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13 Caribbean - Southern Luxury Cruise Reviews

The date of departure fit our vacation and destination. Viking is still struggling to be an Ocean operator. The crew to passenger ratio seems to be be 1 to 2 or less. Included tours was not worth our time - mainly a bus ride nothing ... Read More
The date of departure fit our vacation and destination. Viking is still struggling to be an Ocean operator. The crew to passenger ratio seems to be be 1 to 2 or less. Included tours was not worth our time - mainly a bus ride nothing worth $200 per person. No Viking staff were on any excursion which was a disappointment. The shore talks reflected the fact that the staff had not been on many, if any, of the tours. The shore excursion reminded me of Oceania when they were just beginning -- I will give them more time to improve. Their embarkation was the best ever - HANDS DOWN! Our cabin was a suite, but had no butler or other amenities one has come to expect on a Luxury Vessel. I agree the Entertainment was hit or miss, mostly miss, but the Paris Review was great and not to be missed. Service at mealtime was terrible (get rid of those handheld devises) and dining room very noisy. Don't be put off by the line after the the shore talks or other get togethers it goes fast, fast than the rest of the meal. Prepare to spend 2 hours or more for dinner. The wait staff seems to be able to do only one table at a time, the waiter has on assistant and has 20 plus dinners to wait on. They are also the bar staff, pouring the wine and getting water and other drinks, When each course is ready the waiter brings it our, that is really hard for a 10 top! Our cabin staff was very good and experienced. we had some problems with the a/c and they were on top of it! I can't say the same for the maintenance staff. The Hotel Manager was on top of thing and the Customer Service Manage was very helpful and ready to assist whenever needed - she seemed to be everywhere. We did not use the Fitness & Recreation area. The overall experience was different I would say. The layout around the pool and Wintergarden was great, Loungers facing out to sea and a very cool area for reading and relaxing. Wonderful areas to play games and talk to fellow passengers. The Explorers Lounge is the most under used area on the ship. Continental type breakfast is served as well as a lite lunch. The 270 degree view will wow the most experienced cruisers. I am not use what they are asking for. The ship does not have many public room but rather long hallways with game tables, chairs and tables and easy chairs and sofas. The value for the money I said was average. I was expecting a luxury cruise and got an up scaled river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of ... Read More
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of Barbados and talked it up for months. Our first indication that things would be different was the first night's sail away. This is Windstar's brand, their signature sail away. It's what makes the cruise so memorable and filled us with joy the last time. This time we got our drinks, met on deck, and grinned like crazy waiting to see the reaction of the oldest, his wife and new friends we had already made on the cruise. As the music hit the crescendo, the large sail didn't move. And that was it, our magical sail away hit that sour note every single night. Comments that first night and subsequent nights: "That's it?" After speaking to the crew, we found out it had been broken for at least two weeks. It remained broken through our entire cruise. We noted small things that added up as well. The back flag was frayed, there was rust around the pool, the pool and hot tub were often empty and closed for repairs, the back stairwell smelled like cat pee (very strongly), there was only one tender making excursions a long process, they chipped rust every day off the hull, the carpet was ripped in two places in our cabin, the AC was very warm (could never get it cool enough), and there was a loud, high pitched noise anytime the engine was running (the reply was yes we know and can't find it) - just to name a few things. Service saved the cruise for us, it was as good as the first time. For the price we paid for a small luxury cruise for 6 adults, we were very, very disappointed and will not cruise Windstar again. And we were so looking forward to experiencing their brand again - i just didn't come close to expectations. Other comments that week from returning guests: - They seem to be getting awfully close to cheapening their brand. - This feels like a small Carnival ship this time - This entertainment is so cheesy. Wasn't it much classier last time? - That's it again? (the sail every night) Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. ... Read More
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. Unfortunately, the second day we started to hear rumors that people were getting sick. Then the captain announced that, yes, people were getting sick with suspected norovirus and CDC pocedures were put in place. That meant that the library was closed, also Baristas, no cooking classes and artist loft closed. Then they started to sanitize everything, and I do mean everything! The teak chairs in Waves Grill were sticky and clung to your back! No silverware was put on the table so everything looked sparse and empty. When you sat down in any restaurant, the table was empty. Then, the waiter came along and put down some plates and silverware, but no salt or pepper, or milk in the morning. The lounge tables were constantly wiped down and goopy, that's the only word I can think of. The atmosphere was completely lost! practically everyone we spoke to was afraid of getting sick. It ended up that 98 people were ill and had to be quarantined for four days. There were red tapes put on their doors so they couldn't leave, and their ocean cards were taken away so they couldn't go to the dining rooms. We had to show our cards every time we ate, even if it was an ice cream! And you couldn't go to the Terrace Café and bring anything back to your room because food was not allowed out of the café. Now, did we have a good time? Well, my husband and I enjoy each other and we met some really nice people so we had a good time. Aruba wouldn't let the ship dock so that port was cancelled. But, this was the second time out of our four cruises with Oceania that the virus has been in the ship and the last time we got sick! Norovirus isn't pleasant, to say the least. So bottom line, that is the end of Oceania for us. The only "compensation" anyone got was free drinks during dinner two days of the cruise and our waiter told us to keep quiet about it. We still don't know if only our table got the drinks or everyone did! How tasteless. There are many luxury lines in the cruising market and I just don't want t waste my money feeling afraid that I will get it. Pass on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We set sail on the Star Legend Dec.19 with great expectations of a high end cruise experience. Unfortunately it was just average, and in some perspective outright disappointing. On a positive side the room was beautiful and very spacious. ... Read More
