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68 Trans-Ocean Luxury Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to continue our exploration of the South Atlantic, having already been on a Seabourn Antarctic cruise the year before. We embarked in Ushuaia, Argentina and had been there the year before. This cruise included a ... Read More
We chose this cruise to continue our exploration of the South Atlantic, having already been on a Seabourn Antarctic cruise the year before. We embarked in Ushuaia, Argentina and had been there the year before. This cruise included a flight from Santiago to Ushuaia as part of the total cruise fare. And this is where things became odd. We were awakened at 1:30AM in Santiago, Chile, to join the charter flight to Ushuaia that left at around 6 in the morning. We had initially been told by Silversea's agent that because Silversea had chartered the flight, there would really be no issue with baggage. However, when we received our cruise documents, there was a baggage restriction of 50 pounds, per person. That necessitated considerable reorganization of our luggage situation as we had traveled a long way to get to the cruise and had post-cruise safari plans in Africa. The flight left after some delay and we arrived in Ushuaia only to find that we could not go directly to the ship but had to go onto a lunch somewhat out of town. This disappointed us because we were tired and might have preferred to see some of Ushuaia rather than go riding on a bus out of town to a countryside restaurant. Following the luncheon, we returned to the ship at around 2pm and boarded. Oddly enough, though, for all of the effort expended in getting us to Ushuaia very early, the ship did not depart until around 10pm. We feel this issue might have been better handled so as not to drag people out of bed at an unholy hour. We also felt that had we known of the baggage limitation and the hour of departure in advance, we might have made our own flight arrangements from Sao Paulo, our first stop in South America. Further, once on board, we came to learn that there had been a pre-cruise tour offering to Iguazu Falls. We were disappointed to learn this as we truly would have been interested in seeing the falls, having traveled all the way to South America from East Asia. On board, we elected to purchase an upgrade to the free internet provided to every passenger on the ship. This proved to be nothing but a waste of money and I would warn anyone against it. The charge was some $350.00 and the upgrade proved to be just as slow as the free service. The other negative was that we had confusion with a name on the cruise documents. We contacted Silversea's agent about this and he assured us that proper documents were on the way. The head office never managed to send the documents on time and they were not received until we returned home. One last annoyance was the daily briefing held by the expedition staff. This occurred every evening at 6pm, often after a day of going on 2 excursions. Though attendance was not mandatory, one felt compelled to go as details of the next day's activities were spelled out at that time. Perhaps this could be better managed in future. As for the positives, they are many. The food on board was excellent. Our cabin, though smaller than balcony cabins on Seabourn and Regent, was comfortable and functional. The staff on board were superb, especially our valet and the room steward. We felt that anything we needed or wanted was somehow found promptly appeared. The expeditions were excellent and we certainly appreciated the efforts that the expedition staff went through day in and day out - it is no simple matter bringing people safely ashore in isolated places, through sometimes rough surf. And the scenery on shore was spectacular, to say the least. Though two expeditions were done a day and one might have felt tired, they still were worth every minute and any effort. Shore excursions were fine but perhaps, Silversea might let people know the options available for shore excursions in advance of sailing. Would I recommend a Silversea Expedition? Definitely. But be aware of the issues I highlighted as attention to them could make for an even better experience. We did not travel with children and this type of voyage might better be best for people who are mature enough to grasp the significance of what one is experiencing. Would I go again? Yes! But mindful of the negatives that I mentioned. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We wanted to try a new line (we've cruised more than 20 times on Celebrity/Azamara) and Oceania had a cruise from French Polynesia to Peru. The selling point was a stop at Easter Island and then a post-tour of Machu Picchu. The ... Read More
We wanted to try a new line (we've cruised more than 20 times on Celebrity/Azamara) and Oceania had a cruise from French Polynesia to Peru. The selling point was a stop at Easter Island and then a post-tour of Machu Picchu. The ship itself was good. Our suite was spacious. The food was excellent in the specialty restaurants, average in the main dining area. Entertainment was hit and miss. There was a good comedian, a great pianist, a great magician and a terrible female singer. The on ship song and dance group was okay. We had two shows from each performer. Service was wonderful. The butler and room stewards were top notch and very attentive. Our butler knew I wanted Sprite Zero and when it was no longer available on the ship found some at one of our stops. That's over and above! We began on a bad note. The ship was scheduled to leave Tahiti at 9 p.m. Our Delta flight didn't arrive until 10 (they said not to worry, the bulk of the flight was passengers). That in itself says they expected us to arrive late. They took off immediately after and we didn't get our luggage until 3 a.m. To say that the first day was Tahiti and to spend one hour there in the dark isn't a great way to start. The stops in Raitea and Bora Bora were great, but I question 2 days in Bora Bora. There really wasn't much you could do at night in Bora Bora, so I question the overnight there. The stop in Fakarava was a joke. When there are no tours available at all--you got off to get a bit of exercise but that was it. The biggest disappointment, and the reason I gave this a bad rating was that we never got to Easter Island. It was called Pearls and Moai, indicating Polynesia and Easter Island, right? Wrong. We got to Easter Island and it was 'too rough' to send in the tenders (but we saw some boats circle our ship and part of others' groups. We circled the island, the pointed out some Moai from a distance and that was that. It was the reason we took the entire trip! I don't understand why we didn't know there was even a possibility of not getting to shore. I didn't think of checking the reliability of getting to shore. Why would you if that was one of the purposes of the cruise? It would have made more sense to spend one day on Bora Bora, and have two days at Easter Island. That way if you didn't make it to land on one day, you'd be able to the next. Sooooo disappointing. The closest we got to an apology was the captain announcing that he knew many of us were disappointed. Duh. Nothing added (like a free drink, or a discount on another cruise...) which leads me to believe that this is a common occurrence. When we left comments at the end of the cruise, there was no follow up, nothing in communication with us. Because we didn't stop at Easter Island we spent 11 days in a row at sea. Not acceptable. We took advantage of signing up for six of the cooking classes in their Culinary Center. That was worth the money! Stations for 24 people (2 per station) allowed us to learn about a specific type of food then prepare three dishes and eat them. We took advantage of the Roman, Sicilian, Greek, Spanish, pasta and Asian classes. It was our first time making fettucini! We are heading back to Celebrity. We would NEVER recommend Oceania to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a ... Read More
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a lovely 3 room suite with a huge balcony, huge bathroom and separate bedroom and living room. While my Regent info is dated and I’ve only done expedition trips on SS, my comparison may not be accurate. What I like about Azamara Quest: you get directed to your cab in immediately upon boarding and the luggage is prompt; service levels are very high—superb— uniformly; the specialty restaurants, included for suite guests, are excellent; the cruise tour desk goes above and beyond and is efficient. Ship staff are warm, friendly and responsive. From the stewards to hotel captain, there is an overwhelming pride and focus on details. The Azamazing evening experience in Bali was superb. Azamara general dining in Jewish terms is “meh.” Activities onboard so-so. Lectures not too thrilling. Entertainment has been good; in fact, they are going/coming from Regent. So, about the same quality. The cruise director and performers are very talented and lovely. Service levels are superb. One thing I really like about Azamara is their attention to mid cruise evaluations and making immediate corrections. The hotel director promptly communicates to staff and things are corrected and good performers are told. For example, I don’t drink. We have a bar setup in the room that is free and no one will use. However, I couldn’t have Perrier or Evian as a replacement without taking a beverage package. I also couldn’t have these upgraded waters with meals and was charged for them. After the evaluations and my constructive comments, The staff ensured I got the water free of charge everywhere I went. Evian was sent to my room as well. I also like the ability to accrue free nights. This is so much better than just pressing, laundry and wi-fi. Just from 2 trips, we accrued 6 free nights, a handsome savings. Wi-fi is discounted to 150 for the cruise, we have free pressing and a free laundry bag every 7 days with a suite. Discounts also range from 4-10% onboard discounts on future sailings depending on the number of nights sailed. Add in shipboard credit promotions and it’s an excellent value. All this is enough to have us return. Rooms: Azamara can be very cheap if you go for an inside cabin. Regular cabins with a window or veranda aren’t bad but the bathrooms are teeny. The Continental Club rooms are a good deal. They are a decent size, have a tub with shower, a private spa deck and hot tubs, a veranda and include all specialty restaurants. We stayed in one of these rooms the first trip and were very happy. We upgraded to a Club Oceanview Suite this time, due to a good deal, which is at the front of the ship. It had a nice size living room with a dining table, a full bedroom (king bed) separated from the living area by a door, a powder room with a toilet and a large bathroom with a large soaking tub and a large, separate shower. These corner rooms have a wall of floor to ceiling sliding doors to a very large balcony with two lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs as well as a large window. It’s light and airy with good storage. Negatives? The rail is solid so it’s hard to see the ocean lying down and there is no outside light. This is the front, so it does rock and roll and you hear the anchor. There are three higher categories of rooms. One is at the back and is a bit bigger with a bigger balcony. Folks were happy with these suites. Another consists of w spa suites. The living space itself is the same as a basic Regent room but it has a HUGE bathroom with a large jacuzzi with floor to ceiling glass windows. The room is contemporary and luxurious but it has a very small balcony. This is the perfect room for colder climates, where you wouldn’t really use a balcony but want a light airy space. It is on the top floor, next door to the spa and very private. It would be my room of choice if I were going alone. There are also owner’s suites mid ship on the sides but I didn’t see these rooms. A perk of having a suite is having a butler,but I am really not a fan of having them. Another perk is expedited embarkation, debarkation, front rows at the Azamazing evening and a fabulous VIP dinner with the staff. You also accrue points for free nights faster, get a discount on internet, free specialty dining, free pressing and a bag of free laundry each week. Doug and I loved the extras and extra room. Food: Breakfasts were fine. It was available in the cafe or in the room. Lunch was okay. I really liked the brunches and felt they were excellent. There is also a cafe with the ability to pick up snacks anytime. There are two specialty dining venues. One is a steakhouse and one is Italian. service and food are as good as it gets. The menu in each is large and there are specials each night. There are chef’s tables at 90 pp (Asian, French or Italian). We did the French one and had a great time. There are also special theme dinners at 25pp but we didn’t try one. I hear they are excellent. The White Nights evening was great, but we missed it this year. Tours: pretty bad. I don’t know whether it was the ports