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67 Copenhagen to Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

After 14 cruises with this storied line, I was disappointed with the Copenhagen-Copenhagen sailing that stopped in Norway, Iceland and Scotland:(Lerwick, Inverness were pleasant surprises) All the ports met expectations and more. ... Read More
After 14 cruises with this storied line, I was disappointed with the Copenhagen-Copenhagen sailing that stopped in Norway, Iceland and Scotland:(Lerwick, Inverness were pleasant surprises) All the ports met expectations and more. Holland's receptions had no music; first ship I've been on that had no orchestra; no appetizers, Bloody Mary's had no celery. B-B King's seemed to forget that they were there to play jazz and blues, not 90% rock n roll or whatever it took to get people on the dance floor. If it hadn't been for the Lincoln Center classical performers, there would have been No entertainment. There were no production shows, only a comedian, some signer and a local group that got on in Iceland for one evening that no one understood them or their music. There was an abundance of food that was either tasteless, undeterminable or the chef was left to make whatever he/she wanted. Salads had mushy substances instead of recognizable products(tuna, chicken)???pizza slices had virtually no cheese on them; sandwiches consisted mostly of bread, mayonnaise and mustard(cold cuts, chicken or salads composed less than 10%.) Hardboiled eggs served in room service had turned gray from age. I'd rate the food OVERALL: one level below fast food! Excursions were pricey and in one instance one bus had 64 people on it with one guide in Iceland. Needless to say, it was not worth it! The ports sold themselves in terms of their beauty, offerings and ability to get around on your own. I would recommend future passengers secure their own tours. Disembarkation was efficient and could not come fast enough. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to Copenhagen a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Absalon, three minutes walk from the Central Station and six minutes walk from Tivoli World where we spent the afternoon and evening. The hotel was excellent and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Around noon, we got a taxi to the pier, Nordre Tolbord, which was close to the Little Mermaid, so much nearer to town than where the larger ships dock. It was pouring with rain so we didn't take advantage of the 10pm departure and venture back into Copenhagen. The ship's crew took our luggage from the taxi and covered us with large umbrellas while escorting us to the port security tent. A look at our passports and it was straight into the ship and the cabaret lounge for checking-in. A most welcome sparkling wine, cocktail, tea and coffee were immediately offered while we sank into the easy chairs before being called to collect our key card and find our stateroom. We had booked a guarantee balcony and were allocated 7115, near the aft. It was a great room and was so quiet and, of course, handy for two flights up to the Windows cafe, pools, patio etc or two flights down to the main restaurant – Discoveries, cabaret lounge etc. It was a very comfortable room and had a small sofa, table, dressing table/desk, chair, bedside tables, tv, fridge with included sodas etc and a few paid-for items (listed on a note above), safe, plenty of storage and hanging space. Flowers and fruit were provided, binoculars and umbrella to use, slippers to keep. The bathroom, as most people note, is tiny but well equipped. (Have to say that the shower is slightly longer than the one we recently had on Sapphire Princess). We enjoyed room service which was always punctual and good and even if we only ordered tea and coffee, the table was always laid with a cloth. The room was kept in great order by Alvin and Edwin. We asked for extra coathangers, pen, writing pads and all were instantly provided. Breakfasts were enjoyed mostly in Windows cafe where there was always a great choice and I especially liked the made to order smoothie counter. Waiters constantly offered more tea, coffee, juice etc and if you ordered an omellete would bring it to you. We didn't try the speciality restaurants this time as the meals in Discoveries were outstandingly good. So different to our last experience on Aamara Quest four years ago when the majority of guests were part of a charter group. The food then was obviously scaled down to their budget and it was incomparable with this time. We felt cheated then as we, of course, paid for a normal cruise. I'm so glad that Azamara redeemed themselves this cruise and the food was wonderful every time. Some impressive buffets were provided – an Asian one, a fabulous seafood one and a German themed one, along with Umpah band. White Night was great fun too. The service from every member of staff was impeccable. One or two waiters were obviously new, as we understand some had transferred to Pursuit, and looked a bit lost at times and not quite up to speed. We always ate dinner around 8.30pm so tended to miss the evening entertainment in the cabaret lounge. We did see a couple of performances by the resident singers and the assistant cruise director, both were okay if a little cheesy – same old Broadway musical and old fashioned songs. We enjoyed going up to The Living Room at the bow of the ship for our pre-dinner cocktails and canapes. There we listened to The Sparkling Trio and enjoyed their laid-back style. We heard two great pianists in Spirits bar and the Library (Drawing Room) The late night disco was good fun with plenty of people on the floor, including us. Our first port of call was Aarhus, Denmark's second city. A nice place to stroll and shop. Next up was Skagen on the northern most tip of Denmark. We weren't expecting anything of this small town but had a brilliant day. The sun shone, the town was 'cute' in the loveliest possible way, the shops eclectic and my husband bought me an elegant Skagen watch for my birthday. We walked all the way along the pristine beach to the end of Denmark and loved every minute. On to Oslo and as we had been here before and visited the Kon Tiki Museum etc decided to catch a tram and go to the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Next day was a sea day and there was lots to do on board and it was good just to relax with a book from the well stocked library and a cocktail, of course. I worked my way through the included cocktails over the course of the 11 days! We arrived in Amsterdam in pouring rain and it was too bad to venture forth but by the evening the rain had abated and most guests were taken on a canal boat ride to the Maritime Museum for a splendid concert for the Azamazing evening. The whole experience was truly amazing. As we had an overnight here next day we caught a train (24 mins) to Utrecht. This is the most delightful city with canals, quaint shops, interesting architecture and lots of history. On to Germany and Bremerhaven and some more sunshine. The waterfront is very modern with an extensive promenade housing a zoo, maritime museum, canal boat trips, a large shopping complex and a fascinating immigration museum where we spent the day. The museum won the accolade of being the best European museum in 2017 and we can see why. You can follow the journey of those who emigrated from Europe to the US, Canada, South America and Australia and can even research your own family history if your ancestors emigrated. The interactive features and recreation of ship interiors, Ellis Island reception hall etc were exceptional. Belgium followed and we docked in Oostende, a lovely traditional seaside town. We took the 15 minute train ride into Brugge. The map provided on board was so sparse that we couldn't find the centre of town but at least we had fun exploring. When we reached the centre it was packed with tourists but very beautiful and very 'chocolate boxy'. We didn't have quite so much time in port as the ship's departure time was earlier than previously so we made a hasty retreat to Oostende. Sadly, another couple who went into Brugge had their return train cancelled and they missed the ship, although Captain Tysse waited an extra half hour. Pleased to say they caught up with Journey next day. France beckoned as we sailed off into the sunset and next morning we docked in Honfleur. It is such a pretty town, centred around the lovely harbour. The markets were in full swing and made for a lively, bustling atmosphere. We sat in a cafe with a bottle of local Normandy cider and watched the world go by. We have spent a week in Honfleur so didn't feel the need to visit the nearby D-Day beaches again but some guests spent the day there and said what a moving experience it was. For me, the highlight of the trip was the thought of sailing up the River Thames and mooring in Greenwich, London. We had a pilot on board who commentated on the history of the river and lots more as we sailed in around the twisting turns in the river and at one point the Journey turned a full 360 degrees. We moored up opposite the tea clipper, the Cutty Sark, the old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and up on the top of Greenwich Park one can see the Royal Observatory where the Greenwich Meridian Line is set. Our final evening on board was the icing on the cake when we were allowed to invite my husband's twin sisters on board for dinner (for a small fee). They were thoroughly impressed and we now hope that they will come sailing on Azamara with us. We live beside Tower Bridge where Captain Tysse told us he would have liked to moor but can't at the moment due to the Port of London removing the heavy duty bouys. We forgive him as it would have been great to walk home but it was just a 15 minute ride from Greenwich. My husband even went into work the same day! Can't wait for next time – maybe on Pursuit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
There are many factors that will influence overall ratings: The ship, the food, the service, the destination visited/itinerary. These are all within the cruise line control. Weather, how smooth the ride was is much more subjective and ... Read More
