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62 Europe - Western Mediterranean Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Staff and ship lovely. Food is great. Make sure you don't miss out on the tapas as it's amazing and inclusive just make sure to book it on the app. Vista is also a great place to eat especially the carbonara which for just five ... Read More
Staff and ship lovely. Food is great. Make sure you don't miss out on the tapas as it's amazing and inclusive just make sure to book it on the app. Vista is also a great place to eat especially the carbonara which for just five pounds more is prepared in a giant parmasan wheel at your table and is super tasty. Good service. What let's it down is the passengers. From threats of physical violence for being falsely accused of queue jumping on shore, to bad language, singlets galore and a cheap northern social club vibe, Explorer is one to miss. The buffet could get very hectic and the Squid and Anchor feral after 6pm. Be prepared for constant whingers expecting champagne service for beer money. If you are a gay couple be prepared for dirty looks from your fellow passengers and people to actively avoid making conversation with you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is our first MSC cruise. I so wanted tonlove it but I just cannot. The ship its self is really lovely andthe cabin with balcony is spacious and comfortable. The food is adequate. Nothing special but not bad either. It does not ... Read More
This is our first MSC cruise. I so wanted tonlove it but I just cannot. The ship its self is really lovely andthe cabin with balcony is spacious and comfortable. The food is adequate. Nothing special but not bad either. It does not compare to the likes of NCL or RCCL. The cabin steward is friendly andcthecwaiters we had in the main diningvroom were nice. However re the bar staff I generally feel that they are doing you a favour and prefer each others vompsny. Mot much happy service from them. Thd spa is one of the worst we have been in at sea. Small rooms and not even kept tidy. I acyually asked for a refund . After some back and forth with the guest relations supervisor we did get it back as I had no intention of using the space agsin. The worst is the entertainment. Not much hsppening in thd day and thevnighttime shows were poor quality . I felf like We had gone back to the 1980's. The cruise director was not very visible and a bit over the hill hence the old fashioned vibe of shows possibly. Overall the ship is nice but just has not much atmoshere ehich is a shame . It is a bit hit and miss on everything. I guess you get whag you pay for. Even on formal night most guests were not even dressed up which added to the lacklustre ferling. Will prob not go agsin with MSC. Just not for us ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We boarded in Barcelona Spain with ports of call in Gibraltar, Sete, Nice, Florence and Corsica for a 9 day cruise. The ship could use a refresh, but everything was clean and well cared for. We had a Royal Suite which was phenomenal. I ... Read More
We boarded in Barcelona Spain with ports of call in Gibraltar, Sete, Nice, Florence and Corsica for a 9 day cruise. The ship could use a refresh, but everything was clean and well cared for. We had a Royal Suite which was phenomenal. I think we only saw our room attendant, Natasha, twice during the whole cruise, but the cabin was always spotless. Our butler, Ellie, was the best! He couldn't do enough even though I don't think we asked much. He came every morning with cappuccino and mimosas. Even thought we only had 2 sea days, we did enjoy the large balcony and private hot tub. The bed was comfortable. We had 1 minor maintenance issue which was very quickly rectified. The service thought the cruise was outstanding. We did find the food to be not as good as on previous cruises, particularly in Luminae. Not that it was bad, just not excellent. We ordered off the main dining menu most evenings because there simply wasn't much of interest on the Luminae menu. Luckily, you can still do this on the M class ships. You can't on the new Edge class! We had one mediocre meal in Tuscan and one good one. Our dinner in Quisine was great. I would note that while we generally don't dine in the buffett, we did have lunch once and the selection was very good as was the food. We didn't go to a lot of shows because we were so busy, but the few we did go to were pretty good. We are sailing on the Summit in February which has already been refit. We are looking forward to seeing the improvements. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruiser for the itinerary and the low price which included a basic beverage package, Cabin was dated and the wallpaper worn but the mattress was good, the linens fresh, the plumbing worked and everything was clean. Staff ... Read More
We chose this cruiser for the itinerary and the low price which included a basic beverage package, Cabin was dated and the wallpaper worn but the mattress was good, the linens fresh, the plumbing worked and everything was clean. Staff were friendly throughout. Food good with reasonable choice. Excellent al fresco dining aft of the buffet with great views. Entertainment OK for a small ship. Few other activities. Nifty little library with comfy chairs for a quiet read. Good card and game room. Tiny Casino. Hots tubs aft away from the pool area. Good sun loungers with refreshingly little 'hogging' which is endemic on American ships. Food was surprisingly good with excellent soups and good fish and pork selections. A clean and comfy ship without the modern 'bells and whistlers' all of which I can do without. Efficient disembarkation and boarding at ports. No special shuttles but most ports had public transit. Spanish passengers in the main but all crew spoke English and major announcements were in English too. Relaxing, enjoyable and at a great price. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up ... Read More
I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up between 14:30 - 15:30. We left our AirBnB in Barcelona at maybe 10:15, and were at the port shortly after. We snuck in with our friends who were in a junior suite although we were only in a CP View cabin and were given group one and told it would be a 45 minute wait or so for boarding to commence. But we were happy to have group 1. However maybe 10 minutes later they started calling group 1. By the time we made it to the elevator to the gangway they were already saying group 1-25!!! So really fast boarding. I am a complete newbie to the Oasis Class, but I did get a feeling the cruise wasn't by any means sold out though. Which would make sense at the end of the Summer season like this. The ship was impressive and lived up to the hype of the Oasis class. One thing I had read online and also that my friends who cruise on other ships also noticed along with myself is that the ship really is very interior focused, and even the few spaces on the main decks that do have windows/portholes for some reason have frosted or vinyl'd over glass. You could easily go a day on this ship and maybe only see the water once or twice. Even though the ship was two weeks away from a major dry dock and her amplification, she was in pretty good condition. Only a few niggles with the lifts sometimes not responding to button pushes. We did a few finger wipes in nooks and crannies in public areas and every-time were impressed with the cleanliness. Our cabin was fine for the two of us, although other than speaking with our steward(ess) about having our beds separated the first night, we did not really interact with her again. Dining was average in the main dining room if I am honest. It wasn't to Disney standards, and my Carbonara one night was particularly congealed which was disappointing. The wait team in the MDR were brilliant though. We also did Izumi which was great. And 150 Central Park, where the food was good, but the atmosphere and staff were a little lacking. Entertainment wise the main shows were great. Cats was a great production, but I do not understand why RCI thought this would be a good fit for the casual audience of a cruise ship. Many people left before the show even made it to the end of act 1, and even less came back. The Ice show was also great. Come fly with me made zero sense, but the cast were great. One night we ended up really enjoying which we hadn't expected to was the 70's party night in the Promenade. It just clicked and the place really came alive and everyone seemed to have a great time. Overall the service could be a bit lacking and maybe this is because the crew knew it was the end of the season and they have one more cruise after ours then a long dry dock. But that is really no excuse, in particular every time I used the Solarium Bar, I was served by the same server who seemed very unfriendly and uninterested. Shore excursions we did just one official RCI one which was Aix on your own, so it was really a commentated coach ride in and then we did our own thing (in the pouring rain sadly). Majorca was a great stop, although quick. but for me Cinque Terre at La Spezia was a highlight, stunning scenery and a great walk between two of the towns. Naples was foul, we took a train to Pompeii, but if I did another cruise that stopped in Naples, I would stay on the ship. Overall it was a good introduction to RCI, and great to be able to brag at having done one of the largest ships in the world, and the first of the famous Oasis class. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and ... Read More
