41 Harwich Senior Cruise Reviews

A bit like a care home especially the lounge areas. A lot of elderly people with their carers on board and ambulance often waiting at the dockside. Some good points and some bad. It certainly would not suit everyone this ship or the type ... Read More
A bit like a care home especially the lounge areas. A lot of elderly people with their carers on board and ambulance often waiting at the dockside. Some good points and some bad. It certainly would not suit everyone this ship or the type of people. This review in 3 sections. 1. the Good 2. The Bad and 3. Some other general observations GOOD: Classic elegant salons Small ship - easy to get around Good service Uncluttered well designed interior Informative lectures Clear TV screen in cabin Good drinks prices. Good docking locations - due to small ship. Quick and easy to get off Good choice of wines Lovely library Some very interesting Norwegian works of art throughout ship No children Reasonably priced excursions THE BAD Amateurish shows including comedian Bad smells Maintenance work Average food Lack of friendly personable staff - extremely perfunctorily manner. Bored Only Stella lager on tap and Boddingtons beer Extremely unfriendly future sales - some kind of issue here Catastrophic port talks, the worst I've ever experienced Old peoples home atmosphere Very class based - various comments made - I.e. by comedian - reference to 'High Brow’ A Rough old crowd Extremely slow walkers Lack of current and/or forecasted weather conditions on in cabin screen Inaccurate Google Maps weather info on in cabin screen. 2nd restaurant sitting quite late @ 2100 2nd show sitting quite late @ 2230 Library can get very crowded. Strange games being played. Some general Observations: * There was Noise issue during 3 of the lectures which included the game of quoits as general maintenance work. I informed the GS about this in good time but they took a long time to stop the noise. Unacceptable. Even less acceptable was that they repeated the disruption on subsequent lectures and had to go to GS AGAIN to ask them to stop the noise. * Yellow water from taps * Guest Services seemed unable to take decisions or act with efficiency and basically not very happy with their job * Sticky handrails * Coaches not at ship in good time due to security at Casablanca delaying disembarkation. This should have been anticipated. Not good enough. * No current or forecasted weather conditions on TV * Google maps ship locator TV screen showed inaccurate information such as weather * Some girls lack warmth and performed duties with perfunctory boredom. * The port talks extremely poor - the worst I've ever experienced. * Guest Services - somewhat insolent. Not understanding questions. Impatient, tired, unsmiling. * Garden Cafe - matre D very good. But still there's a detectable uneasy malaise * Bookshelf Cafe - surly personal * No apology for maintenance wk * Special mention to staff of Observations bar plus William Rodriguez. Plus Chandra. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is a very small ship when compared with many other ships (15000 tonnes), with the advantage of quick embarkations, friendliness on board and different ports of call it can make. The disadvantage on size and age is its ability to ... Read More
This is a very small ship when compared with many other ships (15000 tonnes), with the advantage of quick embarkations, friendliness on board and different ports of call it can make. The disadvantage on size and age is its ability to handle heavier weather and the engine noise at the rear of the ship. The cabins are reasonable in terms of size, however the balconies are very small. There is plenty of good common areas to sit in on wet days. The ship is currently undergoing improvement to some cabins and it is currently hit and miss on which cabins are better for a refit. It should be said, that even allowing for this the standard overall is not too bad. Common areas , lounges,bars etc are really quite good. The show lounge has support poles and no slope to it, so it is not easy to view dance shows. Eating areas are very good. The main 2 dining rooms are very comfortable, although not many tables for just 2. The self service area is relatively small, including the outside area and it makes it quite difficult to get in at peak times. the food quality is very good and service excellent. bars too have excellent friendly staff. Nothing is far from anywhere on this ship and lifts are not overly busy. Shopping is not a past time here....very small choice of anything. Would be better without it ! Lasting thoughts...friendliness of ships crew and especially the Captain. Services levels are excellent in restaurants and bars. Our inside cabin, deck 4 rear, was noisy when travelling at full steam. Not hard to see why this ship has a good level of repeat business and is often sold out early. We would travel again on Voyager. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Stayed onboard for back to back cruises. 1st Cruise, Britain's Beautiful Isles Excellent itinerary, visited several Scottish Islands which would be a pain to get to by car ferry. For next year this cruise is already nearly ... Read More
Stayed onboard for back to back cruises. 1st Cruise, Britain's Beautiful Isles Excellent itinerary, visited several Scottish Islands which would be a pain to get to by car ferry. For next year this cruise is already nearly booked up. 2nd Cruise, Viking Lands & Icelandic Explorer This went very well, and for a change it did not rain in Bergen Pre Cruise Some of the pre cruise paperwork we received appeared somewhat contradictory and unclear, but things muddled through alright, but there is room for a lot of improvement in this area. The Check In The car parking and luggage porterage went very smoothly, however the actual check in was not quite as good, because we had booked a suite we were entitled to priority check in, however when we arrived there was no priority check in. So we joined the general queue, after some time had passed a member of staff actually thought about putting up the priority queue signs. So we backed tracked and joined that queue. Health forms were not given out until people were queuing up, these could have been given out whilst people were waiting for check in to start, improvement in their procedures is needed. Rocking and Rolling Considering the calm sea conditions the ship rocks and rolls a lot and is certainly not the most stable ship we have sailed on, would not want to cross the Atlantic or the Pacific on this ship. Entertainment Because it is a small ship the entertainment team is quite small, however whatever they lacked in numbers they made by their talent and continuous hard work. They multitask, appearing in the shows, the bars and then organising onboard daytime games for the passengers, plus looking after the single travellers, Lauren always managed to keep smiling. Reception Friendly and helpful staff. The Explorer Restaurant My wife and I felt very sorry for the waiters, the tables are crammed together, they have to squeeze though very narrow gaps. The restaurants are far too crowded; the average river cruiser appears to have more dinning space per passenger than this ship. The oblong tables for six are very tight for elbow room; the tables for four are a little better, but not much, this overcrowding lets the ship down badly, the second cruise was not as bad as the first as I believe it was not full. There appears to be a shortage of crockery and glasses, waiters have to keep taking items from other tables as everything appears to be in short supply. Most nights our table was always short of something, the waiters have to find missing items of glassware, cutlery, crockery, this was better during the second cruise. The menu in the Explorer is exactly the same as the Discovery, sometimes the food is hot, sometimes it is a little on the cold side. Overall the food is not bad, the portions are a little smaller than other ships, and the selection somewhat limited, but it must be remembered that this is low price cruising so it should be expected that the food budget per head is lower, that said on average it was on par or better than that found on P & O in recent years. The drinks and wine prices are very very low, apart free drinks they are the cheapest drinks prices we have ever encountered on any ship or cruise line, a gin and bitter lemon is £2.95. The tablecloths were not changed between dinners; often they had stains on them, when resetting a table the waiters would brush the crumbs off and spray the tablecloths with something, presumably some sort of sanitizer, thought this was rather unhygienic, considering the number of passengers who had been ill. Any restaurant shortcomings were more than made up for by the excellent, hardworking, on the ball managers and waiters, really friendly and likeable, a brilliant team. Room Service The selection was more than somewhat limited. Sometimes items were missing from orders; toasted sandwiches tend to be cold, not the best. The Shop Considering the size of the ship, we thought the little shop, there is only one, was excellent, better stocked than some of those found on some ships four times the size. The shop is run by the excellent Harding Brothers. Friendly staff and excellent service. Wifi The wifi is very cheap, in fact the cheapest we have ever had