6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this particular cruise due to its itinerary. Due to some negative reviews I was becoming increasingly concerned regarding the ships presentation. I should not have worried, the ship was in my view well presented, yes, it is ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise due to its itinerary. Due to some negative reviews I was becoming increasingly concerned regarding the ships presentation. I should not have worried, the ship was in my view well presented, yes, it is showing some wear, however like a good bottle of wine is is aging well. The ships restaurants provided a varied menu, our favourite was however ‘Hot Rocks’ the cuts of meat were excellent, it was a great experience, so much so that out of our 9 night voyage we ate there 5 times. The ships crew at this venue were outstanding in particular Glenn, who ensured our glasses were always full and we wanted for nothing. We had thee points of call on this trip, all of which offered differing experiences, the highlight being Ho Chi Minh city which was a pleasant and immersive assault on the senses. The cruise director Moss was excellent, keeping the guests informed as to the days acrivities, he was both personable and was always interacting with the guests. On the formal night I noticed that I had forgotten to bring my shirt studs with me. To my relief Moss kindly found some suitable alternatives. The only down side of this cruise was having to leave the ship in Singapore. Would I sail Silversea again? ...absolutely. Would I sail on Silver Shadow....without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We had previously taken the Silver Whisper from New York to Bermuda and liked the Silversea product, so we booked the Silver Shadow. We were supposed to depart from Tokyo, but a Tsunami caused Silversea to change the departure port to ... Read More
We had previously taken the Silver Whisper from New York to Bermuda and liked the Silversea product, so we booked the Silver Shadow. We were supposed to depart from Tokyo, but a Tsunami caused Silversea to change the departure port to Inchon, South Korea and we visited Seoul also at that time. Silversea had to cancel all the Japan ports and allowed booked passengers to cancel if they wished, but if they stayed which we did they offered a 1/2 price cruise on a future trip which we did on the Silver Cloud. On the cruise many passengers had cancelled, but we had a light ship. Silversea is a fine cruise line and I think Celebrity realized it so formed Azamara as an answer to Silversea with its personalized service. As a thank you for keeping the booking, Silversea furnished a private car transfer to the Seoul Grand Hotel and furnished us a three step cost free upgrade at the hotel. We had a bus ride from the hotel to the port and didn't even sit down but walked straight to the check in counter and on to the ship with our cabin key. The Silver shadow brought us to Petropavlovsk, Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula and then we visited the Aleutians, Dutch harbor, Kodiak and Homer. Our cabin was mid range and on the pool deck and very nice and roomy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our 3rd Azamara cruise and we eagerly anticipated the opportunity to celebrate Christmas & New Year on board Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Hongkong was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. Our hotel (Marco Polo) ... Read More
This was our 3rd Azamara cruise and we eagerly anticipated the opportunity to celebrate Christmas & New Year on board Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Hongkong was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. Our hotel (Marco Polo) was linked by a new shopping centre walkway to the new cruise terminal but as the immigration hall was not in operation Azamara arranged on board processing. We arrived at midday. Within half an hour we were enjoying a welcome drink and buffet lunch in Windows. Our ocean view stateroom on deck 4 was ready at 1.30pm and our luggage arrived almost immediately. We were welcomed by our steward Danny and his assistant Agostino who gave us excellent service throughout the cruise. We were only a small group (26 people) for The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle cocktail party but the Captain & senior staff still took the time to attend - we were impressed. A highlight prior to our 8.30pm departure was a grandstand view of the Victoria Harbour Symphony of Lights from the deck of Azamara Journey. Azamara has rigorous hygiene & sanitation protocols which were instituted for the first 4 days of the cruise (no self service of food & beverages) We avoided any outbreak of Norovirus & greatly appreciated the extra work & effort by all the crew. Service and food in Windows, Patio and Discoveries were all of a high standard. Captain Tysse and Cruise Director Eric de Grey were both brilliant always highly visible, friendly & superbly professional. As we expected the ship was tastefully decorated for Christmas. Christmas Eve (a sea day) was very festive. We had an excellent Christmas brunch and Christmas carols with Eric and the entertainment team. On Christmas Day we anchored in Halong Bay (a tender port) for an overnight stay. Anticipating an exciting program of Christmas Day celebrations we had booked a Halong Bay shore excursion for the following day. We did not want to miss out on any of the Christmas Day festivities (we also chose not to take the 3 hour drive to Hanoi). We were sadly disappointed! No special entertainment had been planned during the day - neither the piano or guitar entertainers. Discoveries restaurant was closed and Windows and the Patio only had their usual menu. The ship was like a morgue. A crew member said approximately 100 passengers remained on board expecting Christmas Day with all the trimmings. It was a non event until activities resumed with a Christmas quiz at 4pm. and Christmas dinner and very entertaining pantomime in the evening. I put in a written complaint expressing my dissatisfaction at the lack of a daytime Christmas Day program. I received a call from Hotel Director Heike Berdos. Her explanation was that as we were in port on Christmas Day It was the usual port day program and instead they had organised Christmas brunch & entertainment on Christmas Eve! I pointed out that a lot of passengers had come on this cruise to celebrate Christmas Day and also as we were in a tender port a lot of passengers either did not want to or were unable to go ashore. Some passengers were also disappointed with New Years Eve as a highlight in the marketing promotion was “see the New Years Eve fireworks in Saigon” a bit difficult as we left Saigon at 4pm! As the Captain had predicted the weather got rough once we were in open waters. However there was a great party mood on board and we all donned (courtesy of Azamara) our New Years Eve party hats and the entertainment staff had done a great job with the decorations. Despite the conditions the wait staff in Discoveries did a heroic job - not sure how the folks fared up on deck 10 in Aqualina and Prime C ! Like many others owing to the ships motion we never made it up to the Livingroom to see in the New Year. We enjoyed the Azamazing and White Night evenings which are a usual feature of an Azamara cruise however Christmas & New Years Eve cruises are marketed as premium cruises at premium prices and are regarded as an opportunity for a special celebration. Even on “low key” ships such as Azamara we expected a festive Christmas lunch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never cruised With Azamara before however the idea of spending Xmas and New Year on a ship, cruising from Hong Kong to Singapore, with overnight stays at several ports was very compelling. We loved every moment of this cruise! ... Read More