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and Southern France. We chose the ship and Marella (Tui) because it went where we wanted to go when we were able to go - we haven’t cruised with Marella before. First - some shout outs to the exceptional service from our cabin staff - led by Faiden - who looked after us all with great care throughout our fortnight. We particularly enjoyed the e-bike excursions led by Niko and Ashleigh - they led us through the sights and the beaches of Portimao, Corsica and St Raphael. We also used some of the coach based excursions- which were comfortable and as expected. We appreciated the peace of mind of all inclusive drinks - the upgrade was not necessary- and saw no evidence of it being abused by our fellow passengers. We were keen patrons of the coffee port, where we always enjoyed friendly service from Tamara. We ended up consistently using the Islands buffet for meals, for the pure convenience and because we tended to be earlier to rise and to bed than most, so that we tended to want our meals earlier than the other restaurants opened. We had breakfast a couple of times in the waiter service 47 degrees dining room - and it was a better experience. Islands certainly has a variety of food, but it has to be said that some of it was not very tasty - which is probably an inevitable consequence of the cooking methods required to produce food on that scale. Nonetheless we opted for convenience and there was usually something memorable on our plate each night. We frequently used the gym and adjoining spa/sauna services which were well equipped and set up. We preferred the Glass house indoor pool area which was quieter and cooler than the main pool area. In summary, the cruise delivered the experience we had hoped for with some of the staff making it that little bit better than we had expected. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I'll try to be as concise as possible while highlighting the key points. This was our 12th cruise, 10th on Celebrity. We are a gay couple in our early 40s. Our cruise had ~400 children possibly due to a special sale where 3rd and 4th ... Read More
I'll try to be as concise as possible while highlighting the key points. This was our 12th cruise, 10th on Celebrity. We are a gay couple in our early 40s. Our cruise had ~400 children possibly due to a special sale where 3rd and 4th passengers sailed free. Our cruise was also not sold out...possibly due to the branding of this as a "pride party" cruise with Adam Rippon as host. Dining. The specialty restaurants on Edge are not up to the standards of the Solstice class. Le Petit Chef was more gimmick than quality. Steak/Frites was OK but not worth the cost for the movie on the table and the "experience" of getting the same food with the same movie as every other guest. This is NOT up to the standards of Murano or Qsine. Fine Cut Steakhouse was a complete waste of an evening. The food was average and the noise from the atrium music was deafening. 6oz filet was less than 1/2 inch thick and overcooked. Typically a petite filet will be thick but small...not here, they seemed to just cut a large filet in half. Again, NOT the quality of food,ambience, and/or service of Murano (or frankly even Tuscan on the Solstice class). Eden was the tallest of the midgets with good, creative food and fine service (seriously though, we don't need actors pretending to be mesmerized by the presentation of the food by the waiter). Rooftop Garden Grill was good, but not the same fun as the Lawn Club, maybe it was the staff, maybe the concept, or maybe the blinding wind in your face experience...Lawn Club nestled behind the smoke stack is much more smartly located than this place. Luminae...food was good, service excellent, ambience and fellow guests will be discussed later. We did not eat in any of the four main dining rooms. Cabin. Wrote a separate review. The Sky Suite aft facing is a great room. Super comfortable bed. One surprise...there are only USB and power outlets on one side of the bed, so either you need a LONG cord or you can't both charge overnight and have the phone next to you for the morning alarm. Ship. The overall ship is very well done. Ceilings are nice and high, the whole ship feels airy and fresh. The use of fresh plants is extensive and really amazing. Downside...the martini bar is gone and the new atrium bar is not the same...does not promote the same feeling of togetherness. The layout of the ship is also not as open...more dead-ends and blocked paths than we expect on a modern ship. Finally, Eden is a nice space but it is way at the back of the ship and so you really need to want to go there to get there versus just pass through and fancy a seat. Fellow Passengers and Celebrity Policy. All I can say is WOW. We have never experienced worse passenger/parent behavior ever. So much so, that we are giving Celebrity one more chance to retain us as loyalists before seeking alternative lines with either fewer kids or better policies to help the staff control the kids. This is an example of terrible parents and Celebrity staff handcuffed due to lack of policies and terrified of bad reviews from bad parents. Some examples...(1) Parents in Luminae sitting at one end of the restaurant and their children at a table at the other end at a "kids table"...the kids were between 5-12 years old and sprinted back and forth to engage with their parents. (2) Parents leaving their sleeping children in strollers at the edge of the casino from 10P onward for hours as the parents disappeared to gamble/drink/party. Celebrity did nothing till guests complained repeatedly and then the parents repeated this behavior night after night. (3) Suite class retreat pool area became the kiddie pool day after day with running, screaming, and generally poorly behaved children left unattended by their parents. (4) Parents in Le Petit Chef more focused on their phones and presumably instagramming their meal than their children running through the restaurant to chat with their new friends. These are things that could be controlled with policy and with staff that did not live in fear of a bad review from a parent who broke the policy. (5) Parents leaving their children in the kids zone till past 12A as they partied the night away without advising staff that they would be 2+ hours later than the closing time. We are booked for a trip on a Solstice class ship this fall and we will see if Celebrity can be redeemed. If the 3rd and 4th passenger free or 50% discounts continue and the ships continue to be dominated by bad parents and their children we will be forced to find a line that knows how to manage them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports, thinking it would be great way to travel to these destinations without having pack and unpack. Our first impression of the ship was good, considering the negative reviews of the ship. All areas ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, thinking it would be great way to travel to these destinations without having pack and unpack. Our first impression of the ship was good, considering the negative reviews of the ship. All areas of the ship were kept clean and in good condition. Our cabin (9126) was on level 9, a good level to access the pool area and Buffet, but a bad area as it’s directly below this high traffic area. At all hours of the morning, day and nights, there is continual noise of trolley’s being rolled around above, and items being dropped on the floor. A few days into the cruise they had to perform maintenance on our bathroom (hot water issues with neighbouring rooms) which extended into the early evening. This was a bit of an inconvenience as we weren’t able to easily get ready for the evening with our friends, however guest services tried their best to make this as little a hassle for us as possible. The cabin problems persisted for a few days afterwards, and the staff did well to minimise the impact on us. However, considering this is Sold as a 5 star cruise, it really cheapened the overall experience for us, which is disappointing considering this was our second cruise with this company. As with any cruise, there was plenty of food. The selection was great and the service in the main dining areas was to the normal celebrity standard. The entertainment on the ship was great. They had a couple of guest acts that were exceptional. Although we chose this cruise for its ports, it turned out to be a negative as there were so many of them. With some of them (Toulon) a long way from anything of interest. Tip, research and book tours well in advance so that you are not left in a port with nothing to do. In Toulon in particular it was near impossible to get a cab to the main town centre, which wasn’t much to look at anyway. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. ... Read More
