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48 Dover to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

It is a bit concerning to take a small ship across the North Sea and North Atlantic. We have crushed the route on a big ship, but how would it be on a small ship. The answer is it was great. The small ship allowed us to quickly move ... Read More
It is a bit concerning to take a small ship across the North Sea and North Atlantic. We have crushed the route on a big ship, but how would it be on a small ship. The answer is it was great. The small ship allowed us to quickly move around the ship. No long lines and no waiting for elevators. The Pacific Princess ha a very friendly and efficient staff. Our embarkment at Dover went flawlessly. Quick and efficient. We got settled in, explores the ship and were ready to sail before the muster drill. This itinerary was almost perfect. A day at sea to begin with. Stavanger and then another sea day to Iceland. 4 ports around Iceland and then 2 days back to Norway. 4 ports in Norway and then a sea day back to Dover.The sea days allowed us to rest after the great ports. The ship was pleasant, but somewhat outdated. The small size presented problems for the Production Shows. They were well presented, but the venue did not provide good views of the shows. Occasionally, I felt that there wasn't much to do, but that may be ok. I was pleased with the quality of the performers. There were only two singers in the shows, but they were both outstanding. Our cabin was smaller than we were used to and had little storage. The bathroom was about the same size as usual, but was not organized as well as the newer ships. The main dining room only had traditional dining, but that is my preference anyway. The staff was well trained and efficient. I enjoyed the dining experience, but some of my companions felt the menu was too limited. The staff was more than willing to accommodate when requested. The disembarkment at Dover was quick and easy. A most pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
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
Chosen fro nights at sea and atlantic crossing. We had a major fire on board we were without water, sanitation, lights and power for many hours and adrift without engines or steering for 10 hours in the atlantic ocean. The crew saved ... Read More
Chosen fro nights at sea and atlantic crossing. We had a major fire on board we were without water, sanitation, lights and power for many hours and adrift without engines or steering for 10 hours in the atlantic ocean. The crew saved us but the management were dreadful. There were no contingency plans on board, No proper torches only key ring, no hot food for 3 days, having said that the food was not hot before the fire. After 1 day they could cook it but it was congealed cold eggs, cold bacon, cold beans etc actually served on the table. No bars open after dark we were told to go to bed. Even when arrived port on Saturday no help was given, no entertainment, no ice for cold drinks, hot tea and coffee turned off by 10.30 no alcohol available. We had to leave ship on Sunday to get food and drink which we had to pay for we also had to find places to charge our phones etc. We had not been allowed to contact the outside world. We were treated like moaning school children by reception staff who seemed to think giving information was beneath them. We asked many times how and when to pack and was told we would be informed however they finally told us at 8.45pm that we had to pack 1 case only and leave it outside cabin by 12 midnight. It had to be done in the dark and 1 broken torch was initially offered. We were finally dumped in Dover at 10pm with no means of getting home after 18 hours travelling and no hotels available. We are all physically and mentally traumatised and Olsen has even had the nerve to deduct the 3 days all inclusive charge for the days that we had nothing. They have offered a refund as the law reuires as they did not fulfill their contract but so far no compensation for all these out of pocket expenses and our severe distress Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Generally, when we travel, the time comes that you just want to click your heels together and be back at home. This cruise was not one of those times. We are avid cruisers, having been on most lines. We left Colorado on the 3rd of ... Read More
Generally, when we travel, the time comes that you just want to click your heels together and be back at home. This cruise was not one of those times. We are avid cruisers, having been on most lines. We left Colorado on the 3rd of October. Although we’d booked our cruise only a couple of weeks prior to the sail date, we were able to take advantage of frequent flier points to keep our prices down. We spent the nights of the 4th and 5th at Holiday Inn-Ariel. Not a wonderful hotel, but good enough to keep us for 2 nights. We got an early check-in at about 1pm and hung out there for the rest of the day. The next day, they helped us with instructions as to which bus (route 285 and FREE) to take to get the Underground. We made it to London and spent the day on the hop-on, hop-off bus. Saw all of the highlights in the rain. The next morning, we took the “Hoppa bus” back to Heathrow and met up with others being bussed down to Dover. This transfer was $75, but well worth it, as carrying our luggage on a bus, on the Underground, to the train station, into a taxi and to the port sounded like a lot of work. When we figured out the cost, it was only a couple more dollars to take the NCL transfer, and once we were on the bus, it was the last we had to deal with our luggage until we had it delivered to our stateroom. We were celebrating our 34th anniversary on this trip, and everyone went out of their way to make it special. We were also NCL Silver tier prior to the trip and managed to skip Gold and go right to Platinum! No more long check-in lines for us with NCL again! Our stateroom. We generally get an “outside”, but decided to splurge with a Penthouse Suite (10226…aft corner). Was it ever worth it! At the terminal, we were whisked away to a line of one, met Roel (the concierge), got dinner reservations made, and were taken on the ship to Cagney’s for lunch. Now here’s where I started to worry, as we were seated, water was poured, lunch was ordered, and we were completely forgotten! Yes, we were served our lunch, but never checked on or offered anything else to drink. Dessert? Nope. (Not a problem, though, as we were excited to see our stateroom and then explore the ship). When our water ran out, I waved and waved and never was acknowledged. Luckily, we’d had bottled water for the bus ride which wasn’t removed during security screening, so we poured some for ourselves. NOT the way I’d thought we’d be treated! Staterooms were ready by 1:30PM. Within minutes of arriving, we met Asep, our room steward. He was wonderful throughout the trip! When, after a couple of rough nights, I mentioned that the duvet was just too warm, he found a blanket to substitute it with. Each time we passed him by, he’d chat. He’s probably the best room steward we’ve EVER had. Our luggage took quite a while to arrive. That was fine, as we used the time to explore the ship and start our use of the Ultimate Beverage Plan. I’d get that again, in a heartbeat! We were worried, as they have you sign a bill for the entire cost of the drink (including service charge), but when we finally got our bill at the end, the only costs were the tips we paid on top of the standard gratuity. Stateroom: Again, we had an aft-facing penthouse suite. The balcony had 2 lounge chairs with cushions and 2 chairs and a table. With all of that, there was still some room to maneuver and to stand by the rail and watch where we’d been (more on that later). The room had a king-sized bed, 4 chairs and a table, a pull-out single which was a comfy place to read, an ottoman (stained), the coffee maker, lots of glassware, a champagne bucket with a complementary bottle of champagne and a bottle of water…both on ice and cold! The bathroom seemed to have as much space as some cabins I’ve been in. Some folks say that the closet arrangement is awkward, but we really liked it as you could open doors on both sides to facilitate unpacking/packing, and dressing. There was so much storage space that we didn’t even open some of the drawers until we were packing to leave. (Too bad that the previous folks left a pear and a banana in one of those drawers! YUCK!) We didn’t meet our butler for a few hours, and when we did, he really didn’t offer much besides, “Is there anything I can help you with before I head back to the front where most of my cabins are”. I did get him to show me how to use the coffee maker, but there was no offer of unpacking, different pillows, etc. Oh well. He did deliver snacks between 4-4:30 each day, and changed them once we told him that we didn’t care for sweets. From that day forward, we got cheese. LOTS of cheese. General things: By now, most folks know that our ship had a problem and it shortened our cruise. Our aft balcony gave us a terrific view of both our “sea rescue” (they’d spotted something adrift, and we did a HARD left turn to approach it…apparently, it was a Canadian weather station which went adrift). After that, we began to see that the port Azipod wasn’t functioning correctly. Was it a result of the “rescue”? Who knows, but a LOT of folks saw this as the beginning of the end of their nice trip. When it was announced that our ship would skip Miami and end early, it began a panic. Lines everywhere. We took it in stride, and went out in the rain to play on the waterslide. Funny thing, the pool was closed for days, followed by the waterslides. They were doing repairs, I gather for the Western Caribbean cruises. But what about OUR trip? We had some beautiful days where we couldn’t make use of the pool. We also had a couple of VERY rough days. Some folks say 27 foot swells…personally, I believe that they were closer to 45 foot. Luckily, neither of us get sea-sick, though our steward had a tough time getting to the back of the ship to clean. He managed, though. We had shore excursion credit which we decided to use for Tampa. They don’t tell you, but it can NOT be combined. That is, you’re expected to use your credit in each port. $25 p/p with 2 ports wasn’t going to go far, and then Tampa excursions were cancelled. That’s $100 wasted, as we didn’t go on an overly price excursion in the Azores. Oh well, I won’t pick that again! The communication about getting off the ship early wasn’t as good as it could have been. Lines everywhere and a few folks threatening to sue. Really? We were relaxed about it, and NCL took good care of us by putting us up at the Marriott with $100 p/p vouchers for food and drink. On the Riverwalk, so we were able to walk to the aquarium. We met some of the most wonderful people on this trip, and hope to see many of them again. Internet: We had 250 free minutes. Usually, it took over 10 minutes to get into e-mail. When I ran into problems and went to see the internet manager, he was rude. I’m not sure that I can take another “working trip” unless internet service improves. And the manager? I hope that I’m not the only person he is rude to, and I hope that NCL finds a more pleasant person to replace him with. Entertainment: Kudos to the Cruise Director and his staff! There was an abundance of activities for various interests. If you’re “sporty”, there were basketball games, shuffleboard, etc. Like to dance? Lots of classes and dancing every day. A brain? Many trivia games daily, maritime lectures (Thanks, Dave!), etc. Crafty? Lots of things to do for them, as well. The production shows were just that….production shows. I’m not a juggling fan nor do I care for aerialists, but there was always something else to do….sometimes there was just too much to choose from! One place that they could improve would be to have a sing-along (either piano or guitar player who encouraged audience participation). Yes, they had a pianist and a guitar player, but we were not encouraged to participate. That would have made my evenings more fun. Staff: I’ve read other reviews and wonder what cruise those folks were on. The staff was about the best I’ve ever seen! The Maître ‘D of Aqua worked at the buffet during lunch, and always sought us out to chat. He also spent a LONG time helping fellow cruisers who’d had a rubber wheel separate from her wheelchair. Although communication was poor about NCL being able to help, he persevered and made sure that HER chair was repaired. The guys at 5 O’Clock were terrific, both our room steward and concierge were fabulous. Even the hotel director took time to talk to us, in a stairwell! Also, we were invited to dinner with the Captain (pay attention to your daily, as it was a small blurb about getting the chance to do this!), but he was too busy to attend. Instead, we ate with one other couple and the Staff Captain, and it was a highlight of the trip. Wonderful man with a myriad of stories. Food: Alright…this is VERY subjective. My husband was happy with nearly all of his meals. Personally, I found nearly everything over-salted. Makes me wonder what they were trying to hide….. Especially in Cagney’s. We had the UDP and ate in a variety of places. Food was fair to good, as far as I’m concerned. With so much of it, there was always something to eat, and I really never got hungry. Conclusion: I had worried about so many sea-days, prior to this trip. I shouldn’t have. NCL did a great job at mixing folks up and giving a lot of options as to what to do. Would I do this again? In a heartbeat! I just hope that I don’t have to bring work with me, next time! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. ... Read More
