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27 Transpacific Luxury Cruise Reviews

An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as ... Read More
An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as near perfect as you can get. Comfort, food, service, public spaces, what’s included and what’s not ( no casino, kids, photos, auctions, crowds, etc) makes it a top cruise line. The entertainment was very good and varied as they pick-up up new entertainers all along the 22 days. But the talks were the best. Especially the NASA mission specialist / astronaut who took 5 trips into earth orbit and worked on the Hubble telescope. The planetarium was a nice change but needs better shows. Specialty restaurants were outstanding. We ate there many times but also loved the dining room. There were many nationalities represented on the cruise with the majority being Australians the Americans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in Jan-Feb visiting New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. This crew was better trained and worked well together. We were pleased with most aspects of the ship. A few little things need work, but nothing major. You know what you get with Viking-it is an older crowd but activities/entertainment were sufficient for us. While some of the entertainment was the same, they did a good job at adding new entertainers. As Viking enters new parts of the world they are learning their way with shore excursions and local customs. Shore excursions were well managed. They do a good job at calling people at the right time and keep waiting times to a minimum. Checkin staff did a great job. Local guides were good. A sufficient level of activities were offered. EMBARKATION a breeze. You can arrive well before your checkin time. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to use the open restaurants. Your luggage will be in your room by your assigned checkin time. DISEMBARKATION-we had a curve thrown as we could not stay in port because of too many ships in Vancouver. Luggage was offloaded in the middle of the night. We didn’t hear a thing. We disembarked via tender according to flight times. Full breakfast services available. You had to be out of your stateroom by 10am. Tenders left according to schedule with staff assisting everyone. Our luggage was waiting at our terminal at the airport. One of the most efficient operations we have experienced. CABINS Deck 3. Be careful of location. Torshavn noise is audible almost every night. Not late into the night, but it may bother some. A very convenient deck. DINING-Dining room and World Cafe offered a varied selection. Soups could use some improvement. Replenishment of eating utensils/napkins was too slow. Chef’s table-staff could use better training. One visit we had two wine pairings and no food. The French menu was too rich; not a good balance between first and main courses. Manfredi’s was very good, but don’t try to have pasta as a separate course-throws them off! SERVICE in general was excellent. Lounges and bar waiters were great. Most were very personable-not long before they know your name and cabin #! Room steward was wonderful-Edwin. SHIP-beautifully appointed. Always spotless. This ship has a dome. I don’t think this is a feature that will be included in the rest of the fleet. Makes the 8th floor area very hot. Eliminates a nice viewing/drinking area. Don’t know if that is the reason why the 7th floor area of the Explorers lounge tends to be cold. The skins on the sofas are starting to shed. Most people rolled them back to protect their clothing! PORTS/excursions. Viking’s first visits to ports can present problems. Most of our excursions were organized. In cases where we took local shuttles the scheduled were mixed. We ended up seeing what we wanted to see. ACTIVITIES-a little more variety on sea days would have been good as this was a long cruise. Lectures varied and sufficient. Like the ability to view the port talk in your cabin on the following day. Very good selection of shows/movies on the in-room system. Free internet a great feature-reception was generally good. Suggestions-have hot water in the World Cafe for hand-washing. There were some illness problems. The internet system in the room for onboard account, reservations, etc needs immediate help. The ship can not control or correct any errors. The dining for Chef’s Table had the wrong info for almost 8 days. The general website also had errors for our trip. The map wasn’t corrected until a few days before we sailed. On board future booking-a great offer that we used. However, you need to book a specific cruise that you know you won’t be using. Mucks up the booking system for other Viking customers and the whole reservation system. Viking needs to keep its attention to detail at a high level as they release the rest of the fleet! We will sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to Pitcairn Island and Easter Island from Papeete. We then stayed on for a further 6 days and cruised to Chile. Embarkation at Papeete was shambolic as the Paul Gaugain was also boarding at the same ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Pitcairn Island and Easter Island from Papeete. We then stayed on for a further 6 days and cruised to Chile. Embarkation at Papeete was shambolic as the Paul Gaugain was also boarding at the same time. It appeared that no one from Ponant was present to advise us what we were to do and we were all walking around like sheep. At the disembarkation end it was even worse as we were told there would be taxis once we got out of the terminal and of course there were none, nor did the taxis even come there, so we had to arrange very expensive private transfers after waiting more than an hour for a fabled taxi. Once on board, our cabin was what we expected. It was very clean and our room steward was excellent. The turnaround for laundry, which was free for us as past passengers, was brilliant. Service in the dining room was inconsistent. Sometimes it was good and sometimes not. The service on any gala night seemed to favour those tables which had officers, which seemed to only host French passengers. That said, the wait staff we had were always happy and helpful. The standard of the entertainment is consistently good and the shows are always a highlight. Kamel, the Cruise Director is a huge asset for Ponant. The food is the biggest let down on this ship. In advance of this cruise we were required to produce significant medical evidence of our ability to travel for the last 6 days. From that I would have thought that both I, and my doctor, had made my gluten intolerance very clear. Apparently not. The choice of gluten free food is beyond poor. I raised this at the first opportunity with the head waiter, who then raised it with a very indignant head chef, who effectively dismissed my complaints. To be given a broken piece of toast for breakfast is an absolute insult, given how much this cruise cost. There were no gluten free pastries, not even rice biscuits for the cheese. The room service menu was even more limited. It is not often that I can go on a 3 week holiday, on what sets itself up as a French culinary gastronomy cruise and lose weight, but it happened. The quality of the included wine was very hit and miss. It was all French. Some was acceptable and others were very, very ordinary. The cocktails however were fabulous. The port calls were a bit of a problem, but mainly due to the water conditions. Our captain did a great job to get us to Pitcairn. In other reviews, non French passengers have made the complaint that there appears to be favouritism shown to French passengers and a sense of entitlement. We saw this too. I don't know how many times I was literally pushed out of the way by a person thinking that they had a better right than I did to be in that position in an ordered queue. We had very few landings on this cruise and for our special lunch and performance on Easter Island the French speaking passengers arrived significantly before the English speaking ones and took up the very best positions. We found it so hard to find a spot together so far from the action that it was not worth even bothering to get involved in the show. With so many non French traveling on Ponant this really needs to be addressed. We really did feel like we were getting second best treatment. Overall, if this had been my first cruise with Ponant I would be in no hurry to do another. We have been on two other cruises ( the Kimberley and from New Zealand to Sydney) and they were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because we had been on Silversea twice before and enjoyed the complete luxury as well as the intimacy of a small ship. We had never been to either Alaska nor Japan so we thought that it would be a great experience. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been on Silversea twice before and enjoyed the complete luxury as well as the intimacy of a small ship. We had never been to either Alaska nor Japan so we thought that it would be a great experience. Knowing that there would be several sea days we thought that we would play bridge on those days ( or read). What was a real treat for us was the enrichment lecturers; each of them was very well prepared and so elevant to our cruise. The first lecturer was a professor of Migration economics who lectured about each destination in great detail before we arrived there. He went into detail about the history as well as the economy and demographics of our destinations. The second lecturer was a professor of the theater. Each sea day he would discuss a different show about East meets West. He went from the Mikado to South Pacific to The King and I and Miss Saigon. In each of these he discussed how the show portrayed the West meeting Eastern cultures. As an added treat on the last sea day he discussed Hamilton in detail. As always on a Silversea cruise the food was fantastic (as were the bar selections). While we could have dined alone at each meal we chose to sit with others each night at dinner, thereby meeting many others all of whom we thoroughly enjoyed dining with. I do have some problems with a few foods but the Maitre D' took care that each of our waiters were aware of my food allergies and I never hhad problems The ambience on the Silvershadow makes you think of the Italian influence on Silversea. This was especially evident in the bar which makes one think of an intimate European living room. Here we would enjoy cocktails and canapés as well as lovely piano playing each night before dinner. Our suite was lovely ( and very well located mid ship). As on all Silversea ships we were served by a butler as well as a steward. Needless to say, we wanted for nothing. The ports were interesting, especially the Japanese Northern most islands, which we would never have visited but for this cruise. The island of Hakodate is well known for its fantastic sushi but which we enjoyed. However, a real treat were the peoples themselves. Our first port, Kushiro, is a tiny port on the bottom of the island. Here the people went out of their way to treat us to a cultural show with Japanese dance, music and origami. As we sailed away those of us on port side were treated to Japanese music and dancing. ( We also had this at another Japanese port, Aomori. All in all, we could not rave about this cruise enough My only complaint is that my husband has mobility issues and there were very few shore excursions that he could do. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I booked two back to back cruises going for 30 days from Seward, AK to Hong Kong, but ended up disembarking in Hiroshima 11 days earlier, because I could not stand the ship food anymore as well as the change in itinerary. I wished I could ... Read More
I booked two back to back cruises going for 30 days from Seward, AK to Hong Kong, but ended up disembarking in Hiroshima 11 days earlier, because I could not stand the ship food anymore as well as the change in itinerary. I wished I could have disembarked earlier, but I could not do it because of a Typhoon that hit Japan. The transfer from Anchorage to Seward was an awful 4 1/2 hours packed up on a hot train most of the time under the sun because of the transparent roof, while by road a bus takes less than 2 hours. The ship is showing its age. The TV set is old, small, with awful image and terrible sound. Small maintenence issues here and there, such as rust on the floor metal at the veranda and the wood rail that has not been varnished in ages. The mattress needs replacement. Shore excursions in the Aleutian Islands, that have very little to offer, are primitive although expensive and not what I expect from aso called 5 star ship. The main complaint is the bad quality of the food ingrediens and the cooking style. Very fancy names for the dishes but poor execution. Ship sailed two days through one Gale Storm with 100 mph winds an through the Trami Typhoon with 100-120 mph winds. Scary and uncomfortable days rocking and rolling at the midle of nothing to say the least. Because of weather conditions the Captain changed the itinerary and skipped 2 ports, one of which was a highlight of the cruise (Osaka for Kyoto). Due to poor planning another highlight of the cruise was skipped: Incheon for Seoul. The reasons givenfor this change were not believable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I've been on several Seabourn cruises in the past (this cruise put me over 100 days sailed with them) and while no cruise was perfect Seabourn in the past has been the best - for me. I like re positioning cruises (they tend to have a ... Read More
I've been on several Seabourn cruises in the past (this cruise put me over 100 days sailed with them) and while no cruise was perfect Seabourn in the past has been the best - for me. I like re positioning cruises (they tend to have a lot of sea days and I enjoy sea days). I saw one on the Sojourn going from Kobe to Vancouver. Bonus - its a short flight from Vancouver to San Francisco so I'd only have to do the long haul thing in one direction. Embarkation started almost precisely on time and aside from one passenger using his mass to knock people out of his way to be first was a nice and quick experience. Once on board I noticed that there was no one greeting passengers or directing them to any particular place. On past cruises staff was present to greet guests and direct them. After embarkation came the muster drill. Thankfully Seabourn doesn't require you to wear or even bring your brightly colored tripping hazard (life vest). The drill took place in the Restaurant and we didn't have to go out on deck and deal with the elements. In my suite I had a letter from Seabourn waiting for me. It informed me that there would be ongoing construction on the pool deck during the cruise and that areas would be closed off. So they're saying on a crossing/cruise with a large number of sea days the outside would be a loud smelly mess and that the Patio Bar/Grill (bar and restaurant for the pool area) would be unavailable some days. Wonderful. I was not given the option for a graceful exit from this cruise. The letter was more of a "SURPRISE" that you didn't want. This was not a good start to a luxury cruise. Even mid tier hotels will inform guests of any upcoming construction. I guess the small saving grace was that I couldn't hear the construction sounds or smell the odors they generated in my room. Others weren't so lucky. For this each suite was given $500. The dining experience had a few issues that would continue to be issues. The first was understaffing. I don't know if it was due to the launch of their newer bigger ship or a harder time finding crew or perhaps penny wise pound foolish but aside from the TK Grill the other dining venues seemed understaffed (when the restaurant manager is running around taking orders and the ships sommelier is busing tables - you're short staffed). Further a lot of the staff in both the Colonnade and the Restaurant were very green. How green? They'd bring the wrong food to passengers and then argue with them (in one instance eggs Benedict were served as Florentine. When the passenger complained after the argument they were given the Benedict - with strands of spinach still on the plate. Some would become irate if you didn't order your dessert with your appetizers/entrees. They'd start out with the word "NO" and then wait for correction rather than getting an accurate answer before stating something wasn't possible. Drink service in the Restaurant for dinner was the worst of any Seabourn cruise I'd been on. They no longer have the wine stewards and now rely on your overworked green wait staff to do most of the beverage work as well. Penny wise, pound foolish again. If your overworked servers were slow with the food, well now so followed your drinks. The food in the restaurant was to me for the most part: boring, unseasoned, bland and unadventurous at best. At worst it was the worst version of some dishes that I've ever had. Thankfully the Colonnade didn't seem to have the food issues (and a far lesser extent of service issues). However the only dining location on the ship that felt like it belonged on a luxury cruise was the TK Grill. Better ingredients, more staff per passenger, and probably because Thomas Keller insisted actual flavorful food. However the TK Grill (and TK night in the Colonnade) had its issues as well. When Michael Sandoval (one of Kellers staffers) was running things the food came out cooked perfectly. They day he left the ship (and on subsequent visits) all the Thomas Keller food was off. An exmaple of this would be the Ad Hoc fried chicken. Under Seabourn it was either rubber skin and raw meat or burnt skin dripping pools of grease. Under Sandoval it was crisp, moist, tender, flavorful