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536 Europe - Western Mediterranean Luxury Cruise Reviews

This 14 night voyage is my 13th cruise with Cunard and it is a few years since I have written a review. However, as this cruise was one of Cunard’s ‘special event’ and themed voyages and the longest single cruise I have done, I think ... Read More
This 14 night voyage is my 13th cruise with Cunard and it is a few years since I have written a review. However, as this cruise was one of Cunard’s ‘special event’ and themed voyages and the longest single cruise I have done, I think its time to share my thoughts again. At only 26 and 29 years old my husband and I are quite a bit younger than the stereotype Cunard passenger, however we enjoy the ambiance; dressing for dinner; the formality and the tranquility that a Cunard voyage provides. Indeed, with the addition of options such as the Gin & Fizz Bar Cunard is very much on trend and I feel many of my own generation are missing out. Embarkation and disembarkation was efficient and painless; in 13 cruises we have never had a bad experience in this area. We were on board by 11.30am. This cruise was the 2019 Voyage du Vin with guest speakers including Oz Clarke. We enjoyed a conversation with him and Cunard's Beverage Manager in the Commodore Club one night; they were engaging and approachable. There were a series of wine themed talks and events and overall, these made a pleasant addition to the Mediterranean itinerary. Many of the events were at an additional cost but those that we partook in were worth the additional spend. We are very interested in wine; it is a stroke of luck that this cruise was made the Voyage du Vin after we booked it. We would certainly consider booking a themed cruise again after the experience. This was our first time on Queen Victoria in nearly 4 years with Queen Elizabeth being our favourite ship. I was very excited to see her after her major refit a couple of years ago. The extra and more varied seating options on deck are a welcome addition and the Britannia Club restaurants looks very stylish and comfortable. I have already mentioned the Gin & Fizz Bar; we spent a lot of time here in the evenings. It is a new and innovative concept with an exceptional range of cocktails to complement the wide range of gins and sparkling wines. The move towards specific menus in specific venues around the ship adds variety and choice and is preferable to me to the generic bar menu that existed when we first travelled with Cunard. I would particularly recommend The Mary Rose cocktail. Bar prices are frequently mentioned in these reviews. I have no issue with Cunard’s prices; they are not dissimilar to London bar prices or indeed bar prices at a more average bar elsewhere in the UK. And remember Cunard use larger U.S. measures. The variety of canapes and nibbles served with drinks continues to impress again especially in the midships Gin & Fizz Bar. The food and service in the Britannia Restaurant was generally good throughout. There were some surprisingly good dishes such as ravioli with salmon caviar and some more average dishes. My lobster was a little tough one evening but was still very nice. Overall the food was pleasing, and we ate there all but one nights. We normally dine in the Verandah some nights however I am still of the opinion the Steakhouse concept is just not in keeping with the Cunard brand; we tried it QM2 and hated it feeling that it represented a major reduction in standards compared to the old Verandah menu. That said, I don’t eat beef and love elegant French cuisine. We didn’t try the Verandah this time. I feel that service aboard was very good; it wasn’t outstanding, just consistently good and reliable. Our cabin steward was faultless and the purser’s desk quick and efficient. Occasionally the sommelier was a bit slow in the restaurant or drinks took a while to come in bars at busy periods. Perhaps a couple of extra sommeliers or bar waiters in those areas would have improved this, but it really wasn’t a major issue and I am picky about service. It was interesting talking to other guests though that have travelled with different lines and feel that Cunard’s service is always better. We took several Cunard shore excursions for ease and peace of mind. We found all of them good value for money. We could possibly have done something similar ourselves for less but the avoidance of hassle and not having to worry about getting back to the ship was worth the additional expense of booking an excursion. The wine themed tour with tasting whilst in Vigo, where we visited the Albarino wine region was particularly good; it felt authentic with almost free flowing tasting and plentiful nibbles with the wine! There were a few niggles such as the air conditioning in our room not being very good; it was never so bad we actually got around to complaining so I can’t hold that against them. The Royal Court Theatre Vocalists were not great but the dancers were good. The hydrotherapy pool jets intermittently didn’t work in the first half of the cruise and the showers were cold, and indeed one morning the pool was empty. What was more surprising was that the spa staff didn’t know it was empty until we told them! Each time we mentioned an issue however it was fixed. We ate Alfresco one night for a small cover charge; the food was good and would have made a lovely change being able to watch a Mediterranean sunset had they not started jet washing and buffing the deck whilst we were eating. Obviously, this destroyed the ambiance. The maitre’d appreciated this and we were not charged. Clearly this was a communication issue between departmental managers. Despite these little problems I would give this voyage 4.5/5 stars overall. We had a wonderful time and I would happily book a similar voyage again. The combination of good food, good drinks, good service and excellent weather has made another memorable cruise. I can now start counting down the days until my next cruise of QE next year. A few notes regarding the ports of call. Vigo, Palma and Barcelona were all interesting and pleasant. In La Spezia we went to Florence and were disappointed; far too busy and polluted to properly explore its' history. In Cannes we went to Monaco. we absolutely loved Monaco; despite it being pricey I would recommend Cafe de Paris for lunch especially the profiteroles dessert. The Gothic quarter of Barcelona was very interesting and I highly recommend the little wine bar opposite Santa Maria del Mar. Finally Gibraltar was good; I recommend walking the Mediterranean Steps if able as it affords excellent views even when a bit cloudy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We wanted to visit Spain, France and Italy. We have two older children who had never been to Europe. One had studied Italian and the other French. We picked an excursion each day that would be active and fun. We climbed up the volcano ... Read More
We wanted to visit Spain, France and Italy. We have two older children who had never been to Europe. One had studied Italian and the other French. We picked an excursion each day that would be active and fun. We climbed up the volcano over Pompei, then visited the ruins of Pompei. We climbed up to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. We chose to spend the extra money to stay in the Haven on the cruise/ it was spectacular. The service was top notch. We were pampered and had a restaurant, bar, pool and sun deck all in our area. It was quiet and very upscale. The staff learned our names and favorite food/drinks right away. It was a fantastic experience! We were able to all stay in one cabin with enough beds for everyone- 3 adult children with us. The cabin was spacious with two separate bedrooms and two full bathrooms. I will always choose the Haven when it is an option. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara and our first time on Pursuit since she was taken over by Azamara, we had sailed with her previously as P&O Adonia so it was interesting to see the refurbishment. Emarkation was not good; when we ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara and our first time on Pursuit since she was taken over by Azamara, we had sailed with her previously as P&O Adonia so it was interesting to see the refurbishment. Emarkation was not good; when we arrived at the port at the Trade Centre in Barcelona we were told we could board immediately however it was clear when we had gone through security we were going to have a wait as we were given numbers and asked to take seat. There were no facilities in the area for tea/coffee etc., and no announcements or information from Azamara staff to let us know why we were delayed boarding so not a good start. After sitting for about an hour our number was called and we were taken to mini buses, it was fairly heavy rain and I think Azamara were waiting on the buses to come and transport us to the ship which was about 100 yards away, however we still weren't given a reason for the delay in boarding. Once onboard we were quickly checked in and our photo taken again, I had uploaded a photo online but this wasn't used, seems a waste of time doing it before hand so wouldn't do it again.There was a table for upgrading to the Ultimate Drinks Package and we had planned to do this anyway as it gave us more options, the selection of wines in the package were good and suited us. The Complimentary Drinks remain the same 2 whites, 2 reds which change daily, rose and a sparkling wine which are the same everyday. The ship has an identical layout to Journey and Quest with the exception of the Casino, which is now accommodating the Future Cruise Desk and The Den, it's actually a better use of the space. The ship was in good order and well looked after, staff were constantly cleaning which is understandable. Food in Discoveries Restaurant was a bit of a hit or miss, sometimes it was good other times bland, the service was also good in the restaurant but if you were on a large table there was a longer wait. The food in Aqualina and Prime C were excellent we had the 3 restaurant package and it was worth the additional payment, it was a nice atmosphere and a lot quieter. Service was also first class in these restaurants. Windows food was good but never stayed hot for very long, this was something I did raise at the time and it was acknowledged, but there was always a good selection. The Patio had a good choice of food, the baked potatoes and Chilli were excellent, again service from Vishal 1 and Vishal 2 was excellent, very attentive and helpful. Entertainment, Paul Martell an impressionist and Jane Scali singer were in the show lounge and were very good, Signature singers again in the show lounge were good. Vasi Katina a pianist who played in Den was good. White Sand Trio who played in The Living Room were not good, the young lady who was singing was good enough however there were 2 elderly gentlemen, 1 played drums and the other key boards and sang but they were not good, they didn't gel as a trio. We like The Living Room however we only went there once and never went back as this trio were on every night. The White Night was well attended and everyone enjoyed the Signature Singers and Tony Markey the cruise director singing. We didn't attend the Azamazing Evening which was advertised as an opera but I believe it was 3 Sopranos who sang a mixture of song types. We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in the Prime C cocktail bar, Ruby was in charge and she was very efficient and knowledgeable about the drinks and made a mean French Martini. The included drinks remain the same 2 whites, 2 reds which change daily, rose and a sparkling wine which stay the same. One of the reasons we enjoy Azamara is the smaller ships usually get the good berths which means being close to the town, also the early arrival and late or overnight stays. We enjoyed all the ports, Port Vendres was cancelled due to rough seas and this was substituted by a stop in Sete which was very nice, Marseilles, Monte Carlo and Livorno were the other ports. We didn't book any excursions. The Captain and crew were noticeable around the ship and all the staff we had dealings with were very helpful, friendly and efficient. Overall this was a very good cruise and we met some lovely people, the passengers were mainly from USA, Australia and Canada and some from GB. The reason for the 4 star review was due to poor embarkation and the entertainment, however this would not put us off booking again as we very much enjoyed our time onboard Pursuit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Several of the destinations were new to us and the overnight in Florence, Italy - we spent the night I the city due to the distance to the port - and ending up in Rome where we last had been in 1996. Weather caused us to miss two of the ... Read More
