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78 Copenhagen to Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews

This is one of my favorite parts of the world and traveling into the fjords was a treat. The bright days and white nights near the summer solstice is a great time to see the scenery. RCL has done this for a long time and with a lot of ... Read More
This is one of my favorite parts of the world and traveling into the fjords was a treat. The bright days and white nights near the summer solstice is a great time to see the scenery. RCL has done this for a long time and with a lot of ships. Most things they have right, but some improvement is still possible. One example is the sail in to Geiranger, our first stop. The ride in is simply spectacular - breathtaking cliffs on both sides that goes on for hours. It is a very long fjord and we started in at 3am. We docked at 7am. If you waited until 6 to get on deck, all you saw was a complicated docking, all the scenery had passed. None of this was noted anywhere, or announced anywhere. We got up at 4:00 and were amazed at what we saw, fog swirling past cliffs and houses in impossible locations. Very nice. The pop soundtrack that came on about 5 did not enhance this. The other ports had various interesting images, but none so different as Geiranger. The staff was pleasant and effective. I do not understand the dining room's pursuit of self congratulations by stopping all the serving mid meal, calling out the staff to sing and dance rather than serving dessert and coffee. Once maybe, but three nights on a seven night cruise? Our balcony cabin was well layed out, especially the tiny bathroom. All was kept spotless by our steward. There were lots of clean handicap bathrooms, one by every regular public bathroom. That was appreciated. For room service they now charge $8. Besides having next to no port information ahead of time (history? people? What is the area known for?) the one place seriously lacking was the entertainment. It was dismal. I watched 2 singing and dancing shows and all I can say is that they were LOUD. If all you can say about a production is it would be better with earplugs, that's not a good thing. The juggler was fine. So all in all a pleasant cruise with a few details lacking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
After some amazing cruises with TUI and Royal Caribbean, we chose to do the Norwegian Fjords primarily for the scenery. Sad to say Gerainger aside we didn’t see too much of the Fjords and spent a lot of time on choppy sea. Trips further ... Read More
After some amazing cruises with TUI and Royal Caribbean, we chose to do the Norwegian Fjords primarily for the scenery. Sad to say Gerainger aside we didn’t see too much of the Fjords and spent a lot of time on choppy sea. Trips further into the Fjords were available but at a price. The ship wasn’t clean at all. Many windows were filthy, and some of the public areas were extremely dusty. We ate in the Windjammer as like many other cruisers we didn’t feel the need or the urge to dress up. As ever the awindjammer food was plentiful, varied and of a high standard. The captain of the ship was very conspicuous by his absence, making rare appearances and hardly any announcements. Probably the most disengaged captain we have ever experienced. Same could be said of the Cruise Director who although very pleasant could have done a lot more to liven things up. His job was made much harder by the lack of quality in the production team. One singer Suzanne was excellent but the remainder were amongst the worst we have ever experienced on our cruises. The headliner acts were also poor compared to other cruises apart from the Barricade Boys who put on a great show. As a consequence the theatre was never packed out. Overall the cruise lacked atmosphere, and would make us think seriously about using Royal Caribbean in the future. Our experience was further dampened with the spa staff failing on 4 occasions to correct my wife’s hair salon bill after over charging her. This was put right by guest services on the final morning. Also we had to vacate the ship at 8:15 am despite our flight home not being until 17:55, an extra 4 hours on the ship was offered at $44 each, which essentially meant sitting on the ship with no access to facilities apart from lunch in the Windjammer. We chose to endure 9 hours at the airport instead. We met some nice people whose views were much the same as ours. We would have happily come home after 3 days but decided to make the best of a bad job. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
always wanted to see the Norwegian coastline and this cruise did not disappoint. From the snow covered mountains to the hustle and bustle of Bergen - and RCI did a good job organising everything. we didn't have a drink package on ... Read More
always wanted to see the Norwegian coastline and this cruise did not disappoint. From the snow covered mountains to the hustle and bustle of Bergen - and RCI did a good job organising everything. we didn't have a drink package on this trip due to all the shore time and this worked well. Furthermore, the embarkation and back to back arrangements went well (nearly everything) the food was wholesome and one would have a good choice of faire - we didn't partake in speciality dining but Windjammer and anytime dining was great. Shore excursions were well organised and everything ran like clockwork (we did have one that we booked ouselves that didn't work out but thats another story). Crew were excellent including our room attendant - John - looked after us and our room was always spotless. The only thing was no shuttle from the ship on two of the stops without cost - seems a little issue but should be addressed. Furthermore, although I love not having the internet maybe having it included in the cost would be a game changer for others - people complained about the cost. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This is my 1st true cruise (other than day cruises to the Bahamas). I was with well-seasoned cruisers. My experience was better than theirs beciase I had nothing to compare it to. Here are my pros and cons: Pros: The ship is lovely. ... Read More
This is my 1st true cruise (other than day cruises to the Bahamas). I was with well-seasoned cruisers. My experience was better than theirs beciase I had nothing to compare it to. Here are my pros and cons: Pros: The ship is lovely. It is not a huge ship but large enough. The staff was wonderful. We were especially grateful to our waiters, Wira and Eduardo, our maitre 'd, O'Neill, and our room steward, Marion. I enjoyed my excursions, although the meal on the Flamm trip was fair. The Flamm train excursion was well worth it (although my brother was not impressed). The meals were ok. They were not fabulous. A few were very good however. Food was plentiful and if you are hungry, you are an extremely picky eater. The shows were ok, not great but were definitely something to do. (Last night show was a "con" being at 8 pm when yiu would be in the dining room. Ship was very clean. They were constantly cleaning all over the ship. The room was comfortable and clean. Cons: If you want anything to drink beyond tap water you have to get drink packages and you are nickled and dimed. You can get bottled water and wine at lunch and dinner with one package. If yiu want any sodas, bottled water, drinks, coffee, including espresso and cappuccinos and gelato all day, get another package. Premium drinks are a higher level package. They sold lobater and steak dinners separately. This has nothing to do with the ship, but I'd never met so many rude people in my life. Pushing and shoving to go anywhere. A man actually took me by the waist to push me aside beciase I wasn't moving fast enough for him. There were few English speaking people on the trip and those of us that did, American, New Zealand, and Australia, all thought the people on the trip were quite rude. The lounges were very crowded. I did not use the pools. They were crowded however, especially the indoor pool as it was cool out The people smoked even where they were, even where they are not supposed to - balconies, on non-smoking decks. The smoke in the casino was horrible. Unfortunately you can smell the smoke from the casino area in non-smoking lounges 1 and 2 floors up from the casino. I was 2 floors up and could smell the smoke at the elevator banks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was entirely the opposite. Three years ago we chose a Norway cruise in late June. The weather was OK but we were a little tentative about heading that far north that late in the season (departure Sept. 1), but we decided to give it a go with the new Ovation. From the moment we arrived we realized that Seabourn had gotten things correct. The ship is brand new and service was excellent. We had not a single service exception whereas we experienced many last November aboard Odyssey. Our cabin was excellent. It was indistinguishable from the standard veranda suites on the older Odyssey class ships. We booked a V1 and ended up with a V5. There is absolutely no difference between the standard staterooms other than floor location, with the exception of the 5th deck rooms not having a full glass view below the railing on the veranda. I would never recommend paying for a different standard suite as they are all entirely the same with the curtains drawn. Seabourn will charge up to 2 to 4 thousand PP additional for a V6 vs a V1 on the average 2 week cruise. Clearly not worth it as it doesn't provide any additional benefits other than location. We found the food to be excellent. Jacques was great on all fronts, but we weren't left wanting more nights as other venues did such a good job. Up to this cruise (well over 100 nights) we had never dined in the Colonnade for dinner on any Seabourn ship. We tried that on several nights including one special Colonnade night where they featured Ribs by Thomas Keller. One word to the wise - reservations are required on the special evenings. We almost didn't get in as we didn't realize (our fault for not reading the instructions) that these occasional special evenings required it. Seabourn deserves credit for another new touch since our last cruise. On return from tours in Alesund, a large percentage of the crew, lead by the captain, were out