and not overly greasy. I got the distinct impression that left to its own devices Seabourn can't meet the demands Kellers food requires. There were also reservation issues with the TK Grill. I had a reservation deleted and other passengers felt that staff was trying to coerce them into altering or giving up their reservations. The bars (especially Observation and Patio) along with their staff seemed to be the one area of the cruise experience that hadn't declined in quality. I generally don't partake in the ships entertainment so I don't have too much to say on that. I did play trivia and this time people seemed to actually treat it like a game rather than a deathmatch as on previous cruises. As this was a crossing (really a cruise to relocate the ship to its next seasonal AO) we didn't have that many ports. Seabourns shore excursions are rather generic. They do try to keep the number of passengers per tour down but don't offer lower limit tours like some lines do. My only issue with the tours was missing one because we ended up spending an extra day in Aomori (where they added but a single tour) - but you can't blame the weather on the line. We also lost a port because of that delay. We were supposed to visit Icy Point Straight but that was cut. Originally we were supposed to visit Glacier bay rather than Hubbard glacier. I don't know who didn't do what there but IMO Glacier bay is the far better glacier experience. Because to date this cruise was an aberration I did book a future cruise. Hopefully the ship will have righted itself and food/service will be back to their usual high standards. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Seabourn is the ultimate experience. Worth every cent. Staff are superb and you just can’t go past Seabourn. It is the only cruise line for us now. I have never enjoyed a cruise or any holiday as much as the 21 days on Seabourn from Kobe ... Read More
Seabourn is the ultimate experience. Worth every cent. Staff are superb and you just can’t go past Seabourn. It is the only cruise line for us now. I have never enjoyed a cruise or any holiday as much as the 21 days on Seabourn from Kobe to Vancouver. The dining was perfect. Loved the patio area and the cocktails. Even on a cold night it was great and staff spoiled us with plush orange snuggly blankets and heaters. Day at Hubbard Glacier was one of those rare moments in life that remain with you forever. The Captain and crew made the day so perfect and Champagne to sip along the way. Sophie the cruise director was fantastic and like all staff knew our names within a day. Benita one of the wait and bar staff is to be congratulated for her attention and spoiling. Breakfast in the dining room with Marine was a superb way to start the day. Dritian and the 2 young girls in the coffee shop were lovely and knew our regular order and had it ready before we could blink. I can truly say that the cruise exceeded all our expectations. Seabourn organised the lot from airlines to transfers and not one hitch. Seabourn are heaven. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we got to the port. We were told this isn't the norm. The rest of the embarkation was good getting on the ship, but due to the CDC restrictions, we were unable to get to our cabin until 15 minutes before muster. Also I had to find and take my invoice down to guest services because they gave me a card without showing my drink package, although my cabin mates did have it. I stood in lline for over an hour while my friends were having lunch. Disembarkation was a total nightmare. Baggage tags for those who were to depart by 8:15 through 9:15. I was also told Oceania does not allow you to self depart with a large suitcase. At 7:15 people were lining up with their suitcases to self disembark. By 7:45 I got in line. At about 8:23 they started to allow the line to start disembarking. Those of us who had red and green baggage tags for an 8:15 departure were held up in the warehouse (about 20 of us), we could see our bags sitting there. We were told no one could collect their bags until every single bag was in the warehouse, meaning to wait until at lease 9. At this point they had stopped letting passengers off the ship. Many arguements were going back and forth between some of the passengers who were already in the warehouse and the dockside security. Obviously the Red and Green tags bags were within reach but no one was allowed. At about 8:45, the land side representative stepped away to take a call and the group rush to grab their bags. Many had early flights. I heard from friends still on board that it got ugly on the ship as well. The rain didn't help. While I have over 47 cruise in my history, none on Oceania and I’m a young active 64 year old). After a good two weeks, we started judging the average age of passengers was somewhere between 75-80. Though most everyone were in shape, healthy, happy and enjoying the bars though very few showed up in the dance lounge after the 9:30 nightly show. The choice of food venues was nice and overall excellent food. Deserts to die for. The Terrace buffet usually offered the same as the main dining room, but IMHO the dining room was the better option as the food was fresh, normal portion, although for me, I asked for and received 1/2 portions of most meals. In the terrace you were unable to serve yourself and the server would always just slop on a big portion and typically you just eat more than you should in the buffets. You can also get lobster for lunch and most nights. The Wave serves a surf and turf sandwich. A friend ordered lobster only each day and put it on top of her salad, also from the Waves. She managed to each lobster and/or crab twice a day. The few times I ate lobster I will say the Waves tasted the best. We had four bookings for specialites (Polo and Toscana) but easily went to the Terrace early morning and either go another reservation or wait listed for that night. You can also try showing up at whichever restaurant, but your chances are low. Drinks: We had the basic beverage package (wine with lunch and dinner). There were some decent wines, but my favorites are the ones that I brought on board myself. With the package, the waiters had no problem switching your wine glasses to go so you were able to walk out of the venues with your wine. Drinks are pricey, if not choosing drink of the day. The happy hour 2 for 1 were a big hit with us. The pool drink of the day was different, so make sure you check both. The typically advertised the drink of the day in the Currents (but not the pool drink). Cabin, we had a deluxe oceanview on Deck 4, which was easy access to most things, same level as guest services. I had to walk past the medical service most days and would hold my breathe walking past, lol. It was one busy place. The beds were separated as I was traveling with a friend. It was a pretty small cabin. We did not meet our cabin steward until late Day 2. Since the ship was under a CDC Code Red we were very delayed in getting into our stateroom and when we did we had quite the surprise in the toilet. We also needed maintenance to fix our less than cooling air conditioner. No one responded to us until Day 2 when we met our stateroom attendant and his supervisor. They basically said they were so busy sanitizing the ship they did not have the resources to go back and re-check every cabin. It seems there were a few cabins, where the pipes backed up and feces entered the toilets after the cleaning. Medical: We had about five medavacs or passengers who left the ship during the 24 nights, one which required return to Hawaiian waters so coast guard could airlift the passenger. We had been well on our way crossing the Pacific. This turn-a-round, caused us to skip two ports (we didn't have that many to begin with for a Transpacific), delayed by a day in two ports and shortened our time in those ports. This was a lesson learned for me. I've been on many cruises that had medavas and even an airlift or two, but we were always close enough to land and/or a port not to cause such a change in itinerary. Unlike other cruises I have taken where they return your port charges if skipped, Oceania does not do this. Another turn off to me, was they were not apologetic to those who had private tours booked. They would actually say, we are so sorry to those who have ship excursions and the destination desk is working to reaccomodate you. At least say your sorry to the rest of us. Those who did book ship excursions were learning quickly that although they paid up front via credit card, Oceania was putting their payment as OBC to be used before they got off, and/or charge them 5% if taken out as cash. Another note which many may be aware, one of the ladies whom we did some excursions with fainted of dehydration during the Panama canal transit (it was hot on the upper deck). She was brought to but insisted on going to the medical