749 Barcelona Senior Cruise Reviews

Overall, this was a wonderful cruise from Barcelona to Bergen. The food was great! The staff was friendly, helpful, and professional. Our stateroom was very comfortable, especially the nice bathroom and the comfortable bed. The spa ... Read More
Overall, this was a wonderful cruise from Barcelona to Bergen. The food was great! The staff was friendly, helpful, and professional. Our stateroom was very comfortable, especially the nice bathroom and the comfortable bed. The spa treatment for my wife, her first, was awesome. She really appreciated the attention to privacy and comfort given by Natalie. We both enjoyed the music by Lazlo and the piano music in the Atrium and the Winter Garden. On the other hand, The computer system really messed up our bookings at Chef's Table and Manfreddie's. We had to take whatever time was left. Very disappointing! Buy, at least, we did get to sample their tasty food. The service in both restaurants was superb, as was the food. When we booked and paid in advance for our shore excursions, we were expecting the time for each as quoted in the on line booking. Unfortunately, we only found out the night before when the bulletin for the next day's activities was left in our room at turn down time. The problem occurred when we were booked at a different time, as several excursions for the same tour were listed. My wife had a spa appointment booked on line before we left for our cruise. Had she not inquired earlier in the day, we would have had to pay for the spa appointment that she missed due to a change in excursion time the next day. Fortunately, the error was caught in time to change her appointment time. One last thing, my wife and I were spending our on board ship credit that we received due to the 'at sea' additional days, and I was billed $165.00 for a 'VIKING M NVY FLEECE L' item code:809976. The tag showed $65.00. Bummer. It was billed to my American Express credit card. Otherwise, the cruise was a wonderful experience. Hopefully, the glitches are now resolved. Kudos to the entire staff and crew. We adored the ship's captain! Thank you for hearing me out, and for a memorable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
LOVED the ship (Viking Star), service, food, amenities, activities, etc. etc. Wish we had a bit more time in ports, though, to do some of our own exploring. We signed up for the complimentary tours, but these didn't leave much time ... Read More
LOVED the ship (Viking Star), service, food, amenities, activities, etc. etc. Wish we had a bit more time in ports, though, to do some of our own exploring. We signed up for the complimentary tours, but these didn't leave much time to wander and shop for goodies before having to return to the ship. It was a great "overview" trip however! We hadn't been to most of these countries before ... now we have a better idea of places we would like to return to. My only complaint, however, is that we had to gather early in the morning and didn't actually take off for our tours for at least 1-2 hours (time spent just waiting around). Also, on our trip, we didn't have access to the main pool. We were told that it was leaking, and didn't get to use it at all. I didn't care much for the infinity pool, as there was very little shade in that area. We loved the Explorer's Lounge and spent a lot of time there. Staff remembered us and treated us like royalty! A suggestion ... although my husband had his iPad and could access his emails, etc., I did not. The computers available on Deck 1 were VERY slow and it took me forever to access my files. Is Wi-Fi available? Hi-Speed Internet? Would be very helpful if so! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I took my Mom to her first European trip. Since she has mobility issues, I arranged all the necessary specialty assistance possible. The transport from the airport to the port was smooth. However, it was completely chaotic at the port ... Read More
I took my Mom to her first European trip. Since she has mobility issues, I arranged all the necessary specialty assistance possible. The transport from the airport to the port was smooth. However, it was completely chaotic at the port processing. I booked a Haven suite which has special checkin line for all Haven suite guests. The person whom greeted us upfront has absolutely no clue where to send us. The special assistance line is right next to the Haven suite guest checkin line and that was where we waited. We were the only people waited there. After the whole 5 min, no one even paid attention to us. There was a guy running around trying to provide guidance to other guests, I got his attention and he said that he would get us some help, especially my Mom can't stand for too long. But he NEVER CAME BACK TO US. It was awful! Finally, there was a second woman came to the Haven Suite checkin desk, and I went up to her for checkin. Apparently, there is no manner or politeness needed .... The Haven suite was amazing. The personal Concierge and Butler service was worth the money. Our steward was also attentive. However, the so-called mobile phone available to us to reach them has no battery attached to it. It took 2 days to locate it... Since this is a 3day weekend, it rendered useless. There was a "Haven Grill" restaurant for Haven Suite Guests. I found torn fabric chair. I took a picture of it as well. Its menu is lack of vegetarian options. Disappointing. But overall, the Haven suite experience was great due to the great service from David, Jomar and Ronald. The specialty restaurants do have better quality of food. But again it lacks of vegetarian options. The Maitre'd left me a letter in my room to contact him as I indicated my vegetarian preference. But I called, he could do NOTHING for me. Since I have been to all the locations on this cruise, I chose excursions that fitted my Mom's physical capabilities. Needless to say that most of the crowd on these excursions had some kind of mobility issues. I am quite surprised the lack of Norwegian's lack of attention to special assistance needs as over 50% of the passengers are at retirement age. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As first time cruisers we loved this cruise. This cruise is well organised with a wonderful itinerary. Staff were very friendly, helpful & cleanliness was very important. • Raffles Court: (deck 12 aft) Breakfast usually stays the ... Read More
As first time cruisers we loved this cruise. This cruise is well organised with a wonderful itinerary. Staff were very friendly, helpful & cleanliness was very important. • Raffles Court: (deck 12 aft) Breakfast usually stays the same, with croissants, cereals, vegetables, fruits, made to order eggs, waffles, bacon, you name it. Raffles also has milk in cartons, cereal in boxes, fruit, and single serving yogurt. A great self-serve soft serve machine with chocolate and vanilla flavors. Unfortunately it broke! Crepes are served fresh and hot after about 5 at Raffles. Food can be brought back to your room; leave the plates outside for your steward to bring back. Raffles opens early. This is especially important on days where the port is far away from the destination (Rome). • Blue Lagoon Café [on deck 7 ] Get free tea or coffee anytime of the day or night • Cafe 49: The pastries are complimentary. Regular coffee is complimentary but specialty coffee like espresso, cappuccino, etc. have an additional charge. • Drinks: Coffee, tea (iced or hot), milk, flavoured water (usually lemonade and another fruity flavor) and plain water are free. With extra cost, soda, beer, wine and mixed drinks. • Henry’s pup deck 7: Food is complimentary, alcohol is not. You always pay for alcohol on board. Beer, wine and mixed drinks always have a charge. • Windows and The Garden: free dining rooms. We enjoyed eating dinner in the two main dining rooms. The food was tasteful & the steak here was excellent!! • Galaxy of the Stars Observation Lounge: We enjoyed the sunset while the ship departed from the ports. Loved the scenery. • Hot tub for yourself on port days, after a excursion for sore mucles! Excursions: Usually by ourelves always using Rick Steve’s book “Mediterranean Cruise Ports” Booked tours: Can’t be Missed tours [CBM] & Ephesus Shuttle - both excellent. Apps: Ulmon - city to city OFFLINE map. Worked perfectly. Strongly advised! Sat 25 Barcelona, Spain ---- 7:00 pm Self: Aerobus €11.80 for 2 from airport to Bird House, 2nd stop. Very good located. Walkable to Ramblas. Followed Rick Steve’s Walking tours. Sun 26 Toulon, France. NB! [Always Starboard side for scenery!] a Walk- off port 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Self: Old market & “Step by Step walking tour” at Tourist Information. [Iron markers on pavement]. Because we used Ulmon offline maps, it was never necessary to stand in line for a map at tourist information offices! Mon 27 Pisa (Livorno), Italy. A shuttle bus from ship €5 pp to Piazzo del Municipio 8:00 am - 7:00 pm Self: Pisa by train €5 pp return. Very easy! Followed Rick Steve’s Walking tour & “Self-guided walks” at TI kiosk on Piazzo del Municipio. Tue 28 Rome (Civitavecchia). Ship shuttle bus €0.80c pp 8:00 am - 7:00 pm [CBM- 9-9:30 Infront of train station] Booked Can’t be missed tours – Jon at www.cantbemissedtours.com €69 pp tour & €21.50 pp for Sistine Chapel. Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! An good organised walking tour. Wed 29 Naples, Italy walk off 8:00 am - 7:00 pm [CBM outside main entrance ] Booked CBM Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento & Pompeii [sit righthand side of bus for scenery!] €65 pp + €11 pp [Pompeii - entrance fee] Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! Thu At Sea ---- ---- 0 Fri 1 May Mykonos, Greece free shuttle from ship 7:00 am - 3:00 pm Self: Using Rick’s book. Sat 2 Istanbul, Turkey [Portside!!Left side for scenery] Walk-off port 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Self: Using Rick’s book & Ulmon Map App for iphone. VERY GOOD! Cannot do without this App! Sun 3 Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey Walk-off port 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm Ephesus shuttle tour. Ephesus, Terrace Houses & Temple of Artemis $78 for 2 people. suzan@curiotravel.com. Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! Mon 4 Athens (Piraeus), Ship dock at terminal E11 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Self: Port Zea Tue At Sea ---- ---- 0 Wed 6 Venice, NB! Starboard side for scenery! a Walk - off port 2:00 pm ---- Self: Using Rick’s book & Free Walking tour at 4:45: Campo San Geremia. It is a 2 min walk from the train station.1. Exit the train station and turn left on the main street (Rio Terra Lista di Spagna).2. Follow it for a minute and you will see a square on your right. Thu 7 Venice Antony Palace Hotel **** Marcon Excellent price & near airport! 9:00 am Hotel Shuttel €7 pp from Piazzale Roma near the port or Hotel is close to Gaggio Porta Est railway station (only 400 mt, 5- 10 minutes walking) with departures every hour to Venice €2.50 each way, tickets can be bought at the hotel reception in advance Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I will preface my comments by saying that I usually cruise on Celebrity having taken several transatlantic cruises on their ships. I have heard positive comments about Holland America so opted to try them this time. My number one, ... Read More
I will preface my comments by saying that I usually cruise on Celebrity having taken several transatlantic cruises on their ships. I have heard positive comments about Holland America so opted to try them this time. My number one, chief complaint was with the response I received from H-A home office to a request I made as to how rapidly I could disembark in order to catch a train leaving from Barcelona Sants rail station. I was simply told there wasn't any way to be sure of a time. What I learned at the end of the cruise was that one could leave the ship by taking their own luggage and be off the ship immediately after port clearance. It shows a lack of interest or concern on the part of home office staff. I guess they can't be bothered to know the ship routine. On the positive side the ship's staff is definitely superior, courteous, friendly and efficient. The veranda stateroom was clean, the bed comfortable, but lacking in desk space and a decent chair to sit by it. The computer lectures were well done, but a little too basic, but that is understandable. I did learn something and it was worth the time. The best entertainment by far was the two ladies from the Ukraine, the pianist and violinist; Adagio. Considering the fact that their venue was limited in space and sight lines, they were full for every performance. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and efficient. On the negative side there was a vibration felt in many places of the ship including the stateroom on occasion, the dining room, the Crow's Nest, the library and many other places. This was noted by almost every guest where the subject was mentioned. Apparently it is not part of the propulsion system as it was present even when docked in port. Obviously this ship needs some repairs. The buffet food was by and large pretty tasty, but the serving system is a mess. People line up at each station, while people walk behind them trying to see the options or read the small print on the cards or just trying to get from station to station. Next to the walking people are tables. Not a very nice place to sit while dining. In the main dining room the food was adequate in taste and portions, but there is a very limited menu and minimal options. The internet service was extremely slow and complicated which in turn makes it expensive. If you make the mistake of not logging out, and that is not obvious if you use your own computer all your time is gone, poof!!! The educational lectures were anything but educational. Nostalgia gets old after a few minutes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We booked this cruise at the last minute and got a good deal with the beverage and dining package thrown in. We live about 90 mins from Barcelona so we were easily boarded by 12.30.The Spirit is a nice ship but shows its age in places. The ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute and got a good deal with the beverage and dining package thrown in. We live about 90 mins from Barcelona so we were easily boarded by 12.30.The Spirit is a nice ship but shows its age in places. The signage is very poor and some of the lighting too dim. Our Cabin OB5100 was fine. Very clean, not enormous, a little worn but otherwise fine. We've cruised with NCL before and love the lack of formality. We ate at all the extra dining options and some were better than others. Shogun is now complimentary and it shows, not a patch on the meal we had on the Epic last year. The Tappenyiki was fine but really only a one-off experience. We really enjoyed the Italian and went twice. The Bistro wasn't very good at all. The seats were too low for the tables, the service slow and the food just average. My lamb was well done when I asked for it red, but I didn't want to wait another 20 mins for it to be done again. We loved Cagneys. The food was fabulous and the service great. The only minor complaint was the really dim lighting!! We loved the various bars, particularly Champagne Charlie's when Standard Time trio or Pablo were playing. You had to actively catch the waiters eye in order to get a drink but it wasn't too hard. We only went to one show in the theatre..not very good at all with poor male singers, we left early! We did a few walk off trips ourselves and just one trip to Gibraltar..fine but a long drive. Our main problem was the smoke in the casino! It was terrible most nights. Many smokers seem to use it as an inside space to smoke and drink with no or little interest in the actual games. It needs stopping and soon!!! Disembarkation was a breeze and we were home for lunch! Overall we had a good time although the weather wasn't the greatest Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I went on a 10 days cruise to Casablanca and Canaries in April. This was our 6th.cruise,but first time on NCL. Cabin adequate, but a little too small. Toilet absolutely minute, but functional. Balcony quite adequate ... Read More
My wife and I went on a 10 days cruise to Casablanca and Canaries in April. This was our 6th.cruise,but first time on NCL. Cabin adequate, but a little too small. Toilet absolutely minute, but functional. Balcony quite adequate for two people. Staff superb in all departments, nothing was ever too much trouble. Food choice excellent in the restaurants we tried. Excursions were good value and with informative guides. Entertainment fairly good on some nights. All in all would recommend NCL for a cruise. Had cabin 9092. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
A return visit to the Norwegian Spirit Washy washy happy happy. A bit holiday camp but if you want posh and dicky bows choose another cruise line. If you want good service, good food and a relaxed atmosphere Norwegian is the one to go ... Read More
A return visit to the Norwegian Spirit Washy washy happy happy. A bit holiday camp but if you want posh and dicky bows choose another cruise line. If you want good service, good food and a relaxed atmosphere Norwegian is the one to go for. Ports Barcelona Very easy embarkation with no queues. On board 12.30 and cabin was ready. Quick lunch in the buffet and back into town for a couple of hours on the port shuttle bus. €4.00 return. Back on the ship for boat drill. Casablanca Free shuttle bus into town. Plenty of hawkers around bus stop so we went to an ATM a block away in a quieter area to get some local cash. The old Medina well worth a look. Hawkers at the main gate but once you go in 20 yards they stop and you are transported back 1000 years. Be discreet with your camera, many don't like their photos taken. No credit cards dollars or euro accepted. Don't use a map, you will get lost anyway!!!! If you are offended by chickens in cages clucking (fresh meat) or goats heads (not so fresh) take the ships tour to Rick's Cafe instead Funchal Shuttle bus €8.00 into town The cable car to Monte is spectacular €10.00 single. The tropical gardens at Monte Palace €10.00 well worth a visit. Had a look at the toboggan run but didn't go. Tenerife Free shuttle into town Arrcife We had a tour to Timafaya national park booked with an internet company (€30.00 +€6.00 for camel ride) Ships similar tour €84.00 Malaga Port shuttle bus €4.00 return Nice town for a stroll around. The ship seems in good condition considering she is the oldest in the fleet. Norwegian have kept mainly far eastern staff who always seem to have a smile, although I think the cabin stewards now have more cabins to look after than previously. We attended trivia sessions and the cruise staff were fun. Customers Spanish, British (quite a few ex pats living in Spain) USA and German Entertainment Evening shows were good. 3 main productions. 1 show aimed at the Spanish and 1 for the Germans not really to our taste. Music about the ship. We are over 60 and we enjoyed it. !!!! Dining The general menu is much improved with more choice then before and good portions. We found the service in the Garden Room excellent. Specialty Dining Many on the cruise had a specialty dining package included in their fare, and the specialty restaurants couldn't cope with the numbers. In the past if we didn't fancy the main menu we could always get a place at Cagneys. Now all the peak times were fully booked well in advance. We went to Cagneys one night but the service was so bad, soup delivered before the starter, missing side order, over cooked steak and black coffee being brought instead of latte (Twice) that we complained and were given a complimentary return visit. Even then they had run out of the steaks we planned to have. Also please note 18% service charge is added to the $30.00 cover charge so now it is $70.80 for two. In future we will stick to the main dining rooms Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first NCL cruise (previously cruised with RCI and Azamara) and we really enjoyed this relaxed style of cruising. We went with an open mind and always enjoy cruising no matter what which we believe is a good way to start to ... Read More
