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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our second cruise with Silversea and we wouldn't have thought they could improve on perfection but they did! Being onboard was like being in a cocoon where our every need was catered to. It was almost as though our butler ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Silversea and we wouldn't have thought they could improve on perfection but they did! Being onboard was like being in a cocoon where our every need was catered to. It was almost as though our butler and the food and beverage staff anticipated our wish and had it taken care of before we could even ask. As we walked down the hall into the bar, Oliver the bartender would have our drinks waiting for us. The shore excursions were fantastic with small groups and knowledgeable guides. We were impressed with the quality of the nightly entertainment. The singers were exceptional and entertained us with opera, broadway and oldies. Vicki, our cruise director, with her dry sense of humor and buoyant personality keep us in stitches the entire time. Our suite was spacious and the twice daily service was meticulous. The variety of dining options and the caliber of the food made each dinner a special occasion. Our only disappointment is we could never get into the Le Champagne, the Relais & Chateaux speciality restaurant. I recommend guests book this restaurant in advance of embarking. My husband and I were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and this cruise far exceeded our expectations. The small size of the ship and the friendliness of the other guests and staff made it a trip of a lifetime! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
This was my first cruise, but even the experienced cruisers praised Viking Star as their best cruise. The ship is new, modern and high class. The tours were also high quality in addition to the food and staff. It was mainly 65+ guests, ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but even the experienced cruisers praised Viking Star as their best cruise. The ship is new, modern and high class. The tours were also high quality in addition to the food and staff. It was mainly 65+ guests, with no children on board. So if you are younger it requires some patience and adjusting assumptions. But there were a few "younger" people traveling with parents and there are always a few 65+ people who like late night entertainment and drinks. We sailed around the Nordic sea, Bergen (three stops in Norway), Denmark, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Russia, Finland and ending in Sweden. The dining options were a good variety. We were on the third floor and had only two nights of special dining, but those were excellent. The restaurant and buffet area offer a wide range of options and we did not tired of those options either. I loved the accommodations and the staff was fabulously consistently kind and generous. I would go back in an instant and dream of retiring on a Viking ship. Thank you Viking! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Chose this cruise for the ports we were going to visit. Upon embarkation we were informed that two of the ports had been cancelled (egypt)-not happy! Then, the ship lost my passport! The most interesting thing is that when the ceo was ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the ports we were going to visit. Upon embarkation we were informed that two of the ports had been cancelled (egypt)-not happy! Then, the ship lost my passport! The most interesting thing is that when the ceo was contacted about our poor experince, his response was to send our email to a subordinate to respond. Her response was that the contract allowed them to change ports! The staff are phenomenal, cabin was ok and food was great. The cruise entertainment director made himself available to everyone and had well planned activities. Shore excursions were plentiful and informative. The only negative was that when shopping was allowed every shore excyrsion had a defined shopping experience- kind of felt like tge guide was getting a kickback! They may have been protecting us but nit sure about that! This was our second oceania cruise and based on this experience, our last! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I loved this cruise!! The highlight to me was being up on deck with a gin and tonic when the ship left port!! The Aquavit outdoor dining experience was incredible, with the outdoor cooking and the incredible bartenders... Marvin and ... Read More
I loved this cruise!! The highlight to me was being up on deck with a gin and tonic when the ship left port!! The Aquavit outdoor dining experience was incredible, with the outdoor cooking and the incredible bartenders... Marvin and Frederico!!! The fresh fish which was cooked by Dennis one night was divine! Overall service was excellent. The only aspect which was less than perfect was the Tours. The Opera Tour in Venice was ridiculously described. As a dr. I was exceedingly worried about some infirm people who came and were horrified by the difficulty of the walk. It was very dangerous for them. The Santorini included trip was poor, we spent so much time in the more boring and less attractive parts of the island. But overall the ship was beautiful... I loved the understated décor. The restaurants were wonderful, each and every one of them. It was hard for us to tear ourselves off the Aquavit deck but we did go to Manfredi's twice and were very impressed by the food and wine list. In fact, I thought the included wines were excellent!! Also, the cabin size and décor plus balcony for those great arrivals.... all great. Thank you so much!!!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I just completed two back to back cruises, 9/5-9/12 Piraeus-Istanbul (Greek Isles) and 9/12-9/19 Istanbul-Istanbul (Black Sea Odyssey) This was my first SB trip. For comparison, I have done 8 prior cruises, most of them on luxury ... Read More
I just completed two back to back cruises, 9/5-9/12 Piraeus-Istanbul (Greek Isles) and 9/12-9/19 Istanbul-Istanbul (Black Sea Odyssey) This was my first SB trip. For comparison, I have done 8 prior cruises, most of them on luxury competitor lines. EMBARKATION was pleasant and efficient, took less than a half hour. We got on board on a very hot day around 12:30 for a 4 PM departure, then went to the nicely air-conditioned Colonnade indoor/outdoor venue for a sumptuous buffet lunch while the rooms were readied. Around 2PM we were notified our room was ready. My suitcase was there waiting for me from Luggage Forward, a company sponsored by SB, shipped from the US in advance, right on time. ATMOSPHERE Contemporary, well-kept ship, very clean, with obviously well-off passengers averaging 55-65. Overall, pax were younger than on Silver Sea cruises I have done, by about 10 years, though this may have been due to the itinerary. Passengers were mostly well-behaved, healthy-appearing couples with varying marital status, including a few gay couples, and a handful of singles (there seemed to be less of them here than on SS). Though there were a few people who appeared unhappy and were having problems they unrealistically hoped a cruise would solve, generally people seemed to be polite, well-traveled, reserved, and content to enjoy their trips and the company of their traveling companions without inserting themselves into conversations with strangers. At least a third seemed to be from non-English speaking countries (I heard at least Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, Flemish, and Portuguese). The rest were English-speaking Americans (some originally from other countries), Brits, Canadians, Aussies. Most of the port excursions on these cruises required a pretty good fitness level (cobblestones, hills, and/or walking and standing around in the heat for the majority of offered excursions), so not surprisingly I did not see any wheelchairs (though some pax had canes and were mobility impaired), or many pax who were young children. However, I heard from a crew member that a couple months before here had been an unusual group of pax on board with 50 children, so absence of children is not guaranteed on this line. Note for smoking phobics: there were a few small outdoor smoking venues which did not bother me at all but might bother some. Even though I am a non-smoker, I am not worried I will die from a few outdoor sniffs of smoke here and there, though I know some people are, and some perceive reactions to even small amounts. Smoking venues were on the starboard side of the 9th floor outside above the pool deck (five tables), and starboard side of SB Square veranda (a couple sofas and tables), plus smoking is allowed on verandas, but overall, VERY few people smoked, or even vaped. FACILITIES were overall very nice, though the contemporary style modern furniture in most public areas was often uncomfortable for me (I have musculoskeletal problems) so I set up coping strategies (see below). The ship had immaculate maintenance, tasteful art displays, a very uncrowded