7 Dover Luxury Cruise Reviews

Our first Seabourn Cruise. We were on board for 45 days, Dover to Montreal via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador. The Viking historical highlights were the Hvalsey church in Greenland and the Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Sadly, ... Read More
Our first Seabourn Cruise. We were on board for 45 days, Dover to Montreal via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador. The Viking historical highlights were the Hvalsey church in Greenland and the Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Sadly, the St. Kilda landing was scrubbed due to inclement weather. The scenic highlights were the fjords and glaciers of Prince Christian Sound, and the cultural highlights were Isle of Man, Reykjavik, and Nuuk (Greenland). Good itinerary, but we saw other, more nimble ships making the same calls (notably Ponant and Scenic), so there are alternatives to Seabourn. We were in cabin 826 (they call it a "suite") which is roomy with a generous balcony, but with what we consider design flaws. The TV is poorly positioned for comfortable viewing, the lighting for the table is not optimal, the closet is cramped. The twin sinks in the head are nice, but with a good shower, the bathtub is unnecessary, and uses space better allocated to the closet (the old "R" vessels have dressing room/closets which we much prefer). The vanity is well done. We were surprised that no binoculars were provided (as we had on Silversea), this on a cruise where icebergs, whales, polar bears, sea birds, and calving glaciers are spotted and watched. The common spaces are elegant and roomy. The six elevators run like a charm and one hardly ever waits for a ride, even when the crowd exits the shows or lectures. Tender shuttles, quay landings, and shore excursions were run very smoothly. The food is very elaborate, excessively so in our opinion. Lots of choices, but all of the gourmet "nouvelle" style, with rich sauces and elegantly presented. Plain dishes can be ordered from room service or at the patio restaurant, the latter being an uncomfortable place in the northern latitudes. Staff is extraordinarily attentive - room service comes very promptly, table service will see your plate whisked away as you put down your fork, your wine glass refilled while still two-thirds full. Our impression is that the obsession with delivering over-the-top service results in a somewhat tense and forced amiability on the part of the wait staff. The staff is drawn from a very diverse set of nationalities, a departure from the more cohesive crews of filipino or indonesian origin on other cruise lines, which we have found to be more relaxed and genuinely warm. The captain made daily detailed announcements about weather outlook and sailing status, and the attention to navigation and safety was very thorough. We were able to witness the bridge protocols on a port departure, and everything was conducted very carefully and by the book. Quiet competence and superb attention to safety. There is a striking schizophrenic aspect to the QUEST, originally designed for sailing warm waters and subsequently modified for high-latitude cruising: it is a deluxe ship trying to masquerade as a quasi-expedition platform. Of the 45-day cruise, no more than three of four were of shirtsleeve temperature with clear skies, yet every day the lounges around the pool were lined up with fresh towels (and thus forcing passengers to walk on a delaminating portion of the teak deck, rahter than on a safer path!). The outdoor restaurant provides infrared heatlamps and blankets for each table. The "expedition" complement of ten or twelve "zodiacs" is clearly insufficient to take more than a quarter of the passengers off at any one time. There is an extra charge of $150 per hour per person for such excursions, again not much in keeping with the expedition structure we have experienced elsewhere. A week or ten days, rather than 45 days, might have worked better for us on this Seabourn cruise. We'll likely choose to go with one of our other favorites (Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Ponant, Windstar) on our next cruise . Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in Lisbon and getting off the ship was very fast. For the first 24 hours, service in the Restaurant and Colonnade was slow and we got the impression that the servers and others were trying to figure out territories and responsibilities. Things seemed to improve thereafter, although we still encountered slow service in The Restaurant on occasion. Best service and food were in The Grill, but we only got in once. In The Restaurant, entrees are modest in size and so are the accompaniments. But ordering sides of vegetables or starches is easy. We ate all breakfasts and most lunches in the Colonnade and we very happy with the selection, which is so large that it can be hard to find things. Several of the employees there learned our names and made real efforts to be helpful and friendly. Saw the singers and dancers a few times. The Tim Rice show (he appears on video) was excellent while the others were fairly average. Went on three of the ship's excursions: (1) a sunny day and amazing array of flowers made for a great time at Monet's home and garden in Giverny and the guide did a good job; (2) Santiago de Compostela was an intriguing place and the guide knew her stuff and had a good sense of humor; and (3) it was a cloudy day in Porto, there was a lot of standing