190 Copenhagen Luxury Cruise Reviews

We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ... Read More
We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ships with 3,000 passengers and all that those crowds entail. The Windstar cruise line fits our needs perfectly. This was our 2nd cruise with Windstar, the first on the Surf. We aren't looking for a lot of onboard entertainment options and appreciate good food and the casual atmosphere. We always choose to have dinner with other passengers and have met some very interesting, well traveled people. On this trip, Windstar had invited a guest lecturer who spoke to the passengers on , "The Romanov Dynasty" and "Deception in WII". (all pertinent in Norther Europe and Russia) These lectures were extremely interesting and very well attended. The 3 excursions we took were enjoyable with knowledgable guides. We did hire a private guide in St. Petersburg (not through Windstar) and were very happy that we did. I heard positives regarding Windstar's St. Pete's tours however they did not go into a few of the sites that the private tour did. Our special event evening was a Russian ballet, "Swan Lake". What a memorable opportunity! Our cabin had been upgraded to a suite (321) which was spacious and we definitely appreciated. Our previous experience was on the Star Pride which was an all suite vessel. (Pride is smaller than the Surf and we actually like the smaller size better) All in all, a very good experience and we plan to travel this line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise for the destinations and the fact that the ship remained in St. Petersburg 3 days. We also had not been to any of the destinations before so enjoyed the ease of tours each day. We were pleased with embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations and the fact that the ship remained in St. Petersburg 3 days. We also had not been to any of the destinations before so enjoyed the ease of tours each day. We were pleased with embarkation and disembarkation with one exception. We purchased transport to ship and back to airport. When we were leaving for home, we walked out of the terminal area to realize we had no clear understanding of what bus to board. It turned out to be very simple as the buses were numbered to match the numbers called to leave the ship. We felt our suite 651 was in a wonderful location on the ship mid ship near everything we needed, library, spa, laundry. Laundry on board is a great thing to have on a two week cruise. They made laundry easy by providing soap and everything. Our cabin was large compared to other cruises but we expected that based on the online information and cost. Entertainment was good for a smaller ship. Cabin and room service were very good. Ports were spectacular and the tours were good but not great. Tours are for the most part are included in the cost up front, there were some tours that were at added cost. Tours were like other tours we have taken when traveling on other cruise lines. Bus, guide with headset most of the time. Tour of Catherine's Place was more controlled and more enjoyable than some others were. Tour of Peterhoff is a must do. Hermitage was very crowded and not well controlled. So this is the last season for the Voyager and she is going to dry dock to be updated. Will look to she what they do to update this ship. The two negatives for us were dining - we felt service was poor and food quality needs improvement. We did like dining on our schedule not a preset time. "upscale" Steak place was also not impressive. We canceled the French place based on the menu. Ship needs updates and is schedule to have work. If you drink very much alcohol, this cruise is more cost effective as it is included the price. It was very nice not to worry about using your cabin card every time you wanted a beverage. Highly recommend upgrading to business air class if it is not included. We felt good money spent and actually were in first not business. Don't forget to take advantage of the airline lounges if you fly first or business. Overall based on cost, we were a bit underwhelmed with the quality of entire experience. We will consider another Regent cruise if we are going to similar places we have not been before, maybe the orient is next!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Captain Geirg Arne Thue Nilsen Cruise Director Handre Potgieter Guest entertainers Neal Austin (magician-comedian), Stevie Jo (comedian) and Paul Emmanuel (singer) Executive Chef Andreas Lang This was my third SB cruise (I had ... Read More
Captain Geirg Arne Thue Nilsen Cruise Director Handre Potgieter Guest entertainers Neal Austin (magician-comedian), Stevie Jo (comedian) and Paul Emmanuel (singer) Executive Chef Andreas Lang This was my third SB cruise (I had two prior, BTB, on the Odyssey in September 2015) and DH’s first. We have only done about a dozen cruises, mostly on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with our prior composite and limited experiences. Overall we were both pleased with our experiences on the Quest in this cool, mostly gray, green, and white hauntingly beautiful part of the world. However, there is some room for improvement in food and service on the Quest (especially food). We rate it a 4.3 overall on a scale of 1 to 5, (and thus round down to 4 on the overall scale). EMBARKATION: very smooth and easy, no waiting, friendly welcoming personnel in Copenhagen, to whom we surrendered our larger bags. Arrived shortly after 12 PM and then went to a a welcoming buffet at the Colonnade indoor/outdoor dining venue. Sat outside with a view of the harbor in comfortable chairs, ordered our drinks, and by the time we came back from the buffet with our first plates, the drinks were there. At 2PM overhead notice informed us that suites were ready. All our luggage was in the suite and the mini-bar was accurately stocked with what we had pre-ordered. I had also pre-ordered a foam topper for the mattress (confirmed 3 times in advance), anticipating the bed would be too hard, like it was on the Odyssey. It was not there initially, but was put on that evening. It was only a 1-inch thick irregular foam piece, so it was good that the mattress was not as hard as it was on the Odyssey or it would not have been enough cushion, and more negotiations would have been required. Our stewardess “Danielle" was welcoming and efficient without being falsely friendly. She took notes regarding our basic requests for the journey and consistently honored them. GENERAL ATMOSPHERE : Relaxing overall. The ship was well-maintained and very clean, nothing was broken, though a lot of the furniture, just like on the Odyssey, although stylish, is uncomfortable for me (stiff main entertainment lounge/Grand Salon chairs, and mostly stiff observation lounge and MDR chairs). Overall, with some exceptions, there was an unhurried atmosphere. There were no to few lines the entire cruise, other than occasional short lines at the buffets or for tenders. Sometimes the Colonnade and MDR had slower than ideal table service at peak hours, and table availability at peak hours was sometimes scarce, with matching service problems, but generally we were not negatively conditioned to anticipate space stress in the overall spacious public venues. Passengers were generally pleasant and well-mannered, with a few notable and crude exceptions (e.g., there were some pushy, inconsiderate and domineering people, e.g., with intrusive selfie sticks, and/or who either repeatedly inserted themselves into the front disability seats on the excursions buses though they were very clearly not disabled, or who otherwise made a point of asserting their alpha-importance and “control" as much as possible, in loud voices) . The nationality breakdown on the distributed guest list reported 243 Americans, 55 from UK, 55 from Australia, 13 from Belgium, 8 from Canada, and other nationalities were in single digits. Average age seemed to be in the early 60’s, give or take a few years depending on plastic surgery status, almost no children. Pax were mostly well-off do-everything-together couples, or couples traveling with other couples, and a couple families. Most pax were reasonably mobile, though given our ages, it was not surprising that many casually complained about assorted health issue trials and tribulations and discomforts, while others appeared to cope with their apparent health demons in silence. It was hard to spot a solo traveler (which is not surprising as SB pricing is not solo-friendly), but there appeared to be a few. DRESS CODE: Pax usually followed the designated dress codes (usually “elegant casual”, though there were a couple “formal” nights with jacket required on which most pax wore suits and ties rather than tuxedos). There were some rare pax who occasionally showed up in ugly baggy blue jeans, workout fleece sweatshirts, thick down vests, thongs, T-shirts with writing, or a backwards baseball hat at the “elegant casual” dinners. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Food opinions are subjective, of course, but overall we found the food on this cruise good though not outstanding, and definitely good enough to do a SB cruise again, though the food and included wines were not as good as on my Odyssey BTB last September. I would not sail again on this ship primarily for the food experience. The food quality and variety also did not come close to the food on Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2 a few months ago (see my separate review on that, Cape Town to Cape Town). Every night dinner personnel tried to push an included sauvignon blanc or equivalent as the white of the day, not our favorites, but we knew enough to decline and were able to find both white and red included acceptable wines that were usually drinkable though not particularly interesting. There was also a decently priced special order wine list, though sometimes there were significant delays and confusion in securing our non-included choices. I did not see many pax ordering for-pay wines at dinners. Included champagne was Nicholas Feuillatte brut reserve. We ate at The Grill restaurant the first night where they served the new highly touted Thomas Keller (TK) menu, included in the fare. It was fine, but nothing spectacular. First came celery sticks with radishes and cucumber pieces and green goddess dressing, all fresh but not unique celestial, we can get these at home. Our baby asparagus appetizer with hollandaise sauce was next, delicate and subtle, fine. Our rack of lamb for two, with creamy mashed potatoes, was large and very fatty and was ok for us, but a couple Brits we met did not care for it and referred to it distastefully as “mutton”. Loud and annoying music pulsated overhead, apparently to create a 50’s and 60’s cool diner vibe and atmosphere (we asked to turn it down, and they did, a little). I had no desire to return. I regretted that the delightful and unique old R2 small-plates-with-pairings restaurant has been discontinued. The food in the MDR was usually prettily plated, but not spectacular in taste, and there were very limited choices with variable quality. All the fish dishes except for the excellent tender salmon options tasted mostly the same to me from day to day, bland, watery and salty (though I like salt). A few nights the MDR had a TK menu insert option for appetizer, main and dessert. The caviar special on the TK menu was not to my liking at all, bland, and the TK appetizer with firm spinach gnocchi and a soft-boiled egg on top with a cheese sauce and a strip of bacon did not do much for me either, nor did the TK watery chocolate dessert. However, the Siberian caviar served on sail-away one evening was terrific, though tightly rationed as people obediently lined up to get their little bites. Sometimes there were odd ingredient combinations, e.g., lemon and thyme mousse for dessert, that just did not work for us. I had a very good cauliflower potage a couple times, and generally the cream soups offered were all good, though usually served lukewarm. There were also TK offerings on a few nights in the Colonnade, by reservation