5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app ... Read More
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app wasn’t much good, as you cannot message your fellow traveller, many things priced as extra such as F1 and flight simulator, teppanakki restaurant difficult?impossible to get the price, several days when the daily activity list and menus was zero/blank; paper based backup worked though. Bookings system worked though. Cirque at Sea was good, especially the food but our seating (dinner) was terrible and room very hot. For approx 1/3 of the audience the view is from side or behind some of the explanatory visual. We attended opera, dance and rock presentations. The rock was not well received , sung and phrased by non English speakers. We should have thought it through. Some very talented singers too!! The opera and flamenco dance was fabulous. Dining in Panorama and Waves didn’t give us a view, but the view from the Market Buffet and Sky Bar is terrific. In March we were lucky and had no rain, but you need to have several layers when you go ashore as there is plenty of shade even if forecast is 16-18. Take note: Feb/Mar usually wet. Hand hygiene is not overly policed onboard, most of us caught varying degrees of ‘colds’. There are plenty of hand sanitizers and hand wash stations - please use them. Overall, food quality is patchy. Breads and pastries excellent, salads and ‘healthy options’ quite good, cold meat and cheese great, hot offerings and deserts OK to good. The more special it is supposed to be the more disappointing it can be. This is in the general and buffet dining rooms, not necessarily the specialty restaurants. Other than Cirque, we went to the Sushi - food fabulous, but staff not knowledgeable, just salesmen. We knew what we wanted and they weren’t pleased. The lonely little expert guy (chef) in the corner doesn’t get a look in. Don’t ask for sake ‘warm’ - it causes a frenzy and I received a thimble of molten microwaved sake!! You might leave hungry from this restaurant as they never leave you alone for even 5 minutes. Drinks available in different areas varies in range. For instance I could only order Chardonnay (there are lots of beer and beer related options) at the British Pub. Package drinks purchase not economical if you will be ashore most of the days-see exclusions and fine print. Service is 50-50. Waiters tended to be a tad difficult, room and customer service terrific. Some waiters were fine but.. not all. Problem being the service daily charge added automat to your bill ( you can have it removed) doesn’t give some of them any incentive. I emphasise there were some terrific waiters!!! Room was very comfortable (balcony) and with Fantastico package we were able to order early morning cuppa from room service. Room had small fridge, small wardrobe, no robes, great big bed, 2-3 seater couch, lovely big shower/loo. You can request no mini-bar otherwise it is stocked. 1lt water €2.90. So many new people leave and board every day!! With about 4000+ passengers most of the time there are patches of noisy or rude people. Lift and queue etiquette very interesting. Kids are well catered for onboard and attend shows and dinner at all hours. During our week they were no problem! Noisy teens another matter Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The Meraviglia is huge, well planned out and therefore should provide any passenger with a pleasant experience, over the duration of the holiday not once did I see an unclean part of the ship nor did I have reason to complain about the facilities. Travelling with my wife it is fair to say that we know what we want from a holiday and can easily compare the Meraviglia to past MSC holidays! DO NOT DO THIS ! this is where we learned very quickly that this trip is going to be different in many ways. If you are willing to sail away and embrace the new you will have an excellent time..... If you natter on to your newly found friends at dinner about your last cruise and think that that the waiters will have time for you then you will probably have a terrible time... > forget that honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean or that time that you took the kids away on a cruise where you found all the fun to be had at sea! It is very hard to repeat the same experiences, my thoughts below are reasons why I state this....... 1. Technology, your granny will hate it but get used to it as the MSC is top class with scrolling information boards at every lift point (much like scrolling on a mobile phone), scan your card or wristband at the terminal to get a map, book dinner of to simply check on tonight's shows. In room TV info is just amazing with on demand movies, news, safety info and future cruising info 2. Cleanliness - Its clean and tidy, almost OCD level so don't mess up the ship or your room for that matter as your cabin man/woman will notice. 3. Entertainment - Excellent but you'll need deep wallets to get rid of the kids for an hr, 100 euros will get a arcade pass to the flight simulator and F1 car simulator and similar, the water park and high ropes are FREE though so just make sure you use this facility. 4. Adult entertainment - Cirque du soleil, I didn't know what this was at the time but just book and see the show before you board to avoid disappointment, most easily the best show that you will witness on water. SONAR was so so cool. 5. Dining, Expect busy waiters and long wait times at the bar the STAFF versus PASSENGERS ration is miss managed, the only way to have a nice little chat to staff would be the Anchor pub, and that'll be because they know that mainly English passengers go there. Strongbow will be part of your drinks package if you have it. 6. Meeting friends - Not likely, If you are really lucky to keep in touch with your allocated dinner guests and make a point of meeting up or suggesting paring up on land to do some shore excursions then maybe you will> my experiences when even trying to strike up a conversation with others are that the ship is so so big why bother as I wont see you again for the rest of the cruise, even at the voyagers exclusive party and meet the captain it was like being in the middle of a busy shopping mall surrounded by (yes like