or the tour operator but I wasn’t impressed. Azamara does not make you feel like cattle. Tours are limited to 25 max and they pass on discounts if they go higher. The ports were far away from fun things to do overall and too much time was spent coming and going to the sites. Food offered on the tours were of a very high quality. Azamara also offers private tours. These were awful. I’d never take one again. It seemed that Azamara tried to fill up time even if there was nothing to see. I heard stories of one hour at a statue. We did have several good tours and I’ll go into them in my port reviews, but they required long treks in a bus. That’s what we tried to avoid with the private tours...the long bathroom breaks and uncomfortable buses. With Azamara’s Private Journeys we got poorly planned tours with a driver and no real guide. I found the coordinator Sandra Carola Fernandez Gonzalez lacklustre and she never followed through in following up on our poorly planned Bunbury tour. I expect expertise and there was none. Ports: Jakarta was our first port stop. I think I’d rather end my life early then to ever be a citizen in either Jakarta, Semarang or Surabaya. Indonesia's lack of tax authority enforcement leads to the Government having little money for serious developments. In fact, they have only 27 million registered taxpayers when there should be around 120 million people if everyone eligible complied to the tax law. This is due to the severe lack of funding and manpower in their tax office, leading to many citizens having a completely lax attitude towards tax evasion as they probably wouldn’t get caught anyway. It’s port capacity is very poor. This leads to Indonesians having to spend much more if they want to export goods to foreign markets due to a lack of supply of container transportation. It is much more lucrative to base operations in Singapore which has ready made cheap transport for exports. As a result, Singapore has an export level of around USD23 Billion, which dwarfs Indonesia at USD12 Billion, despite having a small fraction of Indonesia's population. As a result, Indonesians find it more profitable to base and list their business in Singapore due to its infrastructure availability and ease of doing business. Indonesia's financial industry is underdeveloped and undersocialized. The lack of availability in financial instruments which could generate higher returns to investors and lack of financial literacy among the Indonesian population is costing Indonesia. As a result, Indonesians react to this by choosing to launder and park their money abroad (mainly Singapore), where they can invest in different types of financial instruments provided by investment banks. I was not prepared for the degree of poverty or filth in Indonesia. Jakarta was our first stop. Slums were the norm. Families were sleeping in doorways. Trash was everywhere. Our tour guide was excellent and did his best to educate us on the city. Jakarta, is the home to 10 million people and is not only the seat of the national government and the provincial government, but it is also Indonesia’s political center. It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn't be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it's not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground. The dramatic rate at which Jakarta is sinking is partly down to the excessive extraction of groundwater for use as drinking water, for bathing and other everyday purposes by city dwellers. Piped water isn't reliable or available in most areas so people have no choice but to resort to pumping water from the aquifers deep underground. But, when groundwater is pumped out, the land above it sinks as if it is sitting on a deflating balloon - and this leads to land subsidence. Our guide says that his in laws use rain water, but that is only available during certain seasons. Most have to purchase water and store it in large tanks held on the roofs. He shared that experts confirm that water management authorities can only meet 40% of Jakarta's demand for water. Day 2 in Indonesia was more uplifting in Semarang. Flooding issues were highly visible with inner city roadways in an awful state but the highway system was rather good. Outside of the city, there were gated communities with large homes against a backdrop of volcanoes. The countryside jungle was lush and beautiful and roadside food stands and shops were rather abundant. It was a Sunday and families seemed to be out and enjoying life together. We were on our way to Borobudur, which is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. It was hot. Very hot. The temple was impressive and very well maintained. I believe it was discovered in the 1200s and later made a UNESCO heritage site. Our lunch was excellent....vegetables were fresh and flavorful, the chicken satay and beef dish were the best I have ever had. We drove through countrysides of coffee plantations and rice plantations with folks hard at work in the fields. Most folks had smiles on their faces and it was a long, 9 hour day well spent! Day 3 was Surabaya. This was our day of enduring 97 degree humid weather, traveling hours by bus and then getting 12000 steps on our fitbits to see nothing. Surabaya is headed by a Muslim woman whose key focus is cleaning up filth and adding greenery. It was clean by comparison to Jakarta but definitely not pretty. We drove through middle class and wealthy areas to end up at our destination....a mangrove river tour. We were supposed to learn about mangrove restoration and benefits. The rubbish in the swampy river was disgusting and the cruise was disorganized and lacked organization, the walk was dull and uninteresting and ‘learning how to plant mangroves’ consisted of giving us a small 2 foot tree to put in a hole. I’m all for helping out a struggling community but I gotta would have preferred to stay on our lovely ship. We all should have been reimbursed for this tour. It was dreadful. Indonesia part 2: 2 days in Bali and 1 half day in Komodo. Day 1 (December 11) We had some choices over our 2 days there. I knew I wanted the Monkey Forest tour and that was day 2. The Azamazing evening was day 1 and I didn’t want too exhausting a day as there would be 2 tours that day and we’d have to get ready and were the first group out. I seem to overbook us and piss Doug off. After the disgusting mangrove tour, I was hoping for something better. Our choices were: a beach resort (Doug is not a beach guy but this is what we should have done), A culture tour, a shopping tour (not with Doug), a temple tour ( doing that with the monkeys), Ubud on your own, Ubud Ridges, Villages and valleys. We chose the latter thinking we’d see Ubud. It was supposed to be a journey with incredible views of the volcano, stunning rivers, discover village life. It was none of these things. I never saw a volcano. It was a long walk through a trail behind resort communities. Boring. We did have an outstanding lunch with gorgeous views, though. Our Azamazing evening was an evening of Balinese folklore at the Taman Budaya Art Center.A dance troupe entertained us under the stars.the performances showcased story telling dance characterized by intricate footwork, eyes and finger movements. Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese people and is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. Bali dancers learn the craft as children and even in the womb they are played Balinese music. They are taught to dance with their hands before they can walk. Official training as a Bali dancer starts as young as 7. In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by a musical ensemble specific to Java and Bali. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds. Wow! I never knew hands could move like that. It was absolutely breathtaking. I almost cancelled the next day’s tour...Monkey Forests and temple due to the poor tours we’d been having but I like monkeys. We began at the Tenah Lot Temple, famed for its location atop a craggy outcrop set amid crashing waves. The coastal temple Pura Tanah Lot is located in the southern part of Bali. To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea, a perfectly fit name for its unique offshore settings. The silhouette of Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular iconic features of Bali. The history of Tanah Lot temple was believed to date back to the 16th century. For the Balinese, Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important and venerated sea temples. However, it has all the authenticity of a stage set – even the tower of rock that the temple sits upon is an artful reconstruction (the entire structure was crumbling) and more than one-third of the rock is artificial. We then continued to the Monkey Forest at the Alas Kedaton Sacred Sanctuary where long tailed macaques thrive in a natural habitat. Alas Kedaton is a popular monkey forest sanctuary - a sacred one at that. The sanctuary is made up of many acres of land purely inhabited by big bats and monkeys. The forest sanctuary is located at Kukuh village in Tabanan and made for a fun hour. The crab-eating macaque is the major breed of monkey found in this sanctuary, and Bali in general, as these primates are native to Southeast Asia. A baby bat decided to jump on my back and go for a ride. Eek! Last, we ventured over to Pura Taman Ayum, an 18th century temple complex. Tama Ayun is an aesthetically pleasing temple and is located in a mystical park sheltered by trees and ponds and is a temple built to honor various historical deities and gods. The temple has a rift in form of canals and can only be accessed through a bridge that leads you to a wide spaced grassy courtyard, which leads to another courtyard that houses multiple shrines, and ponds filled with lots of lotus blossoms. The best part of the tour was our guide who immersed us in Balinese culture both past and present. Lunch was again excellent. It was a varied, pretty and enlightening day. It was the best trip of the cruise. December 13 was our final day in Indonesia. I’d travelled thousands of miles to see a Komodo dragon in the wild. It was one of my reasons for taking this cruise. Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site that was set aside to conserve the Komodo dragon and their natural habitat. The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon is arguably Indonesia’s best-conserved large animal. Protected under Indonesian law, the population is relatively stable, with around 2,500 animals in the park. Entrance fees for foreigners were recently increased sharply plus an extra fee for a guide – in a bid to raise more revenue. Currently, the biggest threat to the dragons is the poaching of deer which is their prey, and the rise of human populations. The species shares the park with nearly 4,000 people, many of whom supplement their incomes by selling curios and snacks to tourists. The dragon dominates the food chain and underpins the local economy. We were surround by small and aggressive children peddling small trinkets as we made our way to venture deep into Komodo National Park where we went to search the dry forest for a glimpse of the prehistoric Komodo dragon. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. After about 25 minutes of following guides into the park in 100 degree heat, we were told we might not even see them, as they are wild animals. Finally, right near the trance where we walked in 25 minutes earlier, we see our first cluster of dragons. The park staff are armed with sticks – which doesn’t seem like enough in case of a Komodo dragon attack. With their fearsome reputation in mind, I stay well back. At first sight, they do appear “lifeless” – like large seals wearing crocodile skin. When they move, they crawl on their bellies and then suddenly rear up sphinx-like, sticking out their forked tongues and making a distinctive hissing sound. There are five of the dragons in the group. They are grouped around each other, occasionally standing up, walking a few steps and hissing. The guides stand near us with massive sticks, which they will use to beat the dragons back in the event that they come near us. One guide, told me I reminded him of his mother and led me to them for upfront and personal close ups. I hoped he liked his mother. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey - especially when it is a large water buffalo, - surrounding it in a group then wait patiently until the poison in its saliva has slowly killed its victim.  After which it completely shreds apart and devoured with bones and all.  If the prey escapes, it will usually die within 24 hours due to poisoning of the blood that comes from the venomous and bacteria ridden saliva. Surprisingly, we were not rushed and were allowed quite a bit of time with them. Folks, who visited before, noticed that there were decidedly fewer Komodos than they have seen previously. Hot, but worth the experience. The only difference I would have liked—I would gladly have paid the guide for a shorter visit, with no trekking in the humid heat. Three days at sea (12/14-16) and then Western Australia.