We set sail on the Star Legend Dec.19 with great expectations of a high end cruise experience. Unfortunately it was just average, and in some perspective outright disappointing. On a positive side the room was beautiful and very spacious. The cabin service was also exemplary. The food was good, not great, but the chef was more than happy to accommodate special requests, a very nice touch. Despite Windstar having invested $18M in a makeover after acquiring the Star Legend from Seaborn, the ship still showed its age in several critical areas. The tenders were past their useful life and failed several times during our journey. The first time we were on the tender when one of the engines quit. High seas prevented us from docking and we sat stranded for 30 minutes while they struggled to get it working. The next day we waited two hours and almost missed our excursion due to the fact that the same tender was not working, leaving one working boat. To exaserbate an already bad situation the crew had forgotten to fuel the one working tender before the start of the day and had to stop for an additional 20 minutes to refuel. Perhaps the worse part in the two hours of waiting was the fact that the staff failed to make a single announcement to advise the passengers of what was going on. One of the amenities that attracted us to Windstar was the availability of water sports off the back platform. In seven days of sailing the platform was NEVER OPENED. We were told by the staff that it was due to the fact that the seas were to rough. Ironically on two different days we passed other cruise ships that had their platform open to guests. Talking to other members of the staff we came to learn that there were frequent mechanical issue with the platform the was complicating its use, let alone equipment challenges. Again, the communication from the staff was notably absent and left passengers guessing. Over our past five cruises we always appreciated the memories captured by the ship photographers. Unfortunately this was not the case on this cruise. We even asked the photographer to take a formal family photo on Christmas Eve. When we went to review the pictures the next day we learned that she had only taken one photo (???) of the immediate family which she said did not turn out, and only one of the extended family was oddly centered. So much for memories. The true test of a business is not what happens when everything goes as planned, but how they handle the situation when things run aground (pun intended). In this case the crew failed miserably. When an office could be found, and engaged, they seemed indifferent to the plight of the passengers and unwilling of take any steps toward addressing the issues at hand. How hard is it to take a passenger name and cabin and send a note of apology. Staff members we befriended told us that Windstar corporate is well aware of the tender and mechanical problems and has yet to provide a response as to when they would be addressed. The cruise line could be amazing, but it needs to pick up its game, improve communication, take responsibility, and deliver on the promise it communicates in its marketing materials. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a ... Read More
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a blaring TV (CNN) a few newspapers, four computer terminals, and a mini-fridge with sodas. There is a “Concierge Person” available – sometimes. The “10% discount on internet services” was not honored and was repeatedly refused. Embarkation is no faster. Luggage does not arrive any sooner. Rooms may be entered only a few minutes (5 – 10 minutes) before other levels. “Tranquility Beds?” NOT! Our beds were the most uncomfortable beds we have ever encountered while cruising. There are no king-sized beds, only queens, and “queens” are actually two singles (small singles-think “camping cots”) put together. My husband is a little over six feet tall, and his feet hung over the end. To turn over, one must lift up and turn, or end up on the floor. I requested a foam pillow. Our room concierge-stewardess was not able to provide one. I received yet another lumpy, hard, pillow and was told, “This IS a foam pillow!” Entertainment was very poor Evening shows do not begin until 9:45 pm. Several were so disappointing (that) we left before the end. Most passengers are far past age 70. There are lots of walkers and motorized chairs and, at times, if you are stuck behind them, movement about the ship can be cumbersome. Wine and spirits are VERY EXPENSIVE. “Packages” are offered, but the sommelier may have the last laugh, as the vintages are foreign, and there is no way to know what you are getting. Wines by the glass are highly inflated, and an 18% gratuity is added on to the already outrageous cost. Room service coffee is abominable. Coffee in the restaurants is very good, but morning coffee on the balcony was so bad, it had to be sent back. Shore excursions were a joke and the joke was on us! We did the “Jungle ATV Adventure” and when, after the first few minutes we realized we were driving around in circles, we had to laugh at our own gullibility. The tour operators were ingenious. They were making big bucks for doing donuts in the jungle. Specialty restaurants What they do not tell you is that you may only dine in the four specialty restaurants ONCE. No more, only one time. You may request subsequent dining, but will be told you are “on the wait list” to no avail. PROS: The ship is lovely. Understated and elegant décor and soft, unobtrusive music. Some of the artwork is bizarre (What were they thinking?!) but overall the ship was very refined. Room service was lightening fast, and the pastries were divine. No extra charge for room service was nice. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. The library was lovely and well appointed. Dining was fun with almost too many waitpersons in attendance. The food was no more special than the faire offered on other cruise lines. The china, crystal, and silver were superior. There was always plenty of lounge chairs poolside. Each one is covered with a clean white terrycloth covering. The cooking classes were fabulous. Our class began at 4:00 pm, and we were so full from the samples, that we had to forego dinner that evening. We came home with several great recipes and new skills. Oceania boasts that their staterooms at 282 sq.ft. are larger than most others. I was shocked upon entering our stateroom, as it was no bigger than what we have experiences on three other cruise lines. The elegant bathroom, however, was spacious with two showers, a full tub, and well appointed storage. We had a delightful cruise, but for the money, other cruise lines offer a better value. Oceania’s refusing to offer free internet, and then refusing to honor their own offer of a 10% discount on an internet package was petty. The nickel and dimeing for several little things, that should have been included, was offensive.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We enjoyed our Regent trip. Ports aside, the ship size was very much to our liking. The food at dinner was good but breakfast and lunch were nondescript--not bad, just not extraordinary. The service was outstanding across the ship. Our ... Read More
We enjoyed our Regent trip. Ports aside, the ship size was very much to our liking. The food at dinner was good but breakfast and lunch were nondescript--not bad, just not extraordinary. The service was outstanding across the ship. Our cabin was a perfect size and nicely appointed. We thought the ship looked a little tired and needed some refreshing as the carpets were quite stained and the paint was dull. We were disappointed in the excursions only because they were entirely too short. For an 8-hour port stop, an excursion would last 4.5 hours +/- with no alternative excursions offered in the afternoon. So, you wound up back at the ship way too many hours before sail away with not much to do. Most of the ports required a substantial drive to get to points of interest so it wasn't or didn't make sense to strike out far on our own afterwards if we did a ship excursion. We were also surprised that there were no ship side "small things" at sail aways. Unlike Azamara, there were no bands, dancers, cold towels, refreshing drinks or anything of the sort when you returned to the ship. That is something we particularly enjoy and missed it on Regent. Lastly, the demographic on the ship was very cliquish. Although active and personable, there wasn't much room for newbies although we found this to be primarily true with Americans. So, we enjoyed the company of the Brits more! Will we do another Regent? I don't know. If it is the only ship sailing a particular itinerary we want to explore, then yes we surely would. If there are pleasing alternatives, then we would probably select another line. Based on our Azamara experiences versus Regents, we don't feel the cost of Regent is justified. Since we are adventurous travelers who don't require a preset excursion, Regent doesn't pay attention to the small details that make our trips extraordinary (i.e.: breakfast on the balcony, ship side entertainment, etc). Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My husband and I have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean; we've gotten comfortable with the layouts and are very happy on the huge Oasis and Allure. . .we've been thrilled by the superb entertainment on the large Royal C. ... Read More
My husband and I have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean; we've gotten comfortable with the layouts and are very happy on the huge Oasis and Allure. . .we've been thrilled by the superb entertainment on the large Royal C. ships. We chose this cruise, on the Silver Cloud, when an alumni assn. offered it; the reasons we chose this cruise: we enjoy Caribbean cruises, but were eager to see some ports new to us - ie Dominica. We had been to St. Barts before but were eager to return there as well. We were eager to try a "luxury" cruise line, with the all-inclusive fare structure; while we enjoy Royal Caribbean, we get tired of having to sign a check for every glass of wine, expresso or drink. We also were eager to see how the meals were on the "luxury" lines; we find the food on Princess and Royal Caribbean to be acceptable, but we stick to entrees that are pretty simple, or to the ample buffets. The Silver Cloud, holding under 300 passengers, could get us into the smaller ports - we liked this. We found the excursions to be well-organized; we thought "river tubing" in Dominica was an unforgettable adventure - I can recommend that highly. Our suite: was small but workable w/ separate living area, and good size balcony. Silver Cloud advertised bathtubs in all bathrooms - something we want - and sadly, the ship had been reconfigured to turn all the tubs into showers! Too late we found that there were a few staterooms w/ tubs but our travel agent didn't seem to know about that! The suites were comparable to the upgraded suites we get on Royal Caribbean - the one exception being that the mini-bar here is stocked free of charge w/ any and all beverages. The breakfast buffet was excellent; as the ship is small, they can prepare omelets or eggs to order - as well as make pancakes, etc. as you would wish. I found the lunch choices - the dining room, the buffet, or the pool deck - to be acceptable. I was after a good hot dog or burger all week - found an anemic hot dog on the pool deck and a very average burger in the dining room, which I ordered even tho it was not on the menu. Dinners were just acceptable - too many steaks and chops for us; not enough shellfish and what there was was average. Way way too limited in vegetarian options. Just not enough flavor to foods - or not enough