to greet all returning passengers. The music played contemporary, upbeat music, and the crew applauded the returning passengers as they walked between lines of the crew. Champagne and hot chocolate toddys were available and every guest had a big smile from a special event that must be a real pain for the crew members to put on. Our captain was far more than a safety specialist and ship driver. He regularly interacted with passengers and was eager to hear about experiences. On that note, our staff captain recognized my wife and I as soon as we boarded., (staff captains, AKA 1st officer,) are not known for being passenger oriented, but Stefan sought us out and even invited us to dinner one night. Norway is an excellent location for a cruise. You are not greeted by hoards of locals trying to sell you a tour or a trinket. In my opinion, the scenery is better than Alaska, where I lived for 2 years. Several highlights stick out: Trollfjord is truly amazing. The ship enters a 1-2 mile fjord that looks way too small for the ship to fit into. It does fit and the entry is timed during cocktail hour providing an experience that is almost worth the price of the cruise. Weather towards the top of Norway was beyond Excellent. In Tromso, we experienced a chamber of commerce day with warm temperatures and blue skies. That night as, promised, the captain woke the ship around midnight to alert everyone of the presence of northern lights. We were forewarned of the coming announcement and we never heard a single complaint as everyone wanted to see the northern lights. In Honnisvagg (Nordcap) we had a clear day again. We were told that this was the first day in 3 weeks that they had seen the sun. We took an excursion to Nordcap which was great given the weather. Interestingly, Seabourn organized a crew excursion with several buses of crew. Crew members were obviously appreciative for their time out and many greeted us by name, even though they were on their own time. My guess is that this is how they get employees with positive attitudes. The rain did arrive by the time we got to southern Norway but we knew we had to pay the piper at some point. Seas were calm crossing the North Sea and arrival into Dover was uneventful. If I had to voice one complaint (obviously for corporate) it would be with the suite allocation of the new Encore class ships. My wife and I previously booked or upgraded to a Penthouse suite. The new ships have fewer of these larger rooms than do the smaller ships. At the same time they rose prices on the premium suites to an exorbitant level. On our cruise, the Penthouse, with 50% more square footage cost 3.5 times what we paid for our V1 (remember all V suites are essentially the same). These price increases had the net effect of driving us back downstairs as the standard suites are just fine with around 300 square feet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Was going to Norway with a car tour on my own but did not have time to plan it , so opted for a cruise at the last minute . All in all , a nice experience with good memories , but the organization left much to be happy about . ... Read More
Was going to Norway with a car tour on my own but did not have time to plan it , so opted for a cruise at the last minute . All in all , a nice experience with good memories , but the organization left much to be happy about . Beautiful scenery and good photo experiences IF the weather permits , about 50% of rainy days in Norway . Some points of disappointment . 1) The cabin , Bella with balcony , was a bit claustrophobic for my usual style. Had to hide the baggage under the bed and kept falling over my own shoes , and dried myself out of the bathroom due to lack of space . 2) The Buffet , Breakfast was usually good with a lot of choice of food . The main problem for me was finding a seat to eat my food , within 100 metres of the serving plates . Like eating with 2000 other people in a 1000 seat deck ? 3) The evening meal , Good food , even if on the small portion size , but could order double portions some times . On one night , the food got stuck or was delayed and even if I ordered at 8.30 , at 10.00 I was still waiting for my main dish . The said CHOICE of table is non existent and you have to stick to your table number , if you like it or not . I was in a group and had to lump it . 4) The day tours , I took my camera along to take some photos , but did not get any photos , mainly due to the lack of time that we were allowed off the tour bus , like 15 minutes or you will be left here ? And most times , the place is full of another 7 coachloads of tourists taking the same photo spot. Also booked a train trip , scenic yes , but in a thunderstorm , the window panes where all misted and the views weremainly dark clouds . If a problem delayed the tour , there was no buffer time , so if we delayed 20 minutes as the driver had to go to the restroom , we got 5 minutes chopped off the 15 minute stop , to get off a 50 passenger bus and take a pic and return to a 50 passenger seating . Never again ! 5) The photo booth , you are always asked to take a photo with the captain or the boat backdrop ...but the prices are a ripoff ...you have been warned . All in all , I managed to enjoy my few days , even if ripped off and not 100% satisfied with anything . Do not believe the lovely photos of the ship , most times there are a few hundred people in the picture if you try to take the same . The fjord photos ar taken on a sunny day and photoshopped , a sunny day in 364 rainy days maybe ? I am a 60 year old , grumpy 120 kilo experienced traveller on my first cruise who was disgusted by my tour leader from the local travel agent , as she never translated a word of the MSC tour leader into our language fro those that did not understand English . Not MSCs fault . If I ever take a cruise , I will try to take it in a low season ,so thet the ship is not so crowded that you cannot find a seat to sit down for a drink ! Thank you MSC for a well organized cruise for 3500 travellers of varied nationalities . Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and loved the small size. Food was delicious with good variety and beautiful presentation. We liked the choice of various small restaurants. Spa massages were excellent. The cabin was well ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and loved the small size. Food was delicious with good variety and beautiful presentation. We liked the choice of various small restaurants. Spa massages were excellent. The cabin was well appointed. Biggest problem was poor communication among staff in dining areas. All staff were eager to help with any request but it often took a while to fulfill it. Very smooth embarkation and disembarkation. We would sail again with Silver Sea. Ports were well chosen and the itinerary did not disappoint--beautiful views and lovely cities. Descriptoins from cruise director were accurate. Public spaces were attractive. Loved having the cafe with morning coffee and pastries as well as all day drinks and snacks. Really enjoyed the all inclusive beverages and reasonable corkage fee for wine we brought on board. Excellent ability to have internet access. Up to date movie list for viewing on TV with excellent choices. Ability to view shore excursions, menus and activities from the TV also good. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Wanted to see the Fjords. Had nothing to do with Silver Seas. Our friends had a so-so experience on an exploration type cruise so wanted to give the more conventional cruise a chance with SS. The wait staff, especially the so called ... Read More
Wanted to see the Fjords. Had nothing to do with Silver Seas. Our friends had a so-so experience on an exploration type cruise so wanted to give the more conventional cruise a chance with SS. The wait staff, especially the so called head maitre d were terrible. Bepin, Norbert, and Samuel were great. In fact, we went to IndoChin the last 5 nights because the service was so bad elsewhere. E.g. I wanted two scoops of vanilla with chocolate sauce which was not on the menu. Waiter did not offer to get it for me. So, I left table, went up to the ice cream lady and got it myself, returned to the restaurant to stunned faces. On outside grill, had to go get a glass of wine downstairs because noone came by to check on us. At almost every meal, someone made me feel like I was imposing. Bepin and Norbert didn't play those games. Tours were ok. Train ride (not Flam) was a fiasco. We had fun, but who wants to feel like an imposition. Get rid of the tall short haired blond supposed maitre d...it's clear his staff was afraid of him. Never smiled and he's two faced--smile then shut it off as soon as guest left his presence. Jerk. Food was ok, but not outrageously good. Bepin did respond to my request to steak (gave me filet mignon, not sirloin) and lobster on the last night and another change up to the Indochin menu no questions asked. Wonderful. And the other thing was the language barrier for us Americans. I should say the pronunciation barrier for us America. The waitress did not understand the term blend, slush, and frozen for a margarita drink. It was repeated to her several times. No clue what we were talking about. We ran into this almost every day. And the 11th floor bar in the front of the boat had no breakfast or anything until 6PM. Coffee was only avaialble in the back of the boat. Very bad. We went the first night at 6PM or later for drinks and never again because the second night we didn't know it wasn't open at 5:00 PM for happy hour (duh!). Silly us. It takes two-three days to get the lay of the land. Again, the ship itself was ok for some things and uneven for others. I enjoyed my walks outside around the pool, but that had nothing to do with staff although Harvey, a waiter outside, was super nice and checked up on my step total. Most wheelchairs I've ever seen on a cruise. If I had trouble negotiating and/or locating my way around the ship, I can't imagine their plight. Embarkation and disembarkation were the best of our experience as cruisers. Super organized and done quickly, including even getting our pictures taken and all of that. Leaving on bus was very well done and we felt comfortable with that. Coming on board, they allowed our taxi to pull right up to the waiting group of staff members. Nice. You can't take the beauty of what we saw on the ship. SS had nothing to do with that. We did enjoy that part of it, but our experience with the staff was so uneven and weird (remember all four of us in our party felt the same thing, so it's not just the author) that we won't be back. If it wasn't for Bepin, Samuel, and Norbert, we might have settled for room service dinner. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