only, with only one entree offering per night, e.g., fried chicken or clam bake. People we met during the cruise who had done the “family style” TK in the Colonnade one night complained that the amount of salad offered for six people was woefully small, and required great efforts by pax and waiter to expand portions. Our own experience in the Colonnade at the “Ad Hoc” TK event was ok though underwhelming: a giant “gem lettuce salad" with slow baked beets, radish, fried capers, and chopped egg was presented in one bowl family style to six people, but with only a couple tablespoons of the green goddess dressing in two separate containers (requests to replentish the dressing in adequate amounts were not totally successful). Main course was tender “hickory smoked BBQ ribs” with braised greens, baked beans, corn pone, and whipped honey butter; then came “cabot clothbound cheddar” with maldon flat bread and blue apron ale mustard; and dessert was “potted cheesecake” with poached blueberries and vanilla chantilly. All this basic "comfort food" was good though I’m not sure it was worth all the fuss. Servers wore jeans, and poured generic white or red wine into stemless glasses. With some difficulty, we ordered off the wine list to get something that could stand up to the ribs. Hip music blared over our heads, and the friendly though a little confused personnel were unable or unwilling to do anything about the sunlight that started glaring in from the window and baking us. We like trying a little bit of many things, so our favorite venue was the Colonnade, on non-TK nights, and for lunch. There was a different theme in the Colonnade each day, e.g., French, German, Japanese, Tuscan Market, pasta, etc. , mostly decent, except for “Baltic” day where waiters greeted us with the mantra “Welcome to Russia” and wore fake fur Russian-style hats, some with a Soviet red star, one hat was hot pink, another zebra-colored. The hats were as silly as the imitation and failed “Russian" food offerings (which did not include caviar), including the lukewarm borscht and non-Kiev "chicken Kiev". Japanese night offerings in the Colonnade were the most disappointing (though we are picky as we live in a neighborhood resplendent with terrific Japanese cuisine). Miso soup tasted like plain beef broth, the tempura on the lobster “tempura” appetizer resembled the coating used on KFC extra-crispy chicken placed on rubbery lobster, beef teriyaki was just a slab of beef with soy sauce, and the grilled shrimp in red sauce were like those in a reheated mail-order frozen dinner. Breakfast buffet was o.k. for filling the stomachs of people with usual American tastes, nothing special was offered on the basic uninteresting breads, cheeses (2), or meats (3), and 1 fish (smoked salmon) that were offered, but there was Greek yoghurt and there were made-to-order options for table service basic omelettes, pancakes and waffles. The eggs benedict were forgettable (they were much better on the Odyssey). I also had lunch in the MDR once (open for an hour each day every day this cruise) which was very relaxing, with mostly attentive service once they noticed me (seafood chowder, juicy Swedish meatballs, strawberry Napoleon), compared with the always hectic and at times somewhat understaffed prime-time Colonnade. We tried the TK “Napa Burger” at the Patio Grill, which was very juicy, with quality meat, properly cooked, good fries to go with it, great service. I am not sure why the room service burgers are not also “Napa Burger” quality. Room service offerings were basic and arrived on time and as expected (caesar salad, grilled NY cut sirloin, club sandwich, hamburgers, creamy tomato soup, etc). Breakfast and SB Square pastries and breads in general on board were so-so (other than on the few days when French baguettes were baked for dinner ) as was the very light ice cream, which was nothing like the daily to-die-for Italian ice cream specials with whipped cream options on the Europa 2. Snacks and coffees at Seabourn Square varied in quality, e.g., not uncommonly the espresso drinks were given to me lukewarm, though always with a friendly smile, and I definitely appreciated having these between-meal options available. I was happy to see that the calm Observation Bar also starts offering self-serve coffee (variable quality), tea bags, OJ and little pre-made breakfast pastries at 6:15, for those of us who do not wish to communicate with humans until we have been caffeinated. Observation bar snacks we tried before dinner twice were meager and uninteresting, e.g., little chunks of cheese in oil, pieces of ham, nuts, so we did not go back for them. Tea choices at tea-time were limited to about a dozen (compared with >30 mostly loose-leaf on the Europa 2), regular coffee was generally drinkable though often weak. Sweets at tea-time were generally on the dry side, sandwiches were plain, scones with clotted cream and jam were ok. I had several very good Irish coffees prepared for me in various venues. SERVICE The best way to describe SB service is that it is generally efficient and unobtrusive, and I did not often find myself getting annoyed with service deficiencies (exceptions noted). The stewardesses and eating venues personnel seemed generally well-trained, well-organized and attentive without being intrusive, and did not appear exhausted, except at peak hours when they sometimes struggled to keep up with wine refills and plate clearings, and typically did not check if we liked our entrees or had issues with the food until it was time for dessert, i.e., when too late, as they just did not have time. We had no difficulty communicating in English with the mostly hard-working and responsive primarily European and South American front-line personnel in the various venues (many from eastern Europe). The “do not disturb” sign on the cabin door was always respected (unlike some experiences we had on Silver Sea). My experiences in the bars when I went to imbibe by myself a few times were unfortunately not optimal, e.g., I watched one bartender (apparently beloved by others, so YMMV) rush together my Cosmo drink so quickly that it was not at all cold when served and was underdosed on the eye-balled alcohol. When he served DH and me in the Colonnade, he acted equally rushed and careless with our wines. In the Observation Lounge I was kept waiting for my drink for over 15 minutes one afternoon before dinner, and when I finally asked about it the confused waiter briefly left, came back and then smiled, stating “it is ready now”, when it was clear they had not even started on it, instead of saying they had just forgotten and apologizing. On another day, during afternoon tea, it was also a bit of a battle for my good-natured but persistent dining companion from the UK to receive his desired scones. It also appeared that it would have been useful to be a “regular” known to, and on first name basis with, the bartenders and some service personnel, but this is the case on all luxury lines which deal with frequent cruisers, as opposed to newbies. Fresh fruit was initially brought to our room daily, though we did not ask for it, and for a while it continued to come in large quantities even when we told personnel we did not need anymore bananas or apples. A couple we met, however, reported they were struggling to get fruit. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available on board ($50 per stuffed laundry bag, 2 day service, 50% uncharge for same-day service on items), nothing was permanently lost or transformed into a child’s size. There is also a launderette for self-serve we did not use, and a clothes-line is available over the tub for drying your own items. I asked to always have six bath towels and four wash rags in the bathroom, without need to change them daily, and they were always reliably there, no fuss. SB Square personnel appeared competent and helpful and professional, no complaints, but we also did not have any major issues to resolve. SPA, EXERCISE AREA, AND POOLS: as is all the rage on ships, loud and pulsating music was playing not just in the exercise area, but also in the manicure/pedicure/hair care area, which was not very relaxing. One lady working there was clearly very unhappy with her position and looking forward to leaving, but still did a very good job on the service I asked for. DH enjoyed his massages, but not the hard-sell on products (e.g., $179 for 10 packages of bath salts). DH also repeatedly enjoyed the relatively private hot tub in the bow on deck 6 (which was actually HOT, unlike on the Europa 2, where it was deliberately kept just luke-warm below body temperature), which appeared to be oddly popular with doctor cruisers on board (one night he met a radiologist in the tub, the next an ophthalmologist, the third an oncologist, the fourth a cardiologist, and I know there was a dermatologist on board too though she did not make it to the tub to meet DH). There were also four other hot tubs (two in the very public area near the main pool, and two more near the smaller pool on Deck 5 aft outside the Club lounge). The pool was nicely heated but not used much, presumably because this cruise the weather was cool. Music at the pool area was subdued and unintrusive. I toured the “serene” area of the spa area but did not find the rock hard loungers at all serene for my sore muscles, so I did not use it. DH used the fitness center, it was fine, usually uncrowded, with an ocean view. ENTERTAINMENT: Generally overall not to my taste this cruise. There was no classical music featured on any night. There was a British comedian-magician named Neal Austin who fancied himself to be comedically outrageous, but whom I did not find amusing, nor did I find the British comedian Stevie Jo generally amusing (though I admit I chuckled a few times). Most other nights offered assorted forgettable pop and crooner music by SB singers who attempted to sing Elton John, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder songs but somehow could not convey the correct emotions with their voices and styles. Their best performance was “Crossroads”, a blend of country and rock/pop. There were, however, plenty of “lounge lizard” musical offerings in the lounges, per usual on luxury cruise lines that cater to older people. Silver Sea, Regent, and Crystal had better main stage entertainment for our tastes, in our limited experience, and the Europa 2 absolutely did. In-room TV satellite service was unavailable much of the cruise as we were in the fjords with limited reception, which helped enforce the escapist nature of cruising. There were dozens of free in-room movies, however, with something for everyone, unless one desired something adult or X rated which we did not. The one TV in our basic suite was unfortunately very small, and in the middle of the room, presumably so you could see it from both the bed and the rock-hard sofa, but the view was always just from the side. There were also other activities, e.g., trivia, and a cooking demo, which we did not attend. A bridge tour was offered for free, but DH got there 2 minutes after departure time so he missed it. There were a couple “shopping with the chef” days posted in the Herald, but we did not attend. A galley tour was offered for free, we missed it. There were a couple uninspired lectures, e.g., about Norway scenery and birds and about the excursion basics, also available on the room TVs, but I am not sure that paying the guest lecturers for free cruises (with their partners) can be justified for what little they did here. One evening at 6PM there was a “meet your neighbors in the hall” event (we stayed in our suite, I was taking an enjoyable bubble bath using the ship’s very nice Molton Brown products ) and on the rainy day morning sail-in at Bergen, there was a “come in your bathrobe to the bow of deck 6 for mimosas and coffee" (I came for the coffee, in a warm down coat, only 1 person was there in a robe). In Eidfjord some cute Norwegian folk dancers also came on board wearing their $4000 folk dress costumes to dance and play fiddle and accordion for about 45 minutes and talk about Norwegian music history, this was interesting, followed by gravlax and caviar in the Bar. We had brought plenty of kindle/ipad books and had no problem finding things to do in between ports. INTERNET ship wifi was usually slow, sometimes non-existent, as is the case on all cruise lines I have been on, neither worse nor better, but generally was good enough to at least sometimes check messages, on-line newspapers, and work issues back home, and was faster during times when people were either asleep or in port on excursions and less people were trying to get on the ship’s wifi. We opted for the unlimited plan for $399 for the 12 days of the cruise to avoid the stress of sensing the clock ticking and price rising while on-line with a slow connection, but only one person in the suite could be on at a time. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Weather was variable on this cruise and involved a lot of rain. Anyone coming to Scandinavia should anticipate at least some rain, if not a lot of it, and the excursions will thus not all look like on postcards you see. But even with rainy weather, excursions were enjoyable. We spent 4 nights pre-cruise in sunny Copenhagen at the Marriott Copenhagen (one of two SB’s choice hotels) and easily could have spent more to see this lovely city. The Marriott (executive floor) is not perfect but was adequate, comfortable. Highly recommended off the beaten path things to do beyond the usual obvious city tour sites you cannot miss with Hop-On and Hop-off buses, or a basic private tour which we did, are the Hirschsprung Museum (private collection of striking, mostly dark, brooding 18th century Danish art with an excellent self-audioguide); the Louisiana Museum of art outside Copenhagen (modern, beautiful oceanside venue with sculpture gardens and with an excellent view smorgasbord area); and Fredericksburg castle (many old portraits and tapestries). On the funky Christianshaven island part of Copenhagen, we had a special meal at the "56-degrees" restaurant (fixed menu with wine pairings, beautiful outdoor dining venue and service, it was an easy cab ride from the Marriott). We also toured the Carlsberg Brewery which has a giant beer bottle collection, and a collection of historic buildings. We did a lot of SB-organized excursions, despite high cost, to save organizational stresses and time figuring out what to do in places we have never been. I received 10% off the excursions as a SB “silver.” Excursions with SB were primarily on generally comfortable and clean buses with reclining seats and WC, usually limited to about 26 people per bus (only one half-day excursion had 36 pax in the bus). We noted the usual reluctance of European bus drivers to run AC or open doors and windows to allow air to circulate while waiting to depart. Guide quality varied, and surprisingly many were not Norwegian-born (we had Spanish, Italian, and American ex-pats on various tours). ALBORG, Denmark — we did the SB excursion "Back to the Vikings", on which we saw a Viking grave site and museum (Lindholm), learned about the various slaves Vikings had, and sampled little Viking snacks including ham, pork rinds, excellent herring sampler (I could have made a meal of it), and local honey on bread. 4/5 stars for the tour. FLAM — this was a tender port for us (Tenders on the Quest are loud and have uncomfortable seating, compared with the Odyssey). We did the early morning Flam Railway — comfortable train chairs, WC on board; we stopped at a waterfall (Kjosfossen) half-way up and while in a big crowd of people, watched a young lady “troll” (who looked like a bored teen with a summer job) sing and dance. Then we headed higher up and had sugary cake and coffee at the historic inn at the top (Vatnahalsen Mountain Hotel), with a little extra time to walk around. In crowded Flam itself back at the bottom one could buy various street vendor sausages (elk, whale, goat, etc.). or dine in one of the tourist restaurants. 4/5 stars for the excursion. ALESUND, Norway — "The Islands of Giske and Godoy" excursion. We saw many bridges and tunnels that are engineering marvels. Best part was the Giske church and cemetery from 1150, which the dark, overcast day highlighted well. We had a sugary pancake and cream cake with coffee at the under-renovation lighthouse near Alnes, (no forks) and unfortunately also endured the company of some aggressive fellow-cruisers who demanded to buy “one of each” of the available cakes (which required purchase of the entire cakes) because they did not like what was served for the SB group. However, after insisting on buying the entire cakes, they then haggled with the hapless waitress about $1.50 extra on the final price tag,loudly insisting they should get more than “crumbs” for their high cost. 3/5 stars for the tour overall, (4/5 for the scenery and sites, 2/5 for the excursion guide who spoke so slooowly that she put people to sleep, 1/5 for the fellow cruisers for embarrassing behavior). There are clearly both advantages and disadvantages to being thrust together with strangers on cruise excursions. MOLDE, Norway — "The Atlantic Ocean Road and Haholmen Island” excursion. Excellent 5/5 half-day tour of local islands and archipelago, made better by great weather to accompany our “Viking ship” open air trip to Goat Island (Geitoya), which had a replica of the famous Saga Siglar environmental-message ship. We saw a movie about the ship’s construction and eco-sailings, (and its demise at sea), then had a 2 cubic-inch piece of very sweet cake and coffee (again, oddly no forks), returned around 1:30PM to the Quest, which was late for lunch so one has to plan ahead if one gets hungry easily, as the Colonnade closes for lunch at 2 and personnel there always make a point of clearing away the buffets right on time. GEIRANGER, Norway — "The Best of Geirangerfjord", 8.5 hours. This was a long bus trip over twisty mountain roads, with classic hairpin turns, to assorted scenic vistas, some quite high up above the timber zone (bring a warm jacket and hat). +WC on the bus. Lunch around 12:30 was at a very nice upscale tourist hotel where everyone en-masse was served lukewarm but flavorful cream of white asparagus soup, cod in a cream sauce, and low-fat vanilla ice cream with generic chocolate sauce, then stroll time, over the course of 1 hour and 20 minutes. The day culminated in a scenic 3-language one-hour ferry ride back to Geirangen, with many waterfalls and scenes of old abandoned cliffside farms where one could sit on the open deck or indoors in comfortable chairs. 4/5 tour. MOLDE, Norway — DH did the SB sponsored “Hike to Briksdal Glacier” (rated 3 little men in strenuousness on a scale of 1 to 3) which he enjoyed, 5/5 quality, while I vegged out in town and for 20 Euros rode for 1 hour and 10 minutes around the lake on the tame “Olden Sightseeing” Disneyland-like little train car that waited outside the quay soliciting customers (the people recruiting for the ride will inevitably tell you it is leaving in “a couple minutes”, even though it may not leave for a half hour, depending on how full it is). BERGEN, Norway — we did not do any excursions on this mostly rainy Sunday, just walked this charming town on our own past the colorful fresh fish market (which had a variety of fresh crabs, fish, paella, fish and chips, as well as more whale and goat smoked sausage) and past the old fire-prone downtown buildings, then up to the university district where we had a pleasant light lunch of grilled tender fresh Norwegian salmon with cucumber and young potatoes with yoghurt sauce at a comfortable outdoor but covered centrally located casual restaurant called Loge Haven, where we listened to a street band play international tunes, and people-watched. We also spent a lot of time in the Konde 3 museum which has a good-sized provocative Monch collection, with a very interesting short guided tour (in English at 12 PM and 2PM). Did not have time to make it to the unusual leprosy museum we’d read about, or the museum about the Norwegian resistance v. Germans in WW2, or any of the other many museums you can immerse yourself in here. SB offered a hiking trip (in the rain) as well as an excursion up the funicular, which you could also do on your own, though there were not many views available with the cloudy weather. Eidfjord, Norway — “Scenic Fossil and Voringsfoss Waterall” excursion, 3 hours. 3/5 overall. This involved a short ride to a major local dam, then to a hotel where we had coffee and more uninspiring Norwegian sugary cake at the old family hotel that is right above a magnificent and powerful very inspiring waterfall, then back to the ship. Construction is going on right now, so that in the future one will be able to walk over the waterfall on a glass floor. Stavanger, Norway — “Old and new Stavanger” excursion took us around the town in a bus and to an interesting open air exhibit of pre-Viking Iron Age life, then on to the fascinating Petroleum Museum where you could easily spend several hours on the exhibits and simulated oil drilling platforms, great for kids and techies. We then had a short guided walk through old Stavanger where one can also easily walk around oneself and tour cute shops and restaurants not far from the ship. 4/5 tour. IN SUMMARY, we enjoyed the cruise, the itinerary, and generally very good SB service, but were just a bit disappointed in the uninspired food offerings. But we realize no cruise is perfect, and were impressed enough that we will be keeping our SB Quest cruise booking in the spring of 2017, hoping food quality improves. We have posted some pictures of the cruise and the ports in this wonderful area. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I chose this cruise so I could get a balcony on a smaller ship that sails up the fjords of Norway. This was the best cruise experience I have ever had, and I have been on quite a few cruises. The standard room is so large! balcony, ... Read More
I chose this cruise so I could get a balcony on a smaller ship that sails up the fjords of Norway. This was the best cruise experience I have ever had, and I have been on quite a few cruises. The standard room is so large! balcony, living area, large very comfortable bed, very large walk in closet, hallway and very large bath with separate tub and walk in shower and two sinks in the vanity. I have never been so comfortable on a ship. I thought having a butler was silly. But she and the housekeeper did so much for us. All of our luggage was lost and they worked to take care of laundry, tailoring for clothes we bought, and made sure we were always comfortable. After terrible flight problems and delays and lost luggage they were a welcome service. The Receptionist staff (cursor?), led by Priscilla worked tirelessly until they got British Airways to find and deliver our luggage. Priscilla personally called BA twice a day and tortured them in to resolving this. My husband's luggage was shipped to bergen our second port. Mine was supposedly shipped to Christiansund, our second port, but BA really shipped it to Christiansand, not a port of ours, and finally flew it into Flam where I got it one day before we finished. What wonderful great people. On top of that the wonderful food, excellent excursions, incredibly kind, efficient and friendly staff at all levels, fun entertainment and beautiful facilities. The free alcohol and drinks are completely on the up and up. This ship was never stingy once. I would gladly cruise with Silverseas anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My first cruise, my wife has been on several but I have always been dubious of marketing hype so this skeptic took a bit of convincing, glad I did, I looked online for a variety of options and the mass market sailings almost put me off ... Read More