minded) strangers. Summary - I had an excellent time with my wife and can say that the ship itself is amazing and takes all week to discover each and every facility, MSC have some nice touches, ill try not to spoil all of the quirky tricks that make you feel good about being on holiday but here are two (x2) must have experiences.... A. Get up before six (6am) and walk under the dome (dome show) to see the sky and hear the morning birdsong. B. Be up on deck (poolside) when sailing away from ports to experience Andrea Bocelli's TIME TO SAY GOODBYE song (the younger cruisers will be more familiar with the film step brothers - either way its a nice touch) .......If this is your first cruise I would consider starting with other smaller ships within MSC's fleet before you go big time. Whatever you decide or if you have already booked you will have a nice trip so make the most of it and put in a little effort with others- you'll be grateful when staff remember you for the right reasons and not just because you were complaining at reception- have fun guys. Mr Lee Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
MSC cruise was offered in trip package with many lines as options. I thought new ship would be nice change and decided on MSC. This was a big mistake. Had read reviews that was really negative after I had sign up for the cruise. I like ... Read More
MSC cruise was offered in trip package with many lines as options. I thought new ship would be nice change and decided on MSC. This was a big mistake. Had read reviews that was really negative after I had sign up for the cruise. I like sports so I thought I would review my cruise like football game review. Embarkment: A Very easy to get on, but first staff person took my picture and totally missed my head. Registering credit cards: C Machine gave you options for using two cards, which was kind of confusing.. Received memo after two days on boeard that one of the cards never cleared. Why did I need two in the first place. Cabin: C The cabin was nice, but just as I read there was not much room for your clothes and luggage. Had to stick my bags under the desk and under the bed. Bathroom had a tub. Been on several cruises and never had a tub before. Had a balcony and had nice view. My cabin person accused us of taking a bottle of water out of the wet bar that we brought from the bar and tried to charge us $1.75. The wet bar never had that type of water in it. Food: C- First meal in the dining hall was steak and fries. It was like I was eating. Concur steak and McDonald’s fries. After complaining they gave me two plates every night, but it just lack the “boom” you expect on cruise. Packages: F Wanted purchase a liguor package for myself, but was told that every person in the cabin must purchase one too. Cost over $600 and more, so I decided not to buy one. Even if you wanted water the same policy....crazy. Excursions: B+ I never been on a cruise where the excursions was handled perfectly. The process of tags and numbers and transportation they used were great. Entertainment: F- They had shows every night they had four good singers that performed in every show. And the show lasted from 20-35 mins....who does that? Baby Disney production....CHEAP, Pools and after dinner: F The pools were small and was crowded. People was smoking everywhere and the young people was jus standing or holding on the sides. My wife and I never got into pool or hot tub the whole cruise. Nightlife: There was nothing to do at night for anyone over 50.The music was European electronic rock. Being black, by Wednesday I was paid money to stop hearing that hard base music. Overall: C- MSC yo’re the CHEAPEST line we had ever been on. Every aspect other then your excursions were cheap....baby Disney. Was on the ship for a week and never really understood the ship. To many mirrors and no place for your older crowd to go and band in the Haven was poor. RC you have nothing to fear from the cheap organization. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise, because we have travel with Viking before, we did the Danube Budapest to Bucharest, and we enjoy it very much, this time we one.. We love the history, the towns we visit were very interested, the Tour guide were ... Read More
We chose this cruise, because we have travel with Viking before, we did the Danube Budapest to Bucharest, and we enjoy it very much, this time we one.. We love the history, the towns we visit were very interested, the Tour guide were great, except we have one that did not speak very good English. but it was ok.. Avignon, we enjoy the Palace of the Popes, and the other towns as well , the tour guide were very informative. We were sorry we did not bring a good pair of shoes, due to the stone they use to build the streets. roads. we wish we had more bus tours. The ship was great, food was ok, no much variety, the cheft need it a little more creativity. to mix with the meat. Also we did not like that dinner was so late in the evening. we went to bed with a full belly, Entertaiment was ok, we would have like when they, more culture , ones. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
First off, we are tough critics so keep that in mind while reading our review. We chose MSC Seaside for a few reasons. The biggest is that last year we cruised the MSC Divina for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our ... Read More