WE have sailed Silversea before. We sailed the Fjords of Norway and it was a very relaxing cruise. Love the update to the Spirit. We have sailed the Muse twice and like that the Spirit now has Atlantide (seafood and steaks), Silver Note ... Read More
WE have sailed Silversea before. We sailed the Fjords of Norway and it was a very relaxing cruise. Love the update to the Spirit. We have sailed the Muse twice and like that the Spirit now has Atlantide (seafood and steaks), Silver Note (jazz supper club), and Indochine. The food is always innovative and of high quality. We were very happy with all the service with the exception of wait too long outside for someone to take our pizza order. Also on another occasion in the Arts Cafe service was off. The other meals and venues lived up to the Silversea brand we are use to. The entertainment is only 6 singers but this group was the best so far that we have seen and it is amazing the shows they can put on with only 6. We don't need a big production when on vacation, just lovely entertainment at the end of an evening. Getting off and on the ship at ports was seamless; which is another reason we love this size of ship. We took a couple tours which were excellent and we also just walked out into the ports at some stops. Service , Service, Service. We booked another cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first ever cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. Silverseas had been recommended and we were keen to go with a smaller ship for a shorter time so that we could get used to the cruise experience. A 7 day trip to ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. Silverseas had been recommended and we were keen to go with a smaller ship for a shorter time so that we could get used to the cruise experience. A 7 day trip to the Norwegian fjords in a ship with 600 fellow passengers seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Well, as far as we were concerned, it could not have been better. We loved pretty much everything about it and cannot wait to do another one. We are not especially fussy about detail and obviously have nothing to compare this cruise and the ship against but we felt that the overall quality of the suite, the restaurants, the food, the service and the ship's bars, lounges and public areas was outstanding. My wife has a gluten intolerance and she was well looked after in all the restaurants at all times. The various restaurants mean that you can have a different and very high quality dining experience virtually every night. We particularly liked La Terrazza, Indochine and Silver Note (wonderful singer and pianist to accompany the excellent food). We're no wine buffs but all the wines offered were very nice and seemed to be of good quality. Our glasses were regularly refilled as each meal progressed! The Arts Cafe was excellent and a very popular spot for afternoon tea and delicious cakes. Entertainment was good and there was plenty of variety but remember it's a cruise ship not the West End of London or Broadway. It was nice to have a couple of dances in the Panorama Lounge most evenings before retiring. The vibe here was wonderfully relaxed and chilled. Fellow passengers were fine. Like us, most seemed content to keep their own company but were happy to chat when the opportunity arose. We enjoyed the onshore excursions. A bit tiring jumping on and off coaches and trains all day but a great way to see a little of Norway other than from the ship.c Having your own butler was nice but, to be honest, we didn't really bother him at all. All in all, a truly memorable experience for us. I'll leave other more seasoned travellers to point out the faults and whether or not it was value for money. We'd go on the Silver Spirit again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed ... Read More
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed for boarding. We stayed at the Clarion Airport hotel which was an easy walk with luggage from the airport. We checked in and walked half way between the hotel and the airport and took the metro to the city center our first afternoon. From there we did a boat ride through / around downtown. We left for the airport check in the next morning around 10:45 am. Boarding the bus was straightforward and we arrived at the pier around 11:30 am. The check in process was also smooth. We were on the ship within half an hour. The cabins were available by the time we got on (noonish). The weather was warm and we had specifically packed our bathing suits for the pool. Excellent check in experience. The ship is looking a little worn. The benches in the hallway by the elevators are just pure ugly and chipped. The corridor artwork is also old and outdated. As far as maintenance, there were a few issues. Some of the arrows above the elevators are burnt out. You cannot tell if the elevator is headed up or down. The reading light by my bed was also burnt out. The wooden door that covers the mini fridge had screws that had been pulled out from the frame. Also, during the voyage, maintenance staff were sanding down the metal door frames to each cabin and repainting them. The screeching from the sanding was annoying and I had to request that they stop so I could take an afternoon nap. They obliged. (It seems to me that since this ship just recently came out of dry dock, that would have been the place and time to address these issues.) In terms of entertainment, I did go to the shows featuring various headliners. In the main show lounge, there was a pianist who was rather showy. Also there was a couple who did Cirque du Soleil style entertainment including the ropes/ acrobatic style high wire movements. There was a rather showy violinist from Iceland. But, one or two songs from her were sufficient. Also, all of the instrumentalists gathered for a BBC multimedia presentation. This was the highlight in the main show lounge. Besides the main show lounge, there was ‘The Lincoln Center’ featuring two violinists, a violist, a cellist and a pianist. Unbelievable talent here. They performed at least once if not twice a day. Also, there was the B.B. King Blues Club featuring a group of talented musicians performing appropriately named style of music. Also, there was the Billboard lounge. Here, there were two pianists who did not receive enough recognition. They were incredible. In summary, the entertainment onboard was tops. The gymnasium was small, in comparison to other ships. The treadmills were often all in use, especially at opening time, 7:00 am. The resistance equipment was minimal. There was a trainer on board who did classes throughout the day. If you like to watch TV during your time on the treadmill, as do I, you need to ask for the TVs to be turned on. The sound was minimal, but you can ask to have the dialogue text option turned on. The service desk did a good job, although this part of the ship is also small so the lines can get long to speak with one of the few representatives. A plus here is that they will exchange currency for you. Right next to the service desk is a single kiosk to print out current bills throughout the voyage. (Being able to review charges is not possible from the stateroom.) The shore excursion office, the future cruise booking office and the library have been moved up to Deck 10 in the Crow’s Nest. The size of the future cruise booking office is the size of a large closet. I consider this to be a shame. These offices should be centrally located and closer to the service desk. During this sailing, there was flooding from above. Carpet dryers and shop vacs were all over deck 10 forward to dry this space. I used to enjoy listening to music up here in the past, but the room is no longer set up in this way. Speaking about the future cruise booking office, I asked for an atlas for next year, specifically one with deck plans. Apparently HAL no longer considers printing deck plans in their promotional literature important. Here, I highly disagree with this decision. In addition, I had a couple of run-ins with the shore excursion manager, Reanetse Atema. This was by far the low point of the cruise. (Don’t be surprised by what the shore excursion office won’t be willing to do / discuss). Dining in the main dining room was a bit of a letdown. We had open seating and in order to get a table within a reasonable time frame, without making reservations for a specific evening, in advance, showing up before 6:00 pm was important. That seemed to be the time when the lines began. I find having opening seating and needing to reserve for a specific time to be a bit contradictory. But HAL is not the only company who follows this type of policy. With respect to the food, I had some disappointments as well. The baked potatoes were white potatoes, not baker potatoes. That was disappointing. The Caesar salads were soggy. The dressing was not seasoned with anchovy paste, but rather a single anchovy was placed on top of the salads. The crème brulee was flavorless. The everyday sirloin steak was so so. Otherwise the food was acceptable. Dining in the ‘market place’ lido buffet was great. Breakfast and lunch choices were plentiful. As an aside about space in the lido buffet, I noticed there were no identified areas as ‘reserved for the handicapped’. There were multiple passengers in motorized scooters who would have to navigate the close tables in order to eat here. Although the ship has rooms that are handicapped accessible, more attention needs to be given to other public spaces onboard. We ate in the specialty dining area 4 times. Three times, the room was noted to be the Pinnacle Grill. The 4th time, the same space was noted to be Rudi’s sel de mer. Each night the service and the meals were excellent. The lobster bisque was one of my favorite dishes. I had lobster one night, a pork chop another night, a filet mignon a third night then had Alaskan crab another. Remarkable dining here. There was one other spot noted for specialty