walls were enjoyable. Athens is a city with much history and lots of places to eat and great shopping, but it is dirty and full of graffiti. Nice buildings have been ruined by "expressive art," a poor word for ugly graffiti. Greece has serious financial issues and has virtually no money to keep this ancient city from being turned into an ugly venue. We are happy never to return to Athens but are glad we were able to see the Parthenon and Acropolis. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We had a choice between Carnival and NCL, however, both had larger, newer ships departing Barcelona for the Western Mediterranean. The Carnival "Harmony" had just completed sea trials after a maiden voyage - the NCL ... Read More
We had a choice between Carnival and NCL, however, both had larger, newer ships departing Barcelona for the Western Mediterranean. The Carnival "Harmony" had just completed sea trials after a maiden voyage - the NCL "Epic" had been in service longer, so we chose her. Embarkation on June 5th was a breeze. We were in our stateroom in under 30 minutes and were soon having lunch! Our stateroom was fully prepared and our steward standing by. Luggage arrived in under an hour on a ship with over 4,000 guests - we boarded other cruise ships out of Baltimore in the past and had to wait until six or seven pm for our luggage with a piece missing with a passenger load of 2,1000 passengers. The food, especially in the Garden buffet was SUPERB EACH DAY of the cruise and ancillary dining opportunities were excellent Staff were attentive and cordial at all times. Debarkation for shore excursions went smoothly at each port of call. NEGATIVES: 1. Casino wagering did not include nickle, quarter, or fifty-cent slots, hence you lost money quicker. 2. We signed up for a show in the main ball room, but no info was provided and it turned out to be an unappealing, highly risqué and suggestive homosexual themed production 3. Had a distinct odor of natural gas in our cabin next to last night around 4:30 am. Called emergency services staff who responded in under ten minutes, by which time, the odor had dissipated. 4. A lady guest brough all her dirty/used deck towels to a table at a restaurant we were in on the ship and dropped them on the floor. A quick summons of management resolved the issue. These were the only issues. We had great weather sailing and during the shore excursions, the ship handled smoother on the Mediterranean than any other we'd been on before. We would take this cruise again and highly recommend the NCL Epic experience. It's a great ship manned by a super crew and all amenities are definitely first class! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Its an excellent value for the money compared to may upscale cruises. Everything first rate and staff could not do enough. Some of the excursions just okay but still fantastic. I'd rather they gave less excursions but better ones! ... Read More
Its an excellent value for the money compared to may upscale cruises. Everything first rate and staff could not do enough. Some of the excursions just okay but still fantastic. I'd rather they gave less excursions but better ones! The food is the finest I've had at sea. They could use a cigar room on board-they have a place for cigarette smoking but not cigars which seemed rather unfair. An older clientele-ranging from 60-70 years mostly. Make sure you take drink package otherwise you will feel ripped off if you like to indulge. Cabin nice size and beautiful tile bathroom which was quite comfortable size fore a cruise ship. Dont pay extra for concierge service didnt find it necessary or that helpful. I liked the casual country club dressing-stylish yet comfortable. The shows were nice but I wish they had more music and dancing for 50's crowd. Wouldve like to try the culinary classes people seemed to genuinely enjoy them. If you go to Marseille dont bother getting off the ship-dirty and a little unsafe-take an excursion and go to Provence or stay on ship to relax and enjoy the beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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