There are many factors that will influence overall ratings: The ship, the food, the service, the destination visited/itinerary. These are all within the cruise line control. Weather, how smooth the ride was is much more subjective and can sometimes make an ok trip wonderful or the other way around. Being on the Disney Magic for 10 nights, on the once a year Norway-Iceland-Scotland cruise proved to be pretty magical. This was my 4th Disney Cruise (Bahamian and Caribbean before, on the 3 other ships) and this one was the best by a far margin - primarily due to the destinations visited but also the top notch service, excellent food, and great entertainment throughout Ship: The Magic is the oldest ship in the Disney fleet and at time, it will show as it is a bit more prone to maintenance issues and minor deficiencies than other ship. However, this is also a ship that is very special to Disney and they are taking great care of it. Common areas are in great shape and the Magic is overall is really nice mid-size ship. Its size allows you to get to know staff, other people on the ship and experience almost all areas - especially on such a long itinerary Cabin: Standard Disney cabin with Verandah. Verandah is oversized with a whitewall due to far AFT position. Other than a smell coming from the drain, this was a pleasant room: Comfortable bed, nice balcony, ample space, nice split bathroom with full bath/shower. Being far AFT, it is subject to some shaking - and I did find it to be a tad too much on a few occasions while cruising - (normal for these rooms to shake a bit when boat goes in reverse or turns around) Dining: Food quality was excellent at all main rotational dining restaurant. A bit disappointed though in the food one one of the night at Rapunzel Royal Table. Presentation and taste was great throughout. Main buffet (Cabanas) served really good quality food throughout the trip - but lacked a bit of variety. Very interesting options in the quick serve areas (eg: Gyros/schwarma), good pizzas from Pinocchio. Pretty good soft-serve ice cream too (better than what they have in the Caribbean, and it does actually have time to freeze!) Entertainment: This is Disney. Disney Dream show is a great finale. Kids Club has plenty of activities Shore excursions: Pretty decent in Kristiansand, Alesund, Stavanager and Reykjavik - although pricey. Less impressive in Invergordon. All in, would do it again in a heartbeat. Disney is a notch above the other cruise lines and on this cruise, they really went "all in". Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and ... Read More
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and the Faroe Islands was overall good but with some negatives as all cruises have. We sailed on the second half of the 24 day cruise called the ""Northern Isles Enchantment Cruise”. which already had some passengers onboard from the Baltic Sea part. The transfer from Copenhagen airport was fine with a 1 ½ hour tour of the city prior to arriving at the cruise terminal where the embarkation was a little chaotic which seems to be the norm lately. The PA system at the terminal was not functioning properly and it was difficult to understand the boarding instructions. Once onboard we noticed that the Zuiderdam was recently renovated and all of the public areas were updated to include our Signature Verandah Suite which was both spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward quickly appeared to introduce himself and offer any assistance that he could. He did a very good job of locating and delivering our luggage which took some time as apparently it was misdirected. The encountered staff members were very friendly and professional with the exception of 2 or 3 members at the gangway entrance who seemed to be a little frazzled with the new passenger arrivals and were a little snippy with directions. After settling in to our cabin we went to the main dining room to make our “Open Dining” reservation and quickly found out that the dining room scheduling desk on Deck 2 was preferable to making reservations than the reservation telephone number as the representatives weren’t all that accommodating or informed. The overall food in the dining room was fair with some hits and some misses as should be expected. We did notice a slight decline in food quality from previous years. One point to make is to order any breakfast eggs “well done” as other Cruise Critic reviewers have noted that the eggs are served watery and undone both in the dining room and with room service as well. The Pinnacle Grill was fabulous and the Canaletto Restaurant not so much as the food quality decline was very evident. The Lido at lunch was extremely crowded with the seating limited. On the last sea day before leaving we just handed our full plates to a steward to throw away as there wasn’t even any shared seating available to include in the adjacent pool areas. We ended up waiting a half hour and picked up two chicken sandwiches from the Dine In Grill and sat at the outdoor pool lip/bench area with the food in our laps. The overall entertainment was not of any interest to us as we only enjoyed 3 of the 14 nights in the Main Stage and ended up leaving after a few minutes for the 11 performances that we didn’t care for. The “Billboard Onboard” piano/singers were fantastic but the BB King Band was not as they were way too loud for the small room and not up to the standard of other BB King Bands that we enjoyed on previous cruises. The America’s Test Kitchen activities were very entertaining and fun to attend. We purchased 3 excursions and were disappointed a bit with all of them as there were many glitches obviously with the contractors and a lack of communication with the ship. A point to make is that when trying to review the excursions on the Holland America web site the review option seems to have disappeared. Maybe I am doing something wrong and looking in the wrong place. Guest Services appeared to be “Out of the Loop” on many occasions with inaccurate information being distributed to us often with a later correction. On the plus side our final invoice was correct and billed to our credit card. The Captain was always visible around ship and gangways and was seen interacting both with the staff and passengers. There were many passengers that were coughing and sneezing all over and for the most part the personal hygiene/health habits left a bit to be desired to say the least. All in all a “fair” cruise experience with some pluses and some minuses and the cruise was nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give me the choice to say this was the Northern Isles cruise. We visited two ports in Norway, spent 5 days in 4 ports in Iceland (overnight in Reykjavik), and stopped at the Faroe Islands and Shetland Islands. We spent a day in Copenhagen before boarding, visiting Tivoli Gardens. Boarding was smooth, and we were very pleasantly surprised that our room was ready when we arrived. The ship was recently refurbished, but we did not see much evidence of it. Our room was standard issue cruise cabin, which we expected. The bathroom needed serious attention: the toilet seat had deep scratches, as did the bathtub. It was just very tired looking. We chose Open Seating for our dining option. Our cruise consultant assured us we would be able to make 6 PM reservations, but once on the ship we found we could not. The choices in the dining room and in the buffet did not offer much variation. Room service kept bringing me decaf tea when I requested regular, so I finally gave up. Canaletto, the $15 per person Italian restaurant, was a disappointment. It's located at one end of the buffet, so it doesn't seem in any way special. The food was no different in quality or variety than the regular dining room. The entertainment in the Main Stage was okay. We've seen better on Princess and Royal Caribbean. Activities on sea days were disappointing. Talks on upcoming ports were given once, so if you couldn't make it you were out of luck. Seems like it would be simple enough to record them and give the option of watching them on the TV in one's room. Our room stewards were great! Always attentive and very helpful. The buffet staff and dinner waiters were also outstanding. Breakfast and lunch waiters in the dining room were curt and almost surly, as were some of the room service delivery persons. We took only three cruise line sponsored shore excursions because there just weren't many to choose from. All were very good. We appreciated that Holland America helped us with hearing assistive technology for my husband. One of the three tour operators had a system for him to use. Maybe Holland America could be more pro-active about this. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise very much, mostly because we were able to visit ports that we were interested in. I doubt we would choose Holland America again unless they offered an itinerary that another cruise line does not, as in this case. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Having been on 2 Chrystal Cruises we had high expectations. We paid a lot and we’re Bored! Our cruise was 12 days, England to Copenhagen. Weather mostly in the 60’s. Ship was beautiful and kept very clean. Night entertainment ... Read More
Having been on 2 Chrystal Cruises we had high expectations. We paid a lot and we’re Bored! Our cruise was 12 days, England to Copenhagen. Weather mostly in the 60’s. Ship was beautiful and kept very clean. Night entertainment was minimal and except for 2 nights... the rest were subpar. As for on board activities... when you have 2 days in a row at sea we expect more than one lecturer, and all 3 of his lectures were on International Politics. Other than that, I don’t consider napkin folding and bingo activities. There’s a tiny casino too. As for dining options, they were okay. But we expect more than that. Twice I sent my food back, once for undercooked chicken, one for burnt salmon. Totally unacceptable. The service was good. As for the excursions, most were very disappointing At the end, the transferred 200 passengers by buses to the Marriott Copenhagen. We could barely get in the lobby and then we waited on line for almost an hour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our second cruise on Holland America and our first on the Zuiderdam. This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. It did not disappoint. Holland America usually has an older crowd on board which was the case with this cruise ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Holland America and our first on the Zuiderdam. This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. It did not disappoint. Holland America usually has an older crowd on board which was the case with this cruise although there were quite a few families traveling with children as well. We spent 4 nights in Copenhagen prior to the cruise. Copenhagen is a lovely and safe city to visit and very easy to get around. We took a taxi from our hotel to the cruise port. Embarkation went very smoothly. We were in our cabin within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. The ship was in good condition. The crew was always doing some kind of maintenance. We saw quite a bit of painting going on throughout the ship. Our balcony was worked on during the cruise but we were never inconvenienced by it