(12/17-12/22) The seas became rough. Returning to our cabin on 12/15, water was pouring under the glass sliding doors. The movement wasn’t bad. The position of our bed allowed for rocking side to side instead of head to toe (which our room was doing). It was rather pleasant. It was the crashing of the waves—the bang, bang, bang against the hull that ruined our sleep. We found out that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck around 1,000 km north-northwest of Perth on 12/15. It was much too rough to enjoy pools, hot tubs or our large balcony during our sea days. The draw of this cruise for many was to visit Broome and Exmouth. Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. An ideal beach resort that was cancelled. Ugh. Exmouth is a small resort town on Western Australia’s North West Cape. It’s a gateway to nearby Ningaloo Marine Park with its coral reefs, colourful fish and migratory whale sharks. Nearly surrounding Exmouth, Cape Range National Park has kangaroos, sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges. On the Cape's northwest coast, Jurabi Coastal Reserve's tidal rock pools, beaches and seasonal nesting grounds for marine turtles. This was cancelled too. Ugh. So, 2 nights in Geraldton (12/16-17) replaced these two ports. Geraldton is a major west coast seaport and a logistics center for regional mining, fishing, wheat and sheep. It was a far cry from an iconic beach resort with incredible wildlife and snorkelling. The downtown is struggling to keep alive and shops have a hard time surviving. According to some Australian friends, they had a great day of shopping. The Mid West region of Western Australia is strategically located on an iconic coastline between Perth and the growing economies of the State’s north. There are a host of different economic opportunities - all of which the region intends to capitalise on. Traditionally an agricultural region, the Mid West is now attracting unprecedented investment interest from a range of other industry sectors. The mining industry has quickly become the main economic driver of the region. Strong international demand for commodities and high commodity prices have already underpinned significant mining investment and many more projects are planned for future years. Most folks are positive about the economic stability of Geraldton long term, and attest to Geraldton being one of the best places in the country to live if you're looking for a great balance of lifestyle, affordability, and beauty. There are enough jobs if you have the right skill set or are willing to undertake training or education. There are few better places in terms of beaches and a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. And you don't need to be a multi millionaire to live near the beach, like you would in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.  But the last decade plus of unquestioned positivity has lead to lots of members of the public being left holding investments that are now worth far less than they paid and many people owe far more on their homes than what they could reasonably be expected to sell them for today.  Rewind to 2006. Property prices around WA were booming, in large part due to the insatiable demand for WA's iron ore from China. Meanwhile, the City of Geraldton was hiking rates like they were in the rate raising olympics. Property, all of a sudden, didn't seem like such a great investment.  Nationally syndicated writers, economists and property "gurus" boldly kept predicting Geraldton was the next "boom town", and that it was a "gateway" to the North West and to the Mid West. Fast forward to 2018. Geraldton was budgeting for the future based on an assumption that Geraldton was going to spike in population within a foreseeable timeline. There was no explanation about how those official sources made their predictions, but the exact opposite happened. Geraldton's population declined in the following few years.  I digress from our day to give you a handle on the fact we were docked in a port far from touristy things to do. So, we signed up to visit an animal rescue facility nearby and to visit the old town of Geraldton. It wasn’t an exciting day but it was very pleasant. The weather was lovely, the guide good, the animals fun and I had the best scones ever. While we overnighted there, we didn’t arrive until a bit after noon. First stop was The Greenough Wildlife Park which was not the best park for animal interaction, but it was a good learning facility as it was designed as a temporary home for rescued animals, rehabilitation and release. It was small and the animals were all caged. The owner was a former cop and had a warm and engaging personality. We were able to get up close and personal with parrots, crocodiles, dingos, red and grey kangaroos and reptiles. She is the person you call if you find a python or a highly venomous snake around your house. Our guide was Greenough wildlife guru Michelle Jones who was an interesting lady. Recently, she spent two weeks helping scientists conduct important crocodile research at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in far north Queensland. Ms Jones worked alongside the Australia Zoo’s crocodile team, including Irwin’s widow Terri and children Bindi and Robert. The Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park manager was tasked with helping catch and restrain the giant reptiles so the scientists could safely do their work. Michelle said the research was being used to better understand crocodiles’ habits and, in turn, teach people how to live safely alongside the awe-inspiring beasts. She said she had plans to work with a scientist who was conducting groundbreaking research into social interactions between crocodiles. “We attach satellite and acoustic transmitters to large saltwater crocodiles to track their movements in the river systems up there. The satellite tags allow us to pinpoint where the crocodile lives, and its dive time, which we’ve worked out can be up to 12 hours. The crocodile is processed and back in the water within about 25 minutes; that’s how quick the researchers and the scientists are up there. When the wet season comes, they head up the river systems to certain pockets, and then returning after the season is over to live in rivers where, sadly, a lot of people go swimming. It’s totally uncharted territory. It’s never been looked at before.It will be looking at whether they know their offspring and if they are socially interacting each year through recognition of pheromones.” She also had 2 dingos. The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. Its taxonomic status is debated. Australia is home to so many of these animals that they are generally considered pests. A famous “dingo fence” has been erected to protect grazing lands for the continent's herds of sheep. It is likely that more dingoes live in Australia today than when Europeans first arrived. Though dingoes are numerous, their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised. They can and do interbreed with domestic dogs to produce hybrid animals. Studies suggest that more than a third of southeastern Australia's dingoes are hybrids.  We were able to pat and meet the dogs. Their fur was coarse and bristly but they acted like normal pet dogs, wanting a kiss or a scratch. I had the unfortunate accident of stepping into a hole a dingo had dug and was plagued by constant knee pain for the rest of our trip. I think it’s finally on the mend. The kangaroos are a hoot. The red kangaroo is large with droopy eyes, a relaxed attitude and a “hey, dude” disposition. The grey kangaroo is a bit more skittish. I had the opportunity to cradle a baby grey one. From there, we went to the Greenough Historical village. There were numerous out buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Quite honestly, we have more interesting places in the US. We were treated to warm scones, clotted cream and jam with tea and these scones made the stop worth our time. Upon returning to the port, the Geraldton port had decide to throw us a welcome party, with local foods, drinks, port information, animals, mining info. It was well done and very enjoyable. Day 2 in Geraldton was an all day private tour to the pink salt lake and the Kalbarri National Park, one of Western Australia's most popular places to visit. It was striking but paled compared to our Grand Canyon. In all honesty, I think the time to visit is when the wildflowers are out, July to September. At that time, You can see the park ablaze with the colours of spring, with over 1,100 varieties of wildflowers are found there. It was a long day for a day trip. You drive through acre upon acre of wheat fields...think Nebraska. You get to your destination, quickly see the sites and have to turn around. I think it’s a place you want to spend a couple of days, taking hikes and enjoying outdoor activities. You can go bushwalking, gorge hiking or canoeing and take a journey back 400 million years, when the tidal flats of an ancient sea formed the striking red sandstone and the mighty Murchison River carved out deep gorges on its way to the ocean. We took a more relaxed experience and drove out to the park's many lookouts for some must-snap vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley. What spoiled the outdoor activities a bit was the heat and the swarms of bushflies. These flies look like our flies but are much smaller and swarm around you. They were everywhere we went in Australia. You really needed to wear netting which we didn’t have. The pink lakes: Australia is home to the bizarre pink coloured lakes. They look good enough to drink but are the saltiest bodies of water on earth. Analysis of the water has shown about 10 species of algae and bacteria, which are all predominantly pink. Despite bacteria being the reason for the strawberry milk color, the lake is totally safe to swim in. In fact, the lake's high salt content likely makes the water so dense that you'd float incredibly easily, the way you would in the Dead Sea. It was incredible to look at but mines and factories dotted its shores making it hard to enjoy. The echidna: Driving along we found an echidna in the road and we stopped to rescue it. See pics. So what is an echidna? It has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Also known as spiny anteaters, they're small, solitary mammals native to Australia. They're usually between 12 and 17 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds. Their spines are actually modified hairs. Echidnas' bodies (with the exception of their undersides, faces, and legs) are covered with 2-inch long spines. Fur between the spines provides insulation. Echidnas live slow and long. Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of any mammal, 89__°F. Their body temperatures are not controlled in the same way as that of other mammals, and can fluctuate by up 6–8°C over the course of the day. Their long life spans — up to 50 years in captivity, with anecdotal reports of wild animals reaching 45 years — are due to their low body temperature and slow metabolism. Male echidnas have a bizarre, four-headed penis. You might wonder how you mate with a four-headed penis. During sex, two of the heads shut down while the other two grow bigger to fit into the female's two-branched reproductive tract. Males alternate the heads they use between matings. Echidnas form mating trains. A strange process marks the start of echidna breeding season. Males line up nose to tail behind a single female, forming a train of up to a dozen individuals. Trains can last more than a month, with males dropping out and rejoining. When the female is finally ready to mate, the males dig a trench in the ground around her. The males compete for mating honors by pushing each other out of the trench. The last one remaining gets to mate with the female. Strange creatures! Food: We stopped for lunch where we could sample emu, kangaroo, crocodile. The crocodile tasted like, yes, “Chicken.” The others like over cooked shoe leather. I guess it tasted awful because it was too cute to eat? Bunbury and Busselton, Australia.. (December 19 and 20th) These two ports are really close to one another and about an hour from the wine area—Margaret River. I booked a private tour through Azamara Private Journeys for Dec 19 and wanted to see it all. Unfortunately, the white night was being held on 12/19 and Azamara’ should home office wouldn’t change the date to 12/20 since we were told the guide was out of Bunbury. It turned out he was between Bunbury and Busselton. We were picked up at 12:30 and the driver said he was taking us to Busselton. I asked why as we were going there the next day. We were to get an historical walking tour of both towns but he wasn’t informed of that. He did his best with a quick driving tour and then took us on our scheduled plane ride which was foolishly set up as Busselton to Busselton. It was pleasant. Then, he took us to the Margaret River to visit a winery and for dinner. Almost everything was closed by the time we finished one winery and we missed out on the chocolate and cheese factories. Then, we were