This was our first NCL cruise (previously cruised with RCI and Azamara) and we really enjoyed this relaxed style of cruising. We went with an open mind and always enjoy cruising no matter what which we believe is a good way to start to any holiday. We took the train from Seville to Barcelona and stayed in the Barcelo Sants Hotel for convenience as it is just behind the station and you can take the metro into the city centre. Lots of bars in this location and we used +KTapes across the road from the hotel for dinner and breakfast which was of good quality at reasonable cost. Took a taxi from the station to the port at a cost of 18 euros. Beware when you arrive at the port of the porters who will meet the taxi and wheel your cases 50 yds to the luggage check-in and want a tip. If you have lots of cases it is worth it otherwise just carry them yourself. Arrived at 11.00 am for our 12.00 check-in time and were checked in straight away and on board 30 minutes later. Tip - water packages are being sold by NCL in the reception area but there is a row of shops where you can buy bottled water 1 x 2ltr for 2 euros, 6 x 2ltr for 8 euros and there is no problem with taking them on board. Not sure what the ship was going to be like because of its age and we were pleasantly surprised. It was well kept and was spotlessly clean. A great welcome on board by staff as well. The service by bar staff was excellent all over the ship and we never had to wait very long for our drinks. This was Captain Roger's second cruise with the Spirit and both he and senior officers were very visible on the ship as were the entertainment staff. It was good to see them eating the same food and in the same venues as the customers. Also the Q&A session in the Galaxy by the Captain, Chief Engineer and Hotel Director was very entertaining. We had the UBP and UDP and if we had to choose between the two it would be a difficult decision. We ate breakfast on 9 days in Raffles Court which was always busy but we sat on the outside deck to eat which was always very pleasant. We found the quality of food to be very good. Okay you might have to queue but it was manageable. On the other morning we tried Windows for breakfast and would say that the service was not so good and how you can get fried egg on toast so wrong I don't know (soggy cold toast and cold watery fried eggs). For lunch we ate either in Raffles or on sea days there was a BBQ by the pool but watch out for food being cooked on the back of the ship on Raffles Terrace. It was all very good and difficult to choose what to have. For dinner we ate 5 nights in Cagneys, 4 nights in Le Bistro and 1 night in Teppanyaki. The standard of food in all three venues was outstanding. Service was a bit on the slow side but we were in no hurry and it was very relaxing not to feel rushed. Teppanyaki was a good experience but think that once would probably be enough. We didn't go to any of the shows but enjoyed the entertainment on offer either in the Galaxy or Champagne Charlies. Okay there were a couple of things that irritated us (1) the photographers really are a pain but a polite no thanks was enough for them to disappear (2) our fault I know for booking during school holidays but we just can't understand why parents allow their children to run around the ship unsupervised. Funnily enough there was no problem with getting in the lifts especially as the ship was full. Would we cruise with NCL again? This style of cruising definitely suited us and it was great not having to pack formal clothes so yes we will be using them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Lovely ship with the Deck 5 outside walkway all round the ship an excellent feature. Well designed cabins. Entertainment to suit all tastes. Younger ones can enjoy loud music up in Deck 10 and the Disco, while older ones can enjoy the ... Read More
Lovely ship with the Deck 5 outside walkway all round the ship an excellent feature. Well designed cabins. Entertainment to suit all tastes. Younger ones can enjoy loud music up in Deck 10 and the Disco, while older ones can enjoy the quieter bars, music, dancing available on Deck 4 and 5. Theatre shows were excellent but you have to get in 30 minutes before to get a decent seat. Not a problem as you can sit and have a cocktail. Food was good with reasonable choice in the main restaurant. The food in the buffet was also good but often struggled to find a table. No hot breakfast in the buffet but great choice with waiter service in the main restaurant. Staff on board were all very efficient and friendly. The all inclusive drinks package was excellent with big choice of cocktails, branded spirits and liqueurs, wine by the glass with limited choice but OK. Avoid the ship during school holidays if you are an older couple. Even in March, the pools were monopolised by families with kids. Three downsides which could be improved by Costa would be, (a) Port disembarkation manned by 1 member of staff to barcode read your Costa on board card ! Caused havoc when trying to get off the ship. (b) No encouragement from Costa for passengers to use hand washes. (c) Tour 1495 to Scenery of Cinque National Park was the worst ever tour from a tour operator and logistics viewpoint. (the 3 places visited met expectations). Costa had subcontracted the tour to Trumpy Tours and did not point out that the rail portion was public transport in an overcrowded, smelly train with little or no chance of getting a seat but a higher chance of being pick pocketed ! The supposed tour guide was a joke, very poor communication in English and lacked organisation skills. Avoid this tour. I dread to think how it would be in the height of season. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Well I reached the ripe old age of 65 on our first cruise recently, it is for me and I was not bored (well not much). We live in Spain so we popped up to Barcelona on the train (Malaga was nearer but no incentives), and boarded the ... Read More
Well I reached the ripe old age of 65 on our first cruise recently, it is for me and I was not bored (well not much). We live in Spain so we popped up to Barcelona on the train (Malaga was nearer but no incentives), and boarded the Norweigan Spirit for 10 days cruising the Canaries. There should have been eight of us but two by two they dropped by the wayside until there was just me and mine. Which was a blessing as we would not have met so many nice people, the advantage of freestyle dining. We loved the food, we were wary after some bad reviews, but the standard was very high and we only dined in a speciality once, the Bistro for my big day, it was superb. We alternated between the Garden and Windows for evenings, always at 8:30 after the show, the waiters were not always on top form but so what we had very good and a few poor. Raffles for breakfast and lunch was a bit of a bun fight but full marks for choice. We love our wine and were happy to find a package that worked out at $22 a bottle, and no problem to take with you from restaurant to bar or cabin. We resisted buying any other alcoholic drinks as they were quite pricey, and it hurt to see people with drinks packages who did not imbibe. Entertainment was good and although the average age was probably over 60 the music in the Galaxy catered for a younger audience whilst the better acts performed in front of standing room only in the smaller venues such as Champagne Charlies and Henry’s Bar. We enjoyed the trivia quizzes whilst the wine tasting sessions were our highlight and good value at $15. The shows were generally good, highlights being the Backbeat Beatles and 4 tenors, we gave Flamenco and Magician a miss. We did 3 tours, Casablanca plus Mosque was good as there was no way we were going independently, done that in Egypt! In Funchal we wished we had done our own thing, although the trip to the cliffs was good we had hoped for enough time after to go up the cable car. In Tenerife our trip was cancelled so we caught the tram to La Laguna but not over impressed with what we saw of Santa Cruz. We did the Volcanoes tour in Lanzarote which was a bit of a conveyor belt at the visitor centre and the winery but worth it for the coach through the badlands. The washy, washy girls and “Chef Surprise” were great and smiley, smiley, the photographers mildly annoying. Surprised to see so many towels saving sun beds, not that I wanted one. Embarkation and disembarkation was a doddle as was filling the tour buses from the theatre for shore excursions. Overall the staff were very friendly both on and off duty. Would like to have seen a cinema on board and cheaper WiFi.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had opted for a pre-cruise night at the Hilton Barcelona. Our flight to Barcelona went well and we were promptly transferred to our Hotel. Although we were there in the morning, our room was ready. The room was very nice, clean and ... Read More