apart from when it has been free, but don't expect to use be able to use it in your cabin, there are only few areas around the ship where it works, and then it is slow, but no slower than other ships. Laundry All returned in the stated service time, the pressing/ironing was far far better than the average ship, and was possibly the best we have ever had, very well done the brilliant Laundry team. Shore Excursions Mostly went very well, the guides did vary a little but were mostly alright. Apart from one all the coaches were excellent. One of our excursions which we had picked because it was an AM departure was changed to a PM departure, so we were unable to have a walk around town after the excursion, not very good. Tendering When we booked Britain's Beautiful Isles there were only going to be two tender ports, but by the time we boarded there were four and later that went to five ports, then ended up as four and a half. One of the ship's tenders had engine problems and had to be taken out of service, so at two ports one tender and local cabin cruisers/tour boats were used. We reassured by the ship's crew that the broken down tender could still be used as a lifeboat, this did not over inspire confidence, if a tender is unfit to be used as a tender, it hardly makes a good lifeboat. The engine problem was not fixed until the next cruise, when we docked in Iceland the tender was lifted on to the dock and repaired, see photograph. At one port the passengers had started going ashore by tender, halfway through the process there was a change of plan and it was decided to dock, this caused some excursions to start one and a half hours late. It appears that local tenders had to be used in the Scilly Isles, these were very old wooden open launches, very unsuitable when it's raining, and the local crews seamanship might be a little questionable. The ship's own tender crews were very good, and had far better than the average seamanship expertise of other tender crews on many ships. The Cabin 7202 The cabin was spacious, but well over due for refurbishment. Some noise is heard from the sundeck above the cabin, but not much. Bedding, so much for the 'Upgraded bed linen' in the suites, the duvet cover was far too small for the duvet, and did not reach the edge of the bed, we asked the cabin steward about this and were informed that they shrink in the laundry. Later in the cruise we had larger duvet covers, but these were still not the appropriate size. Some of the drawers and cupboard doors are so worn and loose that to stop them banging in the night as the ship rolled we had to jam them with folded pieces of paper. In the bathroom one of the mirrors had a dangerous broken edge, the toilet seat had some of the rubber pads missing and a broken hinge, the seat was replaced during our second cruise. On occasion the water in the bathroom can be more than a little brownish in colour, but this only happened twice. Conclusions When the ship is full it feels very overcrowded, it would be a much better experience if Voyager put their prices up by 10% and reduced the number of passengers by 10%. The public areas have been refurbished, but the cabins are well overdue for a revamp. Voyager has numerous shortcomings but these are mainly offset by the excellent friendly crew, low cost of the cruises and very low drinks prices, because of the crew giving the ship an average, if it was not for the crew it would have been a poor rating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food ... Read More
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food court. Ship is mid size and easy to find one's way around. Evening shows were top notch; especially liked the singer Romano from Italy. The Graffiti Group surprised us as their name did not indicate just how talented they were. We had cool and rainy weather so did not use the outside parts of the ship as we have on other cruises. We took independent tours in each port and found of them to be very enjoyable. In Iceland and the Faroe Islands we booked ahead of time (Geoiceland and 62 Degrees North). In Bergen, Alesund and Geiranger we simply joined a tour at the pier. Were disappointed in only 1 1/2 days in Iceland. The second day ended at 12:30 and we would have liked a full day there. Could have eliminated Alesund as there is nothing there. Cruise ships are new to this port and there is no shopping and little to see. Enjoyed a trolley tour in Bergen and a small boat trip in Geiranger. During our days at sea we would have enjoyed more crafts in appropriate settings. The card making class was held in the bar with no room to work. We traveled with another couple and did play a lot of cards. Work out area is adequate; amazing how few people were using it when I was. Too cool for pool use. Enjoyed the music at the small bars and the Centrum. My wish...that cruises could be smoke free! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido ... Read More
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido was packed-everything but everything was being "served" at a speed where yet another queue was inevitable. The first night one show for a second rate act. Next day at breakfast it was impossible to have a hot food and a hot drink to go with it. Evening meal had better food but "service" didn't exist. Cabin door kept swinging open all night-4 visits to front desk 2 staff including one officer to see the problem-but no one turned up till the morning to repair it. Things did improve in the second half of the cruise but not to any great extent. To many complaints to list but the main ones-food quality and choice in the lido poor Entertainment 3 out out of 7 reasonable acts-not a great score Limited daytime activities. Despite being happy on past trips with HA . This cruise will the very last on Holland America Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as ... Read More
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as the week went on, but started off ok. I shall start with the food. I found the food to be poor at best in the main dining room. One evening we had the choice of the Roast beef. Out of 8, 6 had the beef, 6 left the beef. Not once did anyone ask us what was wrong & why we did not eat the food. Who ever choose what went with the beef I question, why would you supply a grilled tomato with roast beef & gravy? If you don't like the food in the main restaurant, forget trying to get anything from the self service, that closes early & you have to wait 10.30pm before it reopens & offers poor pizza, and other rather tasteless items. The entertainment, well it was shocking at best! The main band could not play basic tunes that most wedding bands (yes I play in one) perform week after week. The singer could not sing in tune, the band were playing the wrong chords! They were probably the worst ships band I have ever seen. I even took recordings to play to real professional musicians, they found it highly amusing that these were no better than a UK pub band. In fact, I have seen & heard better. The main shows in the theatre were drab, although we had an excellent magician one night. The ships cast again struggled to sing the correct chords to the song, not good when the backing track, yes backing track, played the correct chords. Now my hearing at 46 is not how it used to be, but far better than theirs clearly. Don't expect any entertainment to be put on if you are not able to get ashore, they provided none when we had a howler of a day with the weather, but they will try to keep selling you things instead. We had an outbreak of novo virus on board, my wife is an insulin dependant diabetic, we had heard rumours that there was an outbreak, but it was finally announced 24hrs later. That didn't stop guests who had it still going out on deck. The staff did not stop them! Back to my wife.....the virus can affect her sugar levels, which is dangerous to her, so she went and asked at reception about the virus. She wanted to know if the outbreak gets worse, could she be informed, if nothing else than for us to stay in our cabin so she would not catch it. They advised her that she would be told along with everyone else, which she responded that could be too late. The following day we had over 24hrs sail back home, so to get ill in the middle of the North Sea is not ideal. The final insult was from a member of staff who mentioned on many occasions that she wished she were somewhere else as Norway is cold. Well sorry, I didn't go for the weather, I went for the spectacular scenery. If I heard her say 'if you seen one Fjord, you seen them all' again, I would go nuts. Sorry if you have to work where I want to go & see, sorry if they don't have the beaches of the Caribbean.....I don't care, I don't like wasting my life sitting on a beach. Im paying to come here, you are being paid, tough! One last thing, never book excursions onboard, they are a rip off....as I felt was being on that ship! Holland America, you should hold your head in shame, just because you have sold this ship, does not mean that I do not deserve the holiday I am paying you for. I feel cheated & know after sailing with other cruise's, that they don't offer value for money. I will not pay to sail with these ever again, especially as they couldn't even be bothered to respond to me....SHOCKING! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a ... Read More
