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Sail Date: June 2019
I do not normally write a review on cruises. I do always rely on my other half to do this. I have read so many bad and negative reviews about Costa which I was not very keen to sail with them this time. I have traveled a lol, done so ... Read More
I do not normally write a review on cruises. I do always rely on my other half to do this. I have read so many bad and negative reviews about Costa which I was not very keen to sail with them this time. I have traveled a lol, done so many cruises with Royal, Azamara, Cunard, Princess and so on. You just imagine how well they are by name. So I was quite worried to embark on Costa Mediterranea due to my experience with the best ones on the sea. I cannot praise to anyone to give a go, to try it at least once. It was amazing. We sailed this month and we went to the Norwegian Fjords. The ship was glizzy, beautiful though. It's like a Las Vegas Hotel if we want to compare to something. It's not new but no old at all. It has got that sparkle which it makes everything good to be on. We were for 10 days and we enjoyed everyday. We are definitely going back again. Also we have found out that Costa had a free shuttle from Amsterdam (from a station to the port, which no so many cruise liners do that.... On the other hand I just would like to pointing out few things.... We do feel citizens of the world, Costa is a multicultural environment and of course we do not expect everyone to speak with the same accent or this perfect English. Sometimes demand is it perhaps we do want this or that in our own way? Why cruiser just accept what it is without making huge fuss? The only problem is some the passenger itself which they do not know what it does mean respect. To be honest criticize and write a bad review to a cruise company is easy but sometimes we should ourselves understand why sometimes things don't go how we want. Perhaps we expect too much, we treat badly those people who are really working hard on board for us. Just be nice, try to see yourself on the other side and just think how you would like to be treated, perhaps your perception will change a bit. I can't personally knock anything down. It's us we should respect each other when traveling. That's my personal opinion. If you don't like it then you can go with Silversea, Seabourne, Oceania where you pay a high standard rate and you get what you really want. Sorry to be harsh but we just need to stop winging and criticise everything. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we found our way to our deck 4 cabin. It was pleasantly large, but definitely needed a good spring clean. The bed seemed hard and sagging, not a good start we felt. We liked the white marble bathroom and noted approvingly that the toiletries were quality Occitan. We explored briefly then went for a buffet lunch in the stern Verandah. It was a very ordinary buffet choice and we were astounded at the cost of the drinks on offer. We learned that many passengers had bought a drinks package, but as the wines were fairly mediocre in our opinion, we decided not to take up the package offer. It was lovely to note the teak decks , a small outdoor pool and hot tub, and plenty of deck lounge seating. We looked through the daily program, but it lacked variety or imagination, so we decided that a comfortable spot with a good book might be a good way to relax. Much ceremony was made of the sail away flag raising to the music of Vangelis’ 1492, used on other cruise lines we recalled. There was a comfortable lounge with busy coffee bar and a tiny library, but little else of note. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day, but we had visited all the ports previously, so did not read the excursion offers. In each port the ship laid on a shuttle bus to the centre of town , a useful service for those who wished to be independent . We were happy to wander, sample the local cuisine and bars in each port. We were right in our estimation... the bed was horribly saggy and worn, leaving us both with aching backs! Entertainment was decidedly limited, with a singing duo , but little else, with the exception of a lecturer with a sole topic. Dining was open seating, with varied menus and good service from the friendly Asian servers. It was not gourmet dining, but perfectly adequate. It would not be a ship we’d choose on future occasions, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated ... Read More