We had never cruised With Azamara before however the idea of spending Xmas and New Year on a ship, cruising from Hong Kong to Singapore, with overnight stays at several ports was very compelling. We loved every moment of this cruise! The Captain was the most friendly, engaging captain we had ever encounted and this friendly, outgoing style was mirrored by the Hotel Manager and the Cruise Director. We could not fault the service and professionalism of any crew member. The Captain and Hotel Manager would often wave us off as we went ashore and all staff would echo the greeting, ‘Welcome Home’, on our return, There were many other highlights including: - the sail away from Hong Kong with its dazzling display of Xmas lights - the beautiful Xmas decorations throughout the ship - the shows and entertainment with the Cruise Director leading the way with his prodigious talent - New Years Eve dinner and show that went on to the wee hours and all guests looked resplendent in their Azamara hats and head dresses - New Years Day buffet - the Azamazing evening, a stunning show in Ho Chi Minh, with music, dance, fireworks, fashion parade and three giant screens displaying scenes from across Vietnam - the White Night deck party with great food and entertainment and the parade of staff - being able to cruise up the Saigon River to The heart of Ho Chi Minh City and up the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok - the Q&A sessions with the Captain, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director provided a deeper level of understanding and appreciation of the ship and it’s operations And much more!! We were sad to see this adventure come to an end and look forward to our next cruise with Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Two nights in Hong Kong's Marco Polo Hotel and two nights at the end in Singapore's Hotel Jen finished off our first Azamara cruise beautifully. Boarding was a breeze but the roll call for the drill after embarking was a total ... Read More
Two nights in Hong Kong's Marco Polo Hotel and two nights at the end in Singapore's Hotel Jen finished off our first Azamara cruise beautifully. Boarding was a breeze but the roll call for the drill after embarking was a total shambles. Due to this fiasco we did not make it to the cruise critic get together. Liked the two nights in ports, size of the ship, being able to cruise up the rivers in Bangkok and Saigon, the first ever bridge lessons by Agnes, and Trivia. Our cruise travelling friends took over from Agnes and we played with them nearly every day. Loved the entertainment with Eric and Alisha, who has the voice of an angel along with the service and quality of the food. What was not to like? Had a X 4 specialty restaurant package but really could have eaten in the restaurant or buffet any time and been just as happy (I don't eat seafood or lamb and very little beef). The couple we were travelling with and my husband love seafood and quality beef and were not disappointed with the chateau Bryon served in the specialty restaurant. We found the quality of the wines quite reasonable as were the cocktails. Must mention that we found some of the food to be quite salty. Even though we have been to all the ports before except for Ko Samui, which in hindsight I would have happily missed, we loved re-visiting them. Shower curtains are so yesterday!!! Want to do another Azamara cruise but need to know that Eric will be part of it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We choose this cruise to coincide with a significant birthday and to make the festive season special. A last minute change of itinerary meant we visited some some less visited ports in Japan. The passengers were a mix from all over the ... Read More
We choose this cruise to coincide with a significant birthday and to make the festive season special. A last minute change of itinerary meant we visited some some less visited ports in Japan. The passengers were a mix from all over the world, not the North American majority normally present on a Regent cruise. This was probably due to its starting and finishing point. We enjoyed the ports and excursions although felt despite the on board decorations, it was not really festive. Christmas dinner, turkey notwithstanding, could have been any night; Regent left an impersonal 'Happy Holidays' card in our room. I guess we expected a bit more song and dance. Our early issues with spotty service were dealt with on board. The entertainment, however, has had a mammoth budget cut. The 'shows' had no sets or props - just video backings. The ;Signature Orchestra' had been halved to a band. And excellent as the musicians were, they lacked the depth of a larger ensemble. The food was of a high standard everywhere, particularly in the signature Compass Rose MDR. The revamp of the MDR however included LED lighting usually set at the UV blue colour normally associated with insect killing machines or anti drug injection sites. H'mm. Regent's biggest asset is their staff and they continued to shine. An enjoyable cruise with few reservations. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We're quite excited to go on the same ship as we traveled on a few years ago and the Itinerary was good before the changes, sad to miss out on Korea but Japan was Fantastic, china was not, The ship is very clean and nice, the crew is ... Read More
We're quite excited to go on the same ship as we traveled on a few years ago and the Itinerary was good before the changes, sad to miss out on Korea but Japan was Fantastic, china was not, The ship is very clean and nice, the crew is friendly and the food is good. The only crew I'm not happy are the x-Eastern european ladies in the reception, they are never helpful, they are very inflexible and should be reminded of how much people pay on this ship. Because of the huge reductions in the price we paid for a butler but would not do this again as you don't meet the cabin stewards and don't get a chance to have a chat and whilst the butler was handy, it felt like there were a lot of interruptions when we tried to relax in the cabin. It feels like the standards have dropped a little since last time 2012, we didn't get a gift on the return home like we did the 1st time. The itinerary changed and we didn't go to Korea, this was disappointing but the extra stops in Japan were great. China was terrible, the organized tours were in dirty busses, the guides were obsessed with money, pretty much all they spoke about, forget about telling us about what the old buildings were. The trip to the Wall was badly organized, getting there only 1h before sunset and there are no lights on the wall, some older (but fit) people walked far and then struggled to return to the bus in the dark. The Chinese officials at the port treated the crew badly on the return to the port, they had them lined up for over an hour, not letting them board the ship for over an hour. A few people got an upset stomach after one of the lunches on the tours in china and on the whole, china is not a place I would go back to. A cold cruise was nice to experience, more energy to walk around the towns in Japan but you do miss out on sitting around the pool, swimming and drinking cocktails. Bingo was very disappointing as the entertaining crew did not promote and tell people that there was Bingo every sea day, they could have made a bigger effort. Regent cruises are very expensive compared to others so I don't think we'll be back, add to that the office in Sydney were not at all helpful or friendly, maybe they need a reminder that they are working for a 5 star company Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My father chose this cruise for our whole extended family to celebrate my maternal grandfather's 92nd birthday. Our party was 21 people. Before I start going into all the inadequacies of this cruise, I have to give a shoutout to ... Read More