or any of the other maintenance. We upgraded to a signature suite since this was a 14-day cruise and enjoyed the extra room in the cabin, balcony and bathroom. We weren't sure if we would get use out of the balcony given the itinerary but found that we did and really enjoyed sailing out of the ports and listening to our EXC tour guide over the loudspeaker as he described what we were seeing as we sailed along the coast. We did have wonderful weather the entire cruise. Blankets were provided in the room for use on the balcony as well as binoculars. Our cabin crew were excellent and kept the cabin in good condition. We had as you wish dining and never had any complaints with regard to the food. We found the service in the main dining room to be inconsistent depending on which section we were in that night with the exception of two female wine stewards who were excellent the entire cruise. Our main issue was with the maitre d. We prefer a table for two and had reservations each night for one but were always asked to share a table which we refused and we were then seated at a table with just the two of us. Our reservation was usually for 8 and could never understand why it was a problem to seat us at a table for 2 or 4 since after being seated there was always a lot of tables available. We also did not appreciate the maitre d not enforcing the dress code especially for gala nights. Why have one if it is not going to be enforced. We found food in Lido to be good. Seating was sometimes a challenge but usually found a table within 5 minutes or so. We ate there for breakfast as well as lunch a few times. I really enjoyed the create your own pasta section for lunch and always enjoyed grabbing a late afternoon ice cream. We also ate at the taco bar and Dive-In by the Lido pool which were always good. We had dinner at Canaletto one night which was okay and had dinner twice at the Pinnacle Grill which was excellent. Both service and food were worth the price. Even though this was a port intensive cruise we found the energy to go to 4 of the main stage shows which were very enjoyable. One was an ABBA show, a magician comedian who was entertaining and a Scottish entertainer who we saw twice and enjoyed his show both times. We went to the BB King Blues Club on several nights and really enjoyed this group. We went to the Billboard piano bar one night. We found these performers just okay but they usually had a good crowd each night who seemed to enjoy them. We enjoyed sitting in the Crow's Nest one day enjoying the view from a couple of chairs. I like the location but don't understand why they took away the bar. There is a lot of space wasted here. The EXC desk is located here and EXC takes up a lot of unnecessary space. We went to a few of the EXC shore talks in the main stage and found them informative for exploring the ports. We also enjoyed the EXC talks as to what we were seeing on our way out of each port. We did not do any of the ship excursions since most of the ports were very easy to do on your own which was what we did. We did do two private tours which we found a better value for the money as well as what was visited. We did do the ship transfer to the airport since we had an early flight and found this very convenient to put our luggage out the night before and pick up at the airport. Embarkation was quick and easy. The captain and his crew were very visible and engaging on port days. We found service to be very good for the most part throughout the cruise. We really enjoyed this cruise. The itinerary was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because we prefer traveling with HAL and it was a planned destination. The food and cabin were clearly HAL worthy but the on-board activities and excursions on this ship were a disappointment. The cabin steward, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we prefer traveling with HAL and it was a planned destination. The food and cabin were clearly HAL worthy but the on-board activities and excursions on this ship were a disappointment. The cabin steward, table steward, and wine steward were all excellent. The food was prepared well and the presentation was great. If any complaint it is that they didn't keep the Lido cafeteria open sufficient hours during the lunch period. The BB King lounge and performers, the singers and dancers, and the guest lecturer were all highlights of the trip. The HAL delivered excursion was an extreme disappointment due to the poor quality of the audio on the bus and the uninteresting delivery of the guide when you could make out what he was saying. Not a single on-board activity was scheduled in the Test Kitchen despite their daily changing the BB King lounge signs out for the Test Kitchen. More disconcerting was that each day someone was preparing meals in the Test Kitchen but no audience was in attendance. On at least one occasion they scheduled the guest lecturer in an overlap with the Mariners' club luncheon; that was just plain stupid. Generally, the impact of Carnival ownership was evident as most other activities were merely selling opportunities for which the guests were expected to pay to participate. Generally not what I have come to expect from HAL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We wanted to see northern Europe and we got a great deal on this cruise. We had many perks, too, like the Pinnacle Grill (beyond excellent), classic drink package, a balcony room and lots of onboard credits. The room valets we had in ... Read More
We wanted to see northern Europe and we got a great deal on this cruise. We had many perks, too, like the Pinnacle Grill (beyond excellent), classic drink package, a balcony room and lots of onboard credits. The room valets we had in room 7114 (Excellent Balcony Cabin) were very, very good. Ice in the room nightly, cute towel art pieces and friendly smiles everyday. Our dining stewards were a little slow, but the food was just fabulous. Bravo to the chefs. Most of the entertainment was very good, except the piano bar singer, who hurt our ears on a daily basis, since we love to gamble and our desired card table was close to the piano bar. My condolences to the dealers, who had to withstand his bleating more then we did. The ports of call were excellent. There are some complaints: 1) Would never do a HA transfer for this trip. We did our own and it was much more economical and readily available. We saw the military tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland on our own and saved buckets of money. I was extremely upset that HA knew months before the sailing that they would be docking in Newhaven and not South Queensferry, as they had in their brochure. I checked with HA even 1 days prior to sailing and they again insisted that they were going to South Queensferry. This change that wasn't shared with cruisers caused quite a bit of problems and left a bad taste in my mind for HA honesty. Now on another score, there has never been a more informative (except for the above info), as the captain we had on this cruise and we've done 27 cruises in 2.8 yrs. (that's 2 yrs. 8 months). He was delightful. The ship is going into drydock but only for 2 weeks, which doesn't seem like enough time to really amp her up. the Crows Nest was a GREAT setting, but always so packed and nowhere to sit. Not enough deck chairs along the outside palisades. The tendering in Edinburgh was a disaster. I have never had to tender in on the ships own lifeboats! Usually there is a private company that shuttles cruisers into port. But not here. We did not get off ship till 3pm which left us little to no time to sightsee before the Tattoo, since the place was swarming with people coming to the Fringe (look it up). They finally got wise and did hire another ferry company to help get people back on the ship or we'd been there another day just reloading passengers. Terrible experience there. Overall, though, we loved the cruise and as most cruises, will need to go back again to many of the places to get a more indepth visit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both were handled very efficiently in Copenhagen. Ship condition: Some of the reviews I've read about the condition of the ship make it seem like the Zuiderdam is an old rust bucket on its last leg, ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both were handled very efficiently in Copenhagen. Ship condition: Some of the reviews I've read about the condition of the ship make it seem like the Zuiderdam is an old rust bucket on its last leg, which is certainly not the case. I didn't notice any worn out carpet or furniture on the ship and it was kept very clean. That said, it is an older ship and the décor is fairly dated, but it is well maintained. Main Dining/Lido/Room Service: Other than the first night, when both our meals were mediocre, the food in the main dining room (MD) was consistently good, except for breakfast (frozen, deep fried McDonald's style hash browns, cold toast and barely warm eggs.) After our first couple of breakfasts in the MD we either ordered room service, promptly delivered at the time requested, or we eat in the lido restaurant. The omelet station was excellent. The Pinnacle Grille & Canaletto. We had purchased two Signature Dining packages that included two nights in The Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto. Canaletto was good but the menu was the same each night. The Pinnacle Grill was a major disappointment. The quality of the food was pretty much the same as what we received in the MD and in my opinion it was just not worth the additional cost. On the first night we dined in PG our main course did not arrive until an hour and a half after we sat down (kitchen backed up). The waitress was highly apologetic and the maître de comped us a glass of wine but it ruined the experience. We were hoping for a fine dining experience but it just didn't meet the mark. Entertainment: Typical cruise ship entertainment in the main theater, song/dance reviews, a show with a violinist who played one song with her feet (not joking) and a mediocre magic act. The violinist was actually the best of all the shows and the only one we stayed throughout. The performers in the BB King Blues Club were very good, Really enjoyed watching some of the talented dancing passengers in the BB King dance floor. Service: Every service crew member we encountered on the ship was unfailingly helpful and pleasant. We were very pleased with the service level in all areas, including the dining rooms, bars and cabin attendants. This was our first Holland America cruise. We would not hesitate to cruise with HA again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had sailed on the Holland America Zuiderdam out of Copenhagen for a Norwegian Fjord and Scotland/UK cruise in June/July 2017. Upon arrival at the airport we were transported to the Scandic Palace Hotel in the city and then to the ... Read More
