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127 Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Holiday Cruise Reviews

First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin ... Read More
First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin - large mini suite with plenty of room due to its disabled facilities. Very comfortable and no noise to speak off. Relaxing view and wave sound from the good size balcony. Food - we did not have a bad meal on the ship. It was only on the second last night when we ate in Alizar that we felt the menu was a bit underwhelming. But the food that night was still good. We had the Ultimate Dining package and that was good value with all the options serving very good food. Breakfasts were always good and thanks to Mr Coffee Coffee and Mr washy Washy, a fun place to start your day. Staff - all the staff were great and it was good that many times they would stop to engage and not just serve. Entertainment - a mixed bag but not unexpected given the many different nationalities on board. Tenors of Rock, the Gymnasts and the Jadegirls with their 60's nights were standouts. Nathaniel Reed was a terrific piano bar player and host. Pretty much all the other entertainment options were provided and were more than satisfactory. Excursions - the few that we used were good value, especially the Sorrento and Pompeii tour through Naples. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some trepidation as we had never before cruised on a ship with so many passengers, however, we went with an open mind and were determined to enjoy the holiday. The embarkation process: We arrived at Barcelona cruise port early as we were in company with two other passengers we had met on route from Belfast. There were few passengers around at that time so the actual check-in process was quick and efficient. We were given a numbered card to be used for the boarding process later so we decided to sit back and relax with a coffee/ beer. Boarding commenced around 2pm and was done in numerical order according to the cards issued during check-in and, considering the number of passengers involved, it was also a fairly quick process. Once onboard, the sheer volume of passengers passing through the lobby area made it a bit chaotic , however, we quickly made our way to the lifts and found our cabin where we made contact with our Steward and were able to put valuables in the safe and unpack our hand luggage. We were impressed that our suitcases arrived very soon afterwards and we were soon unpacked and ready to explore the ship and have lunch. The ship: As a brand new ship, naturally everything was very new and fresh and it soon became clear just how big it was. We did a tour of the ship to get our bearings and also to ‘sus out’ the places where we might spend our evenings. The overall décor is undoubtedly ‘bling’ in style; however, we expected this and sometimes just marvelled at how much the interior designers had managed to cram in. All the public areas were large with plenty of seating so there was never any real problem; however, the Diana Lido pool area always seemed to be crowded although we only ever passed through it on our way to other parts of the ship. The pool seemed to be used mainly by children and I imagine that it might be unbearably busy in the summer when the retractable roof is back. There were plenty of elevators around; however, my vertigo prevented me from trying the scary glass lifts which seemed to go up forever from the main lobby area. The signage around the ship was generally good, however, for the first few days it was difficult to find the public toilets as they were not signposted and hard to miss unless you knew where to look. For instance we found no toilets near the lobby area on Deck 3 and the nearest ones were on Deck 4 hidden beside the entrance into the Emerald Theatre. Also, the automatic door opening mechanism in the toilets was a bit alarming at first as you were at risk of being seen by passing fellow passengers. We felt that the Concierge Desk seemed very small for the size of the ship and the number of passengers who would be likely to use it. It was only after standing in the queue for quite a time that we realised there was a ticket machine for issuing ‘next in line’ tickets, similar to those in large supermarket counters. This machine was strangely located in a corner away from the queue so most people did not even know it was there until they had reached the front of the line – it would have been better sited near the start of the queue where passengers could see it from the outset. This would dispel any possible arguments about who was next in line. The Concierge staff were very helpful and efficient and spoke many languages. Restaurants: We had been allocated open dining in the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant for dinner each evening and the experience on our first night was not too encouraging. We expected to have to wait to get a table and this was not a problem , however, once seated the service was very slow and the family seated adjacent to us complained to the waiter who explained that there was a problem in the kitchen. Personally we were not unduly worried as we were not in any real rush to go anywhere; however, we could appreciate that it might be a problem for families with young children. To be fair, the service did improve on subsequent nights and we never had too long a wait. We did not particularly like the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant itself and found the layout and décor very uninviting and dull when compared with the other restaurants onboard and it did not have a great ambience. ‘Corona Blu’ has very dark décor, furniture and carpets and on a few occasions we were seated in the side arms of the room which made us feel very cut off from the rest of the passengers – it felt like being relegated to an overflow part of the room and did not enhance our dining experience. On subsequent nights we specifically asked to be seated in the main body of the restaurant and this did not make us feel so isolated and it improved our experience. Given the large number of passengers onboard we felt that the standard of food was fairly good in the restaurant, if perhaps a bit ‘hit and miss’ at times, but we never had anything we could not eat and never went hungry. It was interesting that one of the Maître D’s told us he felt that the optimum number of passengers would be around 4,000 in order to be able to give the best level of service. To us, the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant was simply a place to go and eat and then leave – it was not a place to linger too long afterwards. We had lunch a few times in the Diana Lido buffet and the food was excellent, especially the pasta dishes, even though it was just a bit chaotic at times due to the sheer number of people around. We always managed to get a seat and have a chat with our fellow passengers. Although we usually prefer a buffet style lunch, we also had lunch a few times in the ‘Fiorentino’ restaurant as it was easier to get a seat, and less frantic, if you went early enough. On one occasion only the ‘Adularia’ restaurant opened for a self-service buffet lunch which we really enjoyed and it was a pity this had not been an option every day. The light décor and layout of both the ‘Adularia’ and ‘Fiorentino’ restaurants was so much better and more welcoming than ‘Corona Blu’ and they both felt more like proper adult restaurants. We also heard from fellow passengers who had been assigned to the ‘Adularia’ restaurant each evening that there was a great atmosphere there with ad-hoc entertainment provided by the waiters and a much better rapport with passengers. Speciality restaurants: We went to the ‘Club Diadema’ restaurant on one occasion and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the relaxed atmosphere. On a second night we went to the ‘Teppanyaki’ Asian restaurant with two fellow passengers who had now become friends and we all had a really fabulous evening of food and entertainment provided by the chefs. We finished the night off with a few glasses of champagne in the Bar Bollicine. Both speciality restaurants were well worth the additional cost and we would certainly recommend them to anyone. Bars: We had purchased the ‘all inclusive drinks’ package at the time of booking and this proved to be a very good deal. We both drank mostly wine or beer and the system worked very efficiently in all parts of the ship. We quickly found that our favourite watering holes were the bar in the main lobby area on Deck 3 and the Piano Bar on Deck 5. The bar and waiting staff in both locations were excellent and we soon became friends and looked forward to seeing them each evening. It is perhaps unfair to single out individual staff; however, we particularly enjoyed the craic with Barry and Jaydnash (Piano Bar) and all the staff in the Lobby Bar. Two waitresses named Xian and Joy in the Piano Bar also made us feel very welcome. The evening entertainment in both the Piano Bar and the Lobby Bar area was first class and was a real draw for passengers of all ages. From what we could see, the entertainment throughout the rest of the ship was equally good with something to suit all ages and tastes. On Christmas Eve there was even snow falling down into the lobby area which was a lovely touch and the children loved it – along with many adults. Kudos to Costa! Our only criticism would be the lack of an ‘adults only’ bar as the constant presence of young children running around a crowded bar, or being wheeled around in prams, was a bit off putting and perhaps not the best environment for them late at night. The crew: We have only the highest praise and respect for the crew throughout the ship for their efficiency and friendliness, despite the huge number of passengers they have to deal with on a daily basis. They all worked very hard and we often felt sorry for them and wondered how they coped, particularly with embarkation day which seemed to be every day! Other facilities: It would have been nice to have access to a guest laundry/ironing room in order to freshen up creased clothes; however, we appreciate that this may not be possible given the passenger numbers on the ship. On a longer voyage this would be even more desirable. Unfortunately our upgrade to the Samsara Deck did not automatically entitle us to access to the Samsara Spa, however, on the first day we decided to pay for the voyage spa package as we knew it would provide us with a means of escaping the crowds and somewhere to relax. It was money well spent (€105.00 per person for 07-days) and we looked forward to going there every afternoon and enjoying one of the many therapy rooms or just reading quietly in the large, and usually empty, relaxation area with a pot of herbal tea ~ heaven! The Spa staff were also friendly and courteous, especially Tereza and the Spa Manager, Pavel. On the penultimate day of our cruise (28th December) we were unfortunately bombarded with constant tannoy messages over a number of hours which were obviously lifeboat drill instructions for new passengers who had just embarked in Marseille. Not only were these messages’ intrusive but they were repeated in at least three or four languages every time and we struggled to understand why they were being constantly transmitted into the cabins of passengers who had joined days earlier and who had already undergone the necessary lifeboat drill. These new passengers were presumably being put through the lifeboat drill at their allocated locations (as we had done when we embarked in Barcelona) so what was the point