9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence ... Read More
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. We also got upgraded to a suite without asking ! That alone should make it five stars but there were some downsides as well. - One of the ‘guest relations’ staff turned out to be anything but. The others were great. - Because we had a lot of OBC, we booked some tours. The ‘gaucho’ tour in Uruguay was disappointing as we went to a dairy and crop farm. Talk about false advertising. - We had butler although he did not really enhance the experience. - The indulgence package included the specialty restaurants. However, it’s not open seating and booking something was very though. The attitude of the person doing the booking did not help. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not match the daily program. There is a lot of paper that could be saved...... The food never disappoints and the staff go out of there way to please you. The entertainment was solid and there are plenty of activities. The specialty restaurants are also top notch in food and service as was the Chef’s table. The staff was great in helping us transfer to another room for next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the ... Read More
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the middle, Oceania made sure to add pool heaters, Azamara apparently cheaper out leaving the pool only functional for most when it is in the tropics. When we were quite surprised and commented to the in service staff we got shrugs and told that is how all the Azamara ships are. So if swimming is important to you as it is to us, beware you probably should choose a different cruise line Having said this, the staff are generally good, the staff/guest ratio and cabins fine (although like all R class ships on the small side. ,. Although I have heard from others that the food on Oceania ships are better, having been on both, I would rate them about the same with the exception of the smaller specialty restaurants on Oceania are free whereas the specialty restaurants on Azamara cost $30 each.3 for $70. On the other hand they have one free outing on shore which Oceania lacks....so on balance....unless you are a swimmer, or like the more frequent activities scheduled regularly on Oceania cruises or simply want to stretch out in a properly heated pool I would rate the two lines about the same...at least in their R class ships...with an edge to Oceania’s slightly larger Marina/Riviera and an edge to them if you are on a longer voyage as the costs of specialty dining in Azamara would more than offset one night’s activity. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. ... Read More
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. English was the majority main language. We are in our 50s and found we were amongst the youngest onboard. The median age was around 70. Our fellow cruisers were sophisticated, gentle, friendly, polite people who were well travelled. There were absolutely no children on board We treated ourselves to an Owners Suite ....wow! It was stunning, beautifully equipped, with lovely welcome gifts, like champagne, a set of Bulgari toiletries, a tote bag and a beach bag with fluffy towels to take home. Our butler, Abhi, had been well trained and was friendly and professional, arranging anything we needed, even before we knew we needed it. He made us feel so special and so spoilt. Meals were served in suite from any restaurant on board, so we often ate in. There is a bar setup for some suites, so we had a choice of spirits or wine, which was great. We used the suite far more than we would normally because it felt so lovely .....it was like a Manhattan apartment. We thought the standard of food was generally very high.The main dining room was very good, buffet had plenty of choice and was good, Waves grill was OK, Tuscan was variable and Red Ginger was excellent with great food and service. Special mention must go to the Maitre D’ in Red Ginger, Hula from Cape Town who was outstanding. Baristas coffee bar was our first port of call each morning...a lifesaver The small ship was much more intimate than larger ones which meant no queues for getting on and off the ship. We also liked the country club casual dress code and found that people generally dressed up for the evenings. The captain and crew were often seen around and were very friendly. The Captain’s cocktail party was a lovely evening and it was nice to see staff being rewarded for long service. We also enjoyed the farewell from the crew, where we were able to clap them onstage and they, in turn, clapped us out of the lounge. We didn’t really do the shows so can’t comment, neither did we use the bars or enrichment activities. The library was amazing - leave your books at home, there are plenty to suit all tastes. The spa was expensive but I did get a good manicure and my husband had a relaxing massage. We did 6 shore excursions, having bought a discounted package. I disagree with previous poor comments, as we had nothing but good experiences. The tours were professional, with a fair standard of English and buses far exceeded our expectations. Our cruise was from Buenos Aires to Lima, taking 3 weeks. It was amazing, despite a couple of days of bad weather, which is so much more obvious on a small ship. Thank goodness for seasickness patches! There were quite a few sea days, but that is the nature of the distances covered On the negative side, I burnt my hand due to ill fitting lids on takeaway coffee cups and found I was not alone. I cursed myself for having left our reusable cups in the cabin that day! Please get lids that fit or give guests reusable cups, which would be a greener option. Also the vibrations at the back of the ship were terrible and the cabin shook and rattled when going at speed. We did get used to it, but it would put me off spending that kind of money again on that suite. We would absolutely travel on Oceania again and we loved this trip. My husband commented that if he were a billionaire he would employ our butler Abhi in a heartbeat. We can dream...... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ... Read More
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ruined for myself and my partner and ship's response was more 'out of sight, out of mind'. The ship is beautiful, restaurants are good. The ship certainly has style decoratively and never feels overwhelmingly large or oppressive. Delightful cosy corners and cafes can be discovered everywhere around the ship which is generally well appointed for most things you need. Cellar bar terribly under utlised and such a shame as it's a delightful space. Packages are worthwhile. However we had a luxury drinks package and there was no Evian water available as this wasn't stocked in error at the port therefore we were only supplied with the usual bottled water. In addition every time I asked for grapefruit juice I was given orange on our cabin breakfast order. I was advised there was none? This was untrue, I discovered different food / beverage outlets don't share, possibly due to their accounting and stock management, none the less it is frustrating. General treatment of anyone injured in my experience disgusting, of course this has negatively influenced my entire experience which for me was very sad. I now look forward to surgery to repair my hand having returned home. Shame on Celebrity also for not advising passengers when they have a concierge class cabin in the corridor under the cafe that there is noise and obstructed views from the balcony, including poor maintenance and peeling paint onto it. Of course my cruise was tainted due to the fractures I sustained and a badly bruised bottom, both of which effected and still effect all my activities of daily living. However, I also believe it exposed some huge deficits in their service delivery, professionalism and ability to know how to effectively deal with challenging circumstances. In the words of a guest relations team member "most of the crew are young and inexperienced, they just don't know how to behave" and in the words of the concierge representative "there is a hierarchy on board the ship and you can't just talk to anybody" . Our dining experiences were good, all food and beverage outlets provided great service and friendly, attentive staff. Cabin once we relocated was a good size and well provisioned, cabin steward was excellent, Imade thankyou. I used the gym once prior to my injury and it is well equipped. Theatre shows were average by comparison to other cruise ships we have been on. Around the ship there was as usual plenty of activities available and something for everyone throughout the day, although almost non existent on port days, which if you remained on the ship could be a bit boring, although there is always the spa. I had a couple of treatments in the spa and visited the salon for a barber shave and haircut as due to my injury I couldn't shave and needed all my hair cut off. Both experiences were very good. Rio shore excursions were excellent, the remainder advertised appeared less so. We visited Buzios and Santos also. Shore excursions were well organised however. Cabin breakfast was generally served incorrectly and / or tepid, also around 20 minutes earlier on average than the time booked (because it suited them to do so I suspect based on the volume of orders, not satisfactory though). Laundry service was poor, always came back later than should have and we had to chase this up with cabin steward, also items should have been ironed and were apparently but quality was abismal. In fact we had them all done again at the hotel we booked into post cruise. I wouldn't recommend laundry use. This ship is more crew centric than customer centric, be warned, I wish I had been. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband ... Read More
