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20 Mediterranean Gourmet Food Cruise Reviews

We Arrived in Athens, we did the extension. I think it would be good to be more informative about the options on tours during the extensions. We had no idea that any tours could be booked there, so we did research and booked our own before ... Read More
We Arrived in Athens, we did the extension. I think it would be good to be more informative about the options on tours during the extensions. We had no idea that any tours could be booked there, so we did research and booked our own before arriving. As it turned out we did end up booking another tour with Viking that was guided, to the Acropolis. And thank goodness I had booked a "Private tour" for the same thing the next day, that wasn't guided, but since it was Private, we asked to be taken to different things. The lack of information might have been because we went through a tour company and they didn't know. But again, I think it should be a priority for that information to be given out, it would have been nice to have that option. Embarkation was a delight; we have been on two others cruise and it was so long. We ended our cruise in Rome, it was epic. We saw so many wonderful things. The ship was wonderful very beautiful and Clean. Same with our room and our Steward was the best guy, efficient and fast and so nice. The 24-hour room service was awesome only used it once, but the food was great and hot, just as good if prepared right in front of you. The restaurants were so great, wonderful food, all of them. We were very impressed by the quality of the food, and that it was truly all included. On our other cruises the Restaurant's that you had to make reservations for, the optional ones, were more money. The entertainment not so sure about, as we were so tired from our excursions we just wanted to sauna, hot tub, and snow grotto which we did every day and it was wonderful! we did go to one concert and it was nice. The violin players were very nice also. The excursions wow, they were wonderful. I love History and every port there were the best things to do. The only problem was I wanted to do them all. We did do 5 tours that were the included tours and surprisingly they were very good. I figured they would not be so nice, as the ones you had to pay extra for, but they were just as nice. The places we went and saw and learned about, is indescribable almost. We walked where Apostle Paul waked, we saw history frozen in Pompeii, The Acropolis, The Roman Coliseum, and everything in between. We are still in Awe and feel so fortunate to have been able to do and see the things we did. One thing I would recommend is water on the busses. Everywhere we went it was so, so hot. To have a cooler full of water available during the excursions would have been wonderful. We ended up after a few days learning and grabbing two bottles on our way off the ship. However, that was long gone after about two hours. The service was very, very good we felt pampered the whole time. I had to watch myself sometimes because if I joked about oh, I would like this, or that, or something, the next thing I knew it would be in our room or handed to me. I asked for bottled water once at the bar to bring back to my room and after about 5 minutes I was handed two bottles of water. Then he apologized that it took so long. Stating "sorry it took so long I had to run down five decks to get it we don't stock that here", did I mention the service was outstanding. This cruise was we thought A "once in a lifetime cruise" to celebrate our anniversary, 31 years. However, we are already talking about where we have to go next on Viking. Viking has brought our Cruising expectations to a new level. Also, fun fact there is a little museum area that was on our ship telling about Eric the Red a very popular Viking in history, I happen to be related to him. My grandfather has traced our lineage back to him. So, I Told my husband Maybe Viking would give me a discount rate because of this.... My Uncle Eric....again History, History everywhere! We highly recommend Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. The ship itself was truly wonderful. The captain and officers were friendly and affable (not to mention very competent), the Executive Chef talented and sooooo personable, the Cruise Director (Handre) phenomenal and the cabin stewards perfect. All the wait staff in the restaurants were professional and at the same time welcoming. The entertainment was over-the-top wonderful. Seabourn does things right, and makes every trip a special adventure. One of the reasons that we love Seabourn is that the all-inclusive program makes the voyage so relaxing. The food is quality over quantity, and every meal was terrific. The deck parties were very enjoyable (lobster on the grill, dancing, champagne and caviar in the pool), and we were impressed by the "specialty restaurant," the Grill by Thomas Keller. One of our favorite activities was shopping in the market in Malaga with Chef Jes; the fish and produce were as fresh as they could be. The excursions were expensive, but the quality of the guides was excellent. The only negative on the excursions was the "hard sell" venues we were forced into in Casablanca and Tangier. They should offer a shopping excursion for passengers that are interested in buying rugs. One of our pet peeves, however, is that the internet service is ridiculously expensive. Since Oceana is offering free internet to its passengers, all other cruise lines should follow suit. We would highly recommend the Ovation for your next trip! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have been on different cruise lines but Viking Star and Viking Sky that I have experienced has offered a near perfect experience. The staff are very friendly and eager to please. They treat you like royalty no matter the time of the ... Read More
I have been on different cruise lines but Viking Star and Viking Sky that I have experienced has offered a near perfect experience. The staff are very friendly and eager to please. They treat you like royalty no matter the time of the day. The food in all restaurants is excellent and the fine dining experience is out of this world. The intineries were very well organized and ship staff were always around stationed at airports, cruise terminals and other areas to ensure no passenger felt tense that he/she were headed in a wrong direction. In Haifa we were disappointed that no excursion was offered for entering the Baha’i Gardens. That is why I have rated this tour as near perfect but not fully there. If there was a reason that the Gardens was not offered ought to have been made known to the guests. But barring this small disappointment, we had a most glorious 14 days on one of the finest there is on the seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We choose to travel on Horizon for many reasons, firstly the sailing dates suited us very nicely and also it was a maiden voyage of Horizon. We came to know many fantastic staff on board during our cruise, Ms. Erbu from Turkey who was ... Read More
