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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise ... Read More
I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise is a floating care home. The average age of a guest is well into their 70’s and the oldest passenger I came across was an astonishing 98! I have never seen so many strollers, walking frames, walking sticks, mobility scooters and wheel chairs in all my life! At age 62 I must be in the 5% of guests under the age of 65. I have nothing whatsoever against this passenger profile, except that I really do not want to be a part of it! Spending 8 nights having to battle through the maze of associated mobility aids and having to suffer the significant inconvenience to more able-bodied passengers which this presents, is not a holiday for me – it’s just a hassle. If you fit with this profile I am sure you will enjoy yourself. The ship itself holds 1400 passengers, and has been rebranded several times in its history as it moved between owners and refits. The overall quality of finish is average to good, and the style of décor reflects its niche in the market for elderly Brits wanting to be away from home but in familiar surroundings. Although a shame that CMV has decided for some reason that plastic and silk imitation plants and trees are more pleasing than real ones, resulting in a rather tacky funeral feel to the Taverner’s bar and a tired wilting appearance to the potted trees in Connexions. Cabins are nice and well maintained, if not a little dated in furnishings. The rest of the ship flows around deck 7 with its British bar (traditional London style) and the more modern Connexions bar (which appears to have been modelled on a conservatory). You will also find the main Waterfront restaurant on this deck. The other eatery is a self-service buffet style and is on deck 12. The best outdoor bar is the Oasis bar, which was surprisingly pleasant with its panoramic view and comfy sunbeds. As far as the food is concerned, the evening dinner on the Waterfront restaurant is good (but not great) in terms of selection and quality. I would recommend the 2nd sitting, as this allows more time before having to change, a 1st sitting in the theatre and plenty of time afterwards to relax in the bars. The self-service restaurant is to be avoided at all costs. The food is dismal, the atmosphere chaotic and the seating arrangements far too limited and uncomfortable for the number of guests (and walking aids!) trying to occupy them. In short it is a cattle market of stress inducing trauma. Think about your blood pressure and avoid this place like the plague. Far better to spend your time enjoying a great coffee in the coffee shop by the pool area. The best coffee I have ever tasted. Drinks prices on board are very reasonable indeed. £3.30 for a pint of Fosters, a 4cl Gordon’s gin at £3.60 and alcoholic cocktails around £4.80. Having said that CMV offer a range of pre-paid inclusive drink packages and these offer exceptional value in my view. Dress on board is casual and informal, with appropriate minimum standards in the indoor bars and lounges in the evening. There were 2 formal nights during the cruise. It’s always a good measure of your fellow passengers to observe their interpretation of “formal”. I would estimate that 40% were traditional “black tie” enthusiasts, and a further 30% made some sort of effort (however marginal) to smarten themselves up. The remaining 30%? – well I think the less said, the better! The staff on board vary considerably. Our cabin steward was fantastic, friendly, personal and did a really good job at keeping the cabin clean and tidy. The restaurant staff were generally efficient and on the whole appeared to enjoy their jobs. With a couple of exceptions, all of the bar staff were as miserable as sin, without a smile for anyone, and with the ability only to communicate in grunts (if at all). Not once in a whole week were we approached at our table in the bars and asked if we wanted to order a drink. We had to attract someone’s attention (which on occasion would be successful, but more usually resulted in total avoidance) or queue at the bar and get our own drink (eventually, and after having to endure surly and indifferent “service”) Shore excisions were, as usual, overpriced, but reasonable well organised. Check before you book to see if you can make your own arrangements to see the “ attractions” – we did and saved ourself at least 30% on the CMV cost. The evening entertainment was disappointing. For starters the Palladium theatre is small with awful sight lines of the stage. Unless you bag a seat at least 30 minutes prior to showtime you can forget seeing at least half of the stage. The resident entertainment dancers/singers, can’t. That is to say they try hard, but there is only one guy and one girl who came even remotely close to being able to sing in tune. The rest would get immediate “red crosses and a loud buzzer” from Simon Cowell. Dancing was slightly better, but production values and variety were very poor. This was a major let-down as we have been used to very professional and talented entertainers on other cruises. From the 7 nights we had a comedian (the same one) for 2 nights, a magician (the ships entertainment director) for 1 night and the dancers/singers for the remainder. The comedian was not bad, although should really have retired his act some time ago. The magician was just plain embarrassing. So overall an exceptionally average cruise, not helped by the clientele, the ships facilities and the crew. If a British “flavoured” floating care home is your thing, with a heady mix of cheap drinks, bingo, quizzes, and “end of the pier” entertainment - then you should definitely go for it. If not – you should save your money for an alternative cruise. You may need to pay a little more, but it will be money well spent. It was good to try CMV, but once is enough. At least until I am 80! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes before my allotted time. First time using a mobility scooter but very helpful staff helped me to board by a conventional gangplank. No trouble disembarking, off within 15 minutes. Luggage found and out of the terminal within 30 minutes. I did not do any organised trips as it was my first cruise on my own, since losing my husband and having to us a mobility scooter. Self serve Horizon restaurant has plenty of staff wearing "Happy to Help aprons" and they were indeed helpful (although wanted to give me more food than I wanted) carried it to the table for me. All areas are accessible to disabled travellers and if you want to eat in the other restaurants they will park and bring it back afterwards. The Eric Lanlard afternoon tea in the Epicurean is to die for. The glad house has amazing wines (Selected by Ollie Smith). Try a wine flight if you want to sample. These is plenty of seating even on a sea day it wasn't hard to find a place. Overall a beautiful ship with absolutely wonderful crew. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Southampton is so easy to cruise from unless u travel with Marella queue to pick up your envelope to but luggage tag on suitcase and get room key then take luggage to pick up point for porters to take to room not so easy if wife in ... Read More