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband and I both became extremely ill on exactly the same evening about ten days into our trip-- we are both in excellent health and among the very youngest on the ship. We went from feeling fine to minutes later having fever, chills, nauseated, extreme disorientation, dizziness, terrible hacking cough. We were in our room for three days, I literally was so ill I didn't have the energy to order room service. When we finally were well enough to leave our room, we heard that half the ship had the same virus, there were lines at the doctor's office, you could hear the same hacking cough everywhere. I tried twice to see the doctor to see what the virus was and if we needed antibiotics-- the first time office hours were cancelled because "he had been up for 36 hours straight" and the second because during his office hours there was an emergency medical evacuation. It was getting to the end of the cruise and I thought we would be feeling better soon. Everyone we talked to had a story about either being sick themselves or listing all the people onboard who had the same virus, and people in our trivia group dropped out due to the virus. When I found out the virus had been going around the ship the whole time we were there with people onboard from the previous segment, I was so bothered that it had not been communicated sooner and that precautions had not been taken by the ship-- they were shaking hands with passengers regularly! Had I known I would have disinfected the room, never shaken hands, avoided the buffet, taken the immune building supplements I carry for travel whenever there is sickness spreading, etc. After we left the ship, whenever I tried to do anything for the remainder of our trip I became ill all over again, I couldn't eat, etc. Once we returned and I wasn't getting well (I was so dizzy I couldn't drive, could only eat soup and bread, couldn't concentrate on work, etc.) I called my doctor who wanted any background information on the Virus. I contacted Viking who said they didn't have to tell me because there were far fewer than 20 cases reported! Now, I literally spoke with more than 20 people who had had the virus. The customer service person was belligerent and accusatory, implying I wasn't really sick and said in a sarcastic tone that if I was sick he was sure I would have reported it. I told him we told the housekeepers we were too sick to leave the room and he said that didn't count. I also told him about trying to see the doctor twice and being prevented one time because of the emergency medical evacuation-- and he told me in a triumphant tone that there was no emergency medical evacuation during my cruise. I replied that it was pretty frightening that hundreds of people onboard were ill with the same severe virus and there was an emergency medical evacuation that hundreds of people watched since it was by the coast guard in open ocean and lasted hours-- yet Viking had a record of neither. I finally told him that since they have no record of this illness I was reporting it now, and he said that didn't count. After spending a fortune on this cruise, being so ill and trying to get information for my doctor, it was so dispiriting to be treated this way. I contracted this virus about a month and a half ago and not only have only started getting completely well in the last two weeks (after taking powerful antibiotics), but I'm still having all kinds of medical tests because of concerns that it was so severe it might have caused a mini stroke and other permanent damage. Now, if I had not gotten a horrible virus that I think could have been prevented, and not been treated so dismissively by Viking customer service? On the positive side, I would say the food was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship (and we are foodies used to high end cruises). As one example, they serve a full traditional tea daily, complete with tiered plates of mini sandwiches and sweets, plus scones every afternoon, just like a fancy tea you might pay for. On Oceania, the tea is from teabags with paper napkins with a few things passed around. Most notably, the general restaurant was as good as specialty restaurants on other ships. I'll compare again to Oceania where the general restaurant was so bad we couldn't eat there and you had to fight for reservations in the specialty restaurants. Another Viking plus was that you could get as many reservations in the free specialty restaurants as you wanted. Service overall was the best we've ever experienced on a ship. Loved that there is no corkage fee in the restaurants and they are delighted to open and pour what you bring-- while basic wine was free, we loved to pick up special bottles as we traveled and really appreciated this benefit. The cafe and main restaurant are also really well designed so that you can often get a window seat, and never get the sense of an overwhelming sea of people. They also did a lot of special things that were nice-- bringing local specialty foods aboard, etc. We enjoyed the trivia everyday in port (vs. bingo on some ships), loved not listening to announcements all day and no junky art shows, and the hairdresser was fantastic and very reasonably priced. Generally, a very high quality, lovely experience vs. some of the constant upgrading and rules on other ships-- they seemed super flexible and customer service oriented. On the negative side, be very weary of this boat, I would try the other Viking Ocean boats because this boat does two World Cruise Trips a year and if you do a segment as we did (unbeknownst to most people booking who didn't realize they were taking part of a world cruise) there are disadvantages. First, even with an upgraded room and the paid for perk of being able to get first choice on excursions etc. what this means when you travel with world cruisers is that you get to pick AFTER that half of the boat, so no real perk for upgraded rooms and many segment people were unhappy to see the excursion they wanted sold out on the very first day they were available to book. They were also unhappy to see the world cruisers at events they were not invited to and felt like second class citizens. However, depending on your age and health, the biggest disadvantage is that the average age on the boat seemed to be 70-90. I have never been on a cruise with so many old people and they were not healthy, active old people-- it was a sea of 4 prong canes and a very slow walk down any corridor. For many world cruisers this is a bucket list item, and they frequently didn't even get off the boat, kind of like a last hurrah. We didn't take any of the included excursions because they are basically all 3 hour motor coach rides, but segment people who did said half the time was spent with the old folks getting on and off the huge busses. To be honest, I felt like I was in a nursing home at times. The rooms were a mixed bag. They functioned beautifully and were very comfortable with a nice shower, but they just weren't special, they were very plain. We got the upgraded penthouse balcony for many thousands more and it was maybe a couple of feet wider but that's it, it looked like a very standard ship room-- this was not a worthwhile upgrade. For example, with Oceania the penthouse balcony for about the same amount to upgrade is luxurious and beautiful with special touches like a dining table for two and a huge closet-- I would call it romantic. Viking just isn't romantic. One issue my husband had was that many events were held in the pool area. However, when the roof was closed the chlorine gas was overwhelming and you simply could not be in that room-- yet this is where they were serving all kinds of specialty foods, like when they went ashore for local king crab legs, you could only get them in this area. My husband had to leave the superbowl get together because he couldn't breath the fumes anymore. Finally, I will say that many seemed to like the entertainment but we were disappointed. Too many of the shows were with their in house group and in house band which were both weak-- the vocals and instrumentalists were painful at times. The few shows they brought in from the outside were generally strong. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed ... Read More
