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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but ... Read More
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but they then let us on ship without any security checks. From that moment everyone's security was compromised until return to Tllbury. The first tendering at Kirkwall was terrible. Ticketing started at 0900 and we received ours at 0915 but had to wait ages - until we landed ashore at 1210. They didn't have enough tenders operating and those that were, were uncoordinated. A massive list formed at return time and the harbourmaster contacted the Captain to ask for more tenders. We heard from a number of sources that the Captain refused. After a written complaint I received a letter of management speak blaming the wind??? and the harbour authorities. We had an emergency muster alarm early morning whilst most were in bed. A Faulty alarm. These things can happen but it was badly handled and we weren't given any explanation or apology until the Captain was forced to make a PA announcment mid morning. Also some staff wandered around with bouyancy aids but lacking direction. At NUUK, the Greenland Capital, coahes didn't arrive for excursions. 1st excuse - traffic, then the excursion leader admitted that the coach company had forgotten and said, "That's Greenland". Why didn't she check up the day before? The boat is poorly managed, the Bistro staff are inefficient and lack decent training.If you show them dirty cups or cracked cups, you cannot be confident that they fully understand the problem and the cups continually re-appear. Cold plates for hot meals and warm plates for salads. etc. The Bistro is not good enough to compete with transport cafes. The cupboards are like '50's kitchenettes and even poorly painted. Llttle variety of breakfast offerings. However, we dined in the main restaurant every evening and the food was excellent. terrific selection, well made, hot and well presented.A different kitchen from the Bistro, but we presume still under the head chef? The entertainment was first class every evening and the guest speakers were above par. We will not sail with CMV again. We feel they are a disgrace to the cruising industry, and clearly operate Marco Polo on a shoestring. They tsake a very poor attitude to grumbles or complaints, argueing with passengers instead of trying to solve the problem. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I just finished 9 days on the Regent Navigator, a fund-raising private charter cruise sponsored by the WWII Museum in New Orleans. The trip was in honor of the 75th DDAY Normandy invasion commemoration, and its veterans, ... Read More
My husband and I just finished 9 days on the Regent Navigator, a fund-raising private charter cruise sponsored by the WWII Museum in New Orleans. The trip was in honor of the 75th DDAY Normandy invasion commemoration, and its veterans, and the excursions were primarily focussed on historic locations along the route and culminated in attendance of the DDAY ceremonies at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach. My review rating of 3/5 is only about the ship experience itself, compared with other mostly luxury lines I have cruised with before (Seabourn (SB), Silversea (SS), Hapag-Lloyd (HL), and Crystal, plus Oceania, and also compared with a prior, non-charter cruise we had taken on the Regent Voyager several years ago. I was informed in advance by a Regent expert that the facilities, food and crew on Regent charters would be the same quality as one experiences on non-charter cruises, so this gave me a chance to resample Regent after several years of absence to give them another chance, though my primary reason for booking was the special event. Short summary: Overall I give the ship, food and crew a 3.4 rating overall and would not be tempted to book more cruises with Regent absent unusual circumstances. Again, this is my rating only for the ship, food and crew, not the customized entertainment and excursion agenda, as we did not have traditional stage “entertainment” as is usual on board Regent (BTW the topical events on and off ship organized by the WWII museum were very good, no regrets there, 5/5, though the ceremonies on DDAY involved very tiring long lines, neither Regent's nor WW2 Museum's fault). Food quality, service, and ship condition were good enough, though with flaws, i.e., like several years ago. Food on SB and SS previously was better, and it was much better on HL (though the latter also charges a higher per diem). Details: SHIP, ambience and suite: uncrowded and comfortable, well-maintained and clean in general, but the ship is showing its age a bit. All the furniture (the bed, couches, loungers, etc.) were much more comfortable and softer (important for those of us with musculoskeletal problems) than on SB. We were in a basic deluxe window suite (no veranda) on deck 5, aft. It had around 300 sq feet including a spacious walk-in closet, mini-fridge (all-inclusive and customizable), couch, desk area, vanity table, and bathroom with separate shower and bathtub areas with two nice grab bars and a rubber mat. Moderate ship/structure negatives were: 1. Initially we had brown water and low water pressure during high demand periods (but this was fixed with some pipe and filter work within 24 hours of reporting it). Per other reviews, this has happened before in recent months 2. The bathtub plug did not work (a common problem in my travels, so I used my portable rubber bathtub plug) 3. No bedside charger (only available at the desk and vanity). 4. The decor is a bit dated and carpeting is faded or slightly spotted 5. The desk area had no storage above or below it other than 1 small middle drawer (space was occupied by the fridge, glassware storage, and a flat-screen on the wall), though there was some room on top. TV had nice resolution, with basic dining venue menus available, though it did not display the MDR (Compass Rose) daily specials (only the “always available” options), and excursions listed were inaccurate Unfortunately the destinations descriptions and enrichment lecture recordings ran in a loop rather than being available for on-demand selection, like they were on other lines 6. Bath towels in our suite were thin and scratchy the first few days (definitely not luxury, as hey were old and worn out), then some got softer and fluffier. 7. Although our cabin was thankfully quiet and peaceful, with no vibrations, the main auditorium area (called the Seven Seas Lounge) often had loud vibration you could not miss during presentations. 8. There is also no large, dedicated forward outdoor observation area like on SB (here, you had to stand on the mini-golf lawn). 9. Internet was slow most of the time, impossible at others, but this is just like on all other lines I have been on, and (if not on a charter like this one where internet was included), quoted prices were high. 10. DH also did not like that the only two hot tubs were right near the pool, i.e., none were in a more private area like SB offers, and access was already closed early in the evening, before it even got dark, so there was no option for post-dinner soaks at sunset. FOOD: We had a few good, properly prepared meals (lamb dish in the small Prime 7 venue, and a good spare rib BBQ over noodles in MDR). We also had good croissants (though not as good as on SB) and generally good breads with variety (except in the Italian venue in the evening) . The food was mostly disappointing, though there were many choices, e.g., there were “always available” options to accommodate a variety of basic American taste combinations. Salmon entrees are hard to ruin, but they managed to do so in the MDR, Compass Rose. Most food was overcooked, e.g., ordering something medium meant it would arrive well-done. Breakfast meat and cheese selections were mundane, but morning bacon was always very good. The all-day coffee bar was self-serve push-button style, like on Oceania and Holland America, and was neither luxurious nor good anywhere. Desserts were no better than several years ago, and what they described as “cream” parts tasted more like Cool Whip than real whipped cream). Cookies at the cafe and cafeteria venue (La Veranda) were always the same sugar-free or regular basics, and were not very tasty, with no change for 9 nights. The evening Italian venue (buffet plus ordered entree) meal, was