environment, and even at the pools on hot days it was tolerable and you could swim laps (there is also a smaller pool lower and aft). I could always find a place to sit in the public areas, including the wonderful Seabourn Square center aft where there are computers, printed newspapers, acceptable Internet, iPADs, easily available front desk personnel, coffees with snacks, ice creams, adjustable recliners, sofas, library books and games. Chairs and sofas in public areas were modern in appearance, some more comfortable than others. Poolside lounge chairs were uncomfortable for me without cushions. Chairs in the Colonnade were very nicely angled, padded, and comfortable, and this was my favorite dining venue (I love eating outside on a nice day). There were two modern styles of chairs in the main dining room: one style (rounded, yellow) was oddly shaped, such that I felt like I would slide off, whereas the others (white, more squared) were ok, though shorter than ideal on the backrest and with hard armrests, and thus not as cushy and plush as the main dining room chairs on competitor lines Regent or Silver Sea. I was a bit disappointed in the overall seating on this line (many hard seats and low backrests), but not enough to dissuade me from coming to SB again, as I can structure ways to get around these issues (e.g., target the venues or chairs that I like, and/or carry portable seating pads). Nothing looked worn out or tired. SPA: Beautiful spa with views of the ocean as you get serviced, with pleasant staff, (Tijan the manicurist from Serbia is a delight to talk to) and a special serene sitting area where you can lie on hard warm rocks if you choose (I did not, too hard), or wade through a serene area pool. You can also rent by the day or by cruise regular access to the serene area. Though I did not use the gym, it looked uncrowded and had a variety of equipment options, also with ocean views, and a trainer was available. ENTERTAINMENT: I went to several shows, which with the exception of a lovely and talented outstanding young classical pianist (Naomi Edemarian, whom I could listen to all day if offered), were nothing special, but I would never pick a cruise line for its shows. There were some competent Broadway-style singers and dancers, there was a magician, a talented and humorous female fiddle player, but unfortunately also a British comedian who was not too funny and a bit crude. Grand Salon is the main basic entertainment, gathering, and lecture venue, where attentive staff will bring drinks to your seats before and during the events if you want them. Chairs are a little stiff though padded, upright, not comfortable enough for me to want to lounge the evening away in them. There are also many on demand movies you could watch in your suite, almost all only in English, as well as the usual array of varying and mostly sparsely attended on-board activities common to other cruise lines (cards, dance lessons, trivia, casino, etc). TV showed BBC news, Sky news, FOX news, CNBC, MSNBC, Sky Sports, some TV shows, a view from the bridge, and had an interactive channel where you could book excursions and spa appointments (there were a few problems). There was also a cruise director who was a beautiful young American woman who looked terrific in a tight evening dress and very high heels, and tried very hard to be pleasant and amusing, but who seemed to have a somewhat false manner about her and periodically made jokes that I did not consider to be funny (e.g., about a particular classical music piano piece reminding her of Bugs Bunny themes). But to me, cruise directors (or event entertainment offerings) do not make or break a cruise, so she was mostly irrelevant to my overall rating of this trip as 5/5. ENRICHMENT lectures: not a strength of SB this journey; lectures were few and far between, weak and disorganized, with some misinformation provided on some topics (one British male speaker was particularly annoying in this regard, not sure if he is paid for his efforts). I would have been better off just reading about the referenced places and history on the internet or in books about the area I had brought on my iPAD, and watching online videos, rather than listening to the speakers with their poorly structured and barely legible slide presentations. But lecture availability does not determine my cruising choice or overall rating (here, 5/5). FOOD and WINE: Very good to outstanding, all venues, all meals. This is very important to me on cruises. There was a wide variety of competently cuisine, and portions were sensible so you could try more things (considering the constant ongoing feeding), with daily special themes. Also, personnel brought daily fresh fruit specials to the suite daily. I did not have a bad or mediocre meal the entire cruise though some courses were better than others. My biggest ‘complaint’ was that the delicate pheasant one night had a little too much rosemary on it, and the borscht on the Russian food night in the Colonnadede did not taste very Russian. Though I had some mediocre coffee here and there, it was usually good, and always served hot and well-caffeinated, even at room service. Seabourn Square personnel will make you espresso, latte, etc starting 6:15 AM, till 6:00 PM, no closures, and again 9-11PM, where you can also get little cakes, muffins, tiny sandwiches at will. Room service for breakfast was quick, (often arrived earlier than ordered) and except for one of the times I used it, the tray always had what I had ordered (the other time they had just forgotten to pick up the breakfast order from outside the door the night before). The included Nicholas Feuillatte champagne and international red wine offerings were decent to good, and though some of the included whites were not to my taste, personnel would bring me something different if I asked, also included in the basic fare (such as Stag’s Leap Chardonnay which drinks quite nicely with the wonderful assorted lovely fish dishes SB frequently offered). I did not feel compelled to constantly buy wine off the wine list in order to find something drinkable, like I did recently on SS. It was also not at all difficult to attract a waiter’s attention and the dining rooms appeared well-organized in true team efforts. Though food in all venues was very good, my favorite was the popular Restaurant 2 (multiple small gourmet portions served in a small quiet room, reservations are required there but there is no extra fee). Restaurant 2 also offered wine/food pairings on one of my two trips there, which were outstanding. Though I am not a vegetarian, I noted on SB there were always vegetarian options, quite tasty, and gluten-free choices were also marked. The main dining room and Restaurant 2 were not open for breakfast or lunch, which some people did not like but I did not care as I knew how and where to eat to get enough tasty food 24/7. For breakfast, most people either used pre-ordered room service for breakfast or ate at the Colonnade (7:30-10). Lunchtime people either ate at the pool (1-4), the Colonnade (12-2), or were on excursions. An improvement would be if advance dining reservations, e.g., for R2, could be made on the internet before the cruise, as on SS or some other lines, to avoid rushing around the first day trying to get a reservation in R2 (they booked out). SERVICE: Exceptional, and this is an important and distinguishing SB feature. Excellent, friendly and helpful staff everywhere I turned, and personnel did not seem exhausted or act overworked and annoyed with you: very good waiters and service in dining rooms, very good room stewardess (ours was the excellent Monica, from Slovakia). There were also helpful and readily available SB Square destinations and front desk service personnel, and computer tech support (e.g., Adrian — quietly competent and thorough). Personnel who interacted with pax front-line were from English-speaking countries of origin from all over the world, or from countries where almost all young people are required to learn English. I never had trouble getting front line personnel to understand what I was saying, and many were multilingual and picked up on pax language preferences if they were not English. Personnel were readily responsive to the few problems I had: e.g., I have a musculoskeletal condition which makes hard (i.e., new) mattresses difficult for me to tolerate, and my stewardess did not rest until she found a solution to my mattress and sleeping problem (an egg crate topper). Adrian the computer guy also came personally to my suite to help me with my internet and email issues (he resolved a very complex problem I had). I had a sense of “can do, no matter what” from the staff, as opposed to “not my problem." INTERNET: not as good as I’d like (especially in my suite location), but it was reasonably priced for unlimited service and one way or the other, I was able to get on and stay on to get done what needed to be done. This is not a problem unique to SB. SUITE review: I had a very forward PH Suite on the 9th floor, right behind the bridge. Surprisingly, I heard no bridge noise. There