We had opted for a pre-cruise night at the Hilton Barcelona. Our flight to Barcelona went well and we were promptly transferred to our Hotel. Although we were there in the morning, our room was ready. The room was very nice, clean and comfortable. We had friends arriving later in the afternoon on a different flight. They also arrived on schedule. The next day we just had time to take a tour of La Sagrada Familia. We had seen this several times in the past from the outside, but this was the first time to take a tour which included the inside. We then went back to the hotel just in time for the included transfrer to the ship. Embarkation was fast and smooth. Now came the big surprise I had planned for my wife. I had upgraded my original booking to an Oceania suite. She had never caught on and when I opened the door to our suite, she thought she was in the wrong place. This suite is 1000 SF and is absolutely beautiful. This suite will spoil you beyond belief. It has a large living room quite suitable for entertaining or just relaxing. It also has a media room with a large television set. The bedroom contains a King Size bed and a large walk in closet. The bathroom is gorgeous, with large double sinks, a larger than normal shower, a whirlpool bath and a toilet and bidet. There is also a separate powder room inside the suite entry door that has a shower, sink and toilet. Everything is marble and sparkling chrome and glass. The veranda is quite large with two chairs, a lounger and also a whirlpool tub and television ! Quite an amazing suite. This was our fifth cruise on either Marina or Riviera, so we knew what to expect. Outstanding food in all restaurants and excellent entertainment each night. Nothing disappointed. We love the alternate restaurants, but there is nothing to complain about in the main dining room. The Terrace buffet and Waves grill are also excellent. My only complaint and suggestion is that on Port days they keep the buffet open a little longer since the two o'clock closing time conflicts with your activities in Port and it is difficult to get back in time for lunch, thus leaving the Waves grill as the only option. Overall, we find Oceania to have the best food at sea and have not noticed any lessening of quality since merging with NCL as other reviewers have suggested. Our Butler Madan did a good job. He was there when you wanted him but did not make a pest of himself. Also, cannot say enough about the stewards who kept our suite in perfect condition. They timed their visits perfectly so as not to bother us. Since this voyage included a lot of sea days, we only had a few ports to visit. Although I agree that Oceania's shore excursions are very costly, if you buy a package of them ahead of time you can save 25% or 40% depending on how many you select. This brings the cost within reason. We took an excursion in both Cartagena and Malaga. The one in Cartagena to the City of Elche is particularly interesting with the Palm Gardens and the overall look of the city. They should give more time in the botanical gardens as there is much to see. All the tours in the Canary Island were cancelled due to weather. A refund was automatically credited to our account. Our next stop was a two day visit to Bermuda. This time we did a glass bottom boat tour which was very interesting and entertaining. Our final stop was Nasssau, where we simply spent time walking the town and shopping. We really did this cruise for the many relaxing days at sea. Oceania does keep you busy, if you want, with interesting lecturers and other activities. Or you can just hibernate and read a book or watch a movie in your room. My wife particularly loves taking the cooking classes and on this cruise she signed up for four of them. She can't say enough good things about these classes. We have already booked another Transatlantic cruise for May, 2016 and look forward to once again sail with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We board the elegant Nieuw Amsterdam in Barcelona for a 13 night Trans Atlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We are impressed with the ship - It does exude elegance. The public on Decks 2 and 3 are nicely designed to serve as multipurpose ... Read More
We board the elegant Nieuw Amsterdam in Barcelona for a 13 night Trans Atlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We are impressed with the ship - It does exude elegance. The public on Decks 2 and 3 are nicely designed to serve as multipurpose rooms. The furniture is comfortable - the spaces open and airy feeling and the three story atirum has a beautiful glass staircase and a frosted chandelier depicting Nieuw Amsterdam ( NYC skyline). It's not difficult to acclimate to this ship. Deck 1 has comfortable seating and offers guest services, an excursion desk, future cruise booking and the "on location" Advisor desk. Decks 2 and 3 have bars, shops, restaurants, photography studio, card rooms, show rooms and a movie theatre. Decks 10 and 11 have pools, jaccuzzis, sports courts, buffet and specialty restaurants, spa and fitness center and the Crow's Nest that serves as internet cafe, library, coffee shop bar and dance floor - all with a panoramic oceanview. Rooms are more spacious than other ships that we've recently sailed. Our balcony cabin had a tub which is unusual and much to my liking. Storage was more than adequate with luggage fitting easily under the bed. Ice was not automatically replenished twice daily - but once we made our needs known to our room attendant it was provided. The Nieuw Amsterdam - launched in 2010 - accommodates 2,100 passengers and 900 crew (Indonesian and Phillipino - all extremely friendly and competent). Passengers on this cruise are older than on many other sailing, but are still very active - walking, exercising and dancing. Mainly Americans, Germans and Canadian - seasoned cruisers - many staying on for more than one voyage. Food - a very subjective topic - is very upscale - lots of variety and well prepared with great sauces. Different themes are offered at all meals - American, German, Thai, Greek, Asian, Dutch, Italian, French etc. We also found a larger than variety than usual of salad ingredients, fruit and cheeses. Deserts were plentiful and offered in small portions. I did find that gelatin was used for almost all of them including mousse, creme brulee and even tiramisu. My downfall though is their signature Raisin Bread Pudding with Rum Vanilla Creme Anglaise.....on offered at lunch - but it is there every day. Lectures are offered on sea days - this cruise focused on planets and comets in the skies to animals in the Sea. Internet classes sponsored by Microsoft are complimentary but do fill up quickly. Many lectures on Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Cosmetics weight loss,and Beauty enhancing products and procedures. There were many art auction and most served a glass of champagne. Entertainment is plentiful and varied, dance bands, combos, piano player, guitarist, classical music all evening long - the disco was probably the least attended - due to the type of passengers but the music did sound good and the venue was inviting. Drinks were reasonable - $6.75 for drink of the day - $8.00 for martinis and more for top shelf drinks. Happy hour every day in two different bars with buy one get one for $1 - but it was at 5PM. On sea days informal card playing was organized, crochet, knitting and needlework groups met, trivia was always well attended and many also liked Bingo. Holland America is known for their cooking demonstrations and quite a few were offered - even competition between the chefs. Overall this was a very enjoyable cruise - we did find that workers were very busy - especially in the dining rooms and bars during happy hour. Although the service was still good, you could sense that there had been a reduction in staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We traveled with friends to the Mediterranean, round-trip from Barcelona in October which was the perfect time of year weather-wise. The temperature was pleasant every day for touring. Our embarkation from Barcelona was well-organized at ... Read More
We traveled with friends to the Mediterranean, round-trip from Barcelona in October which was the perfect time of year weather-wise. The temperature was pleasant every day for touring. Our embarkation from Barcelona was well-organized at about noon and we met up with our friends at the Bistro on Five for the first of our many good meals on board Equinox. The ship was beautiful, clean and in good repair everywhere we went. The staff was very accomodating, friendly and helpful. A special shout-out goes to our room stewards Agus and Sailesh who kept our cabin clean and well-supplied at all times and to our butler Keegan who was helpful in every detail without being either overbearing or obsequious. Keegan provided us with breakfast in our cabin every morning and small snacks in our cabin every afternoon. He also organized two small parties in our cabin for our friends while sailing into and out of Venice. I have to say that this is the first time in many cruises that our room service orders were 100% correct for every meal. The food was also delivered hot or cold as it should be. I don't know if this was a function of our butler double-checking everything and delivering it promptly at the time requested or a result of the food service staff (or a combination of both) but this was very much appreciated. There is nothing more aggravating than looking forward to a meal and having it delivered with the wrong food or with items missing, food lukewarm, etc. Our cabin was spacious with plenty of storage and a wonderful bathroom with a combination bathtub/shower. We purchased an upgrade to a Suite Guarantee a few weeks before the cruise when I saw what I considered to be a very good price that lasted only one day. We were assigned an S2 Sky Suite on deck twelve under the Ocean View buffet so we were mildly concerned about the possible noise factor. There was some occasional low level rumbling that I assume came from overhead but nothing that interfered in any way with our enjoyment of the cabin. If you choose this cabin or are assigned it as a guarantee, I hope you will be as happy with it as we were. We had shore excursions in almost every port and all were well-organized and well done. We did three shore excursions through Celebrity and four shore