26 Buenos Aires Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the full monty. Not much space to do justice to 30great days but I’ll try! The Sun is a small ship and did suffer because of this at times on the first leg on sea days. This was especially true of the buffet where spaces were frequently at a premium. Size also meant that the options for light dining at lunchtime were very limited. Sandwiches were limited to filled croissants and there were few cold meat options. By contrast I found the range of choice in the main dining room to be excellent. In 30 nights I never duplicated a main course choice and was never disappointed. Of the speciality restaurants if found La Cucina and Los Lobos to be very underwhelming, but Le Bistro was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Windjammer, especially Kiefer Wiley, who always kept the party going. A young pianist, Walisson, had joined the ship’s crew at Buenos Aires so it was early days for him but he settled well and was well worth a pre dinner listen. We caught a performance by the ship’s singers in Bliss one evening. Backed simply by electric piano, they were superb and distinctly better than in the over amplified main theatre. The show and produced a similar quality performance at each of the Jazz Brunches we attended. Old adage if you’re good enough you don’t need to be loud. We didn’t use any of the ship’s excursions, joining fellow Cruise Critic members on a series of excellent trips. Not once were we in danger of missing departure and one of the early questions we were always asked was when does the ship leave? I’ll probably give a thorough review of each excursion on a post under South America Ports of Call. Special stand out mentions now however for Dennis Purtov at Puerto Montt and Patricia at Trujillo. We also had great experiences at Valparaiso, Coquimbo and Puerto Chacabuco. I have to say that embarkation at Buenos Aires was excellent. A clean, comfortable waiting hall, a speedy transition through check in and a good transfer by bus to the ship was a really good quality service. Compare that to the sloppy positioning of colour tag luggage, muddled exit pathways and haphazard progress through security at Miami and it was like being in two different worlds... and it wasn’t the third world country that was shown up! Just an extra point of minority interest. It was so nice to be able to run on the Promenade deck and not feel guilty. Runners don’t have to feel compelled to run on treadmills in a humid gym or up on an exposed top deck. We made so many new friends on this trip and hope to meet up again some time. A lot of that was down to a really active Cruise Critic Roll Call, so thanks for making it all such a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
One of our best cruises ever. We have been on 4 cruises with Celebrity, twice on Reflection and now twice on Eclipse. ANd this cruise was just amazing. The ship was perfect, the crew fantastic, great entertainment and from the top (Captain ... Read More
One of our best cruises ever. We have been on 4 cruises with Celebrity, twice on Reflection and now twice on Eclipse. ANd this cruise was just amazing. The ship was perfect, the crew fantastic, great entertainment and from the top (Captain Leo and CD Gioseppe) to our cabin attendant etc. was top top noch. Food was great in Luminae and BLU and spec. restaurants. To all the hardworking people in the Martini Bar, Luminae, Michaels Club, Guests relation, FUTURE cruises, Murano, Qsine (Le petit chef), pool area, pool bar, entertainment, orchestra Ocean View Cafe, El Bacio Security people, THANK you so much for your hard work. You are the reason that we will continue to book Celebrity cruises. And to see RIO during carnival was fantastic - you really cant imagine how big it is, until you are there and discover it yourself. Think we might be back one day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We arrived in Buenos Aires 3 days before setting sail which gave us ample time to enjoy this fascinating city. We stayed in a very lovely little hotel in Palermo Soho. The location turned out to be quite a distance from the city centre, ... Read More
We arrived in Buenos Aires 3 days before setting sail which gave us ample time to enjoy this fascinating city. We stayed in a very lovely little hotel in Palermo Soho. The location turned out to be quite a distance from the city centre, but the inexpensive cost of taxis made the trip downtown less of an annoyance. Take some time to spend in Buenos Aires if you haven't been there before. It's multi faceted and interesting. On the day we embarked the ship, traffic from downtown to the pier was absolutely painful. We finally got there and were very quickly processed and boarded Star Princess in no time. Although the ship is by no means new, it has been kept in good repair and provides an attractive,elegent environment for the 14 day cruise. I am continually surprised by the nit picking that some reviewers use to criticize any minor issues that they encounter aboard ship. Their lives on land must be absolutely perfect. Our cabin, B621, inside, was tight but had ample storage space. The shower was a bit of a joke in size. The most amazing thing about our cabin and about all Princess cabins was the absolute luxury of the bed and bedding. Kudos to Princess!! Service aboard the Star was extremely good everywhere. We purchased the Coffee Card and bottled water prior to leaving home. Both good moves. We tried Sabattinis and the Crown Grill. Liked them both. Wonderful service in both. Food in the main dining room on the other 12 nights was good if not exceptional. But if you have 12 restaurant meals at home will you have 12 exceptional meals? It's the service in the main restaurant that makes a less stellar meal feel quite acceptable. And they were able to handle anytime dining quite efficiently with very little wait especially if you were prepared to share a table with others (we were). Activities during the day were sparse, but a big thank you to Princess for providing the equipment for duplicate bridge and a bigger thank you to the individuals who organized the games. 2.5 afternoon hours nicely spent. Evening entertainment was good. Enjoyed the commedian and singers. Almost forgot to praise the port speaker who was both very informative and extremely humerous. Played to a full house in the Princess theatre each time he spoke. Ports great and varried. When in Puerto Mott, go to Puerto Veras. You might think this lakeside town is in Switzerland. Ended up in San Antonio and took the public bus to downtown to Santiago. Comfortable and cost effective. Did not take any ship tours. Absolutely loved Santiago. Spend some time in this glamerous safe city. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Sailing to and from the same port of call is a great advantage to me. This time from beautiful and cosmopolitan Buenos Aires is a plus to this cruise. I live there! The celebrity Eclipse is a luxury ship with plenty is amenities for all ... Read More