around and waiting, and the guide was just okay. Wanted to see both D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestries, not a combination offered by Seabourn, so we got a private guide and found another couple to join us and it worked very well. Noticed that there didn't seem to be a deck with an outside walking route as long as the ship, but weather kept us inside most of the time. Went to a number of functions where officers made an appearance and then vanished, but we (and probably everyone else) did get a couple of invitations to dine with officers or entertainers and we did have dinner with the head of human resources. Met a number of Seabourn veterans who were disappointed in the service in the dining venues, as we were. Was also surprised that we were asked to provide information about birthdays and anniversaries, but when our anniversary came there was no recognition of it. We also missed Regent's included excursions, Internet access, and phone call allowance. We expect two things from cruises (and land trips): (1) to get away from the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc. and the rest of the routine and (2) to see interesting places, either on excursions or independently. We got these on this cruise, met nice people, and were treated well by the crew. Did this cruise line and this ship and crew do this so much better than others? I would say not. Would we return? Probably yes, if we found an attractive itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose to take a short "taster" cruise from Dover for 6 days in order to try out Crystal cruises. We have sailed regularly on Seabourn and Silversea ships as well as trying other brands such as Celebrity, Cunard, Fred Olsen ... Read More
We chose to take a short "taster" cruise from Dover for 6 days in order to try out Crystal cruises. We have sailed regularly on Seabourn and Silversea ships as well as trying other brands such as Celebrity, Cunard, Fred Olsen and Thomson. Fellow cruisers had suggested that Crystal ships were the best but we did not want to risk the expense of a long haul flight only to find that the larger ships in the Crystal fleet did not suit us. As it happens we were very glad of our decision and the cruise was only saved by glorious weather and delightful ports. Crystal Symphony takes around 800 guests and is therefore not much larger than the Silversea and Seabourn ships we use regularly. It was very American in its style and ambience. Fellow passengers were mainly American (around 80% despite the cruise originating in the UK) with a wide range of other countries each represented by just a handful of people. The first major issue we had was the size of the cabins and bathroom. The bathroom was so small that it was difficult to avoid knocking one's head against the fancy glass washbasin if the ship rolled while rising from the sitting position. Bath products were supplied in non-branded and cheap looking plastic tubes. Performance of the products was mediocre at best. The cabin was very small indeed. If one wanted to eat in the room (the only option if one did not want to use one of the 2 set dinner times), then it would be a question of taking it in turns to move. The cabin on Crystal Symphony was 206 sq ft whereas on Seabourn Odyssey an ocean view cabin is 295 sq ft and on Silver Sea Spirit it is 312 sq ft. The second issue was the dining arrangements. We had booked dining by reservation in order to avoid the 6.15 or 8.30 dinner sittings. However, on trying to book we were told that the only tables available were at either of the set dinner sitting times - not exactly what we expected. Tables are mainly fixed at the size of the party in the booking so that mixing with other cruisers is not easy. Service was performed at the run with the next plate of food hovering at one's elbow before the knife and fork hit the plate for the final mouthful. Perhaps Americans like this style of service but we found it unpleasant. The food in general was at best moderate. On the formal dinner evening, caviar was offered. This turned out to be less than half a teaspoon of caviar on a huge plate with 3 blobs of sour cream and two blinis - not exactly the Seabourn standard of a beautiful set of dishes nestled in a crisp folded napkin containing a bowl of several ounces of caviar, bowls of chopped egg white and egg yolk, sour cream and a dozen crisp pieces of fine toasts. Desserts were poor at dinner but beautiful at the dessert buffet at lunch time. Coffee at dinner arrived with dessert - again perhaps due to American nature of the ship. Buffet lunch was better with a good range of hot and cold dishes but the buffet was only available for dinner on one night of the cruise. The deck grill (in a sort of conservatory with retractable roof where there used to be an indoor pool) was poor. At this standard I expect a toasted sandwich order to arrive with a little garnish to make the plate look attractive. it arrived on a blank plate looking forlorn. Ice cream (Ben and Jerry's) was available but served in waxed paper tubs with plastic spoons. Sauce is added by the guest from a huge plastic bottle - just not really what we expect from a top line cruise ship. The reason for the tiny cabins is clear once one explores the public rooms. There is a show lounge, cinema, ballroom, 3 bars with live entertainment, night club, paddle tennis court, golf driving nets as well as huge fitness and spa facility. The covered deck area is large and there are hundreds