My father chose this cruise for our whole extended family to celebrate my maternal grandfather's 92nd birthday. Our party was 21 people. Before I start going into all the inadequacies of this cruise, I have to give a shoutout to the good parts: 1. The Head Waiter Maximino Mondragon was super helpful in securing mutliple tables close to each other for our 21 people at the champagne brunch (extra charge). I went ahead the day before to confirm that we would be coming--it was held during an at-sea day, and Maximino confirmed our tables and promised me he would save us tables. On the actual day, when we showed up, Maximino was not immedaitely available, and his boss and all the other staff basically refused to seat us until ALL 21 of us were there--he was going to make us stand in the hallway to wait! Luckily, when I asked for Maximino, he came and fixed everything. But how we were treated by other staff was typical on the ship--I felt like we were in 1980s Communist China, where they had no clue what customer service was. We had gold card status, and we were herded around like cattle. 2. The Wonderland restaurant food was excellent (extra charge). Everything else about this cruise was terrible. I will never come back to a Royal Caribbean Cruise again (and I will certainly exert my influence to my family not to return.) We have gone on several Crystal Cruises (Symphony and Serenity) and they were a world apart. List of things that were inadequate: 1. The spa experience. My mother and I booked for massages. We showed up 15min early to the spa and were led straight to sit in a waiting area--where the fridge was empty with nothing to drink, nor fruits, nor snacks--unlike any other spa (on land or ship) I have been to. We were never taken to a locker room to change into robes or anything. Our time past and no one came to get us. I finally had to go back out to the check in/out area to tell them no one came for us. Then the lady at the front ran back, and 2 masseuses came to collect my mother and I to the massage room directly where we were directed to take our clothes off and lie on the table. The massages themselves were adequate. However, after our massages, when our bodies were covered in oil, the masseuses asked us to put our own clothes back on and go back out front to check out! So, we asked for bathrobes and slippers and a locker room. As they were leading us (now in bathrobes, grabbing our clothes and shoes and socks) towards the locker room, I mentioned that I was surprised that we weren't led to the locker rooms to put our clothes away and to get bathrobes on first. The masseuses answered that the reason was because we never asked for a locker when we checked in! "we do not advertise the availability of lockers, because we don't have enough of them"--that was the answer! We have subsequently talked to other spa guests and they had similar experiences! Elemis is supposed to run the spa--and I am shocked that it was so poorly managed. Needless to say, I have felt no need to return for any more services. 2. The food: as gold card status members, we had access to this special dining area (Coastal Kitchen) right next to Windjammer--the buffet place. We had to get through throngs of people in line to get to this place, which was uncomfortable enough in and of itself. The food that was served in Coastal Kitchen--the breakfast--was inedible. Bread was cold and hard and the congee tasted like dishwater. Needless to say, I never went back there for another breakfast. 3. My parents were in one of the premier cabins in the rear of the ship with an open loft like floor plan. Every time they have asked their concierge for anything, the answer was no, we can't do that. They were rationed 1 bottle of water per person per day (my sister and I were in the next step down cabin, still gold status, and we were given 1 bottle of water per person the entire cruise). Just as a comparison, my parents had the premium cabin in Crystal, and their concierge gave them a bottle of cristal champagne a day. Obviously, the price point was quite different, and we weren't expecting the same level of service and amenities, but the rationing of water was sad. There was 1 day when my parents' neighbors must have ordered room service. When these guests were done with their meals, they left the trays outside in the hallway (appropriately), and theses trays stayed out in the hallway, not taken away, for HOURS--almost 12 hours. My parents and I were joking we wished we took photographic evidence. 4. Reclaiming our passport: with gold card status, we were told that we could claim our passports in the Concierge Club at a certain time. I went to the Club during that window, and there was no one at the desk in the Club! I waited 20 min and decided to call the concierge using their phone--and it rang right at the desk! At least someone answered the phone. Apparently, they had some difficulties with 1 passenger's passport and they had to go fix the problem--and they're very sorry but they will be back in 10min. I waited another 25min before they showed up again (total wait time: 45min). It is shocking to me that they do not know to either get someone else to cover the desk if one of them had to run off, or leave a notice or something--if I did not call, I wouldn't know if I went to the wrong place, or how I could reclaim my passport! There were multiple other instances where poor management and poor service was the norm. It was SHOCKING. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Far east cruise offers wonderful ports of call. Previously we had travelled with Silversea to Antarctica and had a 5 STAR experience. This was the main draw for our choosing Silversea once again. Unfortunately, the Silver Shadow is in ... Read More
Far east cruise offers wonderful ports of call. Previously we had travelled with Silversea to Antarctica and had a 5 STAR experience. This was the main draw for our choosing Silversea once again. Unfortunately, the Silver Shadow is in desperate need of a trip to dry dock. She is showing her age. Extremely challenging to control stateroom's temperature. Either too hot or too cold were the options. This was a complaint heard throughout the ship on this cruise. Carpeting is showing much wear, walls are scratched, but these cosmetic issues are visual only. There are not enough electrical outlets in the staterooms. NO USB Charging ports whatsoever. If you are travelling, bring along a massive extension cord that allows for multiple plugs. Service by the room staff was impeccable. Fabulous butler and maid. Food was a disappointment. Utterly unable to order decaf coffee in the morning and have it arrive before finishing half of breakfast, A DAILY Occurance. Most disappointing was totally skipping a port. Danang did have some rain and Vietnam did have some limitations on accessing it's port due to APEC meeting. BUT this was on the books for months . No excuse for not having a plan other than floating at sea for and extra 36 hours. Really, overall a nice trip. Just I can't say this was a 5 or even a four star experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After 7 years this was my first cruise on Silversea again. Food was outstanding, crew fantastic. I did not try Le Champagne. Food in La Terrazza, main dining room and Pool grill was just great. We had to cancel on port cause of bad ... Read More
