68 Dover Family Cruise Reviews

With the help of a travel agent we discovered the Princess British isles cruise for Sept,2019 on the Pacific Princess. The 650 guest ship was perfect. Big enough to offer great resources, small enough to be easily accessible. We ... Read More
With the help of a travel agent we discovered the Princess British isles cruise for Sept,2019 on the Pacific Princess. The 650 guest ship was perfect. Big enough to offer great resources, small enough to be easily accessible. We were fortunate to have terrific weather and smooth seas even over the Orkneys atop Scotland Princess gave a reasonable a la Carte rate, even tho there were continual extra costs. Many such as over priced tours, drinks on board and internet to name three were avoidable. The staff were terrific exhibiting a sincere and customer focused attitude. The entertainment was way above what we expected from other reviews. We ( and other reviewers ) can often be critical, so this is a true compliment. Irish and scotch shows were great. Nick Page of London’s Le Mis fame was an incredible final show. The ship band and dancers were also terrific as was the comedian, magician and other solo artists. We had 13 stops in 15 days all of which were negotiated by a safety conscious crew. One downside was occasional inconvenient access to city centers for those not on a Princess tours especially Edinburg. However there were easily accessible local tours, hop on off busses,(Dublin) local trains (Holyhead) and interesting walks (Edinburg) among others. We took three Princess tours to Lands end in Cornwall, to the standing stones in the Orkney’s and the bus thru London which were well guided tho overpriced. Food was plentiful, well prepared and efficiently and sweetly served in the buffet and regular dining room. We tried one dinner in one of the two special cover charged Dining rooms which while ok was not worth the extra cost. The exercise room was comparable to a Planet fitness gym. We avoided the costly spa and other similar services My T-Mobile phone gave me free and good internet access near and ashore vs the costly Princess plans. We ignored the small casino, and jewelry store as did most it seemed. we travelled with our adult son and spouse which was fun. A sept cruise avoided lots of annoying kids! In summary it was a terrific first cruise, great itinerary, super staff and smartly negotiated by us to be reasonably priced. The great weather made it a total success We chose a lower level cabin which was comfortable, nicely furnished and very stable. I’d do that again vs the overpriced higher levels. We used it largely to sleep in the very comfortable bed and consume some liquors purchased in cities. We purchased our own air travel at a discount and avoided the over priced Princess pre tour hotels. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
First time on a ship this small. I quite liked the ability to walk anywhere on the ship within 1.5 minutes. However, the smaller scale does significantly limit the entertainment options. The stuff the do on board was bingo, knitting, ... Read More
First time on a ship this small. I quite liked the ability to walk anywhere on the ship within 1.5 minutes. However, the smaller scale does significantly limit the entertainment options. The stuff the do on board was bingo, knitting, wine tasting or soduko...; Evening entertainment had a mediocre skill level vs the bigger ships. There were no kid activities offered. The staff remember you and you quickly remember the other passengers. We had a club class mini suite, room 8035. It was quite spacious, and offered a queen bed and queen (I think) sofa bed. I wish there was an upper bunk... The deck was good size too, easily fitting a couple loungers or a table and a couple chairs twice... It was convenient only being 1 floor below the buffet and a few floors above the dining room, so we never used room service. I liked that they were willing to exchange our cc wine bottles for a few cans of Coke. Dining was fairly standard Princess food. A couple of the days the menus did not offer much to get excited about, but all other days did. For cc instead of getting in the normal queue, you move to the left, skirting by the bar outside the dining room, and then simply walk straight in the cc dining section, no waiting in line. Each night had 2 menu item not on the menu, one prepared table side and one from the chef. Kind of a nice touch. Wish they offered those awesome chocolate desserts more than a couple nights. Also wish they added cherries jubilee back on the menu. We did thoroughly enjoy the cold fruit soups and frequent souffles. We missed Wales on the itinerary due to weather, but I did not mind missing a port given how intense the daily porting schedule was. We did a full day excursion everywhere else other than in Edinburgh. We did the military tattoo in Edinburgh and wished they offered a tour connected to that excursion given the price was 5X the tattoo ticket value or more. Regarding the tattoo, it was pretty cool if you like bagpipes and drummers and there isn't a bad seat in the house.I think the seats near the front add value only to get you out in a timely fashion, when you are in the nose bleed section you have to wait for everyone in front of you to exit first which takes forever. Also be prepared for long line for the restrooms. The shopping on board sucked, nothing local to buy. In fact they had more Australia/New Zealand goods than anything. Most of our excursions consumed the entire time at port, so we had little time to shop for souvenirs, which made me wish for on board shopping (for the first time ever). The app was great and we liked being able to text each other for free, but wished the app notified you when you got a new message so you didn't have to check it all the time. We didn't need to pay for wifi given we were at or near land almost everyday, simply used the Verizon TravelPass. I plan to look for other small ships when planning port intensive cruises. They would not be good for many sea days unless you simply like to nap and are not taking kids like we tend to do. Overall, this was a great cruise, seeing many areas of the world not typically traveled. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The ship is the smallest and oldest in the Princess fleet. After many cruises this one was somewhat disappointing. The main issue was the dining. The food and service was sub-par and not up to the standards of most other cruises we have ... Read More
The ship is the smallest and oldest in the Princess fleet. After many cruises this one was somewhat disappointing. The main issue was the dining. The food and service was sub-par and not up to the standards of most other cruises we have been on. The cabin was what I expected and did have a lot of storage. The bed was comfortable. The bathroom was especially challenging to use with water leaking out every time we used the shower. We were especially disappointed that we entirely skipped one port due to weather. No substitution just a port missed. We had an unlimited drink special and were made to feel like criminals every time we asked for a drink. I think a sticker or special cup or something would be better than the stewards having to take your card to go check every time you want a drink would be much better. I specifically will not chose a trip with this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our 22nd Disney Cruise. We have been on all the ships but the Magic is still the most magical. We were on the transatlantic cruise that left Dover on Sept 9 and arrived in NY on Sept 20. We had four days at sea to cross the ... Read More
This was our 22nd Disney Cruise. We have been on all the ships but the Magic is still the most magical. We were on the transatlantic cruise that left Dover on Sept 9 and arrived in NY on Sept 20. We had four days at sea to cross the Atlantic. The staff, entertainment, food was all top notch. There was lots to do during the day when at sea. Cooking class, cocktail tasting, movies, workshops with a Disney executive, q and a session with Broadway stars, character breakfast, frozen character meets, princess gathering, characters everywhere, the lists go on and on. We had the second seating which means dinner was st 830. Fine with us. Our servers were Bianca from South Africa and MerthA from Indonesia. Lovely hardworking. We were very pleased. We had dinner In the main dining room every night except for one dinner at Palo. We always love Palo! I could eat nothing but their antipasto and be fine. The new Rapunzel dining experience was terrific. Great singing and music and character interaction. We stopped in Portland England and took excursion to Salisbury cathedral. It was excellent. And in Cork Ireland to see Blarney Castle. When we got across to Canada we had two stops in Nova Scotia snd one in New Brunswick. Tours we took were good and the weather wAs perfect. In fact the entire crossing was very good. Mainly sunny although chilly. But there were lots of swimmers because the adult pool was quite warm. We brought our disabled adult daughter and her best friend. And they had the usual great time tracking characters and watching movies. We came into NY about 5 am. We like hundreds others got up to see the statute of liberty. Another magical moment. . We were in an ocean view on 6, 6010. Perfect for us. Close to elevator. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After being blown away with the service provided by Disney cruise lines last year, we opted to book another cruise during our trip. We picked British Isles with the same Disney Magic that we sailed last year. Let's recap from my ... Read More