was a huge amount of storage space, and a luxury bathroom with a side-by-side modern shower and a whirlpool tub. Nothing was broken, but a minor flaw was that the bathtub had no rinse-off hose. There were deep double sinks, plus another sink in the separate toilet area which could be accessed either from the hall or from the bathroom. Though the stewardess was great, the suite overall turned out not to suit my needs: as noted, the bed with its new mattresses was, to me, too hard, and the very narrow living room sofa/chaise was even harder and I thought more appropriate for a dentist’s waiting room than a luxury cruise line. The Istanbul airport had seats more comfortable than this sofa. The sofa was too narrow to stretch out on (it was not wide, like in the picture I saw of the PH on the internet) and as there was also no comfortable recliner in the living room either, just a couple stiff chairs at the dining table, I did not want to sit in the living room/dining area at all. Also, the suite had poor to non-existent wifi much of the time, though it improved after the internet team performed some upgrades later in the cruise (this was apparently just a bad location for wifi I did not know about in advance). So I had to go to SB Square or closer towards the other side of the ship to use my reasonably priced unlimited internet service plan. The deck in the suite was spacious, and the outdoor chaise lounge chairs partially reclined, but had no pads and were thus hard to sit on for more than a few minutes (I put pillows on them when I wanted to sit outside). The stiff chairs at the eating table on the suite's deck (identical to the pool area dining chairs) did have some pads but were upright and uncomfortable. Lighting functions were confusing, i.e., the switches let the living room and bathroom be either totally bright or totally dark, no “mood” setting option except in the bedroom. In sum, in hindsight, the extra price paid to have a PH suite was not worth it to me as I could not comfortably use most of the space to lounge in the room that had the view. I typically wanted to leave the suite as much as possible to go sit somewhere more comfortable. I would have been better off with a simple veranda suite prepared in advance with just a bed with an egg crate mattress topper, which is what I have reserved for my next SB cruise to Norway in 2016, where I will be able to ignore the hard sofa but still see the ocean while lounging on the bed. EXCURSIONS AND PORTS: SANTORINI: a lovely, must-see, though very crowded, picture postcard island, tender required. We did the SB excursion to Mt Profitis Ilias and Oia Village, ending in Thira. It was a good overview of the area, though the trip up to Mt. Profitis, which was just a ride up a mountain and back yielded nothing to do at the top except look down at the rest of the island (there was some trash lying around, and a monastery you could not enter, no inn or place to sit or relax and enjoy the view). So next time we would probably skip this in favor of more independent time in Oia and Thira for browsing the interesting little streets and shops and enjoying some refreshments. RHODES — a worthwhile port. We just wondered around on our own here rather than taking a tour (ship was docked right at the key tourist areas, hard to get lost, just follow the old city walls ), and we also toured the extensive Archeological Museum, definitely worth a long stop, it also has shaded gardens. PATMOS — Nice. We did the "Patmos Highlights” excursion on a hot day, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse. This is an impressive very old religious site, and there was an active Greek Orthodox service ongoing. The tour included the 300-yr-old Simandris House, with the 90 plus aged female owner sitting there hosting as we toured, interesting, and then we went for a delicious plate of mezes, decent wine and Greek dancing at a local inn. A good tour, though quite strenuous going up the hills, especially if weather is hot, not for people who have trouble going up and down in the heat. KUSADASI — definitely do the Ephesus Evening Reception complimentary classical music concert, quite beautiful (though the acoustics at the site did not do the musicians justice, i.e., their music got partially drowned out, but this is a visually special event not to be missed. We did a separate Virtuoso tour of amazing Ephesus on the second leg of the cruise out of Izmir so I cannot comment on the quality of the actual SB sponsored Ephesus excursions out of Kusadasi. MYKONOS — I do not recommend the “Stroll through Mykonos.” The guide was boring, hard to understand, and we stood around in a poorly ventilated hot museum with no chairs to rest on, which had some interesting pieces but also a lot of echo. There was not enough strolling and too much standing. The ship is docked here, no tender, so you could do this high end town on your own. We bailed after the first 45 minutes and just wandered around independently, then ate at a local overpriced but pleasant inn on the water with a view of the interesting windmills. LIMNOS— did the Highlights tour, which was an ok tour of this more primitive island, which has quite a bit of military installations, rough vineyards, poorer people. Definitely not Napa valley style wineries. They do not get many visitors. We toured the beautifully situated Poliochnis ruins from 4000 BC as well as the British Cemetery and World War I Memorial, both are worth a look, though a private tour might provide more timing flexibility to explore the island ISTANBUL— we did the “Best of Istanbul” tour as this was our first time here and we were not sure what to expect. We would likely have done a private tour if it weren’t for the recent political unrest in the area. VERY CROWDED city overall, and this tour is not for the easily stressed or fatigued. The bus had stiff, closely spaced uncomfortable seats that did not recline. The palaces were packed, (though fascinating to view) as was the Hagia Sophia museum, (equally fascinating) and the lines were incredibly long at the Blue Mosque even for pre-booked big groups. The tour (at least on a hot day) was too tiring, with no significant rest or food breaks until close to 1:30 when we had an outstanding late Turkish lunch at a lovely air-conditioned upscale restaurant, Nar Lokanta. You may wish to skip the extra morning coffee that day if you are female, as the toilets offered in the area of the tour (other than later at the immaculate restaurant in the afternoon) were less than lovely, often the squat type (though western style at the Museum), with LONG lines as well, and at the Blue Mosque toilets some Muslim women were ritualistically washing their feet and bodies in the washroom sinks though posted signs said they should not do this there (there are other designated locations for this). NESSEBUR: we did the pleasant Bulgarian cooking demonstration. Seas were too rough to tender off this ancient town, so we docked 16 km nearby at the modern port terminal in Burgas and were then bussed to the colorful UNESCO heritage site of Nessebur where we did a walking tour, then had a wonderful 5-course Bulgarian feast at a local restaurant (Gloria Mar) with a cooking demo before, and recipes provided to take home. Unfortunately the lunch was quite late (close to 2PM before we actually ate) and we were tortured with the preceding cooking demonstrations and aromas around us without having even a morsel of food on the tables for the hungry pax who had not had anything since breakfast to munch on. So, some pax were quite cranky and expressed themselves accordingly. I should have brought some snacks with me to eat late morning in the bus, or perhaps to improve the experience the restaurant could have served the first course salad while demonstrating the rest of the food preparations. If you do this excursion, it might be good to plan on either eating a big breakfast or bringing snacks for late morning, and/or planning skipping a big dinner that night as you will be very full from the lunch feast. As it was, we had to rush through 5 courses, and the last course (a plate of ripe fruit) was mostly uneaten. VARNA, Bulgaria: a fairly large industrial port, not much to see in town other than a museum. We did the “Treasures of Varna” excursion, on which we saw some notable archeological treasures, also walked in soft sand through a petrified forest near the sea (interesting photo ops), then drove to a forest where we were saw some Bulgarian folk dancers perform (under a sign in German for some reason that said “Waldfest” , which means forest festival). Bulgarian music is not to my taste, too droningly repetitive, but the costumes were colorful and there was an audience participation option which some frisky pax took advantage of. We were offered a snack of lunchmeat and unremarkable cheese, one roll per person, and bad Bulgarian wine, while sitting on hard benches. The excellent, witty guide Elke (who speaks 8 languages) saved the day, though I would probably not do this organized excursion again. CONSTANZA, Rumania: “Constanza Highlights” excursion — unfortunately, there was not much to “highlight” here. This is an industrial port, a rundown town in a poor country, that shows significant evidence of the damage that communism did over the years. The archeological museum had some interesting treasures and there were a few other historical ruins, ancient and communist, to see. The bus then took us to the “Rumanian Riviera” beach town of Mamaia, which was mostly deserted as the season had ended. We took a gondola across town with a coastline view of the mostly shabby hotels lining a wide, sandy beach. We then were given too much time to kill in an uninteresting location with a few tacky shops and unfriendly locals, and there was surprisingly quite a bit of trash on the streets. I would not do this excursion again. IZMIR: we did a private group excursion to Ephesus. Ephesus is not to be missed, either from this end (longer drive) or from the Kusadasi access. The Terrace Houses were particularly interesting, fascinating history. Must be fit and able to go up/down uneven areas, best done when the day is not too hot (it was VERY hot, so I struggled). The additional Virgin Mary crowded site was not worth the trip to me but might be if you are a Christian following a pilgrimage route and must see this location. DISEMBARKATION in Istanbul did not go as smoothly as I expected, likely due to local port issues rather than SB fault. We ordered an early private car through SB to pick us up at 8AM and take us to the airport and were told to wait to be called to disembark at 8. We were given early disembarkation luggage tags. However, the way things evolved, in the AM we did not see any groups gathering waiting to be called, and it was close to car pick-up time, so we left the ship at 7:45 to make sure we did not miss our 8AM pickup outside the port. We and another couple with a 7:45 pickup got stuck in a huge passport and customs line of thousands of disembarking Celebrity pax, with no priority line for us with our early cars, and our luggage was not prioritized (it seemed to emerge randomly), so it was not until 8:45 that we had our delayed luggage and were finally in the car on the way to the airport, when it should have been at 8. We did not miss our flight, not even close, but some anxiety was created. CONCLUSION/SUMMARY: Despite a few minor glitches (I always expect something to go wrong when I travel) I had a very positive overall experience with Seabourn. My problems with hard mattresses and sofas are likely unique to me or a small minority of people. Food, wine, service, ambience, and a “can do” sense that everything is being taken care of in a professional manner, were and are the main features that I value (plus, of course, the itinerary). I had previously pre-booked a journey on SB with my husband on the Quest to Norway July 2015 (Copenhagen-Dover), and my current experience has reinforced my desire to retain that reservation (but with an eggcrate mattress pre-arranged with the future cruise services desk :). I definitely look forward to more SB excellence in the areas where it counts — cuisine, service, responsiveness, and class. I will also compare it with Hapag Lloyd’s equally highly rated but somewhat different style ultra luxury Europa 2 ship in December where I am booked with my husband as a new customer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Our first ever cruise and it lived up to our expectations. Our Cabin, Veranda Suite, Deck 8 was roomy with a walk in closet and very good bathroom. Balcony not huge but big enough for both of us to have our feet up on the lounger. ... Read More
Our first ever cruise and it lived up to our expectations. Our Cabin, Veranda Suite, Deck 8 was roomy with a walk in closet and very good bathroom. Balcony not huge but big enough for both of us to have our feet up on the lounger. The restaurants were all good and we particularly liked being able to eat outside in the Colonnade as well as round the pool in the Patio Grill. Not having to pay for drinks was great and sitting round the pool with the staff bringing round Pina Coladas (or getting whatever you wanted) was exactly the cruise experience we were hoping for. Excellent range of films and TV Staff uniformly good The speaker was pleasant but there was very little intellectual depth or logical flow to the two talks we went to. We went on an excursion to the Danube delta from Constanta which was marred by constant racist comments from the tour guide - I complained about this and the Seabourn rep seemed to take it seriously. Overall - we were very happy and will be going on more Seabourn cruises Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We've traveled on Windstar Sailing ships for 22 years. We've also been on the Pride when it was a Seabourn ship. It is not in top condition under Windstar's operation. Our cabin had rust stains in the window area, around ... Read More
We've traveled on Windstar Sailing ships for 22 years. We've also been on the Pride when it was a Seabourn ship. It is not in top condition under Windstar's operation. Our cabin had rust stains in the window area, around the bathtub and the carpet looked worn. The tub was not draining when we checked in on day one. After reporting that and the stuck shower control those items were fixed. Cabin upkeep was less than perfect and I felt they were short on staff at times. Usually, ships put small wrapped candies on the bed in the evening? Now they put unwrapped candies on a plate? That's a bit tacky. We like small ships and pick cruises by itinerary. The itinerary was as good as could be expected with the situation in the Crimea. But the ship was just not that great. Food was okay. Availability was limited. Although there is always room service, the restaurants are not serving at some times/days. And the ready made sandwiches you can get if you missed lunch are not worth eating. That leaves you with room service. As on most cruise lines the excursions are ridiculously expensive and not as good as tours you can book off the ship. And lastly, the 800 # can't answer questions about ports, tendering, docking or clarify excursion and shuttle information. I tried. They didn't have any answers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Having sailed with Fred Olsen twice previously we thought we would try 5* luxury as Azamara had reduced the price following the itinerary change. Flew Turkish Airlines from LHR to Istanbul, good flight there & back, excellent cabin ... Read More
Having sailed with Fred Olsen twice previously we thought we would try 5* luxury as Azamara had reduced the price following the itinerary change. Flew Turkish Airlines from LHR to Istanbul, good flight there & back, excellent cabin service. Embarkation was a bit hit & miss airport to ship but smooth once onboard. Had late lunch at the Pool Grill & then to cabin 6067 to unpack. Called up to main dining room as the muster point for the safety drill which lasted 1 hour as 500 or 600 people waited for 2 latecomers, ridiculous. The drill was not as detailed as on FO. & could easily been done in 15 minutes. Luckily we had opted for dining at 8.30 pm & so we could unpack & get cleaned up in time for pre dinner G&T. My wife has a very strong aversion to garlic so we spoke to the Maitre D to arrange garlic free food. No problem, she would be given the next day's menu to choose her meal & it would be cooked garlic free. Dinner that night was good, a pleasant occasion with our 4 dining companions. Did not go ashore the next day as we were "indisposed". Noticed later in the day that the Pool Grill was getting a deep clean by staff in protective clothing resembling a noddy suit. Uum! Dinner time arrived & looking forward to a gastronomic treat. Garlic in the wife's food, taken away but next dish garlic again. Despite meeting with Maitre D etc. & Executive Chef Iwan they just could not do it, meal after meal had garlic. I was eating off menu & have to say that the food was mediocre compared to FO, bland, lacking sauces, just plain ordinary to not so good. I had a rib eye, it was cooked just right but was that tough it was inedible, as the Maitre D said "oh dear". We gave in with the MDR & ate salad in the Windows restaurant. A very disappointing cruise. Superb ship, fantastic staff but poor food. I should say that I saw a toilet cleaner washing out the toilet brush cannister in the wash hand basin - do not blame the passengers for norovirus.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from ... Read More
Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from our first Oceania cruise a couple of weeks ago. We went to the Black Sea starting from Istanbul, Turkey and ending in Athens,Greece. 22nd September to 2nd October. Unfortunately, due to the Troubles in Crimea and Ukraine the company had to cancel the ports of Yalta, Sabastopol and Odessa, ports we have visited before. We had booked this cruise after the changes were made, so no complaints there. A couple of the replacement ports were however, not the best so we stayed on board. CHECK IN… We stayed overnight in Istanbul and had a taxi to the port, arriving at about 1.00pm. We had to show our passports and tickets to a port officer, outside the port gate and it was a bit of a scrum but after depositing our luggage and going to the ship’s check in desks in the (sort of) terminal, the procedure was quick and hassle free although we did have our our passports looked at, three separate times!! THE SHIP.. Riviera is beautiful The art work throughout the ship is interesting and eclectic. The furnishings and carpets are presented in delightfully soft colours. There is plenty of space. in the public areas. She is not small, but carries only 1200 passengers. (Compared with P & Os Aurora, which is the same size, and carries 1800 passengers.) so Riviera is never crowded. We could always find a sun lounger in the right place. Never a problem getting a drink at the bars, or in Baristas coffee lounge. THE CABIN.. Ours was a balcony cabin on deck Seven Aft. Rather smaller than either Seabourn's or Regent’s equivalent cabin level, but as a bonus we had a double depth balcony. More of that later. The drawers and cupboards were plentiful but not all at a convenient height for a little short person like me! The wardrobe doors were not very easy to access. The bathroom? Small, only room for one person at a time! but well appointed and had bath with shower over, shower cabinet with glass door, one basin, good lighting, marble and mirror fittings. Super thick towels and nice toiletries. The good exceeded the not so good. DINING…. The best cuisine at sea? Probably. The Grand Dining Room is very Grand indeed decorated in gold and cream with a magnificent large crystal chandelier in the ceiling. There is no fixed time dining. The service was perfect for us, certainly not slow, but at proper dining speed. All the staff were attentive, they were well trained and charming. The restaurant Managers were on hand all the time and made sure everything ran smoothly. We are not wine connoisseurs and so had no complaints about the wine offered on the package. We were always able to have a table for two if we chose to. There is no extra charge for dining in the alternative restaurants but you must book in advance. We ate in all four having made reservations on line prior to the cruise. Toscana was my favourite, and the Polo Grill surprised me,(I thought the portions would be to big for my small appetite) Jacques was a great pleasure. We dined with lovely people at each venue. I enjoyed Red Pepper food the least, but my husband thought it was the best! The internet connection was the best we have ever had on a ship. EXTRA NOTE.. A little anecdote to illustrate the care Oceania takes …… As mentioned before, our balcony was double depth. On the Interim Questionnaire, I wrote that the balcony furniture was rather small and the chairs did not recline. I suggested that on such a large balcony, a sun lounger might be nice. The next morning, on opening the curtains, we found a sun lounger on the balcony, which must have been delivered while we were having our dinner the evening before. That’s attention to detail, and proof that the questionnaire was not only read but acted upon without delay! Thank you. The only criticism we have of Oceania Cruises, (apart from the mean balcony furniture), is the cost of the Tours. Very, very expensive. We only took one tour ( a boat trip along the Danube Delta) and it was only OK and not value for money. Even so we had an enjoyable time with our fun fellow passengers!! Did we have a good cruise? Yes. Would be go with Oceania again? Definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Personal Background Information: I've been on the S. S. France in 1969 with roomates from University, crossing the Atlantic from New York to LeHavre; and subsequently the Norwegian Prince in the middle 1970's in the Caribbean ... Read More
Personal Background Information: I've been on the S. S. France in 1969 with roomates from University, crossing the Atlantic from New York to LeHavre; and subsequently the Norwegian Prince in the middle 1970's in the Caribbean with a group of 12 on a pre-wedding trip- Bermuda and Puerto Rico; and on the Crystal Symphony as a solo traveler in 2009 in Norwegian Arctic waters. The Riviera is the most modern ship for me. This was my second solo trip. Travel to Port of Embarkation: I flew on my own on Turkish Airlines from Naples, italy to Istanbul, Turkey which is only a 2 hour flight. I spent about a week in Italy prior to flying to Istanbul to embark the ship. Hotel Info: The Ritz Carlton in Istanbul was hospitable and helpful with a swimming pool with a view and easy taxi access to the port of embarkation. Embarkation: When arranging for my transportation from the hotel to the port of embarkation, the transportation company needed to know which port in Istanbul. The cruise line provided the information about which port in Istanbul only a few days prior to sailing which I thought was odd. The embarkation itself was uneventful. The Vista Suite is allowed to board at 11:00 a.m. which allowed me to explore the ship before a large number of passengers are on board. It is a bit eery though having the ship quite empty. Stateroom: The Vista Suite is located at the bow of the ship directly underneath the Bridge where the Captain and crew are located while navigating the ship. There was no noise from them. The suite has one-half the front of the ship. It is great for taking photos when entering ports. The view of the Bosphorus at night leaving Istanbul was memorable. I booked an early dinner to be able to return to my suite to watch this great display of Turkey. Ship Info: The Riviera is a modern ship and is well designed for inland waters in terms of stabilizers and engines. It is not an ocean liner, though. Dining: I preferred having room service in my suite because of the beautiful view. I only booked two evenings in the restaurants. I have to avoid certain foods such as Asian (uses soy heavily) and where wine is used heavily in cooking. In booking the suite, I was allowed to order room service from any of the restaurants and was not restricted to just the main dining room menu. My butler served the meal at the full size dining table in my suite. Activities: I brought e books to read out on the terrace of my suite and found that delightful. I have no information for the readers about children's clubs. Staff & Service: Sometimes the staff was a bit disorganized which as the reader will see further on in my narrative might be a reflection of upper management in the cruise line. However, I do believe that they were doing their very best. Entertainment: I did not book the cruise with the intention of seeking out entertainment. I was interested in being healthy and having a good time with shore excursions. Since the Riviera did not have stellar reviews from members about its entertainment, I did not seek it out. Shore Excursions: Unfortunately, the Riviera had four changes of itinerary before leaving port. When I received an Oceania brochure in the U.S. mail describing the itinerary, the cruise line had already changed the itinerary three times but failed to reveal that fact until after I booked the cruise and paid in full for the cruise. My advice to cruisers is, prior to booking to receive a written statement from the cruise line that lists any prior changes of itinerary. It is very important in these unsettled days to look carefully at the political climate in the area and not assume that it will improve. In my case, the fourth change came after my booking and full payment. The cruise line made me wait until I boarded the vessel to find out specifically how my shore excursions would be affected by the change. Ephesus is a major world heritage site in Turkey and very important to see. Even cruises that are only 2-3 days long and start in Athens, Greece make port to see Ephesus. We were originally due to make port very close to Ephesus. Instead we were several hours away in Izmir. Since this was the last port before disembarkation from the cruise, the entire treatment of it was a disappointing and marred the end of my trip memories. Also, prior to leaving on the trip the cruise line generated a final bill that did not correctly show my ground transportation in Istanbul and Athens. When I wanted it corrected, the cruise line again insisted that I had to wait until I boarded the Riviera to get the change made. Those are the facts. The reader can judge for herself whether or not you want to book with this cruise line. Disembarkaton: I never really knew if the transportation situation in Athens was solved until we arrived in Athens. I had to hunt around for my private sedan and driver. I also wasn't told until onboard the ship which day of my stay in Athens would be the tour. Summary: Disorganization marred the trip.   Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Food: Absolute non memorable in anyway. The eggs served are classified with a number 3 stamps meaning these are battery cage eggs. Nowadays these eggs are strictly forbidden in the EU but apparently Regent knows her way to get them ... Read More
