1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Norwegian Fjords Cruises
  4. Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews

97 Norwegian Fjords Luxury Cruise Reviews

I had been on a previous Viking River cruise and wanted to sea if the ocean cruise could meet my very high expectations. My wife and I have been on several ocean cruises and with the highest rated cruise lines, but, Viking outdid them all. ... Read More
I had been on a previous Viking River cruise and wanted to sea if the ocean cruise could meet my very high expectations. My wife and I have been on several ocean cruises and with the highest rated cruise lines, but, Viking outdid them all. It was very obvious to us that a lot of careful study went into the design of Viking Sea and the result was outstanding. We had a penthouse veranda suite and we have never experienced a stateroom that was as well thought out as this one. The storage space was amazing. The ratio of staff to passengers was perfect as we were not pestered constantly as you are on some cruises. The menus were excellent and the food even better. Entertainment was spectacular and the best we have ever enjoyed at sea. The only negative we had related to the logistics of leaving and boarding in ports of call as more entry points were necessary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have been on two Viking River cruses and have loved the Viking family. The ships are outstanding. The staff is the best. Almost everything is included. They don't nickel and dime you. Each day the provide a free tour. The food ... Read More
We have been on two Viking River cruses and have loved the Viking family. The ships are outstanding. The staff is the best. Almost everything is included. They don't nickel and dime you. Each day the provide a free tour. The food is the best I have had on any of the 12 cruses we have taken. Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner. There is no gambling, The don't have a salesperson taking your picture to sell you later. The leave you alone if that is what you like. If you have a problem they are there to help you. It felt like you were with friends, not sales people who want to sell you something, we just love that. We met the owner of Viking, she and her dog were on the 15 day cruse from Bergen. She would stop and talk to us as if she had known us for years. We will be back with Viking, they are the best. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We selected this cruise as my wife and I had always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords up close. This was the first time Viking ran the Norwegian Fjord cruise route. Everything on board was excellent as I would expect with Viking. ... Read More
We selected this cruise as my wife and I had always wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords up close. This was the first time Viking ran the Norwegian Fjord cruise route. Everything on board was excellent as I would expect with Viking. Viking had major issues handling the shore tours regarding availability, This even extended to the tours that we were told were unavailable even though they were "included" in the package. After much effort, including notes to Viking Corporate (which were responded to promptly) they did work things out for the most part to our satisfaction. We also opted for the up front stay in Bergen which was well worth while although I might add we had very unusual weather in that it was 70 degrees and sunny the whole time we were there. The add on in London was also well worth the cost as we had never visited London before. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have sailed with Viking before to China and on the Tulip river cruise. We wanted to enjoy a larger boat with more options for eating and recreation and evening entertainment. We also wanted to go to a New Itinerary and the "Into ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking before to China and on the Tulip river cruise. We wanted to enjoy a larger boat with more options for eating and recreation and evening entertainment. We also wanted to go to a New Itinerary and the "Into The MIdnight Sun" looked like great ports to see in Norway and Scotland - we also went first to Iceland and later for a couple of days in London area after the cruise so the choice to go somewhere new and also end in London to visit with friends was perfect itinerary for us. We thought the food was superb and the roominess of the cabin as well as the public spaces. we never had to wait for an elevator, loved the friendliness of the staff. They helped us with a couple of personal issues and would and have already recommended the trip, ship and Viking to others. Thanks for one of the best trips we have every experienced! Loved it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My first cruise and a big ship to start this process! Ship very grand, food excellent but never had a properly hot meal except in the lido restaurant. Main dining room the meals arrived barely warm. Variety of food very good but still, ... Read More
My first cruise and a big ship to start this process! Ship very grand, food excellent but never had a properly hot meal except in the lido restaurant. Main dining room the meals arrived barely warm. Variety of food very good but still, eating good food at a lukewarm temperature is not my idea of perfection. Worst thing of all was we were in cabin 1090 and this suffered from the full effect of base sounds from BBKing performances. First started off at about 21.15 and ended, some nights at 0.25 hours. I had poor sleeping for the whole of the fourteen nights. When we complained onboard we were greeted with apathy, although they did admit it had been complained about on several of its mini cruises. They said they would have changed our cabins but they did not a like for like to accommodate us! We received a $50 per person credit in our final bill which amortised out over 14 nights was appalling little. I wrote a review to the company, as requested on my return and in return received a typical "American reply" which said nothing, admitted no blame ( we were never warned before we joined the cruise of the possible problems) and basically said off you go we intend to take this no further than let the powers that be know. I am appalled by such a hollow customer services response and a reflection of the same apathy we received on board. Anyone who travels with this ship should be aware of noise problems and I guess the soundproofing is partly to blame but they, knowing the problem should not think that lifting the carpet and brushing it under will solve it or stop this complaint process continuing. Is this the American way of making amends because if this is the case, I would not travel on an American ship again and will do whatever it takes to let others know what they may have in store. The whole matter was treated as though it was our fault for being picky. It is a marvellous area to travel to and so much is right with the concept but once people try to make me feel it is wrong to complain and I should just go away and forget about it, then I become more determined to take it further. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This is the second time we have sailed on Seabourn. We sailed the first time on the smaller ship The Legend, which is now owned by Windstar. We were little apprehensive sailing on The Quest which is twice the size of The legend but to be ... Read More
This is the second time we have sailed on Seabourn. We sailed the first time on the smaller ship The Legend, which is now owned by Windstar. We were little apprehensive sailing on The Quest which is twice the size of The legend but to be honest we were not disappointed and in fact preferred The Quest which has lots of extra space and facilities. There were 450 guests on board and never did I feel that our own personal space was restricted. The Quest is a beautiful maintained ship and has the feel of a luxury floating hotel. The Staff were all young and enthusatic whilst led by senior’s who led by example, assisting where necessary and during special onboard events would serve food and drinks to the guests. The Captain was outstanding and was always visible and approachable. His officers were equally visible and they all worked together as one multicultural family. The seniors called us by name after day two and although the majority of staff didnt they always remembered our drink preference’s both in the bar and restaurant’s. 'No' is not a word you will ever hear on Seabourn. If they haven’t got what you would like in one restaurant they will find it from elsewhere or make sure that it is available the next day for you. We were sad to leave the ship which after two weeks had become like a second home. One place that we partically loved was sitting in The Square. They have leather reclining chairs which had great views from the aft of the ship. We did not pay for internet but were pleasantly surprised that portable Ipads were available loaded with a selection of newspapers for all nationalites. I have never seen this facility available before on other cruise lines so was a very pleasant surprise. I was able to read my daily newspaper in comfort of a reclining chair at The Square whilst sipping a freshly brewed coffee from The Square Barista. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that ... Read More
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that Seabourn and Silversea are the two lines that best meet our criteria best. The Norwegian fjord cruise was excellent. Seabourn has a marina and offers a series of zodiac an kiak tours which was a great addition to the normal tours on the itinerary. All in all, a great cruise experience. The staff was very attentive and the restaurants each had themes every night making for interesting dining. The Thomas Keller Grill was an exceptional dining experience. Suites were comfortable and there was more than enough storage space. Little things like fresh fruit brought to the room every day adds a lot to the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose to sail on the Quest to Norway having had a fantastic cruise on the Quest in the fall of 2015 through Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. That cruise was awesome, and we loved the ship, the crew, the guests and the dining. The ... Read More