unremarkable. Hamburgers and hot dogs at the pool grill and room service were overcooked. The final insult was the “special farewell dinner” that was advertised to pax by the CD during the day, so the MDR got packed and was so full we were even turned away, so came back an hour later. It turned out to just be a labor-saving 3 course dinner with 3 fixed entree choices of fish, surf and turf, or vegetarian. We ordered the surf and turf and despite sawing away with great strength, I could barely cut, much less chew, the rubbery pieces of freezer-tasting disgusting old stuff they called lobster tail. Entrees also arrived cold, with oil around the potato and veggies already globbing up into clumps. I rarely send food with animal protein back, but I did here. Unlike on other lines (SB, HL), where we gravitated to enjoying a luxury lunch on board that surpassed venues portside, on this ship I would have made a point of eating off the ship as often as possible for lunch and dinner. SERVICE: Our cabin stewardess was a fast learner, and with her less bright male assistant, did a good job cleaning and meeting our limited customization requests in a timely manner, as long as we spelled everything out (so we had no service surprises or initiative from her, but she was good at following instructions). I still do not understand why hard, unripe fruit was mindlessly brought to the suite (bananas and apples are ready to eat, but what do you do with a rock-hard unripe plum or pear on a short cruise?) Very important was that the Do Not Disturb sign was always respected. Laundry came back the same day, unfortunately much of it shrunk as personnel likely did not always follow the international standardized laundry tag washing and drying instructions. Many clothing items that had been washed on other cruise lines without problems, shrank here, despite no weight gain. Food venue crew were mostly Filipino, who definitely smiled a lot, but who seemed inadequately trained for “luxury” service. Most annoying (beyond irritating fiascos with major wine service delays and comprehension barriers) was that most had an unfortunate habit of incessantly interrupting dining conversations, just as they did several years ago (I had forgotten about it until now). They would charge up to the table determined to recite their descriptions of food items or to ask questions, without pauses or regard for whether people were mid-sentence or had just put food into their mouths, and with no apologies for interrupting. They just needed to get their speeches over with and move on. I really appreciate the subtleness of good waiters on HL or SB more, when compared with most of these waiters and waitresses. Though they were almost always hard-working, because they were understaffed (e.g., tables in venues were often uncleared or unset for more guests to sit down), I did not find them to be any better than on mainstream Holland America. I usually have better and more consistent service at Applebee’s or other chain diners in the U.S. I only ordered cocktails a couple times at bars (cosmo), and each time they came back barely cooled and poorly prepared. Front desk personnel were polite and helpful (e.g., Julie). EMBARKATION and DISEMBARKATION: embarkation took an hour, probably because everyone showed at the same time from pre-cruise tours. Disembarkation was organized well by Regent, luggage had to be out at 11PM the night before, and we disembarked by color coding. IN SUM, even knowing what I know, because of the event, I would have booked this charter cruise anyway, as we came for the event, not for the food. We did not perceive the service we received here as up to what we expect from a company that calls itself luxury, however, and did not find it better than several years ago on a non-charter cruise on the Voyager. So we will be reluctant to book Regent again for a regular cruise, and will not consider it unless it is for a special event like this one where we book primarily for the event. Perhaps there were problems because this was a charter cruise and, contrary to what we had been advised prior to booking Regent, there may actually have been both food and staff cost-cutting measures implemented after all, without cruise line admission (we are not sure if Regent received more or less payment per passenger on this charter, compared with non-charters, though our total per diem for the event cruise was high). Management and crew may have known very well that most pax were there just for the event and would not likely be back anyway, so cut some corners, but I am speculating. So for now, we will stick with other luxury lines for non-charter cruising. After I had booked this cruise I learned that SB Ovation also had a charter option added for DDAY for the Museum, and in hindsight I of course have to wonder if food and service were similar, or better on that charter, event-oriented cruise. If there is a choice in the future, I will likely opt for a ship other than Regent Navigator. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the ... Read More
Boarding was very good, the ship is old and my upgrade to a basic suite was good, but the bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. There were drain smells emanating from the plug hole. Breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but the evening meal was good. The shore trips were very expensive, wi fi had to be paid for and the photographers were over the top. You had to fill in little forms for more water which hung from the existing water bottles. It does strike you that they are trying to make money from the most basic item. Staff were lovely. Captain we did not see at the introduction nights. They did push the boat out on Captain's night, Celebration nights with lots of snacks and free wine. The entertainment was enjoyable. There is a lot of competition for cruising and basically they need to upgrade to be more competitive and review their pricing policy. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This Cruise has been on our "Bucket List" for the past ten years. Earlier this month we eventually boarded the Hurtigruten, Finnmarken and was pleasantly surprised. Being under the impression that this is a ... Read More
This Cruise has been on our "Bucket List" for the past ten years. Earlier this month we eventually boarded the Hurtigruten, Finnmarken and was pleasantly surprised. Being under the impression that this is a "working" ship, we found the amenities being similar and equal to that of other "Commercial/Passenger Liners. Calling at most of the small towns on the Coast Line, makes this a wonderful experience, however the "time spent" at some of there ports do not allow Passengers to get off. The food and selection thereof was great as well as the "Norwegian 3 Course Dinners". The Dog Sledding and Snow Mobile Excursions is a must, as this was a thrilling experience. If your budget allows it, book a Cabin with a balcony, as we could view the "Northern Lights" from our balcony as appose to going to the outside decks. The only letdown is the fact that you have to pay for coffee and tea, which other Passenger Lines offers this free. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose to do a Hurtigruten trip as a once in a lifetime experience to see the Northern lights and to experience the beauty of the coastline from the comfort of the ship. B Unfortunately the first cabin we were allocated was the ... Read More