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. Some we hope to remain friends with in the future. The food was poor, in our opinion, and so heavily salted that my wife and I had to ask for no-salt meals. The entertainment was mediocre, except for the electronic string quartet. The service in the restaurants was very slow, at times. Our propulsion system failed as we were approaching Florida, causing us to skip Miami and proceed to Tampa, where we arrived a day early, but had to leave the ship. We were shuttled from one hotel to another and spent most of our final day standing in lines with no information as to where we were staying. It was a very poorly handled situation, and I understand, that it was the second time in the past several months that the Star had a similar problem. It is highly doubtful that I can be persuaded to ever step foot on another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Checked in at Dover this took us 3hrs processing did not start until 1 instead of 12 and then problems with checking in passports and debit card We then encountered bad weather so all time was spent inside ship we tried everything but ... Read More
Checked in at Dover this took us 3hrs processing did not start until 1 instead of 12 and then problems with checking in passports and debit card We then encountered bad weather so all time was spent inside ship we tried everything but choose was limited and could not be classed as quality entertainment, after stop at the Azores and improvement in weather we went on deck 12 to enjoy the sunshine and found that entertainment on deck was again limited spoke to captain and said we were on holiday and did not need background music, Entertainments was to two half hour sets and 1 hour set which ended by 4 each afternoon we heard the same songs and in the same order over and over again No entertainment staff on top deck for first 2 days then a few of entertainment team turned up and the games consisted to chucking a ping pong ball into a bucket, line dancing and chucking bags onto poles towards the end of the cruise we had male and female competition but all very third rate. Then an announcement by captain: trouble with shop by passing Miami nothing mentioned about people on back to back cruise. stood in line for 2 hours to be told problem with ship and we would have to take hand luggage and stay in hotel for night and then come back on board for the second part of our holiday. After speaking with another passenger who said they had been told back to back passengers would be staying on ship queued for another 1 and half to be told no we would be leaving ship and we would receive further information in our cabins of times of getting of ship etc. Arrived tampa could not leave ship, that night at 2am in the morning went to reception once again to confirm what time we should leave ship as nothing had been sent to our cabin, to be told we would be staying on ship (people were still queuing at this time as well due to lack of information being given out). Emigration took 3 hours we left ship and on return found we were 2 of approx 100 passengers on board. No entertainment staff cleaning everything they could clean, even in cafe staff on window ledge beside us as we ate and cleaning the empty chairs at our table only about 10 people including crew in cafe on deck 12, it was a ghost ship bars closed, no entertainment, no casino, food so limited it was a joke told a film on in theater so we went it was Helen Mirran and the film was unwatchable, no midnight buffet due to the known inspections which would be taking place on the Tampa port day, staff were saying it could be up to 3 days. wrote letters spoke to customers services staff with nothing but received in answer when we know you will know asked for something in writing nothing ever received, Left letters for staff, customer service manager and the cruise hotel director and also the captain, which i never received a reply to. 19th October a British couple who had been told with their 2 children they would be going to a hotel returned, they went to hotel as they and we had been instructed to and found they did not have a room they then had to wait for another room at a hotel near the airport for them to be found they were not brought back to the ship (why Not) On the day of the 2000+ passengers coming on board we went out into tampa for the day when we tried to get back on board the boat in the afternoon we were not allowed into the building due to passengers inside the building reaching capacity numbers and ncl once again having problems processing passengers, we had to wait outside for an hour and half before we could get onto ship That night i went to reception and demanded to speak to a manager i was let into office behind customer services and met a blank face and told sorry for the trouble you have had I will look into it and get back to you ( once again nothing ever received ) I did receive 6 strawberries in melted chocolate was this our compensation for such bad service from NCL, 36 hours in the port of tampa with nothing on board, it was a ghost ship apart from staff cleaning everything in groups. Food choose on whole cruise was very limited and in all food outlets apart from service charge outlets uneatable due to being cold, floor 8 menu was the same for 19 days but the food was hot. Casino closed at sea one night due to audit and the bar was also closed at 1pm Shows were repeated and at some shows people were walking out after a few minutes due to poor standard of entertainment This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and the back to back our 3rd out of 9 cruises i have been on in the past two years this was the worse and before this our 1st ncl cruise was rated 2nd bars were overrun on 2nd cruise and not enough waiting staff so queuing for over an hour sometimes to get a drink and towards the end of cruise could not order my husband a drink we had to produce ind cards and limited to 1 drink on each. It was a joke in reception showing a video of people enjoying themselves and fireworks from ship have you ever been on board a ship for 2400 people and be 1 of less then 100 people Other people had also been told they would have to leave ship but found out by going to reception that this was not the case no letters to staterooms Did ncl not care about the 100 who had done the 1st cruise and then were going on, the inspections took place with only the 100 as you had put all other passengers into hotels for the night before due leave date of ship why were they not kept on board, or was it because you wanted all crew to be cleaning ship for the inspections? cleaning in cabins next door and corridors took place into the hours of the early morning, I opened my cabin door and two men cleaning edge of carpet with toothbrushes Ship was meant to leave tampa early evening then 10 at two oclock the following morning nets were still around ship we could see them in water from our balcony It would have been something to receive an apology from NCL 6 strawberries does not cut it and i feel like i was treated with contempt as i was 1 of only 100 passengers in this position due to ship breaking down and inspections at tampa this is a holiday i look forward to each year and it was ruined by NCL who had a total lack of consideration for the 100 passengers who had booked back to back cruises Entertainment on deck on the 2nd cruise was better and went on until 7pm ever night on deck 12 and not 4 as on the 1st cruise, food was no better and the late food in the cafe was the same everything cold as always and uneatable bar service was worse and the time to get a drink could be up to 90 mins. All passengers on 1st cruise were giving a refund (days fare and tax) and 15% discount of next holiday for missing Miami, for being treated as non customers for 36 hours on board ship we got six strawberries and as my husband just reminded me 3 cookies I look forward to hearing from you and i hope you look at the service to customers on board the star as i expect it has given an impression of NCL you do not wish to have it passengers to come away with You need more staff better food (and make it hot) more quality entertainment, you must also ensure that there is entertainment on board that goes on until the early hours people are on holiday and dont expect to have to go to bed early every night due to lack of entertainment. Some of the staff you have are fantastic marsha casino zeron top deck and casino and the lady on floor 8 who left ship to return home to Peru to her 21 month baby after 8 months on board ship. Cabin boys were great but they know they will be left tips in cabins. To get service from a lot of staff you have to tip otherwise you could be ignored for long periods of time. The cruise director did a great job with limited resources and would seem to be responsible for all public announcements, but a lot of the staff were rude and could not be bothered (nearly all staff could do with training in customers service). Did NCL price this cruise wrong then made the passengers suffer due to getting it wrong? Getting of the ship was once again a nightmare meant to leave at 9 but gone 10 before we were called to join the line to get of the ship. We finally got off the boat so we could stand in line again for customs. Our first cruise with NCL on the Epic we rated the 2nd best of the 7 cruises we have been on in the past 2 years, this cruise we rate the worse and would we go back again. Never Never Never If it was not for the people we met I was one of the mad English ladies on deck 12 everyday and part of the British casino syndicate everynight and the food on floor eight, only place on ship which you could be guaranteed hot food, the menu was the same everyday of the 19 days on board except for the house special which got changed i think i would have jumped overboard Well rant over but be warned great difference in ships on the NCL fleet in terms of food entertainment and service Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We took this trip to visit my family in England as we do most years, 2010 was the last time we crossed on NCL, timing was the important factor we needed an early October crossing. Knowing it was hurricane season, we still chose this ... Read More