Several of the destinations were new to us and the overnight in Florence, Italy - we spent the night I the city due to the distance to the port - and ending up in Rome where we last had been in 1996. Weather caused us to miss two of the original ports but the extra day in Marseille was a bonus. We did not take any shore excursions offered by the ship since they were almost all early morning - not our thing. We did engage guides in two ports. Florence did not have a bus to the city which made it difficult to book our own tours - our normal preference. The Pursuit is a welcomed addition to Azamara even though the service had some minor hiccups due to the number of new employees. We were surprised to see the old dressing table in our cabin - would have thought it would have been replaced. The entertainment times and type were a disappointment - we normally take in several shows. The food and overall service was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this ship mostly due to the itinery. Having sailed numerous times with Celebrity, Holland America, RC and carnival I decided to upgrade to a luxury cruise. I brought along my husband who isn't crazy about cruising but, but ... Read More
I chose this ship mostly due to the itinery. Having sailed numerous times with Celebrity, Holland America, RC and carnival I decided to upgrade to a luxury cruise. I brought along my husband who isn't crazy about cruising but, but since it was close to our 30th anniversary he did it for me. I also brought along a couple who have never cruised before. So Ill start with the good....Staff was wonderful!! Food was very good (with the exception of my husbands New York Strip in Prime C that wasnt good at all...everyone else loved theirs) Other than that food was good. Buffett could stand to be hotter. Now comes the bad...and there was plenty of it. Starting with the toilets not working on and off ALL WEEK. Its pretty bad when you use the toilet to not be able to flush it and the fan doesn't work work so our cabin smelled bad a lot. Day two they told us they were sorry, but no other cabins available. Day three they told us and our guests to pack our bags, come after our 9pm dinner and they will move us. They move our friends first while we wait patiently...around 12:30 am they tell us they have no other rooms...!?!? Finally one magically appears and we get into our room about 1:30am. Around 3am after listening to a jet engine noise coming out of the ac unit (which did I mention wasn't working anyway and the room was unbearably hot?) we could not sleep..called and they told us to go back to original room... basically we did not sleep that nite which totally ruined our day since we were exhausted. Now we tried to make the best of a bad situation, but the ac never really got cold in our room, in fact the whole ship wasn't very comfortable. BUT there was one day getting ready for a private tour in Italy..my husband had excited the shower I was going to brush my teeth and shower when …..I HAD NO WATER!!! They had decided that 8am was a good time to address a plumbing issue (their words not mine...) on would have thought that maybe noon after everyone left for the day? My friends toilet didn't work more than it did despite changing rooms. I was beyond embarrassed since I talked up Azamara, being the one who arranged all this and this is what I bring them on for a luxury cruise that we spent ALOT on? So I have been told by my husband and my friends husband THEY WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN....and I blame that on Azamara. This was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and it was anything but. And the insult was after telling management the men would never cruise again ...they offered us a $400 future cruse credit!!!! I will leave my reviews all over so all will know to beware the pursuit. We wanted to love it.....wanted to but they made it impossible. Please remember the beginning of my review the staff were awesome and itinery phenomenal BUT it was the problems with the ship. It has plumbing and ac issues and cannot imagine it will resolved between the time I left the ship and the new passengers come onto it hours later. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got ... Read More
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got home from an 8 night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Le Lyrial. We LOVED this ship. The staff were amazing, there was a kids club that I couldn't pull my kids from (more on that), and we were very pleased with the food. Cabins: Cabins are adequate in size. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney boats and the Deluxe Balcony stateroom was just as big, with a decent sized balcony. We had cabins 323 and 325, both rooms were perfect for 2 ppl per cabin with plenty of storage. They took out the balcony divider between out staterooms so we could come and go between the cabins. These staterooms do not connect from the inside. Kids Club: There was a kids club on this cruise, which I don't think is offered on all the itineraries. If there's a kids club, it will be listed. My kids loved kids club. The activities they provided for the children were entertaining. No there is not a basketball court, or all the other kids stuff you find on the Disney and RC boats, but my kids never complained about not having that. In fact, they told us this was the best kids club they've been too. Port stops: Because this is a smaller boat, you port in smaller ports and getting off the boat is so much less stressful. Ponant organizes everything to a "T" and we were very impressed with the tours they provided. We generally do not book cruise ship tours, but these tours never had any more than 20 ppl in a group, again a BONUS being on a smaller boat. Food and Dining: Food was great! There are 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting seating at either of them. I do wish they had a couple more options for the included house wines. With this being a french boat, I was looking forward to tasting some good french wines. They do have them, but they come at a cost. Pool Deck: Never crowed. On a Mediterranean cruise one would have thought you would have problems finding a chair. We never did. Also, ppl do not reserve chairs with towels, which was nice! There were 122 people onboard our ship. Amazing! I can't imagine we will ever be able to go back to a bigger boat after being on the Le Lyrial. I would also like to add that our tour manager, Nina was phenomenal. She organized all our excursions, and they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible. For example, we booked an excursion that was not offered as an inclusion to the US passengers, and was given only in French. My husband and I knew this going into it. We fully expected that we were going on a French speaking excursion and were OK with that. To our surprise, Nina had organized an English speaking guide to accommodate us that day. It was like we had our on personal guide. We did not expect this at all! But again, this is Ponant, and Nina was just exceptional. All in all we will book again with Ponant. Not having to deal with the crowds on embarking and disembarking is so worth the extra cost! Plus the attention you get on the cruise is priceless. Sail Date: July 2019 Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The Europa 2-even the name exudes luxury, style, and quite a Eurocentric flair to life that I have come to learn and love on my eight night sailing to the beautiful Mediterranean. The cost-incredibly expensive, but the ... Read More
The Europa 2-even the name exudes luxury, style, and quite a Eurocentric flair to life that I have come to learn and love on my eight night sailing to the beautiful Mediterranean. The cost-incredibly expensive, but the experience-unmatched. PRE-BOARDING DOCUMENTS The catalogues and call-back service was phenomenal, as well as the website being easy to navigate, although at times a bit outdated, and while the general vaccination, immigration, and visa requirements were clearly listed, it was a while before I realised the sentence "these notices and requirements only apply to citizens of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland." Still, this is a German cruise liner, and it's honestly surprising they even attempted to embrace the outside world at all-unlike the stuffier Europa. Included cancellation fee and bankruptcy insurance was nice, but as always the terms were very strict. I opted to not. EMBARKATION Because it was clearly impossible for Hapag-Lloyd to arrange travel to a country outside of Germany on an "international cruise ship", it was necessary for me to find travel arrangements myself-sigh.Embarkation commenced sharp at 16:00, ending 18:00, but it was very swift and once onboard we enjoyed the happy reception staff with welcome champagne. A TOUR OF THE SHIP The whole ship is all about relaxed luxury, with spaciousness and natural light in a contemporary style while its exterior is sleek. The details are fantastic from indented handrails in the main stairways to leather-covered tissue boxes to polished teak handrails on all balconies. I think I look at handrails too much, eh? A two-level pool deck is fantastic, with a 49 feet rectangular heated pool and a large sliding glass roof to cover if needed, but the summer Mediterranean meant we never had much of an opportunity to see it in action. Balinese sleep beds were extremely cosy, as we would be lucky to find out multiple times, alongside sun beds, drink tables, bar and food bar (of which Hapag-Lloyd loves to brag about its afternoon waffles), and a retractable movie screen. It simply is beautiful, contemporary, and high-quality at every turn, with museum-quality art collections, and after a retouch in 2018, everything is super chic and modern. The atrium has grey, black, and chrome with armchair-style seating and the Piano Bar, with a specially commissioned grey Steinway next to the reception desk, in case the nice lady working there wanted a cocktail, because don't we all? A glass viewing wall provides multi-deck natural light, before you walk to a Wempe jewelry and boutique. I, of course, not having a net worth of $10 million, didn't go in except to buy a beautiful Cap'n Knopf. He inhabits our house now. This is just, a benchmark in cruising and exudes discreet quality at every tun with impressive diversity, flowers everywhere, even, and just in case you thought this wasn't luxurious enough, a caviar night each cruise. A caviar night. BARS After a long day exploring the beautiful beaches of Europa, head down to the Europa 2 bars and lounges, with Collins, a cigar smoking Cuban beer bar, Sansibar, with indoor-outdoor seating and an a la carte menu with tapas-style nibbles and special wines, Club 2, THE place for comedy and cabaret, the aforementioned piano bar, Belvedere, which also houses the library, the aforementioned waffle-stuffed pool bar, and Grande Reserve, which is just fine wine and weddings. I had neither. FOOD The Europa 2 has more dining venues than its sister ship and, in relation to its relaxed comfortable luxury, no set mealtimes. And the food is simply spectacular. Absolutely amazing. Fancy China and glassware, impressive amounts of cutlery, unusually plentiful tables of four, and each restaurant's detailed individuality, and of course, the food itself. Weltmeere is the flagship restaurant, and for good reason; an international menu changing daily. Elements serves everything from Indian to Vietnamese to not-so-traditional Chinese dishes, with the aroma of lemongrass, seafood, and lime prevailing. I forgive them this time, but their "Chinese" dishes were often anything but. Sakura I did not get to experience as it packed quick, but Serenissima was my go-to-spot for lunch, with everything from open lasagne to steamed lobster and the chandeliers were stunning. Finally, the French bistro Tarragon, with its famous meal beef tartare made at table, and boy did it live up to expectations, while the Yacht Club Buffet allowed me to experience fine cuisine and a panoramic ocean view. MY SUITE, AND THEY'RE ALL SUITES All the "cabins" in the Europa 2 are rightfully called suites, and each with a veranda! I chose the aptly-named Veranda Suite, as it was the cheapest, but it doesn't feel that way, certainly. 