After being blown away with the service provided by Disney cruise lines last year, we opted to book another cruise during our trip. We picked British Isles with the same Disney Magic that we sailed last year. Let's recap from my last review, everything was perfect except for the food. I had to go out of my way to truly rate that food as below average. It was not enjoyable at all. I wrote about it here and I wrote to Disney about it. I also included my concern in the survey they ask you to fill out on the last day. I was quite happy to see that Disney Magic was dry docked a few months before our cruise which means during our cruise, the ship was already refreshed and cleaned. The biggest change we noticed was changing Cariocas dining to Tangled-themed dining. For my family and I, it was a welcomed change. Rapunzel's table now offers live entertainment for the diners where Rapunzel goes around singing and taking pictures with the guest. A nice addition compared to the dull and dark Cariocas dining experience. Food, now I'm sure many wants to know how the food is, I am happy to say that the kitchen has improved 180 degrees. The food offering was great! Dinners was spectacular and enjoyable. Everything was seasoned well and executed very well. They erased my worse fear of a poor dining experience. Foodies can now rejoice! Service. As always, 100% on point. Our main steward Esther (table 15) provided the best experience possible. Her skills match those of Michelin-rated restaurant servers. Disney should be pleased to have her on-board. Her skill-set and attention to detail is top-notch. She deserves to be moved up to management. It would be a shame and a disservice to her skills and knowledge if she stays as a steward. She was very attentive, quick, and caring. She really took care of our table 15. Her assistant Irena was also good but not as good as Esther. She had her challenges as the days went on but proved herself on the last day that she can hang. Our room steward Jojo has always been spectacular ensuring our room is always clean and stocked up with items that are always needed. His attention to detail is also appreciated. Little things that he did that other guest may not have notice doesn't go unnoticed with me. For example, we have very long iphone charging cables. We used the USB ports on the clock right bedside the bed, I guess he noticed that it was always hanging to the floor, one day I came back to notice that he wrapped it with Velcro to keep it clean and tight. He arranges our papers on the table for us and bathroom has always kept clean and hair free. Spa. This was such a treat. Our 3 year old daughter gifted us a couple's massage spa by going to the Oceaneer's club for 2 hours. Our 75 min couple's hot stone spa was amazing. Disney employs very good masseuse who has "the touch". My wife and I feel asleep and felt relaxed & recharged after the treatment. It was very pricey at $400+ for 75 minutes but well worth it. Oceaneer's club. This is probably my only qualm with Disney's offering. The oceaneer's club caters to kids between 3 to 12 years old. I feel that the gap is too big. We were able to use it twice for my 3 year old. one for 1 hour and the other one for 2 hours when we went to the spa. Both times, I saw my daughter just on the ipad playing alone. At home, she does not get any ipad time unless we're on vacation which we allow her unlimited time with the ipad/iphone except on bus rides and dining. There was very little interaction for the staff to push kids to do activities that are more mentally and physically challenging. I know they cannot force kids to do what they want but, offering a structured activities will allow the kids to do things as a group...like school. The ratio of staff to kids is pretty good so I did not understand why this is not done. After the 2nd time our daughter was there, we decided as a family to just stay together and we're fortunate that our daughter loves to be with us. Because of these little to big improvements and continued high level of service, we put a open deposit down for a possible 2020 cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My family thoroughly enjoyed our Disney cruise on the Magic. We flew from the US to London and used Disney transportation to get to the departure port of Dover. Disney employs local people to do the ground work such as greeting and driving ... Read More
My family thoroughly enjoyed our Disney cruise on the Magic. We flew from the US to London and used Disney transportation to get to the departure port of Dover. Disney employs local people to do the ground work such as greeting and driving as well as leading tour groups in each destination. Because these are people who live in the destination areas, they are able to provide more interesting and varied commentary on the locations and Disney seems to do well with vetting and training to ensure that they live up to the Disney standards for customer service. As an example, we had a guide in Cobh, Ireland who serenaded us with Irish folk songs as our bus meandered back to the ship from Blarney Castle after making us all laugh with his dry humor. Our cabin was an outside room with a balcony. At about 300 square feet, it never seemed crowded, even with four adult sized occupants (mom, dad, and two teens) in it. We arranged with our cabin host to have the kids' bunks kept open all week. There was still plenty of space to walk back and forth between the desk and the lower bunk to access the balcony and the part of the room closest to it. We did not have any issues with noise, though we were located on deck 8. The food on the ship varied from just ok to truly scrumptious. The fast service places on deck were decent but not memorable. The buffet at Cabanas was constantly changing and we did find that they quality of the food there was hit or miss. Nothing was inedible, but some dishes were quite bland or seemed to have too many ingredients thrown in to "elevate" them. My husband loved the eggs benedict. I had a curry dish one lunch that was fantastic. The kids always found something they liked. I had informed the staff in advance that I am gluten intolerent. My server went above and beyond to make sure that I always had something palatable to eat. Each night she showed me the dinner menus for the next evening, and took my order in advance. She also went as far as to preorder gluten free Mickey waffles for my breakfast at cabanas and a gluten free pizza from Pinnochio's for my lunch. The three main dining rooms on the Magic are Rapunzel's, Lumiere's, and the Animator's Palate. The food is equally good at all three. What makes these places different from one another is the theme and entertainment. The Animator's Palate is my favorite. The sketches on the wall screens change and light up along with accompanying music. The waitstaff become part of the show as dinner ends. Because our cruise was in England, Ireland, and Scotland in September, we did not take much advantage of the pools on board, despite the fact that they were heated. Mainly these were utilized by younger children and their parents. I felt bad for the lifeguards on duty, who wore winter jackets with their shorts and had few charges to watch. I have heard about people fighting for deck chairs on other cruises, but this was certainly not an issue for us! The live shows (I saw three different musicals in my week on board) were Broadway quality. Each was just an hour long and over too soon for me, though perhaps a better length for younger audience members. These shows feature familiar music and characters along with some very cool special effects and actors frequently run up and down the aisles as part of the performance. I have saved the best for last. The most memorable part of this cruise for my family: the Disney cast members. Many Disney employees went above and beyond to make the week a great one for us. Mariya and Anto, our servers, were so fun and helpful. Davisson the photographer always went the extra mile to make my shy teen smile. Our host, Ferdie, was efficient and accommodating. Some people may hesitate to choose the older ships in the Disney fleet because they are smaller and older. Disney has done a great job of updating the Magic and I think it is a perfect size. The magic and the Wonder can carry 2,400 passengers. The Dream and Fantasy have a capacity of 4,000 passengers each! I am not sure that we would get the same feeling of knowing our cast members or fellow passengers if there were twice as many people on board. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I wanted a trip that my young nephews could go on and so could older members of the family through Saga. The average age of passengers was probably 70 but there were a few younger folk. The ship ran a 'Young Skippers Club' ... Read More
I wanted a trip that my young nephews could go on and so could older members of the family through Saga. The average age of passengers was probably 70 but there were a few younger folk. The ship ran a 'Young Skippers Club' which catered for children 5-11 and this worked very well even though there were only 10 in it the 2 staff worked very hard. The ship itself could do with a bit of an update some of the carpets were threadbare and sometimes there were the odd strange smells (possibly sewage and petrol or cleaning fluid). My cabin was a single inside one so no porthole. It was quite small but adequate. Air conditioning actually worked in fact I couldn't turn it down but that was ok for me and it was quite noisy. Food was very good and the small swimming pools and hot tubs were a hit with the kids. There were shuttle buses running to and from the ports every 15 mins which were a great help. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we have long wanted to go to Greenland and knew that the boat would be smaller than many, which suits us better. We went straight to the cruise ship having been to Dover many times. The embarkation procedure was smooth as usual and we received our luggage promptly. Our cabins were fairly good, though we disliked the way that the porthole covers stuck out into the room as we liked to have the portholes uncovered on evenings when we had a sea day the following day. In one cabin we were unable to adjust the temperature as the cabin had a double bed and then two fold down beds which were against the wall and stopped us from being able to adjust the temperature to suit ourselves. We got in touch with guest services who came and changed it for us but that wasn't the point - we couldn't do that each time we wanted to change it! The staff in the Four Seasons restaurant couldn't have been more helpful. We had requested a window table but weren't given one, however we mentioned it and were changed to a window table from the next evening. The maitre d'hotel was the perfect mix of professional and friendly and so were the two waiters who served us. The only issue we noticed with the dining was that butterfish was on the menu, this surprised us as it's notorious for causing stomach upsets and so could easily ruin somebodies cruise. We generally didn't take part in the evening entertainment but the British evening was good, very professional. One of the entertainers in particular had an amazing singing voice, he could have been in the West End as he was that good. We enjoyed the talks from the Scottish gentleman who spoke about Iceland, Greenland and (of course) Scotland and were pleased to note that his talks about Iceland