imagination in presenting unusual entrees!!! Decent wine - Bogle, etc - flows freely. Sadly, desserts just always missed - either prepared too far in advance, or attempts at something complex which just fell flat. Next time, if I were to select Silversea, I'd do more room service. Room service is very quick and very well done since we had our own butler. We found that for us - we miss the high quality entertainment of the mega-ships, and we'd like more choices for dancing. Dancing was often offered after 11 pm only. We like more activities - although w/ one port every day we were ok. I think I'd have alot of trouble w/ days at sea on the Silver Cloud. It's important for folks selecting the Silver Cloud to know that you need to be able to walk up a 30-step metal staircase to get on/off the ship at most ports. We'd never encountered this before. The staff was friendly and tried to accommodate my requests. I did feel the dining room staff was either very new, or not well trained. . . I like the luxury category - but need a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. ... Read More
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. First of all, the Crown Princess is beautiful as was the suite. Unfortunately, this ship is very unstable and tends to pitch and roll with even the smallest waves. Of all my cruises, this ship was the worst. If you tend toward motion sickness, please avoid this ship. The staffing seemed very light. Many of the restaurants were very short handed. I agree with many of the other reviewers: the staff is very stuffy and walk around like zombies half the time. Many seemed like they would rather be anywhere else but working on a cruise ship. I hate to profile but much of the staff is from Eastern Europe and quite unfriendly. Pool areas are extremely crowded during days at sea. Unlike on cruise lines, Princess crew does not go around and keep things in order. The decks are a mess of wet towels, garbage and deck chairs. Again, it seems like the ship is short staffed. The Crown Grill steak house ($25 up charge) is nice but the meat is tough and chewy. Deserts are pretty, yet bland. My biggest criticism is how bland the food is throughout the ship. It looks nice, but has no flavor. except for the French Onion soup which was incredible. The Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, does not fare much better. ($20 up charge).Bland and very slow service. The maitre de (Pedro) is downright rude and treats the staff - and guests - poorly until the last day of the cruise when then the "rate our service" cards are displayed on the podium. Let's take a look at the suite amenities and what was delivered. -Luxury mattresses [very comfortable] -Fluffy duvets in place of blankets [ more flat than fluffy] -Luggage protector on bed at embarkation [every cabin gets it] -Luxury bathrobes [very stiff, needs fabric softener badly] -Luxury towels [they look nice but very rough] -Pillow menu [requested pillows never appeared] -Massage shower heads [broken] -Luxury bathroom amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath gel, plus new lip balm, gel eye mask, bath salts and loofah mitts) ["luxury"? not really] -Facial mist (choice of scents) [zilch] -Complimentary slippers [very small] -Fresh flower arrangement [ very nice and looked great the entire trip] -Complimentary mini-bar - one-time set up [nice!] -Combined DVD/CD Players [ broken] -DVD Library [no one seemed to know about this amenity] -Complimentary Princess tote bag [very cheap] -Umbrella for use during the cruise [zilch] -Expedited embarkation process [nice to walk past 800 people standing in the other line] -Preferred Anytime DiningSM reservations [yes, you can make a reservation, but NO the table is never available and wait time can be up to an hour] -Personal shore excursion reservations [zilch] -Complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service -Complimentary shoe polishing service [zilch] -Welcome glass of champagne at embarkation [zilch] -Extended room service menu (extended breakfast, lunch, dinner offering) [no one on the ship knew anything about an extended menu for suites] -In-suite afternoon tea service [never happened] -Passenger's choice of deluxe canap?s, delivered daily [delivered once] -Complimentary internet access in onboard Internet Cafes [we got free wireless] -Private portrait sitting [do not confuse this with receiving a free photo] -Complimentary use of the thermal suite in the Lotus Spa [zilch] Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We've made six cruises on the Queen Vic and all in all they have been enjoyable and met our expectations for food, service, safety , and entertainment. However, our last two cruises on the Queen Victoria have been less than ... Read More
We've made six cruises on the Queen Vic and all in all they have been enjoyable and met our expectations for food, service, safety , and entertainment. However, our last two cruises on the Queen Victoria have been less than satisfactory, as much for the attitude of the ship's staff as the specifics of our displeasure. Seems there is a trend aboard the Victoria toward "hucksterism" in the Spa...the selling of promises of loosing eight inches off the waste, unheard of physical improvements, and such, if only you'll buy these expensive products and services. They really have no shame. All the while the Spa staff ignores basic care and attention of the fitness center; spa shower shoes are cleaned by the staff in the sink in the restroom/sauna; blinds on windows are broken, the chiller in the water cooler is broken, rap music blairs, towels and wipes are not available, the list goes on! Meanwhile down below, the beautiful Queens Room, once home to perhaps the best ballroom dancing at sea, has been taken over by "dance clubs" or groups seeking a dance teaching platform at sea. The result is the ballroom is no longer a venue for the casual passenger to have social dance but home to competition dancers wishing to impress the world. It's saddening to see couples, once quite at home dancing in the Queens room, disappear night after night and give way to "wanna be" Dancing with the Stars and dance students. All that said, the good news is Queen Vic (and Cunard) do so much right and hold to so many wonderful seagoing traditions that they still can claim a unique niche that has had us coming back to them and other Cunard ships. We only wish they would remember those traditions and put the breaks on what appears a downward spiral. Unfortunitly the spiral will continue unless the ship's staff musters more than a big "Oh, Ho-Hum" which is all I got. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Prior to our Silversea cruise, I studied the brochure carefully and compared the comments in all of the usual cruise ship authoritative guides and read all of the comments on Cruise Critic. I could not understand why there were so few ... Read More