of all other passengers having to hear it all again, and again, and again? We fully appreciate the need for safety drills; however, this was perhaps a bit OTT. It really spoiled our last day onboard. The interactive portals provided on some decks were very useful for making speciality restaurant reservations; port transfers …etc. and avoided unnecessary queuing at the concierge desk. Ports of call: Unfortunately we visited most of the ports during the Christmas period and in most cases the shops were usually closed, however, we did get off in them all (except in Marseille) if only to stretch our legs and get a coffee. Palma de Mallorca was our first stop and we spent a pleasant couple of hours just meandering around the impressive Cathedral and the seafront. Naples was the port we had most looked forward to visiting; however, it proved to be a real disappointment. We felt it was very down at heel, neglected and dirty and everywhere was ruined by graffiti. Prices in the cafes were exorbitant compared to the rest of the ports we visited. Not somewhere we would wish to visit again. La Spezia was a fairly small town and we had a quick walkabout and a coffee before heading back to the ship for an early lunch. It has a nice walkway along the seafront leading into the town itself. Savona was a much larger town and had more of interest and a nice atmosphere. We had previously visited Marseille on another cruise and not been too impressed with the place so we decided not to visit on this occasion and to relax on the ship while it was a little quieter. Overall opinion: We actually did enjoy the cruise, due mainly to the friendliness of the crew. We quickly found those venues where we felt most comfortable and which suited our choice of entertainment. There was certainly something every night to suit all tastes and ages. Having cruised previously on ships with much smaller passenger numbers it took a while to get used to the sheer volume of people onboard - especially the large number of small children, however, we soon adjusted and learned to ‘go with the flow’. We would recommend the ship to others, provided they were prepared to wait in queues at meal times, and we could certainly give them some tips on where and when to go in order to avoid them. Overall very good Costa Diadema.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people we got to know. There were not many English on the cruise but we went to the introduction meeting for English speaking and met a lovely American couple. Later at dinner that night they were sat on our table and we spent most of our holiday with them. The evening meal was amazing with 6 or 7 courses if you wanted. We paid extra for the all inclusive and enjoyed cocktails, wine with our dinner, coffees and hot chocolates. Well worth the money, infact considering the amount of food and drink we had I'm surprised Costa made any profit! There wasn't much in the way of evening entertainment, but I don't really expect it on a holiday. We ate late and with the good company, didn't finish eating until at least 11pm, we would then have a couple more drinks and go to bed, there was always tomorrow's new port to get up for. We were supposed to have a 7 hour wait at the airport on our way home but we changed our flights to earlier ones with easy Jet for no charge. All in all an amazing holiday, we arrived home relaxed and suntanned! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just finished our first ever cruise on the Azamara Journey and it was truly an amazing experience. Right from the very start where we were met outside the cruise terminal, it didn't take long for us to go through customs and ... Read More
We have just finished our first ever cruise on the Azamara Journey and it was truly an amazing experience. Right from the very start where we were met outside the cruise terminal, it didn't take long for us to go through customs and were on board with a glass of bubbly and lunch waiting. Our balcony cabin was spacious enough and although we didn't use our balcony a lot it was lovely to have. The service on board was outstanding, Raymond and Hilda who looked after our room were fantastic and on my husband birthday they had gone in and put balloons and a Happy Birthday banner up, a nice touch. The food on board was very good, we ate in the Window cafe for breakfast and lunch and the discovery restaurant for dinner where we had excellent food and service. The entertainment that we went to was very enjoyable. There is nothing that I can fault about the cruise and I look forward to doing another one. Thank you Azamara Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional ... Read More
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional chipped salmon pink wash basin shower cubicle was OK for average build of passenger , mattress a bit worn ,no hair-dryer for my partner.(you can hire one from reception) have to pay to use the cabin safe . We used the very popular Beachcomber self service restaurant for breakfast and lunch ,melamine plates and cups supplied most food hot food was served to you from the hot plate (cuts down on food waste ) help yourself to anything else , you could order an omelette . We used the Island restaurant in the evenings a bit less of a crush and exchanged cruise experiences with fellow passengers (,vibrations from ships engine room when docking or anchor chains sounds ) .Food was of very good quality. Public areas were clean but well worn ,whole ship in need of refurbishment. As the company are making money there is there need to up grade ? The entertainment team worked very hard and most passengers had positive comments . Most ships crew Officers and men were polite or friendly . The PUB could very busy and it was quicker to go to the bar to be served which I prefer rather than being hassled to buy another drink as happens other cruise ships . Invited to the Captains Cocktail party along with another 150 people , offered glass of wine or soft drink ! Learned the one passenger had sailed on the ship 17 times ,a waist of time attending this party. We took this cruise because of the ports call , Cavil, Livonia , Nice ,Toulouse, Barcelona I am aware of negative reviews , some are a bit unfair . Overall we enjoyed this cruise and would sail on the ship depending on the itinerary. Value for money probably not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We just finished our fourth cruise with MSC. The first was in 1999 when few Americans had heard of MSC. We loved it! The cuisine, the shows, the demographics, the waiters, came together for a very European experience. Since then we ... Read More
We just finished our fourth cruise with MSC. The first was in 1999 when few Americans had heard of MSC. We loved it! The cuisine, the shows, the demographics, the waiters, came together for a very European experience. Since then we have always particularly enjoyed our cruises with MSC. But this time things were very different. The cruise we took on the Armonia was largely in the Adriatic. The ports were fine and so were the excursions. So we enjoyed that part of it. The shows are still slightly wacky, fun and decidedly non PC. Enjoyed that too. The food, however, was substandard. I have been on quite a few cruises with different companies and this was the worst. It is a deal-breaker. Presentation was lovely, dining rooms too, but most of it was either overly-salted or utterly tasteless. How can anything so pretty taste so bad? We took to eating in the ports of call or ordering extra courses to see if there was anything we would want to eat. We are definitely not finicky eaters. It was clear that MSC is cutting corners. Part of what a passenger looks forward to on the cruise is the food. Not here. Also, no midnight buffets, everything including ice cream on deck had a price (didn't used to be that way), virtually no activities onboard. Passengers were left to entertain themselves with cards and board games and an occasional dance class. I have never been on such an uninspired cruise. I used to love going on MSC cruises. Not going with them again. Uh uh. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Just returned from a fabulous 14 night cruise on Thomson Majesty.This ship may not have the plushest of cabins, and not very powerful hair dryers but the staff were amazing and couldn't be faulted, special mention to our cabin ... Read More
Just returned from a fabulous 14 night cruise on Thomson Majesty.This ship may not have the plushest of cabins, and not very powerful hair dryers but the staff were amazing and couldn't be faulted, special mention to our cabin stewards Mukaffe and Richard who looked after us so well, and amazed us by their towel sculptures. Chosen for the itinery the ports of call were fabulous, we tended to do our own thing and didn't use the ships tours and managed really well. We used the Four seasons restaurant every evening and were so well looked after by all the waiters especially Frank and Simon who were wonderful, the food was lovely and it was nice not to be over faced, we pre booked a drinks package which was tremendous value for money. The entertainment team were superb and really made our holiday, it was like being at a West End Show every night, special thanks to Brandi, Max,Alice,Craig,Rob,Brian , Beth and Gareth, we had the pleasure of meeting Paul and Steve as cruise directors and both were entertaining and good sports, I must mention the amazing sail off from Venice which was enhanced by the beautiful voices of Brandi, Max and Rob singing fabulous Arias such as Figaro and Nessum Dorma , a truly spine tingling awesome experience. I have never cruised with Thomson before but will certainly do so again, the plusses far out way any negatives Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We have just returned from a week sailing on Majesty, our outward flight went well, and we were soon on board with our luggage arriving at the cabin nearly as quickly as we did. Our restricted view (half blocked by the lifeboat support) ... Read More