and Scotland didn't focus heavily on shopping (obviously they couldn't for Greenland!) but on providing some great local information. Fred Olsen had also arranged for an expert from the University of Cambridge to talk about the geology and culture of the areas that we were visiting, her talks were second to none. Both her and the Scottish gentleman were on deck and would chat to passengers and give out more information at will. When were travelling through the amazing Prins Christian Sund they both spent time on deck and on the bridge giving out some interesting information which enhanced the holiday. Our only disappointment was that Fred Olsen did not arrange an excursion to the ice cap in Greenland. We noticed that there was one from the port we called at but it got back only just before the ship departed and so it wasn't worth the risk of using a third party company as Greenland isn't the easiest of places to arrange a sudden flight from to meet the ship at the next port after all. There were plenty of activities for teenagers and all of the teenagers were pleasant and extremely well behaved as you'd expect on a trip to Greenland. There were four younger children, two were very pleasant whenever we saw them but two were a nuisance, mainly because they were unsupervised by their parents even when in the swimming pool when the younger one was unable to swim. This was the fault of the parents and not the children of course. Embarkation was poor, we sat on the coach for over an hour because the cruise company took all that time to help two guests who needed extra assistance and also managed to misplace their luggage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had a group of 9 people on this cruise. One of our party picked the cruise because of the date and itinerary. The cruise greatly exceeded my expectations. Pacific Princess is the smallest ship in the Princess fleet. The cruise ... Read More
We had a group of 9 people on this cruise. One of our party picked the cruise because of the date and itinerary. The cruise greatly exceeded my expectations. Pacific Princess is the smallest ship in the Princess fleet. The cruise reminded me of why I cruise. The ship is beautifully appointed and has nearly all of the amenities of the larger ships. It does not have the international cafe, but we did not miss it. Everywhere you went, there was adequate seating for the shows, at the buffet, in the restaurant, in the casino, the bars, by the pool, etc. For those who love the promenade deck around this ship with deck chars, this is the ship for you. Embarkation was a snap. We had priority boarding, but you didn't need it. Easy to get on. There just weren't a lot of people. Service was outstanding. If you went somewhere a couple of times, the staff remembered what you drank, whether you took cream in your coffee, etc. Every staff person I encountered was pleasant. Service in the restaurants was fast and efficient. The dining experience was also top notch. The food was better than I have experienced on the most recent two Princess cruises I took on the Regal and the Royal. I think a lot of this was because it was a smaller ship. We had three in our party who are gluten free. Their food was exactly what they wanted, every time. Even the buffet food was better than it has been on recent Princess cruises. We had dinner in the Grill one night. Again, the service and food were top notch. We got value for our $29 cover charge. The cabins were better appointed and larger than on the larger ships. We upgraded ours to a mini suite and it was the largest mini suite I have seen. Others had obstructed ocean views and interior cabins. Everyone's cabin was large and extremely nice. We all commented on how terrific the beds were. Cabin steward service was exemplary. The ship had fewer activities than on the larger ships, but there were enough, and the staff presented the shows and the games very well. The entertainment was very good. The highlight of the cruise was the Tattoo in Edinburgh. The ship docked quite a way from Edinburgh, but closer than a Holland America ship because Pacific Princess is smaller and could get into a port. We had two days in Edinburgh and took a taxi into the the city (there was also a train and bus) one day and a taxi to St. Andrews the second day. We attended the Tattoo through a Princess excursion and Princess did a great job in getting us there and back. The Tattoo was certainly something to see. We did another ship's tour in Wales, and it was also top notch. We booked an independent walking tour of Dublin, and did Jersey on our own. A word of caution, avoid Jersey pounds. One of our party used an ATM in Jersey and received Jersey pounds instead of Brutish pounds. He had a very hard time finding anyone to take them or even change them outside of Jersey. All in all, I will look for future sailings on the Pacific Princess. I think this is what the cruising experience is meant to be. I wish Princess had more ships like the Pacific Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This cruise unfortunately was a big mistake for me. I wanted to take a 13 year old grandson on a cruise of the British Isles and the dates of this cruise as well as the fact that it was only eight days was great. However, I did not ... Read More
This cruise unfortunately was a big mistake for me. I wanted to take a 13 year old grandson on a cruise of the British Isles and the dates of this cruise as well as the fact that it was only eight days was great. However, I did not realize in advance that for a teenager it is all about the ship and its activities for teens rather than the itinerary. Further, the highlight was going to be Londonderry as my grandson's family name stems from there. I NEVER EVER imagined that the ship could not dock there. I know that cruise tickets always have that disclaimer. However, adults can handle it much better than teens. To further his dissappointment the excursion that we took in Edinburgh was a total disaster and consequently he did not really see that city either On the other side, my husband and I have cruised extensively and the ship and service are much more important to us than the ports ( we are in our seventies) For us the ship was perfect. I have never had such a smooth embarkation nor have I ever enjoyed the entertainment so much. ( Because there is no theater per se there were no poor imitations of Broadway). Rather there was a great review of Burt Bacharach songs and some good karaoke and a fantastic Beatles sing a long Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We wanted to see Iceland and take my son's family away for a special birthday celebration. We had two grandkids 9 and 11. It would be their first trip to Europe and London seemed to be a great place to start. The Grosvenor House ... Read More
We wanted to see Iceland and take my son's family away for a special birthday celebration. We had two grandkids 9 and 11. It would be their first trip to Europe and London seemed to be a great place to start. The Grosvenor House through Princess was a good choice. Even though it was pricey, it had a great location and the staff was very accommodating. I did change rooms three times in order to get one larger than a closet ( they were very nice). Transfers through Princess were not great. My son came in three days early and was picked up in a timely manner but our ride was 45 minutes late. We sat exhausted after an all night flight waiting. Not a good start. The bus to the ship crawled to Dover taking over two hours for the last six miles. The Pacific Princess is a sweet little ship. We were on the Ocean Princess a few years ago in Tahiti and loved it. The Pacific Princess buffet was stretched to the limit in the cold weather as no one wanted to eat outside and there just aren't enough seats inside. The ship just came out of dry dock. All soft materials, carpet, drapes, upholstery and beds and bedding were spanking new. But woodwork and chipped sinks were not replaced. We have been on Oceania and Regent and were very familiar with the ship. It is very easy to get around, no waits at the elevator, people very friendly as you saw them constantly. The dancers double as social staff. ( The dancing and singing shows were terrific) The entertainment by and large was much better than expected. The club class means you eat in a roped off area with grey table cloths instead of white. You can walk right in when there is long line but the food isn't any better. We were in a club class mini suite. It is a very centrally located, comfortably large room with a bathtub. The TV is tiny and the ship does not have the on demand movies available on the Regal or Royal. The internet is god awful. Princess should be ashamed. We got better service on a whale watching boat in the middle of nowhere. The two ports in Scotland turned out to be pretty good. We always take Princess excursions so we don't have to worry about being left behind. Loved the Shetland ponies and Loved the Castle with the Falconry display in Scrabster. What a fabulous show. The Iceland ports were all the same. Vast vistas, lonely farms, a wildest that made me sad. Boiling pools. We did see lots of puffins on our first stop but no whales. Norway is beautiful especially Bergen. You shouldn't take a tour in Bergen, just walk into town ( ten minutes) and visit the shops and fish market. Lots of fun. I was worried that the kids wouldn't have enough to do on such a small ship but it was fine between bingo ( a fortune) and the kids club and ping pong and the excursions. It was not my favorite trip. The water was unusually calm but the best part was I won the slot tournament and got a spot in the big tournament on the Regal in October. We are going! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My 13 yr, old grand daughter wanted to see Iceland. It was her first cruise (my 24th on Princess), so I saw it through her eyes. Princess transfers were hassle-free. Getting on the ship was a breeze. Service throughout the cruise was ... Read More