We chose to sail on the Quest to Norway having had a fantastic cruise on the Quest in the fall of 2015 through Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. That cruise was awesome, and we loved the ship, the crew, the guests and the dining. The Quest is a beautiful ship, and easy to call it home for our trip. The cabin, however, was not thoroughly cleaned when we embarked. Our stewardess on this trip spoke poor English, and was difficult to communicate with. This was one of the reasons we are not giving this cruise 5 stars. But we were very cozy after settling in. The weather was still cold as this cruise went above the Arctic Circle to the North Cape, so we had brought along extra blankets and needed them. Still, we were able to use the balcony many days, and enjoyed the fantastic scenery and the Midnight Sun. We were not happy with the changes in the dining aboard the Quest with the new Thomas Keller menus. We did not mind the change from Restaurant 2 to the TK Grill, but did not like the changes in the Restaurant and the Colonnade. In the Colonnade there were four Thomas Keller nights serving meals such as ribs and fried chicken. We vastly preferred the regular Colonnade menus and felt cheated out of the local seafood that we expected on a cruise through Scandinavia. If you like French Haute Cuisine and foie gras you may like the other TK menus, but we did not. We found the dining options more restricted and stressful. There was also not the seamless service in the dining areas that we had had before. We will be watching to see how Seabourn handles the TK menus, especially in the Colonnade, before we book another Seabourn cruise. Still, we had many wonderful evenings in the Restaurant and the Colonnade, and many good options for breakfast including coffee and pastries in the Seabourn Square. The itinerary and shore excursions were fantastic. Our Captain was very experienced and hailed from Denmark. One of the reasons we like Seabourn is their Scandinavian captains. We really loved seeing Arctic Norway, and had three wonderful days in Copenhagen!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have taken Viking river cruises and always had a wonderful time so we wanted to try one of the new ocean cruises. We weren't disappointed! The Viking staff and crew were amazing. They were always friendly and helpful. For example, ... Read More
We have taken Viking river cruises and always had a wonderful time so we wanted to try one of the new ocean cruises. We weren't disappointed! The Viking staff and crew were amazing. They were always friendly and helpful. For example, one day we returned from an excursion during a rain storm and they were all lined up at the embarkation area holding umbrellas and forming a long tunnel for us to walk through and offering us glasses of champagne.That's going above and beyond their duties!! The ship we were on was the Viking Sea and it was beautiful with tasteful and classy decor. The shore excursions were excellent and informative and the entertainment and cast were worthy of Broadway. I even got to go from a sauna to a snow room and back to the sauna, on the ship. And the food was the best we've ever had on a cruise on any line. Of course we didn't want the trip to end and we can't to go on the next one (in December). Thank you Viking for everything!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We always select a cruise based upon ship size and destinations. Viking has never left us feeling disappointed in these areas plus the food, service and attentions to details. One of our favorite things about Viking cruises, is that when ... Read More
We always select a cruise based upon ship size and destinations. Viking has never left us feeling disappointed in these areas plus the food, service and attentions to details. One of our favorite things about Viking cruises, is that when possible, they set up excursions to family homes within the city you are visiting. This personalize the trip and really gives you an opportunity to immerse your self in the culture. We have discovered that Viking will also set up private trips in a port also. On another cruise, we wanted to visit another site. Viking found us a guide and taxi services for us. Additionally, the costs were just added to our total bill so we did not have to worry about money. The rooms on Viking River or Ocean cruises are clean, all the staff is willing to go the extra mile to accommodate you and the food selection is varied and tasty. Everything is well planned out. we feel like we are well taken care of and at home. I would never use another cruise line but Viking! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
So eight of us, who'd met on a Viking River cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it, decided to do it again on the Viking Sea, Barcelona to Norway. The ship was first rate, the crew extraordinary and the food good, so why was it such a bad ... Read More
So eight of us, who'd met on a Viking River cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it, decided to do it again on the Viking Sea, Barcelona to Norway. The ship was first rate, the crew extraordinary and the food good, so why was it such a bad experience for all? For openers, sailing to beautiful Norway. The itinerary changed close to the departure date and so seeing Norway was arriving at 8 AM on morning and then being bused to the airport.....that was "Norway" in its entirety! Second most the side trip had never been evaluated by Viking staff. After the second miserable outings we met with the tour director and, thereafter, they had a crew member accompany us, but it was also the first trip for them and there were some good tours but some miserable and misdescribed ones as well. Equally important they were not well coordinated so that if you went on an excursion it might be at the expense of seeing the city at which you'd arrived. Since river cruises take you directly to these locations, most sea ports, however, required long bus rides to a destination. I'm sure this is something upon which they've improved but truth be told the reason we go on these cruises is to visit specific destinations and the mode of transportation is merely to facilitate these places. Some of the more desirable locations (e.g. London fish market early AM) filled up on day one and we were told that if sufficient persons wanted to attend they'd expand the number. The number increased exponentially but no other tour was scheduled. Also boarding some water taxis was dangerous to which a large gash in my head will attest. Overall, a very poorly planned itinerary and I suppose we were just the proverbial guinea pigs. We will definitely tray Oceana before ever considering Viking again.Ju Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I have just returned from a week voyage to the Fjords of Norway on the Queen Elizabeth. To put this review in context, this was my 7th Cunard cruise and my 5th on Queen Elizabeth. I will begin by saying that the QE is still a beautiful ... Read More
I have just returned from a week voyage to the Fjords of Norway on the Queen Elizabeth. To put this review in context, this was my 7th Cunard cruise and my 5th on Queen Elizabeth. I will begin by saying that the QE is still a beautiful ship that is well maintained and very clean; our room steward was efficient and punctual each day and the general ambience of the ship was excellent (despite a few passengers that insist on ignoring the dress code). Prior to sailing I read many of the reviews on here which were quite negative. I was therefore somewhat apprehensive about this cruise; this would be my first time in the Britannia restaurant on QE since my first cruise with Cunard. Having experienced the Grills and Club last year I was concerned I would be let down by the food and service in Britannia. I needn’t have worried. The food and service in Britannia was above my expectations; not quite as refined as the grills but still very good. We enjoyed every meal at our allocated table and were quite happy with every dish served, including breakfast and lunch. All food was well cooked to order; modifications to suit our tastes were catered for without any mistakes and all of the dishes fairly well presented and flavoursome. We have previously been quite disappointed with lunch on all 3 ships, but the food at lunch was much better this time. The food served in Britannia is not the finest food imaginable; the service is not the most pristine service imaginable, but for the price paid for a Britannia stateroom it is very good and much better than anything we eat in most restaurants ashore. The Britannia restaurant is a very large room serving 800 people a sitting, therefore it can be noisy but never so much so that it ruins a meal; some would just describe it as ‘lively’ and enjoy the atmosphere. From past experience the Verandah Restaurant, for which a small extra charge is paid, has served some of the finest food we have ever eaten and provided superb service throughout. Unfortunately, on this cruise, standards appear to have slipped somewhat. The food didn’t wow us like it has previously and the sommelier is best described as sloppy. We ate here twice; the second time the wine service was executed by our sommelier, the chief sommelier of the ship, the Maitre’D and our food waiters. I commend them on their flexibility in attempting to smoothen out the inadequacies of the sommelier, but it did make the meal feel rushed, sloppy and impersonal. As for the food, the presentation and execution just didn’t seem quite as good as previously; still very good but not excellent. Whereas before the Verandah felt very special, this time it felt like just another restaurant and certainly not as good as the Queen’s Grill on a previous voyage. I would certainly still recommend anyone tries the Verandah; issues like those described above are frequently one offs caused by individuals that aren’t quite as good as their