dining called Canaletto. This Italian dining venue was actually part of the Lido Market Place. I ate in this venue two summers ago on the Koningsdam and swore I would not return here. Only the Lido Bar and the Ocean Bar on deck 3 offered drink specials (basically 2 for 1) from 4:00-6:00 pm every night except for the first night. Space was tight here during these times especially on dress up nights. Drinks were good and reasonably priced during these hours. I was disappointed that this offer was not available across other bars on the ship. Nevertheless, thanks to Nice and Albert for your service. In summary, weather or not I sail with HAL again will depend upon a response to a letter I wrote to President Orland Ashford regarding the shore excursions office. I am a 3 star mariner with HAL and have sailed with them since 1968. Shore excursions: Our first port Bergen. We were on a bus ride to see the general area of Bergen. That trip was O.K. What was better was strolling the main road for souvenirs, including wool sweaters, and stopping for a beer. Also, there is a Star bucks here that has free WiWi. So, if you are not up to spending $20.00 a day for a WiFi connection on the ship, this is the location to head for. Port two was Alesund. We did a great boat ride through the fjord. This provided us wonderful views of the area. We highly enjoyed this experience. The third port was Seydisfjordur. We payed $70.00 for this tour. It was a walking tour through the town. We chose this tour because we did not know where the town was in relation to the pier. After all is said and done, I would recommend getting off the ship and walking the town independently. The pier is at the base of the town. No need to spend the money. Also, in hindsight, I would suggest that HAL remove this port as there is really nothing here. Or, if not, I would recommend staying onboard. Port four was Akureyri. Once off the ship we boarded a bus to Myvatn Nature baths. This location is not as popular as the geothermal baths in Reykjavik, but as enjoyable without the hype. It was part of a combo tour visiting a ‘falls’ on the way. I would recommend, for sure. This was booked directly the HAL. Port five was Isafjordur. From this location we boarded a boat to take us to the now non-existent town of Hesteyri. I would say skip this tour as well. It was an hour’s boat ride in each direction to walk in the fields with a talk about the way this town used to be. There is currently one family living in this town. They provided us with some sweet bakery delights and coffee before our return back to the ship. Port six was day one in Reykjavik. Here we boarded a bus for the ‘Golden Circle day trip’ featuring Thingvelir, Gullfoss waterfall and the viewing of a Geysir. I had some issues on this trip. The bus itself was old with broken reclining levers, no seat head rest covers and most importantly inoperable seatbelts. We were told to wear seat belts and that we could be individually fined for not wearing them. But many, including several senior citizens, could not wear them due to the condition of the bus. The tour itself was fine. The problem was with the tour operator. I sent a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port seven was also Reykjavik – day two. Although the Blue Lagoon is a highlight from my trip – 2nd time to a geothermal bath, the operator was once again a problem. The bus was not air conditioned so the escape hatches need to be opened. One person was not on the bus at departure time, so a bus full of people needed to wait 50 minutes before returning to the ship. After pre-showing we had about an hour of time in the lagoon. We were treated to a silica mask and a drink. This was certainly a novelty. Had the tour operator returned on time and the bus had air flow, I would have rated this activity as a 5 star opportunity. This also entailed writing a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port eight was Torshavn, Faroe Islands. From this port, we traveled by bus to Gjogv. At this site we had a midday snack of cold pancakes and instant coffee. From this restaurant, we walked down the hill to Gjaar church. It was nice but not impressive. I cannot imagine living her in the winter. Port nine was Lerwick, Scotland. This was a tender port. We boarded a bus to take us to Scalloway Castle, the Scalloway musem and to see some Shetland ponies. The castle was small and not impressive. Same can be said for the museum. Seeing the size of the Shetland ponies was impressive. PS, downtown Lerwick has some wonderful souvenir shops. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number ... Read More
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number peeled and they didn't repair it at least 4 days. The buffet is big but nobody manages it. So couples occupy 4 seats tables and it is very difficult to find a table for the family. One day we tried to have our breakfast in restaurant Gold Lobster. We were disappointed. The choice was poor. Not like in the buffet. But the most awful for me was free smoking in every open deck (including near the swimming pool) and in Casino. The Casino is in big open space .So the smoke smellies far around. The dinner restaurant is very crowded and noisy. The employee in the reception didn't explain what need to do with the tax free for the shopping in the Kiel. It despite the fact that the ship comes there every week. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose the cruise on the recommendation of a travel agent (who I usually trust). Wanted to see the fjiords. The fjiords were a delight. However, once I entered the ship there is an onslought of people trying to sell you photos and all ... Read More
Chose the cruise on the recommendation of a travel agent (who I usually trust). Wanted to see the fjiords. The fjiords were a delight. However, once I entered the ship there is an onslought of people trying to sell you photos and all sorts of rubbish. This is uncalled for given that the cruise. We is paid for upfront. In addition, its a very tacky operation and you can hardly move with people trying to sell you stuff. The entertainment was absolutely awful. There is no de-caffinated coffee in the buffet and the tea is undrinkable (luke warm water). My biggest problem was that I paid 26 euros for whatsapp coverage as I needed to stay in contact because of a bereavement). It never worked and the reception staff were like Teflon - take no head. I asked could make a free landline call and they allowed me to in front of a row of noisy people - and when I asked to transfer the line to my cabin they said they would have to charge. In addition, we went to the talk on disembarkation - this was very misleading. We were told that we didn't have to go to reception if we were happy with our bills (which we were). In fact we were only given our bills at 2 a.m of the morning we were leaving. Then we were sent back from leaving the ship to reception (and our flight back was within a short while). They also take 70 euros of a service charge off your credit card. This is compulsory and is misleading when they are advertising the cruise. I could go on and on - but overall I don't know why people go there for break. Its the most frustrating and stress inducing experience that anyone could have. There is a lot of time wasted at sea too - just to keep you on the ship (spending). Its was a 7 night cruise - but it could have been done in 5 as they went from Geiranger down to Bergen and then back up to Flam. We could have done without Kiel too - there is nothing there. They probably won't pay the fees for going into Hamburg proper. We didn't go on any excursions organised by the ship - we did them ourselves at half the price and with more freedom. Its like a floating prison - stealing your money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Two couples: We chose this cruise to fulfill a bucket list for both of the ladies. We wanted a Norway itinerary and this 11 day cruise certainly delivered. We flew into Copenhagen 3 days early and enjoyed this city a lot. Stayed at ... Read More
Two couples: We chose this cruise to fulfill a bucket list for both of the ladies. We wanted a Norway itinerary and this 11 day cruise certainly delivered. We flew into Copenhagen 3 days early and enjoyed this city a lot. Stayed at the Andersen Boutique Hotel, only three blocks from the main train station, and it was excellent. Very highly recommended. Be aware that Copenhagen is a bit toward the expensive side, but there is a lot to do ... canal tour and Ho-Ho bus were good, and Tivoli Gardens is not to be missed. Our ship sailed for a day and a half and first port was Geiranger. Beautiful all around, and don't miss a trip to the top of Mt. Dalsnibba. The Fjord Center was very nice and a great place to visit with a nice snack bar inside. Sailed next to Tromso and crossed the Arctic Circle...make sure you get your blue nose...Aquavit is an acquired taste tho. Tromso is a great port town...we took a tour out to the Island of Sommeroy and toured by bus through the area. There is a lot in this largest town north of the Arctic Circle. We liked the beer and the atmosphere at the Old Hallen where the Mack brewery used to be. Next was Honningsvag at the tip of Norway. We toured by bus to two local fishing villages and saw lots of reindeer everywhere, including lounging around in the first village. We had rain, snow, sleet, and bright sunshine all in the space of a three hour tour. Some folks went all the way to the northernmost area, the North Cape and visited the town and the monument there. A long sail south to Alesund and we had a city tour here including a trip to the top of the mountain for a fabulous view at Fjellstua. If you are active ... you can walk up or down the 418 steps from city center to the top. We also had a great tour of the outdoor Sunnemore museum with lots of buildings and boats to explore. This was very nice, and the cafe inside the big museum building has free wi-fi. Next, we loved Flam. Make sure you take the train up and back to Myrdal. The train was packed, so make sure you get a ticket in advance. There is a local brewery right next to the cruise dock and the beer is excellent...well worth the price. (There is a LOT of tax on alcohol in Norway.) Our final stop was Bergen. We did a tour to see the highlights of the area and were dropped off at Bryggen, or