376 square feet with a walk-in wardrobe, exclusive living area with a chaise lounge, a bathtub and separate shower, free minibar stocked with beer and soft drinks, a writing/vanity desk, and door-touch keycard holder. All also have a Nespresso coffee machine and coffees, quiet-close storage trays, and integrated infotainment system as well as one free hour of Internet a day. The layout is well-designed and practical and the overall decor is relaxing and elegant. ENTERTAINMENT The Theatre, a two-level showlounge with LED lighting and a thrust stage is prepared for by the company's own production team and is mostly visual, much to my English-speaking-minority delight. Club 2 also was the go-to place for parties and discussion or the Piano Bar if you're feeling classical. CHILDREN'S CLUB Knopf Club, Kid's Club, Teen's Club. Everything was cool. SPA Superb, a centre of serenity and calm, with everything from a beauty salon to three dry saunas to two GOLF SIMULATORS-WHAT?! Needless to say most everything cost extra but what're you gonna expect, right? SERVICE In a word, yes. DISEMBARKATION Quick, to my chagrin, but relaxed, much to my pleasure. SUMMARY Amazing, all in all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful 11-night cruise on board Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager. After months of anticipation, we can’t believe that our voyage is over. We knew the first half of 2019 was going to be a pressure ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful 11-night cruise on board Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager. After months of anticipation, we can’t believe that our voyage is over. We knew the first half of 2019 was going to be a pressure cooker, so it was important to have a major trip on our calendar to keep us going through the winter and spring. More importantly, we needed to go somewhere spectacular to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday. Choosing the Cruise and Making Reservations: We decided to set sail for the Dalmatian Coast and the French/Italian Rivieras. Planning for our Adriatic/Mediterranean adventure began in July 2018 when we logged on to a number of cruise line websites to research our options. We focused on Seabourn, Silver Seas, Celebrity, Cunard, and Regent. After significant discussion, we chose Regent, which offered excellent and all-inclusive pricing, great itineraries, and convenient travel dates. Being a bit of a control freak, I did not use a travel agent; rather, I contacted Regent directly through its website and its toll-free telephone number. I called Regent on a Sunday to finalize the reservation. The agent was friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable. After 30 minutes on the phone, we were confirmed on the Voyager for its 11-night “Treasures of the Mediterranean” cruise, departing from Venice on Saturday, June 15 and ending in Monaco on Tuesday, June 25. We opted for a Concierge Suite on Deck 7 (Suite 738.) While the cruise itinerary did not include any sea days, we were attracted to the fabulous port calls of Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia; Durres (for Tirana), Albania; Corfu, Greece; Taormina, Sorrento (for Capri), Civitavecchia (for Rome), Livorno (for Florence/Pisa) in Italy; and St. Tropez, France. The user-friendly Regent website is the perfect place to manage your cruise experience. As soon as the reservation was final, I was able to sign on to complete our guest information forms. Most importantly, the site provides a calendar of key dates, including when you can make excursion and specialty dining reservations. Once I had those dates in hand, I programmed task items into my personal Outlook account and set reminders so I wouldn’t forget to act. During the eleven months between making the reservation and our departure date, I checked the Regent website numerous times just to remind myself that we had a fabulous vacation in our future. In October 2018, my husband and I sat down at the computer to review all of our excursion options. It took us about an hour to make our choices. Most of Regent’s excursions are included in your cruise fare and we were pleased that we could reserve space eight months ahead of time– one less thing to worry about on embarkation day when the lines at the excursion desk are long and many popular tours are sold out. Moreover, if we changed our minds about a certain excursion we could cancel or book an alternative at any time. In March, Regent opened online reservations for the Voyager’s specialty restaurants – Chartreuse, a charming French bistro and Prime 7, a traditional American steakhouse. There is no upcharge for either restaurant, but seating is limited so I highly recommend making reservations ahead of time. The Trip Begins: After months of anticipation, the sun finally rose on Thursday, June 13, 2019. We spent the morning packing and preparing the house for our pet sitter. After saying goodbye to our two beautiful dachshunds (our most precious possessions,) the car service to SFO pulled away from our house in Marin County. The exact time was 10:27 a.m. in California, or 7:27 p.m. at our first destination -- Venice. Air Arrangements and Ground Transfers: Regent cruise fares include roundtrip business class airfare, even if your port of embarkation and port of disembarkation are different. In our case, we began in Venice and ended in Monaco. If you decide to make your own air transportation arrangements, Regent will issue you a credit. Because most cruise lines don’t include business class airfare as part of their standard cruise fares, I normally make our own air reservations. We will not fly economy class, so on previous cruises we purchased our airline tickets independently – sometimes with cash and other times with cash + points. For this trip, however, I took a leap of faith and decided to let Regent make the air arrangements for me. I wasn’t about to give up total control, however, so I paid $350 ($175/pp.) to submit an air deviation request, which allows you to pick your own carrier and routes. Air deviation requests are accepted beginning 270 days before departure and must be made at least 35 days before departure. In our case, we wanted to fly on a Star Alliance carrier (for the points) and we wanted at least the outbound connection to be in Europe. 270 days before departure, I contacted the Regent Air Deviation Department with a list of five possible itineraries. My first choice was on Swiss Air, with connections through Zurich. Unfortunately, seats were not available. My second choice was on Lufthansa, with connections through Germany. Space was available and reserved. Regent sent me a confirmation email (with the Lufthansa booking code) on the same day and even was able to assign us our preferred seats. And even though the ticket was purchased through Regent, we earned United Mileage Plus PQMs with the business class bonuses. Our departure from SFO was delayed about an hour because of various ground issues (occupied gate for incoming flight from FRA and the breakdown of a catering truck.). We arrived at FRA with about 35 minutes to clear European passport control and connect to our next flight. Luckily, there were nearly 40 people on our flight who were connecting to VCE, so the Lufthansa ground staff had a special bus waiting for us that first took us to a lower level private room where we proceeded through passport control, and then to our A320. In the end, we left FRA 15 minutes late, but arrived at VCE on time at 2:00 p.m. Our luggage did not make the connection. This was the only major hiccup of the trip. As is common in Europe, there were not separate baggage offices for each airline at VCE. Instead, issues related to lost luggage for all airlines are outsourced and handled by one company. The Regent representative who met us (and many others) at VCE knew exactly what to do and before you know it I was at the front of the line at the baggage office. My bar-coded baggage tags were not useful. The agent told me that she did not have the ability to track our bags and that we would have to file a claim. She further said that once the bags arrived at VCE, they would be delivered either to the hotel that night or to the ship the next day. She added, however, that the delivery schedule was up to the driver and she could not guarantee that we would receive our bags before our ship sailed the next evening. There was no Lufthansa representative in the baggage hall and calls to Lufthansa both in Germany and the United States were fruitless. The next Lufthansa arrival from FRA was scheduled for 3:30 p.m., so we decided to wait in the baggage hall (a secure area, so we could not leave.) It was delayed and did not arrive in Venice until 4:45 p.m. Unfortunately, our bags were not on that flight either. We were exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed. Luckily, just as I was about to have a public and ugly meltdown, I got a text message from Lufthansa that said our bags were being loaded on to a flight that was expected to arrive at VCE shortly after 6:00 p.m. We were not confident, however, that they would be delivered to us either that night or the next day, so we decided to wait at the airport. Finally, around 6:20 p.m., we had our bags in hand. In retrospect, I am glad we waited at VCE. One couple who was on our flight from FRA to VCE and on our cruise did not receive their bags until one week later. All during our time in the baggage hall, we kept the Regent representative apprised of our situation. When we learned that the bags would be arriving sometime around 6:00 p.m., he told us that the last transfer to the hotel departed at 6:00 p.m. Keeping in mind that all of our transfers were included in our cruise fare, we asked him what arrangements would be made to get us to the hotel. He said we were on our own. We asked him if he could wait for us or give us some sort of voucher for transportation, but he refused and said there was nothing he could do. In the end, he left without us and we spent the equivalent of $145 for a private water taxi to the hotel. I brought this issue to Regent’s attention once we were on board the Voyager. The front desk clerk profusely apologized, documented all of the details, and called me two days later to tell