We have just returned from a week sailing on Majesty, our outward flight went well, and we were soon on board with our luggage arriving at the cabin nearly as quickly as we did. Our restricted view (half blocked by the lifeboat support) cabin on deck 8 was as expected and kept spotless by two very hard working ladies, we agree with others that the standard cabins are small, but we got by with a bit of planning, cases just fitting under beds etc. We had no problem with any of our facilities. We had been told there was to be the lifeboat drill soon after arrival, so while waiting we decided to unpack, we had a knock on the cabin door and were told to get our life jackets ON and go to our appointed area or we would be late, now I am no expert but my understanding is you do not go to the drill area until the alarm sounds and you do not put your jackets on until on deck. We had no choice but to comply, but feel that the drill was poorly carried out as all people were already on deck when the alarm was sounded (my area any way) and after a lot of hanging around, were taken through the drill procedure of putting jackets on and the cabin count taken. We were disappointed with the buffet; food looked good, but was often lukewarm, vegetables often cold, due to food being kept in cabinets and moved around the ship, large trays of food are put out and not replaced often enough, it would mean more work, but smaller trays of food being replaced more often would correct this, food on the deck grill and other restaurant's was ok. Fresh juices were served in the other restaurants but a watered down version in the buffet at breakfast was not fair, I only wish I had found out sooner. You soon learn what to avoid. I did not see anyone monitor food temperatures at all. I was told that the water for tea in the urns could have been hotter, but the coffee was fine The drinks package is not as good as in previous years on the other ships, I spoke to one officer who said that the DP is being standardised on all their ships, so you will get the same on whatever ship you are on, so it may no longer be value for money as other packages for wine, beer that are available may suit you better. An order for cola on DP varied from a small tumbler filled with ice and very little cola, to a thin tall glass or Plastic tumbler dependant on who took the order. Equally with wine spritzer, when we ordered two at the same time we got a wine glass, but if only one I got a tumbler. The tours are expensive, but we enjoyed them, the walking tours took no consideration of the problem people were having adjusting to the heat, some fit but older people in our groups struggled to keep up, also it was very easy to lose the guide as we were such big groups, more guides are needed, one lady nearly fainted at the Trevi fountain due to the need to keep up, all the tours on Italian Flavours could be done quite easily independently with a bit of research and forward planning, however we decided to do our own thing in Messina, just going round on the road train seemed simple enough, just to see the main tourist areas in the Port area, but later on discovered we had been ripped off as we found that for two of us we had been charged 10e each, but had we joined with others and gone as a private group we would have had a considerable discount so were not impressed. Someone else however lost 100e by buying from a trader only to find they had bought two tiles instead of what they had wanted, so Thomsons safety aspect while on their tours in some cases does stand up. Now fast forward to our last day, it is so obvious, Thomsons are only interested in the new people coming on board, kicked out of the cabin by 9am, even though some people were not flying out until late in the day, a courtesy cabin with only a 30min slot arranged through reception could be arranged or you pay for a cabin , charge of Â(EURO)35 applies, and no guarantee it was the one you had been in, your main baggage is collected in the early hours and goes out on the quay and stays there until you fly out , whatever the weather. We went down at our allocated time, (no warning message over the tannoy, so any one dozing could miss their flight) and stood in the blazing sun until eventually a coach moved a few yards towards us and we were able to board, (the crew were busy looking after those going on to hotels, or new people coming on board, in other words, those that Thomsons could make more money out of?) Once at the airport, we were soon processed through the system and a smooth flight home, (but with very slow service from the hostesses as they were chatting instead of moving speedily through the plane as on our outward journey) but with the best landing I have ever had. A lovely ship and holiday overall, but not sure we would sail on her again. Ciao for now Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Just got back from the 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Equinox. It was a great cruise. We had worried a bit about weather but figured if Celebrity was still sailing that part of the world at this time of the year, our ... Read More
Just got back from the 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Equinox. It was a great cruise. We had worried a bit about weather but figured if Celebrity was still sailing that part of the world at this time of the year, our chances were pretty good. It turned out great. It only rained on us once, and that was in the afternoon when we were ending our tour at Ephesus. Obviously, the weather can't be guaranteed but as I said, my mind was set to rest by the very fact of the cruise taking place and my confidence was rewarded. First time on Equinox. Second time on Celebrity. Have cruised a few with Crystal and once with Silversea. Our first experience with Celebrity was on the Millennium a few years back. Some of the quibbles we had with the cruise line then were similar this time, but just quibbles. Would definitely cruise again with Celebrity. First things first: The ports were amazing. A ten day cruise and only two sea days. Highlights were Ephesus, Rhodes, Delos and Naples (Pompeii). In Ephesus and for Pompeii we took Celebrity excursions. Both had excellent guides. I know a lot of people shun the cruise line tours, claiming overcharging but our experience in those two ports were good enough to reassure us for future trips. They are pricey, but the convenience and oversight make them worthwhile, at least IMHO. In Rhodes we had our own driver and guide and that was of course also excellent. Both ways of arranging tours worked for us. We looked after ourselves in Delos (Mykonos), Santorini, Athens and Messina. We were in Concierge class. After we booked our cruise, we told some good friends and they decided to come along. When they called, they were offered immediate upgrades to Solstice Class. I understand--luck of the draw and all--but it seemed a little weird that the people we had convinced to join the cruise were now eating in a separate dining room. They tried to invite us to the "Blu" but no dice! So in the end the four of us ended up eating once in Silhouette together, a couple of times in the speciality restaurants, and a couple of times in the crepe restaurant. We heard that there were other people in the same situation. Just seems silly that Solstice guests have to just make friends with other Solsticers, find other venues, or eat alone! We didn't like the main dining room. Service was okay; food was okay; but we generally felt rushed and the tables are way, way, way too close together. We had hoped for Select Dining--didn't make the short list--and found the early seating a bit early and the late seating a bit late. Ate breakfast once in Silhouette and again, just felt uncomfortable at how close tables were to each other. Although the dining room wasn't full, we were still all grouped together like we were in a diner and the staff wanted us handy to their stations. We liked the Tuscan Grille and ate twice in Silk Harvest. Food was excellent. Staff really nice. Perhaps a little overdone on the "Are you enjoying yourself?" interruptions. Loved the Cellar Masters bar and bartender. Dealt with the Concierge once and he was very helpful, arranging for our very early departure on the last day. The cost of the Celebrity cruise was so very reasonable that the "nickel and diming" of the charges for drinks etc. was only moderately annoying. That being said, my husband and our friends did feel strongly that charging for a tour of the ship operations was way out of line. Trying to figure out the cost benefit of the various drinks packages was also a struggle. Personally would prefer to spend a few hundred more for a ticket and have basic beverages included. (Soft drinks, water--the occasional beer or house wine..). Also, something quite weird: we were all encouraged to buy tix for a shuttle bus in Mykonos "in order to avoid long ticket lines outside." Never saw a long ticket line. Actually never saw a ticket line at all. Also never saw anyone asking for a ticket. That $8.00 per person was definitely a questionable charge. One thing we really liked was the diversity of the passengers. People were very friendly, not at all affected, and there were enough Brits, Irish, Aussies etc. on board that general good humor prevailed. Beware, however, if you like the occasional cigarette. Places for smoking are very restricted and can get quite crowded. No smoking indoors at all. Which made it a bit chilly for an after-dinner inhale. Passengers in those predicaments agreed that while they all understood that smoking is a filthy disgusting habit, fact is, some people still do it. There was quite a bit of grumbling that the staff (apparently) have a room on board where they can smoke but mere paying passengers have to brave the elements. On the other hand, the shared annoyance made for a spirit of camaraderie that was also, in its way, appealing. Does seem like one bar where the remaining tobacco fiends could gather would be popular--at least with the Europeans on board. From one extreme to the other: smoking to working out! The fitness facilities were great. Would be nice to have more room for individual workout routines a la body sculpting, crossfit etc. People were fitting themselves in and around the machines to do their pushups, situps etc., particularly when classes were in session in the only open space. Celebrity might also like to remind some of its staff that pushing to the front of buses/tenders to be first off or jumping lines in the Oceanview cafe in front of passengers doesn't send the right message. A few people commented on such experiences. Overall, loved the ports, liked the staff and the other passengers. Ship was in great shape. Food overall was fine. A few too many "extra" charges. Would be nice to stay in ports later in the evening for the opportunity to dine ashore. Looking forward to another Celebrity cruise sometime soon. And the Equinox would definitely be first choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This cruise was a last minute booking for us. We were delighted that it ended in Athens, Greece where we live. The Crown Princess is an absolutely gorgeous ship and many fine touches are there to make you feel special. I don't like ... Read More
This cruise was a last minute booking for us. We were delighted that it ended in Athens, Greece where we live. The Crown Princess is an absolutely gorgeous ship and many fine touches are there to make you feel special. I don't like the fact that there is no indoor pool though. That would have been very nice because the weather in November in the Med is not pool weather. The kids program was very nice and our son enjoyed his time there. We have been to all of the ports before so our goal with this cruise was to enjoy the ship, service and family time. I'm the one who ventured out on my own for most of the ports and that was ok. Dining on the ship was lovely and Thanksgiving was absolutely terrific. We loved the outstanding service in the dining room. The food was very good though I wouldn't recommend fish other than salmon. The desserts were always wonderful as was the bread. The cruise director Sam tried hard but really needs to get some new material. She told a set of jokes I've heard at least four other times about the "dumb questions cruisers ask." Our cabin was very nice but the only problem was that the cabin steward had such a huge load that our cabin often was not done up until late in the afternoon and late in the evening. This did not work well for us. But, I give him credit for getting our mattress changed out for us. It was in horrible shape and I can't believe wasn't changed before. I know Princess is supposed to have the best onboard shopping but I didn't think so. Their sales weren't very good and I really didn't find much that I wanted or needed. I'm really into onboard shopping so this was unusual. Carnival Breeze had much better shopping in my opinion. I like the Piazza idea but not the fact that seating is limited to those who buy beverages. It is therefore not easy to enjoy the entertainment there unless you are willing to pay for drinks. Well, you can stand. Also, we had our teeth whitened and just to warn you... it is a bit of a gimmick. Yes, our teeth were a bit lighter but the technician tried to sell us $400 worth of capsules so that the results would stick. We were disappointed and would not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