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a 'sick ship', was going to affect the next cruise...ours !! We feel that we paid a full price for half a cruise. Arrived at Harwich after a four hours drive. At the Terminal, we were greeted with a letter informing us of the fact that the MS Ryndam had suffered a 'higher than usual' run of the Norovirus on its last cruise and that the ship was being put through a ‘deep cleanse’. We had received an email a couple of days earlier informing us of the delayed departure of our cruise. Holland and America did not inform us of how the 'deep cleanse' was going to affect the cruise...........the first few days were terrible. Various services were not available, ie.: the library, the video rental, the games….many other services. Conversing with one of your guests, who works in the shipping industry; apparently the MS Ryndam should not have sailed at all, on reasons of health and safety regulations. The Lido restaurant was restricted very heavily. We could not get our own tea, coffee, etc, and were not allowed help ourselves to anything. Long queues for everything. The activities also seemed restricted and there was no activities of any interest on offer. On a general overview of the cruise……not very good at all. We were informed by various people that Holland and America was 'special' and of 5 star excellence...it is not! We were also informed that there would be would be 'life enhancing activities'.....they were not! The activities were not very interesting. There were a few good shows, a couple of good talks and the rest was selling to the passengers most of the time and encouraging us to play in the Casino. Very little to stimulate the brain and entertain. The Lido freedom dining Buffet was not that good. Strange hours and very limited choice of food....not much variety, repeated meals. The roasts were always good. The food in the Rotterdam was excellent....but then again strange hours. There were certain times of the day when one could not get anything to eat or drink at all. (not even tea, coffee, etc). The cinema room was a poor choice for viewing a film. The screen was too low and people's heads got in the way. The television in the staterooms were old, poor picture, poor sound and too small and difficult to find out what was showing. Intermittent satellite coverage. Even when in Harwich the ‘satellite’ was not working for the BBC World News !! The tours were ridiculously expensive and can be arranged locally for nearly half price. The tenders/lifeboats were very tatty looking, disorganised inside and did not give a very good impression of health and safety. We resented the practice of the Spa staff informing us that a “15% gratuity has been added to our invoice for your convenience” !! We should have been asked, not told. We were also informed that to change the percentage of gratuity was very complicated and would take a long time! We not encouraged to pursue a refund. We had to speak to Housekeeping several times ref: shower head kept swivelling. Toilet flush button very hard to push. Neither of these faults were rectified. The TV stopped working, the toilet did not have enough water in it….these two faults were fixed. We also complained about the loud thumping noise above our heads….this did not diminish. We had a couple of power cuts and we had to change rooms on our last night as the air conditioning failed in our Stateroom. The Stateroom was very comfortable and clean; though showing its age…drawers were difficult to open. No fridge and no kettle!! We are used to having a fridge and kettle. The crew and staff have obviously been efficiently trained and knew their jobs well. They all worked very hard and were courteous all the time. We paid the full price for an incomplete cruise. Many of the other guests also thought that the standards of this cruise line have dropped. We will not consider going on another cruise with Holland and America. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This review is to fully endorse, and even ADD TO , the woes described in the review of Barry M,.posted07/12/15 regarding the Iceland cruise of Ryndam, June 20-July 3. I waited to post ,so that HAL could respond to my submitted written ... Read More
This review is to fully endorse, and even ADD TO , the woes described in the review of Barry M,.posted07/12/15 regarding the Iceland cruise of Ryndam, June 20-July 3. I waited to post ,so that HAL could respond to my submitted written criticisms, and , receiving a "form letter" thanking me for my input, it's time to vent ! We were NEVER told the severity of the outbreak of norovirus during our cruise. We got daily tip-offs from a HAL casino employee, and it peaked at 30% of combined passengers plus crew. At embarkation we were issued a form advising us that Ryndam, having just docked 9 hours previous had had an outbreak - no details on WHEN or HOW EXTENSIVE. Given that HAL had all our email addresses, why no prior notice. The (cruise director ?) cancelled the "Dancing With The Stars" after one session, and even that session was below the norm, since none of the ship's pro dancers served as judges, no humorous critiques were given,and eventual winners were chosen by audience applause. There was no knowledgable lecturer aboard who could lecture us on the culture, attractions, cuisine, or art of the people whose ports we were about to visit - instead we got a verbal pitch on the tours which we had already perused at HAL's online site. The cruise director didn't even know the NAME of the first Icelandic port. Stage shows by the song/dance troupe were great, as always, BUT we learned in conversing with them that their company's relationship with HAL was about to be severed at HAL's wish. We usually enjoy the classical string quartets aboard our 5 prior HAL cruises, but Ryndam featur4e only a violinist and accompanying pianist. Cost downsizing? Excursions were cancelle4d, or even interrupted in mid-trip, due to norovirus. Ther crew worked very hard to sanitize public areas during the trip, and even the musicians and dancers jumped in to serve food in Lido. The cruise was cut short by one day, so the July 4 embarkation had an extra 24 hours to sanitize the ship. Maybe the subsequent cruise's passengers got better advance warning, and had a better cruise. Please post your thoughts folks ! Finally, the best laugh of the cruise was garnered at the Piano Bar when the accomplished entertainer swung into Ray Charles's "What'd I Say" and invited the surrounding passengers to throw in spoken couplets , just as Ray did on the original recording. One chimed in "'We scrub our hands with your Purel, as we take this cruise from Hell" Bottom line- it is one thing to sell a ship- as HAL is selling Ryndam to P & O in October-but quite another to let your standards slide while the ship still bears your name. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We had signed up for a 14 day cruise around Iceland with several stops continuing to the Norwegian coast. When we arrived for boarding we were told the ship (Ryndam) would not be available for several hours because deep cleaning was being ... Read More
We had signed up for a 14 day cruise around Iceland with several stops continuing to the Norwegian coast. When we arrived for boarding we were told the ship (Ryndam) would not be available for several hours because deep cleaning was being done to deal with previous norovirus issue. This became a problem because there were insufficient seats. My husband has COPD but we literally had to stand for two hours. When our group number was finally called and we had gone through additional security it became apparent that it would be quite a distance to the ship. We were told no assistance could be provided, we would need to go back, through security again, etc. The first few days on the ship seemed to be okay but gradually more and more passengers became ill. My husband and I, who have never had issues on the many other cruises we have taken, became very ill. We were essentially room bound for several days due to illness then weakness. During our room bound time it was very difficult to get room service. I am sure this was because staff were overwhelmed with additional work cleaning up cabins and staff also becoming ill. Eventually the whole ship had a very "down" atmosphere. The direction and coordination to guests regarding the norovirus was inadequate. First you were told one thing, then something different. When the ship's medical officer did send a note to all guests it was clear and understandable. The food on the ship was poor to barely adequate. Many meals the buffet was the only option. The food at the buffet was frequently poor quality. Much soup was eaten as a main course. The cruise was shortened and one additional stop eliminated due to weather. Our cruise ended a day early making it necessary to scramble to make arrangements. The bottom line for us is that the primary purpose of our trip, visiting the Golden Circle, did not happen because we were both too ill to go. Holland America's compensation, a credit of 25% of the fee paid, was really inadequate. A more appropriate response would have been a credit for the cost of the trip to be applied to a future trip. I have contacted Holland America regarding this and have yet to hear back. We are very disappointed with the quality of this experience. We had been looking forward to taking additional cruises with Holland America but now are very leery. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our second cruise; the first was with Olsen. We thought the much more modern Brilliance would be better. Embarkation was reasonably easy and straightforward. The first night we ate in the Minstrel restaurant; MyTime dining ... Read More