for IV fluids rather than drink her bottle of water which she wanted to do. $1500 later.... Also two others we spoke to with bronchitis received bills of $6,000 and $9,000. Not sure what that entailed. Two tylenol cost $37 from medical. Go buy them in the shops instead if you forget them. The ship is older, very dark wood. Horizons is the only indoor area (air conditioned or heated) with big glass windows. The other floors with windows for general seating is limited but the windows are small with heavy drapes. I did eat in the MDR each morning and requests an aft table which had a great view. Entertainment: The ship's entertainment was okay, there was one great singer, Crystal, a pretty decent singer Daniel, the Cruise Director Shawn also sang. Amy and Mervin were both sick the second half of the cruise - disappointing. We had a vegas style singer who was entertaining, an electric violin (jazz celtic fiddle), a ventriloquist, a magician, both good. The bad was a harpist and another female vegas style who I did not enjoy whatsoever. After the 9:30 show, the Regatta band would play in Horizons but most nights there were just a handful of us who showed up. There were two men who did the very informative lectures. The cruise director staff had a gaggle of games, shuffleboard, bingo, trivia, toss games, needlepoints, majong, and of course bridge. I almost forgot line dancing, my favorite. They give out O points which you redeem the day before you disembark for a range of items such a clothing, hats, luggage tags and travel accessories. Service: Once we were over the CDC restrictions, the staff was extremely helpful and went out of the way to please you. I can not say the same about the guest services or destination staff - they were of little help whatsoever. I wouldn't do another Transpacific again knowing the pitfalls to potential medavacs when so far out to sea. I have been on other ships where we have had airlifts and/or medavacs, but barely a blip in the itinerary. I've read that Oceania does drop ports very easily which was also the case with my itinerary. I'd like to give her another chance, but the communication was so bad and they just didn't seem to care to compensate whatsoever that we certainly didn't get the cruise we paid for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Chose this cruise mainly because of its itinerary: San Francisco (I live nearby), Honolulu, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Auckland, Bay of Islands, and Sydney. Luckily we got on one the the queens. Service was superb, food was generally very ... Read More
Chose this cruise mainly because of its itinerary: San Francisco (I live nearby), Honolulu, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Auckland, Bay of Islands, and Sydney. Luckily we got on one the the queens. Service was superb, food was generally very good, and the ship was elegant. Had some rough rides between SF and Honolulu, and on the Tasman Sea, but didn't get seasick. The downside was that there was a cough going around on the ship, but I do not fault Cunard for this. This coughing virus and flu were going around San Francisco during embarkation. Unfortunately, the air conditioning exasperated the cough. Our steward got a technician to adjust the AC, plus we kept the balcony door open, which helped stop the condition. My sis (who I was traveling with) got excellent care from the ship's MD. We had lovely dining companions; a couple from Southhampton and another couple from Canberra. We were pampered and catered to and had a very nice cabin, which was overseen by our excellent steward, Alfredo. The cabin and the ship were spotless. The beds were extremely comfortable. The three performances we saw were top-notch. I especially loved the acrobats from Cirque de Soleil. The lectures were excellent too. There was a multitude of activities available during sea days, and the offshore excursions were fun and informative. I loved playing the daily "Name that Tune" contest. Cunard is so civilized - you get to play parlor games onboard; something I never get to do in the real world. And we loved the afternoon tea! The only un-fun necessity was doing laundry, but I packed large and had to visit the laundry only once. I waited in line 15 minutes before it opened and got a machine, then it was a done deal. Each deck has a launderette consisting of three washing machines and three dryers. Very busy place. Anyway, to sum things up, I was a bit apprehensive about this ship as some of the reviews are pretty brutal. Please do not disregard it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We had previously taken the Silver Whisper from New York to Bermuda and liked the Silversea product, so we booked the Silver Shadow. We were supposed to depart from Tokyo, but a Tsunami caused Silversea to change the departure port to ... Read More
We had previously taken the Silver Whisper from New York to Bermuda and liked the Silversea product, so we booked the Silver Shadow. We were supposed to depart from Tokyo, but a Tsunami caused Silversea to change the departure port to Inchon, South Korea and we visited Seoul also at that time. Silversea had to cancel all the Japan ports and allowed booked passengers to cancel if they wished, but if they stayed which we did they offered a 1/2 price cruise on a future trip which we did on the Silver Cloud. On the cruise many passengers had cancelled, but we had a light ship. Silversea is a fine cruise line and I think Celebrity realized it so formed Azamara as an answer to Silversea with its personalized service. As a thank you for keeping the booking, Silversea furnished a private car transfer to the Seoul Grand Hotel and furnished us a three step cost free upgrade at the hotel. We had a bus ride from the hotel to the port and didn't even sit down but walked straight to the check in counter and on to the ship with our cabin key. The Silver shadow brought us to Petropavlovsk, Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula and then we visited the Aleutians, Dutch harbor, Kodiak and Homer. Our cabin was mid range and on the pool deck and very nice and roomy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
wanted to try the smaller ship to compare to the mega ships I had been on. The suite was very large 500 sq ft; beautiful; butler was excellent. Food very good. Room service was quite fast. However, I like dinner around 6pm or so and ... Read More
wanted to try the smaller ship to compare to the mega ships I had been on. The suite was very large 500 sq ft; beautiful; butler was excellent. Food very good. Room service was quite fast. However, I like dinner around 6pm or so and the show around 8 Their show times were 10 pm with dinner at 8p. This was way too late for me and several others I talked to. Lecturers were very good on ports of call and current events and history of the regions we traveled to. Gentlemen hosts sat with the single guests and danced with the ladies. Really enjoyed seeing Kodiak and eastern Russia as well as Japan. They needed more computers on the ship as some people did not bring one from home. The boutique was mainly jewelry and just a few clothes. They could expand the shopping aboard considerably. There was no onboard assistance in changing to Japanese yen. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After a pretty dismal ride on the Silver Cloud on one of its last cruises prior to refit, it was a pleasure to be on board the Shadow where most things 'worked'. The staterooms are still a little dated, think Italian hotel about ... Read More
After a pretty dismal ride on the Silver Cloud on one of its last cruises prior to refit, it was a pleasure to be on board the Shadow where most things 'worked'. The staterooms are still a little dated, think Italian hotel about 1992, but bathrooms have been smartly updated, and the ship was definitely comfortable with only 302 guests on board - it was a cruise with a low single supplement so not all the cabins were two to a room, in fact a lot of the passenger suites were occupied by staff and entertainers, including several on higher decks which seemed a bit cheeky when there might have been an opportunity to upgrade some paying customers? Anyhow, being on a lower deck - 4 or 5 - was the best deal on this voyage as we hit Typhoon (Tropical Storm) Talim on our northerly approach to Japan and this really threw the boat around for 24 hours, right down to the classic image of waiters, tables and glassware sliding across the floor of the dining room while the waves washed the windows. Food is always a highlight, and the relentless adherence to an 'Italianate' menu means a lot of repetitions and some slightly bizarre combinations - but even on a long overwater voyage from Alaska to Japan we had some excellent meat, fish and fresh fruits and salads in good condition. Entertainment is as bad as ever, a hoary old working-mens' club comedian was the Cruise Director who never learned a passenger's name, and the usual rag-tag collection of singers (two operatic, two musical theatre, two who can't dance) that it's never possible to weld into a 'company' or direct in a cohesive show. One good female lecturer from Alaska itslef, and two old bores. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This is our 4th Silver Sea Cruise and we hope to do more. The advantage of a smaller ship is port availability, ambiance and service. We departed from Seward, ended in Tokyo. 14 days of bliss. Only one glitch, the tail end of a ... Read More
