Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many ... Read More
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many cruises and this was probably the most well designed cruise-ship we have been on to date. We booked again for a colder weather cruise in New England in 2020 and are thinking of the winter Norway cruise in 2022. The food was excellent and the specialty venues were also great. We had the SS package and are wine lovers and had a wide choice of wines by the glass to order. We also got a discount on bottle purchases and enjoyed our French Champagne by the Bottle. If you are interested in cooking classes, sign up right away when you get on board as they do not advertise them in advance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute ... Read More
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute decision to primarily to celebrate my spouse's recent retirement. Viking repositions this ship from Europe to MIA where Vikings starts its World cruise offering. Therefore, the crossing offers only two ports of call (Azores and Bermuda). While most people on board were seasoned travelers, a few people were surprised that even with all the greatest technical advances this ship could rock. While we had a variety of weather, the Atlantic is not a small pond and it can be quite rough. Although I heard some complaints, I was surprised about some very unrealistic expectations. Since, we actually treated the trip as an adventure we loved it and rod ecommend that you take some Dramamine with you on any cruise . We did not need ours and the medical center could provide some, if you got seasick. Based on our sailing history, we would not rate this past cruise as extremely rough. The cabins on board the Viking Ocean are very comfortable, clean and well layout. Plenty of space to move around in with many public nooks suitable for curling up with a good book! The Viking Staff is selected for their "yes, we can" attitude. Although each one us are very unique individuals, the Viking crew is overall very happy and proud to be working for a rapidly growing company which the staff likes with a 90% retention rate over any 10 yr period. Food as expected on a cruise, is abundant, diverse and always delicious. On Christmas Eve the SUN served large steamed lobsters and perfectly executed Osso Bucco in their regular dining room. There were a few caviar offerings at the bars with all daily events and menus for all meals posted on in-room tv monitors. A few times we needed to use room service and while it too was very tasty, it could have been delivered a bit hotter. Although this cruise had only two ports of call there was plenty of entrainment. We do like the fact that Viking does not have a casino onboard. There were some small poker games and Chinese Mahjong available for those so inclined. There are also video tables where you can enjoy playing a computer black jack dealer. In addition to excellent port of call talks, Viking has a number historians, technical experts (e.g driverless car engineering), and musicians discussing their expertise in very simple and interesting presentations. Viking requires that passengers be at 16 years or old, which we found the adults to be quite friendly and open to making new acquaintances. For us, most part we found tables for two available. Since our last cruise, the bars have a greatly expanded selection of quality brands. Since I favor Tanquary Ten, I was pleased that it was available at every bar. and covered by our drink package. There is a night club for dancing and a night cap, but we did not visit it this trip.The cruise director conducted a caroling sing along in the atrium on Christmas Eve, utilizing the classical pianists, the Viking band and even the on board acoustic guitarist. Unfortunately, I did scrap up my leg at the Lisbon Airport and I needed to used the medical staff to heal it. This inconvenience limited my ability to use the abundant spa fitness services on board. The Viking Norwegian spirt shines with very unique spa treatments and many pools located in the spa, in addition to the lap pools and hot tubs found on deck. On the SUN you can elect to start in a hot sauna and then cool down in an ice room with snow. If it is your thing, there are great gym machines exist and in the morning you are invited to yoga/pilates classes. Otherwise, weather permitting, you can take to the promenade and get your exercise by running or walking around the ship with instructions on how many laps constituted a mile. All in all we enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again. We find sailings of this duration suit our life styles very well and while we liked this crossing, there are so many other offers that we have not tried. For example we doing a Panama crossing this month. Happy Cruising! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways. Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste. Thomas Keller Grill is just ... Read More
Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways. Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste. Thomas Keller Grill is just o.k., nothing exceptionnal. For lunch at the Collonade, there is not much variety for the cold dishes and salads: allways the shame shrimps and salmon and salads. The breakfast on the terrace outside the Collonade is a magic moment and very well served. The tea time at the Observaton Bar is also a delicious experience. And after dinner, the same observation bar is a cozy place to enjoy a night cap with Jacqui's singing at the piano. We did not like the noisy entertainment games at the pool deck (Costa style), but they took place just 2 or 3 times. Entertainment and activities were not very interesting, we expected more lectures and classical music performances (piano 1 time, violin 1 time). But all by all, it was a marvelous experience, the weather in november on the south atlantic was sunny and warm, but above all, the way the staff makes you feel as a king all the time is the best reason to come back! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his ... Read More