Sailing to and from the same port of call is a great advantage to me. This time from beautiful and cosmopolitan Buenos Aires is a plus to this cruise. I live there! The celebrity Eclipse is a luxury ship with plenty is amenities for all tastes: fitness center spacious with many elements and sea view from all corners, live music all the day long in different locations, matinee shows on sea days and evening shows every night with international artists, indoor and outdoor pools and whirl pools, spa and Lersian garden to relax. Food is fantastic in all restaurants, main one Moonlight Sonata is huge. We had access to Blu the exclusive restaurant for Aqua Class passengers which was cozy and well attended by Nelly and all Blu staff. Buy sailing along Paradise Bay in Antarctica is the most fantastic experience I have had in my entire life! Put it in your bucket list!! The views are outstanding with a few huge whales and tiny penguins swimming along the ship. Ports of call are also worth visiting Ushuaia southern most city in the world, Falkland/Malvinas Islands, Puerto Madryn , Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Each has it beauty and charm. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise to experience some latin flavour and of coarse Cape Horn... a Magellan dream. The facts are: Buenos Aris port where the ship docked for two days is awful. Shipping containers, strattle-carriers, trucks ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience some latin flavour and of coarse Cape Horn... a Magellan dream. The facts are: Buenos Aris port where the ship docked for two days is awful. Shipping containers, strattle-carriers, trucks constantly beeping, jackhammers, noisy port. The ship was sandwiched between mountains of shipping containers,affording the view. One could literally taste the pollution, using the balcony was impossible. Our aqua class room: We arrived exhausted. Our bags were in the hall. I asked the attendant if he could put the bed protectors on the bedding as I didn't want to put our luggage on the clean white comforter. He said,'they did not do that anymore???' I asked were the fresh flowers were, the fruit basket, the champagne our bottled water? ''They do not do that anymore. But if I ask he will bring the champagne.' We noticed in unpacking that there was only one robe and no wine glasses. Upon request those were provide. A crumpled up robe was handed over. We also noticed that the bottle of vodka we ordered was not delivered. To unravel that it took three days and several calls to guest services, even though we had our order and confirmation numbers. ( as and aside our cost was $106.00 and the ship stores sold the same vodka 2 bottles for $30...) Montevideo featured a busy working port thankfully not on the same scale as Buenos Ares. We finally relaxed on our balcony. I thought the balcony had been cleaned, my clothing proved otherwise. Three days of filthy had not been touched... I used a white dampened hand towel which came out blackened and filthy from the railing, table and chairs, I called our attendant and showed him my stained clothing and filthy towel. The Captain never mentioned that the ship was in anyway compromised from the start. We were told that our safety was his main concern... We missed Port ARENAS and were given back to our account whatever number they made up. Port Montt was also missed, so to speak... our scheduled arrival was for 8:00 am... that was changed to 1:30 pm (at which time we were still crawling into port). We were tender #3 and at 3:00pm, we hand not been called. We were warned that the last tender leaving port would leave the dock at 6:45pm. How is this visiting Port Montt??? Our celebrity cruise ended in San Antonio. We were hours late arriving and missed our car to Santiago. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We wanted to go to South America and Princess provided the best value for us. We took the opportunity to go to Iguazu Falls and Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires before the cruise as well as exploring Buenos Aires itself. Iguazu ... Read More
We wanted to go to South America and Princess provided the best value for us. We took the opportunity to go to Iguazu Falls and Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires before the cruise as well as exploring Buenos Aires itself. Iguazu Falls are spectacular, but not an inexpensive side trip. Colonia was interesting and pleasant via Buquebus, but probably more expensive than it was worth. For us, a single day walking around Buenos Aires would have been sufficient. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The staggered embarkation times is an improvement over previous experiences. The Emerald Princess is a pretty typical 3000 passenger ship with the usual decor and amenities. The passenger demographics were definitely older and late night activities were poorly attended. More efforts could have been made to adjust to the obvious earlier preferences. The interior cabin was very functional and well maintained and serviced. Dining was highly variable with some very good serving staff and some quite poor. Most of the food was well prepared, but there were some very notable exceptions. The buffet food was quite good and Princess does a good job of managing lines while controlling access for hygienic purposes. Unfortunately, they don't do nearly as good a job on cleaning the tables. The entertainment was about average for cruise lines, but more efforts could have been made to improve the variety when half the passengers were doing 2 consecutive cruises. Princess staff were pretty grim for the most part. I am not sure what is going on, but not very happy or pleasant compared to recent cruises on other lines. More efforts could have been made to manage crowds for events and shore comings and goings. One good thing was that there was not very much up-selling going on compared with some other cruises where staff seems to be constantly pestering passengers to buy extras. The ports were pretty good with some of the best excursions being wildlife and scenic in their orientation. The excursions to the larger cities (Lima and Santiago) were mostly spent in heavy traffic. We were very happy to have had the experience and it was a good one, but not one that we would repeat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destination. I also had fond memories of her sister ship Millennium. It was the last trip to Antarctica (next year it will be a Solstice class ship). We were very lucky with the weather. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destination. I also had fond memories of her sister ship Millennium. It was the last trip to Antarctica (next year it will be a Solstice class ship). We were very lucky with the weather. The previous cruise in January was not so lucky but we had calm seas for the most part with really only one day that was a bit rough. Cape Horn was dead flat, when there was fog it magically cleared as we arrived and at Elephant Island drifted back as we left. It was simply good luck and I felt sorry reading the reviews of the previous cruise. The ship is an older ship but we found it well maintained. If you looked hard you could find faults but compared to what I was expecting it was better than I thought. We booked an Aqua class cabin and the meals were excellent. The cabin itself seemed no different to a balcony but access to Blu was great. We also tried the specialty restaurants and enjoyed them all but Tuscan Grill was a real highlight. We had a problem with our cabin with the carpet getting wet. Its as frustrating but the crew went above an beyond to both fix the problem and make it up to us for the inconvenience. They were so nice about it I was feeling like I had Stockholm Syndrome, you know when you are kidnapped you feel sorry for the Kidnappers! I was embarrassed telling them its as still faulty given how hard they worked to fix it. In the end we switched cabins, the old one was 7095 (I hope its fixed if you have that one!) we moved to 1142 at the rear. The crew overall are just outstanding at all levels. Through stupidity I broke my ankle on the way home at the Falklands, the medical care was excellent, the restaurant staff were totally accomodating, our cabin stewards wife is a Physiotherapist and he arranged pillows and ice packs, right up to Jaan the head housekeeper and Srdjan the Hotel Director it was clearly a happy, highly motivated crew absolutely focused on passengers having a great time. We have sailed on Seabourn and it was to that standard, very attentive and impressive. I guess in terms of advice I would offer to have realistic expectations about the age of the ship and look for the crew to make up any slight shortcomings. If things go wrong raise them and let them make it right, they were very genuine to us. Try the specialty restaurants. QSine was fun and funky, they offered a pack of 3 or more restaurants for discount price, if I did this again I