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23 Barcelona to Trans-Ocean Cruise Reviews

This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food ... Read More
This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food was very good at night and we couldn’t complain about the service. Entertainment was hit and miss and we waited so long for the big productions to come on. The Silk Road didn’t appear till near the end of the second cruise. They had 3 different boy acts which were fabulous. We mainly went to the Two70 bar which was a lot quieter and we had one bar staff who knew our names and what we had. Couldn’t afford anything in the high end shops and like $US 9 for a bar of chocolate REALLY. Room for improvement in many areas. We tried all the bars and were very annoyed that no nibbles were available and they ran out of Lavender syrup. Drinks were also pricey. The coffee shops were very good would have liked to see some pastries on offer. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and meeting some interesting people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All ... Read More
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All are now healthy and we tried again. Very excited about being the first to sleep in the bed, eat at that table, see a show in the theatre etc. We sailed from Barcelona to Singapore. That constituted 2 cruises by RCCL. We soon found out maiden voyages are not without many issues. But first they many positive things: We loved our Silver Jr. Suite. This was cruise #27 for us and this was our favorite cabin. It came with perks we didn't expect like access to Silver lounge which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were told that the silver lounge and the gold lounge would be taken out once the ship reached Shanghai its home port. The 2 lounges will be made into VIP gambling lounges instead. We loved trying new things: (1) North Star which we did twice. Once taking lots of pictures and once just for the enjoyment of being 300 feet above the ocean and seeing the sides and top of the ship from a whole new view. (2) I-Fly the skydiving simulator. It was fun and really didn't warrant the nerves that led up to entering cylinder. (3) Bumper cars at sea. Have not been on bumper cars in 20 maybe 30 years. Much nicer than any from past. The ship has many whimsical decorations i.e. pandas and food truck sculptures on outside deck. There was also 3 pools: outside, inside and solarium. The solarium had 2 small decks off each side. I don't think many people knew they were there because hardly anyone was out there. When we told our friends about them I don't think they believed us because they had been in the solarium and didn't see them. Food was ok in dining room. Our friends insisted on eating every night in dining room. We chose anytime dining but made reservations for a certain table at the same time each night. There were many mix ups and the table was often filled when we arrived. After speaking with several people who were suppose to be in charge, it finally got straightened out. Enjoyed breakfast and some lunches in silver lounge. It was quiet and more relaxed. The entertainment was very good for the most part. I think they brought on some top acts for the maiden voyage. We greatly enjoyed the production show (there was only one in theatre) Showgirls. We saw it twice. There was a production show in the Two70 lounge called Silk Road. It wasn't ready until after Dubai so anyone getting off Barcelona-Dubai didn't get to see it. The costumes, dancing and special effects were amazing, but I still have no idea what the story line was. Neither did anyone I talked to. Ports: Did ship shore excursions except for last port in Penang. That was the only port after Dubai you could get off and walk around on your own. Checked many bucket list places: Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Acropolis, Petra, Suez Canal, Dubai, Amalfi Coast. Stops in India would be classified as one and done. It was as expected, dirty and noisy. Not the highlight. Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. It gave me great pleasure to introduce it to our friends traveling with us. Gardens by the bay night light show as well as daytime visit, Marina Bay Sands light show over the water can not be missed. One of the reviews talked about the RCCL app for the phone. Not to be disrespectful, but he could not possible have used it. Yes it was suppose to do all the things he claimed but they didn't work. Dinner reservations made were suppose to show up on calendar and never did - at least not all of them. We went through activities on the app first day and put things on our calendar. The problem was those events never happened on the ship. The activities in the Cruise Compass and the app often didn't agree. You could look up your folio. That was the only reliable thing on the app. We talked to staff members and learned it wasn't a Spectrum of the Seas issue but a RCCL issue. My husband marked it low on our mid-cruise survey and received a call from IT. They couldn't disagree with anything he told them and thanked him for his input. Nothing changed however. There were a lot of little things that I attribute to the fact the ship was made for the Asian market and when the ship reached Shanghai it would operate differently. There were only extremely high end stores on board. You rarely saw anyone in any of them. Those will stay. People complained about no bingo but Asian market doesn't support bingo so too expensive for short trip. Different bars had different things. It was a real complaint of our traveling companions that there were no bitters on board until after Dubai. Olives & cherries for their drinks were often none existent at the Schooner bar. Since I don't drink anything that requires those items it wasn't a big deal to me. There were other things but honestly I believe the screwups or lack of supplies was simply because they would not be used in China market. Even the cruise director staff will be exiting in June when arriving in Shanghai and speaking Mandarin is the new requirement for staff. Since I do not plan to take a cruise in the Asian market I am glad I got to take the 30 day maiden voyage and enjoy this beautiful ship even with all the hiccups. I could tell more but it won't matter because there will not be another cruise like this one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from ... Read More
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from Day 2 onward. We could have had Lu the first day, but we didn’t know the Silver Dining Room was open till we got to our cabin. I called about Dn the first night, but was confused by their answer. We went to the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 14 and got a Noodle Bowl. Br was the usual assortment on Eggs, Pancakes, fruits, Oatmeal, Yogurt, Juices, etc. They have a Latte, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, etc. machine so you don’t need a coffee card. Sometimes you can get the Waiters to make the drinks for you. They use real plates and silverware + glass drinking glasses. Lu was a big spread with multiple Meats and Seafoods, lots of salads and vegs, and desserts like Tiramisu & Cheesecake. Dn was Appetizers. They always had 4 hot appetizers like small Chicken Legs, Shrimp, Spring Rolls, Onion Balls and Sausage Rolls. They always had 4 cold appetizers plus Cheeses and Wafer Bread. Small desserts, but you can have free alcoholic and soft drinks from 5:30pm till 8pm (and lots of people do). We never saw the need to go to the Dining Room! We had reserved a Transfer Tour from the Barcelona Airport to the Port. But, the Immigration line took over 1 hour and we missed the bus (they don’t wait). Fortunately, a RCCL rep was there that got us on a direct transfer bus from the airport to the ship at less cost. Great!!! NOTE: You have to reserve the direct transfers from the Reservation people (they are not shown in the on-line Shore Trips). Check-in was very fast. The rooms were ready early at 12:15pm. We had reserved the 10.5 hr The Best of Rome shore trip, but my wife wasn’t feeling good after the long flight from the US. A Shore Excursion rep refunded our money. We had a pleasant walk in Civitavecchia, the Port for Rome. We had Lu in town overlooking the MedMer. We walked around the Port area in Naples, and had a Pizza Lu. We walked a mile from the Port in Athens @ (37 56.23N 23 37.46E) to the spectacular Church of the Holy Trinity @ (37.943651° 