we had sailed on msc from quebec city to ft. lauderdale 2 years ago and the cruise was excellent in all respects. in oct. we sailed from venice on armonia and the ports were great but the ocean view cabin was so small or the minibar was so ... Read More
we had sailed on msc from quebec city to ft. lauderdale 2 years ago and the cruise was excellent in all respects. in oct. we sailed from venice on armonia and the ports were great but the ocean view cabin was so small or the minibar was so large that you had to climb over the bed to get out on one side of the bed.the food was below par and i do not get the marketing idea behind charging for water,iced tea and coffee at dinner in the dining room. this was the lowest ranking cruise in our experience with several cruise lines. needless to say it was our last cruise on msc. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Good points: The Food was FANTASTIC, I've put on 1/2 stone! The room was spacious and clean, thanks Gilbert The staff were very friendly and efficient The itinerary, of course The extra inclusive drinks package Good value for ... Read More
Good points: The Food was FANTASTIC, I've put on 1/2 stone! The room was spacious and clean, thanks Gilbert The staff were very friendly and efficient The itinerary, of course The extra inclusive drinks package Good value for money all round Bad points: Our TV didn't work the whole week and no apology No self service laundry We didn't like that there was no buffet in the evening, this means that you're stuck with the main dining room unless you want pizza. Also, we requested a table for two but didn't get it, our dining companions were lovely people thank goodness, but say they hadn't been? This would be the only reason that we'd have second thoughts about booking Costa again. ------------------------------------------------------ We chose Costa because of their relaxed smoking policy but then stopped smoking! I think I'm in a position to give an objective view of the situation because I know it's a hot topic. I think that Costa have got the balance right, there are some smoking tables but it's not horrible for smokers or non smokers. It's certainly not as much as a free for all that I had expected ( and worried about since stopping) Our cabin didn't smell bad and there was only a slight whiff in the corridor on a couple of days. We found travelling with the majority of non English speakers to be a refreshing change,we didn't have to listen to folk whining for the sake of whining! Contrary to what I had read we found our fellow passengers to be gracious and polite. There was no more of a scrum at breakfast on this ship than there was on our other cruises. We were really sad to leave the Atlantica and would have happily stayed on for another month! If they changed the dining options I would book again tomorrow P.s We had a bottle of vodka in our luggage and it was confiscated until the last night. They take the no food and drink policy seriously. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The cruise left from Venice and took us to Ancona, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Argostoli, Kotor, and back to Venice. We arrived early at Venice port, about 12.00 noon, and boarding was very quick and efficient, within minutes we were on ... Read More
The cruise left from Venice and took us to Ancona, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Argostoli, Kotor, and back to Venice. We arrived early at Venice port, about 12.00 noon, and boarding was very quick and efficient, within minutes we were on board. We had lunch at the buffet and then went back to town, as the ship left only at 7pm. For this, it is essential to bring your passport or ID! From Venice Port, the people mover takes you to Piazzale Roma for 1 Euro. Our cabin NR. 8033 was an inside cabin in the front. Very quiet, could not hear anything from our neighbours or the ship's engine, the only noise came from the Armonia lounge below, which was quite loud, but there was not program there every evening, so it was bearable. We had the Allegrissimo drinks package for EUR 23 per day and person, and we had a lot of fun with it. For breakfast, we ordered cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice, instead of the normal coffee and juice available at the buffet. With meals, we always had a glass of wine (or two...), and for sundowner, we always enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine on the deck. For sure this package saved us a lot of money, highly recommended. We had breakfast sometimes at the buffet and sometimes at the main dining room. Lunch mainly at the main dining room, much nicer. Dinner always at the main dining room, late seating at 9.30pm most evenings, which was quite late (even 10pm on the Santorini day). The quality of food was excellent at the main dining room, so-so at the buffet. We did not participate in any of the organized excursions, we made our own tours: Ancona: a nice town, from the ship it was only steps to the old town. Nice walk there. Corfu: we walked into town, it took us about half an hour, this can be a hot walk. On the way back, we took the city bus for EUR 1.50. It leaves from the old port and takes you straight back to the cruise port, easy to use. The bus stop in front of the cruise terminal is inside the port area. Santorini: you need to get numbers for the tender boat, make sure you get them early, at 9am. Once ashore, we took the cable car to the town of Fira for EUR 4 per person. Nice walk in Fira. We walked back to the port, but it was not a nice walk, the path was sometimes blocked with donkeys, and it is quite smelly. I would recommend to take the cable car also for the way back. Athens: about half an hour's walk to the metro station, from there it is a short ride (6 stops) to Thissio, at the foot of the Acropolis. The metro fare is EUR 1.50 each way. Argostoli: tender boat to get ashore. If you want to leave the ship early, you need to get numbers again, but we were not in a hurry here, for disembarking at 10am it was not necessary. The tender boat dropped us off right in the center of Argostoli. Don't miss the huge sea turtles near the fisher-men's boats! Kotor: the pier is a few steps away from the old town. Very nice walk there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We go away in August every year to celebrate our anniversary - next year we will go somewhere cool! Last year we were on 7 day med cruise with RCI and was not too happy. There were many eastern european first time cruisers who obviously ... Read More
We go away in August every year to celebrate our anniversary - next year we will go somewhere cool! Last year we were on 7 day med cruise with RCI and was not too happy. There were many eastern european first time cruisers who obviously did not understand the ways of cruising. Was it a coincidence that we went on code red for norovirus? This year we were away for 12 nights and had many more established cruisers and no overall health issue. Lots of kids though so it was not unusual to find all the buttons in the lift pressed. For the first time we used anytime dining and it worked very well for us. Every morning we would check the entertainment and book a table so were able to avoid the queues that built up. Cabin was standard bit I had to request an egg crate for the bed. The entertainment was fairly typical except that the 'humour' of the American comediens that the US passengers found hilarious completely passed us by. There was music everywhere in the ship - more than we have experienced elsewhere and it was of high standard and good variety. I thought that there was a slight reduction in the quality/variety of food since our last trip with Princess. There was also no farewell party - could not remember whether this was a new development. The first couple of days it looked as if it was all 'no'. No more coffee mugs with coffee card, no more wine packages, no more towel sculptures - not a great loss but the occasional one was pleasant. No compaints about general presentation of ship. Usual problem with chairs in prime position on deck being reserved. For some reason one of the ports of call had been deleted from the itinerary - another cost saving feature? The port shuttles all appeared to be run by outside companies and were very expensive indeed - I remember when they used to be included. Our main gripe was the transfer to the airport at the end. Again it was very expensive - more for the 2 of us than a private taxi but we decided that the convenience might have been worth it. We ended up arriving at chaotic Rome airport more than 1.5 hours before the check in opened and, there being nowhere to sit had, literally to stand around for the duration - never again! In summary a middle of the road ship, the large number of pax were not evident except that the theatre filled up a couple of times so there were no seats for the late show. We will continue to sail with Princess when the itinerary is appropriate but would always prefer the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Another Azamarazing Journey Cruise From Monte Carlo to Rome 1 Sept 2012 Decent journey from Newcastle to Monte Carlo via LHR/ Nice and BA T5 lounge. Very civilised although having arrived just too late for bacon rolls was able to ... Read More
Another Azamarazing Journey Cruise From Monte Carlo to Rome 1 Sept 2012 Decent journey from Newcastle to Monte Carlo via LHR/ Nice and BA T5 lounge. Very civilised although having arrived just too late for bacon rolls was able to have snacks, drinks and Internet access. Club Europe full but meal on board perfectly acceptable. Met at Nice by Azamara rep (6 of us) and escorted to 50 seater coach. We had to wait approx 1 hour for delayed flight from Manchester. This did not please one passenger who after half an hour was demanding either A: Coach set off immediately B: A taxi be procured for him and his partner. We other 2 couples refused to be drawn into this discussion and on arrival of other passengers set of for Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo. Unfortunately this was the day of match between Real and Chelsea so traffic was horrendous and hotel was full of gravy trainers (UEFA delegates). Room was fantastic and overlooked F1 circuit hairpin. Adequate breakfast next day and then taxied to port. On arrival greeted by several staff we knew including Hotel director Heijke Berdos. On board by 12 00 and having dropped hand baggage for later delivery went to Windows cafe for lunch where met other old friends /crew members Adele / Alex and Jose. After lunch with complimentary wine and soft drinks went down to suite to meet butler? Suite was fine with bath as well as shower. Went to lifeboat muster drill to be advised that because of French (not Monegasque )dock workers and itinerary being set for 18 months the workers would not turn up at 5.00am to untie the ship with the result we had to leave early at midnight. Not great for one couple who had stayed in Monte Carlo for 2 days before hand and had planned a night out in Monte Carlo to arrive at ship at 2.00am. Imagine their surprise when they turned up to an empty dock. They were able to be reaccomadated and transferred to ship at St Tropez next day. This was totally NOT Azamaras fault and of course with such late notice they were unable to advise guests. In addition because of Lufthansa strike action some 37 other passengers also missed departure. Great advert for NOT making