taken to dinner at a holiday hotel. Since there was a function in the dining room, we were seated in the lobby, amid screaming kids, drunks and dogs. The dinner was about the equivalent of a poor man’s Pizza Hut. We had to get our own food, which was inedible. Moral of story: Do not ever sign up for Azamara’s Private Journeys. We were toured out and just did Busselton on our own. It’s a nice little beach town with cute shops, a great kids’ playground and a long jetty with a natural aquarium at the end. The jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere and is the second longest wooden jetty (pier) in the world. The jetty construction commenced in 1853 and the first section was opened in 1865. The jetty was extended numerous times until the 1960s, ultimately reaching a length of 1841 m. The last commercial vessel called at the jetty in 1971 and the jetty was closed the following year. It passed into the control of Busselton Shire and has been gradually restored and improved since. view the event. The aquarium was opened on 13 December 2003 descending 8 metres below sea level where one can view the corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows. It was interesting but no WOW. If you are in the area, I suggest spending your time in the lovely Margaret River area, playing tourist, sampling wine and cheese and chocolates, enjoying the scenery and watching out for kangaroos dotting the fields. If you want to save money and enjoy the ship, you can safely wander both Bunbury and Busselton. Don’t waste your money on tours. Final day: Perth My husband thought I was crazy signing us up for a 12 hour tour for our final day, especially given the quality of the tours. Each of these experiences could be enjoyed as day trips from Perth unto themselves. It’s foolish to combine them all in one day unless that’s all you have. Our guide was excellent and was an encyclopedia of information. It could have been a great day if it had been timed better. Our day started out with the Caversham Wildlife Park. We should have spent a few hours here but only had 40 minutes. At Caversham Wildlife Park there are a variety of daily attractions that you can come and see and get involved with which include: Meet the Wombat and Friends, Feed the Kangaroos and Meet the Koalas, feed the Kangaroos. It was a fine stop and a shame to have had so little time there. Each of these destinations is 90 minutes from Perth. Our next stop was the lobster processing factory which offers the complete lobster experience from lobster pot to cooking pot! The Lobster Shack provides a close up encounter with the most valued single species fishery in Australia; the Western Rock Lobster. We were able to see how the lobsters are processed in the factory and packaged up to be sent LIVE to destinations all over the world. However, Azamara cheaped out and served us fish and chips while other table was diving into lobster dinners . We gladly would have paid an up charge. Everyone was quite angry. I suggest that this stop could be a day unto itself. As a day tour, you can go out on a lobster boat and go lobstering and then indulge on a lobster dinner. Or, you can just visit the processing plant, have lunch and then go to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles is pretty far, so I’d either combine visiting it with The Lobster Shack or the white dunes. It takes about an hour, more or less, to visit. Within the park is the ancient Pinnacles Desert, which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinnacles. Standing tall in the shifting sand dunes lies thousands of large limestone pillars that were originally believed to be a lost city. The first records of identification date back to the 1650s. Following this, there are no known records of the Pinnacles until 1820 by Philip Parker King. With very little discovery, the Department of Lands and Surveys included the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (created in 1956) in the 1960s, and it was through this inclusion that the desert became a popular destination. The Pinnacles Desert has been home to Aboriginal tribes for many years – with artifacts found dating back 6,000 years. Many theories have been proposed about the formation of the Pinnacles. One of the theories is that they formed as a result of kastification, characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves that weathers rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Another theory states that the pinnacles were formed through the preservation of tree casts buried in coastal aeolianties. A third theory states that the Pinnacles were created by plants. It is beautiful and well worth a visit. We then went to Lancelin for some dune buggying and sand surfing. We never really got to do either. When you visit the legendary Lancelin sand dunes you could squint and imagine you’re in a post apocalyptic dystopian world with David Lynch writing the script. It’s trippy. The sand is white like icing sugar rather than Sahara desert golden, and some dunes are as big as three story buildings. We headed off on a dune buggy bus. Up a dune; down a dune. Wavering at the top of a dune, our driver tried to stop but couldn’t reverse, so down we went into a sand crevasse. We all left the vehicle so the driver could dig us out. Uh uh. We were stuck in the middle of the desert with no one around, the sun growing dim on the horizon. Stuck. We had no choice but to climb the dunes and walk back to our awaiting bus. No sand boarding time for us. This was our misadventure. The tour escort called the ship as we were so late all dining would be closed. We were met by the hotel director at the bus doors and told ‘not to worry’ as the restaurants were kept open for us. What an end to our tour experience Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the ... Read More
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the cruise did not disappoint in any way. Azamara Officers and Staff are very personable and welcoming, the Master of the Vessel (Jose) is a real star/treasure and we enjoyed his input tremendously. The itinerary was great and, by utilising the ship’s own tours, we’ve now put more pins on our world map having been able to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Petra, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, plus two ports in the country of Oman. The cruise ended in Dubai and we flew home the following day, and delighted to report that Dubai had the cleanest airport we’d ever seen. Well done, Dubai! Suffice to say Egypt itself was none too clean and, one tip, you need to pack some hand sanitising wipes should you decide to do a tour. After what we saw floating in a tributary, we’ll never book a river cruise on the Nile - Ever! Azamara’s AzAmazing evening was held in Israel (Ashdod) and was well worth going to despite having been on the very tiring trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem that same day. Also had a great time at the White Night Party, which displayed a wonderful variety of food, with excellent entertainment provided by the ship’s band,’Smooth Sensations’. The secret is to get seated in advance of the start time, oh heck, have I now given it away??? And, as for the Chocolate Buffet? So very gorgeous- and artistic! What’s not to like? Message to the Quest: See you again next Feb! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our fifth Silversea cruise, our second on the Muse but our first repositioning voyage. As always, we flew to our embarkation city the day beforehand and had a fun 24 hours in Athens. We didn’t feel it necessary to book our ... Read More
This was our fifth Silversea cruise, our second on the Muse but our first repositioning voyage. As always, we flew to our embarkation city the day beforehand and had a fun 24 hours in Athens. We didn’t feel it necessary to book our accommodation through Silversea as it’s a major European city with good transport links. When you just need a relatively central location, a comfortable bed and a good shower, why pay over the odds? Silversea waived the “deviation fee” on this occasion so we booked a simple hotel 10 minutes on the metro from the Acropolis. We enjoyed exploring the city on the Sunday and spent Monday morning in the magnificent Acropolis Museum before taking an inexpensive taxi to Piraeus and boarding the ship with minimum fuss. We were sat outside La Terrazza having lunch within 15 minutes. We previously sailed on the Muse on her inaugural voyage in April 2017 and had a great time, despite the dining chaos complained of by some. It definitely felt like a home-coming, with some familiar faces amongst the crew and we easily slipped into the warm embrace of luxury provided onboard. The ship looked good and well-kept. For us, the public spaces achieve the balance between muted luxury and comfort - we are not interested in being surrounded by “bling”. Our suite, although on a lower deck than we have previously sailed on, was in all other respects exactly the same and very convenient for the “big beige lounge” (the Dolce Vita) and Team Trivia every afternoon. Over the course of the cruise, we ate in all the restaurants with the exception of La Dame. This was a conscious choice on our part as on our previous voyage we didn’t feel La Dame merited the extra charge when the food in Atlantide is particularly good. We dined in Kaiseki to celebrate a birthday and the chefs and staff gave us a memorable evening. We also enjoyed the sushi and sashimi for lunch at Kaiseki, which sometimes provided a quieter alternative to the buffet or the pool deck. The food at all restaurants ranged from very good to excellent. It was pleasing to see that the menu at Silver Note (previously our lest favourite option) had improved. The flavours at Indochine were spot-on and the bar there was one of the nicest on the ship. Not all guests appreciate Asian fusion, but it was heartening to see the Indochine dining room busier than previously. Where we had previously sailed on port-intensive itineraries with relatively few sea days, we had to make an adjustment on this cruise where it was roughly half port and half sea days. This was made easier with plenty to keep us busy. There were three guest lecturers on board, two of whom - Mark Elowitz and Tom Jones - were particularly popular. Team Trivia became increasingly popular as the cruise progressed. Cruise Director Vikki conducted matters with elan and confidence. We used the gym regularly and my husband attended a number of classes with the fitness instructor, who he rated highly. The jogging track was busy with walkers and runners first thing in the morning. We had a bridge tour, various cooking demonstrations in different parts of the snip, a galley tour and many other diversions. The Voices of Silversea did a really good job on this voyage and all the various musicians worked hard to support each other and devise new combinations of musical entertainment to offer guests. Charlie the guitarist was a particular star. In addition, there were two other artists brought in for different parts of the cruise - a singer/pianist and a flamenco guitarist. Both were very skilled. We took a number of excursions in the ports we visited. The desert jeep safari in Sharm El Sheikh was more fun and interesting than we had originally expected. The landscapes through which we drove were remarkable and the visit to the Bedouin camp was enlivened by both a whirling dervish and a belly dancer. The full day excursion to Petra was tiring but very well worth it. Again, the desert landscape we passed through to get there was quite spectacular. Everybody will say that there isn’t enough time to do more than skim the surface in Petra and I think that is true. Once we had passed through the Siq, we left the tour group behind and wandered on our own. There was enough flexibility in the lunch arrangements for us to maximise the time in the old city and just grab something quick back at the Movenpick Hotel. After all, there didn’t see a lot of point in going all that way to spend half of it sitting in the dining room of a hotel, however nice. In Safaga, we took the overnight excursion to Luxor. This gave us the best chance to see as much as we could in the time available. For us, the Valley of the Kings was the highlight and more time there rather than at a couple of the photo stops on the way back to Luxor would have been welcome. The evening buffet dinner at the Sonesta Hotel on the banks of the Nile was very relaxed and enjoyable. Having sailed through Pirate Alley and reached Salalah, we cancelled the excursion we had booked and took a taxi with another couple. This gave us the chance to see what the city had to offer at our own pace. It’s not a big place but there are still points of interest - the vegetable and fish markets were amazing. It always surprises us when we hear and read complaints of poor service on Silversea. We have never experienced anything less than exemplary service and this cruise was no different. Our butler and room attendant were efficient and friendly and did a beautiful job of decorating the suite for my husband’s birthday. The staff definitely deserved the applause at the crew parade on our penultimate evening on board. Disembarkation at Muscat was a little slower than on previous occasions, but that was more to do with the local immigration officials than with Silversea staff. All the arrangements for our transfers within Muscat went smoothly. We are looking forward to our next Silversea cruise - we have an open booking and are still pondering which itinerary to try next. Based on our previous experience, we are confident that Silversea will deliver the cruise we want. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My husband loves Hawaii, however the hotel where we always stay was being renovated in 2018 so i took the opportunity to find a suitable cruise - the requirements were : warm weather, ocean (naturally - no river cruise), interesting ... Read More