the old wharf area of town. Do not miss the funicular to the top of Mt. Floyen. On the harbor is the outdoor fish market, under red tents. There is also a large building there with the tourist info center of the second floor and several fish markets/restaurants on the first floor. If you like seafood ... eat at the outdoor market ... they have a bit of everything there. We took all shore excursions from the ship, but many towns had Ho-Ho bus tours and fjord cruises that you can get locally, at a cheaper price. Be advised that if more than one ship is in port...it can be crowded and trips can be hard to book. We enjoyed our RC cruise ... it is not the best we've had, or the worst. Food was good, service was mostly excellent, with one glaring dining room exception, and our cabin steward was superb. Thanks so much Terri from Trinidad/Tobago. Thanks to Jouta, Jay, and Arleen, who were great wait staff. Ask for Rachael, Jennifer or LeAnne (crazy Canadians) who work with the shore excursions group. On sea days .. you can get a $2.00 mimosa from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the Casino bar. This is the best deal on the ship. (They will do a peach bellini or cranberry mimosa too for the same price.) Good bartenders here. We did not try any of the for fee themed restaurants...thought they were overpriced, and besides, the main dining room food was very good. The Windjammer Cafe was good, but seating at times can be a hassle when they are busy. The Park Cafe around the pool was good, but watch their dining hours. There is no24 hour food on the ship, except room service and there is a delivery charge at all times except if you order from the Continental breakfast side of the menu. On our other cruises, room service was free. Laundry on board is very expensive and there is no self-serve facilities. Entertainment was good in the main theater about half the time. The musicians in the Centrum and the lounges were excellent. The onboard orchestra was excellent. We enjoyed the Vibes Nation duo the most. We would do a RC cruise again, for the itinerary...there was no WOW that would make us choose RC just for the fact thatit is RC. There were many little things that bothered us at times, and we cruise to enjoythe trip, not to be annoyed by little things. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see the beautiful Norwegian fjord landscapes. We also did touring and sightseeing before and after the cruise in Copenhagen and in the Danish countryside. The ship though older, was beautiful, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see the beautiful Norwegian fjord landscapes. We also did touring and sightseeing before and after the cruise in Copenhagen and in the Danish countryside. The ship though older, was beautiful, clean and well maintained. Only the cabins (sofa and furniture) show the age of the ship. All of the common areas were beautiful, well-cared for and looked like new. We sailed a few years ago on both the Celebrity Solstice and the Regal Princess when they were brand new, and neither were the equal of the Serenade of the Seas. We loved this ship. The cabins were comfortable, with plenty of storage space. The bed, though hard, was comfortable. The food in both the dining room and the buffet was good to excellent. Service by our room steward, Fostor, and our dining room waiter and assistant waiter, Marie and Miguel, was impeccable. The ship's singers were mediocre to poor and the dancers were good. The entertainment that was brought onto the ship though, was excellent. The irish tenors, the big band singer (sorry, forgot his name) and the Beatles group were all fabulous and provided the best shows we have ever seen on a cruise. We also enjoyed the magic show. The ports were all incredible. The fjords, sailing into both Geiranger and Flam were equally beautiful, green, waterfalls, etc. We rented a car in Geiranger and drove out into the country side for breathtaking views. We did a fjord boat trip in Flam with spectacular views, but the boat was very crowded and we didn't get good seats so that experience was less than optimal. Honningsvag and the Nordkapp, though the arctic landscape is barren, were really scenic. (Be sure to take the bus into the Nordkapp.) We did sightseeing on our own in all of the other ports and enjoyed each of them. The weather was cold and windy and we didn't enjoy our balcony as much as we have on past cruises. We did love having the balcony for sailing into and out of the fjords in both Flam and Gerainger. We viewed the sail-in to Flam from the front of the ship as well, which was spectacular. Overall, this is a cruise and a ship that I would highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My sister and I took this cruise because our family came over to Minnesota from Norway. Our great grandfather was from Alesund so we wanted to see what the country was like. I know why they chose Minnesota as below the arctic circle it ... Read More
My sister and I took this cruise because our family came over to Minnesota from Norway. Our great grandfather was from Alesund so we wanted to see what the country was like. I know why they chose Minnesota as below the arctic circle it looks like Minnesota. Above the Arctic Circle it is a vast wilderness, not many people, no trees, and cold, but interesting to visit once. We flew in to Copenhagen a day early to try to adjust to the time change. Stayed at the Radisson Park Inn about 15 minutes from the airport. It was 90 that day, the warmest day of our entire trip. It snowed twice while we were in Norway. We boarded the ship on Sunday, waited about 15 minutes to embark, and since it was almost 1:00 we went to our floor, cabin 9066 and waited for a few minutes and were allowed in. We immediately met Neuman our cabin steward who was great the entire trip. We did a back to back and this was the first leg. The second was a Baltic cruise. Will write another review for that. We cruised Monday and arrived in Geiranger Tuesday. We got off and boarded a Hop On Hop Off bus and toured the town. We purchased our passes on line with Stromma for all our Hop On Hop Off rides, you get a discount and take 3 the fourth is free. Wednesday we cruised the arctic circle. Thursday we arrived in Tromso and took a ship tour Highlights of Tromso, saw the Arctic Cathedral, explored the museum and took a cable car up 1,350 feet to see a great view of the area. It snowed at the top of the cable car. The next day we were in Honningsvag and took the Our Northernmost Life Perleporten, two hour guided walking tour. This is the northernmost mainland point at 71 degrees of the world, no trees but lots of rock. The next day we cruised and Sunday we arrived in Alesund. We did the Hop on Hop Off bus here and were able to see the entire city of our ancestor. Monday we arriced in flam, Norway. We took the Flam Railway and it was absolutely fabulous. The scenery was amazing and the train ride was fun. Snow-capped peaks, spectacular rivers, ravines and falls. We had a snack at the top at the Vatnahalsen Hotel of Norweigian waffles. There are lots of fjords to see, water falls and beautiful scenery all along the trip. In Bergen and again took the Hop On Hop Off Bus and toured the town. Wednesday we cruised and were back to Copenhagen on Thursday. Since we were on a back to back we got off the ship and toured Copenhagen on the Hop On Hop Off bus. We did see the shows on the ship, they were okay, the entire singers and dancers were getting off the ship so they lacked energy. The casino was busy and one woman hit the $10,000 jackpot on the first night so that was interesting. We did not disembark in Copenhagen as we were on the b2b which will end in Sweden. the food was good, you could always find something to eat, we did the Mystery dinner which was fun and it was held in Giovannis, the food was very good there. We often ate lunch in the Solarium after our touring, ate in the Windjammer for breakfast, the waffles were amazing. Our table mates in the main dining room were a blast for we enjoyed all our dinners there. This was a very different type of cruise as it was cold and daylight most of the time, not much sun and the pool was only open two times up stairs. The solarium was open all the time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords...we weren't let down...all ports were excellent, however, cruising Geiranger Fjord, (known as the pearl of Norwegian Fjords), in magnificent weather, in a (relatively) large cruise ship ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords...we weren't let down...all ports were excellent, however, cruising Geiranger Fjord, (known as the pearl of Norwegian Fjords), in magnificent weather, in a (relatively) large cruise ship certainly takes some beating? All four ports on this cruise, Stavanger, Bergan, Alesund and of course Geiranger offered something different...a trip along Lyse Fjord with its dramatic cliffs plus the dizzying sight of Pulpit Rock, is a must in Stavanger. Bergen, one time capital of Norway and a World Heritage city, does not fail to live up to the images one sees of its quaint waterfront. Bergen was also the home of Norways most famous composer Edvard Grieg. Alesund presents some fantastic Art Nouveau buildings, all reconstructed following a fire in 1904 that destroyed the town. Then, Geiranger, at the head of the Fjord, a village of around 200, surrounded by snow capped mountains, presents a picture post card image, not to mention the views from Flydalsjuvet and Eagle's Bend lookouts, located both South and North respectively. Life on board the ship was not diminished by the magnificent scenery it took us to. Serenade falls under the Radiance class of ships in the RC fleet, so does not boast 'mega-class'. It has 890 crew to cater for the the approximately 2490 passengers this equates to less than 3 passenger per crew member, so finding someone to assist is not a problem. We opted for 'my time' dining for dinner in the main dining room and apart from two evenings we were seated in an area serviced by an exceptional head waiter, his rapport with us and everyone else was second to none. Breakfast and lunch we opted for the buffet or Park cafe. One could never go hungry no matter how fussy an eater you are. Entertainment was 1st class, we attended several performances. We also enjoyed the many trivia games they had. We occupied a sea view balcony cabin, it was more than adequate for our needs, well kept by our cabin attendant. A nice touch are the folded towel animals left each evening If you take only one cruise...make it this...you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I picked this cruise as a compromise for our honeymoon and it turned out absolutely amazing! We arrived in Copenhagen on Thursday afternoon and had Thursday, Friday and Saturday to explore which was probably the minimum ... Read More