your own arrangements for arrival that day. Good night sleep and down for breakfast to Azamara specialities Freshly squeezed orange juice /cranberry juice /freshly made eggs of all varieties including poached as well as boiled as well as freshly made toast bagels muffins . Not bad to be sitting in open air watching the ships wake in the sun. Onto sundeck with Azamara signature proper wooden loungers with full thickly padded loungers with white slip covers and towels. Repeat as needed for 10 days. Food As suite guests we had complimentary dining in Aqualina and Prime C as standard and happy to report my favourites of Goats cheese souffle /French onion soup and Grand Marnier souffle are alive and well. If you ask they will serve almost any dish between the 2 restaurants and given 24 hours notice will prepare any dish of your request (subject to ingredient availability.) Probably no ostrich meat but we had a most beautiful salmon Wellington that the executive chef said had given him a new idea for possible menu changes The only let down for food was the windows cafe lunch offering which was very repetitive i.e. 1 hot carved meat/chicken with some spicing/fish in sauce and some other bits. They did have a good range of meat fish cheese to make fresh sandwiches or panini and if you were still desperate there was burger bar that did have good meat choices burgers hot dogs brochettes and speciality daily sausage i.e. German /Italian etc. On galley tour saw prep areas etc. and 24-hour room service is available together with in room dining if required. Drink All soft drinks free at all times 24 hours daily and wines 3 choices at lunch /dinner times free flowing (average 4 glasses at lunchtime.!!) All adequate quality including Roses and Rieslings for lighter drinking.. As suite guests we had 4 half bottles of spirits gin vodka whisky and rum as well as 2 bottles of champagne which took some drinking . Service This is amazing and a great advert for compulsory tipping as staff are guaranteed a decent wage and are desperate to return and indeed approx 80% of front facing staff return after their initial contract and some have been working for Azamara for 5 years You really feel humble when you realise these people are away from home for 6 months on 2 months off for 7 days a week yet they are still so friendly and remember your preferences re tea coffee etc. On Azamara you get a questionnaire after 3 days to see if there is ANYTHING wrong so that they can fix rather than have a complaint later. I simply commented on my card that for cruises with a fair percentage of Brits on board it might be nice to have Marmite sachets for guests at breakfast. Within 2 hours I had a call from Executive chef stating they would try to obtain some at next port of call Livorno. Imagine my surprise when at breakfast 2 days later waiter produced a jar for me. Azamara had gone to the trouble of obtaining some via port agent and had sought me out at breakfast. Embarrassing to say it was produced on a tray each breakfast for me. SERVICE SERVICE!!! Tendering Good with plenty of help on and off except Capri where Captain Johannes explained that they HAVE to use local tenders which are small craft seating about 20 on open boats. These are really quite unsatisfactory, as you have to step onto boat side then boat seat and finally deck. We are not old or infirm but we did not enjoy this at all. Captain explained that they had offered to pay for ferries but use their own lifeboats but this option is always refused by boatmen. Not sure why as I will quite happily be paid to do nothing or even go and earn some money elsewhere. We also had unfortunate experience at St Tropez where we tendered in on Azamara boats and were deciding whether to go to Port Grimaud but decided it looked too choppy for the small boats. We returned to tender back to ship. As soon as we had left harbour it was decided it was too dangerous to disembark until ship was swung to make a lee for safer disembarkation. We were therefore stuck on tender for an hour whilst ship was swung. Whilst not in danger it was very uncomfortable as life boat was pitching and rolling outside harbour walls. Captain explained that French weather forecast had been for 15 knot winds whereas in reality it became 30 knots and he considered it dangerous to continue until ship was moved. Excursions Did not do any Azamara as have been to ports already although if you book early you get 50% off pricing. Some American guests did 8 excursions and they must need a holiday to recover. Entertainment The cruise director Eric De Gray is fantastic as appearances in Hairspray /Elvis impersonator and in Abba in final show. Those who have seen it will agree it is amazing but do not want to spoil the surprise for others. He is always around and approachable yet so self deprecating although he says one of passengers favourite sayings is "you should do this Professionally" English comedian very good and his fiancee the singer also but pickpocket and Rat Pack impersonator less so and quite a few walked out of both shows. Guests A good mixture of nationalities Brits, Americans, Germans, Australians even including some Russians who wanted to gamble and eat in restaurants in bath robes. Thankfully refused admission by Addel restaurant manager. Disembarkation. Always the Achilles heel of any ship although if you have a later flight you can stay on board until 11.30 with early lunch. Unfortunately our flight did not qualify so we were dropped at airport approx 90 mins before desk opened. On check inn up to Exec lounge which does not compare with LHR with a few croissants and cold sandwiches. . A useful tip is if you book an open cruise you pay £150 deposit to get £400 off your next cruise and this is in addition to any TA discount as this is transferable once you have decided on cruise. You get best of both worlds. A loyalty discount as well as any best price you can get from travel agent. Overall a great holiday and we are looking forward to next one on 15 November Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
What an experience. We flew from New Zealand to Rome with a one day stop over in Hong Kong to break the flight. Because we had been to Rome before we just explored on foot (very tourist unfriendly place). We decided to rough it and get ... Read More
What an experience. We flew from New Zealand to Rome with a one day stop over in Hong Kong to break the flight. Because we had been to Rome before we just explored on foot (very tourist unfriendly place). We decided to rough it and get the metro out to Civitavecchia which was a big mistake, but after 4 train changes (dragging luggage behind us) and one instance of being stuck in a small lift, we finally made it four hours later. The moment we stepped onto the Noordam, all the stress was gone, she was BEAUTIFUL! The itinerary was fabulous, we visited some amazing ports and did 5 ship excursions, otherwise we wandered around near the port or went swimming at a beach(it was extremely hot). The food was simply magnificent. We dined in both the formal restaurant and the lido (buffet), and twice went to the Pinnacle grill which just blew our socks off!! Lunch at lido was very good especially the tasty little deserts and king prawn and crab leg days. Entertainment was average, but on a port intensive cruise like this, it didn't really matter, because we had fairly early nights for early starts the next day. However, Diane in the Piano bar was fabulous. Best bar on the ship! We subscribed for the thermal room and hydro pool extra, which was well and truly worth it, and great to relax after a hot, busy day sightseeing. We had a free upgrade from outside cabin to veranda state room, which was ideal and spent many hours drinking bourbon in the evening on our own veranda and reflecting on the day we had just had. All the staff were lovely, friendly and very attentive. The only thing I could criticise is that on a 20 night cruise they had 6 formal nights which we thought was absolute overkill. We would have made the effort twice, but really couldn't be bothered getting glammed up 6 times and we noticed many others didn't bother either. It was a pity because formal night could have been very special, but it was watered down with too many. HAL is certainly my cruise line of choice now, and I will be seeking out HAL cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Each year my wife (age 32) and I (age 37)take a cruise or two. We have been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess and I was on Windjammer when I was single. Overall, no cruise was quite like our July 2012 cruise on the Celebrity ... Read More
Each year my wife (age 32) and I (age 37)take a cruise or two. We have been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess and I was on Windjammer when I was single. Overall, no cruise was quite like our July 2012 cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. The service, food quality,staterooms and most staff exceeded our expectations. And the bottom line is we would certainly cruise on Celebrity again. As far as details Arrival- we flew to Rome via Detroit on Air Canada. We arrived about 45 minutes late. Once there we had pre-arranged transportation to the Ship including a 2 hour Rome Tour with Rome Airport Transfers. They were great. They met us with signs in the Customs Area, and had a car waiting for us. We quickly saw the outside of major sites in Rome including in the Vatican City. The driver also provided some time for us to walk around and grab a quick sandwich and soda. We then went to the Celebrity Equinox in Civitavecchia. Check-in was quick and we were on the ship inside 30 minutes from the time we arrived. The ship sailed at 5pm, so we spent the evening exploring the ship. This trip we also had Select dining. This was one of the only issues I do not think this ship was ready for. Even though we had Select dining they still encouraged reservations... This seemed a bit strange. Once in the dining room however, each and every evening there were several great entree choices and the food was served as it should be... Hot items were hot. Cold items were cold. The deck Buffet also had nice items and choices as well, not just Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. In the Buffet as well as all around the Ship staff constantly asked "What can I do for You?". We thought this was a nice "extra" touch. Entertainment- was also a highlight. The cruise director Patti was certainly "out and about". She would encourage guests to talk with her, whenever they had questions. The Ship had three production shows including the Equinox the Show. This is not to be missed by any guest. There were also interactive nights including a Party in the Sky which included entertainment from the professionals, swing dance instruction and lots of dancing throughout the evening. This is something we had never seen on other ships. Our stateroom- was an inside cabin and was fairly large compared to Royal or NCL. Our cabin steward as also very attentive. We had laundry done one day, and it was done, delivered to our cabin and folded very well. Ports: Santorini- We did not have a tour and this was a tender day. It took over 2.5 hours to get off the ship due to local tender operations. We would recommend future guests look into tours. Not much to see late in the day if it takes this long to get off the ship, but it is a very pretty island. We did take the Donkeys to the top of the mountain from the tender dock, which was quite exciting. Istanbul- Did the Full Day Istanbul Tour from Ship... It was great. Very organized and a great way to see the city, historical sites and