My husband loves Hawaii, however the hotel where we always stay was being renovated in 2018 so i took the opportunity to find a suitable cruise - the requirements were : warm weather, ocean (naturally - no river cruise), interesting area(s) and a "nice" ship (with a king-size bed - very important). We have done a few cruises and so far liked the QM2-Grill best (we enjoy ballroom dancing). This was a long introduction ... The SilverSea / SIlver Muse had a very good itinerary - from Athens through the Suez Canal to Oman, via stops in Cyprus and multiple stops in Egypt, particularly Luxor. This schedule was well suited for finishing our trip - on our own - in Dubai. As soon as SilverSea / SIlver Muse (or similar, i.e Spirit) has an itinerary we like we'll book again. We loved the experience. The ship is just lovely - the perfect size in our opinion - big enough to have nice facilities yet small enough to provide an intimate and cozy feeling. No photographer to bug you all the time. We did have a "suite" which was very comfortable (and had the required king-size bed). It also had a Bose sound system but the guest(s) have to provide the music which we could not since we don't have "smart phones" (this was really a shame because we are used to excellent sound; there was music available via the TV but very poor sound quality even though they did have some classical music. On that subject - sound quality - the theatre has a terrbile sound system, we were not the only ones complaining. Also - why does everything have to be so loud ?!? It's ok to amplify a Trio or individual Guitar player on the deck around the pool but in a small and cozy room this simply becomes deafening noise !! The food was excellent and the service superb - there are basically 2 dining venues, the relatively formal Atlantide and the more relaxed Italian La Terrazza - there are several more smaller places (Chinese, Japanese and totally informal pool-side restaurants as well as one super-fancy venue where you have to pay a cover charge - we tried it but were not impressed). One real complaint is that the last breakfast seating is at 9:30 and closes at 10 ! We are on holiday - vacation ! So we had breakfast in our room and our butler tried to bring it as late as possible, typically 9:50 and then 10 min later the eggs and bacon so they don't get cold while we have fruit/juice/cereal - this was acceptable since we could sit in our house coats. (We prefer to have a very late breakfast, typically 11:30 and no lunch - don't know why this seems to be such a problem except on the QM2). Regardless of dress codes, most people were very well dressed - a pleasant surprise, we like it. I can't say much about excursions since we made mostly our own arrangements but one "Beach break" which we had booked was cancelled, not enough interest, but then the office agreed to organize it privately for us and this worked out well. All in all a most wonderful experience - we are looking forward to cruise with SilverSea again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Dining service has slipped, evening entertainment in lounge is not very entertaining for a late night crowd. Butler service, Rommel and his assistant Vipen, were exceptional. No binoculars in room and no lectures on board ship prior to ... Read More
Dining service has slipped, evening entertainment in lounge is not very entertaining for a late night crowd. Butler service, Rommel and his assistant Vipen, were exceptional. No binoculars in room and no lectures on board ship prior to ports. Also not much communication regarding visa help for next cruise to Oman. I personally asked the chief accountant to keep me updated with what became a difficult process. He NEVER communicated until the visa was completed. The ship IT guy tried to help me switch the online application but he could not figure out how to shrink my passport photo tonfit the application. They got it done but it was very stressful and it took four working days after they told me it was usually done in one to three. Would not have been an issue if the. Communication would have been there. Great restaurants to select from and food was very good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were interested in visiting the ancient ruins in Athens, Petra, and Luxor. The Silversea pre and post cruise Hotels were were excellent. We enjoyed the Muse. There were things we really liked and a couple of things that need ... Read More
We were interested in visiting the ancient ruins in Athens, Petra, and Luxor. The Silversea pre and post cruise Hotels were were excellent. We enjoyed the Muse. There were things we really liked and a couple of things that need attention.We liked the room design. We did not like the black oily soot that came out of the smokestacks and covered the deck and furniture on the back outdoor seating. Soiled lots of cloths before we discovered it. I thought it strange that when my wife and I arrived to eat at the Indochine restaurant I was asked to go get a jacket before I could enter, I went back to room and returned to enter when I noticed eight men in the restaurant who hung their jackets on the chair and were wearing bluejeans and sneakers. Jason told me I only need the jacket to enter but then I could remove it. Quite a poor policy and not consistently applied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And ... Read More
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And we felt very safe, even when we were sailing by Somalia. The ship is lovely and very well designed. The interior decorating is very Scandinavian and comfortable. There were lots of places to relax. Even though there were nearly 900 people on the ship, we never felt it was crowded. The food choices were excellent, and we probably ate more than we should have! We really enjoyed having a variety of food venues and the option to eat both inside and outside. We liked the experience so much that we signed up on board for another cruise on the ORION in Nov. 2019 -this time to Southeast Asia. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose this cruise because I liked the itinerary and had not been to this part of the world. The Passage to India exceeded all of my expectations. The Viking Orion is a beautiful ship! The cabins are spacious, well laid out and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I liked the itinerary and had not been to this part of the world. The Passage to India exceeded all of my expectations. The Viking Orion is a beautiful ship! The cabins are spacious, well laid out and comfortable. The common guest areas are decorated with comfortable furniture, unique accessories and art work. Dining areas provide lovely views and welcoming atmospheres. The food and drink are wonderful—fresh, delicious, tasty and plentiful! The shops provide a wide variety of merchandise with a range of prices. The merchandise is high quality, unusual, and hard to resist. What you purchase on the Orion you will not find any where else. The shops’ personnel are friendly, professional, knowledgeable and customer focused. The entertainment was outstanding and top notch. I loved the on board lectures and the chance to hear experts in person as well as watch their presentations in my cabin. The officers and crew are true professionals who care about you and want to ensure everyone has an outstanding experience on the Viking Orion! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our 3rd Viking Ocean cruise. Nothing beats Viking.kin we have sailed on Seabourn, Oceania, Azamara and Crystal Nothing compares to Viking. Included shore excursions are great. guides are super. Variety of food onboard ... Read More
This was our 3rd Viking Ocean cruise. Nothing beats Viking.kin we have sailed on Seabourn, Oceania, Azamara and Crystal Nothing compares to Viking. Included shore excursions are great. guides are super. Variety of food onboard is great. Public areas are comfortable. Staff is professional. Cabin service excellent. For our anniversary we received champagne and a cake in our cabin. While on a post-excursion for 5 days in India, we received celebratory gifts in each hotel. Magnificent treatment everywhere. Guides in all countries spoke excellent English. Main dining room lighting was too bright. Food great though. Marvelous cruises--- classy ship. Entertainment is not up to par. Repetitive entertainers, amateur stuff. Classical music venues are excellent. Cruise director Mark Bregnone is a pro. Terrific singer, entertainer, with a great personality and organizational skills. We feel at home on Viking. So many places to go.... such a great way to travel. Can't be beat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, ... Read More
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, say "hello" to you even you walk by them. We love the World Cafe, their food and services are better than the other dinning rooms.you can find king crab legs every night there. The order to cook oriental dishes there are great. The only thing is the storeroom services can be a little more efficient. They don't clean our room until after 10 a.m in the morning or prepare our beds after 9 p.m. I wish they can do it earlier. Maybe too many rooms to clean by 1 storeroom stewardess. Overall it was a great trip with some minor excursions mix up. Too many days in Mumbai especially for those with the 35days segment. They should have an overland excursion to the Tah Mahjai. Also, 1 day in Sri Lanka is enough. Overnight should be added to Penang and Singapore so passengers can enjoy the night food market and night life in both places. Too little time in these beautiful places. Also, entertainment can be brush a little bit. Aiden Soon 's performance is incredible, one of the best we saw in our cruises experience. Need more entertainers like him. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We sailed from Athens to Bangkok on a 36 day cruise called the Voyage of Marco Polo. Certainly a grand name, and the voyage lived up to it. I captured my full journey on Instagram on my billwscott account. Embarkation After ... Read More
We sailed from Athens to Bangkok on a 36 day cruise called the Voyage of Marco Polo. Certainly a grand name, and the voyage lived up to it. I captured my full journey on Instagram on my billwscott account. Embarkation After arriving in Athens we were picked up by staff from the Viking team, quickly guided to our bus and before we knew it were in our stateroom with Malaya & Teresa explaining all the features of the Penthouse Veranda. The first evening we had a wonderful outing to get a quick panoramic look at Athens and then a delicious dinner in a quaint restaurant in the heart of Athens. The next night the Captain's welcome was warm and funny. Ship The Viking Orion is just an absolutely stunning ship. Forward on the 7th floor is the Explorer Bar next to Mamsen's. In addition to having a full sweeping view, the delicious desserts at Mamsen's had us coming back again and again. We spent many afternoons and evenings there reading and relaxing or listening to entertainment. The Atrium is a 3 story open air area that was also a favorite of ours. My wife was constantly at the jigsaw puzzle table on the second floor of the Atrium. The ship size is perfect. About 900 guests and 450 crew. Never, ever felt over crowded. Most of time it felt expansive and roomy. Stateroom The Penthouse Veranda was exactly the size room we needed. It had a full sofa, table, desk area, king size bed, nice size bathroom with large shower. While there are larger rooms, I never ever felt cramped. It felt just right. We had 4 very large suitcases and they fit under the bed easily. Out of site and out of mind. Malaya & Teresa kept our room new each day and turn down service every evening refreshed our room as well as receiving the Viking Daily. Dining Everything is made from scratch and fresh. The breads, desserts and ice cream (made fresh on board) was off the chart. The World Cafe provided a really deep assortment of food that was varied enough to never feel like you were getting the same food. The food there was A+. Every night there was sushi and many nights crab legs. The Chef's Table is the gourmet restaurant and the food was pre-selected by the Chef and each time we dined there was a real