After 7 years this was my first cruise on Silversea again. Food was outstanding, crew fantastic. I did not try Le Champagne. Food in La Terrazza, main dining room and Pool grill was just great. We had to cancel on port cause of bad weather but I think it was a wise decision cause of safety reasons. Yes the ship does need some refurbishment but it is still a beautiful ship. The crew was absolutely fantastic. I never heard anyone saying no to a request or a question. The few shore excursions I've attended have been really good. Especially the trip to the Railway and Floating Market outside of Bangkok. My cabin was great as always and my butler and room attendant did everything they could to make my stay another memorable one. I loved it so much I will be back on the Shadow in February 2018 cruising again South East Asia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This ship is in serious need of a refreshment. It is very tired and worn. The art work looks like something from a second hand shop and is drab and dull. The food was mediocre at best. The La Dame restaurant was a total waste. The ... Read More
This ship is in serious need of a refreshment. It is very tired and worn. The art work looks like something from a second hand shop and is drab and dull. The food was mediocre at best. The La Dame restaurant was a total waste. The tours on the two back to back cruises we took (Hong Kong to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney) were not well vetted and the itinerary on the second cruise was poorly chosen. No overnights in the major ports and stops at very small remote towns. We will not sail on Silver Sea again as most of the guests on our cruise that we socialized with. The Italian influence here is so out of touch with what people want. The formal nights inflicted on the guests is so ridiculous, only a few people wanted to dress in their kilts or high school dinner jackets. There should be an alternative besides dining in you room. People are on vacation so don't be so worried about shorts in common areas after 6 PM! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My cousin, Alec Graham, had cruised several times with Silversea, and he asked us to accompany him and his wife on the cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore, which we did. It was a terrific experience, as my cousin and other friends of ... Read More
My cousin, Alec Graham, had cruised several times with Silversea, and he asked us to accompany him and his wife on the cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore, which we did. It was a terrific experience, as my cousin and other friends of ours predicted. The ship was perfect in comfort and seaworthiness, the cabin comfortable and lacking nothing at all, the steward well-trained and very affable, the food very good in all the restaurants. On the sailing and entertainment side, the crew was always accessible and helpful, the entertainment program top quality with crew members doing a super job singing and dancing, and outside talents first rate, and the theater is very good in layout and acoustics. Finally, the shore excursions support group was definitely up to the challenges they faced on a daily basis, transportation vehicles and Immigration paperwork were no problem, and the restaurants chosen were very good as well. We're already looking for another cruise for this year! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We explored our departure and ariival cities on our own. We used some of the ship's excursions and also those provided by Abercrombie & Kent. The ship definitely needs to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We explored our departure and ariival cities on our own. We used some of the ship's excursions and also those provided by Abercrombie & Kent. The ship definitely needs to be refurbished - it's old and tired looking. The gym, spa and beauty parlor also needs to be modernized. Our cabin was nice and spacious - just a bit dark and very small veranda that needed to be better maintained. The TV in the room didn't work well and the ship should provide more than 1 hour of wifi service per day. The food and service in Main Dining Room was very good. La Terraza restaurant was OK and the buffets offered during the day were mediocre. Room service was very good!! Our meal in Le Champagne was outstanding! The evening in La Terraza on the 19th featuring the visiting French chef was excellent! The Grill during lunch was OK but the wait staff were frequently overwhelmed with the number of guests to serve. The SilverSea singers were very talented and enjoyable, the pianist, Nataliia was excellent but the guitarist/singer Charlie's repertoire was not current. The girls in the Beauty Parlor should speak better English. Our wait staff were all great as were the butler and his assistant. The Concierges need more training on what if offered in the Ports of call. It's time for the Cruise Director to retire. We would go again perhaps on a newer ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Wanted to see Asia for the first time, we were on this phone two months after it was launched in, South America. I can remember the services being some of the best I've ever had told my friends it was just like eating at a fine ... Read More
Wanted to see Asia for the first time, we were on this phone two months after it was launched in, South America. I can remember the services being some of the best I've ever had told my friends it was just like eating at a fine restaurant we're staying at a luxury hotel, those things have change drastically, most restaurants were hard to get into if not impossible, waitstaff varied from being Very good to not knowing what they were doing at all. My wife and I will continue to search for ship that meets our expectations. Suggestions would be that the Service is improved through better training of the people in charge of the guests, you should do away with the reservations on the restaurants, many restaurants were not filled to capacity, and the excuse was we did not have enough waitstaff to appropriately serve the extra tables , therefore we did not Seat them, Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We recently completed a 14 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. The itinerarywas great as it took us to Vietnam, Thailand and terminated in Singapore. Before booking this cruise I specifically asked if the ship had been refurbished ... Read More
We recently completed a 14 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. The itinerarywas great as it took us to Vietnam, Thailand and terminated in Singapore. Before booking this cruise I specifically asked if the ship had been refurbished and was assured that indeed it had been. However, Silversea uses this word differently than most people on our cruise as the dated decor was the common unifying topic amongst the guests. It was extremely disappointing as the interior is in serious need of modernization; the color scheme, the upholstery, the furnishings and the carpet all need work. The attention to detail that used to distinguish Silversea appears to have disappeared. Gone is the champagne waiting in your suite when you arrive, the orchid is left in it's plastic container and stuffed into a too small ceramic pot so balances precariously. The food on board was equivalent to mediocre hotel banquet fare. A number of the included shore excursions were not worth the time. A visit to the Artist Village in Ho Chi Minh City was so bad that one bus load from the ship convinced their tour guide to return them to the ship ahead of schedule, while others from the ship called taxis to take them back to the ship rather than waiting for the tour to be over. I understand the guests who took the Ko Samui Jeep Tour had an equally unsatisfactory experience as well. Not sure I'm going to rush back to Silversea but instead will try some of it's competitors as it appears Silversea has lost it's way. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Choose your cruise mates the way you choose your food. That’s because chances are the people you cruise with will determine the kind of food served on the ship. And, of course, the kind of companionship and conversation you will ... Read More
