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49 Harwich to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from ... Read More
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from Liverpool station to Harwich with a change at Manningtree. Problem-doors on train wouldn't open, Finally someone helped out (not the conductor) & showed us you had to lower the window on the door and then press the button on the outside of the door for it to open. (We later learned these were old cars), Then we had to carry luggage downstairs, under the tracks, up the stairs. No elevators! Mostly older Americans were having trouble navigating all of this & most people making the change where going on the cruise. 90 minute train ride to the port. Cruise The Good 1. Embarkation - arrived around 11:30 am-got right on board 2. Main dining room- we thought the food was very good. Surprised to read other reviews not liking the food. I had the escargot several nights and it was excellent with butter and lots of garlic. 3. Service was excellent all around. 4. Entertainment was excellent 5. Ports were wonderful. 6. The people we met were wonderful. The Not So Good 1. We booked Chops for 2 nights and the Italian Restaurant for 1 night. At Chops the steaks were okay but it is not a high end steak house that we have experienced on land. The steaks were not cooked properly and had to go back. The sides were served without the steaks which should never happen as they will get cold. The service seemed to be rote without any thought. On our 2nd time at Chops, they were out of the veal chop and spinach. This is understandable on a transatlantic cruise but we should have been informed when the menus were given. The shrimp dish was not worth the $35 surcharge. No lobster was offered. The Italian restaurant was okay, nothing to write home about but again staff had no concept of fine dining. The Schooner Bar, which is right outside the restaurant, started an trivia activity and it was blaring into the restaurant. You couldn't hear your conversation. We had to ask the Maitre D to close the doors! He was standing right there! We felt the service in the dining room was so much better. 2. The ship did look a little beat. 3. Drinks and wine seemed to be quite high. The cheapest glass of wine was $9. Cosmo's were $12. 4. Disembarkation-a zoo but it always is. All in all, the good outweigh the not so good. Won't do specialty restaurants again. When you are paying extra, you except perfection. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call and all land tours were great.Tour guides were knowledgable and entertaining. Entertainment on the ship was very good. Cruise director "Chloe" was charming and witty. Just wonderful! Our room steward and dinner waiters were very good also. The cruise was comprised mostly of the over 65 crowd. Not surprising since school just started. Most from the U.S. and Canada. Upon boarding, the ship smelled of smoke and mold. During the 4 at sea days there was no tv reception. Guest Services said they had no Satellite. I find that very strange. What was broadcast was reruns of U.S. programs with Spanish, German and Italian voice over. At no time was there any U.S. news or U.S. programs except the ships commercials to pitch products in English of course...spa, shops, photos, dining in extra $ restaurants. The main dining rooms and the Windjammer were referred to as "Complimentary". I think not since we had paid for them and they were included in our cost. Daytime entertainment was bean bag toss in the Centrum, napkin folding, towel folding and trivia in the Schooner Lounge.The worst part was trying to disembark for tours. The crew was totally disorganized and most tours started late. The day of disembarkation in Boston was a nightmare. We were directed dowstairs, then upstairs. All while dragging suitcases behind us. The food was marginal at best and sometimes pretty bad. I don't know if they were training chefs or they just couldn't cook. I just cancelled the repositioning cruise we had scheduled for Oct. 2016 from Barcelona. No more repositioning cruises for us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a ... Read More
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a wonderful cruise on Royal back in 97 and had no problem booking them this time expecting the same. In the years between 97 and 2015, I had been over on Holland America, which I consider to be the gold standard for food without going up to a higher tier line such as Crystal. I had taken Holland about 8 times over the years, very impressed with them. I went back to Royal to join friends on the cruise. It appears the cruise line has taken the approach of the airlines lately, cut costs at all costs. Here is a synopsis of the meals: French onion soup, came out as a watery brown broth, minus onions, and rather than covered in cheese melted over the sides, had a small piece of toast about the size of a cracker, with about 4 pieces of shredded cheese, previously melted on it, floating on top. Escargot: greasy, couldn't even taste garlic, with some sort of greasy topping, I could not identify. Prime rib, a big slab of fatty meat, didn't even eat more than a few bites. Lobster night....hahahahahaha, that is gone, yes gone, baby gone! Now you get a menu on the table offering lobster for $35. Not even on formal nights, pay up if you want it. Breakfast was the same. No eggs Benedict, no salmon; oh wait, after a week, I was told by a passenger that if you ask for it, they will make it, they HIDE IT! Not on Holland America. The menu was even reduced. What used to be an appetizer selection, a salad/soup selection and an entree, has now been reduced to an appetizer and entree on the menu. You have to ask for separate selections. Now to the buffet, it's only open certain hours, no 24 hour food. It was not tasty, and sort of bad cafeteria style food, lacking taste. Once that is pulled out, your only option for food is a small corner cafe, that looks like a Starbucks food cooler, with sandwiches served in plastic containers, like you would find in a 7-11, "tomato salad", which was cut up tomato, in an Italian dressing, green bean salad, the same, and a pasta salad. Watery tasteless soup was also offered. Any attempt to get good food, means going to the pay restaurants, which some of our table mates wound up doing. Gone is the midnight buffet, that I remember so well, from years ago. Or maybe that was another cruise line with some imagination. I found myself running into restaurants on the stops along the cruise, to get some food I could enjoy. Even at the bar, no nuts served with your drinks. I had to ask the bartender for some nuts, that he had to run around looking for. The wine bar didn't have any, just a selection of cheese, and when I asked for nuts I, yes I, was sent to another bar to get some. A discussion among other cruisers who were in one of the suites, and who had been on Royal many times revealed more. Gone are the chocolate mints on the pillow at night, turn down service is no more, no robes in the rooms, "animal towels on the bed" are down to every 4 days, cleaning staff has gone from 2 per room, to one, apparently ship staff if cut in half. No newspapers. Per the ship staff, this is because most people now get their news off the internet. Really? Have you ever tried to get internet on a ship? Does dial up mean anything to you? 10 minutes to get a page loaded. Apparently they are "working" on this issue. The ship tour, which you now pay for, revealed more. The hotel manager advised that Royal has decided to cut services to divert more money to other areas, as he put it. Read: We are paying our management more money, on the back of your bad cruise! The ship in general looked like it had seen better days, the dining room chairs had food stains on them, curtains falling down, and the rooms looked like they needed a freshen up. Also the dining times were really strange. We booked a fixed dining at 8:30, yet the times on the daily itinerary kept changing the dining times. We missed 2 shows, due to our assuming that we had an 8:30 seating, only to find the show times had been moved as well as the seating times. It was all over the place. Just not happy with this cruise. Mind you the tours were great, the entertainment was great, most nights, and I was satisfied with the balcony room and size. Just wont be back on the line ever again. I go on the cruise as a foodie. Love a good meal! Its what I pay for when I cruise. I would have even payed $100 more for the cabin just to have the lobster on my plate without the extra charge. No, No, No! Won't be back on Royal. Can't wait for my next Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most ... Read More
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most like a " traditional " cruise ship. We thought food was great! We ate in all areas of the ship except speciality restaurants because we felt food was quite good everywhere else. Dinner in main dining room (early seating) sometimes took awhile but we enjoyed company of our table mates and really had no where else to go, but to the evening entertainment which was always very good. We then had great fun afterwards singing along with Manda in the Schooner lounge. During the day we attended lectures, played trivia, went to the spa, read, watched the dancers etc so plenty to do. All our shore excursions were excellent with knowledgable guides and clean buses. This was an exceptional itinerary so wonderful ports of call. We felt this was a great value for our money and would cruise with RCL again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port ... Read More
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port was good and embarkation was fast. We enjoyed each port, Ireland being our favorite. No complaints with any of the excursions we took, the ship, or our balcony accommodations. Very disappointed with Royal. It seems that the more mega ships they build, the more they take away from the cruisers and we were surely not the only ones feeling that way. Now the only lobster you can get is what you pay $42 for and do not even think about watching a movie in you stateroom. $11.99 Really??? So, we have moved on to other cruise lines. Sad to say we are no longer loyal to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is ... Read More