We had sailed on the Holland America Zuiderdam out of Copenhagen for a Norwegian Fjord and Scotland/UK cruise in June/July 2017. Upon arrival at the airport we were transported to the Scandic Palace Hotel in the city and then to the ship the following morning. Checking in at the pier was fast and easy and in a few minutes we were in our Verandah cabin on deck #7 and having lunch at the Lido shortly thereafter. The ship is a little dated but in good shape as are the cabins which are standard Holland America style and very clean. The only issue in the cabin that we had was the floor drain in the bathroom would sometimes back up a little leaving a black residue around the drain which was quickly cleaned up by the cabin steward who explained that when the ship encounters rough waters sometimes the muck inside the pipes loosens up the drain gets stopped up when several showers are run at the same time. It happened 4 times on a 12 day cruise which was fine. Our cabin stewards were excellent. We selected “Open Seating” in the main dining room which worked out well for us and the food and service in the dining room was very good to include several breakfast meals that we thoroughly enjoyed. The only time that we ate in the Lido was for lunch or a late afternoon snack as it was usually crowded and not worth the effort. Dinners and service at the Pinnacle and Canaletto were very good as well. Room service for coffee and an occasional breakfast was very good and very prompt as well. The entertainment was less than average as the visiting acts, except the magician, were enjoyable but the BB King Blues Band was not as good as the BB King Bands that we have seen on previous cruises and they were way too loud for the small room that they played in. The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were a few notches below theme park show quality and after two songs we just left on the nights that we attended as it was pretty bad. The lounges and Crows Nest could have used some music as the main attraction some nights was a “Music Trivia” contest that was lacking any enthusiasm from the staff member hosting the event. The service at all of the lounges was consistently good and consistent with the dining room service that we enjoyed. The ports of call were interesting with a few that didn’t have much to offer but that is usually the way all cruises run. Holland America does a good job with moving people especially with the frequent use of the tenders which was very smooth. All in all a very pleasant cruise that could use some work with the entertainment which would make a big difference during the evenings. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise mostly because we stumbled upon it in a casino user promotion that we got in the mail. We didn’t even know that itinerary was offered and we’ve been wanting to visit Norway and Scotland in greater depth than we ... Read More
We chose this cruise mostly because we stumbled upon it in a casino user promotion that we got in the mail. We didn’t even know that itinerary was offered and we’ve been wanting to visit Norway and Scotland in greater depth than we knew was possible from the ship. This itinerary was a DREAM and it fit with my work holiday. A+ on the itinerary. Dining: Lido buffet was consistently good at all meals (4.5 out of 5 the whole time). Would have been perfect if they enforced the “no filling the water bottle your mouth has touched at the water machine” rule. Dining room was spectacular at dinner but abysmal at breakfast. It seemed everything was pre-plated and both “cold” and “hot” items were the same tepid temperature. (We didn’t attend lunch there). Pinnacle was spectacular for lunch, dinner and Le Cirque night. Room service was expedient and friendly. Entertainment: The only one we really took advantage of was listening to Adagio (classical) after dinner. We heard all the shows were spectacular as would be expected. However, we were sad there was only one educational lecture. Would loved some more history and culture themed ones but then, almost every day was a port day so when would they have done it? No complaints. Spa: They were wonderful. We had overpaid for the thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool by booking ahead and they quickly gave us reimbursement. The massages were lovely and we weren’t upsold (we requested not to be and they honored that). The facilities were immaculate and the manager was top-notch. Common Areas: Most were lovely. However, no one was promoting hand sanitization anywhere on the ship (a first for us in our long cruising history, but we used the machines nonetheless) and there were no sanitation wipes available for the computer stations or hand sanitizers nearby. The flu went around our ship and we were fine until the end, when we had to go up to print our boarding passes. Stateroom: The stewards were spectacular but the room was in dire need of new furniture, mattress and fixture replacement. This will probably be taken care of at the next dry dock. Plenty of storage space. Shore excursions desk: Unfortunately, they weren’t accommodating when a tour wasn’t as advertised. Grateful that we arranged most of our shore things ahead of time. Speaking of which: some of our shore experiences, booked privately: 1. Flam: Fjord Safari and Cheese Tasting: Don't let the rib boat and thermal suits steer you away from this one. A locally born and raised guide took us on an incredible boat trip through the fjords, getting us deep into the UNESCO-designated fjord, sharing stories of the local culture and lore, history and his own childhood along the way. He also slowed down to give us time to watch wildlife and snap shots of waterfalls and little villages. Unlike the regular fjord safari, our private excursion included a stop at Undredal (not sure of spelling) which is an adorable little village nestled in the fjord. We then sampled several different kinds of cheeses, served with some meat, several preserved fruits (try the cloudberry), Lefse (Norwegian flatbread), and hot red currant tea. Best part is that we had a three hour excursion and returned to the dock to be able to have a leisurely afternoon to either rest, hike or take the Flam Railway. Beautiful trip. If you want to reserve it privately, they ask that you have a minimum of ten guests sign up and they will take up to 12. They handle all the payments so you don't need to go collecting from other passengers. http://www.fjordsafari.com 2. Shetland Islands: The most amazing tour guide. We hired Robina Barton, who is a university-trained archaeologist who has worked on projects in the shetlands, including as the coordinator of the Shetland Geopark (a UNESCO site). She's also involved in the historical society. She was truly fantastic. Kept us away from the large bus tours, gave us a brilliant variety of nicely-paced sites to see, and showed us everything from an incredible archaeological site, castle, maritime museum, and nature--breaking for non-crowded, clean restrooms and a lovely lunch at a local tea and sandwich shop. She also made sure we saw plenty of wildlife: puffins, other sea birds, lots of seals, and even some domestics like shetland ponies and sheep. At the end, even after our tour was scheduled to end, she helped me find a local bookstore (sort of a travel passion of mine) and walked us back to the tender. Total A-plus. So much so, that I plan to return to the shetlands. She can fit up to eight passengers but is comfortable taking two or four. http://www.selkieventures.co.uk 3. Inverness: We went with Wendy from Iona Highland Tours. She's the owner, and she also had trainee Eddy with her. We saw everything you'd want to see and then some. The tour busses were all pulling off at other lookout points to see the castle on Loch Ness, but she found us just the right smaller one. We saw the cathedral, Cowdor Castle, an ancient burial with mysteriously placed stones (that doubled as a sundial--very neat), a fort with tremendous history and the battlefield that changed Scottish history forever. Her van has wifi and she had chargers for us too (but the wifi ran out of data early on--don't think it is a regular occurrence though). Wendy was fantastic but if you go with her, you should know that she's expanded her business and the other two guides working with her are very new (and at least one has a very strong Glasgow accent) so be sure to request her specifically. Eddy seems very nice and warm, but she's putting him into the field too soon after not enough training (in my opinion). I don't know who the other one is. http://www.ionahighlandtours.com/abo...ighland-tours/ 4. Newcastle: Since this was our last day, we really wanted to do something special and relaxed because we knew we'd be "over" all the touring by then. If you enjoy finer restaurants and want to truly taste the UK's countryside and waters, the Three Michelin Star rated House of Tides is the perfect venue for a lovely lunch, right on the river. We had local oysters, Shetland mussels, beautiful English produce and lamb... They have a regular and a vegetarian price-fixed tasting menu with optional wine pairings that usually books up at least a month in advance. They also accommodate allergies and food preferences. If you'll be there on a Saturday, there will be a bazaar in the metro station with some neat finds. You simply take the metro into Newcastle like everyone else and then walk down the hill half a mile to House of Tides. On the way, you'll pass all sorts of historical buildings including one that proudly proclaims the historical Earl Grey (and his namesake tea). Our recommendation is to see sights before lunch, walk down the hill to the restaurant, and then take a taxi back to the ship from the restaurant because it's quicker than she shuttle and less of a hassle than walking back up the hill. http://houseoftides.co.uk 4. In Flam, the Edvard Munch (famous for The Scream) museum is brilliantly curated and not to be missed, rain or shine. We did that one independently via the subway/tube. 5. In Bergen, we did the ship's excursion to Edvard Grieg's home and the Grieg Museum with private piano recital. This was also very worth it to us but if you can arrange it privately, you can probably get the price down. Just contact the museum and ask. 6. In Kristiansand, we took one of the larger fjord boats out and it was totally worth it. Don't remember the name (we bought it at the port). Another fun thing we did (but it's not for everyone): We decided to take the train from Inverness to Edinburgh and stay overnight at an Air BNB with a castle view so we could see it lit up at night and get an early start the next day. You have to fill out some paperwork with the ship but it was truly worth it to get a feel for the evenings there and to see the castle in the evening. The Hop On/Hop Off there is superb (unlike Oslo's which was a disaster). The ghost tours are wonderful because you can see the history of the Black Plague and all the walled-off underground chambers. The national museum was free and it was excellent--be sure to wait near the incredible clock inside at the hour so you can see all the bizarre sculptures move and light up. Copenhagen! I shouldn't forget this. If you're not too jet-lagged, head to Tivoli if the weather is nice and the Black Diamond Library if it's rainy. Both are well worth the visit. Okay here's the bad: Portree: Avoid GoSkye tours at all costs. They overfill their vans, the guide was incredibly sour and cold, and there was minimal information about the island's culture, sites or anything else. We did have a lovely time walking around Portree, though, and soaking up the local culture at a cafe over some haggis and free wifi was the perfect redemption. Oh, if you're Le Cirque fans, know that this is the last year that the Pinnacle will be hosting "An Evening at Le Cirque." Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Where do I begin? We booked nearly last minute and was told there was a possibility for an upgrade. We paid for an outside cabin and got one with a completely obstructed view, as a life boat was directly put the window. We asked if we ... Read More