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. This second week we had an Ocean View stateroom in deck 4, cabin 4000 Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Ocean View stateroom, 4000. Coming from the Continent Suite you feel the space is much less, specially in the bathroom... the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is totally at the front of deck 4 so noise and vibration could be an issue for some people. We are early morning and early sleepers so it doesn’t bother us that much...  Our stateroom attendant, Paulo did a good job keeping our stateroom in order but we noticed this time that it could take longer time for them to make up the stateroom, again for us this was not an issue but understand that for some this could be a “thing”... this time due to space constraints we never ordered breakfast or room service DINING: This week we just have dined in Discoveries and the buffett aka Windows Cafe, quality of food and service has been again really on point, good variation of the menus. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected BARS: For this week we decided to just go with the complimentary drinks and wines and it worked well for us this week during the experiment, The included red and white wines change daily (2 whites, 2 reds) but the rose and the sparkling ones do not. Quality of the wines was good but if you have special preferences for the kind of wine you like it may be not in the daily rotation Regarding the drinks and cocktails you can easily go through the week with the complimentary drinks and cocktails but again if you like certain liqueurs, cognacs, whiskeys and/or bourbons and high end brands for vodka and Gin; these are not included in the complimentary menu. After our experiment we can see that for cruises of seven to 10 days the price/ value of the ultimate package is well worthy if you like to have the option to choose the wines you like or to have a couple of cocktails or drinks at night with high end brands, cognacs, etc. ENTERTAINMENT: We still love the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows and the signature singers are so good... the guest entertainers: White Sand Trio and the pianist are really great for evenings of music in the Den or in the Living room. This week we attended the Amanda’s Show: Epics... I just loved her more. Not just she is an amazing cruise director but an incredible singer; it is just lovely and you get to know about her career but also about her as an artist and a person... with beautiful songs I am not going to spoil but make yourself a favor and go and see this show... Super Amanda. Azamazing Evening in Livorno... just an incredible concert in a beautiful Opera Theater. Standing ovation to the performers White Evening party: This time we stayed longer and enjoyed the Party and the music...All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. We had a little issue during this cruise that we complained about and it got quickly addressed by Senior Management (Thanks to the Marketing manager) and this shows that Azamara takes us as guests very seriously and go out of their way to make us feel at home. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. More detailed information in the semi live review on the CC boards: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2656591-azamara-pursuit-semi-live-review-b2b2b-france-and-italy-intensive/ Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked ... Read More
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked these cruises to celebrate our 10th years marriage anniversary and because after meny RCCL and Celebrity we wanted to experience Azamara again and the ports of call in the meditterannean where the big Ships cannot go PRE-CRUISE: Barcelona... One night stay in the Eurostar’s Grand Marina, next to the port where Azamara starts... so the check out, walk to the ship was a decisive factor... we have been several times in Barcelona and sightseeing was not something we needed this time around. The Hotel is OK, nice but dated rooms, a reception staff that smiles but doesn’t do their job, the best of the stay is the small restaurant offering a Gourmet dinner experience and this was a highlight of the trip... the food and the wine pairings were PERFECT... do we recommend this hotel... yes for a stay next to the port. EMBARKATION: very easy... just five minutes and then we were on board. SHIP: Pursuit is a beautiful ship. The newest of their kind... elegant, sophisticated and the color palette makes you feel happy. CABIN: for this first leg of the back to back we upgraded (at last minute) to a Club continental suite, we got 8039, perfect location and the only suite I have ever said OMG WAO when opening the door... the colours, the decoration, the style and the light. No noise problems, at least for us. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Internett: 235 minutes per guest, which is OK but slowly but after all you´re on holiday and IT works for reading emails if you ned it. Butler service: our butler Roy has been outstanding, amazing level of service when we have requested our breakfast in the suite, our tea service in the afternoon. I will post a picture of the letter in the stateroom with all of the suite perks you can get DINING: This week we just have ate dinner in Aqualina or Prime C, given that is included in the suite perks. Once we had dinner in the buffet (before the Azamazing evening) and once with the White party buffet that was AMAZING. Aqualina and Prime C quality of food and service has been really on point. Room service: we had breakfast in the rom almost everyday and it was very very very nice to have the extra space the suite provides and the balcony breakfast when it was not so cold in the early hours. BARS: For this first week we decided to buy the ultimate drinking package and it worked well for us this week. We got to try most of the included wines when having dinner, and some of the premium drinks we enjoy when on a cruise. For the second week, we decided not to buy it so we can compare the experience.... Our favorite place for drinks so far is The Den... it is just a very nice place, with some piano music on the evenings and the best bartenders and waiters. ENTERTAINMENT: This week we attended all the Signature Singers shows (3 shows) and they were good. These guys can sing and dance and keep you entertained for the 45 minutes signing along. We loved the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows, if you´re expecting but productions shows, this is not the case and it works for Azamara. Azamazing Evening in Marseilles, Palais du Pharo. Was very entertaining, a kind of cabaret show with very french music, dancers and two great vocalists. White Evening party: we are not party people so we didn´t stay long after the White Evening Buffett ended but the party looked nice and people was enjoying themselves. All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is very good. Of course there are some that are just good and there are some people that just go above and beyond. SHORE EXCURSIONS & Ports of call: * Port Vendres: small, charming village, we just walked around and then found a hiking path that takes you to the other small town Collioure (or something like it). The Wall in the green areas around the Coast line is just very very very nice and easy with some amazing views. Breathtaking * Sanary Sur Mer: Beautiful town, the marina, the restaurants and cafes, it was very beautiful. We just walked around and enjoyed perplekse watching here and there. * Marseille: a vibrant city, we walked around, did some shopping and visited the Cathedral. It was great to be docked just in the center of town (or very very close) * St. Tropez: we took and organized excursion from Azamara and loved every minute; we visited Gassin and Ramatuelle and the Bertaud Bellieu wineyard for wine tasting. The guide we had has to be the most amazing guy we ever had AS a guide. We actually think we got a lecture on wine making, all about the process and the technology and traditional methods. The wine was so good we bought three bottles to take with us to the ship and enjoy in the stateroom. Also the small towns Gassins and Ramatuelle were beautiful and we got to learn about the history of the places. In Ramatuelle we enjoyed some free time that we used eating cheese and hams with a cold bottle of Rose wine from a local wine yard. It was an amazing day. The port of St. Tropez by itself, was not as expected, it was crowded and just a marina with amazing yachts, the best was the local artists selling their paintings around the marina. Beautiful paints and interesting people. * Cannes: we have been in Cannes several times so we decided to go for the Excursion of the ship to Grasse with a perfume factory visit and to St. Paul de Vence. And again we got a great guide, the visit to the perfume factory: Fragonard; this was very enriching and we could resist and bought two new Eau de Colognes with shower gels... Then we visited St. Paul de Vence and OMG this small hilltop village is just amazing, it breathes art from everywhere. The local artist and small galleries in the very narrow streets, the views from the wall of the town, the small restaurants... once again we learned about the local history with our guide and in the free time we just walked around and decided to have a very French lunch, we found a little place where they make sandwiches, so we bought a baguette with local produced cheese and ham, and sat on the wall and had our small French sandwich picnic there... just beautiful. * Monaco: Last minute changes out of Azamara control, The port authorities closed the port in Monaco so we got diverted to Nice... for the last night and day of this first cruise. We will explore a little bit of Nice today. NEXT CRUISE OFFICE: So far they have made a good job and we booked a cruise for 2021, Western Africa sailing from Cape Town to Lisboa. The benefits of booking on board make sense for us coming from the Nordic market. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of ... Read More