Southampton is so easy to cruise from unless u travel with Marella queue to pick up your envelope to but luggage tag on suitcase and get room key then take luggage to pick up point for porters to take to room not so easy if wife in wheelchair that`s the bad bit for us then straight thru and onto ship. for u more able bodied people about 2-3 hours after that to get on the ship as most people we spoke to said. The bad bit over with, Our 1st time on a small ship we had nothing to be nervous about this is a great ship we found all staff very good never used the buffet restaurant used the MDR & Italian every time food very good yes small portions but 3 course meal with wine then port you will not go hungry the shows were normal standard for any cruise ship and we have seen quite a few over the years service at the bars/coffee shop was 97 per cent very good layout of ship easy to get around toilets every other floor the price for this type of all inclusive cruise is very good value check out celebrity prices for this cruise and you will have nothing to complain about also check out the pub in Flam right by the doc £15 for a glass of wine £10 a pint very nice pub tho will go with marella again enjoyed the trip Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was ... Read More
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was our first cruise, however my parents have done several cruises. Cabins were lovely and our Stewart was brilliant. Dinning Buffet meal good for breakfast, just avoid the Eggs Benedict it was cold & no crispy bacon, omelets lovely, cooked to order. Afternoon tea in buffet good. Formal Restaurant service very slow 2 - 2hrs 45 mins, our quickest service was 1hr 45mins because we didn’t stay for desert, however meals were lovely. Entertainment poor 3 good guest acts, the rest was dire, singers out of tune (and I am tonne deaf). Couple of in house bands were good. Entertainment timings didn’t work in well with Restaurant eating. Shore excursions very expensive far better to research things to do and organise yourself - P&O charging over £48 for an activity that is a 10 min walk from ship and costs £10 to go onto. In saying that the Helecopter over the glazier worth every penny. Bar service good but if you drink a lot it can get expensive. Some reception staff could be a bit abrupt at time My Mum got a 5min lecture on how to look after her room key correctly when it stopped working. Seating around indoor swimming pool, floors often running with water and was very rarely mopped. I would do the Fjords again in a heart beat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through ... Read More
This was our very first Cruise I have to say from start to finish it was excellent, We arrived at the port where our bags were taken from us and never saw them till we got to our cabin. we checked in and with in 10 mins we were through security and on the ship.we were on deck 8 Superior inside cabin and we were very happy with it. The food at all meal times were excellent, we chose to have our evening meals in the Avon Restaurant and the staff were first class. There is plenty to do on board if you don't want to get off at any of the ports. We mainly had our drinks in the Marquee Bar on the top deck very friendly and customer focused. Entertainment was also good, a great holiday which I would recommend to anyone the scenery was amazing weather was mixed apart from one day when it never stopped raining. We did the Funicular ourselves it cost £5 each to go up as we walked back down which I would recommend if your able. We then went to find the Ice Bar which cost us £19 each it was good fun and worth going in. We bought the tickets for the Flam Railway off Fred Olsen and I would advise to do this as your seats are reserved for you and well worth doing. All of the Ports that we stopped at were expensive to buy anything but really worth looking round the shops, you can do your own thing plenty to see and do. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Selected this cruise because we wanted to visit the Norwegian fjords, and this suited out schedule. In reviewing this cruise, I am comparing with a previous experience - Celebrity Solstice one week from Barcelona to Tunisia, Italy and ... Read More
Selected this cruise because we wanted to visit the Norwegian fjords, and this suited out schedule. In reviewing this cruise, I am comparing with a previous experience - Celebrity Solstice one week from Barcelona to Tunisia, Italy and France. Initially embarkation works quite well. We taxied from Southampton airport to terminal where our bags were whisked away from the taxi and delivered to our cabin. Registration and boarding was somewhat slow, and no complimentary drinks or snacks were served. See cabin review for cabin details. There was a choice of dining when booking. Club dining - where you are allocated a restaurant (2), table and a time for eating dinner. Freedom dining - where you are allocated a restaurant (2), but can dine when you like, and at whatever table size you prefer. Menu seemed to e the same which ever option selected. In addition to the 4 dining rooms allocated to Club and Freedom, there were three specialty restaurants each of which have a cover charge which ranged from about £20 to about £30 per person for a 3/4 course dinner, and a fourth - The Glasshouse - which offered a la carte dining. Additionally there is a large buffet restaurant operating all day - including dinner - and is excellent for breakfast. Breakfast and lunch are available from most restaurants as well as smaller snack and pizza type poolside. Food was good in the freedom - and presumably cabin - restaurants. Service was excellent, even though these restaurants are very large. In freedom, you may have to wait for your choice of table when you turn up. But they give you a pager and you can head off and have a drink while you are waiting. Ask for a window table! Food in the specialty restaurants was better, but not of a standard that would overly impress. We did not try the Epicurean - which is supposed to be the best. On day of embarkation there was a guided tour of the ship. This is worth going on, as it can be a little difficult to get detailed information about all the facilities on board. The cabin TV is equipped with a good range of channels and movies, including Britannia's own channels offering information on the cruise and destinations. However, the destination information is very skimpy, and lacks detail of the individual excursions. Additionally, information about on board facilities is lacking. We were very luck with weather. Sunny and warm for the whole week. So deck facilities - pools, loungers, etc. - were very busy. There are two pools. One for everyone and one - Serenity - for adults only. For additional cost, you can access the Retreat area. Right at the bow, and quiet and relaxing with two hot tubs. However, quite expensive. They will try and sell you a week pass for about £100 per person. However, we took a day pass option for the first cruising day for £25. Given the subsequent schedule, we didn't use the area again, so that was a good option for us. WiFi is available on board, but is confusing and expensive. Be careful of the "pay as you go" option. There seemed to be no way to monitor usage, and we ran up a large bill - even though only using our phones for occasional email and messaging. They offer other packages, but these are also very expensive. Bars