would grab that. The al Bacio cafe deck 5 great coffee if you are hanging out for a flat white the cappuccino's are next best and those macadamia nut cookies, fantastic. The cocktails at the bar opposite were excellent also, especially the smoked ones! Another point to raise is Mickey Live. he is such an asset, his sense of humour, knowledge and the way he got things across was exceptional and his presentations were all standing room only. We did ships tour which we found fascinating, exactly what do you do with all those empty bottles......4 engines, 1 diesel, 2 jet engines and steam engine...fascinating. The laundry, the bridge, the engine control room, really interesting to see behind the scenes. The propulsion problem we were told and they appeared very open was that they had excessive vibration at high speed on one Azipod so as a precaution were running at reduced speed. The slower speed meant they missed one port day so they paid 1 x 14th credit as compensation which we thought was fair. There were only 3 ports the rest sea days so I can understand how frustrating its as to the earlier cruise missing the Falklands but given the route was through the roaring 40's Ferocious 50's and Screaming 60's I think you have to accept some chance of bad weather. So overall injury and cabin hassles not withstanding we had a great time the scenery and wildlife was everything we hoped for. My wife as on our balcony when awhile surfaced so close the sound of the spout startled her (she said only 20 feet away). It was an amazing trip and hats off to all the crew, they made it very special. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
First of all, for the folks on the Jan. Cruise. I get it. I would have been disappointed as well. But I can only speak of the Feb Cruise. We were warned in advance to the propulsion problems. It had virtually no affect on the cruise. ... Read More
First of all, for the folks on the Jan. Cruise. I get it. I would have been disappointed as well. But I can only speak of the Feb Cruise. We were warned in advance to the propulsion problems. It had virtually no affect on the cruise. Top speed was 20 mph and we got everywhere on time. As smooth as any cruise I have been on. Were told in advance that we would get a refund for Puerto Madryn and I personally would rather have the money than the port. This was a 50th anniversary cruise for us and yes we were the fools on stage during the marriage game (the one that involved a lime) The ship-Yes it's old and does not have all the bells and whistles. Nothing that affected my enjoyment. It was clean and the entire staff was Great. Embarkation in Buenos Aires-crowded as usual, but we were onboard in about 45 minutes. Entertainment-about standard for cruise ships. Nothing bad and nothing exceptional. Good but I would probably not pay to see any of them. We did not go to any of the productions because we saw them on on a previous cruise. We had seen some of the individual acts before also Food-Excellemt. We ate almost every meal in the Luminae. Food was good and different menu every night. Hats off to the entire staff. Too many to name but they were all fantastic. Ushuaia-took an excursion to the National park. Had to ride a bus on a gravel road and by luck, we had to sit just over the back axel. Very rough ride. Some nice stops but I was expection more. Wish we would have had more time in the town. I would probably do something different if I every went back. Cape Horn-Unbelievably smooth waters. Now I have been there. Antartica-Words or pictures cannot describe it. Not as cold as I had thought and we overpacked. Spent quite a bit of time there doing 360's Falkland Islands-went to the sheep farm. Glad to see some of the countryside. The entire island only has 2100 people. Had plenty of time to walk around. There is a shuttle to Gypsy cove that we also took to see penguins. $20 Montevideo-Took a city tour that my travel agent provided. Nice city. Safe and you can walk from one end to the other. There is a market just off the ship that I would recommend walking to Internet-horrible. Very slow and kicked me off regularly. Worked somewhat better in public places. And to be honest it worked better on last cruise when I stayed on 9th deck. Enrichment programs-Probably the best I have experienced. Disembarkation-Just picked up bags and walked out. We stayed another day so we went to the Sheraton. Outside was a madhouse of people soliciting cabs. Choose Uber or walk across street to get best prices. Or take $28 shuttle from ship to airport Uber-works well in Buenos Aires and I would recommend it if you have access to the internet. $25 total for the two of us from Sheraton to airport. Once in a lifetime trip and probably won't go again but I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We have cruised 5 times each year and this was one of the best experiences mainly because of the dramatic vistas floating past our balcony. Gigantic Glaciers, rugged mountain peaks, wildlife(penguins, alpacas, condors,..) and cultural ... Read More
We have cruised 5 times each year and this was one of the best experiences mainly because of the dramatic vistas floating past our balcony. Gigantic Glaciers, rugged mountain peaks, wildlife(penguins, alpacas, condors,..) and cultural ports in Argentina and Chile. The ship itself was clean and well-maintained with attentive staff everywhere. We would have liked a better quality of shows in contrast to "Burn the Floor" on the Escape. But this was a smaller ship and so it is a matter of economics. Fortunately, the weather was mainly fine and the choppy seas around Cape Horn were mitigated by the ships stabilizers. Our next cruise is on the maiden voyage of NCL "Bliss" to Alaska which is much larger. We expect to see from our balcony, dramatic Glaciers and craggy peaks, but we hope it will not be too boisterous with all the race car tracks, water slides, and other adventure features. Just a nice cozy safe trip is all we are looking forward to experiencing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were expecting to visit the Antarctica and to see the wildlife in Puerto Madryn and in Port Stanley on this cruise. Though we visited (cruised by but not actually stop at) Paradise bay and Elephant island in Antartica, we were ... Read More
We were expecting to visit the Antarctica and to see the wildlife in Puerto Madryn and in Port Stanley on this cruise. Though we visited (cruised by but not actually stop at) Paradise bay and Elephant island in Antartica, we were completely shut out of experiencing visit with wildlife such as the Penguins due to technical issues with the ship's propulsion system, speed reduction, poor planning and poor weather. The management of the Cruise ship certainly had enough advance information, based on past experience, on the expected weather on probability of making anticipated ports of call at Puerto Madryn and Port Stanley. With advance information on the Ship's propulsion system they decided to travel slow and cancelled Puerto Madryn. They could have kept alive the option to visit Puerto Madryn, in the event Port Stanley had to be cancelled due to severe weather. While we do not fault them for not accepting the weather risk at Falkland Islands, we do fault them for poor trip planning having cancelled Puerto Madryn at the outset to compensate for the slow speed of travel due to propulsion problem. This made for a long 10 day sea voyage ( out of total 14 days) from Ushuaia to Montevideo resulting in monotonous boring Cruise experience. Since we only had very few options available to see Antarctica & Penguins, we felt victimized by Celebrity Cruises ruining our once in a lifetime vacation. Dining and entertainment activities were average to better than average. There was too much selling activities T shirts, jewelry, watches, paintings, future cruises, photography, etc. Staff was very good in most food and drink areas, except at customer service where staff was not helpful. Very defensive not attempting to address customer complaints or concerns. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We bought our tickets in November but most of the other passengers bought theirs far earlier than us. However Celebrity failed to let us know the ship was only sailing with one propeller which slowed down its performance so much that we ... Read More