This was our second cruise; the first was with Olsen. We thought the much more modern Brilliance would be better. Embarkation was reasonably easy and straightforward. The first night we ate in the Minstrel restaurant; MyTime dining however was a bit fraught, and we had a job to get seats. The food was OK, but service very average. From then on, we went to the Windjammer. I soon found that RC don't cater for diabetics. Apart from one or possibly two "sugar-free" desserts, there was nothing aimed at diabetics. Food was very salty, too - as bad as sugar for diabetics. I ended up complaining, but that didn't help much. My blood sugar was all over the place, varying from 3.1 to 17! Very bad. I had told them in advance that I was diabetic and needed a fridge and sharps bin. I had to get the steward to fetch the latter items for me specially. I met one particularly bad event with food. They put out large bowls of mashed potato. One night, I took some, and discovered it had something like tabasco sauce in it. No warning! Next night there were two separate bowls, one without a label. It looked like it had peas in it. When I started to eat it, I discover that it had mussels in it. Now I hate mussels; but what if I had been allergic to seafood? I could have been seriously ill. TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL! Likewise, shore trips did not take account of insulin users. With the clock two hours ahead, and my wife needing trips with easy walking, we found ourselves confined to morning trips mainly - and these started as early as 8 a.m., making it difficult to manage my insulin regime. Furthermore, trips were poorly described. Don't trust the walking symbol! In Skagen, there is only one trip with the 'easy' symbol, so we picked it. When we got the tickets, we discovered the statement: "Guests with limited mobility should not select this tour." A bit late when you've bought the tickets! Unacceptable and again, UNPROFESSIONAL. We found that public seating areas were insufficient for the number of passengers, so had to spend more time in the cabin than should have been necessary. And that raised another problem. Before the end of the cruise we both had nasty coughs, and I especially was (and still am) very wheezy. I discovered on my return, and visiting my GP, that I had a chest infection. He said that this is common with people returning from cruises, and generally due the poor quality of aircon air. The only cabins, as I understand it, with opening windows, are balcony cabins. So, be warned! Drinks - even soft drinks - were very limited, unless you pay extra, at exorbitant rates. A 1 litre bottle of water cost me $7.08; and as well as passengers being told that it is "not recommended" to drink the tap water, with many people filling bottles from the cold water dispensers, notices went up saying "Due to public health concerns, it is NOT PERMITTED to refill bottles from these dispensers." Nevertheless, many guests did. I would guess that the dispensers were filled with tap water...... Returning from every shore excursion meant going through airport-style security again. Slow, and, given our shore pass electronic tickets which bring up our photos, an unnecessary inconvenience. But of course, how else could they enforce their "no food or drink to leave or be brought on board" rules? The cabin was OK, decent size. Ship's condition was average; some rust about, maintenance going on all the time on automatic doors etc. Cleanliness...average. Shows: we only attended the end of cruise show. We thought it rather poor. Overall, we felt that RCCL are mainly interested in extracting every last dollar and cent, rather than giving good experience to its guests, and would not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Voyages of Discovery (VOD) is not for everyone, so best not blindly choose this ship if you are looking for conventional large ship cruising and expect a floating hotel with distractions and land-based luxuries. We are active seniors have ... Read More
Voyages of Discovery (VOD) is not for everyone, so best not blindly choose this ship if you are looking for conventional large ship cruising and expect a floating hotel with distractions and land-based luxuries. We are active seniors have had two prior cruises with the old Discovery and this was our first with their new ship Voyager, so now about 100 days total with Voyages of Discovery. We will keep coming back. CABINS: Rooms are small and basic on the lower decks, but kept up very well and no issues with what they offer. Ship noises and movement are part of the experience of being at sea in a small explorer ship like Voyager, though it can be an unpleasant assault due to the chronic nature in the pool area and some cabin locations. (Lower decks -mid ship - ours was challenging in cabin #4126 but Hotel Manager offered a room change had we raised our concerns earlier - we coped and did adjust better, than our first few nights when the sea passage was also rough.) Cabin while small, did absorb our own 50 pounds each of luggage and supplies. Three deep drawers, 6 shallow drawers for odds and ends, a night stand and the closet had 6 or so shelves as well as hanging space for easily 15-20 hangers. 4 shelves above the bathroom sink, full width counter top as well as a full length under the sink shelf. Hair dryer probably a 1500 watt ion dryer and very adequate for shorter hair. Small shower, yup but endless good flow hot water. If you can go to the upper level cabins cost wise, they would be the very best choices - larger, quieter, closer to each dining deck and most with balconies but they seem to sell out fast. We liked Deck four (Columbus Deck) because it was just one flight up the stairs to get to the activity Discovery deck, but we used the elevator to get up to the buffet and outdoors deck on seven. (My vacation stair limit is 2 flights up, but no problems going down.) Elevators never crowded. Ship had a good feel to it, and easy to figure out after the first day. It felt like getting invited to someone's spacious country home - comfy and accessible. ACTIVITIES: So with the limiting cabin noise issues out of the way, the rest of the cruise experience was 100% Voyages of Discovery unique and wonderful. Norway and Russia White Sea itinerary was excellent. Shore excursions top rate. On board lecturers were all first rate. VOD - five star as always. Entertainment was varied and talented, hitting just the right notes with this more "prime time" age group in tempo, pace and selections. Dance hosts and a good dance instruction program. All activities were well attended. DINING: We thought the food and the creativity of the personable, young Dutch to be very good. Something for everyone from fresh salad fixings, fresh breads, excellent soups, and a wide range of entrees with lovely pork choices. Occasionally there would be a specialty buffet in the main lounge for lunch - stir fry, sausages (excellent!) or pasta bar that were individually cooked. These most likely would have been outdoor during cruises that did not go to such a cold area like the Arctic on this one. Delicious. We personally did not like the larger group tables with "open dining and open seating" but found ways around it to get tables for two just for ourselves - that is just us - come late or use the outdoor dining tables, which in this weather often meant putting a parka one and have a brisk but memorable morning or lunch dining experience. In time the dining rooms stewards knew what we wanted and we found this a workable option to the larger table dining. Plenty of variety, fresh and always tasty. Mid-day tea and late evening snacks were excellent. We would often take our tea choices to our cabin or to one of the lounges. House wine choice was also very good. The 24 hours coffee and tea station was located at the rear of the seventh floor buffet dining room and the outdoor coffee tea station was open only during meal hours on this cruise - cold outdoor weather. STAFF: Across the board we found the service staff excellent in our cabin, and at each dining location. Officers were out and about and approachable - offering a Q&A session for one of the sea days. Captain has a sly sense of humor with very quick wit. We felt we were in very good hands. Few tannoy announcements during the day, and front desk could handle any other inquiries. Shore excursions well-organized and efficient. WHAT WE LIKE A LOT ABOUT VOD: We can now articulate what we love best about this cruise line and what will keep us coming back - and much of the credit goes to the fellow passengers that make everything click for us as Americans. They are mainly British, well-travelled and so amiable in any random discussion we would get into. High loyalty return passengers on this cruise which is typical, and demonstrates those who love this unique brand of cruising do love it - high on intellectual appeal with ambitious itineraries, and low on glitz and distraction, this remains for us a wonderful cruise option. Think of it as a traveling classroom, both in and outside of class and you get what we like best about VOD. Yes, the main lecture-entertainment Darwin lounge on the fourth deck needs more work for better sight-lines but they added some ramped up seating and a special glass partition corridor for those wanting to go to the forward Observation lounge and bar during show and lecture times. It is T-Coil so at least the sound was excellent for those not in the front rows or new risers along the side. Improvements in response to passenger requests continue to be made to this ship. We also liked the full windows feeling of the Scotts Lounge. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Food-- Upon boarding we went to eat. It looked like leftovers from the last trip. The mashed potatoes had no flavor or taste. I just can't describe them. Cold and tasteless I guess. The cookies were not fresh. Must have bought them at ... Read More