treat. Manfredi's is another reservation only restaurant (World Cafe and The Restaurant are walk-in) that specializes in Italian fare. With a portion of the menu fixed and another portion changing with the cruise, we always felt it was a cut above. The Pool Grill made amazing burgers, hot dogs and ahi ahi and always had an amazing assortment of salads. Beer & Wine is free during any meal time hours whether in the restaurants or in the bar. Entertainment & Activities We didn't spend a lot of time with entertainment though the special talks and the magic shows were top notch. What we did spend a lot of time with was the Spa. LivNordic runs the spas for Viking Ocean Cruises and it is definitely my favorite spa concept. Following Nordic Bathing Rituals, the spa has: dry saunas, steam sauna, snow grotto, hot tub, cold plunge pool and swimming pool. The service is free. I became massively addicted to the dry sauna and cold plunge. In addition, I had some great Yoga & Pilates/balance classes with Anna & Pricillia. Speaking of Pricillia, she is the best massage/physical therapist I have ever worked with. Trained in Nordic, Swedish, Thai (she spent several months training in a Thai temple) and Busquet (a french whole body method). The latter really transformed my body. Charlotte & Sophie are gems in the salon. They provide great haircuts and styling, manicures, pedicures, facials, etc. The gym is definitely fully equipped and I enjoyed a session with Dejan (trainer) for a small charge. Service WOW. Just WOW. While other cruises seem to want to nickel and dime you, there is very little that you have to pay for as it is really all inclusive. All the coffee, sodas, tea, water you want. Beer & wine are free during meal time throughout the ship. Other drinks come at a reasonable charge. What this means is the staff is focused on serving and not upselling. You won't find art auctions, casinos, photographs to buy, water to pay for, etc. The staff is just so helpful and friendly. About a dozen we got to know pretty well. Ports of Call/Excursions Many wonderful ports: Athens, Haifa, El Said, Aquaba, Goa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand made for a widely varying cultural exploration. A few suffered a little from being a bit far from the attractions. Recommended Yes, yes, yes. I have booked a Viking River cruise in 2020 because I feel so strongly about Viking. BTW, there are no kids under 18 on the ship. I like kids, but I loved being on a ship without them ;-) Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a “bucket list” cruise for our 25th anniversary. We are so happy that we went! The tours we took were wonderful, informative, and frequently breathtaking. (The one exception was Jerusalem, where the guide was terrible, but ... Read More
This was a “bucket list” cruise for our 25th anniversary. We are so happy that we went! The tours we took were wonderful, informative, and frequently breathtaking. (The one exception was Jerusalem, where the guide was terrible, but still, Old Town Jerusalem was amazing). The lectures on the boat were more than we could have hoped for. In particular, the comparative religion guy was great—even-handed and informative. He especially good about how the religions interrelated historically and what they had in common or differed. It was so important to have that through the Middle East through Southeast Asia. By the time he finished his lecture series, it was standing room only. The dining was very good, particularly the special restaurants, which were great. The only two changes about the main restaurants that I’d make: 1) the “local” ethnic specialties (e.g., Indian curry while we were in India, etc.) were a little watered down, I guess so as not to scare us. This was not true of the extensions, where the food was truly authentic and amazing. 2) while the deserts were truly beautiful-looking and well-prepared, the flavor was a little bland. Overall though, the ingredients were top-notch, perfectly prepared. The rest of the food was terrific, and such a wide variety. Even with the two caveats, the food was better than other cruise lines. The entertainment was fun, particularly the trivia contests. The two cruise directors were very funny. The onboard entertainers were young and enthusiastic, with good singing voices. Homusianswever, their selection was a little dinner-theater-y. The cellists and pianist were really good musicians. The amenities couldn’t be better, and there were so many places to go on the ship, we never felt closed in. Finally, the massage therapist I had on the ship, Priscillia, was the best one I’ve ever had. I had had hip problems since I was a teenager, but she adjusted one hip, and now the whole thing is about 90% fixed! I guess she was so great because she was a licensed physical therapist. Who would have thought, on a cruise ship? Anyway, what a great cruise! We were happy the whole time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were looking for a cruise to the Middle East and had traveled with Viking on a river cruise. Their itinerary most closely matched our plans. The ship, its amenities, the crew were all outstanding. The excursions had a few bumps — ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise to the Middle East and had traveled with Viking on a river cruise. Their itinerary most closely matched our plans. The ship, its amenities, the crew were all outstanding. The excursions had a few bumps — it’s a difficult region for problem free visits, and the August weather temperatures were very challenging. The guides were well prepared and knowledgeable; there was a good selection of both included and optional tours, but logistics were complicated. I would have enjoyed more evening entertainment on the ship. The food and restaurants on board were great. Our cabin was spacious and comfortable. The common areas were beautiful and luxurious. I have traveled with other cruise lines and I think Viking is absolutely the best in customer service; every member of the staff was friendly, competent, helpful, and cheerful — all of which contributed to a most memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
When I was in high school, I read a lot geography around the suez canal, red sea, and indian ocean. It is very interesting and I am glad I get this one in my bucket list. The excursions is actually more than I expect traveling Egypt, ... Read More
When I was in high school, I read a lot geography around the suez canal, red sea, and indian ocean. It is very interesting and I am glad I get this one in my bucket list. The excursions is actually more than I expect traveling Egypt, Israel, Jorden, and Mumbai in one trip. Of course, the ship is the top of the class in service. This is better than other ships which I had travelled before. The quality of food is also above other ships except the Chef Table. I went three night in this dinner and I just like the french food only. The equipment in the exercise room are in good condition and also because it is max. 930 persons in the ship, therefore, it is not crowded in the exercise room and spa area. I used the spa every day at sea. the Scandinavian Bathing is highly recommended to utilize in the trip. I also love so many sea food in the menu in this ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first cruise ever, so we chose Viking because of our great experience on the Viking river cruise. The ambiance of the ship was classic and elegant; our room was luxurious; and the staff was so attentive that we felt like ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, so we chose Viking because of our great experience on the Viking river cruise. The ambiance of the ship was classic and elegant; our room was luxurious; and the staff was so attentive that we felt like royalty! Every day we had excellent food in wonderful surroundings. There were plenty of private nooks and crannies so that we never felt that there were many others on board. The 24/7 room service was a really big hit with our group. No matter what time we returned to the ship, we knew we could always have a fabulous meal. Even the buffet had many "made to order" items that made us feel special. The excursions were excellently organized and we always felt that we knew where we were to go and how to get back. This was our first extended family vacation that included married spouses, but will definitely not be our last. We are already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on ... Read More
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on Viking River Cruises numerous times and on Viking Star, loving everyday. Not so with this cruise, Bay of Bangle, involved a different 'hurdle' daily. Embarkation in Mumbai was a total NIGHTMARE! No-one at the 'Guest Service' desk knew the definition of 'guest services'. We arrived late into ports, and therefore had the planned excursions rush. There wasn't any entertainment, as had been present of other Viking cruises. The food was, good. The service was delayed by staffing problems and a general lack of experience. We were given two days in Gao, India and one day in Singapore. Go figure! We had a three hour bus excursion in Georgetown. We drove around the same circle five times, without any potty breaks. There was a fort and a Palace, we couldn't get out and explore. Saving on port fees, we were two hours out of the city of Bangkok. This meant five hours on a bus, day one and 2 1/2 hours back the next day to the airport. Not a happy finish! We're going to give Viking Ocean more time to pull their act together, before any additional travel, on them. The ship is beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I wanted to land on Wrangell Island, see polar bears, and be in the ice. All of which SS promised would occur. Starting in Anchorage, SS couldn't get its act together and the rest of the cruise went downhill from there. Silversea knew ... Read More
I wanted to land on Wrangell Island, see polar bears, and be in the ice. All of which SS promised would occur. Starting in Anchorage, SS couldn't get its act together and the rest of the cruise went downhill from there. Silversea knew that the ice conditions were never going to allow us to land on Wrangell, yet declined to inform us, the passengers who had invested considerable sums of money in good faith to do precisely that. The crew on board, directed by the Corporate heads, continued to paint a rosey picture of our chances to get to Wrangell, as the Ice Pilot was telling us no one would get into Wrangell until the end of August. And to top everything off, Management decided it could just shrug and say it had tried and that would be the end of the passenger complaints. Several of us asked for a full refund, operating under the illusion that Silversea is a reputable, first class expedition cruise line. FALSE. Silversea's reply was essentially tough! Take the 40% discount which I refused to do. I have written the CEO of Royal Caribbean, no reply, chairman of Silversea, no reply, CEO of Silversea and had the VP of Guest relations replying that it would be unfair to the rest of the passengers to give me a full refund - once again demonstrating the absolute disdain which SS has for its passengers and a complete unwillingness to accept any responsibility for what happened on that miserable cruise. And the final insult for me was that I got covered in bug bites on the ship - bed bugs???? A truly terrible cruise. I could never recommend anyone subject themselves to such a horror. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We just booked this at the very last moment as it was sailing from Cape Town to Southampton and were delighted there was space. This was our first Cunard experience, but I think virtually all other passengers were long-time fans of ... Read More
