13 Dubai Luxury Cruise Reviews

Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the ... Read More
Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the sauce is served. Most sauces taste the same and have some strange taste; maybe there is Balsamic vinegar where none should be. Most sauces are the same dark color. Short ribs should be served with the reduced braising liquid, not the strange sauce which they called Jus. Princess always has appropriate and well-made sauces. Thomas Keller was very disappointing: roast chicken overdone, Dover Sole Meuniere spoiled with capers. Crab cakes were the best ever. Caesar Salad in the restaurant and the Patio are better. Several other guests shared our view of Thomas Keller. Fish for lunch on the Patio was always very good. Breakfast in the Colonnade was always very good with a nice selection of hot and cold meats as well as fruit. Coffee and service in Seabourn Square was excellent. Service in the restaurant was excellent: Melanie and her team and Eddie. Bar service was good but not as professional as other Seabourn or Princess. Likewise for room make-up. There were lots of activities on board, especially on sea days to keep us entertained. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We selected Esprit based on her itinerary - the Seychelles sounded like a good idea to get away from cold, grey Germany in February. I was also curious about the ship herself and how 'the vibe' would be with such a small ... Read More
We selected Esprit based on her itinerary - the Seychelles sounded like a good idea to get away from cold, grey Germany in February. I was also curious about the ship herself and how 'the vibe' would be with such a small passenger contingency. Overall, we enjoyed our trip - we jokingly called it the voyage to nowhere because the islands are so close together. But that's the idea - island hopping with a private yacht. BTW, we didn't do Dubai - those two days were not included in the price to European customers. The decor was lovely, understated elegance with soothing colors. There was a very nice flow to the ship and it 'lived' bigger than what it is. You could always find a nook or cranny to sit and read. We also enjoyed the Yacht Club - it really felt like a cozy living room and was such a comfortable place to relax with a pre-dinner drink with new friends and listen to Mark entertaining on the piano. Food was superb, especially for dinner. The chef was great and totally exceeded our expectations for creativity, high quality and number of choices. I was also was very pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of offerings at breakfast and lunch. My only (minor) nit was that I wished more advantage could have been taken to source local products, especially the wonderful fresh fish and fruit. I don't believe anything was purchased locally. Wine choices were good, especially given the size of the ship. Billecart-Salmon was the house champagne and wines by the glass were also fine. They had a very nice cellar, where we indulged a few evenings. Ramon, the sommelier, may be young but don't let that fool you. He has trained extensively and passed many of the wine world's important exams and certifications. Cocktails were excellent too. Service, almost without exception, was top notch. Very personal attention (as you would expect with the passenger:staff ratio). There were a couple of minor glitches, due to a 'lost in translation' problem with some of the wait staff (English not being their mother tongue). But they are so friendly and eager, it's easy to overlook :-) Service at dinner was flawless as was cabin service. And our butler, Nathaniel, was awesome. He just couldn't do enough for you. Cabins: We had 308 but most are the same size, so I don't think it really matters. Space is well utilized, there was enough storage and everything well laid out. There was a Nespresso machine, as well as a selection of chocolates that were replenished regularly and sweets in the afternoon. Shower was adequate size, towels were big and fluffy. Lighting not too good for doing make up, though. The bed was very comfortable. One rather big negative for us: We missed a balcony far more than we thought we would. Sometimes it's just nice to have fresh ocean air and sit outside by yourself with a glass of wine. Shore excursions: We were very active and did every shore excursion on offer. Here is an area for improvement: Communication was not what it should have been regarding the difficulty level and also things like: Wear insect repellent and long pants. Description of the shore excursions often just didn't match up with the experience itself. Some were much easier and at least one much harder. There was one particular shore excursion which was really like a rock climbing expedition: No path, scrambling upwards over rocks and roots, very slippery due to rain. We were okay, but there were people who really struggled. Shore excursions in general were just 'okay'. Also, didn't get to play with many of the 'toys' on the marina because of weather. Can't control that. Also couldn't do caviar in the surf (same problem - poured rain) but they had a nice, civilized champagne and caviar in the Yacht Club. WiFi was supposed to be 60 min/day/per person. Turned out to be unlimited. Very nice touch and it worked well, too. Check in and check out all went smoothly. Again, it's what I would expect, given the small size of the ship and number of staff. Officers were always around and interacted with the guests. So all in all, a very pleasant experience and we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The first of Seabourn's "larger" ships changed too many of the things that made the previous generation special. The common areas, floor by floor: 12 - the new Retreat area is peculiar and expensive. I understand an ... Read More
The first of Seabourn's "larger" ships changed too many of the things that made the previous generation special. The common areas, floor by floor: 12 - the new Retreat area is peculiar and expensive. I understand an effort to generate revenue from otherwise dead space, but $350 for a day's access to a large tv screen and top-shelf liquor, under canvas, isn't sensible. I predict this will quickly be replaced by a golf simulator. 11 - Observation has suffered from the wider space and bad lighting. A vaulted ceiling over the bar simply leaves the rest of the room feeling small and cheerless. 10 - treadmills overlooking the stern are a modest improvement, but the trade-off was loss of the terrific relaxation area in that spa spot. That spa area has been shrunk and moved to a dark, cheerless hallway. It is necessary to walk through the reception area to access the only toilet. I rate the entire spa/gym area slightly worse than the older ships despite an increase in space. 9 - Colonnade has more space, but deployed it oddly, with a U-shaped buffet line consuming table space. Seabourn for some reason decided to have hosted dinners here, and that really doesn't work. Patio grill swapped ends of the ship and somehow lost shaded seating space, an unfortunate design outcome. Pizza remains excellent. 8 - TK Grill has a very nice piano bar with, on this cruise, a brilliant entertainer. The Grill is very proud of the Thomas Keller association, so limits cruisers to two dinners. No great loss. Lobster Thermidor was overlooked and horrid, sole overlooked and overdressed, and "daily specials" were anything but special. Steak was the best I've had on Seabourn, but only average by any other measure. 