We took this trip to visit my family in England as we do most years, 2010 was the last time we crossed on NCL, timing was the important factor we needed an early October crossing. Knowing it was hurricane season, we still chose this trip, Joaquine joined us for a couple of days before the Azores. ' Twas a bit rough, up to 27 ft seas. The remainder of the crossing was perfect, water, a sheet of glass, my USNRet. husband said he had never seen the Atlantic so smooth taking pictures to show his pals. Our luck began before we left home with an upgrade from Mini Suite to a 405 sq.ft. suite, it was a wonderful treat with all of the frills. Our butler, Made, was a first for us. We had received the UDP so we were unable to judge the main dining room, no complaints about the cafe. I ate there most mornings before "morning stretch". Zumba was offered complimentary, great instruction both by a male dancer and the assistant C.D., our numbers grew as the word got out. I normally enjoy the pool but due to weather they didn't fill it 'till day 5, the outside was closed down for almost 48 hours during the storm. We participated in the T/A progressive trivia and missed a few options at that time of day, too much to do, too little time. Loads of activities, lectures even some of the evening entertainers and the C.D. with his magic performed extra afternoon shows. The entertainment troupe was newly formed at the beginning of our journey and improved immensely with time. My favorite guest entertainers "Oh What a Night" Jersey Boys style were exceptional. The cleanliness of the ship was impressive, I witnessed the early morning inspections on more than 1 occasion. The Star looked as good as new but had all of the charm of it's era, would take it again in a heartbeat, love those smaller ships. Finally the crew, so many smiles and always helpful, a couple of waitresses I could do without but they do work hard. Since the early 90's we have enjoyed the Norwegian Way. It was unfortunate that our ship had an azipod problem as we reached the Bahamas, the Captain chose to skip Miami and head straight for Tampa. We arrived a day & half early. NCL managed to arranged hotels and transportation changes and charges, we were more than satisfied but I have read a few cruise critic reports that were negative. Disembarkation was a breeze but more than half of the passengers were non U.S. passports making our line much shorter. Best part of all NO JETLAG! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have cruised many times with various lines, but this was the first time with NCL. We booked a Transatlantic crossing, and after reading some reviews we were a bit apprehensive. WE HAD NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! - We found that embarkation ... Read More
We have cruised many times with various lines, but this was the first time with NCL. We booked a Transatlantic crossing, and after reading some reviews we were a bit apprehensive. WE HAD NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! - We found that embarkation and disembarkation was very well organised, the cabin was a reasonable size, the shower room was the best we have had on any ship, the food was good, with lots of choices. The speciality restaurants were great, the crew and service fantastic, and the onboard activities and entertainment were good. We would not hesitate to sail with NCL again. Believe me, we are very critical, and when something is good, we say it is, but if something is bad - watch out! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We departed Dover on 6 October 2015 after a couple of weeks in Morocco and the Saraha. A nice change and we were glad to be on the Star. I made the mistake of attempting to move our cabins and we ended up in the forward section of deck 8 ... Read More
We departed Dover on 6 October 2015 after a couple of weeks in Morocco and the Saraha. A nice change and we were glad to be on the Star. I made the mistake of attempting to move our cabins and we ended up in the forward section of deck 8 with an ocean view stateroom. This is not our first cruise, and it won't be our last on Norwegian. I should remind you that the placement of your stateroom above or below major entertainment areas should be a consideration when booking if you want a good nights sleep. Our stateroom was above the Stardust Theater but it wasn't an issue since we generally saw the first show, looked at other entertainment venues and went to our cabin after 10:00 pm. Things I liked about this cruise: Embarkation - smooth, efficient and timely. Cabin - large enough for comfort and good storage overall. Cruise Director: This is the first time that I couldn't find fault with the Cruise Director - group of people who try so hard to be friendly, happy and your best buddy that they are more than annoying. Ian - the cruise guy on this trip was a helpful, informative, entertaining and genuine. Of all the times we interacted directly or indirectly through ship wide announcements, I never felt that he was forced or ingenuine. Kudos to Ian the Cruise Director. Dining: Very good to excellent dining choices of well seasoned and prepared dishes served by professionals. Stateroom Attendant: "Johnathan" was an excellent steward who kept our stateroom spotless and ship shape. He was friendly, accomodating and a credit to Norwegian. Entertainment - The show cast was very good and gave very entertaining shows throughout the crossing. I enjoyed the musicianship of the duo Touche, the solos of the pianist, guitarist and trombone player from the house band. The bass player was also very good. Disappointing -the ship broke so we had to divert to Tampa without going to Miami. Having to depart the ship a day early was well done by US customs and the local Tampa staff, however the letter provided by the Star Captain and coordinating staff was less than adequate to the task of providing complete information to customers. Basically it was "You can stay or you can go by yourself and we won't tell you before we get to Tampa (and maybe afterwards) what all your options are." This can't be the only time an NCL ship has had a problem during a voyage, and there should have been a template available to who ever was providing the customers needed information and options a document with frequent updates. Two days of long lines at the customer service desks should have tipped off the cruise staff that they left too many issues unadressed. I suppose that the ship's administration was handicapped by what I believe is NCL's lack of administrative support, coordination, forward thinking and active corporate management. For me, I've enjoyed the ships, crews and entertainment of Norwegian Cruise Lines, but dread having to deal with their headquarters staff related issues. As an indication, the form for requesting an airline change fee is buried below layers of their web site, AND THE PROCEDURE WAS NEVER BRIEFED PRIOR TO DEBARKATION!!! Just a huge lack of complete communication, which I attribute to a less than adequate corporate headquarters staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Wow, what an experience! We left Dover, England on September 24, 2013 and arrived in New York City on October 10, 2013. If you hate flying like we do, you should consider a Trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruise as an alternative. We visited ... Read More
Wow, what an experience! We left Dover, England on September 24, 2013 and arrived in New York City on October 10, 2013. If you hate flying like we do, you should consider a Trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruise as an alternative. We visited Dover, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq, and St. John's. Plus, the best part, was a deviation in our route encouraged by the Cruise Director, John Heald, wherein the captain had an "ice-captain" come on board to navigate so that we could cruise through the Prince Christian Sound in southern Greenland. There is only one settlement there, Aappilattoq (population 132 in 2010), which John Heald and crew visited so that they could mail our postcards (provided by the Carnival Legend) home. Our postcard, however, never made it back to our home address; but the experience of seeing all those glaciers was magnificent! I would not hesitate to take another re-positioning cruise. The crew on the Legend was superb - they never stopped cleaning to keep us from getting sick - and the entertainment was the best. Thank you Carnival for making a memory that will last a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I'm still coming down from a glorious transatlantic cruise - Dover to NYC, Sept. 25-Oct. 10th. In addition to the marvelous itinerary, which is what attracted me to the cruise in the first place, I was cared for and pampered by an ... Read More
I'm still coming down from a glorious transatlantic cruise - Dover to NYC, Sept. 25-Oct. 10th. In addition to the marvelous itinerary, which is what attracted me to the cruise in the first place, I was cared for and pampered by an incredible crew and entertained by some great headliners. In particular: A dedicated ship's crew that navigated us across seas rough and calm, past icebergs, through narrows and fjords, from Europe to North America. Our dining room crew of Andrea, Diyan, and Barbara who worked diligently to meet our every need in the dining room, and recognized and greeted us while they were working shifts elsewhere on the ship. Eva, the dining room hostess who saw to special needs of our little troupe. The chefs and cooks who fed us non-stop for 15 days. Our room steward, Domingo, who worked with us to ensure that 3 rather demanding guests were well taken care of, and Aldo, the steward of the next group of cabins down the hall, who stopped and chatted for a few moments every time we went past. All the stewards that created the absolutely amazing display of towel animals at the Lido pool! The 'quiet', but ever present staff that kept the ship clean and tidy - always at work cleaning, polishing, picking up, washing windows, and mopping up the fog from the open area of the lido deck. The tireless tender crew, taking us to and from Qaqortoq, Greenland. Victoria, the acupuncturist at the spa who worked with our physical problems throughout the cruise. The Park West Art Auction team for fun, champagne, and some great new pieces of art. Our cruise director, John Heald & assistant Kelvyn, the Legend orchestra, the singers and dancers, the comedians, the juggler, the illusionist, the guest singers - wow, what a fortnight of entertainment. We didn't see all the shows, but the ones we did were truly memorable. The Jazz Hot Show, Big Easy, and the back-up dancing to Justin Illusion by the Legend Dancers were all excellent. Violinist Izabella Zebrowska; Vocalist Emily Reed; Comedy Magician Adam Heppenstall; Vocalists Le Musica; Juggler John Nations; Illusionist and Dancer Justin Illusion; and Comedian Danny Buckler - Thank you for sharing your talent on the high seas. I can't get that kind of variety anywhere else! And this doesn't include the wonderful visits to Dover, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq, and St. John's. That's for a different blog. Thank you to the entire crew of 900+. You made my day (15 times over!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship, and was not expecting much based on previous Carnival cruises. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The ship was very nice and also appeared well cleaned. Public areas are nicely ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship, and was not expecting much based on previous Carnival cruises. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The ship was very nice and also appeared well cleaned. Public areas are nicely layed out and the ship never seemed crowded. Service was excellent throughout. Shows were better than expected. Our balcony room was large and comfortable. The decor of the ship is hideously gawdy and ugly, but that doesn't really matter to me. It was still a great ship. Even the staff were laughing at how cheap and gawdy the decor is. The food was not horrible, but not good either. Some things were not edible and a few things were actually good. Everything else, was just okay... not good enough to brag about, but not bad enough to ruin the cruise either. It was served by excellent staff throughout the ship, so no complaints there. The 24 hour pizza is actually excellent. We had some nice surprises...the Captain took an unexpected route through the Greenland Fjords and that was the highlight of the trip. The ship also gave us all post cards and then sent a lifeboat carrying the cruise director out to a remote post office to mail them from the northern most post office in the world. Both things were a very nice extra and I was very impressed by Carnival. This is the first Carnival ship to have "Anytime dining" and I have to say I don't like that at all. We prefer to eat alone and asked for a table for two, which we were not given. They told us our only option was eat at 8:15 or go to anytime dining. We chose the Anytime and it turns out that what it means is waiting about 20 minutes in line every night and then either eating with a large group, or waiting an additional 20-45 minutes for a private table. Embarkation at Dover was the best I've ever experienced. Debarkation in New York was the worst. They practically begged everyone to use the self assist debarkation, which almost everyone did, but then they didn't coordinate the exit. Everyone was crammed into several places on the ship with their luggage and no real organized plan to release them, so it became a bit hostile with no real direction on when each area could go. People were getting angry and frustrated and no one seemed to know what the plan was. Eventually, everyone just crowded towards the exit point, which became kind of a crazy mess. I would just like them to coordinate that a little better and maybe keep people informed. To sum up...Overall review: Great cruise, Very nice ship, Great service and staff, mediocre food, bad debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We embarked at the port of Dover after a flight from Toronto Canada. We selected this particular cruise because of the range of the ports of call. The weather plays a great part in any cruise and in that respect we were very fortunate. ... Read More