excursions through private companies which we enjoyed so much. The private excursions were for our group of six friends so we were able to go in small vans and see and do what we wanted. For example we stopped along the way at a gelato shop of the tour driver's choice to compare gelato in each port. If you are able to tour this way at some or all of the ports visited in the Mediterranean, I highly recommend it. We ate in either the main dining room using Select dining or a specialty restaurant every night. The food was uniformly good to very good and the service ranged from good to excellent depending on the night and the venue. I found the servers to be very reliable in their suggestions for which items on the menu to try each night and I was happy with my choices. We had a wine package that we made good use of and found the wine service good in the dining room and in the specialty restaurants. We also ordered the occasional cocktail in the dining room and they were delivered quickly and correctly. We found the bar service overall very good. The itinerary was very port-intensive and most of the time we spent on the ship was either in our cabin or out eating so I can't comment on the shows. We did hear and enjoy the music that was played in the atrium on the third floor as we used the elevators. It was remarkable how you could hear the music clearly from the third floor all the way up to floor twelve. I enjoy music so I didn't find it too loud and we could not hear the music once we were out of the elevator and in the corridor leading to our room. We used Guest Services twice, once to check our on-board account and once to buy some Euros. The service was quick and polite both times. Overall this was a wonderful cruise. Our upgrade to the Sky Suite was probably a very big factor to our enjoyment of our time on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some ... Read More
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some passengers attended dinners really sloppily (t-shirts, etc). The food in the buffet was really mediocre, not much variety with low quality (served prawns which were tasteless and over-cooked, not much variety of hot breakfasts (porridge, cream of wheat etc), The dinners weren't very good quality food except the soups were excellent. The entertainment was ho-hum. The guitar player only did karaoke guitar, he couldn't sing so he just mumbled, and his playing was very simple. The guitar duo was really excellent. The couple in the main lounge/atrium were ok, but the girl was terrible, once again only doing karaoke style. The pianist was quite good however. There was really no "piano bar" which is where i usually spend my time.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
The Ship - The Regal Princess is a gorgeous ship. The use of wood and earth tones throughout gives it an elegant yet warm and welcoming feel. Areas of the ship were easy to locate. Our cabin was located in the back of the ship so it was ... Read More
The Ship - The Regal Princess is a gorgeous ship. The use of wood and earth tones throughout gives it an elegant yet warm and welcoming feel. Areas of the ship were easy to locate. Our cabin was located in the back of the ship so it was easy to get to the Horizon Court and the Promenade. But it does have a few quirks. The elevators on most decks do not have an indicator light above the doorways to signal when an elevator has arrived. We found ourselves scrambling to get to the elevator before the doors closed. The seating in the Vista Lounge is not easily accessible and very cumbersome for both passengers and wait staff. They have barrel shaped chairs that are impossible to get into and located in front of the sofas and cocktail tables. The seating in the Princess Theater no longer has the little tables that pop out from the arms of the chairs for drinks. So, if you want a drink, its up to you to figure out what you're going to do with the glass. The Entertainment - The Princess singers and dancers were outstanding. Their level of performance in Fiera and Bravo was incredible. The choreography in both productions was superb. Most of the guest entertainers were ok. I thought they had too many of the same kind of performer. The string quartet was very good and they performed regularly in the Piazza with a featured performance in the Vista Lounge. If you like to dance or even just to listen to good music, they had a very nice quartet band that played most nights in the Piazza. The Activities - During the Mediterranean leg of the 29 day voyage, I wasn't expecting a lot for activities for obvious reasons. Passengers would be going on excursions or exploring ports of call. However, once we got to the maiden crossing of the Atlantic, I was expecting to be fully engaged in activities. After all, we going to be out at sea for 7 straight days. Unfortunately, most of the activities or enrichment type programs were uninspiring. Most of the culinary demonstrations they had I either have seen before or I have cooked the dish at home. The lecture on TV's funniest moments was entertaining, but I have seen similar lectures done by the same guy. The lectures on ocean liners, the Titanic and the Princes of Wales, were somewhat interesting but a bit on the dry side. I was expecting that once we were out at sea for 7 days, they would offer something for Creativity at Sea, but nothing ever showed up in the Patter. Dining - For starters, the coffee served in the Horizon Court was always lukewarm or cold. We had to request for very hot coffee or we would go to the Horizon Bistro to the self serve station and get our coffee there. It was always hot at the self serve station. The coffee served in the Symphony dining room, however, was always served very hot. Go figure. The quality of food served in the Horizon Court during dinner has declined greatly. The toast, bagels or English muffins in the morning were always toasted too far in advance of serving, making the items as hard as rocks by the time the passenger got to them. And no one seemed to be around when you wanted a fresh slice of bread or muffin toasted. For most of the dinner buffets, it appeared as if the chef looked into the refrigerator and decided that he it was too much effort to prepare something fresh and original so lets just serve the leftovers from the day before. On past cruises with Princess, if a passenger chose not to go to the dining room for formal night, they could still get the same menu items in the Horizon Court. On this voyage, it was not the case. The last formal night of the transatlantic crossing was beyond awful. As I stated previously, it looked like the chef in the Horizon was too lazy to prepare what was being offered in the dining room and brought out all the leftovers. There were a few exceptions. The Bavarian and Indian buffets were very good. The menu items offered in the Symphony Dining room were for the most part boring. Maybe it's because I do a lot of cooking at home, but the food served in the "free" dining options was not the best I have had on Princess. Special culinary events - One of the best events I ever experienced on Princess was the Indian festival of lights. The food was exceptional. However the organization of the event was not thought out well. The event took place in the Piazza. And although the presentation of the buffets was spectacular, it was lost in the lack of organization of handling 3000 + passengers that might partake in this spectacular event. To me, it would have made more sense to have the buffet in one of the dining rooms or at least offered the dining room as a place where you could really enjoy the food. With the limited amount of seating available in the Piazza and the huge turnout of passengers, it was pure chaos. The ports of call - Although the excursions offered by Princess was expensive, the ones to Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast and Ephesus were very well done. It all depends on the tour guide you get, and with all three of these tours we had excellent guides. The excursion to the Amalfi Coast was exceptional. Overall, what saved this cruise experience for us were the excursions, ports of call, the entertainment and the service. Unfortunately, it might be a while before my husband and I are a returning passenger of Princess Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Maybe because we did the trip in October 5-12th out of Barcelona the ship didn't feel that full - maybe it was & I didn't notice it - we did port calls all day long - tons of walking on the tours! Spent most time afterward at ... Read More