Choose your cruise mates the way you choose your food. That’s because chances are the people you cruise with will determine the kind of food served on the ship. And, of course, the kind of companionship and conversation you will enjoy. For example, when up-market travel specialists Abercrombie & Kent USA chartered Ponant’s L’Austral for a Ryukyu Islands cruise from Osaka to Taiwan and Hong Kong, most of those A&K passengers came from the U.S. So A&K arranged with the ship to provide menus and food items that would appeal to Americans – even though some people on that cruise came from other countries. If you had been expecting rich French food and strong cheeses, you might have been disappointed with the more U.S. style of food items on offer – though, of course, their quality and quantity were what you would expect on a good cruise ship. Still, most cruise ship kitchens will respond to reasonable special requests if, in the above case, you had asked for more French style food…or for a strong cheese. Presumably that sort of cuisine was regularly served to at least the senior officers. Re-provisioning on this trip took place whenever the opportunity presented itself – taking on local seafood or fruit, for example. So that was always a treat. While the cruise ship provides the base for all the action – both on the water and on land – people who travel with A&K are looking for adventure experiences. This president's cruise (which turned into a chairman's cruise, reflecting former A&K USA president Phil Otterson's promotion to chairman of the board) certainly delivered – and, as a bonus, included a captain who had been captured along with his crew and ship by Somali pirates. But more about that later. This is an ideal expedition style ship, with just 134 passenger cabins yet with all the comforts and extras you come to expect from a luxury small ship. The balconies are actually wide enough to comfortably fit two chairs and an ottoman. Our itinerary took us to many of the little-known, little-visited Ryukyu Islands stretching away from the southwestern end of Japan’s main islands. The docks could accommodate us, so it was easy to embark and disembark to go ashore to explore the countryside on one of the three excursions A&K offered at each stop. As for the Somali pirate incident, that ship-napping took place in 2008 when Somali pirates fired on and then boarded the sailing ship Le Ponant, under the command of Patrick Marchesseau, now L’Austral’s captain. “It was scary when they came shooting at us with their Kalashnikovs but then it turned into more of a business transaction,” says Marchesseau, who managed to bargain the pirates down to USD$2 million from their original USD$3 million demand. His crew of 30, including seven women who had initially hidden below decks, were released; the captain was held hostage until the money had been paid. French navy helicopters then managed to capture some of the pirates, who had scattered on land, and recovered 20 per cent of the ransom. “When I told my three young daughters about what happened, I said it was like Captain Hook and I was Peter Pan,” said Marchesseau, who lives in Edmonton with his Canadian wife. He was awarded France’s Medal of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and wrote a book about the hijacking. But even if your captain hasn’t been captured by pirates, the bottom line is: think international when you go cruising these days and enjoy more than just your home culture. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
21 cruises and 19 years after we first set sail on Radisson's "Song of Flower", which soon became Ponant's "Le Diamant", we at last experienced L'Austral and French hospitality. In the meantime we have ... Read More
21 cruises and 19 years after we first set sail on Radisson's "Song of Flower", which soon became Ponant's "Le Diamant", we at last experienced L'Austral and French hospitality. In the meantime we have sailed on many Seabourn cruises, some Radisson/Paul Gauguin, several Silversea, and a memorable trans-Atlantic trip on Cunard's QM2. We should have joined Ponant years earlier. As we made our way south along the coast of Vietnam, eventually to reach Brunei and Kota Kinabalu, we were delighted to find we again were back in the golden days of cruising; before the vessels were overrun with some of the grumpy non-travellers who have written some of these reviews. First, we were at last free of the structured, dress coded, regimented approach of Seabourn and (to a lesser extent) Silversea. From captain to repair mechanic, nothing was a problem. The elegant French ladies of reception, the restaurant maitre d's, the superb guest relations staff - all were faultless. Now its true that, with delightful Gallic insouciance, some who thought themselves important and could only converse in demands were put down in that delightful French way - service slowed down for example. With half our passengers French for a start, such delicate responses did not happen to many! The food was exceptional. The chef had the pride and the courage to simply offer his best- none of the "branded" marketing which has in the past been pushed at us that the menu is by some American chef unknown to us but apparently revered in his country. Ponant does not splash out on vast ranges of menu items, but instead provides what you would get in a family hotel in France. Good food, well cooked and presented. The sous chef who spent his night on the baguettes, brioches, pain du chocolate, and croissants made breakfast a delight. For the first time ever, the coffee was always equal to the best in Italy (or New Zealand). The tours were fascinating and left on time. They were excellent value, taking us to parts of Vietnam we could not have experienced by simply going ashore. Disembarkation was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Don't go on Ponant if you want a casino, trivia quiz sessions, or the intrusion on your holiday of attempts at mass jollity. Don't go if you think your cabin should be the size of an American hotel room and you intend to spend your time inside it. The compact cabin suites are, like many European hotel rooms, practical bases from which to have your holiday outside them not in them. Intelligent engaged older children would learn much - on this cruise there were none of any kind. Do go if you want quality entertainment like a ballet group of five, a classical pianist, and a singing duo of ability. A captain and crew tuned to your needs, an entertainment director who is a true professional, and a vision of cruising which seeks to provide what you want, not impose their ideas on your holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose the cruise because of a great experience in 2016 Istanbul to Venice aboard Le Lyrial. The ship and crew were excellent.Kamel was full of energy and fun. The food was excellent although some of the menu selections were odd ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of a great experience in 2016 Istanbul to Venice aboard Le Lyrial. The ship and crew were excellent.Kamel was full of energy and fun. The food was excellent although some of the menu selections were odd for an asian cruise. I would like to have been offered some Asian European fusion options. Our prestige stateroom was clean and well appointed but uncomfortably smaller than we had on Le Lyrial. No larger options were available when we booked. The entertainment was very good. Shore excursions were disappointing; millions of busy people on motor bikes are amusing for only so long. Ha Long Bay and Hoi An were the pick of locations visited. The reality does not measure up to the travel brochure pictures and descriptions. Guides were obviosly very knowledgable and proud of their country but commentaries generally too detailed to the extent of being tedious. Better to cover more ground, see more and hear less statistics , data and dates. Embarcation in HK was terrible; mind you the contrast between the clean and welcoming ship and the drab grubby waiting area ashore may have been a cunning ploy. Internet services were poor. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We like Cunard for still keeping the style of cruising. There are some formal nights with formal/cocktail dress ups, but we like it. We like that the company keep the same dress code for dinners at the restaurant. It is classical style. ... Read More