My 13 yr, old grand daughter wanted to see Iceland. It was her first cruise (my 24th on Princess), so I saw it through her eyes. Princess transfers were hassle-free. Getting on the ship was a breeze. Service throughout the cruise was superb. Our cabin steward and waiters were great. I'm not terribly fond of the layout of the Sea Princess since many spaces do not lend themselves to the activities offered, but we can't do much about that. We did only one tour (Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik). That worked well for a pre-teen. There weren't enough kids her age on board to make the chhildren's program really interesting, so she was happy to do adult crafts, trivia, shows, etc. All in all, we had no complaints....well, maybe one. Five dollars for a scoop of ice cream??? Really? I think that's a little over the top. for any ice cream, anywhere! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this Disney Cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to take advantage of a seldom-offered good rate by this company. Traveling as two adults, we were not overly interested in the character greetings etc. but it was ... Read More
We chose this Disney Cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to take advantage of a seldom-offered good rate by this company. Traveling as two adults, we were not overly interested in the character greetings etc. but it was charming nonetheless. Disney does make a great effort to provide adult-only areas, which was appreciated. We arrived at London Heathrow two days prior to embarkation day. We took the tube to Kings Cross/St. Pancras tube station, where we picked up prebooked train tickets to Canterbury using the ticket machines. At the same time, we picked up our prebooked tickets for the onward journey Canterbury to Dover (for embarkation day) and Dover back to St. Pancras for our trip home. The tube fare each way (using previously purchased Oyster Cards which we topped up using the ticket machines at Heathrow) was about 3GBP. The fares London to Canterbury and Dover to London were around 13 GBP when booked in advance. Certainly we were taking a chance that we might miss our train from London to Canterbury if our flight was late, but it all worked out smoothly. We chose to stay the 2 nights ahead of the cruise in Canterbury as it seemed quainter than Dover and was only a 20 minute train ride away on embarkation day. We've been to London before so we decided to skip the hustle and bustle. At the Canterbury West train station, we took a taxi to our hotel (8 GBP.) We had prebooked the Premier Inn for around 54 GBP per night. Well worth it as it was a short, pleasant stroll to the pedestrian area of town and conveniently has a Tesco Express for food, sundries and wine/beer (great prices we thought) and also a Pizza Hut next door. As Disney allows 2 bottles of wine per person/per port, we bought 4 bottles to take on board with us. On embarkation day, we took the train from Canterbury East train station (walking distance from hotel if you don't have a lot of luggage) to Dover Priory station, then a taxi to the port (10 GBP I think.) The lines were quite long at 1pm but we were soon through security and went on to the ship. We made our way to our room, an inside cabin on deck 6. Our bags arrived a few hours later. The muster drill was pain-free, and the sail away quite lovely with the white cliffs of Dover as background. Unfortunately it was cool and cloudy so we didn't linger outside too long. The ship itself is lovely. However, with the majority of days having cold, cloudy weather (even in July) there seemed to be very little public space for sitting, reading or just hanging out unless you were in a bar or restaurant (the buffet restaurant did not usually remain open between meals.) As a result, adults without kids were jammed into the adults only Cove Cafe, resulting in standing-room only a lot of the time. We certainly spent most of our leisure time in there. Coffees in the morning, wine etc. the rest of the day. This is the best place on the ship in our opinion. Croissants served in the morning, pastries in the afternoon, charcuterie in the evening. Although I would say that the quality of food on the ship is good, it unfortunately wasn't to my taste. The dining room menu was overly fancy, to say the least. So many sauces and strange (to me) pairings of main food and accompaniments. I'm used to less fussy, West Coast menus I guess. The breakfast buffet had many great choices of fried foods, tasteless omelettes (maybe made with liquid egg substitute or dried eggs??). I ended up eating Raisin Bran or making the odd bacon sandwich. Lunch was the best offering of the day, with an ethnic food choices as well as the expected food. Lots of macaroni and cheese for some reason. Desserts were okay to good. Definitely try the sticky toffee pudding. In the evening, you could attend your assigned dining room sitting (rotating through 3 different dining rooms) or go to Cabanas (buffet by day, waiter service from a limited menu by night.) Because we had been assigned the late seating of 830pm, which is quite late for us, we chose to go to Cabanas several times (open 630- 830.) The head waiter from the dining room left not 1 but 2 messages on our cabin voicemail, concerned that we hadn't chosen to eat in the dining room for a few meals. We prefer to choose where and when we eat. You can get chicken strips and pizza on deck as usual. Our inside cabin was the lowest category, so it did not have the separate toilet/bathtub that other categories have. It was just fine, still one of the biggest, nicest bathrooms I've had on a ship (and still had a bathtub, not just a shower.) There is a queen bed and daybed, which was made up every evening by housekeeping. The housekeeping was great. The TV had Disney tv shows. Or, for variety, Disney movies. You get the drift. The clock radio has 2 usb ports (how civilized!!!) and available outlets next to the bed and above the dresser. There were 2 hair dryers, a mini-fridge, safe etc. All fine for 2 people. We went to all the Disney-type production shows (all excellent) but skipped the magician and violinist kind of shows. The shows are held in the very large Walt Disney Theatre - come at least 15 minutes early if you have a large group, as many people tend to have. We also attended all the port-lecturer talks, which were given by a college professor who delivers interesting material with deadpan humour. The service was excellent everywhere. The only exception being Cabanas restaurant in the evening, which seems to be a training ground. For example, instead of "what would you like to order?" we were asked, "ready?" Just make it a limited buffet in the evening, please. The ports were exceptional, all places I've never been before: Stavanger, Alesund, Akureyri, Reykjavik, Invergordon (for Inverness.) We booked no ships tours, preferring to make private arrangements. Stavanger: we walked around to the other side of the port and booked the Lysefjord tour for 490 Norwegian Kroner each. The trip lasted about 3 hours and was beautiful. Stay outside on the deck for the best views, obviously. While waiting for the trip to start (10 am) we used the free wifi at the most beautiful Starbucks (sorry) I've ever been in. Afterwards, we strolled around the old town, had coffee and skol brot at a lovely cafe, and then walked around the pedestrian shopping area behind the Starbucks. It was one of very few warm sunny days. Alesund: we bought tickets for the little train, and went for coffee while waiting for our assigned time. The train goes on a lovely tour around town and up to a lookout ( I don't remember the exact price but it was expensive.) The lovely art nouveau buildings are so interesting. Afterwards, we went to a brewpub at the pier and had the best hamburger I've ever had (not very Norwegian, I know, but remember I didn't really enjoy the food on the ship but I loved this hamburger!). A cool, cloudy day. Day at sea: Cove Cafe, the Irish Pub with the Gothard Sisters playing Celtic music, the odd trivia game. Akureyri: I got up at 2 am hoping to see the sunrise but I was too late, It was already up although it was grey and cloudy too. The sail in/out of the fjord at Akureyri is not to be missed - it's stunning, and is the best opportunity to view wildlife such as whales and dolphins. We had prebooked a tour through Fab Travel (discounted as we booked with them for both Akureyri and Reykjavik.) It is the same tour you can book through the ship at substantially less cost. They were waiting at the pier in both ports. I highly recommend them. We went to a geothermal area, a crater, a lookout, a waterfall and the Myvan nature baths (you can go in this hot spring if you want but we were saving ourselves for the Blue Lagoon.) Several people on our tour did go in the water here (at a cost) but it is really nothing compared to the Blue Lagoon imho. A long day on the bus, but the spectacular scenery is worth it. Nothing to see in the little town itself, book a tour. Other passengers on the ship booked whale watching tours at the port. Free wifi in the port gift shop. Reykjavik: again we had the prebooked tour (the Golden Circle) with Fab Travel. Do not hesitate to book them. It certainly is a long day on the bus, but with spectacular scenery again. We went to the geyser area, the place where the 2 continental plates meet, a spectacular waterfall, a lovely rest stop, a farm. Our ship docked around noon, so after the tour we just went back to the ship and rested up for day 2 and our Blue Lagoon adventure. We booked through Reykjavik Excursions for the first entry of the day (7am.) They were waiting for us at the pier at 530am as promised. We were driven to the central bus station where we boarded a larger bus at 6am to take us on the 45 minute drive to the lagoon. They opened promptly at 7. We were the first ones in the lagoon, and the first ones at the bar. We had to have our iconic Blue Lagoon photo with a glass of prosecco (well it's 5 oclock pm somewhere, right?) At that hour there were few people in the lagoon and we paddled about happily for an hour. The hordes of buses were just pulling in as we got out. The only hiccup was that the first bus back to town wasn't leaving for an hour or so later so we had excellent coffee in the cafe. We took the Reykjavik Excursion bus back to the main tourist area of town (they will drop you where you want) and then took the free port shuttle back to the port for departure. Free wifi at the port and in most cafes. Day at sea: as above. Too cold for the pool Invergordon: Took the local bus to Inverness for the day as we had already done Loch Ness etc. on previous trips. If you want to see the highlands, battle fields, Loch Ness etc. book a tour maybe through the ship for this port. We just shopped in Inverness and had a great lunch. Free wifi in Marks and Spencers. Day at sea: as above Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We wanted to treat our family group of 12 to a mini cruise which would involve no expense whatsoever to them, and stumbled across Saga with whom we had never considered cruising before, despite having enjoyed over 25 cruises with 9 lines. ... Read More