of sun loungers around the outdoor pool arranged in neatly packed rows. However, it was almost impossible to meet other cruisers. When we went to bars, there was hardly a soul there. If a dozen or so people were in the same place, then the music was so loud and the chairs so far apart that conversation was impossible except at impolite levels of raised voices. There was hard core of about 6 people who used the ballroom using the services of the gentleman hosts again making this large facility seem over sized. In conclusion, this cruise line would suit those with a wish to rush from lunch to entertainment, to dinner (in a hurry) and on the more entertainment. Use of the cabin should be restricted to sleeping only. One should not want to socialize with other guests too much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was marred by engineering malfunctions, and was less organized than one would expect on a luxury cruise. The pre-cruise experience was mixed; we booked over a year in advance, and were told we would be able to benefit from any subsequent price reductions. I had to be very alert and very assertive to get these, though. Had I waited until the last minute to book, I would have saved some money (but that is not really practical because of the need to plan ahead for this major a vacation). We enjoyed most of the places we visited (especially St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol, and Lisbon, where we stayed an extra 3 days). We also enjoyed meeting and spending time with many other passengers. The food was excellent for the most part, and the wine was pretty good. The deck layout is not as functional as on other cruise ships of this size. The cabin was fine (when the plumbing worked). The front line staff members were very nice. Some of the shore excursions were poorly planned with too much time in a bus and not enough time to explore or have a meal. The special evening at the Bordeaux wine estate was disappointing. We enjoyed exploring the cities of St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol and Lisbon on our own. I, especially, loved the two oyster farm tours (Cancale and La Rochelle). We enjoyed the on board entertainment (small lounge, Fado singer), but this was not a major feature of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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
Oceania's new Marina is a fine addition to its small fleet. The enhancements are impressive; two new dining concepts, spacious bathtubs, an excellent performance space, bigger pool, wonderful artworks and a culinary school set it ... Read More
Oceania's new Marina is a fine addition to its small fleet. The enhancements are impressive; two new dining concepts, spacious bathtubs, an excellent performance space, bigger pool, wonderful artworks and a culinary school set it apart from its smaller siblings. But not everything has gone to plan.For example, the library area borrowed from the smaller ships has been split into a new reading area and coffee bar and neither work.But what Marina gains in the excellence of its facilities, it loses in hospitality and service excellence. It accommodates almost twice as many passengers as its other ships and this seemed to me to be the source of its problems. The pinch points that all cruise ships encounter as passengers congregate was never an issue on Insignia. It's a major problem on Marina. We never had to queue on Insignia. On Marina queuing was the norm for the Terrace Cafe breakfast, Grand Dining Room dinner and tendering.Transporting 650 passengers by tender or bus was largely hassle-free on Insignia but seemed a huge logistical issue on Marina. The tenders themselves are badly cramped and ill-designed. On Insignia there was a constant relay of tenders but on Marina the policy seemed to be to fill a tender to capacity and only then, send out another. Port side buses were the same. Passenger queues just to board the infrequent buses at the container ports sometimes took an hour. In time, Oceania may find itself squeezed. It is pretty dismissive of independent travellers in terms of convenience and meaningful information. And at the same time, punishing those wishing to book excursions with excessive pricing. An Oceania excursion around Guernsey costs $100. A local bus costs just £1.Oceania also seems to be playing a dangerous game in its literal descripton of destinations. Dover is described as London; Bordeaux is Le Verdon - 100 km away.Passengers become irritated on realising they are stranded a distance from their perceived port of call. Sometimes disembarking did not take place until 11am and naturally pre-booked excursions had priority. Therefore independent travellers sometimes did not get off the ship until an hour later, constricting time at the destination.In most instances the ports were not attractive harbours. They were featureless container/car ferry ports with little appeal. Perhaps the smaller Oceania ships can access more attractive ports more easily for either docking or fast tendering.The result of all these compounded frustrations seemed to generate a general exasperation amongst passengers, which in turn affected the crew who seemed lacking in confidence. Each was comfortable in their own narrow sphere of work, but could not respond to issues outside their responsibility.In the smaller Oceania ships there was a real sense of community, amongst both crew and passengers. On Marina this was not apparent and relationships that would naturally develop, were absent.Marina is therefore an unbalanced ship. It is much improved and more elegant than its smaller siblings but nothing like as satisfying. My advice would be to stick to those smaller vessels until Marina is able to redress its service delivery. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We first sailed Silver Cloud in 1994, six months after she was commissioned. This was our first time back, and, regrettably, will likely be the last. Silversea continues to have an excellent product in many ways- the ship sizes and ... Read More