We just booked this at the very last moment as it was sailing from Cape Town to Southampton and were delighted there was space. This was our first Cunard experience, but I think virtually all other passengers were long-time fans of Cunard. I really cannot find anything to complain about. Check-in was professional and we received our suitcases relatively quickly. The cabin was a decent size, as was the wardrobe and small balcony but perfect for two. We chose late dining and never once had repeat food. It was excellent, as was the service. We mostly had a late breakfast in the Lido where the choice was as good as I have ever had in a top Hotel. Lunch we occasionally took in the dining room, but there were so many opportunities to eat we had to choose between lunch or afternoon tea. We ate in the dining room every night. Talks were excellent, particularly Ian Brown and John McCarthy. Entertainment was mostly professional, bar staff were attentive. The daily quiz was a daily challenge. If I were to have one gripe, and I really shouldn’t, the drinks were expensive. But that’s nothing in the scheme of things. Really, it was 17 nights of pure joy. It’s not a cruise for youngsters, the dress code is jacket for gents every night, and formal on four nights, but there’s something very pleasant about a dress code. Well done Cunard - we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with the India Taj Mahal Extension on April 25, 2018. Our flight from Florida was arranged by Oceania and flew through Newark, then to Delhi. No problems. The Oceania representative was waiting for us at the airport in Delhi. The Taj Mahal Extension was great, the JW Marriott Hotel in Delhi was at the airport and was outstanding. The trip to Agra started with a quickie tour of Delhi before driving south. On the way to Agra we saw a developing area of India. The bus trip was around 3 hours or so, in a very nice bus. We stopped a few times for restroom breaks. We had to get up very early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We returned in the evening to see it again at sunset. The next morning we got up early again to drive to the airport to fly to Mumbai and board the ship. When in Mumbai, the driver gave us another quickie tour of the city. Mumbai is quite a bit different from Delhi. India was HOT. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was towards the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, were available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director, Julie, provided information about tours and timing and basically everything you need to know on a timely basis. She even provided entertainment one evening. The ship had a cast of wonderful entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics. Both needed to use larger print on their PowerPoint presentations. This was a 28 day cruise plus a few additional days for the Taj Mahal. That seemed like a long time but the time went by quickly. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 600 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. DUBAI, UAE – We took the Discover Dubai tour and the Sharjah Heritage tour. The tours cover the city. You will see lots of gold and more gold ….. and more gold … and spices. The weather was very hot. Dubai is a beautiful new city and is a bit over the top. We learned a lot about the Muslim religion and saw very large Mosques. FUJAIRAH, UAE – We took the East Coast City tour. Fujairah is a developing area. It is hot and dusty. The mountains in the background make it considerably different from Dubai. You will see more Mosques and more gold and spices. MUSCAT, OMAN – We took the Mystical Muscat tour. Muscat is a beautiful city of old and new architecture. You will see a Mosque and more gold and spices. It's still hot. SALALAH, OMAN – In Salalah, we took the Scenic Salalah tour. This is the place to buy Frankincense. The good stuff is very light in color and can be purchased in liquid or solid forms. This was an interesting place. …. still hot. FOUR DAYS AT SEA – We received Pirate Training and Navy Seals boarded the ship! AQABA, JORDAN – After the Taj Mahal, Petra is the reason we are on this cruise. We took the Magnificent Petra tour. The tour required a lot of walking through a beautiful slot canyon. This was one of the high points of the trip. …... It was actually cool in the morning but, it got HOT. The walk to the main attractions was generally downhill, but uphill coming back. Horses and carts were available to rent; both were a little questionable. The tour included a nice lunch. SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT – On the first day we took the all day trip (Ancient Luxor tour) to Luxor to see the Valley of Kings and other ancient stuff. Most of the drive was through desert! When we finally got near Luxor, the driving was very slow. We were in Luxor previously on a Viking Cruise so we probably could have passed on this tour and spent more time in Safaga. But Luxor is special if you have never been there. On the second day we went on the Snorkeling in the Red Sea tour. This was fantastic. The Red Sea is full of interesting fish. The area along the Red Sea is a resort area that is very dead. Not much going on. THE SUEZ CANAL – The canal was another reason this cruise looked interesting. The history behind it is interesting … covered by the speakers. The canal is basically a big ditch, parts of it is only one way traffic. While cruising through it, an all day trip, you will basically be in Egypt with Africa to the west and Asia to the east. A nice relaxing day surrounded by sand. HAIFA (JERUSALEM), ISRAEL – This stop was another reason we were on this cruise. We took the A Day in Jerusalem and Bethlehem tour. Jerusalem was a zoo …. very crowded and busy. Besides all the people that live in Jerusalem, it is full of tourists and shops. Bethlehem appeared to be more reverent and enjoyable. We stopped at a nice place to shop in Bethlehem. On the second day in Israel, we took the Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee tour. This was out in the country and very enjoyable … but very, very HOT … in fact, the HOTTEST. The heat was a real problem. LIMASSOL, CYPRUS – In Cyprus, we took the Pafos & Kourion tour. Cyprus is a beautiful island with an interesting history. The included lunch was very good. This is a nice place to visit. RHODES, GREECE – The Highlights of Rhodes tour was very nice. The island is beautiful with a great harbor and market. KUSADASI (EPHESUS), TURKEY – We visited Ephesus, the Virgin Mary House and a local museum. The Virgin Mary House is special … it feels holy. Of course, Ephesus and the museum are world class. We also visited a carpet factory! The weather is much better. The lunch was great. SANTORINI, GREECE – We took the Santorini Winery & Oia tour. The winery included a small glass of three different wines. We were in and out in 30 minutes. You can miss this! Oia is what you expect Santorini to be like. The only problem was that four ships were in port. People everywhere. Up to this point, we really didn't see another cruise ship. The line to go back to the four ships was a joke … we never found the end. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in Thira to kill time. The food is good, as is the beer and wine. VALLETTA, MALTA – We took the Scenic Sights of Malta tour which included a tour of the island. The port is beautiful and very active. Malta has beautiful churches and is a great place to shop … good prices. We may not have needed a tour in Malta. It looks very walkable to most points of interest. PALERMO (SICILY), ITALY – We took the Mysterious Palermo tour. We probably should have just walked around the city. In fact, we did when the tour was heading back to the ship. One interesting stop in the tour was a catacomb with hundreds if not thousands of exposed skeletons; aka mummies. SORRENTO (CAPRI), ITALY – We took the cruise to Capri. This was one of the highlights of the cruise. We had time to just walk around the island and visit too many high end shops, sample Lemoncello and other treats. Its nice to just have a drink and watch the world go by in Capri. The scenery is outstanding. Capri was warm! All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. Overall, the cruise was wonderful. You will see too many churches and mosques, markets, gold, spices … but you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. You will also walk …. a lot. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
If anyone had told us that we would be returning to Dubai less than 6 months from our last embarkation from that port, I would have thought them crazy. But then we received a Seabourn brochure this winter that had an itinerary with ... Read More
If anyone had told us that we would be returning to Dubai less than 6 months from our last embarkation from that port, I would have thought them crazy. But then we received a Seabourn brochure this winter that had an itinerary with pricing that we could not pass up. This was the chance to try out a true “luxury” line. Even though we already had a deposit on a cruise for 2019 that would include the Suez Canal and bucket list destination Petra, travel on Seabourn’s Encore would be in a larger cabin with more amenities. So, this April, we found ourselves back in the UAE. We took advantage of Seabourn’s air as the price, after applying their air credit, was better than what we could get on our own. We made our own hotel arrangements and stayed at the JW Marriott on Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, near the metro. This time we added an extra day for a visit to the Emirate of Sharjah and also made it to Burj Khalifa and the Jumeriah Mosque in Dubai before boarding Encore on April 22. Check-in went quickly and we proceeded to lunch in the Colonnade as our cabin was not quite ready. Our first surprise was that the buffet was self serve – a definite change from any of the lines we had recently been on and the second was an oddly placed structural column in front of the hot food area. These were small matters that were soon forgotten as the announcement was made that the cabins were ready. Our guarantee cabin was on Deck 7 which is the perfect deck for quick access to Seabourn Square, which is the hub of activity for the ship. We were immediately impressed with the granite bath with its double sink, tub and separate shower, comfort height toilet with soft close lid and ample storage. The makeup vanity in the hall is perfect for hair care. It was topped with a sprig of fresh orchid and the name card of our stewardess, Patience, who appeared shortly after we arrived to introduce herself and offer a selection of designer soaps. She did an excellent job keeping our suite spotless for 19 days. There were so many great things about the cabin that it’s almost hard to remember all of them: plenty of storage space (including the walk in closet with double row for hanging and the chest of drawers), curtains that were functional and not just decorative so you could actually separate the sleeping and living areas, a full size couch, a glass table large enough to be set for proper en suite dining, the stocked bar. Ah, the bar. Seabourn totally won me over with the ice bucket kept inside the mini fridge so there are always plump ice cubes available. Two bottles of our preferred liquor were provided along with set-ups and once the beer preference was established, the fridge was always fully stocked. While there were no USB charging ports, there were plenty of 110/220 outlets for all of our needs. The spacious veranda was an enjoyable spot to indulge in caviar and shrimp cocktails brought by room service The evening turn down service usually included a little surprise (NO towel animals thank you) along with the next day’s Herald, Dining Guide and obligatory chocolates, although in Seabourn’s case they are designed in collaboration with Thomas Keller and Armando Manni! On different evenings there were eye shades, a Seabourn book mark, Holy items from Jerusalem and a cute paper boat with our ship id picture set on an opened page of the World Atlas provided to each stateroom. Seabourn delights with small details. We felt the food was probably the best we’ve had at sea though there were a few disappointments with dishes not being hot enough or over done but usually things were easily corrected. We missed having a pasta station where the dish is cooked to specific requests but perhaps that would have been accommodated had we asked. The largest dining venue, the Restaurant is located mid ship and offers 4 or 5 different entrees daily in addition to the “always available” and includes vegetarian options for most courses. Dinner tends to be a drawn out affair but the time goes quickly when there is such good conversation. We accepted invitations to two hosted dinners and thoroughly enjoyed the evenings. The Grill by Thomas Keller is by reservation only and features several courses that are prepared or finished tableside. The Colonnade is popular for breakfast and lunch with several items cooked to order, though many items appear every day and there are not many desert options. Themed menus with table service are usually the norm for evening in the Colonnade. Dining on The Patio by the pool is available for lunch and dinner with a limited selection, with one evening being very good and another being less than marvelous. Sushi is a delightful small venue, both with the menu and service. Specialty coffees and small snacks are available from the baristas in Seabourn Square for a good number of hours and a proper tea is served at Tea Time in the Observation Bar. One of Seabourn’s specialties is the bread sticks and they make them by the thousands every day – so good! In case you don’t get enough to eat at a meal, there is freshly made gelato available on the patio or at Seabourn Square for much of the day. There are not many loungers around the main pool but there are hot tubs and a small pool on the rear of Deck five and another hot tube on the front of Deck 7 that provide more space for sun lovers. The bar servers attended to these areas bringing ice water and special request drinks. There are also loungers on the front of Deck 12 with no shade but it offered an excellent vantage for viewing the Suez Canal. There are also stations set up with amenities such as sun tan lotion, eyeglass wipes and bug repellent (for the Suez transit) Announcements are kept to a bare