Where do I begin? We booked nearly last minute and was told there was a possibility for an upgrade. We paid for an outside cabin and got one with a completely obstructed view, as a life boat was directly put the window. We asked if we could pay for an upgrade to a balcony and were told to keep coming back the next day. After 3 days we gave up. However, they did upgrade 2 from winning Bingo! They just didn't want us to move. The ship was ok. The food was better than I expected. We ate several lunches in O'Sheehan's and it was good. The Aqua dining room was to way to go. Also ate there several times. However, the weather wasn't the best most of the way and, unfortunately, there was no solarium. Every other ship on which we have been (Royal, Celebrity or Princess) had a solarium. On bad weather days, there was nowhere to go! One day we read in the library just to get out of the room. The excursions were decent, albeit pricey, as they all are on cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise for the port stops it would be making, we wanted to see Norway, but not exclusively, and my husband really wanted to go to Iceland too. I had read some awful reviews about the Norwegian Star, terrible service, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the port stops it would be making, we wanted to see Norway, but not exclusively, and my husband really wanted to go to Iceland too. I had read some awful reviews about the Norwegian Star, terrible service, no bartenders to wait on you, grumpy employees on the ship, the ship looking very worn, mediocre food. Let me just say, this was the most upbeat crew we'd ever encountered on any cruise line that we went on! Also what we found out was, if you asked for something, you got it, period! Didn't really think the ship looked worn, and we never encountered a grumpy employee! I will say this, the food in Aqua and in the main dining room, was not that great. We ate several meals in Cagneys, it was always wonderful! Also ate in the Moderno, and enjoyed the food there a lot too, plus their salad bar was outstanding! Would highly recommend going to Teppanyaki, the show was so much fun, best ever, along with the delicious food! They often had this wonderful barbecue pool side, and we always enjoyed the food there, barbecued chicken, sausages, rice, paella,veggies, all quite good, and nice to get away from the crowds out there too. Big disappointment with the food when it came to LaCucina! And it's really too bad that they don't bring around a antipasto cart like some of the other cruise ships do in the Italian restaurant. Besides the food, probably the reason we may not cruise again on this line was the lack of itinerary while we were on the ship. We talked to several other cruisers and they agreed. Lectures from weather specialists, or oceanographers would have been so appreciated. Some of the game shows they did, were kind of dumb. We did enjoy the casino on several evenings, and out of the 14 nights on the show, there were really only 3 shows we didn't like, especially the magician, he was annoying! The ports were fantastic! Absolutely loved Norway, scenery around every corner was gorgeous, and we really lucked out with warm weather for September! Iceland is vast and interesting; Scotland was green and fairy tale quaint; Dublin was lively and fun. Had no idea what to expect for the Shetland Islands, and although it was windy there, the town was full of character and quaint, we both loved it there. The Faroe Islands just didn't offer that much, we mainly walked into town there, and took one of the bus lines for free around the island, it just didn't have the charm all the other places had. We were in cabin 9588, all the accommodations there I felt were fine, but just be aware that whenever the ship has to tender into port, you are right near where they lower the tenders down, and around 6am, it gets very noisy in the room while they are doing this. They actually only tendered once, for the Shetland Islands. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Awful ship. Cabins are extremely small and worn out. Mold growing in shower and could not turn around in incredible small bathroom. Room steward never cleaned the room. Started dirty and stayed that way. Food is the worse I've ... Read More
Awful ship. Cabins are extremely small and worn out. Mold growing in shower and could not turn around in incredible small bathroom. Room steward never cleaned the room. Started dirty and stayed that way. Food is the worse I've ever had on a cruise and I've gone on 30+. I actually lost weight on this cruise! Entertainment is the same old worn out shows and everything else cost extra. If you still want to do this cruise because it is a great itinerary then book your own excursions. The ncl excursion are costly and not very good. We cancelled our last two and booked our own after having bad experiences on the first five. Had great private ones in Scotland and Ireland. This ones a expensive cruise and I wish I'd chosen a different cruise line. I've learned my lessen. No more NCL cruises. I did complain about the excursions at the desk and their remedy was a 20% discount on one. That was a $60. Credit on two people and the excursions were over $2000 but the main issue was not really enjoying our day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I set up some specifics for the agent and what I got was this trip. I guess everything was based on selling as much as possible. What I missed most onboard was a small armchair in my room. There were no chair onboard where you could just ... Read More
I set up some specifics for the agent and what I got was this trip. I guess everything was based on selling as much as possible. What I missed most onboard was a small armchair in my room. There were no chair onboard where you could just sit without having to buy something. Buy, buy, buy that seemed to be the motto. The free caffee was not good. I gues about 20% of the food was made onboard. The rest was junk. There was chaos whenever some had to go on excursion. We all had to gather in the theatre and people had to go in and out of their seat and rows. Smaller groups and elsewhere had been so much better. Also the guides were absolutely horrible. I think I could have done much better myself. The captain the the crew w get some were wonderful but get some professionels to the excursions etc. I do not recommend NCL to others. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is my third Cruise Critic review, the previous ones were for Island Princess Mediterranean/Transatlantic passage from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale and the second one was on Celebrity Constellation, an Italy & Croatia Cruise round trip ... Read More
This is my third Cruise Critic review, the previous ones were for Island Princess Mediterranean/Transatlantic passage from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale and the second one was on Celebrity Constellation, an Italy & Croatia Cruise round trip from Venice. As with them, what you will read expresses our personal experiences, feelings, sensations (as well as some advice), that you might agree with or not but most important is that we hope it helps you on your future cruises. Please, for those interested in the review for the Family Suite Cabin #12026 its pros and cons and detailed comments and about the tours taken plus pictures, you should scroll down to the bottom of the review. This was my second cruise on NCL Star, the first being way back in 2005, on an 8 day tour of the Mexican Riviera, round trip from LA. Comparing what I remember from my first cruise on the Star to this one, I could say that many areas were unchanged and others were changed in both positive and negative aspects. At any rate, this is what I experienced on this 2015 refurbished NCL Star. In general the ship is very well kept and the public areas are always clean and tidy. * Library, regardless the size of the ship it is an extremely small area that was easily filled up with people who stayed in place for hours at a time, leaving no room for anyone else. * Lounges - Gatsby, nice atmosphere but the service was practically non-existent. Unfortunately this nice atmosphere was altered and disturbed by an extremely loud ‘piano man’ singer who was there every night with the same songs which made conversation impossible unless you screamed at each other, so it was not an enjoyable place. At the same time his strong voice disturbed the tranquility of those having dinner at any of the surrounding restaurants such as La Cucina, Le Bistro and one deck above, Teppanyaki and Ginza. - Sugarcane Mojito Bar, deck 13 was very small but quiet. It is a good waiting area for either Moderno or Cagney’s. By the way, the mojito was so so. If you want the real thing try to go to La Botica del Mojito in Havana, Cuba, that was the place that Ernest Hemingway made famous. - The 5 o’clock Somewhere Bar location is non-descript and a sort of after-thought, in other words it has no personality besides being in a thoroughfare route. - The Spinnaker Lounge deserves special mention for serving the best ever straight up Vodka martini on this or any other cruise, perhaps as it was offered during the Captain’s VIP cocktail reception?? Anyway it was