12 Lisbon Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in ... Read More
The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in taste. If you don’t upgrade to silver spirits your wine will be poor. The ship service was good with the exception of dinner. The staff was slim for this sitting. The ship is very sparse in decor and looked a little worn out. Excursions were good and tour guides had good expertise. However the excursions could have had better tours in many of the locations because they had great material. I didn’t like paying the tips in advance and then being asked to give additional tips. Before booking Viking look at all the additional charges for the options. I felt nickel and dimed!! The boat had a window boarded up during the cruise in the dinning room. Also the ventilation seemed poor. The Thermostat in the state room did not appear to work. WiFi is pretty poor. Entertainment was just poor in comparison to other river cruises. I don’t like hearing about the history of Portugal as entertainment. Also if I hear about cork again I may ask someone to cork it!!! Not sure that I will become a Viking groupie Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I went on the "glories of Spain and Portugal" itinerary in August. This was my first cruise. The small ship size was great and I got to know the fellow passengers and crew very well. The crew and staff were excellent and very ... Read More
I went on the "glories of Spain and Portugal" itinerary in August. This was my first cruise. The small ship size was great and I got to know the fellow passengers and crew very well. The crew and staff were excellent and very attentive, and I also enjoyed the small group excursions. I really enjoyed the ports and the privileged locations we got to dock at each day. The ship was very clean and nice. If you are looking for high luxury, however, this is probably not the ship for you. Cabins are small and there are no balcony cabins. The ship had a nice family feeling and I felt right at home. The food was good and there were a lot of choices and the staff was accommodating of any dietary restrictions. Everything went smoothly on board. In short if you are looking for a nice ship with amazing staff and an intimate feeling, I would absolutely recommend Variety cruises and the Harmony V. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and ... Read More
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and having 3 days to explore the Portuguese capital city and acclimate to the time change was very well-planned. The Corinthia Hotel was outstanding and their included breakfast buffet was simply amazing. Our Uniworld hosts and tour guides were very impressive, experienced, friendly and helpful at every opportunity. Once we were transferred to Porto to board the Queen Isabel and embark on our tour of the Douro River Valley, we were once again very impressed with the ship and especially the staff members. Without exception, everyone we interacted with were overwhelmingly helpful and focused on quality guest service. Being on a small boutique cruise ship offered the opportunity to meet and interact with everyone onboard. We appreciated the personal interaction and familiarity we developed with the crew members. By the second day onboard, many were already greeting us by name! Simply amazing. Each day offered us different engaging adventures that were well-planned and enjoyable at every port of call. The onboard dining was simply outstanding and the entire dining room staff was always focused on providing great service to all guests. We also were amazed at the lounge staff, especially our favorite bartender, Alexandra. She was wonderful and by the end of the cruise, we felt as if we'd made a new friend! Ours was the final cruise of the 2018 season and we were consistently impressed with the pleasant interactions we experienced with everyone onboard and the friendly service we received, usually accompanied by a bright smile. Thanks to the entire staff and crew of the Queen Isabel for a relaxing and memorable vacation! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The cruise was excellent. Food, guides, staff, program directors, wines, etc. I will like to talk to somebody about the “extended tours”, specifically the FATIMA tour. As you may know FATIMA is one of most important pilgrimage ... Read More
The cruise was excellent. Food, guides, staff, program directors, wines, etc. I will like to talk to somebody about the “extended tours”, specifically the FATIMA tour. As you may know FATIMA is one of most important pilgrimage site for Catholics. The Fatima tour included three stops, FATIMA, BELEM or BATALHA and Nazarene. I feel the FATIMA tour should only include two stops and most the time in FATIMA, the FATIMA tour should have enough time so that the participants could attend a mass there, the Belem visit was fine. The Nazarene visit could be eliminated, this just the typical European cute beach town, we had lunch there and a quick stroll on the tourist souvenir shops and the up to Porto. Lunch could be done after mass in Fatima or after the quick tour of BELEM. The majority of the FATIMA participants were catholic and expressed the same desire to have had the opportunity to attend mass in FATIMA. The Santiago de Compostela extended tour was awesome it should be two full days. The program director/guide was awesome- Ricardo- very professional and knowledgeable, the local guide Eva packed a lot of information on the time allotted to her. Santiago de Compostela is another catholic pilgrimage site, time should be allowed/included to attend mass and then continue the guided tour. The hotels in Lisbon and Santiago de Compostela are first rate, impeccable service. Also, at least in this cruise the majority of the participants were on their winter of their life, the tours should be a slower pace, and allow for more shopping/browsing time. The VIKING experience is for people that want to learn and enhanced their knowledge about the history of the places being visited. I will say is like adult field trips/camp. I more likely do another one VIKING CRUISE, probably the one in France, Bordeaux, etc. Hopefully 2019. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Wonderful destination with a beautiful country and very friendly people. The itinerary and Vikings staff and accommodations were beyond prior cruises. Great optional tours and sights. The opportunity to be entertained on the ship with ... Read More