My first cruise, my wife has been on several but I have always been dubious of marketing hype so this skeptic took a bit of convincing, glad I did, I looked online for a variety of options and the mass market sailings almost put me off until I found Silver Sea, quality from start to finish, We went to Norway and the weather was fantastic circa 29*c and sunny so I accept we were very lucky, however I can only comment on what I found, the service was outstanding, everything was of the best quality, I cannot find fault anywhere, we normally safari in Africa and the expense of this trip was on a par with that so for our main holiday it was not excessive, the clientele was mainly 50 plus, very few children or teenagers and the ones that were there were well mannered and behaved, if you want a robust experience this is probably a bit sedate but it worked for me. Difficult to pick out any feature that was in any way negative the attention to detail and the staff was as good as it gets. Reading my report makes me look like the best employee Silver Sea has ever had but I can assure you there is no connection and I am no sycophant, if anything I am hyper critical. Lets just say, for our next cruise I wont bother "trawling" the web, it will be Silver Sea, no doubts, no worries. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in ... Read More
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in Estonia and Helsinki. We were very pleased with the knowledge of both guides. The other reason we chose Seabourn was the Thomas Keller dining experience Seabourn offered, a foodie's paradise. We were totally blown away with the various Keller inspired dining venues. The chef and his crew did not disappoint in any of the exquisite meals prepared. The crew was friendly and knowledgable from how the food are prepared to explaining differences in caviar sourcing. Both galley and kitchen tours were informative and well presented. What makes this smaller ship attractive is the size. There are no huge crowd during embarkation or disembarkation, no crowd dining. The ship is able to get into the smaller ports thereby closer to all attractions. In St. Petersburg, we were docked in the city. Most attractions were just a few minutes away by car. The larger ships must dock further away and sometimes 2-3 hours drive to any given destination. The verandah cabins on deck 6 were spacious and very well appointed. We were able to have caviar in our cabin or outside deck most late afternoon before dinner. Deck 6 is also a central location for all the dining venues, pool, bar, library and salon. Overall, cruise service, cabin, lectures and dining were superb. 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
My 10th cruise - First on Silverseas We like small ships - the size of Whisper was perfect for us and the itinerary was interesting. We traveled with 2 other couple and all of us stayed in suites. We did not take any of the shore tours ... Read More
My 10th cruise - First on Silverseas We like small ships - the size of Whisper was perfect for us and the itinerary was interesting. We traveled with 2 other couple and all of us stayed in suites. We did not take any of the shore tours since we prefer to book a car and driver/guide. The cabins are well appointed and very clean - size were OK - but if there is a next time we will book a bigger cabin. The restaurants were acceptable with the typical array of buffets and menus. I was expecting a more selective quality and preparation. We tried all four restaurants and none of them impressed me. The grill was a fun place but the weather was too cold to enjoy it. The cost + restaurant La Champagne menu was disappointing since it never changed. So one dinner was sufficient. None of us participated in any of the cruise activities and went to the show twice in two days. The speaker was very good. We had some issues the first three days with employees attitudes, wine choices, etc., but were quickly fix by management. WIFI Services were terrible. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
A big hunk of my ancestry is from Sweden, and ever since a Swedish cousin came to visit 20 years ago and invited us to a Swedish homecoming, I've wanted to find out more about Scandinavia and the general region that includes the ... Read More
A big hunk of my ancestry is from Sweden, and ever since a Swedish cousin came to visit 20 years ago and invited us to a Swedish homecoming, I've wanted to find out more about Scandinavia and the general region that includes the Baltic states and a part of Russia--St. Petersburg. We set sail from Copenhagen in perfect weather, and other than one rainy evening when leaving St. Petersburg, we enjoyed almost ideal weather--perhaps a tad warm for the Baltic. On top of that we had what the locals call "White Nights," early dawns and light until about 11pm. One folk dance we went to in St. Petersburg got out at 10:30, and as we bussed back to the ship, people were out walking in a late afternoon light--couples, families, individuals. From our balcony onboard, we had spectacular views almost 20 hours per day. Our suite booking allowed us to board early, and it was the easiest imaginable. Once on board we had to wait until our suite was ready, but we were able to enjoy all of the public areas and explore the ship in the meantime. After lunch, we went to our stateroom, and our butler came by and introduced himself and asked if we needed anything, which we did--some distilled water for the cpap and a converter to plug it in. Since we had both a butler and stateroom attendant, things got a little confused but it was all taken care of. The Marina has four gourmet restaurants, a main dining room, a Terrace cafeteria and a Waves burger joint. We tried them all, and they were all good. Of the four specialty restaurants, we liked the Polo Lounge, Toscana (Italian), and Red Ginger (Asian fusion) the most. The other guests' favorite was Jaques (French), and while quite good, we made an unfortunate choice of the prime rib there, which was tough. The Main Dining room was always good. We either breakfasted in our cabin or the Terrace cafeteria, but it was very easy to have our butler bring in breakfast while we tried to focus on the new port. The booking included three excursions, and because of the costly Russian visa requirements, we took all three in St. Petersburg (guided tour groups required no visa), and they were all excellent. Otherwise, we explored on our own. Many passengers booked tours/excursions to Berlin (from our port in Warnemunde, Germany) but they had to spend more time on the train trip to and from Berlin than we cared to and so instead took the train to nearby Rostock, Germany. Both the beach resort of Warnemunde and Rostock are delightful, and we found that Americans were considered fairly rare guests in Rostock--keep in mind that Rostock was in East Germany until the fall of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany. (In a little German restaurant in a courtyard, the server brought out her boss out to display us as either oddities or rarities.) Both Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia were wonderful surprises. Both are a combination of bustling cities with nearby old towns. We walked around both and found lots of locally made woolens and amber jewelry as well as art and historic museums. We could easily spend a week in either and find new interests and history. In Riga, art nouveau architecture was everywhere. For a lot of the passengers, including us, St. Petersburg was the rich and exciting place to be. It did not disappoint. Near where we docked, the Russians were building a new stadium and freeway to the site of the 2018 World Cup. The city itself was colorful, bustling and a combination of royal splendor and Soviet practicality. We took the canal tour, which was an ideal way to see this city of islands. One of the excursions was to the subway--the deepest in the world. We took a down escalator that took 7 minutes to descend to the lower level and then took another escalator even deeper to get on a very fast train to the next stop. We saw no trash bins nor a scrap of litter in the beautifully appointed stations. The walls were decorated with ceramic mosaics, sculptures and paintings depicting Russian history. The Russian folk dances were great, and different native groups from Cossack to Roma costumes and dances were featured in the dances. After the canal trip we made a short stop at a souvenir shop and were greeted by a young woman in native costume offering us all a shot of vodka and chaser. (Take note Walmart--Russian greeters can teach you a thing or two.) Some of the passengers decided to take the train to Moscow from St. Petersburg, but it ate up more time in the transit than we cared, and St. Petersburg is spectacular. After St. Petersburg, we weren't expecting much from Helsinki, but it too was a wonderful surprise. We walked up to the Rock Church and on the way saw the fabulous art deco railroad station. At the city hall, another impressive building in a city with many, a Gay Pride celebration was in full swing. In finding our way back to the dock, my wife and I just followed the rainbow banners to the city hall. In the dock area where a shuttle bus dropped us off was every manner of Finnish art, fur hats, amber, sweaters, and native Sami crafts in an open-air market. It was incredible. The major complaint about Oceana was its advertising "free Wi-fi" and delivering an anemic wi-fi that only worked on one device at a time. There is no technological reason for that, and having the capacity and ability to freely use wi-fi is an important part of modern life. The 1995 era technology delivered along with the public computers with only Internet Explorer was an added insult. Most of the guests seemed to have iPhones and iPads, and we had both with an additional MacBook Pro. Even when wi-fi was available it was weak and unreliable. As soon as we hit a port, most of the towns had far superior free wi-fi. One of these days, a cruise line is going to offer unlimited free wi-fi, and that will change the gouging practices of Oceana and other cruise lines that prey on their customers' reliance on the new technology. One other gripe of Oceana (as well as every other cruise line) is the constant marketing that goes on. Oceana isn't as bad as others with photography "opportunities" at every turn and crummy artwork for sale, but they have their share. After an informative talk on amber, various amber jewelry trinkets went on sale on the ship. They were literarily twice the price as the amber seen on shore the next day and no where near the quality or variety. Later, the same thing happened with Russian souvenirs. The only other hitch was the debarkation process. We ended up in an endless taxi queue in Stockholm (we stayed there extra days) and mob scene on board that looked like the evacuation of Saigon more than an orderly debarkation process. Overall, though we were all treated quite well in a very nice environment with a wonderfully attentive crew. The entertainment was 50-50--half was great and half was the lounge show at the "Last Nickel Casino" in Vegas. The cruise line had indicated that they boarded local talent from the cities we visited--that's a good idea to actually carry out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We travelled with 3 other couples to celebrate our 60th birthdays. Our cabin was very nice and the service in the cabin was very good. Their drink packages are very confusing. My wife and I each bought one only to find out it was for beer ... Read More