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of the ships genuine age. Marella and TUI have been very upfront about the ships age, however some travel agents will say what they need to say to get the booking on! We stayed in the Royal Suite, which on first glance was amazing. After the first day we spotted some snagging that we attempted to get resolved with reception and our cabin staff but things didn’t get resolved. We escalated this to the guest relations manager who resolved it quickly and efficiently and showed a great deal of empthathy. Thank you Sam Hale, you’re a credit to Marella. The specialty dining was brilliant. Main dining was ok. I’d recommend the trio dining package for specialty resturants as it saves some money and brings the cost in at a quite reasonable price. We also paid extra for the premium drinks package. Being a wine drinker it was worth every penny, however many beer and spirits drinkers would be happy with the standard package. Overall it would have scored a 5 but the initial issues brought it down to a 4. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my first cruise and my partner's fourth cruise, but first on Norwegian. I had expectations of a crowded buffet with flavor similar to that of Golden Coral. I was pleasantly surprised to find the food at the buffet (Garden ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my partner's fourth cruise, but first on Norwegian. I had expectations of a crowded buffet with flavor similar to that of Golden Coral. I was pleasantly surprised to find the food at the buffet (Garden Cafe) as well as their main dining rooms (Taste and Manhattan Room) were excellent. Each day their food choices were new, everything was fresh and had great flavor. The entertainment on board was excellent. The cruise director was awesome and fostered an environment of fun and relaxation. The room was clean, well laid out and well decorated. The fitness center had so much equipment and the view was amazing! The shows on board were excellent, they offered a circus, a musical, a comedy magic show, a ballroom dance performance, dueling pianos and many many more live options. The itinerary included, Naples, Rome, Pisa, Cannes and Palma Majorca and Barcelona as well as one sea day. Honestly, the sea day was one of my favorite days because we had so much fun on board the ship. The only areas were I would offer some ideas to improve are: 1) a bigger pool. The Epic has three water slides which were really fun, but the pools on board a smaller. 2) I wish there had been clearer instructions on how far the ports were from the train stations and transportation if guests were not participating in excursions. I give Norwegian's staff 5/5 stars, the food 5/5, and the entertainment 5/5. Really excellent trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Background information: We are the arctic husbands, 39 and 40 and this cruise was booked on board The Reflection during our last cruise in September 2017. The original plan was for my birthday but we couldn’t manage one year without ... Read More
Background information: We are the arctic husbands, 39 and 40 and this cruise was booked on board The Reflection during our last cruise in September 2017. The original plan was for my birthday but we couldn’t manage one year without going on the high seas... we moved the reservation to May and kept the Sky Suite since it was a so good deal that it was a no brainer... Pre-Cruise We decided to fly to Civitavecchia one day before and stay there for one nifght. Accommodation: Hotel Mediterranean, works for one night, helpful staff, bed and pillows not the most comfortable (for what we like) but good price and helpful with booking a taxi (weeks in advance) for the morning to the pier. I wouldn’t stay there again basically because of the kind of bed and the cleaning products that smell so strong. It was clean like heaven but it smelled to much of cleaning products. Dining: we had late lunch at La Ghiacciaia, it’s very close to the port out of the tourist road... kind of hidden, I can not recommend this place enough... we had a very good lunch in an authentic Italian atmosphere with families and couples around, I think we were the only tourists in the place... prices were cheap and food was very good. Thpe portions are huge so be careful, we didn’t manage to eat all. After that huge late lunch we walked around the beach promenade and ended up at Bistrot Turquoise and had a couple of spritzers at happy hour, nice view but definitely you pay for that, price was double than in the first place we had lunch, but it was happy hour. We didn’t like the place it was stressful... Around 20:00 in the evening we decided to have a drink and a soft dinner, we ended up at the Grand Caffé, got a table outside to enjoy the evening breeze, we had a couple of bottles of Prosecco and two apperitivs (a plate with different cheeses, bruschettas and charcuterie) and we were surprised by how cheap it was... really cheap for the location, quality and service... Breakfast: we didn’t have breakfast included at the hotel so we went out and found Bar Europa, a little hidden local gem, had the best mortadella sandwich ever, and super natural and tasty juice and a espresso how it should be.. loved it. Now getting ready for embarkation... WOHO EMBARKATION: It was OK. worked fast and in less than 10 minutes we were checked inn. Once checked inn everybody had to wait since it was raining like a tropical storm with thunder and lightning and it was not safe to walk to the ship, Once the thunder and lightning stopped those who wanted to walk under the rain received an umbrella to do so. SHIP: Reflection is an amazing ship We loved and is the only ship we have repeated traveling without family. CABIN: we booked an S1 Sky suite in deck 12, cabin 2127. Loved the cabin, tons of storage space, too much for us. But that’s good. The Balcony was just amazing, we loved the extra space in the balcony, the full size table and the extra shadow provided in this deck. The bathroom was a big plus loved the storage space, the bathtub and the shower & micro jets. Given its location under the solarium and next to the service door for the staff sometimes you could hear a little bit of noise but it wasn´t really a problem, you get use to it and it didn’t disturb at all. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Michaels Club: Nadya and Adriana were the hostesses of the Muchaels Club during our sailing, they were very nice and attentive and make sure that every single small problem we had during our cruise was handled and solved promptly (a problem with the bathtub draining, a problem with the toilet not flushing, a problem with laundry charges and a Cachaca tasting where no staff showed up. The rest of the staff was great. It was great to have a place where you could relax and find assistance (if needed). Our Butler introduced himself just shortly after we were in the suite and was of great assistance when we needed, with that said we could notice that he was new and lacked a little bit of the initiative taking that we got last year with our previous butler. Also our Stateroom Attendant was great and kept our room spotless during the length of the cruise. Luminae will be commented under Dining. We think is worth to pay the extra for the Sky Suite and the perks that come along, would we book it again?, Yes… if the price range / Value is Ok for us. We also had the Premium Drinking Package, that we used a lot for drinks, coffees and Vitamin Waters / Arizona iced teas. During this sailing we had our 9th anniversary and we got a card with beautiful words from the hostesses of Michaels Club and from our Butler, with some chocolate strawberries, we loved the detail and that they remembered also when they saw us that day. DINING: as part of the Suite perks, we had access to Luminae as our main restaurant for dinner and breakfast everyday and lunch on embarkation and sea days. In general we loved Luminae, the dinner menu changes everyday and for some it could be very limited but we loved it. We noticed that a lot of guest asked for the main dining room menu and order form there. We just asked once for the onion soup from the main dining room (that we love ) and we got it. It was impressive that the staff recognized us from last year sailing, that made us felt at home. In general the staff made its best to make us feel welcome and at home (Katja, Vishal, Diana - she was amazing -and the rest of the waiters and the Sommelier also). Ocean View Cafe: Very good and varied selection for lunch (when we were there), good quality and tastes, also good service from the waiters. Specialty dining: 1) Qsine (Now Le Pettit Chef), funny and entertaining video and good and simple food, overpriced for the quality of dinner, won´t do it again. 