on board are well staffed, and have good selection of drinks. However, no alcoholic drinks are included, and they are expensive. Wine typically at about £6/£8 a glass. Drink packages are poorly arranged, limited in their scope and expensive. Only option was to pre-buy a number of bottles of wine. This compares badly with the creative packages offered on Celebrity cruises, where a package could include wines by the glass, beer and basic cocktails. Entertainment on board was good, but not impressive. We saw two of the shows, and went to the Lamplight specialty restaurant for dinner and a show. Service throughout the ship was good and at times excellent. West coast Norway is stunning! Particularly as we saw it in lovely weather. In Stavanger, we opted for a four hour walking tour which was not great - probably better options. However, Flam, Allusund and Bergen were wonderful locations. Highlights - the Flam railway trip, the Sugar Lump in Allusand, and the funicular railway in Bergen. If going to Norway again, we would probably fly to Bergen, and take small cruises from there. Overall we enjoyed our trip, but would not use P&O again. It is, after all, a British cruise line, and appeals to mostly British people. Britannia has a large number of internal cabins which are offered at quite low prices. So expect a significant number of tattoos and beer! We preferred the more international flavor of Celebrity cruises. Finally, we would recommend the Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ship Guide. A great book which reviews virtually every cruise line and ship in the world. Their summary of Britannia was very accurate. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Smooth embarkation in Bergen and an offer to upgrade to a suite set the standard for this travel! Luggage was properly retransferred to the new cabin while we left Bergen comfortably seated in deck-chairs bathed in the afternoon sun ... Read More
Smooth embarkation in Bergen and an offer to upgrade to a suite set the standard for this travel! Luggage was properly retransferred to the new cabin while we left Bergen comfortably seated in deck-chairs bathed in the afternoon sun (uncommon for Bergen as this is a really rainy city!). The first of many very good dinners was then enjoyed in the restaurant. The dinner menues were prepared to use mainly local food from the actual region we sailed along each day. One dinner was even completely vegetarian; a bold but successful grip. The breakfast and lunch buffets were abundant. There are several activities that one may attend: the Explorer team may accompany you on foot, by bus or even small expedition boats. We did not use any of these as we preferred walking on our own when we had the time during city stops; We mananged to walk to the cathedral Nidarosdomen (Trondheim), the National Air Craft museum (Bodø) and nearly up the hill to Aksla (Ålesund), the latter actually involved quite brisk walking as the ship was mostly 15 minutes delayed to every port so the port-time was consequently shortened. We really enjoyed sitting on the deck, the view of the fjord- and mountain- landscape meditatively passing by was relly relaxing, (Fortunately the internet Connection was good enough to do some computer work in between when we had some cloudy hours..) This ship was suitable for perons using wheel-chairs, althoug a young man balancing the coffee cup in his lap while manoevring his slim wheeler looked very risky on a somehow rolling ship. He even managed rolling by himself down the steep gangway to Svolvær (backwards, gripping the rail). Disembarking in Harstad following a last early breakfast ended our journy. We will be back; preferably pursuing the Norwegian coast line up to Kirkenes the next time! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords ... Read More
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords to Flaam and Olden, as our previous attempt (on Britannia) failed as P&O cancelled both ports a few months before (this has happened at least 6 times that I know of with Britannia). The itinerary certainly didn't disappoint. Both places were lovely and the cruises down the very long fjords were spectacular, especially as we had an aft corner wrap suite, which enabled us to enjoy some evening meals on the huge balcony whilst soaking in the views. Stavanger was pleasant (but we have been twice before) and Haugesund was interesting but like a ghost town - even though we were there Friday lunchtime! Although we very much liked our suite and we particularly enjoyed the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White restaurant), we found the main dining room (Meridian) to be the first poor one that we have experienced with P&O. The food was fine, but the layout is very poor. Tables for four were too small and a large proportion were alongside the main thoroughfare around the restaurant, so were not relaxing at all. We are used to having to take a pager for evening meals at peak times (Freedom dining) but have never had to stand around waiting for a table to become available at lunchtime before - yet we had to do this several times. I was told by a staff member that the waiters don't like this particular restaurant either and, frankly, you could tell. We are great fans of the main dining rooms elsewhere in the fleet (especially Aurora, which is superb) but not this one. P&O had just introduced new lunchtime menus on this ship, which are downright confusing. Rather than just list starters, main courses and desserts, you now have all sorts of random headings and now don't know whether what you have ordered is a starter or main course size - or whether it's hot or cold! This was catching a lot of people out, not just us. Given how poor the main dining room was, we really missed not having a Glasshouse (which we enjoy for a late lunch after a morning ashore, or when the main dining room menu doesn't appeal) or a Beach House (for when you are after something more casual). We avoid the buffet like the plague, but our adult daughters used it and said that the food areas were too small and had limited choice. We very much enjoyed the ability for suite passengers to have breakfast in Sindhu and the staff there were fantastic. It also saved us 7 further visits to the poor main dining room. We had one evening meal there and, again, the table was too small for four (tables for two were the same size). Even though curry is my absolute favourite food, I do not like Sindhu's take on it (same on all the other ships) but the three ladies all loved it (as they always do), so do not be deterred. The Headliners troupe on this cruise were all very good (that's not always the case) but none of the other entertainment appealed and, as has become the norm, daytime entertainment was dire. Embarkation was a little delayed due to a problem with the air bridge at the QE2 terminal. This still hadn't been fixed by our return, so we disembarked at City Cruise Terminal so, as well as now having travelled on all P&O ships, we have now used all Southampton cruise terminals! So, overall, it was the itinerary and the fact that we were very relieved to have booked a suite that made the cruise acceptable, but we wouldn't rush to return to Arcadia as it is now our least favourite P&O ship. By contrast, Aurora is our favourite, although the absence of an Epicurean restaurant (the one on Britannia is our favourite restauarant at sea) means that no ship is perfect. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Nice ,new ship.balcony stateroom pretty nice,but on the small size.cramped bathroom,not well designed,difficult to sit.shower head didnt fixed well.first and secod day,steward didnt come to clean the room untill 3p.m,we went to complain ... Read More