We embarked at the port of Dover after a flight from Toronto Canada. We selected this particular cruise because of the range of the ports of call. The weather plays a great part in any cruise and in that respect we were very fortunate. Dublin Ireland was our first port and we did the coastal panorama excursion our guide did a great job explaining the history and recent economic problems of Ireland. I appreciated the Irish coffee served at the Abbey Tavern. The next port was Greenock in Scotland where we went on the Panoramic Lochs tour. A famous person once said, "I love humanity, it's the people I can't stand". These words never rang truer as we boarded the coach and overheard a series of complaints from a group. It was too hot, it was too cold, they couldn't fasten the seat belt, there wasn't enough leg room, at one point positing, "do they think we are a bunch of schmucks"? They were what I call, professional complainers and were planning to get a refund before the coach had even started. The worst, and most embarrassing event, was when they began mocking an infant child by loudly aping the child's cries. One of them even started taking photographs of the child as the mother attempted to calm her infant. The whole excursion was spoiled by this group of inconsiderate seniors whose only concern, was for themselves. The next destination was Belfast, I knew of the history of Northern Ireland so did not have high expectations, but was really surprised by the beauty of the Ards Peninsula. Colin, our guide provided us with an in-depth history, he was obviously passionate about Northern Ireland and it's people. This is one place where I would consider revisiting. We saw the Northern lights, but were not technically proficient at configuring our camera to take photographs at night, fortunately the ships videographer was able to capture some alluring images. Two days at sea then Reykjavik Iceland. A misty, cool rain descended over our as we docked, something that nobody could control. We visited craters, hot mud holes and climbed to the top of a hill at Raykjanes. The next stop (the bonus), was a trip through the Prince Christian's Sound, Greenland. What an incredible experience. I salute Carnival for doing this. It was totally unexpected. Words cannot describe how fortunate we feel for being given the opportunity to see this wonder. The captain and his crew did a great job negotiating the narrow fjord and the odd iceberg. At Qaqortoq, Greenland we went ashore via the ship's launches. The sun smiled upon us as we toured this small town. The local population, and others from local communities came out in force to welcome us. We listened to a choir in the church and listened to one of it's members relate the history of Qaqortoq. Two days at sea and onto St. John's Newfoundland, Canada where we sampled rum at the Queen's battery, drank beer at the Quidi Vidi Brewery, the weather was not stellar, but we were in high spirits. Two more days at sea and we were in New York. Our debarkation went surprisingly smoothly and quickly. The Legend is a fine ship, the crew were excellent unfortunately the cruise director frequently claimed to have seen whales off the port bow, needless to say we were always on the starboard side when he made the announcement.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our 16th Carnival Cruise, the third in Europe. The we have sailed on several Carnival Sprit Class ships over the past 10 years The Pride, The Miracle and The Legend prior to this voyage. The ships are not so big, but are not so ... Read More
This was our 16th Carnival Cruise, the third in Europe. The we have sailed on several Carnival Sprit Class ships over the past 10 years The Pride, The Miracle and The Legend prior to this voyage. The ships are not so big, but are not so small, sailing with 2100 other guest the ship is not to chaotic the size and number of passengers is just right. All of our previous voyages on this class ship were 8 days or less, this voyage was twice as long 16 nights. On this Voyage I rate the ports visited 10 with the unexpected passage thru Prince Christian Sund in Greenland. On this Voyage the ship as always was clean and where it wasn't was due to inconsiderate guest On this Voyage the ships rank and file crew were pleasant and helpful, the officer on the other hand were hibernating and never around, very little to no exchange with the officers and senior staff. The Supper Club is extraordinary, having visited 3x during this voyage, but the reason for so many times dining there, may have been to the non-predictable food service in the Main Dining Room. Food was not up to the Quality we had previously experienced. The food served in the Main Dining Room; your time seating for dinner, was sometimes perfect, sometimes OK and sometimes COLD ! we had made a complaint to the hostess at the dining room entrance and there was an improvement, only do to the diligence of the waiter. The maitre d' never came to our table to check with us, if we were happy with the service. When I am served Lobster Tails 3x in the same night and they all were cold, you lost my confidence. The food on Lido also had its ups and downs. My observation , of the dining room was the team of 3 who served you had too many guest/tables to attend too, probably a cost cutting attempt by Carnival Corp. to defray the cost of all of their mishaps at sea in the past few years. Food for this voyage I rate it at a 4 out of 10 The temperature of the hot tubs is not warm enough. They ran out of blankets and the temperature from Iceland to Greenland to New Foundland / Labrador required them This was a repositioning cruise, one of one but the ports and route were extraordinary Dover, England; Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Rejevick, Iceland; Qaqortoq Greenland; New Foundland / Labrador ; Ney York City. This itinerary should be a regular, voyage with east and west passages   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an ... Read More
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an outbreak of Norovirus on the incoming cruise. The facilities in the terminal were adequate and fairly comfortable, much better than the more familiar facilities at Liverpool. For the first week or so the efforts to eradicate the virus were evident, with the crew working tirelessly to clean and disinfect the ship. The itinerary was good although there were a number of arrivals when the destination was "closed". Lisbon, Sunday, Mindelo (Cap Verde) on a public holiday, Bridgetown, Sunday, Horta (Azores) arrival after 13.30hrs on a Saturday when the place closes down at 13.00hrs and Ponta Delgada on a Sunday. Maybe the schedule could do with a bit of a "tweak". Other than that the destinations were great. Particularly in the Amazon where tourists were almost a side issue, while the population got on with their lives and business. (Compare this with Alaska where you feel as if you are in a perpetual tourist theme park). One minor hic-cup was just short of Parintins, when water ingress to the electrical system caused the power to fail. Again the crew put in heroic efforts to effect successful repairs. As a result no ports were missed. Indeed, efforts by the shore excursion staff and the ship's agents secured the services of a river boat, in the absence of the availability of the ships tenders, to transfer passengers to the shore to enjoy the magnificent Boi Bumba show. All the trips on offer were competitively priced, well organised and good value for money. Marco Polo is a relatively small ship by modern standards but is well maintained and comfortable. Our inside cabin, (deck 7. Pacific deck) was very clean and comfortable thanks to the efforts of our steward Sorin. There was sufficient hanging and drawer space to accommodate all our clothing for a 45 night cruise, so no need to store clothing in suitcases. Another welcome aspect about Marco Polo is the availability of some small bars or lounges near to bars, to enjoy some quiet relaxation accompanied by some very talented East European musicians. For those other than "Radio Three listeners" the entertainment team did a magnificent job. I have never seen an entertainment team work so hard. "U.K. guest act" Richard Sykes (in truth the former Cruise Director) was almost ubiquitous. He provided multiple tribute sessions based on a number of artistes, took part in the Panto (well it was just after Christmas) and even developed and conducted a choir. All of this was achieved with such energy we were convinced that he was sniffing fly spray. A really talented and accomplished man, who should go down well when he takes up his position as CD on Ocean Countess. The Cruise Director, Gareth Cole's job is to organise, co-ordinate and manage the entertainment programme. In addition he was a capable and versatile performer. His "Blues Brothers" set was so good I wanted to throw beer bottles. (Watch the film and you will see what I mean). Despite this, some passengers were grumbling that he did not put himself about much during the day. This was more than made up for by Ed Garth, a talented singer, Amy Street and Cate Stephens, two versatile and attractive divas and Andy Sanders a really personable host and performer. In addition another U.K. guest act, comedian Andy Ford, ("He's alright if you like laughing") was always about and happy to speak to fellow passengers as well as perform to packed houses. The "show team", again East Europeans, were excellent with some really good singers and performers. Most of the bar staff and bar waiters are East European. I have seen criticism in other postings that they are unfriendly and unhelpful. Our experience is that, at first, they are a bit stiff but polite and respectful. It seems to be a natural reticence with people from Eastern Europe rather than the sickly "hail fellow well met", in your face, overly familiar faux friendliness displayed by some other nationalities. Once you break through their initial reserve, warmth and friendliness are repaid in bucket loads without ever becoming over familiar or complacent. So if the itinerary, entertainment and personnel are the highlights of the experience, the low point has to be the food. The tragedy is that the food is clearly good quality but always cold. It must be frustrating for the chefs that they go to the effort to plan, prepare and execute the menus only for the food to get to the table cold. Soup was lukewarm, meat well prepared but inedible, veg. correctly cooked but cold. Roast potatoes that should be crisp were cold and soft. On one occasion, for example, Lasagne arrived so old and cold that it was like trying to eat a deck of playing cards. On another occasion, grilled fish and boiled potatoes from the Bistro was so cold, that the butter I put on the potatoes refused to melt. The butter just sat there, grinning at me, as if to say "Well what do you want me to do? Stand up and start playing a trombone?" (Old Lurpak Ad). After complaining I was provided with freshly prepared fish and potatoes which were delicious. CMV / Global need to invest in some means of keeping pre-prepared food hot. The current system, in the buffet, of placing them under a 40 watt light bulb, only serves to dry the food without keeping it hot. I am sorry to say that the food was without doubt the worst cruise food we have ever experienced. Other cruise lines manage to feed their passengers well, no matter how large or small the ship. It is down to how the food is stored pre-service that makes the difference. So it was a "budget" or low price cruise, especially considering the length and destinations of the cruise, but food preparation and presentation is a basic. In addition, having said the "headline" cost is low, the bar prices are not. £4+ for a 500ml tin of Guinness. £3+ for John Smith's Bitter. Vodka £2.80+ with a 33cl tin of tonic £2+. So if, like me, you are a dedicated quaffer the bar bill soon racks up. Overall this was an exciting and interesting experience, well worth the cost of the fare. Entertainment and activities ( crafts and traditional deck games, Ballroom dancing classes and tap dancing lead by Nichola Glehill)) to suit just about everyone except the most curmudgeonly. Clean, comfortable surroundings with attentive and respectful staff. This cruise is a winner if there was just a bit more investment in the food presentation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