First off, we are tough critics so keep that in mind while reading our review. We chose MSC Seaside for a few reasons. The biggest is that last year we cruised the MSC Divina for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our party has 3 generations (teenagers, middle-aged/50, and in-laws in their 80s) traveling and without fail all thought the Divina, and its staff, were the best we ever had. This lead us to try the Seaside. This was somewhat of a last-minute trip so we did not have many options room wise. We ended up booking the lowest option (guaranteed cabin x3) at the Bella experience. The Unlimited Drinks special was going on. We ended up getting assigned balconies (woohooo) for staterooms on the 12th floor. Great way to start. Our thoughts are as follows: Cons: – MSC Website is the worst I have ever used. It baffles me as to why they have not fixed it. We struggled with it last year and this year. They almost lost the sale due to it. If you can’t get a website right, how can we trust you to sail a ship? -Timing/logistics seem to need a review or overhaul. For instance, the cruise critic party was at 10:00 AM. We got notice on our door at 9:00 AM. The White Night Party was on an evening before a port, however Italian night was the night before at sea. We were all dragging in port wondering why the 10:30 PM party was held the night before an 8:00 AM port. The Black Party was held at 5:00. Our dinner was 5:15. Just odd timing on things. -Quiet space on the ship is hard to come by. The ship is amazingly beautiful but the thump thump thump music coming from the main lobby permeates most areas that are meant for congregation. This made it tough for us to find space with all three generations to relax and talk. I was somewhat surprised by the music choices on elegant nights as well. I expected something a little more elegant but that did not happen. -Drink package is odd. No real place to find out what is included and most wait staff tell you something different each time. The drinks you are entitled to are free however there is a service charge (tip) for each drink. No one could explain to us what it was (we were told it was tax). HOT TIP – go to the self-service drink station on deck 8 buffet. You card will dispense beer and wine that are included in your package. It is completely at your leisure and no tip is added, -The gym is too small -I only saw the zip line operate once. Not sure why it was closed most of the trip -It can get pretty crowded in the food areas -The “library” is odd. I have never seen a library that has a pool table, checker boards and is a main walkway. I think it was more of an afterthought. -Got zinged by the minibar again. We were charged for something we did not take. HOT TIP-when you check in have the steward inventory the minibar in front of you then ask them to lock it for the duration of the cruise (we forgot this go around) -You can keep Nassua Pros: -Staff was great. Still love Rom (waiter in the for-fee dining area) -Lots to do. There was always something going on. We took many dance lessons and the instructors were fun and patient -Little kiddos seemed to LOVE that water park which was fun to see -Food was good and plentiful. Not “amazing” but good and reasonable. -Rooms were nice. Love the couch. Storage is tight as is the toilet area but something must give. -Getting on and off the ship was the best we have ever experienced. -The ship truly is amazing. You must ride the elevator at the back of the ship while at sea. The views are amazing -The bridge of sighs and infinity bridges were super cool -I was easily able to find deck chairs on the sides of the ship when I wanted a little sun nap. I am not a big at sea pool guy so this option was perfect for me - I thought the MSC for Me app was helpful. If they would add person to person “texting” or adult tracking it would be amazing. The onboard touchscreens throughout the ship are super handy too -The evening shows were really good. We don’t usually go to many shows but found ourselves going to most and were not disappointed. HOT TIP – If you are going to a show use the MSC app or a touch screen to reserve a seat. We were in the 5:15 dining rotation and could make the 6:45 show if we were there promptly at 5:15. The 8:00 show is usually booked solid so book early if you want that time. -I rode the slides with the kids and made the Mrs. try it once too. Lots of fun (I got dizzier on the brown kids slide than the adult blue slides) -Elegant night and Voyagers party served drinks and snacks. The elegant night “Happy Hour” started at about 4:45 but was not very well advertised but is a great way to start out the night -The way they do pictures is great. There are viewing stations where you scan your card and can bring up digitals of all your pix. Much easier than playing where’s waldo and looking at a wall full of other people while looking for yours Overall, we enjoyed the trip and would do it again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and ... Read More
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and dancing at the pool area....some scheduledscheduled activities didnt even take place...the entertainmet staff is not engaging enough... The casino system is very bad with the ticket system ...one would think that money would be loaded onto your card..and like myself who was could unaware lost 60 euros cause i didnt print a ticket....and the casino couldn't even tell me who then took the ticket out of the machine ...I'm sure the casino staff are very aware of this over site and has collected many unclaimed tickets for them selfs...this ship is just about marketing on board to make me money off passsagers and less worried about the passengers enjoyment....the rule that all passangers sharing the all inclusive drinks package is a total indecation of this...my cabin partner was not a drinker so why do both need to make the purchase, I find that totaly unaceptable and gready of MSC to make more money... .other than that the ship itself is very good and the food is great.....and the lack of staff understandings English is not a good thing Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Ship is old but OK, Service is very good, polite, helpfull... Cabin could be better. Excursions are very expensive and not good organised, to get on and off the boat it is a war, a fight to be the first ! Dining is like a hundreds of ... Read More
Ship is old but OK, Service is very good, polite, helpfull... Cabin could be better. Excursions are very expensive and not good organised, to get on and off the boat it is a war, a fight to be the first ! Dining is like a hundreds of hungry pigs doing a hold-up on the buffet! The theme restaurants are better for the service, food is as bad as in the self service. Once I had risotto with St Jacobs scallops , sorry was only 1 slice, about 1/5 of a scallop!! An other day we had Pintade.... the leg who has been warmed up in a microwave, it was hard as a stone!! Also pay attention to your drinks.... not included and very expensive if you want to enjoy cocktais, wine, etc .....I hoped to have a good reposing cruise, but it turned out in a horrible experence. That is why I do not want to let you have the same disillusion Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Hi, we are a couple in early 60s, physically fit and enjoy the port activities. It is about a year since I last cruised with Costa. We did it then because it was cheap and again chose this 4 day cruise , Savona/Barcelona/ Marseilles in ... Read More