7 - No great changes to Seabourn Square, although the changes were harmful. Bookshelves are too low to be able to see titles. The customer service area has no single entry, so disciplined queuing is impossible. Coffee bar is unchanged, although for some reason the lunchtime sandwiches have disappeared and Grandmother Cake continues to be held in reserve until 11 am. 6 - Grand Salon eliminated two of the three video screens, meaning that a large portion of the seating suffers from obstructed views. Big step back. 5 - laundry ... oh, wait, THERE IS NO LAUNDRY!!! 5 - Club is simply awful. Bartender must go to the kitchen to make a drink. Lighting is poor, but the lighting design on the entire ship is bad. Big loss of a formerly terrific gathering spot. 4 - dining room is not changed much, although again, lighting is badly designed. For some reason, the kitchen on this cruise has been unable to produce a meal in less than 90 minutes, a long time to wait for unremarkable food. Menu continues to shrink, so the kitchen ought to be able to get the meals out. Steak here remains a very bad idea ... bad cuts, badly prepared. New Years Eve surf and turf was inedible. Senior staff is carried over from other ships, and is generally excellent. But there is a real Upstairs/Downstairs element here, with line level crew launching F bombs around passengers in a very un-Seabourn fashion. I'm sure this will be brought up to Seabourn standards, but needs attention and training. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was my first trip with Azamara and I went with high expectations which were met in part. I did receive some misleading information prior to embarkation which meant I missed the first muster and as a consequence of attending a later ... Read More
This was my first trip with Azamara and I went with high expectations which were met in part. I did receive some misleading information prior to embarkation which meant I missed the first muster and as a consequence of attending a later muster missed the initial dinner for solo travellers. Was pleased with my aft cabin which was in good condition after the refurbishment but unfortunately got soot on the balcony on several occasions when the ship put on extra power. That was dealt with but the cushions were not replaced so remained a bit shabby.There was a full programme of daily activities and I took the opportunity to try Bridge which was a bonus. I Iiked the smoothie bar at breakfast and there was a good supply of fresh fruit. Felt the salads at lunchtime on the buffet were only average but the ice cream was excellent. There was a good menu choice in the main dining room in the evening though the absence of souffles and only a limited appearance of lobster was below my expectations. The waiting staff were plentiful and helpful but a niggle was that brandy was not included in the drinks package though all other spirits were. I was told that this had been raised by other guests and was being considered Only did one of the ship's organised tours which was fine but got better value making independent arrangements. Some of the ship's organised tours did not get good feedback. Overall I was happy with my choice but hope that some of the issues raised whn I was o board will be addressed before my next trip The cruise director had a positive impact on the entertainment and made a lot of effort. Overall a good experience Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The ship has a passenger size of 620+ and a crew size of 403. If you are looking for a first cruise this is the ship to be on. It is big enough to be enjoyable but, not to big that its like a small town. We were a little ... Read More
The ship has a passenger size of 620+ and a crew size of 403. If you are looking for a first cruise this is the ship to be on. It is big enough to be enjoyable but, not to big that its like a small town. We were a little apprehensive on arriving at the port in Dubai handing over our passports which we did not see until we left the ship on a shuttle bus and even then we did not take them with us. The ship has all the amenities that you would find in a 5 star hotel and more. There is a wide range of food and its possible to dine buffet style or waiter service every day in one or other restaurants. We were pleasantly surprised to find that most if not all the crew we came into contact with new what we liked to drink at any time of the day and the captain made you feel just like an old friend. Our cabin crew were just great, both Anwar and Paulo could not be more helpful. Ok, so excursions and entertainment. You are not required to attend any entertainment programme or go on any excursion if you don not want too, I guess some may think that if its there you have too, no not the case its your holiday. However, you would be foolish not to go and see some of the places the ship visits, its a cruise after all. (tip, don't always use the cruise excursions, do a little research before you go and if a shuttle bus is available do your own thing it can be very rewarding). All the shore trips apart from one were great including the Azamazing night on shore. One we did was not brilliant, we did it on our own not a problem, just that the town was a little, well not a tourist town (tip... When you go a shore take some local currency with you, one bank we went too for money would not exchange as we did not have our passports). I could go on and mention all the places visited like Doha, lovely place we are actually thinking of going there on holiday now. so many things to see and do in all the ports, go on try it I am sure you will enjoy it. Oh nearly forgot, don't forget to use the laundry on deck 7 its worth it, banks of washing machines and dryers 2 ironing boards and you get to chat to fellow guests too, saves on laundry bills. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Our first Azamara started brilliantly when we were offered the pay for upgrade to a suite from a veranda on the basis of our captains club / LCV status. WOW, we expected a real step up from everything we experienced on Celebrity. We had ... Read More