We travelled with 3 other couples to celebrate our 60th birthdays. Our cabin was very nice and the service in the cabin was very good. Their drink packages are very confusing. My wife and I each bought one only to find out it was for beer and wine and only when we were dining. If we were at the pool or any other locations during the day we were charged for our drinks. I felt like I was getting nickeled and dimed to death. We also noticed the service slowed down when they found out we were on the drink by the glass package. We had to wait a long time to be served. We did a shore excursion in St. Petersburg, Russia that was a total mess! We waited on the bus for over 30 minutes for one passenger. The driver would not turn on the A/C which made it miserable. Finally left only to get in to a traffic jam for approx. 45 minutes. Our first stop was to get on a boat to cruise the canals. One person in our group was using a walker which made it very tough to get on and off the boat. My friend and I helped him through all of this. When our boating was over, our guide informed us that our bus had been in an accident and we would have to walk several blocks to wait for the replacement bus. Again my friend and I helped the person that was using the walker navigate the busy sidewalks to the new pick up location. The new bus was very late and we were the last ones back to the ship. I tried to get a refund and was told that I would have to wait to be contacted by Guest Services. They never contacted me so we are trying to go through American Express to get this taken care of. I would never do that excursion again. I was shocked that no one would listen to my concerns. For that, they get a bad grade. Poor public relations! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to cruise through the Norwegian fjords. Silversea had the perfect trip and we booked it a year ago. The ship has very comfortable rooms and I cannot say enough as to how marvelous the food and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to cruise through the Norwegian fjords. Silversea had the perfect trip and we booked it a year ago. The ship has very comfortable rooms and I cannot say enough as to how marvelous the food and service was on board. I have taken many cruises but none had such a fabulous group of personnel. I do want to congratulate them on this feature. The shows were quite good but not outstanding. The group was ok but they filled too many days with the same singers. The show presented by Vicky the cruise director was fantastic. She is a full fledged show-woman and offered the best show of the whole cruise. We ate at the Champagne restaurant twice. The service and the food was excellent. I do think that they could change the menu a bit every week . We canceled our third reservation because the menu didn't offer anything more that we would have liked. The disembarkation process was very well organized with no problems at all. The big problem was with the tours. We booked them ahead of time and thought we could count on this famous cruise line to offer only the best. Not so. The head at the tour concierge desk had not been on the tours, did not know what they entailed and when our problems were met, she froze and did not handle them properly. I do not think you can organize a tour in a zodiac that has no roof on a cruise across a lake in very cold weather and in the pouring rain; keeping in mind that 99% of the passengers in this cruise were over 60. There was another tour in a large Viking boat with the same problems and to make matters worse there was no places to sit down while the ship went to the other side of the lake. We were lucky that no one fell or got sick. The other 2 tours had guides that could not be heard and were not professionals . One did not even know the date of the church he was showing us. Very expensive and very disappointing.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a ... Read More
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a single woman traveler, mid-60's and accustomed to traveling alone, I have always met like-minded travelers along the way and had great experiences. I have cruised 23 times and been on 8 river cruises. A disappointing start, when the captain announced an anticipated storm on the North Sea, and the ship would leave Copenhagen later and miss our first port. I later discovered that many passengers had delayed flight. I believe we could have left on time and been ahead of the storm, riding out the weather in our first port. As it turned out, we spent two days at sea in the storm and then missed our second port, three days at sea! No adjustment was made to the itinerary to try to compensate for the loss of two ports. This was a small ship, the ports were not busy, a smart operator would have made changes to the itinerary to pacify passengers. The ship lived up it it's reputation as to service and food, I was happy with the service from an excellent butler, Ivy, and her team. My cabin was considered a "suite", as Silver Seas is an "all suite" cruise line. The bathroom was large, double sinks, shower and separate tub. Furnishings were worn, bed very uncomfortable. The food was better than average, however, quite repetitive after the first five days and no consideration was taken for the amazing fresh fish and produce available in ports. No special "theme" nights as we sailed through spectacular scenery in the fjords. Room service was excellent, the dining room dinners were slow and repetitive. I ordered room service 3 nights, which was more relaxing than dragging through a slow pompous dinner with stuffy passengers who loved to expand upon their number of sailing days, how many homes they own, and their brilliant careers. Between the hours of 5:00 - 7:00 pm food was only available from room service, so if you returned from a shore excursion after 5 pm, there was no choice of where to eat. The entertainment was very limited, repetitive and not too rate. Geared more toward the over 70's crowd. The cruise director extremely corny. The port lecturer, a "geologist" gave a talk most mornings, his slides were 15 years old. He did not go up to the bridge and broadcast as we sailed through magnificent fjords, villages and various points of interest. The shore excursions were expensive, tour guides poor, tours too slow paced and uninteresting. I later discovered that the shore excursions manager had not visited the ports in advance. A group on board called "Captain's Circle" had exciting excursions and planned activities on board for their guests which were well organized and when the occasion needed, their itinerary would be changed. No attempt to make alternative arrangements was made by Silver Seas. On one tour, we were put into an open, wooden boat in belting rain and taken over and back to an island for coffee, cake and a movie?! Embarkation was a breeze, as passengers arrived at various time. Disembarkation was a disaster - lots of confusion, people on wrong buses, no help loading/unloading luggage. I was put on a bus to the airport at 9:00 am for a 2:20 pm flight! About 50% of the passengers were leaving the ship, I don't know how they would have managed if 100% were disembarking. My Silver Seas experience was an expensive disappointment. This is a cruise line catering to a very select, over 70's market. Don't know how much longer they will survive in today's market. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This is the second time we have sailed on Seabourn. We sailed the first time on the smaller ship The Legend, which is now owned by Windstar. We were little apprehensive sailing on The Quest which is twice the size of The legend but to be ... Read More
This is the second time we have sailed on Seabourn. We sailed the first time on the smaller ship The Legend, which is now owned by Windstar. We were little apprehensive sailing on The Quest which is twice the size of The legend but to be honest we were not disappointed and in fact preferred The Quest which has lots of extra space and facilities. There were 450 guests on board and never did I feel that our own personal space was restricted. The Quest is a beautiful maintained ship and has the feel of a luxury floating hotel. The Staff were all young and enthusatic whilst led by senior’s who led by example, assisting where necessary and during special onboard events would serve food and drinks to the guests. The Captain was outstanding and was always visible and approachable. His officers were equally visible and they all worked together as one multicultural family. The seniors called us by name after day two and although the majority of staff didnt they always remembered our drink preference’s both in the bar and restaurant’s. 'No' is not a word you will ever hear on Seabourn. If they haven’t got what you would like in one restaurant they will find it from elsewhere or make sure that it is available the next day for you. We were sad to leave the ship which after two weeks had become like a second home. One place that we partically loved was sitting in The Square. They have leather reclining chairs which had great views from the aft of the ship. We did not pay for internet but were pleasantly surprised that portable Ipads were available loaded with a selection of newspapers for all nationalites. I have never seen this facility available before on other cruise lines so was a very pleasant surprise. I was able to read my daily newspaper in comfort of a reclining chair at The Square whilst sipping a freshly brewed coffee from The Square Barista. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that ... Read More
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that Seabourn and Silversea are the two lines that best meet our criteria best. The Norwegian fjord cruise was excellent. Seabourn has a marina and offers a series of zodiac an kiak tours which was a great addition to the normal tours on the itinerary. All in all, a great cruise experience. The staff was very attentive and the restaurants each had themes every night making for interesting dining. The Thomas Keller Grill was an exceptional dining experience. Suites were comfortable and there was more than enough storage space. Little things like fresh fruit brought to the room every day adds a lot to the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose to sail on the Quest to Norway having had a fantastic cruise on the Quest in the fall of 2015 through Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. That cruise was awesome, and we loved the ship, the crew, the guests and the dining. The ... Read More
We chose to sail on the Quest to Norway having had a fantastic cruise on the Quest in the fall of 2015 through Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. That cruise was awesome, and we loved the ship, the crew, the guests and the dining. The Quest is a beautiful ship, and easy to call it home for our trip. The cabin, however, was not thoroughly cleaned when we embarked. Our stewardess on this trip spoke poor English, and was difficult to communicate with. This was one of the reasons we are not giving this cruise 5 stars. But we were very cozy after settling in. The weather was still cold as this cruise went above the Arctic Circle to the North Cape, so we had brought along extra blankets and needed them. Still, we were able to use the balcony many days, and enjoyed the fantastic scenery and the Midnight Sun. We were not happy with the changes in the dining aboard the Quest with the new Thomas Keller menus. We did not mind the change from Restaurant 2 to the TK Grill, but did not like the changes in the Restaurant and the Colonnade. In the Colonnade there were four Thomas Keller nights serving meals such as ribs and fried chicken. We vastly preferred the regular Colonnade menus and felt cheated out of the local seafood that we expected on a cruise through Scandinavia. If you like French Haute Cuisine and foie gras you may like the other TK menus, but we did not. We found the dining options more restricted and stressful. There was also not the seamless service in the dining areas that we had had before. We will be watching to see how Seabourn handles the TK menus, especially in the Colonnade, before we book another Seabourn cruise. Still, we had many wonderful evenings in the Restaurant and the Colonnade, and many good options for breakfast including coffee and pastries in the Seabourn Square. The itinerary and shore excursions were fantastic. Our Captain was very experienced and hailed from Denmark. One of the reasons we like Seabourn is their Scandinavian captains. We really loved seeing Arctic Norway, and had three wonderful days in Copenhagen!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We love Viking River Cruise and we had very good time on river cruise so we get on Viking Sea. Viking Sea the small lovely with great public areas for relaxing ship and excellent services, the staff was very pleasant. The cabin were ... Read More