We bought our tickets in November but most of the other passengers bought theirs far earlier than us. However Celebrity failed to let us know the ship was only sailing with one propeller which slowed down its performance so much that we arrived in Ushuaia seven hours after the scheduled time. All tours were rushed and by the time we finished the tour all shops and museums were closed for the day. It was our intention to visit this far away place thoroughly and experience the life here. Then we were supposed to circle Cape Horn, but the ship just went a little north then turned around. When we got to Elephant Bay the ship was not able to get close to the shore because it did not have enough force. We did not stop in Port Stanley because of the weather and our next stop, Port Madryn, was canceled. We were on board for 12 days out of the 14-day cruise. This ship was working with only one propeller for a long time. Celebrity was well aware of this problem yet it chose not to disclose it so as not give the passengers the right to cancel the trip without penalties. It is still sailing north and back to Antartica without any plans to stop to fix the problem. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This cruise was everything we expected and more! Great ports of call, 4 days cruising in Antarctica waters where we saw bunches of penguins, sea lions, whales and a wide variety of birds. Onboard, they offered great lecturers on sea days ... Read More
This cruise was everything we expected and more! Great ports of call, 4 days cruising in Antarctica waters where we saw bunches of penguins, sea lions, whales and a wide variety of birds. Onboard, they offered great lecturers on sea days and even had a few interactive game shows which elated my DW. However, two areas where HAL did not meet our expectations were (1) the quality of their production shows and (2) making sure passengers sanitized their hands when going into a dining area and when reboarding the ship after a day in port. Quality of HAL production shows. The singers and dancers were fine, but the pace of the shows were that of watching a Lawrence Welk Show. That's fine if you like a slower pace, but we're in our mid 60's and grew up on rock and roll and were board stiff during most of their shows. However, they did hire some great entertainers which made up for the lack luster production shows produced by a New York-based production company from what we understand. Personal hygiene shortfalls. This 22 day cruise was during the height of the cold/flu season, but HAL didn't seem to realize this. They used to make folks going into a dining area sanitize their hands the first 48 hours of the cruise. Not any more. They used to have a crew member at the base of the gangway making sure passengers sanitize their hands before coming back on ship. Not any more. They used to have sanitizer dispensers outside the main theater entrances. Not on this cruise. As a result, this was the "sickest" HAL cruise we have ever been on as at least 1/3 of the passengers had bronchial type cold/flu symptoms the last 2+ weeks of the cruise. Going to the show in the evening was like listening to a chorus of coughing. Lesson learned. Wash your hands and use the hand sanitizers religiously and if at all possible avoid using the tongs up on the lido deck. Of course, no cruise is perfect and since we just got off a great 25 day Celebrity Eclipse cruise where all of the shows were great with many reaching the "wow" status and the ship's hygiene practices were top notch, it was just a big let down to see HAL's offerings so inferior. But, as I mentioned earlier, it wasn't all bad. The itinerary was GREAT, the guest lecturers were GREAT and the contracted evening entertainment for the most part was very entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Disappointed with the Infinity- one of the older ships, dated decor and I believe due to be de-commissioned later this year to make way for the new Celebrity range. Cabin was clean but small with basic balcony. The cruise was ruined by ... Read More
Disappointed with the Infinity- one of the older ships, dated decor and I believe due to be de-commissioned later this year to make way for the new Celebrity range. Cabin was clean but small with basic balcony. The cruise was ruined by unruly kids whose parents took no notice whatsoever of them running wild- through the restaurants including climbing the trellis, barging through the middle of the dance floor and eating burgers in the Jacuzzi. My husband pointed out to the waiters who seemed powerless to intervene. The resturant was immpossible to get into without a 2+ hour wait unless you wanted to eat at 5.30pm. The reason given was so many Spanish families had booked on this cruise and liked to eat late. The first eve we ate at 11.30pm deapite the resturant supposedly closing at 9.30pm One of the main reasons for out S American adventure was the Chilean Fiords. Unfortunately it was impossible to hear the speaker due to microphone malfunction plus having an open bar with many people talking and children running around. Totally ruined our experience Lastly I think it is important to realise that over xmas there will be a lot of families with children running around. On this cruise over 1/3rd were under age 21yrs. This was never explained to us by our travel agent and something we hadn't anticipated, and certainly will be something we will take into consideration going forward This cruise was marketed as a six star cruise. That it is certainly not. Forget gala balls and new years dances- more like turn up in ripped jeans and baseball hats. There wasnt even a xmas cracker or party hat on the table Very disappointed and will be crossing Celebrity off our list of further cruises Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and a long history with Princess. This ship really needs to be dry docked for R&R (remove and replace) things like, beds, toilets, carpets, railings and a few modern updates. Our Caribe ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and a long history with Princess. This ship really needs to be dry docked for R&R (remove and replace) things like, beds, toilets, carpets, railings and a few modern updates. Our Caribe balcony needed cleaning, new carpets and the balcony table, chairs, rails and windows never were cleaned unless we asked the steward to do it daily. What is it about the rude waiters and assistant waiters in the dining rooms? They think nothing about interrupting conversations to push pastries, alcoholic drink cards, speciality dining, photos and other stuff. Most dining requests get lost in translation? For example, I ask for a large glass of tomato juice and I receive two small glasses. It's not like there aren't large glasses already on the table. I have witnessed people requesting decaf coffee being served from the same pot filling caffeinated coffee cups. A request for a slice of tomato for a delivered sandwich and it arrives with the center missing; so primarily it's just a ring of tomato skin. A request for Cheese, comes back shreaded and not sliced. It's almost like you have to have a picture of the food item you want, prepared like you want, to get it the way you want. Kinda like having the menus dfrom Japan. I've noticed trends that the quality of items in the dining room has declined overall with items you order when received are not what you expected. An example, you order a fillet mignon and get some other cut of beef, hidden under a Béarnaise sauce. I have argued with more section waiters about the false claims on the cuts of meat than I care to remember. Only to be told that, "This is all we have" is