learn about this diverse city... Someday we would like to return to Istanbul for a longer visit. Kusadasi (Ephesus)- Did the Tour with Lunch from Ship... It was also great. Very organized and a great way to see Ephesus and the Kusadasi area. Athens- Did the Tour with Lunch from ship... Of course went to the Acropolis, and the Old City. We felt however that Athens was a quite under maintained city. Tourist areas seemed safe but other areas we explored on our own seemed a bit run down Mykonos- Went with another couple to the beach via the local bus system. This was quite an opportunity to see the island and tour as a local. The beach was not like in the Caribbean, but still very nice and the water very blue. Naples- Went to the Archive Museum and had Pizza with Ship Tour.. The museum was good as it provided a good final summary of the other places we visited. We would highly recommend this for guests doing this route. Disembarkation- was very simple at the port in Civitavecchia. We simply placed our bags outside our cabin the night before with a numbered tag and our bags were inside a tent at the port when we got off. Celebrity did not rush us off the ship like other lines do. Nor did they announce things all morning. We got off around 8am, our driver that met us at the beginning met us at the pier, and took us back to the Rome Airport. We left Rome about 1.5 hours late so our journey home took a bit longer than expected. Overall, a great trip and Celebrity for sure exceeded our expectations and we certainly plan to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Having read a lot of reviews regarding the MSC Magnifica, we decided to go on the cruise with an open mind; and on the whole it was a very enjoyable cruise. The ship does live up to its name and is constantly kept clean and tidy, the staff ... Read More
Having read a lot of reviews regarding the MSC Magnifica, we decided to go on the cruise with an open mind; and on the whole it was a very enjoyable cruise. The ship does live up to its name and is constantly kept clean and tidy, the staff work very hard and are always pleasant. We stayed in a balcony cabin, though not as large as some we have stayed in it was big enough for 2 with enough room for our clothes and space under the bed for the cases. The room was kept clean though the balcony was not swept during our cruise. We mentioned this to reception and it had a cursory clean. The food on board was quite good, there was a lot of choice on the buffet breakfast and if you wanted to be waited on you could use the restaurant. Lunch in the buffet was very much the same every day unless you found the "ethnic" section this changed every day from Indian to Chinese etc. with pasta each day. Evening meals were of the Italian style (what else it's an Italian ship) and were varied each day served in 5 courses. Entertainment was provided in several venues, music and dancing, easy listening and a show in the theatre. The latter again being of the Italian style did seem a bit dated very much like the (Sunday night at the London Palladium)singers dancers and acrobats. The days did lack a bit of interesting entertainment leaving you wandering around on sailing days, though this was a winter cruise so may be in summer it will be different. This was a Christmas cruise but other than Christmas songs being played all day there was very little to tell it was different from other days. The parts we did not like were personal dislikes so you may find that these are things that you do like: Embarkation was very poor they dealt with our cases very well as soon as we arrived; we made our way to the upper level of the terminal without any explanation what to do and were given a ticket with a number on. At this point you need to join the line to check in and get your cruise card; you can register your credit card then to save time later. We still had our number and were told to wait until it was called. The ship is tantalising looming through the window but you can't get on. We waited 2 hours with no refreshments until our number was called and we could go on the ship. Having gone through the process I think I would have left the cases and gone round Venice until last moment and not had the problem of waiting in the terminal. The smoking policy we found to be quite unacceptable and the rules against it are constantly flouted with no action taken by the staff. you can smoke freely in the casino so if you don't smoke this is a no go area meaning if you want to traverse deck 7 you will need to go up and down via deck 6. On deck 6 in the Topazio bar there is a section on the port side for smoking but this is not divided off so the smoke fills the room and some of the shops. you are requested not to smoke in rooms and on balconies, but nothing is done to stop it I had a cigarette stump and ash landing on me from balconies above, not very nice. Again nothing was done about it. Smoke gets into the corridors from rooms, according to one guest in an inside cabin, the smoke from next door filled their cabin as there was no way to ventilate it. Children have a lot to do during the day but some are left unattended at night running around unchecked. Parents of some children encourage them onto the dance floors in the evenings, making it very dangerous to dance in case you knocked one of the children over onto the hard floor; so in a lot of cases you just give up and leave it to big soft dads standing on the dance floor grinning at their precious little darlings spinning round and sliding across the floor. But it was about 4 families who spoiled it for others keeping babies up until the early hours of the morning. A lot has been said in other reviews about the price of drinks and tips but we knew this before cruising and it was not a surprise. The cruise is not as expensive as some other lines so the price of drinks was compensated for. If you are a big drinker there are all inclusive packages you can use. The prices were not a lot different from other cruises and hotels I have stayed in, though the prices in the shops on board were over priced so I don't think they had a lot of custom. All in all it does seem a bit of false economy and if they lowered prices they would have a lot more sales. Would I sale with them again? Yes if the price and package was right. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Flew from Manchester to Athens. a number of passengers were carrying huge quantities of of in-cabin baggage that overhead lockers were full in no time. that's when the bickering started. we had had a disappointment as we were ... Read More
Flew from Manchester to Athens. a number of passengers were carrying huge quantities of of in-cabin baggage that overhead lockers were full in no time. that's when the bickering started. we had had a disappointment as we were supposed to do a double leg back-to-back cruises, d115+d201. 2 days prior to flying, we were told d201 cancelled due to adonia needing to go to dry dock for minor hull repairs (ok- it happens, but no explanation from P&O direct). embarkation was all right, & our cabin was roomy, & baggage delivered efficiently. i asked the senior purser reason for d201 cancellation & was content - a straight answer with rationale.ship has 700 passengers, traditionally furnished without casino/art auctions/other nonsense. easy to find your way around, & quite a relaxed, old-fashioned uk cruise style. several bars / good use of space / quiet areas / excellent library. crew seemed well-organised. food in the pacific restaurant was excellent, good variety. buffets in the conservatory were standard, good variety, average quality. activities on board were very limited, you would have expected some craft/painting or similar classes; but - no - nothing...it seems excursions were expected to take people off the ship. entertainment on board was mediocre. we had booked 4 excursions - all cancelled on board due to 'lack of numbers'. so i read a lot & my wife watched films. some stops the towns are interesting, but most are working ports. ashdod stop had previously been cancelled & 2 days in haifa instead. then stops at alexandria & port said were cancelled (understandable) & substituted with kusadasi & messina. then, force 10 storm off la goulette cancelled that stop & substituted with 2 days in malta (we didn't have a problem with that as we realised the extra day was new year & could watch the fireworks!) but a number of passengers were at their 'final straw' stage. the staff were pleasant, but the officers seemed to be avoiding passenger contact. although we had no real issues & most were minor, there was an undertone of discontent amongst the passengers. lack of alternative activites did not help, & p&o (since being absorbed into the carnival 'family') has lost its' focus on passenger care & communication especially. it has tried to retain uk-style in its' ships, but its' management has gone the way of airlines - cram 'em in, turn'em round philosophy. just to add insult, they turfed us off the ship early, & we sat in the bus in a 'holding pen' at naples airport because they didn't stagger the disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Just returned from Orianas cruise to the eastern med before its refit,having read some of the reviews from previous cruisers we find it hard to believe what some people want from a cruise,yes we had issues with the (plumbing)after two ... Read More
Just returned from Orianas cruise to the eastern med before its refit,having read some of the reviews from previous cruisers we find it hard to believe what some people want from a cruise,yes we had issues with the (plumbing)after two days but this was rectified straight away,I used the gym every day and there was one treadmill out of use,the rest of the facilities ie Jacuzzis steam room and sauna were excellent. We had an upgrade to an outside cabin with a bath which we did not know about until arrival at southampton,having used P&O several times no problems with the check in etc,very efficient,(have cruised with royal caribbean not as efficient)food in the oriental resturant and the conservatory excellent,(also the staff ditto),the entertainment staff were very good,must mention Jo B,she should enter britains got talent,(and would probably win it)the headliners were excellent in all their shows and the guest entertainers were very good,( I must mention that we only go to the theatre on cruises),the on board guest speakers were good and the usual competitions etc throughout the sea days were well worth attending,(although we did not win any),the ports we visited were good(although we would not miss La Goulette again),the tours we went on had very knowledgeable tour guides and were well worth the money. Overall Oriana was our first cruise 10 years ago(we have now been on her 6 times) and although having cruised with other companies it is still our favourite ship,Azura comes close,looking forward to April 2012 when hopefully we are going to venice again,regarding some of the comments about the ships condition we are amazed how well it has stood the test of time from our first ever cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise and have the obligatory air con cold to prove it. We booked an internal room as we have found as its so dark this is the best sleep we ever get. We never sleep in long at home. We took the tip ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise and have the obligatory air con cold to prove it. We booked an internal room as we have found as its so dark this is the best sleep we ever get. We never sleep in long at home. We took the tip of another reviewer and brought a tiny torch so we