We love Viking River Cruise and we had very good time on river cruise so we get on Viking Sea. Viking Sea the small lovely with great public areas for relaxing ship and excellent services, the staff was very pleasant. The cabin were very comfortable. The dining are great, Buffets were plentiful with lots of healthy fruits what ever you like, also choose the food from different restaurants. We really enjoyed the numbers entertainment programmer and activities. especially we like the route map. we like the North France See and had unforgettable the D-Day battlefield tours of Normandy Beach. we also enjoined the Viking See route map we love all of the ports and Shore excursions. This is an extraordinary itinerary most people will never get to experience. I will bring my family to Viking Ocean in future and planning my self every year on Viking once, and will tell friends. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This is our second cruise on Regent 7 Seas last year we took the Navigator on a 12 Day Alaska cruise with Oregon, Victoria and San Francisco at the end. We have been cruising since 1995 on various lines about once per year. After our ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Regent 7 Seas last year we took the Navigator on a 12 Day Alaska cruise with Oregon, Victoria and San Francisco at the end. We have been cruising since 1995 on various lines about once per year. After our excellent experience on the Navigator we decided to try a European itinerary on the Baltic. There were various special offers with this cruise with a 3 class upgrade and Business class air included. We had a D class Concierge suite which was the same level as last years cruise. Overall I would grade this a 4.5 on a scale of 1-5. The service, food and accommodations were all up to standard. Overall our experience was excellent but as with all cruises there were always a few small hitches and glitches that I would rate as momentarily annoying but not decreasing the overall cruise experience when taken in total. I will list a few of the short comings that we experienced. 1. The Pre-Hotel was not included since we received an upgrade was not part of our package. We felt we needed at least a day of jet lag down time we opted to pay $800 for the transfers and hotel package. The hotel The Scandic Copenhagen hotel which was supposed to be at least 4 star was at best 3 star. The rooms were downright bleak with two twin beds minimalist furniture, no closets and a tiny bathroom with no counter space. This hotel on Expedia was listed at $170 per night if we had booked separately. The restaurant while good had a limited menu and was quite expensive for what was offered. 2. The rooms on-board were not ready for almost 3 hours after we boarded and there was no one to show us to the suites. We were expected to find our own way and drag our carry ones around the ship. The luggage although they had possession of it since 11 pm the night before did not arrive till just before 7 in the evening. 3. The wait staff in the Compass Rose main restaurant varied as to their abilities. Being ignored particularly at lunch and breakfast was, at times, a bit tiresome. Also some of the waiters (especially the Eastern Europeans) must have smoked like chimneys in their uniforms as they smelled like an old ashtray when they came within 10 feet of you. 4. Most of the tours were very good and the guides were friendly but our Hermitage guide in St. Petersburg last job must have been in the Gulags. She was curt and took a school children’s field trip approach to the tour. We raced through the very crowded museum barely able to keep up with her. At the end of the tour the most important thing to her was our replacing the wireless headphone devices back in the holder wrapped up in the original plastic bag we were told very firmly we must not discard. We were so exhausted we cancelled the evening tour 5. The casino slots were mostly broken and the casino itself was tiny. The Positives 1. The restaurants were all excellent. The Compass Rose food was as good as the specialty restaurants. 2. The suites were well maintained, large with plenty of storage. The Stewards were wonderful and unobtrusive. 3. The high teas and pastries were superb 5 out of 5. 4. The ships operation by the navigation team was flawless. 5. Just about everything was truly included no nickel and dime charges for anything. 6. The entertainment was overall very good for a ship of the Voyagers limited size. 7. I had reason to use the medical service staff to have some stitches removed from an accident that occurred before the cruise. It was done without fuss and the charge seemed to be in line with what I would have paid at home. The overall experience was very positive and we would choose to sail Regent without question again. It would be hard for us to go back to any of the larger mass marketed ships again because we would be always comparing it to Regent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We booked this cruise about 4 weeks before departure. I was disappointed at first that I wasn't able to get a room with a balcony but our ocean view room was perfect and I'm glad we didn't spend the extra money! Everything ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 4 weeks before departure. I was disappointed at first that I wasn't able to get a room with a balcony but our ocean view room was perfect and I'm glad we didn't spend the extra money! Everything about this trip was fantastic. We have been on several cruises, from small to large, and this was by far our favorite. From the accommodations to the food to the staff (cruise director Ray was fabulous) to the options for shore excursions, nothing was overlooked. It is definitely an older crowd (my husband and I are 51 & 54) but we met plenty of people near our age and enjoyed the company of everyone we met. We will definitely take another Oceania cruise in the future! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Chose this cruise simply because of the itinerary. The idea of 18% added on to all purchases is anathema to us but we decided we would not purchase anything that involved this charge. Embarkation was quick with baggage being taken ... Read More
Chose this cruise simply because of the itinerary. The idea of 18% added on to all purchases is anathema to us but we decided we would not purchase anything that involved this charge. Embarkation was quick with baggage being taken from you as you entered into the jetty marque. Usual pettiness regarding security, I believe this is now a self perpetuating industry as you come across it everywhere. Ship décor has a dark Victorian theme which we think appeals to the American market, (country club), but we found it rather foreboding. (British). Having said that, it was all very clean and Horizons was a pleasant place to be for views, comfort and high tea. There is some good artwork in corridors, stairways and public areas. Food was very good in all restaurants if you could get into them. Waiters very good but maître-d's could be a bit touchy and abrupt especially if requiring a table for two. Special restaurants Toscana and Polo are difficult to get into as higher grade cabins have three sittings allocated to them and I do believe there is some greasing of palms goes on to get a place, again, tables for two are discouraged. Toscana we found to be pretentious and pompous with the food quality and service not as good as the rest of the ship. Polo was excellent all round, beef fillet was to die for and service impeccable. Entertainment we didn't take part in, we are not bingo, trivia or casino fans. Theatre shows were good except for the American acts, but I suppose we would say that. There is definitely a culture and taste divide between those either side of the "pond" where entertainment is concerned. In some instances the American passengers could be loud, demanding and annoying. The cruise director, Mr Carr, was one of these, I got to dread the sound "bing bong bing bong" on the PA system. He could be very repetitive and patronising, loud and loved the sound of his own voice which grated on my ears. After leaving the Kiel Canal we encountered some fairly lumpy waters, nothing much to worry about, however, at 0200 in the morning we were struck by a rogue wave on the port quarter which stove in some dining room windows and flooded the dining room as well as throwing everything on the set tables onto the deck. The crew cleared lower deck and cleared up during the rest of the night, commendable but no need for Mr Carr to keep going on about it. The crew would not have had a choice to turn out or not, nevertheless, they worked hard to clear the areas involved. Excursions were extortionately priced and we did not go on any of them. From what we overheard they were not very good value for money either. We arranged our St Petersburg tours on the internet, very easy, and other ports of call we used tourist offices or hop on hop off. Dis-embarkation in Southampton was well organised and went well. The local cab drivers are rogues, wanting a £10 minimum fare plus the metre for a 11/2 mile journey to station. Looking for long distance to Gatwick and Heathrow. Having said that, a darn sight cheaper than if booking on board. We would be hard pressed to go with Oceania again only because it didn't suit our tastes. We are sure it will suit a lot of cruisers out there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We chose this cruise after a lot of research into several types of cruises and locations in Europe. After a booking error with another line and bait and switch pricing, we went with the competitor: Oceania. We chose this ship because not ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a lot of research into several types of cruises and locations in Europe. After a booking error with another line and bait and switch pricing, we went with the competitor: Oceania. We chose this ship because not only was every room a suite, it coincided perfectly with the dates of a trip we were taking over seas and included a number of locations we had always wanted to see, but couldn't pick just one. The staff was fantastic. The ports of call were great. The food was fabulous even by our spoiled foodie tastes. We chose to book our own excursions because we wanted to see things in most places that the cruise line didn't offer to show. I have also been to both Sweden and Finland before and was well versed in how to get around and had friends to meet in Finland so being with the other guests was pointless. For the day at sea, I took one of the cooking classes (by myself while my husband worked from our suite online) and really enjoyed myself. They do pair you up with another person so if you are going as a group be sure to book together. If you sign up alone as I did, you will just be paired up with whoever else is alone in the class. Either way, I enjoyed it. The only draw back is that the ship is smaller (if that's a draw back at all). I liked that it was higher end and gave a more customized experience and wasn't like hiking the great wall of China to get anywhere, but in rough water you do feel it more and for the first time in my life I needed sea sickness medicine. Although, for a smaller boat it did handle it well. Secondly, if you are under 40, you will likely be the youngest people on this ship. I get that it's more expensive and most younger people are on a budget, but it did make making friends on the ship and at dinner harder. But, if you are on a honeymoon for example and want to keep to yourselves anyway, this would be perfect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This cruise was scheduled to depart Bergen, Norway on August 9 but mechanical problems with the ship on the previous voyage delayed and almost curtailed the cruise we were scheduled to take. Two days before the sail date, we received a ... Read More