Our first Azamara started brilliantly when we were offered the pay for upgrade to a suite from a veranda on the basis of our captains club / LCV status. WOW, we expected a real step up from everything we experienced on Celebrity. We had a wonderful time on this cruise Dubai to Singapore. The ports of call were all fascinating and exiting to visit. On the ship some things were Azamazing others a little less so. Azamazing The Officers and crew on the ship are wonderful, engaging, friendly and helpful. They are the star in Azamara’s crown. We had the wonderful Raphael as our butler and with Caitano and Russell we were very well looked after. The whole team in Prime C were fantastic. Azamazing evening was truly amazing. In Kerala on the celebration of Diwali we were greeted by Elephants and music. We had a wonderful show, great food and drinks and also we were able to try having our palm read, have a henna tattoo (temporary) and see local crafts and costumes. A wonderful night ending with a Diwali fireworks show. White night party. The evening was too hot for us to eat outside, however we joined the fun, dancing and music outside later. It was well attended and very enjoyable for all ages. Talks and lectures were very interesting and helped us get far more out of our destinations – we didn’t see them live but watched on our TV as we were getting ready to go out. Spa deck area. This is for suite guests or I think you can pay a small amount to access it. This was a quiet small area which housed the Thalasso pool. We enjoyed it very much. Drinks service was available by phone. Nice furniture and nice loungers. Small ship size made for speedy embarkation and debarkation at ports We are Independent tourers and were well catered for, with guest relations assisting in helping us meet tour times. Special events like the Officers BBQ and the Dim Sum buffet were well organised in the main dining room. Cleanliness on board was noticeable. I like the idea that buffet food is served for the first 2 days and that the cleaning regime was heightened in higher risk countries. Less Azamazing Despite letting Azamara know in advance that we had organised our own hotel and transfers in Dubai, we were met at the airport. Messages just hadn’t got through – This wasn’t to be the first time! Embarkation at Dubai was quick and easy until we were given our key cards. We had 4 people listed for our suite. We questioned it but the additional keycards were removed and we were told not to be concerned. We should have been! We got the wrong mail for days, and did not receive invites to events including the meet and mingle event. This meant we were unable to meet others with whom we had arranged private tours and we also missed meeting Bonnie from the Azamara cruise critic board. Our passports were checked for India visas before boarding.. I don’t understand then how many passengers ( I understand 70+)boarded with either no visa or an electronic visa which wasn’t sufficient. These passengers were very disgruntled were not allowed off the ship at Mumbai or Goa. Eventually a group visa was arranged for out last stop in India. Understanding the visa requirements hadn’t been easy and Azamara just referred us to an expensive visa company. After contacting the Indian Embassy we realised we required full visas. Those caught up in this mess were very unimpressed with Azamara. Many felt they had been misled or uninformed by their TA. Others said they had evidence of being misled by Azamara. Whatever the truth visiting areas of the world like this isn’t as straightforward and Azamara should do more on these sailings to confirm guests fully understand the requirements well in advance. The ships are well overdue the planned bow to stern refit. Dark woods and patterned carpets dominate. The whole feel is of an old world hotel. It is well maintained on the whole but the heavy rain in Kuala Lumpur resulted in leaks in several public areas on the ship. Drinks and food were served with less style and panache than we are used to on Celebrity Suite verandahs are small and with a large square table taking a lot of space. No lounger or footstools on the verandah. I would have thought branded toiletries should have been supplied in suites rather than the rose scented types. We were really looking forward to Aqualina but found it a little disappointing. Service was good, but disappointed that the H’ors deuve trolley wasn’t taken to table for a choice, no tableside cooking in either speciality restaurant. Fish was boned in Aqualina tableside. There were some very odd combinations of fish and pasta . Other items like the Zabaglione were memorable. We switched our bookings to Prime C which we enjoyed very much. The other food on the ship we found to be a little patchy. A great irritant was the drinks packages. We like a good glass of wine and some quality spirits and a great martini. A good sommelier once told us that after the 1st 4 glasses it gets more difficult to discern the quality of a wine. The included wine was we though BBQ standard and not for us so we chose a 10 bottle package which suited us better and enabled us to have sparkling and sweet wine if we preferred it. We took the premium drinks package but found it very irritating that bar staff went through the ingredients of martinis to see what was and wasn’t included. We are on holiday and don’t want to consult lists or be told that a cheaper alternative will be used as the correct ingredient isn’t included. No sparkling wine either, or glasses of premium wine in the package. This whole arena needs to be modernised as per Celebrity to make it better and easier for guests. Martinis were small and very old fashioned. Cocktails were not served with the panache we have come to expect from Celebrity. Our bottled water packaged was delivered in single servings. Sometimes we had 4 servings each in the hot dry climate and the waiter had to keep running back and forth instead of supplying a large bottle in the 1st place! We tried to trade 2 of the 4 half bottles of spirits supplied in our suite for wine. Eventually the wine was delivered but we were very disappointed to find it was the free pour wine used all over the ship. We were also misled that we couldn’t have drinks from our package delivered to our stateroom. Eventually towards the end of our cruise Guest relations confirmed that there had been a change and we could do this….too late! No Meet and mingle invite delivered. The LCV celebration was just for 1 couple and all the music dance etc was for them. Don’t get me wrong they were a nice couple who had cruised a lot with Azamara but we found it sycophantic and embarrassing. Finally the Photo disc we were sold on the basis that the photos were for our trip and ports of call was not as promised. Some nice photos however when we downloaded them they were from 2010 to 2014. Not our sailing, not our Azamazing evening. We felt we had been stung. Would we sail Azamara again? We would love to especially where destinations and ports are more unusual. We loved the crew and the small ship experience. We will look to see what the refit brings and will look to a change to a more modern approach. In the meantime the Celebrity suite enhancements mean it is a better option for us right now delivering a luxury small ship experience within a large luxury ship! We wanted this to be a 5 star luxury experience. For destinations it was but Azamara don't quite step up to a luxury brand......yet. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Background Information - we are a married couple in our late 60's and are experienced cruisers having sailed with various lines including Cunard over the past 15 years. We were attracted to this final sector of the World Cruise, as we ... Read More