2) The Lawn Grill Club: Grill steakhouse, outdoor, dining al fresco, extremely good meats and the best dessert on board, just ask for the freaking cookie:amazing. 3) Murano: One word: perfection. 4)Tuscan Grill: we had the best dinner ever in Tuscan Grill. BARS: as said, we had the premium drinking package as part of our suite perks and booking promotion, we had the same package before and we found it is still worth it. In general we found the service around all bars to be OK with no long waiting. Al baccio Cafe, was great all time for our coffee or tea fix with small desserts. Martini Bar was our favorite spot this time, best bartenders ever this time... crowded most of the time you just need to time your martinis right. Pool Bar was OK not so service minded staff but got our drinks. The World Bar: this time it was a miss, we loved it last time but the bartenders this time were good but not Amazing as Lazar and Sasha in our previous sailing. We wanted to try the Cachaca tasting and pre booked it using the cruise planner. We got our invitation for the first day In Barcelona at 15:00, since we didn’t have big plans for that day we decided to plan around it so we went out early and then came back to the ship just for that and dinner and then maybe go out or relax. Surprise: nobody showed up at the location stated on the invitation (world bar), then we tried to contact our Michaels Club concierges that were not around at that moment so we went to Guest services, and it was a downhill the person we talked to couldn’t care less. We decided to wait and then to the girls in Michaels club a little bit later, so we went for some drinks. After we talked with Adriana and Nadya they just told us they will contact someone and fix something for us. later that evening we got a call from the beverages manager assistant apologizing and telling us to re.schedule and we could decide day and time, so we did, they also sent us a bottle of wine, an apologize letter and a complimentary martini flight. ENTERTAINMENT: we didn’t see all the shows but The broadway / westend cabaret was AMAZING, the singers killed it. Claire Maiden was a guest entertainer for one night and let me tell you something, I haven´t seen a singer like her in a long time, she was INCREDIBLE... The band, the duo and the guitarist were all OK. Richard Spacey as a Cruise Director paired with Valentina as Activity Manager were great... SERVICE: I would say the service all around the ship was great… nothing to complain, even if you can feel that it´s not the same as it was back just few years ago, the reflection staff makes sure you have an amazing holiday. CELEBRITY SHORE EXCURSIONS: we booked couple of excursions on line and the one to Montserrat was GREAT, very early but GREAT... we arrived before the other busses from other ships and it was very quiet and lovely before the crowds FUTURE CRUISES OFFICE: they did their job and we booked two future cruises for 2020 with very good deals and promos SHOPPING: stopping in Gibraltar gives you the Duty Free benefit, that works well in the perfumes and cosmetics department. POST CRUISE INFO: We used Rome Shuttle Limousine from the port to the Airport and it worked perfect; 110 Euros for 2 persons private transfer. PS: sorry for typos... I’m still getting used to just write in the iPad :-) Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first ever cruise, a 7 night round-trip from Barcelona. The cruise director and the crew seemed to have renamed the ship "The Beautiful Symphony of the Seas" and wow, were they right in that description! Upon ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, a 7 night round-trip from Barcelona. The cruise director and the crew seemed to have renamed the ship "The Beautiful Symphony of the Seas" and wow, were they right in that description! Upon boarding we were quite overwhelmed by the sight of the Royal Promenade, the lights, the atmosphere and happily accepted glasses of bubbly from a nearby waiter. Winding back a few minutes, check-in at Barcelona was less than smooth. Having checked-in online, submitting our photos and credit card details it was a bit weird to have to do all that again at the desk but that's a minor gripe. Our stateroom became available at 1pm and our bags followed not long afterwards. We were very impressed with it, spotless and pristine, as you'd expect from a new ship. Ample storage, comfortable large bed and a lovely balcony, it was a perfect base for our travels. The soundproofing was good, we barely heard anyone else either through the walls or door. Our corridor was near a busy kitchen but you could only tell when outside the room. Food was generally good. We used the Windjammer buffet a few of times for breakfast or lunch, a cheery welcome strongly encouraging guests to wash their hands before eating, good to see. The choice and quality was good and we had no concerns over the time the food was around. Each station was well staffed and the crew seemed to be on top of keeping things hot and stored correctly. We were a little taken aback by the behaviour of fellow guests, seeing people have their tables taken by others whilst at the buffet was a little inappropriate. Others seemed to take far more than they ever intended to eat but I guess that's probably a common occurrence on cruises. We tried the main dining room for the first two nights, having chosen My Time Dining we were on deck 4. Unfortunately on both occasions we were sat right at the back of the area in a small wing adjacent to the kitchen, so noise from there and constant traffic of servers affected the ambiance negatively. The food was a little disappointing. I am vegetarian but was happy with the look of the menu - 2 or 3 starters and 1 or 2 mains each evening. I had read about a veggie Indian dish being available and I ordered that which as delicious. The second day I chose a pasta dish which was simply awful. Stodgy, over-cooked and contained eight (!) whole garlic cloves. The server in the main dining room, remembered serving me a vegetarian curry the night before but still recommended a meat dish from the menu for me! No big deal but the vibe, service and food quality persuaded us to look at other options for the rest of the week. We tried the Solarium Bistro for evening meal which was very nice. A smallish buffet venue but with good staff serving drinks. The choice was varied and the quality was good. One drawback was most food was portioned into small dishes making plating up and transporting food tricky! Great views at the front of the ship from deck 15 as the sun set. On day 3 we thought we should try some of the specialty offerings for dinner. Not having booked any packages asked if they were still available. Certainly was the reply, $88 for 3 nights, which I thought was pretty good value. 150 Central Park was a beautifully-styled room and the food was pretty good. Service a little inattentive but generally a good experience. Jamie's Italian I love. We have quite a few of them in the UK and we've found that they've really gone downhill in the last 18 months or so but I thought hey, I'm sure Jamie will have trained the crew of this new ship well! And I was right, everything was excellent, the bruschetta, the garlic bread, the pasta, the fish. A really memorable experience with a buzzing atmosphere, loved it. Hooked was our third on our last night, primarily for my wife who loves seafood. She had crab cake, chowder and whole lobster! I'd asked about veggie ahead of the meal and they said they'd make anything for me so (spot a theme...) I asked for some pasta! And it looked remarkably like the one they were making at the pasta station in the Solarium Bistro... but it tasted good and that's all that matters really. Our server, Richard, was the sweetest thing, friendly, helpful and ordering appropriate sides without asking. The ship itself was fabulous. Very well thought out and designed. I'm sure there were thousands of guests but it rarely felt like it. We watched the theatre show Hairspray and were very impressed with the production. The bars were varied and decorated wonderfully. We particularly enjoyed the Schooner Bar with the resident pianist Paul O'Shea playing most evenings into the small hours. He was a real highlight, talented, amusing and gently amenable, even when a fellow guest seemed to request Bohemian Rhapsody every night... Other bars we liked were Dazzles, with an enjoyable live band, On Air for the odd chuckle at the Karaoke and the Bionic Bar for a fun evening kick-off with a robot delivered cocktail. The Rising Tide Bar moving between decks 5 and 8 was a cool place to soak up the view of the promenade and rise up to see the stars. The itinerary was packed, every day bar day 6 was a port day but we found ourselves rushing back to enjoy the ship more often than not having travelled well throughout Europe many times previously. So exciting and this trip will certainly change our holiday habits in future, a fabulous break and one we can't wait to do again. Very impressed with RCCL and the ship, we recommend it wholeheartedly and we will return. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this ship for the itinerary. We were pleasantly surprised by all the amenities and activities on board. The cruise director was awesome and he deserves due credit. I hope the next time we cruise, Scott is our cruise director ... Read More