Nice ,new ship.balcony stateroom pretty nice,but on the small size.cramped bathroom,not well designed,difficult to sit.shower head didnt fixed well.first and secod day,steward didnt come to clean the room untill 3p.m,we went to complain and after this no problem.Molde port,I think was choosed to give expencive trips.staff in dining room pushed to order drinks,not always in good manner.But all in all nice experience,mainly because of new ,and well organized ship and crew.good port of calls,exept Molde,I think to push you expensive excursions.Super Geiranger and Bergen.embarkation and dis..well organised. Tender in Geiranger good .In dining room crew pushed you yo order drinks ,expensive.Super restaurant Tamarind!!nice experience delicious food also in dining room.In north cruises I think not to order balcony room next time.bit cold to seat.Just ocean view enough.A lot of disabled on board,somrtimes feeled like in reabilitation hospital.but its not much to do.It was world cup and they translated it at the big screen near the pool.by the way jakuzzi near the pool always occupied by children.a problem if you want to seat there Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 2nd time on a NCL ship. My first memorable experience with Jewel and impressive service from NCL Sydney office were the reasons for my 2nd time. This particular trip was arranged as all of us had not been to Norway. From ... Read More
This was my 2nd time on a NCL ship. My first memorable experience with Jewel and impressive service from NCL Sydney office were the reasons for my 2nd time. This particular trip was arranged as all of us had not been to Norway. From the booking to every single arrangement, our NCL consultant, Michelle Farren had been very helpful with her prompt response, despite 17 of us in the group. It was handed over to Hayley, who helped us before we sailed. Awesome service from NCL Sydney office!i never thought would happen to any cruise line due to some past negative experiences. Every day, our cruise ship, Norwegian Jade passed by different mountains. In the early summer, the snow covered mountains and visits to the fairytale lands in Norway warmed my heart during this memorable cruise trip. It's indeed a very beautiful Norwegian Fjords' journey, which all of us had enjoyed very much. We had selected 2 Free at Seas for each cabin. On top of that, we were given the Distinctive Voyages with few more addtional benefits, such as 250 min free wifi, 120 phone call credit that allows us to call any part of the world, another $50 shore credit per port etc. Most of us were busy every day taking part in different shore excursions. Though a few incidents happened on the ship, upon receipt of my comments, its cruuse director & guest services manager had contacted me personally. Service recoveries were offered to my cruise mates and I had received a complimentary wine & chocolates as well. Thanks for the prompt response and I was grateful that my friends were happy before they left the ship. I saw the Carbaret show by the production team onboard and it was really interesting to showcase Broadway musical at the lounge. The Cruise Director and his team had performed a very interesting "Movie Sketch Comedy Show'. Very great teamwork! Among the specialty restaurants, my team mates loved Cagney, Le Bistro, Moderno Churrascaria. Teppanyaki may require some improvements on the skills by the Chef. Grand Pacific, Alizar and Cafe Garden were great! We all love the foods. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We arrived in Southampton just after midday for our 7-day cruise around the Norwegian Fjords. Embarkation was very smooth and easy, which is important to us as our daughter is in a wheelchair. The cruise terminal (Ocean Terminal) was ... Read More
We arrived in Southampton just after midday for our 7-day cruise around the Norwegian Fjords. Embarkation was very smooth and easy, which is important to us as our daughter is in a wheelchair. The cruise terminal (Ocean Terminal) was extremely crowded, but we had no problems.. Once onboard, our main concern regarding Britannia, having read numerous reviews, was soon confirmed - the lifts on this ship are totally inadequate for its size. This is made worse by the fact that there are no midship stairs (except between decks 5 and 7), meaning everyone has to use the lifts to access their cabins unless they are located aft or forward, or they are willing to take a long walk - not good planning at all! Having a wheelchair, finding a lift that wasn't full proved extemely challenging at times. Having been on approximately 30 cruises on almost as many different ships with various cruise lines, I can honestly say that the lift situation on Britannia was the worst we have experienced. For a ship with 4,000+ passengers, the lifts are just too small and there are not enough of them. Other than the lifts, our experiences were mostly positive. The ship itself is very clean and the public areas are very spacious. Our cabin was comfortable (IE Grade Balcony - Obstructed View). We were lucky as the obstruction (lifeboats & tender boats) was small compared to some of the other similar cabins on deck 8, as ours was in the gap between two tender boats. The cabin was kept very clean by our cabin steward and our request for a shower seat for our daughter was actioned immediately (we had been unable to book an accessible cabin). The food was generally excellent, both in the main restaurants and the Horizon Buffet. We were on the first dinner sitting in the Oriental Restaurant which was aft. Again, the only problem here was the accessibility, as the restaurant (on Deck 6) is only accessible by lift from the deck above due to the galley being between other areas of the ship on this deck and the restaurant. We generally found that the only way to access the lifts when going to dinner was to go up and then down again, as the lifts going down were always full. we avoided the Horizon Buffet on sea days as it was very crowded, but on other days it was fine, with a good selection of food. Having cruised on Azura and Oceana, which had assigned priority lifts for wheelchairs, we were surprised that this was not the case on Britannia, being a newer ship (only one or two small easily-missed signs near lifts suggesting that priority be given to wheelchair users). At least two or three of the lifts were also out of service throughout the cruise, which made matters worse. The food and service in the restaurant were very good, although we found the crew and staff to be generally less friendly and the service less personal than we had experienced on the Oceana, which could be to do with the size of the ship. The shows in the theatre were all excellent, with a very high-quality cast and a good variety of guest artists. Accessibility was also good with a number of aisle seats being reserved for companions of wheelchair users with parking spaces for wheelchairs next to them. The ports were all excellent and we were extemely lucky with the weather (smooth, almost calm seas throughout and warm, sunny weather in each port). The views in the Fjords were spectacular. We particuarly enjoyed the captain's daily informative and amusing briefings. Our disembarkation was also very smooth and problem-free. To summarise, Britannia is generally a nice ship but the layout in some areas, particularly the lifts and stairs, are badly planned. Unless modifications are made to these areas, we would not recommend this as the best ship to choose if you are travelling with someone who has mobility problems. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