After spending 2 weeks inScotland visiting friends, my husband and I rented a car and drove down to Dover, England to embark our cruise. The 8 hour drive went very smootly and when we returned our car they even drove us to the ship. ... Read More
After spending 2 weeks inScotland visiting friends, my husband and I rented a car and drove down to Dover, England to embark our cruise. The 8 hour drive went very smootly and when we returned our car they even drove us to the ship. Embarcation was a breeze and we were on The Eurodam and eating lunch by 11:30. After a great luch we were anxious to explore the ship. When you cruise alot and repeat many cruieline and ships it is alwasy fun to sail a new line and a new ship. The Eurodam did not disapponted. Our balcony romm was very spacious with lots of storage room. Love the fact the bathroom was well appointed and loved the bathtub. Holland America has what I consider the best bathrooms with the best amenties, I love Elemis products. Holland America has outstanding service as well. I could not find one thing that was below par. Friendly staff, great food, including room service and an overall feeling of calm. To say we enjoyed this cruise is an understaement. The ports were all amazing. Iceland, Greenland, Farrow Islands, Ireland and Newfoundland to name a few. A great opportunity to visit some out of the ordinary places. This is where I think Holland America excells. They offer more unique cruising experiences. We were so pleased we already have a cruise booked with Holland America doing a 30 night Pacific Islands cruise. Can't wait!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
First: I´m Swedish, excuse me for bad english. Second: I´m a rather experienced traveller in many parts of the world. But this was only my second cruise of this kind of ship. The first was 7 days in Mediterranean on RCCL "Splendour ... Read More
First: I´m Swedish, excuse me for bad english. Second: I´m a rather experienced traveller in many parts of the world. But this was only my second cruise of this kind of ship. The first was 7 days in Mediterranean on RCCL "Splendour of the Seas" (SoS. And below I compare a bit to that cruise. The Itinerary was the only reason we choosed this cruise. (We had first the idea of going the 7-days with Cunard.) The Itinerary fulfilled our expectations. (And a bit more thanks to good weather through south of Greenland.)The only port with tenders was Greenland. And there it was surprisingly slow. I could write pages about the ports. But I only say they were well choosen. We took excursions in every port. And they varied from fantastic to boring. Sorry to say the latter outnumbered the former. Sometimes I suspect HAL had found their guides on the street. HAL provided us with many high quality lectures in the main stage before many of our ports. They were often so popular that the latecomers had to sit in the stairs. Eurodam is very beautiful seen from outside. But it´s function is in many aspects inferior to the much older "SoS". Many of the open decks in front were closed to passengers. (Security reasons.) Eurodam lacks the open top-deck. Instead one open in the back, and a half-open in the middle. I did not like the layout and design of some public spaces. (Bars etc.) First 8 nights we had a standard inside cabin. Avoid it! Fantastic large beds and good ventilation. But no floor space. Go for the large inside (with a sofa), unless you not travel with friends with larger cabin. Last 9 nights we had a veranda-cabin. And it was perfect in every aspect. (On SoS we had the second largest suite, nr. 8000, but the much smaller in Eurodam, was in some ways better. Food and service was superior than on the cheaper SoS. But I did not experience better food in the restaurants, Pinnacle and Tamarind, who charged extra. We had the best dinners in the main restaurant, Rembrandt. And the best service. Entertainment had it ups and downs. Mostly inferior to SoS. Would I go with HAL again? Very probable. If they are 20% more expensive than for instance RCCL, they give you 20% higher quality. (meals, cabins and service.) Would I go with RCCL again. Yes, roughly as probable. Or I will never cruise again. (Not so probable.) Or perhaps I choose i River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We returned on September 10, 2011 from a 17-day transatlantic cruise on the Eurodam that started in Dover, England on August 24 and ended in Manhattan with stops in Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Belgium), Dublin, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, ... Read More
We returned on September 10, 2011 from a 17-day transatlantic cruise on the Eurodam that started in Dover, England on August 24 and ended in Manhattan with stops in Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Belgium), Dublin, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, St. Johns (Newfoundland), and Halifax. The itinerary was spectacular. What attracted us was the nice mix of ports and at-sea days and the mix of exciting large cities (London, Amsterdam, Dublin, and New York) with remote cultures of the North Atlantic and with the charm of St. Johns and Halifax. We were not disappointed. It was a wonderfully varied cruise with times when we could completely relax and times when we were touring interesting places or sailing past jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery. The highlight of the trip was the day we spent scenic cruising on the Prins Christian Sund in Greenland. Through an incredible bit of luck, we had unusually good weather - cold, but very clear. The result was breathtaking. We spent the better part of the day cruising through a fjord with unbelievably tall, nearly vertical, sheer granite cliffs punctuated by glaciers and waterfalls. Because the weather was so uncommonly good, the captain extended the tour into a portion that no cruise ship had ever visited before. As they do on their Alaska cruises, HAL provided piping hot pea soup on the outside decks that was most welcome in the 30-degree (F) temperature. (For a fee, you could also get Irish coffee or brandy to warm you up.) It's a classy touch. And the crew serving it seemed as exuberant as the passengers about the sights. About midway through Prins Christian Sund, there was tiny village on shore. The ship sent out a tender with pizzas, and the tender crew also sliced off some ice from one of the icebergs floating in the sound and brought it on board for passengers who wished to have the unpolluted ice for their drinks. The next day, we stopped at Nanortalik, Greenland. One of the tenders returned with a bunch of children from the town and the crew treated them to pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, and a tour of the ship. We thought that it was a wonderful gesture. Some notable things: Boarding the ship in Dover and getting off the ship in New York were both speedy and painless experiences. We have found HAL to be remarkably efficient. We spent two nights in London before leaving for the cruise. Since it was a HAL pre-cruise, we were met at Heathrow and taken to our hotel (JW Marriott Grosvenor House). It's a great location. You can pretty much walk to most things you might want to see, including Buckingham Palace and the National Museum. HAL provided the bus transportation from the hotel to the ship. We are not buffet fans, so we can't comment much on the Lido except to say that the food looked attractive and varied when we walked through, and we never saw long lines, but since we weren't up there during a lot of meal times, I can't say that they did not exist. My wife went either at the very beginning or just before the lunch period ended and had a good experience when she purchased soup or a sandwich. We dined mostly at the Rembrandt Dining Room ("As You Like" dining). We had a few meals where we were at tables of four people. Eventually, we settled into a nice routine of making reservations several days in advance for 6:00 or 6:15 p.m. at a table for two, and generally got the same table (No. 111), overlooking the ocean. There were tables for two at either side of us, and night after night we would see some familiar faces, but we also wound up meeting some new people. For us, that seemed ideal: it had some of the characteristics of a fixed seating time (we got to know our serving staff and wine steward - it was a great crew!). We ate at the Tamarind twice. It was superb! It is one of HAL's best ideas, and I wish that all of their ships had it. (I think that the restaurant is available only on the Eurodam and the Nieuw Amsterdam.) It's an Asian fusion restaurant. The restaurant's menu has been endowed with tons of imagination and variety. The service is impeccable. We also dined twice at the Pinnacle. Once was on my birthday, where I gluttonized on a delicious steak. The second time was at one of the two Le Cirque dinners. Le Cirque is more expensive than the Pinnacle's regular $25.00 per person charge. The question is this: is it worth it? My wife and I would say, "yes." The weather: One of the questions we had before we took this cruise was this: how cold is it when you are cruising the North Atlantic in August-September? For most of the cruise we could go out on our veranda to take pictures, sometimes needing a fleece jacket, but it was generally too cold to sit out on the veranda for an extended period of time. There were a couple of times when this was not the case. In fact, one night when we were in port , we ordered dinner from the Rembrandt menu and dined out on the veranda. Bear in mind, too, that in addition to the wind speeds, you are on a ship that is moving at 18-21 knots, so there is a certain amount of wind chill that is generated just from the fact that you are on a moving ship. In any event, we'd suggest that you brings clothes that will allow you "layer" yourself well, and bring more long-sleeved shirts/blouses than short-sleeved. And how rocky was the North Atlantic? There were a few days when the winds were so extreme that it was almost impossible to push the veranda door open. (At those times, the ship also closed the outside decks to passengers - a sensible precaution, especially as there were times when the wind speeds reached 70 miles an hour, which is virtually hurricane force! The Lido deck pool was emptied once when the wind and rocking was significant enough to cause unsafe conditions for walking or sitting in the pool area.) But overall, there was actually less rockiness than we expected; however, being mid-ship was decidedly more stable than rooms closer to either end, as several passengers attested. There were several nights when the ship's rolling was strong enough that we had to put something in front of the drawers in our stateroom to prevent their opening and closing from waking us. We also had to take down hangers that didn't have clothes on them, since they, too, got rather noisy when they banged against each other. There was only one time when we felt that the rolling was very pronounced. Fortunately, it was while we were in bed, and, frankly, it was a rather enjoyable and even soothing feeling. During the at-sea days, we loved sitting by a window with a book or a drink and watching the waves. My wife also took photos of the 8 to 12 foot waves, capturing their fountains of spray, and sketching the result. There is a strange and enduring beauty in the waves when you are on the sea. It is one reason why we will definitely take another transatlantic cruise. In fact, the crystallized ginger candy which my wife brought along for possible nausea was not used for that purpose but rather (by her) for a little indigestion she experienced caused by rich ingredients used in dressing vegetables, making the scrumptious hot or cold cream soups and the elegant desserts. But what's a cruise without an occasional indulgence? In any case, she swears by the ginger candy, which she purchased at our local co-op (organic) food market. We heard very little about people experiencing sea sickness, and since there were the usual number of folks at meals, I suspect that it did not present a problem for most passengers. I would say, though, that if you are generally unsteady on your feet, you might want to think twice about a transatlantic cruise. It is going to be rockier than a cruise in (say) the Caribbean. My wife noticed many passengers with a motion-sickness prevention patch behind an ear. The lectures: This was another highlight. First of all, we've never been on a cruise before where the personality of the ship's captain played such a major role. Captain Darin Bowland was on several panels in the Queen's Lounge or Mainstage during the cruise. Two of his young children sat up front in