Hi, we are a couple in early 60s, physically fit and enjoy the port activities. It is about a year since I last cruised with Costa. We did it then because it was cheap and again chose this 4 day cruise , Savona/Barcelona/ Marseilles in November to complete a cheap winter break. The cruise was a surprise, some things radically improved, some things excellent and many important things so bad it defies all logic why Costa should behave the way they do. First of all the prices on board, all up 10% in the last year. All prices in Euros. Compulsory tipping now 10 per day. Cocktails mostly 8.20 plus 15%. Cheaper prosecco 25 plus 15%. We do not buy any of the daily booze deals as we cannot work out any way they could be good value for us. There are other important reasons to avoid them unless you intend to drink in the more unsocial hours (please read on). Food - buffet still limited but the vast majority of food on offer was good. Coffee (poor) available only at breakfast. Free fruit juices are flavoured sugar. Dining - wow what an improvement. Food warm and sometimes hot and really, really good especially if you like Italian food. Service from our waiter Edgar was excellent despite the huge pressure placed upon him (and all other Costa staff). Cocktails are still the poorest on any cruise line we have experienced. Getting on and off the ship - Costa still the best. Quick and prompt. They manage to behave as if it is as simple as it really is. Why cant other cruise lines copy them? The one trip we went on was good and good value although the port transfers were very expensive for those not taking a trip. Now to some serious downsides. The bars and saloons on this ship are mostly confined to deck 5. They are large but the bar areas are small. The coffee lounge is small. By keeping all but one bar area shut before and after dining time they herd all the passengers into a confined area. Around the bars themselves, the queue can be 3 or 4 deep. Sitting down it can be almost impossible to attract waiting staff, although they are working flat out. You need to allow about an hour to place an order and then receive your drink. Watching staff being pursued by passengers trying to place an order is a sorry sight. On one night we eventually managed to order pre-dinner drinks but they only arrived 5 minutes before dinner was starting. It was hopeless. I chatted to staff in quieter moments and they said it was always like this. To enable you to get the picture, imagine 60% of the bar areas shut and the people all corralled into one space. If you have bought a drinks package, or worst of all, the coffee package you are not going to be happy. The staff were cheerful but not surprisingly tempers got a bit short amongst passengers. So, is it a deliberate ploy by Costa to sell as many drinks packages as possible and then limit consumption by making ordering any beverage very difficult? Thats what it looked and felt like. Could not discuss this with management because management only appear to parade themselves to applause, again and again and again, then disappear. The ratio of passengers to staff on Costa is very high (one of the ways they keep costs down). I have never seen staff work harder or be more polite. They really were great. Staff are so sparse however that you had to decide whether you wanted you room cleaned in the morning or night. Compared with other cruise lines this appeared to be a 40-50% reduction in cabin cleaning. We chose to be cleaned in the morning. It worked well and I thought it a sensible cost saving. For my wife, important aspects of a cruise are to be able to drink a pre-dinner cocktail in pleasant surroundings and occasionally to dress formally for dinner. Costa had already removed the latter pleasure by the last time we cruised with them. Now they have removed the former as well. The shows on each night were better than our last Costa cruise. For me they rank equal bottom of the many cruise lines I have experienced , along with MSC. If you have cruised with Princess /Celebrity or Cunard I think you would consider it very clearly inferior but frankly not bad for the price point. We are travelling with Costa again from Dubai in February 18 because I wish to invest in the many excursions available rather than a luxury ship. I just hope the bar situation is sorted by then. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ... Read More
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ship. The rooms were very comfortable and the cuisine was delicious. Entertainment was entertaining. The pianist was very good. All of the staff was friendly and helpful with whatever was needed. We travel with our malienial daughter and she thoroughly enjoyed the river cruise up the Rhone and Saone. She really enjoyed the food and drinks provided by Viking. And the cuisine was geared to give everyone a taste of France. The smaller size ship gives a more intimate feeling and enables the guests to mist and mingle. She found the cruise very enriching and would definitely cruise with Viking in the further, saying it is not just a cruise for older people. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the ... Read More
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the Viking Rinda for a second week, this time on the Seine. Both were excellent. Our cabin was lovely and comfortable and even the weather co-operated (both cruises) and we were able to sit out on our verandah and relax when we didn't feel like going up to the upper deck and join the masses. The food, service, crew, etc are top notch. And so many "extras" are included so we didn't feel nickel & dimed to death like on all the ocean cruises (big ships) we've been on. Loved it! This was our 4th & 5th cruise with Viking River Cruises and it won't be our last. We've also been on one of Viking's ocean cruises and won't go back to the "big" ships after such a lovely inclusive and intimate trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and ... Read More