23.644060°). NOTE: It is a 2.5 mile walk one-way from the Port large ships must use to the Subway Station to go to the Acropolis. We took the 10 hr ship tour to Petra. We walked the 3 Kms thru the Siq to the Treasury façade and back in 2.3 Hrs. I took 400 pictures. The light is really good for pictures in the Siq in the morning. You could rent horse-drawn carts for a fast ride to the Treasury. Our ticket included a ride down and back on a slow horse led by a local tribesman. You could also rent Golf Carts with a driver for a moderately paced ride. We passed on all of them because we wanted to look for birds and take pictures. In my view, if you took the horse carts, you would largely miss the beautiful views in the Siq. NOTE: The main trail goes on for another 3-miles (5Km) to the 4000-seat ancient Amphi-Theater carved into the rock, the Colonnaded Street (where ancient shops had been located), and the 135,000 sq ft Great Temple. There were mobs of People coming downhill to the Treasury at Noon as we were walking back to the entrance. I’m glad we got here earlier. Our only delay was where a woman had fallen at a narrow place in the Siq. This created a real bottle neck for the horse carts. There seemed to be Park Staff caring for her already. Petra is not Handicap accessible. Our tour included a Buffet Lu at the MovenPick 5-Star Hotel next to the entrance to the Petra Park: Hummus, Zucchini Hummus, Tomato slices, Mint sauce, Olives, 3-Peppers w Cheese Sauce + Pulled Pork w Rice + Pita Bread ++ Chocolate Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Beautiful!!! The bus ride to and from Petra was interesting as well. I took 170 pictures on these drives. Part of the drive was on the Kings Highway mentioned in Numbers Chapter 20. We didn’t get off the ship in Dubai till time to go to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I sailed on Nautica from Barcelona to Dubai October / November 2017 This was our 3rd time with Oceania, having already sailed on Riviera and Marina. This was our first time on one of Oceania’s smaller ships but we knew ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Nautica from Barcelona to Dubai October / November 2017 This was our 3rd time with Oceania, having already sailed on Riviera and Marina. This was our first time on one of Oceania’s smaller ships but we knew what to expect in terms of size and layout as we had previously sailed with Azamara on Quest, which also being one of the original Renaissance ships, is the same design and layout. On balance we preferred the added intimacy of these smaller ships Standard cabins are not large but adequate and the en-suite is it has to be admitted a bit on the small side. They are however beautifully furnished with very nice bedding and toiletries From start to finish we had a great time. The ports of call were mostly very interesting, the highlights being Israel for Jerusalem, Egypt for The Temples of Karnack and Jordan for Petra, amazing The things though that make this so enjoyable were the ship’s staff, who were without exception so very friendly and helpful. We do not remember a single moment when we were not greeted with a warm smile and a hello, even when just passing the staff in one of the corridors And then there was the food. The Terrace buffet restaurant was good if not excellent, but we did enjoy taking our breakfast and lunch out on the open rear deck most days. We did actually eat here on two occasions in the evening and were quite happy with the food But it was the main restaurant and the two speciality restaurants where the ship excelled. I saw a couple of past reviews where folk complained about the food which makes me wonder what ship they were really on, have they got mixed up ? My wife and I eat regularly in some top London restaurants and on all three cruises we have done with Oceania, the food and the restaurant service compares very favourably and can only be described as excellent. In fact it is indeed like dining in a top notch restaurant every evening The main restaurant served consistently good food with excellent service. We avoided eating too early as the queue was quite long due to the theatre show times creating a rush to eat early. We preferred to eat later after a quick pre-dinner drink in Martini’s Bar so we never had a problem and basically were able to get a table straight away. This ship only has two speciality restaurants (Polo Grill & Toscana) whereas the large ships Riviera and Marina have four, Polo Grill, Toscana, Red Ginger and Jacques. Hence we were delighted that Nautica’s main restaurant menu often featured some of our favourite dishes that we had previously enjoyed while on our earlier cruises on both Riviera and Marina. For example, the fantastic Miso Glazed Sea Bass we had enjoyed in Red Ginger We had three superb meals in the Polo Grill, the Rack of Lamb was my favourite, while Toscana was also memorable. Four times we ate here and I have to say for me the Veal Chop with Porcini was just so, so good, I had to have it again, three times in fact ! Also well worth the cost is the Prestige drinks package if you like a glass of wine or two and may be a Martini before or a Cognac after dinner. An excellent range and again the bar staff were so very friendly Our fellow guests were mainly very friendly and interesting so we struck up a few friendships with several couples which made for many a convivial evening If we have any issues with Oceania it’s the cost of the ship’s shore excursions, they can be very expensive Apart from that, we had a fabulous holiday Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We've cruised on all three ships in this class on their maiden voyages. While we had an excellent cruise, the Majestic fell short of our expectations given our experiences on the Royal and Regal although the cruising portion went ... Read More
We've cruised on all three ships in this class on their maiden voyages. While we had an excellent cruise, the Majestic fell short of our expectations given our experiences on the Royal and Regal although the cruising portion went very smoothly. We chose this voyage based upon the destination ports of call and the offered excursions through Princess and our expectation that as a sister ship it would be a continuation of our previous experiences. It was not. Pre-voyage we booked into the Hotel Hesperia Presidente through Princess, and booked air accommodations through Princess EZ aire. While the Presidente is a little more pricey, its in a great part of Barcelona, includes breakfast and has excellent rooms and excellent staffing. For our post hotel accommodations, we made our own arrangements for three extra nights in Rome, plus our own transfer service sharing with two other couples. During the voyage we booked excursions entirely through Princess. We had only one disappointment out of many and Princess refunded 40% of our cost. Our favorite excursion was at port of Livorno, where we did the best of the best for Pisa/Florence and had an excellent guide. Our journey included a five-star luncheon at the Villa La Massa just outside Florence, in the countryside. It included the Galleria Accademia (for the statue of David,etc,) and the Uffizi Gallery. Outstanding service from our guide. Our cabin aboard ship, was an aft balcony. While it was nice, it wasn't worth the extra money, mainly because we were never in it long enough to appreciate it and because we never had a great sunrise or sunset view. The food was unremarkable in selections but well prepared and served. Aboard ship, we were disappointed to not have the Sanctuary as we had known it from the Royal and Regal. Instead they have the Conservatory, which is noisy, lacking in style and purpose. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Disappointing is the only way to describe this new ship, its layout is way behind the times and poor use of space. We were on board for 3 weeks and found the crew to be disinterested, not very energetic and there is a distinct lack of ... Read More