most welcome. Restaurants – complimentary – *Main dining rooms at Versailles and Aqua had varied menus and waiting times seldom occurred. Food was served hot and quite fast. Of the two, in my opinion the most relaxing one was Aqua perhaps because of the dimmer lighting levels and a friendlier layout. * Ginza Asian Dining Room was most disappointing. The noodle dishes are soup, so unless you like soup, forget about it. Though service was prompt and good. * O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill on some occasions was a life saver, it was a welcome change from all other eating spots. But the food was not always good nor hot. In general, the fare is not healthy. *Market Café Buffet as usual was chaotic during sea days so best to avoid that area and eat elsewhere. The food in general was mediocre and the sweets were pathetic. Wine or bar service was not easily available though you can go to the side bar and do it yourself. The open deck * BBQ at the Top Siders Bar and Grill was a failure perhaps due to cold and windy weather that made the paella very cold (uneatable) and the chicken and sausage were both overcooked. Specialty Restaurants -* La Cucina - Italian restaurant that was staffed by 99% from the Philippines or surrounding areas. The service was inconsistent, something to be blamed on the manager for lack of training and supervision of their staff. The food was good to mediocre. * Le Bistro’s - Food is by far the best of all the specialty ones because of the quality and wide variety of choices. The atmosphere is very tranquil and soothing except for the sounds filtering in from Gatsby’s (described above) and the service is very knowledgeable, friendly and prompt. Cagney’s Steakhouse – It was very good and is highly recommended for food and service. It would have been much better with a more spacious table arrangement. *Moderno Brazilian Churrascaria - In which you can find the Mojito Bar, like Cagney’s it would have been much better in a much larger setting. The food was superb, the Caipirinhas were excellent and the service, led by the Assistant Manager Denis Pierre were superb. Maître D’ Denis was an outstanding example of constant attention to detail and to all the needs of the diners. He was really “one of a kind” and never in all my extensive travels have I met someone like him. * Teppanyaki – This Japanese restaurant was unfortunately a big disappointment. The featured drinks were a wet blanket for the meal, arriving late and far too sweet. The cooking presentation was more of a fun show for the two cooks than for the diners. The soup was cold and the fried rice was a flop. The fillet mignon regardless our request for medium rare, was overcooked as was the chicken. The minimalist desert was most forgettable. Put it bluntly, this specialty restaurant is overpriced. Don’t bother going unless you like to be entertained by amateur comedians who do not have the right skills for cooking that type of cuisine. Service was quite amateurish. I remember very well the previous Teppanyaki I’ve been, it was on the NCL Jade in 2014 and that was really outstanding with two authentic Japanese chefs doing the preparation and the show given was done with much class and respect. *Sushi & Sake looked authentic, especially the conveyer belt; we didn’t sample the fare thou. Suite Guests have the option of taking breakfast and lunch in the Moderno restaurant. Having already mentioned how small this restaurant is, the most disconcerting thing was that the menu for both meals (breakfast & lunch) never altered during all 14 days of the cruise. This prompted us to eat there only once in a while. Room service - Although free for Suite guests, was most disappointing. Breakfast was very bad so we only had it once. The coffee was pitiful (thank God the suite had an excellent espresso machine) and the orange juice was coloured water. Diner room service was ordered twice, the first and last nights of the cruise and both were mediocre. I can only feel sorry for the non-suite passengers who now have to pay a $7.95 delivery charge. Front Desk Staff. They were very friendly, speedy and efficient with all of our enquiries and various requests. Casino. Surprisingly, smoking is permitted throughout and having to pass through the Casino was quite an annoying experience. Entertainment. The entertainment at the Stardust Theatre was in general excellent with the exception of the magician who was a joke. There was an exceptional string quartet playing in the Grand Atrium. The Gatsby’s piano man has already been adversely commented on above. There were a couple of Argentinian Tango shows that in general were ok but the male dancers didn’t have the appropriate posture and figure to do that dance in the way I remember seeing it done in Buenos Aires, it was unfortunate because when the dancers have the figure and share a magic between them, the Tango becomes one of the most exciting spectacles to enjoy. Game shows in the Spinnaker Lounge or Stardust Theatre that feature passengers were pitiful. Grown up people making fun of themselves in front of hundreds of passengers just to get a miserable bottle of bubbly was very painful to see. Fitness Center. Uninviting, very well equipped, but too small a room for so much equipment plus no windows no views; kind of dark. Family Suite (FS #12026) - We decided to book this 409 sq. ft. suite knowing that it did not have a balcony but the whole outside wall was floor to ceiling windows. The reason for that selection was because the itinerary and time of year of this cruise was with colder, windier weather, not the best situation under which to fully enjoy a balcony. The suite was square in shape, in which was located the bedroom, living room and four chair dining room set, where the Murphy bed is located; you could say that was a kind of open concept. There was a walk-in closet and a large dual sink bathroom with large shower stall and full bathtub. Pros. The size of the suite and its amenities (e.g. fresh flowers, fruit basket, welcome bottle of champagne, daily delivery of sandwiches, cookies etc.) and a well-stocked expresso machine, plus a proper dining room table and chairs, and DVD player. For sure the storage space throughout was exceptional but there are a few caveats that I will talk about later on. Let’s not forget special invitations to the VIP Capitan cocktail reception, Wine and cheese reception, etc. as well as the availability of a Butler and a Concierge. Everything very good but……. Cons. The walk-in closet is located on the way into the bathroom. There are two double door compartments on each side and the space in between is too narrow, room for only one person to access those compartments at which time it was impossible for anyone to access or leave the bathroom. The closets lack shelving, lots of hangers for sure but there were only two very high level shelves. The floor to ceiling window drapes (a bit tattered) were not wide enough to completely cover the windows. The sofa bed was in bad shape, sagging in the middle and was uncomfortable to relax on. Though there was a DVD player, the DVDs offered came at a price and the choice though wide was poor and out of date. The flat screen TV, high on the wall was large but the choice of programs was very poor; regardless that the ship was refurbished in 2015, the system was out of date and lacked interactive TV where you can access your accounts as well as, dining reservations or ordering room service. * Butler services – For those ones who do not know what a Butler job is, simply put, he takes care of “almost” all of your needs, such as, packing or unpacking your luggage, shoe shine, taking care of any dry cleaning or laundry you sent out, prepare a bath (at your request) as bringing your order of breakfast, lunch or dinner & setting the table, etc., also bringing afternoon snacks; indeed some of those duties are very welcome but others could get a bit intrusive. It was no problem when we were off the ship having a Tour but during those sea days the ever present Butler could be a bit upsetting. So, for those who like to be attended to all the time, go for a Butler! Our Butler Jonathan (Philippines) was a very sympathetic and ready to please guy. * Concierge – I am sure the majority of you know what a Concierge does, right? Maybe ours being for suite passengers was “extending” himself more? Possibly. But, in general every Concierge I’ve had did a good job and this one, whose name is Hanno (a 6’3” German) wasn’t an exception. Very good and fast on the restaurant reservations as much when for different reasons we had to change them for different times. The same about Tours and info delivered to your suite and the morning talks about the port we were to visit, giving lots of tips on what to do, where to go, etc. etc. Unfortunately he failed badly on two occasions; one happened during his talk on Glasgow, when his bias for the EU was unmistakable and the other when he misled us by not only downplaying Glasgow but saying we should all go to Edinburgh instead. All in all, he did a good job but it could’ve been done better; perhaps as his manner was truly “very German” it got in the way. *Stateroom attendant – We were very lucky and happy with Raymund (Philippines), a very friendly and smiling guy who was ready and willing to attend to all our needs and requests. Everything delivered with good attitude and respect, leaving the suite, always, impeccable to the last detail. Really good! Tours – They are expensive? Yes, but not all of them, it is a question to choose the right one that in general will be those that take you around the city or town that when you have chosen that particular cruise, was because the ship was docking in or nearby that city or town you “always” wanted to visit. Many people, because of the advertising on the ship get excited about other towns that are far from the dock and for sure, those are more expensive. Before giving details on the tours taken I would like to say a few things about the how the boarding process was done on the NCL Star. They have two different ways to do it: a) gathering at the dock or b) at the Stardust Theater and that spot was the worst in every aspect. It was outrageous to see “grown up” people, running and pushing their way down corridors and staircases to get to their buses; it was too much to take and that was the primary reason why we were always trying to avoid tours. ** First port we docked * Bergen, Norway – Luckily the weather was perfect, sunny and warm. No tours were taken! On our own, happy and free! We decided to go with Hop on- Hop off city sightseeing + Mount Floyen funicular @ NOK 340 each (CC) highly recommended! The view from up there is spectacular and the meandering thru different park paths very enjoyable. There is a