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is closed for private event (and was not open even when there were no private events). Availability of seating to eat meals at certain times was a problem. 4. Hot tub is closed for maintenance in Solarium. (Only one on ship) I feel we should know before booking that we will not have access to all public areas of the ship. At times we spent 30 minutes looking for a place where 6 people could sit and socialize. Lack of public spaces is the reason we have avoided the 6,000 passenger mega Oasis class ships. Beverage selections were restricted as we often heard "We are out of that wine selection" and we missed the "drink of the day" (staff didn't know what we were talking about) like we enjoyed on the Serenade four weeks earlier. We found prices to also be more expensive on the Brilliance as compared to the Serenade. It took 3 days for our group of six to get seated with another group of 3 couples (all nice people) but question why this was such a problem in the first place. We had cross-referenced our cruise reservation numbers well in advance and were told it had been handled. On a positive note; the staff overall was excellent with many of them being exceptional. Our wait staff did a good job in spite of the fact they had too many people to serve (2 tables of 12). We enjoyed Rita's Cantina (Vinko was great behind the bar) but often overwhelmed by the volume of demand at times. Our room steward was very good and attended us well. The entertainment was top notch and the cruise director (HelloClo) was one of the best we have ever had. For these reasons, the average overall score came out to a 3 out of 5 instead of a lower score. Kitchen was fair but certainly not exceptional. Experience in Chops Grille also could have been better based on past experiences on other RCCL ships (Steaks ordered medium were served well done for 3 of 6 people in our group). The waiter said they could cook us new steaks, but we had already waited and didn't want to wait to eat after the others were already finished. We received great service at the Rbar in the Centrum. Craig (asst. Waiter forward of Windjammer on deck 11) was friendly and attentive as we spent a lot of time in this area. Bar service in the Solarium was poor with the exception of Park Cafe (again staff was excellent) . Unfortunately; the Solarium bar seemed to be never open all the times we passed through the area. Early morning coffee outside the Windjammer was often empty and no coffee mugs. I learned to inspect empty coffee mugs before using as at least on 3 occasions when I found them to be dirty. I guess I need to read the ship reviews before booking in the future. I doubt I will be returning to the Brilliance anytime soon. Overall, I think the ship is a bit tired and needs a restoration. I expected more based on my past experience with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day ... Read More
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day experience on the ship. This was my eighth cruise on RCI and ninth in total. I'm still scratching my head. The CD, entertainment staff, and cabin staff were so great. The Windjammer staff, Security staff, and sometimes, dining room staff were often horrible. How can you excuse the black-jacket Dining Room "host" who told us to reserve for MTD dining at 7:15, kept us waiting in line with others who had the same reservation time for half an hour, and then saucily told us we had to be patient. When I told him the only appropriate thing he could do was apologize for telling us to make the reservation at that time, he responded by blaming the problem on me. Or how about the security staff on re-entering the port at Le Havre, who were completely unprepared to check us back on board after nine hours on the ground, stood us in line, yelled at us, wanded us, separated my daughter from me, and grabbed her by the arm when she was looking for me. All for what? To confiscate a few bottles of wine or subvert a tourist attack? Seriously, if I were a terrorist, I'd blow up all the people waiting in line for the security checks. Big payoff there. Can I say how disappointed we were that the rear deck outside the Windjammer was permanently closed from the get-go to the finish on this trip? Sure, close it when it's rainy or cold. But that rear deck was closed when it was fair and warm and there were wonderful things to see from it. I guess they saved some money by not having to clean it. The food was meh, a lot of long-stewed things covered by sauce with fancy-sounding names. Very little fresh veg or fruit, and what there was was the same every day. Lot of salt in the food. I could get the same at an all-inclusive. The CD, the entertainers, the shows, the activities were all terrific on this long, often-cold and unpleasant weather N. Atlantic cruise. Good for them, they made it a joy. I have one more cruise booked on RCI in February, and I'll see how that goes. Otherwise, I'm shopping around. All I got for my loyalty points was a $5 reduction on a bag of laundry, and a couple of 2 for one drink things on a 15 day voyage. The rest of my loyalty benefits were useless to me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would ... Read More
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would have been nice to have a day in Greenland as we passed so close, and it would have broken up the 4 days at sea. The ship is getting a little faded and shabby. Even the centrum which looks spectacular in photos is a bit cheap and tacky in real life (lots of flashing coloured lights). There was cleaning and maintenance going on most of the time. Most of the staff were polite and cheerful. Embarkation was quick, efficient and easy. The fire drill was well organised - more like an aircraft safety drill, we didn't have to put on our life jackets. The cabin was well equipped and very comfortable and it was kept very clean and tidy. I was concerned that the ship had no coin operated laundry as you need to take enough clothes to cover different types of weather for 3 weeks. However there was no poblem washing clothing in the bathroom, there is a retractable washing line in the shower and a metal rack over the toilet. most items dried fairly quickly. The atmosphere in the public rooms, particularly the Solarium soon became unpleasantly hot and stuffy, with occasional wafts of air freshener. I'm sure this is why we both got chest infections. But the second part of the trip was better as it was warmer and they opened more windows. There are plenty of places to walk around on the decks or sit, in shelter or semi shelter. I thought the food was excellent. Perhaps I'm easily pleased. There was plenty of variety, and lots of fresh fruit and salad. The Boston cream pie was very good, and the chicken tikka was the best I have ever eaten. Drinks - alcohol was very dear even by cruise ship standards. Drinks from the drinks stations included sachets of various teas and chocolate, flavoured water - lemonade, orange juice, apple juice, fruit punch, mango, raspberry and kiwi, all very sweet, and sometimes iced tea (nothing like the Liptons iced tea you can buy in the UK), just cold black unsweetened tea. The coffee was horrible. Very strong and bitter, but just abour drinkable with plenty of hot water and milk. Ony one drinks station was open 24 hours, just serving coffee and water. On the second leg of the cruise mushrooms, fried bread and black pudding all disappeared. The Windjammer got very busy at breakfast on the sea days, this could have been solved by opening up some of the speciality restuarants. Also more tables for 2 or 4 would be better than those which seat 6 or 8. There were "technical issues" with the toast for most of the cruise, it was very pale. Also some things ran out or had to be queued for, but nothing too bad. The entertainment in the Pacifica theatre varied from very good to mediocre. The young Irish dancers were charming, the Icelandic offering was boring. Some of the musicians and singers performing in other parts of the ship were very good indeed. We only went to the cinema once, 40 seats is not really enough for a ship of that size. The acrobatic show on the last day, in the Centrum, only lasted 10 minues but it was excellent. All BBC programmes disappeared about halfway through the cruise, and films streamed to your TV had to be paid for. During the day we enjoyed the expert's talks on destinations, the talk on photography, the gym, the golf, and the complimentary sauna and steam rooms in the solarium. After we left the Faroes the ship became very rocky for about a day, enough to make walking from a to b diffiicult and it made trying to swim in the solarium pool interesting. Fortunately neither of us suffer from sea sickness. Le Havre - pleasantly surprised by this little town, plenty of shops and restuarants. We took the little tourist train and explored on foot. Weymouth (Portland) - another interesting small town, plenty to see and do. There was a regatta taking place. Cobh (Cork) - once again we got the tourist train up to the cathedral, visited an irish pub and the Titanic Experience. The day before we had to hand in our passports and the day after we left Ireland they were returned which resulted in long queues, lost passports and frayed tempers. Faroes - only heard of this on the shipping forecast, bleak but interesting, a church, brewery and a couple of supermarkets, a few sheep, no trees, a lot of fish farming. Easy to walk round on foot. Iceland - arrived about 12 the first day and walked from the ship to the concert hall (Harpa?) and back, about 7 miles. It wa so good to get some exercise in the fresh air. Shuttle bus available £8 return. We have been to Iceland before so didn't do any excursions. On the second day we got the local bus to the Botanical Gardens. Almost impossible to find due to a total lack of sign posts but worth the effort. Halifax - the ship docked near the centre. We just walked along the board walk - plenty to see - museums, old ships etc. Boston - the most disappointing part of the trip. The ship arrived at 6.30 and I had hoped to be off by about 8, with plenty of time to shop, explore and walk the Freedom Trail. But all those with non-US passports had to have their passports stamped before anyone could leave the ship. This took about 3 hours and was very frustrating. We managed to do a bus tour and a walk, but had I known I would have booked an extra day or two in Boston after the cruise. Rockland Maine - walked round the town and had lobster rolls- delicious! Portland, Maine - not much there. Bar Harbour - took a bus tour to Arcadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. Interesting place with plenty to see. Lobster for lunch. Halifax - different dock this time. Got the free shuttle bus to the town centre and did a self guided walking tour of the town. Charlottesville, Prince Edward Island - another pleasant town that is easy to get round on foot. Sydney - lots of historic houses and a boardwalk. Boston - same tedious inspection for non-US passport holders. Disembarkation was smooth and well organised and fairly quick. The not so good...... A cruise ship is a floating hotel. Most hotels now have free wifi. So should cruise ships. Many things included in the price on other cruises had to be paid for. Overall we felt the ship lacked the small touches that make a cruise special eg proper afternoon tea with sandwiches and tea, themed lunches etc. I would not travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. ... Read More