Background Information - we are a married couple in our late 60's and are experienced cruisers having sailed with various lines including Cunard over the past 15 years. We were attracted to this final sector of the World Cruise, as we love sea days and the itinerary interested us. Our package included flights from London to Dubai and two nights’ accommodation in Dubai. To put this review in perspective, I want to say right from the start that I really enjoyed this cruise despite a few disappointments. However, the whole point of writing a review is to outline both the good and the not so good. So to start: The Positives Embarkation was easy and within half an hour of arriving at Dubai’s Port Radhid we were boarding the stunning Queen Elizabeth. The ship has a capacity of just over 2000 passengers and was nearly full. Apparently 1000 disembarked in Dubai and another 1000 boarded. About 500 hundred were doing the full round-the-world voyage. For this sector there were 31 nationalities represented among all passengers, about half were British and the other larger contingents were Japanese, German & American. This passenger mix would have been quite different for other sectors of the voyage. Stately Ambience: On first impression the decor of the ship looks slightly under stated. There is lots of dark wood paneling, but once you get used to the fact that it does not have the glitz that some of the other lines offer, you realise that this ship is really more Ritz than glitz and is very stylish in a sophisticated way. Cunard puts a lot of emphasis on its heritage and all around the ship are mementos of its proud past. The stairwells are adorned with interesting artwork. The carpets have a luxurious feel to them and all the public rooms are comfortable and beautifully furnished, with a remarkable sense of uncrowded space. Although the ship was almost full it never felt crowded, you could always find somewhere to sit down. The only time you realised there were a lot of people on board was at show times. Our stateroom was booked as a Guaranteed Balcony cabin on Deck 6. We received our cabin allocation about 2 weeks prior to departure. The room was quite near the front of the ship and not a cabin that I would have picked out of choice. We rocked and rolled a little during swells in the Mediterranean. However, the room had everything you would expect and a generous storage facility included two useful drawers under the bed. The queen bed was extremely comfortable and the bed linen was lovely. The bathroom was small, but perfectly adequate for our needs. The towels, although perfectly clean and changed daily, were not as soft and fluffy as I would have liked. Bathrobes were supplied as standard. Shipboard organisation is something that Cunard generally seems to excel at: embarkation, disembarkation, etc. Excursion musters and debarking at ports of call were well planned and there were never any long queues or hold ups. Entertainment was excellent, production shows, singers, dancers and comedians as well as an acrobat and a mind reader. There was also nightly dancing in the Queens Room including numerous themed evenings; as well as more informally at various bars where you could have a quiet drink or listen to music. It is worth noting here that if you want to see the professional dancers or join in any of the fancy dress parades, you really need to be on early dinner sitting. Because of this, Cunard’s various theme nights are difficult for late diners. Day time enrichment and entertainment was also first class; there was indeed something for everyone. There were some very accomplished and interesting speakers for Cunard’s Insights Lectures. There were also excellent port talks and cookery demonstrations, as well as various deck games, trivia, line dancing, ballroom dance lessons, needlework, a choir, classical music concerts. There is a well equipped gym and a fabulous library and a feature film shown most afternoons. I am placing food under my positives as on the whole the quality and presentation of meals were of a good standard, but not excellent, leaving plenty of scope for improvement. Compared to our experience on QM2 five years ago, there seems to have been a parring back. However, as on all cruise ships there is an abundance of food available around the clock. Room service on Queen Elizabeth is worth a mention - this is the first cruise ship I have been on where a full English cooked breakfast is offered on the room service menu at no charge. We opted for this on a number of occasions - it was lovely to have breakfast on our balcony and also very convenient to have room service when going on or returning from a full day excursion. Most of our meals were taken in the Britannia Restaurant. Breakfast and lunch is on an open sitting arrangement and dinner is at a set table. We also enjoyed a couple of pub lunches, and two meals using the alternative dining options. The Indian Bistro was most enjoyable with excellent food and good service, whilst the premium Verandah Restaurant, whilst delivering excellent cuisine, was marred by pretentious service, which rather spoiled the ambience. The Negatives - Now I move on to a shorter list of areas where I was disappointed. The big one for me was Service - this was sadly lacking in most areas on this ship. The staff either do not know or have forgotten how to smile and there was a 'no can do attitude' and certainly no service with a smile. One night I asked if I could have something that was not on the menu. As there were no starters that I liked I asked if I could have a prawn cocktail instead. I was told that was not possible unless I gave 24 hours notice - not the response I expected from Cunard. On all the other cruise lines I have sailed on there has always been an optional 'always available' menu. I was surprised to see that Cunard did not offer this as the choices offered are quite limited. The service in the Britannia dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner was very slow. At breakfast and lunch we were generally happy to share with other diners as we like meeting people, but we found that if we did not have too much time to spare it was better to ask for a table for two. Again at dinner the service was so slow that we always arrived at the show late. However, we were by choice on a table for eight and we enjoyed the company of 6 delightful people, which no doubt lengthened proceedings! Buffet Restaurant - We ate a couple of lunches in the Lido. As other reviewers have said the layout of the Lido makes it quite a difficult eating area with people coming and going in all directions and various counters with different options available, it is all a bit confusing and by the time you have worked it all out and found a table the food is cold. Bar service in the Lido is almost non existent. Health & Hygiene: During our first few days on board, the ship was still on red alert at the tail end of a Norovirus outbreak. This meant that in the buffet restaurant staff had to serve all food to the plate - passengers were not allowed to handle any food. I felt that this situation was not operated well by the restaurant teams and could certainly have been done more efficiently and cheerfully. Interestingly, last year we were on a Princess ship with exactly the same scenario, but I felt that they handled it with more professionalism and the staff still smiled, even though they had more work to do. Another area that disappointed me was cleanliness - considering that this ship had an outbreak of Norovirus and a number of people coughing and sneezing, I would have felt the cleanliness should have been a top priority. On arrival to our stateroom, we noticed that there were sticky marks on and in the drawers of the bedside cabinets and one of the glasses had a chip. I also came across some plates in the Lido that were dirty underneath, as well as cutlery that was not as clean as it should be. Excursions: Port talks were given prior to arriving in a port. These talks were extremely informative giving information about the dock, shuttle busses, Public transport, Ho-Ho's, banks, shopping and of course the ship’s own excursions. All of this was presented with slides in a very professional and personable manner - generally insightful, except for Israel. Haifa had been substituted for Egyptian ports as a precaution, and clearly the presenter did not seem to have been there, simply reading a script and mispronouncing some of the place names and religious terms! We booked the following excursions: Petra from Aqaba - A long full day excursion, extremely interesting, a long walk in extreme temperatures, but well worth the effort. Dead Sea & Masada from Haifa - Another long hot day with a 3 hour coach journey each way. A little disappointing for me, but still a reasonable day. Galilee & Nazareth from Haifa - This was without doubt the worst excursion I have ever taken. The guide was appallingly bad; so bad in fact that we put in a complaint to Cunard. 