3 Dover Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of ... Read More
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of the price point and the specifics of what the cruise line advertises and offers as compared to their competitors. Having recently traveled on Viking (river cruise in China which we absolutely loved!), we wanted to try another ship with a small number of passengers. After a thorough search, we decided to give Windstar (and the Star Legend) our business - per their advertisement - "fully refurbished boat, approximately 200 passengers, gourmet food and wine, world class gym, elegant staterooms and unique and memorable shore excursions'. So let's discuss what was accurate and what was off the mark - the pro's - very spacious stateroom, cabin attendant was excellent, on-board entertainment was very enjoyable, Candles dinning was great, majority of crew worked very hard to make the trip memorable, and select staff management (Elena and Bianca) worked very hard to listen to our concerns and to the extent practical within their control make our travels and pleasant as possible, and the people were so much fun to meet. The cons - (1) for a refurbished ship, the interior was in dire need of a fresh paint and varnish (age of the ship was not well hidden), the bathroom was not updated - pealing paint and wall tiles in shower were old and separating), (2) wine - not paired with dinner or the countries visited, wine tastings were poorly planned and executed (rushed so the room could be turned over for dinner, no wait staff to serve additional portions to the customers, and wine selections ran out during dinner, "wine expert" was not organized and could not keep the attention of the customers) - we stopped going after day four, quality of wines served were average to below average at best and had low Wine Spectator ratings, (3) on-board dinning service - very dis-jointed for the first three days - meals were late (i.e. not everyone was served at the same time), side dished were missing or wrong, and if you ordered fish it was guaranteed to arrive overcooked and dry, (4) food quality - got better as the days went by but serving three shrimps on top of rice is not gourmet, (5) bar service - with the exception of a few bar staff, very inconsistent service for mixed drinks - long wait (10 minutes), wrong order, glass half-filled - deferred to wine and beer to avoid the the hassle which was not our preference, (6) broken water system during seal day - no showers or running water - things happen at sea so my issue is not that this happened but how the ship handled the situation - the captain made an announcement at approximately 9 am and mentioned that the water system broke and we would make a stop at Brest for repairs - not apologetic in any form and tried to make a joke about it - not funny for the guests who were stuck on board without a bathroom or shower - in terms of compensation - NONE...we asked them to open the bar and provide free drinks and were denied....the system was repaired and then broke again around 10 pm (no notice from the captain) - I called the front desk and the staffer did not understand why I was mad as he did not get a chance to shower (paying customer versus employee....where is the training...), (7) off-board dinner in Bordeaux - very elegant, classical music, wine in the courtyard and then dinner - only one selection - a meat dish that was served raw to myself and three others at our table - after 15 minutes and sending it back twice I decided not to eat the dried out mass in front of me. Two wines were served of which one was a beautiful 2001 Margaux - we each had one glass and asked for another bottle - they "ran out" even then we observed other tables actively getting additional bottles, (8) world class gym - broken equipment and missing weights - need I say more, (9) excursions - unlike Viking or other high end cruise lines, Windstar only includes two free shore excursions and the guests have to pay for any other trips so desired - the selections were marginal at best with the most notable being a wine tour of a local vineyard in the Medoc region of Bordeaux - expected elegant wines and encountered less than marginal samples - would have expected a higher quality vineyard to be made available. We did email Hans (CEO) a note summarizing our experiences and have not received any reply as of this review - not terribly surprised since he already has our money and from the experiences listed above, apparently does not have a keen focus on customer service. Some final thoughts and impressions - we probably wont use this cruise line again unless Han's contacts us and don't recommend anyone else using them unless you do a full due-diligence on all high end cruise and read the review, the ship management fell flat on attention to details and building/maintaining a strong and consistent team to perform and execute their respective duties flawlessly every time, and if you are going to offer a marginal experience then charge a marginal price so expectations can be tempered with reality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first time on Celebrity was we was a little unsure what to expect after reading so many reviews on cruise critic and other sites after reading review after review with people saying "It's full of old people" we ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity was we was a little unsure what to expect after reading so many reviews on cruise critic and other sites after reading review after review with people saying "It's full of old people" we are 38 & 43 and I would say the average age was 50-60 and we had more fun with the people we met on this cruise then any other we have ever taken. Embarkation was a dream we arrived at 10:20am and was on the ship at 11am what a great start to the cruise. We opted for Aqua-class and had cabin 1603 a hump cabin with balcony and boy was we pleased such a great location in the middle of the ship and right near the lifts and no we never heard any noise apart from one afternoon when getting changed we could hear the band playing at the poolside. Blu... we had read so much about Blu and was really looking forward to dining there however the first night was not good they had a very small selection of starters and nothing I liked :( so I ordered the steak for the main course that arrived cold so ended up ordering room service not good when you pawy the extra for Blu and end up with burger and frys in your cabin however the following night we was informed there had been alot of problems in Blu and this would not happen again,the food in Blu is good but only ever warm I made a point of telling them I liked my food piping hot and this was seen to with no problem another point worth mentioning was three times we was given a plate or saucer with a chip in it surely the kitchen should see this when plating up ? so for all of the above I would give Blu 3 out of 5 the main benefit for us was not having to dine in the main dining room that was very crowded and the tables and chairs far to close to one another. The brunch buffet was a total nightmare it was more like a bun fight :(( there was huge ques both sides of the dining room and you could not even see the food the chefs had prepared because of the amount of people so we left and had lunch in the ocean view cafe it was lovely and quiet bliss :)) I think Celebrity should address the brunch better in future so everyone gets to enjoy it. So overall for food I would again rate it 3 out of 5. The entertainment was brilliant and the best we we have seen so far in St-P they had some Russian dancers come aboard to do a show for us and this was great. The circus act was also very good and worth seeing again. Service was probably the best we have ever received on a cruise ship every member of staff smiled and said hello when walking past you from the cleaners to the captain and nothing was ever to much for the staff to ensure you was happy and enjoying your holiday. Shore Excursions.. next time I will do far more research on ports because like all cruise company's Celebrity love selling you there shuttle tickets and some points of interest was only 10-15 Min's walk from the ship and they charged you $10-15 a time. OK we had issues with the warm food and poor service in Blu the first night but would we book again ? you bet we have booked to return next year :)) Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then ... Read More
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then offer 20 bars and nearly as many restaurants in a completely new and innovative design the challenges raise their heads high. This is why the experience we completed yesterday on the Norwegian EPIC was so spectacular. Were there issues? Of course. Were they minor? Some yes, some a little more perturbing. Were they fixable? Absolutely, with minimal effort. We chose the Spa Suite as the least expensive entry-point which gave us access to the entire ship including the Courtyard, the Spa thermal suite, the Epic Club Lounge and the Epic Club itself, as well as suite-oriented amenities such as Posh. The services of a Concierge and a Butler made the experience even more enjoyable. The suite is beautiful. Neutral and muted tones with river-rock wall treatments, a large shower, in-suite jacuzzi tub looking over the ocean, and oodles of storage space (so much that we didn't even start to use 2/3 of it). We boarded the ship with the assistance of Karan, our concierge...and within 10 minutes of clearing security, were on the ship and in our cabin. The security lines at Southampton were such that a spa experience was really needed by this time.... 1.5 hours in line waiting to get through the metal detectors/x-ray. The ship is enormous, with niches and atria, and wavy walls to balance out the sheer size of the vessel. Deck 5 houses the art gallery, internet cafe, Le Bistro, Reception, and the Atrium Cafe. This space may be redesigned eventually, it was underutilized and perhaps this is where the library will eventually be installed. On a related note, its unfortunate the Park West is still operating this gallery, their customer service is nowhere near as good as NCL's. Further back on deck 5 is Taste, one of the main dining rooms on the ship. Escalators take you up to the casino on deck 6, which is where we spent most of our time (and money). We believe (firmly! ;) ) that the casino was trying to recoup the entire cost of the ship's construction from us, on this 7 day sailing and we helped them out as best we could. We really liked the atrium with chandelier, and although I've liked the Chihuly glass on the Jewel-class ships, I preferred the 3 level atrium on EPIC. Ice Bar was a fun experience, and we were pleased to see Canadian IceWine featuring prominently in one of the included drink options. There were certainly some ongoing construction issues throughout the ship (we had no television for a few days, and no telephone with which to report it!) but we didn't let that detract us from the enjoyment of our cruise. As usual, and to our expectations the crew and staff were superlative. From the unflinching commitment to customer service that Klaus instills in his staff, through the execution of this as exhibited by team-members all over the ship. We've only taken a single non-NCL cruise (22 days on Sapphire Princess) and although we felt they treated us as valued customers, on NCL we have regularly felt as though we were family, and that we were returning to a second home. An example? The Epic Club is a dining room reserved for the Suites, Courtyard Villas, and certain designated guests...probably available to about 10% of the ship....that's 300 - 400 people. Maria, the hostess, greeted everyone we saw by name starting at day 2. To me this shows a genuine interest in people, and her bright smile seems to confirm it. She was a highlight of our cruise, and a great way to start each morning. For those who propose that the Daily Service Charge negatively impacts the crew's incentive to try harder....I present Maria as an example of how that does not hold true...and she's not the only one, Ceceelio our room steward was excellent, and Cris our Butler was always at hand should we need something. Bravo NCL. With so many potential hurdles, you launched a wonderful and innovative ship where the only remaining issues are easily solvable, and you populated it with the best staff we've seen at sea. Congratulations, we can't wait to sail her again next year! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010

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