the Queen's Lounge , watching their self-proclaimed non-cooking Dad give a memorable performance during a culinary "cook-off". During the show, the Cruise Director and the Captain attempted to make a winning venison entree with sautEed vegetables while two other staff persons accompanied their venison with a soup appetizer. The panel of judges (passengers) did not vote for the Captain's team; in fact, they found no menu item particularly palatable. When not cooking, the Captain is informative. He is hilariously funny (by the way, he could pass as a Jay Leno look-alike). He seems to love the work that he does. He gave those who heard him some insight into the kinds of issues that he and his staff face in managing a cruise ship. He also did some interviews on hurricanes and hurricane-tracking (we sailed when Irene was tracking up through the Northeast United States and into the North Atlantic), and they were broadcast on one of the ship's TV stations. On board for the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Canadian segments of the cruise was Jon Sigurdsson who gave great lectures on the culture, geography, ecology, and geology of the region. He played to pretty full houses in the Mainstage Theatre. He also provided commentary during scenic cruising. He has a deft touch for mixing information, insight, and humor. In other words, he is a perfect speaker for this kind of cruise. The Accommodations: We stayed in a Deluxe Veranda Suite. It is spacious and well-appointed with a huge amount of storage space. There was even space under the bed to fit all of our suitcases (two rather large ones and two carry-ons with wheels). Mary Rose and Mina in the Neptune Lounge were outstanding, as were Nina and Chandra, our stateroom stewards. The Neptune Lounge provides concierge service, and, yes, they will handle pretty much anything that needs handling. While these are (admittedly) fine accommodations and worth the extra money, we met lots of people who were not in one of the deluxe suites who also found this an enthralling cruise. Dress Code: This 17-day cruise had five formal nights. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship was a breeze. We left the ship around 8:30 a.m., got our luggage, found a porter who accompanied us and the suitcases through Customs and to the street, where we hopped a cab to Penn Station to drop off our suitcases. Here's a tip from the porter: if you snag a porter to tote your suitcases on a wheeled cart up to customs, the agents service passengers with porters first. But, be patient with getting porters: remember that the Eurodam carries over 2,000 passengers and that they first announce disembarkation of those passengers who have planes to catch. We spent the day in New York (including a matinee performance of The Book of Mormon - by the creators of the HBO hit, South Park - which we highly recommend) and took Amtrak back home to Delaware. Entertainment: We were in bed before 11 most nights and while we both found one of the Mainstage shows rather entertaining (a couple who performed several routines while executing unbelievably quick changes of dancing costumes), my wife attended only one other show. At the 11:15 pm crew show, she particularly enjoyed the experience of watching an especially beautiful member of the Neptune Lounge staff from Bali flawlessly perform a 15-minute, enchanting "bird dance". However, we both liked relaxing with an after-dinner drink while the Adagio String Quartet played beautiful classical music from 6 pm to 10 pm each evening. Two different couples, passengers themselves, surprised the seated passengers with a lovely tango on two separate occasions. Casino: We both look forward to the day when HAL bans all smoking onboard - anywhere. For those bothered - as we are - by second-hand smoke we held our breath and moved quickly through the Casino area. In Sum: This is not a cruise for people who want non-stop activity and parties. For folks who like visiting a range of really interesting and sometimes fascinating ports, but who also like the peace and relaxation of at sea days, it is ideal - especially if you also enjoy excellent food, good conversation with well-educated guests, and intelligent lectures. One substantive complaint is that the Eurodam puts its library ("Explorers Cafe") on the top deck with the Crow's Nest. That's a goofy place to put a library: it is way too noisy and not very conducive to sitting and reading, especially when there is Muzak playing in the background and folks gathered around the bar at the Crow's Nest. Putting it on the 4th deck, as it is on most other HAL ships, seems a much better place for it. Another complaint was that we learned from other passengers that the tender service in Noratalik was extremely s-l-o-w with long lines and long waits, partially due to a mechanical problem. (Since that was the only port where we stayed onboard ship, we can't comment directly. It was quite cold and windy, and we opted to stay onboard.) There was also a luncheon buffet in the Pinnacle Grill to showcase culinary displays that drew long lines on one of the at-sea days; on another day there were long lines at a Polynesian-theme buffet around the pool. In other respects, however, the Eurodam is a wonderful ship. The "Rembrandt" theme works extremely well throughout the ship. The ship is kept spotlessly clean. We were on the Eurodam two years ago when we sailed on one of HALs Canadian/New England cruises, and we were glad to see that it remains such a beautiful and well-run ship. The crew were very friendly. In addition to the kudos mentioned above for our Neptune concierges and our stateroom stewards, we would also mention Temmy, our wine steward in the Rembrandt Dining Room, who was always eager to please and very amusing, and Anne Jameson, manager of the Pinnacle, who is a class act. Finally, Muji, who made the seating assignments in the Rembrandt when you arrived for dinner, (for those passengers with or without reservations), had nerves of steel. He never displayed anything other than a pleasant demeanor. On every cruise, there are always a few people who act like jerks - particularly when the matter at hand concerns food. They don't make reservations or they show up late for them, but then are put off because they don't get exactly the table or location they want. Muji was unflappable. We both came to admire his patience and good nature, even when a guest was being rude. In case you're wondering about us: I am 66, and my wife is 62. This is our fourth cruise (all have been on HAL). Excursions: Amsterdam - we took a HAL tour that include the Van Gogh Museum. Spent lots of time at the Museum and then took a very leisurely walk back to the ship on a route that took us past the Anne Frank House. Some passengers complained that none of the HAL tours included the Anne Frank House. The problem, we think, is that there are very long lines to get into it. We believe that the waiting time was 45+ minutes, and that is tough to schedule as part of a tour. It was moving to stand in front of it, however. Since it was a somewhat longish walk back to the ship, we stopped for tea at an outdoor cafe by one of the canals. Zeebrugge - we opted for a tour that included Zeebruge and Damme. Saw a lot of the Flemish countryside and learned some history. It probably would have been more interesting to have gone to Brussels, but we did enjoy the tour we took, and the tour guide was excellent. Dublin - like Amsterdam, a tremendous city with lots to offer. We took a HAL tour, and, again, an excellent tour guide made it worthwhile. We saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin and spent some time walking around (including a stop at a pub where I had a Guinness and my wife had her favorite pie - apple - which she declared was the best she ever tasted). We also did some shopping. One of our fellow passengers spent the afternoon at a performance of River Dance. They explained that they went to the tourism center in town and learned how to get tickets. We thought that was a neat idea: to go to a matinee performance while we were in port. We wish that we had considered that option, though we don't regret the tour. Faroe Islands - the weather was gloomy and a bit chilly, and towards the end of our tour of Torshavn (which included a fair amount of walking), it started raining. That said, our tour guide gave us a lot of insight into the history of the Faroe Islands and what it is like to live there. We were glad that we took the tour, despite the wretched weather. Rain gear is a necessity for this cruise! Reykjavik, Iceland - the only disappointment, not because of Reykjavik, but because the tour guide's English was not up to the demands of conducting a tour. We opted for a general tour of the city. Judging from our conversations with other passengers, touring the geothermal sites would have been far more interesting. And those who visited the Blue Lagoon loved it - this was true whether they took a Blue Lagoon HAL tour, one of which included an opportunity for a 3 hour swim in its warm water, with nearby showers and lockers, or opted to go out there on their own (which was undoubtedly a less expensive option). Greenland - as mentioned above, this was the highlight. It is an extraordinarily beautiful and fascinating place. St. Johns, Newfoundland - this was the only place where my wife and I opted for separate HAL tours. I did a tour that was more history-based, with visits to Cape Spear (you can see the WW II defenses there), Signal Hill, and the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, which is a pretty spectacular church. My wife opted for the Memorial University Botanical Gardens and loved it. The gardens are on 100 acres which university students reconstructed after a fire had destroyed much of the foliage. What resulted are beautiful and varied displays of indigenous flora and fauna as well as carefully constructed areas made to protect small animals and even butterflies. Halifax, Nova Scotia - since we had been to Halifax before, we didn't do a tour. We walked from the ship to the Maritime Museum and spent several hours there. It is a terrific museum. Lots of information on the Titanic and on the horrible 1916 explosion in Halifax harbor. It also has models of 19th century ships. It was a well laid out and very engrossing museum. There are nearby shops with intriguing art and sculpture which gave us the opportunity to purchase a thank-you gift for our cat-sitter. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We selected the cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed. Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Dublin were as expected. While Torshavn, Faroes was interesting the scenery while cruising was the prize. Iceland was interesting, very like ... Read More
We selected the cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed. Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Dublin were as expected. While Torshavn, Faroes was interesting the scenery while cruising was the prize. Iceland was interesting, very like remoter parts of Scotland. Cruising by Greenland was magnificent and we were blessed with the weather. St John's Newfoundland was interesting, while Halifax Nova Scotia proved to be well worth a visit. The ship was very good; the food was the best; the staff were first class as you would expect. Sadly, the entertainment was a disappointment. Few production shows for a 17 day trip; soloists who thought it entertaining to tell us about the children and were full of their own importance. The real let down was the disembarkation in New York. While problems can happen, there is no excuse for not keeping the passengers informed as to why things were running over two hours late - there was a gap of over an hour between some announcements. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Prior cruises have been on 700+ passenger ships. This was a second try at HAL for me and a fifth for my partner (going back to the "student" ships of the '50's) Overall a great itinerary and and a fabulous captain who ... Read More