Maybe because we did the trip in October 5-12th out of Barcelona the ship didn't feel that full - maybe it was & I didn't notice it - we did port calls all day long - tons of walking on the tours! Spent most time afterward at Spice Bar before dinner -- excellent staff! and then did the Specially restaurant package for dinners all week.\ Don't think we needed to do that! Could have ate at the regular dining rooms and done a few specialty restaurants. Le Bistro was excellent! - ate there twice! Teppanyaki was not that good -(overcooked the lobster for 2 people that said it- I didn't have it) the NCL Dawn ship does it a lot better. I've been on about 5 NCL trips, 1 Carnival (which I hate Carnival - will never do that again), 1 Royal Carribean (very good), and one Princess (very, very good) La Cucino was very good for Italian food on the ship ---excellent service and great food! Moderno ( I always heard Brazlian beef is the best - they serve several courses on swearers -- it was all very dry - we did not eat much there - we were like - no thank you!) we did not each much that night! Cagney's - the Great Steakhouse which is a $30 upcharge with excellent premier service - included in my dinner upgrade package! They didn't have a clue that Friday night ---hardly any service and forget to bring my lobster tail for an additional $10 upgrade! Ha! He apologized and asked if I wanted it - - I said, no thanks, we are all done with dinner. I did finally get my lobster tail on Sat night at Le Bistro when we went there for our 2nd visit -- that place is good! So NO I would not do the specially dinner package on the EPIC -- just pick a couple restaurants and pay the upcharge if you want. Loved our room -- it worked perfect ! I heard a lot of people complain about the toilet and the shower, etc. Hey -- if you are good enough friends to go on a cruise -- deal with it! You are in a small room - go figure! If you have 2 adults and a daughter -- well, leave the room while Daddy takes a shower! Stop complaining about this - I thought the new set up worked pretty good! Now - I will say this about smoking! I am a smoker and love to be able to smoke on the balcony. I am really upset that NCL is changing their policy as of Nov 1 to no smoking on balcony rooms. There are very few places to smoke on the ship. You have a hard time finding a port side exit to go outside, etc. ---- But I will say this about the EPIC -- I understand why everyone is complaining about cigarette smoke --- you cannot get to where you want to go - unless you walk through the casino area which is smoking! to get anywhere & then go down the escalator. That is bologney! The elevators will not go below that floor! I know my Mother could not handle going thru that smoke! That is a ridiculous floor Plan! So I now know why everyone complains about it! It truly is a design flaw! Make those elevators go down one more floor away from the casino and the smoke! (I know it has buttons on it and they can do that!!) Horrible design!! -- NCL deserves criticizism about this smoke issue on EPIC. Doesn't mean that have to ban it on balconies!! Sorry - this is long, but just got back Oct 12th from trip -- be aware =there is a ton of walking!! By the following Saturday me & my friend had swollen feet that looked like Clydesdale horses! I have never seen so many stairs -- up and down - in my life during the week!. We did bus trips to Rome, Florence, and Cannes/Monaco thru NCL -- let me warn you -- the busses have to park a long way away -- like 15-20 minutes away -- so you have to walk to get there and walk back to the bus -- plus all the walking you are doing while you are at the place. It is Rush, rush, rush! I turned 60 in August and said I had never been to Europe and wanted to go once in my lifetime -- By Wed in Rome I said -- I feel every one of those 60 years old! (which I never had!). I would suggest -- get a tour van like they try to do -- at least maybe they can park closer to the buildings to drop you off and pick you up -- the tour buses have to park at a designated area - way far away!! Both ways -- walking in to see what you want and then walking back to get the bus. It was brutal - and I'm in really good shape! Also Ladies -- you can get a money belt that goes on your waist below your pants from Dick's Sporting Good - something Outdoors or other places like that -- make sure the zippers and clips are made of plastic and you can wear it right through Security at the airports! I had one & went right through all the machines at security as everything is made with plastic, but you can hide your money in there. You really have to watch it --- a lot of pick pockets, etc --they even warn you! We went up in the Eiffel Tower before the cruise & they had signs when we got on the elevators to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower warning us about pick pockets. Those work great! Have a great trip -- I had the trip of a lifetime! Everything was wonderful! You will enjoy it~!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We have just returned from a 12 night cruise to Italy and Greece. It was one of the best cruise we ever had. This is our 8th cruise and embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze. We were in Suite 1615 on the 11th deck and it was exactly as we ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 night cruise to Italy and Greece. It was one of the best cruise we ever had. This is our 8th cruise and embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze. We were in Suite 1615 on the 11th deck and it was exactly as we pictured it to be. Both our Concierge, Carlos and Butler, Cesar attended to our every need. Our Stateroom Stewarts, Allan and Taurif were extremely efficient and courteous. Table 212 at the early seating at the Symphony Dining Room was attended by our Waiter Jimmy and Asst. Waiter Kristalis. Here again we really impressed by their service and attention to detail. The tours we pre-booked through Celebrity met our expectations. Expect crowded large groups in all the ports as the itinerary for this cruise is extremely popular. There were always a minimum of 2 large cruise ships in each port. Again we were very lucky with the weather as the seas were calm and peaceful. Santorini, Athens and Mykonos had each own special appeal. We were right to take the Tour "A Taste of Athens" as we now know where to go when we return. The Acropolis had the largest groups of tourist we have ever seen in Greece as the Parthenon was really a sight to behold. My wife and I are both Catholics so we were very moved by the visit to the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary where also heard the noon mass especially for groups who booked the "Biblical Tour of Ephesus". Our tour guide, Ilker, was very knowledgeable and professional. Of course, we had to see the making of the beautiful carpets of Turkey on this tour. At Ephesus, again expect very large groups of tourist. We were pleasantly surprise by the evening shows we always watched at the Equinox Theater. Paul Baya, the Cruise Director, gave a wonderful performance when he sang, My Prayer. Each show was a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour. It was just the right mixture of comedy, musical Broadway style number, Circus Acts similar to Vegas type shows and orchestra music. Celebrity to us by far had the best theatrical numbers as compared to the Royal Princess. Mood Icons, the house band, were great. We really enjoyed dancing to their music each night. We were a bit disappointed that Celebrity now charges for Circuit Cross Training Exercises and Zumba classes. We had Zumba daily at the Royal Princess and it was always free of charge. To sum it up, we had a wonderful 5 star cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I went to Barcelona with my cousin and his wife to join the 'Equinox' on a 12 night overnight in Venice cruise. We had a great late deal from Celebrity direct and had 2 Concierge verandah staterooms next to each ... Read More
My wife and I went to Barcelona with my cousin and his wife to join the 'Equinox' on a 12 night overnight in Venice cruise. We had a great late deal from Celebrity direct and had 2 Concierge verandah staterooms next to each other. The attendant, Dimas, was a star, he opened up the glass screen to give us one joined balcony to share. He was brilliant - nothing was too much trouble.The food was just a delight. The evening meal became my cruise highlight. We looked forward to being taken care of by Made Mahayasa and Maira - again 2 brilliant people who were so helpful and friendly. Many thanks too to Christian, our sommelier. I hope we meet with this great team again in the future. The whole ship was so friendly every one of the crew greeting us. The ship so smooth we hardly knew we were at sea. The bed was like a cloud - so comfortable and so big I hardly saw my wife. Fresh fruit and canapés daily, what a treat plus a bottle of bubbly when we arrived. Paradise. The ports of call were Dubrovnik, where we walked the walls. There was talk we may not dock as the wind was blowing but the skill of the Captain and crew plus having one of the most sophisticated ships made it possible. Overnight in Venice, where according to the guides, you need to get lost we certainly did this, the place is just a maze. We had to buy a map to get back. What a fantastic place. Kotor- where just me did the walk uphill to the old fortress. The views were amazing. Salerno, Rome, Florence, Toulon. All very nice experiences. The entertainment was first class and even the cruise director Paul sang a duet - what a voice, he could easily have sang in a top London Show. Loved the comedian Adrian Walsh, had us crying with laughter. None of us wanted to leave we were so at home, it was fantastic. Thank you all so much for giving us a great cruise to remember. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
After reading some disappointing previous reviews thought I would write this for those booked on future Equinox sailings. Husband and I flew from Toronto to Barcelona where we enjoyed a few wonderful days in the city before embarkation - ... Read More
After reading some disappointing previous reviews thought I would write this for those booked on future Equinox sailings. Husband and I flew from Toronto to Barcelona where we enjoyed a few wonderful days in the city before embarkation - highly recommend. In a précis we enjoyed everything about the cruise ( our second time on this ship due to itinerary). Embarkation smooth, cabin comfortable, food excellent in MDR, shore excursion staff and guest relations efficient, no complaints at all. As the cruise was fairly port intensive and we met so many nice people on board we never made it to any shows or spent time lounging around the pools. We really enjoyed having the complimentary premium drinks package, paid gratuities and onboard credit extended by Celebrity and upgraded. I think you have to be realistic - yes, it sometimes is a bit hectic at the morning buffet so order breakfast in your cabin, lunch in the Silhouette for a quieter experience, relax and watch the world go by. Consider you are being transported from one fabulous destination to another, having your accommodations tidied twice daily, delicious food selections, entertainment etc. etc. and remember you are there with lots of other people and the crew still makes you feel special! Hope you all enjoy as much as we did.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Flew direct from Toronto on Air Canada Rouge Sat. , August 23. Arrived in Barcelona on schedule Sun., Aug. 24 at 10 AM. Husband is partially disabled. We travel with a scooter as he cannot walk too far & his balance is not good at all. ... Read More