insulting when you can get the correct cut of beef in a specialty dining room for 29 dollars more per meal. You might order a fancy dish like bouillabaisse and find that it is missing the saffron or even the fish. When you inquire about the difference, you're told that, "this is chef's interpretation of the dish." I wonder if I pay the onboard stateroom charges with my interpretation of money, would they be as pacified as they expect us to be. After nine days on a 19 day cruise, we continually received over cooked fish on the initial order and pre-orders. Of course we send it back and tell them we do not want dry fish, and the plate is returned much better but seldom perfect. When I asked the section waiter what does it take to have fish prepared so that is not over cooked and moist on the initial request we were told that we needed to sign a waiver for under cooked food. Never in my 14 cruses with Princess have I had to sign any such thing, no would any reasonable cruiser think that moist is raw. The Entertainment was about average for Princess; however we noticed that the entertainment was centered on English speaking patrons, while European and South American patrons were clueless when it came to jokes and stories. Half of the princess theatre was empty during a comedian/juggler or a comedian/magic act. Service was overall O.K.; there are always bright spots at your favorite bar (that is why it's your favorite). We found that Vines, Crooners and most likely your room steward were the highlights. I noticed that if we ordered a drink from anywhere else than your favorite bar, it was watered down. In those times, order beer or wine from splits. Also they stopped giving you receipts, you have to ask for them. Many people find errors on their stateroom accounts, it is good to have records. Princess should just forget about going to Brazil until they clean up their act, it is too crime ridden, dirty and difficult to get in and out of. Would I choose Princess again, yes. The industry has been declining over the years hiding the additional expense with add-on charges for just about everything. They are not different from their competitors in that regard, so when you compare them they are all pretty close to being the same with subtle differences. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We have been on this ship several times in the last couple years. The ship is ok-not our favorite. Had some great crew members take care of this time on the ship. The crew in Crooner's Bar was awesome(especially Vish). Carmine in ... Read More
We have been on this ship several times in the last couple years. The ship is ok-not our favorite. Had some great crew members take care of this time on the ship. The crew in Crooner's Bar was awesome(especially Vish). Carmine in Vines was awesome as well. We only did one tour with the ship. Most of the time we like to explore ports on our own. The entertainment was good --some just ok but some was really good. We picked this cruise due to the itinerary. We had wonderful 2 days in Rio--what an amazing area. We had 4 new ports in the Caribbean that were fun. Would have preferred to skip Salvador--way too many people stealing. Though we did have a nice meal in a little café as we walked through town. Loved that part way thru cruise Static Band came on board---we had seen them last year on this same ship--love the music they play. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We just completed a 15 day cruise in South America from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. We were two couples; my wife and I had an Owners Suite and our friends were in a Penthouse Suite. These suites not only come with a list of perks such as ... Read More
We just completed a 15 day cruise in South America from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. We were two couples; my wife and I had an Owners Suite and our friends were in a Penthouse Suite. These suites not only come with a list of perks such as free liquor and internet but also with VIP status. We have only sailed on Silversea up to now but have never received a level of attention like we did on this cruise. Our butler was fabulous and while we did not need to interact with him everyday, he was always available and was charming. Our steward not only took great care of our suite but also left amazing towel animals as a surprise each evening. But it was our Concierge, Zahira, who was truly amazing. She always knew where we were and what we were doing. She proactively took care of things before we even thought of it and guided us through the entire experience. 15 nights is a long cruise and she took care of everything! There was a big problem at the end of the cruise - a cargo ship was at out dock and would not move so 2000 people and their luggage had to transfer by tender. The VIPs and their luggage got there first - a full 5 hours before the last group made it. We were truly lucky. Of course, there is a much greater diversity of rooms than we experienced on Silversea so a wider range of folks socioeconomically. That said, it was except for the VIP perks, it was as democratic a community as could be and incredibly diverse in terms of nationalities. The only thing I could call a hassle was that on some mornings, the mass of people they had to engineer off the ship for excursions became a bit crazy. But in the end, it all worked. I should mention that we had the Ultimate Beverage Package and I wondered how that would play out. Wondered if it would be hard to flag someone down for a refill. Fear not - they proactively always made sure your glasses were filled! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 14-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. Our Sky Suite entitled us to eat in Luminae which we did every morning and all but one evening. In my opinion, the restaurant is almost enough reason to ... Read More
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 14-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. Our Sky Suite entitled us to eat in Luminae which we did every morning and all but one evening. In my opinion, the restaurant is almost enough reason to pay for an upgrade to a suite! The food as well as the service wass excellent and the dinner menu changes daily--unlike the specialty restaurants.. The only negative regarding the cruise itself was the boarding process. Actually, there was no process--only disorganized chaos! Worse than encountered on previous cruises including our Celebrit cruises. Our cabin was spacious and both John, the butler, & the bus boy were at our beck and call. We thought the nightly shows were as good as any we've seen. Our ritual immediately became early show followed by dinner at Luminae. With regard to the Celebrity shore excursions we took, I thought they were only fair. There were too many people in the groups, the guides for the three we took had relatively heavy accents that were difficult to understand for Americans, and were somewhat overpriced. We fared better by arranging our own tours--smaller groups, easier to understand guides, and lesser costs--significantly in 2 of the three excursions I arranged--one of which was through the same local provider. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
When our neighbours told us they were going on this cruise and suggested we join them we thought why not, it's almost our silver wedding......so GLAD WE DID!!! Our first time with Oceania after several family cruises with Royal ... Read More