We choose to travel on Horizon for many reasons, firstly the sailing dates suited us very nicely and also it was a maiden voyage of Horizon. We came to know many fantastic staff on board during our cruise, Ms. Erbu from Turkey who was very nice, caring and helpful to us, , Ms Melina from Romania, Felix- from Peru, Vicktor from Hungry, David from Peru, Nikolina from Bosnia, Milutia from Bosnia , Frank who kept our rooms clean and tidy, There were many more staff that we had met and they made our our trip a great and memorial one. You had a great cruise director Mike. He made all the shows great and enjoyable for everyone. They was many varieties of food on board, We, both have highly recommended cruising to many of our friends. The shows every night was fabulous. we look forward to our next cruise on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Dear cruisers, suffering from celiac disease. My children and I are suffering from celiac disease, and because of this, since we have been diagnosed, we only cruise with MSC, as it is the only monitored by the Italian Society for Celiac ... Read More
Dear cruisers, suffering from celiac disease. My children and I are suffering from celiac disease, and because of this, since we have been diagnosed, we only cruise with MSC, as it is the only monitored by the Italian Society for Celiac disease. I have to tell you that although food is great , without any objection, I have to comment on our dissatisfaction. As you just know on all the cruise ships food is available all day long until late night hours. We celiacs are convicted of eating food only in the main restaurant and only 3x daily. Which means that if you leave the boat late for lunch or dinner you stay hungry !!! Since we experienced it two years ago, last year I asked for a new cruiser MSC Meraviglia will the food be available at a particular location throughout the day? Since the response that the MSC gave was positive with enthusiasm we have boooked a new cruise. However, I must say that I was disappointed that everything was the same as on the other ships. I ask staf on board lunch packet for me and my kids , so that we could eat something between lunch and dinner (there is no gluten free food outside the main restaurant) but this was only possible on the day that we had a paid excursion. The worse thing for my kids is walking and smelling pizza , looking ice cream and pancakes and nothing FOR US!!!Otherwise, MSC Meraviglia is really one of the finest cruisers , the entertainment team is the best so far, and the food is outstanding. Why then MSC can not give us at least only a small detail, like an afternoon gluten free snack (fruit , sandwich, cookies, pizza for kids?). We look forward to that day!!! Regards Coeliac princess and kids Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This cruise went to places that we had never visited before. Having Silverseas handle all the transportion made for a more relaxing trip. Our Cruise Director, Moss was one of the best we've had in over a dozen cruises. Our only ... Read More
This cruise went to places that we had never visited before. Having Silverseas handle all the transportion made for a more relaxing trip. Our Cruise Director, Moss was one of the best we've had in over a dozen cruises. Our only dissappointment was the limited number of speakers and other onboard activities which we were told was becasue there were not sea days. Still think there should be more as we do not go ashore or take shore excursions ever day. The shore excursions we did take were very good for the most part. There was only one that disappointed us. The fitness center could use some upgraded equipment and a little more room. There was also too few machines for the number of people onboard so you either have to wait or come back another time. Our butler was very good and went out of her way to address any of our concerns. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Spanish Sunsets Cruise : Date of Cruising: 28 May to 4 June 2017 Having cruised previously with Princess, Royal Caribbean and P&O on their larger ships holding 3,500 passengers, we were a little nervous about booking a western ... Read More
Spanish Sunsets Cruise : Date of Cruising: 28 May to 4 June 2017 Having cruised previously with Princess, Royal Caribbean and P&O on their larger ships holding 3,500 passengers, we were a little nervous about booking a western Mediterranean cruise with Thompson (now rebranded TUI), on their newly refurbished flagship ‘Discovery 2’. The TUI ship is a lot smaller carrying just 1900 passengers. Obviously, on ‘Discovery 2’ you don’t get the feeling of space as on the bigger ships and there is no ice rink, sports court, flowrider, water slides, large promenades, zip wires, etc … that you get on the larger cruise ships, everything is obviously scaled down, but so is the price. This ‘Discovery 2’ is a ship that was previously owned by Royal Caribbean but sold to TUI who then have rebranded it along with a major refurbishment in May 2017. I was presently surprised by what I saw and experienced and in most areas my expectations were exceeded. The cabin was first class and on a par with the other cruise liners we have sailed with. It was spacious and well equipped and had we had no complaints what so ever. The restaurant where we dined for our evening meals (Gallery 47), was also excellent with a varied menu and delicious food. The service from the restaurant staff was also first class. No complaints from me and I’m a fussy eater. Breakfast and lunch was in the Islands buffet restaurant and again the food was very good. It did get busy at peak times but going slightly earlier or later meant you could always get a table. (Peak time for breakfast was around 9am). Generally the look of the various areas of the ship was good and taking into account that it was a ‘refurbishment’ and not a ‘refit’ a good job had been done. Most importantly there was new carpeting throughout which is important as nothing makes a ship look more ‘tired’ than worn faded carpeting. There was a variety of entertainment around the ship and most was of a reasonable standard and some excellent. The main disappointment were the shows in the main theatre. Although the singers and dancers were very talented, their choice of material was disappointing and song choices could have been a lot stronger. The production and scenery was good and the seating was very, very comfortable, it was just a shame the the material chosen for them to perform was not the best. Also TUI could have done better by having more variety with professional artists being brought onboard to perform that were of a higher calibre than the TUI resident dancers and singers, as good as they were. There was one variation during the week when we had a comedy magician who was OK but not the best. Most of the crew were very courteous and helpful and the room stewards good although they were not as visible and as ‘chatty’ as some on other cruises we’ve been on. There were two pools (both with jacuzzis), one indoor and one outdoor. Both were of good quality and the indoor one was not overcrowded, as was the outdoor one, but that