could find the loo in the night. Great Tip. We felt no vibration and at times forgot we were at sea. Only port we were disappointed in was Messini - very graffiti ridden and dirty so came back quite fast. At kusadissi we went to Ephesus as we had booked our own private trip before we left from England through www.ephesusshuttle.com Two of us in a minibus and Ali our guide was great, (even managed to find me a toilet away from all the crowds) The Centrum was lovely and the music was great. The shows at the centrum were brilliant. Simeon Baker and Erky are brilliant Ringmasters. Boogie Night, Parade of Flags etc etc brilliant fun!! Disco on top deck brilliant, even though a tad cold as it was November, we soon warmed up by dancing. However on previous ships usually the dancers take part and dance with the guests The in house dancers and singers had two big nights in our 11 nights. Never saw them in between. Dancers wearing laddered tights on the final night wasn't a good look either! The guest entertainers especially Geronwy Thom were excellent! SPECIAL AWARDS to Hott Stands on top deck playing in coats hoods and gloves!! Our Cabin Attendant was excellent always there. Our toilet blocked 3 times and he attended to it instantly. We liked the cards you placed in the key inlet to indicate DO NOT DISTURB or Make Up Room. The Aquarius Dining Staff were excellent and staff remembered your favourite foods or allergies. The food was wonderful. At night time we used to go the Smoking Area on top deck (as non smokers a horrible area anyway) to get our coffee walk across the top deck and into the Solarium Bar for our snack. The hot coffee and tea should be next to the food. And yes the coffee is vile but I need the caffeine! We did have a soda package and when we were in the Enchanted Evening area we were forgotten three consecutive times by the same Waiter on consecutive nights. You could see his face drop when we ordered a diet pepsi or coke. Thomson in the Champagne bar was completely the opposite and a joy to chat to him and sit in his Bar, our drinks at the ready before we crossed the room. Our £100 on board credit was not forthcoming. We asked three times at Reception and was told the computers were not working. Warley from Reception on the fourth day took charge and sent 8 emails to the UK and it was finally sorted on our 11th night on disembarkation morning. Normally Muster day is a bind carrying lifebelts and this was a greater controlled and pleasanter experience as per the new Safety regs you don't have to wear them on the Muster practise. At Captains Corner a lady asked why didn't we have to practice wearing our lifebelts, my thought was I never practise on a plane so why should I practice on a ship? The Crew and staff were wonderful and helpful and smiley all the time. Its a shame some guests couldn't be the same. I actually heard one woman complain she had to wash her hands before eating! Another woman complained that the dining ought to be structured according to class (hints of Titanic there) LOLS We noticed queuing was a novelty at times for some people but the rest of us sorted them out and the staff didn't let people jump ahead of the line either!! We took part in the Quizzes and as only 20 per cent of the guests were American we gave up at times as the songs were and the answers were American orientated. Who wants to be a Celebrityaironnaire 100 top answers as favourite car was a Chevrolet?? Erky and Simeon excellent quizmasters. Simeon Baker and Erky on Channel 14 are hilarious their rapport is wonderful. And we braved the wall!! The two guys were excellent! A great cruise a great time and we are now dieting madly Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. ... Read More
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. After embarking the ship in Istanbul for our Holy land cruise on the 6th of November we were amazed how quickly we got through the terminal and onto the ship. The welcome onboard glass of champagne went down like a treat and our party of 6 couldn't wait to go and explore what would be our new home for the next two weeks. Being Diamond Plus in the Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor programme we were matched across to Elite status with Celebrity's Captains Club. We were all looking forward to being made welcome and special like we have enjoyed and experienced many times in the past. Once on the ship at 1pm we were shepherd to the Seaside cafe on deck ten to have lunch. Having not cruised with Celebrity before I was somewhat dumb struck at the rat race and free for all that was happening right in front of me. Trying to push my father through the cafe in his wheelchair was near impossible. Passengers were just hitting each individual section of the buffet from left, right and centre causing ciaos and frustration for many people just wanting a simple lunch after a long day travelling. My first impression was "why is it taking so long"? 15 minute to wait to get a salad was bad enough but this was topped by a 10 minute wait to get a cup of coffee. I didn't mind too much telling people not to push in front of me but poor old dad with his walking sticks he had no chance at all. At this point all I could I think was, don't they do things different and why is everything from a packet of butter to a glass of water being served personally by a member of staff? All I could I do was reflect on what I had seen in the Seaside cafe and try and make sense of it as we waited to get the announcement at 3pm saying that our cabins were ready. We settled into our generously large outside cabin on deck 6 and found the decor pleasing and cabin spotlessly clean which it remained to be throughout the whole cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for our stateroom attendant and it was nice to be engaging with someone who really had a passion for their work. The evening meals in the main dining room were exceptional. The choices on the menu we found to be fresh and creative and it was joy to have such wonderful dishes served by two very enthusiastic and fun waiters. At dinner on the second night compliments were sent to the chef and to our surprise no other than the executive chef himself came to our table to thank us personally. We were asked if anyone had any questions they would like to ask. I asked the chef "what was happening at the lunchtime buffet"? He told us steps had been taken for staff to serve everything in the buffet as the ship had experienced a bug on the previous cruise and many people had been taken ill. At this point things did start to make sense we had thought the cruise line was going over the top showing over and over again on the TV how to wash your hands and how to prevent the spreading of germs and infections at sea. On the third day of our cruise two out of our party had been struck down with a bug and by the end of the first week four out of the six of us had been isolated with the unspeakable virus! Of course for their own reasons the officers were tight lipped when asked if the Norovirus was present on the previous cruise. At one point we were told 4 passengers had embarked the ship in Istanbul ill and this had caused the outbreak! To be honest with you, should we have known this prior to embarkation I think some of our party would have thought long and hard about going on a ship with such a terrible and painful virus as some of our travelling party have had fragile health of late like I guess most of the population of pensioners onboard the "Connie". After being released from isolation I found the free for all had continued in the Seaside Cafe and the attitude from some of the stripes still remained aloof, arrogant and still in denial of what was happening around them. Today, having only returned home late yesterday I cannot find it within me to thank Celebrity Cruises for showing me how I am actually able to projective vomit and experience the other things associated with the unspeakable bug. However, once I receive the "gesture of goodwill" compensation payment in the form of a future cruise credit of one lost day in isolation, my opinion might just change but I don't think it will it took us almost three days to come around after. I am more than aware I have been going on and on so I'm not going to go into details of the cold food and never once seeing a food thermometer, finding sinks full of vomit in public toilets and the inability of stripes to communicate with one another along with the disorganisation in the dining room for breakfast and lunch and, don't even get me started on the elegant afternoon tea. So, go on, ask me did I enjoy my cruise? Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin ... Read More
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin stewards working almost around the clock. The embarkation process was smooth and efficient and our luggage arrived to our cabin very fast. The Cons. 1. ACCOMMODATION/HOUSEKEEPING On arriving on the QV we were quite happy with our accommodation even though we found some old fruit underneath our dressing table and some dirt on the walls which had not been wiped clean. We considered this an oversight and did not make a fuss about it. Underneath the lockers on each side of the bed we found some old medication and pins. We would have felt happier if we had thought a thorough cleaning had been carried out. On the second day using the Ladies Changing Room on the Spa floor I noticed no conditioner - towels on the floor having fallen out of the overflowing used towels basket. The sauna itself was very clean and has a fabulous viewing window. In fact the ship really is very well set out and the decor is lovely. The only thing that lets Cunard down is the lack care taken with regard to cleanliness. The day prior to our departure we were told by our cabin steward that he could not give us any more tissues in our cabin as we were leaving -â€" we subsequently sorted this matter out by having to go down once again to the Pursers' desk. They contacted the housekeeper who said we could have more tissues but we are still wondering what happened here. We felt that now we were leaving our comfort was no longer important. The TV in our A1 cabin was an old cheap TV which went to black and white when a program was on .Very limited and usually 4 very old films a day .No Sport.Cant even match the Princess TV package. 2. LIDO During our first few days in the Lido we raised the following issues with the Maitre D' and then with the Pursers' Desk as we felt we were getting nowhere fast with the Maitre D'. A. We noticed a number of flies floating around and when we raised the matter with the Maitre D' of the Lido and the Purser's Desk we were given to understand that to implement measures to get rid of the flies would not be allowed for H&E reasons - I cannot see that leaving flies on food could be healthier. We are Elite members of Princess and have never been on a ship before where we have encountered flies in an enclosed eating area. B. We had read with much anticipation about the Indian Buffet nights in the Lido and very much looked forward to the same but they did not happen. Instead this buffet had been moved to the Todd English restaurant for a higher charge of $20.00. This feels like a very cynical move. Reading about the Indian Buffet in the Lido formed part of our decision to come on this cruise. C. During first few days on 7 occasions we went to have our meal there to find that the hot water and coffee had run out. I would have thought that the basic requirement for even the most mediocre of restaurants is a supply of coffee/hot water for tea. I noticed that the burners underneath the various pots had been allowed to go out. I had to point this out to the waiter and asked him to re-ignite the burners and bring new ones. The queues of disappointed people at the tea/coffee points was full of frustration. I don't know if this was allowed to happen because of inefficiency, not caring, and simply not being good enough. D. Food temperature -â€" in the Lido I don't believe we at any time had what could be called a hot meal (or even a warm one) for some reason we could never get anything that was not just "Lukewarm". Quite spoilt our appreciation of most dishes. We heard similar complaints about the Britannia restaurant. E. On Princess we always eat in Horizon because of the great freedom and also the choice and being able to eat when and where and help ourselves to exactly what we want. However, on the Queen Victoria during the outbreak of Novovirus on the ship which continued for almost a week we found our choices of food in the Lido restricted, inconvenient, and like a school canteen. Not at all what we needed to complete the Lido experience. 