This is our 4th Silver Sea Cruise and we hope to do more. The advantage of a smaller ship is port availability, ambiance and service. We departed from Seward, ended in Tokyo. 14 days of bliss. Only one glitch, the tail end of a typhoon (cat 3 tropical storm) prevented us from docking in Kushiro. Nothing Silver Sea could do about that. The crew were exceptional during our one day of high sea. I love days at sea, so this itinerary was perfect. Aleutians, (Kodiak and Dutch Harbor) then Russia and on to Hokkaido with three ports scheduled. This ship has a classy and yet homey feel to it. Just the right size for us. The included wines were quite good and our refrigerator was always stocked with whatever we asked for. The specialty restaurants are lovely and each one is totally different. Love the variety and the Italian kitchen!!!! And they make their own pasta!! Our grand suite was uber spacious, The bathroom was complete with three sinks, and bidet. The suite included a large walk in closet, beautiful bar, living room with a dining table, 2 TVs. However, I must add that the veranda suites are very comfortable and larger than most accommodations for a ship this size. Our Butler, Eno, was an angel and even helped me wheel chair my husband to the dining room or La Terrazza or Le Champagne (the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea). I must add that dining in the specialty restaurants need advanced reservations. Seating is limited. The poolside Grill has very limited seating, in order to provide top notch steak and grill dinners. Given that Kodiak and Dutch Harbor have limited sight seeing opportunities, the land tours were very good. My Aomori all day tour to Lake Towada, was worth every penny, complete with a sumptuous Japanese lunch. The Hakodate tour we chose was a sushi lunch with tuna carving ceremony. I could have skipped the cable car ride and spent that time in the local market. We stayed on ship for the Petropavlovsk stop, as we have been to Russia and have been on active volcanos in Hawaii, so I cannot personally comment on that port. The cultural speakers were completely enjoyable and informative. Can't comment on entertainment as we usually went back to our suite after dinner. If you like days at sea, this unusual itinerary is just the thing to unwind. Both Observation lounge an the Panorama lounge are spacious and very comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the less-traveled itinerary--the opportunity to see a few places the typical passenger wouldn't see, especially Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and Kamchatska. The length (14 days) was also attractive to us, and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the less-traveled itinerary--the opportunity to see a few places the typical passenger wouldn't see, especially Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and Kamchatska. The length (14 days) was also attractive to us, and Silversea does a great job of providing excellent activities for the days at sea. I took bridge lessons and sharpened my game playing with other very experienced players. The bridge director was delightful and worked very hard to make sure the classes and games were worthwhile and organized. I would miss this if it wasn't provided on other longer cruises with multiple days at sea. I was so pleased to find dance instructors and having the opportunity to refresh my skills in the classes and then have several evenings to partner with the instructors on the dance floor. They were terrific hosts for the singles on the ship as well. Again, a must for longer cruises and I know the single passengers were very happy to have these two gracious gentlemen to accompany them in the evening and at events. Love the formal evenings! My husband loves putting on his tux and we plan ahead for those evenings with special attire and enjoy meeting the captain and crew and getting to know other passengers on the ship. With a few exceptions, everyone seemed to enjoy dressing for the occasions and brought their best elegant manners with them! The salon services are excellent. The manicurist was very professional and did an excellent job. The salon is beautifully appointed and very relaxing. The gym has the typical equipment and I was happy to see an exercise room designed into the facility (we had to use the observation deck on the Wind). The trainer on board was knowledgeable and I am sure her classes were well received. If I had my wish, I would love it if it were possible to provide a Pilates Reformed on board. The class she offered in Pilates was really a combo yoga/pilates and did not provide the pilates experience I get the most positive results from. The trainer on the Wind (even without the reformer) did have a more traditional pilates floor exercise class that was more demanding and met my needs. The food and beverage services were of the highest quality, both the servers and the food and drink. The wines were superb and free-flowing. You do feel as if the staff cannot do enough for you and if you don't see what you want, or exactly how you would like it, they do everything they can to accommodate your requests. The portions are "right-sized" so you can try every course if you wish, without feeling too quilty! I had dessert every night! Le Champagne is a special experience, which we enjoyed twice on this cruise. It truly is a delight, and the staff was so welcoming and genuinely seemed to love what they do! It is very nice to have multiple options for dinner every night, and we love La Terrazza as well. Love the Singers of Silversea! We knew one of the performers from a previous voyage, and he remembered us right away. He continues to grow and now leads the troupe and we were so happy for him. We like the variety of the talent in the group, especially the opera. Please keep this variety--we love the opera night, and the evenings when the individual performers have the opportunity to showcase their particular genres. The speakers were quite well-received, but we were only able to hear one session as they generally were a little early for us, or conflicted with bridge or dance! My husband loved the cooking classes. He would love to have a tour of the kitchen if possible. We did that on the Seabourn cruises and enjoyed seeing how they manage what they do for 400 people 24 hours a day! There were plenty of excursion opportunities and we had something to do at each port. It was too bad the weather didn't allow us to go to Kushiro, as I am sure we would have enjoyed seeing that area of Japan. However, the other two were very nice. That being said, it was disappointing that the all-day excursion to Lake Towada did not go as planned. The initinerary was too ambitious, and it would have been impossible to do and see all that was described in the flyer. The tour guide and driver were very knowledgeable and gracious, but they couldn't change the weather. The traditional lunch at the hotel was amazing and everyone seemed to enjoy it very much, however, I don't think the hotel was quite ready for such a large group and seemed a bit nervous and harried/confused. They did refund our fees in total, however, I felt it would have been acceptable and more than fair if they just gave back a portion as we did have a wonderful bus ride and opportunity to see a beautiful part of the island and have a really well-prepared meal and still get back to the ship on time. The sushi experience in Hakodate was amazing--the highlight of the entire excursion experiences we had. The owner or manager on duty during our visit was an amazing host and made our sushi experience memorable. Our visit to the dacha was unique and gave us the chance to meet a local person and understand firsthand her life and a bit of the real day-to-day culture, not just a show/museum/restaurant, but her home/her homemade treats/gardens and to get to know from her personal perspective what it is like to be a typical Russian citizen. The ship was always immaculate and well-appointed and it was the same for our cabin. It was perfect every time we returned to our room. The butler and service staff couldn't do enough for us. Our highlight is the packing of our bags at the end of the voyage. It is a special amenity that I don't think one can find on any cruise line but Silversea. It is one of the big reasons why