We like Cunard for still keeping the style of cruising. There are some formal nights with formal/cocktail dress ups, but we like it. We like that the company keep the same dress code for dinners at the restaurant. It is classical style. The ship is beautiful, very clean and service is outstanding. Embarkation and disembarkation both were very organized and went so smoothly and quick. Ports of call were new for us, we went out to shore excursions at each port. But we did not buy all shore excursions from the ship, some of them were expensive compare to some on-line companies that offered shore tours. The tours that we bought from the ship were very well organized and very informative too. This ship is not so good for children, there are no children playgrounds and pools are plain, without any slides. There are mostly elderly people on the ship and it did not bother me, but for young people there are not much to do in the evening: bars closed early and dance club is only one for the whole ship. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This 7 night cruise was our 4th time aboard Mary, and our 5th week in terms of days. We were keen to see the changes made during the refit last year as we had spent 16 nights on her just prior (BNE/HKG) Boarding at HKG was great, we ... Read More
This 7 night cruise was our 4th time aboard Mary, and our 5th week in terms of days. We were keen to see the changes made during the refit last year as we had spent 16 nights on her just prior (BNE/HKG) Boarding at HKG was great, we were in the 4th group called and were on board by 1pm and by 2pm we had squared all our clothes away and were enjoying the complementary sparkling wine on our balcony. Refit Changes - As mentioned by many others, the carpet is a little odd, not the design (I think the starburst design is good) but mainly the faded aspect of one side of the passageways. The Carinthia lounge is much better than the Wintergarden but alas, we liked it before because it was so quiet and now it is very popular, so that is a success for the ship, we still spent a fair bit of time there for lunch. The new deck 13 cabins provided a "deck 14" viewing option which is awesome (see photos), gives a really good aspect without detracting from Mary's overall look.We talked to one lady who was in the new single cabins and she offered us a look, these (as expected) were fantastic, lovely marble bathroom, king single bed and a chaise lounger to look out the large window, the wife and I wish we could book one of these for us as a couple - so roomy! Food possibly was not quite as good as previous voyages, we dined at the Veranda and that was top notch quality, ambiance still poor as there were only a few diners, Cunard need to reduce the price to get more people dining, last year it was USD50 for us both in Todd English, now the V charges USD50 each and I dont think we would go back again unless it was bustling. Smoker's still occupy a small area on the main pool deck 8 as well as deck 7, I think they should be confined to deck 7 as aft as possible. Our cabin being balcony deck 11 was terrific, bed just as relaxing as ever, loved the balcony, hopefully the next refit will see the bathroom improved which is now a little dated, especially seeing the new single stateroom bathrooms. Our only port stop was Laem Chabang and we did not feel like a long bus trip to Bangkok and wanted to maximise our time on the ship.Overall another great trip on Mary, shame it was so short but this was a great value trip for us and looking to book our next trip to continue our round the world trip on her, one sector each year..... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this ship for a very special holiday. It was our 55 wedding anniversary and my wife birthday and my 80th. We paid top money for a good kabin.We paid £16.500.00 For the trip. Flying to Hong Kong and sailing back to Southampton.The ... Read More
We chose this ship for a very special holiday. It was our 55 wedding anniversary and my wife birthday and my 80th. We paid top money for a good kabin.We paid £16.500.00 For the trip. Flying to Hong Kong and sailing back to Southampton.The facilities on the ship where all overcrowded. The buffet in the day was good that is when you could find a table. The evening meals were very poor. All the excursions where expensive The drinks were.The was an outbreak of the novo virus which I unfortunately court. We also spoke to many other passengers who had paid a lot less than We paid.0verall we did not like this ship at all. We would not recommend this ship to anyone. When we wrote to Cunard they never even had the decency to reply.This was a waste of time and money and we will never use Cunard again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Sydney to Hong Kong 28 days on the ship.First stop Brisbane in a container terminal.shuttle bus into the city, next stop Cairns then PNG then it was good by to sunshine until we reached Hong Kong .We had a lot of See days on this cruise ... Read More
Sydney to Hong Kong 28 days on the ship.First stop Brisbane in a container terminal.shuttle bus into the city, next stop Cairns then PNG then it was good by to sunshine until we reached Hong Kong .We had a lot of See days on this cruise with limited activities due to bad weather.Accommodation and food was good ,free 24 hour room service,or ongoing food in the Lido deck up to 2am each day.This ship has a wonderful theatre with a different show each night that we really enjoyed .The ship has a very good ball room if you like to dance and for any single women wanting to travel they have several dance hosts that will dance every dance.On our cruse they had eight formal nights I found this two many due to the amount of luggage you needed but you have to remember you still have a luggage allowance when you fly home so you need to be creative with your outfits.There are free washing machine and dryers on each floor and washing powder is provided free. Shore days getting of the ship especially if you went by tender could take up to three hours to get of then going through customs in each country also took up a lot of time we were often late getting on our tours so we were often very rushed to get back on time.My favourite place was Japan they made us very welcome I would definitely go back there one day.The culture on the ship was like upstairs downstairs the staff didn't engage in conversation if you asked a question they would answer with no further discussion all the staff did there job well but they didn't look happy.I loved the ship and would love to go on it again in better weather Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
To put this review in perspective, here is some background. We cruise this segment almost every year at the same time for our wedding anniversary, using Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Cunard from Hong Kong back to Singapore. We also love ... Read More