3 sites on your own in Lisbon - This basically was a guided transfer to the three sites - 2 in Belem, plus Central Lisbon, where we were allowed a reasonable amount of free time in each place. The guide on this excursion was of a much higher quality and gave a lot of very interesting information whilst we were in the coach, making this an excellent trip with the advantage that we had a lot of free time in the various sites. In both Naples and Palma we did our own thing, using the Ho-Ho and the complimentary shuttle bus respectively. In Conclusion - you can see that it's a pretty mixed bag, some good, some not so good - I hope that I have given a balanced picture on my perception of this trip. I do feel that Cunard’s standards have slipped a little and unlike many, I did not find them a cut above the rest. The big question: would I use Cunard again? The answer is that I would not be prepared to pay top dollar, but if the ship was going to where I wanted to go and the price was acceptable then yes I probably would, but I do feel that Cunard need to pull their socks up, if they want to return to their reputed top of the game position. There is a lot of competition out there!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Regent Voyager is a lovely ship, brilliant captain, smiling and ever helpful staff, very clean, pleasant artworks (in the main), great library, and a stunning itinerary that included Oman, Petra, the pyramids, Jerusalem, Dead Sea and ... Read More
Regent Voyager is a lovely ship, brilliant captain, smiling and ever helpful staff, very clean, pleasant artworks (in the main), great library, and a stunning itinerary that included Oman, Petra, the pyramids, Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Masada. Our cabin was perfectly maintained by our stewardess. And it was all inclusive - no chits to sign. Who could ask for more? Call me Oliver Twist, but I can. The ship was let down a little by food in the main dining room. It was similar in quality to RCL and far below Seabourn, and Azamara. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as I had been expecting. The specialist restaurants were a little better, but not much. It could be that my judgement of the latter is a little jaundiced because we booked a table for two but were put on one with six (very nice) people. However the biggest disappointment was the La Veranda buffet. It isn't fit for purpose. Now my cruising experience is limited to half a dozen different lines but they all, without exception, have had what is perhaps best described as a U shaped buffet. You can walk in one side and if seating is scarce continue round to the other side to check the situation. Not with La Veranda because it splits along the stern part - a Berlin Wall of serving stations. So you have two identical mirror-image buffets. And identical includes the food offered - it's the same on each side. Ridiculous. This can lead to the silly situation where the bacon or whatever on one side has gone and you can see some on the other side, but can't reach it. So you have to call a server for assistance. This also limits choice: with a flow-through layout other ships can offer twice the number of items. Senior staff were good but some junior waiters were not fully trained, especially when it came to wine. I asked for a Cote du Rhone and received something completely different. Oh yes, it said "Cote" on the bottle but not one that was within a hundred miles of the River Rhone. However on the whole there was a good choice of included wine throughout the ship (if you knew what to ask for). Did buy three "premium" wines but left two and returned one. Not actually bad, but dead. Maybe wine doesn't keep well on a ship. In the evening La Veranda becomes a themed (Indian, Chinese, Mexican whatever) eatery that is part waiter service and part buffet. We tried it once and it was ok. However turning it into a quasi bistro means that there is nowhere on Voyager to enjoy basic - collapse in a heap back from a long tour, can't be bothered to change - help-yourself simple food. Despite the failings of La Veranda this is a good ship and I would sail on her again without hesitation. In fact Voyager has pushed Seabourn Odyssey down to third place in my list of favourite ships. The food on Odyssey is way better but Voyager just edged it with its free excursions. And they were excellent. My top ship? Azamara Journey. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Boarding ship in Dubai was fast and easy. Luggage delivered to cabin quickly. As we were platinum members of cunard we did receive a few perks that helped out.The QM2 was a grand attractive elegant first moment of truth. We loved the ... Read More
Boarding ship in Dubai was fast and easy. Luggage delivered to cabin quickly. As we were platinum members of cunard we did receive a few perks that helped out.The QM2 was a grand attractive elegant first moment of truth. We loved the decor, carpeting, winding staircases, music playing lightly in various lounges during the day and pre dinner. It was very Titanic in its looks. Elegant old world. Our dining experiences were very good on the whole. Better on the Dubai to Southampton than the Southampton to New York sector. Our travel agent asked several times if the balcony chairs fully reclined...she was told yes, on arrival they were chairs only and had to take the time to switch them out to nylon deck chairs with no cushions and shoddy. We were told due to safety reasons, these chairs did not recline.Dining room had rowdy loud children adjacent to our prime table next to the gorgeous two level decor in the Britania Restaurant. The Maitre D was complacent in responding to this disruption every night. Could not understand how the kids were not placed in a quiet corner of the dining room amongst other kids instead of this prime spot. We loved our table so we sure weren't going to change!After about 10 days we started to see failures that discouraged us to ever join the QM2 again. Cigarette smoke permeated several areas of the ship. Smokers discreetly lit up during evening performances and nothing was done about it. This ship is for SMOKERS unless it doesn't bother you. If you are allergic, stay away. They intend for this ship to continue with smoking.Deck 7 near the Kings court and the gym both reeked of smoke. Waifs of smoke were in the corridors of the ship. Also a continuous odor