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed twice before (as the Royal Princess!) and had loved! The ship is a perfect size for those of us who like a smaller number of passengers. I thought the redo of the interior was fine. The "living room" is a very popular spot to hang out during the sea days with the loungers always in demand. Passengers "save" seats so I was not able to try them. The following are my impressions of the cruise: .Cabin 7100---awkward furniture, was always moving the coffee table to get to veranda or loveseat, plastic shower curtain made shower dark and liked to wrap around the body.. Ship shore excursions---too expensive. arranged tours online with private vendors for all ports. .Service--room steward great, staff friendly, buffet staff attentive, Discoveries staff needs more training (multiple use of seating charts, we were "forgotten" about during our meal several times and sat for 20+ minutes waiting to be checked on .Dinning/food---BUFFET food greatly improved, theme of buffet advertised daily in program, DISCOVERIES menu posted outside restaurant only so had to make trip to check its menu before deciding where to eat daily, menu lacking in variety and food was not outstanding, no soufflé/bananas foster/prime cuts of meat/lobster. Main dinning room has suffered from having specialty restaurants as only place to enjoy those foods. AQUALINA specialty (ate X2) no change in menu from one week to the next, soufflé outstanding but majority of food did not stand out. Two brunch meals in Discoveries were outstanding events! Chocolate buffet was crowded due to small venue area. .Activities--daily activities have not changed in 15 years. I spoke to Tony the cruise director two times about this and he was very receptive to my criticism. Enjoyed: ABBA dance night, photo contest/lectures from professional staff photographer, enrichment lectures (including NASA lecturer who hosted eclipse viewing) , movie nights, Polar club. HIGHLIGHTS Azamazing event & White night party! All in all this was an exciting itinerary! Was happy with the change of dress to "country club casual". The ship captain was very interactive with guests and went out of his way to maneuver ship for exceptional scenery viewing. Would recommend this itinerary/ship with the knowledge that dinning in Discoveries is not a highlight. I hope this review helps other cruise lovers pick their next adventure! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the ... Read More
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the family-like Azamara experience. This being our 10th Azamara cruise we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, though The Pursuit is a recent addition to the Quest and Journey. The layouts are identical so it was just like returning home. A number of the crew were familiar transfers from the other ships so it really did feel like family. The ship was renovated before being put into Azamara service with the new Deck 5 layout sans Casino. Honestly, on this size ship, the casino was little more than a nice diversion and the extra space in the newly converted "Den" was put to good use. Though we had a 7 day stretch where we were limited to staying on the ship, it seemed to pass quickly with the interesting "cruise by" itinerary of the Alaskan peninsula. Passing a number of HUGE icebergs was also a favorite of all onboard. Best of all, we were lucky to have pretty calm seas passing through the Drake Passage twice and the horror stories some people told us about never came to pass. Entertainment was varied, though by necessity it is limited to guest entertainers and a small ensemble of singers and band. Still, they were excellent, professional, and interactive. The stops were all interesting and fun, and the AZAMAZING EVENING in Montevideo was a presentation of the Urguayan Carnivale and was one of the top two AZAMAZING EVENINGS we have experienced! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ie,fried eggs not fully cooked and kept at luke warm temperature. Chicken kept at luke warm temperature, not hot. There were so many issues and we saw lots of food being sent back. Many times we spoke to staff who told us they would pass our concerns on. There had been gastroenteritis on board and everyone was advised to wash hands and use sanitiser around the ship! There were guests who have travelled with Azamara several time before and the told us not to judge Azamara by the Persuit, they stated the Pursuit was not up to standard. The entertainment was very poor, the cruise entertainment director was more interested in selling his CD’s and the assistant entertainment cruise directors discription of tours on the TV was appalling. If you like Jazz the type where all the notes are’in the wrong order’ this is the boat for you. One evening the pianist microphone was off, no one told him, that’s how bad he was. Communication on board was not informative, unless you booked a very expensive trip with the ship there was little information on Ports. Speakers gave wrong information, which the captain had to apologise for. The list goes on and on. This was not the amazing cruise it was advertised as. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to ... Read More
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to write this review. This is my first review on cruisecritic, though I’ve read hundreds of reviews to help with the dozen or so cruises we’ve been on in the past few years on Celebrity, Oceania, and Viking. I’m going to take each main experience area in turn, starting with the positive. Embarkation Overall experience was smooth for the most part. Though we were surprised there wasn’t a line dedicated for Suite guests, as is the case with other cruise lines we’ve traveled on. Cabin We were fortunate enough to be able to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself is roomy, with over 300 sq feet. The décor is modern and inviting. Lots of closet space. The bathroom and walk-in shower were great. Lots of room and storage. The veranda was as long as the room, but fairly narrow. Just enough width for the 2-seater table and a little leg room once you’ve sat on the individual seater situated on the veranda. Food This was one of the most disappointing of the elements. We ate at the buffet for most breakfasts and lunches. The food served were the basics ( egg station, cheese and charcuterie station, one carving option, sandwiches etc..). No imagination, no creativity, and for the first few days, very little was seasoned. For dinner, we ate the specialty restaurants since we had that as a benefit for being in a Suite. The menu never changed, and after the first few dinners, there was little left on the menu that we wanted to try. What we ate was fine. But nothing to write home about. And, somewhat meager and plain for a specialty restaurant compared to what we ate on Oceania, Viking, and even Celebrity. Entertainment This was another major downer. Tony Markey, the Cruise Director, and his wife were the headliners for several of the shows. Overshadowing, in our opinion, the four very talented “Signature Singers” who only got to perform 4 or 5 of the 15 nights. The same for the Vegas performer, Tony Arias, who was relegated to only performing 2 out of his 10-night stay on the boat. So odd. So much talent on the boat, and yet we were relegated to Tony, his wife and a string trio that sang the same 10 songs 2x a day for 15 days. The other odd experience was NYE night itself. It seems they combined the “White Party” and NYE celebration, instead of two sperate parties on two separate nights. The party itself was very well organized, and finally some good, higher quality food. However, the moment the clock struck midnight the party ended. No Auld lang syen. Nothing. Everyone looked around wondering if, in fact, the party was over at precisely midnight. Especially since the cruise was billed as an NYE celebratory cruise! Suite Value for Money We paid a handsome sum to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself was lovely. However, apart from the