When our neighbours told us they were going on this cruise and suggested we join them we thought why not, it's almost our silver wedding......so GLAD WE DID!!! Our first time with Oceania after several family cruises with Royal Carribean, Costa & Princess we were unsure what to expect. Answer - luxury, FABULOUS food, beautiful ship. We were in a penthouse suite with butler and were greeted with the customary champagne and canapes. Service and food was quite sensational. Entertainment was so so. Our cruise was 1/2 empty which meant dining in whichever dining room we wished - Asian was the favourite - watermelon duck salad - amazing. The age range was pretty old and our kids would not have enjoyed themselves on the ship as it was far too quiet. The shore excursions were variable - some good (Buenos Aires tour) some poor (Porto Bello). I was amazed at the sight of elderly folks snorkeling then clambering up the ropes back onto our galleon ship proving you are never too old!! All in all, excellent cruise. :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This ... Read More
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This cruise was the trip of a lifetime for my DH and myself, and we loved every minute of it. We had a 3 night pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires at the outstanding Icaro Suites Hotel, which was right downtown and allowed us to easily stroll the streets of this wonderful city. During the cruise, we were fortunate to be able to sail into all of the ports on our itinerary which were Montevideo, Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn, sail around Cape Horn, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, cruise the Chilean Fjords, Puerto Montt, and finally disembark in Valparaiso. From there, we took a bus to Santiago and stayed 3 nights at the Welen Hill Downtown Santiago apartment, owned and managed by Marcela, our wonderful hostess. This was a great apartment with everything we needed for our stay, and we were able to walk to many of the historical sites. Cruise Highlights: Capt. Dimas and the wonderful staff. We especially want to thank our MDR servers, Juliana and Jean Leno, for their kindness and professionalism. They made every dinner a very pleasant experience, and we felt very welcome. We found the food to be very good in the MDR, the Windjammer, and the Park Café. We did not eat in any specialty restaurants. We also want to thank Beatriz Sodre, our cabin attendant, and Javier, the Deck 7 supervisor for all of their help keeping our cabin spotless and providing us with everything we needed. The crew (dining, cabin, and entertainment) were almost all Brazilian, and we appreciated their sense of fun and cheerful smiles. We especially enjoyed Marina for hosting Trivia and exercise classes in the Centrum, including great Zumba! They all worked very hard to please us, and did a great job. Our balcony cabin, deck 7, aft, portside was beautiful, with a comfortable bed and sufficient storage. I had read somewhere on these boards to take blue painter's tape with us to tape the drawers and closets during rough seas. We did and it was a big help on the one night that we did have some high seas. This was after Punta Arenas as we were entering the Pacific Ocean. Capt. Dimas told us what to expect, and it was pretty rocky, but overall, not the worst we have ever experienced, and he did a great job getting us through it. For us, the two highlights were going around the Horn and seeing the breathtaking scenery there, and being able to walk around Ushuaia with its exotic and beautiful snow-covered mountains. We did not take any shore excursions, as I had done extensive research as to what to see in each port. Rhapsody is in good shape. We had gone on her sister ship, Vision, a year ago on a transatlantic cruise, so we felt right at home. We really had no complaints at all, and were so very grateful to be able to have experienced the wonders of all of these places. Thanks to RCCL for the best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had been on 2 previous cruises with Celebrity & loved the gourmet food but hated the entertainment & onboard activities. Celebrity had no availability on our dates so we thought we'd try NCL. Embarkation in B.A. & ... Read More
We had been on 2 previous cruises with Celebrity & loved the gourmet food but hated the entertainment & onboard activities. Celebrity had no availability on our dates so we thought we'd try NCL. Embarkation in B.A. & disembarkation in Valparaiso were smooth. Our room was ready immediately. The fire drill was intense & thorough. The ship was in great condition considering its age; only showing wear by the outdated decor. We enjoyed having 5 hottubs, basketball court, ping pong, shuffle board & golf cages. The activites offered were fun & age appropriate. We hated the "washy, washy, happy, happy" (is this done on all NCL ships?) & the tender ticket process (expect a one hour line-up to get tickets for the first tenders followed by your ticket being called 30 min. earlier than stated) Entertainment: The ship singers/dancers were great, enjoyed the hyponotist & the magician (corny but entertaining). Food: Here is where NCL fell short for us. We ate in every restaurant except for dinner at Moderno & the sushi restaurant. We bought the 5 specialty dining package with our OBC. The buffets were always packed & stressful with cafeteria/mall food court quality food. The main dining rooms were hit & miss; we had some good meals & some inedible ones. The coffee served at the buffet & dining rooms was disgusting; I'd recommend packing Starbucks VIA instant or packing ground coffee that you can brew in your room. Moderno or the main dining rooms at breakfast worked best for us; not too busy & decent food. The Sports Bar serves tasty fish & chips along with some starters. The tappas at Las Ramblas were good but they often ran out of food. La Cuchina: the worst service, caesar salad made with iceberg lettuce stems, overcooked & starchy pasta, the usual crappy coffee but the best warm sour dough bread. Cagney's: we ate here twice; had good service & great coffee. The meat was good but the sides are bland & lack seasoning except for the fries & onion rings. Le Bistro: Great food & service! Unfortunately, the menu was too limited for us to return; french cuisine isn't my favorite. Teppanyaki: Our favorite; the best food & service by the chef. The waitresses were slow & inattentive; ordered wine before the meal & received it halfway through. The waitress spilled my wine & I had to ask for a napkin to clean it up myself! Service: Other than a handful of awesome staff; we didn't get good service aboard this ship. 50% of the activity staff seemed to hate people. The servers didn't care to ask why you didn't eat your entree. The bar tenders didn't ask if you wanted a drink. The front desk staff were direct & not overly helpful. Our bill had a charge of $30 to our credit card & a $30 unused, non-refundable OBC; a silly error that we had to wait in line at the front desk to correct. We heard many people aboard this cruise who had travelled with NCL in the past say that this was the worst cruise they had ever been on. Maybe the food & service is normally better? Thankfully, the itinerary is amazing! Be sure to book a starboard balcony (if travelling BA to Valparaiso) & bring plenty of warm clothes. The views are breathtaking! I would definitely recommend this itinerary but would pay the extra cash & go on Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We got back from our cruise last week, Southernmost Wonders from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, and although I am not in a position to write a real cruise review due to some unforeseen circumstances, I do want to say a few words about my ... Read More