Food-- Upon boarding we went to eat. It looked like leftovers from the last trip. The mashed potatoes had no flavor or taste. I just can't describe them. Cold and tasteless I guess. The cookies were not fresh. Must have bought them at the day old store. Food in general was way below average. Even reported a employee blowing his nose and handling glasses with water without washing his hands. No WOW factor here. Ship-- Clean and kept up. Overall very good. Cabin 1538 Deck 10--Great water pressure. Lots of storage room. Many drawers and cabinets behind mirrors, walk in closet and more in the bathroom. Very clean over all. Only problem was bathroom shower/tub had spots of mold around several tiles. Not cleaned daily. Tours-- Took 3 or 4 . All skipped some stops with excuses of traffic, not enough time etc. Some locations instead of stopping, did a drive-by and pointed. Oh, at Chops Restaurant, you pay $35 to eat there, but if you want the aged steak they charged $18 more. Is this a new policy? We have traveled on 5 other ships cruise brand named ships and not experienced this. Entertainment-- Average at best. Embarkation--Fast and efficient. Best ever. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First time cruisers but we felt well researched and organised our own shore excursions. More relaxed than expected, only two formal dining nights, very few dinner suits seen and some guests ignoring dress suggestion altogether. Main ... Read More
First time cruisers but we felt well researched and organised our own shore excursions. More relaxed than expected, only two formal dining nights, very few dinner suits seen and some guests ignoring dress suggestion altogether. Main Minstrel restaurant friendly service, food good quality, small portions but encouraged to order extra courses, some failures of cooking so not fine dining but excellent range of choices. Main effort seems to have been made on the entertainment which was excellent with six resident performers in lounges, nine piece theatre orchestra, singers dancers and many guest acts almost all of top quality. Cabins bigger than expected (cheapest outside), kettle provided so UK travellers can take their favourite tea bags! (Cartons of milk on cereal bar at breakfast can be taken to cabin and kept in mini bar fridge). Beds comfortable and well serviced by cabin attendant. Two bottles of wine allowed to be brought on board which can be taken to dinner with no corkage charge. Drinks at posh hotel prices but happy hours at various bars between approx 3pm and 8pm. (e.g. 2 Margaritas for £10) Negatives: Charging $14 (nearly £10) for a litre bottle of mineral water is obscene Lots of pressure to spend money in shops/spa/speciality restaurants/with photographer/on ship organised excursions. Not much of an enrichment programme on sea days, quizzes and a few amateur lectures, but physical facilities of ship good e.g. mini golf, solarium pool. Overall thoroughly enjoyed the trip and staff were very well organised at every point. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Overall, this was an outstanding cruise! The various ports we visited ( Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Skagen) were far beyond our expectations. St Petersburg was definitely the highlight of this cruise. We ... Read More
Overall, this was an outstanding cruise! The various ports we visited ( Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Skagen) were far beyond our expectations. St Petersburg was definitely the highlight of this cruise. We used a private tour company (Red October) and we were extremely happy with guide and driver...Dimitry and Uri. We highly recommend the RC excursion to the Russian Performance of Song and Dance. The Brilliance is a beautiful ship. Our junior suite cabin was great and the cabin attendant did an outstanding job. The Diamond Lounge was great and the concierge, Derick Martis, was the very best compared to our prior cruises. The food on this ship in the main dinning room was the worst we have experienced. People at our table were opting for the Windjammer instead. I should mention that the Black Berry Transport company in London did a terrific job! Always on time, efficient and very reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded ... Read More
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded from kitchens above on different nights during the voyage. Most food in the non waiter service restaurant (The Lido) is served by staff and this must help with hygiene and cross contamination. However there is no queuing system it’s whoever shouts loudest gets served, there are barriers to define sections but for example at breakfast if you want toast, poached eggs and bacon you would have to queue at three different places. The four times we saw roast leg of pork on the menu in the Lido it was very rare with blood flowing out of it when carved. The Rotterdam restaurant was superb, we were however on a table for eight people one night and it took nearly three hours before all the food had been served. It seemed the more people at the table the longer the service took. After that we asked for a table for two or if this was not available a table for four and service was very slick. Food overall was superb. Staff in general were wonderful (we found that reception staff seemed to be there to apologize for things but never did anything about them). Entertainment was going on somewhere most days on the ship, the shows were good and several entertainers came on to do their one man/woman shows as well as the ships theatre company. We have found that excursions on cruise ships are very expensive, this was no different. At most ports there were hop on hop off busses, local busses that went to sights (information is available from tourist information offices that are usually on the dockside or nearby), taxis etc that were much cheaper. The ship rarely felt overcrowded although it was almost full, there was nearly always somewhere to sit whichever part of the ship you were in. This cruise to Norway was cold on deck so very few if any people sat outside most days, that made it more surprising that the ship felt uncrowded. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Overall a good cruise with good ports. Room service excellent, food OK for cruise ship. Pinnacle specialty restaurant very good but Le Cirque upgrade menu no better than normal menu but $20 pp more. Problem of noisy room was fixed by the ... Read More
Overall a good cruise with good ports. Room service excellent, food OK for cruise ship. Pinnacle specialty restaurant very good but Le Cirque upgrade menu no better than normal menu but $20 pp more. Problem of noisy room was fixed by the front desk and Mary Anne did everything possible to help. Happy Hour a great idea. One problem is that unlike other cruise lines it is not clear when you have finished your package and you go automatically onto the more expensive per minute rate. A pity this nice smaller ship is going to P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The hardworking Philippine and Indonesian staff were outstanding, they could not do enough for you and always had a smile. They were the saving grace of this cruise. We are experienced cruisers who have done several cruises with ... Read More
The hardworking Philippine and Indonesian staff were outstanding, they could not do enough for you and always had a smile. They were the saving grace of this cruise. We are experienced cruisers who have done several cruises with Holland America and have held them in high esteem. But this cruise was a let down. Work was being done on the ship the whole voyage, and two of the forward elevators were out of service. Every port had the gangway or tender in the forward position which meant that the two elevators struggled to cope. The passengers in general were elderly and did not or could not use the stairs. The noise levels day and night from workmen, and welding machines was unacceptable. Service in the main dining room was very slow, one and a half hours for breakfast! and the food often came to the table on cold plates. The food in an evening too was sometimes barely warm. The menu! some of the items needed a translation note alongside... and the meat was generally of a poor standard. One evening the waiter said "don't order the beef" enough said! The Lido bistro, was a bit of a bunfight to get served and you needed to keep a sense of humour! The passengers of British heritage know how to queue, but for the rest! On the whole the passengers were a friendly bunch and the atmosphere on the ship was good. The food selection at lunch was disappointing too. The weather was cold, and a couple of hearty soups and some crusty bread would have gone down well, but there was only one soup on offer and it was often a watery consommé. The standards have dropped, even plummeted! noticeably fewer staff, except for the Casino where they stood around gazing at the empty tables and machines. The Library was good with some comfortable chairs and good books. The excursions were very expensive so we made our own arrangements onshore and we found the tourist staff very helpful in each port. Finally, the Internet! if you don't desperately need to contact anyone, don't use it. Onboard it is expensive, and slow. Every port there was wi fi and in most ports the local library had very fast wi fi which was secure,free, and warm . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