counterparts. There was a different Maitre’d this time; possibly his hand wasn’t as firmly on the rudder as previous ones, and the sommelier was clearly an issue for which other staff members were forced to compensate. Also although this restaurant didn’t wow us like it has before it was still very good, like most of the food on board. Another point to note is the general service throughout the ship. This was good throughout most of the ship particularly the drinks service in the midships bar where the waiter JR was superb. Unfortunately the Commodore Club service continues to be very slow at times, and it did prove rather difficult to get a drink whilst in the hot tub by the Lido Pool as the waiters stayed around the shaded seating areas. We had to get a member of technical staff to summon them over after in the end. I attended an insights lecture on this voyage, which was a first. I would recommend that people watch some of these lectures even if at first glance they don’t resonate with you. I found the Phantom of the Opera lecture surprisingly interesting considering I have little interest in musical theatre! Julian Woolford was witty and informative. Another plus on this voyage was the Captain opening up deck 5 forward for the sail-aways from Flam and Geiranger. It was truly spectacular to stand out here with a glass of champagne as you pass the towering mountains and waterfalls on either side; this thoughtful move added a great deal to the voyage. Despite a few criticisms, this voyage still very much surpassed my expectations and was good value. I would like to finish by reflecting on some of the poor reviews posted by others recently. These made me rather anxious prior to sailing. There were of course a few people moaning on board some of which we chatted to, and many of their moans were minor and in some cases totally unreasonable. I fear that many of the very bad reviews that appear to focus heavily on the negatives, say a great deal more about the passenger than the ship. I do not dismiss the negative comments, as I’ve made a few criticisms myself in this review and all things are subjective, but when a review focuses almost entirely on negatives with no balance whatsoever I would take it with a pinch of salt and judge for yourself on board. In summary I would give this cruise a 4.5/5 if I could, due to the hand full of issues I've mentioned above. However, as I don't feel that these ruined the cruise and am still quite happy with the experience I'm happy to round it up to 5/5. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having planned this trip 9 months ago, and having been on Windstar before, we had been looking forward to the Star Legend. We were not disappointed. The itinerary is interesting, From Reykjavik to the Faroe Islands, the Shetlands, ... Read More
Having planned this trip 9 months ago, and having been on Windstar before, we had been looking forward to the Star Legend. We were not disappointed. The itinerary is interesting, From Reykjavik to the Faroe Islands, the Shetlands, Norwegian fjords and Copenhagen. We planned our excursions carefully and chose to take the Windstar Cruises offerings, although the tours are on the expensive side (par for the course in cruise companies and not unexpected). For the most part we found these informative and good with excellend guides, with one exception. When we (and several other passengers) complained about the quality, the line gave us a 50% discount, which was fair and unsolicited. Boarding and leaving the ship at each port was handled efficiently and relatively fast. We arrived in Iceland 3 days early and spent them touring around the Southern part of the country. The weather was good to us and we were lucky to have mild, clear days. The weather throughout the cruise was fairly good. Having sailed the North Sea before, I expected some rough weather, but it was calm throughout the cruise. There was very little rain even in the Faroes, and very mild. We boarded the Star Legend and were immediately impressed and pleased with the ship. We did not find the ship to be tired, despite the fact that it has been in service for some years. Our cabin, a BS1 category, was unexpectedly large and very comfortable with a soothing beige and blue decor, plenty of storage including a walk-in closet, large bed, good size bathroom with shower (my only caveat - the shower head is ridiculously located in a corner, necessitating one to cram into the corner to get under the jet), and best of all, a sofa and two armchairs. The Bose speakers were a great addition and my husband immediately connected his phone with music. The TV was smallish, but we are not great addicts, so didn't mind. The crew were, without exception, extremely helpful and pleasant. Our cabin steward was delightful and the restaurant staff were well trained and everyone knew our names by the end of the first day - impressive! Captain James and his officers were charming and welcomed us on the bridge whenever we visited it, the open bridge is a nice touch from Windstar. The Amphora Restaurant served breakfast and sometimes lunch, buffets, all of which were good but not exceptional. We managed to eat at Candles a couple of times, worth the effort, the lamb chops were tender and juicy and I had them both times. Other members of our party were also pleased with their dishes. As is usual, the bar drinks were expensive, but the choices of wines offered were reasonably good. Looking back, we both agree that it was one of the nicest ships we have been on (we will only travel on smaller ships), and we would definitely choose the Star Legend and Windstar Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I just completed the 20 night Great Northern Lights cruise on the Nautical. This was our first Oceania cruise after cruising on their sister line, Regent, several times. We are very pleased with our first experience with this ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the 20 night Great Northern Lights cruise on the Nautical. This was our first Oceania cruise after cruising on their sister line, Regent, several times. We are very pleased with our first experience with this line! Travel to embarkation with air provided by Oceania was very smooth, on time and uneventful. Check in was extremely well organized and efficiently completed. Our stateroom was ready at 1:30 p m, our luggage arrived soon after. Our stateroom, a concierge level balcony room, was very nice. Our room was very well cared for by our two room stewardesses, cleaned very well and done when most convenient to us. Dining was a treat on the Nautica for us. The two specialty restaurants, the Polo Grill(steakhouse) and Toscana(Italian) serve great food in a smaller room with great atmosphere. The Grand Dining room has an expanded menu and also serves very good food. The buffet restaurant offers all three meals in a top level area with great views and a large variety of offerings. The buffet being offered at dinner provides a quicker alternative if you don't want to spend 1 1/2-2 hours for dinner. Entertainment on the ship had great variety--singers, comedians, instrumentalists, magicians, and a very good show band. As group ship entertainment goes, this was excellent. The best thing about the Nautica--without a doubt was the crew. The service far exceeded any expectations we had. Every level of crew went above and beyond to please the passengers. Also outstanding was the cruise director, Ray Carr. Disembarkation was highly organized and was carried out without any issues. We would definitely cruise with Oceania again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Azamara Quest Norway Cruise – July 18 to August 1, 2015. Why this cruise? I had been told by a friend that the Norway cruise was a good one. This particular trip started with the chance to see the last day of the Open at St. ... Read More
Azamara Quest Norway Cruise – July 18 to August 1, 2015. Why this cruise? I had been told by a friend that the Norway cruise was a good one. This particular trip started with the chance to see the last day of the Open at St. Andrews Old Course, an event to be seized with all haste. In addition, we have heard good things about Azamara, and we very much like the small Renaissance ships. The idea of being in the cool North while getting away from July in Phoenix also had its appeal. Cruise pre-planning Azamara uses the “no formal nights – ‘smart-casual’ attire” rule used by Oceania, but we had some weather concerns. The forecasts were for days in the 60’s and nights a few degrees lower. We had booked several tours, including an all day trip to the North Cape, so warmth and rain protection was important. I therefore packed no shorts, and Edith included a good selection of pants suitable for both evening wear and providing warmth. We think we did pretty well. I brought my favorite blue blazer and one tie in addition to my favorite Zuni bolo tie. I also brought my Aran Island wool fisherman’s sweater, and a marvelous cashmere sweater purchased many years ago in Inverness, a nice Scots town at the north end of Loch Ness. They know how to keep you warm in Ireland and Scotland. Embarkation We flew non-stop to Heathrow and then to Edinburgh, staying in a hotel there for one night. So we showed up at the pier in Leith (about a $30.00 cab ride) at 11:30. Check-in was fast for us because we had booked a Continental Suite and had a priority line, but it seemed to move smoothly for everybody. Once on board we had to wait until 1:30 to get into our cabin, but used the time to get books from the lovely Deck 10 library, (called “The Drawing Room” on Azamara ships); and to have lunch in the Waves Café (buffet). Our stateroom! We chose a Continental suite because our prior experiences on these ships showed us that the standard veranda cabin is rather small, and the Continental Suite on Azamara, or Penthouse Suite on Oceania provided enough room. When we walked into our stateroom, No. 8061, our reaction was – Wow! We soon found out why we had this response. It seems that Azamara is planning on upgrades of at least its Continental Suites, and ours was the prototype, the only one on this ship. The