probably wasn’t helped with the week of our cruise being Spring Bank holiday week, and so there was a large number of children onboard. There were plenty of sun beds around the ship and if you looked around you could find a variety of shaded areas. In summary: There is an old saying that ‘you get what you pay for’, and that is certainly true here. You just get the feel that things are just not quite as big, as plush, as roomy and of the same quality as the cruise companies I’ve made mentioned previously, but for what you pay it is good value for money. As you can probably tell, I’d prefer to cruise with Princess, Royal Caribbean, P&O etc, but for a cheap one week cruise in the Mediterranean then it’s worth considering if ‘money is not is a little tight’. Having spoken to others that have previously sailed with TUI/Thompson, I think this is a step up for the company and the effort they are putting into raising their image and brand in the cruise market is to be commended. If you’ve booked a cruise on ‘Discovery 2’ then I suspect you’ll enjoy it as long as you don’t expect the same experience as on the larger cruise liners who specialise in this type of holiday. I hope this review has proved useful and if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me at glyn.day@ntlworld.com. Cheers, Glyn Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our first cruise but the couple we were with have cruised 17 times. From the initial contact to our disembarkation the experience was an absolute positive one. Our flight from Montreal to Rome was long but uneventful and was ... Read More
This was our first cruise but the couple we were with have cruised 17 times. From the initial contact to our disembarkation the experience was an absolute positive one. Our flight from Montreal to Rome was long but uneventful and was completely organized. our arrival at the Marriott Flora was expected and we were greeted at the entrance by an Oceania Representative. The next day we were transported to the Marina which was such a positive and exciting event. Once we received all the necessary accreditation we went to the Grand Dining awaiting the final prep of our Stateroom. The room itself was large with a very large balcony; it remained spotless the entire cruise. The staff maintaining our stateroom exceeded our expectations. From the Capitan Leo, General Manager, Damien Lacroix, Cruise Director, Peter Roberts, Food and Beverage Director, Marc Walter, Chris Rogan Development and Head Chef Alexis every single person to the deck staff were so helpful and accommodating. The Ports of Call and the organized tours were excellent and even the tours we coordinated on our own great. Thank you Marina for a holiday Adèle will never forget. (Thanks Diane and Louis). The food was exceptional and exceeded all our expectations. i cannot say enough about the Entertainment Team headed by Jason and the Social Director, Katie. One of our favourites on the Ship were the Bellissimo String Quartet with Sasha, Inna, Kristina and Polina; we looked forward to hearing you every day. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Regsent have filled this fabulous ship with beautiful art and furnishings.The public area are spectacular.Our embarkation and check-in was quick.We chose a simple Deluxe Veranda Suite which was adequate in size and beautifully furnished ... Read More
Regsent have filled this fabulous ship with beautiful art and furnishings.The public area are spectacular.Our embarkation and check-in was quick.We chose a simple Deluxe Veranda Suite which was adequate in size and beautifully furnished with plenty of USB and electrical outlets.Smallish bathroom and good sized balcony.Those less mobile might consider a larger cabin.For us the ship had so much space and peaceful public areas we didn't have need for more elaborate cabin accommodation.By the way the Regent 'marshmallow' like beds are fabulous,and our cabin was always made up promptly and expertly. The everyday Compass Rose was our favourite restaurant which offered a wide and varied menu of our favourites including great steaks,lobster,Dover Sole etc.Speciality restaurants Chartreuse,Pacific Rim and Prime 7 all performed well for us but only as a change from the wonderful Compass Rose.Wines,spirits and great cocktails were plentiful and of high quality.Staff throughout our stay were fabulous.We had absolutely none of the problems that were mentioned in earlier reviews.Even our free internet always worked perfectly well all over the ship.But it's worth taking time to understand it's workings when you first log on.No streaming YouTube etc. Sun decks and pool area were immaculately setup with quality sun beds and great bar service.There were plenty of spare sun beds even at the busiest time during our day at sea! Tendering etc were perfectly executed.However I don't think Zadar is an appropriate destination for 5/6 Star guest in October for many many reasons,weather excluded. This is an expensive holiday,you are paying for space on a ship,as well as attention and an elegant ambiance.Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose Seabourn after reading reviews here, so we want to help others make their choices. This was only our fifth cruise, but first one on the Seabourn. After three weeks on this ship we will only travel with Seabourn in the future. ... Read More
We chose Seabourn after reading reviews here, so we want to help others make their choices. This was only our fifth cruise, but first one on the Seabourn. After three weeks on this ship we will only travel with Seabourn in the future. Staff, food, service, suite, and public spaces were outstanding. Every request we made they answered with a smile and exceeded out expectations. When we dined in-suite, room service brought the food in individual courses and served us as if we were in a top restaurant. All breads, desserts, rolls were made in the galley. In fact, the ship made and served 1,800 bread sticks a day. If you wanted something fixed a certain way, they would do it for you. Even the non-charged wine was surprisingly high quality, which is unusual for "free" wine. Because we were so active during the day, we never made it to the evening entertainments. We did, however, go to events during the day that were excellent. No bingo, but many other things to do. We had all age ranges of guests from multiple countries, so English was spoken in a variety of accents, which gave this ship an international feel. Young and old were all treated with respect and concern for our safety. So, what was not 100% perfect about our cruise? Only two things need to be addressed. First, they had an inadequate internet server when everyone was on the ship using the wireless at the same time. We couldn't log on, got kicked off, or watched slow downloading. Of course, at 2:00 AM, my iPad worked beautifully. Second issue was the coffee. After having fabulous coffees in the towns, our coffee on the ship was bitter, including the coffee at the coffee bar in The Square (of course, the coffee here was better than what we had with breakfast, but not the same quality as the cafes on land).With all the outstanding food and beverages, the cruise company should now focus on bringing their coffee up to the same high standards. In six months, we will be sailing on the Quest and know that the basic guest philosophy and demanding level of quality will also be a part of this ship. From our experience, you will never find a better ship or value for your money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
