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86 Caribbean - Southern Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was my very first cruise back in 1997. I noticed that they didn't show the port we embarked at which was Puerto Rico nor was they year available but I was determined to see St. Lucia's Marigot Bay where they filmed the ... Read More
This was my very first cruise back in 1997. I noticed that they didn't show the port we embarked at which was Puerto Rico nor was they year available but I was determined to see St. Lucia's Marigot Bay where they filmed the 1960's version of 'Dr. Dolittle' with Rex Harrison (after attending 6 yrs of vet med and dreaming of becoming a doctor since I was 5 and when the movie came out...I was about 7 and knew it would be a veterinarian because of it lol.) We drove from New Orleans to Miami to visit family before we fly to Puerto Rico to board. This went well enough but living in Vegas for a year...my first impression was that it was as gaudy as the casinos :P No matter. It was about the ports of call and although I felt like a kindergartener getting off a bus for a field trip...I was pleased by all the different places you could see in a 1 or 2 weeks on these things! As bikers, we are used to a lot of freedom so being cramped in what we called a sardine can and having to dine at the same place at a certain time didn't appeal to us. Nor having to come in from play at certain times but all in all...the trip to St. Lucia with its Pitons, Harley rentals in Guadeloupe, and the spice island of Grenada (which also had a vet med there) was worth it (we didn't care for the us virgin islands or other places...we are rain forest, hiking trails, waterfall buffs. I had a beach house anyway so laying on a beach wasn't a vacation to me at that time). I didn't cruise again until last year. Twice. Now it will be twice this year! I am gaining more knowledge on how to use the ship's facilities, book my own excursions if they are sold out or have nothing appealing, make sure we are in a large balcony at minimum, and dining alternatives (although the busy carpeting is an eye sore lol) and realizing the value of these types of vacations!!!! You can't stay at the holiday inn down the road and eat at fast food joints for these prices!! And really....although bikers will say that it is all about the journey....sometimes I'd prefer to dig the destinations :))))) All in all...I wish I did these cruises more when I was younger. I am partial to carnival because of the king bed and a bit larger rooms but would like to try other ships. I believe for the value though...I'll always be loyal to Carnival :) Looking back now that I am older and wiser now Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
The Mariner is a beautiful ship and fresh out of dry dock she boasts all brand new seating, carpeting, curtains, bed linens, etc. The thickly padded pool deck lounge chairs are quite possibly the comfiest at sea and I found myself falling ... Read More
The Mariner is a beautiful ship and fresh out of dry dock she boasts all brand new seating, carpeting, curtains, bed linens, etc. The thickly padded pool deck lounge chairs are quite possibly the comfiest at sea and I found myself falling asleep more than once while basking in the poolside sun. Of course, that could also have been the cause of late night activities because while the Regent passenger demographic skews a little older - these are a very active bunch! There are plenty of choices when it comes to how much or how little you want to do while on the ship - and the activities run the gamut from mid-day games to enrichment lectures to team contests to wine tasting. If you decide you want to do absolutely nothing at all - there's a place for that too! The passenger/space ratio on the Mariner is very high and it quite evident, especially when you are looking for some solitude. There are plenty of nooks and crannies and comfortable seating options to be found all over the ship when you want some "alone" time. Embarkation was painless and once on board the ship, we were given flutes of champagne and escorted to the Pool Deck by a staff member who also carried our unchecked bags. The whole process took less than a half hour. Our cabin was ready before 2pm and it was every bit as spacious as I had anticipated. Plenty of room to move around and plenty of storage space. The towels and bed linens are of the highest quality, as is the complimentary bathrobe and slippers. They even provided an umbrella for inclement weather! We had a problem with the safe and with the interactive tv but those items were addressed quickly. The food in all venues was outstanding, although the service was sometimes on the slow side. Nearly every single dish we ordered was cooked to perfection and the presentation was always creative. Room service was always prompt and for the most part the orders were flawless (one or two very minor errors such as forgetting the lemon for the tomato juice). Even the lunchtime pool grill food was way above average, with large juicy cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings and then an additional themed grill (Mexican, American, Seafood, etc.) with extra items from which to choose. I have mixed feelings about the entertainment. Perhaps I had gone into the cruise with high expectations and since all of my expectations as far as food, service, ambience, etc. was met, I expected the same thing from the quality of the shows. This wasn't really the case. The trio which played on the pool deck during lunch, and then at other times throughout the evening were very very very good! The Regent orchestra which accompanied the singers and dancers in the shows is also very good. The production/variety shows themselves, however, were amateurish and cliched. The (so-called) comic/impressionist that was featured the first night was almost painful to sit through; and he ended up doing two more shows! Truly the best entertainment on the ship (besides the Nature's Rhythm trio) was to be found at the Liar's Club which is touted as a game but should be called a show and is one of those "not to be missed" events. The ship's itinerary allowed us to visit seven different ports in 12 days: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. It would take far too much room to go into what we did at each port, but feel free to read my blog (http://rsscmarinersoutherncaribbean.blogspot.com) which details the trip further or email me with specific questions. I am not the only one to get choked-up while sitting through the Captain's Farewell the last night of the cruise. And emotions were running high the final morning when having to say goodbye to the ship, the staff, and all the new friends I had made. It is quite difficult to put into words exactly what the Regent experience truly is because it's more of an atmosphere that is created by the wonderful staff. Suffice it to say, however, that once you have experienced Regent, you will want to experience it again and again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Our March 2009 cruise on the SPV ROYAL CLIPPER was a delightful experience that exceeded our expectations. The ship is beautiful, the crew extremely friendly, professional, and helpful, and our fellow passengers were great and interesting ... Read More
Our March 2009 cruise on the SPV ROYAL CLIPPER was a delightful experience that exceeded our expectations. The ship is beautiful, the crew extremely friendly, professional, and helpful, and our fellow passengers were great and interesting cruise companions. We had the good fortune of fair weather with plenty of sun and only the briefest of rain, and, considering the sailing nature of this ship, we had plenty of wind all week to make our way under sail.We picked the SPV ROYAL CLIPPER primarily for propulsion by sail and for the smaller passenger complement. We have owned boats and done a lot of boating in the past 25 years, including living aboard and cruising for several weeks at a time on our own boats, principally in the northern Great Lakes. Our previous cruising experience is limited. We spent a week aboard the NORWAY (formerly the SS FRANCE) in the eastern Caribbean in 2002. FOOD The food was excellent, served in elegant fashion, and in great variety. There was a bit of a European style to the cooking and some of the dishes. Breakfast and Lunch are buffets. Dinner is a grand meal, often stretching to almost ten o'clock at night. The main dining room is wonderful, filled with mahogany and brass, very nautical, with large port holes just above the waterline which are often filled with white foam from waves as you enjoy dinner under sail. The dinner menu offered fish, meat, and vegetarian choices each night. Wine can be bought by the bottle, and if you don't finish the bottle, you can have it stored and brought out the next night. The waitstaff is very congenial. Don't expect to eat and run. With our permission the Maitre d'Hotel seated us each evening at a different table with an interesting variety of dinner companions. He seemed to have a knack for mixing up congenial groups at each table. For the reclusive, there were a few tables for two available. Most people dined in parties of four, six, or eight. CABIN Our cabin was large, comfortable, and beautifully appointed. It was one of the better cabins on the ship, but we discovered that other than a bit more room and the luxury of a tub with a jacuzzi, there really was not much difference between our cabin and the less expensive ones. They are all quite elegantly furnished. We were in Cabin 316, an aft cabin on the main deck, somewhat removed from most of the other passenger accommodations. We could walk out our cabin door directly to the open deck and railings. Most of the time there were no other passengers in our deck area, so it was almost like being aboard a private yacht. Although we were near the Tropical Bar area, the sounds of its music or other activities were never intrusive. Being near the stern there was a bit more vertical motion from the ship. Cabins located amidships and lower will have less movement. ACTIVITIES ON BOARD Being a smaller ship, there are not a great deal of on-board activities, which was fine for us. Each evening around ten o'clock the Tropical Bar (on-deck but under canvas) hosts some entertainment or dancing. Passengers have free run of the ship and its decks. You can climb 60-feet to the first crow's nest on the main mast under supervision of the crew, or you can scramble out on the bow sprit's netting whenever you feel like it. The Chief Engineer gives a tour of the engine room. There are water sport activities each day, and you can go to the beach to swim, snorkel, sail small boats, or kayak for no additional charge. There are also diving activities almost daily, but at added cost. The snorkeling was conducted by a marine biologist, and it was every informative and pleasant. The marine biologist also presented one or two lectures during the cruise. The principal on-board daily activity is the sail-away each evening. This usually brings all passengers on deck to watch the sails being hoisted and set, done to the accompaniment of music by Vagelis, "CONQUEST OF PARADISE" (from the sound track of the cinematic feature "1492"). This literally puts a tear into everyone's eye as it is a very moving experience. The process of hauling the anchor, raising the sails, and gently gliding under sail from the many cozy anchorages we visited was universally enjoyed by all passengers. The Captain is an excellent ship handler and often sailed us into or out of crowded harbors without resorting to any assistance from the engine or bow thrusters. Every day is a new port and there typically are multiple shore activities available. We only went on one excursion, snorkeling at Dominica, which was billed as being some of the best available in the Caribbean. The snorkeling was good, but the overall excursion was not quite what we expected. It was too long, included a luncheon, and too much bus riding. We were very glad to get back to the ship. THE SHIP The most impressive element of the trip was the ship itself and the amount of time it spent under sail. The captain truly likes to sail, and the SPV ROYAL CLIPPER moves from port to port under sail power as much as possible. As a result, there is more motion to the ship than might be comfortable for those accustomed to very large and very stable ships. My wife and I are both experienced sailers and have spent a lot of time underway and living aboard moderately sized sailboats boats. For a 430-foot ship, the SPV ROYAL CLIPPER surprised me with how nimble it was. It has a rather quick roll period, must faster than I expected for a big sailing ship. I got a chance to take the helm on afternoon while under full press of sails and at 11-knots. The ROYAL CLIPPER is very responsive to the helm and responds quickly to any rudder input. We embarked at Barbados, which is quite separate from the other islands. You have at least 125-miles of open water sailing to the closest island, and the trip from and to Barbados generally brings higher seas than any other portion of the cruise. On our week the winds were unusually strong. We left Barbados on Saturday evening with a Force-6 (25- to 30-knot) wind on our starboard bow. Once we cleared the lee of Barbados, we were in open seas with significant waves, their tops being blown off into spray by the wind. There was considerable motion on the ship. The Captain had the cabin stewards deploy the lee boards on all berths as a precaution. With large seas and the wind well forward, the ship was put under motor propulsion, although several staysails were up for steadying. Quite a few passengers did not fare well on this first night at sea, including me. I used to be able to say I had never been sea sick, but I can no longer make that claim. I would recommend taking Dramamine or similar anti-motion sickness medication for this first night unless you are truly immune to sea sickness. Compared to the rough first night, we sailed comfortably after that, and with our sea legs regained, we never had any problem with sleeping or discomfort again. The run back to Barbados was again in rougher seas, but the wind was just far enough aft we could sail all the way. In general, sailing gives a more pleasant motion to the ship, in my opinion, and although we were rolling down the seas, the last night was not a problem. The ship is a thing of beauty and it is maintained in tip-top condition. If you arise early you will see the crew washing down the teak deck every morning, wiping down all the varnish and brightwork, and polishing the brass. They even re-painted the huge anchors during the trip so that they looked perfect. While you are ashore during the day, the crew goes over the side and touches up any little blemish on the hull. The mast and rigging all appear to be in perfect order, and the sails themselves are mainly new and without stains or patches. Even when you are ashore, your gaze will be drawn back to the ship as it rides at anchor in the harbor. It dominates every setting and attracts attention wherever it goes. It is beautiful. The other passengers were an interesting mix of Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and South Americans. On our trip there was a large German contingent, so all announcements were conducted in English and repeated in German. The several French speaking passengers were comfortable with English, so we avoided a third language in the public announcements. Menus and other ship information are printed in English, German, and French. Americans were probably about 40-percent of the passengers. The rest were mainly European, with a few Canadians and South Americans in the mix. The crew is composed of men and women from many countries. The Captain, Chief Engineer, and one of the senior Officers were Russian, which is probably due to the necessity of having proper licenses and ratings for a very large sailing ship. Russia had or has a fleet of large sailing ships, so there are more officers qualified on large sailing ships from Russia than anywhere else these days. Every one of the ship's crew with whom we came in contact was very pleasant and friendly, and we never lacked for service or assistance. Our weather was wonderful, with sunny skies and warm temperatures, made even more comfortable by a constant sea breeze. The many shades of blue of the Caribbean Sea sparkled at us day and night. We enjoyed several sun sets from the aft deck, including a rare Green Flash sunset one delightful evening while at sea. The rhythm of the cruise puts you into a new port each day, generally arriving in the late morning. The ship sets anchor, and tenders are deployed. You can go ashore to explore, swim from the beach, or just remain onboard and enjoy the expansive deck. The last gangway is typically in the late afternoon. The anchor is then hauled and the ship sails away. After sunset, everyone retires to their cabin to prepare for dinner. After dinner the ship sails into the night to the next port. Repeat this six times. A delightful week of cruising. We were told that Star Clippers has a very high repeat business rate, and I am not surprised. After this trip we are very likely to cruise with Star Clippers again. Most of the people we met aboard were veteran Star Clipper cruisers and were on their second, third, fourth or even tenth trip with the line. Most other passengers had more cruising experience than us, and they expressed a strong preference for the Star Clipper style of ship and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I am a solo traveler and was on Silversea's Silver Shadow for 9 days beginning November 13, 2009, embarking in Barbados. I have cruised on Seabourn several times, so many of my observations about Silversea will be from the perspective ... Read More
I am a solo traveler and was on Silversea's Silver Shadow for 9 days beginning November 13, 2009, embarking in Barbados. I have cruised on Seabourn several times, so many of my observations about Silversea will be from the perspective of comparing two luxury cruise lines. The reason I chose Silversea over Seabourn for this particular cruise was for three reasons: Silversea had a generous single supplement (only 125%); the itinerary was the southern Caribbean (only Seabourn's new ship, the Odyssey, is sailing that particular region right now....and their single supplement is 175%), and Silversea still has formal nights in the Caribbean (Seabourn's smaller ships do not). I was in a Vista cabin, on the fourth deck. Embarkation was very easy. I had come into Bridgetown, Barbados several days early and stayed at the beautiful Hilton. I am a scuba diver and, since I dive only about once a year, I chose the Hilton for its gorgeous views of the Caribbean, and the fact they have an on-site dive shop. I loved the hotel and the diving was great. Interestingly enough, I met a couple, on CruiseCritic, who was also on my sailing and we met up at the Hilton for dinner, and boarded the Silver Shadow together. One of the great benefits of the CruiseCritic message boards is meeting people before your cruise. Especially if you are traveling solo, it's nice to have some "friends" right off the bat! I chose early embarkation and got on the ship about 11am. Very easy to get things squared away and fortunately, the suites were ready. 430 is a Vista cabin on the fourth deck, and I was very impressed with the cabins. Similar to Seabourn's standard suites, the Silver Shadow has one nice touch; a shower separate from the bathtub. As I bring my scuba gear with me, the tub was a great place to rinse it off and leave it! The cabins are gorgeous; nice big window, beautiful decor. Flat screen TV, desk with personalized stationery, and...surprise...a very comfy bed! The bathroom was very beautiful with marble everywhere (the towels, as other reviewers have reported, are a bit scratchy), two sinks, and Bulgari products (hair conditioner and shampoo, body lotion, etc.) Very nice. The luggage did not arrive for awhile, but that gave me the opportunity to scour the ship, as this was my first Silversea cruise. The Shadow has the capacity for 384 guests (Seabourn's three smaller ships hold 208). Our ship was full, but other than around the pool (or if we were gathered in the show lounge), there was never a feeling of crowds, ever. The ship itself was gorgeous, I loved it. Lots of places to hang out, the expansive Observation Lounge (with massage chairs, an impressive selection of books, and a breathtaking view of the ocean), a very well stocked library, and both the stern of the ship and deck 10 (where there is a wide walking/jogging track) gave you great views. It took me awhile to figure out to get to the restaurant, I had to go up one level, through reception, and down to deck 4 again (the deck plan showed the restaurant on level four....you can't get to it from four though!). No problems, it was fun being on a larger ship that had so many places to be. One vast improvement of the Silversea ships over the smaller Seabourn ships is the pool area. Large, perfectly positioned pool in the midst of deck 8, surrounded by chairs, so it's a very social gathering place. On our two sea days back to Ft. Lauderdale, we had stellar weather and this was the place to be. I absolutely loved this part of the ship. One of my favorite places to hang out on Seabourn's small ships is the forward jacuzzi on deck 5. I was planning to miss this feature, but Silver Shadow's happenin' pool area more than made up for it. They also had table tennis and shuffleboard "tournaments", which were lots of fun. I enjoyed the stability of the larger ship as well, and seldom felt any movement of the sea at all. Of course, we enjoyed very good weather (only Bequia and St. Bart's had intermittent rain). Our ports were Bequia, Martinique, Dominica (wins in my opinion for the friendliest people in the Caribbean), St. Kitts, St. Bart's, Tortola. I dove in every port except St. Kitts, where I took a horseback ride. Pretty island, had lots of fun. From the reports of the other passengers, they seemed to enjoy all the shore excursions that Silversea provided in the ports. The one disappointment was the food on the Silver Shadow. I'd say upwards of 50% of the time I did not like what I was eating. Most of the time I'd have just fruit in the morning (either in the Terrace buffet, or by room service), and then a quick lunch (same). I ate in the restaurant six evenings, the Terraza once and Le Champagne once. In my opinion, Seabourn's food was far superior to Silver Shadow. The service on the Shadow was friendly, but did not blow your socks off like Seabourn does. That being said, I enjoyed my cruise so much I booked Silversea's new ship, the Spirit, for another Caribbean cruise in 2010. The pool deck really won me over. On all my cruises, I've never run into a friendlier group of people than were on this sailing. The passengers were just delightful and very warm to a woman traveling alone. I was invited to dinner often, and felt included in conversations wherever they were taking place. Unlike Seabourn, Silver Shadow does not have "hosted" tables every night at dinner in the restaurant. I do like that feature of Seabourn, but all I had to do was show up in the restaurant and request a table with others who wanted company; I always had a great group of people to talk to. I did receive one invitation to dinner at a hosted table, the first formal evening. Being exhausted from diving all day, I never took in ANY of the entertainment, so I'm sorry I can't comment on that. I heard from other passengers that it was very nice. The one thing I did was Liar's Club (where they come up with a word you've never heard of, and four people give you silly definitions, one of which is true, you have to guess which one!), and that was great. I spent alot of time in the gym; they have treadmills, stairsteppers, and other exercise equipment. They also have another room with mats, exercise balls, and weights. I did not do anything in the spa as their services were over the top expensive. The people who ran both places, though, seemed very nice and helpful. The cruise director, the reception area staff, the suite stewardesses, the international hostesses, the waiters, were all wonderful. Silversea has a wonderful crew and I liked them. We did have an incident on the sailing with a man overboard, this was on the last sea day. It is a miracle, and I thank God, that the man was recovered alive and well. Kudos to the crew of the Silver Shadow for their hard work in finding him. Even after a sleepless and traumatic last morning, they were appreciative and gracious as they said goodbye to us and scrambled to invite on a new group of people. All in all, I thought Silversea a very nice line. Obviously I liked it, since I booked it again. I would give Seabourn higher marks in food and service, but that in no way takes away from how hard Silver Shadow tries to please its guests. I would be very comfortable recommending this beautiful ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We boarded the Shadow Early in Lauderdale around 1PM. Were directed to the Terazza for buffet lunch, it was easy quiet and very well organized. We had lunch and the cabins were ready. Luggage was already there (yes in one hour) and the ... Read More
We boarded the Shadow Early in Lauderdale around 1PM. Were directed to the Terazza for buffet lunch, it was easy quiet and very well organized. We had lunch and the cabins were ready. Luggage was already there (yes in one hour) and the butler was knocking on our door soon thereafter. Cabin was in good shape, a few dings and dents but overall still in shape and we always enjoy the two sinks that the smaller ships lack and the separate shower. The butler helped us unpack and brought us hangers and met all our needs with shampoo choices, shoe shining and even brought glass polishing clothes for us and polished our dirty Sunglasses etc....really excellent cabin attendants throughout our cruise. Laundry service which we used often, was flawless and happily free as we had over 100 nights on the line. Great perk. Food onboard was delicious and the quality of fish and meats was excellent. If we did not like something we always ordered something else. Sometimes off the menu and sometimes on the menu...whatever we asked they did and made as long as we gave 12 hours notice. Get creative, their kitchen was working amazingly well and ate some excellent food. On Deck buffet night was fun with much eating and drinking, grilled lobster tails and claws shrimp as far as the eye could see and ribs and a huge paella...deserts were also fabulous. As you can tell, we LOVED the food and we are are tough judges. Entertainment was the weak spot as the shows are all the same. The entertainers themselves were OK...but these are the same shows we saw last year at this time and again in August and October everything is the same. They need to end this and go back to cabaret performers. We once had Emma Sinclair onboard years ago and she was fabulous....she could sing every night as far as we were concerned. She had a beautiful voice. That said we last saw her on Regent so who knows whats going on with Silverseas entertainment. We were unimpressed and the last 2 years have not changed our feelings about this. Activities onboard were many. The New Cruise director, a lady who was English, name escapes me...was excellent. She had lots of energy and bring much to the ship. Activities were language lessons, cooking and wine pairings, ice carving, water volleyball, dance lessons and a speaker. The speaker and X CIA operative was true to his bio however his speeches we felt were a bit boring....he was chatting in a bit of a monotone and was very relaxed which put us to sleep. And the people next to us. They now have Phillip onboard hired by Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds and Tanzanite international (same owners ultimately I think) to sell their jewelry...he gives talks and is big on "upgrading your diamonds"...friendly fellow. We also had artwork onboard and it was all for sale and you could meet with them to "learn about art" at many times during the day. We were not in love with either of these changes....however if it keeps Silversea as good as it has been we can put up with it. It is an additional revenue stream which costs us nothing. That said....buyer beware.. and there were lots of people buying. Ports were nice, and weather was lovely, little cold out of Lauderdale. Ignazio Tatulli is the Captain and he is excellent and we have sailed with him before. We always feel in capable hands with him. Other captains hardly talk or just smile a lot or can barely speak English....Tatulli really seems to care and we understand him on the loudspeaker. Overall the Shadow was fantastic for us. Levels of service both at the bars and restaurants were great. Gille the wine steward, Gilbert the maitre D, Antin in la Terazza handled the 350 us like guests and not passengers....it was spoiling and much enjoyed. The crew really seemed to work together as a team and it was nice to see. Are we going back for more? YES. Wishing you a wonderful journey and may yours be as nice as ours on the Shadow! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I were on the Azamara Journey for this 12 day Caribbean cruise. I will tell you some of my observations without repeating what others have posted. Transportation: We started in Fort Lauderdale and had to find a way to get ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Azamara Journey for this 12 day Caribbean cruise. I will tell you some of my observations without repeating what others have posted. Transportation: We started in Fort Lauderdale and had to find a way to get to Miami. SAS Transportation was not able to help us. I reserved Michael Rozenbaum, www.US1TransportationService.com. He showed up, on time, in an immaculately clean Lincoln Town Car. He was well dressed and helped us with the luggage. I will use him again. After the cruise we used SAS Transportation, www.ridesas.com, to get from the ship in Miami to the airport in Fort Lauderdale. The driver, Tony, was waiting for us when we got off the ship. He picked us up and then picked up others from other ships. The trip went well and it was only $15 plus tip per person. Arrival: We got to the ship around 11 AM and walked right on. We gave them our luggage, they gave us some champagne, and we gave ourselves a self tour of the ship. As others have described it in other posts I will just say it is very nice. We were allowed into our cabin, around 2 PM. Cruise Critic: The Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party was held on the first day at sea. All the officers were there to greet us, answer questions, and wish us a great cruise. The day before we left the ship there was another CC get together. This time they wanted to be sure we enjoyed the cruise and asked for input on how they could improve the Azamara cruise experience. We had very few ideas for improvements as the cruise was excellent. The Cabin: When you walk in there is a very nice bag on the bed to use on your port days. They do not leave little pieces of chocolate on your pillow at night. Instead they leave a plate with truffles, petit fours, chocolate covered strawberries or other delights. There is an interesting vase with some green stems in it in the cabin. As time passes the green stems turn into flowers which are still in their prime when you have to go home. The fruit bowl is kept full with ready to eat fruit. You don't have to wait until it ripens. Activities: Be sure to go to the raffles in the shops. You show up, they give you a raffle ticket, and then they pull a ticket. You may be a winner! Winners got jewelry and gift certificates. They have an asterisk by some of the activities on the daily program. When you participate in these activities you get the presenter to sign a special paper. On the last full day of the cruise you take your paper up to the Looking Glass and get rewards. The categories for rewards start at ten points and go up by tens. You get different things depending on how many activities you attended. The rewards include Azamara book marks, mugs, and tee shirts. The Experience: The best restaurant on the ship is the Aqualina. I had the best meal I have ever had there. You can go there more than once. They request a $5 gratuity per person. The officers are everyplace. They show up at the shows and greet you as you enter the theater. They are there in the morning when you get off the ship to wish you a good day. They pass you in the buffet and greet you. I figure they must work at least 22 hours a day! If you have any concerns they are addressed immediately. Part way through the cruise they asked for suggestions for improvement. I had a suggestion and the head of the relevant department called me to discuss it. This does not happen on the big ships. They make you feel like the passengers really matter to them. The Ports: There were seven ports in seven days. We went on shore every day except one. The sixth day, at Antiqua, the seas were high, the tenders were bouncing, we were tired, and we had been there before so we stayed on board. We had been to St. Martin recently so we just got off the ship and walked around for a while. In St. Croix, St. Barts, and Virgin Gorda we got a driver and toured the island. Each time we waited a little beyond the gangway until we had four to six people who wanted to tour before we hired a driver. They charge by the vehicle and not by the person so we all benefited by going in a group. All tour drivers spoke English and did a great job of showing us their island. Most tours were about $15 per person. In Dominica we found Oris Campbell, joca_57@hotmail.com. He took us around the island. He speaks English and did a good job of pointing out the highlights of the island. For St. Lucia we booked Cosol Tours, www.cosol-tours.com, before we left home. It was absolutely the best day of the cruise. Cosol drove our van and another man drove a second van. He showed us the island, fed us island food, took us to a snorkeling/swimming spot and generally treated us like royalty. If you go to St. Lucia you want to contact Cosol. The charge is $65 per person for a 5 to 6 hour day. It was well worth it. Conclusion: I have never seen a crew so eager to please the passengers. We really enjoyed our first Azamara cruise and look forward to going on another.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My sister and l arrived 3 days early so that we could enjoy Miami and each other before our adventure at sea was to begin. Our arrival at the Azamara Schedualed hotel "The Epic" was better than we expected! They upgraded us so ... Read More
My sister and l arrived 3 days early so that we could enjoy Miami and each other before our adventure at sea was to begin. Our arrival at the Azamara Schedualed hotel "The Epic" was better than we expected! They upgraded us so that was a bonus. I think the $150/night charged to the cruise line was about half of what we paid for the room so booking yourself might be more economical. We were given free breakfast vouchers and only had to pay $8 to include the hot selections. It was very busy at all times so the free glass of wine before supper helped to take our minds off our wait. The shuttle to the cruise port was not well known to us so was shocked when l found out 30min. before it arrived that 11am was pickup time. If l hadn't called we would have missed it. The embarkation was a breeze! We were offered a sparkling Zinfandel on arrival and proceeded to the Windows Cafe for our lunch. Sudarto greeted us with his friendly smile and a muchacho (macchiato) and we laughed about that for the rest of the cruise! That was the beginning of a great first impression with all the staff. At first we were not pleased with our room as it was dusty and warm with a gnarly blue car blanket on the beds. Our butler was a little tardy about bringing us ice and so we never had water and wine on the rocks. One night he missed us all together, we did not like room 6078 so were moved to 7028 5 days later as the lack of sleep was getting to us. Hot and humid does not make sleeping comfortable. We had foamies put on our mattresses as we found the beds hard. Now as soon as we got to our new room the cruise started to pick up momentum!! We started to enjoy using our balcony as just opening the sliding door once would have meant 25C all day and night. We were actually able to keep the door open in the new room so that we could hear the wonderful music from the TV station with the web cam. We loved the Masterpiece Theatre channel too!! A little hiccup with the plumbing made for some stair climbing on our last night as toilets were not working. Breakfast on the veranda lost its charm after we discovered how amazing it was in the windows cafe. Even in the Discoveries it was boring as Herring, sardines and stinky fish is not what l eat first thing in the morning. Our supper in the discovery was the best part of the day esp when the desserts were served. I only gained 3 lbs as we made sure to walk the stairs and eat lots of delicious fruit and good for you oatmeal with ground flax in the mornings. We loved the lamb kabobs at the pool grill and found the staff very hard working and friendly. The ice-cream was so yummy and l ate sorbet at least 3 times a day. Fresh fruit and the excellent quality of food made for less waste and made guilt free foraging a daily adventure. The smaller ship was a first for me and it won't be my last. We met so many wonderful people and danced together and laughed till our faces and sides hurt! The Musical trio of Mickey,Larry and Dallas made the cruise so special as they entertained us by the pool and up in the Looking glass. D.J.Oleg helped us to work off our days feasting into the wee hours and his sweet demeanor and dance moves a great way to end the day. Our many friends laughed, visited, danced, ate, drank and made plans for the next day! Loved the ports, even the tenders! I think that all cruisers should experience the Azamara Journey so that they will have the chance to meet wonderful friends, friendly crew, listen to great music and dance, drink free specialty coffees with no hassles if you ask for soy milk!!! and get to know islands that are hidden gems. The front desk staff were very helpful and always attentive to our needs. So many activities on sea days made for a relaxing cruise. Now if there was a way to stop all the seat saving then everyone could enjoy basking in the sun! The sanctuary was great but there too was lots of seat saving so we just moved the books to another lounger. We enjoyed the shower in the sanctuary as our room was so hot.It was worth the $100 for a shower curtain that doesn't hug!!! I bought an underwater camera on board but was disappointed when l was unable to use my 20 free photo downloads as the picture machine was ancient. Ronaldo was very helpful and accommodating and should get cudo points for having to wear the dolphin costume our in the sun!!! Loved the feeling that l was on a non smoking cruise!! Loved Azamara! Loved Bequia, Gustavia, St.Johns, and St.Kitts!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We flew from the UK to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic. Good, direct flight, no complaints except for the fact that my husband had his windproof jacket stolen from the zipped pocket of our case. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency right in the ... Read More
We flew from the UK to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic. Good, direct flight, no complaints except for the fact that my husband had his windproof jacket stolen from the zipped pocket of our case. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency right in the airport then went to Downtown Disney for something to eat and to keep us awake - the cold did that! Took the 7.30am Southwest flight to Fort Lauderdale. Why are their flight attendants so amusing? Flight was fast and so low we had a wonderful view of the coast all the way down. We were at our hotel by 8.45am and left our cases. Lovely and sunny day, spent travelling on the water taxi and wandering. Ate at the Casablanca Cafe at the top of the street. Excellent food and great atmosphere. After a morning walk we called a cab and set off for the pier. Only two or three ships in and the Legend was there, looking as beautiful as she did in the Med last September! Embarkation took about 5 minutes, then we were escorted aboard into the King Olav, handed a fruit cocktail which we didn't get chance to drink as we were dealt with really quickly and taken to our suite, number 103. We opened the champagne and our cases arrived soon after, so within half an hour we had unpacked and were ready to be treated for the next week! Our onboard credit notification, silver wine package and welcome letter were there on the dressing table. No hosted table dinner invitation! Oh dear - we really enjoyed those last time we were on the Legend. A couple of times later in the week we did get invited to dine with staff and really enjoyed it. It's one of the things that makes Seabourn great, in our opinion. Sailaway was breezy and not very pretty, bearing in mind our last cruise departed from Monte Carlo! We talked to a few people as everyone was very friendly. At lifeboat drill we met a nice couple from London who we then sat with for dinner that evening. We weren't disappointed with the food - just as good as last time. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff - ask and you will get it. We were very impressed when we went in to the Veranda Cafe for breakfast next morning and were greeted by name by some of the staff - they had remembered us! Another lovely touch. First day was a sea day and the weather was kind although throughout the cruise there was 'motion in the ocean' as Captain Anderssen kept telling us! Went to join a Trivia team, leaving husband sunbathing. Did quite well and I answered a couple of questions that the others didn't know so I felt I earned my place! Next day we played again and hubby came with me. We finished that round in the lead, due to our team captain Kevin and his Mum, Ann, knowing lots of things that the rest of us had no clue about! We arrived at Grand Turk at lunchtime the next day but the weather changed just as we did so and it rained. We walked along the beach, round the corner and had the beach to ourselves. It was less windy there and the sea not as choppy. Another sea day followed and weather not good - quite cool and windy and sea fairly choppy so seasickness tablets purchased from the Purser! Trivia final was nail-biting but we won! Received black Seabourn tote bags as prizes which I now use with pride! Husband went to a wine tasting after lunch hosted by the Sommelier which was excellent. Jost Van Dyke was the next stop and we went on a catamaran sail and snorkel. Well, husband snorkelled. I climbed down the ladder into the sea then climbed back up again as it was too rough for me! Enjoyed the trip, but people complained that they should have had fins (flippers to us from the UK) so we had a partial refund of the cost of the trip. Went on the beach by the Soggy Dollar Bar in the afternoon and swam again. Beautiful sunshine, a few clouds and very hot. Perfect! Next day we toured St Kitts with Kate and Don who we met on CC and who are now firm friends! Had a lovely day with Roosevelt Taylor. Lunched at Rawlins Plantation, visited the batik factory and had a look at Ottleys Plantation too. Bought coconut rum at the port shops and then back on board for Sailaway. Wonderful trip through all the islands and a fantastic sunset. Our trip to Prickly Pear Island on the last day was the most disappointing - it was cloudy, windy and rainy so the beach barbecue and our trip to the Baths were both cancelled. However, the galley lunch was fantastic! How do they do it? They also arranged for people to visit a resort on a nearby island if they wanted. We disembarked in Charlotte Amalie, most upset at leaving the ship and our new friends, especially knowing that they were staying on her for another week. We then stayed on St Thomas for the rest of the week. Weather was mixed again so we were disappointed with our Caribbean experience, weather-wise, but delighted with Seabourn again. Just to mention a few highlights: Jez, the chef, was very high profile and all the food was excellent. We ate twice in Restaurant 2 on the Tasting nights and it was outstanding. Captain Anderssen was his usual amusing self and also always about chatting to people and keeping an eye on things. David E was very sociable but we missed Eric! Sam, the guitarist from England was brilliant. The whole ship was kept very clean and tidy and the staff and crew are fantastic. We made some very good friends and ate and drank far too much with them (and without them!) The wine choices were good and if you didn't like what was served you only had to ask and you would be brought what you wanted. To summarise - another brilliant cruise. Thank you, Seabourn. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was my 1st Seabourn cruise. I have cruised on most of the major lines before, and truly, did not know if I would enjoy a small ship with 198 fellow passengers. Well, other than the Celebrity Alaska cruise I have already booked and ... Read More
This was my 1st Seabourn cruise. I have cruised on most of the major lines before, and truly, did not know if I would enjoy a small ship with 198 fellow passengers. Well, other than the Celebrity Alaska cruise I have already booked and paid for that is happening in July 2010, I will probably NEVER sail on a 'mega liner' again. The Seabourn experience starts off with several staff members welcoming you, dressed in their crisp, dark blue suits, with white gloves. You are invited into the King Olav lounge to fill out the minimal amount of paperwork, get your digital photo taken for your ship ID card (they take your passport, but don't worry, you do get it back when your cruise is finished) and then, one of the nice, well dressed staff, personally escorts you to your suite (they don't call them cabins on Seabourn!). We stayed in #125 on the Legend, and it was GREAT! We were midship, on the same floor as the self serve laundry, and on the same floor as the disembarkation for many of our ports. The cabin is well laid out, with a tub/shower combo (loved that!!), walk in closet, cocktail table that raises and turns into a dining room table, huge picture window, flat screen TV, BOSE CD player, safe, fluffy duvets on the bed, and on and on! If you use any electrical outlets, at all, YOU MUST BRING A POWER STRIP WITH YOU! Sadly, this cabin, as perfect as it is, only has ONE (yes, I did say one!) electrical outlet for those of us from the USA. Not sure why this lovely ship was designed with this, but that is definitely a flaw that can be easily corrected if you toss a power strip into your luggage. Also, if you are an adventurous 'foodie', you will LOVE the daily menus on Seabourn. If, however, you're a bit more on the conservative side and don't venture out more in regard to your food tastes and preferences than the Cheesecake factory menu, you will probably find this experience to be a bit challenging regarding the daily menu choices. I, sadly, am not a big foodie, so I was eating the chicken with mashed potatoes entrEe on a daily basis, or a pizza from room service. Of course, the chef would have made me something on a special request, but I never got around to making a formal request to the staff. The service and the kindness, is what the staff at Seabourn will bring to your party. What you must bring to this cruise are plenty of things to entertain yourself with (DVD's, books, etc.). As much as I loved this experience, and have already placed my $1K deposit down on a future Seabourn experience, they could use more activities. We were finally treated to a bridge tour and a galley tour on our 2nd to last day, and that was spectacular! We made a mention of 'wish there were more activities on board' on our survey, and Eric (the world's BEST and non-attitude-ish cruise director) took us aside as we were disembarking to leave our lovely journey and go to the airport, and told us that he was very sorry that he did not have more things planned for us. YIKES! Be careful what you write on your survey, as they are read before you leave the ship! Eric said that he had just transferred to the Legend and had been in constant performance practice/warm up sessions and had not had the needed time to put together a 'busier' itinerary. It was very, very nice of him to mention this to us, and I felt really crummy that I had even written anything down. BUT, it is important, that as passengers, there is more to do than just eat and drink. Bingo, port lectures, (there was no trivia on this cruise due to no at sea days). We would have loved to have a cooking class on how Seabourn makes those incredible, highly addictive breadsticks! I will definitely do a special request the next time I travel on Seabourn, for a breadstick class. You will meet some of the most lovely and non-uppity people on this ship. We were always greeted by fellow passengers with a big smile and a good morning/good afternoon/good evening. Also, the staff does their very best to greet you by name, a truly amazing touch! Also, I have always detested going to the shore excursion desk on any major cruise line. The staff is typically rude and pretentious, even though they are there to sell *me* something! Well, on the Legend, you will be AMAZED at Claudio, your shore excursion manager. He is so kind. He was actually on our 1st catamaran excursion with us, and was a blast! Each day, he would spend some time chatting with us and we so enjoyed his company and great stories! I would definitely recommend booking your excursions thru Seabourn, if at all possible. This allows you to meet so many of your nice, fellow passengers and really makes the cruise so enjoyable when you see familiar faces. Seabourn is very fair on their excursion pricing, so I will definitely be using them in the future. Also, our future cruise consultant, Charl, was the sweetest man, you would ever want to meet. He never 'sold' us on Seabourn, but just treated us kindly and expressed a genuine interest in us and the experiences we were having on our cruise. He gave us advise on different cruises that he thought we would enjoy. It's the little things, such as having breakfast in the Veranda Cafe and having the captain ask, very politely, if he can join us. NEVER, ever, on a mega ship, do you ever see the captain, except on the dorky 'meet the captain' party where everyone has to get dressed up like it's prom, and then stand around in a long line. Very demeaning!! Another nice Seabourn touch, is when you go into port, there is a Seabourn canopy with cookies, bottled water, soda, sunblock, etc. and a uniformed employee, standing by to take excellent care of you. WOW! This is such a nice thing to do. In regard to the dress code, be sure to bring plenty of dressy clothes. I would have preferred a more upper casual dress code, but that is not Seabourn. Women were always in dresses after 6:00 PM and men were in suits and jackets. This is not a Dockers/Tommy Bahama shirt (after 6:00 PM) cruise. In this world of rush, rush, rush - hurry up and wait, rudeness from the majority of the service people that you come in contact with, it is a blessing to know that a caring, wondering cruise line like Seabourn exists! Are there some things they could do a bit better, yes, but they do SO many of them right, that it is a shining star! I wish that Seabourn would offer more 5-7 day cruises for those of us who work and cannot take two weeks off to vacation. That is a suggestion that I also put on my comment card. I would love to see Seabourn do a Pacific Coast cruise, more East Coast cruises, and Alaska. All in all, this is a not to be missed experience. Just Book It! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time ... Read More
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time because we were entertaining my 13 year old daughter (Wife and I, early 50's, normal vacation is to pick one area and explore it very thoroughly). As a matter of fact this year's big trip was to be to Tuscany in the fall, but winter in Vermont was really dragging on, and when an email offering a tremendous discount on Windstar came across my desk, off we went. First stop was Barbados; we spent the night before at the Silver Point hotel. Big shout out, as this was a GREAT place to unwind and get ready for the cruise. A bit far from anything but great fun watching the kite surfers and the food at the on site restaurant was really good if a bit expensive. On Sunday we went on a tour of the island with a friend we met on the Cruisecritic boards and had great fun. Saw lots and lots of beaches then went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and lunch. Embarkation; truly could not of been easier. We boarded early as we were so excited to start exploring the ship. Walked into the terminal, handed off the luggage, and got a nice cold glass of water, picture taken and on board we went. On Board, for an older ship the public spaces are incredible clean and shiny. That said some areas are getting threadbare, carpets at the gangways, around the elevators and some parts of the cabins were dirty and dusty. Also I noticed some sheets had a few small stains but all in all a truly beautiful ship. Speaking of cabins we had quite a run around with ours, when we booked we were given cabin 122, mid ship, 1st floor, perfect spot. Then we were upgraded for free , Thank You, to the 2nd floor right where the elevators were, no thank you, so when I called back to say we rather have to room we booked, I was told no problem, but I never noticed that we had been moved to 111, same category but further back of the ship. This posed no problem with rocking but our cabin was right at the gangway level, so privacy was a problem when the tenders were loading. Cabins were small but very comfortable and served their purpose perfectly. Of course being such a small ship, it was no problem at all finding our way around. Food; I though the meals were incredible, something different every day. Food always fresh, well seasoned and some of the dishes truly 5 star quality. Over all I would say the food was well above average. Probably the most disappointing meal was the outside restaurant called La Marche, 5 course seafood menu that stayed the same all week and just didn't seem to be inspired. Degrees, on the other hand, with its Mediterranean inspired menu was excellent as was every meal we had in the main dining room. The main dining room had at least 5 choices for entrees every night including some unusual ones, my very first oxtail and it was GREAT. Breakfast and lunch were very good with made to order choices available every day along with a buffet.. The breakfast buffets were your standard fare but 4 to 5 made to order choices were available everyday (Tiramisu pancakes YUM). The lunch buffet changed every day, the Asian inspired buffet was really good. My one pet peeve was the absolute ridiculous pricing for sodas and bottled water, c'mon why rip off your customer that way?? Drinks and wine were expensive but not crazy bad and as a wine freak, I was very happy with the by the glass options we had for dinner. Staff was great. I have never seen a more polished, happy group of employees. Everyone really seemed to love their job and seemed to take great pleasure in serving you. Our room steward, while mainly invisible, kept our room spotless, (well if you ignored the dust and fingerprints near the ceiling, that is, but even we didn't notice that till the last day). Bar staff, front desk staff, were always smiling and helpful. I can not remember one single time when someone appeared to be in a bad mood. Activities, passengers and miscellaneous; For the most part, forget any activities on board, they had scheduled a couple of WII tournaments, a putting contest and nobody ever showed up, of course (and I may get lynched for this) if the "cruise director" had made a quick, simple announcement maybe we would of gotten a few people. Speaking of the cruise director, he must have the easiest job in the whole world as I never saw him do a thing except sing at the lounge one night and introduce staff. Passengers tended to be between the ages of 40-60 though we saw a few 30 something's and one incredible lady of 93 on her 15th Windstar cruise. Most everybody was really friendly, sorta felt like one big extended family. OK this appears to have gone on long enough, quickly just a few things, sign up for the laundry deal, $99 per cabin unlimited laundry well worth it, you have to be a serious drinker to get your monies worth from the pre paid deals, more modern music in the Compass Rose, great pre dinner music in the Lounge, talent show was fun, comedian is the absolute worse I have ever saw he must be the owners relative to keep a job. Any specific questions please feel free to write me; andyb1958 at comcast net I will post a link to our web album in the cruise critic Windstar board once I have the pictures all up. Bequia; Our least favorite stop, dirty, taxi driver tried to rip us off. Turtle sanctuary was OK, beach was nice but there is better later in the trip. Dominica; Port itself is only OK what made this an incredible stop was the Caribbean cooking class we took, Daria and staff are unbelievable as is her home. If you have a chance do this tour 5+ for the class. St Lucia; Another fun day, we went zip-lining which was alot of fun and then Windstar had a picnic for us on a private beach. We then explored the back side of Pigeon Island which is very cool. All in all one stop I wish we would of had more time to explore the island. Grenada; Would of liked to explore the town and market place more but we had booked a river tubing adventure, DO NOT do this unless you know exactly how much rain fall they have had . On our trip they had no rain for the last 3 months and the water level was WAY too low. This trip should have been canceled in my opinion and we felt ripped off. Our only disappointment in the whole trip, Windstar if you are reading this, pay attention to the trips you offer and warn your customers before they spend money. If we had been told the river level was low and we could choose another trip we would have. Mayreau; Incredible beach, killer hill, cool bars, great stop Tobago; Best stop of the whole trip, private guide who was unbelievable. saw almost the whole island and a huge amount of birds , Hiked the rain forest great time Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I travelled on the Journey on her third cruise in May 2007. She was covering the Cape Liberty to St. George and Hamilton, Bermuda, route that first season and she was the perfect ship for a perfect destination (wish she would do that ... Read More
I travelled on the Journey on her third cruise in May 2007. She was covering the Cape Liberty to St. George and Hamilton, Bermuda, route that first season and she was the perfect ship for a perfect destination (wish she would do that again). Just completed the March 20 Caribbean sailing. Choose this ship based upon previous experience and the seven (7!!) ports of call. Embarkation and Disembarkation were organized, easy and swift. The stateroom with balcony was fine but I had forgotten that the bathroom is smaller than on, say, the Celebrity Constellation or Mercury. Two corners were angled and reduced the amount of room. Fine for one person though. Am allergic to feathers and the butler immediately changed out the duvat and pillows. Did need an eggcrate cushion to bridge the gap when the two twins were placed together to form the larger bed configuraton. The ship is just the right size for getting to know both the other passengers, the crew and senior staff. As a solo traveller, this made for many groups of new friends with whom I could share experiences and activities. The size also made for easy navigation throughout. The ports of call were good: three were old friends and four were new: St. Johns USVI, St. Barths, Martinique, Dominica, Grenedines, St. Kitts and Virgin Gorda. Good to not be in the frenetic tourist zones. We tendered in four of the seven ports but the service and timing were excellent. Liked that there was no 'recommending' of island shops and the excursion talks did discuss on what the island had to offer along with slides of recent excursions. One of the reasons that I chose the Journey was my remembrance of the outstanding quality of food. Alas, I don't believe the main dining room was a 5+ plus, as it was on the 2007 cruise, but more a 4. Service was sporadic - always courteous but sometimes poorly paced (took 15 minutes for the waiter to arrive to take our drink and food orders on one occasion). The buffet was a 3 - not bad but not overwhelming. Food was sometimes undercooked (breakfast potatoes) and generally not hot (despite the quick turnover) and sometimes slow to be replenished. The entire staff, from top to bottom, was wonderful. Senior staff was evident throughout the ship at many functions. The activities group was young and energetic. The enrichment speaker (from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland) was marvelous and one of the best I've experienced. I witnessed the cruise director, physician and nurse responding to a medical emergency with professionalism and care. My major complaint is the lack of support for the Verizon network. Neither the US nor the International systems were functioning for Verizon. A fellow passenger had even checked with Verizon and Azamara prior to the cruise to determine if his service would function; he was assured that it would; but it did not. Verizon is the major carrier in the US so this is a significant problem. There is wear and tear evident (rubbed finishes on wood, missing tiles at the pool, missing railings, stained stateroom carpeting). Azamara has never been a discount line so this is not good; Azamara Club is looking to compete with the well-known luxury lines and its new pricing structure is evidence of that. What I forgive at the former pricing is not what I will forgive at a 30 to 50% premium. The ship needs to be spruced up now to compete. (On the last day at sea, the entire port side of deck 5 was closed for painting. This was my and several others favorite spot for snoozing and reading.) Need more deck chairs on either side of deck 5. As a non-flying traveller, I will not be joining the Journey again soon as starting in Spring 2011, the Journey does not embark from the continental US. That is a shame because, with the right pricing and Verizon service, I would travel on the Journey again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all ... Read More
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all of the main stream cruise lines. They all have something for passengers however Windstar takes it to another level. Checking in was the easiest thing. If you have ever sailed on the larger ships you know what that experience is like it can take forever unless you are a preferred guest or are travelling in a suite. This was so easy, no line up just a quick check on a couple of things, register you credit card and then you are handed your keys and you board. The whole process took approx. 2 mins. They did change it this time as when we previously sailed you check in on board in the lounge, this time was on shore however both ways are very simple. This sailing we were in a mini suite and we really enjoyed the extra space and the fact that we had two bathrooms so when we were getting ready to go out we didn't have to wait on one another. A real bonus. The cabins are generous and because it is a sail ship every ounce of space is used so that you could put everything away and didn't have to have things lying around. They knew what they were doing when they planned these cabins. We have stayed in a regular cabin before and they are just as wonderful so if you opt for that you will not be disappointed. The food was wonderful, with lots of variations and the dining options would rival any of the big ships. For dinner you had a choice of 5 options. The Restaurant, Degrees, Candles, Le Marche or room service. On this cruise we took advantage of every option and ate twice at the Restaurant and Le Marche. Le Marche is a great experience and the meals were creative and tasty. You couldn't want for anything as they had it. Breakfast and lunch were also good although we did end up eating on shore mostly for lunch and just getting back in time for some of the bread pudding. Windstar has the best bread pudding and there was always a line up for it. I recall one day when there was none in the pan and the waiter jokingly told us that it was all gone you should have seen the faces. Of course it was not all gone he just had to refill however you would have thought he had just told everyone to get off the ship! It was interesting in some of the ports when the larger ships were there and I can honestly say we were glad not to be on them. Small ships are the way to go. The crowd on this sailing were wonderful. We were travelling with friends however we also met and travelled around with other guests on shore and at dinner. We only did one shore excursion and that was in Dominica. It was a cooking class and if you have an opportunity to do this excursion we would highly recommend it. At the other ports we just got off the ship and made our own way around. It is pretty simple to do since we went to very small islands. I would highly recommend that you take the laundry package. For $99 dollars it was money well spent. We went home with clean cloths that were nicely pressed. It was a real treat. Windstar is not for kids as there are no daily activities. There is a cruise director however other than singing in the lounge at night we really didn't see him do much. Nice gig if you can get it. Overall Windstar's motto is "180 Degrees from Ordinary" and it is. Simply put it is one of the best cruise lines we have sailed and we plan on sailing on it again. Next time we are going to do the Greek Islands. If you are looking for a unique experience then try Windstar you won't be disappointed. Happy sailing!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This cruise isn't for everyone - just those who like to have fun. The food was good, sometime great - never cold or tasteless. Yes, I ran into a couple of staff members that were a little snootie - but no one that mattered. The dining ... Read More
This cruise isn't for everyone - just those who like to have fun. The food was good, sometime great - never cold or tasteless. Yes, I ran into a couple of staff members that were a little snootie - but no one that mattered. The dining room service could be faster. Sometimes you have to time it just right to get an evening hot beverage - so ... We learned to workaround the things that we weren't use to on an American style cruise. We loved the entertainment team - they made you have a good time - if you don't have a good time - you probably are a watcher and not a doer. Generally, I watch. Not this time... My sister tried several of the new dances they taught, I was in the parade (definitely out my comfort zone) - it was a blast - silly outfit and all! Oh yeah, I was in the dance contest - I did the Tango and more... Interesting since I don't know how to do the Tango - must have been the rum! Every night we went to our favorite place the Zebra lounge. The Eteam would ask everyone to dance - fat, old, mean looking... didn't matter - they tried to make everyone have fun. Truthfully, I didn't start participating until the second week. I had fun the first week - but the second week was the most fun I have ever had on a cruise. We loved St. Maarten's Beach - The French side. Warm water and lots of fun in the waves. We climbed the Dunn's River Falls- that was fun also. The excursions were reasonably priced and worth more than we paid. The photographers were good - not too many scary pictures. In short, if all you care about is great food and being able to find food at all times - this isn't the cruise for you. If you are a single woman or man - and you like to dance and party - this is the cruise for you. Looking to book again next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Queen Mary 2 November 27th Caribbean Cruise This was our third Caribbean cruise on Queen Mary2 and we were very happy with this trip. We love cruising from NYC because we can drive to the port in about 3 ½. Hours. Traffic on the ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 November 27th Caribbean Cruise This was our third Caribbean cruise on Queen Mary2 and we were very happy with this trip. We love cruising from NYC because we can drive to the port in about 3 ½. Hours. Traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike was horrible making us arrive at the ship just after 3:00pm. The lines were huge at check in, but the grill check in line was totally empty so we walked directly onto the ship. Finding food at that time in Kings Court was a challenge. Our Q5 stateroom was wonderful except for the long walk to the Queens Grill. Our butler Lily was waiting for us wondering why we were so late. We did ask her to unpack us during dinner and she did a good job. More about Lily later. We had French Champaign upon arrival and had a second bottle in the fridge. Lily brought me a bottle of Beefeater Gin a pitcher of vermouth a martini glass a cocktail shaker and a steady supply of olives. Very nice. Last two times we dined in the Princess Grill, and I have to say Queens Grill was a very pleasant surprise. The service was impeccable, food was great for the most part and selections diverse. The a la carte menu was three times bigger then the Princes Grill. The last time we were on QM2 was '07 and most of the senior staff was sent to the new Queen Victoria leaving promoted waiters from Princess Cruise Line staffing the Princess Grill. The difference between our experience in the Princess Grill in '06 and '07 was like night and day. The '06 service was professional and wonderful. The service in '07 was typical cruise line service. The waiter would ask how the food was and if I said good he would not leave me alone until I said it was excellent. He was more concerned about our survey at the end of the cruise than making us comfortable. I thought maybe the same thing would happen this time because of the introduction of Queen Elizabeth, but the service was very professional and our table for two near the window afforded great views of passersby from the neck down and lovely conversations with adjacent tables. We do not dance or go to shows (poked my head into a show about Italy and saw dancing Mona Lisas which confirmed my feelings about shipboard entertainment and walked out) we love dining walking around the ship looking in the shops finding quiet places to sit and read. QM2 enables us to do this very well. We had two new ports for us on this cruise, Grenada and Dominica. Grenada was very nice we took the spice island tour which drove us to a volcanic lake and saw many beautiful views and a visit to a nutmeg drying facility. Because of the two hurricanes in the past few years almost all of the homes were heavily damaged, now most of the homes had been repaired with new roofs and new paint make for pretty villages along out tour. Dominica was a little scary if you wander beyond the gated-off part of the port, but the straw market was nice. Lily Lily Lily, our butler. Great job but something was a little creepy. After coming back from diner in St. Thomas Lily said "I saw you went shopping I love the Gucci watch but I want to see what you bought at H Sterns the box was empty". The shopping bags from said purchases were stashed under the desk, so she really had to look for them. Then later in the cruise she told us she let her friends in to see my wife's purse which was on the top self in the closet. Then she came in one day and said to Judy "you don't look very well can I do something for you". Judy said no she had medication to help then Lily said "I know, you have a drawer full of medications." If she tells us she is a snoop does that make it okay? We asked people at the table next to us and they were appalled and said you must report her. We still don't know what to do about this. She never took anything but we don't want to be responsible for her losing her job. Getting off the ship was a breeze. We were the first color called, found are luggage very easily, into our car and on the road by 8:30. In conclusion we love QM2 and will cruise on her again, but we are sad that there are no NYC Caribbean cruses next year planned. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and ... Read More
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and doesn't even have jet ways. The taxis are ridiculously expensive and charge on a per person basis while they cram you into a big van with limited A/C. Of course they also gouge you for your luggage. We paid $26 to go from the airport to the Windward Passage which is no more than seven minute ride which would cost about $10 with tip for in normal tourist city. The hotel was fine and we knew what to expect. It wasn't luxury although it was nicely appointed with a friendly staff. The price was pretty good and we liked the fact it was within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. The hotel does have a nice courtyard, pool, free internet, small casino, nice outdoor bar, and other amenities. The Greenhouse and the Giggling Gecko were the two places we ate at and are both a short walk from the hotel. The food and service was fantastic at both places. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Crown Bay) at 1:45 pm and they already started the boarding process. The Captain, Hotel Manager, and other key staff were there to greet us. We were taken to the lobby where an amazing assortment of food was waiting for us to munch on. We relaxed and talked to some of the other guests before being informed we could check in. The staff was very pleasant and got us checked in right away. The rest of this review will discuss the categories such as service, food, and etc. Itinerary: Esperanza, Vieques, Cruz Bay, St John, St Barthelemy, Norman Island, Tortola, and Prickly Pear was substituted for Jost van Dyke (Champagne and Caviar Splash/beach party) Food: Everything was fantastic with only the finest and freshest ingredients. The Executive Chef and some of the other chefs frequently interacted with the guests. Presentation was also a strong point along with the quality of the ingredients. Bars/Service: The bar service was generally good all week at all the bars. My favorite bartenders were Matt and Konrad. They are both very personable and offer great service along with good suggestions on what to drink. They also always had a pitcher of punch or other drink out every day. The selection of alcohol was quite extensive and we never had to pay to upgrade drinks. The included wine and Champagne were also quite good. The Sommelier Tyler did an excellent job matching the wines to the meal and explaining them. Service: Sea Dream excels at service at all levels. The crew was like clockwork at all times and truly went out of their way to please. We made a few special requests during the week and they were instantly granted. I felt like they were a genie who could grant endless wishes. The Hotel Manager John was all but a "freak of nature" with how he was everywhere and always knew what was going on. I swear he had a couple of clones running around. The main concierge lady was a bit stressed and came across as brash and frustrated at times even over very simple matters. I knew before the voyage what types of extras to ask for and it made the trip that more special. Cabin: We booked a guarantee and were assigned cabin 212. We felt a few intense vibrations the first night while sleeping but it was no big deal. The cabin itself was very nice and the room steward La Rosa could not have been better. She was very nice, polite, stealthy, and took great care of the cabin. Activities/Water Sports: There was always plenty to do and very few announcements. The Activities Director Jeff was very outgoing and had a natural knack in observing who may want to participate in the activities. The water sports are one reason we booked Sea Dream and we were quite impressed with the equipment and water toys. It is awesome to ride Sea Doo's off the back of the marina and to swim behind the yacht. Colin and the water sports staff kept everyone safe and worked hard getting everything setup and ensuring everyone was safe. They even draped a towel over your back after getting out of the water. The free "shore side casuals" were also a real treat. I participated in most of the hikes and they all went to some interesting places. They also offered an advanced bike ride which seven guests went on and had a great time even though a few of them came back with bandages. The Yacht Overall: SD I is very quaint and enjoyable. You can always find a place to your own or somewhere in the middle of crowd (not that there is much of a crowd). My favorite spot is the aft of deck four overlooking the pool. It is shaded and close enough to the action. The bartenders also bring you drinks and the afternoon pass around treat which changes daily. The yacht is old and has a somewhat loud and intense vibration in certain parts of the dining room on deck 2. SD I is quite charming and I would sail on it again given the chance. Complaints: None, everything met or exceeded my standards and was as close to perfect as could be expected. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The Queen Mary 2 is a truly gorgeous ship, it was classy and elegant, no brashness, piped music just lovely quiet atmosphere. We were suprised after booking an inside cabin to be upgraded to a Balcony room, we had sparkling wine ... Read More
The Queen Mary 2 is a truly gorgeous ship, it was classy and elegant, no brashness, piped music just lovely quiet atmosphere. We were suprised after booking an inside cabin to be upgraded to a Balcony room, we had sparkling wine left with the complements of the captain so this was a great start for our cruise. We loved the room and our first impression of the ship was WOW.. We ate in the Brittania room on the late sitting and the food was brilliant !! absolutly great.. I could not complain about a single thing.... hence the downside.... You could hear many people complaining OVER NOTHING !!! it drove me mad that people LOOKED for things to moan about and I soon cottoned on that this was mainly the American contingency and they were desperately trying to get more discounts !!! it become very tiring listening to such whingeing moaning over nothing......the staff/ship did not deserve it.... I heard one American lady say... by the time im done on here I will get this cruise for FREE.... what a stinking attitude to have... if you dont want to pay what the price is then DONT GO....... The staff worked so hard, were always polite but how they held it together with some of this people who were simply trying to shaft Cunard out of getting some of their cash back started to spoil my trip..... Sooo,,, tune out those trying to make a buck !! just relax, chill enjoy your holiday, this is a cruise for the 50+ and its a quiet chilled out type of cruise dont expect fireworks but if you want understated elegance then this is for you.... Well Done Cunard and the staff, a brill experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My partner and I were eager to experience Seabourn's newest vessel the Sojourn after having had a great cruise earlier this year on the Legend on similar itineraries to the Caribbean. First off, let me say Seabourn is a great ... Read More
My partner and I were eager to experience Seabourn's newest vessel the Sojourn after having had a great cruise earlier this year on the Legend on similar itineraries to the Caribbean. First off, let me say Seabourn is a great line. The vessels are beautifully maintained and staffed with attentive crews. Earlier this year I asked the Legend captain -- a guy who appeared to have a personality like mine, which is to say a bit picky and crusty -- what he thought of the newer and larger Seabourn vessels, along with the concept of cruising with about 400 passengers versus 200 on his smaller ship. His opinion was quick: one loses the club-like atmosphere on the larger ship, even with only 400 passengers. He was right! Something gets lost on the newer Seabourn vessels, and I got the same opinion from several other fellow passengers on the Sojourn who also had taken one of the smaller ships in the past. When the Legend captain saw virtually anything not attended to right away, he took personal responsibility for it, even picking up stray service items himself. That never happened on the Sojourn. On the smaller Seabourn ships, the crews really do know your name. That didn't happen on the larger Sojourn. While not in any way controlled by Seabourn, fellow passengers on the larger ships appeared to me to be trying Seabourn for the first time. A significant percentage of them were not friendly. They didn't mix with others as well and certainly didn't greet fellow passengers in the same way as on the smaller Seabourn ships. Again, that club-like atmosphere was lost on the larger ships. Regarding other aspects of the Sojourn: the spa is fantastic and got a huge amount of our business. The cabins and public areas are ultra-sharp. This is a floating Rolls-Royce. The bathrooms on the Sojourn are stunning, lined with polished granite and marble. They reminded me of the older Ritz-Carlton Hotels before Marriott messed them up. Seabourn is well worth the cost. If you are considering Seabourn, I can easily recommend it. On the other hand, if you really want the yacht experience that is suggested in the line's current name and you want a more intimate travel experience, take the smaller Seabourn ships instead of the newer and larger ones. Just remember the old tale about the goose that laid the golden egg. I hope Seabourn keeps that in mind, too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Some quick observations from our recent trip... This was our second cruise. The first was a trip to Bermuda from NY over ten years ago and we did not like it very much. We booked this trip late after our planned trip to Hawaii did ... Read More
Some quick observations from our recent trip... This was our second cruise. The first was a trip to Bermuda from NY over ten years ago and we did not like it very much. We booked this trip late after our planned trip to Hawaii did not work out. We did not have super high expectations but liked the fact that the cruise was 15 days and departed from NY. We enjoyed ourselves very much. I don't think we are going to become full time cruisers but we would think about going every few years. It was nice being in the islands when it was so cold at home. I am going to focus this review on the ship and not talk about the destinations. Ship 1. Clean. The crew was always cleaning and painting. 2. We often wondered where all the people were. It never felt crowded 3. I thought the crew response to the Noro virus was excellent. I did feel bad for the people impacted. I never washed my hands so much in my life and was lucky not to get sick. Once at the planetarium the person behind me sneezed all over me. I was mad at that. 4. New years with Vibz in the lobby was a great time. They played over two hours straight without a break. My wife does not drink. Near midnight they were passing out glasses of champagne for everyone. A crew member noticed my wife was not drinking and got her a glass of soda water to toast with. Thank you !!! 5. G32 was too small and they allowed smoking. Because of this we only went one night. 6. Winter Garden appeared to be only for the art auctions. What a waste. 7. Shops were fun to browse but did not buy anything. 8. My wife and I enjoyed going around the ship and stairways looking at the art. Near the end of the trip we could tell where we were by the paintings. 9. I liked the atmosphere in the commodores club. My wife liked the chart room. 10. Dressing up was fun in the beginning but got a bit old by the end of the trip. 11. Tendering to shore always went well but I wish every port could be at a dock. 12. Bar service was very good and they never complained about getting soda water for my wife who had the soda sticker. 13. We did not go to the casino. 14. We met the captain twice and he was very friendly both times. Britannia Club 1. Service was very good every night. By the end of the trip they knew our likes and dislikes. 2. I thought the portions were correctly sized for me. Only gained 4 pounds ? 3. I appreciated the extra options on the 'club' menu. 4. Good non meat options for my wife. 5. The best way I can describe the food is to think of the best wedding or hotel food you have had. 6. The deserts were very good. Enjoyed the flambE and the cheese trolley several times. 7. The people next to us at dinner did not speak very good English but we had some pleasant exchanges. They often were finishing dinner when we were arriving. 8. It's amazing how hard the crew work with such little time off. They still were always pleasant. We ate once at Todd English and were not impressed. 1. Had to ask the wine steward twice to fill my glass. 2. Appetizer was comically small. 3. Risotto and the tuna were both over cooked. 4. Dessert was much too large. Carrot cake and two large plates of petite four. More food in the carrot cake as both our appetizers together. 5. Tables were too close together. 6. Other people we talked to liked it so we might have hit it on an off night. I also had a bad experience at another one of his restaurants so I might have been biased from the start. Kings Court. 1. We only ate lunch once and got some cheese one other time. It had no appeal to me because the food and service was so good in our dining room. The one day we needed to get off the ship early we got room service. 2. We saw passengers with the most disgusting personal habits. People sneezing then grabbing tongs to get salad and children spilling food all over the place. Gross. We called it the plague floor. It was better after the Noro breakout and they staffed it better and did not let passengers touch anything. 3. We wanted to try the Chefs Kitchen but they did not show a non meat option for my wife. Room 1. The room attendant was excellent. She was friendly without being obtrusive and room was always well maintained. 2. On deck 12 you do feel more motion then on the lower decks. 3. With the holiday season more children were on board and hanging out at the deck 12 pool. We sometimes had children running down the halls or talking loudly. 4. We did have the new flat screen TV in the room. 5. Room service was nice if we missed lunch on shore but the menu was limited. Did get some port and cheese one night as a snack when we planned on going to a late show and music. Entertainment 1. They did a great job of getting people in the holiday mood. 2. Lectures were good. 3. Planetarium show was popular and interesting. 4. The headliner,Dez O'Conner, on new year's was great. 5. I enjoyed going to the different venues to listen to music. Some string quartet or harp music before dinner. Maybe listen to Vibz or piano jazz before going to bed. None of the performers were exceptional but always enjoyable. 6. The classical concerts were nice on sea days. 7. The dancers and singers were fun. 8. Only complaint was the 'Crazy in love' show. Just terrible. Spa 1. The aqua spa was great. Not too long ago water was a precious resource on a ship now we have pools with bubble benches, steam showers and reflexology basins. Amazing. 2. The waiting room was a great place to read, relax and watch the over ambitious jog past. 3. Had three massages, two were very good and one was just ok. My wife said her treatments were great. 4. I was a bit concerned that the red alert sanitation protocols in the rest of the ship did not appear to exist in the Canyon Ranch spa. 5. Good fitness equipment. Took a spin class once and it was just ok. 6. Spa staff works for Canyon Ranch vs Todd Engish where they are Cunard employees. Summary 1. Great ship 2. Good food. 3. Great crew Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
this cruise to to celebrate my 60th birthday and we wanted to do it in style! Embarkation Embarkation was quick and easy, but unlike other cruise lines we have been with who offer a welcome drink as you board, there was nothing ... Read More
this cruise to to celebrate my 60th birthday and we wanted to do it in style! Embarkation Embarkation was quick and easy, but unlike other cruise lines we have been with who offer a welcome drink as you board, there was nothing offered by Cunard at all. We just went straight to our cabins to drop off our flight luggage. Cabin We were very pleased with our cabin (C5215) which was an "in hull" balcony on the Starboard side of the ship. The only thing I would say that it was across the hall from where the stewards process your luggage and so on embarkation and disembarkation day, it was fairly busy. This said it did not disturb the rest of the voyage at all. Our room had been upgraded in that it now had a flat screen TV and a new and very comfy mattress. The cabin was very spacious and clean and very well furnished. We had 3 large suitcases and these fitted under the bed without any problem. The only minor moan was that the shower curtain could have been slightly larger so that it could be pulled all the way across the shower. The balcony was spacious and had 2 chairs and a small table. As stated in many reviews when you sat down you could not see the ocean but that did not diminish our enjoyment of having a balcony which let the light flood into our cabin and brought the outside world in. We would not hesitate to have an "in hull" balcony again. Our steward Jean introduced herself straight away and was very attentive throughout the voyage - even ensuring she caught up with me on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday! Cunard Staff All the staff we found were polite and extremely friendly, and there were a few times that we overheard guests being over the top and really rude when it really was not necessary. Motto: Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself! Britannia Restaurant We found the quality of food to be very good on the ship. We had second sitting for dinner and on the first night the food was not really served hot enough, but we had a word with our waiter Juan who ensured that every night after that our food was served piping hot. Juan was our main waiter and although very good, some nights he seemed not so happy and not so communicative. Our assistant waiter Gilbert was an absolute gem, always happy and willing to get you anything we wanted. We preferred to have breakfast and lunch in the Britannia Restaurant on days that we did not have an early start for excursions - more civilised and a quieter way to start the day after a late night! The last night of the cruise was rather a let down. With other cruise lines on the last night of the voyage the waiters usually do a song or parade for the guests, then the meal is over and tips and goodbyes are said, photos taken - a lovely end to the cruise. With this cruise, the meal ended and that was that - a very flat ending to our cruise we thought! Kings Court The Kings Court perhaps had more choice and at lunch time their Chinese was excellent. There were always plenty of tables available but we did miss not being able to eat outside as Kings Court was covered. There was hand gel stations for people to disinfect their hands, but we saw many guests who simply did not bother (which may account for the outbreak of Noravirus on the next voyage out). We often found ourselves in the Kings Court at around midnight having a bite to eat and a cup of tea! Entertainment This was the only downside on this voyage - the evening entertainment in the theatre was not of a calibre that we have seen on other cruise lines such as RC, Princess and NCL. We caught a couple of evening shows that were very mediocre - the ventriloquist was very old hat and something that you expect to see at a seaside theatre matinee! The act had definitely seen better days. Having said that in the Chart Room (our favourite venue) there was a harpist one night and a string quartet later on the voyage who were absolutely fantastic but these were the exception not the rule unfortunately. Vibz were excellent and when they played in the G32 disco, it was full and everyone was up dancing - great! Although I celebrated my 60th birthday on board I did feel that most of the entertainment was even too old for me at times! Shops What shops there were, I felt, far too expensive on the whole and a great disappointment to me but not to my husband as I did not spend very much at all this voyage. Tours We arranged our own tours, except for the port of St Maarten which had been substituted for Grand Turk. It was found that Grand Turk did not have a high enough water level to accommodate the Queen Mary on a previous voyage so St Maarten was added. Unfortunately it was a Bank Holiday that day and the traffic was really bad. This in turn had a bad affect on our tour from Cunard which was "The Best of St Maarten and Beach" at a cost of $42 each. Well, it certainly was not the best of anything, we stayed mostly in traffic jams and had 1 hour at the beach. Upon return we did complain and duly received a 25% discount. Disembarkation This went very well, and as we were booked on a flight out on Sunday 19th December after 6pm, Cunard gave us a complementary tour of New York before taking us to the Airport. Heathrow Airport Closure and Events Contrary to another reviewers account of events, please now read mine: Indeed, the Airport was bedlam and eventually 2 Cunard representatives did arrive. They proceeded to put us on to coaches which took us to the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge Hotel. On the Monday, BA Reps were supposed to come to the Hotel to let us know what was going on but they did not arrive and the Hotel Staff advised us that no flights were going that day. Contrary to what has been written in another review Cunard staff were at the Hotel from at least the Tuesday evening until the Friday evening as we spoke to them every day. We were informed by the Cunard staff on the Tuesday evening that the earliest flights we could have were not until Christmas Day and that our return flights had been booked for then. Obviously other holiday makers who had flights out before us with BA, regardless of whether they were Cunard guests or not, had also to be accommodated. Admittedly we were disappointed as we all had family plans for Christmas but we made the most of a virtually free 6 days in New York! I think it was on the Thursday that BA put through messages to our rooms to let us know that some flights may have been double booked, and if we wanted to try and get home earlier then we could take a chance and go the airport in case there were empty seats on some flights. We spoke to the Cunard girls who were at the Hotel and they did advise us against this as if we left the Hotel and went to the Airport and no seats were available, we would not be able to return to the Hotel and we would be on our own! This we took to be sensible advice and stayed put! At that time we were handed a letter from Cunard stating that they were very sorry that we would not be able to get home for Christmas and that they had organised a Christmas Eve party at Morton's (a Steak Restaurant next to the Hotel) for the Friday night (Christmas Eve) starting at 6pm. This we duly attended (about 80 guests in all) and Cunard treated us to free drinks throughout the party (champagne, red and white wine) and a lovely 3 course steak meal. The Cunard Reps also attended and were duly applauded and thanked by everyone for giving us such a lovely Christmas Eve party. In addition, the Cunard letter also stated that in the New Year they would be sending us something they hoped we would enjoy (as yet to arrive). This we felt was marvellous as it was not Cunard's fault that Heathrow had closed and we feel very strongly that they did over and above what would normally be expected in these circumstances. On the Saturday lunchtime Cunard sent coaches to collect all their guests and drove them back to the airport. We were very glad to be under Cunard's wing during this event. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We ... Read More
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We pulled up and immediately gave the longshoreman a $35 tip. We had a ton of stuff (including the heavy scooter) to unpack and we wanted to assure that our stuff all made in onto the boat. He got us into the building and into the handicap line (where there was basically no line at all.) There are benefits to traveling with the elderly! The staff at the counter were efficient. We had pre-registered, so they really just needed to see our passports, take our photos, swipe our credit card and we were ready to go. Total time to check in, less than 10 minutes. We headed right onto the boat with no annoying waiting in a lounge to be called As we walked onto the ship there was a bit of a crowd, confused about where to go. They only had one person "directing traffic", so she was definitely overwhelmed. She told us to use another elevator down the ship, which was fine. We went right to our cabins to check them out, which was nice that the cabins were already available. We then went to the Kings Court (aka the Lido deck) for lunch. It was busy already, but we got a table for the scooter and then brought back food for all of us. If you need a walker or scooter, be sure to get a handicap-accessible cabin. We booked late on a great deal, so we couldn't get a handicap room. My father-in-law's walker JUST barely fit into the cabin door. We had to rearrange his room so that he could use the walker to move around the bed and get to the balcony and the bathroom. It worked, but it was sub-optimal. He had a handicap room on the last HAL cruise that was much easier for him to maneuver in. We parked the scooter in the "Atlantic room" (the little-used room for card games) down the hall. Others parked theirs in the elevator vestibules, as we have done in the past. The scooter was able to access just about every other location on the ship, although one pool deck is only handicap-accessible by passing through the Todd English restaurant. There were probably about 20 people on the ship with scooters. We loved being on deck 11, near the front of the ship. We had easy access to the B staircase that takes you to and from the show each night. We also were near the self-service laundry and the large Observation deck on the front of the ship as well as being directly down 1 flight from the pool on deck 12. The only downside is that we had to travel the length of the ship to get to the dining room. Beware of deck 6 on the port side. It leads to the Kid Zone and the outdoor pool. Those cabins have noisy crowds walking past their doors throughout the day. The Food: We ate most meals in the Britannia restaurant (the dining room.) My wife and I agreed that the QM2 food and service was nearly exactly on par with that we have experienced on our last three Holland America cruises. Very good quality. Very attentive service. HAL always has a few stock items that are always available (chicken, a steak etc.) While QM2 lacked that, you could order non-menu items (we had Caesar salads often) and if they COULD get what you wanted, they always would. (If you wanted something that they have at the Kings Court, they'll get it for you if you ask.) Our waiter learned that we like a basket of bread and a cheese plate every night, and it was always there waiting for us. Each menu typically included a red meat (beef or lamb usually), a seafood item (mahi-mahi was great), a veggie item, sometimes chicken, but not always and then one more (maybe pasta etc.) There is a different soup for every meal and just about all of them were excellent. As elsewhere, if you want to remove parts of a dish that you don't like, you can. You can also mix-and match items from one dish to another and french fries are always available. Desserts were just OK. The baked goods are all beautiful, but they are suited more to the European palate, I believe. A couple of soufflE desserts and creme brulee were outstanding. We found that the time it took to serve each meal on QM2 was a bit faster than on HAL. I would say that a typical dinner lasted a bit over an hour, while on HAL it would have been closer to an hour and half. The wait after you order and between courses was shorter, which I thought was great. We CERTAINLY were never rushed out, but neither did we sit wondering when the meal would end, which sometimes happens on HAL. The Ship: Public rooms were nicely decorated for the Holidays. Every restaurant and bar had it's own unique Christmas tree. And many of them were just gorgeous. Many passengers got in the spirit too, by decorating their door or "mailbox" with small wreaths or stick-on Santas or bows or stockings. One person wrapped their entire door in Christmas paper, like a giant present. It was fun to see all the original ways that people added a bit of decoration to their rooms. Most days we participated in the afternoon trivia contest in the pub. We met many very nice (and smart) folks by joining new trivia teams each day. Entertainment: The shows were similar in quality to those on HAL. I was impressed that they almost never used prerecorded vocal tracks or canned music (just one show, "Love Crazy", featured lip-synching.) The orchestra was very good. I find that all ships choose odd acts at times. We had a show starring a harp soloist and another with a violinist. Both were very talented, but how long can you sit and be entertained by a woman playing the harp? New Year's Eve featured Des O'Connor who apparently is famous in England. He was like a UK Merv Griffin (he sang a bit and told stories about his famous show-biz friends) which might have been entertaining if we knew who the heck he was. For Christmas Eve they had three sessions of group sing-along's of well known Christmas carols in the Grand Lobby. I was very moved by the emotion of singing along with hundreds of other folks who chose to come and join in the festivities. I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, but that night turned out to be one of the highlights for me. New Years Eve featured events in several areas of the ship. A big ball in the Queens room (dancing etc), the calypso/rock band in the Grand Lobby and disco in the disco. They all had a balloon drop and complementary champagne at Midnight. A fun night. The Pools: There are basically three. One family pool (The Minnows), one 18-and-over pool and the indoor pool (with retractable roof) for adults and kids alike. As we had many days of unpredictable weather, the roof of the indoor pool was only open one or two days. We found that the pools were not well maintained; that is, they were dirty. When we got on, there were piles of some black stuff piled on each corner of the Minnow pool. I'd estimate that there was 1 to 2 cups of that black stuff in each corner, so I'm not talking about just a little speck of dirt. We called the purser at least 4 times about that, as well as telling people near the pool. Nothing was ever done. On the day we left the ship, I walked by the indoor pool before we disembarked and noted that there were piles of sand in each corner of that pool too. That said, we did use the pools just about every day and I must say that the water didn't look murky. Still, it's a weakness. The People: There were around 200 "kids" under 18 on the ship, ranging from babies to teenagers. The teens tended to move around in a pack of 10 to 20 of them, occasionally taking over one of the pools and jacuzzi. They seemed like basically good kids, although they can be a little loud when they all get together. The average age of the rest of the guests was probably in the late 60's to early 70's. While we bonded with LOTS of people on the ship and had many wonderful conversations, there was an undercurrent of rudeness and unpleasantness among plenty of the guests, particularly the older ones. We saw people being short (and downright rude) to the staff. Nothing seemed to please them and they just seemed like they had come off a crowded subway car and everyone better watch out! It was not the ship that caused these people to be in such a foul mood. It's Christmas for goodness sake. Lighten up and enjoy yourself. Our Cabin: We had an inside cabin and my father-in-law had a balcony down the hall. We were on the 11th deck, near the front, so we made a habit of taking a quick walk out onto the Observation deck (also on 11) each morning to see where we were and what the weather was like. They also have a channel on TV that shows a view of the front of the ship, but it's not the same as being outside to really see what's up. The bathroom was typical, although perhaps a tad smaller than our last couple of HAL bathrooms. Our cabin steward was efficient and helpful. He knew when we left for meals and I think only once was still cleaning the room when we came back. Special requests, like a cork screw or extra tissues were handled quickly and with a smile. The room was in very good condition. The TV's have been upgraded to flatscreens. Our rug had not been replaced, as I read that some others have been. It was OK, but ready to be changed. I suppose I'm behind the times, as people now routinely travel with their entire music collection in their shirt pocket, but I missed having music available in my cabin. They do not have CD or DVD players and there are no "music" channels on TV, aside from the Musak on the webcam channel. If I came back to the cabin by myself, it was strangely quiet. On TV they have a menu of movies that runs each day. They seem behind the times in that you cannot call up a movie "on demand". As such, we saw parts of many movies, but never saw one all the way through. I'm not going to plan my day around watching some old movie. Smoking: We were pleased that smoking is now restricted to only a few spots on the ship. The pub, which was very smoky 4 years ago, is now free of any smell. People can smoke in their cabins and so we sometimes smelled strong smoke in the halls, but that was the exception, not the rule. The only inside location that reeked of stale smoke was the disco. The Ports: St Thomas - We've been to Meghans Bay and it's really just OK. We tried Sapphire Beach this time. About the same distance from the boat 20-40 mins based on traffic. The beach was great: Very clean and beautiful. Good surf but not rough. Shared taxis from the pier were $11 per person, but since we filled the van we were charged $10 and the kids were free. On the way back, there was no discount and I paid $11 each for adults and kids. Chairs at the beach were for rent at $7 and there was a stand selling drinks and snacks. There is a bathroom and a diving rental store. No real restaurants. Less "locals" hanging around smoking than at Meghans. We're not shoppers, so while St Thomas looked to be a good place for shopping, I can't really say. US cell phones work here with no roaming fees. St Martin: Went to Dawn beach. It's closer than the famous Orient beach and much quieter. Chairs and umbrellas for rent ($15 for 2 chairs and an umbrella) and a nice (I'd even say pricey) restaurant/bar on the beach. (You can use their toilets.) This was the nicest beach on our trip until we got to Barbados. Great waves, perfect smooth sand and friendly people. Definitely worth a visit. St Lucia: You have to tender-in here. It rained terribly all day, so since we couldn't go to the beach (I had heard fantastic things about Pigeon Island) we just stayed on board. Curacao: We've vacationed here before, so we know the island quite well. It was a short visit (out at 2:00) and it was Boxing Day so many of the shops were closed. (In the end I'd say that 2/3 of the stores were open by Noon.) The shopping area is quaint and not as full of Little Switzerland-type stores as other ports. Plenty of t-shirt shops. Always worth a walk into, even if just to cross the floating bridge. If you come here, the nicest beach is Porto Marie. Barbados: We read on CC that Crane beach was great for body-surfing. Since the kids love that, we went there. We were quoted a price of $20 per person R/T, which for the 4 of us seemed steep at $80. We pleaded for a "even for the kids?" discount and agreed on $60 R/T. We arrived at the end of a street and the driver showed us how to get to the beach, by walking across concrete stepping stones that crossed an outcropping of sharp coral, down to the beach. Oh and what a beach! Incredibly soft sand, nice boogie-boarding waves and just about the most serene place you could ask for. Chairs, umbrellas and boogie-boards are available for rent. We watching daring youth jump from the cliffs into the turquoise sea and then went and jumped in too! Wow, what a day! There is a shack selling drinks. At the far end of the beach is a small outside shower. You can enter the beach through The Crane Resort and they have facilities. I'm told that they charge you for entering that way and to use the facilities. We didn't, so I'm not sure about the cost. Note that even though this beach was PARADISE, there was no place to change or go to the bathroom. I'd suggest arriving in your bathing suit, as we (and many others) used the trees just off the beach as our public changing area. Dominica: Not much of a beachy island and very limited shopping. We almost went back to the ship, but were talked into a tour by one of the local vultures who will descend on you as you cross the street from the dock. They all pretty much do the same tour, which is to see the sulfur pools and Trafalger Falls. The tour was about 1.5 hours and we were charged $20 for adults and $10 for the kids (fair enough.) The driver stopped along the way to show us flora and fauna and then on to view the bubbling hot pools. (You can also pay extra to visit one of the mineral spas for a soak, but that's not our thing.) From there you go to Trafalgar Falls (admission $5 per person.) You walk about 5 minutes on an easy climb trail to an observation point where you can see the falls. Very impressive. For the more daring folks (that was me and the kids, but not my wife) you can continue down an even rougher trail that takes you to large boulders at the base of twin falls. If you climb over them (it's fairly challenging) you can "swim" in the small pools just down from the falls. Many folks came prepared for this with their swimsuits under their clothes. My son just fell in with his clothes on instead. A very cool place! After leaving the falls, the tour then visited the Botanical Gardens (the crushed school bus from a hurricane in 1979 was a highlight) and then on to a viewing spot high above the city where you can see the ship and all that surrounds it. There is an inexpensive Internet cafe/phoning place right behind the bank as you exit the pier. Greneda: Very friendly people here. I forgot to bring cash and as the tender was arriving we contemplated just staying on and heading back. My wife had $25 and we were able to plead with the taxi guy to take us to Grand Anse beach R/T for that $25. This left us with nothing to pay the $1 fee to use the bathroom, but even the folks there were very kind and let us change and use the toilet. The beach is quite close and has all the facilities. Guys selling watersports are walking around. It was a shame that we had only a short time there, as it was a very comfortable beach. We wanted to go visit the spice plantations and processing plants, but apparently those tours take a long time and you need to be off the ship pronto in order to have time to do them. We took our time and it was too late to go. Our loss I think. St Kitts: Kind of rainy, so we just walked around. Too bad as I was excited about beaches I had read about. Lots of shopping but the prices were high. T-shirts mostly $15 and up. No bargains here. Liquor prices similar to New Hampshire. Tortola: A short day in port. Very long (30-45 minute) tender ride in. There is shopping about an 8 minute walk from the pier but we went to Cane Bay beach. There were 3 ships in port and the beach was very crowded. It's about 20 minutes from the pier by taxi ($8/person each way) over treacherous hills. Quite a ride. We actually got a different taxi back (there are tons available) because the shifter handle on the first taxi was falling off and we feared for our lives. The beach is nice with many beach bars and the usual chairs for rent. Not a quiet spot, but fine for our last day on a beach for 6 months. Tortola's currency is US dollars. There is a bank near the pier that had a big line at their ATM as American's restocked their cash supply. We had just gotten a cash advance on the ship, or we would have been in line too. Summary: We did have a great time on the ship. 15 days go by very fast. We would definitely consider taking this cruise again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
If the sub-head above seems odd, it is triggered by the disparity of reviews from the same cruise in which some are exultant and others reflect bitter disappoint.You will have to judge for yourselves whose judgments to trust. This ... Read More
If the sub-head above seems odd, it is triggered by the disparity of reviews from the same cruise in which some are exultant and others reflect bitter disappoint.You will have to judge for yourselves whose judgments to trust. This was our third Seabourn cruise--in chronological order, Odyssey, Legend, then Sojourn. It was in many ways the most satisfactory of them all, though perhaps nothing can equal the sense of discovered pleasure that one derives from your first Seabourn cruise. But of course, how you feel about a cruise depends on your attitude, the behavior of other passengers, and the singular experiences which form happy memories or dreadful ones. We found the food to be very good to excellent Dining room service was occasionally hurried, never uncomfortably so. We very much liked the tasting menu offered in Restaurant 2. We had pre-ordered venision and Dover sole, and were delighted that both were indeed available. The venison was great, the Dover sole was pleasant, buy no threat to Scott's in London. (It should be noted that Scott's can serve their sole as never frozen, while Sojourn obviously cannot.) And we found the breakfast served in the Colonnades to be a great way to start the day. Wines were better than other Seabourn experiences; cocktails were made with care. (Though no one on board could make a decent margarita.) Sitting at any bar, you could order caviar from room service (we did) and enjoy it with champagne. The suites are essentially as pictured in the brochure. The bathroom luxurious for many hotels, and surprisingly so for a ship. Our stewardess was charming and responsive to our few requests. We thought Seabourn Square was a great innovation, as it was on Odyssey. Essentially, it is a central area where the library, a coffee bar, and guest services are on offer. The Show Lounge does suffer from a few pillars which do indeed obstruct a few seats. But we thought the entertainment--a quartet of very young British singers (who also danced a bit)--were very good. A comedian imported from the U.S. for a single night was reminiscent of bad television comics. There were also some special interest lectures which varied from dull to fairly interesting. Trivia was contested hotly by several teams of exuberant players. (None more so than that led by Host Dan of the Seabourn forum who happened to be aboard.) And now to service. One could quibble about this or that crew member who wasn't quite as diligent as most, but it is the "most" who create the atmosphere you remember. And that atmosphere was one of smiling interest in your happiness. "Anything else I can do for you?" was perhaps the most repeated phrase during our voyage. Fellow passengers included a large number of Cruise Critic members who with just a little encouragement would share their experiences on other cruises.( And a bit more. too; as did the lady who confided that she had been a Playboy Bunny in her youth.) And while the passengers were mostly Americans, we did discover a highly interesting couple from Belgium. We shared some dinners with people we met on board, and enjoyed the pre-prandial conversation over cocktails with many passengers. So,. "big" Seabourn ships verses the lil' sisters? It depends on what you value most. The little ships are more of a club. They are, or perhaps one should say can be, a bit stuffy, as they tend top attract long time Seabournites who are devoted to the line, and to the smaller ships regardless of their deficiencies.(For example, older cabins, smaller bathrooms. an absence of balconies, fewer restaurants.) They do offer a highly individual experience. And so do the larger ships. Mind you, "larger" here means a mere 450 guetss--a half deck's worth of folks on a really big ship.The Sojourn seemed to ride the waves a bit more smoothly than Legend, and was in every way a memorable and satisfying experience. Note that that we had been to all of the islands that the cruise visited multiple times before,. So our real discovery was Sojourn herself. And it was a pleasure to meet her. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
First things first. We are Seabourn fanatics and have sailed on month long voyages with Seaboun. I thought I'd share my comments about Silver Spirit that we sailed on for Christmas and NYE. We started cruising on the larger, ... Read More
First things first. We are Seabourn fanatics and have sailed on month long voyages with Seaboun. I thought I'd share my comments about Silver Spirit that we sailed on for Christmas and NYE. We started cruising on the larger, bigger (low scale) lines such as Princess, P&O, NCL and RCCL we then found Seabourn and became instantly hooked. I've written a few reviews on Seabourn Legend if you want to read them. Silver Spirit was a choice that we made last year due to the heavy discounting that Seabourn could not match. It was a difficult decision to make, and we do prefer the smaller ships. On boarding, we were amazed at the quality of the inside of the ship, something that Seabourn Legend of course (due to age) hasn't got. The space per passenger was higher than we had anticipated and we were impressed by the way the ship was laid out (with the accommodation at the front, and the entertainment and dining areas at the back). Our cabins were superb, I can't fault the cabins on this ship, the only negative thing I could find, was they were narrow by the bed, potentially making it difficult to navigate to the lounge area (not a problem for me, but for an older person) We have had amazing service on Seabourn before, and we were interested in the Butler service that Silversea offered. Unfortunatley for me, this proved to be a real let down. My butler was very friendly and efficient, but couldn't see his relevance (apart to restock my bar and pick up laundry). He was always calling my name and after a while, this became annoying. My cabin steward did his job well, but he could have done the job of a butler(maybe I missed something in the 14 nights!) saying that.. they had lots of cabins to attend to, so overloading the poor room steward probably isn't a good idea! We tried "Le Champagne" and we were impressed by the level of service offered, it was a totally different dining experience, however be warned.. $200 is a lot of extra money that is really spent on wine, not food! You can dine here for an additional $30pp, plus buy a bottle from their wine list (this brings down the cost considerably.) The main dining room was always busy, we dined on table of 3 every night, with the same waiters. Our opinion of the food is that it's pretty much identical, however.. SEABOURN wins with the desserts. We found that the desserts consisted mainly of "mousse" and were not to our taste (we are European and Australian!) Coffee on board was HORRID.. Any Europeans will be disappointed! The bar service was great, again very little to distinguish between Silversea and Seabourn. Your drinks were always complimentary and replenished as and when required. To be fair, we need to travel on the newer Seabourn ships to give an accurate account of any differences. We did enjoy our cruise, and wouldn't hesitate to go back in a heartbeat. There was one negative about our cruise, my Mother and Grandmother were in a disabled cabin, and it STANK, not just a little, but enough to make you vomit at night. We made several complaints to various people, but it was never resolved whilst on board. We are not complainers AT ALL.. but this kind of spoilt the holiday for them. Silversea did compensate us post voyage after writing to them to be fair. We are booked again on Seabourn Legend in September of this year, and it will be an interesting comparison again. Any questions, please feel free to email me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I am still stunned from the level of service I received while aboard the Silver Cloud. I have sailed on Princess, RCCL, and various ferry type vessels in the Med, but have always wanted to experience a "luxury" cruise. Well, all ... Read More
I am still stunned from the level of service I received while aboard the Silver Cloud. I have sailed on Princess, RCCL, and various ferry type vessels in the Med, but have always wanted to experience a "luxury" cruise. Well, all I can say is, there is no turning back. Silversea Cruises far surpassed my expectations and then some. The public rooms are a bit dated but still beautifully appointed. I heard this ship was going to be refurbished sometime next year. I would say it probably needs it but in no way did the older furnishings detract from the overall experience. The food was incomparable, as were the selection of wines. I dined in Le Champagne, La Terrazza, the Dining Room, the Galley Lunch, experienced Dining Under the Stars, and the BBQ on deck. ALL superb. I actually gained 5 pounds, something I never do when cruising as I have never found the food to be all that great to begin with (RCCL and Princess). Plus, I'm not a typical over-eater, which I have to say, was one of the things I loved about the demographic on this ship. Very few overweight guests were on board. I never saw someone balancing a huge plate of bacon like I've seen on the mass market lines. That in and of itself was refreshing! =) The fact the staff called me by name whenever I was served was incredibly engaging! Even passing me in the hallway, they would greet me by name. Amazing. The Butler Service is quite a nice touch, most especially when bringing me my morning coffee, laying out a damask cloth and setting the table perfectly. He was always very unobtrusive, polite, and very efficient. I really loved this touch. Turn down was always a pleasant surprise each evening. From my menu with my name delivered to my cabin after I dined in Le Champagne, to the different chocolates, I couldn't wait to return to my cabin each night, kick off my shoes, undress and wrap myself in the soft Silversea robes provided, and read the Chronicles for the next day. Also having a large bottle of water every night by the bed was marvelous for me. I drink a lot of water and its the first thing I reach for in the morning. Nice not to have to "pay" for a bottle of water. The walk in closet is to die for. I'm a clothes horse and love traveling with many clothing and shoe selections. It was great having a plethora of hangers and more than enough drawer space. I didn't even use up half the drawers that were in the cabin. Loved the ports of call, St. Barts especially. Two we had to tender in to, and there were many elderly people with canes and the seas were pretty rough. The care with which the crew helped these people in and out of the tenders was perfection. One night, a man with a cane, getting up from his chair, fell over and the Captain himself was on his feet in a flash, helping the man back to his feet, and personally caring for him until the man felt well enough to be escorted back to his cabin. Again, the service was just beyond belief. The gym instructor was terrific. I work out daily and her yoga and pilates classes were excellent. The gym is very small but I loved it. Intimate, enough equipment to get a good workout, and a knowledgable attendant who answered questions intelligently. This was a surprise to find such a good instructor on a ship that caters to an older demographic. I saw her working out elderly people every morning with great care to their individual needs. She made quite the impression on this work-out-a-holic! The entertainment was a disconnect however. Lovely dancers, adequate singers, but the shows themselves were not of the caliber of the service I experienced. They had a concert pianist on (I forget his name as it was rather quirky), but I found his playing to recorded music a bit off putting. I only saw his first show however and he did get a standing ovation. The guest lecturers were interesting. There was also a cooking demonstration in the theater that was rather fun. The on deck BBQ performance was probably the most energetic show of all the shows they performed. There was a "First Timers" event I attended but it was just another cocktail party. Nothing special, although I did feel like it was a bit 'sales pitchy' to me. I am hooked on Silversea Cruises and can't wait to experience all the ships. Of course, I won't be able to cruise as often as I have in the past due to their price point but all I can say is, Silversea Cruises is totally worth the cost. I can't wait to return. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We got to Fort Lauderdale a day early. Stayed at the Hilton at the marina. We liked the view of the cruise ships from our room. Other than that it was nothing special. Embarking and debarking were very smooth.The ship was beautiful. It ... Read More
We got to Fort Lauderdale a day early. Stayed at the Hilton at the marina. We liked the view of the cruise ships from our room. Other than that it was nothing special. Embarking and debarking were very smooth.The ship was beautiful. It didn't feel crowded. Nice glass elevators.The crew members were polite and always offered a friendly greeting.One of the most important aspects of our experience was the fellow passengerswe shared the ship with for 11 nights. We were very happy to cruise with such nice people! The passengers on this cruise were refined, polite, friendly, and a pleasure to cruise with. I'm guessing the average age was about 60. At one to the ports we shared with another ship it was very easy to tell the our passengers from theirs. This may sound snobby, but when you spend your hard earned cash, you'd rather be with your peer group, than "joe 6 pack" and the wild bunch. The activities were fun. We enjoyed karaoke with Michelle, Rachel and Jackie. They were lots of fun. We had fun at bingo, The casino was great. Kremi made everyone feel welcome at the poker tables. I played $5 dollar blackjack and the dealers were friendly and helpful. My wife had fun on the penny slot machines. The fitness center was very good. Stacy and Nick were great instructors. We enjoyed their classes. The pools were small,but we always found a chair. We prepaid all of our tips. I guess that qualified us for select dining.Even thought we were in Aqua class, they saved a table for us in the main dining room. The food and the service was great everywhere we eat. Once in Silhouette, Once in Silk Harvest, one night in the Buffet, Three nights at Tuscon Grill(the best food), the rest at Blu. We had room service every day. It was perfect.House keeping was good. The entertainment was good. We really appreciated all the wonderful music on the ship. The music helps set Celebrity apart from the loud, frat house,party ship atmosphere of some of the other cruise lines. Thank you Celebrity for a more tasteful and elegant environment.No complaints about anything on the ship. We had a wonderful time.The next time we cruise it will be with Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
From the moment my 18 year old son and I arrived at Heathrow Terminal five we were looked after by Celebrity. There was a representative from Celebrity to help us with the check in process. On arrival at Miami airport there were ... Read More
From the moment my 18 year old son and I arrived at Heathrow Terminal five we were looked after by Celebrity. There was a representative from Celebrity to help us with the check in process. On arrival at Miami airport there were representatives waiting to guide us to our bus that would take us to our hotel.The Marriott Hotel in Fort Laudedale was very impressive. We had a large hotel room with the most comfy beds we had ever encountered in a hotel, just what we needed after a nine hour flight. The restaurant in the hotel offered either a buffet or waiter service dinner. We opted for the waiter service dinner and found the food was really nice and the service was exceptional.The next day, we were taken to board the Constellation. From when we reached the dock to finding our cabin was less than 30 minutes. Our cases were with us less than two hours of arriving at the dock.We then had fourteen days of pure perfection. Our cabin was always spotless and our cabin steward and his assistant greeted us every morning and every evening. One evening we rushed to get ready for dinner and left a couple of clothes on the couch and came back to find them all folded neatly for us.We opted for early dining and were seated with three couples. The food catered for both our tastes, my son can be a bit picky but there was always something on the menu for him. I still can't believe it I even tried frogs legs and yes it's true it is just like eating chicken!! Our waiter really knew the menu well and gave us exceptional service. The assistant waiter was brilliant we had so many laughs with him. Both the waiter and assistant waiter got to know everyone by first name and all our different likes and dislikes. The desserts were out of this world and it helped by them bringing examples of the desserts to the table to aid our choice although it just left me wanting all the options!!The entertainment on the Constellation was the best we had ever experience. Our cruise director Sue Denning was outstanding, she was everywhere and taking part. From dancing to jumping in the pool fully clothed. The shows in the theatre were stunning, the Celebrity cast were very talented. There was a very good variety of entertainment acts, three comedians, two singers, pianist, and a hypnotist. Although we were a little disappointed with the hypnotist as it took half the show for him to get people hypnotised and then we were not fully convinced that the people were actually hypnotised. The music around the ship was brilliant, Momentum the group covered a wide variety of songs most of which both my son and I knew.This paragraph has to be given to the best entertainer on the ship, Perry Grant. I had heard people talking about him and my son and I decided to see what he was all about. Well he picked my son out and my son loved it. We have never laughed so much. We were in hysterics some nights recalling Perry's show. We must have gone to seen him about 8 to 10 times during the fourteen days and every time was great. To top it all Perry came over as a very nice person. The activity staff were outstanding, from quizzes to sport to evening entertainment they were there entertaining us. Victoria, Caroline, David and Stephanie all deserved a mention they made our time on the ship so enjoyable.I marked this cruise overall as a 5+ but I feel this undersells how wonderful this cruise was. We are determined to go on another one soon. Celebrity Constellation definitely delivered for us the holiday of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011

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