We chose to do a Hurtigruten trip as a once in a lifetime experience to see the Northern lights and to experience the beauty of the coastline from the comfort of the ship. B Unfortunately the first cabin we were allocated was the worst accommodation I have ever experienced, too small for two people ( to be frank only just acceptable for one) barely room to move past each other, storage space for clothes limited to a small hanging space and two drawers which were similar to vegetable storage in a kitchen, bunk fold down bed with no sitting space whatsoever except the bottom bunk. My disappointment for a cabin which was costing us over £1300 for six nights knew no bounds. After complaining I was told that it was difficult to move us but they would see what they could do........the next day, after 20% of the trip was behind us, we were moved. The boat is small and one of the older of the fleet, public rooms are old and tired...... which could be explained by the fact that it is a working boat but hertigruten seem to change premium prices irrespective of the quality of the boats. The food on board is excellent although the length of the queues for lunchtime buffet meals ensure that one tries to get there about 15 minutes before service starts. Similarly try to be be well I time for breakfast to ensure that you can enjoy the excellent choice of food without having to fight through to the coffee machine. The ship calls in at a large number of ports, many of them for just 15 minutes but other stops varyin length from 30 minutes to over 3 hours. On the shorted stops, There is an advantage in stretching one’s legs but be aware that the ship calls at ports rather than picturesque harbours and so a walk to a local town or village wil,l of necessity, involve negotiating the dockside ares.....not a problem as long as you are not expecting to find coffee shops and local colour! Many of the longer stops have organised trips ashore, however, at approximately £80 per person for a guided walk I would suggest asking for a map at reception and making your own way. Two excursions we did do were of the ‘bucket list’ variety, the dog sledding which was enjoyable although at £250pp more expensive booked through the ship and the snowmobile experience. The latter was very disappointing happening as it did when the daylight had gone and so we snowmobiled for 17kmin the dark aware only of the rear of the machine in front and the narrow path illuminated by the headlight on the snowmobile. At £294 pp this was a very, very expensive and disappointing experience, when booking the trip before leaving the UK none of the information I was sent indicated the time of the trip unlike the i formation in the brochure on board. If I had known it was a night excursion I would certainly lay not have booked it. Overall a very expensive and very disappointing trip,the only saving grace was the quality of the staff who were, without exception friendly, efficient and good humoured. Upon arrival back in the UK I Replied to Hurtigruten’s feedbackform and ticked the box which said they would keep my contact information for a month to allow them time to respond to my feedback. The same email also gave me this site to leave feedback but I decided to wait to see what Hurtigruten’s response would be. My answer was silence. A month has now passed and I have have decided to submit this review to ensure others do not save hard to afford the experience of a lifetime simply to feel very disappointed in the quality of the trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Be absolutely clear that Hurtigruten is a ferry service and not a cruise line. We paid for a relaxing cruise but what we received was a passage on a working ship with very little customer care. Whilst we understand that the boat is a ... Read More
Be absolutely clear that Hurtigruten is a ferry service and not a cruise line. We paid for a relaxing cruise but what we received was a passage on a working ship with very little customer care. Whilst we understand that the boat is a working boat, there is an expectation of a level of service commensurate with the cruise price and cabin level - however this is absolutely not the case. Hurtigruten carry the Norwegian postal flag on the back of the ship and the impression on board is that it regards passengers as a necessary inconvenience to be used as an income source at every opportunity. Unfortunately, we booked a voyage advertised as a ‘cruise’ and were expecting cruise levels of service and attention – we were sorely disappointed. The boat is run for the convenience of Hurtigruten’s commercial business and delivers minimal customer care and service. The following points detail just some of our experience on our 12-day Northern Lights/Astronomy cruise. 1. Embarkation a. Chaotic - We found ourselves waiting in an extremely long queue to board with a minimal amount of Hurtigruten personnel to assist – not a good initial experience. 2. Restaurant and catering a. The restaurant was not big enough to cope with the number of guests on-board. It was not well run and a complete bun fight at meal times. Trying to anticipate when it might be quiet and we could get a table easily became quite a stress point – not the idea of a relaxing cruise. One person had their coffee knocked out of their hand and our water glasses were pushed out of the way at the water dispenser, whilst we were filling them, by another aggressive and inpatient guest. We resigned ourselves to either eating very early or very late in the sitting to avoid the melee and any unpleasantness. The restaurant management made a number of calls over the PA system asking for people to leave the restaurant if they have finished or requesting that guests did not to go for their meal yet as there were no spaces available. The restaurant is not big enough or fit for purpose. b. On one particular occasion we arrived for breakfast at opening time along with about twenty other people already queuing. We started to help ourselves to food but were suddenly all ordered out of restaurant by a member of staff who shouted to us that she had not ‘set the machine’. We had to put down our plates of food and leave the restaurant and re-enter again with our card swipes. This was the failing of the restaurant staff not to open the restaurant on time but the customers were blamed and admonished. c. Tables were cleared at breakfast time half an hour before the end of the sitting and passengers coming down for breakfast were told the tables were not available as they had been set for lunch, even though there were prime tables situated by the window providing an excellent vista for the paying customers. Again, the needs and priorities of Hurtigruten outweighed any needs of customers and their enjoyment. d. We paid for full board which included the tea and coffee package, all served from machines around the boat. However, after selecting a cappuccino and hot chocolate from a machine we were told that the package excluded hot chocolate and any other beverage other than straight tea or coffee. As all the beverages were delivered from a self-serve automated machine how tight-fisted do you have to be to apply this? A cappuccino is made from milk and coffee – the same ingredients as white coffee – how very petty of Hurtigruten and it exemplifies the Hurtigruten policy of treating the paying customer as an endless cash cow. e. We were very surprised to find the majority of dinners were set menus with no choices available – again not to offer the customer a choice is very poor. In some cases we were not able to eat some of the courses as we did not like the menu and would not have chosen it. By contrast the buffet offered a huge choices and the food was of an excellent standard. 3. Suite facilities a. Although Hurtigruten promise Northern Light announcements to cabins the only phone in our suite was in the main room farthest away from the bedroom. It was impossible to hear when in the bedroom. We requested an extension cable for the phone but were told this was not possible and offered a direct call instead. This is not a solution at all if we cannot hear the phone in the first place. b. On arrival we could not find the promised robes and slippers. Reception informed us that Hurtigruten has stopped providing certain “benefits” to the suite customers yet they are still advertised on the website so gave us an on-board credit by way of apology. However we had not packed robes on this basis so this was a further inconvenience and again smacked of cost cutting to deliver minimum benefits to high value customers. c. Although Hurtigruten’s material does make mention of that fact that all ships are working boats and there will be some noise and vibration, nothing could have prepared us for the cacophony of noise and extreme vibration that we experienced on a nightly basis. This ensured that every night’s sleep was interrupted with accruing fatigue as the cruise continued. 