of urine from the ladies room outside the Britania restaurant, the full cruise.the lectures and performances were mediocre and Holland America Line far surpasses the quality we had on the ship. It was like left over performers for the end of the world cruise.Jacuzzis were broken down often during the 23 days. It didn't seem important for anyone to fix them. Illuminations broke down several times during the last few days of the cruise. It felt like the ship was worn down after the first few sectors of the world cruise.The spa had broken tile and a section of the pool was cordoned of with "caution" yellow tape, that was not a very well being vision for me! Also they had not replaced the aromatherapy steam room with scent, so you smelled severe chlorine instead. They were waiting for New York to get more....and why could the Canyon Ranch not have had a Fed Ex supply sent to a port? Complacency. You were charged the same price to enter the day spa even with these failures.When reading through the brochure while at sea, there were several photos advertised in it that made me want to take this ship. Tea served while in lounge chairs outdoors on deck, fencing demos or lessons, RADA at sea for lessons. Another picture of being served tea in the spa area in your bathrobe...well I wanted to experience that..it didn't happen. After receiving a call from Cunard, they said these were for Queens and Princes grill or on other ships. The brochure,however, does not tell you the conditions of these photos tantalizing your travel dreams. This line overpromises and underdelivers. Holland America Overdelivers and underpromises.We just felt an overall disappointment and felt we were taken with the price and the bargain for the Dubai to New York sector. We felt like we were the left overs of the world cruise as they cannot keep the ship filled for the full 103 days.What was really annoying was hearing people bragging of their deep discounts to travel on the ship and we paid a good price for our cabin. Several commented on the deep discount advertising in the UK papers. One travel writer on board told us he paid $900. for the transatlantic and $100 more for a balcony on deck 10...we were in a balcony on deck 4 for 23 days.The ports of call were fabulous, the tour desk and shore excursions were all outstanding. We had 21 buses to Luxor and it went off without a hitch and we were the only people at Karnak and the tombs. Food on the tour was great and trouble free. All the ports were worthwhile although we'd been to all of them before, it was nice to return to them.On a scale of 1 to 10..........."4" for us Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Just back from above. Had a really nice time. Met some lovely people. The itinery was very good. Jordan (Petra) and Dubai were really interesting. Positives first:       Ship very easy to get around. I never got lost once in three ... Read More
Just back from above. Had a really nice time. Met some lovely people. The itinery was very good. Jordan (Petra) and Dubai were really interesting. Positives first:       Ship very easy to get around. I never got lost once in three weeks!   Balconies fairly large compared to some other cruises weve been on.   Food quality in the Britannia good to very good on most nights.   Daily dancing classes were fun.       Negatives:       Flaws in the basic design of the ship (IMHO). The aft desk area with pool just seems unfinished. There is a small pool with a massive area for loungers but its totally soulless.       Flooding occurred quite regularly on various floors and in public places (table tennis table was constantly soaking!)       Rooms were fairly large but again the dEcor meant they seemed totally bare and emotionless places.       The aircon was a major complaint from everyone we met; Out of our group of about 16 people at least half came down with respiratory problems within the three weeks. We had engineers to switch down ours to no avail. We ended up sleeping on the floor beside the open balcony door one night! The pursers office refused to do anything but move our bed to the balcony end (which helped a bit). There was a but going about and it was spreading in the aircon. It needs to be investigated urgently (we sent a letter in the last few days to Tanya (Guest relations) stating that).       Staff were a lot more 'aloof' than on any other cruise line. Our stateroom attendant hardly spoke to us the whole time on board. Apart from perhaps one or two bar staff and Gemma and the rest of the Spa, the rest were totally stand offish. I realise that this is perhaps how Cunard train their staff but to have to run after them to try and get a drink after sitting in the bar for half an hour is excessive.       Food in Lido average at best. We have cruised with Celebrity on four occasions in last two years and they are miles ahead in their buffet service.       Big negative was Entertainment. In 20 nights there were two major shows. The rest were either average comics, instrumentalists or tribute acts (Beatles/El Divo). This is not acceptable and was clearly down to 'penny pinching' by Cunard. In their defence the two shows (especially La Danza) were fantastic.       In conclusion we wont be going with Cunard again (certainly not the Elizabeth anyway). If we had paid full price (not booked two weeks before sailing) we would have been a lot more critical. It is not 5 star. The hotel we stayed in Dubai was. Overall we ghave rated it 4 and this is mostly for the fun we had with new friends (not the actual cruise ship!)Celebrity remains our choice of lines and I look forward to August on Equinox!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Silver Wind is a small ship whose Tardis like properties make it feel far from small. The cabins are spacious if not cavernous, and it misses few of the traditional cruise ship facilities despite its meagre 17,400 tons. It doesn't ... Read More
Silver Wind is a small ship whose Tardis like properties make it feel far from small. The cabins are spacious if not cavernous, and it misses few of the traditional cruise ship facilities despite its meagre 17,400 tons. It doesn't provide the stylish drop-down stern and marina of some boutique competitors, nor romantic double chaise longue - if you are so inclined, however as the majority of passengers were retired if not exactly octogenarians these facilities might be interpreted as somewhat superfluous if not dangerous! The ship aspires to traditional excellence in a relaxed / Italian (via Miami) style - with a 'Country Club' atmosphere. The open-sitting dining is conducive to meeting new friends and I have never been with friendlier, nor more generally open passengers. Similarly the crew were largely dedicated and highly attentive, if a little too numerous at times. Unfortunately there were occasions, for example at embarkation, when it was necessary to ask for help and supervision might be a weakness. There were other times when I felt the ship was over-staffed and the crew were looking for things to do - most noticeably breakfast in the main dining room as when I visited the number of other passengers fluctuated between eight and none! There was, however, an overly motivated and very thorough future sales co-ordinator! The product is good if not perfect and there are clear areas of weakness. However, whilst I have cruised many