We wanted to treat our family group of 12 to a mini cruise which would involve no expense whatsoever to them, and stumbled across Saga with whom we had never considered cruising before, despite having enjoyed over 25 cruises with 9 lines. A dedicated group travel consultant at Saga dealt with every aspect of our booking. Cabins were reserved without deposit until bookings were confirmed, and there was a group booking discount of one free place. He was also the point of contact for any queries we had before sailing. Much more than usual was included in the price of this cruise- free travel insurance for us all including several of our party with medical conditions which normally attract a considerable premium, chauffeur service to and from Dover or free parking for those who choose to drive themselves, all on board gratuities, free 24 hour room service, bottled water and packed lunches for those on excursions, free shuttle buses in all ports, free Wi-Fi, and generous helpings from a choice of over 10 wines or soft drinks at lunch and dinner. The published cost of the cruise may appear to be higher than on some lines, but is offset by the included extras, and several of our group disembarked with a "nil" on board account. We sailed from Dover in warm sunshine, sipping complimentary champagne and were treated to a surprise flying display by a WW2 Spitfire, and Vera Lynn singing The White Cliffs of Dover. Cabins were clean and comfortable with adequate storage, fridge, T.V and DVD player, and even pillow chocolates. Bathrobes, good showers and full sized bottles of toiletries were provided. Saga Pearl caters to the over 50's and carries a maximum of 450 passengers and 250 officers and crew who were unfailingly helpful and friendly. The atmosphere is relaxed and sociable but even on this 4 night cruise there was one formal night, giving the opportunity to dress up if one wished. Entertainment was low-key, as there is no theatre and the on board singers performed in the Discovery Lounge. On the final evening we were treated to a performance by Beyond the Barricade. The library carries a huge array of books and magazines to which you are trusted to help yourself, and there is a small cinema, gym, and beauty salon. One of the most impressive features of the cruise was the fabulous food which was outstanding in both variety and quality. Seating is mainly open, but as a group, we were allocated two tables for six, and a very good selection of gluten free was offered in addition to a diabetic menu. Having experienced Cunard Queen’s Grill and Silversea we felt that Saga ’s food was undoubtedly equal, if not superior. We are wondering why it has taken us so long to “discover” Saga, will have no hesitation in recommending them to our friends, and will definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The Great This may take a while. There were so many great things to mention. Disney is great with details. From the "Mickey" shaped face for my daughters ketchup, to the Disney themed menu each night, they really do a great ... Read More
The Great This may take a while. There were so many great things to mention. Disney is great with details. From the "Mickey" shaped face for my daughters ketchup, to the Disney themed menu each night, they really do a great job at providing those little extras in everything they do. The Oceaneer Lab and Club are exceptional. I could barely get my daughter to leave. The staff was friendly and courteous. The actual area was awesome. I wanted to go in in play! I also loved their security features. I never worried about my daughter while she was there. The cabin in clean and large. We actually stayed in a room with just a porthole and never felt like we were missing out or that the room was too tight. It was actually perfect for the three of us. I also LOVED that they had two interpreters for the hearing impaired at every show. We didn't need the services but there was a family there that did. I can tell you- they did an amazing job considering the length of each show. It must have taken a ton of preparation on their part. I am sure they don't receive enough credit so I wanted to mention. Dining in the 3 restaurants was always fun. I loved the Animators Palate. The food was pretty good although it wasn't amazing. The service, however was spectacular and my daughter could always get whatever she wanted even if it wasn't on the menu. The Bad The ports were just okay. We stopped in Newcastle, England (meh), Kirkwall, Scotland (huge disappointment!), Iceland and Norway (which were fab.) I really would recommend that Disney rethink the first two stops. They just weren't that great. Another downside- if you are a first time cruiser with Disney, you don't get on the "special" email about events going on. We overheard someone talking about the character breakfast or we would have never known. We also found out about the princess meet and greet after it was over. Sorry Disney but if I am paying 10k for a vacation, I should have the option to participate in these things. After speaking to numerous cruisers, there is definately a sense that the Castaway Club members are treated better. I get it to an extent, you have to give them perks but when the cruise director walks past your table to focus on those with gold or black lanyards (that they get when boarding), you feel slighted. The Ugly... The spa is a huge letdown. I enjoyed my massage and facial but they are obviously incentivized to sell you on items and they are super pushy. I can't tell you how many times I stated that I did not was facial cream, massage oil, etc. It really was uncomfortable. Overall, I really enjoyed this cruise and will use Disney again. We had a great time and my daughter was in heaven. Well worth the extra money. Just be aware of the downsides. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Br.oadway style shows are the best. The new show "Tangled: the Musical" is phenominal. The crew are so caring to make sure all your needs are met. The officers are always willing to help. The excursions were awesome. The ... Read More
Br.oadway style shows are the best. The new show "Tangled: the Musical" is phenominal. The crew are so caring to make sure all your needs are met. The officers are always willing to help. The excursions were awesome. The service is 5 stars! I have sailed on many cruise lines, but Disney is my favorite. Our whole group even travels without children. There are many adult areas where no children are allowed. Plenty of activities on the ship at all times whether you want adult only, family, or children activities. Even though my kids are adults, the children's clubs are the best I've ever seen. The regional menus each night have items from each port that we visited to give us a taste of the area. I loved that addition. I will be sailing on Disney again. I am so pleased with the ship and service. I highly recommend to anyone considering the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to go to the Fjords and with this being a special "Frozen"-themed cruise to Norway, we couldn't resist! The challenge in researching the cruise was that there was very little ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to go to the Fjords and with this being a special "Frozen"-themed cruise to Norway, we couldn't resist! The challenge in researching the cruise was that there was very little information about it out in the web and so mostly we went on faith and Disney's reputation. We have sailed with Disney once prior to this sailing in the Caribbean on the Dream, the larger ship. The Magic has had a major overhaul within the past 3 years... but I will discuss that later. Onto the experience itself... The ship was mostly Brits and Americans... there were more Americans than I had anticipated and many of us had pulled our kids out of school early for the opportunity to take this cruise. We flew in a few days prior and stayed with family in the area. I highly recommend traveling in early to get rid of the jet lag. It takes us about 3 days to get our bodies in a 5 hour time change difference, so I was glad we did. On the return we took the Disney transportation back to London Heathrow airport (LHR) and it was very smooth - especially for a Sunday morning. Check-in went smooth and we had taken advantage of pre-booking everything online, so we needed to handle little paperwork prior to boarding. The check-in area was very similar to Florida, and the procedure was the same. We were given credentials with badges and lanyards as a Silver Castaway Club member. That was a nice surprise as it was our second cruise. We boarded the ship with no issues and just needed to wait about 20 minutes before we could access our cabin. We had two adjoining cabins, starboard, with balconies on Deck 7. The connecting door was easy to unlatch and we had access between both cabins for the duration of the cruise without having to go into the hallway. On both beds were Castaway Club backpacks... a welcome surprise! We left port late as I believe they held the ship for late arrivals and last minute cargo loading. We missed the spillway party as my daughter is 5-1/2 and we just needed to slow everything down a bit as she was bouncing off the walls in excitement. We also didn't have our baggage. For arriving at 1PM, right on time, we didn't get a single piece of luggage until almost 6PM. As we were assigned the early dinner seating, we had to just go "as is". We were very disappointed it arrived so late. The English Channel is usually pretty rough coming out of port, but the only time I really felt it was standing up after dinner. With rotational dining, we ate in Caricoas and then moved onto Animators Palate and then Luminere's for the duration of the cruise. We also switched after the first night to the second seating as frankly, the smaller children are at that service time and it was filled with small children. We are used to a pretty quiet dining environment, so we opted to ask for our own table at the 8:30pm seating. It was the best decision for our family and we ended up with fantastic service team including Plamen from Bulgaria (our main waiter), Vincent (our assistant waiter) and Cindy (our head waiter)... they were all fantastic and went out of their way to provide us with consistent, personalized service. They as a team exceeded our expectations. A shout out to Silvio, from Italy, our Sous Chef.... can't say enough about the special cannoli's that he made us. The cruise itself went from Dover to Stavanger to