4. Check out The night before the end of the cruise our final account was provided on the basis that our card would be debited automatically so no need to contact reception on the boat. However we received a note requesting us to go to reception to settle our account as our payment could not be processed. In complying with this request we joined a queue at the reception with only one Hurtigruten employee attending to guests. As we were approaching a port, the one and only Hurtigruten employee on duty had to stop helping waiting customers to go and open the doors once we were in port, leaving a disappointed and angry queue at reception waiting for attention. Where were the rest of the Hurtigruten crew on the final morning? When we finally got to a desk, after much tapping and groaning by the reception agent, we were told it was OK as our card had been processed and the message was left on our cabin door in error. In fact, on the top right of the message there was indeed another cabin number (which we had missed). Again another instance of lack of attention to detail and incompetence by Hurtigruten. In short Hurtigruten’s plan is to extract as much money as possible from its paying guests for as little inconvenience to the company as possible. To be fair to the majority of Hurtigruten staff on board were polite and helpful, but they cannot change the product or the culture of the company and its approach to customers. There is no level of service commensurate with the cabin offered and money paid and no level of cruise service on the ship at any level. If you must travel Hurtigruten book the cheapest accommodation you can, expect chaos and a bunfight at meal times and choose any excursions very carefully. Avoid this cruise line unless you want a bottom of the range experience. The moral of the story is Hurtigruten is a ferry service and NOT a cruise line and ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ if you are expecting a cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Just returned from a 11 day Northern Lights voyage along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes and back to Bergen - and it was mind blowing. I've returned relaxed, pampered and looking to book another cruise - with Hurtigurten. Never ... Read More
Just returned from a 11 day Northern Lights voyage along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes and back to Bergen - and it was mind blowing. I've returned relaxed, pampered and looking to book another cruise - with Hurtigurten. Never will I grace Royal Caribbean, or Princess again No casinos, no spas, no entertainment crews - it was education, relaxing and no hard sell. Cabins were basic, clean and well thought out, Bathrooms small and efficient. Staff were incredibly professional and charming Its a working ship, and the dress code was refreshingly casual..no dressing up for dinner. We loved every minute of it and the food was amazing. Fresh, locally sourced, not a french fry, burger, hot dog, pizza or hot dog in site. Excursions were expensive, but worth every penny - and no more expensive than the private ones which you can arrange independently Yes, alcohol is expensive, but this is Norway, and the prices on the ship were cheaper than the mid range hotels in Bergen. Embarkment and disembarkation were incredibly fast - we were in our hotel in less than an hour of leaving our deck - straight into a taxi. Tips - bring a kettle if you don't buy the premium package - learn how to use your camera for photographing the northern lights ( we had 6 nights of this spectacular) - bring a pair of slippers, good books, knitting/craft/watercolours - something to do when you are sailing along do at least 3 expeditions ( we did dog sledging, the ice hotel and the marble mines. All were incredible) Ignore the moaning minnie reviews. There are hundreds of thousand of people who have done this voyage. final words, don't hesitate book it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the Christmas Markets in Europe. The Balmoral crew had made a splendid effort to make the ship festive. Lovely decorations throughout.There were beautifully made gingerbread houses in some spots on the ship. A ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the Christmas Markets in Europe. The Balmoral crew had made a splendid effort to make the ship festive. Lovely decorations throughout.There were beautifully made gingerbread houses in some spots on the ship. A lovely festive dinner and very good entertainers and speakers. Enjoyed the orchestra, piano player, string quartet and guitarist, talks and quizzes. Formal nights with lovely food but good food throughout the trip. Lots of work goes on to make a voyage successful, but the crew including those we don't see are very discreet. Because of being December with unpredictable weather and fog the itinerary had to be altered but as we had been to Germany and Denmark on another Fred Olsen cruise we had been fortunate to see the Rivers and Kiel Canal in good weather ad daylight. Others may have been disappointed, but it is winter. The Christmas markets were amazing. The Tivoli Gardens at Christmas with 'snow' looked wonderful. The shopping streets in Copenhagen were full of people and lights. A lovely experience. Hamburg had a Father Christmas flying overhead on zip wires at the Christmas market. There were sprinkles of snow. Bremen is a lovely town, our third visit. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I ... Read More
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I had allowed for travel holdups that did not occur, and arrived at the port almost two hours early, and checked in and was aboard in less than five minutes. I had a comfortable outside cabin on deck 7 with tea and coffee making facilities, which I was very happy with. It was kept spotlessly clean by my steward, who was a dab hand at providing me with a range of daily towel sculptured animals. Our first port of call was Rotterdam, which was a delight. Although free coach shuttles had been laid on, it was only a 15 minute walk from the cruise terminal to the city centre. Rotterdam is much more modern than Amsterdam, but the benefit is that you do not have the hordes of tourists to contend with. It is a lovely city to explore on foot. Our next stop was Rouen for an evening visit to the Christmas markets by the cathedral. As before, free shuttle coaches had been provided to the city centre. Rouen is beautiful, I would have liked far longer there to fully explore the place. Our third and final stop was a full day in Honfleur. We had been informed at the start of the cruise that the Christmas market in Honfleur had been delayed and would not be open for our visit. I spent the morning exploring Honfleur, which is well worth a visit, with many quaint narrow streets and ancient buildings. After returning to the ship for lunch, CMV kindly laid on free coaches to take us over the impressive Seine bridge to spend an afternoon in Le Havre. I have seen some reviews of Marco Polo where people moan about various niggles they’ve found, but these seem very unfair to me. The ship is not new, but she is smartly styled and the crew work tirelessly to keep her looking her best. I found the food in the restaurant to be very good, the beef wellington one night particularly worth a mention. Dinner consists of five courses, Cunard only serve four on QM2! My table companions all agreed the food in the restaurant was very good. There were lots of activities organized on board, regular quizzes and games, craft workshops, guest lectures (themed on Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte which were excellent and well presented) as well as entertainment from talented musicians and an enthusiastic show team of singers and dancers. If you get a chance to do a longer cruise on this lovely liner, you are in for a little treat at the end of your meal on the last formal night. This is possibly the only ship that still does the ‘Baked Alaska’ parade properly. Take your cameras with you to dinner. I’ll say no more so as not to spoil the surprise! The baked Alaska was delicious of course. After a final day at sea, we disembarked in Avonmouth, Bristol. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Saw the most amazing aurora, it was visible on 6 of the 7 possible nights. Great food on board with a nice selection and a very nice sized cabin. All the staff were extremely friendly and very helpful. Although some of the stops were ... Read More