From start to finish, this was the best cruise we've ever taken. The ship was extremely comfortable and spacious, with every detail being well-thought out. Our cabin was very roomy and extremely comfortable, and our cabin steward ... Read More
From start to finish, this was the best cruise we've ever taken. The ship was extremely comfortable and spacious, with every detail being well-thought out. Our cabin was very roomy and extremely comfortable, and our cabin steward attended to our every wish. The meals were absolutely delicious and rivaled some of the best meals we've eaten in gourmet restaurants on land. The meals and wines accompanying them were specifically prepared with fresh local ingredients, featuring the cuisine of whatever country we were visiting at the moment. The onboard entertainment and enrichment lectures added immensely to the enjoyment of our cruise. The lectures on the history and geography of the areas we visited made our shore excursions so very much more enjoyable. And to top it all off, our cruise director, Heather Clancey, was not only extremely talented vocally, but her port talks were extremely enriching as well. We had such a wonderful time on this cruise that we have already booked a 29 day Viking cruise for 2018. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My sister, 2 friends and I selected the cruise for the great destinations and liked that all the state rooms had balconies. I have been on 2 previous cruises and really enjoy the view of a river, sea and ocean as well as the shorelines. ... Read More
My sister, 2 friends and I selected the cruise for the great destinations and liked that all the state rooms had balconies. I have been on 2 previous cruises and really enjoy the view of a river, sea and ocean as well as the shorelines. The Viking Sea was an absolutely amazing ship. The dining options, gourmet food, service staff and entertainment were great. The singers and dancers were extremely talented. The cruise director, Heather, was awesome and also extremely talented. We were disappointed that we had to embark in Tarragona as the information and confirmation regarding the bus transfer times was lacking. However once we embarked on the ship and were greeted with Champagne we were excited and thrilled with the quality and décor of the ship. The windows all around the ship were nice and allowed for some amazing views. All areas were well maintained and clean. We would have loved to have been able to book a massage for the day at sea however it was sold out. We really enjoyed the pool area and morning room service to enjoy breakfast on our balcony. We will book another Viking Cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We sailed on the Silver Spirit on it's Athens to Venice seven-day cruise in August 2016. It was our first time on Silversea and we were looking forward to our cruise and it didn't disappoint! Embarkation was as easy as ... Read More
We sailed on the Silver Spirit on it's Athens to Venice seven-day cruise in August 2016. It was our first time on Silversea and we were looking forward to our cruise and it didn't disappoint! Embarkation was as easy as imaginable. We were the only two people embarking. We did get there a little early but not much. We were escorted throughout the process and even escorted to our cabin to see where it was even though cabins weren't ready yet. We had lunch on the pool deck and by 2pm the cabins were ready and our luggage had been delivered! We had a veranda suite on deck six. It was very spacious with a great walk-in closet and plenty of drawers for storage. The sitting area was spacious too. The bathroom was nice although we never used the separate tub. We did use the veranda some and that was fine. A couple of other nice treats were the binoculars in the room and the TV in the mirror. However, the sound and picture quality on the TV need updating. It wasn't HD quality and the sound was like like a radio not quite set to the station. Our butler was new but good. We had breakfast in our suite every morning and he was very punctual. We really liked the small ship feel. No crowds, no lines. Also no pesky photographers. Service was very good throughout. We also liked the all-inclusive aspect and not having to sign for drinks, etc. Having bottled water when getting off and on the ship was great. Some nice cool towels when returning after a hot day in port would've been a nice touch. We only got that at embarkation. We have had that service on other lines and were surprised not to find it with SilverSea. The food was very good to fantastic. I realize that's subjective but we like to have a great meal at a nice restaurant and Silver Spirit did well in the regard. We had dinners in Stars Supper Club, La Terrazza (twice), the Hot Rocks Grill and Le Champagne. We had dinners ashore twice. We had lunch by the pool and in the MDR a couple times. We always had breakfast in our suite. We also thought the bar service was very good, either with standard cocktails or wine or with some special orders. We were traveling with a small group so we didn't partake of the entertainment. We did find some time to play blackjack though and found the dealers and fellow players to be very good. We ended the cruise up a few bucks, so that helped! There isn't much for shopping on the ship compared to bigger ships but that was OK. They do have some sundries hidden away if you need something basic; you just have to ask in the shop. There was some confusion in getting our butler to help with a purchase of Zantac, as our documentation stated that Butlers or Reception could help with this purchase, but we ended up just getting it ourselves. Both the Butler and Reception insisted we see the doctor for this over-the-counter medication. Since we spent a good part of the time in port, the ship's shops were not open very often. The internet was typical cruise ship internet; good enough for checking email, Facebook and the news. We got an hour a day with our suite and that was enough for us. We booked our excursions through Silversea. Several were included excursions and they were good. We had a paid shore tour in Venice that was quite good and a dinner ashore in Dubrovnik at a family estate that was fabulous! On thing about this cruise, the held our passports on the ship. They said it was to assist with getting clearance in each port. We got them back in Venice. We heard they might do that so we brought color copies of our photo page with us ashore. Disembarkation was just about as easy as getting on. With such a small ship, finding our luggage was very easy. Overall a five star cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We just returned from Oceania's Riveria 17 day cruise(Medieval Meanderings) from Barcelona to Rome. This was actually two cruises combined - July 3 cruise Barcelona to Lisbon and July 10 cruise Lisbon to Rome. This was our 5th ... Read More