We chose this ship for the itinerary. We were pleasantly surprised by all the amenities and activities on board. The cruise director was awesome and he deserves due credit. I hope the next time we cruise, Scott is our cruise director again. He was amazing. So glad that NCL kept the LGBTQ+ community in mind and made sure we were included. Everything worked, and the crew couldn't have been nicer. The dining was good and great selection of food. Service was acceptable, although the buffet seems chaotic in the mornings and some people should not have been on board the way they were coughing. We ended up with a cold but not until after we departed and our last day in Barcelona so at least we held out well until then. A great time meeting new friends. Cannot wait to go on another one. The ship is massive but managed to feel cozy. Wish we could have went around one more time. We definitely would go again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Haven is spectacular. It really is a place away from the ship's crowds and din. They immediately remember you name and preferences, the concierge was super attentive to us and our children, escorted us directly out and onto our ... Read More
The Haven is spectacular. It really is a place away from the ship's crowds and din. They immediately remember you name and preferences, the concierge was super attentive to us and our children, escorted us directly out and onto our various tour buses when needed. Made endless changes to our dinner and show reservations without a single mishap, and fixed anything that was wrong. The Epic restaurant in the Haven is the best one on the ship. (We tried four of the specialty restaurants, the best was probably Le Bistro but still not as good as Epic restaurant in the Haven). Plus in the Haven you had a super formal setting but you didn't have to dress up--come as you are and the food really was outstanding. We additionally ate at the buffet a couple of times with a friend not traveling in Haven: it was just plain gross compared to the Haven in truth. Our Butler Maria is outstanding, and the bartender in Haven club never missed a beat. In fact when we were elsewhere on the ship as well and showed our Haven card our service was stepped up a notch. It really is noticeable. Yes, you have to tip your concierge and your butler and bartenders. But they make a big difference on your trip and work diligently the whole cruise. We will travel again on Norwegian, but only in the Haven. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
When we want a vacation that leaves us with a smile on our faces and a desire for more, and when we want to be treated with great devotion - we sail with the Royal Caribbean. Our experience on the Freedom ship proved that our choice was ... Read More
When we want a vacation that leaves us with a smile on our faces and a desire for more, and when we want to be treated with great devotion - we sail with the Royal Caribbean. Our experience on the Freedom ship proved that our choice was perfect. The cells are comfortable and tidy, the dining rooms have plenty of food that anyone can find what he likes. The crew of the ship, including chamberlains, waiters, serving in bars, and the entertainment staff, were wonderful and did everything possible to make this cruise a dream. The pools and jacuzzi are very cozy, and there is one Jacuzzi pool open all night. The rescuers are very careful to look at the bathers all the time to check their safety, water is distributed everywhere and there is strict sterilization and cleanliness, so that all of us will return safely. We are confident that we will return to another voyage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We love Celebrity and we love Atlantis. Last year we tried Oceania Marina, loved the food and the cabin but she's not as impressive as the Solstice Class. This was our first time Silhouette. 10 Day Cruise from Amsterdam to ... Read More
We love Celebrity and we love Atlantis. Last year we tried Oceania Marina, loved the food and the cabin but she's not as impressive as the Solstice Class. This was our first time Silhouette. 10 Day Cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Celebrity has definitely upped their game with the food. We found the food to be noticeably improved from our Equinox sailing 2 years ago. We especially loved the Lawn Club (the cookie is a must!). We've always booked Aqua class and this was no exception. We were in cabin 1529, forward, port side. We love the location and it's under the changing rooms so no gym noise. It's also easy to come and go from the pool area. We are staples of the Martini bar and we found all of the wait staff were truly wonderful. We noticed our cabin steward didn't have an assistant. According to her, they no longer have assistance. I felt she did a great job but was slightly overworked. I hope they bring assistants back. We tipped her heavily for always being spot on with fresh towels and keeping our room in ship shape. This was an Atlantis Charter so no drink packages, but we do get extra entertainment, Deborah Cox among many others. The crows was fun and extremely friendly. This was our 4th cruise with Atlantis and would definitely do another. We don't go to the parties much, we are in bed by 10pm usually. We loved Oceania for the cabin and food and slighly higher quality service, but overall we prefer Celebrity. Next May we are doing our first Civilian (Non Atlantis) Cruise on the Solstice, May 11, 2017. Looking forward to great sites, meeting new people, most of all a drink package! Take away. If you're thinking of cruising on the Silhouette, she's wonderful, with great improvements from the Equinox with Lawn Club. If you're thinking of cruising with Atlantis, you won't regret it! With Atlantis the ship has a wonderful energy and the crew really love it (they get tipped 4x from a normal sailing). Everyone is kind and it's whatever you make of it. If you want scandal you can find scandal, but if you're like us and just want to have a pleasant time in all gay setting (no kids), it's awesome but you pay a premium for it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a 14 day charter cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Embarkation: Embarkation at Amsterdam was remarkably efficient and a master class in organisation. From memory, the time from arriving at the kerb to cabin door was about ... Read More
This was a 14 day charter cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Embarkation: Embarkation at Amsterdam was remarkably efficient and a master class in organisation. From memory, the time from arriving at the kerb to cabin door was about 40 minutes. The cuisine: We tried three of the specialty restaurants and rated the French restaurant - Murano very highly. The service was impeccable, the food and wine superb. The Tuscan Grille and the Lawn Club had that frozen food experience. The steak at the Tuscan Grille had a strange texture, however the location at the rear of the ship is spectacular. The main dining room was the star of the show and how they maintain such fast service for so many people is a source of constant amazement. For every day dining the main dining room is really very, very good indeed. The service: Our cabin attendant was excellent as are all the crew. The constant up sell is a bit boring. Entertainment: We were a bit spoiled as the charter company brought their own entertainment on board alongside the Celebrity team. On the whole it was absolutely excellent. The ship: Although newer than The Summit, The Silhouette somehow lacks the grandeur in part because it tries to be too contemporary and ends up looking flashy. The lawn deck is just great and overall it is an awesome ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
It had been 8 years since we had taken our first ever cruise which was on Independence Of The Seas on a Mediterranean trip from Southampton. So this trip was a bit of a nostalgia visit on a similar itinerary with the same participants, ... Read More