me that I would receive a $145 credit to my onboard account. Nice job Regent. On the back end of the trip, Regent provided coach service from the pier in Monaco to NCE. The ride was comfortable and scenic. We arrived at NCE with plenty of time to spare. Hotel Accommodations in Venice: At 7:00 p.m. (local time) on Friday, June 14, our water taxi pulled up to the dock in front of the Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice. We were excited, but exhausted from traveling nearly 24 hours – the last five of which were spent at VCE’s baggage claim area, but as I said above that was just a hiccup and we were happy. The Hilton Molino is a wonderful hotel on Giudecca Island. The building is a former pasta factory. How Italian!!! Our room was small, but lovely, with a large bathroom that included a separate shower stall. The king size bed was comfortable. It was a great place to spend our first night abroad. The hotel was included in our cruise fare and Regent made the reservation for us. It was a great choice. Having traveled to Europe often, we knew that if we wanted to get a good night’s sleep, we needed to remain awake as late as possible. So, upon arrival at the Hilton we quickly changed clothes and headed to the hotel’s outdoor restaurant, Bacaromi, for dinner. It was delightful to sit in the open air and watch the sun set as the boats traveled back and forth along the Giudecca Canal. After dinner we took a brief stroll in the immediate neighborhood before heading up to our room where we promptly fell asleep. The next morning we rose around 6:00 a.m. feeling rested and ready to go. Before a satisfying buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we checked in with the onsite Regent representative, who told us that we were booked on the 1:45 p.m. water shuttle from the hotel to the Port of Venice. This gave us plenty time to wander around the city. The Hilton has a free water shuttle to San Marco Square, so off we went to explore. Embarkation, Ship, Cabin, and Sail Away: We returned to the Hilton around 1:00 p.m. Earlier that morning, we left our luggage outside our room so it could be picked up and transferred to the ship. We asked the Regent representative if we could catch an earlier water shuttle to the port. There was one about to depart and she told us to hop on. Twenty minutes later, we were at the Venice passenger ship terminal. Check in was a breeze. We filled out a health form, and presented the agent with our passports and credit card. In return, she gave us our “key card” room key and maps of the ship. Shortly thereafter, we breezed through security and boarded the Voyager via a gangway that was connected to Deck 4. There was not a photographer at the gangway to take our picture as is common on so many other cruise lines. We did not miss this service. We were on board at 1:45 p.m. The ship’s interior and public space décor is classy and understated. She is not the flashiest ship at sea, but she is comfortable. We particularly liked to hang out in the Observation Lounge on Deck 11 for a pre-dinner cocktail and afternoon trivia matches. We also spent a lot of time outside on Deck 12. We liked to be on that deck early in the morning as we sailed into our next port (so peaceful) and often were back in the evening as we sailed away. The dress code never gets any more formal than elegant casual, which essentially means no jeans, shorts, or t-shirts in the public spaces after 6:00 p.m. No need to bring a tuxedo, tie or suitcoat. After spending all day in the hot sun, it was nice to be able to relax at dinner in an open collar shirt and slacks. Three weeks before departure we received an email from Regent with a reasonable offer to upgrade to a Penthouse Suite. My husband and I discussed the offer and decided to accept it. We were assigned to Suite 787, which is in the aft of the ship. We have been in aft cabins before on other cruise lines and enjoyed the experience. They tend to be quieter. We have never been disturbed by engine noise or exhaust, and we like having the both the port and starboard side views. Our suite was approximately 300 square feet, with a 50 sft. veranda. Regent informed us well ahead of time that the suites would not be ready until 2:30 p.m. on embarkation day. Nevertheless, curiosity got the best of us, so the first thing we did was to make our way to Suite 787, primarily to see its location vis-a-vie the stairs and the elevators. Just as we got to the cabin, an announcement was made that all of the suites were ready for occupancy. Great timing!!! Penthouse Suites come with butler service. The butler serves in-suite meals (we had breakfast in our suite a number of times.) Had we asked, he would have packed and unpacked for us or would have arranged a cocktail party in our cabin. Each evening he delivered a tray of canapes, and made sure that our bar remained stocked. Once a reservation is confirmed (and up to seven days before departure,) passengers can submit personalized requests on the Regent website to select in-suite preferences for premium beverages, snacks, bedding, pillow types, and arrangements for special occasions. Our suite had a large bathroom with a shower and a bathtub. We are not bathtub people, so I would have taken that space to enlarge the vanity for his/his sinks and to install a private toilet, so one person could shower/shave, while the other person could poop in private. The walk-in closet was surprisingly large with plenty of room for all of our clothes and shoes. The bedroom and adjoining sitting room were the perfect size for two people. In addition to the beds, there was a small, but comfortable couch, an armchair, a coffee table and a built-in shelf under the television. The shelf is too narrow to be used as a desk. Underneath the shelf is the mini-bar cabinet that also houses barware. At the back of our cabin was the sliding-glass doors that led to the veranda, which included two lounge chairs and a small table. The interactive flat-screen television offers complimentary movies on demand, standard channels include MSNBC, CNN (and unfortunately Fox News), Sky News, CNBC and BBC World, plus 15 channels of music. You can also see the view from the Bridge Cam, tune in to the nautical information channel and watch the Destination Services channel to learn more about your ports of call. There are electric outlets throughout the suite, but only two U.S.-standard outlets. The adjustable thermostat indicates hotter or cooler, but not specific temperatures. We adjusted it to the coolest setting possible and were quite comfortable. The individual reading lights above the bed were a nice touch. Our cruise was scheduled to depart Venice at 5:30 p.m., but because of the June 2nd crash of the MSC Opera into the River Countess, local authorities placed restrictions on cruise ship traffic in the Giudecca Canal. As a result, only one cruise ship per hour was allowed into the canal. There were seven other ships in port with us, so our departure was delayed until 10:00 p.m. Despite the delay, it was a delightful sail away. The Passengers and Crew. Regent is a luxury cruise line. Nearly everything is included in your fare, so it is pricey compared to other lines. We were expecting the passengers to be couples primarily in their 40s and older traveling without children. We were wrong. This particular cruise had a number of large families with multiple children ranging from infants to kids in college. We were told that this was highly unusual, and that most of the time Regent draws an older crowd. Although we did not want or expect to be on a “family” cruise, the kids (for the most part) were well-behaved, and did not interfere with our positive experience. (The one exception was the one group of kids on Deck 8 who got their kicks playing with the elevators, and knocking on cabin doors and then running away. I had a brief run-in with their nasty, nasty grandmother in the elevator. She has no reason to be proud of her bratty grandkids, but I digress…) My guess is that more than 65% of the passengers were American (luckily, we saw no MAGA hats), and 20% were from Great Britain. The other 15% primarily were from China, Australia, and Germany. Public announcements were limited and were in English only. The crew, of course, comes from everywhere. The captain was Italian. The crew was impressive. Customer service was paramount. From the minute we stepped on board, we felt that each crew member made us the center of attention. Whenever we passed a crew member in the hall, they would smile and greet us with a warm hello. They were friendly, helpful, and approachable. Many of them had a terrific sense of humor. They worked hard and did their best to create a luxurious, but relaxed atmosphere. Our butler and cabin attendant were fantastic, and the waiters and bartenders went out of their way to make us feel special. This was our 13th cruise and this was the best crew by far. The only small exception was the Destination Services staff – more on that below. We met some wonderful people on board, which formed our “circle of friends” for the entire voyage. So far, we have done a great job at keeping in touch with each other through social media. Regent doesn’t force people to socialize, but provides ample opportunities to do so. One interesting Regent tradition is the “Block Party.” Once each cruise (on this one it was the day we sailed away from Corfu), everyone is encouraged to step into the hallway around 6:00 p.m. to meet their neighbors. During this social hour, waiters make their way through the ship with champagne and hors d’oeuvres, and the senior staff circulates around the decks to say hello. It was a fun and relaxing way to meet people. Food and Entertainment: The food on board was excellent. La Veranda and the Pool Grill, both on Deck 11, were great options for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast we rotated between room service, sitting on the aft deck at La Veranda, and a more formal breakfast in Compass Rose. My favorite breakfast was the Avocado Toast in Compass Rose, although the Eggs Benedict (not on the menu) was a close second. We both agreed that the ship’s “house blend” coffee was horrible. Most mornings we ended up at the Coffee Connection on Deck 5 for a decent cup of coffee or for a cappuccino. We often ate lunch on shore. The highlight was a fabulous ravioli in Rome and a seaside lunch in St. Tropez at La Terrasse at the Cheval Blanc Hotel. Outstanding!!! Lunch on the ship was either at La Veranda or the Pool Grill. I liked the informality of the Pool Grill, which offered a wonderful selection of salads, fruits, and sandwiches, in addition to hamburgers and hot dogs that were made on a real outside grill. Dinner, of course, was the main meal of the day. Most of the time we ate in the Compass Rose, which offers open seating until 9:30 p.m. We usually ate at 8:00 p.m. – sometimes alone, but often with some of our new friends. The menu was extensive and changed daily, although some of the appetizers were offered every night (the crab and avocado starter was exquisite.). Also offered daily were USDA prime steaks and seafood, prepared a variety of ways. We are not big meat eaters, but we both agreed that the steaks on the Voyager were phenomenal. Service in Compass Rose was consistently attentive. On our first full day on the ship we had dinner at Chartreuse, which Regent describes as a “chic Parisian fine dining restaurant.” The service and the cuisine exceeded our expectations. When we first arrived we were seated at a table toward the back of the restaurant. We noticed, however, that a couple at a window table were about to leave. We asked the maître d’ if we could move, and he made sure the table was cleared and cleaned quickly after the couple left. The highlight of the dinner was the cheese