3rd time for us and as soon as we got to the Pingvinen bar in Bergen we got onto the wifi and got down to planning the 4th one. The views are nothing less than staggering. Utterly breathtaking. No words or photos will ever do justice to ... Read More
3rd time for us and as soon as we got to the Pingvinen bar in Bergen we got onto the wifi and got down to planning the 4th one. The views are nothing less than staggering. Utterly breathtaking. No words or photos will ever do justice to the Norwegian fjords. You need to see them with your own eyes. We embarked at Svolvær for a three-night cruise south to Bergen. A quick treat for us for various reasons. My partner's in an electric wheelchair and the MS Finnmarken had a nifty device where the steps to the foot-passengers' door flattened-out into a lift. When we sailed on the MS Trollfjord in 2013 we boarded via the vehicle ramp and up a cargo lift. Although we couldn't get an accessible cabin this time we managed fine with the standard cabin. We stowed the electric wheelchair in the luggage compartment each night where it could be plugged in too to charge. In fact we upgraded when we boarded as we had originally booked an unspecified outside cabin which turned out to be on the promenade deck (5) with a restricted view (lifeboat). Didn't bother me but upgrades were available so my partner did the deed. We got 705 - another outer cabin and also much nearer the amidships lifts. If you are happy with an outer cabin on deck five please remember to close the curtains when it gets dark! I could see in in the split-second I walked by from the corner of my eye. The MS Finnmarken is a perfectly comfortable and unpretentious ship. Loads of wonderful art to look at on board and we especially enjoyed the cartoons around the two staircases. There are three lifts, two amidships and one aft and my partner got around just fine in the wheelchair. The food is amazing. Traditional Norwegian fair mixed with the usual north European goodies. Breakfast and lunch are buffets and dinner is usually a set menu although we were surprised that on our first evening dinner was also a buffet. One downside is that breakfast and lunch are really too close together - just over two hours apart. I over-ate on the first evening, wasn't hungry the following morning but ended up stuffing myself anyway. Just managed to hold back come lunch time. But not really. And it was a blessed relief when dinner turned out to be a set menu. The dinners can seem quite light after the buffets but really the portions are just right. I managed to properly pace myself the other two days. Getting rid of those calories is easy enough. There's a pretty cool gym on board. I looked but didn't touch. I don't do gyms. It was busy though. There appears to be dance classes - see below. The small swimming pool was out of action for some reason - I didn't get around to finding out why. The two outside jacuzzis were on though and I rarely saw them unoccupied. I opted for walks around the promenade deck on five interspersed with strides up and down the outside steps to deck eight. With my mobile, the complimentary wifi, and a few BBC iPlayer radio programs, and the ever changing totally stunning views, I managed nine miles on one day! I also scampered onshore whenever I could. I managed a brisk walk through hilly Molde and was treated to the privilege of visiting the beautiful MS Lofeten in Rørvik. Onboard entertainment is minimal. As Hurtigruten's blurb says, the views provide the entertainment. And they ain't wrong. There were some fun and informative talks by the onboard expedition team and I did see and hear music and dancing involving the more mature passengers. On the last day we were treated to a surprise concert with piano and two opera singers performing works by Grieg. Listening to them while watching the majestic fjords roll by was truly magical. And very relaxing. On this trip we purposely didn't do any excursions. They are expensive but the ones we've been on previously we're worth it for the memories they've created. Also expensive is the alcohol. I chose to drink very little, just two glasses of wine, but my partner likes his beer so paid the nearly £10 a pop for a large Mack. About three or four a day. Eye-watering. But that's Norway. I made use of the complimentary coffee supply for full-board passengers. The crew are great. They all speak English and only a couple of them were a bit brusque in that charmingly Scandinavian manner. Disembarkation went smoothly with ramps everywhere. One bonus of upgrading was we were among the first passengers to disembark. Busses to the centre of Bergen and the train station were available but we chose to walk/trundle to the Pingvinen bar were we planned next year's Hurtigruten holiday. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruising the fjords of Norway has been a long time ambition of mine. I chose Hurtigruten because of reports that I had heard and their 100 year plus of experience of working in these waters. I say working because their ships do work ... Read More
Cruising the fjords of Norway has been a long time ambition of mine. I chose Hurtigruten because of reports that I had heard and their 100 year plus of experience of working in these waters. I say working because their ships do work with cargo as well as passengers this all adds to the interest. Something like 32 ports of call o the round trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Some with only a 15 minute stay but other with several hours stopover. A large number of excursions are organised and I found the ones I went on were very good. They are graded in fitness levels with those numbered 1 for old fogeys like me and those graded 3 for the fitter of us, I had a mini suite cabin which was excellent including a television connected to a camera on the bow of the ship so you missed little of the scenery. The TV can pick up BBC worls service TV as well as other English speaking stations. The suite had twin beds, a 2 seater settee, 2 armchairs and a large double wardrobe. Hurtigruten operate a Coastal Kitchen concept so much of the food on board is picked up from ports of call on the cruise. This provides a great variety of food and helps local farmers. Food on boardwas very good. An extensive breakfast and lunch buffet and a waiter service dinner which was nuovaue ciusine style but excellently done. There is also a a la carte restaurant if the fixed m,enu option is not to your liking. You can buy a wine or beer package for the cruise but this means you will have to drink every night. There are talks on board about the Artic and other related issies. I found these excellent. Bot too long, informative without being too heavy. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