Food: Absolute non memorable in anyway. The eggs served are classified with a number 3 stamps meaning these are battery cage eggs. Nowadays these eggs are strictly forbidden in the EU but apparently Regent knows her way to get them on-board serving this animal cruelty eggs to her passengers. The above only states the way Regent is looking at food quality, animal welfare and at cutting costs. The overall impression of the food is mediocre at his best. Most items are cheap and tasteless. The selections (especially at breakfast) are poor and the same every day with no change at all. We can’t really think of one thing we ate that was memorable or very good. The best place to eat on the ship is Prime 7 where most of the food is ok to good. For the rest of the ship (with Compass Rose being the worst) the food is cheap, tasteless, non memorable and simple. Complementary wines are also very simple and cheap. To give you an idea. One of the so-called premium wines (the ones that have to be paid for extra) was a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This “Cloudy Bay” is sold in the supermarket over here for € 6,= per bottle. Regent sell this one for US$ 60, = on-board. It only goes to say what the quality is of the “free” wines served. Poor in every way. Service: Majority of the staff is cheap labour from poor countries. Most of them are very friendly and trying to do their best. Major problem is them only a very few of them are trained for the hotel business and almost all of them miss the proper education to give a real 5 star service. They seem to not know anything about etiquettes or class. On top of that the service is very spotty and extremely disorganised. It’s almost impossible to take a seat at one of the dinning places without having at least 3 but mostly at least 5 people asking you if you want water. Despite telling them you don’t water, within a few seconds the next waiter is asking for water. This will repeat on and on without any exception. We mentioned this to one of the Maître’s and the responded advising that they considered this as good service instead. For us however it has nothing to do with good service however. It’s a clear sign of how disorganised things are and at the end no one really knows what the other one does. It’s a lack of clear and good leadership. Cabin: Just ok. It’s of a proper size but cannot be called a suite in anyway. The cabins seem to be very used and are in need of a refurbishment and proper, deep cleaning. When we arrived the air-conditioning did not work properly. We mentioned this at 15:00 for the first time and after 7 more attempts to have this solved, at 21:30 nothing was solved yet and the temperature was still 24,5 degrees Celsius. We then went to the hotel manager who, after visiting our cabin, stated that nothing was wrong and that this was the normal temperature. He offered us a FAN in the cabin and promised that things would be checked once more the next morning to see if the temperature dropped. This should be the case, as nothing was wrong. The next morning however they checked again and nothing had changed with the cabin still being very hot. Then the head engineer arrived once more and we were told that all of sudden they discovered a major problem in the main unit and that it would take the whole morning to solve the problem. And indeed, after hours without any air-conditioning at all, the system was started up and now the airco was working properly. No excuses were given at all. Despite the promise in their brochure, the bed is NOT European KING size and the promised amenities are not all there. Furthermore the slippers are not cotton (as promised) but synthetic and the abundant flowers shown in the brochure is a poor twig only once on board. Overall: We feel that Regent is not delivering a ultra deluxe experience at all. It’s not coming close to the acclaimed 6 stars at all. It’s not even 5 stars but mostly it’s a trimmed and upgraded version of Princess Cruises coming close to 4 stars at it’s best. For the prices asked this is a real laugh and ridiculous. We had a very good deal at the end, but if you’re about to pay more than € 500,= per night (for 2 people together, so 250, each) you will face, in our opinion, a complete rip off. We are seasoned travellers sailed on all major luxury lines, including Silversea, Crystal, Hapag Lloyd, Azamara, etc and for us Regent preforms far below the standard of all those others.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) Customer service at head office It is non-existent. As in-- my travel agent e-mailed a week ago regarding a complaint (see below) and we have heard nothing. I e-mailed the Director of Guest Relations 5 days ago and have heard nothing. We have e-mailed just to receive a copy of the folio and have heard nothing! Assuming their e-mail is not broken, this is beyond me for a purported luxury company. At this point, I don't even know how to get in touch with them for a receipt. 2) Shore excursions Our itinerary originally visited the Ukraine for three stops, but this was cancelled for obvious reasons. They replaced them with 2 stops in Turkey and Sochi. These ports were very uninteresting. What's worse, are the shore excursions. In Sochi the guide could barely speak English. And when you pay for a shore excursion, your expectation is to see stuff. Not to be taken to the Radisson hotel and have a drink and snack (hello!! we are on an all inclusive ship!). When I complained to the shore desk that this was sub-par (along with most everyone who did a shore excursion in Sochi), he wrote the following in the Chronicles the next day: "The guides are locals who may have a heavy accent and/or lack on expertise in all aspects of the city" (not being able to translate from the person who was giving us the tour in Russian is not a heavy accent, it's a lack of English), "Please remember that, as travelers, it is what lies outside the window that is important, what we see, hear and experience for ourselves and see the places we are visiting for what they are and not what we would like them to be". You can only take this to mean, we will charge you the same price as a top notch tour, but expect less and don't complain. How patronizing!! 3) Dining Overall dining was fine with one exception of the maitre d' being extremely rude and not wanting to cater to a special request (steak with steamed vegetables). We were sitting with guests who are consultants in hospitality management-- they were pretty appalled. I had to hold my husband back from saying things further, given it was our last night and I didn't want to ruin it. 4) The good The ship is fine. The crew is outstanding (but I have never encountered a less than outstanding crew). The rooms are fine, except I found the shower in the bathroom awkward. We met several people on the boat who were sailing with Silversea for the first time and none would come back...neither will we. The ship was half empty so maybe others have already figured this out. There are other companies who provide the same amenities but with better customer service. This one left such a bad taste in my mouth that I will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We were two couples from Northern England seasoned cruises i must add, and chose this cruise because we had not been to the Black Sea before.Unfortunately some of the usual places they visit were changed on the itinerary because of the ... Read More
We were two couples from Northern England seasoned cruises i must add, and chose this cruise because we had not been to the Black Sea before.Unfortunately some of the usual places they visit were changed on the itinerary because of the troubles in that area.Nevertheless we still enjoyed the cruise. Embarkation went smoothly although we did have to walk the full length of one ship before boarding Riviera. Stateroom: We both had Penthouse suites on Deck 11 midship on starboard side.They were spacious and comfortable and with a butler, everything was catered for. All the public rooms lounges etc.were decorated to a high standard and were all in a pristine condition as was throughout the ship. We chose to dine for dinner in the main dining room with a good variety of menus.Service here was good although on one occasion they were under pressure one night, as everybody came at the same time due to the Captains welcome party.Also dined at 3 of the 4 speciality restaurants.Great cuisine in each of them,except Jacques the French restaurant.Two of our guests chose a lamb main course which was lamb wrapped in pistachio filling then encased in a pastry encrute.When it was sliced open the piece of lamb inside was no bigger than a postage stamp!! Come on Oceania more lamb please.We were offered another course which was declined. Entertainment of the 4 shows by the Jean Ann Ryan company were excellent.Standard of the other entertainment was good also. No tours were taken as everybody knows Oceania are rather expensive.When will they get the message! Brief description of ports visited; Nessebar,Quaint town with narrow streets/walkways with souvenir shops,restaurants and bars. Constanta,Not as bad as some blogs suggest.Have to go with open mind.Old part does have derelict buildings but there is a new pedestrian walkway through the area with cafes and bars. Betumi,Nice esplanade to walk along then head inland to come to the town with buildings of a Russian influence. Trazbon,Typical Turkish city with shops and a fortress to visit. Sinop,Nice port area and esplanade to walk along and head inland also to the town. Kusadasi,This is the port for Ephesus to visit although the town of Kusadasi is worth a visit to the shops to buy genuine fake goods and haggle for a good price. Disembarkation was a smooth transiton to Athens airport, transfers by Oceania. As we all have done Oceania cruises before, the conclusion was would we travel with them again and the answer would be a resounding yes.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