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his vocation. Entertainment was less than spectacular due to a change in dancers, which were absent. Nonetheless Eric de Gray is a true star and directing the musicians and singers did a great job and no one complained. Food . A veritable flow of excellent offerings at all times to suit every palate, To avoid repetition, some new dishes should be introduced for longer voyages as this Transatlantic 2 week. Wines included are adequate, unless one is a wine connoisseur. An additional wine list is available, but at ship prices which don't offer good value. Bar alcohol is more than adequate and only top liqueurs Cognacs and Whiskies etc are charged. Cabin Butler service was impeccable. Room service was rapid and perfect. The Hotel Manageress Heike, watching with an Eagle eye ensures the ship is immaculate, and staff care for pax . Indeed all is faultless. Upon boarding Lisbon some new crew joined. Deck restaurant service was at times chaotic for the first few days. Completing a questionnaire to highlight such matters, was responded to within hours by many staff members and of course Heike who ensured more management attention rectified the complaint/observations soon thereafter. They followed up too! NOW A WARNING** Be aware this ship changes dates, port itinerary and times, seven times ..... following booking. So do other Azamara ships. In the event of a complaint to head shore office in Miami, I'm told by other pax that they are always disinterested. A Larry Pimentel problem, common under his management of other ships too. The Azamara company under the management of CEO Pimentel an American, decided; as he did with previous ships he managed, to lower the dress standard. There are NO formal nights, so dont take fancy long dresses nor tuxedos. Dress code is now 'No Jacket Required' which sadly translates into 'American slop scruff order' . Basically whatever you have in a plastic bag will do. No kidding, I noted some pax wore the same few clothes throughout. Many travelling with a carry -on. Few gents wore jackets, and only one a tie. I saw shorts T shirt and flip flops in the dining room, but only once, so guess that was called to order. This critical observation may transmit a scene of ragged vagabonds. You are assured its far from that. Not being snobbish, but perhaps 50% dress shabbily and carelessly. Everyone is extremely pleasant, happy and well behaved. The atmosphere is excellent. It has no style, but as its a small ship, is far far removed from the Carnival ships and other cheap offering,s where heaped plates of some sort of food is virtually thrown on long tables where Tank tops, torn shorts even barefoot is prevalent, so Ive seen on videos. IMPORTANT PLEASE TAKE NOTE ! Cruise lines have added Cuba to their itineraries. Not necessarily because its a wonderful destination, but for its novelty factor. Mainly because they can use this as a major pax rip-off. They conveniently don't advise pre cruise that a VISA is essential, but advise on board a few days prior to arrival Cuba. There is a compulsory charge of $75 per visa PER PORT see below* Additionally to be allowed ashore they insist on buying a tour see below*, minimum $89 claiming this is a US law compliance. see below* * According to the Cuban immigration inspectors, a Cuban Visa is compulsory and pax must be in possession at arrival. Cost is $25 and cannot be purchased in Cuba. One can be purchased at varying prices previous to arrival from a Cuban Embassy $25, Online agents, travel agents and airlines at varying prices. UK online cost is GBP24. American airlines like their cruise counterparts charge an excessive $75; a big money making scheme. Solution is Buy before you go. Visas last 30 days for multiple entries. Compulsory tours. A bigger money spiinning scheme. They are Massively overpriced and I heard almost everyone who was forced to buy one on board expressing extreme discontent both at the excessive price and quality. The same tour guides are available on shore for a few $ (CUC the local currency) . e.g. The daily rate for a driver and car is CUC25 Incl gasoline ! US law prohibits travel to Cuba but permits tourist visits for one of 10 reasons mainly culturally based. This ruling DOES NOT apply to non Americans who can enter freely (with a VISA) . The cruise ships conveniently and wrongly interpret this to mean ALL pax, so beware. Fact is, a non American citizen does NOT need an official Cuban tour to go ashore! If you find the ship prohibits disembarkation; although I would question the legality of such an action. Buying the cheapest tour to use as a sort of pass to get off the ship, then doing your own thing is perhaps the way to play that game. ...... Cuba is a poverty stricken country where wages are minimal. $20 a MONTH is a good salary, thats a few cents an hour. However they survive very wel and happily off that amount, for everything else is state subsidised. Food is free on coupons. Free health care. Electricity gas etc amounts to less than $2 a month. Havana is changing and improving. They have some paint now, and are able to decorate in small ways. There are serious 5 star hotels in Havana. Beautiful buildings re created from the old special architectural buildings. Kempinsky have re furbished an entire block. Must have cost a hundred million or more. A roof terrace affords fabulous views over old Havana. A Mojito is only 5 CUC. In a back street its 2 CUC. However the room rate is $400+ a night. Spanish hotel chains have also built luxury hotels . Iberostar - Melia- H10 Tourists especially Americans throwing handfuls of $ in tips are poorly viewed. A small tip like $2 is gratefully accepted, a large tip like the ridiculous 20% expected in the US, is viewed with disdain and almost as an insult. I gleaned this from many deep conversations in Spanish I enjoyed with locals. I recommend you book with Azamara you cannot be disappointed, but beware of itinerary changes and especially Cuban schemes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin ... Read More