The journey with Hurtigruten on the MS Finnmarken was the most wonderful I ever made. The norwegian fjords are fantastic and this fresh arctic air makes you stay on the upper deck all day, you get addicted to it. Most comfortable ... Read More
The journey with Hurtigruten on the MS Finnmarken was the most wonderful I ever made. The norwegian fjords are fantastic and this fresh arctic air makes you stay on the upper deck all day, you get addicted to it. Most comfortable thing was the sauna and the two jaccuzis on the rear deck - it is too lovely to sit in the hot tub and see the ship leaving Kristiansund or Tromso or whatever!! LOVELY. The interior in an Art Déco-style is nice and they even had a piano in the salon. Best thing for those, who doesn't want to go outside, is the panorama-salon on deck 8, watching the scenery passing by slowly is the best way to travel. The only thing, that was really bad for me: I am an allergic person and the food i got was ridiculous! For breaktfast they just got me two slices of glutenfree toast, nothing else (for the rest I had to check the buffet - which didn't provide much for me). And dinner (when there was no buffet). was just terrible. Mostly it looked like the leftovers of the lunchbuffet, smashed into the pan with some old beetroot. And always styrofoam chickpeas. Or Potatoesoup with no taste. Considering, that the others got a five star menu and that the chefs are actually professionals the dishes for allergic people were a shame! That was the only complaint, but a major one. Still the journey was so beautiful, that I am gonna do it again next year summer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We took the Hurtigruten Nordnorge southbound from Kirkenes to Bergen for six nights from 02/19/2018 to 02/24/2018. Our goal? To see the Northern Lights. First off, the people at Hurtigruten in the U.S. were beyond helpful. We conversed ... Read More
We took the Hurtigruten Nordnorge southbound from Kirkenes to Bergen for six nights from 02/19/2018 to 02/24/2018. Our goal? To see the Northern Lights. First off, the people at Hurtigruten in the U.S. were beyond helpful. We conversed for months planning our trip and excursions. By the time we booked, we felt comfortable we had made the right decisions and knew in great detail what we were doing. Their level of detail helped us immensely. This was a GREAT trip. The size of the ship and number of passengers made it just right. It wasn't a cruise with thousands of people and that made it calm, quiet and personal. You didn't feel like you had to be in a hurry. The food was great. Lots to choose from with a morning and lunch buffet and menu-driven evening meals. With an emphasis on Norwegian style ingredients, the selection was better than a lot of other cruises we've been on. The selection of excursions was comprehensive and covered a wide range of price levels. We even did some excursions not connected to Hurtigruten and they even helped us to connect with the right people and transition between the ship on third parties. But here's the thing that made this cruise and this company BEYOND great...the people. Many of the crew were from Norway so they knew the territory. Not only had they worked for Hurtigruten for many years, but they knew what to do, where to go, and what you'd experience. There wasn't a question they couldn't answer. Peter & David - two great managers on our ship - were funny, personal, and experienced. They cared, and that came through. It made all the difference. We left feeling like they were real friends. A word about rooms...we deliberately didn't get some big cabin up high. We had a Polar Outside: Outside Cabin...No great view, but it didn't matter. Why? With easy, fast access to the outside deck just one level above, you can be upstairs in like 60 seconds (literally). The Explorer Lounge on deck 7 is really where you'll spend a lot of time with its panoramic view. Trust me...save your money on a room and spend it on excursions! Hurtigruten's attention to detail made this cruise a real experience and I've been on a lot of cruise lines. We will seriously look at Hurtigruten again for other cruises in North America, Alaska, and Central America. Worth every penny to see a beautiful part of the world. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just returned from a South to North trip. Some of the experiences were great, the ship was comfortable and the crew friendly but we will not be going again in the late spring for the wildlife as we'd originally intended. ... Read More
We have just returned from a South to North trip. Some of the experiences were great, the ship was comfortable and the crew friendly but we will not be going again in the late spring for the wildlife as we'd originally intended. From the UK everything is very, very expensive. More than we'd anticipated. £10 for a lager, £40+ for a run of the mill Pinot Grigio, £80-£100 for a 2 hour sightseeing tour, etc. And many of the excursions are a rip off because either they are too time limited due to the ships schedule or take place in the dark. Eg, at Trondheim our guided bus tour of the town (including a viewpoint lookout) was in the dark. It could have been run an hour later. At Saltstraumen, the tide was hardly running, so no 'maelstrom', and worst of all the 'Sailing in the Polar Night' aka 'Silent Whale Watching' (they changed the title as there were no whales), supposedly under an electric engine and maybe sail, is a farce. The captain confirmed they never raised the sail on that trip, most of the time we were under noisy diesel power, no whales are the norm this year as the herring have gone further north, and, of course, after the first half hour it was in the dark so the wonderful scenery we were told of was invisible. When the excursion sheet says the trip is say 3.5 hours for the dog sledding, you have to allow for time getting to and from the venue by coach and kitting up, safety talk and making a fuss of the dogs so this only a half to three quarter hour actually out. I didn't do this trip as I have mobility problems and thought it would be too long. It wasn't. Mobility wise on the ship there is a lift between floors, the outside doors have automatic button opening and there are shallow stairs with a rail and then a ramp for embarkation. Do as much homework as you possibly can before you go. There are maps provided for each port where there is time ashore and if you are of average fitness I would recommend using these and on-line information and doing your own excursion. Many did and saw so much more than we did on the organised trips. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We wanted to sea the Norwegian coastline from Kirkenes to Bergen. We got to Kirkenes from Oslo by SAS and did not spend any time in Kirkenes before embarking. The embarking went smooth easy The ship in not one of the biggest in ... Read More