Disappointing is the only way to describe this new ship, its layout is way behind the times and poor use of space. We were on board for 3 weeks and found the crew to be disinterested, not very energetic and there is a distinct lack of supervision. The food is not good particularly the buffet where food is prepared elsewhere and left to serve yourself was not hot, bland and repetitive. The specialty restaurants are not worth the visit with the exception of the Crown Grille. The only good thing to say about the dining room is that the food is hot. There is no shopping to talk of on board. Drinks are outrageously expensive, particularly wine and buy by the glass serve is miniscule. Don't bother with the Casino, it is only a place to make a donation. The plus side is minimal with the exception of the in cabin TV which would be amongst the best in the Cruise ship world, possibly to make up for the lack of entertainment. All ports were outstanding and ship excursions overpriced. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We joined the cruise at Barcelona, as did many others. There was one girl directing people and one desk open. It was a shambles. The staff of Fantasia have no concept of queueing.They brought a party in front and signed them in in front ... Read More
We joined the cruise at Barcelona, as did many others. There was one girl directing people and one desk open. It was a shambles. The staff of Fantasia have no concept of queueing.They brought a party in front and signed them in in front of everyone. By 8am all the sunbeds were taken or should I say covered with towels. Some of the people who had taken them never turned up at all. The policy is supposedly that after half an hour the towels should be removed. This never happened even when you asked staff. I found a bed in a group surrounded with beds with towels. I took it. 1 and a half hours later a group came and I was accused of moving a towel which I had not done. I went for a swim, fine. A little later I went to get an icecream, when I got back, my book, sunglasses, lotion and sun hat had dissappeared and the beds all turned round to follow the sun. No one knew anything about it. The reaction at the reception was "why would anyone steal a book?" Unhelpful staff with lack of knowledge on reception, most waitresses in bars very pleasant, several in buffet, rude. The food in the buffet was always cold. We waited in a queue for shuttles buses, 4 french people walked to the front. They were told in German, English, Italian and Spanish that there was a long queue and could they go to the back. They ignored everyone and again the staff just shrugged there shoulders. One of them informed everyone if we didn't speak his language not to address him. I have booked a back to back tour in January/February but if I hadn't would not travel with MSC again. We only went this time because our agent said they had much improved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We needed to go to Europe for family reasons and being Australian, this cruise took us a good part of the way home. Despite having traveled a great deal, a number of the ports and side trips were places we had previously missed and this ... Read More
We needed to go to Europe for family reasons and being Australian, this cruise took us a good part of the way home. Despite having traveled a great deal, a number of the ports and side trips were places we had previously missed and this was a very convenient way to link them together. The all-inclusive nature was also attractive to us. Passengers: The passengers were largely American, but most of the people we met through shared dining were Canadian and British. In almost all cases, the people we met were well traveled, retired and good company. Embarkation: In our pre-cruise departure information, Regent gave us a terminal in Barcelona, but when we arrived it was the wrong one. Our actual terminal was a good few miles further away. No attempt seemed to have been made to advise us of this. Once we were at the correct spot, embarkation was straight forward and a welcome glass of champagne was appreciated. Cabin: We were upgraded to a slightly higher category, but the cabin was essentially the same. It was spacious, comfortable, airy and of a high standard. Our cabin steward was faultless throughout the cruise. Dining: Our experiences dining were generally good, but inconsistent. Certainly early in the cruise (it was a new crew) the service in the main Compass Rose restaurant was slow and quite a few errors were made. Fortunately, the wine waiters were always on top of things so you remained well lubricated while waiting. The service standard at the Compass Rose improved as the cruise went along. If you wanted to, you could order lobster every night. The French restaurant, The Chartreuse was outstanding - innovative french cuisine matched with a fine selection of excellent wines. Highly recommended. The specialty steak restaurant, Prime was OK, but nothing special. It was an American steakhouse. The Italian restaurant was fine for a a few meals during the cruise. The Compass Rose provided good variety, large quantities of good food. The specials were at times pretty interesting. A number of the attempts at asian dishes were for our tastes, very bland. I assume this was by design as a number of the staff were asian. The cheese plate at the Compass Rose was an excellent course. For lunch we generally went to the pool bar area. Here they presented something different each day - often relating to the port we were visiting. Some of these worked better than others, but there was always an interesting array to chose from. At the main restaurants, there were 2 'wines of the day' freely available. Once you were in the know, there were other wines available that you could ask for. There was no wine list. We found out about this from a passenger who knew from a previous Regent cruise. A very odd system. There was always plenty of wine available. Entertainment. The enrichment lectures were at times a little dry and at times very entertaining, but they provided really good information on topics relating to the places visited. The entertainment in the ship's bars was a bit mixed. The Regent 5 piece band were very versatile and very good. The pianist was also very good, but the duo sang an odd collection of nothing songs. The formal entertainment was mixed. The guest performers were generally good - A latin guitarist (Vincenzo) was good (and Australian!) as was Sally Jones. Others were OK. The regent singers and dancers did about 5 shows which ranged from very good to average, depending on the material they were performing. We didn't really participate in the on-board activities apart from the odd gym class. Ports and Excurions: The ports we visited on this cruise were outstanding and the excursions mixed, but generally OK - excellent. Our main complaint on the excursions were that in some cases other passengers had booked on these tours that they weren't physically up to, so we spent a lot of time waiting. Ostia Antica (Civitavechia): Most people went to Rome, but having been there before we chose this. The site was the ancient ruins of the old Roman sea port. It was a really interesting place to visit. Our guide was very enthusiastic. The on-board lectures on Roman cities tied this together nicely. Sorrento (Naples): We only went to this port as the sea was too rough to use the tenders on the planned stop on the Amalfi coast. Regent did well to organise tours in Naples at short notice. The tour we chose was only OK, but we were looking for some variety on Roman ruins. Probably should have done another ruin. In the afternoon we took ourselves into Naples for a loo around which was quite good. Valletta (Malta). Sailing into and out of the harbour was fantastic. A very scenic port and city. We did our own thing in Valletta and had a great time wandering around. If you are interested in World War 2, visit the Lascaris war rooms. These tunnels under the city are from where the invasion of Italy was directed. Rhodes (Greece) Another interesting city. we did the trip to the Acropolis of Rhodes which was an interesting site, but our guide was a bit hard to understand. We could have done without the stop at the tourist trap which seems mandatory in this part of the world. Cyprus. We went to Nicossia to look at the disputed border that passes through the city. On the way we stopped at an archaeological site where ruins of a neolithic town have been discovered. All very interesting. Our guide was good and quite open with her view of the politics of Cyprus. Haifa (Israel). We did a long day trip to Jerusalem & Bethlehem (13 hours). This was quite tiring, but very, very interesting. On the 2nd day in port we visited the Crusader forts at Acre (or Akko). This was an unexpected gem. we had a great guide and a good tour around. Transiting the Suez: Not a port as such but one of the reasons we chose this cruise. It was just fascinating. All day there was something to see Sharm el Sheik: Not much of a town to look at. we did a snorkeling trip. It was Ok, but a bit crowded as they took 5 bus/boat loads of people to the same spots, then tried to keep each of the 5 groups in their own group. The fish were good, but the coral looks pretty wrecked. Aqaba (Jordan). Many people went to Petra, but we had been there before, so we did a trip to Wadi Rum. Again they took us around in a large group (30 4X4s in convoy). We spent a lot of time waiting for people to get on and off the back of the trucks. Wadi Rum is a spectacular place, but the tour was disappointing. Safaga (Luxor). Again Safaga is nothing to look at, but most passengers did a trip across to Luxor. Another long, but very interesting trip. Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Luxor were excellent. Our guide was OK, but he talked almost non-stop all day. It was over 3 hours each way on the bus and he kept going virtually the whole way there and the whole way back. Salalah (oman) Salalah is an Ok looking place, although the port was nowhere near the city. We did a tour which visited the grand mosque. Our guide was very open talking about his life and showing his religion. We also visited the museum, looked at frankincense trees and went to the markets. Good. Muscat (Oman). We went on the hop on/hop off bus and had a really good look around. Muscat is a nice place, but the city is quite strung out, so the bus is a good option. Dubai. Our last day and the our worst excursion. We just drove past a some of the sites. We stopped at the Burj al arab hotel, but the guide told us as we got off 'we wont belong - it isnt a very good view from her' - so why stop there? The museum was just a bit strange and we spent much of the time in the souk trying to find people who were lost. Disembarkation: This was fine. We declined the Regent airport transfer for $110/person and got a taxi for $30. Some others on this forum have complained that they had to take their own bags, but we had no such issues. We just disembarked, identified our bags on teh wharf and walked with them a few yards to the taxi. Disappointment: Our only real complaint was that in Aqaba, after we got back from our excursion, we caught the town shuttle into town to have a look around. The shuttle to return us to the ship didn't come at the advertised time (the bus was used to collect other passengers from a nearby hotel). We were left to make our own way back. When we complained to the destination services, the response was finally that in the fine print it says that shuttle times aren't guaranteed, so it was our problem. While this is technically true, I thought it was a very poor response from an organisation that sells itself as 5 star service. Overall: This is an expensive cruise line, but they pretty much delivered what they advertised. We would cruise with Regent again, if the destinations make it worthwhile. It was nice not having to worry about paying or signing for things once on board Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This cruise went from Barcelona to Dubai. We stopped at so many wonderful ports and checked off many things from our bucket list that this just may be the best cruise we will ever take. Seven Seas Navigator: This ship holds about 660 ... Read More
This cruise went from Barcelona to Dubai. We stopped at so many wonderful ports and checked off many things from our bucket list that this just may be the best cruise we will ever take. Seven Seas Navigator: This ship holds about 660 passengers. Although that is small for a ship today, the Navigator’s amenities seemed more than adequate compared to larger ships. It has two specialty restaurants (steakhouse and French) in addition to the standard dining room. There is also a top deck aft buffet which becomes an Italian restaurant for dinner with waiters and a menu. There is a large, comfortable showroom, a casino, library, internet café, coffee and snack corner, card room and several lounges. Outdoors offers a pool and two hot tubs, a golf driving cage, paddle tennis, croquet/bocce court, a 5-hole mini golf course and shuffleboard. Cabins: Our cruise began November 6, 2016 and the ship had just come out of a 3+ week renovation. Nearly everything in the cabins and public areas was brand new. We had a mid-range cabin, suite 760. The marble bathroom was spacious with counter space shelves, a tub and a separate shower. I loved the walk-in closet with a safe, shelve area, drawers and plenty of hanging area and thoughtfully included four padded hangers for formal wear. My only complaint was that the small dressing table with a padded stool was basically unusable since the drawer open no more than 5”. The stool was too low to use and it was all too close to the bed. I found the desk opposite the couch to be much more practical. Our two stewards were excellent and always asking if we needed anything – wine, beer, etc. added to our refrigerator. Food: The menu was exceptional both in quality and variety. Steak and lobster were available every night. The pool deck grill, in addition to the standard hot dog/hamburger fare, often featured an ethnic or theme buffet on the side which was not the same as what was at the inside buffet. We were pleased with the preparation and selection no matter where we ate at any meal. Service: The staff was without exception friendly and very eager to help despite the fact that gratuities were included in the cruise cost. There were some problems in the main dining room during the first week because many staff had just come on board after the ship came out of dry dock, the menu had changed, and the kitchen had been revamped. In addition, the waiters were being trained to use iPads as well. There were many passenger complaints which were certainly heard since the Regent CEO was on the cruise and had a question and answer session early on. I can definitely say that service in the dining room improved to a large degree during the second and third week of the cruise. However, the food was always served graciously and the wine stewards made sure that your glass was always full. Ports: Our 21 day cruise went from Barcelona to Dubai via the Suez Canal with stops in Rome, Jerusalem, Petra and Luxor among many others. There were no tender stops; one had been scheduled for the Amalfi Coast but Naples was substituted when rough weather threatened the stop. I was surprised by the variety and quality of the shore excursions in general. With the exception of only one port, the guides at each stop were very good. Buses and transportation options were modern and safe. If meals were included in the excursion, they were at four star or better hotels and generally included alcohol. Shipboard activities: This was our first Regent cruise and the onboard activities included things I had never seen before. There was the standard bridge play, bingo, dance lessons, Smithsonian lectures and trivia. However, most afternoons included group games such as silly putting contests, bean bag tosses, and similar types of games. For any of these activities, participants were given “Regent point” cards instead of the usual pens and luggage tags like other cruise lines. At the end of the cruise, a table was set up to redeem the points for things such as golf balls, baseball hats, tee shirts and sweatshirts. There was also an Arabian deck party, a country fair (each of the ship’s departments set up game booths and passengers played to get raffle tickets which were drawn to award spa packages, boutique gift bags and bottles of wine), and a block party (everyone carried their wine glasses into the hall and cabin stewards passed appetizers and poured wine in each hallway while passengers mingled). Entertainment: Evenings in the showroom featured song and dance productions, a concert pianist, a comedian and more. Surprisingly, the very best stage entertainment I have seen on any of the many cruises we have taken was provided by the ships’ cruise director, Ray Solaire. He gave three performances which showcased his extraordinary singing voice (Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera got a long standing ovation), his puppets and ventriloquism, and magic tricks. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this line for its diverse itinerary for our 10th anniversary celebration. The Voyageur had just been renovated and so a refreshed ship added to the draw to be on it. Our suite was lovely and having a glass enclosed shower ... Read More