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin we've ever stayed in! It's was great: had a doorbell, a walk-in closet, a full bathtub, and double sinks in the bathroom! Yes, it was older, but it was very comfortable. We had ample storage space! The ship is a little "dated," but otherwise very nice. The food was outstanding! This was the best cruise line food we've ever had. Service from the crew was friendly and many of them learned our names quickly. We really liked the itinerary. We were very anxious to see Gibraltar and it did not disappoint! We also really liked Seville, Malaga, and Mallorca. We would have liked an overnight in one of these cities, so we could explore more. We were blessed with beautiful weather and that enhanced our experience. Except for our two days in Barcelona, it was warm and sunny (with no humidity). Barcelona turned chilly and rainy and we hadn't packed appropriately for the sudden change in weather. Since we were with a Tauck group, all our excursions were separate from the ones offered by the ship (although very similar in most cases). Tauck kept us busy; we either had 2 excursions each day, or one very long one. Consequently, we were away from the ship most of the day and didn't get to do much on the ship. And, we were not encouraged by our Tauck Tour Director to participate in Windstar activities (or mingle with the non-Tauck guests). We had daily meetings in the Compass Rose lounge, and that was where we returned (on our own) at other times. To me, the Star Breeze is like a "shrunken down" cruise ship. It has some of the same amenities as a bigger ship, but on a much smaller scale. There is no specialty restaurant; at night, the breakfast/lunch buffet becomes "Candles" for a small number of passengers, and if the weather cooperates, passengers have the option of dining outside. There wasn't much entertainment offered (there was a good duo in the Compass Rose lounge). There was a very small "casino" but I didn't see anyone in it. We did not use the spa or the fitness room (we had only one sea day and the remaining days, we were on excursions). We discovered the lovely Yacht Club lounge late in the cruise. We probably should have done some exploring on our own early in the cruise! In summary, this was a very nice cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary. We knew that Silversea would enable a trouble free voyage. Our Butler and Maid decorated our suite for the birthday/anniversary celbration with clever towel art and balloons. Our fridge was ... Read More
Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary. We knew that Silversea would enable a trouble free voyage. Our Butler and Maid decorated our suite for the birthday/anniversary celbration with clever towel art and balloons. Our fridge was constantly restocked with our favorite beverages. Our every need was cared for (including some seasickness tablets on the occasion that they were needed. The food was simply amazing with the specialty restaurant La Dame serving on eof the best meals we have ever enjoyed. While we did not take part in the entertainment at night (being early to bed folks) we did enjoy the lectures. And the Bingo. And the Trivia contests. The dining options enabled us to enjoy what we wanted when we wanted it. And when the (free) WiFi went out on deck 4 and 5 we were presented with a $300 credit. A really fine gesture for a porblem that was not foreseeable. What can I say? It is Silversea.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We prefer to cruise back from Europe rather than flying. We have been on Silversea for only four years, but it is our "go-to" cruise line. This trip fit in with our earlier plans: started with a week in Madrid in a rented ... Read More
We prefer to cruise back from Europe rather than flying. We have been on Silversea for only four years, but it is our "go-to" cruise line. This trip fit in with our earlier plans: started with a week in Madrid in a rented apartment; then fly to Porto for an Ama Waterways cruise up and down the Douro River; then the high-speed train to Lisbon for a few days waiting to board the Whisper fro the crossing. As usual, the ship met or exceeded our expectations. The staff is wonderful and as repeat cruisers, we re-acquainted ourselves with many of them. It is such fun to walk into a bar on board and not have to order a drink. It just appears before you! The crew and the wait staff were also a welcoming sight. We have recommended Silversea to many of our friends and the feedback we get is always positive. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, ... Read More
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, the itinerary lived up to its expectations, although we had to miss Portomao because of Tropical Storm Leslie so we remained in Lisbon for the second day. The only hitch we had for our own itinerary ashore as with the Alhambra. We had been wait-listed for a ticket package that included the Nesrud Palaces, a highlight of the Alhambra and, according to those who have been there, not to be missed. When it become apparent that we would not be getting tickets through Seaborn (they are extremely difficult to come by), even though we had been on the wait list over four months prior to leaving. A few people were lucky enough to get the Seabourn tickets, but more on that later. We told the guest services agent on board that we planned on using the ship's tour bus to the Alhambra (which did not include the Nesrud Palaces), as we had purchased our own tickets and would join up with the bus prior to the group leaving the Alhambra. Our tickets were from 11am to 2pm, meeting at 10:45pm exactly where the tour bus would be pulling into the bus parking lot. We informed the Seabourn rep of our plan prior to boarding the bus and she cleared it with the tour guide. We arranged with him to meet up with the group at a restaurant should we not be ready to rejoin the bus when the Seabourn group was ready to leave. All was going smoothly as we left the port around 8:35am. Unfortunately, the guide decided to announce that we would be pulling into a rest stop for bathroom use and also for buying merchandise. Had the stop been for ten minutes all would still have been fine, but it was closer to 25 minutes and we then had no chance to make our tour. The