OK so we started out booking Crimea, Odessa, Romania & Bulgaria...Crimea got substituted with two ports in Turkey, for obvious reasons. Amasra was fine, but Samsun was a waste as it's just an industrial city/port. The weather ... Read More
OK so we started out booking Crimea, Odessa, Romania & Bulgaria...Crimea got substituted with two ports in Turkey, for obvious reasons. Amasra was fine, but Samsun was a waste as it's just an industrial city/port. The weather wasn't great the whole week, but Windstar cant control that!. The really nice stop was Odessa. On the maiden voyage we read about joining the chef on his shopping trip in one of the stops/markets. i enquired about that and was pencilled in for Constanta (about Day 5) but is was cancelled...that would have been really good. Generally we enjoyed the Yacht, especially the cabins (size and comfort). Food, service, staff attitude were all great...a few negatives: Embarcation was a shambles...both at the Port side and even worse, check in board took over an hour...for no good reason...they could simply take your passports and completed signature forms...and ask you to visit anytime over the remainder of the day for the photo ID (you aint going anywhere!) real shame there NO stops where we anchored to enjoy the swimming off the back? why not? (even the captain did not know) - at Amasra we had a 45 minute coach transfer to get to the town! There was an element of loud, piped music that started off...on the public deck areas, but thankfully it seemed to peter out! the band/staff activity on the BBQ Deck night was great. Love the sail-off Vangelis 1492 The Conquest of Paradise music, each day when one sails off The drinks package just about made sense price-wise, but i would almost prefer they just include it and grats (as does Regent) into the base price Once again the staff stand out...both the Indonesian & Phillipine (workers) crew and the officers! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We knew in advance that the main attraction of this cruise ,ie Yalta, was off the port list due to the troubles as was Sevastopol but the info came through to late to cancel without penalty so we decided to make the best of it. Istanbul ... Read More
We knew in advance that the main attraction of this cruise ,ie Yalta, was off the port list due to the troubles as was Sevastopol but the info came through to late to cancel without penalty so we decided to make the best of it. Istanbul airport is a very,very busy place and without fast track entry immigration would have taken over half an hour and coming home even worse. Anyway our private transfer was waiting for us and delivered us to the port in good time for boarding which entailed multiple showing of documents and became a little tedious but the Silversea staff were ever cheerful and efficient.The next surprise was the steep gangway we had to negotiate to board the ship,upto deck5,this was a challenge to some of the less able passengers.I know tidal conditions have a part to play but only twice during the cruise could we walk off the ship in comfort via deck 3. Our first impression of the ship was that it looked no different to some of the less prestigious lines,we didn't feel the wow factor we were expecting of a supposedly top of the range ship. Anyway we were led to our cabin where we met our butler who offered a choice of toiletries and explained the layout and workings of the equipment in the cabin,he also took our order for the mini bar which took 24 hours to arrive but thereafter refills were no problem. I must say I had made a pillow choice online prior to the cruise but this was nor fulfilled but our tours similarly booked were fine. The ports of call had been adjusted so our first visit was to Sinop which had a pretty little promenade and not much else. Next was Trabzon a place with a lot more history,here we decided to discover the city alone and after getting a map from the tourist office in the main square we found ourselves wondering through the bazaar,a fascinating labyrinth of tiny streets with absolutely everything for sale.From the main square it is only a short walk back to the ship. Batumi was the next port this is a city with beautiful architecture counterpointed by awful Russian built apartment blocks.Here we took a tour to the Gonio fortress,dating from Roman times and on to the Adjara winery,a lovely setting and a nice drive but the wine didn't quite match the surroundings. We then called in to Sochi where the perverse Russians made us tender in instead of docking,our walking tour guide seemed more interested in talking like Shakespeare than giving us the bottom line on the history of the place so much so that we had to cut two attractions due to the time he wasted talking but we did make it to the beer tasting. Odessa was the next port,here we took a guided tour with a wonderful guide called Emilia,this historic and beautiful city is well worth a visit particularly the opera house which is outstanding,We had lunch on the ship ,which was moored quite close to the famous Potemkin steps,and then thought we would wa;k back to the city centre for some more photo opportunities but it started to rain so we turned back.This was a blessing as only 30 mins later the terrible events we all know of took place,some passengers and crew were still in town but returned unharmed. It so happened that Constanta was our last port and I must say it is a typical example of a post communist city terribly poor and run down,it made us count our blessings.The boat trip we took to Ovidiu island was overpriced although we enjoyed the included meal. Nessebur was cancelled due to high seas,a pity as it looked to be a pretty place to visit,however this meant we headed straight to Istanbul giving us the benefit of arriving in daylight and therefore getting great views of the Bosphurous on the sail in Our on board lecture was Corey Sandler who was absolutely brilliant with his easy style and detailed knowledge of the area and the ports visited we really understand the troubled history of this region now. We also enjoyed the entertainment provided by the ships troupe of 6 singers/dancers a really talented and pleasant group of young people as were the resident quartet and Remon the pianist,top class. We found La Terraza restaurant to our liking but as the menu only changed every 3 days we also used the main restaurant,the food was equally good in both,however our meal in Le Champagne was a little disappointing for the $40.00 cover charge I fact there were only 6 people in when we ate there.We cancelled our other reservations there To sum up the ship was very nice overall but looking tired in places and not in as good condition as we would have expected.That said the staff on board were of the highest standard with nothing to much trouble and always service with a smile,they really are a credit to Silversea. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Background: Traveled on a non-stop British Airways flight from San Diego. Used "Smiths for Airports" car service for transportation to/from Heathrow airport to Southampton. They were excellent and a great value. Spent one night ... Read More
Background: Traveled on a non-stop British Airways flight from San Diego. Used "Smiths for Airports" car service for transportation to/from Heathrow airport to Southampton. They were excellent and a great value. Spent one night at the West Quay Premier Inn. Nice room next to fun mall. Took taxi to port. Cabin #8132: Wonderful! Peaceful decor, comfy beds, very clean and plenty of storage space. Nice balcony too. Dining: I liked being able to get tea, orange and cranberry juice at all times in the lido. The bread/rolls were also good. Room service breakfasts were excellent and timely. The Golden Lion pub lunch menu was tasty. The dining room service was slow and the menu items just okay. I much preferred the dinner menus, selection and taste on the Holland America line. Soups, sauces and salad dressings were very bland. Shore Excursions: Took many ship sponsored tours and they were all fantastic. Well organized with knowledgeable guides. Entertainment: Music around the ship was beautiful. Night time shows were just so-so. Comedian was funny, but wish humor was cleaner. Quiz staff was polite, but lacked a bit of warmth. Enjoyed the Christmas carol singing and gingerbread houses. Disembarkation: Handled smoothly. Summary: Queen Elizabeth is a lovely and elegant ship. Very pleased overall with my Cunard experience.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Our first trip with Oceania and we loved it. Previous cruises include Seabourn, SeaDream, Le Ponant, Island Sky, Windstar, Star Clippers, Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic, Paul Gauguin, and others. Embarkation -- Seamless, speedy and we were ... Read More