Alesund to Geiranger to Bergen and back to Dover. We were on sea days from Dover to Stavanger and Bergen to Dover. The seas were unusually calm and I was very thankful that except for the wait time sailing into the Geiranger Fjord (we couldn't access the Fjord until past 3AM due to traffic), the weather and the sailing was very smooth. We truly lucked out with the seas and weather. I have been in the Med during rough seas, and it is not fun.... I was truly thankful and it just heightened the enjoyment of the experience. The Oceaneers Club and Lab were both great options for my daughter. The kids crew did a great job of keeping the kids entertained and having a good time. The cruise ended with a performance with the kids on the Walt Disney Stage with Mickey and Minnie singing and dancing along. My daughter received a moment t-shirt and loved the experience. The Oceaneers Club and Lab is one of the main reasons we choose Disney - it is time for my daughter to have with other kids and also for my husband and I to have some time alone together. We appreciate what a good job they do. We took a number of excursions off of the ship and two of the three were specifically designed for the kids. In Stavanger we took the Maritime Museum tour... the main reason was that our daughter would learn about the Viking experience, but also got to build and decorate her own boat that she got to bring home. The Alesund excursion was a "once in a lifetime" as we went to Sunnmore Village (outdoor Norwegian historical site that showcases their way of life) which included a meet and greet with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from FROZEN. It was a bit of a mad crush, but the Disney folks did an excellent job of managing to keep themselves engaged from the first person in line all the way to the last person over an hour an a half. It had rained in the morning, but managed to stop within an hour and we had a really enjoyable time learning about the historical Norwegian way of life. My daughter was interested in the obvious... a very special meet and greet with the FROZEN characters. As we departed we were all given a special Norwegian cookie/cake and also a Disney pin in the shape of a Norwegian flag. Very special.... The Geiranger excursion was equally special, but in a very different way. We took a motor coach into the mountains and had excellent views of the major sites including the seven sisters waterfalls from a high vista lookout. From there we went deeper into the area and ended at a local farm, The Gjaera Farm, run by Martin and his wife. Disney Youth Counselors accompanied us as well and the children went off and learned about stamping with antique wooden stamps from Norway and other countries. The children each made their own pillowcase souvenir with their own stamps. The adults, on the other hand, hung out with Martin and enjoyed is fabulous hand-crafted beer, cheese and other dried meats. We had an incredible view of the fjord below... a slice of Heaven, truly. It was a great couple of hours to watch his sheep and other farm animals graze in the area and then the children came back out and showed us their crafts. They then got to feed the animals... what a perfect morning/early afternoon excursion to have taken. In Bergen and the rest of the cities that we visited, there was always time to do a little shopping. We docked very close to the city center, if not right in the middle of it! At most, there was a 10 minute walk into Bergen, the docking was ideal. As for the shopping, there is the usual tourist souvenirs, but if you look hard enough, you were able to find some really special artisan shops with local flair. I found that Stavanger had the best clothing and Bergen the best artisans in the historic wharf area. Many of the shop owners participated in the tax refund program, so I was able to get my VAT tax (approx. 20 percent on base price) equivalent refunded to me at the airport when I departed. It is worth taking the time and the hassle at the airport to do the paperwork. As for the Disney shows, they were pretty spectacular... even on a moving ship. We saw a new production of Tangled... about an hour and a half production on the stage. The performers were fantastic and the staging for a cruise ship was incredibly well done. This was the best one that we saw... but I know that they are all good and well worth planning to see whether before or after your dinner time. The character meet and greets were not well run. Many of them bumped up on either side of dinner seating times and we had to leave the line after 40 minutes to go to dinner and miss one of the few Minnie/Mickey dual meet and greets, for example. We said something to the crew member running the meet and greet and was met with canned explanations that we did not receive well. We gave up after that. Room service was run well and was efficient. I wish there were more selections including breakfast (having the option to select in the morning and not just the night before). We did get to Palo one evening. The surcharge is $30 per person, and the experience was excellent... especially sailing out of the Geiranger Fjord. Most of all, it was a very quiet dining experience, which my husband and I appreciated. My daughter happily enjoyed dinner in the kids club. Is it worth $30 per person? I am not so sure, from a food quality standpoint... but you are also paying for the location/view and the exclusivity. The culinary teams in the rotational dining rooms do an amazing job of preparing the food and adjusting to your personal dietary needs as much as possible. For a 7 day cruise, there were a few bumps in the road, but nothing major for me to speak of beyond what I have mentioned. I will say that the only negative was the condition of the staterooms. They have had a refurbishment, but the deck chairs were old, had tape on the tops and bottom of the feet, rust was exposed in many areas and the shower was not the greatest. Our beds in both cabins were lumpy and not comfortable... both need new mattresses. The towels and linens were fresh and clean... the towels were cleaned every day, but the bedding could have been changed out, but wasn't when we had a spill by my daughter. But that was it for the most part. All in all, the Disney consistency shown through... we had a wonderful time in a magical place and look forward to another European adventure again soon! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After having sailed on the larger (5,000 + passenger) ships, this relatively small cruise ship, at only 650 pax, was much nicer. The cabins were the same size, maybe a little nicer, than the large ship cabins, but there were no line-ups ... Read More
After having sailed on the larger (5,000 + passenger) ships, this relatively small cruise ship, at only 650 pax, was much nicer. The cabins were the same size, maybe a little nicer, than the large ship cabins, but there were no line-ups for anything! Our evening meals were served very quickly, with the staff very attentive to our every need. They genuinely cared that we enjoyed the food and did not hesitate to offer a different selectionif it appeared we were not completely satisfied with our first choice. There was no waiting at bars, and there were always many pool deck chairs available. People didn't hijack them for the day! Overall, the average age was probably around 60, but there was much jocularity and good humour abound. The entertainment was not as good as on some of the bigger boats, but was still enjoyable. Remember to verify which currency is legal tender at the various ports of call as it is most likely that currency from one area will not be accepted in another area - and the ship may, or may not exchange it. Find out before you stick your cash card in an ATM! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This is our 4 Disney cruise. All on the Magic. This is the first time we cruised since the refurbishment. Had a wonderful time. We stayed in London the week before. We made our own air and hotel reservations in London and Disney was not ... Read More
This is our 4 Disney cruise. All on the Magic. This is the first time we cruised since the refurbishment. Had a wonderful time. We stayed in London the week before. We made our own air and hotel reservations in London and Disney was not helpful in providing transportation to the port so we did that on our own also. My kids are 10, 12 and 14 and only the 10 year old enjoyed the Edge (we were able to have him get into the Edge since his brother and sister were there). I think it was more that the kids were tired after the ports and mine just wanted to watch a movie or read in the evenings. It was mostly a loud group of boys playing video games in there. Prior cruises I had to pry my kids out of the kids club so it was probably just my kids ages and the amount of time we were traveling. We did not go to many of the shows but enjoyed watching the movies. Our cabin was fantastic. We booked a one bedroom concierge suite this time and it was well worth it. It was sometimes loud with the neighbor children and I once had to ask them to keep it down so we could get enough sleep to make our early port excursion meeting. We had fantastic service and we all enjoyed all the concierge level perks. My children really enjoyed the food. They mostly ordered off of the adult menu. We had the early dining and that worked perfectly for us. Enjoyed our ports and most of all of shore excursions. All of our tour guides were great. In Copenhagen we did the City Highlights and Open Air Museum the first day. It was fun but too long at the open air museum. Second day we did all inclusive to Tivoli and that was a blast. In Stockholm we went to the Vasa museum which was really neat and then the food hall. Not enough time in the food hall to eat. In Helsinki we went to the nature center and reindeer feeding which was fun. St Petersburg day one we had a private car which was a great way to see many of the sights. The second day we did the Catherine's palace and Hermitage museum tour. Very long day and the kids were ready to have some sea days after that but I would do it again. Actually, I would not change a thing about our shore excursions except shorten day one in Copenhagen. I had a massage the last day of the cruise and I was really disappointed. The massage was fine but i was not impressed with the spa. I cruised right before the refurbishment and was told by the staff that the spa would be all redone. It looked the same as before. Maybe a little worst. I just felt like it was dirty and falling apart.Robes were huge and so were the shoes. Much worst than the spa in the strip mall at home and 4 times as much. I have no problem paying for a premium experience but this spa was not that. All of the staff we excellent. We really liked our assistant waiter and cabin steward and the concierge staff. The diner show at Animators palate the last night was very cool and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Tried a FO cruise for the first time but won't be back unless it's a very short, cheap cruise to a must see destination. Having cruised with RCI, P&O and Thomson, FO seemed sub-standard and basic. The best thing about this ... Read More