Flew direct from Toronto on Air Canada Rouge Sat. , August 23. Arrived in Barcelona on schedule Sun., Aug. 24 at 10 AM. Husband is partially disabled. We travel with a scooter as he cannot walk too far & his balance is not good at all. On arrival in Barcelona as usual a big headache as we had to wait until the entire plane was emptied & for the scooter to arrive. It always amazes us how this happens as it is the last to be put into the cargo hold of the plane!!!! & even the pilot said it should be the first thing off. NOT!!!! We collected our luggage, found the RC reps & were directed to our accessible transfer to the ship. The ramp to the ship had a number of dips where my husband's scooter got stuck & subsequently would not run again for at least 24 hours. Luckily we had reserved a 4 wheeled walker for the week so he was at least able to get around. We had a wonderful young fella who pushed him & the scooter onto the ship. Thanks again..... Why are they unable to make the ramp absolutely flat with no dips?? The 1st stop was Marseilles. We did an accessible tour through RC with Jeanne & a driver in a van with a ramp for the scooter. It was an amazing excursion as she was very knowledgeable as well as being a very nice person. Very enjoyable day... Next stop was Villefranche for Nice. We tendered in so my husband stayed on the ship while I did a tour to Monaco / Monte Carlo. Was also an amazing tour. Had a great time, met a family from New York who let me accompany them around so I wouldn't get lost. Lots of steep sidewalks & stairs. Only hurt for a few days.... wouldn't have missed it for the world.. Next stop was LaSpezia for Florence - it was to be a wheelchair accessible tour through RC BUT the only part accessible was the lift on the bus. Jon the guide after a long drive led us to square in Florence where my husband sat on his scooter for 3 hours until the guide returned to take us back to the bus. The large cobblestones were not accessible because they were not even at all. An absolute waste of $$$$ & time. Next stop was Civitavecchia for Rome. We did a private tour with Driver In Rome. Our driver/guide was Giancarlo. Really nice guy. Took us to all the required sites & some. Very knowledgeable. We had a guide also for the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's. Her name was Stefania. She was a walking encyclopedia of all Vatican, etc. Went above & beyond - even pushed husband's wheelchair so I could take pics. Thank you again to Driver in Rome & Giancarlo & Stefania for making this day so unforgettable. If ever we return to Rome, they will be our first choice... Worth every $$$... Last stop was Naples. Again through RC - was to be wheelchair accessible but again only the lift was. Had an altercation with the bus driver at the pier. The RC shore excursion person Nik sorted it out & off we went. After seeing what the tour was, I would say that the entire bus wished they had stayed on the ship. All we did was drive up & down streets where basically all the buildings & statues, etc. were covered in graffiti. Apparently it is a big drop off area for the refugees from North Africa. Extremely dirty city. Have filed a complaint with RC regarding both Florence & Naples handicapped accessible shore excursions. It's been 6 days now & no reply.... apparently they don't care...... Nik the shore excursion guy indicated that he would suggest they cancel that particular Naples one. We had a handicapped accessible promenade stateroom #8315. Really nice room. Loads of room to turn the scooter around. Everything you would need. Missed having a balcony though.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Not withstanding the issues described below, we had a very good cruise on the Regal Princess leaving Barcelona on 1 July in the midst of the taxi strike and arriving in Venice on 12 July. This is our sixth cruise and third with Princess. ... Read More
Not withstanding the issues described below, we had a very good cruise on the Regal Princess leaving Barcelona on 1 July in the midst of the taxi strike and arriving in Venice on 12 July. This is our sixth cruise and third with Princess. Overall, we would say that everything about the trip was excellent except for the Princess Rome excursion and the docking in Venice. Food quality needs some improvement, but was generally better than our previous cruise experiences. Weather: The weather in the Med is brutally hot in July. Even the fit 20 & 30 year olds were panting in Rome, Istanbul, Kusadasi, and Athens. I wish we had scheduled this trip for September or October. Mobility Challenged: I do not recommend this trip for the mobility challenged. Excursions in a wheelchair are out of the question. Lots and lots of walking with much of it on cobblestones or slick marble streets. Itinerary: We did a similar cruise on RCI in 2011 and had no issues with that itinerary, but the Regal’s itinerary is stretched too tight with the ship frequently arriving late into port or not being ready for disembarkation until well after “advertised” times. This repeatedly reduced time ashore and put us behind mobs from other cruise ships in port, e.g., Rome, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens, and Venice. Embarkation in Barcelona: The port facility in Barcelona is absolutely the best we have encountered. It is well laid out, efficiently operated, and boarding was customer friendly. However, Princess did little to facilitate passengers getting to the ship when taxi drivers went on strike in Barcelona. In fact, it was a dismal sight seeing sweating families, many of them seniors and children, dragging their suitcases in the heat, well over a mile from the end of the Barcelona metro. Disembarkation in Venice: Definitely the Pits – Worst we have experienced. We docked in mid-afternoon in Venice at one of the furthest berths in the port, already filled with six cruise ships. The ONLY transfer information provided by Princess was that passengers who signed up for the Princess water taxi ride ($20pp) would be met outside the terminal and that the tram (people mover) that connects to other public transportation. What they did not say is that the tram is “outside” the port terminal and is ¾ mile from the ship. No shuttle bus was provided. The Ship: We really liked the ship. There was plenty of space for the 3,500 passengers and we never felt crowded. The appointments are well executed with a luxurious feel. The atrium does cause some quirkiness in stairways and access to the mid-ship facilities as has been noted in other reviews. We only experienced elevator delays when everyone was trying to board or exit the ship at the same time. We also really like that there are laundromats on each deck and used it twice. Hint: don’t wait until the sea days to do laundry. Wait Staff: Although the newness of the wait staff showed a few times, they were always friendly and attentive. Only on the last night in Venice did we notice a drop off in wait staff performance, possibly because many were on “shore leave” or performing baggage duties. Food Quality: Generally we found the food to be good and nicely presented. However, the Regal Princess badly needs a professional “saucier” to sample their soups and sauces and to recommend changes. EVERYTHING was bland. The exception to this observation was an outstanding meal in the Crown Grill. Chef’s Table: We have done the Chef’s Table on a previous Princess cruise and the first thing we did upon boarding in Barcelona was to book a Chef’s Table sitting. The Regal’s Chef’s Table is in a beautiful alcove in the Allegro dining room. After a brief tour of the galley; meeting the Chef, the Maitre de, and key kitchen staff, we sampled canapes and were then guided into the dining area. Hospitality and food presentation were truly outstanding, but we were let down with the blandness of the cuisine. At $115 per person, the dining experience was a big let down and the food was not as good as the Crown Grill at a quarter of the price. Excursions: We do not like ship excursions as they are expensive and we feel like cattle being herded around and Princess did nothing to improve our assessment. Because we had an incentive excursion credit, we booked the Princess train from Civitavecchia to Rome. Big mistake. The AC in the two Princess rail cars was broken, so we were taken by bus to the port terminal building and literally dumped off, waiting for repair of the AC. The two Princess excursion guides disappeared. So now you have 90 passengers stranded in the terminal building for almost a hour with no information and with most having tour guides waiting for them in Rome. In all, we lost 1½ hours of OUR time in Rome without a word of apology from Princess. Recommendations: (1) If you want to do a sampling of the Mediterranean, do this itinerary in the spring or fall, not in the summer. (2) Do not book ship excursions. Go to Cruise Critic and find folks to share a private tour. (3) Don’t do the Chef’s Table unless you read that the food has improved. (4) There is a baggage service in terminal gate end of Building 103 that will take your baggage to your Venice hotel for a small fee.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We chose Oceania, Riviera due to its publicity showing relaxed elegance, even though it was dearer than others, plus itinerary was interesting.Their big selling point was that they have the best cuisine afloat -- not true! SHIP. It is ... Read More