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated now. The ship is compact. Two staircases so you gain a sense of where everything is quite quickly. The main restaurant is deck 3 and the Veranda (self service/buffet/back of ship area) which at 7pm morphs into 'Candles' grill style restaurant where a dinner reservation is required. Both restaurants served wonderful food and the menus were imaginative and varied. The service was attentive and friendly. Windstar's room service is in our experience always first rate, whether its an early breakfast or a late night snack. Our orders were delivered in a timely fashion by a cheery friendly waiter or waitress. The Compass Rose Bar was our go to destination after dinner where there was always a duo playing together with the crew taking part in Liar or a music quiz. What really works for us is the friendliness of all the crew: they make sure that they call you by your name which everyone appreciates. When we were moored in the Scilly Isles I didn't get off the ship as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to getting on and off tenders. The ship was almost empty so I sat on deck and over the course of a couple of hours three crew members came to chat, check I was okay and ask if they could get me anything. Windstar is a firm favourite for us and our eight day Star Pride trip was a really great cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went looking for a Norway/fjord cruise and an extension on our own for a couple of days in Iceland - this ship seemed to fit the bill. Virtually brand new ship and this was our first time on Viking. Our initial impression was that ... Read More
We went looking for a Norway/fjord cruise and an extension on our own for a couple of days in Iceland - this ship seemed to fit the bill. Virtually brand new ship and this was our first time on Viking. Our initial impression was that the decor and furnishings on this ship are excellent and well thought-out. The public area furniture is comfortable but not clunky and the general decor is Scandinavian modern minimalist. We liked all of the public areas, particularly the covered pool ( pretty chilly up in Norway even in the summer)and the spa area which has steam room, saunas and everything you could want. The staff was largely Asian and over the top in friendliness and quality of service. The passenger demographic was older but not incapacitated - no kids, no casino, no half-baked broadway reviews etc. Our stateroom on deck 4 was very comfortable, quiet and outfitted with the usual higher end amenities, flat screen TV, comfortable bed, well thought out lighting etc. Minor issue: I wish the max setting of the TV volume were a bit higher as my hearing is not what it used to be. And, while the shower (no bath) was great, it occasionally was beset by the temperature gremlins, turning hot and cold randomly. I was told that a fix for this is in the works. The food was overall very good to excellent - not quite as good as Crystal but close. Breakfast and lunch were in the buffet areas by the pool or the World cafe - sometimes I wish they would open the Restaurant for breakfast or lunch, but I can see the economics of not doing this. The regular coffee was surprisingly good for a cruise ship - first time in my experience and specialty coffees were available in various locations. We bought the Silver liquor package - this gives you 24/7 access to top shelf liquor and a large assortment of wines, but even if you don't get it, the per/drink prices are very reasonable. $15 pp/pday tips on your closing statement. The Chef's Table is a specialty restaurant where the menu is fixed and changes every day or frequently. We tried it one night and did not like the concept. We prefer the Thomas Keller type approach on Seabourne where at least some choices are available. The Italian specialty restaurant Manfredi's was fantastic - great Italian dishes and my personal favorite - Dover Sole meuniere. We booked our own side tours as we don't like the bus-tour experience. Overall, this is a lovely ship with user friendly systems and user friendly staff. We will be back. Fer shur. Happy trails. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We took the June 7, 2019 Northern Europe cruise out of Copenhagen, Denmark in a Haven Spa suite (14728). We are a couple traveling without children from Arizona to Denmark via London. There is a direct British Airways flight from Phoenix ... Read More
We took the June 7, 2019 Northern Europe cruise out of Copenhagen, Denmark in a Haven Spa suite (14728). We are a couple traveling without children from Arizona to Denmark via London. There is a direct British Airways flight from Phoenix to London and then we hopped a short flight to Copenhagen. Arriving the day before departure left us a day to wander around Copenhagen. We had booked an inexpensive hotel in Copenhagen called "Wakeup Copenhagen, Borgergade." It was cheap and clean, but we discovered it was designed for tiny, tiny people. It was so small it was hard to turn around in the shower. We are small, trim people and found it so cramped that we booked a different hotel at the end of the cruise, even though we lost our payment for "Wakeup." The second hotel was the Best Western in Copenhagen and was slightly larger, but still small. I have never been to Copenhagen before, so the room size surprised me. It appears to be the norm, so you are warned. We embarked around 12:30 PM on the 7th. As Haven dwellers, we expected a smooth process and it was not. There was an issue with the NCL keycard printing process. We are both latitude members and in the Haven, but we wound up with a standard keycard for my wife and a latitude card for myself and neither were haven cards. This took 15 minutes and it looked like everyone had the same problem. We had to