Saw the most amazing aurora, it was visible on 6 of the 7 possible nights. Great food on board with a nice selection and a very nice sized cabin. All the staff were extremely friendly and very helpful. Although some of the stops were very short it provided a great opportunity to see Norway and sailing so close to land all the time the journey was very smooth most of the time. Would definitely go again, I didn't go any of the excursions so can't comment on them. When an aurora was visible an announcement was made, and at times the ship slowed down and the lights were turned off where it was visible so we had a great opportunity to see it. Being out at sea you are treated to very dark skies so its a perfect viewing location for the aurora and night sky. I went to see the aurora and I was not disappointed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and ... Read More
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and walked on board without much queuing. The waiting area had plenty of seating, a small coffee bar and was nice and warm. Our cabin was a nice size (I already knew this from OV) but the wooden furniture was the original and so was the bathroom. This was OK though and the shower is really large. The air con worked well and the bed was comfortable. Our cabin was on deck 5 at the front (5120) and had a lot of movement on rough days. I was seasick and would recommend a higher level and central if you suffer from this. There seemed to be a lot of crowding in the Bistro buffet on level 12. We had to find a seat (not easy) then take turns to get our food. I had never experienced this on OV so I can only assume that it was the time of year and no-one was eating outside. The food here was average. Breakfast was very good, lunch didn't have much choice of hot food and it didn't look that appetising. The desserts were moussy!! and the hot choice seemed mainly to be a sloppy variation of bread and butter pudding. The thing that put us off the most though was that it was very cold in there. On the second day we decided to use the Waterfront restaurant (waiter service). We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of food compared to the Bistro so we continued to use it.... and it was lovely and warm. The afternoon tea was nice with delicious biscuits and scones with fresh cream and jam.... yummy. The entertainment was quite poor and there wasn't a huge amount going on, especially during our day at sea. I liked the comedian though.... very old jokes but he pulled it off because he was likeable. The decor in the public areas was nice and looked refurbished. There is quite a lot of seating around the ship and it didn't feel crowded (except the Bistro) even though the ship was full. I'll finish on a positive as we really enjoyed our cruise. The staff were excellent. They worked hard and were always helpful and friendly. Also our fellow passengers were so friendly which made all the difference. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was a mixed bag. I would love to give five stars, I think I should and I will explain why in a moment. Having been on the Marco Polo and loved it I was worried that i might not enjoy the Magellan as much and, if I'm honest, I ... Read More
This was a mixed bag. I would love to give five stars, I think I should and I will explain why in a moment. Having been on the Marco Polo and loved it I was worried that i might not enjoy the Magellan as much and, if I'm honest, I still love the Marco Polo but there was nothing I disliked about the Magellan it's just different. A bigger vessel which means more walking, which I find difficult, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of being at sea. This was a multi generational, themed cruise. Two things I said I would never do but for the most part the children were a pleasure to be with. I saw no bad behaviour at all. Another plus for me was the number of different nationalities on board, so many interesting conversations. The downside came with the first excursion, to Paris. We knew we would have some free time but we were dropped in the most expensive, and probably busiest area for traffic for three hours. The majority stayed in the area as the traffic was horrendous with no notice at all taken of Pedestrian crossings. The coach did not pick us up where we were told we had to get on by standing in the middle of a dangerously busy road as the driver's side was facing the pavement. There were many more pluses I'm pleased to say but all on our coach agreed that the Paris trip was an ordeal and badly managed. The cabin an inner was very comfortable and our Steward very attentive. Entertainment was hit and miss, the Magellan singers and dancers were very enjoyable. There was an Irish folk trio on 2 nights with more or less the same songs the second time and a comedian we could only watch for ten minutes, it was dreadful, but that's just my opinion of course. The Cricketers and Nick Hancock were always approachable and as someone who knows nothing about cricket I still enjoyed their company. Now the reason I wanted to give 5 stars but can't as several people were genuinely scared in Paris either of being lost or knocked down. There was a raffle on behalf of the the Lord's Taveners with several prizes, the first being a Cruise donated by CMV. Never having won more than a bottle of wine in a raffle we had no expectations but, and I still can't believe this, we won the Cruise. Not a three night mini cruise that we thought it might be but an 11 night British Isles Discovery Cruise. To say we are thrilled is an understatement and we can't wait. If it had been a less chaotic Paris excursion I would have had nothing really to complain about but I really believe, given that families with young children were also with us, that not enough thought was given to the area where we could be left to our own devices. A too short time aboard the Magellan, Crew were brilliant, Magellan's own entertainers and the Cruise Director gave their all, and thank you CMV, we can't wait to come back. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the entertainmenton deck seven. On Sapphire and Ruby -three beautiful well maintained dance floors. Kudos for bringing us singer Peter Howarth and the band "Atomic" both were awesome. Atomic is the best lounge band ever on a cruise ship. The stage band was excellent too. We did not enjoy the other stage shows - we have seen beatles tribute bands many times before, and unfortunately the ships stage performers were well below par. We are dancers and really appreciate the recorded ballroom music offered. The buffet was good for breakfast, dining room,not. the dining room was good for dinner, the buffet, not Most of the staff were very helpful and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
There were a few changes in NCL policies on the ship that we were not aware of at the beginning of our trip. The policy on straws was a little bit of an issue. We could have brought our own had we known about the change. Also, the ... Read More
There were a few changes in NCL policies on the ship that we were not aware of at the beginning of our trip. The policy on straws was a little bit of an issue. We could have brought our own had we known about the change. Also, the policy on taking food to your room or ordering at a restaurant and being able to take it back to your room. We were informed it was a health issue, but yet you could get room service. We think the policy was to have you request room service and get charged the fees. Disembarkations were easier this time and not an issue. They had plenty of boats and we also had plenty of time in the port so there wasn't this rush and bottle necking on the ship. The entertainment was great. They had an excellent cast of regulars and The Knights put on a great show. I with they would give the cast a little more of a highlight like in a program or in the daily newsletter. They were excellent. The service was difficult, it seemed to be an issue of language barrier and policies. I asked for a fried egg instead of a scrambled, but instead of just swapping the egg preparation, they wanted me to get the entire dish that had a fried egg. Substitutions were definitely an issue and difficult to convey to the staff. One friend wanted a drink with aviator gin and they kept bringing and a cocktail called the Aviation. The excursions were good, we just didn't like the late notification of the time changes to earlier or the regrouping of the excursions. We skipped out on a couple excursions we had booked in advance, because of this. We had a schedule in mind and then they would change it. Dining was not all that great this time. I remember on the last cruise the food was