This cruise was scheduled to depart Bergen, Norway on August 9 but mechanical problems with the ship on the previous voyage delayed and almost curtailed the cruise we were scheduled to take. Two days before the sail date, we received a notice that there were problems and we would "most likely" be able to depart from Copenhagen on August 11. In fairness, we were given the option to cancel our trip with a full refund or continue with a $500 shipboard credit and 30% off another cruise. Knowing Vikings excellent reputation and attention to detail, we took the risk. The effort to accommodate about 600 passengers and arrange excursions in Norway and Denmark on short notice was impressive. We were told that once we reached our French port of Le Havre, all would go as previously planned. However, this is where everything fell apart. All shore excursions were planned many months in advance so should have been seamlessly executed. First stop - Lisbon, Portugal. Excursion listed as "easy" for passengers was a grueling, hilly and 4 1/2 hours of walking with a 20 minute break. Many passengers chose to return to the ship half way through. When complaints were made, we were told that the excursion was listed as "demanding" on Viking's computers but listed as "easy" on passenger itinerary. And it went on that way for most of the trip. How smart does one have to be to see that 5-7 daily excursions listed to depart 15 minutes apart from the same exit will be a problem? We were told about a third of the passengers cancelled their trip. What would Viking have done with an additional 300 passengers in the same situation? Surprisingly poor planning especially since this part of the plan was in place months before the sail date. Beyond that, the staff was excellent, couldn't be more attentive. Food was excellent. Rooms well maintained. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Now back from our "Passage through Western Europe" cruise, all our friends and neighbors are asking, “How was your trip?” Our answer: “It was wonderful!” “Amazing.” “A real ADVENTURE!” The Viking Star was ... Read More
Now back from our "Passage through Western Europe" cruise, all our friends and neighbors are asking, “How was your trip?” Our answer: “It was wonderful!” “Amazing.” “A real ADVENTURE!” The Viking Star was launched back on April 11 and we’ve been following every Cruise Critic posting, diligently, since then. The ship is GORGEOUS! How could it not be? Every public space on board was designed as if you’re visiting someone’s (albeit a rich someone) living room with warm wool throws and throw pillows everywhere. Even the seating on the deck 8’s Sun Deck is wonderfully inviting, with very large outdoor sofas! This was our first Viking experience. We’re used to the much larger ships; so having this vessel accommodate 930 passengers was new to us, as well. Almost intimate, I thought. We’re not used to the “all inclusive” style of cruising and THAT I could get use to…but only if one can afford it. I never dreamed that I would enjoy having all the wine (or any beverage) I want at lunch or dinner, and not pay extra. As with any cruise ship, you expect good food. And the Star did not disappoint. Wait a minute; I remember an occasion when I was asked (as all the wait staff do at the beginning of every dinner in the restaurants), if anyone had a food allergy. I took my roll, banged it on the table top and said, “Yes, to hard rolls that are not eatable!” Instead of bringing out a basket of soft rolls, our waitress insisted on getting me the same hard rolls heated because they are “wonderfully soft heated.” When ordering my dinner, I decided to have the Tiger Prawns as a side dish to my ravioli instead as a “starter” dish. When my dinner was served, I had to work hard to get our waitress’s attention on the heated rolls and prawns! The ravioli was DELICIOUS; all 4 of them! The Tiger Prawns were dry and served with Thousand Island dressing! The Chief’s Table is one of two specialty restaurants. It only has 3 menus, with wine paring throughout dinner, rotated every five days. We chose the Asian; and it was delightful—every mouthful! When I was given a red wine for my entrée, I informed my waiter that red wine gave me headaches, he quickly produced a wonderful white wine. Reservations are required for the specialty restaurants and that’s quite understandable. There was a member of the restaurant staff on duty, most of the day, every day, near Guest Relations, to help you achieve your reservations. However, you need to know that the software being used for this activity isn’t sophisticated enough to keep you from double booking (i.e. The Chef’s Table the same night as Manfredi’s). Speaking of Manfredi’s… it’s also a delight, with food well worth going back more than once! Mamsen’s! One incredible experience! Simple, yet elegant, true Norwegian dining on a very small scale. Just right for hitting the hunger pangs in, oh, the most delightful way! The World Café: a real delightful surprise. It wasn’t a cafeteria style, but a “food station” set up. We really appreciated being able to pick or choose, or better yet, SAMPLE many, many, different foods; both hot and cold. Don’t even get me started on the desserts! No waiting in lines. The only waiting was for certain hot dishes and individual omelets being produced right in front of you, and the gelato bar. It never seemed over crowed, even on sea-days. (Note: our cruise only had 627 passengers. I wonder if a full 930-pass would make a difference.) Once we hit warmer weather, it was a true delight to eat outside. The wait staff throughout the ship is personable, and professional; diligent about cleaning off your used plates, as you progress through your dining. In the beginning of our cruise, they were usually as good with carafes of water (still or sparkling) as well as other beverages you may desire. At some point, I noticed, the service got lax. I’ll share some notes from my personal cruise journal: "I had to go to the bar to get some cold water. Seems I'm always going to the wait staff to get my drinks. Am I ignored because I'm not paying for my drinks? The bar service seems to work that way. At lunch I didn't want to wait any longer, once again, for a Café staffer and took my empty wine glass right up to a staff's face and asked real loud if I could have some white wine. “Yes, Ma'am! I'll bring it right to you, where are you sitting?” That's how I have to get things done!" And another notation: "At lunch one day I had the bright idea to ask if I could have an ice tea. “Of course, Ma'am, I’ll bring it to you”.... and I waited and waited and waited... no tea and half way through my lunch, I began to flag down other wait staff to see inquire about my tea. The answer was: “Their brewing it for you, Ma'am.” Really? Did they pick the leaves off the plant in the atrium, too? On the way out of the World Cafe I spotted canned Peach Tea with the rest of the soft drinks! Oh, for God’s sake!" Having breakfast in our cabin on days we had an early tour was a challenge. The earliest one can order room service breakfast is 7AM. And the room service always came too early, like at 6:20! If you’re needing some well-deserved sleep—be forewarned. Every cabin has a set of “Voicevox” hearing enhancers for tours. What a great feature! I always have problems hearing our tour guides on all our excursions. Viking has gone the extra step to ensure everyone hears the guide and misses nothing being said! It sits in its own charging station on your desk, ready for you to take on your next Viking tour. Another nice cruise attribute were the washers and dryers on decks 3 to 6; with the washers automatically dispensing soap. However, one never knew how much soap was automatically dispensed, so one needed to select the extra rinse feature if washing a small load. All the machines are in good working order and have many nice wash/dry cycles, just like the ones you would find in any new home. On this topic, I’m sad to say that you need to be diligent to keep a watch on your laundry. I thought I could do a load and just check on its progress by going back to the cabin and then back to the self-service laundry. Unfortunately, some lady was in a hurry and confused about what and where she left her clothes and grabbed mine! Guest Relations was just as shocked as I was when I went to make a claim report. “No one has ever done that before!” Lucky me, to be the first victim. Three hours later, there was my laundry, dumped in a pile on the ironing board. I have no idea if my clean delicates remained clean in the mishandling by someone else. Oh, well. That’s a lesson to me; don’t let it be one for you! The Star, as my hubby pointed out, is sophisticated in some ways, and not in others. • Point one: All the wait staff take food orders using a hand-held device (like a Smartphone), which is digitally sent directly to the kitchen so food comes out faster. • Point two: The Internet can be slow when trying to upload any great photos of your trip to social media. • Point three: TV—news channels are not great and there is still no way to see your ship-board accounting. • Point four: Every drawer has soft, self-closing mechanisms, but all the doors to those cabinets bang close. • Point five: The Wintergarden is most enjoyable for quiet, comfortable “me-time” … however, the outer sections, where one can watch the ocean as your daydream, are extremely cold. No woolly throws there, for some reason. There are large sliding glass walls that could be open, and equalize the AC, but Viking hasn’t figured that out yet. • Point six: There are some automatic sliding doors on deck 2 and deck 7 to the outside and public areas, yet the doors in the Wintergarden are not easy to open and have no simple, directional “pull/push” signage. We saw more people strain to get in and out of that area that was unnecessary! The Viking Company very much is attuned to its customer’s feedback. We received surveys after each tour day. On the last day of our cruise, we received a four page questionnaire. They realize their biggest weakness has been communication from company to passenger and back again, and they are trying very hard to change things. I just received an email from a cruising buddy asking about our Viking experience: “Oh, every new endeavor needs to work the kinks out. If things were running more smoothly, do you think it would be worth the extra cost? We loved our river boat cruise with them.” I’ll bet that’s a question anyone reading this review is asking. I hate the idea of misleading anyone into spending their hard earned income/retirement on Viking’s Star just on my opinion. It was a great cruise. Viking is working hard to “swim” with the big “guys” and is very much a contender for your cruising dollars with the Viking Star. Like all cruises, you need to go with the good attitude, learn to ignore the petty stuff and enjoy every minute of every day. PS: Our cruise followed Viking’s July 26th Baltic voyage, which developed major mechanical problems and had to cancel that sailing after completing only 4 of the 11 ports. It must have been both a financial and PR nightmare for the Viking Company (i.e. 930 passengers on problem cruise, plus the 930 of the following cruise). We never saw a harder, more determined company of employees anywhere, trying to work out all the problems and the many, many major/minor details! Kudos, Viking, for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
New Viking Star.......... Our 20th cruise, previous Danube cruise on Viking Agier was fantastic, Viking Star was unbelievably OUTSTANDING. Everything was outstanding, cabin, dining, excursions....and service over all, faultless. ... Read More
New Viking Star.......... Our 20th cruise, previous Danube cruise on Viking Agier was fantastic, Viking Star was unbelievably OUTSTANDING. Everything was outstanding, cabin, dining, excursions....and service over all, faultless. Dining quality and variety was 5 star without doubt. Matching wines excellent also. Specialty restaurants, ie Alfredi's Italian focus requires booking for a table...NO extra cost applied. Cabin was very spacious, magnificent Nordic furniture. Large bathroom, 2 metre mirror, shower size biggest and best we have encountered. All included excursions were very well organised, very interesting. Additional cost excursions, ie Gibraltar, brilliant, excellent value for money. Entertainment could be improved a little. Staff and crew 10/10....Level of genuine care and interest in our welfare was outstandingly genuine. We have already booked 2 back to back cruises sailing from Montreal 13 days then New York to San Juan/ Puerto Rico from 3/10/16. Viking is now our preferred, number one cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