We chose this line for its diverse itinerary for our 10th anniversary celebration. The Voyageur had just been renovated and so a refreshed ship added to the draw to be on it. Our suite was lovely and having a glass enclosed shower was a delight. Initial problems the first few days such as slow dining service were due to one-third of the staff being new to the ship and the new use of technology in the main and specialty restaurants the staff had to use for the menu selections. The CEO addressed the passengers' concerns at a special meeting. Daytime activities were limited and this is an area where improvement is needed. The shore excursions were a mixed bag ranging from great to forget taking two. Beward the Wadi Rum truck excursion! One had a difficult climb onto the bed of the truck only to find nothing to hang on to. On the last hill, out driver gunned the engine and I was almost thrown out of the truck bed. My fall was prevented by a fellow passenger. The vehicles are unsafe. Overall we were pleased with Regent and booked next year's November cruise on the Navigator. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I decided on this cruise because of the all inclusive and what I thought would be a top value cruise. Barcelona to Dubai Mediterranean and middle east. Boy was I wrong. Just out of dry dock rugs were still having odor and they tried to ... Read More
I decided on this cruise because of the all inclusive and what I thought would be a top value cruise. Barcelona to Dubai Mediterranean and middle east. Boy was I wrong. Just out of dry dock rugs were still having odor and they tried to cover it by pushing perfume thru the air vents. Double oh no- Sinus condition for 4 weeks. Everyone sounded like they had a cold. It was not. Cleared when I left. Came back onboard. Staff not trained. They asked us to give them a week and it would get better. Really, for that price. Meals one hour wait for dinner in the Compass Rose. I dont mean to be seated I mean the service was D-. One hour to get the rolls. Staff barely spoke English. Guides on the tours really bad. Shows got better as we waited. Ports great. Could have really been an amazing cruise. Pre cruise "luxury hotel" Give me a break and 300% profit markup for a standard room with no heat and 42 degrees outside. Breakfast buffet a joke and the location really out of the way. Disembarkation. We had a 3PM flight and we were promised the late one. Oh well so much for promises. We were told 6:30 one or take a taxi. Not so polite about it either. OK so we will take a Taxi. Any help with the luggage-- Nope take the elevator and down the gangway. Geez someone jumped in to help with the struggle. The bus on one tour had such a cowboy driver no one would get up to use the rest room. I did and almost fell. Apparently the 2 buses were racing. Last day- never told us independence day. Hop on Hop off got stuck in a dead lock. The driver stopped at a hotel and left.. They did get another bus and we got back about 7PM. Destination services should have been aware of the potential problem. This was really bad. Avoid these people. They cheated the poor private guide we booked with them $350 for 10 hours and he had to pay for a hotel overnite and his own entrance fees etc. He made $150 for the day. They made 4x that off of us and we had no choice or do the 6:25 12 hour tour. The late one? We were never offered it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first quantum class ship and we loved it. It is always good to be on a new ship, and Ovation is beautiful, with fantastic modern decor and a great feel. The itinerary which included transiting the Suez Canal, and Aqaba Jordan ... Read More
This was our first quantum class ship and we loved it. It is always good to be on a new ship, and Ovation is beautiful, with fantastic modern decor and a great feel. The itinerary which included transiting the Suez Canal, and Aqaba Jordan to see Petra was the reason we chose this particular cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, but having priority always helps. The balcony stateroom on Deck 11 was really good, even though it was narrower than on other ships the layout was fine and it felt roomy. The quality of the food in all the different venues ranged from very good to excellent. Dynamic dining took a bit of getting used to, but we finally found someone to sort out the bookings and from then on we enjoyed the different restaurants, as they all had a different feel. The specialty restaurants were all enjoyable, we particularly liked Wonderland, and went there twice. It was a fantastic dining experience, and lots of fun. Windjammer was the best ever, and as we try to avoid the peak times to go there it was not crowded. The hand washing facility at the entrance was appreciated. The entertainment was good, in particular the production shows, which had to be booked, and the Two70 venue. There was a good lecturer on board who's information enhanced our visit to Petra, and going through the Suez. Other daytime events were not so appealing, but going up in the North Star was fun. Overall we found the crew to be very helpful, accomodating and enthusiastic, they all seemed familiar with this new ship and enjoyed working on it. So to sum up, this was a great cruise on a great ship, and we would not hesitate to go on it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Destinations were interesting from Barcelona via Suez canal to Singapore on a back to back cruise. Petra was a good shore excursion which was otherwise difficult to see. Other shore excursions were also well organised and interesting. ... Read More
Destinations were interesting from Barcelona via Suez canal to Singapore on a back to back cruise. Petra was a good shore excursion which was otherwise difficult to see. Other shore excursions were also well organised and interesting. The ship was the newest cruise ship in the world at the time and still had the "new car" look and feel. The staff were excellent and being a new ship, every port had the local officials to welcome us. Sailing was smooth and the cabins good. There were 17 restaurants, most complimentary and the choices were good for a 30 night cruise. We had booked a restricted view balcony cabin and were not sure what that meant. We were pleasantly surprised to find the cabin spacious and the balcony good. The top section of a lifeboat restricted the view directly below to the water, but the distance view was acceptable. It also kept a lot of the wind away from the balcony which was good. On the second leg of the cruise we were moved to an unrestricted view cabin which we appreciated. The ship sailed well and the stabilisers that appeared to work. Well done Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We embarked the Ovation of the Sea in Barcelona with the smoothest embarking ever. We settled into our cabin in no time and was very impressed with the space balcony furniture and hanging and drawer space. Then we did a tour of the ship ... Read More
We embarked the Ovation of the Sea in Barcelona with the smoothest embarking ever. We settled into our cabin in no time and was very impressed with the space balcony furniture and hanging and drawer space. Then we did a tour of the ship and got the WOW factor. OMG we set of to Italy Naples Greece Through the Seuz to Jordan Red Sea to Dubai Muscat to India Penang to Singapore. All this time from Suez to Muscat we had 6 sharp shooters on board, 5 Navy vessels and the Orion air plane as security with us. The entertainment and fun rides on board were first class. Food fresh and acceptable. We did do 4 specialty restaurants and enjoyed Wonderlands food the best. The overall service was terrific and everyone friendly. Did NOT like the smoking in the Casino NOT acceptable and around the swimming areas where there is a lot of Children. That needs to be addressed. The dress standard was also dropped making dinner time seem like picnic in the park. SAD. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the experience the newest mega-ship. It was everything we hoped for! We traveled by plane and train through Europe for two weeks prior to reaching the ship so we were thankful to rest up on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the experience the newest mega-ship. It was everything we hoped for! We traveled by plane and train through Europe for two weeks prior to reaching the ship so we were thankful to rest up on the ship. Embarkation went very smooth with the new technology. We booked a balcony but peeked into the "virtual balcony, inside rooms" and could not believe the "view" they had! Our cabin was spacious with SO much storage! The bed was comfortable. We enjoyed our stops, especially Petra! What an incredible experience. Ending in Dubai was very special, as well. We stayed a week after to explore. The ship was incredible. There were places to play family games and relax. The eating venues never seemed crowded even during the busiest times. We usually don't eat in the buffet much, but this one was organized and delicious. We sampled all of the specialty restaurants, including Chef's Table. I'd say that was our only disappointment. The food was not adequately described and the "host" did not seemed to be knowledgeable on wines. The meal ended with a chocolate martini that was delicious, but dangerous after champagnes and wines. The Italian restaurant and steakhouse were superb. Wonderland was an interesting and special experience. Very unique. We only saw two shows because, though we had reservations for the third, people were allowed in early without reservations and it was full when we arrived a half hour prior. The service was top notch! We spent our vacation sampling bottles of wine in Vintages. The winetenders were amazing! They helped us select some very special wines and pampered us for 16 days. We enjoyed dancing lessons, bumper cars, iFly (skydive simulator), and the NorthStar. We had plenty to do even though we didn't feel like doing much at all.. The ports were amazing! We did excursions in Rome and Petra. Rome because it is so far from the port and Petra to visit the Lost City. We went on our own in Naples and Athens. Once arriving in Dubai, the disembarkation was so easy and smooth, we thought we'd done it wrong. There was no customs. We picked up our luggage and walked out to the taxis. My husband and I consider this our favorite overall cruise by a long shot. We would not hesitate to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise because it was a maiden voyage. The ship smelt new when we embarked. Overall, we found the food to be exceptional. The free restaurants all had excellent quality and variety, and the surcharge restaurants were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a maiden voyage. The ship smelt new when we embarked. Overall, we found the food to be exceptional. The free restaurants all had excellent quality and variety, and the surcharge restaurants were exceptional. Jamie's was far superior to the two that we have experienced on land; Wonderland was most interesting and different, and Izumi was delicious. The crew were happy and energetic and the special shows were well produced and executed. The iFly which simulates skydiving was very well organized and a lot of fun. The North Star, the giant arm that allows you see the ship from a great height, was interesting. It did break down several times, though. People on the Flowrider looked to be having a great time but we did not try it! Dodgem cars were also fun. All of these things are free of charge. The solarium is wonderful, with very large spa baths and cascading pools. One complaint was the smell of cigarette smoke coming from the casino, one of the designated areas. The casino is quite large and the smell permeates the Music Hall at times. Other issues were that public areas often had very loud music - we would prefer lower sound so that conversation is possible! The merchandise was woeful. We were told that there would be more coming on in Singapore( where most disembarked), but what was there was either in short supply or extremely expensive. The artworks, furniture and overall decor is stunning. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Unable to explore Barcelona as one of our cases was missing and didn't know when we would receive it, plus there was a light rain shower. Embarkation started off as a nightmare as the young girl did not speak good English and I ... Read More
Unable to explore Barcelona as one of our cases was missing and didn't know when we would receive it, plus there was a light rain shower. Embarkation started off as a nightmare as the young girl did not speak good English and I found it hard to understand her,also she told us our room had been moved for no reason so that did not go down well. However RCI gave us a FREE upgrade to a junior Suite maybe because it was our 40th Anniversary (Thank you RCI). The ship is beautiful but as you would expect of a Brand New Ship fresh and clean with loads of space and plenty of cool areas to sit or go up on deck to one of the four pool areas. Dining: my time dining was. Not my Forte however we bought the specialty resteraunt package which I think was good value. Jamie Oliver's Fantastic,Wonderland Fantastic,chops Good had better,American Icon ok,Silk not so great.Windjammer great for a quick meal. Service: overall was good but continually pestered by the writing staff wanting to know if they had achieved that magic 10. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We boarded the ship in Barcelona & sailed for 45 nights, all the way to Tianjin. Boarding was efficient & took about 15 minutes. We chose this cruise for the itinerary & for the experience of sailing on a new ship. Overall the ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Barcelona & sailed for 45 nights, all the way to Tianjin. Boarding was efficient & took about 15 minutes. We chose this cruise for the itinerary & for the experience of sailing on a new ship. Overall the experience was great, but there were some very big problems. First the good stuff. I found both the ship and the cabins to be lovely. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7. There was more closet space & more storage space than on other ships in the fleet. They moved the closet away from the cabin entrance door (which is a cabin design improvement) & increased the size of the shower. The Solarium & 270 were particularly impressive public spaces. Our cabin steward (thanks Pandy) was excellent. For the most part, our dining staff was good, although one night we waited about 30 minutes before any of the wait staff acknowledged us. Our head waiters stopped at our table most nights, which is something we never experienced on any other RC ship. I think that part of the problem with the wait staff was that they were transitioning to a Chinese crew as we got closer to China & kept replacing experienced staff with newbies. We chose Classic 2 Dining option before we left the States, so we had an 8:30 standing reservation every night. Most nights the 4 free restaurants were half full, so we couldn't understand why people were having such a tough time with dining times. Food was good, but not excellent. The activities were plentiful. I took a zumba class every sea day, went to the shows in the evening, which were good & tried the I-Fly & bumpers cars. I also went to the port lectures, conducted by very knowledgeable professors. All in all, a good time. Now for the bad: We purchased the internet package prior to boarding & the log-in procedure was horrible. At one point I tried to log-in LITERALLY 100 times before going to the Help Desk, only to be told that there was no internet service for the entire ship, even the RC staff. But perhaps the biggest problem was lack of organization of RC tours. One of the benefits of booking an RC tour is that you are supposed to be 1st off the ship. This was not the case. On a number of occasions, getting off the ship & to the tour bus took more than 1 hour. South Korea & Singapore were worse, because of local immigration requirements. But the worst was in Tianjin. We purchased a RC tour taking us to The Great Wall & airport drop-off. Because of RC disorganization, Our tour bus left 2 hours late, our lunch stop was cut to 30 minutes & we stopped at The Great Wall fro 12 minutes, before having to leave for the airport. That's right, 12 minutes. It wasn't the tour company's fault. In fact, they had a rep board our bus at the Beijing airport to help us through the airport, because they were worried we would miss our flight (which we made by RUNNING ALL THE WAY TO THE GATE). i have taken many RC tours before & never experienced this level of chaos. Very stressful & disappointing. But all in all, a great adventure, visiting some places on my bucket list!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
B2B Cruises : Barcelona-Dubai, Dubai-Singapore. ROOM : Twin Inside Cabin...Quite spacious and adequate wardrobes/drawers. Good sized flat screen TV and the virtual window is an excellent innovation. However able to hear conversations in ... Read More