restaurant-bar up there so if you have the time, and the will, you can sit outdoors enjoying a glass of wine! Was very surprising to see how developed Bergen is, for whatever reason we had in mind something small? I guess we forgot it is Norway’s second largest city. Getting back down from the Mount we took “Hop On” towards the Fortress that is at the entrance to the harbour in Bergen. Very interesting and worth a visit, we decided to skip the Aquarium and went directly to the Fish Market (it was highly recommended but a disappointment for us). We ended up going to a popular outdoor restaurant that is THE place were locals go specially on sunny and warm days like the one we were having. Superb Chardonnay White (house wine!) and salmon w/fries! The place was bustling with very civilized and good looking people that made this first visit to Bergen, unforgettable. Its name, EGON Restaurant, it’s on a corner almost facing the Fish Market just down from the street that leads you to the funicular. ** Second port * Alesund, Norway - This time with a Tour! Fortunately meeting at the dock. The one we took was named Spectacular outer islands (Giske & Godoy) that lasted 3 hours with an excellent Guide. Really was an eye opener because of the unbelievable amount of tunnels (and length!) connecting all the islands. One of them constructed before the UK-France Chunnel, in fact the technology developed for the Norway tunnels was used by the Anglo/French consortium that built the Chunnel a few years later. The visit to the oldest Lighthouse on the island was fantastic, with great views of the nearby islands and fjords plus the coffee and 3 tier Vanilla cake w/whipped cream was….mouth-watering!! But the best was still to come! Because we were taken to the top of Fjellstua mount that has even more spectacular panoramic views than from Bergen’s hill top. Not to be missed! One of the best tours on this cruise. Weather still good!! ** Third port * Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland – There was only one Tour and we couldn’t get in regardless of the efforts of our Concierge. We could’ve gone ashore on our own but the weather wasn’t good at all, we did not like it that we had to go by tenders and from the ship the place looked barren and very sombre. So we enjoyed our port day on board a very quiet, uncrowded ship. ** Fourth port * Thorshavn, Faroe Islands – We took a tour and again met at the dock- Scenery of Northern Eysturoy that lasted 4.5 hours; the Guide was good but a bit heavy talking about his family and their problems. Regardless it was another very interesting tour, traversing more tunnels and stunning vistas of the surrounding islands. After going throughout many islands, islets, tunnels intertwined with stop overs for photos, driving along the length of several fjords etc. we stopped at a hill side Inn for good home-made pancakes, rhubarb marmalade and coffee and then headed back to the ship. ** Fifth port * Reykjavik, Iceland – Unfortunately the meeting area was in the Stardust Theatre and as expected, mayhem! Tour taken was Scenic Reykjavik that took only 2.5 hours but was done very professionally and that was why we were able to visit so much of the city and its outskirts. Many impressive, new buildings such as the Concert Hall & Conference Center or the tallest in the city, a Benedictine Church with a very difficult name, Hallgrims Kirkja (kirkja means church) with a very ascetic, expansive interior. Reykjavik it is a very colourful city with a very distinctive architecture; was a pity that the weather was getting nasty, mostly cloudy with very strong, cold winds. No doubt it is a place to visit with more time and better weather! Very good Tour. ** Sixth port * Glasgow, Scotland – This time, it was on our own! The weather was one of the worst I experienced on any of the many cruise tours I’ve taken! Rain and cold winds, with gusts so strong that it was easy to lose your balance and end up on the ground, even leaving the ship down the gangway was a challenge. We agreed to share a taxi with an American couple from the Greenock port to downtown Glasgow. Total cost, 40 English pounds only cash accepted and took about 20 min. dropping us off down town at George Square. We went to the nearby Tourist Info and the girl who took care of our inquiries, suggested because of the weather, to take the Hop on Hop off as that was the only way for us to see as much as possible of Glasgow in so short a time. This advice was right on! And thanks to her we were able to see practically the whole city. Without a doubt Glasgow is beautiful and deserves another visit, in fact there’s so much to see that it would take another 3 full days. How wrong our Concierge was! We were thinking to have a talk with him about it but we decided, having already had a taste of his personality, not to bother. Ours was a great “self-guided-tour” which fitted best with the horrible weather conditions. Return to the ship was by train from Glasgow Central and the long and meandering walk from the Greenock Train Station to where NCL Star was docked was made tough but fun because of the strong and sudden gusts of wind that made us feel like we were flying! ** Seventh port * Dublin, Ireland – Last port of call for this Cruise! Again the meeting point was the Stardust Theater but this time knowing that it was our last, we decided to have fun with people’s behaviour. The tour taken was Dublin Highlights that lasted for 3 .5 hours. Dublin is a sensational city, full of impressive buildings covering many historical periods and the star of it all, being Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Its interior is a masterpiece, really awesome and it seemed more of a museum than a cathedral. Also, not to be missed was Trinity College and its famous Library that houses the Book of Kells (entrance fee) another outstanding art piece. Luckily the weather that morning was sunny and warmish so we decided to stay on in town at the end of the tour. By the way, the Tour Guide Kate was superb. We had a fantastic lunch at Oscar’s Bar and Kitchen across from Merrion Square where you can see the famous statue of Oscar Wilde relaxing on a rock and looking towards his house where he leaved for many years. We completed our tour with a visit to the magnificent National Gallery of Ireland (free) just nearby on Clare St. Shuttle to the ship was 5 euros each. Great Tour, great day and the perfect way to finish this memorable Cruise on the NCL Star. Thank you for your patience and attention! It took a lot of work and time but gave me the chance to relive many happy and fanny moments; what about the bad ones? They are already out of mind! Till my review next March with Oceania Cruise Line, that for sure will be shorter!! And that’s a promise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Cruise wasf OK, had balcony room on floor 8 and had best cabin person I have ever had. Christopher Williams was excellent and really did a great job. Ship needed painting and interior was OK. Shows stunk and were not good at all. Food has ... Read More
Cruise wasf OK, had balcony room on floor 8 and had best cabin person I have ever had. Christopher Williams was excellent and really did a great job. Ship needed painting and interior was OK. Shows stunk and were not good at all. Food has really gone down hill and they cut out lobster night. Lunch was OK and Breakfast was really good. Service was very good, and everyone friendly. Casino was not busy and everyone was complaining of loosing. Port of Call were OK, nothing special. We went to Iceland afterwords and wish we had gone there instead of cruising. Went to 12 floor for drinks and we were the only ones there, I know why now. Drinks were terrible and costly. Cruise Hawaii and you will enjoy that much better. in Geiranager Norway we rented the small cars and went up the mountain and had a blast. When I say small I mean small. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our second cruise with Azamara and if we win the lottery, we would just move in. We stayed in a spa suite which I will review in depth because I looked for information on the spa suite and could not find much. The British Isles ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Azamara and if we win the lottery, we would just move in. We stayed in a spa suite which I will review in depth because I looked for information on the spa suite and could not find much. The British Isles were amazing. I loved every port of call. We were unable to go to Waterford due to high winds but I don't think many people minded as we were able to overnight in Dublin instead. The Captain and crew did a fantastic job of handling our new schedule. This was our first visit to the Quest after it was refreshed and she looks brilliant yet also familiar, which I appreciated. I LOVE what they've done with the Living Room. It is light and airy and has 2 hanging cages to sit in. The bartenders/ servers there were great. We also liked the antiques display, how unique and fun. They still have games set up for people who want to play. The spa suite was awesome. We were in 9002, which is closest to the main door and the public restrooms. We were concerned that we would hear toilets flushing but we did not. What did bother us, but not enough to change our next cruise, which is also a spa suite, was the proximity to the SMOKING AREA. The smoking section is on the port side by the pool bar and almost every time we went to our room the smell of smoke greeted us. There is a heavy door to that area that is always closed but it still seeps through and collects in the area by the restrooms. There is a door that is usually closed that blocks the hallway to the spa area so once you are past that, the smoke is much better. The spa suites are directly under the Living Room, which is great to pop up there real quick. They are also conveniently located close to the pool bar! (We got beverage packages.) So we could just grab a drink and take it to our room. The only noise we heard from the Living Room was some stiletto heels that would walk on the uncarpeted walkway to the Living Room. We only heard them during the afternoons when we happened to be in our room. We did not hear the dance music or any noise in the evenings. We did not hear our neighbors in 9000 at all. The bathroom in the spa suites is outstanding. I've never taken so many baths. It's really a neat experience to shower/ bathe with an unfettered view of the ocean. The shower has body jets, a regular adjustable head, and also a rain shower. It was private, no one else from outside your room can see you (unless maybe you were in port and people were looking). There are shades to draw if that is the case. We did not use the spa music as there was one song that annoyed me, but the option