VIKING STAR PASSAGE THROUGH WESTERN EUROPE I was conflicted about how to write this review. we had the misfortune to be on the august 8 sailing delayed by the ship’s engine problems, so a review of our cruise will obviously be ... Read More
VIKING STAR PASSAGE THROUGH WESTERN EUROPE I was conflicted about how to write this review. we had the misfortune to be on the august 8 sailing delayed by the ship’s engine problems, so a review of our cruise will obviously be colored by this (hopefully) onetime event that would (again hopefully) not be an issue for future cruisers looking for feedback on the ship. so i will try to resolve this conflict by separating our cruise experience from the ship itself to as great an extent as possible. i’ll start with our tale of woe related to the august 8 sailing. THE TRIP As many readers of cruise critic know, the ship broke down in tallin and did not make it to bergen where the cruise was supposed to start. the itinerary was altered and the embarkation city changed to copenhagen, so viking offered the option of cancelling for a complete refund. we had left for norway early and arranged our own air, so we were sort of committed to staying on the cruise. i don’t know how many people opted to cancel, but we heard figures from 15 -30%. So, those who opted to stay on the cruise were put up in hotel rooms in bergen for two days and then flown by charter flight to copenhagen where the ship was. viking did arrange 2 tours in bergen, one long and one short, which were better than nothing, but riding around in a big bus was hardly an equal substitute for being on the ship. the charter flight to copenhagen was well organized by viking, but the fact remains that we spent the better part of that day schlepping bags for check in at the airport, standing in line for security screening, and waiting for the flight to depart. hardly an even tradeoff for a day on the ship! we finally arrived at viking star about 7 pm. On the monday following the saturday we should have sailed. the next day, we had another bus tour of copenhagen, and the ship finally set sail around 10 p.m. we had been to copenhagen before and would rather have sailed first thing in the morning, but why we delayed until late in the evening was never explained. Our new itinerary involved transiting the kiel canal, which was interesting, but eliminated london completely and substituted lehavre for rouen. The unique opportunity to sail up the thames and seine to overnight near london and paris was the motivating force that prompted us and many other travelers to book this cruise almost 2 years in advance. now they were both eliminated. Once we reached lehavre, the previously booked excursions were still operating but now the trip to paris was 3 hours each way. we had booked the “paris on the your own” tour so we spent 6 hours in a bus for 4 hours to see paris. you can imagine how well that worked out! the next two days were at sea, and while i like sea days, it was soon apparent that viking had not arranged enough activities to supplement the reading, relaxing and eating of sea days. we then arrived almost 3 hours late to lisbon as the captain explained there was “maintenance” necessary during the trip. huh? there was a distinct lack of communication from the ship’s officers and i had the distinct impression that we were being kept in the dark about the condition of the ship. more about that later. Our next two ports, cadiz and gibraltar, were enjoyable but there was just too little time at each port, less than 12 hours. cartagena, where we had a full day, is a port looking for a reason to attract cruise ships. our included tour was to a date palm farm 1 hour’s drive away from the city. now i know more about date palms than i ever wanted. Our final port, barcelona, was again less than a half day. the included tour was a bus “drive by” of some of the famous sights in the city. after spending 30 seconds craning our necks to get a glimpse of the sagrada familia cathedral as we sped by, we left the bus at the next stop and took a taxi back to see the cathedral and other sights we were interested in. I would imagine that anyone contemplating a future viking cruise would be interested in how the company handled this irregular operation and stood behind its product. i would give them mixed results. the company is to be commended for finding housing for 600+ travelers in a busy bergen hotel market on short notice. they also did a really good job catering flights and coordinating baggage, check-in and transfer to the ship in copenhagen. this had to be a huge logistical undertaking and they pulled it off, pretty much without a hitch. On a less positive note, was the communication between the ship’s officers and the passengers. after all the dislocation and inconvenience we had experienced to start the cruise, i fully expected the captain to give us some information about the situation during his welcome aboard speech. what the nature of the problem? is it really fixed? why could the ship not make it to bergen? why could we not go down the seine to rouen since we cut out london completely? how was the new itinerary determined? why did we not eliminate cartagena, a port few would have missed, and used the time for rouen and paris as originally scheduled? so what did he say in his welcoming remarks? nada, zip, zilch except for clichés, platitudes and the welcome aboard speech that is scripted for all new arrivals. And then there was the “maintenance” remark to explain our late arrival into lisbon. as noted by another reviewer, we slowed down noticeably at one point enroute to lisbon. i noticed the single propeller wake aft of the ship as well and concluded as did he that we were down to one engine. since the ship's officers were seldom around to talk with, i asked the cruise director if all the engines were working. he assured me they were 100% operational. when i then asked him why there was only one propeller wake, he was obviously flustered and responded with the time honored cliché “i don’t know, but i’ll find out.” if he did, he never let me know. As a retired airline pilot, i am only too familiar with mechanical problems that cause delays, schedule changes and passenger inconvenience. i learned early on in my career that painful as it may be, you have to tell the people the truth, and you have to tell them as much as you know. i had the distinct impression that we were being kept in the dark about the real condition of the ship. THE SHIP now let’s talk about the ship. once finally onboard, we were impressed with the ship and its lovely décor. no glitz here; just tasteful, quality furnishings in lovely earth tones. we loved the outdoor dining options, the two deck explorer lounge at the front of the ship and the overall layout of the ship which made getting around easy. the world café, the buffet style restaurant offered a variety good food and was the only buffet-style ship dining room i have ever been in where we never had trouble finding a table, even during busy mornings. true, there were a number of cancellations on this cruise that undoubtedly helped the situation, but i have the impression that even with a full ship, the area would be accessible. we found the food above average is all the restaurants, although we did not eat at the chef’s table restaurant. the unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner was a welcome feature and drink prices at other times were reasonable. other features we liked: the 360 degree jogging/walking deck; the no charge self-service laundry that includes detergent; the flexibility of opening up the world café for outside dining; the absence of casino, photographers, art auctions and bingo; the absence of children (ok, call me a grumpy old man). perhaps the best feature of the ship was the friendliness of the crew and their excellent service. this could be “new ship syndrome” but i got the distinct impression that the crew was happy to be working for viking and they liked the ideal of drawing a regular salary instead of relying exclusively on tips. THE BOTTOM LINE so what’s my final conclusion about the ship and cruise? i think viking is on the right track and succeeded in some areas to incorporate the advantages of river cruising with ocean cruising. in other areas it has not. the included excursions, for example, were pretty poor. i’m not sure you can ever accommodate 950 people on anything other than big bus drive arounds, and i’m not interested in that. i did love the ship, however, and the all-inclusive nature of the cruise. i was impressed with almost everyone associated with viking and how they tried to make a bad situation better (with the exceptions noted above). i have cruised on crystal, hal and celebrity and believe the viking product was more than competitive with those lines. i’d say it will take a year or two to fine tune the details, but once the bugs are worked out, viking will offer a quality product that i would not hesitate to patronize again. BONUS REMARKS this has nothing to do with viking, but i offer these remarks for those who choose to fly to europe for a cruise or vacation. we, like at least a half dozen star passengers, had our luggage lost by british airways going through heathrow. heathrow is a nightmare of an airport to connect through under the best of circumstances, but they had a power outage in the baggage area the day we went through causing chaos. we got our bags 6 days later, at 9 pm the night before we left for copenhagen. some of the star passengers didn’t get there bags for the entire cruise. so, if you have a choice, avoid heathrow for your connections. Interestingly, had the star sailed on schedule, we would have gone without our bags. so, i guess it’s an ill wind……. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I just completed the 20 night Great Northern Lights cruise on the Nautical. This was our first Oceania cruise after cruising on their sister line, Regent, several times. We are very pleased with our first experience with this ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the 20 night Great Northern Lights cruise on the Nautical. This was our first Oceania cruise after cruising on their sister line, Regent, several times. We are very pleased with our first experience with this line! Travel to embarkation with air provided by Oceania was very smooth, on time and uneventful. Check in was extremely well organized and efficiently completed. Our stateroom was ready at 1:30 p m, our luggage arrived soon after. Our stateroom, a concierge level balcony room, was very nice. Our room was very well cared for by our two room stewardesses, cleaned very well and done when most convenient to us. Dining was a treat on the Nautica for us. The two specialty restaurants, the Polo Grill(steakhouse) and Toscana(Italian) serve great food in a smaller room with great atmosphere. The Grand Dining room has an expanded menu and also serves very good food. The buffet restaurant offers all three meals in a top level area with great views and a large variety of offerings. The buffet being offered at dinner provides a quicker alternative if you don't want to spend 1 1/2-2 hours for dinner. Entertainment on the ship had great variety--singers, comedians, instrumentalists, magicians, and a very good show band. As group ship entertainment goes, this was excellent. The best thing about the Nautica--without a doubt was the crew. The service far exceeded any expectations we had. Every level of crew went above and beyond to please the passengers. Also outstanding was the cruise director, Ray Carr. Disembarkation was highly organized and was carried out without any issues. We would definitely cruise with Oceania again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015

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