Alhambra was outstanding, but we will now never have the opportunity to see the Nesrud Palaces. Those who were able to secure tickets for the Alhambra and the palaces thought they were all set. Unfortunately, for some of them, since showing your passport is required at different checkpoints randomly and then, for the palaces, for everyone, when the group was asked to present their passports the list of passengers did not match the names on the passports. Some names were of people not taking the tour. The mix up caused some passengers to have to miss the Alhambra and the palaces. We had read on Cruise Critic that Seabourn's shore excursions are below average and had not encountered that when on a Quest voyage. This particular trip was excellent once in the Alhambra as the guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the buildings and the area. The guide on the bus, however, was constantly talking, was very redundant and seemed to be along for the ride. All of the other tours was above average, although the timing for a tour of Eze and the Rothschild Mansion in Cap Ferat gave too much time to the later and not nearly enough time to Eze. Also, this trip was extremely tiring because all tours, half day or full day, started early in the morning so you began to feel sleep deprived early into the trip. I think they should offer afternoon half day excursions to alleviate the fatigue factor when you are on a 10-day cruise with only one at-sea day. Others felt the same way. The cabins on the ship are up to Seabourn's standards. They are among the most spacious in the industry and our ship stewardess was outstanding. The room is well-equipped and pretty much anything can be delivered to your room upon request, including unlimited amounts of champagne. The food on the ship was excellent. No complaints at all. The service was another matter. The worst was the Observation Bar between 6 and 7:30pm. You had a tough time flagging down a waiter as there were often only one or two of them. Going to the bar yourself and carrying the drinks to the table was impossible on rough sea evenings. This problem with service in the Observation Bar continued throughout the cruise. Towards the end of the voyage, we went down to Bruno's lounge in the Thomas Keller grill and after a ten-minute wait, went up to the bar for a drink. For afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, tea was offered, but they didn't mention that scones, sandwiches and cakes were available at the self-serve area where tapas are available every evening. On the Quest a waiter brought these items around which is the way afternoon tea should be presented. Service in the Restaurant was fine, but not if you wanted to get to the 8:45pm show. Fortunately, my husband and I did not have that problem because we had caught two shows and didn't think they were very good so skipped them from that point on. The service in the Colanade was excellent except for the final morning which was an absolute zoo. It was so bad that we ended up getting a bite to eat at Seabourn Square. We were heading for the Restaurant for a nice relaxing breakfast before disembarking because we had to be out of our room at 8pm, but could stay on board until 10pm. The Restaurant was closed, however, although we had no clue that it would be. On the Quest the Restaurant is open for the final breakfast before disembarking. The Patio's food was excellent as well as the service, and there were an adequate number of waiters should you need a drink while relaxing by the pool. Thomas Keller Grill was an interesting evening. We were told by the waiter to look forward to enjoying a romantic meal. To me, that's leisurely, but he did not seem to understand that. After ordering our drinks, he immediately asked if we were ready to order. We said that we needed some time. He came back in five minutes and asked again and we told him we weren't ready as we wanted to enjoy our drinks. After a few minutes, the supervisor went up to our waiter and talked to him. I assume it was about their need to get our order in. The supervisor then came up to our table and asked if we had any questions and we told him we didn't, we just wanted to slow the process down. The meal was very good, though, and there was a good vibe. The best experience for us was Sushi. The food was excellent, there were nice tables for two and the service was what you expect from Japanese staff - respectful, courteous and timely. All in all the management of the Ovation has a way to go to beat the service on the Quest. I think they need some time to work out the glitches as the ship only had its maiden voyage in May. Hopefully, things will improve soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much time in there. The toilet was separate to the bathroom which was unusual and very pleasing. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage. My only criticism is that the balustrade for the balcony is steel so if sitting on the veranda, one cannot see much at all. A perspex or some other transparent material would be better. Maybe becaue it is an icebreaker - I don't know? Rhis is also our first cruise on a small ship and we were dispoointed some times in the lack of activities in the afternoon. Is this because the passengers are having nana naps?! Staff were excellent and catered to our every request. Shore excursions - we only did one in Tangier which was really good and the other in Casablanca which was only satisfactory because we were put on a bus with French speakers and their French guide who dominated our English speaking guide and monopolised the microphone on the bus. There is not a lot to see in Casablanca and I felt that the tour was "padded out" with useless information to fill in time. One could easily walk from the port to the mosque and that's all you really need ro see. While we loved the cruise, I am not sure that I would do a small ship cruise again as we had some not rough seas, but serious swells that made quite a few people sea sick. I have been on big ships with rough seas and never felt sick like I did on this one. Read Less

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