we returned for our second voyage and we will enjoy it next year when we take our trip from Venice to Athens. We did not travel with our children (although given that they are in their 30s it would have been a delight, not just for us, but for the other passengers, I am sure) but we chose the small ships (Seabourn and Silversea) very the very fact that it is not appealing to most young families. We do love kids, and if a family brought their younger children, that would be fine. That being said, there really isn't much for them to do, unless it is an itinerary that is in a warm climate so they can be outdoors in the pool or running around the deck/playing outdoor activities. Our overall experience was terrific and we certainly look forward to next September when we arrive in Venice for our cruise to Athens. Many thanks to everyone that works so hard to make each trip memorable. Special Note: We were unable to go into port at Kushiro due to stormy conditions that required the Captain to take measures to ensure we were safe and as far away from the serious part of the storm as possible. We had a rocky 36 hours or so, but I commend him and his crew for ensuring our safety, keeping us well-informed, and even providing a cold but delicious lunch in the restaurant for those of us who were able (and willing) to move about the ship. By the time lunch was being served, the seas appeared to be calming down, and by dinner, regular meal services had resumed. The entire crew did everything in their power to make sure we were safe, well and cared for, to every extent possible. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my first cruise and I loved it. My suite (all cabins are suites) was nicer - and at least as large - as most hotel rooms I stay in. I had a veranda, but other than the veranda itself, even the smallest cabin on the ship is the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I loved it. My suite (all cabins are suites) was nicer - and at least as large - as most hotel rooms I stay in. I had a veranda, but other than the veranda itself, even the smallest cabin on the ship is the same size. No "inside" cabins. Very nice. This cruise had "Gentleman Hosts," who among other things, organized a cocktail party each evening for the solo cruisers, of which I was one. This was a very nice touch by Silversea. There were 8 or 10 of us "solos", and we had a cocktail party each evening and then the Gentleman Hosts would escort us down to The Restaurant for dinner. It wasn't mandatory, but we never had to eat alone. Silversea's social game is very strong. I reserved several evenings in Le Champagne, the hoity-toity extra-cost restaurant, but after my first night I canceled the rest of my nights. Why? Because the pace was very, very slow. i'm sure it took at least 3.5 hours for dinner, and if you're eating alone it is too slow. Perhaps if I'd brought a book. This is going to sound trite, but team trivia was a major event every single day at 4:45. It was so major an event that some folks would not go on certain excursions because they would return after 4:45. I give the cruise director Kirk Detweiler the credit for this event being so popular. Enrichment - we had Kathy freaking Alexander doing enrichment: Astronaut, Space Station resident, NOAA head, incredible. Service - the crew is there to make your voyage the best you can have. That's all there is to it. Any crewmember will do any thing you ask. The second time they see you they will know your name, and if you've given any preferences to any other crewmember, they'll know about that, too. Excursions - generally excellent, although we did find it amusing that they did send us to a French restaurant for lunch in Kushiro, Japan. Children - no, I saw two children and only saw them once on the entire trip. Would I go again? I've already booked the E->W version of this in September (my birthday and retirement day.) Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this trip because of the abundance of sea days, which are my favourite. The ship is showing some age and looking a little worn in its finishes and decor, but I don't mind -- to me, there are far more important things to make ... Read More
I chose this trip because of the abundance of sea days, which are my favourite. The ship is showing some age and looking a little worn in its finishes and decor, but I don't mind -- to me, there are far more important things to make a great cruise. My cabin was a window cabin with a partially obstructed view, but the obstruction was truly minimal. Crystal is known for having some of the smallest cabins among the luxury lines, but I found it had more than enough space for my 2.5 week cruise, and I know had there been two of us in the cabin the storage space still would have been enough. I don't know why there's a tub rather than a walk in shower, and I don't see a need for double sinks, but those are likely personal preferences. Also personal is the opinion of the food.......in my opinion, the food was terrific, ranging from very good to outstanding (particularly excellent in the two specialty restaurants). I didn't attend the evening entertainment, with the exception of the Dixieland Jazz performance, so I can't comment other than to say other passengers seemed to enjoy it. My shipboard routine is to do as little as possible other than relax, though I did take part in the daily trivia contests. I heard some of the lectures on the television in my cabin later, and they were interesting and in a bunch of different subjects. One of the nicest things about being aboard is the calm atmosphere and lack of interruptions: There are no announcements other than a daily status update, and no sales pitches or other things to distract from the relaxation available. I love walking the promenade or laying on the Lido deck with a book or puzzle as the ocean drifts by. \ The ship is showing its age, but there's a major refit due in the fall. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than ... Read More
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than this. Second, we live in Honolulu and wanted the opportunity to leave the ship and be home in 10 minutes by cab. We have previously cruised on Silversea and Seabourn. I would give the Symphony a slight edge. It is a larger ship with more dining options and much better entertainment. Also, I found the crew to be a bit warmer and made us feel more comfortable. We opted for Dining by Reservation. It worked out for us very well. Found a table we liked with a great waiter. I would rate the food a little below Seabourn but not my much. The alternative dining options were very pleasant. Al-in-all a terrific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We very much enjoyed our 25 day Sydney-San Francisco cruise on Queen Victoria. It was made even more enjoyable by our upgrade to a Princess Grill Suite. The first benefit of the upgrade was the priority embarkation when we went ... Read More
We very much enjoyed our 25 day Sydney-San Francisco cruise on Queen Victoria. It was made even more enjoyable by our upgrade to a Princess Grill Suite. The first benefit of the upgrade was the priority embarkation when we went straight through Immigration and all the other checking in processes, avoiding the very long lines for others not so fortunate. The exclusive Princess Grill dining room is nice, but the dinner arrangements of the same people at the same table, arriving at any time between 6.30pm and 9pm, is not for us. As an example, we could have arrived at our table for 6 persons at 8pm and found the other two couples had arrived at 6.30pm, departing at 8pm. We dined each morning at breakfast in the Princess Grill and the staff were top class, addressing us by name from the second day. As Princess Grill guests we were given 135 minutes free internet time each, indeed a bonus! We relocated to the Brittania Restaurant for dinner, seated at a table for eight. This table for eight made dinner a delightful occasion for the duration of the cruise. The Queens Lounge which is shared by Queens and Princess Suite guests, is very enjoyable for reading quietly and conversation, and the daily afternoon tea is certainly a treat. Afternoon tea in the Queens Lounge is the ultimate in pampering: a private lounge for suite guests, Cunard do afternoon tea brilliantly: white gloved waiters serving finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones with jam and cream. There is a Captain’s Cocktail Party for Princess and Queens Grill guests, there is a feeling of spaciousness throughout the ship, with all staff being pleasant and attentive. Guest speakers, lecturers and entertainment are of a very high standard. Two stand-out guest speakers were Midge Ure and John McCarthy. Midge Ure was a member of the group Ultravox and had an extremely interesting story to tell, including his partnership with Bob Geldorf, forming Band-Aid and Live-Aid. John