It had been 8 years since we had taken our first ever cruise which was on Independence Of The Seas on a Mediterranean trip from Southampton. So this trip was a bit of a nostalgia visit on a similar itinerary with the same participants, me, my husband, Mum and Sister. This isn't a port review, there is a lot of port info elsewhere for those needing it. Boarding We arrived at Southampton at about 11am and used the official car parking service. We were onboard within 10 minutes mainly as Mum was in a wheelchair with dedicated check in desks however the other lines were pretty short as well. We were greeted with champagne on boarding, something we've only experienced on Celebrity before. We went straight out on deck as the weather was very pleasant and sat and had our first drink. We got the free Deluxe Drinks package as a perk and started to test it out....... We got a few small plates of food from the windjammer which included the first plate, of many on this cruise, of delicious large shrimp and took them back outside with us. Cabin Cabins were ready at 1pm and we had two Deluxe Balcony cabins close to the centrum lifts on deck 6 (6626/6628). These were classed as interconnecting but strangely the sofa in one cabin blocked the interconnecting door and it had been taped up on the other side, not that we wanted to use it. Having been on Anthem and Oasis since our first Indy cruise the decor struck us as a little more dated however in practice the cabin layout works very well. There is a good circulation space, lots of storage, a good sized balcony and all round the cabin was well maintained. After the first night however I realised the bed was way too soft and I took a look and found an old sagging mattress with egg crate foam on top and two mattress toppers. If you like to sink into a bed you would love it but it offered no support. Anyway we got this swapped out for a brand new mattress on day 2. The location was super convenient for the lifts and stairs and was probably the quietest cabin we have ever had. No creaks or rattles at all. Dining We had Mytime Dining in the King Lear level of the main dining room. It is nice to enter this big impressive space with the huge Chandelier. I had pre reserved 7.30 times for each night in advance online. In practice this worked out really well. We could have pre dinner drinks just after people had vacated the bars for early dining then arrive back into the bars after dinner whilst early diners were at the show and late diners were still eating. This gave us a free choice of where to have a drink and we mixed it up every night though the bars all became packed later. Our favourite place was the Olive or Twist bar up in the Viking Crown lounge with its superb views. We had booked the BOGO dining offer for the first two nights and chose Chops for both evenings. This was extremely good value and made a nice start to the holiday. It was a shame the menu had been changed recently and had less choice (no scallops for instance). After these first two nights we took up our reservations in the MDR. On the first night we were seated on a table for 4 at the back near the exit from the kitchens. This wasn't great as there was a constant stream of waiters passing by and it felt uncomfortable and less than relaxing. When we exited I mentioned this to the Maitre D' who said he would seat us somewhere else the next night. The next night he did seat us somewhere else, on the next table to the one on the previous night, by the corridor for the waiters and next to a serving station. I returned to the Maitre D', had a moan and we got a table in the centre of the floor from that night onwards. Our waiters were superb. Nothing was too much trouble and on the whole we were fairly picky eaters. I asked for some extra vegetables on the first night and the sharing vegetable plate they provided grew larger each night with lovely snow peas, asparagus and French beans. The menus were less interesting than our experience on Oasis in Feb/Mar which was trialling the new menus which were a lot better in our opinion. The choice was wide but there were some strange combinations (who needs a choice of 2 onion soups on one nights' menu). The food overall was nicely presented but we had several instances of cold food, some sauces that had no taste at all and some deserts that sounded nice but in reality were not great (pecan pie for instance was very dry and hard and Crewe caramel that wasn't crisp but was runny). However we enjoyed the experience more than the food and our service made up for the menu/food issues. I have to mention breakfast. I don't know if we missed this 8 years ago and on our Anthem and Oasis trips, but the choice was excellent. Of course there was the windjammer which had a great choice of options but we struggled to find a table easily. On Deck 5 they had the waiter service a la carte breakfast which we tried once. Very nice but a bit lengthy for us. Then on Deck 3 they had a buffet breakfast but with waiter served drinks. This suited us very well. No problem getting a table. A much more relaxed environment and a good choice of options, though of course less than in the windjammer. To have a choice of full a la carte in the MDR, buffet breakfast in the MDR and full buffet breakfast in the windjammer is a great feature. For lunch we ate in the Windjammer each day apart from one sea day in the MDR where we had the buffet lunch which was excellent. My Mum loves shrimp and the windjammer had shrimp about every third day and lobster 4 times during the cruise. This was such a treat. There was a good choice of curries (for the Brits) which were excellent. Lots of roast meats, the usual burgers and hot dogs and delicious chicken burgers. The choices changed each day and you would have to be very fussy not to have enjoyed a great choice and nice food up here. On the next to last day we had the bottomless brunch. This was a freebie because of an issue we experienced onboard. You gathered on the deck 4 dining room, had a glass of champagne, signed a health waiver and then were taken into the galley in groups of 20. The tour made me realise that any switches we requested via our waiters each night must have added a lot of hassle for them when selecting our choices in the waiter line up. After the tour we sat at tables with antipasto laid out and then a three course menu option. However they said they also had (off menu) a surf and turf of lobster and fillet minion which the majority went for. The champagne was free flowing. A lovely lunch and would actually be worth the fee if you want to enjoy a galley tour and a hearty brunch. To add one note that affects all Dining onboard, any dish marked as vegetarian suitable but which contains cheese isn't vegetarian as the cheese used contains animal rennet. This is common across American cruise lines but for any UK cruisers used to relying on vegetarian symbols on menus being accurate this might be an issue that affects you. Drinks. We had the free Deluxe Drinks package included and we made good use of it. From Coffees in the Promenade Cafe and fresh orange juice with breakfast to bottles of water for trips ashore and of course pre dinner cocktails and wine with dinner. The choices were varied and bar service was very good. I would say over 75% of the passengers had the 'free' package but that didn't impact on the service. On deck by the pool the service was amazing. Not a minute went by without a waiter passing. Clearly Royal have incentivised the waiters to provide drinks (albeit free) and it shows. We've never had such good poolside bar service. Being an ex UK cruise the Dog and Badger pub was the busiest venue, pretty much all day and even served potato chips on football match days. We had a bit of an issue with canned soda as some venues said it was included, others said they had to open the can before they gave it to you and others said the package only included fountain soda. A conversation with someone from food and beverage confirmed sealed, canned soda was included in the package so eventually we managed to get just that (useful for the mini bar fridge and trips ashore) Pools We had great weather on this cruise. Apart from the first and last days. The decks got busy, especially the prime spots, but we got up early and grabbed good positions. There were warnings in the cruise compass advising not to leave sunbeds for more than 30 mins and we did see them logging reserved beds and even removing some belongings. I would say they seemed more proactive earlier on when the beds were filling up but less visible when the pool decks were full. They had films on the outdoor screen twice a day. There were 160 kids on this cruise which was a pretty low number and we didn't see them at all, presumably the kids clubs kept them entertained. As a consequence the H2O pool area was the quietest area on deck, no kids and no bands playing. The pool sunbeds looked pretty new and were much better than the rubber strap type that they previously had. In fact the balcony furniture looked pretty new too as did the chairs on the deck 4 outside Promenade deck. They had a couple of poolside buffets, one was a massive paella dish with so much meat and seafood and another had shrimp, lobster, burgers etc. A nice addition but as they were not in the compass it was pot luck if you happened to spot them, luckily we did. Lifeguards at every pool must be reassuring for families. On a couple of hot sea days staff came round the outside decks with melon and strawberries. Don't remember this previously and it's a nice little touch. Entertainment It's been our view for a while that Royal has good entertainment. From a packed programme of quizzes and talks to golf, climbing walls, flowrider. The cruise director was Joff Eaton. Perfect for a U.K market and this cruise was 95% British. His Quest hosting was about the best we've seen and his morning tv shows were very quirky but fun. We didn't see a lot of the theatre shows. We went to a magician but from the upper tier you couldn't see a thing. Joff said the act didn't like cameras and tv screens and perhaps then they shouldn't book him if half the audience cannot see his tricks. Royal seem to have stolen The Liars club idea from Celebrity and we went to that. Instead of crew members on Celebrity it was the entertainment staff and was fun. Grease was on twice on the third to last evening and on the last sea day as a matinee. It was excellent. Perfectly suited to a cruise ship performance. Great vocals with outstanding dance routines. We went to the 6 o'clock show and when we exited at 7.30 there were queues for the 9 o'clock show. We went to both ice shows, although the fast forward show was the same as 8 