soufflé, which was light, airy, and delicious. My husband’s scallops were divine. Each scallop was topped with a thin sliver of prosciutto, which added texture and additional flavor. On our third day we had dinner at Prime 7. Prior to leaving home, I let Regent know that this would be a celebration dinner for my husband’s 60th birthday. Not only did our butler decorate our cabin that day with a “Happy Birthday” banner and balloons, but the Prime 7 staff had champagne and a decedent chocolate birthday cake ready for him. When the time came, the restaurant staff gathered around our table to sing Happy Birthday. It was an evening to remember. Our Prime 7 dinner was out of this world. I had the goat cheese, red pepper, and portabella tart to start. The crust was buttery and flaky, and the flavors delighted my palate. For my main course, I had the traditional surf and turf and my husband had a steak. The cruise fare includes unlimited drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, including most premium wines and beers. I am not a big drinker, but I really enjoyed the Aperol Spritz in the Observation Lounge. My husband enjoys his beer, occasional cocktail, and wine at dinner – not to mention his Bailey’s on the rocks night cap. We did not attend any of the shows in the Constellation Theatre. We preferred to have dinner around 8:00 p.m., and unlike at home where we tend to eat fast, dinner usually lasted around two hours. A couple of times we stopped by the casino (gross winnings of $225), but because we are early risers, we often were back in our cabin by 11:00 p.m. Excursions and Ports of Call: My only complaint about our itinerary was the lack of sea days; they are my favorite. Sea days are incredibly relaxing and a great time to truly unwind. Because we left Venice late, our arrival in Split was delayed until Noon the next day, which gave us at least a morning at sea. We chose our excursions before leaving home, but made a couple of adjustments on board. Excursions are arranged by the ship’s Destination Services crew. They were the least impressive staff group on board. They were often rude, a bit bossy, and didn’t seem interested in answering your questions or assisting you with changes. On a positive note, our excursion tickets were waiting for us in our suite when we boarded. Check in for all excursions was in the Constellation Theatre on Deck 4, and was generally efficient. In most ports, we were alongside the pier, so it was easy to get on and off the ship. In three ports – Taormina, Sorrento, and St. Tropez, we used tender boats to get to shore. Although some of the tenders were crowded, the crew did an excellent job getting people from ship to shore. I’m not going to review each excursion here; rather, here are some observations. In Split, we signed up for an excursion to historic Trogir, about 20 miles west of Split, which ended with a short walking tour in Split, including the Diocletian Palace. In retrospect, we should have spent more time in Split. We didn’t get a lot of time at the Palace or an opportunity to see other landmarks in the city. Trogir was interesting, but we spent too much time there. In Taormina (you dock in Naxos) we originally signed up for the Mt. Etna tour, but were so glad that we changed our minds and opted instead for a walking tour of Taormina. The city, which is 1,200 feet above the sea, is spectacularly beautiful. Rome was a bit of a bust. We’ve been to Rome before and have seen most of the major sites. On this trip, we did “Rome on our Own,” which only included roundtrip express train service from Civitavecchia to the city. Rome in June is not the place to be if you only have eight hours. It was hot, dirty, and crowded. (We spent a week there in January and it was delightful.). Lunch was fantastic and our second visit to the Vatican museums was somewhat enjoyable. In retrospect, however, we should have opted for another excursion that did not take us into the city. Lesson learned. The biggest fail logistically was in Sorrento. We opted for an excursion to Capri with two other couples. This required a tender boat ride to the pier in Sorrento, a hydrofoil boat ride to Capri, and then a minibus ride to Anacapri. Anacapri is on the highest part of the island at the base of Monte Solaro. Once there we hopped on the Monte Solaro chair lift. The ride was spectacular. During a 13-minute ascent to the summit we enjoyed splendid views of the Gulf of Naples with Vesuvius in the background, the Gulf of Salerno, the Isle of Ischia and the breathtaking beauty of the blue Mediterranean. Monte Solaro is the highest point on Capri and provides stunning Kodak moments. You ride alone on the chair lift and it is not for anyone who has a fear of heights. You can hike back down to Anacapri from Monte Solaro, but we opted to take the chair lift round trip. After our visit to Anacapri, we took a minibus down to Capri town in the middle of the island. While we had a wonderful lunch at Ristorante di Giorgio, we felt like we should have been a bit more discerning and not let our tour guide pressure us into eating there. Still, we couldn’t complain about the views of the sea or the wonderful pizza. Things fell apart after lunch. To get back to the ship we had to take a funicular down to the port of Capri, take the hydrofoil back to Sorrento, and then catch the tender boat back to the ship. Unfortunately, Regent held all of the excursion groups in Capri until a set time instead of letting us make our way back to the ship on our own. The result was long lines, big crowds, lots of waiting around, and a 2.5-hour trip from Capri back to the ship. Not fun. Disembarkation: On our penultimate day, we left St. Tropez at 11:00 p.m. and made our way to Monaco – 60 nautical miles away. We were awake and on Deck 12 at 6:00 a.m. as we approached Monaco and docked alongside Quai Prince Rainer II. This would be a day where we saw the sun rise over Monaco and the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge, 5,989 miles away. I was very sad that the cruise was ending. The prior evening, we place our luggage outside our suite so the crew could off load it in Monaco. After a final breakfast in our cabin, we disembarked at 9:00 a.m., claimed our luggage, and boarded our coach transfer to NCE. The trip home on Lufthansa (NCE-MUC-SFO) was uneventful (no issues with our luggage) and we arrived home at 9:00 p.m. Our dogs were very happy to see us, and we were overjoyed to see them. Our Mediterranean adventure exceeded our expectations. It was a great way to spend our vacation time. We were very pleased with our experience on the Voyager and would not hesitate to sail with Regent again. In fact, while on board we made reservations for an August 2020 voyage on the Seven Seas Navigator from Amsterdam to Barcelona. The countdown has begun…..!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night ... Read More
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night in Rouen, France which changed the ability to spend an evening in Paris which was our plan. Azamara's goal is to make this a boutique cruise catering to a smaller group of people. Our ship was to capacity with 690 guests on board. The attempt is a good one and the entertainment is definitely top notch. However, to compare this line to Windstar or Seabourne on anything but entertainment would be a disappointment. The crew is friendly, food is good, not exceptional, staterooms are small and the bathrooms are tiny. The idea of all inclusive beverages is a bit misleading as they up sell 2 different drink packages to include certain mixed drinks and certain brands of liquor. On the included drink package if you want to order say a mojito, you must specifically ask for the basic liquor or they charge you for it. There is a very basic list of drinks that can be ordered on the regular package anything that differs from that list, if you don't specifically ask for the included liquor package, will be charged to your room. It cheapens the experience. On other boutique cruise lines all drinks are included unless you specifically ask for the top shelf liquor, then you are charged for a top shelf liquor. On the positive side, they have a wonderful smoothie bar in the buffet every morning. All food in the buffet is labeled for gluten,dairy,vegan etc. Some of the staff are better than others when it comes to accommodating dietary needs. Gluten free was a trick for many and by the end of the cruise I gave up asking for GF items ie bread as it seemed liked too great a challenge and just ate the items I knew were GF. We had a balcony state rooms which was nice. Smaller than other ships but adequate. The bathroom is a joke. Literally, no room for 2 people to stand in the space. To brush our teeth while the other person was brushing theirs, one of us would have to get in the shower to accommodate for space. (We're not large people). Entertainment was by far much better than other boutique lines. Cruise director Eric is extremely talented and ran a fabulous entertainment department. I would sale on Azamara again but I would consider it a nice cruise line not a luxury boutique line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise due to ports we were visiting for the first time. It was our first Azamara cruise on a smaller ship. We have cruised with Princess and royal Caribbean on our previous 9 cruises without too many complaints. We Just ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to ports we were visiting for the first time. It was our first Azamara cruise on a smaller ship. We have cruised with Princess and royal Caribbean on our previous 9 cruises without too many complaints. We Just loved the ship size, we agreed that it was such a relaxed feeling for both passengers and crew. The service was great, a big thanks to all the crew for enhancing our vacation experience... thanks to Pitoon in the casino bar for your professional service, cheers mate! As has been described many times the azamazing evening and white night were fantastic events. We will definitely cruise Azamara again in the future thanks to all crew from chefs to cleaners for service with a smile. Surprisingly we found the food to be an equivalent quality to previous cruises, but not as many choices. All in all really good food. We really enjoy eating in the dining room, but was disappointed when themed buffet style food was offered in both the dining room and the buffet at the same time. Why remove the dining room choice? If I wanted buffet food I would go to the buffet? Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Itinerary and time of year were good. The ship itself was clean and the staff were lovely. Our butler was fantastic. The sky suite however - not acceptable. We've sailed with Celebrity 3 times and all were on S class (just so you ... Read More
Itinerary and time of year were good. The ship itself was clean and the staff were lovely. Our butler was fantastic. The sky suite however - not acceptable. We've sailed with Celebrity 3 times and all were on S class (just so you know I'm comparing apples to apples) The loveseat was filthy. Stains that should have been cleaned long ago and if not possible, replace the loveseat. It makes one wonder about sanitation. The top sheet on the bed was frayed every day. Granted, the part that's tucked into the bed, but I sleep with the sheets pulled out and that's how I saw their condition. Clean, yes. But frayed. There is also something in the bath water, or the cleaning supplies used in the tub because I broke out in a rash everywhere the bathwater touched. This is the 2nd year in a row on the same ship. So I started using the bottled water for my face and neck and presto - no rash. Of course, I can't bathe in bottled water, nor do I really know if it's a water problem or a detergent, but something's not right. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose Regent based on prior experience. This was our 4th cruise, and on this beautiful new ship Explorer everything was even better than we remembered. Crew, amenities, excursions, food -- all just absolutely top notch! We embarked ... Read More