B2B Cruises : Barcelona-Dubai, Dubai-Singapore. ROOM : Twin Inside Cabin...Quite spacious and adequate wardrobes/drawers. Good sized flat screen TV and the virtual window is an excellent innovation. However able to hear conversations in next cabin and when toilets were flushed in nearby cabins it sounded like rolling thunder which made it impossible to get a good nights sleep. GUESTS SERVICES : Woefully under staffed for a ship of this size which always meant long waiting queues. Incredibly non of the staff spoke English as a first language even though the vast majority of the passengers were from English speaking countries. ENTERTAINMENT : A number of venues and bars etc but I will limit my review to the two main auditoriums The Royal Theatre and the 270degrees Lounge:- Royal Theatre: 1200 seats. The worst designed main auditorium of all my cruises (about a dozen, three previously on RCI). Seating arrangements and viewing is poor and one end of each row is blocked off so expect moans and groans getting to a seat at the end of row. The most annoying thing however are people using screen based devices (of which there were many) to record the show even though a recorded announcement pre show asked the audience not to. Making it impossible to enjoy the performance. I raised this problem with the Cruise Director and his response was "Tell me about it. It's the bane of my life. But what can you do about it"....Obviously NOTHING because that's exactly what he did. 270 degrees Lounge : Very high tech but in my opinion too clever by half. If you want a good seat (of which there are few and a whole row of these are reserved for diamond and diamond plus passengers) get there very early. There are about 6 or 7 very large lamp shades spread across the lounge which blocks the view of people stuck behind them. DINING: The Windjammer buffet lounge was better than the other RCI ships that I have been on but the seating and food was ok but varied little from day to day. Four complimentary restaurants which have to be booked which can be a problem. The food was ok but once again the menu varied little. The Grande is formal dress code which RCI define formal as "women cocktail dress and men suit and tie or tuxedo" Incredibly men were allowed in dressed in tee shirts, jeans and runners. POOLS: There are two glass covered pools/splash pools and one outside pool. The covered pools are quite good. The outside pool/pool area is very small for a ship of this size. And considering the cruise was in subtropical and tropical climate incredibly the pool was used for crew v passengers water volley ball. Which meant only 6 out of 4000 plus passengers were able to use the pool at this time. Quite ridiculous. PORT DISEMBARKACTION: Muscat was a complete disaster. There were no staff on the quay organising queues for the limited number of small shuttle buses to take passengers to main gate. As a result people were pushing and shoving to get on these buses and there were arguments and one that I saw led to two men to having a fist fight. VISA'S : I went to the Indian Visa office personally and was asked if I intended to get off the ship in Cochin. I said no and was told in that case I do not need a visa. I rang the RCI help desk three times and was told RCI that I do require an Indian Visa even if I do not get off the ship. I accepted what they said but I was very annoyed once I got on the ship to find out some people did not have a visa. SUMMARY : Disappointed with the ships design and annoyed with RCI failing to accept their responsibilities resulting in numerous arguments with passengers. I will definitely not cruise on the Ovation again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
(1) Impossible to communicate with the home office in Miami. Very poor customer service. (2) Check in at the port in Barcelona took forever. RCL's employee was letting all Platinum and above members through, while keeping the line ... Read More
(1) Impossible to communicate with the home office in Miami. Very poor customer service. (2) Check in at the port in Barcelona took forever. RCL's employee was letting all Platinum and above members through, while keeping the line for the Gold members at a standstill. It was faster going through the line for people who were not Crown and Anchor members at all. (3) The balcony was covered with splattered paint. An 8 year old could have done a better painting job. (4) Disembarkation for tours was extremely mishandled. Completely disorganized. We were kept waiting for hours and our tours were shortened as a result. Waiting in line for our visas and passports was just as bad. RCL assigned one person to process hundreds of people. In one line the passports for our deck were missing. It turns out a crew member had put the box somewhere behind them because they were too lazy to drag over an extra table. (5) With the exception of the excellent dining and room service staff, customer service was non-existent. The attitude on the part of the crew was always to blame someone or something else. There was never an attempt to actually solve a problem. It was so bad that many passengers started yelling at them. It was almost like the staff was mutinying or on a slow down. Perhaps RCL underpays them or in some way mistreats their employees. (6) Internet connectivity was a joke. Don't bother to spend the money. (7) Laundry service was usurious. It costs $2 to launder a pair of socks. Better to throw them away and buy a new pair! (8) During the cruise there were both Norovirus and cold/flu virus epidemics on board. My husband developed a serious case of bronchitis. This was no surprise in light of the lack of supervision on the ship. During the epidemic, with heightened cleanliness standards, we saw crew members waving cleaning cloths at the door handles, instead of actually cleaning them, as they walked down the hallways of each deck. (9) On the second leg of the cruise (Dubai to Singapore), we had to change cabins which was bad enough but the one we were moved to was smaller than the one we had on the first leg AND the deck was disgusting as mentioned above. Since we had been upgraded to Platinum level with RCL's loyalty program after the first leg, we were eligible for a cabin upgrade, not a downgrade. The supervisor of the loyalty desk was very rude and at first denied that we had been upgraded to Platinum. After she admitted that she was mistaken, she started telling us why the downgrade wasn't RCL's fault. She refused to try to accommodate us or solve our problem. Just putting us on a list for an upgrade, if available, would have been a reasonable gesture on her part. (10) I fell in Paris, before boarding the ship, and hurt my back. Upon boarding, I went to the ship's medical department and received several exrays. Due to the poor equipment, I was told that my back was fine. Upon arriving home, my doctor advised me that T-12 on my spine was completely shattered. As a result of RCL's inadequate medical equipment, I may have done more damage to my spine by walking around and going on excursions during the entire cruise. (11) When I complained to the home office upon reaching home, they thanked me for taking the time to let them know about the problems I encountered but made no attempt to reimburse me in any way for the money I spent for such a horrible experience and the damages incurred. (12) Probably to save money at the passengers' expense, Royal Caribbean booked port of call dates that were on New Year's day in Jordan and on the sabbath in Dubai and Penang. As a result most places were closed in Dubai and Penang and in Petra it was so crowded that the excursion was more of a trial dealing with the crowds than the wonderful experience it should have been. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I joined this cruise in Barcelona and spent the night before embarkation at the Barcelona Airport Hotel. Excellent value for money with breakfast, transfers from the airport and to the port included. Nice room and good restaurant. Now ... Read More