excellent and there were places we wanted to go back to have a dish or dessert again. This time there was not that experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise level for the location, but it was never a problem, we had no noise at all from the elevator and stairwell traffic. The room itself was very good with lots of storage and plenty of room to move about without any problems. The only issue is if you are not agile the tub presents a problem as it is a high step into the tub. Once in tub area to shower your head is practically touching the ceiling, I am 5'8" and clearance was about 1 inch, so if you are over 6' you will have to scrunch down. Otherwise the bathroom size is good. The Club Continent Suite comes with a stash of free liquor, Bombay Gin, Sotli Vodka, Rum, and Johnny Walker Red. The balcony was a bit tight but not an issue. I suggest that when you board, if you have a Club Continent Suite or higher the specialty dining is free, you book the specialty restaurants for every day you are on board, then cancel the day(s) you do not use on those schedule days, otherwise you are on a wait list the whole trip. The food is not spectacular on board, but very good. The surprise restaurant is the The Patio, poolside. Order a bone in sirloin steak that was as good as the steak house specialty restaurant Prime C. The menu at The Patio is very good. The best food of the entire cruise occurred on White Night when the food is superb everything from lobster, pork, steak, frog legs, calamari, etc. is available. Tons of desserts, too. Entertainment on board is good, nothing to write home about. The singers, magicians, and band are fine, good way to spend an hour relaxing on board. For dancing and drinking the Living Room is the place to be where they have a DJ and combo for entertainment. My favorite location was the Spirits bar in the Den which seems to be the gathering place on the ship most nights, cocktail lounge atmosphere with piano player. The bartenders were exceptional at the Spirits bar, but I learned they are not permanently assigned but rotated through the ship. The bartenders we had were Alex and Vlad, Alex was assigned to work the Mosaic Coffee bar and Vlad the pool bar on the next cruise, too bad as they are truly good at the bar. We booked three tours on board. We were very disappointed with 2 tours and loved the 3rd tour. This is hard to judge for future cruises as they rarely return to the same ports, but keep moving across the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. So it just could have been the locations we chose to see. Look into Viatour or local tour companies in port. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. One nice feature is fewer passengers so embarkation and disembarkation at ports is never crowded, easy on and easy off was nice instead of waiting in long lines. The ship is small so navigating decks and going to bow to stern takes no time at all in getting around the ship. Would I do Azamara again, yes, now that I "know my way around and the tricks" The ship does not attract the younger crowd, families with children, or serious partiers so the atmosphere is laid back for people in the 50's and over age croup Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
For this price range, I feel that everything should be in Tip-top shape. Celebrity's ship are way over due a facelift. I know that they are planning them, but I feel that the next year or so while we wait, I may try another cruise ... Read More
For this price range, I feel that everything should be in Tip-top shape. Celebrity's ship are way over due a facelift. I know that they are planning them, but I feel that the next year or so while we wait, I may try another cruise line, a newer ship. The service on Celebrity and the staff are always great! The food in the dining room and buffet are very hit and miss. This is another disappointment for this price level, I feel that you shouldn't have to spend extra to eat in the specialty dining to have great food. We did eat in the specialty dining. Tuscan Grill is always good, but I was so upset about getting rid of Qusine for this stupid Petite Chef- cartoon on your plate and a very mediocre meal, with only two choices- That was a rip off!!! I really missed Qusine the way it was. Our cabin was very comfortable, we felt that we had enough space. Bed very comfy, our stateroom attendant was excellent. I just felt that the cabin needed a facelift. The bathroom and furniture looked worn. I have a real bone to pick with Celebrity about their shore excursions. Do you notice that you cannot read any reviews on any of their shore excursions? I really wish you could. For that reason, I always try to book outside tours and excursions, but sometimes they seem like the best options, but we usually regret it, wishing that I had more information about what to expect. The other thing was that often we felt rushed during the day to get back to the ship and didn't feel like we had enough time to see anything. I guess this is the nature of cruising tho. I do love not having to unpack and pack to get to another location. I do love being at sea, But I think I may have to try another cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next ... Read More
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next year. Room was quite small but we spend very little time there. We prefer to be out either exploring or up on deck. The other guests we chatted to had all enjoyed their holiday. On formal nights nights most people dressed up but not ott. Some people chose not to and this appeared to be acceptable. They did not go to the formal dining rooms . We prefer to do our own thing but booked 2 last minute excursions . Both were very good if a bit expensive. There was a small problem with the tendering in st peters. Staff came round to explain and apologise. Throughout the holiday the captain ensured guests were well informed. The ship had a relaxed atmosphere. This was our first fly cruise . everything was well organised. This was the same on departure. All good we reallly enjoyed especially in waterfront ,,most of the times we dining late and tired because we booked in 1st sit but the staff showed smiley face.making jokes and fun the service too fast.we never had this before very good and lovely waiter Mr. sabari very frank and efficient. Beds very comfortable with beautifully laundered linen and great pillows. Having some experience of travelling on cargo ships over the years, the occasional ship smells of bunkering, and the inevitable hum and vibration of the engines disturbed us hardly at all, as we reckoned it was hardly possible to avoid these things altogether. We slept well, and loved our cabin cheerful.over all we enjoyed except st.peters. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I ... Read More
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I point out I am usually not one to complain as I understand that sometimes things don't go to plan but we had a couple of main issues whilst onboard. -Drinks Packages & Shortage of Drinks Onboard Prior to setting sail I enquired about drinks packages, 4 of the party wished to purchase the Deluxe Package, myself the soda package and one of the party did not want a package at all. However, this is where the disappointment started. We were informed that due to new regulations it was either all or nothing. We did not want the drinks packages so that we could ‘drink excessively’ but more for the convenience of not having to sign for drinks on each purchase. Having being informed of new rules set by yourselves we ended up purchasing 4 Deluxe packages and 2 Royal Refreshment packages. This totalling £2821.84, £517.69 more than the package arrangement that we initially wanted. Further disappointment followed as on day 10 of the cruise, drinks began to run out. Only select beers, wines and sodas were available at the bars and pub. The pub eventually having no Peroni, San Miguel, Pinot Grigio, Tonic Water or Sprite Zero. Little alternatives were offered and we were left 4 days without our preferred drinks, which we had effectively paid for when we purchased our packages? -Overcrowding Another issue that was particularly apparent was the sheer overcrowding of the Independence during the 5 sea days. Having travelled before I understand that sea days are busier than those where we are in port. However, during