We chose Regent based on prior experience. This was our 4th cruise, and on this beautiful new ship Explorer everything was even better than we remembered. Crew, amenities, excursions, food -- all just absolutely top notch! We embarked in Rome, and stopped at multiple locations in Italy, France and Spain. Valencia as a real highlight for us, as was Florence. But every port was great. The onboard entertainment was really top flight as well. Often on cruise ships you get a bit of the 'amateur hour' feel. But this troupe was really exceptional. And the assistant cruise director David Nevin was also one of the featured performers, and he was perhaps the best of all. There are always a wealth of organized activities available on board, in case you don't want to depart for a shore excursion. Other ships we have been on simply do not have that same level of customer focus. All in all, if you want a truly first class experience, book a cruise with Regent! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise for itinerary an Regent's reputation. Overall really beautiful ship. Very well maintained. Excellent cabin and bathroom with more storage then we could use. Outstanding food. Service was excellent and very friendly. ... Read More
Chose this cruise for itinerary an Regent's reputation. Overall really beautiful ship. Very well maintained. Excellent cabin and bathroom with more storage then we could use. Outstanding food. Service was excellent and very friendly. One port of call skipped and another changed because of weather(obviously not Regent's fault). They did not handle the excursion changes well. Included excursions were average at best. Entertainment was poor. At this price point that was inexcusable. I discussed this mid-cruise with the cruise director. She mentioned the production cast changed for our cruise and were busy rehearsing and could not provide many entertainment activities during our cruise (just 2 shows in 10 nights-one of which was at 9:30 pm the night before the end of the cruise when bags needed to be out by 11 pm). I found the shows to be really dull. Very few entertainment options around the ship.Overall the entertainment was inexcusable. I wasn't given a discounted fare for the lack of the entertainment due to the need to rehearse. They should have been fully ready when the cruise started. The boat does need one dining venue which is casual at night (and not the very limited Pool Grill which is open to the elements). This is important for if you have a late arriving tour you may not want to change for dinner. Overall not worth the cruise fare. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
From Italy with Love was the title of the cruise. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. It was a birthday and anniversary cruise and Regent did not disappoint. Regent surprised me with a birthday cake and champagne ... Read More
From Italy with Love was the title of the cruise. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. It was a birthday and anniversary cruise and Regent did not disappoint. Regent surprised me with a birthday cake and champagne upon sailing and the same on our anniversary. Personal attention is their key. The itinerary was great. We had never sailed Regent Seven Seas and have been totally spoiled with the smaller ship, service and food. The Concierge cabin is spacious and the difference between the Superior was the one night in Venice before the cruise. The transfers from airport to hotel to ship were all included and what a difference it made. When figuring the cost difference, there was no comparison to upgrade to the Concierge. We did the hotel add on at the end of the cruise. The hotels are 4-5 star and the service was wonderful. The Majestic Roma was beautiful and upon arrival and departure, Regent had reps to help. This was especially noted at the airport when Vincenzo took us from the cab right on through check in to the TSA pre-check. No matter what suite you choose, make sure to look at the deck plan to choose a cabin with the extra balcony as you will appreciate the added space. It's easily recognizable! Included items: All alcohol/beer/wine/sodas are included in the cost and the info says that your suite frig is replenished daily. Our suite was to be outfitted with alcohol/wine/soda but we had to ask our cabin attendants on a daily to replenish diet coke and wine. The specialty restaurants were included and an added bonus. It's nice to go into a bar, sit down and order a glass of wine and not get a bar bill at the end of the cruise. Excursions are also included and, for the most part, were top notch. There is no need to tip as they are also included. However, we did give a little extra to our cabin stewardesses and a few in the cocktail lounges and restaurants who went above and beyond. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We picked this ship and cruise line because we had a wonderful experience on the Explorer in 2017 going from Barcelona to Rome. We wanted to complete a trip around the boot so we started in Venice and ended up in Rome this time. Our ... Read More
We picked this ship and cruise line because we had a wonderful experience on the Explorer in 2017 going from Barcelona to Rome. We wanted to complete a trip around the boot so we started in Venice and ended up in Rome this time. Our first experience with Regent was so fun, we really didn't think it could be topped. This trip was every bit as nice and even more fun because we knew the "lay of the land" on the ship and met a lot of very nice people. The ports and excursions were great! The ship is beautiful, our suite was wonderful, the thermal suite is amazing, and the food was good! But, the best thing of all this time, as well as last time, was the friendliness, dedication, personal attention, and professionalism of the crew. We did not have (and don't need) a butler. Our room steward and assistant were wonderful and kept everything in tip top shape, attended to any requests efficiently, and smiled through it all. The service we received was excellent everywhere on the ship! We are already thinking about our next cruise and will definitely stay with Regent, because I don't think it could be any better. (Business Class air from San Francisco to Europe, pre-cruise night in a 5 star hotel with buffet breakfast, all transfers, tips, drinks, and excursions included). We definitely got spoiled! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
OK pulled up to the port for embarkation and since the ship was in Port of Nice until 10pm that evening there was no line. I mean no one. Walked thru a tent right outside the ship, up and on quickly since we had uploaded our photos on the ... Read More
OK pulled up to the port for embarkation and since the ship was in Port of Nice until 10pm that evening there was no line. I mean no one. Walked thru a tent right outside the ship, up and on quickly since we had uploaded our photos on the Azamara website. Directed into the Cabaret and received our room keys and went to a nice lunch in the buffet. Easiest embarkation ever experienced! We had the Club World Owners suite on the back of the ship Cabin # 7114. Perfect location as we werent below a restaurant. We have been sailing on NCL in The Haven and decided to try this for the ports of call and were concerned about being on such a small ship. That concern was gone immediately. The cabin was spacious, well stocked and clean. Many towels all over for the balcony, beach, whatever you needed. The first night we decided to eat n the main dining room, which we almost never do on larger ships and the food was excellent! Many options and specials every night. For lunch when we were on board we ate at the buffet but this isnt like any buffet you have seen, Crown Roast one day, many options and same for breakfast. Now to give you an idea of the quality of service, my wife has a food issue, she cant have anything cooked with extra salt or salted. We made this known and from the on no matter where we ate someone was there to make her anything she wanted just without salt. They even went so far as to bake her fresh bread for breakfast and dinner without any salt! There was a dinner for guests in the 10 largest suites called the Best of the Best! WOW! It was served in the library with the Captain, First Officer and other staff. White Glove service with wine paring. A real experience. White Night Party beautiful, with a Buffet and BBQ Lobster Tails, pasta, everything. Azamazing Evening was at an old Opera House in Livorno for a small performance that was extremely enjoyable. We experienced two minor issues. One was that the staff was all new so they werent quite up to speed as to how to go the extra mile yet. They were very good but just didnt go the extra step not because they were rude, they just didnt know. For example we had a butler and the first day asked him to bring coffee and tea every morning at 8am. he said we had to fill out the card and hang it on the door every night. One would think this was something he could have taken care of since he brought it to us every day. Not a big deal but just inexperience. The second was on an excursion. We were in Santa Margarita and wanted to go to Portofino for the day. So we hopped on a cheap tour offered by Azamara just for the ride and we had room credit to spend. Well we waited on the dock for a public ferry for close to an hour, Granted it was Easter Sunday but we expected a company like Azamara to have a private shuttle for their tour, maybe we were expecting too much. However upon our return a staff member asked how the tour was and I said I dont want to complain. They insisted I say something so I explained the situation. Apparently they are offering what they call "sightseeing" inexpensive tours since people have commented that their immersive excursions are expensive. So now they are trying less expensive tours. Anyway they made things right. Since this was an "Immersive" sailing we were in port everyday so by the time we returned each day we ate and walked a little and went to bed so we didnt experience any of the shows. Last night they have a chocolate buffet which is amazing! I loved it because the small personal nature you get to know the staff and the higher ups on board as they are always visible. Also, its an upscale cruise but not stuffy! No jackets required and decent casual comfortable clothes. I dont like to have to wear a jacket when Im on vacation unless I have to Would I go again! Absolutely I already booked Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked ... Read More