Tried a FO cruise for the first time but won't be back unless it's a very short, cheap cruise to a must see destination. Having cruised with RCI, P&O and Thomson, FO seemed sub-standard and basic. The best thing about this cruise was the suite we occupied which was very nice and the ports of call. The ship is old and past it's sell by date. The meal times were like being at school with set times with nothing open in between. For example, afternoon tea lasted for 45 minutes from 3.45 to 4.30 pm, which meant after arriving back on the ship from a day in port it had usually ended. The only option then was the limited selection off the room service menu. When on holiday one likes to eat when it suits not be driven by a timetable. Missing the afternoon tea means a long wait until second seating at 8.30 pm. The dining room staff always seemed to be in a rush and not up to the standard we have experienced with other cruise lines, they forgot orders, mixed orders up and were not very talkative. The food was ok but nothing more. Lunchtime in the Grill was not very good. They ran out of food too. The ship stopped at La Palice which is a 20 minute bus journey from La Rochelle. There was a shuttle from the ship to the port gate as it is forbidden to walk to the port gate. You can then get the number 1 bus into La Rochelle for €1.30. The bus stops in the bus station and near the harbour. The same for the return journey. However FO were charging the outrageous amount of £25.00 for this return journey, which we did for €2.60 each. Don't fall for it the bus was easy to do even though it was crowded on the outward journey with cruise passengers filling it. The bus runs about every 20 minutes. FO is clearly aimed at an older market but I think they deserve better than what is on offer currently. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise on Holand America, and I can say it will be our last. Queuing for thirty minutes each night to get into the restaurant, then waiting another thirty minutes for our order to be taken was realy quite poor. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holand America, and I can say it will be our last. Queuing for thirty minutes each night to get into the restaurant, then waiting another thirty minutes for our order to be taken was realy quite poor. The main restaurant was in serious need for a refurbishment, and I would go as far as to say it was quite embarrassing . The food in the main resturant on most nights was cold, and was below average. On the positive side the buffet resturant was realy nice, hot and tasty. If you are looking for a luxury cruise Ryndam is not it. The staff in bars were very friendly,and worked very hard. The entertainment was quite good,but I think that was because they had one young lady that was exceptionally good. The children's club were very nice,and did their best with what they had. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My husband and I have cruised several times on several different cruise lines. Our first cruise was in 1998, and since then, we have felt the service and ambiance of cruising has fallen and become much more common- until this cruise. The ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised several times on several different cruise lines. Our first cruise was in 1998, and since then, we have felt the service and ambiance of cruising has fallen and become much more common- until this cruise. The ship was beautiful and the service was absolutely fantastic. Everyone was very helpful, happy, and it seemed like there was a great camaraderie among the ship staff. We very much enjoyed the itinerary, the staff, and the ship. The Ocean Princess is the smallest ship we have been on to date, but we felt NOTHING was lacking, in fact, there were many features we liked so much better! The ship was very stately, all done in rich colors and wood. There was a staircase very reminiscent of the Titanic, with the main desk at the bottom and fairly large seating areas on each side. At the top were the boutiques and the main floor with the Cabaret Lounge, (which all shows took place in- no auditorium), the Casino, and the dining room. The dining room had a large gathering room with a bar right outside the hostess stand, with floor to ceiling windows. The library was HUGE- it covered the whole back of the ship, and I was impressed with the book selection. There was a lot of seating, a mural on the ceiling, and a fireplace and lots of window seats. This is how every ship should do a library, and I could just envision spending hours there on a trans-Atlantic cruise during days at sea! I was super impressed. Up on the 10th floor was a very large Tahitian Lounge with lots of comfortable seating and 3 sides of floor to ceiling windows- including slanted windows which was the front of the ship. The dining room was gorgeous, and the Steak House, which we tried one night was beautiful and spacious. The floor to ceiling windows, watching the sunset and the moonrise, in this setting made the price of the extra meal worth it. There was lots of seating in public places, we never seemed to have to fight for a chair. The pool deck was large enough, with the walking track around the top. A small stage to one side of the pool for music and demonstrations. Going into a public restroom on this ship, there were 4 to 5 stalls, where the new ship would just be a single holer. Felt like this ship was created for when cruising was a luxury, not just cramming people in. Did not miss the Movies Under the Stars (in fact happier without it), the international café or the constant loud music and games by the pool. The cruise director was less obtrusive, and the announcements much less- enjoyed the peacefulness that this seemed to give the ship. So things other ships call amenities- we did not miss them at all! The only weird thing was the pizza bar was in the café- so seemed strange to go in there to get a slice. The pool bar had a very large selection of grilled food (though never tried it) but no ice cream bar. Overall, very impressed with the ship right off the bat. The service was excellent. Every service person had a smile, greeted you by name very quickly and seemed to all be friends. We often heard the staff joking with each other. The staff seemed generally happy, and every single person we encountered was very helpful. Both our cabin steward and our table waiter were outstanding. Only assigned dining times on this ship, but I think that helped the service be better and dinner go smoother. Over the week we enjoyed all the entertainment. We did not attend every show, but those that we did were not outstanding, but were entertaining enough. We really enjoyed the magician. The food was average, normal Princess ship fair. We do not cruise for the food, though compared to a decade ago quality has definitely fallen. The Steak House food was delicious, but the extra price was made worth it by the views and the side dishes- not necessarily the steak (though very good). Overall we were thrilled with the ship set up, the service, and the atmosphere of the smaller ship. Husband and I both said at the end that we would consider a cruise just to be on this ship again. Overall, this trip was definitely a trip of a lifetime and we would highly recommend it to anyone. Enjoyed every port, learned a lot, walked a lot, relaxed a little. (Yes, if you are looking to relax, go Caribbean. If you are looking for an experience, do this!). Two thumbs up! Will write separate port reviews, however, no options for stops in Jersey or Whales- so in the interest of space, will do very brief reviews. Jersey: A cute little island, not enough time here. Absolutely must do the Jersey War Tunnels. One of the most informative and educational tours and museums I have ever done. Amazing to read and see what the people of this tiny island went through during the war. They did an amazing job telling their story. When you head back to the cute town center, you can see all the buildings from the pictures you just saw when occupied by the Nazis. Do not miss. Very easy and cheap to grab the public bus from downtown and get off right outside the War Tunnels. Whales: Took the Princess excursion to Pembroke Castle and St. David's Cathedral. Glad we took an excursion through the ship, because there is not much in this town. The Chamber of Commerce is there with brochures promoting their island which was wonderful, would be great if every port did this! We got on a bus, toured the coast which was beautiful, and the guide gave us a great education in Welsh culture. Stopped at Carew and Pembroke Castles, had a break in town for lunch, and went to St. David's Cathedral in St. Davids. Amazing, breath taking, it brings tears to your eyes. The architecture and how this church was built is unbelievable. The cathedral rivals Westminster Abbey with NONE of the crowds. I will forever be grateful that I have seen this amazing cathedral. Highly recommended to get there, and doing it through Princess was very convenient and the guide very good.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This is our 8th cruise since 2010 when we went with the family on this ship. My wife wanted London and Paris this time and we had the chance to pick up other ports that were cancelled in 2010. Two were St Tropez and Portofino. It seemed ... Read More