3. ENTERTAINMENT I am married to an Irish person and quite frankly I was rather taken aback by a comedian on board who made some "Irish" jokes in very poor taste (intimating that Irish people are stupid!). He made fun of the Welsh but only of high pitched voices and fun of the English for being reserved - I would not have minded if he said we are too proud, drink too much even but being stupid is not a character trait one wishes to hear. I felt very uncomfortable and walked out with my husband. I work in a law firm and know that even on television now such jokes would not be acceptable. Jokes about race are not acceptable. I made my views known to the cruise director and all I got was a patronising response. In this day and age of PC correctness I hope Carnival the owners of Cunard stop this before this becomes a serious issue - I did not hear any jokes about Chinese nationals or French nationals etc. and there were a lot on board - I think you might find they would not find such jokes about their race acceptable either. 4. ITINERARY We were bound in Alexandria for an extra day due to inclement weather. However, we noticed that an old Fred Olsen ship left without coming to any harm. There was a lot of bad feeling on the ship and speculation as no-one believed the Captain when she said it was bad weather. We therefore missed going to Katakolon which was for us one of the highlights of the trip. In Venice where the port closed due to fog -â€" we noted that although the ship was stationary until about 10am in the morning outside Venice we were only told about 5pm that evening that the ship would be going to Trieste and that we had to make our own way to Venice airport. Subsequently we were told by the Pursers' Desk that we would be provided with a transfer to Venice airport and they told us to cancel our taxi pickup previously booked -â€" which cost us (£60.00). The purser then came back to us and told us that Cunard would not provide us with transport to the airport that we would be dropped off at the port and would have to reinstate our original plans which we had cancelled. We are aware of how things can be done correctly on board a ship to make the passengers trust the Captain and the staff but we found that the command structure and communication on the QV was less than acceptable. This was a top down problem and the staff seemed very lacking in motivation because of no clear leadership or direction. Sometimes it seemed as if everyone was working at cross purposes. In conclusion we do not honestly think we would ever consider cruising with Cunard again after all the unnecessary stress, lack of clear management, hygiene and racial issues that we have been subjected to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having cruised with Cunard before we had high expectations of this cruise. Our flight to Athens was uneventful,and embarkation was fairly smooth.We were most impressed with the handling of our luggage which was taken off our hands at ... Read More
Having cruised with Cunard before we had high expectations of this cruise. Our flight to Athens was uneventful,and embarkation was fairly smooth.We were most impressed with the handling of our luggage which was taken off our hands at Heathrow and the next we saw of it was in our cabins! This was a lot better than other flight cruises we had.The cabin was pleasant with ample storage space but the bathroom and shower particularly was very small compared to Celebrities Solstice class ships.The towels also felt small and hard by comparison.Small touches such as binoculars and an umbrella were missing. The ship looks well appointed with abundance of polished wood in the style of an English stately home the Royal court theadre and the Queens Ballroom were bothexcellent and roomy and in par with ships of equal status, The Brittania Restaurant is very attractively designed on two floors and our request for a table for two was accommodated albeit in a rather claustrophobic corner. The standards of food were very acceptable and a vegetarian course appeared every day although the choice could have been better. The stuff in the Restaurant were very polite and and friendly particularly our Goan waiter Glorio.The wines waiter was great and he knew our name from day one a good touch. Now the not so nice part. The Lido buffet restaurant's choice was rather limited in choice and it certainly no much to Ships such as the Eclipse, or Solctise. Apart from the traditional English fare there was pasta and pizza and the occasional stir fry. The breakfasts excluded such stable items as prunes and figs which appeared after passengers complained.The toast was always cold. The stuff also appear to be the same and were mainly unsmiling. On sea days you were hard pushed to find a clean table I guess because people were congregating inside due to the weather Things took a nose dive however after our call to Alexandria.Apart from the torrential ran,rather unexpected in Egypt, the place seemed to be riddled with piles of rubbish.We join an excursion to the Pyramids and after a two hour drive from hell we arrived there to be virtually assaulted by avery aggressive mob of vendors, camel owners and peddlers demanding money from us and even preventing us taking photos. Our guide conveniently stayed on the bus. On arrival back to the ship the captain announced that the port was shut due to inclement weather and consequently we spend an extra 24 hours stack in Alexandria. It was notable that Fred Olsen's 'Boudica' managed to sail!because of the delay we missed our next port of call at Katakolon in Greece. The next two ports were Corfu and Dubrovnik and were both pleasant experiences. But the biggest disappointment was to come when on arrival to Venice we were prevented to dock and after floating outside a port for the whole day the captain decided to sail to Trieste on the Croatian border so a day and a half spend in Venice was missed. From Trieste we were then bused to Marco Polo airport where most annoyingly the fog still persisted.All flights were considerably delayed and some passengers had to be taken to Pergamo (Milan) to fly.This left everyone seething particularly as Cunard was aware of the fog and made no provisions to provide passengers with any food coupons or guidance. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken ... Read More
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken voyages with Princess, P and O , Holland America , and Celebrity, all of which were most pleasurable. The ship is beautiful, of that there can be no doubt. The styling and features were magnificent ,which coupled with the layout and number of alternative facilities available , I believe all tastes were more than adequately catered for. She is indeed a ship of class and refinement. The entertainment again , overall, was superb . The main ballroom was lively up until the late hours , this in the main ,due to the high level of performances by the band, dancers and singers. The main theatre shows were poor , but other lines also seem to find it difficult to provide a higher class of entertainment. I believe all entertainments provided along deck 2 were at an extremely high standard, reflected again by the high numbers attending the evening entertainments. The staff, overall were professional and proficient , however I felt they lacked that natural happy buzz ,prevalent amongst other lines! Two expectations were our table waiter Ragesh and our wine waiter , excellent service with friendly warm genuine personality. We ate in the Princess grill, this was due to our love of good food. I feel that eating in the buffet may have been more beneficial! The standard , consistency , preparation and quality of the food was appalling. I do not expect the head chef to personally prepare and control my food to ensure the best of fare, but a cursory glance after plating and prior to serving may have been beneficial ? Salads obviously not fresh, meat , not of premium quality and basically bland fare. Whilst I considered the meat poor , one couple at an adjacent table complained one evening regarding poor steaks, a few nights later following a similar complaint he requested the attendance of the maitre di. He apologised , saying there was little he could do as it was prepared with the restaurant meat ?? Not really an excuse at all is it.? During the cruise an extensive regime was enforced due to an outbreak of Novovirus. Whilst there was a considerable outcry from some of the passengers at the measures invoked by Cunard to contain the spread, I believe these measures were essential to contain the problem. Pity some of the passengers hadn,t been more vigorous in stemming the spread. The number of people failing to report symptoms as they may have been forced to cabin containment was irresponsible and selfish. We were detained an extra night in Alexandria due to high winds which forced us to miss our Crete port. In my opinion this was a poor call by the captain. I realise that sometimes you make the right decision and no one acknowledges the fact ,and a poor call opens you up to all manner of criticism. I have sailed often enough to know high winds and safe / unsafe weather and as I stated before the weather did not appear any worse than when we sailed the following day. It certainly did not stop another cruise ship and an extremely large ferry sailing when we were supposed to set sail! A similar fiasco occurred at our disembarkation port of Venice. Whilst no one can control the weather , the delays in making some kind of a decision as to intended actions was deplorable. Despite numerous requests as to the status of intended actions, it was not until 10.45pm we were informed that we were to be disembarked at Trieste at 5.30am ( 3 hours prior to our initial disembarkation time ) However on the plus time we did get transported to Venice airport to catch our flight ( albeit 4 hours prior to the flight time !!!! ) Whilst I would seldom criticise individuals actions I believe the captain handled this and other instances with a lack of the necessary confidence, authority and assurance normally displayed at this level. Overall a very disappointing experience, one I shall not be repeating with the Cunard line. Expectations were high but the resultant outcome I would not have expected from a budget line. This could have been a one off " poor show " due to one or two individuals being in the wrong positions but I do not anticipate spending the money to ascertain the outcome. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011

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