this cruise it was noticeably worse than previous. Fellow guests began the reserving of sunbeds at 6:30am!!! This making it an unbeatable challenge to find any sunbeds after around 8:30am. Guests were sunbathing on the paths and sides of the pools and sunbeds were also so close that it was impossible to get onto them safely. I was extremely disappointed as for our party this holiday was about relaxing, which was impossible when we had to awake early to find a sunbed and there were no particularly peaceful areas to sunbathe. After speaking to fellow travellers we were not the only guests who found that the ship appeared overcrowded on this voyage. This overcrowding issue was also noted by guests in our party when trying to order speciality coffees at café promenade, with the wait being up to 25 minutes for a single coffee. A timeframe which I do not deem acceptable. The overcrowding issue also became apparent in the evenings before and after dinner, throughout all bars on the ship there was not one table or chair free for either before or after dinner drinks and the wait for being served was up to 30 minutes. From what we remember and understand about the Royal Caribbean brand this is not up to the usual standard, and it disappointed us, and was embarrassing with the first time cruisers. -The Stateroom Having staterooms located around the ship 7334, 7634 & 8220 we were disheartened to find that the cabins had not received any attention during the renovations earlier in the year. The same rusty bins, stained curtains and barely working TVs remained, issues which could’ve been resolved for little cost. This was slightly disappointing as stateroom 7334 could not use the TV, this was reported to guest services who later informed us that the TV was in working order, which it certainly was not. Our staterooms attendants for cabins 7334 & 7634 were also poor in comparison to previously cruises, leaving bins unemptied and tea making facilities were not replenished for up to 3 days at a time. This is not the usual standard and certainly not acceptable for Royal Caribbean. In summary, I have written to Royal Caribbean about the issues above, of which their response was 'Sorry but we have not broken any policies' and 'We never state when you purchase a drinks package that drinks will actually be available' I'm an emerald member and they can't even say 'Here's a free drink for those ones you missed out on' We paid £17,000+ for this cruise and left feeling extremely disappointed and sorry for those that have already booked to travel on this cruise in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I choose this because it featured a seminar I wanted to participate in and because of its ports of call (especially Gibraltar). When we started planning our excursions about 3 months prior to departure, the expansive Gibraltar tour was ... Read More
I choose this because it featured a seminar I wanted to participate in and because of its ports of call (especially Gibraltar). When we started planning our excursions about 3 months prior to departure, the expansive Gibraltar tour was waitlisted and never re-opened. I find that to be unforgiveable and unforgettable. But we booked a private tour through Viator and it was the best tour of our trip, and less than half the cost of a lesser quality ship excursion. While many will like the food and dinner requirements (specific time reservations, more formal dressing and very formal on all sea days), we take cruises to experience the ports of call, not to have formal dining experience. So, for us, this is not a positive. Further, we thought the "Tastes" specialty restaurant was way over-rated: marginal food and served in a pool cabana setting which was not a very good atmosphere. Getting on and off were very good experiences. Same for access to excursions; and the free water bottles on the tour buses was very welcome and not standard with our cruises. So pick carefully....if you want to focus on dining, go for it; if you want to focus on ports of call, I would choose another, less expensive alternative. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship primarily for the itinerary and that friends had been on the ship in Alaska and liked it. It is a sister ship to the NCL Pride of America that we used for our 25th anniversary group cruise around Hawaii and we thought ... Read More
We chose this ship primarily for the itinerary and that friends had been on the ship in Alaska and liked it. It is a sister ship to the NCL Pride of America that we used for our 25th anniversary group cruise around Hawaii and we thought that ship was nothing special, but fine. I actually liked the Jade far better. With the refurbishment done not long before our cruise, it felt like a brand new ship. I have been on over 20 cruises and I am no foodie, but felt like the food on this ship was the least enticing of any cruise yet (that said, I did still gain 2.5 pounds during the 24-day vacation, but I think most of it was due to all of the eating done in ports of call and the 12 days of vacationing before and after the cruise). There were some good items, but some ran out fast (like the cheese wonton appetizers on Asian night went before I even got to try one), and I am usually drawn to desserts on cruises and don't think I had a full dessert the entire cruise unless you count my one ice cream cone at the buffet. :O On the flip side, I don't usually consume alcohol on cruises, but our group of 31 got some free perks including the unlimited beverage package where even the 20% gratuity (which went up between when we booked and when we sailed, but it mattered not given our deal) was included, and so I had at least one drink each day. A favorite was the Emperor's Necktie (brandy based drink at Magnums), which somehow tasted like Christmas to me. The Rebellious Fish with blueberries was also pretty good. The best for many of us was the Rum Cake, which is a martini that is like a dessert and ever so yummy. The Honey Lemonade was surprisingly good. The mojito at Spinnakers was excellent and the Raspberry Guava Mojito at the Mojito Bar was also good. The mudslide was also good, but by the time in the cruise that I ordered it, they were out of straws (probably thanks to them giving two straws per drink early in the cruise for some reason I couldn't figure) and I didn't drink much as I felt it truly needed a straw. The nightly shows on this cruise were all worth attending. Our favorite was the show with just the two aerialists (married couple, I think, and could win a sexiest couple award), who were as good as any Cirque du Soleil show as far as mesmerizing entertainment. They also did a show with a magician that was good. And all of the dancers and singers were good. Britain is a country where tipping porters for cruises isn't expected, FYI (so I read online before the cruise), and it was nice not to have to fiddle with cash while dropping off bags. As for ports and shore excursions, we did all private excursions or DIY touring. For Portland, we used Discover Dorset and saw Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, and Corfe Castle (just outside as our time in port was short that day as we had to be back on the ship by 2:30, and our tour company said it wasn't much to see inside to make it worth paying to see as it isn't exactly cheap for just a quick walk into some ruins, and we instead had a drink and relaxed on a patio with a great view of the castle). For Cork, we used Butler Buses to visit Blarney Castle and have lunch in Kinsale (and The White House was a nice little spot for a beer and British fare). For Dublin, we went DIY and first stop was the Book of Kells at Trinity College, then we walked to Visit Dublin Centre to trade in our Groupon for a Dublin Pass and took the Hop On Hop Off bus to Kilmaheim Goal (prison with interesting history; this is where prisoners first got their own cells), then we took the bus again to stop 21a for the Church Bar and Restaurant (neat ambiance, but you pay dearly to eat and drink in this church) and Jameson Distillery (well worth the tour, and is included with the Dublin Pass, unlike our first two stops of the day), and then got back on the HOHO bus to get to the Guinness Storehouse (which we didn't like nearly as well as Jameson even though it has 7 floors and all sorts of activities..we liked the learn to pour a Guinness lesson and the bar on the top