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. Thoughts about the ports: - Le Havre itself is not a great destination. Its best attraction is a museum of modern art, with work of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists who worked in the area. Several of the ship's excursions (specifically, to Paris and Normandy) are quite long and may exhaust travelers who have flown overnight to Heathrow the day before. - Plymouth provides a starting point for excursions to Stonehenge and other historic sights. The excursions to Corfe Castle is labeled "moderate," but one must make a long, uphill walk from the parking lot to the castle and town. The town itself is walkable and interesting, with free wifi at the public library and both local craft stores and souvenir shops. - Cobh is a charming little town, with a Titanic museum, several local craft stores, a drug store, an historic church, and lots of space to walk along the waterfront. The train station, with regular service to and from Cork, is right in front of the dock. - The Faroe Islands port is Klaksvik, a town of little charm and limited interest. The excursions offer drives through the beautiful countryside and scenic villages. - Reykjavik itself is worth visiting on foot, especially for people-watching. Several of the ship's excursions involved the Blue Lagoon; fellow passengers's reactions varied from 'Wow!' to 'meh'. Icelanders are quite proud of their geothermal power plant, so a few tours include a stop there. - Halifax has a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that stops at historic and cultural sites. The public garden is beautiful. Pier 21, the ship's dockage, is at an end of a wide water-front walkway. Passengers who can entertain themselves or who enjoy trivia games will love the sea days. Except for a beautiful day between Halifax and Boston, the weather was too brisk to spend time outdoors. Sea day entertainment was limited to a daily lecture about the next port or Viking history, lots of trivia games, card games, spa services and free seminars to promote spa services, bingo, casino action, art auctions (which closed one of the best lounge areas to use for daytime reading), movies, and a few beer / wine / martini tastings (at a cost). Evening entertainment in the theater ranged from excellent to average. The ship did not provide Broadway-type shows or aerialists. The pianist / vocalist in the Schooner lounge drew a large crowd every night. The ship is clean but dated. Some of the upholstered furniture in lounges seems wobbly or threadbare, with saggy seats. Food and service in the Minstrel Dining Room were outstanding. Fellow passengers were generally over 55, with lots of Americans and Brits, as well as Australians, Germans, French, Japanese, and many other nationalities. Many of them were Crown and Anchor members, with dozens of cruises in their past. About 150 of the 2100 passengers were staying aboard for the next cruise, to the St. Lawrence Seaway and back to Boston. Many had been on the previous cruise to St. Petersburg. The very few children aboard were seldom seen. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Reading some reviews of Infinity I was expecting to be a little disappointed but delighted to say that my lowered expectations were well exceeded in most areas. Reaching Harwich was a pain, needing a train and platform change at ... Read More
Reading some reviews of Infinity I was expecting to be a little disappointed but delighted to say that my lowered expectations were well exceeded in most areas. Reaching Harwich was a pain, needing a train and platform change at Manningtree - not fun with luggage and must be awful for anyone with mobility issues. Boarding simple and painless and the cabin was very quickly available. No surprises and everything seemed to be in working order, although the balcony was in need of a good clean and paint job. Deck 9 cabins have a large overhang making the balcony a shady retreat rather than a sun trap. Ideal for very hot cruises but not so great if you are expecting to get a tan! Weather was wet and cool to start, getting worse but only to be expected in October in the Channel and Bay of Biscay. Heavy swell and high winds combined to make the Captain abandon the passage in to Lisbon and divert to Ponta Delgada in the Azores. A treat for some but not for all. Hurricane Gonzalo hit Bermuda and our scheduled stop there was not confirmed for a couple of days. It appears that we were much better off on the Infinity than back at home. We took part in a "Cabin Crawl", enabling us to see all cabin types from an internal all the way up to a rather large suite - very nice but confirmed to us that we had made a good choice for us. Entertainments were a mixed bag: the comedian Fred Klett was one of the funniest blokes I have ever come across and was the stand-out act, whilst the regular stage entertainers were mediocre at best. The day to day activities were well run by the enthusiastic team who all seemed to enjoy what they were doing making it a good experience for us. Guest lecturers were also good providing a variety of of options for daytime activities. The main dining room food was good quality, well prepared and well served but this was in marked contrast to the buffet which was unimaginative, repetitive and boring. We chose not to use any of the speciality restaurants as we were very happy to use the main dining room, not only for dinner but also breakfast and most lunches too. One issue we had with table allocation in the MDR (anytime dining) was a minor blip but this was quickly rectified and never repeated, with the hostess taking special care of us thereafter. We didn't do this cruise for the sightseeing or port stops but wanting a good rest from work which we certainly got. On board shopping was similar to other ships - expensive, held no interest for me. Gigantic casino mostly empty. Very disappointed to find Michael's Club is now a suite-only room, mostly deserted too. However, Celebrity's policy of charging ridiculously high prices for drinks will make me think very carefully before booking any more cruises with them. The package prices are mad but individual drink prices are madder and 15% on top of those too! It was very obvious that fewer diners were ordering wine and the bars were mostly deserted at most times. Time for a rethink Celebrity? Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale was a lengthy process - 4 immigration/customs officers to service 2100 passengers plus crew seems too few but someone remarked that Celebrity refuse to pay for more staff to be on duty. I have no idea whether this is the case. 90 minutes is a long time but made worse by the sight of previously able-bodied people suddenly needing wheelchair assistance to get to the front of the queue! We noticed little things had been cut back e.g. bedtime chocs absent apart from one choc biscuit on 1st formal night - why bother with this token effort? We had a great cruise, very restful, never boring, not disturbed by heavy seas (others were) and with no booze-induced hangovers. Will we sail again on Infinity? We're booked for March. Will we book future cruises with Celebrity? Maybe but will certainly look closely at other options. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
1. Ship - as others have mentioned, overall tired , very noticeable in some places not in others, and crowded. With cruise ships I always think 5 star is really 4 star, but at times this bordered on 3. 2. Food - the worst we have ... Read More
1. Ship - as others have mentioned, overall tired , very noticeable in some places not in others, and crowded. With cruise ships I always think 5 star is really 4 star, but at times this bordered on 3. 2. Food - the worst we have experienced on Celebrity. Needs tweaking. Main dining room poor (as ever), but more disappointing were the speciality restaurants. Given that we dined in them a lot in a 14 night cruise, and on this ship there are only two, would have been improved hugely by some change in the menu. Why not have a daily special? 3. Service - OK, but the Eastern Europeans in Qsine can sometimes seem very gruff, better in SS. Oh for a French or Italian waiter for a little style. Thank God for the Asian waiters, and for some individuals. 4. Drinks - again as others have observed terribly overpriced. If you are a drinker then this will be an expensive cruise. Both of the drinks packages are pretty hopeless - with wine by the glass priced cunningly just above the limit. Good bottles of wine are ludicrously priced - 200 or even 300 dollars! 5. Entertainment - could have done with more full caste shows. 6. Lectures - again the worst in Celebrity. Far too low brow, and the times kept changing. This is a real weakness on a Transatlantic. 7. Activities - enthusiastic staff (Andreas and Rachel) carried it through. Not sure why everything had to be at lunchtime, with nothing in the late afternoon.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