ability to eat at the two specialty restaurants, that for all intents and purposes served up basic food, there were few other standout benefits. In fact, even with a Suite stay and an upgraded Premium drinks package, we were still only served the very basic brand of bottled water given free to every passenger, plus no additional or premium wine selections beyond what every other guest gets. We found that incredible that even the combo of a Suite plus Premium drinks package couldn’t get us a glass of Evian water or a better choice of wine beyond the sub $10 bottles they were serving. The other Suite benefit that seems interesting on paper, but not in reality, was a Tea service provided each day at around 3 pm. The trouble with this benefit is that they were basically serving the same mini sandwiches and scones found at the café, and only provided a cup of tea. Staff We found the higher the ranking, the less friendly or approachable they were. This not only included Tony and his assistant Cruise Director Lee, who had a hard time pronounces many of the ports we visited and proudly stated on one of the awkwardly embarrassing mornings shows that he’d prefer to spend time at the “London Zoo” than visit the wildlife found in the South Atlantic, but the other senior staff that many times just looked stern and not very friendly. On the opposite spectrum were our incredible Butler, Padem, and the other attendants on the 8th floor. As well as the staff in all the restaurants and cafés, particularly Vadym who managed to remember our names after only just a few days. True gem. Feedback We were sent a questionnaire about 4 days into the cruise to provide any feedback that could be addressed during the cruise. We shared detailed feedback regarding several areas where there was an opportunity for improvement. The first was the Entertainment. A few hours later, Tony, to his credit, called my husband to let him know that he wasn’t monopolizing the entertainment, the exact word my husband used in the feedback form and that we’d see improved entertainment. This never happened. We also lamented the fact that even though the Sanctum, in the Spa, was billed as 16 years old plus only environment, on every day we visited there were a few pre-teens in attendance. They were also in the adults only gym, and sauna/steam room. And you could even find infants on the dance floor post 10 pm at night. We realize this was a holiday cruise, but there was no regard to what is stated policy. Disembarkation We were so disappointed with the cruise and all the various elements that when we got to our final port, Punta del Este, we were so depressed at the thought of spending the last two nights on the boat that we decided to give up our Suite and leave the boat early so we could at least explore a town that seemed very interesting. This forced us to spend additional money on a hotel room for two nights and a flight from Punta back to Buenos Aires, where the cruise originated and where we had already paid for a flight back home. Despite the additional expense, we were happy to have thoroughly enjoyed the last two night of our vacation, and off the Pursuit. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. ... Read More
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. The Expedition Team were a group of incredibly experienced and qualified professionals who were so efficient and pleasant whilst looking after the guests and keeping us all safe in extreme conditions. Only criticism of any staff would be that the Cruise Director could mature a little and cease finishing every announcement with 'yaay' as it really grinds after a few days! The room was exceptional for a cruise ship with a walk in closet, twin basins in the bathroom and a full size separate bath. The Thomas Keller Restaurant which is promoted as 3 Michelin star rated was average and we much preferred the normal restaurant - great food without the pretence. In fact, pretence was our major stumbling block during the trip. It took us a while to find 'like minded' folk who were travelling on this particular trip to get to a special and unique place on our earth. There were a lot of ostentatious guests more interested in the shallowness of conspicuous wealth which to me clashed with the vibe of the destination. It was embarrassing to hear how some of these people spoke to staff and partners of the Expedition Team. Saying that, nothing could overshadow the awesome destination. We were so privileged to be able to visit Antarctica and South Georgia and to be on a ship like this made it a very pleasurable experience, although if I had my time again I'd choose a different more earthy cruise line with a younger demographic. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our second cruise with Seabourn and we were attracted to this one because we wanted to see this part of the world, but we also liked the many sea days. We work hard in our daily lives and we wanted to relax. The moment we stepped ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Seabourn and we were attracted to this one because we wanted to see this part of the world, but we also liked the many sea days. We work hard in our daily lives and we wanted to relax. The moment we stepped on board in Buenos Aires, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with good humour and kindness by the hard working staff and crew. Cabin Our cabin was on Deck 6, perfectly located near the main staircase and we got to where we wanted to go in no time. We had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath, with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. Compared to the cabins on river cruises, this cabin was a mansion. We did find the air conditioner inadequate and the cabin too stuffy. We had the same problem on the Encore last year. This time we solved this by bringing our own fan and we were very comfortable. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea. Food We are recent converts to vegetarianism and we were really well catered for. There was always plenty to choose from at the Collonade although sometimes the chef pointed out that dishes that looked vegetarian had been made with beef stock, or there was a sneaky prawn hiding in its depths. At my suggestion, they labelled vegetarian dishes and we had no further problems. There were always vegetarian options in the Restaurant and at formal dinners, we had our own menu. Executive Chef, Kurt Timmermans is an outstanding chef and a wonderful communicator and he went out of his way to accommodate our needs. We first experienced the Thomas Keller Grill on the Encore last year and tried it again on the Quest. Once again we were not impressed. The food is too heavy and salty and the menu is inflexible. No changes are allowed. Apparently Thomas knows best. I think we have learned our lesson and will avoid this restaurant in the future. We occasionally had lunch at the Patio, afternoon tea and pre dinner canapes at the Observation Bar and snacks at Seabourn Square and the food was always lovely. Twice on our cruise they set up a Galley Market in the kitchen and the food was outstanding. This was a highlight of our cruise. I would particularly like to acknowledge the following outstanding restaurant staff - Kershin, Marielle, Michael (entertaining as well as incredibly helpful), Niny, Liliya, Sharon and Noemie.. I don't like or understand Seabourn's practice of having the staff take the arm of women and escort them to their tables in the Restaurant. The feminist in me really objects. I always feel uncomfortable and I'm sure these busy young people have better things to do. I think it is demeaning and not something professional wait staff should be expected to do. We have dined in upmarket restaurants all over the world and have not experienced this practice anywhere else. Drink The wine ranged from good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and they were plentiful. The bar staff were wonderful. Public Spaces Even at full capacity, Seabourn ships never feel crowded. We could always find a quiet spot to read or simply watch the world go by. On the other hand, if we wanted company or entertainment, there was always somewhere to go. The whirlpool on deck 6 was a haven for us and we usually had it to ourselves. It was the place to be when sailing away. Unfortunately it was often closed so we used the whirlpool and spa on deck 5 instead, but it didn't have the ambience of deck 6. The gym was well equipped and rarely crowded. The staff were helpful when help was needed, but otherwise unobtrusive. I really enjoyed using it. Entertainment. The entertainment on the whole was very good but tended to be middle of the road and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Seabourn's