get the card issue fixed onboard and the woman working on the ship said in not so many words that somebody made a major error. Not sure what happened, but it was a hassle. Haven priority boarding did not really matter as we arrived so early that we just walked on board. Once on board we hung out for a bit in the Haven lounge and then we went to our rooms about an hour later. We had sailed on Getaway before, so we felt no urge to wander around the ship. However, the ship went through a refit the month before, so the furniture, carpeting and some amenities on the ship were updated. Everything looked great and the addition of a full-sized Starbucks kept my caffeine needs in check. I am sure there were many other updates I did not catch, but the main one I noticed was the main theatre looked much updated and the Illusionarium was altered to support the Cirque show rather than the magic show. The Haven Spa cabin was very nice, but something of a letdown. Due to booking late, our Haven options were limited. The spa suites are all outside the Haven area and their main feature is a large jet tub right next to the bed, Haven access and the thermal suite is included. Otherwise they resemble the other mini-suites. The in-room tub was silly, yes it was large and had jets, but it took forever to fill and the experience was lackluster. I used it once to try it out and never even looked at it for the rest of the trip. The Thermal Suite included with our room once again proved to be worth every penny. A great place to recover after a brutal day of excursions or the sea days. That said, the up-charge for the Haven spa room was likely not worth it. Just get a haven room and pay for the Thermal Suite. Likely cheaper and you do not loose 25% of your room to a useless spa tub. The room steward did a good job, but the towel animals went extinct due to their impact on the ship's laundry load. (Someone asked about them during the Q & A with ship's officers. You can get them on request now.) Wife noticed that we no longer got new shampoo bottles every day, or new slippers that come with the Haven. Small things, but it looks like NCL was doing some cost-reduction. Nothing too annoying, just thought I would mention it. Steward also distinguished himself by not bothering us at all. Unlike the butler. Our butler was very annoying. We almost never make use of them and he was clearly fishing for "tippable" moments from us. I guess some people like the attention, but we started putting up the 'do not disturb sign" just to fend him off. Shipboard dining was the usual mixed bag. The Haven restaurant was good as usual, but the limited, unchanging menu hit us hard this time as it included a lot of fish, lamb and duck, not our favorites. Still Haven dining had the advantage of being always available, quiet and tasty. We ate their most days for our meals, but did venture out to some other dining options. The Garden Buffet is both useful and painful simultaneously. Useful in that the food is tasty, available and fast. Painful in that it is too small for the passenger load. Going at peak times before port days means that everyone is trying to eat before the same disembarkation time. It is awful, no seating, crowds and pushy idiots from countries with no concept of "getting in line." We only ate there at odd hours or to grab a snack. "Shanghai's" is a noodle/dim sum restaurant that is a blight on dining. Truly awful noodle dishes came out lukewarm, with soggy noodles and tasteless broth. The only edible thing on the plate was the spring roll that likely came out of a freezer. Avoid this place like it is infectious. Cagney's had a great steak and was excellent. The other places we ate at were fine and not worth mentioning. Just be aware the lines can be long on the sea days and your should book in advance. Entertainment was the usual trivia/bingo/shows/sales pitches. A note on the sales pitches, they were frequent and intrusive. Your cabin has a message system built into the TV and 90% of my messages were some sales pitch for various goods, Cruisenext and services. NCL needs to reduce the load on the sales efforts. It reached the point of satire by the end of the trip. It was just too obvious and silly to not laugh at. A particularly humorous retail moment happened after St. Petersburg. There is a "Russia Bazaar" held on board that the staff talked up as "high-quality products" and "better value" than the souvenir options on shore in Russia. We had already bought our nesting dolls (they are everywhere) on shore, but I happened to be walking by when they set up the "Russia Bazaar." I noticed that the boxes the Russian products were coming out of were labeled "Kowloon, Hong Kong." It is possible the boxes were merely reused to store the Russian goods between cruises. As to the other possibility, I shall let you draw your own conclusion. A word on "CruiseNext," the NCL deposit system. They basically give you a discount if you give them some money up front. In our case, we knew we were going again with the four year time limit, so we put in $500.00 and they gave us $250 in onboard credit. We were happy with that, but on the last day