to have it was nice. I was concerned that with only 2 rooms on that floor, we would not have the usual relationship with our cabin steward or butler but Eyup and Caitano took excellent care of us. It was nice to be so close to the spa and we could walk down in a bathrobe and slippers to have a treatment. We also enjoyed the thalassotherapy pool several times. We did the Night in Private Places the first night, which was at sea. That is arranged once on board with the concierge. Yasemin took AWESOME care of us in arranging that and also retrieving my luggage which the airline had not bothered to send to Copenhagen. On a tangent- Azamara gave me a Tshirt, some toiletries, and did express laundry free for us until our luggage showed up. They also put a note in the system to give us an exemption to dress codes because we had no luggage. They really did an AMAZING job in taking care of us. Back to the Night in Private Places. It is really cool but I'm glad we did not pay the $400 for it on this particular voyage. It was a little cold in the North Sea, it did rain a little, (although after dinner), and the DJ in the Living Room was a little loud. The champagne and dinner was amazing. Next time, I will ask them to bring us less food. They grilled huge shrimp, swordfish, lamb chop, jerk chicken, and a filet, plus veggies and dessert. It's way too much food for 2 people. The food was delicious, the service was amazing, and the view was outstanding. It really was fun. If you do it, make sure to ask them to turn the lights off. They were on for us and they sent up an engineer to turn them off but we had already left because we were cold. We had our Night on the 4th of July and they decorated with American flags for us. It was very festive. The hotel director, Ryszard is phenomenal. I had one complaint about doors slamming shut (I am the world's lightest sleeper) and within 30 minutes he had them all tightened and I slept great thereafter. The Azamazing evening was of course Amazing. We had drinks at Hopetown House in Edinburgh, lots of live music, a tattoo, and spectacular fireworks. This experience at Prime C was WAY better than the last cruise. The service was better, the food was prepared better, everything was much better at Prime C than last time. We went to Aqualina twice. That is our preferred Specialty Dining venue and Cris took great care of us and one night we saw about 60 baby dolphins swimming in the water. We embarked with no lines and walked right on the ship, our room was ready. We walked off the ship in the morning, no need to gather anywhere before hand. We stayed at the Renaissance in Dublin, which I heartily recommend. We did not participate in any organize Shore Ex except the Azamazing evening. We rented a car three in Belfast, Isle of Skye, and Orkney and explored on our own. We used Morrison's on Isle of Skye and Europecar in the others. Both Europcar locations were near the shuttle drop off points. Morrison's picked us up at Skye. We liked the guitarist Teodor quite a bit but did not make any shows. My husband enjoyed the casino and I appreciated that he came out ahead! :) We LOVE the dinner buffet on board. I planned our evenings around the Asian night stir fry. AZ is the only cruise line I would probably prefer to eat at the buffet. The food is always fresh, the service is great, and usually it's not a problem to get a good view. They had a guy on board to do lectures about our forthcoming ports and while I forget his name, he was entertaining and educational at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Small cruise ship, very well organized, no extra cost for food and drink anytime of the day and night, wonderful, friendly crew and officers, great entertainment, wonderful food. I'm done with large cruise ships, long lines, ... Read More
Small cruise ship, very well organized, no extra cost for food and drink anytime of the day and night, wonderful, friendly crew and officers, great entertainment, wonderful food. I'm done with large cruise ships, long lines, charging for every drink and wine with dinner. There wasn't one time all week that I had an annoyance or was upset. They anticipated any possible issue and took care of it prior. I haven't experienced such good service for a long time. Azamara has one night every cruise where they offer a night in a special place. Ours was at a wonderful Scottish mansion with whiskey tasting, pipers, tour of the huge house (Hopetoun house) and fireworks. Moving all 600+ guests without waiting or a hitch was amazing. Whoever does their logistics is brilliant. The captain was very personable and accessible. He joked with guests in a very genuine way, as did the cruise director who joined the fun every night and looked as if he was genuinely enjoying himself. The service was so good that it was hard to get off into the world of airport lines, inefficiency, and poor service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have traveled on larger ships - Holland America and Celebrity. Although we had a great time on those cruises- we will never go back to a larger ship after our amazing cruise on Azamara. The newly refurbished ship was stunning ... Read More
We have traveled on larger ships - Holland America and Celebrity. Although we had a great time on those cruises- we will never go back to a larger ship after our amazing cruise on Azamara. The newly refurbished ship was stunning (although we never saw it before). We stayed in the Club World Owners Suite, so the luxury experience was there like no other cruise we have taken before. The Butler service, the access to the crew, and the attention to detail were all excellent. The spa and the fitness center (we went everyday) were top notch. The 2 restaurants, the main dining room, and the buffet were much better than our experiences on Celebrity and Holland America. Unlike other ships, alcohol is included. The wine selection was average for the included beverages - the selection for the upgraded packages were much better. For those of you looking for a true luxury experience without all the stuffiness - this is the cruise for you. There are no formal nights for dinner - my husband didn't have to bring a jacket and was grateful. We booked this cruise because of the ports of call. Every stop - we looked forward to. So, we loved the ship. It was not too small and we appreciated the lack of crowds. Crew - 5 stars - the service was outstanding. Ship public areas - 5 stars. Spa and Fitness Center - Modern, Clean, great service. % stars Cabin - The best we have stayed in on any cruise. Room 6088. We loved the deck. Dining - Excellent. We will upgrade our wine package next time. Ports of call - the best of the best. Loved the amazing evenings and insider access. Entertainment - this was very average. For those looking for a big Broadway type show every night - this is not your ship. Piano player and guitarist were just ok. No comedian. We had a fantastic cruise director (Russ) who doubled as 2 nights of our entertainment for the cruise. The best of the week was the cruise director and a surprise show from Riverdance on the last night. This cruise line can do better here. To all other cruise lines - we are lifers on Azamara now. We already booked our next cruise. To Azamara - we would love more cruises that are 7 - 9 nights. Alaska and Africa would be great additions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Sailed on the Zuiderdam for a 12 day cruise to the Fjords and Highlands in June. Had a great time, really enjoyed ourselves. We've sailed the Zuiderdam twice before, so we were happy to visit her again! Embarkation in Copenhagen ... Read More
Sailed on the Zuiderdam for a 12 day cruise to the Fjords and Highlands in June. Had a great time, really enjoyed ourselves. We've sailed the Zuiderdam twice before, so we were happy to visit her again! Embarkation in Copenhagen was easy; although the line was long, it moved quickly. We were a guaranty veranda and ended up with cabin 8032, an accessible cabin. The shape of the cabin was a little odd, with the TV quite a long ways from the bed, only a chair and table (and a footstool at the desk), but the room was quite comfortable. The bathroom was large with a roll-in shower. Our room stewards were very good. We had one problem with the room towards the end of our voyage, but it was dealt with quickly and efficiently, and we had no further problems. The balcony was a delight. We found the food to be quite good on the ship and enjoyed all our meals, whether at the Dive Inn by the pool, or the MDR, or the Pinnacle Grill. We weren't as enamored with their "as you wish dining". When we first boarded, we went to the dining room staff and made reservations for our first 3 nights, no problem. After that, it was more difficult to get a table for 2,unless it was for a very early or very late time. I think I prefer the set dining times, as you have the same table all the time and you have the chance to get to know your wait-staff. I don't think we ever sat at the same table, and our wait-staff was always different. We went to the Pinnacle Grill 3 times while on our cruise, including once for Le Cirque. We definitely enjoyed all 3 meals there, it's our favorite restaurant at sea. Their shrimp cocktail is absolutely wonderful, and so are their fillets. Simply delicious! Our ports were Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger in Norway, then a stop in the Shetland Islands, then Belfast (Northern Ireland), followed by Portree (Isle of Skye), South Queensferry (for Edinburgh), Invergordon (Scotland) and Newcastle upon Tyne (England). The weather was a lot cooler than we'd expected (the 60's or 70's Farenheit), and it was a wonderful break from our summer heat at home. Beautiful stops and so incredibly green! We really enjoyed the ports, and took several private excursions and a few ship excursions. Our 2 sea days (one about mid-way through the cruise, and the other as our last day on the way back to Copenhagen) were very nice and a nice break from the hectic pace of this port-intensive itinerary. We sat by the pool on one morning and enjoyed the inexpensive Mimosas and Bloody Marys they offered from the bar. The prices go up after 10am or so, so we ordered a few extra when it got close to 10, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The seas were so calm!! We weren't expecting that, especially with our sailing through part of the North Sea! It was wonderful. Disembarkation was easy, as we'd booked their Dragor Fishing Village with airport transfer. We really enjoyed this tour, and although pricey, we had a great time. All in all, a great time was had by both of us, and we can't wait for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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