passengers are generally well educated and sophisticated, but most of the music would have appealed to our long deceased parents. For heaven's sake, we were alive in the sixties and went through one of the most profound musical revolutions in history. We can handle entertainment which is current and inspiring and multi-dimensional and I'm sure the talented entertainers onboard would have loved performing this type of material. On the plus side the Australian guitarist and the young English saxophone player both gave an outstanding concerts The guest lecturers were educational, well prepared and entertaining. Historian Laurel Corona was outstanding. Staff and Crew The Cruise Director, Ross Roberts was also outstanding. He's funny, a wonderful singer, personable and incredibly entertaining. I think we would happily sail on any ship where he is Cruise Director. The Captain and his team were approachable and helpful and very good communicators. They were happy to answer any questions or deal with any concerns the passengers raised. The staff in every Department were well trained and incredibly good at their jobs. Seabourn only employs the best of the best and it shows. Passengers Mostly American with a few Australians and English but quite a few other nationalities as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly well educated, well travelled, lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. Internet Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package. Disembarkation This was the most disappointing part of the whole cruise. It was pouring with rain when we arrived in Monte Carlo and when we got off the ship and went to the cruise terminal we found our luggage sitting outside in the rain, even though it could have been deposited in the reception hall. This is when we discovered that our suitcases are not waterproof. Everything was wet through. Very disappointing. The ship was about to go into dry dock, the staff were in a hurry and we got the clear impression that we were no longer welcome on the ship. Excursions On the whole enjoyable and well organised with some that were outstanding. Our favourites were Rio, Manaus, Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands (particularly Lanzarote) and Tenerife. In summary, this was a wonderful experience. We spent 45 days in a cocoon of luxury and deliciousness. We saw extraordinary sights, were treated kindly and were thoroughly entertained. We have just booked an Antarctic cruise on the Quest in February next year. Can't wait. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was a little concerned when I read bad reviews of Mariner: poor service, poor food, outdated suites. The only thing correct in those reviews was the outdated suites, which are scheduled for refurbishment in March 2018. Overall ... Read More
I was a little concerned when I read bad reviews of Mariner: poor service, poor food, outdated suites. The only thing correct in those reviews was the outdated suites, which are scheduled for refurbishment in March 2018. Overall service was superb. Restuarant service was excellent. All specialty restaurants were excellent, with Prime 7 serving up the best steak (a bone-in ribeye) that I’ve had in a long time. Airline reservations were great. Unfortunately, a flight delay caused us to miss of flight from JFK to Buenos Aires and we arrived a day later than planned. Regent had a guide and driver meet us at the airport to take us to the hotel we had planned to stay at overnight. Embarkation was quick and easy. We traveled from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, this particular stretch of coastline doesn’t have the most exceptional ports of call in the world, but Regent did a good job offering the best of what is out there. In addition, their organization for all shore excursions is excellent, and it’s great to have bottled water, towels, and umbrellas available as you disembark the ship for every excursion. A smaller ship is great! We were pleasantly surprised to find that we never had to wait for a dinner table, could get a drink quickly at any bar, and never had a problem with crowds in the fitness center or the pool deck. If you hate being nickel-and-dimed for every onboard service, don’t like photographers chasing you around the ship, and want first class service on a ship full of very experienced travelers and cruisers, then you can’t go wrong with Mariner and Regent. On the other hand, if you like to enter the hairy chest contest and take pride in the challenge of getting your deck chairs saved before breakfast and holding them all day, then you need to find a different cruise line! Read Less
45 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ... Read More
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ............sorry but "No". The ship is scheduled for refurbishment two cruises hence, and it is much needed as it is looking tired and dated. Onboard entertainment was either very good or very poor. Great solo singer (Colleen Williamson), amateur song and dance troup. Sailing from Argentina (home of the Tango), via Uruguay to Rio (home of the Samba) one would have thought that a more creative on-board entertainment programme using local top quality talent could have been put together. A diet of 'Broadway' and 'Show Tunes' and 'Bert Bacharach' seems to be standard cruise fare and is unimaginative. Onboard F&B was very hit and miss. Compass Rose, Prime 7 and Signature were all erratic. Some good consommes, Dover sole, some very bad crostato, unacceptable curry. Several fellow passengers, one of us included, were bed bound for a day or two due to 'stomach problems', the timing of which and previous consumption patterns could only indicate on board sources. Moules left on the pass for 20 minutes in passenger sight before serving, concurrent handling of cooked meat and uncooked chicken, sea food and cold cuts in full sun during a deck barbecue, did not inspire confidence and we ended up being very, very selective in our menu choices. Shore excusions were also hit and miss. The Buenos Aires tour was good, particularly the visit to Evita Peron's halfway house museum (excellent external guide brought in) as was the Tango element of Montevideo and the Art and Culture of Punta del Este. Rio Grande, being the first port of entry to Brazilian waters, was theoretically a 'technical stop' to process paperwork. Being berthed next to a bulk carrier unloading urea fertiliser, one would think a run ashore would be a good idea. Wrong. A couple of delapited town squares (with a pack of aggressive dogs which persisted in herding our group), a closed museum, an oceanographic museum looking tired and sad - complete with lonely seal and two de-oiling penquins) do not make for a hugely enriching experience. In Porto Belo, extended queueing for the cable car, a walk through an 'ecological park' which also contained screaming tourists on a sledge ride, a half hour on a crowded beach gazing at stalls of trinkets and trash while the guide ate lunch, was severely underwhelming. Overall? Value for money? Marginal, but not a 6 star experience. Could recommend? No Would sail again? Probaly not. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife and I wanted to visit South America and this cruise matched up well. This is our fourth cruise on Silversea and we'd rate it as our best. We ate at La Terraza, Indochine, Atlantides, and the Grill and found all of them to be ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to visit South America and this cruise matched up well. This is our fourth cruise on Silversea and we'd rate it as our best. We ate at La Terraza, Indochine, Atlantides, and the Grill and found all of them to be superb in both quality and service. Our room was very comfortable and our butler provided service that was above and beyond excellent. The attention to detail from the entire staff was outstanding. The Silver Muse is a new ship and we'd rate it as the best we've been on with Silversea. Entertainment was good and a special compliment goes to the fitness director. I took her classes in Pilates, Yoga, and Abs and she did a terrific job with all three. Shore excursions were enjoyable with knowledgeable guides. Only complaints involve other agencies used by Silversea. Travel Document Services, the suggested vendor for our Brazilian visas did a horrible job. Despite having our passports a full 6 months before the cruise, they only got our visas back to us the week before we left. This was after many unanswered phone calls and e-mails. Also, checkout at the Park Tower Hotel in Buenos Aires was a mess. Long lines with only a few people at the desks when everyone was checking out to head to the Muse made for a less than pleasurable experience, although the hotel itself was fine. Silversea is expensive but worth it. We'll be on another Silversea cruise in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