We just returned from Oceania's Riveria 17 day cruise(Medieval Meanderings) from Barcelona to Rome. This was actually two cruises combined - July 3 cruise Barcelona to Lisbon and July 10 cruise Lisbon to Rome. This was our 5th Oceania cruise. We cannot say enough good things about how fantastic this cruise was including the Oceania staff, food, ports, excursions and ship. We used Oceania Air arriving and departing day of cruise. I was somewhat concerned about this but it all worked out well. They provided tickets from Miami-to-Atlanta to Barcelona returning from Rome directly to Miami. We lucked out going over because we arrived in Barcelona at 8:15 in the morning and only waited about 15 minutes to go through their airport passport review. We heard later that people arriving had to wait over 3 hours for this process. We took a cab from the airport to the ship which only cost $39 euros and not a problem getting a cab. Oceania transfers were far more expensive. I was concerned about the return flight since it left at 10:40 in the morning the day we arrived in Rome but we used Oceania transfers at 7:00 am. (expensive $139 each) and we were at our gate ready to depart by 9:05 a.m. so it was not an issue at all. Once arriving at the port around 10:30. They had chairs in the waiting area and we were so happy that we hadn't run into issues with the travel we didn't mind the wait at all while talking to other passengers also arriving early. Oceania started boarding around 11:00 and we were able to get on around 11:30 since we did not have one of the priority cabins. We could immediately go to lunch on the ship. I cannot say enough about the quality of the food on the ship wherever we dined, the service, our stateroom attendants (OLGA) and general customer service. We believe the food and service has even gotten better if possible than our previous cruises. We had an inside cabin which is 175 feet. Only downside is the shower is very small. Most of our prior cruises have been in balcony cabins but with this cruise all day almost everyday at a port we were very happy with our cabin. We was center of the ship, quiet and good use of space. The best improvement with Oceania from our previous sailing is that for us we each had seven excursions included with our price and we thought the excursions were terrific. Also some of the stops Oceania provided shuttle to town center which were excellent. Aliciante Spain - since we arrived the day before we did not want to book an excursion here. We enjoyed taking the free shuttle from the ship walking around town. Almeria Spain - Oceania excursion - Clisol Greenhouses & Almerimar Marina - Wonderful. We visited one of the largest greenhouses, the owner explained the planting and harvesting process and we had a tasting. Then we strolled through the coastal resort town of Almerimar. Gibraltar, UK - we booked an excursion with other people on cruise critic. We used Rock Tours Gibraltar. Fabulous tour including the rock, the caves, castle, monkeys, beaches etc. Only complaint is that the guide did not return us to the port. He dropped us off in town telling us it was a 10 minute walk to the port. Walking fast it was almost 1/2 hour and this is not what was promised when we booked the trip. Being tired after touring all day he should have taken us at least to the security entrance at the port. Casablanca, Morocco - Oceania Tour - Imperial Rabat - Fascinating. This was the only port that was poor and in sharp contrast to the rest of the trip. We saw Al Fez mosque, Kasbah area etc. Lunch was provided in a local restaurant in the Kasbah (chicken). The food was okay but paled in comparison to any meal we had on the ship. However, eating lunch in this area is essential to being part of the local culture. We heard some comments from other people touring with us that they did not like the tour while others loved it. For us we are so glad we did it to see the actual life in Morocco and this is difficult to go outside of Casablanca on your own. Seville (Cadiz Spain) - Oceania Tour Scenic Cadiz & Flamenco - One highlight of our trip. First a city walk then Flamenco dancing with Tapas. I thought it strange when we signed up that the dancing was in the morning but it turned out great. The dancers were wonderful and the atmosphere of the restaurant wonderful. Tapas was just cheese and ham (which we don't eat) and 2 soft drinks and beer. Lisbon Portugal - Oceania Tour - Portuguese Riviera & Sintra - Explanations as we drove out of Lisbon about 1 hour ride to Sintra which is a beautiful mountain town. Toured the Queluz Place and then a little time to walk around time. Stopped on the way back to Lisbon at a picturesque harbor area to take pictures. Since we had 2 days in Lisbon the next day we did the hop on and off bus which gave us a great detailed view of the city. Beware however the bus did not stop at all the stops in the brochure and even though we boarded the bus near the port we had quite a walk back on the way back because he did not go back to that stop due to construction. Malaga, Spain - We met friends and road a horse and buggy around town. It is a beautiful place and after our ride we walked around the city and enjoyed visiting the market. Cartagena, Spain - Easy walk into town and enjoyed exploring Roman ruins the shops and going to a craft market that had items made by local artists. Ibiza, Spain - Oceania tour - Island Discovery and all day tour seeing the entire island with lunch. Saw a lot . Only objection is we took a long time driving to the north end for lunch in Portinatx at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the water. Seafood Paella was served which we didn't like at all. We've had other Paella in Spain that we like. Even the ice cream for dessert was inedible with chucks of ice (low quality). We has seen so many beautiful towns on the way here we would have been better off eating elsewhere. Barcelona Spain - We've been here many times before so we arranged for an English tour of the El Palau de la Musica Catalana. Just fabulous! Another highlight of the trip. We walked from the shuttle drop off (Columbus monument ) (about 20 minutes). Provence (Marseille) France - Oceania tour Aix-En-Provence & Marseille. Walking tour of Aix but this was a day after the terrible Nice attack and we were surprised how crowded the city was. The tours to Nice were cancelled. Good way to get to around but finding our bathroom was a major issue. Oceania should have something arranged for people on this tour. Only one of 4 public bathroom was working with a long waits and not convenient to where we were touring. The guide told us to use a bar after purchasing a meal. Everything was extremely crowded and this took away from our enjoyment of the area. We loved Marseille, the views from the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica and walking around the boat area. Monaco - Right at the port is the hop on and off bus (20 euros) and this took us all