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and plentiful. The service exemplary. We enjoyed every tour. I especially loved the locks; which were totally unexpected and thrilling. I would have appreciated more educational information about the locks - when and how they were built. The ship was absolutely lovely. I would have liked more time on the sundeck which seemed to be closed more than it was open. Our welcome bus was parked extremely far from the airport so it was a bumpy welcome after a long plane ride. Noone let us know that we would be shlepping 1/2 mile to the bus (from deplaning through terminal to greeting to bus probably >1 mile.) We were disappointed that the ship could not go past Lyon due to high water which made our commute to our last tour over 90 minutes one way. The buses were very well appointed, comfortable and offered great views through clean windows. Back to our room - everything was perfect, clean, new, comfortable, well-lit. The excursions were perfectly organized and very interesting. The entertainment was okay - nothing much; but, enjoyable. We were made to feel very very special and it was lovely to have only 170 people on the ship. Easy in and out. Can't wait for our next river cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The ports visited were ideal for our smaller size vessel enabling us to dock when larger ships couldn't. The island stops were so interesting and the lectures prior to each stop were excellent. Other topical lectures were ... Read More
The ports visited were ideal for our smaller size vessel enabling us to dock when larger ships couldn't. The island stops were so interesting and the lectures prior to each stop were excellent. Other topical lectures were entertaining and interesting. Shore excursions were disappointing, but these were provided by local people who seemed more like history statisticians and could be quite boring. They were quite expensive and better value was available from the taxi drivers waiting at the end of the docks! All the crew and staff were absolutely wonderful. Food better than expected. My wife and I didn't attend any of the shows. With all the exploring ashore each day, which is why we chose this cruise, we were not needing night entertainment. It was a great success and the voyage on Voyager will be very fondly remembered. Actually, we would do it again ! but organise our own shore excursions. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Costa Diadema, November 2015, 7 day Western Mediterranean. Costa's newest, largest and glitziest ship. a version of Carnival's newest Fantasy class. Ports included Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma, Naples and La Spezia. ... Read More
Costa Diadema, November 2015, 7 day Western Mediterranean. Costa's newest, largest and glitziest ship. a version of Carnival's newest Fantasy class. Ports included Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma, Naples and La Spezia. Each port had some passengers joining and leaving, which provides a better atmosphere than the highly regimented, everybody on-everybody off one gets in the Caribbean. Seyne sur Mer, near Toulon, was substituted for Marseille on my departure with a coach transfer provided. I had an inside Classic cabin, I don't care about any of the benefits of a Premium cabin. I did not book with Costa USA and therefore did not have a waterusa package, but I knew this when I booked, I simply added the cost of a water package to the quoted price. The Hotel Service Charge is also part of the Terms and Conditions in Europe. Demographics. Costa is known as a family-friendly cruise line but this trip had few children. There was broad age range, but definitely skewed towards “retired”. Still, a bunch of fun-loving people, not a good choice for anyone who wants Holland America style “relaxing” and “in bed by 8 PM”. Muster. Certified for indoor muster stations. Yes! No more standing on deck. Entertainment. Five rooms with live music, three had double groups, continuous music. Each room has a different theme, but overall, for quality, variety and duration, the music was among the best I have heard on a cruise ship for a decade. None of the dance floors are exactly rectangular, dimensions approximate. Grand Bar Orlov. Double height, into Deck 5. More open feel and much better air circulation. Fake stalactites as decoration, limiting sight lines, as far as I could did not conceal anything like air ducts, just a waste of money. Unlike Cunard's Queen Victoria and Elizabeth where I believe this idea was pioneered, there is a staircase between floors and the upper deck would be prime revenue space if better laid out. The seating is curved in towards the floor, instead of outwards as on Deliziosa, and the open area follows this curve. An excellent idea, needs better implementation. The floor is 52' x only 16'. A nice length but far too narrow for this size of ship, for no really good reason, grossly inadequate for a ship this size. Floorcraft consists mostly of waiting for off-peak times, there is no room to maneuvre around others. The dance team was two very well qualified couples from Hungary (their English was better than their Italian), who focused on Latin, and who put on performances good enough to have won first place at a dance competition. Their classes were technically very good, but I found they were not too familiar with social dancing in Western Europe and Costa had not really told them exactly what experience they wanted for the passengers. While there were no dance hosts per se, the team danced with passengers in the lounge most nights. Teodora 46' x 15' (10') . Used for a variety of themes on different nights, somewhat underutilised. Atrium Elio Doro 24' x 12' A new group came on board in Savona, playing little besides salsa, the area was empty within a few minutes. Costa musicians have a tradition of playing to please the passengers, hopefully they will be modifying their mix. Country Rock Club- Country & Western theme 24' x 12' Good choice for the C&W fans. Piano Bar 16' x 