First of all, for everyone who was on that ship - don't hold the captain or the cruise line responsible for the terrible weather. He made the best of a difficult situation, and cancelled cruise ports, and rainy days in Bermuda are not ... Read More
First of all, for everyone who was on that ship - don't hold the captain or the cruise line responsible for the terrible weather. He made the best of a difficult situation, and cancelled cruise ports, and rainy days in Bermuda are not something you can complain about - take it up with the big man upstairs! Cabin; We were fortunate to get an accessible inside stateroom as this was all that was available at the time of booking. Designed for a person with mobility issues, it was huge and very comfortable - but this was a fluke and not something you could guarantee. Spa: The ship has an indoor thalassotherapy pool with side Jacuzzis. The temperature of this was always in the mid 90s, and this is a unique feature of this class of ship. I absolutely loved it, and went in twice a day before a sauna with window and a great sea view. The only down side of the changing rooms was the showers had no water pressure and it was difficult to wash off soap or shampoo with the limited spray. I complained about this and nothing was done about it. The gym area was very good, although the lat pulldown machine and shoulder press machine were very poor with an unnatural range of motion. The free weights had benches and free weight dumbelless up to 50lbs - this was adequate, but I was hoping for 60s or 70s. All in all, a very large and clean gym area and the classes were well attended. Dining Room: We had the early seating and went in about 6.15pm. The tables are on top of each other, and you have little privacy. The food is good quality but the service is slow and fragmented. Nice touches are the basket of bread and table setting. Salads are poor as you have to wait for the staff to come back with dressings etc. The steaks were nice, the roast turkey was very good, the desserts were so-so, soups were two thirds full and not that hot. Lunch service was a little better and a relief not to have to deal with the 10th floor buffet. Ocean View Café: This was the low-light of the ship for me. The layout is a joke as you have no idea where you are supposed to sit in order to access all serving stations. By the time you get back to your table holding a bowl of soup, or hot food with no tray (why no trays?), it is cold. Good luck finding all the cutlery you need, spoons, forks, knives etc, all in the wrong places. The quality of the food is cheaper and inferior to the dining room, and the attempts to serve yourself through very low glass dividers with giant spoons is clumsy and messy. The coffee in the morning was very poor quality and barely drinkable - compared with the Seattle's Best on RCL for example which is excellent. Entertainment: The production shows were OK, with one excellent singer, but a weak supporting crew, and for some reason all very tiny. They were high energy and a lot of well known songs, so easy to follow and enjoy. The guest entertainers were mixed. The comedian, Fred Klett, with his Newhart style deadpan, was very welcome and surprisingly good. The male singers were OK, even if the songs they presented were predictable and stale. I don't care for magicians and I like juggler and ventriloquists even less, so lets not go there. The musical impersonator at the end was very funny with some brilliant jokes and accurate impersonations. Celebrity Activities: The trivias was well run on the whole, especially by Aida and Andres. The progressive trivia hosted by Rachel fell apart when all her answers were wrong and she didn't seem to know how to handle it. Some of the entertainment was embarrassing when you consider the average age was 65, and the games were for 20 somethings or college kids. Overall, the impression was positive, and excellent value for money with some nice touches. However, you probably need to go for the premium drinks package and dining package to upgrade your whole experience. I would chose this ship again for the indoor spa facilities alone, anything else was a bonus. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We just returned from a 2 week Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Celebrity Infinity, leaving Harwich UK on 10/13/14. This was my wife’s and my first cruise. We had a veranda room mid-ship on deck 7. Overall, I would give the trip a grade of ... Read More
We just returned from a 2 week Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Celebrity Infinity, leaving Harwich UK on 10/13/14. This was my wife’s and my first cruise. We had a veranda room mid-ship on deck 7. Overall, I would give the trip a grade of 80%. The trip was better than we expected, and we were happy and satisfied. But there are definitely areas where a small amount of work could bring much improvement. We might take a Celebrity cruise again, especially considering the positive points listed, but I would definitely consider items 11-13 in the Summary below: Positive Points: 1. Friendliness and responsiveness of crew from room staff and dining room and buffet staff all the way to the Captain and his staff. Celebrity has really trained its people well in the art of customer service. 2. Cleanliness, safety and modernity of the ship. 3. Room size and comfort, especially on a 2 week cruise. 4. Entertainment, especially the ability of Alexandro to keep things moving and glued together in the face of a diversions and changes caused by the storm. The evening shows were generally tremendous. 5. The seamless way that the diversion and storm were handled by everyone. 6. The smoothness of the ship, even in 15 ft. seas. As a landlubber and first time cruiser, I was really worried about this. I need not have been. Even in a storm it was smoother than many aircraft trips I have made. 7. The serving staff in the Trellis Restaurant was 100% terrific and helped greatly with choices and alternates. 8. The Oceanview Grill, especially for breakfast was great. Many in our group also found their evening Sushi to be superb. Lunch choices were varied and good. 9. We had several Birthday celebrations in our group. They were handled very nicely by the restaurant staff. 10. Everyone is very friendly and we had many interesting conversations with passengers and staff. Areas Needing Improvement: 11. A major issue was the difficulty in finding any quiet, well lit, and comfortable places (e.g. to read) on this ship. The library is tiny and dark. Even that small space is usurped by 2 concierge desks. Chairs on deck 10 and 11 are near the pools and spas and are subject to constant noise and activities, as are many indoor chairs on deck 4. There are some good seats near the window at the Martini Bar before that starts up. The best daytime reading and quiet space on the ship (during poor weather) is the Constellation Lounge on deck 11. But that space is also used for several other activities. As a full paying passenger it was especially annoying to be chased out (even while having cocktails) every afternoon by its use for frequent cruiser events. 12. As someone else pointed out more eloquently during the Captain’s review, the music used on the ship was not well matched to the age of most passengers. My guess is that the bulk of folks on our cruise were over 60 and comfortable with music of the 1940’s – 1980’s plus show tunes. That is more than a 50 year span of music, but instead, more recent music seemed to be in the majority. 13. The daytime talks ranged from good to repetitive. On a 2 week cruise there should have been more variety to daytime lectures and events. 14. Food in the Trellis Restaurant was impeccably served and presented. However, as (non-gourmet) seafood lovers we found most of the seafood to be poor. Soups were highly variable and ranged from fair to very good. Beef was good to great. The serving staff was 100% terrific and helped greatly with choices and alternates. 15. We ate at Q-sine - a specialty restaurant one evening. You order with I-pads, but you get what they decide you want. Some (of their) choices were quite good, but somehow one of our selections for filet mignon was morphed into tacos and cheeseburgers. Other items were bite sized. We were on a twofer special so it was not that bad. But, I would never pay $45 per person for this restaurant. 16. There were only enough parts on board to make 1 Mah-Jong set. There should have been many more for this many passengers. 17. Near the end of the cruise there were minor annoyances such as non-working ice machines and lack of half and half in the Oceanview Grille. Items Beyond Celebrity’s Control 18. Landing at Fort Lauderdale dock 29 was chaotic, like being in a third world country. Celebrity did a great job of organizing what they could in their domain. But there were long delays as approximately 1500 people were funneled through 3 U.S. Customs inspectors. The system of local transportation and loading was unclear, slow and disorganized. We were ripped off by a cab taking a much longer route than needed. If possible, I would avoid this port.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
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
This was one holiday split into two quite different cruises on the same ship. The first thing to say is that we enjoyed it but, having had two previous cruises with Celebrity, this holiday did have its disappointments. I have no problem ... Read More