first impression was the “light”. Everything seemed white and bright, in contrast to the browns used in most cabins. The closets to the left as one entered were actually light brown, but the most striking feature was the “bureau-desk” arrangement stretching from the mini bar next to the closets to the veranda. The bureau portion was about six feet long, 18 inches high and about the same depth or slightly more. It was all white with some form of composition material on top. There were three deep drawers. About two-thirds of the way to the veranda, the desk portion started. It therefore was above the last drawer of the bureau portion so there was a covered, but open storage area. The desk was only about six inches deep until the final two feet or so. It had two wide, shallow desk drawers. It was also white, but the top had a glass surface. At the very end there were some light switches and electrical sockets at the front. There was a very modern desk lamp. There we a high backed desk chair, a small side chair, a round coffee table and a comfortable wing back chair against the back wall. The bed had a round small side table on one side and a larger square table on the other side. The bed had panels above as headboards, covered with a leather-like material with a raised pattern. More on this will follow. Every surface in this living area was white and the veranda went almost the entire width of the cabin, so the “light” effect was remarkable and delightful. The bathroom was completely redone. Instead of the tub/shower of the regular Continental Suite there was a very roomy six foot long stall shower with beautiful marble walls, a well-directed main shower head plus a hand held shower. We were told that there had been a design error in that the shower floor was virtually flush with the bathroom floor with no lip to prevent water getting out, but we found that with a floor mat there was no real problem. We thought this to be the best shower ever on a ship. The single sink was a large square porcelain “vessel” sitting on a darker composition table, with a shelf underneath. There was a handy magnifying mirror on the wall and three long shelves to the side which had all the room needed for toiletries. The walls were marble, and the floor some kind of composition looking like grey wood. The same grey floor was present in the entrance to the cabin up to the “living” area, where there was a nice carpet with an attractive abstract design. The veranda had three wicker arm chairs and a table high enough to serve as a dining table, although a Norwegian cruise does not invite al fresco dining, even if we were room service types. The lighting system was excellent, and relatively easy to master. For example, there was an overhead light which was perfect for reading in the large arm chair. At the bedside there was a general area light, which actually emitted a small glow at night; and small “bullet” lamps that could be focused easily on a book for reading in bed at night, something we both do. The thermostat was adjustable, but the cabin never was very warm, and Edith’s feet were cold until she got back to the 110º of Phoenix. As usual, we had no problem storing all our clothing and other belongings. We had a few conversations with senior staff concerning this stateroom, especially since we were asked to vacate it for a short period of time on Sunday afternoon, while still docked in Leith, so that the President and CEO of Azamara could lead a tour of our cabin for the benefit of some cruise tour providers! I was at the Open, so Edith was the subject of this request. Afterwards, when we were visited by the Hotel Director to thank us, we mentioned that we thought the cabin should have had a mirror over the desk for the benefit of Madame putting on her makeup. He agreed and said this would probably be corrected along with the shower issue. What we did not mention was the fact that the coffee table in the cabin was much too small for any true room service usage. Since we never use room service this did not occur to us at that time. This may not be easy to cure given the three chairs in that area. Oh well, not our problem. What became our problem. The fifth night out I was snoozing away when, at 2:30 A.M. I was awakened suddenly with something falling on my head with a crash! I struggled up with this object in my hands and managed to turn on the light. I discovered that a quarter panel of our “headboard” had fallen off the wall. Examination showed that this headboard was in four sections, each about three feet wide and two plus feet high, made of pressed wood about a ½ inch thick and cover on one side with a leather like material with some raised pattern portions. This was a substantial object which came down, and I was very fortunate not to have been hit with an edge, which would have been extremely damaging. There were four of these panels, and this was the upper panel. When we looked at the upper panel over Edith’s side of the bed, and touched it, it seemed loose. We thought we should take it down and it required very little effort to pull it off the wall. The panels clearly had been attached with glue only, and obviously not enough. Since this was at 2:30 A.M., and we were safe and unharmed, and could not expect or need any help, we went back to bed. We called Guest Relations first thing in the morning, and they obviously did not understand what happened, probably because our stateroom was unique, and they sent up a carpenter with a hand drill to “fix” it. He took one look and sent for higher staff. The chief housekeeper showed up and was properly appalled. It was quickly determined that no attempt to reinstall would be made, so we spent the rest of the trip with missing upper panels, not something that interfered with our use or enjoyment of the room. I do have a picture of it however. The Hotel Manager, Philip, showed up again with profound apologies and the assurances that the home office had been fully informed. Guest relations offered to provide a tour, but we had made our own private tour arrangements as usual, so this was of no value. Later I asked for and received additional computer usage minutes, but, as I noted when asking for them, this did not cost Azamara anything. We have been off the ship more than a week now, and still have had nothing in writing from Azamara by way of compensation for this near disaster. This is not good public relations, and a poor reflection on their stated desire to make everything a joy for their “guests”. The ship As we noted, we love these Renaissance ships. This was number 8, so the newest of all. Their design is, food aft – entertainment forward, very handy. From the top aft, on Deck 10 there are the two specialty restaurants and the Drawing Room. Forward is the Looking Glass Lounge providing a marvelous viewing room, with a dance floor and bar for activities. Deck 9 holds the Waves Buffet aft, the pool area and the Spa and Gym area, along with the computer room forward. Decks 8, 7 and 6 are all staterooms except for the complimentary self-service laundry on 7. Deck 5 has the main dining room with adjacent cocktail lounge aft. Proceeding forward there is the Mosaic Café; the two stores; the piano bar/lounge and the photo gallery; the Casino and the Cabaret, which is the main entertainment venue. Deck 4 has the Guest Relations area amidships, with the shore excursion desk, future cruise sales and concierge. There are also additional cabins and the medical center. Deck 3 has only access to the tenders or gangway as needed, although there is also gangway access on Deck 4 from the Guest Relations area. Altogether it is a compact and efficient design, although the passageway along the photo gallery could get crowded when the audience from the Cabaret shows exited. The shipboard New York Times was delivered to our cabin as a suite perk, and we had 235 free internet minutes. The Times and international editions were available around the ship. The internet service was slow of course, but always available. Some TV stations were out of range at time, and generally the room television offerings were not much to entice long viewing. There were movies shown every day. Dining aboard This is where Azamara Quest really shines. We have always felt that Crystal Cruises offers the best overall dining experience, and we still do. We also have greatly enjoyed Oceania’s Marina with its four imaginative and wonderful complimentary specialty restaurants. But if Crystal rates a 98, and Marina a 96, then Quest gets a 95. It may seem strange, but two very ordinary, homely menu items reflect this – potatoes and soups. Potatoes were served in the buffet for breakfast and lunch (and probably dinner also) and always were fresh and flavorful. I am of Irish ancestry and care about my potatoes. These were really something to look forward to. When they showed up on the dining room menus for diner, they were just as fine. The same can be said of the soups. There were always two at the lunch buffet and three, including one cold soup, in the dining room at night. They were always rich, flavorful and hot. We talked to the buffet maître’d about this and he described how they were made with a long cooking process from rich stock to extract all the possible flavors and rich variety of taste. This is how soup should be crafted. Edith, a vegetarian, was generally delighted with the offerings in this category, especially the wide choice available for lunch at the buffet. The only mild disappointment I felt was, oddly, with the filet mignon served with the “turf and surf” choice in the main dining room. It was comparatively tasteless compared to the lobster accompanying it, and the other entrees experienced on the balance of the trip. The breakfasts were up to the high level of the better cruises with a good selection of fruits for me and a number of hot items like mushrooms, beans, and potatoes which Edith loved. The coffee unfortunately was not that good, but we have seldom found good coffee in the buffets on any ship. The evening dinners at the Waves Buffet usually had an ethnic food theme; everything from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern to French to Tex-Mex. We went to this last, and found it very good, with a decent selection of offerings. The officers and crew It should first be noted that the passenger to crew ratio is 1.9 to 1. Anything below 2 is very good and shows a commitment to serving the passengers. This was apparent in the very quick room makeup and the generally excellent service in all the dining areas. In addition, the overwhelming majority of the crew was very friendly and helpful. The Hotel Manager, Philip, set the tone with his presence all over the ship, friendliness and generally pleasant attitude. The ship’s master, Captain Jose, also put in frequent appearances, and was very approachable and willing to enter into conversations. When I expressed one concern to the Cruise Director, Russ, he dealt with it quickly. The ship’s overall appearance was excellent, with cleaning and maintenance an obvious priority. Entertainment We would cast ourselves as a tough audience when it comes to shipboard entertain-ment, but we felt that Azamara did a pretty fair job, given the space limitations of the Cabaret Lounge. The usual “singers and dancers” were six in number, with two being only dancers, and the other four largely confined to singing. Their skill level was fairly high, and we enjoyed the fact that they kept the sound level to barely tolerable as contrasted to intolerable on some cruise lines. The choice of songs was decent. They performed four shows on a fourteen night cruise, which is a lot. We did walk out of one of the early shows, a male pianist who seemed to believe pianist skill was best demonstrated by pounding the instrument into complete submission. A female solo singer was good, as were a song and dance team. A second pianist doing mostly Broadway show tunes was quite good. We had a magician for two nights, and since I am a sucker for a magician, I enjoyed him thoroughly. The Azamazing Evening was Sunday night in the port of Leith before sailaway. I did not attend as I was tired from attending the Open at St. Andrews. But Edith and all we talked to who attended it were delighted with a tour of a castle providing lots to see, plenty of bagpipe music and spectacular fireworks. I should note that Russ, the cruise director, had been a stage production singer for many years, and he joined the regular singers and dancers for two of their shows, with very pleasing results. On board activities With one exception, this was quite dismal. The destination lecturer, Charles Richardson, was very good, with informative presentations about Norway and geology. We did feel that scheduling two of his talks at 9:00 in the morning was not a good idea, since it meant getting up very early for breakfast on a sea day when that would not normally be required. He did mention needing the Cabaret Lounge for rehearsals, but some forethought could have come up with better timing. The rest of the activities were a waste of time as far as we were concerned. They consisted of mainly of trivia games, bingo and pitches for the spa and art auction. Azamara need serious work in this facet of shipboard offerings. Ports of Call and shore excursions Bergen. We had arranged for a local tour beginning with a boat trip to another town with a museum. Unfortunately, we were a little late in docking and could see no transportation available to get us to our debarkation point by 8:50, so this was a loss. My ability to walk any distance is limited, so Edith went ashore herself and walked around the area near the ship. She reported it as a pleasant town. Flåm. The main attraction in this town is the railway journey into the mountains. The tour offered by the ship filled quickly, as did one other tour run by a local company, and I thought we might be out of luck. But the Norwegian Railway reserves some tickets and they are not available until 90 days prior to the use date. So I went on the railroad’s web site 90 days prior and purchased 2 tickets with no problem. The on-line cost per person was $81.50, while the Azamara price was $169.75 per person, more than twice as much. It was a very pleasant trip providing a great introduction to Norwegian mountain scenery. The grade is very steep, and you go up over 2400 feet in a comparatively short distance. After our return we visited the small museum attached to the souvenir store and were impressed by how much work and time went into the construction. Geiranger The reason for this destination is the very spectacular fjord, quite deep and comparatively narrow, with the Seven Sisters waterfall along the way. We had bought very reasonable tickets on a local tour in a boat that holds about 200 people. It provided frequent stops which gave us a great many fine photo opportunities in a 90 minute circuit. This was a tender port, with a number of other ships visiting, but the tender trips were fast and easy since the fjords are very calm. Svolvaer-Lofoten Islands – Troll Fjord This is a small town, but we had rented a car and with another couple drove about 50-60 miles south on this island which has a fjord on one side and the North Sea on the other. The car rental, with gas, cost about $120.00 for two couples, so we got to see a lot for very little, since the trip down and back took about 5 hours. There were a number of spots providing wonderful views, and at the south end there was a small harbor with a Norwegian Coast Guard cutter docked. We managed to find a spot with coffee and pastry, and generally enjoyed being on land all day and seeing real Norwegian living. After departing Svolvaer the Captain took us into the Troll Fjord, about 2 hours away. This is a very narrow passage, and while we were not quite able to touch the sides of the mountain as hinted by the Cruise Director, we were within a few feet. This was quite entertaining. When we reached the end of the fjord the Captain did a 360º turn, within the ships length, by using the bow thrusters and stern thrusters in opposite directions. Since Quest is only 593 feet long, it could do this but I doubt that many other cruise ships would be able to accomplish such a maneuver. In fact, while we saw a number of other ships in several ports, they all seemed less than 75,000 gross tons – none of your massive floating hotels. It is not the depth of the fjords that limits ships, they are all quite deep; it is the narrow quarters. Tromsø Tromsø is a good sized city of more than 70,000 people, partly on an island and partly on the mainland with a bridge connection. It has a number of attractive buildings. I stayed on board, but Edith walked through the town up a hill to a pleasant lake surrounded by nice homes. The weather was very mild, and she said that this was one town she would like to visit for a few days. It has an airport capable of handling jet flights to Bergen and Oslo. Honningsvåg This is the gateway to the North Cape, the northernmost mainland point in Europe at 70º10” North. Six of us rented a car and first proceeded to the Bird Safari located on the west side of the peninsula. This provided a 90 minute sea tour through neighboring islands, in a boat holding about 60 people, for the purpose of seeing the nesting places of a wide variety of sea birds, and photographing them. They included cormorants, gannets, puffins and Norwegian eagles which is about the size of the bald eagle, with grey markings, and the classic raptor flight. We also saw seals, but they were difficult to photograph against the rock backgrounds. The boat provided complete waterproof coveralls, which kept us totally warm and dry, although the weather was basically good. This was a good trip, which cost us $80.00 per person on line; but $264.75 on a ship’s tour. We then drove up to the North Cape itself, about another 30 miles. There is a 225 NOK ($28.00) per person entrance fee which lets you into a modern building with a cinema room featuring a 20 minute film about the Cape, a small Thai museum commemorating the 1907 visit of the King of Siam to the cape, a small chapel, a large souvenir store and a buffet restaurant featuring reindeer stew. There was an outside area leading up the Cape itself. It was extremely windy, with some rain, and we felt that the high fence was necessary, but we could see the neighboring capes and get a sense that we really were at the top of Europe. We then drove back to the ship. The cape area has no trees, and is quite barren, but we passed several reindeer herds, and were thrilled when one herd, stags, does and fawns decided to cross immediately in front of us while we stopped to let them by and had a good look at these very attractive creatures. The fawns are dark brown, which makes them highly visible, while the adults are a soft dun color. Our stop in Honningsvåg was from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M, and we would have had a midnight sun if it had not been cloudy, but it still was light out at midnight. Our car rental was $26.00 apiece, so the total day was $132.00 per person. The ship’s tour of the North Cape was $179.75. per person. This meant a total of $444.50 compared to our cost, and we had the freedom to take as much time as we wanted, and travel in a nice small van while saving over $300.00 apiece - $600.00 per couple! Altogether, we were delighted with this adventure. Olden This did not work out well. I had booked a tour of one of the few attractions at this stop, the Briksdalen Glacier, for a five hour van tour. I was a little concerned when I received no response to my request for an e-mail telling us where we would make contact. The firm I dealt with was called “Porttrips International” which still has a website. I had paid for 8 people by credit card, and received checks from the three couples joining us. When we walked off the ship, there was no Porttrips vehicle in sight in the very small dock area. We walked into the small town (about four stores) and back, and contact with the locals told us no one had heard of this company. We had little choice but to take either a local bus up to the glacier for a quick round trip tour, or take a small ”train” trolley with two small open cars around a local lake for 150 NOK, about $18.00. We chose this option which took