An excellent cruise and a very nice cruise ship. This was a three week, all-inclusive cruise with six days of shore excursions. There was entertainment every evening and lectures given by the guides throughout the day. The rooms are ... Read More
An excellent cruise and a very nice cruise ship. This was a three week, all-inclusive cruise with six days of shore excursions. There was entertainment every evening and lectures given by the guides throughout the day. The rooms are spacious and many have a balcony. Each room has a safe and refrigerator. There is also laundry service either using the ship's or the free washers and dryers on deck 5. The shore excursions were reasonably priced and some last all day. We were not disappointed in any we selected. Some tours are history based and others are to see the various penguins. The cruise included a parka and backpack for you to keep and both are very good. They suggested various clothes to purchase and I found them all necessary. The wind can be very cold when you are riding the zodiac from the ship to the shore. I needed the two layers of thermal underwear for my legs more than my top. The parka provided kept me warm. You do need to cover your face and neck to prevent from wind burn. The snow can be quite blinding so eye protections is a must. I rented the boots and my feet never was cold. I also rented the hiking poles. They offer internet onboard at a fee. It worked throughout the ship and better when you were in a port. At best it was slow. We found Vacations to Go offered the best deal for the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I had sailed on the same ship from Beijing to Hong Kong 20 years ago. And we sailed on the Silver Shadow from Vancouver to Alaska to San Francisco. Silversea fares include specialty coffees, standard alcohol, and tips. On their ... Read More
I had sailed on the same ship from Beijing to Hong Kong 20 years ago. And we sailed on the Silver Shadow from Vancouver to Alaska to San Francisco. Silversea fares include specialty coffees, standard alcohol, and tips. On their expedition ships - it includes off shore excursions - and some include a rt flight to the port of Ushuaia; and parkas suitable for Antarctica, backpacks, and water bottles. So when I read that the Silver Cloud was being refitted into an expedition ice class ship - it was a no brainer and I booked far in advanced to assure us a midship cabin without a verandah on its maiden voyage to Antarctica via the Falklands. The owner of the company came on board and wished us well. Quite impressive. Because the ship goes to Antarctica it takes a maximum of only 200 passengers plus crew. The ship used to take over 300 on luxury cruises. A huge plus for us who avoid ships that can carry over 400 passengers plus crew. We also prefer the understated tasteful decor to the glitz and gild of other luxury cruise lines. My two complaints of the ship: 1) Need more self service washing machines. 2) The ventilation system did not work properly- the cigar room filled with smoke and I could smell cigar smoke in the public stair well. It's hopefully fixed by now. Our cabin was on the same floor as the self-service laundry that was available. We had most of our breakfasts as room service - as we were watching our weight and avoided the buffet. Dining: The soy cappuccinos were perfect. Illy coffee. Cuisine slanted towards the European palate - not too much sugar or fat. Flavours were not "in your face." A buffet breakfast and lunch available in The Terrazza. The buffet was never messy and always replenished with fresh food. In fact, on The Silver Shadow - the first breakfast buffet had as much fresh fruit as the last one 10 days later. Did not try the breakfast in the Main Dining Room. We enjoyed the afternoon tea. Homemade pasta everyday. Meats and cheeses from Italy and France. We tried the small French restaurant, La Dame that costs an extra $60 pp. It was nice for one evening. The Grill - enjoyed grilling our seafood and meat on a hot lava rock for dinner - reservations recommended. The Main Dining room did not need reservations - there was always an option to sit with the expedition crew and other guests there. Portions were perfect - not huge. Some ordered two main courses with no problems. Wine list was fine. They do offer a wine list at an extra reasonable cost. With 5 dining options - we never tired of the food. The only complaint I have with the food - is that I wish they stocked better yogurt. Argentina has beautiful buffalo milk yogurt and regular yogurt. Entertainment and Activities: Due to weather delays - we were impressed with the last minute shows they brought on board: In Buenos Aires Tango Show for 30 minutes was perfect. As well as a Gaucho show in Puerta Madryn, Northern Patagonia - when we docked an extra night. We did not attend any lectures by expedition staff but there was a good selection. We did not use the gym as we were on holiday. When the ship remained in port unexpectantly - daytime excursions were added at the last minute: whale watching and town tours. There are choices of off shore excursions for all fitness levels . I enjoyed the short hike and looking at fossils in Northern Patagonia. DRESSCODE Surfed the internet and blogs for any hints as Silversea failed in this area. The Ship to Shore traveller - which supplies the complimentary parkas - provide a good list on what to pack for the expeditions and everyday wear. Evening dress code was more difficult to decipher. So this is what I learned from our experience: At the Expedition level - dress code is smart casual. Definitely no jeans for evening dining. My husband wore chinos. Some men ate in La Dame without a jacket. Tie is not needed. I only packed one cocktail dress. Women - do not pack heels - not appropriate on any expedition cruise. There were some guests in polar fleeces - as packing for warmth is essential and I did not see any guests being refused a table due to dress code in the Main dining room. Service was excellent - never told "no." Always so helpful. The one complaint I have is the photography room. Photography tutorials cost extra. That is one room that I found no need for. And yet it took up a lot of space on the ship. I wish that there were computer terminals we could use for internet access instead - as we don't travel with laptops. Fortunately I had an iPhone. But would have preferred a terminal. From the brochure it looked like they would have some available in the library - but we discovered on board that it was not the case. It was a great disappointment. The Souvenir shop was adequate. I wish I could comment on the Zodiacs - but our expedition cruise was cancelled due to the ship. (Maybe we would have then used the photography expertise.) We were on the maiden expedition cruise that did not make it to the Falklands or Antarctica - and only sailed as far as Puerta Madryn. So instead of 16 days on the ship - it was only 7. And since that experience - we will only cruise with Silversea. Yes - only Silversea. They handled the cancellation way beyond all of our expectations. And that speaks the loudest for any review of a cruise company. How does a company look after you when something major like that happens? (And it's a bucket list trip.) Within 24 hours of being told to place our luggage outside our rooms for disembarkation - they shifted around 200 passengers from Puerta Madryn on to flights to Buenos Aires and into 4 - 5 star hotels there and booked on flights to our starting points. In our case: the South Island of New Zealand. They reimbursed us for the amounts promised - including a per diem while in transit - within two weeks of being back home. The saddest part was saying good-bye to the other passengers whom we would have enjoyed zooming with in zodiacs. And I can honestly say that we really enjoyed them. The biggest difference between luxury and expedition cruises is that the expedition passengers have signed up for adventure. Women were comfortable to not wear make up. We have rebooked another cruise on the Silver Cloud Expedition. And I'm sure we will sign up for many more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We are seasoned luxury cruisers, based in Switzerland, and booked SIRENA because of the itiniary from Buenos Aires to Lima on the 11th of November 2017. Comparisions are with a view to other luxury ships, specifically to SEABOURN. The ... Read More