floor with amazing view of Dublin, though), and then we took an Uber (should have used a taxi that was right outside, but that was miscommunication with a friend's fault; the Uber driver was lost and took forever to get to us) to Temple Bar before taking a taxi back to the ship. For Glasgow, we did another HOHO bus after taking a train from Greenock (which was a much longer walk that I had read it would be and had we known, we would have taken a taxi to the train stop as much of the walk was steep uphill walking and we had a friend with leg issues who hadn't gotten a cane yet, but I got him one in a store at the port at the end of the touring) and never got off anywhere but just rode the full circle and then walked back to the train station and did quite a bit of shopping at one store, and then chatted with locals at a firehouse bar and restaurant in Greenock before shopping more near the ship. For Kirkwall and Invergordon, we use K with Exquisite Scotland Day Tours. In Kirkwall, we saw Gurness Broch, Birsay Causeway, Robert Stewart's Palace, Birsay Causeway, Skara Brae*, Skaill House, Ring of Brodgar, Stenness Stones, and St Magnus's Cathedral along with doing a little shopping around the church. For Invergordon, K took us to Black Rock Gorge (very neat place with water running 40 feet below a bridge with ferns on both sides), Foulis beach, Beauly Priory, Wardlaw Mausoleum (in Wardlaw Graveyard at the top of Wardlaw Road in Kirkhill, 8 miles west of Inverness..it was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Lovat Frasers and is listed as Grade ‘A’ by Historic Scotland, the highest level of importance), Loch Ness, Urquhart castle (from a view above it), and finished at Cawdor Castle (where he said, "Whatever you do, stay away from the maze!" as he figured we would get lost and miss the ship if we went in there. He prepared a fantastic picnic lunch for us to eat after the Urquhart Castle view visit. For Edinburgh, we again did a HOHO bus and saw Medieval Edinburgh Castle (which is like a Smithsonian with how many buildings are inside with different types of museums in them) and went on a tour at Real Mary King's Close and just walked along the main road. We both felt we could have used more time at this port (like days) and some in our group did go back there from London. In Newcastle, almost our entire group did the Victoria Tunnel Tour, which was two hours but quite interesting. We had to split into two groups of 15, and that was fine. The website says they can only take 15, but we arranged in advance to have two groups. After the tour, we had a terrific lunch at The Botanist and then walked along the main shopping street before grabbing a taxi back to the ship from outside of the Black Gate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a fun hen party of 30, we had all ages from 20-70 and found the ship and staff catered extremely well to entertain all age groups. We enjoyed the food, hot tubs, pools (i was pleased to find there were separate pools and entertainment areas for children), this allowed a much more serene and relaxed experience when enjoying the leisurely spa. entertainment and brugge itself. I didn't love that the dinner staff wouldn't leave our bottle of wine on the table. Or that you have to be out of the room at 8am following formal night. Generally speaking the cruise and entertainmemt staff were great and i would give them five stars for value of money. Unfortunately in my experience the dinner staff and cabin staff really let doen the ship. I also found the personal hygiene of some of the staff working with food disconcerting. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the outside doors were open, obviously to let passengers on and off when in port however there was no extra heating, no hot air blowers and the bars were COLD, the dining areas were COLD you could only eat either end of dining areas with a coat and gloves on, would not book again in the winter. The staff were all friendly and the service was good, such a shame the heating was not improved on because the trip was spoilt. Embarkation was efficient and the two excursions we booked were also good. My husband and I would have booked to cruise again on the Columbus because the ship in general is lovely but this experience has really put us off. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This is the first time we have every cruised on a Cunard ship. We have been on others thought so can compare. We did a five day Big Band Dance Cruise Southampton, Brugges, Amsterdam and Cherbourg. Fabulous, from the time we got to ... Read More
This is the first time we have every cruised on a Cunard ship. We have been on others thought so can compare. We did a five day Big Band Dance Cruise Southampton, Brugges, Amsterdam and Cherbourg. Fabulous, from the time we got to embarkation until we stepped off this morning. Such a warm welcoming ship. The food in the main restaurant and the Lido Buffet was superb, the staff couldn't have been more helpful, they work so hard. Cabins good and the beds divine, so comfy. If I had one criticism it would be that the dance floor wasn't big enough as it was advertised as Big Band they under-estimated how many people did Ballroom Dancing. The resident band though were brilliant, they played great party music when you wanted a change from the Ballroom. All said and done we wouldn't hesitate to cruise on her again and now want to try Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise was a charter for Cruiseco in Australia who hired it to host a Rock the Boat themed cruise 2017. We saw the advert in the supplement in our Saturday paper and although it seemed expensive for 7 days around the UK it did ... Read More
This cruise was a charter for Cruiseco in Australia who hired it to host a Rock the Boat themed cruise 2017. We saw the advert in the supplement in our Saturday paper and although it seemed expensive for 7 days around the UK it did have a fantastic line up of acts from our era so we decided to jump in and book it. We took the upgrade which included the drinks package and gratuities and an outside cabin which seemed ok to us. We booked through cruise 1st who were efficient in the beginning but let us down when it came to booking parking at Newcastle.It took us weeks to sort it out and finally after saying they could not book it, CMV ended up doing so.No vouchers arrived so contact with Australia was necessary in order to get one sent by email which we printed off and all went well at Newcastle. We have never had such an efficient and quick embarkation as we had at Newcastle and the same was true on our disembarkation. Newcastle has really got it's act together, something other ports to take a lesson from. We were shown to our cabin 6064 and found it bigger than other ships and a double shower was very good.The walls had sticky finger prints all over as had the doors and wardrobe doors, otherwise it was clean and had a kettle, hairdryer but no fridge. We found the ship quite easy to get around with all the bars etc on the same deck but finding the Waldorf MDR took a bit of getting used to. We did not like the house wine offered with the drinks package ( dry rough Spanish plonk) so went without with our evening meal ( CMV need to look at this, we will not have the drinks package again and the only beer available my husband found undrinkable). The food left much to be desired, having read some good reviews on the food by other cruisers we can only assume that as this was a charter the usual chef was on holiday. We enjoyed 2 main meals but not much else.Very poor cheap ingredients( Talapia fish for example) buffet food varied but often luke warm , bland or just unappealing. We went onshore and bought a decent meal out when in port as I believe did some of the crew! It was only the superb entertainment and the bands which made this cruise enjoyable and the lovely people we met but I cannot imagine we would go on Magellan again if the food is standard. Pity because we liked a lot about the ship, cabin etc. MDR staff very good but bar staff left much to be desired at times as did buffet staff and the officers rarely acknowledged passengers in passing. Too many nationalities , many having little or poor English and we saw quite a bit of friction between them as some seemed less efficient than others. Read Less

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