To put this review in perspective, here is some background. We cruise this segment almost every year at the same time for our wedding anniversary, using Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Cunard from Hong Kong back to Singapore. We also love dancing and spend most of each evening on the dance floor. So the starting and ending ports are all that matter and the ports in between, we have been to more times than we care too. We went with pretty high expectations after wonderful experiences on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary, we were quite disappointed with the Queen Elizabeth. Embarkation in Hong Kong was a breeze, we arrived a few hours before the sated embarkation time ( at 1pm instead of 3:30pm) and encountered no queues anywhere. Our complaint was that the staff posted around the terminal building to direct people were not very proactive and maybe a bit racist. A couple dragging a carryon bag with Cunard tags and a sheaf of documents would obviously be looking for the Cunard check-in desk, no? They did not smile or point the way out to us but were quick to greet and direct any Caucasian walking past, even if they did not have a suitcase! We were able to go straight to our cabin which was ready, with a bottle of champagne chilling on the table. Our cabin was quite large(see cabin review) and close to all the things we wanted to get to however, very noisy on the last night as it was next to all the crew working areas. We booked early and so had early seating with a quiet table for 2, much in demand I heard, which was set well away from other tables- unlike another cruise where it was separated from the next table by 10cm. Our waiter was the 2nd worst we have had on any cruise. He was unsmiling, distracted and constantly facing away from his tables, fiddling with the silverware over and over instead of looking at his tables to see if we needed anything. He did not try to make any conversation not even to greet us on arrival! He never tried to make any food recommendations, never asked the standard " how is everything?", did not remember simple requests from the previous night (I asked for a slice of lemon in my water, the next night there was a small plate of sliced lemons on his service table but he never brought it to us). We had excellent service from other wait staff at lunch and breakfast so perhaps it was just the one person. Unfortunately the MDR waiter is the person we interact with the most on a cruise and so this gave a poor impression of the service levels. We had informed Cunard that we were celebrating our anniversary. We got a card in the room but not a whisper in the dining room. Food was disappointing but beautifully plated. All the fish was dry and over cooked. The only edible poultry was the duck and even that was just passable. Only the red meats were good. The side dishes did not complement the mains well. We went for the afternoon tea on the first day, white gloved service wasn't too happy we asked for Earl Grey instead of the generic tea they were serving. Sandwiches were dry and fillings were miserly. They only had dry raisin scones that were COLD! Cakes were poor quality ( we later found that they use Cadbury's cooking chocolate now - so brownies and chocolate cake did not taste of chocolate!).We did not bother to make it for subsequent teas. In previous cruises, this was one of the highlights of the afternoons. The best part of the cruise was the dance lessons - Sergey and Olga were amazing. They were able to teach more than 60 people, mostly beginners, in 45 minutes to dance quite complicated steps with good technique. Although we already dance well, we were still able to learn a thing or two from them. We spent most evenings on the dance floor in the Queens Room. It was large and a beautiful space to dance in when there was recorded music. The band spoilt it a little as they were not open to requests and there was a lot of down time between songs. They said they had a set of songs to play ( hence not keen to allow requests and yet did not seem to know which song it was they were going to play next and there was a lot of discussion between members before playing each song). The vocalist really ruined it. Everytime he appeared, you could almost hear the groans from the serious dancers. He was full of himself and used the same lame jokes every night that were very insulting and disrescpectful of his several ex-wives. Lots of talk before each song, called out the wrong dance ( could not tell the difference between a Viennese waltz and a Slow waltz) and switched tempos ( a big no-no in dance music) midway and always ended with a sudden stop which gave no time for any nice end to our dancing. The dance hosts on this cruise were all good dancers and all the single ladies seemed well catered to. We enjoyed having a matinee show in the Royal Theatre called La Danza - put up by the ships singers and dancers. They were not very good but certainly helped pass the time nicely. The magician/comedian on one of the nights was very entertaining. The rest of the programming was quite boring with hardly anything of interest to do in the afternoons. We did not join in the ship excursions as we had already visited both ports ( Nha Trang and Phu My) several times. Instead we took the free shuttle to Cho Dam ( market and bought lots of fish sauce - a specialty of Nha Trang and vietnamese coffee, followed by a very cheap and excellent massage at Sen Spa. We took a small group tour ( just 4 of us) with " Best Tours in Vung Tau" to visit the Long Phouc tunnels, local market and a fruit farm with an excellent home cooked lunch and accompanied by a very hospitable guide-owner. Both activities are highly recommended for people who have already done the usual tours in the 2 ports. Nha Trang was a tender port and it was a nightmare. While I totally understand the extra caution that QE was taking ( after the tragic incident they had on the same sector 2 years ago). Only 3 tenders were running and the waiting time to board one was almost 2 hours. We witnessed a poor family of 8 given tickets for tender number 22 who were told to go away for a coffee and come back in 45 minutes as the Queens Room was too full ( we were told the same thing as we were behind them and given the a number for 2 boats later). We remained in the Queens Room. No annoucements were made in the ship when the tender numbers were called, only in the Queens Room. When that family came back 35 minutes later, they were told they had missed their boat and given new tickets for 32! which meant another 1 and a half hour wait. Amazingly they remained cool! Perhaps there were safety constraints that prevented putting on more tenders so the wait may have been unavoidable BUT there were many ways they could have improved the experience like providing pastries and coffee while people waited, making ship wide annoucements if tender numbers came up before the expected time etc which they did not do. I was not impressed. As Gold members we had 2 hours of free internet each which was a nice perk. The connection was slow but good enough for confirming tours and quick checkins home. Part of the thing about cruising is getting away from computers anyway. It was the shortest cruise we had on Cunard ( previous ones were 8 and 9 days) but we were actually quite glad to get home in Singapore as the overall experience was not great. We did self help disembarkation in Singapore at 7am and it was quick and efficient as usual. There was a little glitch at immigration as they had not put up the guide ropes to allow Singaporean passengers to use the automated passports gates, soon rectified. Lots of taxis were waiting so we did not have to use Uber. We will probably cruise Cunard again but we will take the Queen Mary and never Queen Elizabeth. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
My first cruise as a solo traveller but part of an escorted tour. As a result, I cannot compare with other cruises. However, I am a seasoned luxury solo traveller (mainly SE Asia). I have to say that QE generally does not compare with ... Read More