This was one holiday split into two quite different cruises on the same ship. The first thing to say is that we enjoyed it but, having had two previous cruises with Celebrity, this holiday did have its disappointments. I have no problem with the ship itself. Size-wise and layout-wise it was fine. It was well presented and generally staffed with a very friendly, hard-working crew. (There was an exception here and there, more about which later)! We were disappointed with the way Celebrity seem to be pricing themselves out of the market somewhat. Daily tips are expensive, the cost of drinks is expensive ($6 for a bottle of water when you can buy one ashore for under $1). They've even jumped on the band-wagon with the popularity of zumba classes and have now started charging for them. The cost of a coffee in Café al Baccio went down slightly on the 2nd cruise - why was it deemed necessary to charge more on the transatlantic cruise? As with most other cruise lines, meals are plated and this, to my mind, only encourages waste. There were things on my plate I did not want and things that I would have liked more of, given the choice. At dinner I would say that portions are very small and there are no petit fours or after dinner chocolates. Chocolates on your pillow happened once per cruise. Food itself was a disappointment, particularly in the Ocean View café at lunch time. There was nothing like the choice of food we had on Eclipse last November. Very often the food was not hot and finding a hot plate was almost impossible. Apparently in the Select dining Trellis Restaurant the waiters had to go down two escalators to get the food which, again, was often not as hot as it should have been. I will say though that we always found the meat to be of good quality and well cooked - just not hot! We learned to ask for our food "hot" and sometimes it paid off! The restaurant by 6 pm was getting busy and I think there have been cut backs staffing-wise. On many occasions it was quite a wait to receive food. In the Ocean View café there seemed to be few staff around to clear the tables. In the bars, particularly the Rendez-vous lounge, you had to wait quite a long time to get your drinks. On the second cruise this lounge got very busy around 5.30 pm whereas the two weeks before there was hardly anyone in. Entertainment was also a disappointment for us. The Cruise Director, Alejandro, was excellent and the 3 members of the entertainment team worked very hard. Is this another cut-back - only 3 in the team? On other ships recently there have been more than 3. The daily programme relied quite heavily on passengers arranging their own entertainment eg football - arrange your own competition; table tennis - arrange your own competition. There were no dance hosts and no hosts for bridge. Of the on-board musicians, one band, D'Revelations - the house-band - particularly stood out. Their singer, Cindy, is outstanding and is, in our opinion, good enough to be a headliner. She received a well deserved standing ovation for her rendition of the Whitney song "I will always love you". On the second cruise another band, So Cool, came on and they were pleasant to listen and/or dance to as well. When some of the other so-called musicians came on we left the area! Quickly!! Guest entertainers were very poor. The comedians were terrible - American humour which just didn't translate for us. Of course, the Americans were laughing. We walked out of every comedians' show. What we did find funny was Liars Club and this provided a laugh on both occasions it was held. One of our travelling companions had to visit the ship's doctor to have an ear syringed. For a ten minute visit the cost was $246.60!! Just to see the doctor was $121. Is this extortionate cost really justified? Also this friend bought a bottle of water from a bar and was then charged for it again as if he had taken it from his mini-bar. It took him almost a week to get the charge refunded and eventually an officer came to the stateroom to apologise. Another unpleasant incident involved one of the hostesses at the Select dining room. On the first cruise this particular lady was all charm and each night we asked to be booked in for 6 pm the following night and asked for table 433 if available. This happened each night for the duration of the crossing and there was no problem. When the second cruise began it suddenly became a problem. The first night we went down and were told that we couldn't expect to have this table and that if someone else wanted it before us then she would let them have it. Fine - it wasn't crucial - but her manner was very "off". We spoke to the Maître D' about her attitude and he told us she was having a bad day! He said could we come a bit earlier the next night, say 5.45 pm and there would be no problem. Agreed. We entered at 5.45 as agreed and the hostess said table 433 was occupied. No big deal - we were escorted to another table - except that she had lied. There was no-one at that table and indeed no-one was there for the next hour. After that night the same four Americans had that table every night! When we sailed on the Eclipse we had two superb waiters and booked the same table every night for the entire duration of the cruise, no bother whatsoever. There was plenty of deck space on Infinity but not enough sun loungers. There were rooms, two in particular, which were hardly ever used - one was Michael's Club (reserved for suite users) and the other was Cellar Masters. Our muster drill was held in the photo gallery where there were no chairs. We were expected to stand for approximately 40 minutes. Not very satisfactory. Arrangements made for those of us back-to-back cruisers in Fort Lauderdale were not very satisfactory. There should have been a separate line for us so we could quickly get ashore instead of getting mixed up with the long line of passengers waiting for the usual slow US immigration and customs. To get back on board we had to duck under some barriers or we would have gotten mixed up with the passengers joining the ship. We didn't take any shore excursions, doing our own thing in each port of call. We didn't call at Lisbon due to bad weather, going to Ponta Delgado instead. It was touch and go as to whether we would get to Bermuda because of a hurricane four days before we were due there. We did call but the weather was atrocious, particularly on the second day and we had to abandon our plans. This, of course, is in no way the fault of Celebrity. Our beach day in Labadee was ruined as well by torrential rain. I do like the way Celebrity welcome you back on board with drinks and ice-cold flannels - on some days it was really hot. There was some good port information (apart from the maps, which were illegible) but you had to call to Reception for it, it wasn't delivered to your cabin. Our stateroom, 3064, was comfortable and I have reviewed this separately. Incidentally, tea and coffee making facilities are not provided but if you want them, ask for them. We were then given a kettle, cups, tea, coffee, milk etc. There is no free laundry on board. All in all a good holiday but we will seriously look carefully at the prices before taking another Celebrity cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We use transatlantic cruise ship repositionings as transport to avoid air travel so our views may not be generally applicable. Ship-In generally good condition for age but decoration and finishes a little tired and dated. Allocation of ... Read More
We use transatlantic cruise ship repositionings as transport to avoid air travel so our views may not be generally applicable. Ship-In generally good condition for age but decoration and finishes a little tired and dated. Allocation of space could be improved as some facilities are overcrowded whilst others are barely used Food- well below standard expected, A Blu cabin and dining package are pretty much essential as the general restaurants are poor. Drinks- Very expensive if paid for on a per use basis, again a premium beverage package is essential if more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day are consumed( the classic beverage package whilst cheaper excludes most of the wines and spirits available) but watch for late package discounts if purchasing pre voyage.The Constellatin lounge and Martini Bar have the best bartenders for Cabins - OK but long and narrow, bathrooms are small and balconies tiny. Service- friendly but a little impersonal and disjointed. Restaurant staff are not too well organized, however sommeliers were knowledgeable and keen. Destinations- not of interest to us but fairly generic. Tours- not taken so no comment Entertainment - Rather basic but one or two good singers Embarkation-Harwich, entrance yard open so no cover from usual English rain, actual processing quite efficient. Disembarkation- Fort Lauderdale, not the ship's fault but an absolute shambles. Bags have to collected before immigration, only four officers on duty to deal with 2200 passengers, no computer tie in to Border security so all processing by old manual system and Rquired paper evidence of ESTA approval required Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise from London (Harwich) to Boston. Our oceanview room was satisfactory and the decor of the ship very nice. Our room steward and waiters all were fine, nothing to complain about. But as others have ... Read More
Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise from London (Harwich) to Boston. Our oceanview room was satisfactory and the decor of the ship very nice. Our room steward and waiters all were fine, nothing to complain about. But as others have mentioned, on our thread and in reviews, the food, and some amenities are falling on this ship! After having fantastic dinners on Holland America and Carnival, I expected better. Oh, not all the food was bad. It was just OK, or sometimes served cold, as in the case of my husband. I was disappointed that there was no included lobster night. Thank heaven you could have a good shrimp cocktail or two every night....... There was no selection of salads in the main dining room. I had my salads at lunch, where I could make them myself. One night in the main dining room margarine was in the butter pail! My husband really was annoyed at that. We noticed this only at our table and a few near by, most of the dining room had real butter. To us, this is not acceptable on a ship at all. People are looking for a superior dining experience, not seeing some fake butter on your table! Up in the Windjammer, again sort of average. We ate only breakfasts and lunches there. Breakfasts were satisfactory; can't complain at all about them. We tried Giovanni's Table, which was slightly disappointing also. Good guacamole for a small charge at Rita's Cantina. The canned music in the Windjammer was too loud and too much 80's 90'l pop I guess. Not to my taste, and I can't imagine the people older than me would like it either--- and there were a lot of the older crowd on this trans Atlantic. I wish Royal Caribbean would get the hint on that. Why play pop rock when your crowd is mostly well over 60? Enjoyed the band that played in the Atrium, and lots of others did too; there was much dancing. The ports were great. That is what I went on this cruise for. For those curious about a trans Atlantic, we had only 1 rougher day at sea, and aside from a few other minor periods of bumpiness, the cruise was smooth. But I guess there is no real pattern to that. I thought we were pretty lucky in that department. Overall, I would cruise on Brilliance again, but only for the right, lower price. And I wish Royal Caribbean would really listen to the many complaints made about the food and do something about it. It will get to a point where some people won't cruise on the line anymore. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This is a review of Royal Caribbean and not necessarily of the Brilliance of the Seas. RCCL has always been my favorite cruise line and I am now Diamond. First the good things. The ship was very nice, clean and well maintained. The staff ... Read More