times I have still yet to sail on a perfect ship. This ship similarly fails to achieve perfection and I agree with the 2009 Berlitz rating of 4 Star Plus - and indeed with most of the narrative. One disembarking passenger much experienced of cruising remarked whilst they awaited their airport transfer that their cruise had been good, very good, but they were not certain it had been good enough to justify a return visit. The line seems to be conscious of what its competitors provide and are keen to provide similar, even if it is not always appropriate to the ship. All cabins have Butlers, and whilst they were all charming and delightful I am not sure what their duties involved, except perhaps serving in-cabin breakfasts, cleaning the exterior of suitcases prior to passengers re-packing them, and greeting passengers by name as they walk to their cabins. They do not pack and un-pack for passengers - a fact that I found reassuring. It is, however, the crew's determination to greet passengers by name and to know things about them that I found unnerving at times and somewhat reminiscent of Big Brother. As I surfaced from my cabin the first morning disorientated from a long flight I was greeted by name by a member of the crew that I had not previously met - who wished me an 'Excellent morning' and enquired if my Mother (who had a cabin elsewhere on the ship and I am sure they had not previously met either - or any reason to know we were travelling together) was comfortably settled. It seems the crew are issued with pictures and possibly even short biographies of passengers and required to learn them. I find this form of forced familiarity unwelcome and intrusive. The sip was built in 1995 and last re-furbished in 2008. It is generally in very good condition with a good level of ongoing maintenance. For example and marks left of the hull from mooring are quickly painted over. It is difficult to find fault with the maintenance except perhaps for the caulking. I question why the slightly older Silver Cloud has still not been similarly refurbished and wonder whether this indicative of a limited future. There is an excellent amount of space per passenger even during this full cruise and with the exception of one tea-time, no hint of a queue or over-crowding anywhere. Indeed in the evening it can be difficult to find co-passengers in some parts of the ship. The shore excursions I took were well thought out and reasonably priced and a real strength. However, I don't know if this is representative of the line's other excursions, or merely the nor, for the geographic area. Prior to the cruise I was frightened by pre-cruise literature that included the option to take some remarkable, if extremely highly priced excursions. I assumed all excursions would be in this price league and was relieved by the reality. The excursion office were also extremely helpful with alternative arrangements that we could make for ourselves and their service was supplemented by visiting local tourist representatives - a delightfully useful service for those who like to go off and explore on their own. The food is OK if not exactly sparkling. Breakfast was excellent wherever taken, lunch was good, except for the pool-side service and dinner even less so - especially the deserts. The ingredient spend was quite good, although gallons of good caviar was certainly not flowing (unless you paid for it) and it seemed to lack a certain sparkle. I enjoyed the informal lunch in La Terrazza, where a traditional buffet was supplemented with pasta cooked to order and even pizzas cooked to order. Dinner wasn't bad and indeed I preferred dinner in the alternative zero cost La Terrazza to the main dining room. In the latter I felt the food lacked sparkle and the crockery a strange choice, especially the coffee cups which were a long way removed from demitasse and more serviceable for sturdy on-deck service. There was, however, a good mix of choices with an additional range of staples and very reasonable accompanying wines (or whatever else you might want to drink) gratis and a good wine list if you wanted connoisseur wines. There was similarly a connoisseur restaurant, but I failed to try this. The ship was certainly very generous with free alcohol, but the novelty of it for me had faded by the end of the cruise. I was surprised to see how large the delightful tiered show-room was. It was used for talks, films and unfortunately the inevitable dance shows. I have never really enjoyed the shows of most ships, but the dancers here really hit a new low. They were lovely people who at times assisted as hosts and were lovely to talk to, but for me dancing and entertaining was not their skill - nor do I think this type of show appropriate to the ambience of the ship. Personally I would have preferred more intelligent entertainment or Western band / Jazz pianist. There were some good musicians on the ship, but they were not Western and were perhaps thus handicapped in their rappour. For children there was little entertainment except a reasonable video library and whilst the line indicated it would try to accommodate children I question what they can achieve - and whether this enthusiasm for children would be shared by the other passengers. There is a choice of local television channels, international news channels, ship sourced enrichment shows and ship shown films. I generally found everything that was ship sourced to be of little interest and was grateful for the international news and in-cabin DVD player - although I did seem to have seen most of the DVDs in the library. The ship was very comfortable and followed a seemingly well planned itinerary. It is, however, not cheap - especially at peak times - and the jury is still out as to whether I will return. The crew (largely Philippino and Indian) try hard to provide a good service, but there is a cultural gap and I suggest the ship should work harder at projecting its own image, rather than what seemed to be forever looking over their shoulder at what their competitors delivered and replicating it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I have skimmed the prior review of this cruise and by odd coincidence, my daughters and I had staterooms that were nearly adjacent to that of the reviewer. We have very different observations. Be that as it may, I chose the Silverseas ... Read More