over town. Fabulous way to see the city. We also visited the Oceanagraphic (14 euros) which was crowded. But we hadn't been to an Aquarium for a while so we enjoyed it. What an exciting place to dock. Fantastic views of the city, and enjoyed eating and watching to boats. Portofino Italy - Oceania Tour - Scenic Rapallo and Sestri - We walked through part of Portofino first then boarded a modern boat (good bathroom on the boat )to visit the other town. Another highlight of the cruise. Portfolio is small and the shopping is expensive. Beautiful riding along Italy's coast and seeing life in the towns. The tour was very well run with just enough time in each of the town we stopped at to enjoy walking around. The boat left each place exactly when they said so beware to be back on time. We elected to remain on the boat the last day of the cruise to relax before the long trip home. We had toured Florence before. Every meal we had on the ship was a work of art with taste to match even in the main dining room. Except for one day you could also have lunch there. Afternoon tea is wonderful even though with the full itinerary we only attended once. I can't express enough how the staff went out of their way to help us. The last night after 10:00 pm I realized I had a problem with the private transfer I had arranged to the airport. Even though the destination service desk was closed they were able to get us on their airport shuttle from the ship at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. That says it all. Also the Internet was hit and miss. Not as good as home but even in our inside cabin one of us using at a time we could at most times access it. When not many people were on the ship it was speedy, other times slow but very usable. We also had use of the computers in the computer room with our free internet access one at a time. Lecturers on the ship were good discussions of the history of our various ports of call. If unable to attend the lecture I was able to watch it on the TV in the stateroom. We enjoyed many of the shows on the ship. Nolan Dean is the best cruise director at sea. We loved listening to Emmanuelle Adda and she did a fantastic show with the music of La Mome Piaf. Also, the World Beat show was one of the best shows we've seen at sea and we've sailed Royal Caribbean, Holland, Celebrity etc. One problem we've never had on an Oceania cruise before. It was summer so we expected some children on the ship. As a grandparent I love children around. However, some parents allowed their children to run up and down the halls at all hours. We did not complain but I know people across the hall called the reception desk. After their formal complaint the running in the halls ended. We've done many trips but we never enjoyed, saw so many beautiful places, fantastic food and customer service as this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This pair of back-to-back cruises were our 2nd and 3rd cruises. Ever since we cruised on Crystal Serenity in 2014, we have been hooked on Crystal. Symphony is a little smaller so it is a little more intimate too. Public spaces are ... Read More
This pair of back-to-back cruises were our 2nd and 3rd cruises. Ever since we cruised on Crystal Serenity in 2014, we have been hooked on Crystal. Symphony is a little smaller so it is a little more intimate too. Public spaces are great, but staterooms are a bit small vs the Serenity. We might eventually try another cruise line, but it will be hard to beat the only cruise line named a top pick for 20 consecutive yrs by the readers of Conde Nash and members of Cruise Critic. The reasons are impossible to list as they are so many and they can be so personal in choice. With a doubt, the food is beyond compare for a ship feeding just under 1000 passengers. The Main Dining Room is our favorite place for lunch if we are back early enough from our excursions and we love both the food and the people we have met at dinners there. Breakfast on early excursion days means we eat at the Lido Restaurant, which serves an amazing buffet of virtually everything. Of course they also serve a terrific and very varied lunch buffet. And there's also the Trident Grill for those days when you want to hang around the pool/spa and enjoy a fantastic burger, tasty hotdog, excellent fries, etc. Their menu includes salads too. And right after lunch, you have the opportunity for sweet desserts like ice cream ( Ben & Jerry's) or soft serve. Did I mention there's a bar too? When you disembark, it takes but a few hours before you realize just how much you miss the 24/7 pampering. Decompression after Crystal takes us about a week! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. This was the first of three scheduled JBF cruises and exceeded all expectations. I think it exceeded those of the JBF representatives and the Windstar staff as well. In addition to the 7 ports that we would visit after leaving Lisbon, we had nightly tastings of Spanish wines that were poured and examined at length by Sommelier Steve Olson. He is known as "the wine geek" for good reason. Besides 3 full glass "tastings" each evening, the wines of the night were then served at no charge with dinner. Some of the wines are available in my local stores for upwards of $75 per bottle; some we can't even get here. Then the food! Our chef was Michel Nischan, a three time James Beard awarding winning chef. He had presentations, classes, and shopping tours for guests. There was a final dinner that Chef Michel, Steve Olson, and the Windstar corporate chef collaborated on that was beyond belief. The representative from the JBF left the day before the cruise ended to get to JBF annual awards in Chicago. These guys were personable, approachable, and seemed to be having the time of their lives along with their families. A true once in a lifetime experience for us. As for the rest of the review, it is not possible to find fault with the spectacular Windstar staff, the cleanliness of the ship, the officers availability and the overall willingness to do whatever it takes. We were so happy to see old crew members who are like a big family to one another and to us. The ports on this itinerary were okay; nothing that I was particularly excited about, but interesting and each one different. Lisbon and Barcelona, of course, are two of the great cities of Europe and we were thrilled with each. We did mostly private tours and enjoyed each port. Lots of Roman ruins, etc. One port, Ibiza, has the Sa Cova winery (like we needed more wine) that was lovely and in the same family since the 1500's. Almeria is a seaport that is next to desert sites where many famous movies were filmed, from Lawrence of Arabia, to Exodus, to the spaghetti westerns. All and all, a really memorable 8 days that we will think and talk about for years to come. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight ... Read More