This is a review of Royal Caribbean and not necessarily of the Brilliance of the Seas. RCCL has always been my favorite cruise line and I am now Diamond. First the good things. The ship was very nice, clean and well maintained. The staff everywhere was wonderful. RCCL has cut back so many things, although small put all together they are glaring and these cut backs were noticed by everyone I talked to. Many, many people said they would never sail with RCCL again and that includes me and my sister. Here is what they have done and some of their excuses: . No more chocolates on the pillow . No more lox on the buffet in the Windjammer . No fresh Spinach on the buffet salad bar . No hors d'oeuvres at the Crown & Anchor 'Welcome Back' party . No complimentary RCCL bag in the cabin . No pen and note pad in the cabin . No lotion with the amenities in the bathroom (you have to ask for it but you shouldn't have to) . Only one vegetable choice besides potatoes on the buffet every day and that was Cauliflower . No Cocktail forks for the Shrimp Cocktail or Escargot. You had to eat your Shrimp Cocktail with your fingers . No salad forks, only large dinner forks, you had to ask for steak knives. They were not served along with your steak. When I asked the head waiter what happened to these items he said passengers didn't want that much silverware on the table any more although the amount of silverware was the same minus a spoon. He said "less is more." . Selection of food choices in Windjammer buffet greatly reduced . Extra charge for Filet Mignon ($19) in the main dinning room . On the first formal night the menu selections listed were lamb chops, soy meatballs and spaghetti among some other unmemorable things. . Last formal night, No Lobster. Lobster was an extra $34. When we asked why they didn't serve lobster they said "this is an European menu and Europe doesn't have lobster. There will be lobster on the next cruise to New England and Canada." This is a lie and a ridiculous excuse. Lobster tails are frozen and can be kept forever and they are available all over the world. I have sailed Transatlantic many times as well as Transpacific and Europe, Asia, Middle-east, South America, Mediterranian, etc. and have ALWAYS had lobster on the last formal night as well as an upscale menu. This is one of the reasons you look forward to to a cruise is the food. . No flowers or tissues in public bathrooms . No backstage or galley tours . Tours of the Bridge cost an extra $150 pp . . Production show quality & talent not up to par. Dancers reduced to 5 . No more pre-printed luggage tags. We were told "we don't offer that service any more." . Many mistakes and misprints in the daily Cruise Compass which lead to confusion among the passengers. On Day 7 of a 14 night cruise from England to Ireland, The Faroe Islands, Iceland and then Boston the Compass had the following: "If you haven't booked a tour for today you still have time. We have available afternoon tours for Peterhof, Walk along Nevsky Prospect with shopping, Rivers and Canals of St. Petersburg." We were nowhere near Russia and this cruise did not go to Russia. Another day the Compass said "we hope you will enjoy your cruise back to Britain. Come book your shore excursions now." The cruise was not going back to Britain. When calling RCCL I have also received a lot of incorrect information especially when it comes to whether or not you need a Visa which leads one to think that these representatives don't know their jobs. This has happened more than once but to be fair I have also received wrong information from representatives from other cruise lines so I don't think any of them are trained very well or know their jobs. Do Your Homework and don't take the word of a cruise rep. as the final word or the truth. It seems everyone you talk to has a different answer. . Long story short, we were given a $15 internet credit by Guest Services. At that time we asked if the internet would be terminated once the $15 was used up or if we would continue to be charged 85 cents per minute for as long as we are on line. We were told that our service would be terminated once the $15 was used. NOT TRUE. You are continued to be charged. You can't check how many minutes or money you have left and you are given no warning that you have used your minutes/money. Also, if you don't log off properly your minutes continue to run and your are charged even if your laptop, etc. is turned off. Be forewarned, you can't even trust what Guest Services tells you. This is a big difference since the last time (not so long ago) that I sailed on RCCL As I said, the cut backs may be small looking at them one by one but bunched all together they are very noticeable. Too bad, RCCL used to be a great cruise line but not any more. We were told that they are in the process of building and have plans to build 5 more mega ships; I guess they have to get the money from somewhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We've cruised about 29 times and this was our 3rd RCCL cruise. The ship, about 12 years old, is still very pretty and easy to navigate. Our cabin, 9034, was a balcony and far enough away from the atrium to avoid the noise that others ... Read More
We've cruised about 29 times and this was our 3rd RCCL cruise. The ship, about 12 years old, is still very pretty and easy to navigate. Our cabin, 9034, was a balcony and far enough away from the atrium to avoid the noise that others have complained about. The cabin attendant was perfect. The ship itself had some issues. We needed to call to report plumbing problems four consecutive days. Others had the same unfunctioning toilet and lack of hot water issues we did. Repairs were made promptly, and repeatedly. The cabin was rather large and comfortable, and had a lot of storage space. The entertainment was varied...the first production show featured mostly songs from broadway and the west end that apparently didn't make it big...we go to a lot of theater and never heard them. The exception was the ABBA part of the show. The singers were excellent, We had the pleasure of having lunch with Tracey, one of the singers, in the Faroe Islands, and especially enjoyed that. During the sea days crossing the Atlantic, they had a matinee theater show each day as well as the evening show. Besides the usual games, there were lectures and we were not at a loss for things to do. The ports were interesting and the Faroe Islands was the nicest surprise for us. We enjoyed it more than Iceland which had several main attractions but the drives getting there were rather boring. Now, the disappointing part: the food and the dining room service. Aside from the standby entrees, the ship offered 5-7 entrees each night and two of them were Indian food, which we don't eat. I asked about that and the Head Waiter said it was because there were a great many Indians onboard. Technically, he was correct but the only Indians we saw were the food staff...we saw not one Indian among the passengers. The food portions were small, the soup all broth like (even the french Onion Soup which was served without cheese) and there was no choice of salads in the main dining room at night...just Caesar. Food in the Windjammer was slightly more varied. We dined once in the Giovanni;s restaurant which had basically the same food as the main dining room...they just renamed the entrees. This was a 14 day cruise and I didn't gain a pound. At breakfast, the same server forgot something I ordered four consecutive mornings. On the fifth day, she got the breakfast right but served me lunch belonging to someone at a different table. We had a good laugh about that. RCCL seems to think we don't notice the cost cutting measures. The lack of chocs on the pillow at night, the lack of stationary in the room, charging extra for decent orange juice in the morning, no printed news updates (CNN and BCC were apparently recorded since we saw the same stories several days in a row) and, no included lobster at formal nights...it was available thruout the cruise at $34. On the menu at formal night was soy meatballs and pasta....we refused to dress up for fake meatballs.. On balance, we thought the pluses on the cruise outweighed the negative and we would probably do it again, but this line wouldn't be my first choice.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Having done a repositioning cruise on a different cruise line a few years ago, which is still our favorite of 11 cruises, we chose this one because of the itinerary. We were a group of 8 family and friends. We booked 2 nights at the ... Read More