In spite of being fans of Holland America in the past, the Ryndam was below expectations. The food in the main dining room was often lukewarm, and the description of items on the menu was misleading. Service in the Lido was disorganised ... Read More
In spite of being fans of Holland America in the past, the Ryndam was below expectations. The food in the main dining room was often lukewarm, and the description of items on the menu was misleading. Service in the Lido was disorganised and sometimes only one side of the food servery was open, which caused overcrowding. Maintenance was being performed on two of the forward elevators which was the cause of delays when leaving and boarding the ship when in port, as the gangway and tender point was forward of the ship. There was a lot of noise from welding machinery too. The cabin was comfortable, but we did have a couple of power failures which were fixed quite promptly. The cabin staff were excellent. There have been cutbacks on staffing levels, entertainment, and food standards. The entertainment was OK, a very good juggler, and a saxophonist. The HAL Cats were so so, a lot of arms and legs waving to music! Very Loud! I enjoyed the Microsoft Computer lessons, and the library was very good with comfortable chairs And a good selection of books. We did one shore excursion on the Great Atlantic Road, which was very interesting but very overpriced. We did our own thing in the other ports and had Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We Have Cruised with many cruise lines over the past 20 years, more than 50 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. First, the good. The Cabin, Food, Staff and Ship were all fine. The BAD- We did a ... Read More
We Have Cruised with many cruise lines over the past 20 years, more than 50 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. First, the good. The Cabin, Food, Staff and Ship were all fine. The BAD- We did a "back to back" Cruise, and were FORCED to do the Safety drill TWICE, being told that it was Maritime law. This is NOT true, and we have NEVER been asked on any other Cruise line to do it twice! We didn't do any Shore Excursions because they were priced way more than other Cruise lines we have been with. The average age of the passengers was about 65 to 70. The Shows by the Team, were all aimed at people in their 30s! We (In our 70s), knew NONE of the songs ! Also they were sung in the Modern style, ie screeching and shouting and caterwauling ! One song that we did know- "My Funny Valentine" was yelled ! Comedy and Magician- ALL the comedians were "Old Style", meaning, they had assembled their material from hackneyed jokes going back as far as world war 1 ! NO original material at all ! I knew every single punch line before it arrived. Game Shows- There were NONE! Quizzes- Sometimes one at 1-15pm , a Music quiz at 9pm , and every night a quiz at 6-30pm when we were eating our evening meal! Crafts and Art- None Lectures- None They did have Many Lessons on Windows 8.1 - OBSOLETE later this year ! They had many Art Auctions, selling "Art" by People like Peter Max ! Who, if you don't know, is unknown apart from on Cruise Ships, where they flog his daubed on Prints for vast amounts of money! Needless to say, but I will anyway, we will not be returning to Holland America ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The cruise started the best way ever. Embarkation was seamless. The weather was cold, windy and raining – typical for Harwich, and the Captain opened all the lounges. The result was that it took less than twenty minutes from curbside to ... Read More
The cruise started the best way ever. Embarkation was seamless. The weather was cold, windy and raining – typical for Harwich, and the Captain opened all the lounges. The result was that it took less than twenty minutes from curbside to the Oceanview Café. The Oceanview Café, by the way, is the one renovation I wish Celebrity had made when Infinity was re-furbished. It still has long lines at few areas instead of the many ‘pods’ of the Solstice class ships. Our cabin was 6033, one of the ‘sweet sixteen’. The veranda in this 2C cabin is twice as deep as any other in the same class and that really was nice. We moved the inside table outside and the outside table inside. This gave us more room in the cabin and more room for breakfast on the veranda with no crowding. This cabin is forward, near but not right next to the elevators and stairs. There were no noise problems whatever. Our cabin staff was wonderful. In the MDR, the elegance I remembered from Millennium and Century, missing on Reflection, was back. Whether this is a function of Captain, Executive Chef or whomever, it was nice to see again. All of our servers at our table for 10 were fabulous. We joined some other friends at a table for six at late seating twice and the service there was just as fabulous as was the food, far superior to Reflection in January. Our entire table went to both the SS United States and QSine as a group during the cruise. Both are really worth the extra money. The food and service at SS United States were both up to the expected standards. When each course arrived, ten wait staff arrived and all ten plates hit the table simultaneously, for instance. In QSine, each person was given an I-Pad with the entire menu and we were to told to choose 6-7 dishes. The results were put together and we ended up being served a total of 9 dishes in three courses PLUS three different desserts. We could hardly waddle away from the table. What a fabulous experience! The entertainment ranged from full Broadway type shows which were quite good to a magician (so-so), a ventriloquist (so-so), a pianist which we did not go to but we heard was quite good, to a singer (more later), a comedian (very good) and a comedian/singer/pianist (fabulous). The one singer, Jack Walker, was superb. We very nearly did not go to his show and that would have been a mistake. His vocals ranged from Elvis to Opera and his vocal quality changed with each style. Hearing him actually tackle a very heavy opera aria well was a surprise. We enjoyed the Martini Bar after the shows each night and took a nightcap back to our veranda. The staff there was very friendly. I keep repeating myself. The staff on the entire ship was very friendly. My one complaint was with Michaels Club. It has now been turned into a private club for ‘Suites and Zenith’. So, the class system is alive and well? We never saw more than six people in there, and usually it was empty. A very poor use for that space, and we were made to feel like peons who just did not belong there when we made the mistake of going in there one night. Bad choice, Celebrity. We chose Celebrity transfer to Ft Lauderdale airport and it could not have been smoother. I recommend it highly for the small cost. We did not go to Lisbon due to high seas, but went to the Azores instead. Bermuda, six days after a hurricane was fun and we had fun on the Bahamas. All together, a great cruise. We both love the M-class ships and hope to do another soon.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We choose this cruise to mark our 50th Wedding Anniversary, having deliberated long and hard about repeating our honeymoon to Italy. We were so pleased with this choice. The whole experience was faultless. Front facing cabin on the ... Read More
We choose this cruise to mark our 50th Wedding Anniversary, having deliberated long and hard about repeating our honeymoon to Italy. We were so pleased with this choice. The whole experience was faultless. Front facing cabin on the Promenade deck was spotless, comfortable and service was excellent. We ate mostly in the Compass Rose and were so impressed with the choices, especially the vegetarian, and the service. Although we had not told anyone on board, we were invited to the Captain's Table for the Gala evening and treated like royalty. All of the ports visited gave us insights into the people, the culture and the scenery. Whilst St Petersburg was amazing, all the rest were a very close second. We were so impressed with the courtesy, care, thoughtfulness and skill of all the crew. We will hold all those memories forever. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
MY MAJOR ISSUE!! We had 2 suitcases. We rec'd my husband's around 2:00. At 6:00 we called about my suitcase and were told they were still delivering. We wanted to get dressed to go to the show in the theater at 7:00, and then ... Read More