16' Surprisingly good music for a piano bar. Pietra di Luna Disco 36' x 20' Tile but not raised, far safer than on other ships. I did not bother going to the disco. Perla Nerla deck area 60' x 30' Used for various themes and an Argentine Tango private dance party. Not a good dance floor for pivoting or turning. Theatre- I did not go to any of the shows, but I noticed extra staging, I expect the shows would be a bit more Broadway-ish than usual. Food. Overall, good but not spectacular. I rate it as “4” largely because of very limited choice after 9 PM. I do not not want a large MDR meal early in the evening, I prefer a light meal later. Breakfast Italian continental breakfast buffet, 0700-1100. Even at 10 AM, still busy, no one seemed to think the choice inadequate. Cooked meal available in MDR. Lunch As well as the buffet, one dining room offered table service, another self-serve. The buffet was again good but not spectacular. Dinner The lack of choice after 9 PM is by far Costa's weak spot. There was no evening buffet on this trip and the English host did not know of any plans for a change. The Corona Blu area, 500 seats, was used as an open seating alternative, same menu, 5 euro surcharge. It was always busy while the MDR was only half-full for both sittings, a clear passenger preference which hopefully will be noticed in Genoa. Bar prices were comparable to shore prices. On the last night freshly printed menus made an appearance but I did not see any price changes. Cabin 1351. One of the oddly-shaped cabins on this class of ship, with only upper and lower berths (the upper stows into the ceiling). Technically a double, excellent value for a single. Sold as a classic, but I consider this to be one of the best-located cabins on the ship. Customer service, There were agents in front of the counter to handle minor questions. As well as credit card terminals, there were cash machines to accept cash payments. Interactive TV. There is a messaging system which greatly reduces paper (ignored by the spa with its endless hard-copy advertising) but the message-waiting icon is very small and easy to miss. Casino wasn't very busy. Since I invested 20 euros in the slot machines and got back less than 5, I can understand why. Laundry prices seemed reasonable. There was a Magic Bag special but it was timed for Savona passengers and the trip was too short to be worthwhile for me. At the price I paid, excellent value. Overall I was impressed and have recommended my travel agent sell this ship aggressively. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My sisters and I decided to take our aging mother to France and this was the perfect choice for us all! From start to finish, the service and the personnel were the best! Having traveled a lot having been an international flight ... Read More
My sisters and I decided to take our aging mother to France and this was the perfect choice for us all! From start to finish, the service and the personnel were the best! Having traveled a lot having been an international flight attendant, I totally enjoyed every aspect of this trip. Our ship, Hermod was immaculate, the food was delicious and plentiful,the staff was so friendly and attentive, the tours were so well organized and the tour guides were top-notch! The beauty of cruising this way is you can do as much as you'd like (me) and as little as you can handle (my elderly mom). There is so much to see and enjoy along the way. We took advantage of almost all the tours and excursions. We were definitely very lucky to have perfect weather. This was my first river cruise but it won't be my last. We went on the recommendation of one of my sisters that traveled on Viking last year. What a great recommendation it was! You are truly taken cared of from the moment you come out of customs to the moment you check back in to return home. Thank you Viking for a most memorable trip for my sweet mother, my sisters and me! C'etait MAGNIFIQUE! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
When I saw some of the scathing comments about customers’ experiences on the Hermod and we were about to set off to cruise on her, I was extremely concerned. However a very prompt reply to my email to the hotel manager on board assured ... Read More
When I saw some of the scathing comments about customers’ experiences on the Hermod and we were about to set off to cruise on her, I was extremely concerned. However a very prompt reply to my email to the hotel manager on board assured me all was well. After an extremely enjoyable cruise up the Rhone and Saone I can confirm that all is very well with the boat and all the crew, all of whom from the Captain down did everything to ensure we had the best possible cruise experience. Transfers to and from the boat I always find the transfers the most stressful part of any holiday and I have nothing but praise with the way we were shepherded to and from the boat. There was always at least one Viking Representative with us and we were never left wondering what to do next. In fact at Lyon Airport, where there were confusing automatic check-in machines for our return flights, the Viking Representative did all the work for us! The Boat After three different cruises with Viking, I have no hesitation in saying, this was by far the best boat and one that all the staff made sure stayed that way. For example I noticed one of the cabin attendants on her hands and knees removing a tiny scuffmark on the wall and this was symptomatic of the attention to detail of all the crew. The Food and Wine As usual on a Viking Cruise the food was delicious as were their choice of wines. We were invited on a tour of the galley and all of us were amazed that such high quality food could be cooked for 190 guests in such a compact area. Of course when you are dining with new and interesting people you overlook how often your glass is being re-filled, which had its effect the following morning as we were preparing for the day’s visits! The Excursions In general the excursions were very good. I particularly liked the way there was always a gentle and less strenuous trip for those that find walking more difficult. Cruise Director briefed us well before our dinner and frankly it was incredible, even