My husband and I picked this cruise as a compromise for our honeymoon and it turned out absolutely amazing! We arrived in Copenhagen on Thursday afternoon and had Thursday, Friday and Saturday to explore which was probably the minimum amount of time I would suggest in Copenhagen. It's such a beautiful city with so much history. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza which is a quick trip from the airport and 5 minute walk from the metro station with easy access to the downtown area which was perfect for us. They also offer a shuttle to the cruise port for a reasonable fee. Embarkation would be the only really negative I have for this cruise. Royal Caribbean only offered priority boarding for Diamond members and above at this port, this was not advertised anywhere and in fact I had received an email 1 week prior to sailing confirming this benefit. My husband and I booked a spa appointment for the day we boarded the ship and arrived at the port 2 hours before the appointment thinking it would be more than enough time but due to the fact we had to board in the general line it took quite some time and we were delayed getting to our appointment. Once we got on the ship everything else was great! It was my first time on a smaller ship and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I wasn't disappointed at all. Our cabin was ready promptly at 1pm so we were able to rush there to drop our stuff before heading to our spa appointment. Once we returned from that our luggage was waiting outside our room so we were able to shower before heading out to enjoy the set sail activities after the muster drill. The service aboard was great as with all the Royal cruises we've experienced. Everyone we encountered went out of their way to make sure that we had everything we needed. It was our first experience with My Time Dining and we really enjoyed it. I had made our reservations about a week before we boarded the ship on the Cruise Planner, we did change our time one evening after we already boarded it and wasn't a problem. On the 2nd day we asked the host about getting a table along the window so we could enjoy the beautiful scenery while we dined. He was a little hesitant at first, but once we explained we absolutely didn't mind waiting until one opened up it wasn't a problem getting a table by the window every night. We never waited more than 15-20 minutes. All of the ports were absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Our first was Stavanger, which we chose to do the Pulpit Rock Hike. This was very difficult but extremely rewarding once you reached the top. My husband and I weren't show if Royal was being over careful by all the warnings about the strenuous nature of the hike but they weren't so I would definitely take caution booking this excursion if you're not prepared to hike up/down a mountain for at least 4 hours in all weather. The 2nd port was Bergen and it was probably our favorite port. We did a city tour and then our last stop was at the Ice Bar which was really neat to see. After this tour we had lots of time to explore the city on our own, grab lunch in the outdoor fish market and just enjoy the great weather we had! My suggestion for this port would be that you can easily do the Ice Bar on your own, it's a nice walk from the dock and you can enjoy the fish market on the way. We ended up not boarding the bus back to the dock and left from there on our own exploring. The 3rd port was Alesund. I would have to say this was our least favorite port which was a little sad since we had the longest time here. Our boating trip was canceled about a week before departure for an unknown reason. We booked the Sugar Top Hike last minute which was really neat and had beautiful views at the top once the weather cleared up a bit. Afterwards we had about 8 hours to explore the city. I'm not sure if we missed anything but not a lot of restaurants or places weren't open for some reason and since our excursion changed shortly before we departed we unfortunately didn't do a lot of research on what else there was to do. It was still beautiful and we enjoyed everything! The last port was Gerainger which is breathtaking!! I would highly suggest booking some sort of excursion or activity while in this port. It is a very small town and not much to do if you don't have anything planned. We booked the Storeseterfossen waterfall hike and Westeras Farm visit which was very enjoyable. I would also caution that this is not as leisurely of a hike as it was worded in the description from Royal Caribbean. There was quite a few people in our group that either didn't make it to the top or had some trouble. Getting off the ship was very easy for us!! We took advantage of the Crown and Anchor lounge to debark and walked off the ship and had our luggage within 10 minutes. I would highly suggest booking the ships transfers to the airport or making sure you have some sort of transportation from the cruise ship terminal in advance. The port is quite a distance from the city center and the taxi line was EXTREMELY long. We booked the ships transfers which was great. The only downfall is they dropped us off in the domestic terminal and we had to drag our luggage over to the international terminal. Overall I would suggest this cruise to anyone! The ports were amazing, the service aboard was amazing and it was the perfect mix of exploring when we in ports to having time to relax while aboard the ship. It was definitely a different vibe from the Caribbean cruises I've been on before but we really enjoyed it and already booked a Baltic cruise for next summer! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Used the ship because of the Norway itinerary, Fjords were grand. WE left from Copenhagen and visited Bergen, Geirenger, Alesune and Stavenger. We took small boat tours on two of the fjords. . The food was average. Breakfast just OK. ... Read More
Used the ship because of the Norway itinerary, Fjords were grand. WE left from Copenhagen and visited Bergen, Geirenger, Alesune and Stavenger. We took small boat tours on two of the fjords. . The food was average. Breakfast just OK. Dinner entrees were pretty good. The service was a bit better. Drink prices were about average with a dollar off draft beer for an hour each day. The ship was clean and easy to navigate. The clientele was suspect. Tattoos and poorly dressed. I guess there are standards but they are evidently not enforced. Jeans were worn everywhere and in all dining venues. It's not like it used to be. I hate having things for sale constantly pushed in my face as done on this cruise. Back to Oceania for this cruiser. I would not sail on this ship again and perhaps not even on RCL. We picked itinerary over cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had read about the small ship experience. Cannot tolerate large groups of people in a small area. Silver Seas was perfect in all respects. Great service, great crew, great ship, fantastic dining, beautiful and well planned excursions. ... Read More
We had read about the small ship experience. Cannot tolerate large groups of people in a small area. Silver Seas was perfect in all respects. Great service, great crew, great ship, fantastic dining, beautiful and well planned excursions. Our Cruise director, Ms Vicki Van Tassel was the best. She made the trip very, very special. We had 380 passengers just like us. We met wonderful friends who we know will be in our lives for years to come. A real bonus. The all inclusive aspect made the day. Our suite and accommodations were exemplary. Our butler was there for anything we desired. Will cruise Silver Seas again and again. The price was higher than many cruises. The value was terrific. We got much more than what we paid. That is good value. A bonus: the entertainment was very special. Such talent was not anticipated on a small ship. The singers and dancers were fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We had not sailed Holland for several years. I feel that the clientele has moved to a much older crowd. Many guests on walkers, wheelchairs etc. My biggest disappointment was the itinerary during the day. There was nothing to do. No ... Read More
We had not sailed Holland for several years. I feel that the clientele has moved to a much older crowd. Many guests on walkers, wheelchairs etc. My biggest disappointment was the itinerary during the day. There was nothing to do. No karaoke, no dance classes, nothing to fill the time if you decided to stay on the ship. Holland may do this intentionally in order to sell excursions. However, there was not much at night either. The trivia games were at odd times that interfered with dinner or happy hour. The trivia guy was not very energetic--he did not make it very fun. Since we had been to several of the ports before, I was looking forward to staying on the ship. Other than a movie, happy hours, or just sitting on the lido, there was nothing to do. The bright spot was the shows at night. The dancers and singers on this ship were very talented and put on some awesome performances. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because our daughter and son-in-law selected it. We went along to spend time with them and the grand kids. Disney is more expensive than other lines, but it is definitely different. What we loved: 1. the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our daughter and son-in-law selected it. We went along to spend time with them and the grand kids. Disney is more expensive than other lines, but it is definitely different. What we loved: 1. the entertainment was all wonderful and appealed to all ages 2. the absence of Park West and that awful overpriced art 3. the absence of a casino 4. the kids activity -- wonderful. The grand kids had a wonderful time and were kept busy with lots of interesting activities. They got a little bored with it all at the end of the cruise and we were happy to have them "back" with us for some family time. 5. changing the dining rooms was such fun. Where the ship "missed the boat": 1. the food was OK -- could have been better. There was a lack of diversity in the dining room menus and at the buffet. The only steak that was good was at the Palo restaurant. 2. the selection on the TV was poor. You could watch Disney cartoons, or the news but there was very little otherwise. I would have welcomed a selection of other movies each evening. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