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked these cruises to celebrate our 10th years marriage anniversary and because after meny RCCL and Celebrity we wanted to experience Azamara again and the ports of call in the meditterannean where the big Ships cannot go PRE-CRUISE: Barcelona... One night stay in the Eurostar’s Grand Marina, next to the port where Azamara starts... so the check out, walk to the ship was a decisive factor... we have been several times in Barcelona and sightseeing was not something we needed this time around. The Hotel is OK, nice but dated rooms, a reception staff that smiles but doesn’t do their job, the best of the stay is the small restaurant offering a Gourmet dinner experience and this was a highlight of the trip... the food and the wine pairings were PERFECT... do we recommend this hotel... yes for a stay next to the port. EMBARKATION: very easy... just five minutes and then we were on board. SHIP: Pursuit is a beautiful ship. The newest of their kind... elegant, sophisticated and the color palette makes you feel happy. CABIN: for this first leg of the back to back we upgraded (at last minute) to a Club continental suite, we got 8039, perfect location and the only suite I have ever said OMG WAO when opening the door... the colours, the decoration, the style and the light. No noise problems, at least for us. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Internett: 235 minutes per guest, which is OK but slowly but after all you´re on holiday and IT works for reading emails if you ned it. Butler service: our butler Roy has been outstanding, amazing level of service when we have requested our breakfast in the suite, our tea service in the afternoon. I will post a picture of the letter in the stateroom with all of the suite perks you can get DINING: This week we just have ate dinner in Aqualina or Prime C, given that is included in the suite perks. Once we had dinner in the buffet (before the Azamazing evening) and once with the White party buffet that was AMAZING. Aqualina and Prime C quality of food and service has been really on point. Room service: we had breakfast in the rom almost everyday and it was very very very nice to have the extra space the suite provides and the balcony breakfast when it was not so cold in the early hours. BARS: For this first week we decided to buy the ultimate drinking package and it worked well for us this week. We got to try most of the included wines when having dinner, and some of the premium drinks we enjoy when on a cruise. For the second week, we decided not to buy it so we can compare the experience.... Our favorite place for drinks so far is The Den... it is just a very nice place, with some piano music on the evenings and the best bartenders and waiters. ENTERTAINMENT: This week we attended all the Signature Singers shows (3 shows) and they were good. These guys can sing and dance and keep you entertained for the 45 minutes signing along. We loved the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows, if you´re expecting but productions shows, this is not the case and it works for Azamara. Azamazing Evening in Marseilles, Palais du Pharo. Was very entertaining, a kind of cabaret show with very french music, dancers and two great vocalists. White Evening party: we are not party people so we didn´t stay long after the White Evening Buffett ended but the party looked nice and people was enjoying themselves. All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is very good. Of course there are some that are just good and there are some people that just go above and beyond. SHORE EXCURSIONS & Ports of call: * Port Vendres: small, charming village, we just walked around and then found a hiking path that takes you to the other small town Collioure (or something like it). The Wall in the green areas around the Coast line is just very very very nice and easy with some amazing views. Breathtaking * Sanary Sur Mer: Beautiful town, the marina, the restaurants and cafes, it was very beautiful. We just walked around and enjoyed perplekse watching here and there. * Marseille: a vibrant city, we walked around, did some shopping and visited the Cathedral. It was great to be docked just in the center of town (or very very close) * St. Tropez: we took and organized excursion from Azamara and loved every minute; we visited Gassin and Ramatuelle and the Bertaud Bellieu wineyard for wine tasting. The guide we had has to be the most amazing guy we ever had AS a guide. We actually think we got a lecture on wine making, all about the process and the technology and traditional methods. The wine was so good we bought three bottles to take with us to the ship and enjoy in the stateroom. Also the small towns Gassins and Ramatuelle were beautiful and we got to learn about the history of the places. In Ramatuelle we enjoyed some free time that we used eating cheese and hams with a cold bottle of Rose wine from a local wine yard. It was an amazing day. The port of St. Tropez by itself, was not as expected, it was crowded and just a marina with amazing yachts, the best was the local artists selling their paintings around the marina. Beautiful paints and interesting people. * Cannes: we have been in Cannes several times so we decided to go for the Excursion of the ship to Grasse with a perfume factory visit and to St. Paul de Vence. And again we got a great guide, the visit to the perfume factory: Fragonard; this was very enriching and we could resist and bought two new Eau de Colognes with shower gels... Then we visited St. Paul de Vence and OMG this small hilltop village is just amazing, it breathes art from everywhere. The local artist and small galleries in the very narrow streets, the views from the wall of the town, the small restaurants... once again we learned about the local history with our guide and in the free time we just walked around and decided to have a very French lunch, we found a little place where they make sandwiches, so we bought a baguette with local produced cheese and ham, and sat on the wall and had our small French sandwich picnic there... just beautiful. * Monaco: Last minute changes out of Azamara control, The port authorities closed the port in Monaco so we got diverted to Nice... for the last night and day of this first cruise. We will explore a little bit of Nice today. NEXT CRUISE OFFICE: So far they have made a good job and we booked a cruise for 2021, Western Africa sailing from Cape Town to Lisboa. The benefits of booking on board make sense for us coming from the Nordic market. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had heard of regent cruise thought we should check it out. The ship was in great shape having been recently remodeled. We had a large room, probably too large but it was nice We had a butler who was very attentive and met all of our ... Read More
We had heard of regent cruise thought we should check it out. The ship was in great shape having been recently remodeled. We had a large room, probably too large but it was nice We had a butler who was very attentive and met all of our needs. While we are not foodies per se the food was more than acceptable. The options for the food were extensive. We had canapés brought to our suite nightly. Our suite was stocked with favorite adult beverages ranging from beer to out desired alcohol. Off boat excursions were plentiful and for the most part included. We were somewhat disappointed that the ship left port at either 5 or 6 nightly. We would have liked to spend an evening in the casino at Monte Carlo or had some local food at say Sicily or Capri. The distances were such that they appeared to be close enough to depart a bit later. We thought that the attentiveness and dedication of the staff was above most other cruises we have been on. They were very attentive and we anxious to make everyone happy. The dining selections included steak .italian, salad bar,Asian and French. Poolside grill was always a good place to have a small dinner. One observation which was rather curious. The ship was 40% Asian. Regent we were told, has changed focus and is now marketing their product to the chinese populous. Rather interesting we were sitting with a couple from Hong Kong. They were not pleased for they had talked to mainline chinese and had found out that these people had paid 40% less than they paid. As a result of the concentration of the chineses it was felt that the food was more focused on their needs than on other cruises, unfortunately the mainline folks are more of a rush and don’t respect ques or lines. Funny the Hong Kong Chinese had a bigger problem with the mainline folks than the rest of us. I will look into this new focus on the part of Regent to find out if this is in fact the case. If so this may influence our future choices. Entertainment was more on the site of mediocre. After 2 shows we just decided to skip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
the ship was very good, and we especially enjoyed the quality of the food in the main dining room. The weather, less so. We boarded in 80 knot winds (really) that tore an Azamara ship off its moorings that almost struck us. Our cabin was ... Read More
the ship was very good, and we especially enjoyed the quality of the food in the main dining room. The weather, less so. We boarded in 80 knot winds (really) that tore an Azamara ship off its moorings that almost struck us. Our cabin was spacious, and the closet space was a pleasant surprise. They have an Illy coffee maker, and should put out instructions to avoid messing it up the first few times you try. We only went to two of the shows (all shows are at 9:30 except the crew show on the last night; perhaps they might consider a 7:00pm show once or twice for those of us who wanted to eat later or earlier. Re shore excursions, they also need to ensure they put out maps for the day's location every day. It was missing most days, and would be useful. The fitness center was better than anticipated; they have water and Gatorade in the room, too. The machines are set to stop every 25 minutes, so you have to re-start it if you go longer. The weight machines are great, free weights up to 50 pounds, too. We wound up in port an added day due to high seas, missing our first stop as a result. We also couldn't dock in Monte Carlo due to dock damage there, so we were schlepped by bus for 3 hours from Marseilles. Not the ship's fault, but no rest for the weary at the end... Shore excursions were generally good to very good. We did Florence on our own, using the ship's "on your own" tour. They stopped at a leather factory, and also at a view overlook, which really cut into our time. If they had advised ahead of time what our arrival time in Florence would have been, we could have avoided sprinting to our assigned time at one of the galleries. The Monserrat optional tour was great (if you don't like steep, winding roads, be cautious) especially the lunch buffet on the way back. One of the best buffets I've had (and that's saying a lot). Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I am not sure we would sail with Azamara again. Let me explain a bit about our experience. Embarkation: As someone in a wheelchair, we chose Azamara because they claimed they were accessible. When we arrived? No ramp, stairs. We were ... Read More