though there could be four different tours occurring at the same time, how often he popped up to make sure our tour was going well Was it perfect? Well in the 36 to 39 degree heat the Air Conditioning did struggle and there are a couple of other points. One that is out of Viking’s hands and that was the height of the bridges we had to pass under. Because the headroom was so limited access to the upper deck was far less available than on other cruises. Even with the handrails down the headroom could be as low as 30cm. The second point was a paid optional tour and tasting in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. For the cost of the tour I was expecting to taste three wines of exceptional quality that I would not be able to afford to buy. Instead of which we had a good tutored tasting of the sort of wines I buy at home. I have to say it was disappointing. Would I book with Viking again? We already have – we go on the Douro River of Gold cruise in the autumn. Now which Viking cruises shall we pick for 2016? Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I booked a package directly from Viking including RT air, 7 night cruise from Avignon to Chalon sur Saone, 3 night extension in Paris, and all transfers. We flew into Marseilles where a representative took us to a waiting transfer bus. ... Read More
I booked a package directly from Viking including RT air, 7 night cruise from Avignon to Chalon sur Saone, 3 night extension in Paris, and all transfers. We flew into Marseilles where a representative took us to a waiting transfer bus. The cruise was very good. Our cabin was a category A veranda on deck 3. Cabin was well appointed. The bed was comfortable. The lighting was excellent. Although the bathroom was small, it was well organized. The L'Occitane bath products were very good. The bath towels and bed linens were extremely nice. Our cabin stewardess promptly serviced our cabin whenever we went to breakfast or dinner. There was also bottled water in the cabin. Electrical outlets were in pairs. 110v and 220v on both bed stands and in other locations. Hairdryer dried my hair. It was better than many other cruise lines. Included tours were good. We opted for the leisure tours and were happy with the pace. The audio listening device was excellent. Food on the ship was good. Dinner had 3 menu choices that changed nightly and 3 standard options ( steak, chicken, and salmon). I ate all my meals in the main restaurant. I loved the Taste of Provence lunch buffet. The included beer and wine with meals was good. The docking locations were not always in good locations. It would have been better if they docked in places where you could just walk off and be in a town or offer shuttle service in all ports. A shuttle bus was offered only in Tarascon going to Arles. Entertainment was limited to a piano player and some local entertainers. There was a lecture or selling event in Lyon on silk scarves. The scarves were not all silk and were priced too high. A rayon scarf for 59euros was the cheapest on the ship. I did not buy any scarves at that sale. I did buy some beautiful silk scarves in Paris. The transfer from Chalon to Paris was by bus. We stopped for a brief walking tour and lunch in Auxerre. We arrived in Paris and were taken to the wrong hotel. The guide insisted that we were in the right place. Only after we showed her the printed paper with the hotel location, did she apologize. That mishap delayed our arrival at our Paris Hotel by more than an hour. The included hotel was the St. James Albany Hotel on Rue Rivoli. Location was excellent. It was across from the Louvre and Tuilleries Gardens. Metro line 1 had a stop close to the hotel. Included breakfasts were average. The hotel room was dark and dirty. Linens were terrible. It was not nearly as good as our cruise experience. The restaurant at the hotel was 202 Rue Rivoli. We ate dinner there one evening. I made the reservation on tripadvisor and saved 20% off the entire bill. The food was excellent. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Since our only visit to France had been on an ocean cruise stop in Cannes, we wanted to get a better feel for the country, the culture, and the history (oh yes, and the wines!). The cruise traveled from the Mediterranean to the Normandy ... Read More
Since our only visit to France had been on an ocean cruise stop in Cannes, we wanted to get a better feel for the country, the culture, and the history (oh yes, and the wines!). The cruise traveled from the Mediterranean to the Normandy Coast, with Paris in between. What more can you ask for? Along the Rhône, Saône, and Seine rivers we stopped at numerous towns and cities for (included) excursions of towns such as Avignon, Perouges, Dijon, Giverny, and Honfleur. Most notable were excursions to wineries in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Beaune, and the Pont du Gard and the Normandy D-Day landmarks and American Cemetery. The entire journey required two different riverboats, but the connection was something special as well. The included connection was from Dijon to Paris aboard the TGV, or Train à Gran Vitesse, France's high-speed train. What a pleasure to sit in power reclining seats and travel over 200 mph in smooth, quiet comfort. The real beauty for us is the way Vantage takes care of everything, from handling our luggage at the airport to escorting us through the Paris train station. There are no worries about catching a ride, how to get to a sightseeing attraction, or even "where are the restrooms?" QuietVox headsets are provided for all excursions, so you can comfortably hear your English-speaking guide even if you're half a block away. all excursions are divided into groups of 20-30 guests, so crowding is not an issue. Dining is superb, and the chefs go out of their way to provide local delights as well as traditional American fare. An example: "Rack of lamb with Dijon mustard crust, rosemary potato gratin, and ratatouille Provencale". Make no mistake, this is NOT a cruise for children (there were none on our voyage), but adults will find it very relaxing and most interesting. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