Prior to our Silversea cruise, I studied the brochure carefully and compared the comments in all of the usual cruise ship authoritative guides and read all of the comments on Cruise Critic. I could not understand why there were so few positive reviews of Silversea, considering its lofty status as a 6 star luxury experience. Having spent 15 days travelling from Lisbon to Barbados, I now know why. Boarding in Lisbon was a pleasant and efficient experience. However, I admit that I was surprised that elderly passengers were required to navigate a very steep and slightly swaying gangway from the dock up three decks to the embarkation lobby. Most ships have a dock-level embarkation lobby where there is no jet way. While in Rio in February we docked in front of Silver Spirit, and I was surprised to notice the same thing on the newest ship. Silver Cloud was, I thought, in very nice condition for a 17 year old ship. Our suite number 445, was exactly as pictured and we really loved having a butler. He always kept our refrigerator stocked with chardonnay and champagne. Kudos to Silversea for the Food Channel and Lyn Farmer on the wine channel. I also liked the bridge cam showing the pool deck from time to time. Unfortunately, unknown to us, suite 445 is directly opposite the crew's emergency exit from the galley. While night cleaning, excessively loud music emanated from the galley into our cabin and on two occasions I had to knock loudly on the galley door to ask them to keep the noise down, which they immediately did. Also, suite 445 is directly above some machinery that came on and off, to grind or discharge material. Very annoying while trying to sleep! The Guest Relations Manager did say they were aware of the problem and offered to relocate us a few cabins away, but as we were already four days into the cruise, my wife declined his kind offer. We were fortunate to have three lecturers, two of whom were exceptionally good, Professor Buczacki and Captain William Wells. Silversea used the crossing to try out its new entertainment format. Gone are the sets, dancers and so on, replaced by a group of very fine singers. The Night Opera was the most enthusiastically received of the shows, and the other three shows were also very enjoyable. We preferred this new entertainment format. The restaurant was beautiful and the long tapered candles used on formal nights made it especially romantic. The restaurant manager, Jorge Caeiro, is a gem, and was a highlight of the crossing. He runs it as if it is his personal restaurant, escorting all of the ladies to the tables each evening. He always found time to stop and chat with us every time we met, anywhere on the ship. Unfortunately, the Christofle silver referred to in all of the books is now gone, replaced by stainless steel cutlery. The knives that sit on their sides are a poor choice, continually turning over on the plates. Not having to polish silver is obviously a cost-cutting measure, but one that tarnishes the ambiance of the dining experience. Breakfast was always a pleasant affair, having been set up in the suite by our butler. I especially liked the his and hers breakfast menus. On a less positive note, in my opinion, the ship is not very Italian. The only Italian crew members we met were the Captain and the Cruise Consultant. This is not to say that other staff and crew were not helpful. Our sommelier was excellent, the Hotel Director, Guest Relations Manager, International Hostess and Judie Abbott, the fabulously memorable Cruise Director, were all incredible. However, there was not a single Italian wait staff in La Terrazza. We went once in fifteen days and were served passable Italian food by a non-Italian waiter. The food was not good enough to warrant a return visit and the ambiance, being anything but Italian, certainly did nothing to compensate. The complimentary wines were usually excellent. There were approximately seventy. It was always possible to ask for another if we did not prefer either of the wines offered at lunch, or the alternatives offered at dinner Turning to the cuisine, this was a major disappointment for us. It was good but in my opinion, no better than Oceania or even Celebrity. Caviar appeared only once, perhaps a quarter of an ounce. After that it was $350.00 for a one and a half ounce serving! Surprisingly, all of the ice cream is purchased ashore, and was of poor quality. We had expected birds, such as deboned quail, pheasant, partridge, emu, and so on, but they never appeared. Just chicken, turkey and duck. Lobster appeared once. The pool grill served only the usual burgers, hotdogs and fries. The luncheon buffet at La Terrazza was the same every day. The same smoked fish, the same sushi, and the same salad greens in exactly the same location. The sole variation in fifteen days was that a different roast would be served at the carvery. As for noise in the restaurant, never had we heard so many plates, cutlery and serving dishes dropped in a ship's restaurant. And never so much cutlery thrown into bins at serving stations. On one occasion we even had to request to be moved away from the serving station. We enjoy dining outside in the evening. On Seabourn, Oceania and Azamara, etc., this is not a problem. Not so on Silversea. We were advised that the verandah of La Terrazza is not available in the evening. How unfortunate not to see the moon on the wake crossing the Atlantic. However, the worst was yet to come. Dining in Le Champagne was a disaster. Imagine $400.00 for two persons for a five course dinner with wine, that was only marginally better than the restaurant food! It is an antechamber to the restaurant and totally lacking any sense of occasion. When I made the reservation, I advised that my wife did not drink red wine. It was the