Having done a repositioning cruise on a different cruise line a few years ago, which is still our favorite of 11 cruises, we chose this one because of the itinerary. We were a group of 8 family and friends. We booked 2 nights at the Westminster Doubletree in London and were very pleased with the hotel and its location. Breakfast was included in our rate and was excellent. The bus to the cruiseport was easy and quick as was the boarding process. Our stateroom was ready, but we didn't see our attendant for the first several days, nor did he leave us the usual card with his name and contact information. We never did get his name. It was his first cruise, so we cut him some slack for that. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, but sometimes found it difficult to find an available table. Often tables were occupied by interior cabin "campers", some of whom were actually playing cards on the tables with no visible signs of actually eating there ! Dinner in the dining room was pleasant with wonderful service, but unfortunately only OK food selections. The beef was lacking flavor and everything was overly salty. There never was a wow meal. Searching for a spot for a pre-dinner cocktail was challenging. The Crown VIking lounge was occupied by private functions almost every night, and frequently the Schooner was being used for trivia games. The beautiful Colony Club was nice, but there was no bar service at that time. We ordered drinks at the Schooner bar and carried them into Colony Club. The King and Country Pub had Guinness on tap, but we had to walk through the smoky casino to get to the pub. Vintages had limited seating and conversation was limited by the overly loud band in the adjacent Centrum. We went to almost every show and liked all but the creepy hypnotist. We enjoyed the ports and booked excursions through RC, but were disappointed in how few were available in the beautiful Faroe Islands. A taxi there was ridiculously expensive ruling out that option. Iceland was very interesting and we loved the Blue Lagoon. We'll not likely ever return there , so it was worth doing. Our sea days were just OK. The lectures were uninspiring, the beading ho-hum, and we aren't into trivia. The library was lacking (TIP:bring a loaded Kindle/Nook ) and I still am offended by the internet rates. The speed is slow and logging off is difficult resulting in wasted minutes. Why is wifi free at Comfort Inns and not on ships ? The cruise was just OK. We're glad to have seen the ports, but we might think twice about booking with Royal Caribbean any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and in all likelihood will be our last. We have sailed Celebrity many, many times and was hoping for a similar experience on Royal. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The good things first - the ... Read More
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and in all likelihood will be our last. We have sailed Celebrity many, many times and was hoping for a similar experience on Royal. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The good things first - the itinerary was absolutely wonderful and we loved the ports. We only wished we had more time in Ireland as that was one of the highlights of the trip. I am glad we were able to join other Cruise Critic members on a trip to Blarney Castle and a stop at a traditional Irish pub for a great lunch and a pint of Guinness. We liked the fact that our balcony cabin had great storage space with many hidden nooks to store all the things we take along on cruises. We also liked how Royal treated Cruise Critic members as well as Crown and Anchor members. The one thing that definitely turned us off of Royal was the smoking in the casino. While we could avoid walking through the casino, it was hard to avoid other public areas of the ship where smoke was very noticeable. If you are bothered by smoke, the public areas on 4, 5, and 6 frequently smelled like smoke. This was especially true on sea days (and on a TA there were many sea days) when the casino was open all the time. There was also a sewage smell in many of the cabin hallways as well as the bathroom in the cabin. I know that Brilliance is an older ship, but with recent refurbishment, we were hoping for better. The food in the dining room was fair with some highs and lows. Some of the descriptions of the dishes were not very accurate - after being presented with something that tasted like "fake crab" or if it was real crab even more a pity, that was called Royal Seafood Salad, we had to laugh. A tiny piece of crab leg on top was the only recognizable seafood in the salad. Every night's menu had 2 Indian dishes available, which I never saw anyone ordering. I think that was intended to be the vegetarian offering every night, but it seemed to me that the menu could have used a bit more creativity. Also, if you like your meat not overcooked, we learned never order anything other than medium rare. It was as if there were only 2 meats temps - medium rare and over-cooked. The Windjammer Café served buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food never seemed to change and after 14 days grew pretty tiresome. We were lucky in that we could go to the Diamond Lounge and get coffee every morning as the coffee on the ship was pretty terrible. It is not easy to brew something that looks like coffee, but has no coffee smell and yet is bitter. We did attend the Chef's Table which was excellent. It only made the rest of the cooking on the ship look even more sad as we could see there were talented chefs on board, but that talent was not allowed to shine for every diner. We also attended the mystery dinner which was okay, but definitely one of those - been there, done that events. No need to ever go again. There did not appear to be a lot of sea day activities that we have seen on other ships. We are used to being able to attend all types of cooking demonstrations or chef competitions. We were told after we boarded that when we arrived in Boston, we would not be allowed to leave the ship until 8:15AM. Given we were arriving at 6:00AM, we were astounded by this as every other TA we have taken, we were able to disembark no later than one hour after arriving. Royal said that the delay was caused by the fact that Immigration was going to come on-board and clear the 400 foreign nationals before allowing US citizens off the ship. It would have been very helpful to know that before we sailed as we had made airline reservations based on getting off the ship at a reasonable hour. While I don't blame Royal if this was a last minute change, I suspect that this was known beforehand. In hopes of getting off the ship in time to make our flight, we lined up as walk-offs along with probably 200 other guests who had planes, trains and buses to catch. Luckily Immigration finished their task around 7:40 and said we could leave the ship. It was only then that Royal's security staff decided to bring up their computers to scan our sea passes. Of course, there was a problem in bringing up the computers which only delayed us more. It seems that if they were aware that they had several hundred guests anxious to get off the ship, they would be ready for a mass exodus. We did make our flight with 5 minutes to spare, but the fact that we ended our two week vacation on a stressful note cast a damper on the entire trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife and I have sailed many cruise lines over the years, and are diamond members on Royal Carribien. This is the first review we have felt compelled to write. We have made two transatlantic cruises this last year, one on the RC's ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed many cruise lines over the years, and are diamond members on Royal Carribien. This is the first review we have felt compelled to write. We have made two transatlantic cruises this last year, one on the RC's liberty, which was fabulous and the other on the Celebrity Infinity, a miserable experience. Celebrity made the reservation for the cruise and air to London. They told me I would receive the air arrangements about 30 days before the cruise date, I had to call them twice shortly before the cruise for the info? We had to leave before our luggage tags arrived. The check in on the ship went well. The service in the dining room was slow and the food was Mediocier at best. The Ocean View Cafe was under staffed by unhappy people, and the food terrible and not hot. We had a drink package and the service was nonexsistant. The Elete club members had no lounge, and given paper slips to use in verious bar. The whole ship was dirty and unkept. Our room had dirty tile with black algae in the bathroom and shower. My wife and I both got some kind of skin infection on our feet we are trying to get rid of. We were told our package included a pier to airport transfer, which was printed on both our cruise invoice and air confermation, which was refused by the ship customer relations after showing them their own printed documents. After four trips to the CS rest I received a done message they were going to give me the transfer as a favor, but crop. Was still maintaining I had not paid for it. Very poor. We will never ever sail on Celebrity again, and now have question about Royal Carribien. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
In my opinion Holland America sets the standards for cruising, and I rate it a 5* out of 5*. Infinity I rate a 4*. The ship's management and staff were all first class. The entertainment guest selection was outstanding, as well as ... Read More
In my opinion Holland America sets the standards for cruising, and I rate it a 5* out of 5*. Infinity I rate a 4*. The ship's management and staff were all first class. The entertainment guest selection was outstanding, as well as the ship's singers and dancers. There were many selections of activities on board to satisfy almost everyone's desires. The 5 ports we visited exceeded our expectations. The food and presentation for breakfast and lunch was very good, but the evening meals were disappointing for the two of who are on restricted diets. The other 6 people sitting at our table were well satisfied with the "meat and potato" selections, but after 3 tries we gave up on the fish presentations consisting of; salmon, Pollock and Flounder. It is difficult to "mess-up" Salmon and Flounder, but the chief found ways to destroy the flavor of each of these fish. The ship's crew needs a little training in the maintenance of the ship. Our veranda had paint smears and drips from previous paintings. Also, about a week out an odor of fresh oil based paint was apparent in the second aft stairwell that was very irritating to me and my companion. May have been a coincidence, but my companions sinus' became inflamed by the next day. The odor persisted for the next 3 days. The aforementioned inconveniences did not materially affect our overall satisfaction with the ship's crew and the cruise. Would definitely cruse with Celebrity again. John G.K. Ferrell jgkferl@bellsouth.net Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Trans Atlantic Cruise 24th October - 7th November We set off from MAN at 07.20 and landed at LHR at 08.30. Our luggage was with us quickly and we were met and taken to the waiting bus. We left LHR by 09.15 and had an uneventful journey ... Read More