MY MAJOR ISSUE!! We had 2 suitcases. We rec'd my husband's around 2:00. At 6:00 we called about my suitcase and were told they were still delivering. We wanted to get dressed to go to the show in the theater at 7:00, and then head right for dinner. So here we are trying to get ready for dinner, and the only clothes I have are the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing, (which I've had on for many hrs during our 10+ hr flights and transportation to Harwich), and the dining room doesn't allow jeans. At 6:30 someone called us and told us my suitcase was being held on deck 1 because of a 3" pair of manicure scissors in my husband's shaving kit. Not only that, but the suitcase had been left sitting out on the dock in the rain the entire time since we turned it over to them at 10:30 am. Our clothes inside were soaked, and a brand new yellow evening jacket I had just purchased for the cruise, was stained with black marks because it laid next to something black. And now my brand new Travel Pro suitcase is also moldy. I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS AT ALL, AND REALLY FEEL CELEBRITY SHOULD MAKE SOME COMPENSATION. When I brought it up to the staff on the ship, all they said was "really?", and would not do anything. No offer to clean, launder, or iron any of our clothes. I CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THAT THIS INCIDENCE IS THE WORST TREATMENT I'VE RECEIVED ON ANY CRUISE WE HAVE TAKEN. No one even said, "we're sorry". They made me feel like I was the guilty party for trying to sneak on a pair of dangerous 3" manicure scissors. They airline doesn't even make an issue of these. On this cruise, we opted for an inside cabin (1/3 the price of a veranda). With so many ports-of-call, we would rarely be in our cabin anyway. We have always had veranda/balcony cabins before, and our first impression was that the inside wasn't too bad, it was just fine. However, the first night there was awful noise from the utility area next to our cabin. Sleep was difficult if not impossible. I called guest relations and they said they would report it. Second night was better. Someone called the next day to see if the noise was better. I thought that was nice that they called, and thanked them for following up. Next few nights, the noise came and went. Then one night the noise was absolutely horrible. Even made the bed shake. Next morning I called guest relations again to report. I was told if I didn't call "while the noise was occurring" there was nothing they could do about it. Really??!! Were they serious!!! Next day the supervisor called and said they would let us sleep (sleep only!) in another room 5 decks below where we currently were .. so we could have a quiet night. OMG! Are these people for real? They wanted me to trudge down 5 decks in my pajamas to sleep in another room!! Later, the supervisor called us again, and offered to let us move to a different room. Hooray, finally a resolution. They must have realized the insanity of their handling of this situation. Granted, it was 5 decks lower than our original room, but it was quiet! And it had a window. I don't think the stateroom attendant for the new room was very happy about us moving there. She wasn't very friendly at all. But she warmed up later. Just loved our cruise director Alejandro .... best thing about this cruise! Entertainment was fabulous....really terrific. Nick Page, the Celtic Tenors, the piano player (Bruce ??), Kate Dowman, McDonald Brothers, etc, etc. Absolutely the best entertainment of any cruise we've been on. (Wasn't terribly excited about the "production shows". Way, way too loud. Too much of the same thing....loud, loud, loud. The drums were insanely loud. Singers literally screamed through most of the songs. Many other passengers were complaining. And a lot of the songs we had never heard of, and one of the songs was VERY INAPPROPRIATE for the audience!!!). Food was OK, nothing to rave about. Really didn't care for the food in the Oceanview Cafe (although the space is very nice). TOO MUCH CURRY!! Later found out the chef was Indian, so I guess that's why they served so much curry on this ship. They seemed to close awfully early, too. One afternoon about 1:30, after we got back from a 1/2 day tour, I went up to get a cup of coffee and something to eat. Everything was closed up except for left-over pizza, and pre-made sandwiches. I asked the girl behind the counter if I could have just a ham and cheese, and she said I had to choose from the "gourmet" sandwiches that already made. As for a drink, I was only offered a little bag of instant coffee because everything was turned off. Rene, our waiter in the main dining room, was always kind and brought something else if I didn't like a particular dish. His assistant, Mildred, was excellent, too. Casino was good. Lounge entertainment good. Slow drink service in the lounges. Took approx 1/2 hr to get a glass of wine. Our dinner mates had their seapass card mixed up by a waiter in the lounge. He finally got a new seapass card, but the other person charged some things on his card, and it took 4 days to get it straightened out. The guest relations staff are not the brightest bunch. As far as the Captain's Club goes, I didn't see much benefit, except a free scoop of gelato. But we were only "select" members, so perhaps there wasn't much for that lowly level. We are now "elite" so we'll see if that offers anything better. One issue on this cruise was the scheduling of events and shows. We loved the entertainment, and wanted to see it all, but too many things overlapped so we were unable to enjoy a lot of things. I really think Celebrity should take a look at this and come up with a better schedule. Excursions: most were excellent. Great guides and itineraries. Would highly recommend the Highlands and Loch Ness tour in Inverness, and the Edinburgh Castle tour out of Greenock. The only one I would not recommend is the Blarney Castle. First of all, the guide looked like she had just crawled out of bed. She literally had on a type of house coat and slippers, and her hair was a mess. She confused most of the time, and didn't really know what was going on. Then we only had 1 1/2 hrs at the castle, when it took 2 1/2 hrs waiting in line to get into the castle. They should not advertise this as a Blarney Castle tour because there is no opportunity to get into the castle. Such a waste of money and a half day of our vacation. We paid for something we never got. One nice thing was when the crew offered us FREE hot chocolate when we returned from tours on cold days. So appreciated. I must comment on the ramps to get on and off the ship when in port. They were really dangerous, and I saw several elderly people trip. Please change these!! Couple things I liked on Celebrity better than on Royal Caribbean were that the wait staff and state room attendants didn't beg for tips or high ratings. On RC it's totally ridiculous how the staff starts begging for extra tips and high ratings the last 2 days of the cruise. Also the photographers were everywhere but were not intrusive, and would back away if we said no thanks. I wish more cruise lines would offer all-inclusive pricing to include wi-fi, drinks, and a couple services in the spa. Cruising is becoming too expensive for ordinary families by the time you include these things. A small bottle of room temperature water was $6.00. We purchased a 90 minute wi-fi pkg, and each time we logged on, it would take 5-10 minutes to get a connection. So basically 1/2 your time (depending!) just logging on. Regular wi-fi rate is $.79 per minute. However, Infinity has a wonderful computer center (Apple) and I heard people were getting instant connection there. Overall, and despite all the negatives I've pointed out, we had a great time. The itinerary was busy as we visited 9 ports, and all of them were great. Many good memories. I hope Celebrity reads these reviews, as the Infinity has a lot of improvements that need to be made in the area of customer service.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Celebrity Infinity Review 4 July 2014 There was a lot of negativity about the Infinity in recent Cruise Critic reviews, so much so that we were a bit apprehensive about our trip. We needn’t have worried! The sun shone, the ship was ... Read More