I joined this cruise in Barcelona and spent the night before embarkation at the Barcelona Airport Hotel. Excellent value for money with breakfast, transfers from the airport and to the port included. Nice room and good restaurant. Now for the cruise, my first ever with Royal Caribbean and possibly my last. Explorer of the Seas is a lovely ship, but unless you are into outdoor activities, there is very little to do. Maybe things are better on cruises that are not repositioning but I hate to imagine what it would be like on board in bad weather as sunbaking seemed to be the main activity on this cruise. Even the cruise director seemed embarrassed one day to have to announce 'napkin folding' and a 'belly flop contest' as the items of entertainment for the day. It was disappointing but understandable not to get into Israel, but there was no excuse for the total absence of any commentary during the Suez canal transit. The aviation lectures were excellent, so good in fact that the pilot speaker drew a large crowd and the venue had to be changed to the Palace theatre to fit everyone in. Trivia was on offer and a few talks about computer safety and hints. The shows, except for the superb ice skating show, were ho hum, especially after I realised I had seen at least one act on a previous cruise. Surely some location specific movies could have been organised, Laurence of Arabia for example. Internet was expensive but worked most of the time and at least with the unlimited package waiting for slow downloads was not a worry. I enjoyed all the dining venues. Meal service was good as was the food. I did one shore excursion and I think it was my bad luck to be in group 6 with an unhelpful guide. Hint for anyone else going to Petra. If you want to get a buggy back out it will be very difficult unless you have taken one in. Most if not all are reserved for return journeys and getting back to the top to go to lunch is difficult as everyone else will have the same idea. Interesting that some of the private tours were picked up by small vans and did not have to walk out. Definitely worth investigating. It was also very annoying not to be given any water on the bus. This was a real example of RCCL money grabbing. Water on the ship was very expensive. I had a bottle I filled each day at the buffet. Chania [Crete] was very easy to do by yourself with buses available at the port for, I think, Euros 3.40 for the return trip into town. Well organised, pleasant little Greek town with a nice market. In Dubai I joined a small group tour, thank you Richard, and was very happy with it. Excellent, helpful guide. Nice overview of the city and a trip up the Burj Khalifa tower. Note that if you decide to do the tower by yourself you will need to book in advance. It was booked out until after 6pm on the day we were there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My recent cruising of the Insignia, a vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises, was quite disappointing after having enjoyed several cruising trips on various vessels belonging to their sister company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Insignia ... Read More
My recent cruising of the Insignia, a vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises, was quite disappointing after having enjoyed several cruising trips on various vessels belonging to their sister company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Insignia is quite an old vessel completely refurbished with some sort of lavish splendor in their many sprawling, but almost always empty common areas. This is sadly and ironically paired with what was found in the living quarters, which gave the impression of being a more suitable size for the crew. I had in fact opted for a special cabin on the 8th floor, which Oceania labels a luxury suite, but this was a blatant case of misrepresentation, as for example the shower was so small that it was not even possible for me to stand completely upright. After spending over $35,000 for this cruise, from Barcelona to Dubai, I could not believe that Oceania would charge you for each time you would need to use the washer & dryer machines. The so-called suites, were also provided with in-room “free” Wi-Fi internet service. But it was so intermittent and erratic, that during the entire cruise a vast crowd of passengers would line-up daily at the ship’s communication center asking for assistance. In order to have a second internet line in our suite, the charge was $26 dollars/day. I would in no way call that a “deal.” Furthermore, Blackberry and cell phone service was disabled by the cruise scrambler and you had no choice but to use Insignia’s over-priced telephone service of at least $5/minute. Additionally, the over-priced costs continued with a simple visit to the on-board doctor for over $700. Also, after being used to free, decent wine and drinks on Regent, I was quite shocked to find out that the wine offered aboard Insignia, which would warrant a retail price of $10/bottle in U.S. or Europe, was sold aboard for over $40/bottle. During the weeks spent on-board, the Captain and other officers never arranged to join the passengers during meals, as is customary on the other cruise chips including Regent. In fact, while the general service aboard the Insignia was commendable, the management personnel in charge of the ship was not easily accessible, aloof, detached and impersonal. It was required to to make a special appointment, in order to speak with anyone of higher management or distinction on the ship. Lastly, compared with Regent Cruises, the lectures and entertainment offered on Insignia was at best modest to borderline mediocre. This was quite obvious by how many passengers would leave in the middle of the lectures. In many instances, I found out that the lecturer was highlighting the destinations where the excursions where offered, but without the lecturer having ever been there! After this very odd overall experience, where I felt that every minute I was taken for a very unpleasant ride, I doubt very much that I will ever return to the Insignia or any other vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Throughly enjoyed the ship, the destinations, the cruise and the staff were fabulous. We were fortunate enough to have the wonderful Willie Aames as our Cruise Director and he went above and beyond to engage with all the passengers from a ... Read More
Throughly enjoyed the ship, the destinations, the cruise and the staff were fabulous. We were fortunate enough to have the wonderful Willie Aames as our Cruise Director and he went above and beyond to engage with all the passengers from a simple hello whilst eating in breakfast at Waves by the pool to being at the end of the steps when leaving the ship to go on shore and ensuring we didn't trip. No other cruise director ever since then has done so much to engage with people and ensure a safe and happy trip. I only wish we could have him as a cruise director on every ship. This was magnificent cruise in terms of destinations and experiences. We embarked in Barcelona which is a beautiful city and port with the port being right in the city. We then sailed quickly across the Mediterranean overnight to Rome - it was quite rough at sea as there were storms about and it felt like being in a washing machine - I was filled with some dread that the entire cruise would be the same but the rough weather only lasted that first night. We then visited Naples and Pompei, Patmos Greece, Ephesus in Turkey and it was wonderful time of year to go there as the weather was mild. Then followed Rhodes in Greece where we encountered a rainy day and then Limassol in Cyprus which was so interesting and I have fond memories of sitting in the square having coffee. Then an amazing 3 days in Israel where we visited Haifa, Jaffa and Caesaria. The Suex Canal transit was beyond amazing and we saw some incredible ships travelling back and forth and enjoyed the Egyptians waving to us from shore. Cruising the Red Sea we then sailed to Jordan and spent two days in Aqaba. Then we cruised the Red Sea for 3 peaceful days of smooth sailing before beginning the cruise of the Gulf of Aden and spent our time trying to spot the pirates - we found none. The Captain has reassured us that he was in touch with international forces all the way. Salalah in Oman was the next port of call followed by Muscat in Oman and we visited the Sultan's palace. The cruise ended in Dubai in the UAE and we did an amazing troy from dawn till dusk of Dubai covering so much of the city. We disembarked in Dubai the next day after experiencing an incredibly memorable journey. Unlike some other Oceania cruises the entertainment on this cruise was quite good with some solo performers. Thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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