We got back from our cruise last week, Southernmost Wonders from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, and although I am not in a position to write a real cruise review due to some unforeseen circumstances, I do want to say a few words about my experience on board the Marina. We boarded the ship the 22nd of Dec and in the middle of the night I woke up in excruciating pain, ending up on the floor writhing in pain (I never before understood that expression - now I do! ) so the doctor and the nurse came (it was 330am) to take care of me. I will not go into what ailed me, but it was all about pain and they did everything they could to make me comfortable for the rest of the night until they could get me to a hospital the next day (we were still in Buenos Aires). The next morning, the port authority agent was there the minute we docked and he was amazing. He drove my husband and me to the hospital (for X-rays), stayed with us the entire time to help translate, and made sure we got back to the ship safe and sound. Doctor Andrew and nurse Psyche (from the ship) were there for me and could not have been more caring and concerned. Psyche truly is an Angel. Sadly, my situation did not get better so I was unable to take the excursions I had planned on for over a year - missing the penguins at Falkland Island was an especially big disappointment. However, I was made as comfortable as possible by my cabin stewardess , Krisztina, from Hungary, another Angel, who went beyond her duties to see that I had what I needed. I mostly needed ice cream. We were fortunate to be in a penthouse and our butler was nice and did what I asked but he did not have that something extra that makes for a great butler. Luckily for me, our butler from two cruises ago, Churchill, found out we were on board and came to visit me and hold my hand and made sure I was looked after; he showed a caring and concern for which I am very grateful. Also, our favorite waiter from past cruises, Robert, was now the head in the Grand Dining Room and one of the times I could actually get out of the cabin to eat, made sure I had a fabulous table and the quickest service imaginable. Every waiter was kind and helpful and just thinking about how tenderly they treated me brings tears to my eyes (yes, I am crying as I write this). So my cruise did not turn out as planned. However, we did meet some wonderful people who showed a stranger such caring and compassion that I will always remember them with great fondness. I had some fun and funny moments that still bring a smile to my face. I have some lovely new jewelry bought for me by my husband. I loved lying in the best bed in the whole world with the veranda door open, smelling the sea air, listening to the sounds of the ocean as the Marina effortlessly glided through the waters. I loved seeing the Christmas full moon from the Terrace Cafe patio. I loved having most breakfast, lunch and dinners in bed - well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but having the ability to have wonderful food brought to my bedside was a blessing. I did manage to eat at Jacques twice - the first night before the pain and the last night as the pain was easing - and the food, the service, and the people with whom we shared the table - all were stellar. Everytime Krisztina changed the sheets and I crawled back into that bed, it felt like heaven. Really, the bed alone makes traveling on the Marina worth any cost. And of course, the ice cream. What else can I say? Before the cruise I focused on the weather - a bit worried we might miss some tender ports due to rough seas or bad weather, so I kept visioning blue skies and calm seas. I am happy to say my weather programming was a huge success - not one port was missed and the heavy coats and hats were never needed. My husband said the excursions we had booked were excellent. You could say it was the perfect cruise for that part of the world and despite my disappointment, I am happy for everyone who was able to benefit from my focused programming - you are welcome! The two weeks on board are a bit of a blur, I must admit. I was under the influence of drugs (manna from heaven) but I was clear headed enough to know that I was blessed to have the care and attention of some amazingly wonderful people. Even the guest lecturer, a well-known neurosurgeon and expert on South America, took it upon himself to give me an exam and correspond with the doctors at the hospital in Puerto Montt! I am grateful to every one who took the time to look in on me and make sure I was doing as well as possible under the circumstances. Having the ship's doctor and nurse become your best friends while cruising is never anyone's ideal goal, but boy oh boy, did I ever get lucky that Dr. Andrew and Psyche were there for me. Of course, I hope no one ever has to meet them but I highly recommend them and the ship's medical facility - absolutely top notch all the way. When we got to Puerto Montt, we had another port authority agent who was equally as wonderful as the agent we had in Buenos Aires. He got me to the hospital for an MRI and stayed with us the entire time. Before this cruise, I never gave much thought to port agents but now I know what they do and I am so grateful to them and for what they did for me. I could say more but I think I am beginning to ramble. My point in writing this "review" is just that I wanted to put out there that my experience on the Marina was made more than just tolerable, despite everything, it was made memorable, and in a good way by some very good, caring people. The quality of a cruise is determined by more than just the ports visited or the amenities provided, it is the people you meet and the staff that is there to assist you in every way possible. In my book, the Marina gets a 10+. I want to give a personal shout out to Krisztina, to Dr. Andrew, to nurse Psyche and to Damiano, our concierge (he was very helpful to my husband). After 6 cruises on the Marina, I now consider myself an official Oceania cheerleader!! I am already excited about our next cruise and cannot wait to re-book this cruise. The longer you live the more you understand that things go wrong, plans have to be changed, and accidents happen, not everything always works out for the best. However, with the right attitude and a great support team, the best can always be made out of whatever happens!! Bottom line is do not hesitate to book a cruise with Oceania - no matter the circumstances, they will take good care of you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My now wife and I did our honeymoon on the Zandaam and had an absolutely wonderful time! To start out with, we are both young. I turned 30 thirty two days before we got on this boat. When we got there, we noticed that the AARP would highly ... Read More
My now wife and I did our honeymoon on the Zandaam and had an absolutely wonderful time! To start out with, we are both young. I turned 30 thirty two days before we got on this boat. When we got there, we noticed that the AARP would highly recommend this boat as it was 90% over the age of 60. That's fine though, as we realize that Holland America is the "old people" brand and one of the reasons we chose it is a lack of small children running around. That being said, there were always a ton of activities for younger folks to do and we were never bored. The assistant cruise director, the band, and the bars had a lot to do with this. The boat itself is a little tired. Not horrible, but the bathrooms could have come out of the 80's, the furniture, the 90's. Our room, a Neptune suite, had holes in the carpet and the sofa was beat to pieces. But the bed was mostly comfortable, although they did not have any "T"'s to combine the twins into a queen. Instead, we had our steward (who, by the way, like all the staff, was fantastic) stuff the bed with towels. And though it was worn, the ship was always spotless. The excursions were mostly good. There are a lot of cattle car tours where you sign up for a bus and they herd you on and off to take pictures and say, "I've been there". With the exception of Montevideo and Santiago, there was always one more active excursion that was excellent. We particularly loved hanging with Penguins, canoeing, and white water rafting. The last day, however, there were no options but bus tours. Our driver droned on and on about how capitalism is superior to socialism and communism and also stopped the whole bus so he could smoke. Yeah, glad I paid $400 for that... So if the cruise was mostly good, why would I not go with Holland America again? The food. The food was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise ship. Breakfast was two eggs, bread and a cheap piece of