Celebrity Infinity Review 4 July 2014 There was a lot of negativity about the Infinity in recent Cruise Critic reviews, so much so that we were a bit apprehensive about our trip. We needn’t have worried! The sun shone, the ship was clean, the food was marvellous and the crew were as friendly as ever (this was our third cruise with Celebrity). Boarding at Harwich was easy. We stayed overnight at the Premier Inn; took the car and our group of 4 plus baggage to the port, offloaded, returned to the Premier Inn (where parking is £4 a day), then walked back to the pier (20 minutes). Check-in and boarding was easy and the whole process took about 40 minutes. After our welcome drink, we went straight to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch. Baggage arrived in the cabins about 2.30pm. We had a balcony with two comfortable chairs and a small table. There are 4 electric sockets in the cabin by the desk at the outside wall, 2 US 2 pin (flat) 110V and 2 Euro 2 pin (round) 230V. There was no socket in the bathroom. As the ship sailed from UK, we requested a kettle which our steward provided, together with cups, tea, sugar and even some milk. We requested different pillows and also asked for the contents of the minibar to be removed – our steward did this immediately. Previous travellers complained about smells in the bathroom. Ours did have a slight toilet smell but at our request our steward gave it a good clean and changed the (dreaded) shower curtain. There is only room for one at a time in the bathroom, unlike the new Solstice ships, but we weren’t inconvenienced by this. Adequate toiletries were provided, although the hairdyer isn’t as powerful as our own. We thought that there seemed to be more room in the public areas on the Infinity than on Eclipse. Public areas are continually being vacuumed and polished and all interior glass is kept sparkling. We had the Classic Drinks package included in our cruise. I phoned Celebrity beforehand to see exactly what was included and received an email with the complete list - 1¼ pages! The full list is available at Customer Relations on board. It’s true that some of the waiters don’t always know what is available, but armed with the information we generally got what we wanted. Different beers are available at different bars - for Marston’s Pedigree go to the Mast bar – Heineken, Corona and even Leffe are in the Oceanview, but I didn’t see any Alaskan Amber, which is on the Classic list. Wines up to $10.50 are just about OK, but you can have as much Prosecco as you like. We enjoyed the selection of food in the Oceanview at breakfast and lunch. At 5.30pm they provide Sushi – ideal to accompany your pre-dinner drink. There is a Wok station in the evening in Oceanview so you can get freshly-cooked Asian/fusion food. We had Celebrity Select dining every night and booked our preferred times prior to the cruise. We had the same table most nights and our waiter, Kaviraj, was excellent. The service he provided was exceptional. Some people said that the food was tepid in the restaurants – we never found it so. The food was generally excellent, our only complaint being that the fish was often a little over-cooked, despite our requesting it not to be so. We were disappointed with the Celebrity Theatre productions on this cruise. We enjoyed the shows on Reflection last year. However, this may be just our taste and we realize that you cannot please everyone all the time. The Musical Overload in the Constellation Lounge on 13 July was fantastic, as the singers were really good and seemed to enjoy doing the show. We liked Justino and David Schofield, but felt Daniel Hochsteiner’s show was very ordinary. Peter Grant was billed as a "rising star" but he had no personality and was incomprehensible to us, talking too quickly and mumbling (and we are English!). The big screen in the theatre for the World Cup matches was much appreciated! The lecture on Oslo turned out to be a talk about Norway in general which, although informative, was not what we went to hear. We didn’t attend any more lectures. We did our research and arranged all our own shore activities. There are so many to choose from in Norway – some we booked and paid for online before the cruise to make sure we didn’t miss out on anything. These generally worked out half the price of the Celebrity trips. At most ports there are ‘Hop on Hop off’ buses so you can plan your day without difficulty. We did a cruise on Lysefjord at Stavanger (a must); bus rides at Olden to see the Briksdal Glacier, Mt Dalsnibba at Geiranger and Stegastein at Flaam. We climbed Fjellskua at Aalesund and took the famous railway at Flaam. At Bergen, a free shuttle bus was provided by the local Tourist Office to the town centre. Bergen is beautiful, quaint old town with lots to see and do. Shopping on board the ship was a pleasant experience - the prices are free of US Sales Tax so are cheaper than many UK prices. The sales people, many from Eastern Europe, are polite, are not pushy and are generally helpful. There is, however, less choice than in the bigger Celebrity cruise ships. Despite Infinity being 13 years old, the ship is in good shape. There is a painting crew doing repairs on an ongoing basis. One reviewer remarked on the design of the ship – yes, it is a bit “lumpy” topsides, not like the sleeker, more modern ships in the fleet. I personally liked the glass portholes in the Oceanview Cafe floor where you can see the sea rushing under your feet as you eat! We also liked the view from the big window in the MDR at the rear of the ship. Disembarkation was painless. Although we were allocated a disembarkation time of 08.00hrs, Customer Services said we could leave when we wished as we only had to collect our car. So we had a leisurely breakfast and our bags were waiting for us in the Customs Hall. With calm seas, fantastic weather and scenery, this cruise exceeded our expections. Can’t wait for the next one.....!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Went to the Baltic in June 2014 from Harwich. Pluses: Boarding - Fine; Cabin - fine Staff excellent; Food - good but not outstanding - have had better variety of other cruise lines. Ports of call - very good except for Visby - no ... Read More
Went to the Baltic in June 2014 from Harwich. Pluses: Boarding - Fine; Cabin - fine Staff excellent; Food - good but not outstanding - have had better variety of other cruise lines. Ports of call - very good except for Visby - no fault of RCCL - torrential rain. Minuses: Main complaint was incessant noise. Guest services and shore excursions desk situated next to Centrum. Very loud entertainment there meant great difficulty speaking to and hearing staff. We do like to go and have a drink in a bar after dinner and have a conversation with other cruisers - that is impossible on "Brilliance". Every bar has amplified music making conversation difficult without shouting. So called "piano bar" involved a female entertainer with amplification - surely unnecessary. In the "English pub" crowded with guests watching the world Cup - a guitarist blasting out at great volume - no chance of hearing commentary. Only response from cruise director was that the musicians take periodic breaks when it would be quieter. This is no criticism of the entertainers - but lack of a quiet area sutiable for conversation. The lack of a quiet bar spoiled my experience of the Brilliance and would not sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
What a fantastic cruise. I cannot praise the Thomson Spirit and its crew highly enough. My wife and I love this ship and just wish we could afford to sail in her every year. Every member of the crew we came into contact with could not do ... Read More
What a fantastic cruise. I cannot praise the Thomson Spirit and its crew highly enough. My wife and I love this ship and just wish we could afford to sail in her every year. Every member of the crew we came into contact with could not do enough for you and one even remembered us by name from 3 years ago. My wife walks with a stick so handling a tray of food and walking to a table usually means me making two trips. I hardly had to do this during the whole cruise as one of the waiters of the head waiter took her tray and carried it to the table. We had upgraded to a suite and while it was very nice and spotlessly clean, we decided it wasnt worth the extra cash over and above a deluxe cabin. The cabin stewards were cheerful and super efficient and again were very helpful. The ship is getting old and areas of her could do with a bit of smartening up, but thats a minor detail compared to the friendly atmosphere aboard. We met some great people and hope one day we may bump into them again on board The Spirit. Now the minus side. The excursions are overpriced and mostly dissaopinting. We cancelled all of ours after the first two but kept the dolphin boat in Gibralter. Hmm not what I expected at all. Saw a few fleeting glimpses of some small common dolphins and in hindsight would have sooner wandered into the town. The one excursion I did enjoy was Algiers. An experience I will remember the rest of my life. The mini coach trip was better than any fairground ride and how they dont have accidents every few minutes id beyond me. Even a police escort didnt seem to deter drivers from cutting in etc. We approached a dual carrigeway that was at a standstill on our side, so our escort took us ( 6 small coaches) down the wrong side of the caariage way with blue lights flashing. The coach was worth every penny without the experience of seeing a city I would never visit normally. I think the pre excursion talk by Thomsons was a mistake as it put people off. Totally needless as we never felt uncomfortable during the excursion and the only pity was not being able to wander round some interesting looking shops. The return flight from Cyprus is best forgotten as was the arrival at East Midlands Airport. I have made my complaints about it to Thomson and EMA authorities. People with disabilities are covered by EU regulations in the way they are assisted both prior to departure. On board the aircraft and on arrival. Both Cyprus Airport. Thomsons and East Midlands Airport fell far short of these regulations and need to be addressed. However as I said at the beginning the cruise and the ship were excellent and I hope we can sail in her again maybe in 2015 Read Less
Sail Date October 2013

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