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight cruises to date, with more planned in the future. Our first experience with Viking was a City Lights River Cruise, from Paris to Prague. Needless to say it was an amazing trip. The views along the Rivers were spectacular as well as the ports we docked in. When it came time for our excursions, they were extremely well planned. I was impressed by the way the crew members who went on our excursions looked after us and made sure no one got lost. Back on board the food was great as well as the entertainment and sleeping accommodations. I have always wanted to explore the Mediterranean via a cruise ship and when we heard that Viking had just introduced the Viking Star, we booked our cruise a year and half ahead of time. When it came time for our cruise we were once again extremely impressed. Upon our arrival at the Istanbul airport, we were met by Viking representatives and escorted to our bus. From there we were driven to our ship and upon arrival at the terminal were quickly processed and boarded the ship “The Viking Sea”. The system they have for scanning our photographs and activating our room cards was completed in an instant. Once on the ship we were kept informed on all activities via scheduled talks in the theater or simply by utilizing our television in our cabin, were we were able to view events, movies, major network stations, planned excursions, recent presentations and even an up to date breakdown of our account. When it came to our scheduled excursions, once again it was a seamless process. We received cards for our excursions as well as a daily sheet with scheduled events. Once we showed up at our meeting place, we were escorted out within five minutes and taken to our assigned busses for our event. The listening devices that were issued were amazing, allowing us to hear everything from our guide while on our excursion. Speaking of excursions, there were numerous ones to choose from on every port we visited. I was most impressed upon our return to the ship where were greeted by the Viking crew giving out champagne, towels, music, dancing etc. To date the staff of Viking are second to none! At the end of each excursion we were given sheets to rate our excursion, which I know are carefully scrutinized by staff to determine which ones to keep as well as which ones to discard. Our dining experience was pretty much the same as on other cruises however, the free unlimited wine as well as beer served with lunch and dinner made it more special. Our waitress “Maria” was phenomenal, which made our dining experience that much more special. Half way through our twenty-day cruise we were met by six other family members. We requested a table for eight as well as Maria and were granted both. We had such a good time at dinner with Maria that we cancelled some of our request for other restaurants The day our other family members were scheduled to board the ship I advised Mohamad our assigned housekeeping person of their pending arrival. He made of point of getting their cabins ready and they were able to utilize them much earlier than scheduled. We found Mohamed quite expedient in caring for our cabin and was always available to tend to our needs. When it came to doing laundry, we made of point of timing it and never had to wait for a machine to become available. What made it even nicer was the free detergent. The ship is much smaller than a regular cruise ships and when it came to entertainment, it was every bit as good as any larger ship. I was impressed by the digital stage backdrop that constantly changed as each event unfolded. The entertainment staff were extremely talented and after each show were available for greetings and questions. We found ourselves being entertained during lunch, tea time as well in the lobby. It seemed that there was always something going on. We discovered that the passengers were for the most part older with very few young couples. However, it was the right fit for us as it was a more relaxing and subdued. This also was to my advantage when it came time to utilizing the gym. Although there were usually persons there working out, I never had to wait for the equipment. We are looking forward to booking another cruise with Viking in the future. I know that with Vikings continuous strive towards perfection as well as the extremely friendly and professional staff we won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that ... Read More
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that this would be the Viking Sea's maiden voyage and were a little apprehensive but decided that we would trust the Viking company and made our plans to have a few days in Istanbul and then board the vessel on 3rd April, 2016 We had booked a Junior Penthouse Suite and our daughter had Deluxe Verandah right next door on Deck 7. We chose the Penthouse Suite because of the large area of 405sq.ft and it was close to lifts, swimming, dining and the winter garden area. We were welcomed aboard at 11.00am. our boarding time without any problems of hold up. Our luggage was taken onto the boat and the thing that impressed us on boarding and indeed on the whole of the 50 day trip, was the smiling welcome and greeting that everyone from the Captain, the officers, all the staff and crew gave you every day. It was so welcoming and you immediately felt like 'family' aboard and with every single member of the ship smiling and asking how was your day, etc. you responded with an equal smile and answer. Viking are to be praised for training all their employees in this manner. Our cabin was perfect, the bed and down pillows comfortable. We had two television sets, a refrigerator stocked with drinks and goodies, our own coffee pod machine and plenty of drawers and wardrobe space. The cosmetic and jewellery drawer that lit up with LED lights when opened so you could put your make up in the mirror in its lid. It was so good I drew out the design and measurements hoping to have something similar constructed in our own home when we got back. The bathroom/ensuite was another thing. Heated floor, two basins, huge heated towel rails and a big acrylic shower recess which was huge. Love the tap where you could just adjust the temperature and flow of the water and it was always hot whenever you wished to shower day or night. Toiletries were provided and were of a high standard as were the huge white soft towels changed as often as you wished. The restaurants, bars and grills where you could always find somewhere available to eat and the food was just out of this world. We tried all the restaurants and each was really special in its own way. We did use the World Cafe mostly for breakfast and lunches as it was on our deck level. The food variety was fantastic and you could have as much or as little as you wished. Never in the whole 50 days of our cruise did we have to queue up with no more than two or three people at the counter. The Chefs Table was a five course degustation menu with complimentary wines with each course. Bookings were essential but there was never a problem getting in. The Restaurant was delightful and a really comprehensive menu as was Manfredis with an Italian menu. The Pool Grill and Mamsens were also incredible as was the High Tea served every afternoon at 4.00pm in the Wintergarden. The entertainment provided was world class bringing in international