We chose Oceania, Riviera due to its publicity showing relaxed elegance, even though it was dearer than others, plus itinerary was interesting.Their big selling point was that they have the best cuisine afloat -- not true! SHIP. It is only 2 years old so is sparkling and most areas are tastefully decorated. Some of the art left us cold. There were no friendly venues onboard, comfort wise they were ok but did not attract any of the passengers. I was concerned that all the lifeboats are not accessible to the general public and you definitely need a crewman if there is an emergency. ACTIVITIES. It was a minimal programme and they couldn't even coordinate a happy hour with an afternoon performance by the comedian (that you'd have to be drunk to listen to!). SERVICE. They tried for the first leg, but we lost the GM and the new one did not follow up on our concerns. We put in a written complaint after 2 days cruising and the GM got me face to face and arranged for some of the other managers to meet with us. It did not solve the global issues -- see food/dining. EXCURSIONS. Far too expensive for what was offerred. We had a good time with local cabs and buses. They also did not give any local news for each port before getting there - tips on travel etc, but every port had a local rep after they docked, which was like a rugby scrum every morning. CABIN. Acceptable DINING. We got raw, cold food continuously in their so called 5 star dining. Yes they would replace it with well cooked hot food but every second meal it was the same. Only 4 times out of 10 tries did we get a soft boiled egg that was acceptable! Their food was too rich for plain food gourmets and if you forgot to tell them to leave off the sauce it was often not very palatable. Their presentation was fantastic, and service was quick. They also claimed "country club casual" which is a jacket but no tie. There was no policing and my overweight baggage was useless as folk rocked up in shorts. There was very little effort made to encourage meeting people over meals and single seating was the majority. We cruise to meet folk and we had a real struggle on this ship. CHILDREN They advertise that there is nothing for kids but people brought them in droves and let them run amok, especially around the pool and open bars. Supervisors did nothing. ENTERTAINMENT What we saw was very poor. They only have one show a night so it was easy to miss. SUMMARY It does not live up to its hype or cost, re cuisine and casual elegance.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise Barcelona-Barcelona July 26, 2014 This was our first Disney Cruise, but far from our first cruise. Many of our shipmates expressed surprise that we were on our first Disney cruise, they were all veterans ... Read More
Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise Barcelona-Barcelona July 26, 2014 This was our first Disney Cruise, but far from our first cruise. Many of our shipmates expressed surprise that we were on our first Disney cruise, they were all veterans of several. My wife and I had invited our thirteen-year-old granddaughter to choose a spot to visit, anywhere in the world, with us. When she chose either Italy or Greece, we explored intergenerational tours of Italy and Greece. The Disney Mediterranean Cruise popped up on both searches, and proved to be an economic option. Reading reviews of Disney on Cruise Critic convinced me it was OK. It was ideal because it was intergenerational - the cabin was intergenerational, the meals were intergenerational, the excursions were intergenerational, the entertainment was intergenerational, even the television channels were intergenerational. Her cousin and her cousin’s grandmother joined us. Her cousin had a fear of sailing as a result of the Costa sinking. We flew to Barcelona, captured a jumbo taxi for the ride from the airport to the hotel (then booked her for the next day to the ship). We spent a quiet day in a hotel off the Ramblas, dining on tapas for dinner, then boarded the Magic the next day. We returned to Barcelona and spent four days sightseeing on our return, so there was little pressure and jet lag to recover from. Boarding was uneventful, with Disney efficiency in managing queues. We boarded, went to lunch and were welcomed by crew everywhere we went. After lunch our cabins were ready so we went to unpack. The girls explored the ship, including checking out the lounge for 11-14-year-olds. As we had a late seating, we had a wait for dinner until 8:45. At dinner we met our table mates (a family of five from Connecticut who were all six-time Disney cruisers, including a girl about our kids’ age. We also met our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter. Their interest in our granddaughter’s gluten-free requirement was heart-warming. In Disney tradition, they followed us for the entire cruise, changing restaurants nightly. Day one was a stop in Nice, France, bright and early in the morning, where we went through Disney crowd control techniques and were seated on a bus, with a guide for the day and a tour that included the perfume factory in Grasse and the medieval village of St. Paul de Vance, with a stop for lunch on the waterfront in Cannes. By the time we returned to the ship, I was exhausted and ready for the adult pool, the major child-free haven on the ship. Days two and three were similar, with tours of Florence and Pisa, and an exhausting tour of Rome including the Coliseum and the Vatican. We were really ready for the first day at sea. The rest of the trip was similar, with relaxing days at sea interrupted by high intensity days in port. The later ports we did on our own, using public transportation to get to the city in Athens, Kusadasi, and Malta and the beach iin Mykonos and exploring on our own. The money saved was significant, but I’m not confident we could have done that on our own in France or Italy. Our cabin was ideal for a family tour, with a curtain separating the space into two rooms, one for our granddaughter and one for us. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom was also divided in two, a room with toilet and sink, another room with bathtub and sink. Cabin service was friendly and efficient, and the towel animals were delightful. The rest of the ship was generally noisy and not that easy to navigate. As an Oceania fan, I was shocked to discover that the Disney Magic had no library, but it had half a dozen lounges with bars and music. The evening entertainment was all Disney, all the time, with shows and movies that managed to include Mickey and all his entourage. I am old enough to expect Annette Funicello with this crowd. The kids loved it. I didn’t. Meals were fixed seating at a scheduled time - 8:45 for the late seating. They rotated through three main restaurants. Service was exceptional, but the food was not - it was good, but not great. There is a premium restaurant with a $25 service charge that is adults only. It was quiet, and the food was better, but still not great. We had to leave the kids (thirteen year olds) on their own to eat there, but that was no problem. The waiters and other adults at the table assisted them. They didn’t miss us. There was little intellectual stimulation - occasional port discussions that touched on the geology or geography, but no lecture series. There was a “Pirates of the Caribbean” night where the ship was saved when Mickey came down a guy wire from the smokestack to rescue us from the pirates, followed by fireworks. I would easily travel on Disney again - when traveling with children. I wouldn’t do it without them.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Cruise included flights and transfers to Barcelona which were both very stress free. Embarkation at Barcelona was fast and not a lot of queuing {about 45mins} and once on board this beautiful ship at about 12noon we spent some time ... Read More
Cruise included flights and transfers to Barcelona which were both very stress free. Embarkation at Barcelona was fast and not a lot of queuing {about 45mins} and once on board this beautiful ship at about 12noon we spent some time getting to know our way about before being allowed to our staterooms at about 1-30pm. The stateroom was perfect and would definitely rate very high in comparison to other ships we have been on. The itinerary was excellent and some of the ports visited will last long in the memory. The entertainment was ok overall but a fantastic live band called the mood icons played most nights in the sky lounge. Good Points: Again we cannot stress enough the layout,cleanliness and beauty of this ship. The food in the oceanview and silhouette restaurants was first class and we did not feel the need to visit any speciality restaurants throughout the cruise. In general the staff were very polite and courteous with a few exceptions which we put down to bad training Bad Points: The only bad points are really down to staff attitude. We had a drinks package and would have expected the sommelier to have visited our table and offer us wine. On two successive nights in the silhouette restaurant this did not happen and when asked why his response led to an argument taking place at the side of our table in full view and providing entertainment for other diners nearby. When this wasn,t resolved the wine manager and the dining room manager were all at the table side trying to make excuses for the sommelier. This was all very embarrassing to the extreme and left us feeling uncomfortable using the dining room thereafter. Also our stateroom attendant was reluctant to leave essentials in our bathroom{hair caps,shampoo}having to be asked for them on various occasions. Disembarkation was easy and we were bused to Marco Polo airport in Venice.This airport is way below the standard required for the amount of people using it and with low ceilings and lack of air-con was a bit of a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014

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