We wanted to sea the Norwegian coastline from Kirkenes to Bergen. We got to Kirkenes from Oslo by SAS and did not spend any time in Kirkenes before embarking. The embarking went smooth easy The ship in not one of the biggest in Hurtigruten but that is why we love it so much. Just over 200 passengers is perfect. The Ship has a history that is kind of intriguing. The cabin we stayed in was amazing, and we love the local foods being served at dinner, and also the fact if you have allergies or you do not like what is on the menu you can get some other choice, but you have to ask for it. The service of the Staff is why we came back for our second trip on this vessel. To dine aboard MS Spitsbergen is unstressfull and the food is varied and tasty. The waiters are so sweet and cheerful, and they are always smiling and giving 100% service! There are so many Ports that we stop at and loads of different shore excursions so there is truly something for everyone. Best of all is the Norwegian coast, the dramatic nature, glaciers, the tall montains and all the places people do live along this amazing coast. Fresh, clean, wild, untouched nature at it's best. We did miss some better chairs up on deck 8, they are to low and should have had a higher/longer back so that you can lean back and enjoy the sun. Some blankets would also have been nice. This is not our last trip with Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen, we will be back again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our 1st cruise and being very apprehensive of going into the unknown, We are so glad we booked this cruise Sailing from Newcastle was great only being a few hours up the motorway. Embarkation went smoothly seeing that we did not ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise and being very apprehensive of going into the unknown, We are so glad we booked this cruise Sailing from Newcastle was great only being a few hours up the motorway. Embarkation went smoothly seeing that we did not know what we was doing. We had a outside cabin on deck 2. The cabin was not that big but seeing you only slep in it, it was sufficient, Plenty of storage and wardrobe space. Only one drawback not enough coat hangers. Though I did pack some into the suitcase Very clean Joko came in twice a day changed the towels he left it so clean and tidy. The ship is spotless you see the staff continually cleaning, painting to keep the ship looking good, they work so hard. We eat in the Lido restaurant there was a good selection of food and it was very good, it could get busy. We did not try the other restaurants always meant too but never got round to it definitely next time. There is a variety of bars to suit all taste Liberties with your bingo quizzes music till late, Duo singers in Hemmingway more of a relaxed and a bit quieter. Horizon up on top deck which again is one of the quieter bars. Bars to suit all taste The staff in Liberties are great we got to know them and you could not ask for anything else for helpful, always smiling staffs. Thanks Nosi and gang for making our cruise lovely and enjoyable Entertainment in the Show lounge was good, its good that the shows have 2 start times. The fjords are unbelievable and the ports of calls were lovely. I would highly recommend this destination cruise. We loved this cruise, The Fjords The Celebration. The atmosphere, the people, the staff are so friendly and this made our holiday. We would defiantly book another in fact we have for next year to the Adriatic on the Celebration. Cant wait. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had been to The Fiords before and wanted a short cruise where we could get an accessible cabin. We tried all the other cruise lines without success and as a last resort tried P&O. They had one balcony cabin left and we booked that. ... Read More
We had been to The Fiords before and wanted a short cruise where we could get an accessible cabin. We tried all the other cruise lines without success and as a last resort tried P&O. They had one balcony cabin left and we booked that. When we arrived at the ship the check in was easy and without hitch. That's where it stopped. We were told our cabin was ready and to go to deck six. As we were both on mini scooters getting a lift was almost impossible, everybody kept pushing in front of us (and these were supposed to be adults ) We got a lift after over half an hour and went up to deck 6 only to find our cabin C2 was right at the front of the ship. There was no easy way to open the door and we had to wait for our cabin steward to open the door for us. That was just the start ! The balcony was totally inaccessible for two reasons , firstly the electric curtains opened the wrong side and covered the door, secondly the balcony was so small the chairs each had one leg resting on the ramp and therefore the both rocked from side to side. There was no room to put the footrest out so they were piled on top of one another. If the chairs were pushed forward off the ramp they were against the balcony rail ! The cabin was at the very font of the ship and the dining saloon was at the very back, a long way to go if you are disabled. The toilet roll holder was 12" from the floor, needs raising 2ft. Finally the TV wiring would have been condemned by any electrician as being dangerous ! If it was not for the very high quality of the food and the very helpful staff this holiday would have been a total disaster. I have already reported this to P&O but they have not had the decency to reply. If you are disabled be warned, reject cabin C2. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Overall, I would say we were happy with this cruise from Rosyth to Longyearbyen then back again. I'm not convinced I would cruise again with CMV, it would depend on the itinerary. The Good: The price was reasonable as we got a ... Read More
Overall, I would say we were happy with this cruise from Rosyth to Longyearbyen then back again. I'm not convinced I would cruise again with CMV, it would depend on the itinerary. The Good: The price was reasonable as we got a last minute deal, yet had a better cabin than those who did not get the same deal... The cabin was clean. There was a good choice of food at the buffet. The Bad: The food was mostly always look-warm/under-cooked/overcooked The fish on the menu was not fresh. Keep your receipts to check later. The Ugly: Some of the staff obviously did not want to be there. e.g This is the only cruise I have been on to date where upon returning aboard we were met with complete silence from the staff scanning the boarding passes. I reported something serious to be told by staff they were busy and "not to worry as we are almost home". Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The only reason we booked this Cruise to Norway was the perfect date for shoot term finish. We had stress free travel down to Southampton, which we loved, but the Mini Suite does not look any different to the Balconies we experience on ... Read More