Wonderful destination with a beautiful country and very friendly people. The itinerary and Vikings staff and accommodations were beyond prior cruises. Great optional tours and sights. The opportunity to be entertained on the ship with specialists that entertained and educated us was very important. The social director was professional and provided a knowledgeable support to help us understand the people,country and customs. the menu varieties offered territorial foods, grains, cheeses and beverages that allowed us to enjoy the flavors and tastes of origin creativity. The staff were meticulous in their attention to our requests and keeping our cabin, dining areas and common use areas of the lounge, decks and atrium both clean and fresh. The bar and lounge area offered a local and very good selection of beverages. Evenings were enjoyed with alternative entertainment with local performances both on the ship and off in the local venues. The evening serenades of the piano and songs provided a chance for karaoke and professional song performances. Overall, the Osfrid's cruise was a satisfying delightful adventure that fulfilled our cultural and relaxing goals in what we wished to achieve. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We take 3 crossing a year, between crystal and Seabourn.But Crystal has a better lecture program. And the Tommy Dorsey band makes it over the top. Crystal also to care of our medical needs. They were just great. The overall staff was over ... Read More
We take 3 crossing a year, between crystal and Seabourn.But Crystal has a better lecture program. And the Tommy Dorsey band makes it over the top. Crystal also to care of our medical needs. They were just great. The overall staff was over the top in all departments. We have done 15 crystal cruises and it was great to see how many crew new our names. The owns we new us best called us Mr. Steve and Mrs. Judy. The one thing that stood out was there house keeping. I dare anyone to find any dust or finger prints on the brass, You think they walk behind you. As for dinning it could not be better. I need a special diet and they prepared all my meals according to my needs. Was for the wait staff if we could take them home they would be very upset with Judy and I. Of all the cruises we have taken 100 + crystal is on top of the list. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because of the big band and ballroom theme and we were not disappointed. The Tommy Dorsey orchestra under the direction of Terry Myer was superb. Y husband is a retired trombone player from the Pittsburgh Symphony ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the big band and ballroom theme and we were not disappointed. The Tommy Dorsey orchestra under the direction of Terry Myer was superb. Y husband is a retired trombone player from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and he was thrilled to here this ensemble every night.. our veranda suite on Deck nine was wonderful. The dining experience was memorable with creative, delicious choices every evening. We were always busy. My sea days incled 2 dance classes daily, Team Trivi! And a painting class with a wonderful teacher, Patty Jones.There were also excellent lectures on board and the evening shows were top notch. We have booked 2 more Crystal voyages for 2018! The cruise line has incentives for repeat cruisers, early booking while on board and early payment in full. I had no idea that thirteen days at sea with only a stop in St Thimas could be that much fun. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in Europe so all seemed good; bad decision. We did not realize nor did our travel agent, that Oceania advises you of your stateroom the day before sailing. Thus you options to select another stateroom or cancel was not an option. My recommendation would be never to book a cruise without you knowing where you will be. As to the ship, the Sirena is a 17 year old ship and it still looks like it. Other than make all the staterooms smaller to gain more revenue, it is a mystery as to where the money went. The biggest shock was the size of the Penthouse. It had no closets and very limited space to put your clothes. Any cruise over 12 days would be an issue. The bathroom is a joke. You can almost take a shower, go to the toilet, and shave without moving. The width of the bathroom is so small it is hard to describe it. The shower is approx. 3’X 4’ I feel sorry for the passengers that did not have penthouses. On the positive side, the food was great. The ports we visited were great. The disappointment was their decision to stop in a great port on Sunday when 90% of the sights were closed. They stayed there the full day loading ship supplies. Making things worse, is the ship hit an underground cable due to a Pilot error. We had to stay another day in port and miss a great port that was on the itinerary. They offered everyone a $200.00 shipboard credit on a future cruise; they can keep it. I strongly recommend you stay from this ship if you want to experience a great cruise; there competitors offer such better choices Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Let me begin by saying this was our 5th cruise with Voyages to Antiquity, so obviously we like the cruise line. What do we like in general? We like the size of the ship (approx 350 passengers), we like the friendliness of both passengers ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was our 5th cruise with Voyages to Antiquity, so obviously we like the cruise line. What do we like in general? We like the size of the ship (approx 350 passengers), we like the friendliness of both passengers and crew, we like the option of dining al fresco on the back deck, we like wine and beer included with dinner, we like the quality of the excursions and that they are included, we like the insight from guest lecturers, we like free wifi and free laundry (1 bag) as a perk for return passengers, we like the clear descriptions of what to expect on all excursions. we like the possibility of bumping into folks we have met on previous cruises, and we like the fact that this ship offers some different ports of call due to her smaller size. Overall, we love this small ship cruising experience! On our particular cruise we appreciated the great talent of Richard, the cruise director, the shift from visiting the Alhambra in the heat and the crowds of the day to an evening visit, the captain's efforts to make minor adjustments in departure and arrival times to keep us out of high winds and resulting rough seas, the shuttle buses which were arranged when our docking positions were not the most favorable, the excursion team's efforts to look after passengers when we were away from the ship (they went above and beyond), the mix of passengers (primarily from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the U.S., and Canada), and the lovely lunches at nice restaurants that were included when our excursions had us away from the ship at lunchtime. Was it perfect? No, nothing ever is. The ship's decor is showing wear (I understand a refitting is planned), some tours required too much walking and stair climbing for some passengers (though that is clearly explained in shore briefings) with no alternative offerings, and it is difficult on the back deck to find a table large enough for 4 or 6 people to dine together and tables for 6 are nonexistent inside at the Terrace Grill. None of those are major, and we are even now looking at the Voyages to Antiquity brochure to decide where we will go next! For us it was definitely a 5 star experience! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. This was the first of three scheduled JBF cruises and exceeded all expectations. I think it exceeded those of the JBF representatives and the Windstar staff as well. In addition to the 7 ports that we would visit after leaving Lisbon, we had nightly tastings of Spanish wines that were poured and examined at length by Sommelier Steve Olson. He is known as "the wine geek" for good reason. Besides 3 full glass "tastings" each evening, the wines of the night were then served at no charge with dinner. Some of the wines are available in my local stores for upwards of $75 per bottle; some we can't even get here. Then the food! Our chef was Michel Nischan, a three time James Beard awarding winning chef. He had presentations, classes, and shopping tours for guests. There was a final dinner that Chef Michel, Steve Olson, and the Windstar corporate chef collaborated on that was beyond belief. The representative from the JBF left the day before the cruise ended to get to JBF annual awards in Chicago. These guys were personable, approachable, and seemed to be having the time of their lives along with their families. A true once in a lifetime experience for us. As for the rest of the review, it is not possible to find fault with the spectacular Windstar staff, the cleanliness of the ship, the officers availability and the overall willingness to do whatever it takes. We were so happy to see old crew members who are like a big family to one another and to us. The ports on this itinerary were okay; nothing that I was particularly excited about, but interesting and each one different. Lisbon and Barcelona, of course, are two of the great cities of Europe and we were thrilled with each. We did mostly private tours and enjoyed each port. Lots of Roman ruins, etc. One port, Ibiza, has the Sa Cova winery (like we needed more wine) that was lovely and in the same family since the 1500's. Almeria is a seaport that is next to desert sites where many famous movies were filmed, from Lawrence of Arabia, to Exodus, to the spaghetti westerns. All and all, a really memorable 8 days that we will think and talk about for years to come. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
First time for us with Swan Hellenic and first time on such a small ship. It was a delight. Just small enough for easy access to all amenities. After our last cruise, on Aurora, my husband, who was convalescing after a hip replacement op, ... Read More
First time for us with Swan Hellenic and first time on such a small ship. It was a delight. Just small enough for easy access to all amenities. After our last cruise, on Aurora, my husband, who was convalescing after a hip replacement op, came back exhausted and worse than when we left. This time, after having been very ill until April, he came back with a new lease of life, a vastly improved appetite and having gained a much needed stone in weight. No casino, no 'West End Style' shows, very small shop, no photographers, no pressure to dress up at night and no background music round the pool all suited us down to the ground. A great mix of passengers - mainly Brits but a good contingent of Americans and Canadians (who all loved it), several Indians and a few Australians. Ship was only 2/3 full so there was oodles of space. Open sittings for all meals with lots of large tables meant we got to know a large number of our fellow passengers quite well. Very definitely older than your average cruise ship passengers but lots of lively minds and some very witty Americans. Entertainment was low key - harpist, pianist, good small band with vocalists and a couple of classically trained singers with accompanist. Made for very pleasant, laid back evenings but any one who claims Swan Hellenic is too stuffy should have been on board the night they were 'Rocking Around the Clock' in the Darwin Lounge whilst an improvised 'Old Time Music Hall' sing-song was going on in Shackleton's Bar. We had booked an outside cabin but were upgraded to a suite so had the luxury (on this ship) of a balcony which was a good size with plenty of room for 2 sun-loungers plus 2 comfortable chairs and a table. This was a particular bonus when we sailed up Gironde and Garonne to Bordeaux and the Seine to Rouen and added some spice to our trip across Biscay in a gale! Food was well above average cruise ship standard - the full and regularly replenished fruit bowl in our cabin was a particular delight (best fruit we've tasted in a long while). Gratuities included but service was excellent. I was too lazy to attend most of the lectures and had too many books to read to spare the time for them but my husband went to a number and thoroughly enjoyed them. Excursions (also included) were good and very well organised. Two criticisms: 1. For some reason, the films and transmitted lectures in the cinema both failed to synchronise pictures and sound. This was very distracting and a great pity because it was a great little cinema. 2. We flew out to Lisbon on Monarch Airways. Had we known in advance, we would have booked our own flights separately after swearing, in the past, that we would never fly Monarch Airways again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011

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