about 80 minutes and was quite pleasant. The good news is that my credit card company has issued me a full credit, and my fellow passengers have all been reimbursed. Disembarkation The passengers taking a ship provided bus directly to the airport seemed to do quite well; while those of us taking taxis had a wait, mostly spent on board with trips outside to check the line for cabs. There were seven cruise ships docked in Copenhagen, but Azamara seemed to have the pier closest to town, which was nice. When we got our taxi the fare to our hotel in central Copenhagen, near the Tivoli Gardens and main railroad station, was less than $10.00. Reflections and Miscellaneous Norway is a pleasant, very scenic country, with a population that by and large speaks excellent English. While it has the fourth highest standard of living in the world, there is no great display of wealth and little of poverty. There is a lot of graffiti, which surprised Edith. We were surprised by the fact that homes were scattered all along the fjords, seemingly far from anything. While some remote farms were abandoned, most of these homes were served by roads with regular auto and truck traffic. All the homes appeared to be in excellent condition, and the neighborhoods well cared for. Everyone we spoke to or dealt with was very pleasant and helpful. If one can deal with the dark, cold winters, it is a fine country to live in. Our fellow passengers were mostly American, with the usual leavening of our northern neighbors from Canada, and a fair representation of New Zealanders and Australians. There were few Germans, perhaps because it is easier for them to cruise on ships based on the continent. And the English travel on Fred Olsen and P&O cruise lines. Most passengers were in the retired age bracket, but there were others and three or four teen-agers. Final words Was this a worthwhile trip? I felt so although Edith was perhaps not as enthusiastic. There were times when it was a bit boring, and the fjords have a lot of similarity. But I felt it was so unique and beautiful that a bit of repetition was acceptable. I would recommend this cruise, and Azamara has a lot to offer; a neat small ship, really excellent food, great service and friendliness. If the activities are weak, and the standard veranda cabins on the small side, these defects can be tolerated. So my overall rating would be 4+. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
P&O have a strange way of boarding people you are given a time to arrive then a letter or colour to sit with until you are called to board the ship. Most cruise companies provide complimentary drinks while you are waiting but not ... Read More
P&O have a strange way of boarding people you are given a time to arrive then a letter or colour to sit with until you are called to board the ship. Most cruise companies provide complimentary drinks while you are waiting but not P&O. We had a fairly late boarding time, and we had been on 2 motorways with very heavy traffic, so the journey took twice as long as it should have. By the time we parked, went through check-in and boarded it was time for the lifeboat drill just prior to sailing. This was at 5pm and we had not eaten since 7am, so it was not a good start. Brittania is a lovely ship, but because of her size takes some time to find your way around. We were sailing to the Norwegian Fjords, a first time visit for myself and husband and something we had wanted to do for a long time. Our first day was a sea day and I had booked a massage at the spa, the treatment was first class but you are then expected to buy Elemis products before leaving (and it is difficult to get out without purchasing). We had a balcony cabin which was very nice and was designed to give you more hanging space without taking up most of the room, there were plenty of hangers and enough space for a large case the beds are high off the floor so a large case fits beneath. We opted for freestyle dining as we like to eat at different times. We were however not seated on arrival on any evening we were given a bleap to take away and wait until a table was available. The dining experience was the worse I have had in many years of cruising, mainly due to the surly waiters, they didn't speak, banged the plates down and generally ruined what is usually one of the nicest parts of cruising. It was as if they had been told to "get them in, feed them and get them out quick" P&O are charging 4 star prices for 2 star service. One evening we ate in the Epicurean and had a lovely meal in a nice atmosphere and the service was as it should have been in the main dining area. I do think the cover charge is too high though. The self service restaurant can get a bit crowded, especially at breakfast and you can spend some time wandering about looking for a table, the food is pretty much the same each day, a bit more variety would be better and they could be a bit more generous with the fillings in the afternoon sandwiches. Again, that feeling that things are being done on the cheap. We booked several shore excursions, which we enjoyed, the P&O staff seem very disorganised especially when getting people ashore by tender, we have experienced this before with this cruiseline on a different ship everybody tells you something different and people start to get very annoyed. The evening entertainment was good, we like to go to the theatre shows after dinner and the shows themselves did not disappoint, however the seating was the worse I have ever found on a cruise ship, you are jammed in like sardines and the chairs are more uncomfortable that the smaller airline seats. They may be ok if you are a size 10 most people are not, and they are even worse when you are wearing a formal evening gown. We set the alarm early most days so we could look at the amazing scenery coming up the fjord to dock in lovey quaint villages. Through the early morning cloud to see the spectacular mountains and waterfalls is a sight we won't ever forget. We had a trip on the Rauma Railway which was also amazing, coming down the mountain seeing fast flowing rivers and waterfalls. The weather was probably typical of Norway, 4 seasons in one day, overall it was not too bad, but there was a fair amount of rain which prevented us from spending much time out on deck which was disappointing. Disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly, we were able to pick a time to suit to leave. The other thing that has left a lasting impression is the endless waiting for a lift, they are not particularly big , you are asked, quite rightly to give priority to wheelchair users but one motorised chair and carer fill the lift. For those of us with bad knees walking up stairs to the 10th deck is not a comfortable option so you wait and wait, to get in a lift. Perhaps a couple of wheelchair only lifts might be a good idea. Overall, I liked Brittania, but most of the staff do not seem very happy or particularly friendly which can make or break a holiday so they need to address this. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Again we were more than happy with all the aspects of the staff service in all areas, one could not have a more friendly crew. The food once again was excellent in all restaurants and I cannot understand why people are criticising it, it ... Read More
Again we were more than happy with all the aspects of the staff service in all areas, one could not have a more friendly crew. The food once again was excellent in all restaurants and I cannot understand why people are criticising it, it is like going out to dinner in an excellent restaurant every night no matter where you dine. We thought the organasition by destination services has continued to improve on every cruise and the only time we had a delay was when it was pouring outside and they did not wish us to get wet before going on our trip. The maid service as always was excellent and one cannot fault the efficiency as when we had a problem it was resolved within 5 minutes by our chamber maid contacting the right department The guest lecturers brought onboard were excellent and meant that we were well informed about all the ports of call we were visiting.if you want a friendly cruise this is certainly the line for you. I have however a few small gripes since Regent was bought out, one the number of crew in all areas seems to have decreased and they are being made to work much harder resulting in old competent staff leaving. Coffee corner is not manned at night, and they no longer serve hot canapés before dinner. I hope the new owners will listen as Regent is a well respected cruise line and I would like it to remain so. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We enjoyed our trip on the Viking Star so much. We had traveled with Viking on 8 river cruises and had such a good time. The ocean cruise with Viking was even better. I have many food allergies and never have to worry. The steward for ... Read More
We enjoyed our trip on the Viking Star so much. We had traveled with Viking on 8 river cruises and had such a good time. The ocean cruise with Viking was even better. I have many food allergies and never have to worry. The steward for our cabin helped me when I needed a container to soak my feet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Regent claim six star all inclusive of premium wines. Ran out of French rose on third day. No NZ wines at all! We did two back to back cruises and despite re-stocking in Copenhagen they ran out of Sancerre and Pouilly Fuisse 13 days into a ... Read More
Regent claim six star all inclusive of premium wines. Ran out of French rose on third day. No NZ wines at all! We did two back to back cruises and despite re-stocking in Copenhagen they ran out of Sancerre and Pouilly Fuisse 13 days into a 20 day cruise. In the end we bought ourselves some wine in Kristiansund. If we could find a decent supplier why couldn't they? This was our sixth cruise (140 days) with Regent and the second one where they have run out of certain wines. The Regent standards are undoubtedly slipping. Service on board is still excellent but staff are embarrassed and very apologetic of situation. Entertainment was adequate apart from a terrible American comedian. We agree with other reviews regarding the shamble prior to tours. You can wait for ages in the theatre and be addressed as if we are in nursery school or old peoples home! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We just completed our first cruise on Seabourn -- a 14 day Norwegian fjords journey on the Quest which gave us a good mix of sightseeing and sea days. We were extremely happy with our first Seabourn experience, from the ship itself, the ... Read More