artists on the piano, violin, singing and dancing which was augmented by the permanent entertainers, four male and four female giving many evenings of opera, music, dancing which kept us enthralled. There were several other musicians, pianists, a three piece band, a three piece classical group, and a guitarist which played in various sections of the ship daily and there was always the resident vocalist and Viking Band setting the scene with toe tapping numbers to take you to the dance floor every evening till midnight. There were so many information talks with specialist experts on board enlightening us with information on the geology, history, ships and their development from little rafts to the great ships of today, We learnt all about the European Union, and I could go on and on about all the interesting facts and talks that were available if you wish to attend. The Port Talks availing you of everything about the next port you would be visiting and all the amazing excursions provided with competent guides and drivers with their big comfortable buses. Viking Sea Cruises are advertised as an enrichment cruise about the history and culture of the many places and countries you visit. In our case of 50 days it was 18 countries and 38 ports. The cruise is definitely more for the mature 50 plus traveller and there are no children on board under 18 as there are no facilities for them. Being retired and not as agile as earlier years this was the perfect cruise for my husband and self and our daughter who is 57. Once on board everything is covered with your initial fare. Wine and beer was supplied at lunch and dinner and there were numerous VIP cocktail parties where plentiful drinks were supplied. Gratuities were included in your fare and as one cruiser said, he had been on board for three weeks and hadn't spent a penny. Of course a visit to the hairdresser, beauty salon, massage etc. incurred a fee as did the items in the jewellery shop and Viking shop, but to spend there was purely a choice. They did have another shop where you could purchase necessities like toothpaste, some medications for colds or sore throats and any other little things you might have forgotten to bring or had used up. I should mention here that Viking are incredibly particular about cleanliness and hygiene. There were many little hand spray machines scattered all over the ship where you could sanitise your hands and definitely before entering any of the dining rooms. They always had a lovely smiling crew member welcoming you to wherever you were going to eat and they would remind you so politely to disinfect your hands before eating. There was a doctor on board but we managed to go the 50 days without any problems with health or catching any colds or tummy upsets. To my knowledge the ship was pretty free of any nasties for the whole cruise. Our cabin stewards cleaned every vertical and horizontal surface in our cabin daily, Mirrors, walls, balcony, ensuite, nothing was missed and it was vacuumed daily, sometimes even twice a day. Towels and sheets were changed on a daily basis and all in all we were treated like I think the Kings and Czars and their families were looked after in the magnificient palaces we visited on our excursions. All I can say, for people who want to have a really interesting cruise without gambling, big water adventure equipment and other enticements, Vijking have got it right. With a passenger maximum of 930 people, nothing was ever crowded and there was always plenty of room wherever you wanted to be. I can only recommend them as a exciting and marvellous cruise operation and especially as I commenced this review, the smiling and welcome and great to assist you attitude of all their officers, staff and crew really makes your day such a pleasant and happy time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had sailed other ocean cruise lines. But we chose Viking ocean for 6 reasons: only 930 passengers; no passengers under 18 years old; all rooms had a balcony; shore excursions were included; beer and wine were included with lunch and ... Read More
We had sailed other ocean cruise lines. But we chose Viking ocean for 6 reasons: only 930 passengers; no passengers under 18 years old; all rooms had a balcony; shore excursions were included; beer and wine were included with lunch and supper, food and service was outstanding. Viking has, maybe, put Viking "spies" on all the other cruise lines to find out what to copy and what to eliminate - and THEY DID IT! They even have do-it-yourself FREE laundry facilities. The food selections, preparation, and service was outstanding and surpassed all previous sailings. The Viking personnel who met us at the airport were extremely efficient, professional, and friendly making the transfer memorable - especially getting us out of the airport in Rome with no stop at immigration - WOW - how did they do that? The shore excursions were timed perfectly and were a duration that was well thought out - very professional. Even if you are not on a shore excursion, Viking provides shuttle buses at no extra charge. They never "nickle and dime" you - when you disembark they smile and give you FREE water and have an umbrella ready for you if rain threatens. AND when you return they have a refreshment waiting for you.The guest services personnel were extremely helpful and available. Viking - you have truly spoiled us and won our ocean cruising hearts. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We were unsure if we would EVER take a second cruise after our first experience on a Megaship. That experience sank us right into a funk. We then received a brochure from Viking Ocean Cruises and started doing some investigating.....LOTS ... Read More
We were unsure if we would EVER take a second cruise after our first experience on a Megaship. That experience sank us right into a funk. We then received a brochure from Viking Ocean Cruises and started doing some investigating.....LOTS of investigating. We booked the cruise and waited almost 19 months before the start of the cruise, from Barcelona. The best way to describe it was "AWESOME". There wasn't one thing that we would change with respect to the ship, crew, itinerary, service, food, drinks, excursions. Embarkation took approximately 15 minutes and everything was "smooth sailing" from that point (no pun intended). EVERYTHING was far beyond our expectations and we came home and immediately started planning our next cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises and we are again planning our future cruises on Viking. We firmly believe we will never take another Cruise Line after experiencing Viking. We cannot thank you enough for providing us this experience. My wife and I have been discussing how we would love to see Viking offer a Caribbean Cruise that included the ports from Miami to L.A., which would amount to a 22 days cruise. We feel very confident that there would be a LOT of interest in a cruise like that. Only time will tell, I guess. KUDO's Viking......You are WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015

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