Prior cruises have been on 700+ passenger ships. This was a second try at HAL for me and a fifth for my partner (going back to the "student" ships of the '50's) Overall a great itinerary and and a fabulous captain who provided smooth seas, great information on what to expect and unexpected sites and views that included including local communities in our adventure. On the other side, never again on a ship this size. The feeling on board is stilted and unfriendly compared to the smaller ships. The cabin for some reason had a foldout bed couch instead of a normal couch and chair. The couch was so deep no one short of 6'6" could sit on it without three deep pillows. I checked the Eurodam deck plans, and about two/thirds of the veranda cabins are configured this way. Because of the space taken up by this "couch," there is no room for a chair. If you want to spend any time relaxing in your room, avoid these rooms. Food was fine. We actually ate most of the time in the cafeteria ("Lido") for all meals, since it took so long in the main dining room for food that was really no better and a menu that was more restrictive. We tried Tamarind for lunch and dinner (premium price) and were not impressed. The same for Canalletto (no premium charged), which we tried twice. Staff and service were comparable to other lines. Note that there is no self-service laundry. So come prepared to pay for laundry, or with do-it-yourself supplies. The Library is combined with the computer area and doesn't provide a comfortable reading area. We couldn't find a comfortable, quiet reading spot anywhere on the ship. Charging for coffee or tea in the lounge is a bit much. Entertainment is noticeably more professional and varied than on a small ship. Shows were Vegas glitz sort of. One delightful pianist was like a Russian Victor Borge. The piano bar was all about the singer. Mostly, it was much too high volume, with forced electronic sound. We gravited towards a bar with a great jazz trio. Overall if you can enjoy a ship this size than it probably as good as its competition. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My partner and I eagerly awaited our recent cruise from Dover, UK to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This time, we were off on our Summer vacation cruise. We started by spending 4 days in London and were glad the ship was going to take us home without ... Read More
My partner and I eagerly awaited our recent cruise from Dover, UK to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This time, we were off on our Summer vacation cruise. We started by spending 4 days in London and were glad the ship was going to take us home without having to fly. This was my 21st cruise and my partner's 22nd. Embarkation at Dover was interesting. We took the National Express bus service from Victoria Station, London, which was absolutely wonderful and very reasonable. For the both of us, the cost was $40, not bad for a 55 mile (2 hour) trip to Dover. It can be quite expensive otherwise. The Princess Representatives were courteous, but all of our records were not on the system upon arrival. We were asked for name, address and telephone number. They didn't have our Captain Circle information or Shipboard Credit information. This is why we travel with a file folder of all documentation and confirmations. We boarded the ship and, though the Dawn is older, it was quite nice, as it had been refitted not long ago. We went to our cabin on the Dolphin deck, which was a spacious obstructed outside cabin with the usual small Princess bathroom. We met our new steward, James. He was wonderful throughout the entire cruise and took care of all of our requests. Our next stop was the Venetian Dining Room (late seating dining) to see our table location. We visited with Rui Pereira, the Head Maitre D' - we had sailed with Rui on the Sun Princess several years ago. He was happy to assist us and also was involved with setting up luncheons for our Cruise Critic group. After lunch at the Horizon Court, we went back to our cabin and our luggage had already been delivered, so we unpacked and were set for the cruise. After Muster Drill we met our fellow Cruise Critic members at the Tradewinds Bar for a Sail Away Party. Dining Room/Buffet We were fortunate to have a wonderful and congenial table for 8 (Table 108) in a good location with Zosimo as our Waiter and Levi as our Assistant Waiter. They did an excellent job and were happy to bring you whatever you wanted. Assistant Maitre D's Andrew and Pedro were helpful and attentive. The table was only ourselves and two lovely ladies from Australia for most of the time, as many older cruisers wanted to eat earlier and chose to eat in the buffet, than at the late seating. Over the course of the cruise, four others joined our table and it was quite nice. The food in the dining room was good to very good (not excellent). The food was a bit uneven though we never went away hungry. They had Prime Rib, Medallions of Beef, Lobster Tails, Rack of lamb, as well as fish, pork and chicken dishes etc... Don't miss out on the Fettuccini Alfredo. As an example of the unevenness, salmon in a puff pastry was served as an appetizer and a similar dish as an entree; and several dishes were served two or three nights in a row. Only one specialty restaurant was available, the Sterling Steak House - which is actually a sectioned-off area of the Horizon Court Buffet. We met several other people from the states and a group of 8 had dinner together. It was quite nice and the food and service was excellent. In this venue, we chose the Colossal Prawn Cocktail and I had the New England Clam Chowder and my Partner had the tableside Caesar Salad. We both had the 10 oz. Filet Mignon We had some of the side dishes brought to the table (very good) and we both had coffee and my Partner had a Souffle for dessert and I had the Chocolate Mousse. The buffet was generally fair to good. The buffet area was generally rather good for breakfast though I had to ask for smoked salmon daily, as a tray was not placed out on any morning. They did have other dishes, but were generally geared to the majority of the Australian passengers. Lunch tended to be rather repetitive until a larger number of Americans who boarded in Dover requested that there be some "creativity" in the menus. Amazingly, we started to see "theme" lunches each day, i.e. Asian, Mexican, Italian. We never went away hungry; burgers and hot dogs were at the outside grills, but one day another incident occurred. We were not in the mood for the buffet, so we went to get a burger after exploring the port in the morning. We were told they were out of hamburgers. I said "how could you be out of hamburgers? -- No one has been on the ship all day." I found the Food and Beverage Manager who got a hold of the chef who I heard screaming at the grill person and lo and behold the hamburgers were there in a flash. We found that several areas needed additional training on what to do (who to call,etc..) such as this area and Guest Services (to be discussed later) Soft ice cream is available near the pool area in the afternoon at no charge. Entertainment We were glad to see that the shows were after dinner rather than pre-dinner shows and they received excellent attendance by passengers. On our Christmas cruise on the Ruby, we only saw one or two shows because many of them were scheduled as pre-dinner shows and we do not like to rush before dinner. Following that cruise, we gave negative feedback on this issue because so many shows were pre-dinner. Apparently, someone at Princess read our review and comment cards because most of the shows this time were after dinner. The theater was full each night for the after dinner show format. The production shows were fair, but they were a hodgepodge of songs without rhyme or reason. The second production show was similar to the first. The standouts were Charmain and Heather, who actually did her own show one evening and it was wonderful. They also had several comedians and singers. Since the passengers were mainly Australian, the people really didn't get American humor and more thought should go into who are the main population of the ship when hiring entertainers. Many activities took place in the Piazza --The Champagne Fountain, The Captain's Welcome Party, various entertainers throughout the day, etc. Cruise Director Warren Smith was very charming, visible and very busy. He was always somewhere doing another activity. His Assistant Dave did a great job too. The morning wake up news was great and especially Captain Toddy Bear (named for Captain Todd McBain. The Officers were only somewhat visible and visits were limited. Bars/Disco/Casino There were several other venues for entertainment-- the Magnum Bar was a wonderful Martini Bar in a great location. Anthony and Santi were the fantastic bartenders/waiters at the bar. Santi is now on leave between contracts. We hope he comes back. In the meantime, you are in good hands with Anthony. Anthony keep making those Peach Martinis and Dr. Nos... The Jammers Lounge (Disco) was generally quiet and Lee did a great job as DJ trying to have passengers attend, but again the age of the crowd did not lend itself to making it busier. At the Casino Bar, Daniel did a great job as waiter, always happy to make us Long Island Ice Teas. Casino staff was very personable. Black Jack tables were generally quiet, as Australians are not big gamblers and Craps table was removed; amounts to play were generally $5 per hand. Additionally, slots were also removed to allow for more card tables for Bridge and board games in the casino. The Casino also had Three Card Poker and a form of Caribbean Stud. Slots were limited and mostly video slots and were tough to beat. Cruise Stops/Excursions Amsterdam - Cancelled due to high seas. Bergen, Norway - Very nice stop to see and explore. Very expensive $5 for a coke; $40 for a hamburger. We went back to the ship to eat. Glasgow, Scotland - Lots to see as there is so much history here. Great buys on wool and cashmere items. Dublin, Ireland - What an unexpected surprise. Great city; can't wait to go back; very upscale and lovely younger crowd. Cork, Ireland- A charming smaller city. We docked at Cobh and the townspeople came out and had an all-day celebration with bands, etc. They gave us quite a sendoff. Bermuda- Went with a group to Horseshoe Beach. Beautiful with crystal clear water. Take your snorkeling gear. Service The service overall was very good. There were some wonderful standouts on the ship, as noted above, and they were rewarded accordingly, beyond the daily automatic tips. The only person to be able to answer all questions and handle all problems was Lola, the Captain Circle Hostess. Due to all of the missing files in Dover, she had a line 50-60 feet long of passengers. She got everything straightened out for us including Captain Circle level, ship board credits, stockholder credits, etc. One comment regarding Guest Services -- again better training needs to be done as we had heard there was screaming and yelling due to the stop in Amsterdam being missed - a ship's Senior Officer should have handled that situation, as many were to have family reunions and get-togethers, rather than leaving it to Guest Services. We personally had a situation that we needed to know when customs would be onboard to deal with the VAT Tax refunds and Guest Services could not answer these simple questions. Again, only Lola seemed to have answers to questions and made one call and in 10-15 seconds had information on the EU VAT Customs visit (correct day and time). People in Guest Services need to be better trained to know how to seek out answers to passenger questions. Miscellaneous Overall it was a nice trip and we would overall recommend the Dawn Princess. The layout of the ship is very good (small and intimate) and staff was very nice. We were so happy to meet all of the Cruise Critic members. We thank Ann and John for all of their hard work in putting luncheons and M&G's together. Trip Home Debarkation was smooth in Ft. Lauderdale and we were off the ship quickly and on to our 40 minute trip home. We said goodbye to everyone and hope they continue to have a safe journey on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We've just come back from a transatlantic repositioning cruise to the Caribbean on Fred Olsen's Braemar. We are fast becoming seasoned cruisers and, having done this cruise with P&O two years ago, can make valid comments ... Read More