We are seasoned luxury cruisers, based in Switzerland, and booked SIRENA because of the itiniary from Buenos Aires to Lima on the 11th of November 2017. Comparisions are with a view to other luxury ships, specifically to SEABOURN. The much advertised food on SIRENA is a fact in the dining room and speciality restaurants, somewhat less so on the buffet, but still good. The meals are well selected and offer a good choice every day. It is somewhat difficult to get a reservation at the two speciality restaurant though, because unless one has booked before the cruise even starts, it becomes very hard. The ship itself is like an elegant older lady, which means that staterooms are somewhat smaller than usual, but are always well cleaned. The public areas are certainly nice in the "grand old style", but don't expect modern or the "glass look" seen on many newer ships. The passengers are older, about 50+ to about 75, which could also be due to the 21-day trip outside a holiday period. The major downside are the excursions. Nearly all are vastly overpriced, especially compared to SEABOURN, and totally unflexible. For instance our friends booked on a "standby" tour, which looked unlike it would go, so they booked another tour as back-up. The ship forced payment on the stand-by, although itslef it had the option to cancel for any reason. We booked all private tours of either 2 or 6 pax and prices were always less than half of the ships tours with far superior quality. Satisfaction is absolutely NOT guaranteed and OCEANIA will always refuse to adjust. This is in stark contrast to SEABOURN, where 5 pax out of 15 of our bus tour, was unhappy with the ship tour in Malta, and the ship refunded 100% of the tour, even for passengers like us, who did not complain. Nothing like such a servive will ever happen on OCEANIA. We recommend taking the shipboard credit and not the "free excursions" because the interesting ones all come with a surcharge that is typically more than a private tour, Entertainment is good for a ship of that size, and the staff everywhere are very friendly and competent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We looked forward to this South American cruise for a long time. Except for missing two ports due to wind and waves, it was a wonderful trip. Regatta is a lovely small ship. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was really good, ... Read More
We looked forward to this South American cruise for a long time. Except for missing two ports due to wind and waves, it was a wonderful trip. Regatta is a lovely small ship. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was really good, even the food at the buffet. Unfortunately, some passengers and crew came down with influenza. There were repeated requests for everyone to wash their hands and use the alcohol gels throughout the ship. The incidents of flu continued so we went to a level 2 red situation where we could not have anything on our dining tables, use of equipment in the gym was limited and activities were curtailed. The crew worked night and day to clean everything. By the end of the cruise no new cases were added. Our penthouse suite was lovely. The stewards were great. We had a butler, Raj, who did anything we needed. The staff entertainers were very talented and worked hard to entertain us all. They even worked throughout the day helping with activities, while they took place. Corey, the Cruise Director, was lots of fun and kept us updated throughout the day about activities. He led the daily trivia games which were a blast. Go Seaworthy! The captain was great and we all felt he worked hard to give us the best experiences we could have. We had a wonderful lecturer, Dr. Don Klein, who really made the trip more educational and enjoyable. We loved Oceania so much we booked another trip in 2018. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd great rivers, with destinations including cities Manaus and Santarem, a beach town, a fishing village and Parantins. March is Amazon rainy season and it rained! Rio and Manaus were highlights with a good variety of shore excursions and an overnight in each. After the Amazon we visited Devil's island, Barbados, St Lucia and San Juan, all beautiful destinations. Such a varied itinerary is only possible on a small/medium sized cruise ship and I would recommend it. The ship was well managed, the best I have experienced. Captain and senior managers were very visible about the ship and the crew well trained and extremely pleasant while giving exceptional service. I appreciated the detail given in the Captain's daily update. Shore excursions were included in the price and made the trip. They included bus tours for the less able and more adventurous options for more energetic passengers such as bike tours, treks, swimming and snorkelling, 4 wheel drives and zip lines. Some of the most attractive were sold out before we could select them. Sometimes there was time to complete an early tour and walk or taxi into town later. We did this a few times and recommend it, particularly in Manaus where the city tour didn't fit with the times of the other tours we wanted; it was an easy 15-20 minute walk through vibrant shopping streets up to the opera house area. San Juan definitely merits a visit, however fleeting. 4 wheel drives in Rio and St Lucia were great fun offering off the beaten track views. Our suite was comfortable, kept very clean by our two stewards, who also delivered ice, fruit, champagne etc when asked. The food on board was exceptional, in all venues, with Signatures the best overall. Entertainment was varied with more of a focus on popular than classical music. The talks were well attended and most were very interesting. In my opinion organised activities were the weak point as with other 'American' ships we've travelled on. Deck sport tournaments were non-existent replaced with mini competitions that were cancelled at the slightest drop of rain. We met many people who wanted to try deck tennis and shuffleboard, but didn't know how to play. As a result we had our own private court at the back of this ship and played almost daily. This aspect of the ship needs a radical shake up. Dancers, nice as they all were, didn't make good sports hosts. Active passengers need a variety of ways to keep fit in and outdoors. There were dance classes, but no sports classes. Why? There was induction to the gym but no induction to deck sports. Why? Also, there was no art programme on the ship, just a colouring class and craft class managed by a hostess. This is a cheap option out of step with the luxury of the Regent offering. Not good enough for the proportion of people who enjoy art. Quite a few people we met said they'd found sea days boring. That's not good for Regent. The Mariner was due for a refit which has been postponed for a year. It needs it. However, it was well maintained, extremely comfortable and exceptionally clean; it didn't affect our enjoyment of this cruise at all, in fact there is probably more deck space on these older ships. Overall I loved it and recommend this trip. However for a long trip e.g. world, half-world or extended period of time I wouldn't recommend Regent unless you are a particularly sedentary cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Loved the itinerary as it was a combination of great cities and beach resorts. Terry Breen the enrichment speaker is excellent and really makes new locations come alive. The Food and Beverage Manager and the chef did a wonderful job. ... Read More
Loved the itinerary as it was a combination of great cities and beach resorts. Terry Breen the enrichment speaker is excellent and really makes new locations come alive. The Food and Beverage Manager and the chef did a wonderful job. The food was excellent, particularly the fish and the staff were well trained and very good. My husband has a disability and uses a walker. The entire Regent staff was so helpful and it really allowed both of us to relax and enjoy the trip. In addition all of the vendors for the shore excursions went above and beyond what we expected to help him and me. We have been on several cruises in the past 10 years and were a bit concerned that Regent had gone "corporate" and lost the unique qualities that made them so special. We are very pleased to say this was certainly not the case on this cruise. We are looking forward to our next sailing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We are a couple in our mid sixties who have longed to go to Antarctica but hesitated as one of us is inclined to sea sickness. However with modern stabiliser technology, newer ships and larger ships the decision was made to go as we felt ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid sixties who have longed to go to Antarctica but hesitated as one of us is inclined to sea sickness. However with modern stabiliser technology, newer ships