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6 Istanbul to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

traveled as a single with another couple. The food was great, the tours were great, the size of the ship was great. The crew was friendly and efficient, My only issue was that as a single person who had paid double I had hoped to find ... Read More
traveled as a single with another couple. The food was great, the tours were great, the size of the ship was great. The crew was friendly and efficient, My only issue was that as a single person who had paid double I had hoped to find other single on the cruise but did not,as a result iI did feel awkward and I am sure that it did flavour my enjoyment of the trip. The included airfare was very difficult to manage as a single, I was initially booked with my friends on both flights to and from Europe but 2 weeks before the flight was to have left Vanguards airfare department put on different flights, we had to cancel those flights at a group rate and replace them with higher priced tickets in order to travel together. I supposed that had I been a seasoned traveler I might have decided to take a different trip. all in all it is a nice trip for a couple but not that comfortable for someone traveling solo, at least not for me as a widower. The educational presentations and tours I would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 ... Read More
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 years). However, when we were last on an Azamara cruise two years ago, we raved about the food served in the Dining Room. We thought it was wonderful. Not so now. It seems rather run of the mill now. For example, while they served small lobster tails, they were overdone, the rib-eye steak was very thin and we had a portion of what seemed a cornstarch gravy on it; after the first few days the walnuts at breakfast were removed and were replaced by thinly sliced almonds, the seafood was not special, etc., etc. This diminishment in food quality is a disappointment, especially since the prices for Azamara’s cruises seem to be going up quite a bit. Azamara prices now reach into the ‘luxury’ cruise category, yet the food, the cabins, and the fact that you have to pay to dine in the specialty restaurant do not measure up to a ‘luxury’ cruise. Too bad. However we must admit that we did enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants. Alex deserves super kudos for his management and leadership in the specialty restaurants; so does his wait staff. We also thought that Azamara’s excursions are very expensive and were not the best quality. The Azamazing Evening was First Class! It was well organized and managed, the offerings were traditional and local, the transportation to and from the ship was flawless and the entertainment was just special. This event was a highlight of the cruise. We experienced recently, on a luxury cruise line, for nearly the same price, much better food, a suite, a butler, and being able to eat at no extra cost in all of their restaurants, including the specialty restaurants. Will we cruise with Azamara again? Most likely not at their current high pricing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I have sailed with Celebrity 15 or 20 times. In fact,for good quality at a reasonable cost, they have been our favorate.That was until a few weeks ago. At that time, we sailed on the Constellation from Istanbul, Turkey. ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with Celebrity 15 or 20 times. In fact,for good quality at a reasonable cost, they have been our favorate.That was until a few weeks ago. At that time, we sailed on the Constellation from Istanbul, Turkey. Check-in at the pier was as poorly conducted as we have ever encountered. (leaving the ship, last day, was fine) First, the good news.The ship itself is new and well maintained. The staff and crew were wonderful, as was the entertainment, for the most part. The bad news is that dinners onboard were well below average. In the past, this was a Celebrity strong point. They seem to be "cutting corners" and it shows. An example, a few folks in our group ordered coconut shrimp. Plain old regular shrimp arrived, no coconut breading included. When this was questioned, we were told that the clear sauce over the shrimp had a coconut flavor. The fish served was not good, salmon excepted. Meats were not up to past Celebrity standards. One meal selection was so over-salted that everyone sent it back. Another negative was that on this cruise to Greece and Turkey, not once did the ship play Greek or Turkish music. In fact, they refused to when asked. We were told that headquarters dictated what music was to be played and they could not change. Nor was there any greek or Turkish entertainment. The captain homself told me that he did not think passengers wanted to enjoy local The average age of the passengers was about 60 years old and the pool entertainment was usually loud,music, was the type a 15 year old would listen to, and loud! On the other hand, in the gym, spa music was playing instaed of peppy music. I could go on but the point I am trying to make is that, at least as I see it,a quality line has dropped a notch or two, especially in the food area.Cost-cutting seems to be rearing it's ugly head. Too bad! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
First off this is a beautiful ship. The wow factor is on offer in spades. The ship is beautifully furnished. The cabins, we had a balcony on level 7, were just fine. Even the tiny bathroom was adequate. We chose the cruise initially ... Read More
First off this is a beautiful ship. The wow factor is on offer in spades. The ship is beautifully furnished. The cabins, we had a balcony on level 7, were just fine. Even the tiny bathroom was adequate. We chose the cruise initially because of the ports of call in the Black sea and we were not disappointed. We benefited from a very knowledgeable guest lecturer who would stand on deck, with a mike, from time to time but especially in Gallipoli, telling the story of the area. However it was not all good!! First off the food. We tend to prefer to eat in the self service areas on ships. We find the food tends to be better than in the main restaurants, fresher and the choices are more obvious Having said that we decided to give the restaurant a go on the first night. I ordered turkey parmesan. This dish may or may not have ever seen a grain of parmesan but it was dry and inedible. I complained. They attempted to restore the dish, by adding cheese, with limited success. The following night as recompense, they made me, as a special, rack of lamb. It was great; they can do it right when they want. I did not feel I could ask for this special treatment every night so we went to the Windows cafe for the rest of the cruise. A lovely place to be with wonderful staff. The kitchen staff, however, had not been trained in how to preserve food once it had left the kitchen and before serving. This meant that high quality food was invariably cold or dry. I pointed this out and they improved but why didn't they know? So food quality was patchy. To say the least. The other disaster occurred around the pool. The pool area is adequate. I decided to give it a try. There must have been some kind of chemical imbalance in the water. My eyes started to stream, became painful and red. They are still a tad sore now, one week later, as with many large organisations they went into denial when told of a problem but others were also seen to be suffering. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY UNFORGIVABLE. Special mention must be made of Richard, the food and beverage manager, and the Hotel Director. Two really nice guys who took personal ownership of problems and aimed to sort things out. Now Azamara, as many will know, have just completed a rebranding. Wines are now "free", gratuities are built into the price etc. etc. We were fortunate; we paid the price prior to the new rates being announced. The cruise may well have been worth the old price. I doubt that it was worth the new money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Azamura Club Cruises sell themselves as a Luxury Club Cruising option offering an interesting and slightly different itinerary, excellent food, luxury accommodation and a tip top crew offering a discreet and friendly service. Azamura get ... Read More
Azamura Club Cruises sell themselves as a Luxury Club Cruising option offering an interesting and slightly different itinerary, excellent food, luxury accommodation and a tip top crew offering a discreet and friendly service. Azamura get 2.5 out of 5 for this and 5 stars for selling an expectation!. Itinerary - The Black Sea itinerary is very worthwhile, the low points being the two V's Varna and Volos, but Odessa, Sevastopol and Yalta make up for those, as does the overnight in Istanbul - a superb starting point. Do try to get to the opera house in Odessa for a performance, the atmosphere and ambience is not to be missed. Excellent food - Sorry, not even 3 star overall and therefore very disappointing. Why, well they certainly try, but they concentrate more on quantity than quality. The food presentation is unimaginative, bordering on poor, the crockery very plain, and the whole dining experience lacks finesse. We dined in all the restaurant choices: Aqualina was by far the best - a lighter, more stylish option with better quality food and much better in presentation. Prime C, as the name suggests, concentrates on prime cuts of meat, and although the meat was good, it was unimaginative in preparation and there was far too much on the plate and therefore off putting. The daily buffet, we used for lunch and it was okay, limited in choice, with very little daily variation. We also had two on-shore evening buffets by the pool and they were okay, but I have to say limited. Breakfast in the stateroom on the verandah was a very good daily experience, all delivered on time and accurately, with high quality personal service. We did comment on the quality of food at the cruise critic reception and we were given very special treatment - treated like royalty actually for a couple of days and we could have taken this further, but who needs to be a moaning Minnie on holiday! Luxury accommodation - Well the towels, bathrobes and bedlinen are excellent. The stateroom furniture is tired, but adequate and the artwork around the ship is very basic. Some nice touches, at the pool - iced towels and cooling cucumber and the sun beds are very comfortable - although need re-varnishing. The ship is in need of refurbishment and I believe this is programmed. Perhaps they should have done this before selling as a luxury club cruise though? Service Levels - on board are without exception 5 star. All the crew are well trained and offer a friendly service. The Captain was the most approachable we have ever experienced and made a real and genuine effort to make sure his crew and guests were happy. Little touches like his personal farewell as we left the ship, and his invitation to the bridge and to join the staff captain for dinner were very special and we cannot fault the service at all. Top Likes: Including high quality house wine at lunch and dinner. Fantastic Itinerary. Friendly and well trained crew. Excellent dis/embarkation and port organisation. Top Dislikes: Quality of food, tired ship, overpriced for current service levels Would we travel with Azamura again: Not until they deliver on their aspirations, or unless the price reflects the real service levels currently on offer Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We found the Norwegian Jade to be a clean and nicely furnished ship Except for it's huge size, which did make it a bit unmanageable for our slightly handicapped companion,it was well equipped, the staterooms were lovely and clean, the ... Read More
We found the Norwegian Jade to be a clean and nicely furnished ship Except for it's huge size, which did make it a bit unmanageable for our slightly handicapped companion,it was well equipped, the staterooms were lovely and clean, the bathrooms were very nice and we were only in the standard ocean view rooms. However, everything included a service charge/gratuity even the bottle of water in the stateroom. The amount added was 18%. As a warning 18% is also added to all spa services and all drinks in the bar. This in addition to $10 per day service charge seems excessive. We were told (too late) by other cruisers that you are allowed to refuse the $10 charge and that the service charge is not divided amongst crew members. Had we known this we would have tipped our room steward more generously. In addition we did not like not having assigned dinner times and seatings. Instead the lines for the dining rooms are long (except for the ones with additional cover charges and those rooms were pretty empty) and you are handed a pager just like your last experience at Applebees...and it can take just as long to be seated. The dining room staff seems overwhelmed and are unsmiling and unfriendly. The destinations on this cruise were wonderful although the offered shore excursions were very pricey. It was easy enough to arrange a duplicate tour at the dock for 1/4th the price. We had experienced a transatlantic cruise on the Fred Olsen, Balmoral in April 08 and the difference between a smaller ship and a large one was incredible. Bigger is not always better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008

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