The only reason we booked this Cruise to Norway was the perfect date for shoot term finish. We had stress free travel down to Southampton, which we loved, but the Mini Suite does not look any different to the Balconies we experience on other cruise liners. There are no advantages to booking the mini suite it's exactly the same and one receives no benefits with faster check in, check out, unless your in a "Suite" ! Not a mini suite! Lol Families with iPads, iPhones, kids tablets, curling tongs, hairdryer be warned, you will need to take a double or triple adapter as the mini suites only have 1 small plug, yes 1 PLUG and its in the corridor, so sitting on the hall floor to dry hair and curl it, whilst trying to charge up tablets, iPads etc takes some time! It was uncomfortable actually. Having a bath in the mini suite has advantages but the small room does not need two TV's and even if on an all inc drinks package the water left in the droom is chargeable. Also we were not aware of the $14.50 per person per day gratitity and although we know we pay these on other liners, we usually have discounted rate for 7 year olds, not with Princess adults and children alike are charged the same rate, If you were in a suite and. It a mini suite I believe it's around $15.50 pppn There were so many rude inconsiderate people on this ship, something we've never experienced before. People seem to think they were entitled to just push pass, no pleasantries or general good manners, The buffet food is no way as good as other liners, however the evening dining restaurants are simply superb, providing they don't give away your table! Even though tables next to the windows are free every night, because the waiter cannot give away the table you have to sit where you are allocated. If given da Vinci dining on arrival, be expected to share your family table with at least 6-8 diners even though you've booked a timed seating. It's not on shoving families onto sharing tables with strangers, Ask for Botteleili dining it's best restaurant in terms of friendly staff waiters and all food in all,restaurants is the same, but not having extremely stressed out waiters serving you like they did in Bottechelli is worth asking for Michaelengelo first. There is no free Wifi, they give you access to wifi but the charges to use it per minute are extortionate. One can ask customer services to reduce or remove tips if you feel you did not receive the experience /service you expected, The staff are superb very friendly and very helpful which was great. The 3 piece classical band playing every day in the Pizzeria atrium is not very good, would be nice to have some livelier music. There are lots of great bars including the casino bar which helps us smokers on board, trips are so expensive, we looked at one of the cheapest ones and for 2 adults and 1 child it was over $300 so we did not do any. Pre booking prior to arrival with independent tour operators is a lesson we'll learn for future trips. Our next cruises will not include Princess, even though they give passengers the best ever pillows in the cabins! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We booked this cruise for a wedding anniversary. 6 months in advance we booked the cruise. On advise of Neckermann Cruises we also booked all our excursions on line a few days later, what gave us on some excursions discounts up to 35%. ... Read More
We booked this cruise for a wedding anniversary. 6 months in advance we booked the cruise. On advise of Neckermann Cruises we also booked all our excursions on line a few days later, what gave us on some excursions discounts up to 35%. We choose English for all excursions. When arriving it was well organized and we got on board: impressive and a very nice clean cabin with balcony that was much bigger than we expected: a big hotel room. On the bed there was a latter that we had to go to the excursion desk. On our last excursion in Bergen there was no English available and we couldn't even take the same in another Language. They cancelled this excursion and we had to book an new excursion. 2 days later we received again a letter for a problem with an excursion on which we had initially a reduction of 22%.. English was not available but we could change it to French. We had to sign a paper but that was at full price. Luckily I had print of all our excursion with the price we paid with me. I told them that I wanted at least the same deduction as the original one. Apparently that was impossible to book in their system !!! After some discussion we had a price that was only a few euro more expensive then the original one. We felt that this wouldn't be the last excursion that would be cancelled so we went to the hospitality desk and explained the problem. They called the excursion responsible and told he that it was normal they cancelled the initial excursion (with price discount) and booked a new one (without price discount). We said we did not agree because WE made no error. Reaction: If we didn't accept their proposal they would cancel ALL our excursions. THAT WAS A THREAT !!! When we received again a letter that the excursion in English was cancelled we said that we would not join another non-English speaking excursion. Their reaction: we booked it so we had to do another excursion. After some words they cancelled the excursion. The last day -1 of the cruise on board there was a meeting for English speaking people on the procedure with luggage on how to leave the ship. There were about 20! people. The Costa guide asked as a first question if we were all satisfied. I think she regrets that asked that question: After about 10 minutes she stopped the negative answers on her question (we said nothing) and she told us not to judge the cruise based on the excursions... Apparently there was on the first day a welcome meeting in English, that no-one present was aware of but that we have seen for other languages when we passed through the saloons. They had forgotten to notify the +/- 100 English speaking passengers on board. In that welcome meeting they would ask that all english speaking people would only choose the same 1 excursion per day, because of lack of English speaking people. INCREDIBLE! When we were on excursions with multiple languages on 1 bus/boat they first spoke the other langauge. The English speaking heard something like: The building that was on your right was... ) = Always to late. Another example was in Bergen where the guide did an explanation in French in a street. She told them they could walk around an to be back in 20 minutes. Then she explained it in English some 15 minutes and we could walk around and had to be back in... 5 minutes. It was always like that... Annoying. On board the performers were really Italian and Spanish oriented: They sung many Italian songs unknown for us while the Italians were having the time of their life. The HI-5 Band was the only band that played international known songs all the time. The saloon where they played was of course always overcrowded. These was our favorite band of course. The other performers was singing there texts in phonetically English! It often looked like a Karaoke show... The buffets and a la carte restaurant were very satisfying. !!! We strongly advise not to book this cruise if you are not Italian, Spanish, French or German speaking !!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a ... Read More
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a particular problem on sea days. Lots of staff on Reception but most appeared poorly trained and they constantly had to find more experienced staff to consult. Overall, there appeared to be a total lack of communication between staff in all departments. When problems arose, few of them were willing to help solve them. The problem always remained with the customer to sort out. II thought the theatre entertainment was good and Dana was a brilliant revelation. The remaining organised activities during the day were poor. Trying to find seats in the bars and lounges in the evening was difficult because there were too many passengers for the limited facilities of the ship. Read Less

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