We first sailed Silver Cloud in 1994, six months after she was commissioned. This was our first time back, and, regrettably, will likely be the last. Silversea continues to have an excellent product in many ways- the ship sizes and layouts are terrific, the service is generally very good. However, over time the quality has declined, and the amenities pale compared to the competition. Comparing apples to apples- in 1994, 'all inclusive' meant air, an included night's 5 star hotel, insurance, a "Silversea Experience", shoreside transport in every port. There was also real Sevruga (not lumpfish) caviar on request anytime, and on the menu on formal nights. None of those perks exist today, yet the per diem is around $800 ppdo, as opposed to $450 then. Yes- prices go up, but the luxury inclusions should not drop out. The ship has aged well, though the 2009 renovations promised in the brochure have not materialized. In fact, what used to be the observation lounge became the fitness center, commanding what is unarguably the nicest viewing space aboard. Clearly, the Silver Wind upgrades have not been mirrored aboard the Cloud. Despite that, the soft furnishings were in good shape, and the stateroom we were in had been partially remodeled. Mattress, linens, sofa and chairs all new. TV and cabinetry old. The bathroom not as grand as it appeared 15 years ago, and does not compare with the Silver Shadow at all. The cuisine was uneven and generally uninspired, but creditable. The new theme to the Trattoria simply is a dumbing down of what used to be memorable international items. The Restaurant lacked culinary excitement, though we did not have any 'bad' evenings, as other posters have experienced. However, I did have a steak which was thin, overdone, and had been thawed in the microwave. The wines were ok, not memorable- and we were told to take advantage of the Pommery, as it was being phased out. I was particularly disappointed by the dearth of fresh fish, though we were in Scotland. (this was not new-in Bar Harbor in 1994, we were anchored literally in the middle of lobster pots, but were served frozen lobster from South Africa that night...) The onboard entertainment was actually pathetic. Gone are the harpists and string quartets, and even the quirky puppeteer, instead, bad, genuinely bad dancers and an underutilized male lead belting out 'Mama Mia' tunes and the like. The Beatles theme was fun-sort of, but only because they gave away paraphernalia and did interviews. The Faux Beatles show was painful, but got some people singing along and dancing. Not us... The Robert the Bruce descendant was a huge breath of fresh air- with lectures about Scottish history and port orientations. A whisky event really was a promotional piece for Johnny Walker, replete with commercial videos, but the tasting was good, and he left a bottle of JW Blue that we polished off quite happily. (BTW- one could purchase same onboard for $180 USD, much less than any duty free store ashore) My biggest complaint was about the itinerary. We stopped in Leith (Edinburgh) during the Festival, but arrived at midnight and left the following late evening, then spent 30 hours traveling 190 nautical miles (10 hours steaming) to our next port of Invergordon. We could easily have stayed until a tide change the following day, (I checked with the port authority) allowing more time to enjoy the myriad events in Edinburgh. The captain essentially said that head office was calling the shots. Similarly, we went back and forth near the Isle of White and over toward France for an extra day at sea, rather than hit another port. I had made arrangements for a rental car in Cork, and was completely misled by Silversea as to where we would dock- the result was an expensive taxi ride through rush hour to get to where we were to pick up the car. No acknowledgement, and certainly no apology for the misrepresentation. The clientele is more demanding, less quietly sophisticated- read, more yuppies. That, balanced by quite a few Brits., understandable given the itinerary. The latter felt oddly out of place, possibly because the crew just did not understand tea service, British style. The servers became so confused, they automatically added milk to all teas, including herb teas, plus lemon, which of course curdled everything. There were notables aboard, and I found our dinner companions to be generally well travelled and read, genuinely interested in the area, and fairly happy overall with the new Silversea. I think that is because most had not experienced what Silversea used to be. I hope that with the new Spirit, and competition from the new Seabourn ships, Silversea will smarten up. But I am not holding my breath. I will go back to Crystal and Sea Dream, and maybe try Hapag Lloyd, before I venture aboard Silver Cloud again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009

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