Burgundy Dinner. There was a Champagne, a Chablis then two reds. I was assured that my request for any white wine for my wife would be no problem and my wife would be offered two delicious whites in lieu of the two reds. The first problem came when the reds were definitely off taste, having begun to maderize. The Head Waiter, Fred, had the temerity to argue with us to the point where my wife became embarrassed. We have lived in Paris for over a year and know our wines. He refused to offer any alternatives. When I reminded him that my wife was to have two additional white wines in place of the reds, he poured her more of the Chablis. When I requested a second glass, he told me the Chablis was all gone. When I then asked him to open another bottle, he refused and would not open any alternative whites for her. So for $200.00, my wife received one glass of champagne, a glass of chablis and a dinner that she had already paid for in the restaurant. With coffee, the Head Waiter offered a Marc de Bourgogne which was on the menu. I explained that neither of us liked it. There was a serving cart in the room with over forty different complimentary after dinner drinks. I then requested a Martell cognac and he explained that he would see if there was any. I replied that it is sitting on the serving cart across the room and he should know what is available in his restaurant. We were disappointed in our experience and to be truthful, felt ripped off by Silversea as a result of this episode. This whole experience needs to be seriously reworked by Silversea. Anyone attending from Relais et Chateau should have been very embarrassed. I requested a meeting with the Hotel Director, Mr. Huber, the following morning at 10 a.m. to discuss our experience in le Champagne. He patiently listened, and then offered a complimentary dinner at Le Champagne, which, of course, we politely declined. A complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon was then offered for dinner that evening. Our next serious disappointment occurred half-way across the Atlantic. The air conditioning in our suite was practically extinct. An engineer came and said they would make some adjustments. Three days before arriving in Antigua, it failed completely and our suite was 88 degrees. I asked for a fan and Guest Relations told me there weren't any, but somehow one materialized the following day. Then the air conditioning ceased operating in the galley and half of the restaurant. The Galley Buffet lunch was cancelled. Then the restaurant became so uncomfortable that the waiters stopped wearing jackets and ties and the last formal night had to be cancelled. Using a thermometer, the temperature in our cabin ranged between 88 and 96 degrees for the remainder of the cruise. After two showers it was unbearably humid and made sleeping almost impossible. Supposedly one of the great advantages of travelling on a small ship is to have fewer on excursions. However 3 of our 5 shore tours were abruptly cancelled the evening before due to lack of participation. Apparently Silversea requires 15 passengers or cancels. With the prices being charged, one would think they should operate even if fewer sign up. We would never consider travelling the Silver Cloud again until it receives the type of makeover given to the Silver Wind a few years ago. It obviously has serious problems. In addition to the air conditioning issues described, a pipe in the ceiling in the internet centre burst and water poured down onto us while we worked online. It took fifteen minutes, after giving notification to Guest Relations, for anyone to bother to come and look at the problem. These comments were sent to our travel agent, and to the Director of Guest Relations for Silversea in Fort Lauderdale. Eight months have now passed without a reply, or even an acknowledgment of receipt . This may help to explain the less than stellar reviews for Silversea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Oceania Cruises has earned a fine reputation by providing great food, good and personable service on friendly well-maintained ships, with interesting itineraries. The company lived up to that billing on our recent 24-day Amazon Adventure ... Read More
Oceania Cruises has earned a fine reputation by providing great food, good and personable service on friendly well-maintained ships, with interesting itineraries. The company lived up to that billing on our recent 24-day Amazon Adventure cruise aboard Regatta. In many ways, we had a fabulous experience. Unfortunately, a series of planning and communications failures by Oceania marred the trip and left many of us frustrated. The check-in procedure was a disaster, a purported computer snafu that kept us waiting in the terminal three hours. Worse yet, ports promised in promotional literature last year were switched. One port was skipped altogether. At a key port, we lost half a day of touring time because of sailing delays. The crew aboard ship, regrettably, didn't even want to acknowledge the problems. Let's hope there has been some private rear-kicking in the Miami headquarters. This was an ambitious cruise: leave Miami, go through the Caribbean, visit various islands, then enter the Amazon for eight days and visit Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins and Manaus for two days, then stop at various Caribbean islands on the way back to Miami. We paid about $5,900 per person including tips for our stateroom, 4049, very well located just steps from the reception desk and central stairway. The ship, although 13 years old, looks all but new. We had to look hard to see any maintenance issues. Our stateroom was pretty, in near-perfect condition, and quiet. Everything, including the air conditioning, which was really needed, worked fine. The stateroom attendant was seldom seen, but kept up the room twice a day in timely fashion. The public areas of the ship were very attractive and very well maintained. You could occasionally see crewmen doing painting, which is a good sign on a ship. The food was very good, sometimes excellent, sometimes even superb. The top chef was available to talk to passengers almost every day. They do, however, need a better recipe for scrambled eggs and hash browns in the mornings. Oceania has no separate charge for any of their restaurants. Let's hope that continues. The two specialty restaurants were excellent. Restaurant service was usually pleasant and good, although a little slow at times. Overall, the staff throughout the ship were a joy to be around. Entertainment was of mixed appeal. In various parts of the ship, we had a string quartet, which really adds class, a piano player, and a band. All were good and entertaining. Other entertainers were brought aboard for special appearances, and some were quite good. Passenger laundry facilities and internet service, like on all Oceania ships, were terrible. The enrichment lecturers weren't very useful. We suffered a lot by not having an Amazon naturalist aboard. Shore excursions offered by the ship were overpriced, and we heard numerous complaints about them. We booked private guides in several of the key stops, including in the Amazon, and they provided great experiences for us. The problems on this cruise came with the ports. As we boarded, we were informed we would not stop in Tobago but rather go to Port of Spain. This was not an even trade. Because of that change, we lost a shore excursion we had booked privately in Tobago. They could have informed us of this change days before we left home. After Port of Spain, the schedule failed to allow enough time to get to Santarem. They knew or should have known that weather in this area can pose problems, and they surely knew that Brazil customs authorities are feuding with the United States and might hold us up as we entered the Amazon. Because of these delays, we arrived in Santarem at 3 p.m. and lost half a day of our privately arranged shore excursion. Our stop at Devil's Island was skipped, purportedly because of high seas. Again, they knew or should have known that this stop is chancy for cruise ships. We were NOT warned about that in promotional literature. As a result, we expected and looked forward to the stop. The captain could have tried to land, or could have waited for several hours to see if the seas calmed. He did neither, and did not even go slowly past the island to give us a photo opportunity. Originally, Grand Turk was to be our final port. But we were told after we had made our reservations that would change to Nassau. Again, not a fair trade. While on the Amazon, if Oceania had planned properly, we would have had more time to visit one other city, perhaps Belem. Or we could have been given an overnight stop in Santarem. Instead, we spent too much time in Caribbean ports. We registered these concerns on board, including to the captain directly, but the ship personnel saw nothing wrong. They didn't seem to grasp that they should deliver what they promised. They never apologized for the computer snafu at check-in. Considering complaints on other Oceania cruises about changing ports, and now the mysterious problem with Insignia, one has to wonder if Oceania is slipping a bit. While we love the memories of our Amazon trip, the big question is: would we schedule it again, knowing what we now know? The answer might be no. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our second cruise on the QM2 but the first commencing in New York (Brooklyn) which included flights to and from the UK. Living in Scotland meant a flight down to Heathrow and an overnight stay at the Sheraton Skyline hotel due to ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the QM2 but the first commencing in New York (Brooklyn) which included flights to and from the UK. Living in Scotland meant a flight down to Heathrow and an overnight stay at the Sheraton Skyline hotel due to the early Virgin flight to JFK (who - be warned - have a 6 Kg limit for carry-ons). We were obviously unable to take our formal kilt outfits (we were traveling with another couple who are our regular cruise partners) due to the new rules of just a single checked bag per person - introduced by all airlines in 2010 (as far as I can tell) no doubt to make more money - but not from us! We arrived at JFK on time and were met by a Cunard rep and asked to remain in one spot until all the QM2 customers arrived. Unfortunately, there was no seating and so we stood around for over an hour until we boarded a bus for the 45 minute ride to the Brooklyn Terminal. It was not our day as just about all the other 2000 or so guests seem to have arrived at the same time and we had to wait in line for almost 2 hours before finally gaining access to the Ship. This was unacceptable especially when compared to the really pleasant experience when we joined the QM2 at Southampton last time. Brooklyn Port is the pits in comparison to Southampton as I'm sure all who have experienced both will agree. I will generalise now otherwise this will be a rather long review. The bottom line is that we were all disappointed - it was definitely not as good as our previous cruise on the QM2 late 2009. There seemed to be a lack of focus and dedication by the service staff that was the opposite of the first time around. Our main gripe, however, had nothing to do with the on-board staff - we like our formal dinners and had asked for a table of eight. We got a table of 4 and despite the efforts of the very approachable Maitre d' - Jamie (& Bobbie his assistant) after 3 days, we finally got the same table of 4 but with the adjacent table of 4 pushed up - we really needed a round table but there were none available. Both couple had Wedding Anniversaries at the beginning of the cruise and true to form; we both received a small cake for two - with a candle - nice touch! The cabins (Staterooms) are fine as are the public areas - it's great that the casino no longer allows smoking! I would argue with a previous review that the "pub" is fine and we all used it a lot for both the food and the quizzes! Surprisingly one of the shows was a repeat from our first Cruise - as was the "magician". The planetarium films were also the same although I can understand that any projection system that uses 6 projectors is going find it difficult to have a varied selection! The American comedian was really good however; he directed his jokes at all cruise audiences - not just the Americans as we had feared. Overall I would agree with some previous reviews that imply that the best staff have been moved to the newest ship - Queen Elizabeth and I have a suspicion that Carnival have dumbed down what was a superb liner into an average cruise ship. A big mistake as we were certainly not on our own when decrying that we would not be back. The only happy punters were the newbies that had no reference point (and no doubt paid a lot less than us!) Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This is our 15th Cruise on the sixth cruise line we have been on. We decided to go on this cruise because of the itinerary and this was supposed to be a classic ship. It took us longer to get to our stateroom after we boarded the ... Read More