May 17-29, 2017. Two places to visit on my bucket list were Norway and Scotland, so when I saw this HAL cruise to both places, I was sold. This was my first cruise on the Zuiderdam and I was very pleased. The itinerary was round-trip ... Read More
May 17-29, 2017. Two places to visit on my bucket list were Norway and Scotland, so when I saw this HAL cruise to both places, I was sold. This was my first cruise on the Zuiderdam and I was very pleased. The itinerary was round-trip Copenhagen, with ports every day of the 12 night cruise except the last day. Ports included Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Flam, Bergen, Lerwick (Shetland Islands), Portree (Isle of Skye), Invergorden (Inverness), South Queensferry (Edinburgh), and Newcastle on Tyne (England). Copenhagen: We arrived early in Copenhagen in order to recover from jet lag and to see the city. Glad we did. We had an overnight flight arriving on Sunday the 14th in the afternoon. I flew from Sacramento to Chicago (4 hours), had a 5 hour layover, and then a 9 hour flight. Upon arrival, we decided to take a cab instead of trying to figure out the excellent public transportation options. All cabs accept credit cards. It cost about $40 for the cab ride to our hotel, which was The Admiral Hotel next to Amelianborg Palace. I had purchased a Copenhagen Card on line (www.copenhagencard.com) before we left for 89 Euros for a 72-hour adult card. You receive a voucher which you print out and exchange for the card when you get there. The time starts the first time you use it. You can also buy them for 24, 48 or 120 hours. This card was a wonderful purchase. It gives you "free" passage on all buses, trains and the metro, a free canal cruise (note specific location where valid), free admission to all public museums and the Tivoli Gardens. We didn't sit down to figure out if we saved money, but the convenience was well worth it. We neglected to exchange the paper voucher I had printed out for the card at the airport, and so had to scurry to the Central Tourist Information location (right across from Tivoli Gardens and the Central Train Station) to get there before it closed at 4:00 (it was Sunday). Not sure where to get it at the airport, but that would have been a better place. We used it to take a canal tour; take the bus to Tivoli Gardens and admission to TG; bus back to Christianborg Palace; admission to Palace residence and guided tour; bus to Danish National Gallery and admission to same; admission to Rosenborg Castle; bus back to our hotel; admission to Amelianborg Palace Museum. There is so much more we could have used it for, but that was all we had time and energy to do. It was so easy to use - just show to bus drivers and admission persons. The Tourist information office folks were very nice and helpful and spoke excellent English. We had heard prices in Copenhagen are high so we were prepared for that. Some good finds for food: Irish Pub on corner of canal on corner of Nyhavn and Holbersgade (excellent hamburger and fries and a beer); Joe and the Juice on Skt. Anne Plads between Amaliegade and Bredgade (saw the Crown Prince having coffee there one morning); and Kompasset (great smorresbord - open faced sandwiches, and selection of aquavits). We loved our hotel - The Admiral - great view of the water and comfortable room with giant timbers and wood paneling. Then on to the ship on Wednesday. Embarkation was easy - usual line to get to counter for check in, but it was smooth sailing and there were a lot of people there to check folks in so it went quickly. We sailed away on time, and the captain gave 3 long blasts of the ship horn. He did this leaving every port, which I loved. It was like saying, "so long for now. Thanks for the visit and we'll be back soon!" Our cabin was the usual clean and well-maintained Holland cabin - Room 6153 - Veranda balcony cabin at the aft starboard side of the ship (near the back on the right hand side). We liked the location as it was out of the main anything - very quiet. Our cabin stewards were excellent, and unobtrusive - cleaning our room magically while we were gone each morning, doing the evening turn-down while we dined. Oslo - Hop On/Hop Off (HOHO) is right outside the ship. Takes credit cards. Has a good route to all major sight seeing seeing spots. We skipped the Vigeland sculpture park but heard it was terrific. Stopped at Folkemuseum, an outdoor set up of farm houses, old church, old school and little village with an indoor exhibit about the Sami population (formerly known as Laplanders). Got back on and next stop was Viking Ship Museum with 2.5 old Viking vessels and various Viking artifacts and history. We skipped the next stop which was 3 more museums - Kon Tiki, Fram and Norwegian Maritime museums. Heard from others that these were very good stops. Rode the HOHO around again to Opera House and climbed to top (design of building is to allow public to walk on its sloping roof). Then walked back to ship through Akershus Fortress which is right across street from cruise port. Kristiansand: took little sightseeing train right at tender drop-off through town to get overview and orientation. Got off at city center. Walked down central pedestrian mall. Wonderful bakeries /coffee shops on nearly every corner. Very small town, easily walkable. Went to fortress - nothing much to see there. Walked through town and stopped at beautiful shop for home goods and beautiful yarns and sewing/knitting supplies. Went through fish market ("Fiskebrygga") that is right next to tender drop off pick up place. Amazing array of fresh fish and seafood. Ate at Pieder Ro restaurant in fish market complex and had a delicious fish soup with beer. Very nice restaurant with indoor or patio dining. Good little ice cream shop frequented by the locals is just across from it. Stavanger: took HAL excursion of fjord cruise up to place to see Pulpit Rock. Fjord boat was large and comfortable and a good tour guide joined us to narrate what we were seeing. Fjord boat is moored right next to our ship. Beautiful scenery all the way up the fjord. Stopped for waffles and coffee/tea on way back. Got back to ship with plenty of time to walk through the old town of quaint houses and a few shops along cobblestone lanes right above our ship. Then walked through local farmers market/craft fair about a block from ship, and ventured up another street lined with a variety of pubs, shops and restaurants. Stopped for a beer at pub with good wi-fi. Flam: took HAL excursion of train ride to spot that had hotel that served waffles and coffee, tea. Stopped on way at waterfall. Hotel stop was about 1.5 hours, giving time to walk around and take pictures of mountains and valley below. In Flam, just wandered around enjoying scenery and nice park along the river and fjord near the ship. Met folks who rented little electric green car near hotel and drove up the mountain. They said they had a blast, with provided GPS and narration that came with car. Bergen: short walk from ship to town, but we opted for a HOHO tour that included ticket to funicular. It was a competing company to Red HOHo buses with smaller blue vehicles. We were advised to go to funicular first as lines can be very long. Good advice, as we were able to skip first long line for ticket purchases and get in second long line for entrance. Line moved quickly and it was well organized. Up at top, spectacular views of city, plus restrooms and places to eat, as well as hiking trails. We opted for restaurant to have waffles and coffee, use facilities and wi-fi. When we went back down about an hour later, lines were down the block. Visited the Hanseatic Museum, quite interesting look at German merchant operations and living facilities. At that time of day we could only buy a ticket that included admission to that museum plus two others with shuttle in between. We walked to second one and skipped third as it was on far side of town. Then we went to the open air fish market set up along the pier across from the Hanseatic Museum. Multiple stalls selling fresh fish, dried fish, whale and reindeer sausage and dried meats like jerkey. Bought sandwich at one of stalls, very fresh, fish is right off the boats. Then walked up the street into the city center to a pedestrian mall near museums and Central Park that has a large lake with fountain in the center. Caught HOHO bus again to finish the tour. Funicular lines were even longer with both lines stretching down the block. Finished the tour and went back to the ship. The fortress is right near the ship, but we decided we had enough of fortresses. Wonderful sail away with ship horn blasting both as we left dock and as we sailed under suspension bridge. Lerwick, Shetland Islands: took HAL excursion with panorama tour of Lerwick and out across island to Scalloway. Excellent museum with castle right next door. Thouroughly enjoyed our tour guide who was funny and informative. Bought book, Shetland Bus, about British/Norwegian collaboration against Nazis in Norway during WWII, that was based in Scalloway. Very good read. Stopped to visit Shetland ponies and chat with breeder. Back in town with plenty of time to meander through village, stopping for a bit of shopping. Bought hand knit mittens made from local wool, and goat milk soaps hand made by local woman. Had lunch at tiny restaurant called The Fort, right below Fort Charlotte. Recommended by locals as best fish and chips. It was excellent food. Has both a take-away counter and tiny cafe. Get the small (1 large piece of fish), or split the large (2 large pieces of fish), as the pieces of Haddock were enormous with a generous portion of fries. Heard from others that the local museum was surprisingly good for such a small community. Portree: took HAL excursion to Tallisker