Costa Magica Cruise: Ten Days on the MediterInian Overview ... Having been on more than ten cruises, my wife and I knew pretty much what to expect. This is not a company that deals in expensive and highly rated cruises, so we ... Read More
Costa Magica Cruise: Ten Days on the MediterInian Overview ... Having been on more than ten cruises, my wife and I knew pretty much what to expect. This is not a company that deals in expensive and highly rated cruises, so we boarded not expecting much. After all, you usually get what you pay for. This was a last minute decision because it was cheap and took us to a cruise location where we had not been before. The cruise makes seven ports of call in ten days, ending back at its starting point in Marseille, France. Cabin ... Our first surprise was our room. Located on the bottom-most passenger floor, deck number one, we thought when we booked it that it would be tiny, cramped, noisy and uncomfortable. It turned out to be large , roomy with a bed that connected two twins with a single mattress cover making it as big as our California King at home. The room also contained a couch, an occasional chair and table making it comfortable to take room service meals. The lighting was super bright when wanted or could be adjusted downward to just two night stand lamps. The rooms have individual thermostats, so we were comfortable at all times. We had three clothes closets, two large pull out storage drawers under the couch, brightly lit make-up table, mini bar and a safe which could be locked and unlocked with a credit card swipe. The bathroom had the first shower that I have ever liked on a ship. Shut the water on and off without readjusting the temperature each time and the shower curtain stayed out of the way without sticking to my wet body. Did I mention the window? We were expecting little more than a port hole on the first floor, but it turned out to be a nice size window (about 4 X 5 feet) that was deep enought to sit in and watch the entry and exits to the ports and to watch the islands and the Mediterainian glide by. Crew ... The crew, as it is on most cruise lines, is made up mostly of workers from third - world countries. The ones we had most contact with were mainly from South America with a few from middle and far eastern countries. They were some of the most courteous, well mannered and pleasant crew we have encountered on any cruise. This is in stark difference to the passengers that I'll mention later on. Meals ... I can be picky about my food, so I'll say up front that I may not be totally objective here. The only meals we took in the main dining room were at dinner time. The quality was good as was the service. We always had a good choice. The only critical thing I have to say -and it really isn't a criticism- is that meat products do not have the same flavor as American meat products. It is not bad, it is just different. On the other hand, food choice in the buffet areas of the ship leaves something to be desired. The breakfast buffets are adequate, comparable to truck-stops in the U.S. Any other time, you have you choice of pizza and salad or salad and pizza ... that's it! Even in the late night selection the only variation is that you get to order your choice of three pizzas from a menu instead of taking it by the slice from the buffet. Entertainment ... As with the meals, something is left to be desired here. On other cruise lines we have been entertained by Hollywood performers, quality acts by well known musicians, comedians, and TV performers. On this cruise, we saw performances by no-name entertainers, a singer, a pianist, an acrobatic troup with dancers and a talent show by crew members themselves. On other lines, there were always two shows per night and the theaters were packed. On this line only one show was performed each night, and then, only to a partially filled theater. Excursions ... All the ports of call were places we were most interested in because of their historical significance. These are places we have only read about and this was the chance of a lifetime to see so many on one trip. Although a little pricey, we were not disappointed in any of them. We are still in awe at being able to tie time and place together with the history we were taught in earlier years. And the beauty of each place just left us breathless. Nickels and dimes One of the most irritating things we encountered on the cruise was prices charged for little things. Tap water on the ship is not potable, so you end up buying water for your room. The price per small bottle, about 12 to 13 ounces, will cost you €3.22, currently $4.25 U.S. currency per bottle. Consume two bottles each for you and your spouse or companion and you are talking about $17.00 U.S. per day ... Just for water. Take a ten day cruise and you will pay $170 for water alone. Want an eight ounce glass of draft beer? Be prepared to pay $6.45 U.S. How about Internet WIFI service? It will cost you $13.20 per hour. And, the instructions for use are so vague, they do not prominently show that you must return to the Costa web site to log off, otherwise your WIFI will continue running, costing you money although you may have turned your wireless connector off. So, don't think that the cost of your ticket is going to be the price of your cruise. You are going to be in for sticker shock. Passengers ... I guess I really should not complain here ... It is what I get for doing this cruise on the cheap. But, I have to say it. These passengers, as a group, were some of the most rude, uncouth, ill-mannered, people I have ever met. They never said "pardon me", "may I", "excuse me" or "thank you". And heaven forbid, don't get in their way at the breakfast buffet. They will literally (not figuratively) run over you to get there first. They reminded me of a stampeding herd of cattle. This is not to say we didn't meet nice people - we did. But they were a very select few. To sum up ... So, is it worth it? Yeah, I would have to say so. We saw some places and things we will never see again. And despite the type of passengers encountered and the petty pricing scheme, we are left with some good memories and a newfound perspective on history, maybe the most significant experience of all. Read Less

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