I am not sure we would sail with Azamara again. Let me explain a bit about our experience. Embarkation: As someone in a wheelchair, we chose Azamara because they claimed they were accessible. When we arrived? No ramp, stairs. We were shown to the embarkation point, which was a stairway up to the ship. When I asked where the ramp was, I was told that it was being used to load the luggage. So, 4 small employees -- probably Filipino, since they made up a huge proportion of the staff -- carried me in my wheelchair up the stairs. This is okay in places like India, where I have no expectations around accessibility, but very surprising on an American-owned ship, docked in Europe. Especially since they have a whole section on their website about accesssibility. Cleanliness: Lipstick on the champagne flutes in our suite. Lipstick on the glasses in the lounge they call the Living Room. When our first glass of wine arrived it was covered in lipstick and fingerprints. I went to the bar to get another glass and the surly bartender proceeded to pour my wine from the dirty glass into a cleaner glass. We left. Suite: Was a nice size and the accessible bathroom was pretty good -- could have used more shelves, and the toilet was surprisingly low for a wheelchair-accessible room. Bed was comfy and the balcony was a good size. Service: very mixed. Staff in the living room were not very competent. They never got the orders right and had to be sent back to get the proper beverages. Staff in the main dining room were good. Staff in the 2 specialty restaurants were very good. So a bit surprised at how the service levels varied. Butler for our suite was outstanding. but the stewards were very junior. The overall look of the ship was nice. The ship is too small for rough weather. There were hurricane-force winds which meant our first two ports were cancelled -- we spent two nights in Civitavecchia. Cannot imagine doing a transatlantic crossing on such a small ship. We ended up going to Nice instead of Monte Carlo, which was actually better for us, since Nice is flat. Palma de Mallorca was fantastic, and we loved going back to Valencia. Our two nights in Livorno meant that we could do a nice visit to Lucca, and spend one beautiful sunny day exploring Livorno. The "Azamazing evening" was quite simply, dreadful entertainment. Food and wines: We are foodies and we enjoy good wine. The food in all the restaurants was okay, but we did not like the fact that the menus in the two specialty restaurants never changed -- so it got boring quickly. The wines included in the fare were the cheapest wines they could get. We do not drink a lot of cocktails or mixed drinks, but the drinks menu skewed heavily to liquor and not wine. The wines on the "for purchase" menu were extremely over-priced, and were mostly American. Inexplicable considering we were in Europe. Corkage fees are only $10, so once we got into some ports, we headed straight to a liquor store to buy good wine to take on board. I think the owners have really cheaped out on entertainment. They had an appalling 3-person trio in one of the lounges. They had a decent pianist in another place, and there was a good jazz quartet at the Saturday brunch. They had one person for the "enrichment" lectures who seemed really out of her depth. And they don't appear to invest in staff training. We would rank this number 3 of the cruises we have done. Cunard 1, Oceania 2, and Azamara a distant 3. I realize the staff are fairly new and not all of them are fully trained, but this is a cruise line who seem to want to compete with Oceania, and they do not. The staff in the Living Room seem to hate their jobs and there was a surprising amount of surly Russian staff who seemed to hate the guests and each other. Inexplicable, since it's a nice looking room. When I filled out their online questionnaire, I told them that I could not figure out who their target market was, but it was clearly not us. Did we hear back from them? Crickets... Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked a guarantee obstructed view cabin. Never again. We were allocated cabin 4076. This was right over the state of the Queen's ballroom. The noise started every night at eight and continued till half twelve. Loud base beat and ... Read More
We booked a guarantee obstructed view cabin. Never again. We were allocated cabin 4076. This was right over the state of the Queen's ballroom. The noise started every night at eight and continued till half twelve. Loud base beat and music vibrated wall and floor. Only suitable if you like to stay up late. Food was very good and plenty of choice. Entertainment was excellent particularly on sea days.enrichment lectures were excellent. Staff very polite and efficient. Drinks are very expensive and also have 15% service charge added making a beer around £7 and a soft drink £3. Wine was even more expensive with a large glass of wine costing over £10. A very traditional cruise ship with an art deco feel throughout. No covered pool or hot tubs. There is a definite class system on board this ship. Money talks!!!! Excursions similar to other cruise lines. Quite expensive but generally well organized Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Ponant and we were not disappointed. It was 5 star all the way. The food was magnificent and delicious for every meal. Our cabin with veranda was completely adequate for our needs as we do not spend much time in there. The toilet was separate to the bathroom which was unusual and very pleasing. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage. My only criticism is that the balustrade for the balcony is steel so if sitting on the veranda, one cannot see much at all. A perspex or some other transparent material would be better. Maybe becaue it is an icebreaker - I don't know? Rhis is also our first cruise on a small ship and we were dispoointed some times in the lack of activities in the afternoon. Is this because the passengers are having nana naps?! Staff were excellent and catered to our every request. Shore excursions - we only did one in Tangier which was really good and the other in Casablanca which was only satisfactory because we were put on a bus with French speakers and their French guide who dominated our English speaking guide and monopolised the microphone on the bus. There is not a lot to see in Casablanca and I felt that the tour was "padded out" with useless information to fill in time. One could easily walk from the port to the mosque and that's all you really need ro see. While we loved the cruise, I am not sure that I would do a small ship cruise again as we had some not rough seas, but serious swells that made quite a few people sea sick. I have been on big ships with rough seas and never felt sick like I did on this one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our second time on the Voyager, again in the beautiful Med and although we had visited just about every port on our Monte Carlo to Venice journey many times before, we enjoyed the beauty and weather and culture of these very ... Read More
This was our second time on the Voyager, again in the beautiful Med and although we had visited just about every port on our Monte Carlo to Venice journey many times before, we enjoyed the beauty and weather and culture of these very interesting areas and had a wonderful vacation. We found a great last minute offer and booked about one month prior to departure. Just like last year: the ship was in beautiful condition, our Concierge Suite (1018) was lovely and comfortable (although some extra storage areas would be appreciated), the cabin service was excellent, embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, shore excursions were well organized (even if I still dislike daily bus tours) with lots of choice, the entertainment was still mediocre at best (like all small luxury ships), and the crew tried very hard and aimed to please. What was better than last year was, firstly, the service. While things seemed disorganized last year onboard, this year all staff members that we dealt with were engaged, happy and worked very hard to accommodate all of the passengers and their needs and wants. Bravo! All requests were handled efficiently and pleasantly, and, this year, there was no problem getting reservations at specialty restaurants - the staff worked with us and did what they could; that is all that one can ask. Secondly, we had such a strange experience with the food: the first couple nights of the cruise (French Restaurant and then Compass Rose) the dinners were terrible - totally unexpected: food delivered cold, under-cooked fish, scallops that tasted metallic, etc. This had nothing to do with our individual tastes, something was very wrong (we were a party of 4 and all of us agreed that there was a problem.) After the excellent deck Bar B Q, while having a drink at one of the bars, we ran into Danielle (the F&B Manager) and Maria (the Restaurant Manager) and very nicely told them our problems and, WOW, did they respond and turn things around. From that point forward, every meal was superb and they made sure that we were satisfied. It was amazing to see how much they cared about the product and were so concerned that 4 passengers (all of whom had been on Regent before) would be satisfied and enjoy the cuisine. It was an impressive and excellent display of service that we very much appreciated. We were on the cruise that had the mishap in Rome - yes, the ship banged into pier and took a bit of cosmetic damage but it was not the end of the world - the captain himself stated a few hours after the event that there was no mechanical damage. I don't think that the entire issue was well handled: there was a lack of information and disclosure by senior crew, we needlessly missed a port of call because we spent a night in Rome for no good reason (all of the other cruise liners were coming and going), and the words: "sorry for the inconvenience" only go so far. Regent could have done far better. It was a shame that we missed one of the highlights of the cruise: Sorrento (or Naples) for Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, etc,. No one would have minded if the itinerary was juggled and we missed Corfu, for example. We are loyal Silversea cruisers (looking forward to Australia in January on the Muse) but we also like the Regent. We honestly prefer the Silversea product - our opinion is that its a bit more polished and refined and the included shore excursions on Regent are not a big plus for us. That being said, at the end, most cruise choices are about a balance between product, price and itinerary and we certainly would cruise with Regent in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose the Queen Elizabeth on this occasion as we wanted to sail from the UK. We did not consider PO this time as there standards on previous cruises has slipped too far. We travelled down on cruise connections service from Wetherby.this ... Read More
Chose the Queen Elizabeth on this occasion as we wanted to sail from the UK. We did not consider PO this time as there standards on previous cruises has slipped too far. We travelled down on cruise connections service from Wetherby.this was the only do downside as the there was insufficient leg space on the coach. On arriving at Southampton we completed embarkation very quickly and within 10 minutes of finding our cabin all of our luggage was delivered. The ship was looking immaculate even though a big refit. is coming soon.The cabin was a good size.shower area was very small There was a big picture window and a sofa and plenty of storage space. We requested second sitting for dinner and a table for 2 this is what we got ,the table being perfectly located. Food was excellent throughout with a good choice,food was quality rather than quantity. If any one needed any extra food there was always the lido self serve which always looked good.We did use the lido restaurant on occasional lunch times.and for area breakfasts but we did prefer the Grand dining room for breakfast.We never had any problem getting a table for 2. Afternoon tea at 3.30 in the Ocean lounge was excellent every day Shows in general were very good. Roy Walker comedian very clean and excellent show Bernie Flint another comedian from a while ago but very good The Overtures.A group who did a lot of different tribute bands were excellent The ship theatre group were also very good Lectures on the ship were one of the highlights,we saw all the talks on Concorde ,the history of Cunard and a speaker on how drugs have changed the world The service every where on the ship was excellent Overall the cruise was very enjoyable the only Downside being the very high prices of drinks on board. As a result of the prices very little wine was consumed in dining rooms and bars which tends to spoil the atmosphere I do not know why prices are so high .I am sure that with a reduction in prices a increase in profit would result With regard to the dress code nights are either smart attire or formal. This rule was very well adhered to as most of the passengers were from the UK..It was very nice to see this observed very well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018

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