I have skimmed the prior review of this cruise and by odd coincidence, my daughters and I had staterooms that were nearly adjacent to that of the reviewer. We have very different observations. Be that as it may, I chose the Silverseas line because I had been on most itineraries that Seabourne travels. I also was attracted by the low single supplement fee charged for a second suite. As mentioned, I traveled with my daughters are college students. The elder is a senior at Cornell University Hotel School and is a very exacting critic. Plus we are from San Francisco and have ample opportunity for fine dining, albeit modern Californian cuisine. We were impressed by the warmth and attentiveness of the service. The staff was alert and personal, but not fawning. We found the menu to be at the level of a five star hotel. In short if a passenger seeks the service and cuisine of the Ritz Carleton Hotels, then they will have a similar experience with Silverseas. The prior reviewer stated that the ship was overstaffed at times. He or she must understand that the kitchen provides punctual room service from the dining room and breakfast buffet. Wait staff must linger to fulfill various orders as most passengers prefer breakfast en suite. At any rate, I would state that the service and cuisine were excellent. The lines sommalier found great unknown wines and champagne that compared to far better known wine labels. I am very particular. I think that there were a few weak spots. The ship was recently refurbished and is pristine; however, the interior design is awful. The carpeting, "artwork," upholstery fabrics, wallcoverings, etc, evoke a 1980's midprice Hilton. What were they thinking of??? It is no more expensive to have good taste and look at some "cool" traditional interior design. Go to the W Hotel. Also, I would have liked more depth in the ship's library or TV station regarding our destinations. It would be nice to have videos and researched reports about where we were going. The dance shows were indescribably, excructiatintly, terrible. The pianist was very good. Some one at Silverseas needs to hire an entertainment consultant. To sum up, we were positively impressed by Silverseas. The pluses were great service and food, a low single supplement fee, and a creative itinerary. The negatives were banal interior design, shallow research, and awful live shows. All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised versus Seabourne. Hastily, AGW Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our first time on Seabourn after being on Silversea twice and several other lines. We never wanted to be on their smaller "yachts" and were very excited when the larger and brand new Odyssey came online + an itinerary ... Read More
This was our first time on Seabourn after being on Silversea twice and several other lines. We never wanted to be on their smaller "yachts" and were very excited when the larger and brand new Odyssey came online + an itinerary that took us to all new places...some on our "bucket list" ie, Dubai, Luxor, Petra, and the pyramids. Itineraries are a very personal thing so I won't elaborate on our ports or shore excursions (except one below). I will say that it's the ONLY way we would have wanted to see this part of the world! We felt safe on the water even in pirate territory and on every bus; some with armed police, as all the excursions make for long bus rides. The razor/constantine wire along the sides upon embarkation in Dubai was a little daunting at first but our captain explained they do anything and everything to ensure the safety of the ship and it's passengers/crew. Our captain, Mark Dexter, was a delightfully cheery man despite this being the last segment of the inaugural World Cruise of 104 days. THE SHIP: She is beautiful, very easy to navigate, with the staterooms being very spacious (much like Silversea) with loads of storage, comfy beds, nice baths, and big enough walk-in closets. Suffice it to say, the suites ARE as advertised. We didn't have any problems except with our safe 2 days in, which got promptly replaced the next a.m. Avoid a room w/a connecting door as you will hear your neighbors music, TV, every cough, sneeze, and most conversations louder than pillow talk. We heard not a peep from the other side of the room; it was the door that leaked. This ship does have vibration problems as other's have mentioned; it's supposedly going into dry dock in Nov. It really never bothered me but it was the talk of the ship amongst others. Someone else mentioned the poor layout of the Grand Salon with the large columns blocking views of the stage. We ditto that! It was as if no one gave these a thought when putting them in and I can't believe they are structural. Take them out!! I'll say also that we LOVE to dress for dinner and so appreciate that Seabourn is sticking to Black Tie Optional nights. It gripes me that several men blatantly chose to disregard the dress code w/out so much as a coat in the Restaurant on Casual Elegant nights. The staff was always gracious about bringing a coat to the guest...some just hung it on the back of the chair. Some people just have no class and feel they are above it. There are other dining options that allow casual dress any night of the week. Those men were simply rude! The pool area was well used but always had lounges open. They NEED cushions however, as they are very hard. Four towels almost did the trick. We have had cushions on much lesser ships. FOOD + SERVICE: We found it pretty darn fantastic on all levels! The Restaurant has a large menu that changes daily; in 16 days we never saw the same menu twice. The "standards" are always available and the vegetarian entrees kept me very pleased. The bartenders anticipated your every wish, our cabin stewards were prompt with cleaning and turn down service, you never needed to look for a drink around the pool, the cooks at the Pool Grill even made me a grilled cheese sandwich which isn't on the menu. They will try to accommodate your every wish. The same goes in the Colonnade for breakfast and lunch...incredible selections there! We ate in Restaurant 2 only once; it was delightful. We never ate dinner in the Colonnade. Each night is "country themed" and we just never hit the right night/country combination. The Seabourn Square, Deck 7 is a one-stop area for great coffee drinks, more computers than I've ever seen, a wonderful library, and 4 staffed desks for anything you need from shore excursions to future cruises to rectifying a problem. ENTERTAINMENT + SPA: The one show I saw (hubby went to bed) was very good and the Seabourn Singers are excellent. Here is my biggest complaint about the entire cruise: There is simply nothing to do between 7:45-9:30pm except eat. If you like to eat early and be entertained after dinner, forget it on this ship. No music, no dancing, no entertainment of any kind and the main show of the night doesn't start until 10:00pm, which is late to get started when there isn't anything giving you a reason to stay up. Hence, we were in bed watching a movie most nights by 9pm. I feel badly for the entertainers who work hard to put on a great show to a quarter or half filled room. Any ship of any size or quality should have some kind of entertainment ALL evening without 2 hr gaps. The spa is nice but nothing special. My massage was weak and not what I wanted and the treatment rooms are too bright. I used the gym a lot and never found it overly crowded but I avoided 8-10am. My husband said the men's locker room was barely adequate and only 2 would fit into the sauna or steam at a time. I think it's poorly laid out with a lot of room wasted for their private cabanas & whirlpool. I doubt those are in high demand as they are expensive, but don't know for sure. You had to walk through the spa entrance to get to the salon and gym, making it not feel very exclusive or private. Embark/Disembark was a breeze and overall I give the ship, staff, food, service very high marks. One shore excursion was a flop and after many complaints were voiced, they offered us all 1/2 refund. Maybe they will improve "Snorkeling in the Ros Mohammad Natl Park" for future cruises; if not don't waste the time because the coral reefs and fish were most non-existent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010

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