We've just come back from a transatlantic repositioning cruise to the Caribbean on Fred Olsen's Braemar. We are fast becoming seasoned cruisers and, having done this cruise with P&O two years ago, can make valid comments comparisons. Overall Fred Olsen is really very good - a bit of thought to some minor niggles and it could be excellent. We had an outside cabin on deck 2 that was kept spotless by our hardworking cabin girl. The cabin was made up, as requested, as a double. But with the dressing table and chair, tub chair and small table there was not enough room to manoeuvre around either side without performing acrobatics so we had it made up as two singles and that gave much more room. There was plenty of storage space and the suitcases slid under the beds. The bathroom was small but adequate with a good shower and, hurrah, a non-clinging shower curtain. Good quality shower gel and hand wash. The beds are quite hard but comfortable and have duvets with good quality bedding. Deck 2 is quite low down and so we spent time just kneeling on the beds watching the waves and enjoying the 'final rinse' when the waves splashed over the windows darkening the whole cabin - frightening the first few times it happened. The lifeboat drill was a bit worrying; we had a roll call and cabin numbers were called out where there appeared to be no occupants while some cabins were missed off the roll call. As the weather was bad we were glad that our meeting point was the library. I was looking forward to enjoying Fred Olsen's service standards as I'd read so much about it - and I was not disappointed! Every staff member was friendly and polite - even the 'known miseries' at reception. The bar staff remembered your name within a day or two and your preferred drink/s - even down to how I like my G&Ts. I think Braemar is beginning to show her age but overall the ship is clean and tidy and very easy to get around and navigate. There are plenty of public loos that have the new Dyson air hand dryers, what a clever invention, to save time, really get your hands dry and reduce paper towel waste. There are plenty of bars and lounges to sit and have a drink or watch the world go by. Our favourite was the Coral Lounge, while we found The Observatory lacked atmosphere. The Neptune Lounge is a nightmare, the seating arrangements are badly laid out and there are too many pillars that limit many of the audience's views. First sitting dinner people are asked only to see one show; but they seemed to see the first show in the Coral Lounge then come to the second house of the Neptune lounge show. This meant many of the second sitting dinner people could not get into the main show. Also, two people took up settees designed for four and others were reserving seats. I think it was a mistake to have dancing in the Neptune lounge between shows as this encourages people to stay in the lounge or hog seats. Sometimes it was difficult to get a seat in the Coral Lounge show due again to first sitting people wanting to catch both shows. Drink prices are the same as UK pub prices. The wine list is excellent and a bottle for dinner was so easily ordered via the interactive section of the TV - as was room service breakfast (that arrived dead on time). Apart from the problems with the lounges the entertainment was really good - a good idea to have two shows at night. The resident Braemar band and 4th Dimension group were excellent. Lee Carroll was the comedian - I'd heard the jokes all before but he was funny. Anthony Stuart Lloyd was a brilliant singer - and a lovely person. The Braemar show were very good - the shows are not our type of thing but seeing them on the TV cruise programme showed how talented they were. Jackie Probert, the assistant cruise director, has a lovely voice and she's a great personality. It was lovely to see Dong the lighting/technical guy being allowed to show his singing talent - certainly miles better than the resident's band singer! The speakers were awful; no presentations skills at all - death by very bad PowerPoint. Anthony Borradaile was the cruise director and was very good - not full of himself like others we have experienced. Hurrah for Fred - the buffet was not a rugby scrum. People waited to be seated at laid tables so you could settle yourself prior to diving in! This made for people actually having conversations with the people on your table. This was also good for making return visits to the serving stations. Waiters were quick to clear plates and pour/top up water. The Thistle restaurant was my favourite of the two main ones and we were allocated to it for dinner. We tried the Grampian for breakfast and lunch but found it lacked atmosphere. Given there was a choice of soups for lunch and dinner in all restaurants we did not have soup spoons. This is the best food we have ever had on a cruise. I think Fred's secret is to have less choice which means better cooking and the quality is very good. I have never eaten so much beef; all of it so, so tender and the slow roasted belly of pork was to die for (all you could hear from out table that night was the ooing and ahhing of delighted people). The puddings are lovely; they must be I am usually a cheese and biscuits person and think I only had that twice. The pool area was nice and large - but suffered the usual sun-bed blocking. The pools and jacuzzis were refreshing and cleaned/topped up often. The changing room was a good idea; and came into its own on disembarkation day for a post sunbathing shower and freshen up before the journey home. We were late out of Dover as the weather was awful (and we could not pass Balmoral who was berthed in front of us). The weather for the whole crossing was excellent and the rather smooth (got to 4-5 max. last time we had about 7-8s). The weather was excellent for the crossing too (cool and windy for the first day or two down to Madeira but we could sit out in a jumper). We hit the Caribbean on the back of hurricane Thomas so the seas were choppier than expected and the weather was changeable for the first few days. We had to miss out first Caribbean port of call, St Maarten, as the sea was too choppy and windy to berth or tender. After 7 days at sea that was a bit of a downer! But we pushed onto Tortola in awful weather and arrived in a downpour to overnight. Not many people went ashore that night as it was dark and tipping down and people were unsure of their surroundings. The sail away parties were fun - especially the British night out of Tortola with the people in the massive Norwegian Dawn enjoying our party. But, and for me this is a big but, the sailaways are at the back of the ship and there is not room for everyone to see the entertainment and/or join in. There is so much room on deck 9 (loose one of the golf net thingies to make even more) that the band can be up there with people partying on the sun deck (deck 8). I was not the only person disappointed with the tropical night - on a sea day and with no deck party. I felt so let down as on our previous repositioning cruise this was the highlight of the cruise - it was all rather flat on Braemar. There was loads to do if you wanted to. The dolphin racing was a laugh and the crew tug of war was great fun. The spa was OK with reasonable prices. There is a good sized, well stocked library. The photographers were a bit in-your-face (I am not one for having my photo taken when I am eating!) but you were not pressed at all to buy any photos and they were a reasonable price. There was a good balance of formal/informal/casual nights. But we were told in our pre cruise information that there was only three formal nights; onboard we found out there was four - a nightmare for us ladies! Most people dressed up to the nines on formal nights but some people's idea of informal is my idea of casual and their ideas of smart casual is my slobbing out! We took a couple of excursions that were good - but I think we'd do them independently in future. It was good to be able to book/pay online in advance. Our flight home was delayed; by, at first three hours, then four. I was delighted as this gave us an extra day and meant we did not arrive home at some ungodly hour of the day. This is where Fred really stepped up, keeping us fully informed, we were kept on board and an early evening buffet was provided. I am sure an afternoon tea was provided as I saw some people with sandwiches and cakes during the afternoon. When we finally disembarked we were only at the airport about forty minutes until boarding. This is the second time I have paid for an upgraded flight - even with the additional extra baggage weight and leg room it is not worth the additional money and I will not bother again. This is the second time I have paid for an upgrade and I felt the same on our previous flight - this confirmed it is a waste. Overall a great cruise and we will cruise with Fred again, picking them over another company if there was a choice given the itinerary/dates. If the niggles can be sorted out I would've given 5*. The niggles are not a show-stopper but little things that stop a great cruise being outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We left on 10/4/10 from Dover, England on the Norwegian Sun as a 1st timer on this cruise line for a 12 day Trans Atlantic to Pt.Canaveral. We encountered many problems and being the Sun is an older ship from the fleet, it might be ... Read More
We left on 10/4/10 from Dover, England on the Norwegian Sun as a 1st timer on this cruise line for a 12 day Trans Atlantic to Pt.Canaveral. We encountered many problems and being the Sun is an older ship from the fleet, it might be expected. Our toilet would not flush 5 different days of the trip and the worst was at 4AM with water overflowing on floor. Besides being ill with a high fever, this plumbing problem made it worse. All of these occurrences were documented by the reception desk. We were offered a different cabin but we declined because it was not a balcony as we already had. The disarray and confusion that happened on exiting the day of disembarkation was not acceptable.There should of been an organized meeting place for calling the colored tag groups of passengers to the gang plank instead of a mass of people falling upon each other. The food was nothing special. It was too crowded at the buffet with the staff getting in the way of the small walkway. Would of been nice if there was staff directing you to tables. We chose Norwegian because of Free Styling but with the discomfort that happened I would opt not to select it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my second TransAtlantic, first being on the QE2 (with a return on the Concorde :) ) about 20 years ago. It is not my preferred sailing itinerary, but my husband really likes the sea days. This was my 4th time on this cruiseship, ... Read More
This was my second TransAtlantic, first being on the QE2 (with a return on the Concorde :) ) about 20 years ago. It is not my preferred sailing itinerary, but my husband really likes the sea days. This was my 4th time on this cruiseship, with most recent, in March 2010 to South America. Other two times were to Alaska. Overall was cruise #67 for me, I'm Platinum with NCL. We were in the UK for 2 weeks prior to sailing, split between London and Glasgow. Stayed the night prior at the Premire Inn in Dover, after taking National Express Bus on one of their bargain runs from London at about $20 for both of us. The morning of the cruise, I easily rolled a suitcase to the laundry mat and had all clean clothes for the cruise. :) Embarkment was simple as, I didn't bother until about 1:30pm. The lobby of the hotel was lined up real early with people waiting. The ship is a nice size and easy to get around. Staff was consistently friendly and helpful. Our room stewards were excellent, as always for our inside cabin. We ate in the main dining room, buffet, Pacific Heights, Sports Bar, Italian and Le Bistro. There were enough choices to find something likable. Food is not my priority, price is. This cruise was a bargain give away, so any "food" complaint, I don't find too valid. All lines, after taking 4 cruises this year on three lines, have cut back, bottom fact. The only port was Lisbon, which I had a wonderful independent walking tour, set up by a Roll Call poster. It was excellent and loaded with history. The other port was skipped due to rerouting due to Hurricane Otto. There were a few days of rough sailing- I wished there were more, as it tells me, I'm on a ship. :) I admit, I am bored silly on sea days, so I spent a good deal of time reading and doing puzzles. There was a movie every day in a lounge which was limited in seating space. The shows were good, some great. Not too much going on during the daytime, that could have had more offerings, perhaps. Never any waits for the main dining room at breakfast or dinner. Service was excellent. Disembarkment was highly criticized, BUT this sailing required ALL guests to report to Customs on the ship, at scheduled times, which they did not. Repeated announcements had to be made. It WAS the best option having it done on the ship, as it avoided, having to haul luggage around and line waiting, which people did not seem to realize. People also did not seem to realize, these are features of today's travel, lines. :) We had prebooked with Cruise Express for the transfer to MCO. Very efficient and excellent value at $20pp. Overall another very good cruise for the two of us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010

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