My first cruise as a solo traveller but part of an escorted tour. As a result, I cannot compare with other cruises. However, I am a seasoned luxury solo traveller (mainly SE Asia). I have to say that QE generally does not compare with the 5 star hotels I have stayed in. It was more 4 star. Everything you need but not "plush". Embarkation was initially a bit of a disappointment after walking up the gang way and greeting by a empty deck, with no directions as to where to go. However, one passing staff member felt sorry for us and pointed us in the right direction. Not a great start. Once we were greeted you were pretty much left to your own devices. I wasn't sure what to do but I headed to my cabin (more on the cabin later). I am very independent but as it was my first cruise, Cunard should have had someone proactively greeting and helping passengers. There were a lot of crew there mainly promoting the spa and beauty services. This promoting continued through the cruise every time I entered the Lido deck and go very annoying after a while. I was very interested to do some enrichment lectures and selected a session in Acupunture. A complete waste of time because it was another promotion where the practitioner wouldn't answer questions without you making an appointment. Truly awful! After that I didn't attempt anymore enrichment. I liked the shows on board a comedian and a group of guy singers from the UK. Both very good, though the shows were short. The singers seemed to have a limited rehearsed list of songs as some were repeated the second time I saw them. In saying this I think the entertainment was pretty good. Food was generally good in the Brittania restaurant but lunch there on one day was lacklustre. The pub was fun for a meal. I did not like The Lido at all. I don't like buffets and I don't like the lack of hygiene factor. Cunard really try but so many passengers are not conscious of practising good hygiene. Consequently, people got sick and then there was some kind of red alert resulting in cling film being plastered over the serving areas and staff serving resulting in big queues. Looked like a large cafeteria in a 1960's department store. I was advised before boarding that we had to buy our drinking water on board. That is so not ok with me...this is Cunard, this was water (a basic to live) it should be free of at least very inexpensive. It was not! Wine was obscenely expensive. I bought two bottles of wine and they were $90 Aud each. I am not a cheapskate but I am not wealthy and I think that was an absolute rip-off. I paid it because I like a glass of wine with dinner but I detest being ripped off. I may be painting a bleaker picture than the reality, it was a good cruise and I really enjoyed myself but I guess I had loftier expectations than the actual reality. I have found a new interest in cruising and would still consider Cunard except they are not going to the destinations I am considering for my next trip. I think I am going to try Crystal next time as it might suit me more and they are going where I am interested. Read Less
86 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and ... Read More
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and helpful The food was less than we expected for we always heard how great their food was. Very little deviation from Resturant to Resturant . The wine that is offered is very low quality. The alcohol is high quality offering many top brands The internet. They charge you by the minute for internet usage. Now this cruise line is the most expensive cruise line out there and then they want to charge you outraging prices to connect to the internet. The internet is slower than the old dial up. Really? The modern tech allows for high speed connections so this is pure and simple a way to drag more revenue from its passengers. The pool had the normal trolls who come out at daylight and put their stuff on chairs around pool leave and the pool staff did nothing. When I pointed out that the daily program told of the ships policy that chairs could only be left for no more than 30 minutes unattended they demurred and did nothing. The off shore excursions were absolutely terrible. For instance in Bangkok the ship ported 2.5 hours from Bangkok. 2.5 hour. There is a port closer to the city but they chose this one. Semi reap. This is for the 3 day 2 night trip to Angkor Wat. The first day was comprised of a day in Sinnaokville. This included a tour of a private residence , a school and a market. Total waste of time. Everybody's was disappointed Then we boarded a plane for Seim Reap. We were housed in a fine hotel. We were told that dinner was in a buffet and we were allowed 1 beer of 2 sodas. This is after we left a ship, which we paid for unlimited drinking privileges no credit given for those privileges. So we paid for drinks rooms and food on a ship and were given no such credit many of us ran our own hotel bar and Resturant tabs .The second day was great followed by a dinner program which was fun. We flew back to Saigon the next morning Next we took a day trip in haLong bay. This was a kayak excursion. Well we were put in a boat for the 1.5 hour ride to the kayak base. For the entire ride over we were subjected to,non stop soliciting by the boat operators to buy their stuff. We were captive. Then when we arrived at the kayak base we were offered equipment that was not safe. The life jackets were moldy the kayaks were trash paddles junk.They has holes in the hulls and loading was very difficult. There is a speed boat base very near the kayak base. Every minute there would be a speed boat with 24 happy asians flying by the kayaks. The waves were plentyful and large.It is a wonder that nobody flipped. In addition the guide was the last person so there was no leader. One of our party had the paddle break in mid trip and the guild had no substitute. The paddles were taped up with rusty nails exposed. There was no seaborn rep with our tour. We were served lunch on the boat which was cooked in the back of this boat. Again we were offered 1 beer. If we wanted more than one we to purchase for $4.00. Was it too much to ask for seaborn to throw on a case of beer? I guess so.we then went to visit the caves. Pretty awesome. It should be noted that this excursion requires a 250 step uphill climb to the cave entrance. While we had no problem others could not make it and had to remain on the junk. They said the program was not clear on the details required and they certainly would not have signed up if they had known of the climb The return to the ship. Again 1.5 hours of nonstop badgering by the staff to buy their junk. We went to complain about the whole mess to the tour director and she sat there stonefaced ,she did take ones The on board entertainment was very good and a joy to watch. Very professional After hoping for a great experience we walked away feeeling slightly fleeced but happy we safe after the treacherous kayaking mess. We were anticipating a first class adventure and ended up feeling like this was a budget job taking our money for slow speed internet and poor off ship excursions.which were not cheap. We were ready ,prior to the cruise , to sign up for an Antarctic cruise but there is no way we would trust Seaborne to deliver. They would more than likely charge up by the minute for jackets but offer the ice for free! We asked for a Seaborne rep to call but we exp Ct that will not happen l we have heard that since they sold out to whomever the service has declined. We talked with more than one other on the cruise that also was disappointed. One of those had Ben on 9 Seaborne cruises and said that this was their last. Too bad Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise