1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Southern Caribbean Cruises
  4. Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

30 Caribbean - Southern Luxury Cruise Reviews

INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on ... Read More
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and NCL. We had grown tired of the larger ships and wanted to try a sailing cruise for a change. After sailing on the Star Clipper and Royal Clipper, we have no desire to return to the mass market cruise ships. ARRIVAL We took a taxi from the airport and arrived at the pier in Barbados around 4:00, and the check-in process had already begun. Check-in consisted of receiving our ID cards (which doubled as our room keys), dropping off our passports and leaving an imprint of our credit card for purchases on the ship. We finished with the process and were taken to the ship via a very short shuttle ride. As we boarded the ship, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager and given complementary cold drinks and light snacks on deck. We then were escorted to our cabin and our luggage was delivered to our room shortly after our arrival. SHIP The Royal Clipper is a fabulous ship. It is a sailing vessel, not a cruise ship. The ship is very elegant and sophisticated with none of the pseudo-glitz of the large ships. There are no casinos, ship's photographers, show lounges or elevators. There are three bars on board: the outside Tropical Bar; the inside Piano Bar and a Pool Bar. All of the nightly entertainment occurs at the Tropical Bar. The ship has plenty of teak and mahogany wood, all varnished to a high gloss. Additionally, there is lots of brass, which is also kept polished. The crew was working every day doing routine maintenance around the ship. The ship's passenger capacity is 220, and this week it seemed filled. The breakdown of passengers was international - from the United States, Canada and Europe. About one-half of the passengers had previously sailed with Star Clippers. There were several passengers on board for two weeks, combining the Grenadine Islands itinerary of this sailing with the Windward Islands sailing the week immediately prior to or after our sailing. The crew members were from 25 different countries. The ship offers several features not found on cruise ships: passengers could climb the main mast to the first level crow's nest (with appropriate safety equipment) on two separate occasions during the week; we could relax on the widow's netting at the bow of the ship anytime the crew was not operating the sails; there was an open bridge policy throughout the week; the crew lowered tenders one day during the week to give the passengers the opportunity to photograph the Royal Clipper at sea under full sails; and passengers were given the opportunity to steer the ship while at sea. Each day as the sails were raised as we were leaving a port, the ship would play the Vangelis soundtrack, "1492: Conquest of Paradise" over the sound system. The passengers would congregate on deck to watch the crew raising the sails and to listen to the music. The sailing during certain periods throughout the week was rough. We heard that some passengers were ill at points during the week due to the ship's movement. However, we did not feel any discomfort during the week. CABIN We booked a Category 6 (Inside) room, cabin 228. In retrospect, we would have booked a higher category (Outside) room to give us a little more space. The room had a fixed double bed. The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a two-door medicine cabinet with plenty of shelving for storing toiletries. While most of the electrical outlets in the cabin are 220 volts, there are two outlets in the bathroom for 110 volts, which I used for charging our digital camera's battery. These outlets could also be used for electric razors or charging cell phones. There was a hair dryer attached to the wall in the bathroom. The cabin had just enough storage and closet space for the two of us. A safe with a programmable lock was located in one of the cabinets. There was a TV in the room, which received a few English speaking programs, including CNN International. A DVD player was also in the room, and video disks could be borrowed from the ship's collection. Our cabin attendant was excellent. Towels were exchanged each morning and evening. MEALS All meals were served in the main dining room. Like the rest of the ship, the main dining room was very elegant. It was very common for the ship's officers, including the captain, to join a group of diners at each meal. All dining is open seating, with service between 8:00 and 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 and 2:00 for lunch and 7:30 and 10:00 for dinner. There are no formal nights - dress for dinner is resort casual for men and women. Buffet meals were served for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there was an assortment of cereal, yogurts, pastries and fruits, along with scrambled eggs, French toast or pancakes, bacon, sausage or ham and potatoes. There was also a station for fresh omelets and eggs each morning. Lunchtime had a nice assortment of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and homemade soups, plus one or two hot entrEes. There was also a carving station each day with either fish or meat. The breakfasts and lunches were all very good. An afternoon snack would be served daily between 5:00 and 6:00 at the Tropical Bar. Like the breakfasts and lunches, the afternoon snack was very good. The snack would consist of items such as finger sandwiches, fruit, a hot dish and dessert. The dinners have improved since our last cruise on the Star Clipper. On our prior cruise, we were disappointed in the dinners served, both in the nightly selection and quality of food. We were much more pleased with the dinners on this cruise. Dinner would feature four choices for the main course: a seafood entree; a vegetarian entree; a meat entrEe and a Caribbean chef's special. Lobster Tail was served on Thursday night, which is the Captain's Dinner. One nice thing about the dinner food on this cruise (and on the prior Star Clipper cruise) was that each night, the various entrEes would be displayed in the piano bar for the passengers to get an idea of what would be served that evening. An early morning breakfast of croissants and pastries was also available in the Piano Bar from 6:00 to 8:00 in the mornings. Many mornings, we would be up early and grab a croissant and coffee and tea and sit on the deck as the ship sailed to the next stop. Coffee, tea and fresh fruit are available 24 hours a day in the Piano Bar. The coffee on the ship is barely drinkable. I think that they must let it brew too long and leave it on the heat after it has finished brewing. The best thing I found was to grab a fresh cup as soon as the brew cycle finished or to mix the coffee with hot water to dilute it somewhat. SERVICE The service in the main dining room and throughout the ship was good. However, with the ship filled to capacity, the service seemed slower than three years ago. We often had to ask for refills on water or coffee. Bar service was mainly at the bars, with no bar waiters hounding you to purchase drinks every few minutes. The guys (and one young lady) on the sports crew were excellent. As noted above, our cabin steward was excellent. The crew that worked the sails was also very good, showing great patience as the passengers were on deck as the crew was trying to raise or lower the sails. They were also very helpful with any information that the passengers asked them for. ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment on the clipper ships is very limited - this is one area that could use improvement by Star Clippers. There was one entertainer on board who sang and played the keyboard during the afternoon snack period. He also played the piano in the Piano Bar during the dinner hours and served as the deejay for nighttime dancing. The music selection for nighttime dancing seemed strange and hardly anyone danced after the organized entertainment ended each evening. It would have been much nicer to have a talented duo or trio providing the dancing music in the evenings. There were organized entertainment activities each night at 10:00 at the Tropical Bar. The first night was a Welcome Aboard party. Other nights featured crab races, a musical trivia quiz contest and a fashion show. A crew and passenger talent show was held on another night, which was very funny and enjoyable. While we were docked Monday night in Grenada, a very good steel drum band came aboard to play for us. Other forms of entertainment centered around the cruise director's daily talk on the upcoming port and the captain's story time. Every morning before we reached a port, the cruise director would hold a briefing on the bridge. He would explain the history of the island and places of interest to visit. He detailed what times the tenders would operate to the town or to the beach, and what time the last tender would return to the ship at the end of the day. The captain held two story times. The first session lasted about one hour and consisted of the captain narrating a slide show of sailing ships and then answering questions from the passengers regarding the ship and sailing in general. He also held another story time later in the week, demonstrating sailing maneuvers from the bridge area. ITINERARY This is not a typical cruise ship itinerary. Because of its small size, the ship can fit into ports that the larger ships cannot. The stops are in remote islands and harbors. The focus on the stops is on sailing and enjoying the natural beauty of the islands. There is not a lot of activity going on in most of the ports. At most stops, the ship would run two tenders, one to the town for limited shopping and to meet the shore excursions and the second one to a beach. For each beach stop, the sports crew would take water ski equipment, a wave board (similar to a snow board), a windsurf board, sea kayaks, and small sailboats. All of these beach activities were provided with no additional charge. Snorkeling gear was also issued at the beginning of the week for use throughout the cruise, again at no additional charge. After departing Barbados on Saturday, Sunday we stopped at uninhabited Young Island for a full beach day. On Monday the ship called at Grenada and spent all day docked at the pier in St. Georges. Several excursions were offered by the ship but we opted to walk into town in the morning and stopped at a public library to use the Internet connection. During the afternoon, we took a private taxi tour of the island, stopping at a spice plantation, Annandale Falls and a scenic point overlooking the harbor. On Tuesday the ship stopped at an uninhabited island in the Tobago Cays for a full day. This was probably the most beautiful beach we have ever been on. In addition to the beautiful beach, the natural harbor was filled with sailboats in the area for the day. You could take a short walk to the other side of the island where more sailboats were anchored offshore. There was good snorkeling right off of the beach. The ship's crew provided a full beach barbecue for lunch at this island stop. On Wednesday morning, we stopped in St. Vincent at the capital city of Kingstown. This was by far the worst stop of the week. No one could understand why the ship stops at this island. The pier area is crowded and dirty. Once you leave the protected area of the pier, you are hounded by taxi drivers. We did not feel comfortable walking through the city and headed back to the ship. Fortunately, we left St. Vincent around noon and sailed to Port Elizabeth, Bequia. As bad as St. Vincent was, Bequia was just as good. It is a beautiful island. The beach area is wide and sandy, without any rocks. There is a small town at the pier with many charming shops, restaurants and pubs. I know that many passengers made suggestions that St. Vincent should be dropped and the whole day should be spent in Bequia. There were two stops on Thursday on Martinique. During the morning, we stopped at the capital city, Fort de France. We spent the morning walking the city streets. During the afternoon, we anchored off of Grand Anse Beach. While on the beach, the sports crew led a snorkeling excursion to another part of the island on their Zodiac boats. Two excursions were offered, each with a capacity of eight persons. I was fortunate enough to go on the first excursion, and it was simply the best snorkeling I have ever done. Our excursion stopped at the same site as the local scuba dive tours. The water was incredibly clear, as we were able to see the ocean floor at least 70 feet below us. The coral formations living on the rocks were fabulous. During our time in the water, we saw two eels and an octopus, along with many other colorful fish. The best part of the snorkeling excursion was that it was free - no additional charge for the side trip. After snorkeling, we stayed on the beach until the last tender at 6:00 and witnessed a beautiful sunset on the tender ride back to the ship. The final stops on Friday were St. Lucia. In the morning, we stopped at Marigot Bay. A tender service was offered into a small marina, which turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. There was a coffee shop with nice patio seating along with several small specialty stores. There were several beautiful sailboats and yachts docked at the marina. A very nice resort hotel with beautiful grounds, Discovery at Marigot Bay, was located at the end of the marina. In the afternoon, we sailed to Soufriere Bay, where the sports team offered another snorkeling excursion - this time a one Euro fee was charged as we snorkeled at a St. Lucia national park, and the one Euro fee was the entrance fee to the park. During this snorkeling excursion, we saw and swam with a sea turtle for 10 or 15 minutes. The ship also offered shore excursions and a tender service to the town of La Soufriere. The passengers who went into the town were very disappointed, as they were harassed by local youths begging for money. SUMMARY This was another great week with Star Clippers, and we would definitely love to sail with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We have cruised on several lines from the basic to the luxury, but first time on Celebrity... The Millennium was a beautiful ship, well laid out, with first class amenities - reasonable prices for beverages - decent prices for spa services ... Read More
We have cruised on several lines from the basic to the luxury, but first time on Celebrity... The Millennium was a beautiful ship, well laid out, with first class amenities - reasonable prices for beverages - decent prices for spa services - good mix of entertainment. and service was excellent -- throughout the ship. But food was a disappointment - EXCEPT in the Olympic Restaurant, where it was outstanding the three times we ate there -- the $30pp charge was well worth it -- the ambiance, the service and the food - were the best in any specialty restaurant we ate in. However, food in the main dining room, second seating, left much to be desired...it was at best, inconsistent. One the first day, the steak that my wife ordered had to be returned as uncuttable and inedible....My slice of prime rib, and her replacement slice, were perfect.... on the third day, the steak again wasn't cut-able.. perhaps its the lack of proper steak knives, although the steaks we were served should have been able to be cut with the serrated knives offered. On several other times, the food was served cold and had to be returned. On the positive side, the menu selection was great, the apple pie a la mode, was the best ever on the seas. I was also disappointed when I tried to book a spa appointment using a coupon, and was told that only inconvenient hours were available for coupon users--they did find a more appropriate time. Cabin was great, plenty of room for luggage storage, shelf and hanging space Comfortable beds and pillows.. Bathroom left some things to be desired -- lighting was poor; shower had curtain that didnt reach floor, so floor was soaked after each use. Single sink did not have much counter space... Light switch to turn off overhead lights was only one side of bed. There were morning announcements every time we docked (about 8am) which was piped into room -- it should be turned off if one wants to sleep later. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This is my 2nd cruise with Regent. The first on the Navigator. It is as nicely appointed and detailed as we have come to expect from Regent and it was kept clean and in good condition. I don't think that was a big chore as the ship ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise with Regent. The first on the Navigator. It is as nicely appointed and detailed as we have come to expect from Regent and it was kept clean and in good condition. I don't think that was a big chore as the ship had just come out of dry dock. Our cabin was on the 11th deck and unfortunately directly below the treadmills in the gym. Yes every day ALL day someone was running on them. There was NO way one could take a leisurely afternoon nap and forget any relaxing evening appetizer as the continual thumping of someone running on the treadmill overpowered everything else. Our safe did not work and we contacted several different people form the cabin stewardess to the security officer... I doubt the safe is working yet! We did not have a room service menu in the book of ship info and was treated a bit snooty by the butler when I asked for one. FINALLY-- the executive staff was not all helpful or friendly. The cruise consultant Mike was in fact rude and we have cancelled a scheduled cruise in August. Basically all he could tell us repeatedly was how busy he was booking... booking- booking - booking - booking- Really he said 6 times in one brief conversation... The excursion director seemed a bit terrified of face to face dealings with guests and I got the idea none of the excursion staff really had been on some of (or most of ) the excursions. The staff ALWAYS seems as though they are too busy to talk to YOU - to bad YOU are NOT important enough. NOW-- the room was nice - clean and the housekeeping is impeccable. The maintenance is so-so and honestly the revamp of the pool area is a surprise as I had thought for the first 7 days "to bad they didn't redo the pool in dry dock" Silly me , they did ... I don't think I would spend the money on Navigator again. Unless some substantial improvements are made and very publicly declared. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We arrived at the port and the Azamara/Celebrity/Royal Caribbean was the first parking structure. I pulled up to the terminal and was greeted by a friendly porter who asked our cabin number. We told him and he said I will take care of your ... Read More
We arrived at the port and the Azamara/Celebrity/Royal Caribbean was the first parking structure. I pulled up to the terminal and was greeted by a friendly porter who asked our cabin number. We told him and he said I will take care of your luggage. He escorted my wife to a seat to wait for me until I parked my car. I drove into the parking area. Parked and walked across the road to meet my wife. We entered the terminal and only one person was online. We were greeted by a friendly person who did the paper work and gave us our photo boarding passes. We walked onto the ship and were greeted by the friendly staff. They escorted us to our cabin. We were told the butler would meet us later. Ronald did and was friendly and informative. We proceeded to the beautiful buffet on deck nine. Everything looked good and tasted fresh. On the cruise: When we got to St. Barts everything was closed and there was no notification to the passengers. The parade was very nice and ran a little late. Passengers were afraid to stay to enjoy it. The time to depart could have been delayed for an hour. We were so close to our next port we could have made up the time. Religious services: It was Ash Wednesday. The town and the church were closed. Why didn't Azamara have church services for those who wanted to attend? This was very bad and those people will remember this and tell others. The Azamara cruise should have issued a notice before we went ashore in Fort De France aka MARTINIQUE that all the stores were closed for a holiday. We were at the dock that was about 1.5 miles from town. There was a dock right in town. Why didn't we dock there? The Fresh flowers in the room and the beautiful Orchards on the tables and all around the ship were a plus. The ladies were given a Red Rose on Valentines Day that was very nice. The buffet had a very good selection. We found ourselves dining up here most of the nights. I was very impressed with Michael Peterson the head chief of the buffet. I sent in a negative comment about the first Caribbean night. When he saw me at the buffet getting a stir fry he said, Hello Mr. Schecter how is everything. Again on the last night he asked me the same question. He also asked me about the next Caribbean night buffet. I told him the second Caribbean night was much better than the first one. Food was very good with many great selections and decorations that gave a nice ambiance to the theme. The guitar music was very good. The entertainment team and the band made it an unforgettable night. He thanked me and said he always try to improve his department. The decorations around the buffet were interesting. Ice cream was served in the buffet during lunch and diner was great. We think servers should wear gloves when they serve the ice cream cones. We were never told or discovered the soft serve ice cream until we found it by accident on the tenth day. More crafts are needed. Ladies love them on sea days. There was only one craft making Valentines cards. I believe everyone would like some good craft sessions. The movies and TV pre recorded programs were very enjoyable. Happy to be able to see some Olympic events on the TV. TNT is always a good movie channel. Room service menu had nice selections & servings were ample. Time from order to delivery was ok. Pedro did a great job cooking omelets in the morning at the buffet. We enjoyed eating on back deck with tropical breezes and panoramic views. We really enjoyed dining at Aqualina Restaurant. The seafood appetizer was absolutely delicious and presentation was excellent. The dining experience was outstanding. The matradi Daniel and our waiter Frederick were excellent and accommodating. As the head Chief Lisa adds a distinctive feminine touch to the presentation of all the food served. Her presence added more. I was also impressed by one of the chiefs at the buffet addressing me by my name. Sanitation aboard the ship was very good with Purell dispensers everywhere food was served and other places. At each place we boarded the tenders and after each tender ride there was always a person with a bottle of sanitizer but some of the bottled ones left our hands feeling sticky. The room butler Ronald did a great job keeping our room clean and neat. There was always fresh water and ice twice a day and new towels and soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I think it a very poor practice for a top cruise line to give badly worn and frayed bath towels. I have had at least four. They should be taken out of service and donated to Haiti or homeless shelters. We have cruised with every major and some minor cruise lines. We have cruised more than sixty times in eight years. The entire staff was friendly, courteous, helpful, etc. The bright spots are Tony; He is without a doubt the best cruise director we have ever met. He was eager to set up a Military Veterans meeting at my request. He provided coffee, tea, cookies and more. He is bright, energetic and talented. He did a great job of entertaining everyone at his one man show with the assistance of the Dan Redner playing the piano. He is an excellent pianist. Lisa the activities director is very warm and friendly. She does a great job and has a great staff helping her. Oleg was there helping and did a great job with the pantomime classes. All the entertainers were very good. The Mirage trio, the solo guitarist, and Carlos Avalon were very good. We really liked JamiIa, and Antonio Salci. We did not care for the magician and the classical music by McSweny. She was very good but not for our taste. The five singers were great. The music chosen was excellent every time and the performance was outstanding. We also like the big shows on the larger ships with the cast of talented performers. I feel I am qualified to judge the talent as I have seen the best in my lifetime. In addition my son is Jeffrey Schecter. He has been a dancer, singer, and actor and has been on Broadway in many productions as well as world wide. He has been on TV and in films. You may have seen him recently in the Broadway production as MIKE in "A Chorus Line." Also in the film "Every Little Step." Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, ... Read More
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, though we traveled where it was cold, and I thought a warmer itinerary would be fun. We have been on a number of Silversea sailings on Whisper, Shadow, and Wind and hope to get on the Cloud sometime soon. We have also sailed other lines We're in the travel industry and I am a Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE, Certified Luxury Specialist (CLS) and Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), as well as a former technology quality assurance lead. I seem to approach a lot of my trips from a QA perspective, and my husband often points that out to me!! This review will focus on this sailing, as I've done comparisons of the other ships, other lines, etc. before. Travel & Hotel Info We left Houston IAH on American, and Silversea was nice enough to let us have some say in our itinerary on the free flight promo. That was very much appreciated. We left on a flight leaving Houston at 10:40 a.m. and arriving in Miami at 1:25 p.m. Our only requirements were for complimentary internet, breakfast and 24 hour shuttle. We got all that, and that was about it. We stayed at a Comfort Suites in the highest end room there (lol) and walked to IHOP nearby for a quick dinner. It was nothing like any IHOP we have been to, but we ate. In the morning, we had an easy shuttle and took the next American flight into Barbados BGT, arriving around our expected time. The day of our departure, Silversea provided those with flights to Miami, JFK, and the UK a transfer at 9 a.m. to the Savannah Hotel in Barbados where we had a hospitality room (group) with towels, juice, coffee, tea, water, pastries, fruits, light sandwiches, and a couple of hot appetizers. They had an air conditioned room with board games, and we had full use of the pool and beach. Todd and I wore bathing suits under our departure outfits, and we took full advantage of the facilities. Unfortunately, they announced the departure time only to those in the main room, and the "rumor mill" time was not quite right. We stumbled into some of the group loading up and ended up with a few others on a second bus. The Savannah was OK, plenty of loungers and adequate shade, but the water off of their short beach was natural and 100% full of rocks. Some guests stayed all 4 1/2 hours in that room and did not look around. Others laid at the beach or pool. Some ate and had drinks. We sat under an umbrella by the pool and got in the water a number of times and walked around in the sand. We also had a few snacks. Arrival & Embarkation We arrived into Barbados BGT airport at 1:15. We had hoped to see a Silversea rep to direct us or at least signs since a number of Silversea guests were on our Miami flight. No such luck and no baggage assistance either inside the baggage claim or at the Silversea provided transportation. A lady was outside with a list of expected arrivals, but she did not even know her list had the cabin numbers, and she seemed almost unable to manage the group of maybe 14 people. She sent people here and yon and finally got everyone in cabs where no baggage handling was provided either free or at a cost. We all helped each other schlep our bags right into the vans. Then we waited a long time while they tried to cram another couple on, but eventually we proceeded when nobody came. We certainly did not have room for their bags. There was no water provided. We had a ride longer than the 6 of us in our particular van expected. Traffic was bad, and we inched along. When we got to the port, we were still self-directed with no rep in sight, but since we had been to Barbados before, we sort of told our group where to go and reached the tables with Silversea reps that were requesting cruise tickets. We then were put on a local bus again with no water and taken to the ship, though it was a very short distance. At that point, we had our ID cards and were told rooms would be ready. When we got to the gangway, someone took my bag and carried it up, but we were scolded for standing 2 inches from where they wanted us. I am sure newbies in front and back of us were not impressed, and nobody carried their bags or Todd's. Greeting was nice with cold towel and escort to the bar for nice drinks, nuts, chips, and party mix. No canapEs or greeting spread for the first time on Silversea. Nobody announced it, but I knew Silversea would have something nice open for everyone somewhere, and I was delighted to find that the lunch buffet was left open until 3:45. Todd didn't come up, as he wanted to wait for the butler, but I had my first of many delightful meals onboard, and I prefer the full meal to the canapes. Ship Info The ship holds 540 guests, and there were about 479 onboard or 89%. There are lovely public lounges onboard the ship. Last sailing, we loved the new main bar which was open day and night at that time and just off the lobby. Of course, it is still open for seating, and they have a big screen tv going in the afternoon, but drinks are not served in the afternoon as they were when we sailed over the holidays. One had to go to the Panorama or the pool deck or one's own cabin. This started to make those spaces where we hung out, and a lot of people used the nice space behind the Panorama or other nice shady areas around the ship. There are 3 hot tubs on the pool deck, and they were at 3 slightly different temperatures. I think it was on purpose and seemed thoughtful to me. The pool was used more than I have seen the pool used on any luxury sailing. We used it a few times ourselves, and I was really pleased to see Todd enjoying the water areas more than usual (not that he doesn't like them, but he never "gets around to it" much). We did not use the spa, steam room, etc. this time. I have covered these areas in my original report, along with the pluses and minuses of some of the locker areas. The ship is very easy to navigate, and our cabin 647 could not have been better positioned. We were in between two elevator banks and two staircases, and we were just about anywhere in a short moment. The library and internet cafe are mixed, and there is no divider for the internet section. The conference room is near the theatre. There is also a small card room. The medical facility is on deck 3, and unfortunately, I had to pay them a couple of visits after slamming my finger in the cabin door for nearly a full minute. Activities Activities were generally led by the cruise director and two social hostesses, along with members of the production cast. We participated in all of the team trivia sessions. Todd played in several table tennis tournaments. We attended many golf putting contests. Together, we did one shuffleboard contest, and Todd attended several others. On the sea day, I attended the wine tasting in the Panorama Lounge. This was led by one of the 3 sommeliers, Norman, and he was assisted by one of the others, Simon. There was a white and a red in the tasting. I also attended the cooking demo in the theatre. At the cooking demo, the emphasis was on fois gras. The chef made a fois gras terrine that everyone got to taste and a seared one that nobody got to taste. I had ordered this through our butler the day before, and he arrived that night with two beautifully prepared plates and a full table setup. On the sea day, they also did a bridge tour and a galley tour. I tried to sign up for the galley tour long before the deadline, but it was already full. I would not have been able to go due to my accident anyway. My accident really put a damper on the sea day and the last 1/3 of the cruise. I was on my way to arts and crafts to make a bracelet when I injured my finger in the door. Also in the arts and crafts department, they had origami lessons. There were Italian, French and Portuguese lessons, too. I believe there were card games. There were some classes from the spa on detox, acupuncture, botox, etc. There were two enrichment lectures on the sea day based on geology and Barbados. We enjoyed the things that we did, and we got some logo prizes at the end for participating. One night, we played blackjack at the casino before dinner. I won $5, and Todd won enough to pay for the two tours we did. We did not go back after that, as we were happy with our winnings. Also, there is a full exercise program and dance lessons with the ballet duo available at no additional cost. There was a captain's party on the formal night, and like last time, it was split between The Bar and Panarama Lounge. There was also a Venetian Society one night in the theatre. There was one couple that was honored for going over 500 nights. They will receive a complimentary 14 night cruise. Service The pool deck was a bit more crowded than our last sailing on Spirit due to nicer weather, and the deck staff was not as quick to remove towels. They were not usually resetting up towels like they usually do on Silversea, so we'd have to go seek a towel. Also, though there were more waiters than we have ever seen, but if you weren't sitting at the dining tables, you had to go ask for service. The pool deck service has always been over the top before, so it was a step down even though there were probably twice as many servers. They just seemed to be wandering sometimes. They were happy to do anything when asked. Some people did not think that the dining service was that great. Ours was fine to good. At lunch, it was not always easy to get wine without begging, and they rarely carried the plate to the table anymore, which is something I really enjoy them doing and something I really needed for 3 days. Breakfast service is the best we've ever had, and the other service was better than on the maiden voyage on Spirit. Our butler service started slow. We received the Bvulgari toiletries right away but wanted to try the new ones. We did get those after a few hours. It took about 5 or 6 hours to get our bags unpacked, and we had to let the butler repack a few hours before we were ready. Other than that, the butler and cabin service were exemplary. Several days, we received beautiful snacks at cocktail hour - things like huge mussels, crab dip on crackers, chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce, pate, crab claws, and meatballs. He knew that I liked limes and brought them automatically after a discussion on exactly how many I would need each day. He always kept our chardonnay stocked and our soda and ice, too. He, along with our room attendant did a wonderful job with the suite. When we ordered room service , it took so long. I tried to give up and go eat upstairs at noon when they opened and left for a tour at 12:10 (I was told the meeting time was 12:30 to make it to the tour at 1 pm) and went down to the tender. They had just left without me, and I missed the tour after getting over on the tender and finding they had left by 3 minutes after time even though they called the boat to see if I was on it. The head butler did not know this, yet he came to apologize for the delay with room service, which was caused by them calling to say they were not happy with the quality and were redoing the order. I thought that was very classy of the head butler to make a visit, unlike the shore department who did not bother to start lunch early anywhere in order for anyone to have lunch. Sometimes they served drinks in the theatre, which was something that was missing on the maiden voyage, and this was very welcome. The reception staff was also very courteous, and the bar staff remembered everything all the time and were so courteous and efficient. We always love Silversea service, and it a major factor in why we sail with them. Port & Shore Excursions We overnighted in Barbados on the ship, and I paid a couple $20 to take me around for an hour for some photos and to explain some of the historical and picturesque sights. They took me to a beach that had some hurricane damage and down into Bridgetown and some other places. It was enjoyable. Elsewhere in the review, I talked about our day in Barbados at the Savannah Hotel at the end of the cruise. The first port was Dominica. This was the only new port for us based on the originally scheduled itinerary. I went on the aerial tram tour. They brought an old rickety bus, which was not exemplary of Silversea, and it broke down 7 miles up the road. We were safe and looking at a beautiful volcano, but two ladies were uncomfortable and trying to talk everyone into going back to the ship. Twenty minutes later, we were rescued and divided into two vans that were still full but were more of the style of what Silversea should have sent in the first place. The tram ride was very interesting, and everyone crossed the foot bridge in the rain forest. There was some light climbing and hiking. Photos don't do it justice. We never got to see the 5 waterfalls like the description, at least not water falling but could hear them and saw a couple of rivers coming off of them. It was worthwhile, but I would not go again. Todd did the accessible tour. He went to Morne Bruce viewpoint and experienced a lovely view overlooking Roseau and could see the ship and also some rain forest. Next, they went to the botanical gardens and saw birds and some flora and fauna. It was small and had a lot of hurricane damage from Tomas that had just come through. There was not a lot to see except some nice views. They went on a long drive (at least 30 minutes) with nice views, first along the beach and then up a mountain in the rainforest to Jaco Falls. There was about 45 minutes there, and some of the bathrooms were not great. They walked down a steep area with a lot of rocks. Todd wanted to get in, but there wasn't much time since he had stopped to take so many pictures. At the end, both tours offered both a rum punch and a non-alcoholic beverage. Todd dined on the pool deck after his tour, and I dashed to the buffet. The people that went on the whale watching and dolphin tour mostly saw dolphins. I think the people that did the emerald pool enjoyed that one. I also went inside the market area and also toured the visitors center and walked a ways down from where the ship was docked for more photos. The next day, they flipped the itinerary around and went to St. Kitts instead of St Barths. Todd did not get to the ship. Last time we were there, he golfed at the Marriott, and I went to the casino and pool and beach there. This time, I walked quite a distance up and down various streets and viewed some old churches and other buildings, along with a brief look at the touristy shops at "The Circus". We never did go to St. Barths due to the safety issues and damage from Tomas. The captain spent a long time circling around Phillipsburg in St. Martin, but there were 25,000 people there from large cruise ships, and there was no slots, so he went to the French side where it was necessary to tender. We were a long ways out, and the tender was a 20 or 25 minute ride. That is the only thing I saw since the tour abandoned me, and we have only been to the airport there. I just got right back on the tender since I was upset. In Bequia in the Grenadines, many people just jumped on the back of the trucks sitting there for island tours. We did that last time and went to the fort and turtle farm and a beach. There were water taxis to take people to the beach, and I think Silversea organized a beach tour and also an island tour. I walked all around the waterfront as far as I could and took a number of beautiful photos and walked the little beach there. A number of people sat around at the little restaurants and bars there and had cocktails. I walked over to the vegetable markets to look around and also went to watch some local fishermen working with fish. I stayed there a while, as I was enjoying that. There were a number of people who had zodiacs docked and were coming in and out from yachts offshore to get things at the markets. The iced tea and chilled water at the tent where guests were to wait for the tender was a nice touch. Our Suite We adore the verandah cabins. The rain head shower is nice, and the shower is tall enough. Todd finds the space a bit snug, but it is fine for me. The tub is a luxury size for a cruise ship, and I love the nice rinse off spout that they installed. The cabin had plenty of storage space everywhere. There are two TVs controlled by one remote. This time, we had no issues at all with the system, and there are over 400 movies from which to chooses. We enjoyed several recent releases. Our drinks of choice were always there, we never ran out of anything, and after a very short conversation with the butler the first day, the things we did not need were removed to allow space for what we liked. We had nice fruits and orchids, and we had champagne on ice upon arrival. The verandah was very inviting in warm weather, especially since the loungers will lay back, and with footstools and a nice table, it is just a terrific place to be. Dining I enjoyed the buffets at lunch the most. The dining room was full, but they are using a sharing concept to help with this (optional). On the days that Todd did not come up, I always shared, and I really enjoyed the conversations. The restaurant was always open for course by course lunch, but I was enjoying selecting my own fruits and salad ingredients. Todd liked the meats and vegetables a lot. There were mostly cold soups at lunch, a disappointment, but there was a delicious squash soup one day. Most days, the lunch buffet has a regional theme. There is usually an Asian item (a couple of times, it was a chicken curry, and the other days, it was Thai or Chinese). There was always a carved meat, quite a few fresh vegetable dishes and a few nice dishes. One day, there was a nice boulliabase. Also on the lunch buffet are beautiful lettuces, a variety of dressings, salad toppings, a salad of the day, sushi, sashimi, gourmet cured meats, fresh pastries, a cheese trolley, gourmet ice cream and sorbet, and fresh breads. The fish was the most disappointing since it was usually dry and overcooked, but the last day, there were large, nice sea scallops. Todd enjoyed a burger a couple of days on the pool deck. Another day, he just got onion rings. We shared a pizza one day. I heard one lady say she didn't want her food anymore because it was taking too long. It can take a while since it is cooked beautifully to order, so if you want a quick bite before dashing off somewhere, this is not the venue to use. If you are hanging out, it is a lovely option, and you can get your food at your pool chair or the table. There is a full menu on the deck. There is a full menu for the room with very nice choices, and you can get the restaurant offerings during meal hours. The day after I hurt my finger, we stayed in a lot since I was in pain, and we had a nice room service lunch. The tables that they set up in the Spirit verandah suites are larger than on the other ships since there is more space. Todd had French onion soup, and I had tomato basil. I ordered a pesto pasta, and Todd ordered steak. At breakfast, you can go to the restaurant for the course by course service, it was never crowded. You can also go to the buffet. For the first time at the buffet, my waiter always asked me if I wanted to order anything such as eggs, waffles, etc., and things were prompt and beautifully prepared. They have asked Todd before, but I have never been asked. Daily, a variety of fresh fruits were carved throughout the service time, and there were other varieties of fruits and gorgeous berries. They had piles of smoked salmon and cheeses. There was ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes, beans, pastries, yogurt, and cereals. The pink grapefruit juice was so delicious that it tasted like I was drinking a grapefruit ( I was!!). We went to La Terazza one night. We had soup and an antipasto platter and salads. Todd had sliced steak, and I had wonderful osso bucco. Todd had the tiramissu, and I had the panna cotta. I didn't like it because it had nutmeg in it. Service was nice, and the restaurant was quiet and relaxing. We really enjoyed our evening there. Early in the cruise, we went to hot rocks. I ordered the veal chop, and Todd ordered a steak and a couple of shrimp. The server insisted that I order sea bass, but it was not like any sea bass I have had and was too fishy to eat and likely was not sea bass. I normally love the sea bass on Silversea. We had salads, and Todd had a baked potato. My veal chop was divine, but there was no way I could finish all of it. Todd had the same issue as last time with it cooking before he could eat it and getting too done. The restaurant is so popular now that it is hard to get in if you don't reserve early in the cruise. We had a second reservation and gave it up. We had a great evening and really enjoyed the Filipino singer that sings up to the diners from the pool deck. We enjoyed our dinners at the main dining room, though there was often no fish choice besides the daily salmon choice. I ended up ordering other things. I couldn't order vegetarian due to it always having mushrooms, but I always found something like pheasant or shellfish or something. On formal night, I asked to have my lobster prepared without butter, and I loved it. Since the shows were at 10:15, too late for us if we finish dinner at 9:30, we adjusted our schedule to 8 or 8:30 the two nights of the production shows and went to the Panorama beforehand and listened to Amadeus and the DJ music and relaxed. It actually made for a complete evening doing it that way. One evening, we dined with a couple that had been married 61 years, and we had a wonderful time with them working our way through all 5 courses. Evenings were great until I hurt my finger, and then we just watched movies after dinner. That was fun, too. I just couldn't sleep. On the night of the pool bbq, it was just hours after I slammed my finger in the door, and I just had 4 crab claws and one rib, and Todd had 3 ribs, and I was just in too much pain, so we left about 15 minutes after it started. This event is not our thing, but we liked how this time they put smaller tables for 6 or 8 vs. those long tables we have experienced on most sailings. The main dining room was open, but I was not up to it. We did not go to Seishin or Le Champagne. Seishin has two teaser menus and the main degustation menu, and you can pair with complimentary wines, wine pairings, or sake pairings, and there are different prices for each of these choices. Le Champagne is so beautiful on this ship, if I was going to go there, it would be on this ship, but many times, I know that the menus are too exotic for Todd's more meat and potatoes taste. Entertainment I found this to be weaker than it has been on other Silversea cruises since there was no guest magician or comedian or cabaret act. Last time on Spirit, they offered the shows twice in an evening, and I know that was short-lived for only one or two cruises. This sailing had two production shows, both are repeats for us from the maiden voyage 10 months ago. Only Keeva remains from the original production company, and I feel the original entertainers were better, though this group is good. The Rocketman show was not nearly as good as with the other group. Same with Dawning of Aquarius. There was a Taste of Things to Come show that was very short. It was on the pool deck. On the BBQ night, there was a show by the production company. We were not able to attend that due to my accident. There was no guest performers at all, and that is a first time for us ever on a luxury ship and was a disappointment. Several nights, they had movies in the theatre, and those were on the TV anyway. There was live entertainment on the ship and DJ sets. Any we attended were quite pleasant, but the timing was not always just right for when the people were in the particular lounge. STARS was so crowded on the nights of the lack of live entertainment in the theatre that we could not even get a seat or get to the bar, We tried several times and never stayed over 5 minutes since it was just too full. Disembarkation The butler packed for us before dinnertime, and we kept our bags in the room and put them out before the 11 p.m. deadline, keeping out a few things for our day at Savannah Hotel. I had a short breakfast because we had to be off the ship for our ride to Savannah at 9, and both the doctor and the restaurant didn't open until 8 a.m. We did not get the luggage assistance that I requested, but we did alright and easily located our bags in the terminal. We took the shuttle over to Savannah, it probably took 30 minutes. We had easily opted out of the charity donation, and there were no unexpected charges on the bill. We had the two tours and my $606 and change doctor bill. There was a sort delay of 15 minutes for passport pickup which also made it a challenge to go to breakfast and the doctor, but I managed it all. This was not our best Silversea cruise due to a few issues with the shore excursions and the handling of my accident, but it was mostly very enjoyable. Our cabin was excellent, dining service was mostly excellent (beverage service was good but not excellent in the dining rooms). The shore staff size needs increased, and they need to take a look at getting back into treating people to a more luxurious tour style. We relaxed so much all around the ship, in our balcony and in the cabin, and we enjoyed every activity we attended and wish we could have made even more, though we gave it a valiant effort. I did a blog, which is a work in progress at http://www.luxurycruiseandland.com. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Started our holiday with a 2 night stay in NYC. having never been there before, we were truly amazed at the size of the buildings. We loved new york and had a great time. Our hotel was Grand Hyatt near Grand Central which was lovely and we ... Read More
Started our holiday with a 2 night stay in NYC. having never been there before, we were truly amazed at the size of the buildings. We loved new york and had a great time. Our hotel was Grand Hyatt near Grand Central which was lovely and we had a good room on the 17th floor - very large,flat screen tv etc. Only downsize was the transfer from the airport using Super Shuttle - reasonable price - rude fast driver who texted while driving. We had a great diner across the road called Pershing Square where we went for breakfast twice - i would highly recommend it. We did a new york city tour which took in the main sites and had a very informative tour guide. We did Rockefeller at night - amazing seeing the city lit up and we went up Empire state next day after the tour. Enjoyed it all immensely. Used a limo company called ETG and had a comfortable journey to the port at a cost of 10 dollars more then the super shuttle. would definitely use again. On arriving at cruise terminal dropped our cases off, went straight to desk for registration etc, got a number and walked straight through to ship no waiting in lounges and had lunch. This was about 12.45. Room was usual thing but very clean and light. It seemed spacious and was well set out. We had a in hull balcony which I thought was great. Not bothered about sun bathing on the balcony and we like to stand and watch the arrival at port. Couldn't fault it. Room steward was excellent and came in and out like wil o the wisp - hardly ever actually saw him. Now for the actual ship. Yes it is lovely and very grand and traditional which i loved and if there were signs of wear and tear i never really noticed it. They were replacing the carpets and doing jobs late at night. The restaurant was nice and food was good. I can say our service on the whole was excellent and our waiter Jaes was very good. Maybe one or 2 nights a little slow but i would say that was the kitchens fault. We ate breakfast there once and it was horrendous-really slow and not all that when it came. We helped ourselves in Kings Court and we always got a table. Daily entertainment was plentiful - we were never bored although we didn't attend any lectures. Evening entertainment was another matter - it was on the whole, in my opinion, very very poor. The shows weren't good although the young singers had very good voices. The Queens room had dancing every night with the same songs every night and closed too early. The golden lion liked to close just as people were starting to enjoy themselves. Think the ship needs a new cruise director who is actually interested in what is going on. The guy on there just likes the sound of his own voice on his daily tv prog. I have been on 2 P&O cruises (owned by same company as Cunard apparently) and there is no comparison with the entertainment. I would also say that the food and service is equal to that of QM2. Its not that we want a party ship just some decent entertainment that doesn't shut down on the stroke of midnight. I think Cunard thinks anyone over 60 is in bed by then. Enjoyed it overall but wouldn't rush back unless it was a very tempting offer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our second QM2 winter Caribbean cruise, the first in 2006 departing from a warm Fort Lauderdale. This trip was the final leg of a Vegas / New York / Cruise from the UK. We won't be taking another QM2 winter cruise to the ... Read More
This was our second QM2 winter Caribbean cruise, the first in 2006 departing from a warm Fort Lauderdale. This trip was the final leg of a Vegas / New York / Cruise from the UK. We won't be taking another QM2 winter cruise to the Caribbean departing New York.It would have to sail from warmer waters to get us back on board. The journey to and from New York was just too cold for our liking. We will look for a luxury cruise liner that is based in one of the Caribbean Ports such as P & O who sail from Barbados or even Holland and America from Florida. The ship itself is still very grand, the lounges ( apart from the tacky themed pub ) were very smart. Food in the Britannia was good. We ate in the Lotus restaurant one night and the taster menu was surprisingly good. Its a shame Cunard are introducing a charge to eat there in the New Year. Balcony cabin was immaculate. All in all, couldn't fault the ship, just kicking myself for sailing from New York, so sun lovers - be warned. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Route: 11 day voyage: Ft Lauderdale - St Thomas - St Maarten - Grenada - Bonaire - Panama Canal (Gatun Lake only) - Ft Lauderdale 1. General Comments: A most pleasant and interesting voyage. This was the ship's only Caribbean ... Read More
Route: 11 day voyage: Ft Lauderdale - St Thomas - St Maarten - Grenada - Bonaire - Panama Canal (Gatun Lake only) - Ft Lauderdale 1. General Comments: A most pleasant and interesting voyage. This was the ship's only Caribbean run. It had completed Los Angeles - Ft Lauderdale, and after our voyage it was returning to its home base in Southampton. (According to the Captain, Cunard ships are "ocean liners" that are on "voyages." They are not "cruise ships," nor do they "cruise.") The ship was nearly full with ca 1,900 passengers. While the majority of passengers were American, next were the British, followed by the Germans. Most passengers were experienced, older, travellers. In the 11 days I counted only two infants and three grammar school-aged children on board. I saw no teenagers. We booked a Princess class stateroom in order to learn the Cunard standard for this level. We wanted something longer than a regular crossing, and we also were celebrating my wife's birthday. 2. Travel to Ft Lauderdale and Embarking: We made our own plane arrangements and arrived in Ft Lauderdale the day before the voyage. We took the hotel shuttle to the pier. Having checked in on-line, and using the separate check-in line for Grill class passengers, we got on the ship quickly. We arrived at the pier at noon, checked in, dropped off our carry on bags in our cabin, and were sitting down to lunch in the Lido at 1PM. Waiting for us in our cabin was a bottle of champagne on ice, a bowl of fruit, and a plate of sweets and chocolate-covered strawberries. This was an indicator of things to come. Our luggage arrived around 3:30, as did a bowl of fresh strawberries. 3. The Queen Victoria: A very attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Our cabin was a tad larger than a "regular" cabin with verandah. I think the extra size could be seen in the sofa; it was regular size instead of the smaller two-person type. Our cabin was perfect for two. Plenty of storage space (few drawers, but plenty of shelves), and the bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator (only filled with water and soft drinks, which we assumed were free. There was no liquor.). We had two TV screens (one for bedroom and one for sitting area) which received the usual news, movies, music, etc. However, there was no CNN nor ESPN. We did very well with BBC for international news, and CNBC for financial news. . You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does his noontime report from the bridge, and that is it. You also get a daily newspaper (US, UK, or German, depending on your home), and weekdays you get an international financial news sheet.For the ship's public areas, see the films and descriptions on the Cunard website. They show you just about everything. While the audio may be a bit overblown, the pictures are accurate. 4. Meals: OK, we took Princess Class so we could have our own dining room. There are separate dining rooms for Princess and Queen Classes, and there is a lounge between the two. And, this area is restricted; you need your key card and a specific elevator to get to this level (11th deck). If you are celebrating a special occasion, save your pennies and go for this class. When you book, you indicate what size table you want. When you board, you receive a card informing you of your table. This is YOUR table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You only need to appear during the meal times. No reservations, no early or late seating... nothing. After you appear once, the maitre d', the wine steward, and your two waiters know you by name and your preferences. We only did dinner in our Grill; there was no way we would have been able to consume all three meals there. Dinners were uniformly outstanding, as was the service. I think the wine list is the same throughout the ship; you can get good wines for $40 and you can splurge $1,500 for a Bordeaux. The choice is up to you. Lido Buffet: Well designed, and very good food. The design is such that compared to other ships the Lido is relatively quiet. You can actually hear the background music on the speaker system. Selections for both breakfast and lunch were varied, and there was no rush. You could sit over a second cup of (weak) coffee and not feel that people were waiting to pounce on your table. Also different from other lines, there are no wine or beer carts going through hawking their wares. You want a glass of wine or beer? A crew member will get it for you. Oh yes, the Lido is open 24/7. Todd English specialty restaurant: My wife and I have mixed feelings on this. Food, service, and wine were great. However, when you are in the Grill Class, is this restaurant worth the $30 per person extra charge? We aren't so sure. The Grill dining rooms are already top flight. Yes, the Todd English menu is different, but not that much. We have no idea on the food and service in the Britannia dining room; we are sure it is good. On other ships we felt that the specialty restaurant was a definite step up from the dining room. We are not so sure that Todd English is that much of a step up from the Grill dining room. You have to make your own decision. There are plenty of bars - but not food outlets - around the ship. You have to choose what appeals to you. We settled into the Grill lounge for a pre-dinner drink and the Commodore lounge for after dinner. In all bars you have to specify the brand of liquor you desire for your cocktail; there is no "standard" or "house" brand. Birthday celebration: I ordered flowers, a gift, and champagne for my wife's birthday from the on-line Cunard gift brochure a month or so before the voyage. Flowers were delivered in the morning by our steward. The gift came late that afternoon because it was from a different department. I checked with our maitre d' that the champagne would be waiting for us for dinner that evening (it was). Our waiters and maitre d' presented my wife with a simple and attractive birthday cake with only one candle and NO singing at the end of our meal. It was all very well done. 5. Cunard dress code: Cunard is serious here. If you don't want to follow their code, the staff and fellow passengers will make you wish you had taken a different ship. Nothing blatant, but subtle... like you are the only one in jeans at formal night. Before you leave home, you will receive from Cunard some literature on the ship, your shore excursions, etc. Included will be a listing of the evening dress for each night of the voyage. No more wondering; you have the schedule ahead of time. We were 11 nights: 4 formal, 3 informal (coat and tie), and 4 informal (jacket, but no tie). Formal nights were all on sea days. On formal nights, most men were in tuxedos; the rest in dark suits. A number had medals or ribbons on their tuxes. The ladies were in everything from elegant pants suits to ball gowns. Informal nights for men was not so much suits as it was blazers with ties. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship's tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don't need the ship's tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship's staff, you have support when there is a problem. There was a professor (geology) on board who lectured on all aspects of Panama and the Caribbean before we entered the canal. Many people commented on how pleased they were to have heard some, or all, of his lectures. Another lecturer boarded the ship when we entered the canal and provided a very good commentary - not continuous - of the entire tour; she left the ship only after we cleared the last lock before re-entering the Caribbean. 7. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bridge, bingo, etc, etc. Don't forget fencing lessons! The bits of the evening shows we saw were fine; we heard good reports about them in the Lido. The ship's theater is that: it is a theater. There is no bar service as on other ships. There are also boxes. For a fee, you can reserve a seat in a box and be treated royally - to include champagne - while you watch the show. While art is for sale, and there are auctions, this is done discretely and without noise. Much of the art on board is generally nautical and specifically of Cunard's long history...and ships. While there is advertising for the art for sale, there is also plenty for the ship's spa. The casino was small and the machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. Card and roulette tables were present, but no craps tables. There was a small selection of duty-free liquor on board; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship's photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person's shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip, for example, the maitre d' because of his help in organizing your wife's birthday celebration, then you have to give him some cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. On March 26, three days before our disembarkation, we received a preliminary bill. This bill not only lists every charge you have made, but also subtracts the charges from whatever ship's credit you may have received from your agent or elsewhere. Pay attention to this as contrary to other ships, your credit is per person and not per cabin. If you are the usual couple, the husband signs all the charge slips. His credit gets used up. Now you find out that the wife's "voyage credit" has hardly been touched, and the credits are NOT transferable. For the last days of the voyage, my wife signed all the charge slips, and we made out OK. In short, if each person does not use his credit, he will lose it. On the last morning you receive a paper final statement of your account. 10. Disembarking in Ft Lauderdale: Your bags have to be out between 5PM and 12PM. Crew personnel are constantly removing the bags; you must be careful placing your bags outside because they will be gone, and you will have no chance to add or retrieve an item. Breakfast is early, and you will be out of your cabin by 8:30. You must be out and waiting in your designated area because that is the only place where you will hear disembarking instructions. Nothing is announced on the TV or PA system. The system works very well. In our case we got off the ship at 8:30; were through customs and immigration, and arrived at the airport at 9:15; and were checked in, through security, and at the gate at 10:00. 11. Our only complaint: Several days into the voyage I received a rude form letter from the "chief accountant" accusing me of "failing to provide credit card information" and threatening to freeze my ship account if I did not provide this information. Not being in a good mood, I went to the Purser's desk to find out what was up. The clerk apologized that there was a transfer problem from the pier check-in computers to the ship's system. That was reasonable, and he was not thrilled when I pointed out the tone of the accountant's form letter. More apologies. Cunard literature emphasizes how the line trains its personnel in service, manners, etc. While this training is well reflected in the crew and officers on board, it does not seem to apply to the bean counters who have no contact with the passengers. 12. Conclusion: This was a most enjoyable trip. We learned about the Cunard system of running its ships and can easily see why there are so many fans of this line. We are not interested in doing a crossing, but whenever a Cunard ship is doing some sort of a voyage based out of the US, such as this one, we will be interested. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com.Fred GrothSan Antonio, TX Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We travelled as a couple in our early 50's. Everything went without a hitch from the flights from Heathrow, the transfers between airports, hotels and ship, the overnight stop at the Hilton Marina, Fort Lauderdale, the ... Read More
We travelled as a couple in our early 50's. Everything went without a hitch from the flights from Heathrow, the transfers between airports, hotels and ship, the overnight stop at the Hilton Marina, Fort Lauderdale, the embarkation/disembarkation, to the return flight home. The Celebrity Equinox truly is a beautiful ship and there were many 'WoW' moments throughout our 10 days onboard. There were also a lot of things that we felt should not have been as they were. I've covered everything that we loved...and what we didn't, below. The things we loved: First and foremost, the food. We had absolutely no adverse comment to make at any time. The variety was amazing with no compromise on quality. We ate everyday in the Oceanview Cafe for breakfast and lunch and the Silhouette Restaurant each evening bar one as my husband really fancied the trying the evening O'view Cafe buffet (which was ok, but not as good a selection as we'd have hoped for an evening meal). The fresh made ice-cream & sorbet choice in the O'view Cafe varied daily and was innovative and delicious. I frequently noticed fairly long queues here so I chose only to go for ice-cream when it was less busy. The steaks in the Silhouette were exceptional and always cooked exactly to order. My favourite meal by far was the lobster which was served on the second formal night. I'd previously read reviews that the buffet deserts look much better than they tasted but I never found this to be true...they definitely all tasted as amazing as they looked! The buffet curries were incredibly tasty! The ship itself: So many parts to explore and we were still discovering different areas on the day we were disembarking! I'd read reviews before we sailed that said you could always find a quiet area to relax away from the crowds. It's surprisingly true. At times when strolling around we even felt the ship had been deserted and actually wondered where everyone else was! A visit to the pool area usually revealed all. On sea days the poolside was rowdy and hectic but you could still relax in peace on the sunbeds towards the sides of the ship or on the nearby upper decks. Yes, there were the inevitable 'hoggers' which is to be expected but vacant sunbeds could usually be found. We did have to remember which side was the smoking side though and often had to reposition ourselves to the other side when we realised we had inadvertently placed ourselves downwind of the dreaded smoke! The friendliness of everyone onboard, crew & guests alike: American and Canadian guests are just so pleasant and always ready for a chat whether it's for a few moments in a lift or whilst enjoying breakfast or lunch on the closely placed tables. It made us realise how reserved us British are! The entertainment: We were a bit worried that it would not match up to previous experience on the Ruby Princess 2 years ago but we had no cause for concern. Every show and production we saw was fabulous, in fact it got better as the cruise went on. Gareth Oliver the English ventriloquist was brilliant. Very clever and hilariously funny! He seemed such a regular down to earth guy too (he sat near us at breakfast on the last day which I thought was great!) The Equinox shows were also brilliant. Trapeze acts, contortionists, jugglers, dancers, singers...all amazing and on a par with the best Cirque du Soleil shows we've seen in Vegas and the UK. The Liars Club, Newly Weds and Not so Newly Weds show and comedian Al Ducharne were all very entertaining. I really liked the male quartet called Jukebox but my husband said they were too young to be doing the type of show they did! The group we really didn't like I've mentioned below! The ports we visited: Great choice for the cruise called 'The Ultimate Caribbean'. St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St Maarten....loved them all and found it very easy to get onto an island tour (either as a couple or part of a small group) offered by local tour operators just minutes from the ship. We paid between $25 and $30 each for a 2 to 3 hour trip which we thought was great value (and a fraction of the ship's tour prices!) Each tour gave us a good insight into what each island had to offer. The prices generally seemed fixed which we found a lot easier than the haggling we'd been used to on previous cruises. The Casino: A vibrant, fun and colourful place to be even if you don't intend spending a cent! It was fun simply watching others part with their virtual cash (and we were amazed at how quickly and easily those dollars diminished on the slots and tables!) The noise and atmosphere in here was intoxicating...very reminiscent of Vegas! The smoke free air was lovely too! The silhouette dining room: A huge and glamorous place to dine in. We loved the menus and we didn't tire of eating there each evening. The staff were very efficient (though somewhat annoyingly full-on with the 'good' service...a peaceful, uninterrupted meal was sadly not the norm). In-room television: Easy to operate the interactive facility. We would put the TV on while we were getting ready to go to dinner and we even managed to watch a film one day! It's there if you want it and plenty on it to watch. The films could even be saved for a couple of days if not finished. You could even view and purchase your onboard photos and it was fun to browse them! The veranda/balcony: We had already experienced this little luxury on the Ruby Princess and would now find it difficult to settle for anything less than a cabin with a balcony. Although I only sat on it once for any considerable length of time, it was lovely to have it. The seats were comfortable and there is a small (slightly weathered) round table too. We didn't have breakfast on it as we like to go the buffet but I spoke to some guests who did (via room service) and they really enjoyed that aspect of it. We kept our curtains open all night (even though the cabin steward insisted on routinely closing them for us while we were out in the evening!) so that we could wake up to the surprise view each time we docked somewhere new. Half the cabins were designed so that the bed was adjacent to the patio doors, the other half were set back and the huge boxy sofa was by the window instead. We were fortunate that ours was by the window but you won't know the configuration of the room until you first enter it! My husband said it all depended on the shape of the room, they alternate the design along the corridor apparently. Now for the let-downs :-( Overall cleanliness onboard: This was my biggest gripe...everyday! I am a self-confessed 'clean & tidy freak' and I felt that there were certain areas onboard that had been seriously overlooked in this respect. Good hygiene practices appear to be a top priority onboard (the numerous hand gel dispensers placed everywhere are testament to this fact!) but I feel it is equally important to simply provide clean, tidy and pleasant surroundings to relax in. The worst areas for grubbiness were the toilets. In all the toilets around the ship I rarely saw anyone in attendance and when I did they were not actually checking or cleaning inside each cubicle, rather they seemed to be spending far too much time folding small (unnecessary) cloth hand towels into neat little rolls just to be used once and then invariably discarded by inconsiderate guests into the wrong container after use! Consequently it was hit or miss whether you'd find a quick 'visit' either a pleasant or cringe-worthy experience. Sadly, 5 star cruises do not guarantee 5 star guests and the state some selfish people leave the facilities in after use simply beggars belief. Also, I did not initially find the toilet in our stateroom cleaned to my standards (there was that unpleasant odour emitting from the hidden areas that gave it away). Fortunately I always pack anti-bacterial toilet cleaning wipes which I'd prefer not to have to roll my sleeves up and use (well I am on holiday!) but as I was to be using the loo for 10 days I was glad I'd packed them. Rightly or wrongly I am always reluctant to make a fuss about such things as I don't want any repercussions, hence I don't tend to alert housekeeping...I just do it myself my way...it's easier! Something that regularly niggled us was being constantly surrounded by uncleared tables...also plates, tumblers, cocktail glasses and cutlery left either sitting on the end of or under sunbeds or anywhere else the inconsiderate guest decided to abandon it. Sometimes tumblers of drinks had spilled over on the outside deck areas and were left sitting in sticky, spreading puddles which guests (and crew!) simply stepped over! This happened all over the ship but mainly around the pool areas. We found this sadly lowered the tone of the ship's elegance. Some guests seem to have the attitude that it's not up to them to take their wine glass back out of the theatre or to place their empty water bottle in the nearest bin rather than on the carpet against a wall but as I said before about 5 star cruising and the guests etc....following on from that, we did feel the crew also tended to overlook such clutter and we constantly observed them (whatever their status) casually walk past the same 'mess' several times seemingly oblivious to the fact it was unsightly. I felt this general lack of care just served to encourage more of the same mess to accumulate. Quite often I would often clear things away myself for my own convenience. This was also a frequent problem I found in the O'view Cafe. Finding someone to clear or wipe down a table at busy times was sometimes just too time-consuming (especially with your plate of food going cold!) so once you secured a table it was easier to simply move used stuff yourself onto another table that was already piled up waiting to be cleared! Other areas of concern we observed were the food and drink splashes that had collected on the full length windows in the O'view Cafe coupled with general grime accumulating on the lower ledge of the window...not pleasant to observe whilst eating and trying to admire the view of a new port! I never saw anyone cleaning the inside windows and the outsides were 'cleaned' by a spray machine on one of the days but then left to dry naturally resulting in unsightly watermarks! The bench seats in the O'view Cafe were really past their use by date...very grubby and food stained to the point I wouldn't sit on them unless I placed a serviette down first! Certainly not of a 5 star standard in fact I would expect better seating in my local McD's! The same can also be said of the sofas in the Library....well overdue for a good clean or replacement! Carpets in the O'view Cafe were quite often covered in crumbs and food remains and I personally felt a quick passing of a simple carpet sweeper would make a huge difference in-between the thorough daily vacuuming. The sunbeds: Plenty available but crammed in without any gaps in-between, definitely designed for keeping sardines at sea where they belong! They are covered in a navy blue fabric, some of which are inevitably looking faded and worn after several months use. We had a couple of impromptu rain showers which just left the covers soaked and unusable until the sun dried them again! A major design faux pas I fear! Also, some guests had no qualms about sitting on the sunbeds with their shoes on leaving unpleasant dirty marks on them. One totally selfish (ignorant?) girl was even standing on a sunbed in high heels trying to get a good photo!!! Padded wipe-clean plastic beds would have been so much more practical, more durable and would look nicer for much longer . Towels: Cabin towels were lovely...white, fluffy and very clean (even by my standards!) I felt they were replaced unnecessarily often even when placed on the rails for re-use as they suggest. I don't mind using mine twice but generally they were swiftly whipped away for replacement wherever you left them! Pool towels (pale blue) on the other hand were very hit and miss. Always available whatever time of day on a help yourself basis which unfortunately proved not to be ideal as it wasn't therefore possible to regulate their usage. Consequently we felt that many more towels were used each day than was really necessary. This method also didn't require towels to be returned to a central area and many were simply abandoned by selfish guests (yes, they are sadly everywhere onboard!) after use on sunbeds giving the impression the bed was 'reserved'. When collecting my daily towels I found I had to sort through the supply to find acceptable ones as some were simply too disgusting (stained and grubby) and I even doubted whether some had been washed at all! Unlike the cabin towels they never had a fresh or clean smell to them. The beach towels (pale yellow) were far too chunky and large to carry around on island trips so we opted to take the lighter-weight pool towels with us instead. Kids: Fortunately not too many on our cruise as we chose to go during term-time but the few we encountered were particularly irritating. One particular group of 4 young girls would often be seen playing in the lifts (mucking up the glass with noses and hands) or on the outside decks flicking spoons of ice-cream around and throwing jelly sweets at each other whilst running around shrieking loudly. I would have shaken my head in disbelief at their parents....but not surprisingly we never saw them with them of course! Some kids had been given the task via the kids club to approach the guests and collect 'jokes' or ask where we were from etc. One would have assumed they would have been encouraged to be courteous when doing so but they had obviously forgotten to brief them on that bit ;-) Our stateroom: There is much talk of these 5 amazing well travelled women who designed the cabins....hhhhm. I somehow feel they must have lost their blueprints at the last moment. We found the general design to be awful. Given the limited space available to play with, the worst thing they did was cram in an unnecessarily long cream leather-look boxy sofa which just happens to be rock hard, bolt-upright and most uncomfortable! Completely surplus to requirement too! 1 or 2 comfy fabric chairs would have been much more practical. We sat on the bed mostly which is what most people in hotel rooms do anyway! Our huge cream vinyl sofa had 2 large unsightly dark blue stains on it which is the very first thing we noticed upon entering our cabin. We immediately moved the central coffee table out of the way to the space under the dressing table. We didn't have need for it once and it was just in the way in the narrow room. The fabric cushions placed upon the sofa smelled very unpleasant and musty and the 2 smaller ones that were placed on the bed (against our pillows, yukk!) got thrown straight into a corner each day for the same reason! On the first day we left the balcony doors wide open while we went exploring the ship as we felt the room was in need of a good airing. The quilt cover was not changed for the duration of the cruise (I got a small lipstick mark on it the first day which was still there the day we vacated!) The bottom sheet and dividing sheet were changed just once half way through. The wardrobe was the most annoying thing to use on a daily basis. It was practically inaccessible because of the large sofa leaving little room to get into it and the sliding doors were stiff and didn't open fully. Twice I painfully caught my finger in the handle because of the bad design. Not a relaxing way to ready of an evening! There was a lot of wasted space that could easily have been better utilised such as the solid piece of fascia under the huge sofa. This could have housed a large drawer for shoes or the beach towels. Any hooks (and these were an absolute minimum) were placed so high there was no way I could reach them (I'm a fairly short but not a dwarf at 5 foot 2 inches). All I can assume is that those 5 women must have all been at least 5 foot 8 inches! There is a shaver socket in the bathroom that is literally inaccessible to anyone shorter than medium height! Any swimwear has to be carefully washed in the miniscule basin and then hung on the 2 mega-high short pegs within the shower.....that's it....any other washing is simply out of the question! There is space for a much bigger basin so why not have put one there? There is a big void beneath the basin which could have housed more valuable storage. And for some reason the mixer tap on the tiny basin is HUGE! Simply washing one's face can cause a major flood and could give you a black eye into the bargain if you're not really careful! And as for the gimmicky steam proof mirror.....errr...it really doesn't work! Constant intrusiveness: Equinox is a friendly ship, no doubt. But around half a dozen daily visits to your room from the cabin stewards is just not necessary. Even the 'do not disturb' sign on the door does not guarantee complete privacy. We became paranoid about the constant visits and often had to jump back into the bathroom to save our embarrassment each the door handle was rattled! Sometimes we even found our very pleasant cabin steward patiently waiting against the wall outside our cabin for us to go to dinner so he could come in and clean the shower yet again, replace the towels, turn down the corners of our quilt, place 2 totally unnecessary chocolates on our pillows etc (we collected them to take home to our chocaholic son so I didn't really mind that!!!) These constant visits are just annoying and simply not necessary and this is where I feel the standard of cleanliness around the ship is unbalanced. The cabin stewards on our deck had a little 'code' that they would use where they would place tiny rolled up pieces of paper in the door jamb so they could tell if you were in/out/had been back/had not been back etc etc. We figured this out after just a couple of days ( I'm the type that would notice tiny bits of litter on the floor!) and sometimes we teasingly played them at their game by putting the rolled up paper back as we left our room! The same irritating attentiveness is to be found in the Silhouette dining room. The constant interruption such as 'is everything ok with your food sir/madam' and the routine reading out of the whole menu (usually off my menu from over my shoulder!) is again unnecessary and annoying. It was hard to pay attention when all you wanted to do was enjoy perusing the menu at leisure for yourself and then just enjoy your meal in peace! On a plus note, we just happened to mention one evening to the maitre d' that we preferred longer breaks between courses and commendably he remembered this and from that evening onwards he saw to it that we got our wish which was a nice touch. If you get a bit too familiar with some of the waiters you do end up having to hear all their gripes about working for Celebrity which can be tiresome. Mostly they are all lovely (they have to be, it seems to be the main Equinox rule) so we didn't really mind....unless we were trying hard to get away in a hurry for a show which incidentally all start exactly on time! Nominal fee applies: This is probably one of the things that irritated us most. It is a phrase that you will see onboard a lot...it appears frequently amongst the list of daily activities, in the additional cafes and the bistro, for ice-cream other than from the O'view cafe, some TV films, some exercise classes, for fresh fruit juice in the O'view cafe...the list goes on. It seemed inconsistent and frankly penny-pinching. Worst of all it wasn't always clear whether there was an additional charge for some things or not and it's embarrassing to have to ask before deciding whether it's necessarily worth paying for! We thought the most disappointing additional fee was for the afternoon tea. On Princess cruises this was included in the price and was beautifully done. On Celebrity the cost was unreasonably high in our opinion (can't recall the cost exactly but it was well over £20 each and it wasn't stated anywhere so you did have to ask!) Needless to say we gave it a miss! The least enjoyable form of entertainment in our opinion was the daily pool-side singing group called Top Notch. Cringingly amateurish and boringly samey out of tune songs day after day. When they started up each afternoon we would use this as a 'time to move on' excuse! Quite honestly we were intrigued at how they managed to secure such a coveted position of resident band on a Celebrity cruise ship! I am sure I will remember many more things I wish I'd mentioned in my review but I hope that I have been helpful to prospective cruisers on this ship. Overall we had an amazing time and we would definitely recommend the Celebrity Equinox. I realise I am in the minority in expecting very high standards of cleanliness and tidiness so unless you feel you are even more picky about such things than me, then GO, you will definitely enjoy it!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We have traveled on HAL in the past to the Panama Canal and it was fabulous. I will just list the disappoints on Noordam; which we will not be traveling again on anytime soon. 1. I asked for an ashtray 4 times didn't get one so used ... Read More
We have traveled on HAL in the past to the Panama Canal and it was fabulous. I will just list the disappoints on Noordam; which we will not be traveling again on anytime soon. 1. I asked for an ashtray 4 times didn't get one so used a glass; then I finally got one. 2. No ice in the ice bucket the 1st night. 3. Both night stands had saltine crackers, Splenda and SweetnLow in them (UCK) 4. Pinacle Bar;ordered 2 drinks; wanted another 2 and too busy to get to us; we left. 5. Wine steward didn't take drink orders unless you were ordering wine and then he paid close attention to you. We did finally get a couple of drinks one night,he forgot to charge our card; we told him the next night and instead of apologizing he asked for our card; his mistake; should not have taken card (in my opinion). 6. Our safe failed 4 times; 1st and 2nd time reset, 3rd time new batteries and 4th reset. We have used the same code for 10 years; so I know it wasn't us. Frustrating when it's a formal night and you can't get to your belongings. 7. Toilet backed up @ 5:30 a.m., and was told the plumber would be out to fix @ 8:00 a.m., not good enough; finally someone came (probable around 6:00 a.m.) 8. We spoke with some other cruisers who were just as disappointed; mainly with the staff. Their attitudes and personalities were just not up to par. 9. The poolside bar in the back of ship was the worse. Smiles actually did appear on their faces on the last day of the cruise. Was hard to get service, it was like they were ignoring you; yet another disappointment. 10. I have to say the best crew member on the Noordam was Roman in the Sport's Bar; every night we showed up, he had our drinks, was kind, talked with us and it was just pleasant. That is how cruising should be. They may be overworked, but we are still the customers. 11. The tours were fantastic; I was a little upset when going to Grand Turk only to find out the Catamaran cruise was canceled; it was canceled because there were not enough people to go; and things like that happen. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We cruised Alaska with Silversea in 2010 on Silver Shadow but this was our first time in the Caribbean and on Silver Spirit. On arrival at Miami Airport we collected our luggage and just outside the baggage hall the Silversea ... Read More
We cruised Alaska with Silversea in 2010 on Silver Shadow but this was our first time in the Caribbean and on Silver Spirit. On arrival at Miami Airport we collected our luggage and just outside the baggage hall the Silversea representatives met us and took our luggage. We boarded the mini bus for the 45 minute transfer to the Silversea pre-cruise hotel which was the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. The transfer was handled well and we arrived at the hotel very quickly. The Pre-cruise hotel was however not so good and poor value for the cost. This is reviewed in more detail on Trip Advisor. The following day the 13.00 transfer to the ship (10 mins maximum) was also smooth and as we passed the long time of people standing in the hot sunshine waiting to board the Holland America ship we started to get a bit apprehensive. No need, as we were dropped off in a covered area and swiftly went through customs after filling in a short health form. Next we went up to a desk and picked up our suite "keys" and were then straight onto the ship - less than 30 minutes after leaving the hotel. A glass of champagne waited in reception for us and then a quick photograph for the security card/ suite key and we were all done. We were informed that our suite would not be ready until 14.30 so off we went to La Terrazza for some lunch. We went along to our suite at 14.40 and it was all ready but there was no sign of our butler (we later learned that they have a break in the middle of the day) so we unpacked ourselves to avoid the clothes being even more creased. This I guess is the down side of being allowed to board early but it was nice to get on the ship and get settled before we left port. We also used the time in the restaurant to book tables for later in the cruise at La Terrazza and "Hot Rocks". The ship itself has some good points and some bad points. For a relatively new ship there are some quality issues which you wouldn't expect to find. The chairs in the dining areas are already showing signs of wear with chips on the wooden handles and some of the seats on deck had nasty stains on the cushions. Some of the deck areas are covered in an "imitation" deck covering which is some sort of plastic coating but it is not non slip and there are signs all around warning that it may become slippery when wet. We didn't find it too slippery but it does look very cheap and nasty. There are however some "bumps" on the deck which do catch you out from time to time. On this warm weather cruise the walking/jogging area became clogged up with sun loungers and we didn't enjoy walking our usual few miles to burn up the calories quite so much as on other cruises. The "bar" on deck 5 is a nice area to meet for pre and post dinner drinks and is a good size. The tables in La Terrazza however are so close together that getting to a window table is difficult. The tables in the main dining area are much better spaced. We tried the "hot Rocks" dining one night but it is a bit of a novelty and who wants to cook their own food when on holiday? There seemed to be lots of room on the ship but there were only around 340 passengers. Our suite was clean and tidy but I don't think that our choice of Hypo-allergenic pillows had been picked up from the guest information forms we filled in on line (my birthday was missed on our cruise last year as well). We asked the butler to check and they were provided before retiring for the night. The cabin does appear narrow at first as others have commented on but we never really found this to be a problem. It does mean that some of the cupboards are so narrow as to be useless but there is plenty of other storage space. We did find the washbowl a bit shallow and if the tap is turned on a bit too hard water does splash over the mirror. The tap is also a bit fiddly and in our suite you had to push the handle down to turn the water on. There is also only one bowl where some ships have two. The shower and bath worked well but we did have a bit of a smell in the toilet at some stages of our trip - it was not particularly bad and seemed to come and go. The major problem we had on our first night on the way from Fort Lauderdale to BVI was the noise and vibration in the suite. The sea was quite rough with a sizeable swell but the balcony door rattled, the wardrobe door rattled and various other bits of the cabin joined in for good measure. On the way back from Prince Rupert to San Francisco on our previous cruise on Silver Shadow the sea was much rougher but we never had a problems with our suite. Also we don't tend to suffer from sea sickness but we didn't feel too good after our first night and the following day we had a light breakfast and lunch and went to bed at 17.00. We complained about our cabin and two maintenance men spent over an hour on the suite door and then pronounced that they couldn't fix it. We were offered the use of another cabin on deck 6 (we were on deck 8) which we didn't like so much but we slept there for two nights whilst we were at sea and until the sea calmed down a bit. This avoided us having to pack and unpack again to move cabin. I managed to fix the balcony door with aid of a flannel from the bathroom wedged under the outside runner of the door to make sure the catches engaged properly when closed. The table on the balcony was falling apart and it wouldn't even take a drink. This was replaced by a better one but it still had sharp pieces sticking out of the side and needed replacing. We were advised that they were all the same. The wooden decking on the balcony rocked as you walked on it and the other end rose up by almost 1 inch. This couldn't be repaired either as it was caused by a bulge in the metal of the deck according to the maintenance staff. By this stage I was wishing I had packed my tool bag as I am sure I could fix it! The aircon also seemed to be a bit dodgy and sometimes in the middle of the night we would wake up as the room had got too hot. The control unit was only partly secured to the wall and this was reported by the butler but never fixed before we left the ship. The TV remote control sensor is located below the mirrors and just above a couple of useful shelves but if you place anything on the shelf it blocks the sensor and you can't operate the TV. Poor design. We felt that the food quality and choice at breakfast and lunch was not as good as last year but still ok. Most of the fruit at breakfast seemed to be tinned which is surprising given we were between Florida and the Caribbean. The eggs were freshly cooked as usual but at 07.00 when we had breakfast most mornings the other "hot" items were not as hot as they should have been. The hash browns were over cooked virtually every day and disintegrated when a fork was applied. The coffee and orange juice were very good however. The dinner choice was good and the quality fine. The menu had quite a lot of fish dishes reflecting the local produce but the steaks were always an option and superb (you must try the Black Angus steak). The complimentary wine (and champagne) was in my opinion poor except for some good Italian and New Zealand white bottles mainly served at lunchtime. On our previous cruise with Silversea when we asked for something else we always found a good alternative. On this cruise the alternatives offered were also on the whole poor and the wine waiter staff did not seem to know what was available in the their cellar. We never saw the head sommelier during the trip. Screw top bottles of Cote De Rhone are not really 6 star cruising? The staff were on the whole quite good and friendly especially the butlers and room maids but some of the European restaurant staff had a very abrupt manner which was a bit disconcerting. Our butler called us by name but virtually no other staff asked our name or used it. On our previous Silversea cruise the restaurant staff knew us by name within a couple of days. There seemed to be just something missing this time and perhaps it was the very officious Maitre d' who certainly kept the staff on their toes. The "senior" staff (captain, Chief Engineer etc) were not very visible either in the restaurants or public areas but perhaps we just missed them. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation and the colour coding system for our luggage and getting off worked well. We were off the ship by 09.30 having had to vacate the cabin by 08.00 making use of the bar to wait. On our previous cruise we were "abandoned" by Silversea at San Francisco airport at around 11.00 for a 17.30 flight which we knew to be around 5 hours late thanks to a text from BA. The ship had been chartered for the next week leaving ASAP and so remaining on the ship was not an option. On this cruise we were offered a "complimentary" excursion which lasted 6.5 hours and included lunch dropping us off at the airport only 3 hours from our scheduled departure - much better! This was offered as an excursion ($139 if pre booked) on the list we received but we did not take it up thankfully. We took 5 Tours (including the complimentary one in Barbados) mainly because we had $500 shipboard credit. None of them looked very inspiring I have to say unless you like beaches or snorkelling. The tour in Antigua (overview) turned out to be really good but that was down to the fantastic tour guide we had on the bus. We spoke to others who did the same trip and they didn't enjoy it. I guess the Caribbean islands do not have that much to see on tours. I would recommend that you do NOT book the Seven Sisters waterfalls tour on Grenada unless you want to spend an hour on a botany lesson about the vegetation on the island, and another couple of hours slithering up and down a steep muddy slope to see a couple of fairly poor waterfalls (the other 5 are so small that it is not worth the effort to climb up to see them). On the way back there is a group of guys who charge you $1 to clean your shoes before you are allowed to board the bus. The tour guides put on a pair of wellies before they set out which was very wise but not an option for us. The cruise Itinerary gave us a good flavour of the Caribbean visiting 7 different islands but I have to say they are all remarkably similar and apart from the sunshine and beaches they are not very interesting. They are all becoming very dependent on tourism and in places like Castries you have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers just to walk out of the port, many of whom I am sure are not licensed. It was nice to see the Caribbean but it is not for us Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I am in my 50's and my husband is in his 70's with some mobility problems. So we were looking for a small ship that would limit how far he had to walk, and we didn't want children running around. I mainly wanted to relax and ... Read More
I am in my 50's and my husband is in his 70's with some mobility problems. So we were looking for a small ship that would limit how far he had to walk, and we didn't want children running around. I mainly wanted to relax and didn't care that much about the ports. So we chose this cruise to be pampered and paid a lot more than I'm used to paying for a cruise. Let me start with the good. Our penthouse suite stateroom was all we could have asked for. The butler took great care of us bringing us hors d'oeurves every afternoon whether we ordered them or not. We tend to spend time in the stateroom and enjoyed watching some good movies on the stateroom television. There was plenty of storage for clothes, and the room was comfortable. The staff was great! As soon as we left the room, the beds were made and the room tidied. Both specialty restaurants were excellent, and we enjoyed the grill by the pool. Also, at lunch, the pizza in the buffet by the pool was good, and one day they were making and serving homemade pasta at the luncheon buffet. It was excellent! Also, afternoon tea is a must. Overall the food was good but too rich for our tastes. We are particular about food and enjoy a good meal. As much as I like french food, it got to be too much. Toward the end I was happy to order just a steak and fries -- something simple. The entertainment was disappointing. We enjoyed the string quartet at afternoon tea and before dinner, but their skill level was more of what I'd expect of good high school musicians. The shows were amateurish. We were spoiled by the quality of shows on Royal Carribbean, and this didn't even come close. The first night they had a juggler who had an almost impossible task considering how much the ship was rocking. We did enjoy the Russian female pianist. I have always enjoyed playing bingo on cruises, but here there was little participation and no snowball bingo. The pots barely covered the cost of playing. On the way down to our first port we heard one of the engines broke. Instead of reaching port in the morning, we did not arrive until mid-afternoon. Most excursions were cancelled. Did I mention the ship rocking?! About 1/3 into the cruise there were lots of seasick people even though the seas did not look that rough. Then we heard the rocking was because one of the ship's stabilizers broke. When my elderly husband started vomiting we went to the medical staff. The doctor injected him with something that caused him to immediately slump in the wheelchair. It took 3 of us 15 minutes to get him out of the wheelchair and into bed in the stateroom. Then he started hallucinating and I had trouble keeping him in the bed. It was a nightmare! When we went back to the doctor the next day and told him what happened he replied that that can happen. Well thanks for warning us! And for this we were charged $500!!! All-in-all a very bad experience. Then going through a doorway he scraped his arm badly from the ship rocking. Although we got two calls from staff inquiring how he was, they failed to follow up with any written report. After being charged $500 for seasickness we dared not go back to the medical unit. So I spent most of my time in the ports tracking down first aid supplies to bandage him. Most of the ports were terrible. Since this was a small ship, I did not expect to have to tender this much. I think we only docked at 2 ports. All the rest were tenders. I have been to much of the carribbean before, and we didn't chose this cruise for the ports. That being said, some of the ports have something to offer. In Virgin Gorda I went to the "Baths". This is a beach area with huge stone boulders that form caves and grottos to explore. This is not a trip for anyone with mobility issues. The walk down to the Baths is not easy, and it takes some balance and skill to walk and crawl through the grottos. But for those who like some adventure, this is worth doing. St. Bart's is interesting to walk around and explore the shops, but don't expect any deals. This is like shopping Rodeo Dr. or Worth Ave. -- very pricey. The Dominican Republic was most disappointing. There was a free shuttle from the ship that took us to a shopping area in town that was total junk. We were acosted walking through there with vendors trying to get us to buy plastic junk. Everyone from the ship was warning others not to bother going -- total waste of time. I had signed up to go horsebackriding on the beach, but that excursion was cancelled for lack of interest. If I were to ever consider an Oceania cruise again, I would stay away from these smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Have cruised all my life but never on a high end ship. First time on the Oceania Lines and Marina. Pros: Beautiful ship , friendly staff, nice balcony, bedding, cleanliness of the ship, Embarkation, enrichment activities for pay. ... Read More
Have cruised all my life but never on a high end ship. First time on the Oceania Lines and Marina. Pros: Beautiful ship , friendly staff, nice balcony, bedding, cleanliness of the ship, Embarkation, enrichment activities for pay. Restaurant options. Cons: Poor bathroom design in the veranda suites as well as the size and depth of the closet for your clothes, shipboard activities, entertainment,enrichment activities for free.clanking in the hallway or pipes (never figured out) all times of the evening.Debarkation. Pro's a little more in depth. The ship is beautiful and kept very clean. The staff for the most part is friendly and helpful. It seems like the crew was more friendlier then the officers passing by. The verandas have a nice balcony with 2 cushion chairs. Very relaxing and comfortable. The veranda rooms have nice comfortable bedding as a well as a top notch bed(s). Embarkation was a breeze. 15 minutes and we were on the ship.No waiting whatsoever. We didn't participate in any of the wine tasting or culinary classes but we heard that they were informative, interesting and worth the money. The food without question was the highlight of the trip except for the Grand Dining room. Don't get me wrong the Grand Dining room was okay it is just that from the Terrace Cafe to all the specialty restaurants each one of them were superb. Service-Room steward was excellent and was attentive to our needs. Waiters and Wait staff.. Never had any bad experiences in any specialty restaurants involving the wait staff. They all were excellent. Terrace Cafe- Best buffet on the high seas. Exceeded our expectations in every way. Had a few instances of poor service but for the most part everyone tried hard and went the extra yard to satisfy all the customers. Cons a little more in depth: Bathroom was designed by a midget. Figured most people that take a cruise would be 5'4" or shorter and weigh less then 100lbs.They tried to do to much in to little of space. The shower is not high enough and there isn't enough room to move around. Spoke with the captain and he told me that he agreed..oops they goofed. Hard to believe this could happen on a high end shipping company like Oceania. Hardly any room on the vanity counter space and the doors open out so you have to be careful that no toiletries are in the way or they will fly off the counter. Had 2 twin beds that were not twin beds but 2 single beds. If you end up in this situation you need to be careful if you tend to turn when you sleep you could end up on the floor. Free activities.... same ole same ole... Putt putt golf, Table Tennis, paddle tennis, shuffleboard... Couldn't remember if they offered even 1 free cooking class or wine tasting or anything else interesting. Grand Buffet in the Grand Dining room... worse venue on the ship.. unorganized, not enough help, had menus and a buffet. Sat for 15 minutes no service...went up to get something to eat and still no bus boy or waiter came by... 10 minutes later I ordered a pancake and it arrived 25 minutes later... No refills on coffee and the entire meal was a bust. Debarkation: Said everybody had to be off the ship by 9 am. But docked way before 6:00 am. We signed up for late debarkation because we had a driver picking us up. Debarkation was unorganized and people were cutting the lines from all over the ship. There was one line to exit but 3 or 4 feeder lines from all over the floor. We didn't exit until almost 9:30 am. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Previous cruise experience: 5th cruise for myself, 2nd for my husband. All previous cruises were with Princess; we decided to try Celebrity as the recommendation of a friend who has done 20 cruises with "X." This was the third ... Read More
Previous cruise experience: 5th cruise for myself, 2nd for my husband. All previous cruises were with Princess; we decided to try Celebrity as the recommendation of a friend who has done 20 cruises with "X." This was the third cruise for Summit post "Soltisizing" in January. We began with a flight from the northeast on a day that was overcast with light snow; there was a problem with connecting flights arriving in our departure airport so we started our day leaving late. By the time we got to our transfer airport we were told to sprint to the gate on the chance our departing flight was still on the ground; if it was not we were given boarding passes for the next flight. When we got to the gate they were lining up passengers who were sailing on that day and we got the last 2 seats on the flight; this made paying the extra $50.00 to the cruise line for our tickets worthwhile. The flight we got on was an earlier scheduled flight that had not yet departed; our actual flight didn't leave until late in the afternoon leaving those passengers to arrive well after sail time for our ship. I usually fly the day before and won't do this again; too close a call! We got to the ship about 5 PM, missing the planned gathering of CC friends and the ship's lifeboat safety drill. We had an early dinner in the dining room, a pleasant meal and our first shot at escargot! We had an early morning excursion and after a brief ship's tour we went to enjoy our aft balcony for sail-away. Sunday morning we had breakfast at the buffet and departed in St Croix on our ship's tour to kayak the Salt River. It was a lovely trip with some great guides and I would do it again. Interestingly I HAD to book this tour through the ship because they had an exclusive with the only kayak guide I could find for the location. I have never had this experience with Princess; we were always free to book with anyone we desired. One can certainly understand why the cruise lines and guides would do this but I hope the trend of scooping up reserves on the best tour guides isn't the trend among all the lines. We had dinner in the dining room, choosing to request a table for two during our "select" dining time. This was the first of two formal nights and we were surprised to see so few tuxes on the men; to our memory there were more people who dressed formally (tuxes, long gowns) on our Princess cruises. We both dress up for formal nights, my husband in a tux and I in a long gown or cocktail length. We tended to request a table for two all week, which we had to wait for on only 2 occasions (and not more than 10-15 minutes); the way the tables were set up we had the option of either easy conversation with couples on either side of us, or keeping to ourselves. Although many people like to have an assigned seating time we enjoy the flexibility of the open dining time and we found that most nights we were assigned to the same area of the dining room and we developed relationships with a couple of the wait staff members and most importantly to me, the two sommelier's assigned to that section. On this evening we wandered the ship, heard a delightful pair of musicians called the Mozaika Duo (accordion and violin), and retired early to our balcony to enjoy the stars. On Monday we were in St. Kitts; this was the second of our two planned ship's excursions. Today we went to a restored plantation for a culinary demo and lunch. We are serious foodies (my husband attended culinary school) and love to cook. To us the tour was pleasant but we would have preferred a more hands-on class. The food was delicious, we learned about a few new seasonings and tried delicious sorrel tea, toured the beautiful garden, and the sun was warm. What's not to like in the Caribbean in February? When we returned to the ship I attended a wine tasting-food pairing program that was a part of the Celebrity "Life at Sea" program of activities. This tasting was recommended by the sommelier and the cost was $15.00 per person; it was well worth the expense! Celebrity has a contract with Wente Vineyards of California to use their wines for these shipboard events. There was wine, a variety of food pairings, and a very knowledgeable sommelier who walked us through the pairings; it was very interesting to see not only how the wine affected the food (expected) but how the food affected the wine (unexpected). I learned a lot and left with a very informative brochure about pairings accompanied by lots of tasting notes. After the tasting I went to the spa. I had purchased a spa pass for the week ($100.00) that allowed access to the steam rooms (one moist, one dry, one moist-herbal). Near the spa there is a pool of warm salt water and two hot tubs, there is also a locker room with a dry sauna. These areas outside of the spa are accessible to anyone. I made a habit of enjoying these areas almost every afternoon while my husband read or napped on our balcony. On Princess there was a similar area with paid access however it only cost me $60.00 for the week (it was 120.00 per couple and my sister and I split the cost; it was $189.00per couple on X). If I sail on Celebrity again I probably wouldn't do the weekly access to the steam rooms, but might do it on a per day basis once or twice; the free warm salt pool, hot tubs and sauna would be enough especially since these areas seemed to be largely undiscovered. I think on the "worst" day in these public access areas there were only 30 people in the area at any time I was there. After dinner this evening we went to the show of comedienne Fred Klett who was VERY funny and also touted himself as a "clean" comic; this is a refreshing approach once in a while, because many very funny comics use a lot of foul language. Not that I care one way or another about the language, funny is funny regardless for me, but he was a comic that you could have taken your teens to and they would have enjoyed. After the show we went to the martini bar and had a drink while enjoying Nestor Santurio, a vocalist-guitarist with Latin rhythms; we had a great time dancing to his music! On Tuesday we were in Dominica where we toured with Bumpiing Tours; a member of Levi's staff took us on the requested "wet" tour where we went to Champagne reef to snorkel and to the village of Soufriere, where we sat in the hot baths. This is the second time I have toured with Bumpiing (www.bumpiingtours.com) and I would highly recommend them. I would also recommend the Champagne reef snorkel as one of the best places I have ever snorkeled, including Bonaire with a private guide. It is a tough place to get into the water because one has to walk out 15-20 feet in moving surf, but once you can swim it's a pretty comfortable swim out to the reef. Wear a swim belt as you can tire easily between the early surf and the length of time you spend on the reef because you won't want to leave. I was in the water at least 1 ½ hours and we saw barracuda, parrot fish, clown and angel fish, and many, many others that I can't name. I had previously been to a location on this island to sit in the hot baths among the natural rock formations; Dominica is a volcanic island with underground activity that creates the bubbles as Champagne reef and the hot water for the baths. The location we went to on this day was more private; it appeared to be a state park type environment with baths built of poured cement where the warm sulfur-stained water was diverted to fill the "tubs." There were formed seats in them so that you could be seated and be up to your chest, or in my case, up to my neck in the warm water while surrounded by forest lands. A beautiful spot and a lovely day with friends! At dinner this evening we had one of our more memorable meals, a Cajun-blackened rib-eye steak with a red wine chosen from the Wendte tasting. We didn't go the show this evening, a musical stage production called "Sirens." It seemed to be well received but we just aren't interested in these types of shows after experiencing them on other cruises. We had quickly developed our end of day cocktail routine, Southern Comfort/rocks for my husband and a martini for me; we'd meet back at the martini bar and listen to the musicians in that area. This evening we wandered between our friends the Mozaika Duo and Nestor Santurio; Nestor was great fun to dance to! We also attended the Celebrity planned party for our Cruise Critic group. It was held in a bar that was located in an area where it took us a bit to find; when we got there the group was seated on a series of couches listening to the cruise director field questions and talking about the events on the ship for the rest of the week. It felt very stiff since people weren't mingling and it did nothing to help me to meet other people I'd been talking to on the message boards leading up to the cruise. The party broke up soon after our arrival since many people had late dinner seating's (30 minutes or so after we arrived, we were late for scheduled gathering time from dinner) but we were invited as a group to tour the bridge later in the week(we didn't go on this tour as we had other plans). Although I am often a night owl at home, I went to bed earlier while cruising due to early morning excursions and my husband's tendency to not be a night owl. We also really enjoy our deck time and would end our evening there watching the sea. On Wednesday we were in Grenada, where we toured with Mandoo (http://www.grenadatours.com/) who was fabulous! We went to the spice plantation and to the nutmeg station, where I was able to purchase beautiful, locally made fabric imprinted with nutmeg stamps. This is a cooperative that is finding ways to keep people employed in a spice related industry now that spice production has been diminished by hurricane damage to the trees. Mandoo is a great ambassador for the island and he doesn't mince words about the political situation there. His running commentary was upbeat and fascinating despite some of his topics (Regan and Grenada anyone?). Don't let this idea shy you away from touring with him; it was a wonderful day! On this evening we had planned to attend a Life at Sea program on celestial navigation however it was overcast so we didn't bother to see if they set up an alternative plan to star-gazing on the deck. We did go the comic David Merry's show; he was a combo comedienne and magician who was also great! He wove the magic into the comedy show in a seamless manner that was very clever. On Thursday we were at sea, and this was our second formal night. I had a massage scheduled and we had a lovely lay-low day on our balcony reading and enjoying a day of relaxation; I also spent time at the spa. I took a tour of the galley which started with an introduction to the many head chefs (pastry, prep, various kitchen location leaders) followed by each chef talking a small group down to the main galley for a tour. The program was well intentioned if not well executed. Some chefs were better than others at gathering their small groups in each kitchen area before beginning to talk about that area; in my group that left us scrambling to catch up to the group and vying for position so that we could see and hear. The head chef of the ship was touring his group behind mine and I considered joining them for a better tour as I observed him being more sensitive to the group's needs. Since this was a day where the lack of day's engaging activities was very noticeable for us, I'll comment here that overall I found that the things I would have enjoyed doing on Celebrity (more Life at Sea programs) were often scheduled while we were off the ship in a port. Likewise, much of the more off-beat entertainment was either very late (the staff talent show was at 10:30 PM, too late to start for an early riser who wanted to jump early on a port excursion). The musical talent was the same individuals and groups every night at different times and locations, which got old after the third or fourth day at sea. In addition to the duo and the guitarist I already mentioned there was a woman singer piano player (Liz Strauss) and an acapella quartet called "These Guys." A lot of the entertainment was pool games, casino related activities, or silly games such as a ship's version of the Newlywed-not-so-newly-wed game. Our group all got on this subject at the CC party and told the CD that we really thought they could at least change the questions from year to year and ship to ship. We did have fun one day helping a group of kids with suggestions on where to find items on their scavenger hunt list. This was our second formal night and my husband enjoyed the "mama's pork chops" for dinner. After dinner we strolled the ship and had a drink while listening to Liz Strauss play a "name that tune" game by playing the opening lines of a song on the piano. After researching this cruise and talking with our friends who cruise on Celebrity I had expected that there would be art auctions and viewings; there were none of these and my husband was particularly disappointed as this was a favorite activity of his on the Princess ships. On Friday we were in St. Thomas where we had hired Henry of EEE Tours (http://www.eeetours.com/); for a quite reasonable price he toured us on the island's sights, history and current economic influences. We went to "Mountain Top" the "home" of the banana daiquiri, we also went to visit a friend who owns a roadside stop where he serves fresh-made fruit and herbal drinks with or without rum, and eventually he took us to Megan's Bay Beach (our request) where we had time to relax and swim. While very beautiful Megan's Bay is not a good snorkeling location; my only other beach experience on St Thomas was a trip to Coki Point Beach, which had pretty reasonable snorkeling; there may be better locations that I have not experienced. It was a fine, relaxing end to our cruise week. This evening we attended a show that combined to two comics we'd seen earlier in the week; they were again very enjoyable. On Saturday morning we had a delayed departure from the ship that was attributed to slow customs agents; as concierge class passengers we were given the option of waiting in a conference room with coffee, tea and pastries available. We went there as opposed to the other waiting area in a bar for a more general (not concierge class) passenger group because we thought this group might be disembarked a little earlier, but it seemed to make no difference and we had no outside view. Fortunately for us we had a 3 night booking at the Sheraton in Old San Juan, so we had a few more days to linger before heading home. Some overall observations about our Celebrity experience: The price for this cruise was significantly higher than a similar cruise cabin (aft on Princess, 7 day Caribbean) and I didn't feel that the differences between the lines were great enough to justify the higher costs. We were in concierge class because it was what was available when I booked in order to get an aft cabin. We had a bottle of champagne in the room on arrival that we never drank but carried home (we arrived so late and tired and just didn't want it, then never got to it during the cruise). One of the "perks" of concierge was daily appetizers before dinner (6 pieces); these were made up too many hours before delivery to be very special, but most were ok, just not reason enough to spend the extra cost for concierge class; to my mind the only reason for investment in this class is future cruise credit if you are going to be a long-term Celebrity cruiser because you get more credit in their version of the captain's recognition program. Food overall was quite good; we can admire the challenges of getting out food that is beautiful, interesting and tastes good on the scale of any cruise ship, however our friends suggested that Celebrity food was 'over the top' great and it wasn't for us. I certainly know that food quality is very subjective, but overall I am happier with the food on Princess for the price. We didn't eat in the specialty restaurants at all. This was a mix of wanting to experience overall dining room food choices and quality, and not wanting to pay extra for a meal that might not be "worth" the cost. Our friends on the ship told of their experiences at Qsine, where I had considered eating. They thought the presentation was very unique and fun, but overall not significantly tastier than the food in the main dining room. Another ship acquaintance recommended that we order breakfast from room service each morning; we did this twice with overall disappointing results. We were spoiled by our coffee cards for espresso and cappuccino from the coffee bar near Bistro on Five and the dining room coffee delivered with breakfast was pretty awful by comparison. Our food was cold when it arrived, and was somewhat limited in selection. After two tries we started going to the buffet and carrying trays of food back to the cabin to breakfast on the balcony; we were only one flight down so this was not a big deal and was worth the view as we docked each morning. The other disappointment was that the lunch buffet had very little variation each day; it was always a pasta bar, an Asian bar, a deli bar, pizza, and fish and chips. Burgers and fries on the deck grill were good the one day we tried them; pizza options were the usual margarita, veggie, pepperoni and white pizzas; they were good but not exceptional and the daily special was gone every time I tried to get it (they seemed to make fewer of the special ones without adjusting to demand). A nice touch was antipasti options to go with the pizza. On each buffet bar there were some exceptional items, and many that seemed the same day to day. I can see when reading this comment that many folks would look at my list of options and think, who'd be critical enough to think those weren't great options? Let me give you a more specific example of what I am comparing to, lest you think I am crazy. On Princess the buffet would have different cultural options every day. So there might be two Asian days, and the choices would be different from one another on those days. On my Celebrity experience, the Asian choices would be essentially the same every day (maybe know favorites?) and they would change two of the options to something else each day, including some curries. On Princess the other days were not Asian, but were based entirely on other cultures reflecting the staff of the ship's kitchen and I felt I experienced a wider range of choices of things I would otherwise not have an opportunity to try. This might be riskier, because even as adventurous eaters there were moments when we thought there were things that we stretching our palates a little bit far. To be fair I need to go back to Princess and do a real comparison to these notes, not one based on my vacation induced fond memories, especially since a subtle sense of decline in overall food quality on Princess on my last cruise had driven my desire to try a different cruise line. Overall though I believe I prefer my Princess food experience, where on my third cruise I did try one of the specialty restaurants, which I found to be well worth the additional cost for both exceptional food and service (Sabatini's Italian restaurant). There were a lot of great options in the Celebrity Life at Sea programs but their timing was not conducive to enjoying them as well as a day ashore. They are great options on a cruise with more sea days to enjoy them and I wish Celebrity would consider shore time when scheduling these events. This program does stand out over Princess's similar offerings for its more interesting topics (celestial navigation, charting the ship's course, wine and food pairings and ships tours are some examples, compared to craft type programs and photography and computer classes that dominate on Princess). Similarly I thought that some of the more interesting entertainment options were too late at night for our tastes; I read in the last few days that most people return to their cabin after midnight so perhaps we are more of the exception to that rule about late night participation in events, but I'd love to know how others feel about this subject. Lastly, because I participated in reading and commenting on several message boards about the beverage packages (cost-benefit ratios can be discussed forever can't they?) I will add that we purchased a classic non-alcohol package for each of us which served us well. This got us each a large bottle of water on departure from the ship each day, all the high-end coffees and teas we wanted (dining room staff would go to the coffee bar for us at meal time if we requested this), and fountain or canned soda if we desired (think we had 1-2 all week as we don't really drink soda). This took care of our biggest daily costs. We do drink alcohol and with the sommelier's assistance we purchased 3 bottles of wine and some single glasses of wine or beer over the course of the week to drink at dinner. Additionally we each had one other drink in the evening and I had one midafternoon drink one day at the pool. If one is not a big drinker then I'd suggest this classic non-alcohol package ($14.00 per person per day) is a very nice option if you enjoy good coffee and tea and don't want to have to search for water in port. To me the alcohol packages were pricey and I came nowhere near the cost of them with my consumption. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was my first cruise on Cunard's QM2, and the 12 day holiday cruise was eagerly anticipated by myself and my travelling companion. We were also part of a larger tour group organized out of NY. And although the ship did experience ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Cunard's QM2, and the 12 day holiday cruise was eagerly anticipated by myself and my travelling companion. We were also part of a larger tour group organized out of NY. And although the ship did experience a number of norovirus cases, no one I knew was affected, and the ship's captain and crew took enormous steps to prevent a further outbreak. As a result, I had a very nice cruise and it was certainly comparable to many others I have taken. To start off, Cunard did a great job delivering our luggage, which arrived about an hour after we boarded the ship. Our stateroom as quite nice, with a good size balcony. The service on the ship was excellent. Our stateroom attendant, dining room waiters, etc. were all great. White gloves are standard on Cunard.This is a formal cruise, and more than half the days required tuxedo, etc. If you like formality, Cunard is a good choice.This might also be because it was the holidays. The Queen Mary 2 is a lovely ship. One of the nicest I have been on. There are unique features, like the Planetarium and on board lectures. Afternoon Tea is a highlight. It was definitely an older crowd, with far fewer children or teens than you would expect for a holiday cruise. The specialty dining rooms,esp. Todd English and the Indian fare, were excellent. The good has a definite British slant, which means great fish and chips, but a breakfast and lunch buffet that definitely needs greater variety and spice. Better to take these meals in the main dining area, where the food choice is better.On the third day, the Captain announced that several cases of norovirus had been reported and precautions were being taken to prevent further outbreak. This meant that the usual serve yourself buffet was not available, and that attendants had to serve you everything--including all beverages. This was frustrating for those of us who want to serve ourselves, but it is a minor inconvenience. Certain events were cancelled, as well, but other than the lack of handshaking and the persistent presence of hand sanitizers, the cruise continued. But neither myself nor any of my travelling companions were affected by illness, and I think the actions taken definitely prevented further outbreak. The ship's crew worked so hard sanitizing everything all the time, it was inspiring to see their hard work--disinfecting handrails, elevators, and all common areas all the time. I wanted to write this review so people know that this cruise was not ruined due to the presence of an unfortunate outbreak. The ship worked really hard to prevent further outbreak, and heroically stemmed the situation. As a passenger, I was not affected and experienced only some minor inconveniences. All in all, a very nice cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives ... Read More
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives the same gratuity regardless of service rendered, the extra attention and care that spoiled passengers in the past has fallen away. For example, our cabin stewardess was adequate but there was no automatic replenishment of bath supplies when they got low. We had to ask for more shampoo, soap and for the mini fridge to be refilled. Also, no more Aveda products except for the body lotion :( The girls were very polite and reserved, but nothing one would not encounter on another ship. DINING: The food is still fabulous. Everything on board was delicious! I sent only one thing back and it was not their fault. Mario the Maitre d' helped us after the first night when we requested to have our table moved. Our waitress was slow yet thorough,but again,nothing exceptional. Every night I requested a glass of ice for my wine. On past Crystal cruises, I only had to ask once and after that, it was brought to me automatically. Thanks to Christian,the sommelier,who on the final two nights,remembered and brought it to me. To us, the all inclusive alcohol is not attractive since we don't drink that much, however, many found it so. Also, I noticed a lot of wasted drinks around as people might try something for the first time, not like it and put it down. In my humble opinion, mixing alcohol and a passenger roster that's mostly senior is risky.ENTERTAINMENT:The Crystal singers and dancers were good,and the costumes were beautiful. The Galaxy Theater is small enough to be intimate. They did the usual salutes to Hollywood & Broadway. The very best was THE ROCKET MAN show with Jonathan Kane. He was unbelievably good and received a standing ovation. The Casino kept busy after the show and the roulette wheel was good to me!LOL A TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT:I'm going to keep this short,but an unforeseen fiasco arose when we innocently tried to exchange a CRYSTAL SERENITY shirt purchased on last year's transatlantic cruise.Rather than give it away,I recommended that we bring it back because Crystal is SO service oriented. I was positive they would gladly accomodate us. BIG MISTAKE!!!Enter the senior retail manager who places her rulebook before customer satisfaction. SHE: "NO EXCHANGE! Shirt was purchased over a years ago(by 5 days). NO EXCHANGE! Shirt is covered with food. NO EXCHANGE!You definately wore this more than once in spite of what you tell me.NO COMPROMISES!I do not have that decisionmaking ability." We saw a pattern, so we backed off. In spite of her best efforts,she did not spoil our good time, I was totally caught off guard though because I firmly believed that Crystal prided itself in customer satisfaction at any price. Had I known that we would meet with such resistance, I would not have even bothered packing the stupid shirt :( MAMA LEE:Crystal Serenity's best asset and overall goodwill ambassador. She's a wonderful little lady and semi-celebrity on the ship. Everyone who meets her, loves her. I did, too. Crystal had better treat her right because if Mama's not happy, NOBODY's happy. Also, Crystal's Japanese customer rep, Urara, is absolutely adorable and very, very helpful. I HATE to criticize Crystal because past cruises have made up some of the best memories in my life. I still have a soft spot in my heart for them but I cannot in good conscious, recommend them unconditionally like I once did. Other cruiselines are chasing Crystal by training their staffs better and they are catching up. In many instances, we received the same level of service on other ships that we did this time on Crystal. Unfortunately, the price is no longer a direct reflection of the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My wife and I just returned from a very relaxing 10-day Caribbean cruise on the Oceania Riviera. While most of our reactions were thoroughly positive, there were a few negatives too. I'll start with the positives. The ship: Just ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a very relaxing 10-day Caribbean cruise on the Oceania Riviera. While most of our reactions were thoroughly positive, there were a few negatives too. I'll start with the positives. The ship: Just a year old, the small-to-moderate size ship is beautiful throughout, with generally excellent facilities, including great staterooms with verandas, plenty of dining options (more below), lounges, bars, and public restrooms. Important to us, the ship has a state-of-the-art fitness center. We also loved the golf hitting cage and quite remarkable 18-hole putting course. The surface on the latter was the closest to a real golf green I've encountered, with the ball rolling fast and true. The pool is small (not suitable for swimming, as with most cruise ships). There is a well-staffed casino. We delighted in the fabulous art throughout the ship. Neither of us is an art connoisseur but we stopped often to marvel at the creativity and color in so many of the works. This was a major unexpected treat. Staterooms: We can only comment knowledgeably about the penthouse suites since we decided to splurge on one. The PH suites are essentially what would be called a junior suite in a hotel. Ours was a very attractive spacious 420 square feet, with a very comfortable bed (with elegant sheets), a nice sitting area, an incredibly large walk-in closet (an amazing asset, one not found in all of the PH suites), and a good-sized and well-designed bathroom with attractive vanity with plenty of storage space for toiletries and separate tub and shower (and stocked with Bulgari shampoo, etc.). The design of the shower was especially impressive. Although it was somewhat small, I never felt cramped when I showered. The rainforest showerhead was great, although I should note that if you are over 6'2", you will have to duck a bit. I'm 6'1" and I had no more than 1" clearance between my head and the showerhead. We particularly enjoyed our huge veranda, about 12' x 12' (I'm guessing), with 2 comfortable chairs, 2 chaise lounge chairs, and a small table...and plenty of space to roam. Our travel agent singled it out when we were booking, and it proved to be a blessing given the unavailability of lounge chairs throughout the open deck areas (more below). Our stateroom (7133) was one of only 4 PH suites on deck 7, the lowest of the passenger decks. 7135 was somewhat smaller than our room (with a smaller but still decent closet), but it had a veranda that wrapped around the ship, affording great access to sun and views. Note that all of the verandas on deck 7 are considerably larger than average. The verandas for other staterooms on higher decks are pretty typical of modern cruise ships -- large enough to accommodate a couple of chairs and a small cocktail table and no more. Restaurants: The food on the Riviera is superb and the options numerous. The Grand Dining Room is quite elegant and our first night dinner there was of a caliber we have experienced in the best restaurants in which we have dined around the world. The Terrace dining room had great buffets for all 3 meals, with seating both inside and out. Waves Grill had great burgers and the like (including mahi-mahi and tuna), a limited salad bar, and an always-in-demand ice cream bar. Waves was open for lunch until 4 pm, while the other restaurants closed around 2 pm. There are 4 specialty restaurants. Frankly, we were a bit disappointed in both Red Ginger and Jacques, the two for which we had the highest expectations. In contrast, we very much enjoyed both the Polo Grill and Toscana. The latter was especially impressive, with a wide-ranging menu of delicious and interesting Italian-themed dishes. We had two slightly negative experiences with service in the specialty restaurants. In two instances, we felt our food was brought much too fast, with no time at all in between courses. In one of the restaurants, the waitress knocked over my wife's glass of red wine toward where I was seated. I reacted quickly and caught most of the wine headed for my lap in my large cloth napkin. My (black) shirt felt a bit damp in one area, although I couldn't see any "damage", and remarkably I didn't see any spillage on my khaki trousers. The waitress apologized and reset the table. She put the wine glasses back on the table but didn't offer to have my clothes cleaned (she didn't even ask if they had been hit by the wine, despite having seen my wine-saturated napkin). Equally remarkably, she didn't refill my wife's glass, leaving it empty on the table! Service: The staff on the Riviera are amazing. They are incredibly attentive and always approach you with a great smile, one that seemed genuine, something you don't expect to see among so many staff. On several occasions we would make a request of one staff member for something that was not in his or her area of responsibility, but rather than saying that, they would go find the appropriate person and make it happen. For example, if we asked a busboy for some wine, he would instantly take our request to a wine steward. Our biggest "problem" with staff was disappointing our butler, Binod! PH suites are served by butlers. We are not accustomed to using butler services and, frankly, had little need for them, especially since we like going to restaurants rather than having meals served in our stateroom. Binod kept finding us and asking how he could be of service. We did have him serve dinner our last night at sea, and must say that we enjoyed the experience. Regarding service, we were also very impressed with the efficiency (and again staff friendliness) of the boarding and disembarkation processes, both at ports of call and at the beginning and end of the trip. Entertainment: We had heard that the entertainment wasn't equivalent to that found on much larger ships. While the quantity of entertainment might be substantially less, the quality couldn't have been any better. The song-and-dance troupe performed 4 nights, with different themed shows each night, and they were absolutely fabulous -- excellent voices (especially the lead singer, Lawrence) complementing astonishingly good dancing. The comedian/magician, who performed two nights, rivals the best such acts we have ever seen. Even Nolan, the cruise director, excelled in his song-and-comedy show after the main performance one night. Ports of call: We stopped in Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Barts. For 4 of the islands we simply booked taxis (including large open-air "safari" taxis in two cases) for 1- to 3-hour island tours and then we walked around on our own. As we had never been to 4 of the islands, we enjoyed the opportunity to see some new locales. Frankly, the islands per se were not what attracted us to the cruise. The demographics of the passengers: Given the size of the ship, the nature of the cruise, and the relative expense of Oceania, we expected a relatively older clientele. Even given these expectations, we were surprised by the age distribution of the passengers. We are 66 and 67 and we'd guess that that put us in the younger half of those onboard! There was no more than a handful of children, and I'd guess that passengers under 50 constituted no more than 5% of the total, if that. There is nothing wrong with this; it's just a point of interest. The international nature of the passengers was fun, with most of it accounted for by the 400 (?) folks from the UK (out of about 1200 total passengers), many of whom we enjoyed meeting. The reason for the large contingent of Brits is interesting and was a bit disquieting to many of the Americans onboard. This is discussed below. We did find a few aspects of the cruise disappointing. In describing them here, I want to emphasize that the overall experience was very positive. Excursions: The ship offers numerous excursions at each port of call. We had been forewarned that they were over-priced and didn't participate in any of them. Frankly, we found their pricing ridiculous. For virtually the identical island tours that we took for $15-25/person, the ship charged $85-115! My guess is that Oceania is missing an opportunity. If their prices were more reasonable -- no more than half of what they were charging -- we would have signed up for some of the trips. I wouldn't be surprised if the additional volume lower prices would generate would increase their profits. We found the current pricing extremely disappointing. Availability of chaise lounge chairs on deck: An Oceania cruise is a relatively expensive one. Under such circumstances, I would expect the ship to be designed such that it could be provisioned with an adequate number of lounge chairs to accommodate any passenger wanting one at any time. The opposite was the case. Especially during days at sea, if you didn't grab lounge chairs early in the morning, you had little chance of getting any until late in the afternoon. The ship has a policy of moving books and the like used to hold lounge chairs if the occupants do not return in a half hour. But whether it was enforced or not, demand so greatly exceeded supply that the situation was essentially hopeless. Our veranda with its two lounge chairs saved the trip for us. Without that, we would have been disappointed in the extreme. Food availability after hours: It's hard to be hungry on a cruise, but if you want a snack late in the evening, the only way to get it on the Riviera is to order room service, and that seems like overkill just for a snack. The ship ought to have a place where passengers can pick up a bag of chips or a cookie, even if it isn't staffed. Paying for alcoholic drinks: Riviera is not all-inclusive. Passengers have to pay for their drinks each time they order them ($9-12 each) or else pay $55/day for unlimited bar (and restaurant) drinks. This includes wine and beer at dinner. We prefer not to have to think about shelling out money every time we want a drink, so we bought the package. Even so, the bartenders or wine stewards had to swipe your card every time you ordered one. We found this annoying. We'd prefer that all beverages be included in the basic cruise price, although I can understand that non-drinkers wouldn't. Wireless charges: Wireless is available on the ship, and we had a laptop provided in our room. (I don't know if this is true of all rooms or just the PH suites and above.) There is a one-time connection fee of $4 and then -- ready for this? -- a charge of $1 for every 1 minute of use of their wireless! The alternatives were $28/day, which would be okay if I was spending my days working (!), or $160 for 200 any-time minutes. I can understand a charge for using wireless, but, as with the shore excursions, these charges are way off the charts. They contributed to our feeling that Oceania was trying to nickel-and-dime passengers to death (only it was $5 and $10 instead of nickels and dimes). I found this unclassy. Activities on board: Given the nature of this cruise and the passenger demographics, this criticism is almost certainly a bit unfair, but I like to have more physical "games" to play on board. The options on Riviera were the aforementioned golf facilities, shuffle board, a small paddle-board court, and croquet. When we docked next to the Carnival Breeze, I envied its passengers the huge water slide, the ropes course, basketball court, etc. Again, I appreciate that this is a reflection of my preferences and not this ship. But it's something to consider if planning to take a cruise. The British are coming: Finally, everyone was amazed to find about a third of the passengers (maybe more) being from the UK. Chatting with them we learned that Oceania had been publicizing the cruise heavily in the UK and offering outstanding discounted fares. Several of the Americans we met were discussing the fact that the Brits paid less than we did. I understand marketing, but this left us, and several of our fellow American passengers, with a slightly bitter taste. Having noted these few negatives, I want to conclude by reiterating that overall we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, its people, and the cruise itself. If we are to take another ship cruise in the future, we will certainly consider Oceania once more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very ... Read More
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very nice, basic hotel right by the Bay side Market. The credit was enough to cover the air, hotel and taxi's. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Very easy, we got to the terminal before our time of 12, got a group number. Right at 12 our group was called and in 15 min. we were on the ship. Getting off easy too, a form was sent around and we signed up for 8 am, at 8 our color was called and by 8:20 we were in a cab on our way to the air port. The cab was 25$ flat rate while the Oceania transfers were around 140$ to ride in a large bus, makes no sense. Some of the prices they charge are so out of line I feel insulted like they must think me a fool or something. Cabin: We started out in a ocean view and the week before the trip we took a up sell of 400$ to get a A1 Concierge cabin. Same cabin with some added perks and a nice size balcony. Cabin was large, well laid out with enough storage for us.Bed was great, lots of electric outlets, very clean and neat. Bath was very nice with good storage, tub and shower. I an 6'6" and just fit in the shower. As for room perks, loved the spa terrace, drank the wine. Did not use the concierge or lounge. Ship: Great, you can see it was built using upscale products, very neat and clean and well maintained. Good size with good people flow. Never felt crowded or had to wait in line. lots of public rooms to hang in. What I DID NOT like was there is no promenade deck at all, the show lounge in very small with poor sight lines because the stage is 1 foot high. seats are the most uncomfortable I ever sat in, saw people bring pillows. Service: All I can say is it was great, No matter where I went the staff were right there to help and do as I asked and there were lots of them. Entertainment: I felt it was very good. The ships singers and dancers were great, they were held back by the poor show lounge. Had one show each nigh, there was also the ships band, great, a singing duo, string group, great, and a piano man, great. There were no activities by the pool during the day, they had art auctions which were non-intrusive if you did not like them, Artist loft, my wife went each day and lover it, her pictures are all over the house. Also the cooking class. We took one, it was a lot of fun however for the price I would of expected to be able to keep the hat, instead they wanted to sell it to me for 25$. Shore Trips: We took two. They were the exact same trip that other lines offer in the port for twice the price. There was a NCL ship with us, same type of bus and same company tour guide. NCL 70$, Oceania 125$. I do not mind paying more if I get more but!!!! The plus was there were no crowds, I wonder why? Food: I an NOT a food critic, some I liked, some I did not. It is obvious Oceania has chosen Quality over Quantity. The choice is very large for a cruise ship with up scale items all around. Most of it is cooked to order. We never had a problem eating at the time we wanted with a table for two. Overall: We had a nice time and will return as I booked another trip on board. We also use other lines as we take our grandchildren and this is NOT for them. This line in NOT child friendly. We also like a little more action at times, even tho I am 66 I still enjoy young folks, you will not find them here. As for rating, if I was comparing this to a mass market line I would of given them a 5+, however they are not mass market in pricing so in the price point they are in they get a 4. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this ... Read More
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this cruise compared to our experience while on board. Driving over to Miami is nothing out of the ordinary for us, but pulling up to a small, unorganized porter area to drop off luggage and then a long wait in line to prepay for our garage parking was not the standard we expected from a luxury cruise port. The port employees park here as well and finding a place not under the top floor sun was difficult. Once we entered the check-in building, it was a breeze. Ship is elegant, lovely lounges surround pool and Terrace Spa area is perfect for afternoon whirlpool and nap. But, some guests do not respect the serenity and carry on as though it's a pool party area. Gym is well equipped but noticed no hands-on staff nearby to help with equipment. More than 3 machines had TV/Radio not working and no one to notify. The sanitary wipe containers were usually empty by mid-morning. Our penthouse suite was not ready when boarding near noon, so we went to the poolside bar to have a cocktail. Asking for Absolute for my Bloody took forever as the bar did not have it stocked. Husband asked for Bud and was told they do not carry that beer. For two days he drank Corona, at a higher price, and then saw another passenger with a Bud bottle. This was the normal level of service with the bars on board. Slow and not polished. Plus the drinks are more expensive than on other lines. The suite was lovely. The bed and linens were exceptional. Tons of storage and probably the best layout we've had on any ship. The bathroom was wonderful, too. Problems with A/C during night continued even after reported and supposedly repaired. Always got hot during the middle of night. The veranda was very salty when we arrived. Seriously...huge pieces of dried salt were on the deck and every chair and railing had salt residue. Not a great first impression. Finally cleaned the next day. Our butler, Gyan, was attentive without being annoying. Suite was always clean and our stewardess and assistant should be commended, too. The steam room did not work probably during the entire cruise. Repeated reports to spa manager, guest relations and finally a mid cruise questionnaire brought attention to the engineer. We were told it was clogged and new parts needed when returning to Miami. Food ranged from average to excellent. Polo was just OK, Ginger and Jacque's excellent. Toscana was very good, too. Grand dining room ranged from average to suburb. But, other than Ginger, all the service was slow. Entertainment was fine. Enjoyed the string quartet prior to dinner and also the piano in the martini bar. Saw a couple of shows and they were nice. Nothing exceptional, but entertaining. Only booked one Oceania 7 hour excursion while in St Lucia. For the high charge, all land transportation should have been Air Conditioned. When in parking lots, we noticed Royal Caribbean buses were more new, in better condition and with A/C. We both took the Italian cooking class and it was a great experience. Lots of fun and out of the ordinary. Would highly recommend any class. Heard lots of conversation from fellow passengers who had cruised on Oceania previous. Liquor is very expensive, food has gone downhill and service isn't what it used to be. At times the crowding on board seemed unbearable. Ship's muster caused stairway congestion and pushing. Finding pool lounges could be tedious for those who didn't come on deck early in morning. Disembarking was not smooth either. The halls were too narrow to accompany all the wheelchair and hovercrafts trying to get to a lounge to wait to be called. Passengers were "stuck" after exiting elevators as no one could move. Cruising on the Oasis of Seas seemed less populated than the Riviera when comparing wait for elevators or entering dining room. Think we'll continue to cruise on Celebrity or RCI where our club's level provides complimentary cocktails and will upgrade to at least a jr suite. We believe it to be a better value and equal experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is my second sailing with Oceania, my husband's first. Embarkation was quite easy, despite the fact that our taxi driver had difficulty find the dock and that Oceania had indicated that the "Regatta" was sailing that ... Read More
This is my second sailing with Oceania, my husband's first. Embarkation was quite easy, despite the fact that our taxi driver had difficulty find the dock and that Oceania had indicated that the "Regatta" was sailing that day, not the "Insignia". This added to the confusion. We had chased an Concierge Veranda cabin on deck 7. The big advantage to this category, beyond the veranda, is the fact that you can eat a minimum of four times at the specialty restaurants. Apart from that, not sure if it's worth it. The cabin itself is 215 sq ft, with a tiny and very basic bathroom-shower only. This ship has just been in dry dock for a return, but that was not evident in our cabin. The penthouses have been totally redone. We saw one and it was lovely. Service on this vessel was exemplary. They exceeded our expectations and with a smile. our stewardess, Kristina, was fantastic, professional and fun. Food on this ship is delicious, particularly in the specialty restaurants, Toscana and Polo. Most of the food in the Grand Dining room was delicious, particularly the breakfasts. One or two dinners were a bit off. I, Personally did not enjoy the food at the Terrace cafe as much. This restaurant is now open for dinner and it is a buffet. they also do lobster tails, fish , chicken and steak on a grill. There is a great deal of choice. However, quite a few items looked better than they tasted. The pate en croute was superb, as was the lobster and cheesecake. Afternoon read is to die for. My husband is british and he loved it. the scones are superb, as are the French pastries. We only went twice-too tempting. Oceania was recently purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line and I could see some tine cutbacks since my cruise win January. No more Pouisse Fuisse by the glass and I was looking forward to that. The chocolates on your pillow are no longer truffles, but plain chocolate. We only booked one excursion on the cruise, as their shore trips are very expensive and we like doing our own thing. I had booked the boat excursion to Pinney's Beach in Nevis weeks before sailing. about three days before this trip, I was reading their booklet and noticed that they had totally changed this excursion. No one had informed us of this change and had we not read the brochure, we would have been out of luck. I proceeded to the shore excursion desk, where I talked to Marina, who was totally unaware that our excursion had been changed. she said that she would contact the tour operator and then contact us. she did not contact us. My husband returned to speak to her again. We received an refund. Apparently some people met on the day of the tour where Oceania had not prepared for this eventuality and had passengers vote on how to proceed. really? Now we come to entertainment, where Oceania fails. Their philosophy on entertainment is cheesy, dated and boring. Too bad, because the entertainers are talented. Even the music at the pool was horrible- and endless repetitions of 70"s standards. It was like swimming in a giant outdoor elevator. If Oceania is to be considered a world class cruise line, then they need to address their entertainment philosophy. I found the same thing on the regatta in January. We spent most nights on our veranda looking at the stars. That was amazing. After two cruises on Oceania, I would hesitate to rebook. We did much prefer Silverseas, where drinks are included, cabins are brighter, lighter and larger (315 sq ft), and the entertainment far superior. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is ... Read More
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is beautifully decorated with modern art and amphora vases throughout. It is kept immaculately clean. Our balcony cabin was very well appointed, the bedding was super soft and the marble bathroom had a stall shower in addition to a full size tub. Many thanks to Joel and Komong for your excellent service and ice deliveries each afternoon. The ship's library consisted of tall book cabinets making small cubicles within which comfy chairs and tables were placed. A reader could sink into a chair surrounded by books, enjoy a coffee and zone out. It was heaven!!! Dining was strictly done by servers at the Terrace Cafe. There was always a nice variety of food for breakfast and lunch, especially healthy ones which pleased me. Beverages were served tableside. The specialty restaurants were outrageously delicious. We did not try Red Ginger. The majority of passengers were 60+. We met many nice people from England, Canada and the midwest. Our trivia team BRITUS won the competition! It was a lot of fun and good times. Kudos to social director, Dottie Kolloso, who without a doubt, is the busiest social director on the seven seas. She can outperform the Energizer Bunny. We loved the casual dresscode, no photographers and no pushy sales people. It was a very laid back, lowkey cruise. We bumped into past Crystal cruisers who switched over because, according to them, Crystal had become too "stuffy". The in-room TVs never had good reception (satellite problems we were told), but we didn't care since we weren't on vacation to watch TV. I got my hair cut by JOSEPH. It was the best precision cut I ever received, so I rushed back to the cabin and took selfies so my stylist could copy it. Thanks, Joseph!!! The one complaint we had was the entertainment troupe was pretty bad. It amounted to a bunch of kids jumping around & screaming through their headsets. I suffered through two performances and opted to go to the casino after that. The magician, Greg Moreland, was good. He gave 2 magic tricks classes that were excellent. Also, harpist Shirley Dominguez, entertained us with her electric harp. In conclusion, the consistently very good food, specialty restaurants, relaxed dresscode, and lovely cabin amenities made it a cruise worth repeating. It truly is a "Your Cruise, Your Way" atmosphere. Skip this cruise if you are a family with kids because Oceania provides NOTHING in the way of Kidtertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the advertised reputation of Oceania and because it embarked in Venice, which was a place we wanted to return to, and it had a stop in Antibes that would allow us to see the French Riviera for ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the advertised reputation of Oceania and because it embarked in Venice, which was a place we wanted to return to, and it had a stop in Antibes that would allow us to see the French Riviera for the first time. We are not expert cruisers, having only cruised twice before, once with Royal Caribbean and once with Celebrity. We were also drawn to Oceania because of the smaller ship size. We felt like the price was reasonable, especially considering the perks being offered on our particular cruise. After we booked the cruise directly with an Oceania representative, we found all of the talk online about norovirus having been on this ship, the Riviera, 4 times during the period of November 2015 through April 2016. We were extremely upset at not having been informed of this prior to our booking, but we discovered the cruise line had no obligation to do so. We then worried ourselves sick about the possibility of not just getting sick, but about the changes aboard ship that would be occurring should other passengers or crew become ill with the virus. This is not a good way to begin what was supposed to have been a relaxing luxurious vacation. We sent numerous emails and questions concerning the outbreaks and asked what had been done by the cruise line to ensure the elimination of the norovirus to no avail. They would not even tell us if our assigned cabin had housed guests who had been diagnosed with norovirus during the recent outbreaks. They had our money, and we were stuck. To my knowledge, and according to the CDC, the Riviera has not had an outbreak since April 2, 2016, which was about 6 weeks prior to our cruise in May 2016. The Riviera was not full during our May 21--June 2 cruise, which was probably why we had been given such a good price. We found many return cruisers, so obviously this cruise line has a good reputation. Several of the return cruisers commented that the ship did not feel full. In the end, we were satisfied with the ship (beautiful and easy to get around), crew (top notch), and dining. (Room service was excellent as well.) Our Concierge level room was very nice, had plenty of room, and the beds were good enough to have at home. We thought the ports of call were weak overall--Venice, Zadar (Croatia), Kotor (Montenegro), Sicily, Rome, Florence, Antibes (France), Marseille (France), Port Vendres (France), and Barcelona. We had to cancel our full-day French Riviera tour from Antibes due to inclement weather; we lost another scheduled tour when the Captain chose another port over Port Vendres due to choppy seas. So that left only Venice, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona that had (in our opinion) something to offer on the 12-day cruise. We are a couple in our mid 60's and wanted to see things; we think that a lot of Oceania cruisers (on this cruise) had either already "been there." We may have been toward the lower end of the age bracket on this cruise, which did not matter to us at all. The entertainment was ok, but not as good as what we experienced on RC and Celebrity. A final note is that we packed for country club casual, but felt a little underdressed for dinner most nights. A lot of the customers chose to wear more cocktail attire than country club casual. The shore excursions offered by Oceania were over-priced and the transportation provided by the cruise line seemed disorganized in several ports, especially in Zadar, Croatia. All that said, we would probably cruise with Oceania again if the ports have more to offer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Southern Caribbean.-small ship-Inclusive package Embarkation from airport cumbersome--check in @ terminal very efficient. Disembarkation @ 5:15 AM very organized with coffee & transport to airport. Ship was very sleek & ... Read More
Southern Caribbean.-small ship-Inclusive package Embarkation from airport cumbersome--check in @ terminal very efficient. Disembarkation @ 5:15 AM very organized with coffee & transport to airport. Ship was very sleek & clean. Cabin layout/storage above expectation. No children. Not handicapped friendly--wheel chairs on board for emergencies only. Dining-Buffet variety excellent -rock crab claws had no flavor(probably soaked in water to defrost). The 2 upscale restaurants were below par--ate at each & canceled 2nd chance and ate mostly @ THE RESTURANT. The music in the Atrium was boring & repetitious. Room service excellent. Overall staff service very good. Mini Bar included the Penthouse Veranda replenished daily--2 beers,1 mini bottle each of scotch, gin, vodka, rum. Sodas & candy bars. Shore excursions included were extremely disappointing. Winding rough bus rides in the hills to visit a church, graveyard with tombs decorated with blue and white tiles. The expectation visiting the Caribbean is the water, beaches etc. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin ... Read More
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin or food or condition of the boat but somehow I think these are immaterial when compared to the elegance and romanticism of being under sail on such a lovely boat. However, to my mine the cabins were great, comfortable and rather elegant, the food and general dining experience was wonderfully classy without being stuffy and formal and we loved it. The ports of call were well thought out. One issue would be that there was little or no information about most of the ports of call. If you planned a trip that would be fine but if just going ashore a simple information sheet with that small map would have been useful. We are thinking of another cruise shortly but no more than 200 passengers and the gentle swaying of the ship under the starlit sky is just about right so it will have to be one of the star clippers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have cruised over 24 times. The last 6 cruises with Regent. We needed a change as we felt Regent standards were dropping dramatically from when we first started using them. We noted that Seabourn had a consistently higher rating than ... Read More
We have cruised over 24 times. The last 6 cruises with Regent. We needed a change as we felt Regent standards were dropping dramatically from when we first started using them. We noted that Seabourn had a consistently higher rating than Regent, so decided to give them a try as the pricing was similar, although Seabourn do not offer complimentary excursions or wifi. The difference was noticeable straight away, and it just got better and better. The staff cannot do enough for you. Not a miserable face amongst the crew. At dinner they somehow remember your name. Food and service are definitely first class. There are too many positive differences between the two lines to mention here. I would unquestionably award five stars if it were not for the location of our suite. Suite 657 ( a V5 suite!) is located just in front of the tenders /lifeboats. On our cruise there were 9 tender ports out of 13. The noise usually started around 6.15/6.30 am and lasted for at least 45 minutes. The noises came from the hydraulic arms putting the tenders over the side , the winches used to lower them, the staff shouting at one another whilst they prepared them for the water. One morning it began at 4.30 am!! Had a meeting with the Hotel Manager, who was very understanding, but nothing changed. We did get a complementary massage, but quite frankly, I would rather have had the sleep we missed, during our vacation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click