minimum so it’s helpful to keep the daily Herald handy to sort out the day's events. There were plenty of things to stay busy on our nine sea days including “Conversations” with four brilliant guest lecturers, dance lessons, two art classes per day, bridge lessons and much more. A galley tour was offered and was so popular that those on the waiting list were treated on the second tour with champagne and lead by Head Chef Giuseppe himself. If you are a fan of art auctions or bingo, Seabourn is not the line for you because you won’t find them on board. About one third of the guests were from the US, followed by Australians, Canadians and then a wide mix of travelers from Europe which made for fun teams for daily trivia. We went to slightly less than half of the evening shows which were all quite good and the Seabourn singers and dancers were excellent. Our ports included Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi), Doha, Muscat, Salalah, Aqaba, Ashdod, Haifa, Santorini, and disembarked in Piraeus. We booked the Desert Island Game Drive on Sir Bani Yas through Seabourn as it is a private island with not many options. The drive is not terribly exciting except for seeing hundreds of Arabian Oryx which have been brought back from near extinction thanks to the Oryx Conservation Group. This island was also the site of Seabourn’s signature caviar in the surf and fabulous barbeque with all of the supplies being brought from the ship. Our Roll Call was very quiet compared to other lines but we were we were able to form private tours for Oman and Israel. We used private vans hired by Seabourn for Jerusalem and Galilee for customized tours that included Bethlehem in Palestine which was a sobering experience. We were comfortable doing Doha on our own and took cabs to the souk and the Museum of Islamic Art. We booked a private guide for just the two of us in Aqaba so we could make the most of our time visiting Petra and Wadi Rum. We had the thrill of being picked up by private yacht at the tender point in Thira and spent 5 hours cruising the caldera and enjoyed lunch overlooking Thirassia. After a silent disembarkation, our seamless transfer in Piraeus was handled by Seabourn with plenty of time to make our 1:30 flight to Newark via Zurich. We appreciated the attention to detail and concern for passenger comfort from the entire crew starting with Captain David Bathgate and his senior staff, cruise director Ross Roberts and assistant director Ashley Edwards, Guest Relations staff (who have the patience of saints) the hospitality team, stewardesses, seamen. The Captain was very friendly and visible, starting from when we first met him on a tender, to participating with trivia questions and judging the boat building contest. He was even present to wish us farewell on our last trip down the gangway, along with Ross, Ashley and the staff from Sushi. Ross is arguably the best cruise director we’ve had the pleasure to sail with and added much to making this a memorable journey. We really enjoyed our fellow passengers, the crew and not have to think about whether or not anything we wanted was “extra” as virtually everything is included in the fare. Hopefully there will be another Seabourn cruise in our near future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Cruised from Dubai to Southampton from the 19th.April-10th. May ----had a sheltered stateroom -4021-which our steward , Dayle , kept immaculate , there wasn't anything that was too much trouble for him even supplying us with fresh ... Read More
Cruised from Dubai to Southampton from the 19th.April-10th. May ----had a sheltered stateroom -4021-which our steward , Dayle , kept immaculate , there wasn't anything that was too much trouble for him even supplying us with fresh milk daily rather than using sachets of milk. The Stateroom was very good with plenty on storage and where we were situated was very quite , no noise from anywhere and the sheltered balcony at first being a concern was in the end great, I would recommend . We had late seating in the Britannia restaurant . The food was excellent every evening and plentiful [ I cant understand when I see reviews saying the food is not good ,I'm sure people don't eat better at home !! ] also we had lunch some days in the Britannia and it was equally as good . The Kings Court was also very good with plenty of choice and variety . There was one very bad thing that I picked up on , the so called baked ham offered as a carvery was a vacuum packed ham that had been baked of not a baked gammon as one would expect from Cunard , I'm speaking as one that worked in the meat and food industry all my working life. All other areas for food such as the Carinthia Lounge and the Chefs Galley also very good . The Boardwalk Café a complete waste of space as was the whole area of the deck around the café with no shelter and at times the temp. was in the 40's where we were. Evening entertainment was very good on the whole ,as where most insight lectures and afternoon concerts . One thing that did concern was on the last two evenings on board we where told that the ships resident dance and vocal entertainers couldn't perform because the stage lift didn't work and couldn't be fixed---well the rumour was this wasn't the case and the dancers were under rehearsed and the second rumour was employment issues with the staff ???------I personally believe that there wasn't a problem with the stage ?? . Service I found throughout the ship was excellent although some staff could smile a little more especially security staff.----My main concern with the QM2 is the layout of the ship , one does compare and the layout seems odd when comparing with both the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth , the pool areas have no shade not many tables around and don't seem as part of the main ship--I hope that makes sense , I'm not a ship builder so maybe it's because the QM2 is a liner and not a cruise ship.---Still had a fantastic time , enjoyed every day. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our 5th Cunard cruise and second on QM2. The cruise was 3 weeks from Dubai to Southampton transiting the Suez Canal which we had never done before, this and visitng Petra was the main reason we booked with Cunard as our travel ... Read More
This was our 5th Cunard cruise and second on QM2. The cruise was 3 weeks from Dubai to Southampton transiting the Suez Canal which we had never done before, this and visitng Petra was the main reason we booked with Cunard as our travel agent had a pre cruise offering of a South Africa trip 3 days 2 nights travelling on Rovos Rail from Petoria to Capetown and 2 nights in Cape Town before flying to Dubai for 2 nights so this was the main reason we booked with Cunard. There were just over 350 passengers doing the whole world cruise and we were told that's half the number there usually is, the remaining passengers like us were doing segments. Embarkation in Dubai was well organised and fairly quick, we were on board by 12:30pm and we made our way to the Kings Court for lunch which at that time was very busy but we did get a seat. Our cabin was available by 1pm, we got one suitcase quite quick and unpacked but the other didn't arrive until just before the boat drill however we managed to unpack in time for dinner. We were first seating in the Brittania Restuarant at 18:00, a bit early but the later sitting was too late for us. We had asked for a table for 2 which we got however these tables are so close together they are tables for 4, our table was 350 was not in a good position in the restaurant and I wouldn't recommend it. Food is always subjective and in my opinion the restaurant food was neither great or bad just mediocre , it was always presented well and was piping hot however not very inspiring. The waiters were always very busy but they were attentive and helpful. The food in the Kings Court was good, plenty of selection at breakfast and lunch, we had dinner a couple of times and we were surprised at the selection and the good quality of food available in the evening, it was very popular with guests who wanted casual dining. We had dinner in the Verandah Restaurant which was a nice change but not worth the $49 each to dine there, only 2 other tables were booked when we were in, I wonder why! There was alternative dining set in an area of the Kings Court and this had 5 different menus which changed every week there was American, Asian, Mexican, Italian and Indian, we ate there on one occasion and the food was very nice, there was an additional charge of $19.50 each for the privilege. Alcohol and mixers/soft drinks in the bars were very expensive especially when there is an 18% service charge on top, you also have to buy water, yoj an get it by the glass from a dispenser in the Kings Court, water is complimentary on a number of cruise lines and hotels bit not on Cunard. We purchased good wine ashore to drink in the restaurant and paid the corkage fee of $20 which was more cost effective. Service in the main was good and the majority of staff were friendly and helpful however there were some staff who were quite sullen and gave the impression that they didn't want to be there, this isn't White Star Service, in addition there was no interaction with the officers and passengers, we only saw the Captain on two occasions during the 3 weeks on board, at the welcome on board party and the loyalty club party. There are free laundries for passengers to use on each deck, there were always queues of people trying to get a machine, there were 4 each washing machines and dryers and they were constantly busy, this is not a nice place to be as people get quite annoyed and I witnessed a few arguments e.g the same passenger using 2 washing machines a 2 driers this tends to frustrate people. We had booked trips through Cunard to Petra, Herculaneum and Rome, although expensive they were good, well organised trips with excellent guides so felt they were good value for money. The celebrity speakers, Antony Horovitz, Sally Gunnell, a retired customs officer and forensic scientist which unfortunately I don't remember their names were all interesting The theatre company was okay and we enjoyed most of the guest entertainment especially the Barricade Boys, Mike Doyle and Kev Orkian Disembarking in Southampton was quick and easy. Would we travel with Cunard again, possibly if the price was right but there are other cruise lines out there who offer a superior service and are much better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Not to belabor a review sent to Seabourn, but the ship, although pretty, new and with good design elements, did not meet our expectations. The cabin was fine as was the ships layout with the possible exception of more room at the main ... Read More
Not to belabor a review sent to Seabourn, but the ship, although pretty, new and with good design elements, did not meet our expectations. The cabin was fine as was the ships layout with the possible exception of more room at the main pool area. Five or Six stars? No, more of a Holland America experience for twice the price. Service was good to poor and depended on the day. Training of the crew was going on all the time and many were brand new to any ship experience. Sounds like the company has expanded, poached crew from other ships and then needed much more to fill its ranks. Service was haphazard with greatness shown occasionally but not what one expects at the price point. Interesting note: there is no bar open except the pool bar until the late afternoon. So, if you wanted to be cool inside, you had to go up top to get a drink and on this cruise from Singapore to Dubai, it was warm. Food was good one day and then poor the next. Example: on a top rated ship, should you not expect more than 3 salad dressings? For yanks, there was no ranch dressing, a staple among Americans of all ages. The balsamic served was thick and was either built around mayonnaise or thickened with wall paste? Top rated food? The Keller restaurant was good but not jaw dropping. French Laundry? No more of a high end Outback but with good service. Excursions for the trip were all over the place. Technical issues caused us to not even get off at Phuket, which is no loss anyway from previous trips in the area. Yet, we had a tour canceled in one location and then a few days later, new tours were offered but too late for us to change. Need to get their act together on this aspect of cruising in these waters. Oman was the best port and the biggest surprise. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a true Arabian experience as opposed to the over the top Dubai, with its Vegas atmosphere without the gambling. I will go back to Silversea and Crystal for my high end cruises. I was looking forward to this experience and it was not to my liking. Many of the cruisers we met on this trip were long term Seabourn loyalists and most complained about this ship and the many differences to their smaller ships. Size, evidently, does matter. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018

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