We just completed our first cruise on Seabourn -- a 14 day Norwegian fjords journey on the Quest which gave us a good mix of sightseeing and sea days. We were extremely happy with our first Seabourn experience, from the ship itself, the food & drink, the staff, and the destination. For a point of reference, we've traveled on Regent for half a dozen cruises previously, and in the review I'll touch on a few points of comparison with Regent for others who might be considering either of these lines. We've always enjoyed Regent for the same reasons so many Seabourn cruisers love this line: the size of the ship, the quality of service, the quality of food and drink. It's been a few years since our last Regent cruise, but my feeling on our last Regent cruise was that the quality of food and service on Regent had slipped a little since our earliest experiences (back when it was Radisson). So we were eager to see how we liked Seabourn, and whether the nearly-uniform positive comments on the Cruise Critic Seabourn forum could measure up. The answer: We enjoyed almost everything about Seabourn and the Quest. We thought the food was excellent throughout. The staff was exceptional: friendly, getting to know our names (even when we never identified ourselves) and our preferences. The ship seemed in perfect condition. We found the Quest very much on a par with the Regent Voyager and Mariner; we felt "at home" almost immediately, despite never having been on a Seabourn ship before. Of course, the Seabourn ships are smaller -- 450 passengers versus 700 on the Regent ships -- but the overall feel is the same. (That's a credit to Regent, that 50% more passengers doesn't feel more crowded.) The larger Regent ships definitely have a nicer theater, and they have a grand atrium that the Seabourn Quest lacks -- but those differences were pretty inconsequential in terms of enjoyment of the ship. (The pillars in the Quest's theater are a minor annoyance.) Seabourn Square -- the area with customer service and excursions staff, as well as the espresso bar, library, and many seating areas -- beats the Coffee Conection on the Regent ships. Overall, we found the Quest very comparable in most respects with what we have experienced on the Regent ships. The staterooms were very comparable to the Regent ships. I appreciated the larger-than-average safe in the closet on the Quest; the Regent Voyager has a slightly larger walk-in closet, but we found the Quest closet big enough to meet our needs (and we had a LOT of clothing since we were traveling to the Arctic). I liked the the sizable bathroom on the Quest, but wished I could trade the space of the tub -- which we don't use -- for a larger-than-tiny shower; the shower was adequate, but small. We ate lunch most days in the Colonnade or Patio Grill, and dinner most nights in the Restaurant, and found the food quite uniformly good -- very good to outstanding at every meal, with no clunkers. Some of the daily fresh fish lunch specials at the Patio Grill were every bit as excellent as main courses at dinner in The Restaurant. Restaurant 2, the high-end alternative restaurant, is a nice, intimate, alternative to the main dining room, but it does have a somewhat quirky concept of multiple small portions paired for each course. I had read that many Seabourn regulars aren't keen about Restaurant 2 for this reason, and seeing the menus, I now understand. It's worth going to Seabourn Square on the first day of a cruise to get a list of the different Restaurant 2 menus offered on your cruise -- they have 5 or 6 that rotate, usually a two-day intervals. Some were rather unappealing to us. If you see a "Signatures" day listed, that's their "best of the best" menu (although it's not detailed on the printed menu), and we ended up choosing one of those nights to dine at Restaurant 2 -- and thoroughly enjoyed it. This may all be moot by next year, when Seabourn's announced partnership with chef Thomas Keller is anticipated to bring about a change to the Restaurant 2 menus. It's certainly worth trying on at least one night if you're new to Seabourn, and try to reserve for a day with the Signatures menu unless one of the other ones really appeals to you. We got to experience a "galley lunch" near the end of our cruise, and that was fantastic. The food staff turns the main dining room PLUS the entire galley into an amazingly beautiful and bountiful buffet with virtually everything in the ship's repertoire out for dining. I know some people don't like buffet dining, but this is an EXPERIENCE not to be missed. They don't do this every cruise -- I think only on 10+ day cruises with a sea day towards the end of the cruise -- but if you're on a Seabourn cruise that offers a galley lunch, don't miss it! Another Seabourn specialty is "Shopping with the Chef", where a small group of passengers goes with the Executive Chef to a food market in a port to obtain some local specialities. Since only about 16 people can get on one of these outings, it's popular and hard to get on. In our case, they apparently filled the quota with Seabourn regulars and never advertised it in the daily program (that was one of the only slips in service we experienced from Seabourn on this cruise), but because we had attended a cooking demonstration with the chef earlier in the cruise, we knew it was coming when we were in Bergen. We had gone off the ship on our own and were wandering in the city's fish market when we saw Executive Chef Jes, in his full chef's whites, and several crew members and fellow passengers come up along side us -- so we tagged along (trying to stay unobtrusively in the back to not interfere with the passengers that we officially part of the experience). Jess smiled at us and allowed us to follow them into several stores, as he picked out local seafood to buy, and got the merchants to offer free tastes to us Seabourners. If you're on a Seabourn cruise and get an opportunity to go Shopping With the Chef, do it. (And if your Executive Chef is Jes, he is truly a rock star and a blast to be around!) I had been prepared to be a little disappointed with the included wines based on reading comments on the Cruise Critic Seabourn forum in the months leading up to our cruise months, but we found we could easily find both white and red wines we quite enjoyed. If I didn't particularly enjoy the wine they were pouring at lunch or dinner, I just asked for an alternate wine and they always obliged. Once I knew certain wines I particularly liked, I could mention them by name and they would fetch them. (This is typical of Seabourn service. One day we were eating lunch at the Patio Grill and a couple next to us was asking about British porter beers other than the Guiness they have at all the ship's bars; after saying they don't stock other porters, the waiter went off for awhile and returned with two bottles from a different bar somewhere on the ship, and told them of some other beer they could get them the next day. The couple asked if they could get a few bottles for their room -- and the reply was "of course!" Impressive.) We enjoyed having an Expeditions staff aboard, as they did a number of interesting lectures, and we went on one of their new "Ventures" expeditions by zodiac, which was a blast. (An expensive blast! But it proved worthwhile. More on that below.) They also pretty much sold us on an Antartica trip in our future! We enjoyed the shows by the Seabourn singers; apparently they're new shows and a new formula -- six singers, lots of tight harmonies -- instead of a mix of singer and dancers. Good choice to trade dancers for more/better singers, in my opinion. We also enjoyed talking with the singers and a member of the band in The Club after the shows at night. The guest entertainers on other nights were a mixed bag; one comedian we liked a lot, one singer/comedienne not so much. Most of the ship's passengers called it a night after the shows (or before!); we usually retired to The Club for a nightcap, and we were two of only about 20 people there. We're perhaps a little younger than the average Seaboard passengers, and we were in "the land of the midnight sun", so we enjoyed staying until the end around midnight or 12:30 most nights. Because the sun set late, or for several days not at all, the views were frequently great even at midnight. I often popped out the door of the Club to the aft deck for picture-taking. Meanwhile, the bar staff in the Club had few people to serve, so our glasses never emptied until we begged them to stop. And because we were "regulars", by about the third day, they knew what we were drinking after dinner, and our drinks were often at our table literally within seconds of us sitting down. Talk about being spoiled! Passengers on our Norway cruise were about half American, one-quarter Australian, and one-quarter mixed among 20 other nationalities. We met some nice folks -- and none who were annoying or unhappy. In the end, we felt this was probably a half-notch better than our most recent Regent cruises -- not by much, but in some small ways (uniformly good food quality and friendliness of staff, especially), and at this point, I think I'd look to Seabourn first when we're ready for our next cruise. That's my wrap up on Seabourn and the Quest, but for anyone considering a Norwegian fjords cruise, I'll conclude this review with a description of what we did in the various ports. By far my favorite port day was our day in the small town of SVOLVAER. The town itself is nothing exceptional, but if you are game for it, and you have favorable weather as we did, rent a car for the day in the Lofoten Islands. The scenery