Our first trip with Oceania and we loved it. Previous cruises include Seabourn, SeaDream, Le Ponant, Island Sky, Windstar, Star Clippers, Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic, Paul Gauguin, and others. Embarkation -- Seamless, speedy and we were sipping a glass of bubbly before we knew it. Luggage placed outside the door which was just fine by us. When the day comes that we can't move our cases a few feet, it's time to pack it in! We bought the booze package and never found it intrusive to have to show the card. In fact, the best waiters/bartenders (here's looking at you, "D" in the Grand Bar) memorized our cabin number so did not ask for it repeatedly. We had a PH cabin with a balcony and butler. We used the balcony only a couple of times as this was a port intensive cruise. We used the butler once. We loved our cabin category due to the size, but did not need the butler. Excursions -- did all private one with people we "met" on our roll call. Food -- nearly the best I have ever had at sea. The dining room took only 2 days to get my boiled eggs correct (and my odd way of breaking them into a bowl to eat). Other ships never did get the concept! The breads and especially the croissants were terrific. One night I commented how great the bay scallops were and the next thing I knew I had another order in front of me. Decor -- we loved it. Yes, I know it is not very nautical and is reminiscent of an English Country house, but it fit our tastes. Was it all perfect? No. Our room was not made up one night. Our first meal in Toscana was not the best (veal limone -- skip it), and we had an annoying problem with the Oceania Ambassador re a future cruise. Nothing is perfect but for us, Oceania comes close. We'll be returning and I heartily recommend Oceania to others Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Just back from 12 nights on the Adriatic and Black sea. Firstly the ship is beautiful very elegant in an art décor style. . The staff excellent always smiling and helpful, nothing too much trouble. We were on deck 4 outside partly blocked ... Read More
Just back from 12 nights on the Adriatic and Black sea. Firstly the ship is beautiful very elegant in an art décor style. . The staff excellent always smiling and helpful, nothing too much trouble. We were on deck 4 outside partly blocked as we were between lifeboats so could see a little. Our fellow travellers were in cabins totally blocked by the life boats and found them very dark, and not happy with them. ( but I am not sure if I would book another cabin with view blocked). Though cabin steward was wonderful and the cabin very comfortable. We found the whole ship spacious and it never felt overcrowded even on sea days on deck there was always spaces to sit in either the sun or shade, the best ship for comfortable sunbeds and chairs, always places and again deck crew excellent. Dining areas very good plenty of space between tables at formal dining room, and the Lido buffet very chilled and comfortable., Food a little disappointing not quite as good as I expected, choices a bit limited but we still enjoyed our meals and some evening were better than others. The Lido buffet was quite good especially for lunch and I gather the Lion pub was good for a typical English pub lunch. Our biggest complaint was the price of drinks, the cheapest wine 37 dollars with tax and other drinks expensive especially when 15% tax is added. We did have a bottle of champagne in our cabin when we arrived which was very nice, and we were allowed to bring on two bottles of champagne or wine when we first embarked. We also found that we could bring back drink when visiting a duty free port and this had to be consumed in the cabin. The entertainment was very good, special acts like the comedian and singers who were all first class, and the theatre was a good size and always seats. the casino was disappointing, as you couldn't automatically get any cash out of machine if you won, unless you put your room card in the machine and registered it with a pin number. I didn't bother to go back there after I couldn't just get my cash back after winning twenty dollars, very confusing. Formal nights are lovely and everyone is expected to wear the full works, even informal nights if using the dining room, men were expected to wear a jacket with shirt (tie optional). Woman mainly wore smart elegent, ie trousers or skirt with smart blouse or top. The Lido was a lot less formal though men had to wear long trousers etc. We left Venice and stopped at Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, a shuttle bus was provided so nice too wander but ( too crowded ), next was Izmir Turkey, easy to walk from ship and town was quite nice with plenty of shops and restuarants. Corfu town was also nice to wander around and good for shopping and visiting the fort. ( We don't usually go on organised trips so either use the shuttle bus or if there is one go on a hop on hop off bus, a very good way to see the town. Our next port of call was Yalta very nice a pretty seaside town but not a lot there, gather tours disappointing and weather was a little cooler, Odessa very cold but again quite interesting lovely churches etc to visit. We were unable to stop at Nessebar Bulgaria as the weather was quite choppy for tender boats so made our way to Instanbal but it rained all the time, we managed to see a little of the town on a bus, but again very crowded and busy. Overall a great cruise interesting stop offs, shame the weather changed. We thought the ship was really fabulous, though expensive, if you want to buy from the shops on board wait till the last evening, most things a lot cheaper. We would go on a cunard ship again as it was really lovely, but might have to save up to pay for the drinks !!! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2012
We just returned from a cruise on the Regent Mariner. We were so disappointed. Last year, we cruised on the new Oceania Marina. It was absolutely wonderful, but this year we decided to kick it up a notch and try Regent, mostly because of ... Read More
We just returned from a cruise on the Regent Mariner. We were so disappointed. Last year, we cruised on the new Oceania Marina. It was absolutely wonderful, but this year we decided to kick it up a notch and try Regent, mostly because of the Black Sea itinerary. In every single category, Oceania was superior. On both ships, we booked a penthouse suite. Although a few feet bigger, the Mariner suite was not nearly as nice. Although the ship says it was refurbished in 2011, our suite's furniture was quite shabby. In addition, the arrangement of all was inferior. The deck was very narrow, and the bathroom was tiny. We had to ask for lounges to replace the very uncomfortable little chairs they had put on the deck. The food in general was a HUGE disappointment. In both the specialty restaurants and the main dining room we many times felt as though we were invisible because the service took so long. When you have to wait 20 minutes to place your order, and then the waiter does not show up as though he had forgotten you even existed, and you must flag down another waiter to track down your order, you begin to wonder about the luxury label. The only dinner we can truly say was memorable was our dinner at the captains table. The two specialty restaurants left a great deal to be desired. In both, we received main courses that were not cooked to our instructions. It wasn't just us, but four out of the six people at our table. Medium beef should not arrive with blood pooling under the meat and the center so cold it hadn't even been touched by the fire. The same with lamb chops on another evening. Five of the ten evening's dinners were a disappointment. The free tours were no better then the run-of-the-mill tours on other ships. The drinks are free but finding a waiter who wants to serve them is often a challenge. The pool bar closes at 6:00 PM, which is not what you want when you're looking for a cool dip and drink after a day of touring. None of the lunch venues stays open pass 1:30 except the pool bar, where you must wait to place your order in a cramped narrow and very smoky area. There were a couple of pluses. The production shows were excellent, room service was very good, and our butler Bish was terrific. I know that a lot of people love Regent and are repeat customers. However, I have never been on a cruise where so many passengers were complaining about so many things. Sorry Regent, but we won't be coming back. Read Less

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