Whiskey Distillery and island tour. Tender drop off point was at base of cliff with narrow short steep road up to the town center. Buses for excursions had to come in one or two at a time, load and go back up hill before next buses can come down, so a bit of slow process. But we got on our bus with a fairly small group and headed out across the town out to another part of the coast to the whiskey distillery. Fascinating tour, in very high demand, so they stick scrupulously to the schedule. Folks coming in at about 10:00 had to wait until 12:30 for the next tour, and by the end of our time, I believe the wait was until about 3:30. Toured the country side then, which is beautiful. It was foggy so we couldn't see the mountains, but others on different excursions hit it at better times and said they were spectacular. Returned to town, and wandered through a few shops, including a nice little bookstore with good selection of books about the islands, Scotland, and local authors. Had some good ice cream and went back to the tenders for return to the ship. Invergordon/Inverness: took HAL excursion re "Monsters, Lochs, etc.". We wanted to see the Highlands, and this provided a nice drive through the countryside to Loch Ness and the museum/castle. We only had a relatively brief time here, which meant we were hustling to see the short film, then hot foot it down to the castle ruins, take a quick peek and climb up some steps for views of the Loch, then back down for the arduous climb back up to the museum/gift store, and the climb back up the hill to the bus. Then we waited about half an hour due in part to someone being late getting back to the bus. We next drove back to Inverness and did a short panorama tour before stopping at a lovely hotel for a surprisingly nice lunch, given there were 2-3 other tour buses at the same time. After lunch we drove out to Culloden Moor battle site for a 15 minute stop to see the field where the most significant battle of Scottish history took place. There's a museum but we did not have time to visit it. Then on to Calder Castle which is still being lived in. We had more than enough time there to look through the rooms of the castle, and meander through the grounds and gardens. It was quite warm the day we were there, which apparently was unusual, because our bus lacked air conditioning and was like a sauna inside. I think the heat zapped our energy, as we stood outside near our bus for about 20 minutes waiting to leave. Heard from others that they spent a beautiful day in Inverness on their own, with plenty of things to see and do. South Queensferry/Edinburgh: This is another tender port, with the ship anchored in the Firth of Forth. It is some distance from Edinburgh so you have to find transportation into the city if that is your destination. The ship did not offer a shuttle bus service. We intended to find a cab when we got off the ship, but instead, as we walked off the tender pier, there is a local shuttle bus service that costs £5 each way into the city center. You can buy round trip or one way. It leaves about every 30 minutes and takes about 30 minutes. Its drop off and pick up spot is across the street from Charlotte Square. It turns out that the HOHO bus has a stop right next to the pick up place, although we didn't know that. Last shuttle back to the ship is at 5:00. Although we were told that the drop off point is only a 5-minute walk to the Waverly Bridge pick up spot for the HOHO bus lines (there are three different routes of buses), it was more like 20 minutes. It was quite warm the day we were there, and there were masses of people at the HOHO spot, and traffic in the city was quite congested. We had pre-purchased tickets that afforded access to all three lines, and included admission to Britannia, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Holyrood was closed the day we were there, as Princess Anne was visiting that day. With tickets in hand we avoided the long line at the ticket booth and got on the bus line to Britannia (town of Leith) just as it was leaving. Britannia has an excellent tour, with hand held audio devices included in the admission. After that tour we got back on HOHO and took it to the base of the hill for the Castle. Stopped for a bite of lunch at a place called Cafe on the Mound, which was decent and had wi-fi. Then we hoofed it up a very steep hill to the castle. The audio guides here were an extra cost, as was the printed guide. Maps were few and far between and it did not appear the audio numbers were in any particular order, which frustrated us as we tried to go in sequence. There are also free guided tours every 15 minutes, which we opted to skip. There are several museums, each seemingly focused on a different military outfit. If you like military history and paraphernalia you will enjoy this. It was a bit much for me however. The residential part was pretty bland in my opinion. Some folks later said they thought the castle was the highlight of Edinburgh but for me, I thought it was very overrated. To each his own, I guess. It didn't help that it was mobbed with tourists sticking their selfie sticks all over the place, and it was incredibly hot and I was on the verge of heat stroke. By 4:00 we thought we should make our way back to the shuttle stop, and it took us about 45 minutes of very fast walking to get there. The bus left promptly at 5:00, leaving one poor passenger outside waiting for his wife to show up at their designated meeting spot. Back at the tender pick up place, we went across the street for some ice cream, and then back onto the tenders to return to the ship. Newcastle on Tyne: this is another port where the ship is docked some distance from the city of Newcastle. As we left the ship, there is a tent with tourist information and free walking maps for the City of Newcastle. There is a free shuttle bus into Tynemouth that drops you off at the Metro station. There was a flea market going on at the station with all kinds of things for sale. We bought our pass for the Metro (lots of friendly help from Metro employees showing us how to purchase tickets and use the Metro). Trains come about every 15 minutes and it's about a 30 minute train ride into the city center. We got off at Monument stop, and searched for the HOHO bus stop. It was supposed to be there at 10:50 (that's the earliest pick up time of the day for that stop), so we got in line with the few others. More folks got in line, but formed a new direction, so after about 20 minutes there was basically a mob waiting with no line whatsoever. Finally the bus pulled up 20 minutes late and it was already completely full and would not take on more passengers. So after that frustrating waste of time we decided to take a walk and stumbled upon Grainger Market. This is a huge indoor market with vendor stalls selling everything imaginable. Produce, meats, cheeses, deli items, cafes, antiques, clothing, vacuum cleaners, etc. We bought some sharp English cheddar, then found a booth with Spanish products where we bought Manchego Iberian cheese and Iberian Ham from Acorn-fed pigs, a top delicacy in Spain. The merchant threw in a small bottle of Spanish wine for free. We then wandered around outside, but didn't really know what else to look for in terms of sights, so wandered back up to Monument Square. There was quite a crowd and we only learned later that there was a demonstration going on. That and the recent Manchester bombing might explain the police with their machine guns patrolling the area. Being blissfully ignorant, we stopped and listened for awhile to an awesome street band and then went back to the Metro to return to the ship. At the Tynemouth metro station, we wandered through the stalls, picked up a delicious hot chicken mushroom pasty, some local heather honey and Scottish Tablet (a delicious, sweet soft semi fudge like confection), and a couple of used paper back books by a Scottish author which is the basis of the popular BBC Scotland series called Shetland (I'm a huge fan). Then back on the very crowded shuttle to the ship. Last day of cruise was our first sea day, and I think we were all relieved to have a free day. Lots of activities on board. We enjoyed a talk about the sun and why there are places with 24 hours of daylight/nighttime (spoiler alert: it's due to the tilt of the earth's axis). Then Mariner luncheon and greet the captain and staff, and afternoon Q and A with the captain and cruise director. Then to cramming -er- packing our bags. Speaking of on board activities, we enjoyed the evening shows, and the Zuiderdam dancers and singers put on some of the best shows at sea I've seen. Very talented, and staging was exceptional. Guest artists were also good. We had skipped their individual shows but the last night all three came back and performed again. I highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I felt Royal is trying to sell you something wherever you turn your head. First, room attendant tells me he doesn't provide toothpaste but I could buy at the ship's shop! Their enrichment activities are opportunity to sell you ... Read More
I felt Royal is trying to sell you something wherever you turn your head. First, room attendant tells me he doesn't provide toothpaste but I could buy at the ship's shop! Their enrichment activities are opportunity to sell you something, their seminar conclude by selling you on some stuff as well. And when there is nothing to sell, they encourage you to buy drinks from the bar at every organized event. The mos OUTRAGEOUS of all is water. You are provided with the very expensive Eivan water in your room. And every station has a sing saying refilling water bottles is not allowed for "health reason"! Health of their revenue line that is. However I enjoyed my time at this trip. You get used to the selling after day 2. Their waiters services was excellent, even though the food was not that good. There's plenty of food, it would be hard to go hungry. The nightly entertainment shows were very enjoyable. A lot of live music which is always nice. The port, Norwegian fjords, were very beautiful. Unfortunately for us, our day at Geiranger was foggy as hell we saw no views whatsoever. It sucked. But we were lucky on 2 other days and the views were breathtaking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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