Trans Atlantic Cruise 24th October - 7th November We set off from MAN at 07.20 and landed at LHR at 08.30. Our luggage was with us quickly and we were met and taken to the waiting bus. We left LHR by 09.15 and had an uneventful journey to Harwich, which took just 2hs. This had been the one aspect that I was nervous about, as I had been unable to find anyone reporting on this transfer. Embarkation was speedy and we were sitting at the rear of the ship, the outside section of the Ocean View Café by 11.45, having ordered our first drink from the Classic Package, which came as part of our booking. This proved excellent, if only for the 2 litres of water which we ordered daily. If we had used the one left in our cabin, it would have cost us at least $150 for the 14 night cruise. It just meant that I had to pick up a bottle from any bar on the ship.The cabins were ready by 1.00 and although I knew we had an extra large balcony, on our FV, I was impressed, as we had a bedroom and lounge. Sail away for us was from the same bar, where we met previous cruisers from the Century (Hawaii) & the Eclipse (Caribbean) It was good to catch up. We met our table companions, a couple from New Hampshire and a couple from Halifax ,Nova Scotia. We got on very well 1St Sea Day We had a very early start, I had not slept well, due to the movement of the ship. I began to think that I shouldn’t have upgraded to the corner FV on Deck 9 starboard.We went to the C.C meeting, held at 09.30 in the Constellation lounge. Here we met fellow C.C’s one of which had been put in the Royal Suite. ( They had booked concierge, but had noted that guarantee suites were less than they had paid, so asked to be transferred to a suite, after final payment day) She took a group of 10 of us for a ‘viewing’ I liked the Jacuzzi on the balcony and the large table in the dining room especially. Before we set sail on Sunday 27 th October, we were warned by the Captain of the impending storm and to take care as we walked around the ship.I do not have any pictures of the horizon rising & falling 40 ft, from top to bottom of the 2 story dining room window, nor of the broken window, which according to the Captain cracked due to the ‘flexing of the ship,’ - a spontaneous shatter.They apparently carry replacements panes on board, but it hadn’t been replaced by see through glass, when we saw it on the last morning. Our ports of call were : La Rochelle (France) Gijon (Spain) Vigo (Spain) Lisbon (Portugal) We were 3 hrs late arriving into Vigo; we have been twice and been late on both occasions. It was interesting to watch our approach. I wasn't impressed with the town, I think that it's main claim to fame is due to it’s proximity to Santiago de Compestella. I heard later, that Indy missed the port, due to remaining in Southampton an extra night,as passengers could not reach the ship, because Heathrow was closed and trains were not travelling south beyond Peterborough. They were sailing direct to Lisbon. We were told that seas on Monday 28th October, would be 2m less than the previous night, oh joy, I might get some sleep, beyond 3am. We were to change the clocks yet again. We had already: Put them 1 hour forward for France and Spain, who are BST +1hr. Put 1 Hr back, BST to GMT( Daylight Saving Time)Always the last Sunday in October, in Europe. Put 1 hr back as Portugal is on GMT. Over the cruise we put the clocks back a further 5 times. Yes, we gained 7 hrs in all, a 7 hr longer cruise, but my body still worked on UK time! It became such a problem, that once we left Lisbon, breakfast was 1 hr earlier each morning, as elderley passengers wake early. Theatre lectures also started at 9am instead of 10am. The 7 days at sea were spent going to 'Beyond the Podium' lectures. Our favourite was Jim Kennedy, recently retired director of Kennedy Space Centre. We were given 2 different Nasa 'pins, ' by him. We also listened to the Discovery of America , was Christopher Columbus the first adventurer to arrive in America and the Mutiny on the Bounty, by an ex University Proffesor, but I cannot remember his name! Ian White ( a photographer employed by Scunthorpe News) detailed his memories of the Beatles. We only attended one of his lectures, as I was not impressed with his delivery. I attended 5 (free) iLounge lectures, which were interesting, but nothing could be done to improve the overloaded sattelite connection.These were very popular and were eventually moved from the Gamma Conference Centre to the Rendevous Lounge, as seating was at a premium. In fact the 1st 2 were repeated due to popularity. My husband (DH) went to the gym approx 7 times and we both went to the Elite Happy Hour nightly, where we were given 3 vouchers each to use between 5-7pm, as there were over 1000 Elite passengers on this TransAtlantic sailing. We both attended all the evening Theatre shows, but the 3 productions shows weren't put on until the last week of the cruise, due to the rough seas. Even though the 1st Formal night was on our 1st Sea day, they had already decided that these would not be performed until after we left Portugal ( even later eventually) I think my favourite performance was by a fellow Welshman, Mike Doyle . He was a baritone and comedian. We spent enjoyable hours on our balcony and were very appreciative of the extra space in our room. It will be a shock when we go back to a 'normal' sized cabin. We woke to clear skies on Sunday 3rd Nov, and I was lucky enough to capture some reflections of the Partial Eclipse of the sun. I didn't have protective shades for my eyes, or filters for my camera, but by chance, as I was trying to focus on a hawk, who we think was living on the ship, I captured a reflection. In all I have 6 of the various stages of the Eclipse. A real added bonus for those of us who live in cloudy U.K. We also attended a Brunch on the morning of the last Sea Day.We went early, as DH had a final rehearsal for the Celebrity choir at noon. The performance was during the Infinity guest & staff show, which was on the choppy afternoon of the final sea day. Our last day and final port came too soon, but it was HOT. We took the local boat over to Paradise Island in Nassau and walked around. Not many of the shops were open and as I was feeling unwell, we didn't stay for too long ( I had picked up a chest infection on the ship) We were able to see the new Norwegian Breakaway arrive just before we left. I wasn't impressed. We arrived in Miami early morning on Thursday 7th November. I tried to get photos of the Pelicans that were flying near our balcony, but they were too quick for me. We were unable to partake of the Elite breakfast on the final day. Coffee in the ocean View Cafe was a rarity, as were cups, hot water and tea. I did eventually manage to find some cardboard cups , but with out the collars to hold them. We gathered in the S.S United States Restaurant, to wait for our number to be called, but then had to go up to the Theatre Entrance to disembark. We would have been better sticking to our original assigned room, rather than wait in the Elite Lounge. Once on dry land, we found our luggage without a problem, as it had been placed on a carousel in 3 different rooms. We were through immigration in Miami, without a problem, but I still have the Customs Form that I had to fill out - never mind there only being 3 Officers on duty, there were NONE, only Immigration Officers and they didn't ask for the form! Our only problem was trying to find the transport to the Shereton hotel, where we had a room until 4pm. Here I was able to upgraded my i-Pad in the tranquil gardens, which just happened to have free wi-fi access. What joy, after the truly dire internet service on Infinity. We had a quick flight back to LHR, but had to wait for a plane to go from our stand. I asked to be fast tracked so we could get on our plane which was leaving in just over 1 hr. We made it and were in MAN on time! All travel arrangements fortunately went without a hitch. It was good to be home, even though the weather is colder, its not windy, and my bed is stable.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my 25th cruise. My 2nd on Celebrity. This repositioning cruise was an excellent value and wonderful crossing to Miami. The ports of call, La Rochelle, Vigo, Gijon & Lisbon were okay. I would not recommend any of them as there ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise. My 2nd on Celebrity. This repositioning cruise was an excellent value and wonderful crossing to Miami. The ports of call, La Rochelle, Vigo, Gijon & Lisbon were okay. I would not recommend any of them as there are more exciting ports of call to travel in Europe. The staff on Celebrity could not have been nicer. We were constantly greeted by staff and officers through out the trip. For an older ship the Infinity was in good shape and very clean. Our cabin was kept immaculate. The entertainment was second rate but one has to put all that in perspective as we paid less thent $100.0 a day for food, lodging and entertainment. The food was good. You would have a problem not being able to find something to eat, as the choices were varied and the selection large. Altough by the second week everything started looking and tasting the same. Most of my travels have been with Princess, NCL and Holland America. I had always heard that Celebrity was higher class of cruise line. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. They are basically a mass marketed cruise line competeing with the rest. With that said, I still would travel on Celebrity but would not expect anything special. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013

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