years ago (really?). Very good, professional and a great choice of music to accompany the skating. Disembarkation. We had requested the earliest disembarkation slot and got it. We exited exactly on our 7am slot and were in our car by 7.10. Very smooth and easy. So how to summarise our return to the Independence. Overall we enjoyed it. Lots to do, friendly staff, great bar service, great entertainment, good dining room service, variable dining room evening food, excellent windjammer options, great breakfast dining choices, good sized cabins but slightly dated and a 10 yr old ship which is being kept in good shape. However, having been on Oasis, and more so Anthem, Indy feels slightly less sparkly and modern. It was lovely to sail on her again but I'm not sure we will be back onboard again. Also whilst we like the Royal Promenade, you are made to feel the volume of passengers onboard when using this thoroughfare and Celebrity's S Class ships spread the passenger load out much more efficiently. Indeed evenOasis with its massive passenger load felt less crowded. This was also a very British cruise. This may sound strange from a Brit but we have come to enjoy meeting people from elsewhere on our cruises and like a mix of cultures but clearly Indy is very much loved by Brits and there were so many repeat guests with some who have only ever cruised on her and never wanted to try another ship or cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Highly recommended to take this cruise and make a great memory. You can get there whatever you need for your vacation, you get the chance to visit different cities. You can see super organised people and process everywhere. Good service ... Read More
Highly recommended to take this cruise and make a great memory. You can get there whatever you need for your vacation, you get the chance to visit different cities. You can see super organised people and process everywhere. Good service and respect is the major factors which can highlight this brand. Take the chance and enjoy your time in a luxury cruise. Cabin are very large like a hotel room. The food special meat type was really nice and you can do any kind of sports on the cruise. The timing of arrival in city is very nice just right after breakfast, you can leave and explore the area. The staff are super friendly and you can notice a professional supervision on main dining room which makes the service very good. The drinks is being charged which is a drawback of the cruise as well as poor internet service which is kind of high price as drawbacks. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We went on this cruise because my mother hadn't been on holiday for over 20 years as she is disabled and finds it hard to find holidays to suit her and the ship catered for disabled people so she asked if we wanted to accompany her, ... Read More
We went on this cruise because my mother hadn't been on holiday for over 20 years as she is disabled and finds it hard to find holidays to suit her and the ship catered for disabled people so she asked if we wanted to accompany her, we wouldn't of picked a cruise ourselves as i have never been good on boats,but we of course went to assist her so that she could enjoy a holiday. We were very surprised how amazing it was the staterooms were a decent size mind you we had deluxe balcony ocean views and the balconys were big the views were outstanding.The whole ship was beautifully decorated a bit old style but kept very clean.The food was extremely good and plenty of soft drinks and hot beverages, but you have to be careful as even though we had supposedly paid for all inclusive food and certain alcohol it appeared that we paid for quite a bit including wine in the main dining room.We should have had some sort of meeting when we arrived so that we knew which places on the ship supplied the free drink ,there are no kettles in your staterooms as it is a fire hazard so you have to go to one of the dining rooms to get your tea, you can have room service and the continental breakfast is free but in the small print you get charged a fee for the room service added to your card you carry with you every where, there are a lot of hidden charges including bottles of water. The entertainment was very good always different things to see and do day and night.Just to say don't bother taking your tuxedo suit or long dresses we were told we had to wear formal evening wear tuxedo for men and dresses for women so we bought the outfits at quite a bit of expense we wouldn't normally wear that attire but made an effort and were very annoyed to see that the men mainly just wore smart shirts with and without ties, and women wore some lovely dresses but not over the top just smarts don't worry about the formal notice. The trips were amazing but not very disabled friendly streets the worst being florence were we had to lift my mothers scooter up all the high kerbs and hardly any ramps any where it is medieval not suitable for disabled! The trips apart from that were great the staff are very helpful and overall we had great first cruise we will defiantly think of going on another ones you can see so many more places in one hit. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our second sailing on the Equinox, the first was our honeymoon in 2010 and this was also my 61st cruise.. Celebrity certainly is a notch above most other lines, from the welcome aboard champagne to the décor and the smiles of ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Equinox, the first was our honeymoon in 2010 and this was also my 61st cruise.. Celebrity certainly is a notch above most other lines, from the welcome aboard champagne to the décor and the smiles of MOST staff. Entertainment overall is very good with something for everyone but not necessarily will everyone like everything. The dining room My Time Dining was very efficient if you were strategic about the times you wanted to dine. The hostess always tried to put us in the same vicinity of the same servers, when possible. The food was mediocre, simply put. A fair selection but just mediocre. DO NOT ORDER A STAEK AND EXPECT A RESTAURANT QUALITY STEAK!!! Overall the ship furnishings are starting to show signs of wear and need some to be changed out. NOW the disappointments! Michaels Club has been closed to all except Suite Guests. Even Elite guests cannot use this lounge area. BE PREPARED TO GO PREMIUM!!! While Celebrity is offering classic drink packages almost everything is an upsell. An additional $11.80 per person per day for a decent drink OR you can upgrade by the drink So if you want to sit at the Martini bar and order ANY Martini or wine it's an additional $4.78 per drink. If you want a Chanson Champaign it's an upsell of $2.00. plus 18% grat for a 4 oz pour. NOW if you want to order a non alcoholic ZERO Vitamin water you cannot get it on the classic package and will have to pay $4.50 each. As a comparison I purchase these every week at the local supermarket for $.99 each. RIPOFF!!! The bottom line is that the economical way to do this is to upgrade to premium for $10 plus 18% a day per person or be hit with charges that ultimately will be higher than that doing it individually. It only take 3 to 4 drinks a day to break even with the premium package. Just plan on a couple of hundred more for your cruise. As an Elite I received a "FREE" Gelato. However if you ordered the Gelato as an ice cream sandwich with 2 cookies it wasn't free and the upcharge was $4.95. REALLY!!! The staff overall was very good. Some better than others. There is a more severe language barrier than I have experienced on Celebrity in the past and other lines. Some of the staff has issues making eye contact with guests and you are simply met with a nod of the head and they wait for you to tell them what you would like to order. They hand you the item and walk away. Not good interaction and certainly not what I have experienced on Celebrity in the past. Something is broken here. There is no question that cruise lines that have gone to the "all inclusive" drink package programs have lost touch with the guests because they have pre sold the liquor and other items, so now it's the upsell. They no longer are interested in what is ordered or the level of service because it's already been sold and includes the gratuity. Sea days were very crowded on the open decks. Deck chairs were placed side by side and it was a sea of humanity. Too crowded for an enjoyable day. The solarium pool was nice and quiet but the AC temps were so cold people were laying under blankets and towels. The ports on this sailing were good. Grand Cayman was very quite as were all the ports. GC was quiet because it was a Sunday and most businesses were closed. beaches were uncrowded. We were the only ship in each port we visited. Aruba and Curacaos were great and Bonaire didn't entice us enough to get off the ship. Many guests came back to the ship early and were disappointed with Bonaire. NO FLAMINGOS!. Yes indeed I would sail Celebrity again. Yes I am happy I went and really did enjoy myself, however I didn't come home with the WOW factor that is typical of almost every other cruise I have take, I just booked a 15 day Princess Panama Canal cruise for November. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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