McCarthy was a journalist, taken hostage in Beirut and kept prisoner for 1,943 days, in company with others, including Terry Waite. The Queen Victoria Library has 7,000 books, an excellent reference section, and along with Queen Elizabeth, the best we have experienced in all our years of cruising. Criticisms The Princess Suite bathroom is no larger than any other cruise ship balcony stateroom we have experienced, indeed, the lighting is worse than others. There was no TV channel in our suite or indeed in the entire ship, that showed AFL football live or delayed, even though there were more Australians on the ship, Sydney-San Francisco, than any other nationality. It is worth noting that in the Golden Lion Pub, which was saturated by televised soccer, rugby, golf and every other imaginable sport, they could not find a spot for AFL. Our observation was recorded in writing as part of the end of cruise questionnaire. As a contrast, on Celebrity Solstice in 2016, Sydney-Honolulu, AFL live broadcasts went to every cabin. Dress standards While dress standards are a big plus for Cunard, we wonder whether they have gone a bit too far to the extreme in wanting to have a point of difference. Jackets are required, not only every night at dinner, but everywhere on the ship other than the Lido Buffet and the semi-outdoor Winter Garden after 6pm. You could not even enter a bar or the coffee shop after 6pm unless a jacket was worn. Perhaps one night in four of smart casual, where men are required to wear long trousers with an open neck, long sleeved shirt, or polo top, would be welcomed by guests. Whilst our Queen Elizabeth cruise was in 2012, we think that the dress standard at that time included a “Smart Casual” evening option. Summary Cunard’s Queen Victoria was everything we expected: a beautiful ship, well maintained, with excellent food, entertainment and lectures. We would definitely cruise with Cunard again, depending on the time frame, itinerary and cost. Gratuities are discretionary and can be negotiated at the Purser’s Office. From the Commodore/Captain down, all staff were professional and courteous, with a high degree of visibility around the ship daily. Queen Victoria is very shortly going in for a refit, there will be more suites/passengers, elimination of some public areas and with no additional crew. Hopefully this will only have minimal effect on the amount of public spaces. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Chose this for the itinerary. Food and service great. The food selection in buffet/ terrace was excellent and the serving staff were always smiling and happy., The Menu in the grand dinning room was really good. I had a dietary ... Read More
Chose this for the itinerary. Food and service great. The food selection in buffet/ terrace was excellent and the serving staff were always smiling and happy., The Menu in the grand dinning room was really good. I had a dietary requirement and made my selection a day in advance although this was change 3 times by the chef. Went to the Polo grill for a Valentine dinner, expected a table for 2 but had to share with 2 others. There was no real entertainment. No ballroom dancing after 9.15 there was little thought in planning some evening entertainment ie, dancing was listed in the daily programme however on two occasions when arriving at venue the dance floor was set up with empty chairs and music stands for the show which is scheduled to commence 15 minutes after dancing (this preparation could have been done in the 15 minutes thereby freeing up the dance floor for guests to enjoy and dance to the band). Guest entertainers were good but in-house performers were very poor, high school standard. At 10.30 the Horizon entertainment consisted of the staff just chatting among themselves and could not deal with requests for music. Also in Horizon, 24 hour coffee machine was taken out of service for cleaning just when the lounge opened for the night. Twice reported dust in grand dinning room. First time discreetly to restaurant manager and on following night found more dust in another area. The dress code (country club) was not adhered to at all. Hardly any jackets worn during the evening and on one occasion a female guest walked into the main Grand Dining area wearing a cap! Some guests still wore shorts in the Insignia Lounge in the evening. No pool side entertainment during the day. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Have just returned from a cruise on Le Soleal from Tahiti to Easter Island. We chose this cruise as it visited remote islands, particularly the difficult to access Pitcairn Island. Having seen some quite negative reviews from Australians ... Read More
Have just returned from a cruise on Le Soleal from Tahiti to Easter Island. We chose this cruise as it visited remote islands, particularly the difficult to access Pitcairn Island. Having seen some quite negative reviews from Australians on this site about this cruiseline I was a bit concerned before we left. Having travelled on a few cruise lines I found Ponant friendly, professional, staff catered well to non French speaking passengers and the food and service were excellent. There was a balance of fun, comfort and adventure. The Captain was frequently accessible and the cruise director one of the best. The cabins were comfortable and always clean. With such difficult to access islands it was sometimes unclear whether we would be able to land until the last minute, but we were always kept informed by the Captain about the conditions. So some flexibility is needed when undertaking this type of cruise but it all adds up to an unforgettable holiday. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My husband and I really enjoyed the Marina because they take such good care of their passengers. I wish we would have arrived in Papeete a day earlier to see that city but didn't want to pay the extra Air Deviation fee. Embarkation ... Read More
My husband and I really enjoyed the Marina because they take such good care of their passengers. I wish we would have arrived in Papeete a day earlier to see that city but didn't want to pay the extra Air Deviation fee. Embarkation in Papeete and disembarkation in Lima, Peru was extremely well organized and went very smoothly. The cabins are quite comfortable and the bathroom is by far the best I've seen on a cruise ship with marble floors and a separate tub and shower. The cabin's closet was a bit oddly designed which made it hard to open one of the doors completely but the closet space was adequate. The dining experience is superb in all venues especially the specialty restaurants. Jacques was our favorite. The only negative about the eating arrangements is that all eating venues closed by 9:30 so if you wanted to get a snack later in the evening, the only choice was to have room service because all other eating venues were closed. I didn't particularly like the entertainment and didn't participate in any activities but we did enjoy having a variety of lectures to attend. The service is impeccable and the staff seemed genuinely interested in you having an exceptional experience onboard the Marina. We chose this cruise because the ports of call included the Tahitian Islands and Easter Island; however, we understood that the weather conditions did not allow the tenders to safely transport passengers but were still disappointed that we could go to Easter Island. We enjoyed the excursions but the prices seemed to be somewhat inflated; however, I do have to say that the excursions were very well organized and executed. This was definitely a cruise for seniors and not for children as there was absolutely nothing for them to do. I think Oceania has misjudged their clientele to be country club types but, in reality, the clientele on the Marina were the usual cruisers who didn't mind the expenditures associated with this cruise experience. There was obviously a variety of interpretations of "country club casual". The dress in the main dining room was somewhat disappointing since I think there should be, at least, an effort to dress appropriately for the venue. We saw many people in inappropriate attire (jeans, t-shirts, and athletic shoes)--definitely NOT country club casual. I might choose this cruise line again (maybe for a particular itinerary) but it probably would not be my first choice as I don't think it's necessary to pay this amount of money for a very good cruise experience. The post cruise to Macchu Pichu and Lima were also very well organized and an unforgettable experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I have read some of the early reviews of the Papeete to Lima segment of the Marina Cruise. As usual, on certain points, I feel we were traveling on the ship in another dimension! It was wonderful cruise, with reality settling in from ... Read More