meat. Oh, it sounded fancy with names of foreign countries attached to it, but there is no fooling this guy, its all the same! For 14 days in a row! Lunch was bland, often cold, and tasted like I was eating a run down Piccadilly Cafeteria. Bland, often cold, no variety or variation, and all as cheap as they pencil pushers could make it. It was nasty. Dinner was OK, but there was a serious lack of flavor. It seems as opposed to offend someone with taste, they would just not have any taste at all. And here is the thing that made me so mad about it all: The Pinnacle, the specialty restaurant on the boat was hands down the best food I have ever had on a cruise. Holland America is totally capable of making food that taste good (the burger bar on the pool deck was also good), but they chose not to. The food alone will keep me from ever sailing with Holland America again. Also, the coffee was terrible. It was like they took the grounds from other cruise boats, let them sit in the sun and dry out, and then make their coffee from that. I hate that one thing was so bad that it would keep us from coming back. We really did have a great time and I have never seen such an awesome staff of people on a boat. Even the Captain was great and joined us for breakfast one day. For the most part, they really had great options of things to do and shore excursions for young couples and we were able to totally avoid large numbers of kids. It would have been perfect had the food issue not been there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
When we decided to take a cruise around Cape Horn, we knew we were going for the itinerary. There were three lines leaving Buenos Aires in the time-frame that we had (Celebrity, HA, and Princess). We chose the Princess because of the ... Read More
When we decided to take a cruise around Cape Horn, we knew we were going for the itinerary. There were three lines leaving Buenos Aires in the time-frame that we had (Celebrity, HA, and Princess). We chose the Princess because of the chance to go to the Falkland Islands. However, we also expected a certain level of entertainment, dining and an overall experience in line with the Princess brand. Never again. 1) The lack of exercise facilities. One of the things my wife and I look forward to when cruising is the running track. There's something about running on the high seas, with the challenge of the wind, the fresh air, etc. It's fantastic. According to Princess' website (even still today), they offer running trackS. Needless to say, there was not one. We had two options: Deck 15, which involved us hurdling over passengers and deck chairs, or Deck 7, which went 3/4 around the ship, until you meet 4 sets of stairs. Both options do not qualify as running tracks. On past cruises, there would be a dedicated area, size did not matter, with a proper running surface, that had no obstacles and just room to run. 2) Cleanliness. This should be #1, but I believe both go hand-in-hand. Princess does not take illness seriously, until it happens. There are Purell boxes available only at the buffet, the International Cafe and the pizza/hamburger restaurants. However, you will not find them when leaving any bathroom, the gym, entering the sit-down restaurants, or the casino. I witnessed a number of people not wash their hands in the bathroom, and as disgusting as that is, at least a Purell station would give them a chance to make amends. Personally, I got sick with the norovirus, after taking incredible care throughout the trip. While some might disagree, I put the blame on Princess for not doing enough to encourage cleanliness amongst other guests. I was aware of how quickly an illness can spread on a ship and I took the utmost care, but you never know what could trigger it, and I think Princess does not take it seriously. With that being said, upon getting sick, Princess did ensure I was quarantined. However, what to do with my wife? I think if one wants to stop the spread of an illness, making my wife sleep in the same cabin as I is not the best step. Why not have a cabin available in this case? Let the companions of sick guests stay there until the illness has run its course. She was not quarantined and she could have potentially spread the illness throughout the ship. Not smart, Princess. 3) Entertainment: sub par. The non-singers were good: Comedian Cary Long and Hector the Magician were both pretty good. Gaucho Del Plato seemed like a continuous Saturday Night Live skit, but he was still entertaining. However, the Princess Pop Stars gave the paid musical entertainment a run for their money. The Princess singers were okay, but the dancers - continuously out of sync and should spend more time practicing than in the gym. Elvy Rose was awful. Crooner, Jamie Cuadra...much to be desired. It also begs to question the decision making at Princess when both Rose and Cuadra sing similar sets. I understand being in Latin America and I appreciate the music and culture, but it was a Latin American overload for the last week. Too much. The theatre was 2/3 empty. In terms of the on-board activities, a number of the games were fun. The "Movies Under the Stars" is a great idea, but is anyone really going to sit outside in freezing weather to watch a movie? Why not broadcast elsewhere in the ship or in the staterooms? 4) Food: Two different experiences. The dining room food and service was excellent. The Maitre D, Neville, should have his own show in the Princess Theatre as he is both funny and charming. However, the buffet food leaves much to be desired. The bread was stale, the fish selection wasn't consistent, they would constantly run out (and not replenish) items. I expected much better from Princess and honestly, a Carnival cruise put this buffet to shame. 5) Tendering: Horrible. If you know you will be tendering in a port, why not run more tenders? At Stanley, the most popular port, there were two tenders going back and forth. The lineup was over an hour. Not acceptable. 6) Embarkation/Disembarkation: Surprisingly smooth and simple. I was impressed with that. 7) Staff: For the most part, they were very kind and helpful. Our waiters (Roy and Boris) were fantastic. Our cabin steward (Antonio) was also quite good. Having used the services of the nurse, I forger her name, she was excellent. Those reporting to the cruise director were also great. However, the other staff, at the guest services department, were subpar and useless.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
After having read some of the reviews for the Zaandam, We embarked with some trepidation. I kept looking for the wear and tear that was so prevalent in the reviews. Two weeks of drydock certainly did the ship well. All new carpeting, new ... Read More
After having read some of the reviews for the Zaandam, We embarked with some trepidation. I kept looking for the wear and tear that was so prevalent in the reviews. Two weeks of drydock certainly did the ship well. All new carpeting, new bar venues, new paint, new upholstery, new attitude! Our veranda suite was next to perfect. Of course the bath decor is a little dated but all the bedding and linens appeared to be new. Not a scratch or dent anywhere. The rejuvenation seemed to affect the the crew as well. The cabin stewards and our favorite bartenders and servers called us by name. Of course Mario at the Pinnacle treated us like royalty. The food was good, especially at the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants. Embarkation was smooth as was disembarkation in spite of the rather crude an antiquated facilities in Valparaiso. I thought the entertainment was good. I tried to get to every venue but just couldn't stay up for the late shows. Of course trivia night was popular in the Mix bar and we won the ship building contest. I thought is was a good value for the money and have booked another cruise with Holland America for next year.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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