3 Lisbon First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We heard about the cruise from friends that were booked on it so that was our incentive for considering it. Our main reason for booking the cruise was the itinerary and some of the shore excursions. Although having traveled extensively, we ... Read More
We heard about the cruise from friends that were booked on it so that was our incentive for considering it. Our main reason for booking the cruise was the itinerary and some of the shore excursions. Although having traveled extensively, we had never been on a cruise of any sort so we thought this might be a good time to try one. As we found out, an enjoyable advantage of cruising is not having to pack and unpack as you move to the next destination. We stopped in Paris for a couple of days before continuing to Lisbon. We also had a couple of days in Lisbon prior to embarkation. We arranged these things independently, trying to maximize our time in Europe and to avoid any possible travel snafus that would interfere with the cruise. Highlights of this cruise included a shore excursion to Santiago de Compostela; Bilbao, Spain and the Guggenheim; docking right in Bordeaux with easy access to everything; the shore excursion in Saint Malo to Le Mont Saint-Michel, the Normandy Landings outside of Honfleur, and cruising up the Thames River - under the Tower Bridge and docking next to the Belfast battleship in the city center - Awesome experience! We had looked forward to visiting Guernsey but weather prevented us from going ashore which was only accessible via tenders. We heard that this is a common occurrence for Guernsey which made us wonder why a) the itinerary doesn't state something like there is a good chance you won't be able to disembark - or x% of our stops in Guernsey don't make it to shore; or b) maybe it should not be part of the itinerary. While we did complete all other stops on our itinerary, we felt Gijon was the least interesting destination and would not mind skipping that port. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship - an amazing group of talented people. The crew talent show was a great deal of fun too. We were disappointed in the lecturer and felt he spent too much time talking about his interests rather than preparing us to enjoy and comprehend our next destination. The staff and service were top-notch and a real highlight of our onboard time. Our butler and cabin attendant kept everything ship-shape and surprised us with little messages, drinks, or towel sculptures throughout the voyage. It seemed that all logistics were handled with precision. There were good dining options and the food was generally good. It did seem to be a bit redundant which may be due to the length of the cruise (12 days). Because this was a smaller ship, we had the opportunity to interact with many other guests and get to know them. Most of the guests were very experienced cruisers! These interactions with diverse people were highlights of the trip. As first-time cruisers, we can not compare this experience to other cruises or cruise lines. We had heard SilverSeas was a topnotch cruise line, so we expected excellence. The staff, service, and handling of logistics were indeed excellent. We had also heard that the Silver Cloud was an older ship and was due to be renovated and repurposed into an expedition ship, so we did not expect perfection. We think every effort was made to make the ship comfortable and keep up appearances. We definitely will consider cruising again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My daughter and I had a most enjoyable first experience with Viking Cruises. We chose The River of Gold Itinerary travelling the River Duoro. The excursions were most interesting, the staff was outstanding (they anticipated your needs!) ... Read More
My daughter and I had a most enjoyable first experience with Viking Cruises. We chose The River of Gold Itinerary travelling the River Duoro. The excursions were most interesting, the staff was outstanding (they anticipated your needs!) and the quality of the food was at the five star level. We liked the size of the ship (only 108 passengers) and with unassigned dinner seating it gave us the opportunity to meet quite a number of interesting people. We were so delighted with our experience that next year both my daughters will be accompanying me on yet another European cruise with Viking. We are all looking forward to a memorable vacation!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My partner and I have served back to back tours in Afghanistan, so we wanted to make my R & R leave extra special, given that we haven't seen each other a lot these last two years. I also didn't have a lot of time to plan ... Read More
My partner and I have served back to back tours in Afghanistan, so we wanted to make my R & R leave extra special, given that we haven't seen each other a lot these last two years. I also didn't have a lot of time to plan things, so we thought a cruise was the logical choice. We chose Crystal Cruises because I like a more formal atmosphere. In that aspect, Crystal delivered. The women always dressed stunning on the ship on formal nights -- even on some casual ones. The men were always at least in suits on formal nights, but many more wore tuxedos, which was nice. We found the following things to be especially good about the cruise: 1. The service. We can't say enough about how willing the staff were to cater to your needs and how cheerfully they did so. 2. All inclusive. We could not possible have eaten or drank anymore. And all inclusive does not give you rail drinks. It gives you pretty much anything short of Louis XVII Cognac, which they have for an upcharge. Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, though? It's on the house. 3. Food. Prego and Silk Road are always booked, yes, but both made for a special experience. Book them early, and don't expect more than one seating at each. It won't disappoint you that much, though, as the Main Dining Room fare is excellent and varies each night. 4. Friendly cruisers. We met many interesting people and shared plenty of great conversations. We didn't encounter any bias as a gay couple, at least we didn't perceive any. 5. Avenue Saloon and the Connoisseur Club. The Avenue Saloon was by far the best bar on the ship. The piano player was great. The Connoisseur Club was my favorite room on the ship. If you like cigars, it is amazing. Though I might suggest bringing your own cigars (prices were a bit high), their premium alcohol prices (30, 40 year old cognacs, etc.)were very reasonable. A couple of minor complaints, neither of which will deter us from cruising wiht Crystal again: 1. The internet. We realize that it's a cruise and there are logistical issues to getting connectivity. Perhaps these issues are so great that the charges and problems with the internet onboard are justified. But it seemed overly expensive. $50 got you two hours of internet and $200 got you 10 hours. That's pretty steep, even if you have the money to pay for it. All that aside, it didn't even work half the time. 2. Demographics. I don't know if its always this way on Crystal, but the crowd seemed very old. We expected an older demographic, but this group seemed to be 65 or even 70 plus, with a small smattering of other ages. I heard some comments from some of the older patrons to this effect that the crowd seemed older than usual, so perhaps this was an anomaly. Like I said, we had a wonderful time, but we feel the cruise could benefit from a more mixed crowd. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012

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