This is our 8th cruise since 2010 when we went with the family on this ship. My wife wanted London and Paris this time and we had the chance to pick up other ports that were cancelled in 2010. Two were St Tropez and Portofino. It seemed like the decor had been done and was darker but the Tahitian room at the front was still excellent. Overall the ship is still very nice and small enough to be boutique and friendly. Good staff with no bad experiences. Our first meal was also great but seemed more average as the days rolled on. Not as good as 2010. The casual restuarant sometimes surprised. We really noticed that the entertainment was much better than 4 years ago but of course can't equal the sets of the big ships. Very good none the less. With a port nearly every day we were keep on our toes. Steady at sea in the Med except for the first day on the edge of the Atlantic. Completely put "off side" by weight talk that morphed into a voluntary $86 session with a push to buy product for $3000. On land you'd call Consumer Affairs. The ports got us in for this cruise but if RCI was doing the same I'd go for their nicer ships , good entertainment (mostly) but similar other experiences. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We have cruised several times, but this was our first time with Holland America, and it will certainly not be our last. The embarkation at Dover was probably the best organised we have ever witnessed, we were on board 30 minutes after ... Read More
We have cruised several times, but this was our first time with Holland America, and it will certainly not be our last. The embarkation at Dover was probably the best organised we have ever witnessed, we were on board 30 minutes after arriving at the port. The Ryndam is not the newest of ships, but is in very good condition, there was always some maintenance being done, but it never interfered with the passengers. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which had everything you could wish for, it was kept immaculate throughout the cruise by the cabin attendant. The food on board is nothing short of exceptional, even in the Lido (self service), the only problem with the Lido, like most buffet areas on most ships, is getting a table. The main dining room is very well laid out and the service is superb, we were open dining and never had a problem getting a table, which we mainly shared with other people. The menu had something for every taste and is beautifully cooked and presented. There was a real mixture of nationalities on board and we met some very lovely people. The ship boasts a cinema as well as the show lounge. The films shown are quite new releases and if you do not catch it in the cinema, the film is run on a loop in your cabin the next day. The theatre is very well laid out, I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. The main shows also run 3 times a night, which means that regardless of your dining time, you can see the main show. I think we only saw two shows as the town guest entertainers were not to our taste, all of the other shows (with the exception of the staff show), were by the resident production team and again not to my taste. The ship does have a very good resident band called the HAL Cats, and you should definitely try to see them if you enjoy good musicians. Norway is not the most exciting of places but the scenery is stunning. On return to Dover, the disembarkation was as flawless as embarkation. Overall a fantastic cruise on a lovely ship with excellent staff,mew will use Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
So, here we are again .... In 2012 at the ripe old age of 45 I took my first cruise, and after very careful investigation (it was my honeymoon), we decided to see Alaska on a HAL cruise. With no expectation of HAL, we set sail on their 7 ... Read More
So, here we are again .... In 2012 at the ripe old age of 45 I took my first cruise, and after very careful investigation (it was my honeymoon), we decided to see Alaska on a HAL cruise. With no expectation of HAL, we set sail on their 7 day Inside Passage cruise out of Vancouver. HAL certainly made an impression, returning the following year for an unplanned 7 day cruise to Norway (7 day Norse Legends) - despite the worst week of summer weather for 30 years, HAL not only managed to impress us, but the Ryndam will forever be imprinted in the memory of my then 16yo daughter. So, now to 2014 - all cruised out? Hell no ..... With 4 weeks notice, we booked on the May 17th sailing out of Dover, enroute to Copenhagen, Rostock (Berlin transit), Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and finally Aarhus before returning to Dover. To help keep the price down, we opted for a restricted view cabin ...... Eventually being assigned cabin 700 on Deck A ...... You really can't go any lower or any further forward !!!!! We pre-booked the following tours before sailing: Copenhagen with Segway Tours Berlin with HAL St Petersburg with Alla Tours We decided to view Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm and Aarhus on foot .... Aided by free maps of the cities. MS Ryndam - little had changed since last year, always clean and tidy with excellent staff throughout the ship (front office staff could improve their manner but still ok) !!!! Entertainment was a little poor but not enough to make me look to an alternative cruise line. Here are some reviews I have posted on TripAdviser “Segway tour of Copenhagen” 5* Reviewed 2 June 2014 We booked our Segway tour direct prior to arriving on our Baltic Cruise - booking was simple and very easy via the web. Segway's office was an hours walk from the port through the centre of Copenhagen - fairly easy to find following their directions and a free map we picked up on route. Booking in was straight forward and after receiving our safety head gear and leaving personal items in secure lockers we were ready to get going. After just a few minutes introduction and practice we were ready to go - our group was of mixed age (mid 20s to mid 60s) - oh boy what fun. Our tour weaved in and out of Copenhagen using the bike lanes and roads, taking in all of what Copenhagen has to offer. Our head gear had earphones which allowed us to listen to our tour guide explaining the sites, stopping often to look around. After an hour we arrived at the Little Mermaid, where we had a 10 minute break before making our way back to the Segway office, completing our 2 hour tour. The best way to describe our tour was great fun whilst feeling safe in the hands of an experienced Segway rider, great overview of the city with very comprehensive commentary. For me, a keen photographer, I decided not to take photos whilst on the tour - instead, we went back to the best places we had seen, and took photos whilst on foot and making our way back through the city, new haven and the port. Price - value for money without a doubt Equipment - well maintained Guide - very good, made everyone feel at home and gave good commentary Recommendation - Just do it !!!!!! Thanks Segway for making Copenhagen so much fun “St Petersburg with Alla Tours” 5* Reviewed 7 June 2014 NEW When we first booked our Baltic Cruise we decided that our cruise line (HAL) offered a very good 2 day excursion in St Petersburg and we would go with them. When we started to look into alternatives, we came across Alla Tours and after making email contact and found out that THEY arranged tourist visas and guaranteed that they would ensure we didn't literally 'miss the boat', we decided to go with them, not just because of a 25% saving but a more comprehensive itinerary. Arriving at the cruise terminal and passing through immigration (if you smile, they smile!!), we were greeted by our tour guide, Anya, and led to our mini bus - our group consisted of 15 clients (all from our ship), Anya and our driver. This review isn't about St Petersburg, but of Alla Tours, who can make or break your visit !!! Anya spoke perfect English, extremely knowledgable about St Petersburg and always made us feel 'it was our tour' giving us plenty of time to stop and take photos - at no time during our 2 day tour did we feel rushed. A pack lunch and water were made available on day 1, with a visit to a restaurant for lunch on day 2. In summary, don't feel obliged to go on a cruise line excursion, Alla are extremely professional and I would strongly recommend them to family and friends, let alone strangers!! Definitely value for money. “Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki” 5* Reviewed 11 June 2014 NEW If like us, you arrive in Helsinki part way through a tour of the Baltic countries, having dodged the bicycles of Copenhagen, the building site known as Berlin, the beautiful streets of Tallinn, the gold topped domes of St Petersburg and the Old Town of Stockholm, you have a choice to make in Helsinki. Continue the tour of city centre and the endless list of churches and cathedrals or opt for something different - Suomenlina Fortress falls in the latter. For the cost of less than a half litre of beer, we jumped onto the ferry leaving from the Market Square for a short journey across the bay to the island fortress. There is no fee for landing on the island. Despite the fact that this is a UNESCO world heritage site, and appears on many travel guides and tourist blogs, Suomenlina allows you to go at your pace, leaving the stones paths to criss cross the island, imaging how the soldiers manned their positions and aimed the large guns at aggressors. The museums on the island provide the facts behind the history and for those of you with time to take these in, I'm sure the entrance fee is well worth it. For little expense, and the opportunity to do 'something' different, I would recommend investigating the gun placements and armament storage bunkers contained within the bricked walls of this impressive fortress. So ..... Tallinn - strongly recommend taking this in by foot, beautiful buildings ..... Welcoming people and a 10 minute walk from the port. Helsinki - 30 minute gentle and flat walk from where we berthed ..... Nice city stroll Berlin - very expensive HAL coach ride but a must see city ... Personally I won't return for at least 5 years by which time the building restorations should be complete. Stockholm - lovely Old Town but be warned that you may have to walk a long way!!! We berthed 30 minute flat walk from Old Town, but at 200 SEK, £20, $30 taxi journey (1 way) pack some walking shoes - hop on/off bus available but we walked - my must see attraction is the Vasa Museum !!! Aarhus - what can I say .... Do your laundry on board or catch up on your sleep - sorry to the people of Aarhus but why HAL did we go there? In summing up, fantastic crew, fantastic cities and great company (fellow passengers) One small request to HAL - when you know ahead of time that the thrusters will be used in the middle of the night (1am), please let the occupants of cabins closest to them know ahead of time. Cabin 700 is one such cabin. Word is the MS Ryndam becomes the property of P&O Australia in late 2015 ..... DAM shame !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014

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