This is our 15th Cruise on the sixth cruise line we have been on. We decided to go on this cruise because of the itinerary and this was supposed to be a classic ship. It took us longer to get to our stateroom after we boarded the ship than on any other cruise. Elevators are very small. If someone needs a walker or a motor scooter maybe one other person could fit in. After walking around the ship one notices that you tend to sink down into the rug in certain areas. A hole in the floor? You do walk uphill in some areas and downhill in others. There are also half decks to negotiate. Once again, if you are handicapped or have mobility problems good luck with the lifts. There is very little outdoor activities on the QM2. However, this ship is mostly an ocean liner to get you from place to place. The library is very good. Didn't go to the gym on this cruise. Dinners in the dining room- I had heard from past passengers that the food was very good on this ship and the service was excellent. Maybe it was for them, but, not for us. Out of five dinners in the Britannia Dining Room we got tired of things being brought to us that we didn't want, food not tasting good, and poor overall service. It may be the European custom to have tea after dessert, but, Americans prefer to have tea with dessert. The service in different areas of the Britannia Dining Room are substandard and does not meet the Carnival standard. On a good note they did make a special request for me. Moussaka. It is a Greek dish and usually tastes good. My wife didn't recognise it and it did not taste particularly good. Both my wife and I spoke to the dining room manager and even the hotel director. They failed to do something. Specialty Restaurants- On the other hand we had dinner several times in the different dining areas of The King's Court and Todd English. The food was noticeably better and so was the service. Also, we had our tea with our dessert instead of 25 minutes after finishing the desert. As an added bonus, we had what we wanted and not gotten served something else. Lions Den: It is only open a few hours for lunch. The food is pretty good. They serve drinks during most of the day and night. Has a piano player and they do karaoke here. Room service- Room service met the standard. Service was prompt and mostly correct. Entertainment- The shows for the most part were not that good. My wife enjoyed the singer, and piano player. I like the ventriloquist and comedian that came on toward the end of the cruise. They joined us at Barbados. My wife saw some movies in the illusions theater. Also, at same theater they had some speakers. The mystery writer drew a big crowd every time he spoke. That theater is also the planetarium. Casino- The casino is somewhat behind others in the Carnival Corp. They use tokens for slot machines. And you must bring them to the cage and cash them into money each time or you would still have gaming tokens. I played at the craps table every night. Love the game and met some interesting people there. Dealers got to know me long before the cruise ended. Sometimes I was the only one there playing. Then later we got some other players. What is the fasination with watching me play craps I'll never understand. Did have a few big rolls there. My wife and I enjoy playing BINGO. We only played once this voyage because they use the Lions Den for BINGO. Most cruise lines use the theatre where there is more room. The Lions Den could get cramped. Places we went to: St. Thomas: We docked at the Crown Bay pier. The last two times to the island we docked at the Havensight pier. We got off the ship walked around the went back to the ship. The Crown Bay pier is like a flea market. The Havensight shopping area is better. They allowed panhandlers in the Crown Bay shopping area. The stores are not as nice. This is the #1 shopping destination down this way. St. Lucia- The water was so bad that day we decided against risking it going on the tender. The people that worked in the area of the tender said, "we never saw the water so rough before." We stayed on the ship doing things. Grenada- Went on shore excursion. Island is very poor. In our limited contacts with the people who live there they seemed to be decent. Not a big shopping destination. Barbados- Went on shore excursion here. Better shopping than on Grenada and island is more developed. There seems to be more commercial interests in Barbados than on Grenada. Dominica- Poor island, but very nice. You purchase something here it is not made in China. This island does not go after the tourist trade the way the other islands do. As a result it is more preserved. Formal nights- There are many formal nights on this line. We did maneuver our way around them. We did go to s few and didn't participate in others. I noticed many passengers did not participate in some formal nights. However it is formal only for dinner. Also, you are not required to eat in the main dining room. You could go to another dining venue to eat. Even after a few formal nights my wife got tired of them. Go on a shore excursion then come back tired and tell me you want to dress for dinner. As the cruise went on the alternative dining venues filled up. They did have a Rabbi on board to have services for Hanukkah. That was pretty good. The Latkases were pretty good too. Jason was our room steward. He was very good. Provided everything we needed. Overall, I've been on worse cruises. This one left me disappointed after the big buildup people told me. Now that I am officially a Cunard-er, and survived the first cruise I would consider going again. In my experience on the first Cunard cruise it showed me what there is to do and there will be times to catch up on your sleep. I am booked until 2012 on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010

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