and larger ships the decision was made to go as we felt our window of opportunity to do it while in good health was closing. The ship is magnificent, nothing is too much trouble from a service perspective and the food was great. There are many reviews that cover this in detail. I am not going to repeat it. The purpose of my review is to highlight what happened on our cruise and provide this information to others who are considering if they should travel to Antarctica and which ship to choose. The 21 day cruise was to include 6 days in Antarctica. In the evening of day 4 it was announced there was a medical emergency with 2 passengers and we needed to reposition to the island in Antarctica where the ambulance plane could land. The ship waited there all the next day for the plane but prevailing conditions meant the plane couldn't fly. The decision was then made to go immediately to Ushuaia .By the time we docked it was 55-60 hours since the medical emergency was declared. Every one supported the Captain's decision to leave ...it would be exactly what we would want for ourselves or a family member in the same situation. However there was much discussion amongst passengers that Seabourn did not require a doctors clearance to make the trip. When you looked at the age of some passengers and the apparent health of some one wondered if they should be on the ship at all.You are so far from help when things go wrong. It only takes one serious illness for the plans of all passengers to be impacted. The marketing for Antarctica is alluring and has expanded rapidly in recent years. However the infrastructure is just the same it is a wilderness and your are far from the modern medical facilities we are accustomed to and a ships' doctor can only do so much. The ship's staff did a great job making alternate arrangements to fill the extra days that were now in the itinerary and compensation was provided. Sailing around Cape Horn was a wonderful bonus! My overall rating does not reflect the ship but rather the overall experience. I believe Seabourn need to be more proactive in making sure passengers are fit for the trip . Yes there will always be issues that arise but the risk management in minimising this potential needs further consideration by Seabourn, particularly given there are 400+ passengers.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
My spouse and I sailed on the Seabourn Quest – “21 Day Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia”, from January 12, 2017 through February 2, 2017. Anyone that has sailed with Seabourn knows the trips are ridiculously expensive and should ... Read More
My spouse and I sailed on the Seabourn Quest – “21 Day Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia”, from January 12, 2017 through February 2, 2017. Anyone that has sailed with Seabourn knows the trips are ridiculously expensive and should expect to receive exceptional service and the trip you expected. We enjoyed our experience but are disappointed that Seabourn reduced the Antarctic portion of our cruise from the scheduled six days to four days due to the illness of two of the passengers onboard. While we are most sympathetic to the circumstances of these individuals and their families, is seems unfair that the remaining 400 plus passengers were so negatively impacted. We question whether or not this situation could have been addressed earlier when there would have been less impact. Specifically, there was clearly better access to medical facilities during our stops in Montevideo, The Falkland Islands and perhaps even in the South Shetland Islands. Although information provided regarding the status of the sick individuals was limited, understandably to protect their privacy, it is our understanding that both were seniors (86 and 90 years old) and that the 90 year old ultimately passed away while on the ship. We were directly familiar with the circumstances of the 86 year old woman, given that she and her family had their cabins located close to ours and, consequently, we got to know them during the cruise. As a result, we are fully aware that the woman took sick immediately after boarding (if not sick prior to boarding) and was either in her stateroom or in the ship’s infirmary during her entire stay onboard. We therefore question whether or not it would have been possible for staff members to identify her emergent medical condition earlier in the voyage. Many of the passengers we spoke to on the ship wondered if Seabourn had other options to deal with the sick passengers prior to departing from the Falklands. We question where Seabourn’s protocol for passenger embarkation on trips to remote locations takes into consideration the passenger’s age and the increasing likelihood of illness as the passenger gets older. This is especially relevant when sailing to areas like the Antarctic when the ship is not in close proximity to medical facilities, and in this case for 10 days. Presumably this is why International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators recommends having passengers complete a medical form prior to sailing to the Antarctic. Does Seabourn follow this protocol? Seabourn refused to answer us on this! It was clear that the Captain Dvergastein and the Quest staff were sincerely regretful that our time in the Antarctic was cut short. Efforts were made to compensate (and perhaps distract) us by including the sail to Cape Horn and the addition of another port (Chacabuco). It is, however, noteworthy that the additional port was disappointing and required passengers to spend more money if they wanted to go on a tour – which was advisable as there was absolutely nothing to do or see in the town. It is important to underscore that we, and the great majority of passengers we spoke with, specifically chose this Seabourn itinerary because of the opportunity to go to the Antarctic. The fact that we lost one third of the scheduled time in the Antarctic on a very expensive cruise is upsetting to say the least. We acknowledge that Seabourn provided a token onboard credit as well as a $750 credit per passenger for a future cruise with Seabourn. While appreciated, frankly, these efforts fall far short of adequately compensating us for the lost time in the Antarctic. After arriving home we contacted Seabourn advising them of our concerns, and after numerous emails and phone calls that went unanswered, we finally received the token refund. Seabourn needs to do better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We had some unusual circumstances occur in our family which ended up with Mom and Dad being able to finally take that long-awaited cruise to the Patagonia Region of South America. It was the first time we were solo over the holidays, and ... Read More
We had some unusual circumstances occur in our family which ended up with Mom and Dad being able to finally take that long-awaited cruise to the Patagonia Region of South America. It was the first time we were solo over the holidays, and were not sure what to expect from a cruise line, any cruise line during this time of year. Oceania did not disappoint with their exceptional level of service and consistently delicious menus. Many of the shore excursions offered by the ship were fun and worthwhile. Embarkation and disembarkation were painless, even with an unplanned worker strike in Buenos Aires which lead to several late arriving passengers. The Marina is a beautiful ship, just like her sister ship the Riviera. We enjoyed all the ports, especially the Falkland Islands, Ushiaia, and Valparaiso. We could have done without Porta Este. Some of the others would have been spectacular if we had been favored by clearer skies and less rain. They had a great pianist and female soloist onboard to entertain, as well as a talented comic musician to supplement their rather mediocre perform group. The comic who they picked up at the end of the cruise was in bad taste. We especially enjoyed the on-bard lecture series and trubador performances. One disappointing factor was that Christmas Eve and Christmas were downplayed to the point that a few "love and peace" folk and pop songs were the focus and besides the beautiful tree and decorations in the main lobby not much was there for those of us looking for a more traditional Christmas atmosphere and activities. Our overall experience was very memorable and we would go on either of these 2 ships again if the itinerary was one we were interested in. The level of concerned response and follow-up during the cruise was above anything we had seen in more than 30 years of cruising and has pretty much decided us on making Oceania our #1 choice when planning our next vacation. Read Less

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