here was SPECTACULAR, among the best scenic driving we've experienced anywhere. It's like driving in the Rocky Mountains or Alps -- with ocean all around! And you won't believe the sand beaches and turquoise color of the water. Google "Lofoten Islands images" to get an idea how great it is. The ship offers a tour to the Viking museum, which covers the first part of the islands, but the scenery gets significantly better as you drive further south. There are basically just two roads which run along the eastern and western sides of the first island, and then they merge together further south, so you really can't get lost. Depending how many stops you make along the way, you can hopefully get down to the little town of Reine (I can't paste a link here, but Google Reine to see how pretty it is), or 10 km further to the end of the road in the town of A (which we didn't make it to because I had to turn around and head back). Driving straight through, it's about 2 hours down to A and 2 hours back -- but if you stop to take pictures every mile or so, it's slower going! (Our car had a GPS in it, which made it foolproof, and it was good for helping me calculate when we had to turn around to get back to the ship in time; we had to head back after reaching Reine to not cut it too close.) There's not much traffic on the roads, so it's very easy driving. I reserved in advance from Hertz, but there was a local company with cars to rent at the dock if you want to leave it to chance when you arrive. The rental car cost about $125, so even with expensive gas, it cost less for four of us than an excursion from the ship for one of us. This was by far my favorite sightseeing day of the trip. I only wish the ship was in port a little longer on this day so we had more time to enjoy the scenery. Of course, everything is weather dependent -- we had great weather this day, and not-so-great weather on two of our other top sightseeing days. (If you do this, you can request box lunches by calling room service the day before. It's a simple sandwich, cookie and fruit, but it saved us the time of stopping somewhere for lunch.) In OLDEN, we took the 8-hour "Geiranger and the Roof of Norway" excursion, and I highly recommend it. The day was broken up enough that it didn't feel like a typical 8-hour bus trip, which I know many of us aren't too keen on. The hour-long ferry ride through Geirangerfjord is spectacular, but we unfortunately had a very cloudy day and didn't quite get the stunning views I had hoped for. (I'm not sure why they couldn't improvise a bit instead of sending the bus up to the top Mount Dalsnibba when it was apparent to all that the top of the mountain was well into the clouds; we got there, turned around and came back down. I guess the is the nature of planned excursions.) But this trip was still worth it -- and if you're lucky enough to have good weather, it's a can't-miss excursion. We didn't do an excursion in BERGEN. It's a very walkable city. We walked to see the fish market, and then took the funicular up to Mount Floien. If you feel like stretching your legs a bit, there's a nice park at the top of the funicular, where you can walk along smooth trails for a short or long hike. (There's a pretty little mountain lake less than a 10-minute walk from the funicular station.) Since it supposedly rains 310 days a year in Bergen, we were happy to have one of the rare days without any rain... and even sun at times. In FLAM, we did the "Mountains and Valleys By Train" excursion. The Flamsbana train is definitely worth seeing -- although I felt it wasn't as special a train trip as several we've been on in the US (like the White Pass & Yukon in Alaska or the Durango & Silverton in Colorado). Maybe I'd feel differently if we had a bright sunny day here, but it was another cloudy one. In ALESUND, we didn't do a ship's tour, and just walked around the pretty town. And climbed the 418 steps of Mount Aksla for a wonderful panoramic view of the town and surrounding islands on a beautiful, clear day. We also walked in TROMSO -- across the bridge to the Arctic Cathedral (we took a city bus back because it was raining off-and-on). This was probably my least-favorite port call; not bad, but not special -- again, perhaps due to the weather. In HONNINGSVAG, the main thing to do is to go to the North Cape (Nordkapp). It's a bit of a tourist trap, but how often will you get to the top of the world? My parents, who we traveled with, took the bus trip; my wife and I opted to take the "Ventures by Seabourn" zodiac trip. We had some trepidation about being out on the open sea early in the morning and being cold and wet, but it was really great even though we did have some occasional light rain. We saw an astounding number of birds. Most of our group did the hike up to the top of Nordkapp, but it was a strenuous hike up a narrow path with some slippery rocks. My wife started out hiking but was slipping on the rocks and decided to go back to the ship via the zodiacs. (I know the Expeditions crew learned a bit on our trip, since this was brand new for Seabourn, so I expect they'll do a few things differently with the landing spot and the description of the hike for future cruises.) I enjoyed the hike, but some passengers felt it was tougher than advertised. The good thing is that they were happy to take back anyone on the zodiacs who decided the hike was too strenuous; they staff took great care of everyone, and my wife had the sun come out and got some spectacular views from the water going back while the rest of us were huffing and puffing up the side of the mountain. We both ended up very glad we did this excursion instead of the basic bus trip to the visitor center. (Although it was gray and cloudy when we were at Nordkapp, in the evening when the ship left Honningsvag, the captain sailed out and around Nordkapp; the skies were clear and we got absolutely spectacular views, as the captain paused and did a 360 degree circle with the ship. They let us know this was unusual weather for the North Cape, but it was awesome to see it in the sun after being so cloudy earlier in the day.) In STAVANGER, we did the Lysefjord Cruise to Pulpit Rock. Had this been a sunny day, it would have been truly spectacular. Unfortunately, this day was cloudy as well, so it dulled the beauty a bit. We briefly saw the top of Pulpit Rock at the base of the clouds. The boat for this trip is a very nice, smooth, modern catamaran, and it picks you up right next to where the ship is docked. This is also a very nice, walkable city; make sure you take a short walk from where the ship is docked to the old part of the city for a short walk along Ovrestrandgate to see some very pretty houses and gardens. We were extremely happy with our Seabourn experience, with the Quest, and with the itinerary cruising the Norwegian fjords. I highly recommend it to anyone considering it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Where to begin; we spent 15 nights aboard the Viking star and it is an absolutely beautiful ship. Fantastic food. Nice guest rooms all with balcony, great staff and wonderful tours. A couple of glitches however to be expected. Service in ... Read More
Where to begin; we spent 15 nights aboard the Viking star and it is an absolutely beautiful ship. Fantastic food. Nice guest rooms all with balcony, great staff and wonderful tours. A couple of glitches however to be expected. Service in the upper deck bars was hit and miss. One of the extra tours (panzer tank tour) definitely not worth the exorbitant fee ($349 US) each, and a bit misleading to say one of the stops was Berlin which was actually a 6 hour bus ride one wsy! Overall the other yours especially st Petersburg were excellent. Overall a fantastic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them ... Read More
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them consistently asking questions and not having the good manners to wait, in line, to be attended to next. Shore excursions lacked co ordination in leaving the ship, as there were few fellow English speaking people, several tours were with guides who would speak in German and then English which made it difficult for them, more difficult for us as others would talk loudly amongst themselves when English was being spoken and remained quiet when their language was being spoken! Our excursions were pre paid (in Australia) and were considerable more expensive than if they were purchased onboard. Cabin on Deck 15 was great, excellent service from the housekeeping staff, no request was too much of an effort, always smiling and obliging. Dining in main restaurant was excellent, good menus but only on a seven day turnaround so there was no changes in the menu for the second week. Breakfast and lunch fare never changed and it is nigh on impossible to keep food hot for 2600 guests which was not often enjoyable. Entertainment had it's difficulties for those who didn't speak another language and the shows we saw really only filled in time prior to dinner. Disembarkation was an absolute shambles! 150 plus people, all arriving at the meeting place (theatre) at the one time, sitting around for over an hour waiting, so they screened a Mr.Bean show, I suppose to try and amuse us, that didn't happen. When given the word to disembark, it became a stampede as everyone, many with their baggage in tow (having chosen not to place their luggage outside the cabin evening prior as recommended,(imagine looking for a fast getaway) all tried to get off the ship at the one time. Finding your luggage in the terminal was a bonus, then you had to stow it yourself onto one of three Hamburg airport transfer coaches and then try and find a seat on the coach. Some people who had stowed their luggage and couldn't find a seat, then had to locate their luggage and try another coach. Plenty of staff standing around smiling and wishing you a safe onward journey but no one available to help the elderly with their luggage. Having cruised several times with other companies, the only way I would chose MSC again would be for the itinerary alone and very little else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click