I have read some of the early reviews of the Papeete to Lima segment of the Marina Cruise. As usual, on certain points, I feel we were traveling on the ship in another dimension! It was wonderful cruise, with reality settling in from time to time Embarkation was a breeze (we were in the Suites line). The stateroom was a Oceana Suite which I will review in the Cabin section. We were overwhelmed by the size and decor. As Suite pax we obtained a precruise reservations for the Specialty Restaurants and with additional on board booking I snagged 16 nights in the specialty restaurants. so we ate at each restaurant 4 times. The menus were never boring and we gravitated to certain favorite dishes. We did eat in the MDR for the balance of nights and we were never disappointed. Our average dinner at all the restaurants was about two hours. With excellent service and surroundings we enjoyed every minute of the dining experience. The MDR was our daily choice for lunch. Always excellent with the" tour of the worlds" sampler appetizer being our favorite. Hint the Mediterranean sampler is heaven. The shows were not up to the level of say Celebrity talent. I understand the parent Norwegian is working on this but it did not reach the Marina for our trip. The first week's itinerary was French Polynesian Islands. We snorkeled at each Island, booking our own excurrsions. Raitea and Rangiroa had the best snorkling. We saw 5 ft white tip sharks, 4 ft sting rays and zillions of fish. I saw a group of red snapper that easily totaled 500 fish. Pitcairn Island was as expected with some interesting highlights and low lights. One of those places glad we saw it but never need to return. I had high expectations for Easter Island but we could not tender. The wave action was not severe but there is no shelter from the wind and the wind and waves were fighting against each other causing these long rollers. We were down on deck 4, ready to debark when the crew opened the tender platform and immediately seawater came sloshing into the ship. The rolling of the ship caused the tender platform to submerge and that carried seawater into the ship when the ship rolled in the opposite direction, No way any able bodied person could manage boarding a tender, let alone the great majority of seniors on this voyage. The Captain did the right thing. there would have been many injuries. This Island is similar to the vagaries of successful tender, similar to the Falkland Islands. Same thing happened to us there. The Captain had the ship circle Easter Island and I was able to photograph the back side of the famous statues all in a row shot with a telephoto lense, albeit from their backsides. Because of Easter Island we spent a total of 10 days at sea. WE were blessed to have our suite. We traveled about 5000 miles on this cruise, and never before did we experience about 4000 miles of nothingness - no ships, no birds, no sealife, just water. Callao port (Lima) was a commercial port like Cevetevichia (Rome). For non Oceania excursions and debarkation, the main gate was atrocious. Very small and just replete with aggressive taxi drivers. Oceania could improve their handling of local shuttle service. Nevertheless a perfect trip Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I am a fan of Oceania, having travelled on a few of their ships. I find the cruise line perfect for us, not to big just the right amount of quests on board. We found the ship clean, comfortable and the food excellent, the quality and ... Read More
I am a fan of Oceania, having travelled on a few of their ships. I find the cruise line perfect for us, not to big just the right amount of quests on board. We found the ship clean, comfortable and the food excellent, the quality and variation excellent, especially Jacques and Red Ginger. One complaint I have is with the lounge chairs around the pool. It never ceases to amaze me how selfish some guests can be, they are not happy with one deck chair, but, they have to hog two, one in the sun and one in the shade. This is at the cost of other guests not be able to find just one deck chair to enjoy themselves around the pool. There has to be a way to control this, it is such a selfish act and has to be stopped. Activities - I found them adequate, all I need during the day, maybe there could be some different acts in the evening, as we found far to many musicals on the list, albeit they were good, ( more variation). Service: We found the service, on the whole very good, except I did have two episodes whilst on the ship. On in the breakfast area, where a girl behind the counter was quite rude when I mentioned I had waited for 10 minutes for two poached eggs. A chef from the kitchen came out and very quickly I received my meal. This was the same girl who looked a little hung over the previous morning and in fact left her station to go and talk to a friend at the next counter, while we all stood in a queue for our toast. The other problem I had was with the maitre D' at Red Ginger, I felt his attitude was a little off. Apart from these two incidents, I thought the staff was very well trained and very polite, and that has to do with the training programme you operate on the ship. Tours: I have to say i think they are so overpriced for what they are, so I very rarely take any, we prefer to do our own thing at half the price. The one thing I have to mention, I found our Butler excellent, well trained and very eager to help and assist when required, he did go beyound his call of duty. He was cheerful, interesting and he deserved to be in his role and we wish him every success for the future. And yes, we will travel again with Oceania, we think it is a great cruise line , it suits us and gives us what we want from a cruise. Thank you for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We sailed from Valparaiso to Tahiti in January 2016. This was our first Oceania cruise. I doubt we would sail with Oceania again. First thing was their loss leader concept on their brochures. Advertise a low fare and when you try to ... Read More
We sailed from Valparaiso to Tahiti in January 2016. This was our first Oceania cruise. I doubt we would sail with Oceania again. First thing was their loss leader concept on their brochures. Advertise a low fare and when you try to book that fare, it's long gone. I just don't appreciate that in a company. We picked this cruise specifically because of the itinerary. Mainly Easter Island and Pitcairn Island. When we got to Easter Island, the boarding process for the tenders was a complete disaster. We are independent travelers and we had a car rented for the first day on the island---fortunately the first day because the 2nd day was cancelled due to swells. Because all Oceania tours were allowed to board tenders first, it took us 2 1/2, yes 2 1/2 hours!, to get to the island on a tender. We had to call our car rental company from the ship to tell them we were going to be very late. It all worked out fine in the end since we saw most of the island. BUT, Oceania did a terrible job administering tender tickets and boarding. This one experience would keep me from using Oceania again. We found out later that here is a 50+ % chance of not being able to go to Easter Island at all because of the tender situation. Of course this wasn't mentioned in any of the literature when booking. Think about booking this 'trip of a lifetime' and finding out you couldn't even see Easter Island at all. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Pitcairn Island, where the islanders visit the ship, was great. Very neat experience meeting direct descendants of the Bounty mutineers. This was definitely the highlight of the entire trip. Visits to two atolls in Tahiti plus Bora Bora were very nice but not the point of this particular cruise. I've seen a couple of posts about this cruise and one said that people were generally pushy and rude. I would agree. We met lots of nice folks and made many friends. But in general, people on this cruise pushed to get in line first, were generally very aggressive and self centered. One nice thing, not a lot of drinking like you would see on a cheaper Caribbean cruise. Entertainment in the evening was very mediocre---almost the quality you would see in a bar. Some was better than others, but generally below average. Lectures were average. One of the lecturers was excellent, but mostly not that good. With 9 days at sea, Oceania needed to make sure this part was better. The people who came on board from Pitcairn gave heartfelt and memorable talks and we appreciated that. Food was excellent and I mean excellent. Service was excellent. These two things are obviously Oceania's priority and it showed. Entertainment, lectures, and shore excursions were not their priority obviously. Disembarkation was handled very well. Bottom line, we would not likely cruise with Oceania again. Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016

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