suddenly a new offer appeared that stated if you deposit $500, you get $500 towards your next cruise for a total of $1000. However, you do not get the $250 credit now. I asked to convert from the $250/$250 deal to the $500/$1000 deal. They did it without question. We were just confused why the second option only appeared on the last day of the cruise. We hit the trivia a few times on sea days and the Bingo games were fun (we won twice is the only reason. We played on their money). The only issue with Bingo is NCL is making a killing and the pots are tiny. A $49.00 buy-in to play and pots hovering around $300-$400 is terrible. Given the number of players a similar ashore game would pay much better. Still, it is fun so long as you can afford it. "Burn the Floor" for the second time was nice. Good show and some talented dancers. Haven dwellers had some reserved seats which was great. Cirque Dreams and Steam was the highlight of on-board entertainment. Even on a tiny stage, the performance was impressive. We have seen various Cirque shows and this was among the "tightest" in terms of bang for your buck on a small stage. Well worth attending, even with the up-charge. I also did the "Escape the Big Top" escape room, also held in the Illusionarium. I have done escape rooms before, but this one was very poorly designed. Several puzzles used color coding as part of the puzzle and I am color blind, so that was tough. Also, there are red herring puzzles in the room, which is extremely controversial among escape room designers. You do it in a randomly assigned group and I got a nice group that included some kids. It was an amusing 45 minutes, but the odds of getting out hit zero the moment I saw who was on my team. Your mileage may vary if you go with a larger group you know that likes puzzles. We were on a colder cruise, so the pool deck did not see a lot of action. A couple of mildly sunny days got the kids in the pools, bu the adults stuck to the hot tubs. This means the Haven's separate deck and pool was barely used. We even got confined to the indoor areas on a sea day because of waterspouts potentially landing on the deck! We did not travel with kids, so I have no comment on the kid's activities. Ports and Shore Excursions We never book excursions through NCL due to the massive markup, so all the excursion below were made through Viator Warnemunde, Germany NCL pitches this port as an opportunity to visit Berlin. Sure, if you enjoy hours in a bus and few hours in one of the great cities of the world, burning rubber between photo ops and then more hours in a bus to get back in a single day. We decided to book the more rational "Hanseatic Rostock and Fairytale Schwerin Shore Excursion." It is about an hour away and you spend the day going through a charming medieval city and castle. The Viator tour cost $245 for two people and the entire experience went smoothly. As one would expect in Germany. Lots of great photo opportunities. Tallinn, Estonia Talinn is so tiny that we just got off the boat and walked around. No other transport was needed. We checked out the city and its architecture, ate lunch in a restaurant that was vaguely medieval in style and cuisine (Olde Hansa is the name. A little cheesy, but it was fun and the food was good). We spent a couple of hours in the "Kiek in de Kök" museum. Built inside an old fortress, this was a great museum and be sure to pay for the "Bastion Tunnels" upgrade to wander the old tunnels, now used as a museum. It is quite a hike in terms of length and stairs. Lots of stairs. Worth the effort though. St. Petersburg, Russia (Overnight) Once again, we book the Viator excursion called "St. Petersburg 2-Day Grand Shore Excursion Tour." At $513 for two people it was a good deal for the amount of destinations you see. Here is the tour itinerary Expert, professional and personable guide for two days Experienced and conscientious driver with a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle for two days All port fees & local Russian taxes Lunch on both days Subway ride Canal cruise (boat ride) Bottled still water (one bottle per person per day) Electronic headsets for groups of 7 and more Photo permissions inside museums Entry/Admission - The State Hermitage Museum Entry/Admission - Park And Gardens of Peterhof Entry/Admission - Catherine Palace and Park Entry/Admission - Yusupov Palace on Moika River Entry/Admission - Savior on the Spilled Blood Entry/Admission - The Museum Complex The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral Entry/Admission - Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost) Entry/Admission - Peter and Paul Cathedral I usually loathe this type of guided-tour-with-headset-transmitters-follow-the-flag, but in this case it was necessary. Russia, unlike the rest of the countries on this cruise made us go through stern-looking immigration officers stamping passports to get ashore. If you do not have a tour, you have to get a separate visa. It is doable, but we were just looking for an easy excursion day with minimal hassle. There is no such thing as an "easy" excursion in St. Petersburg. This was a hard two days. Every stop on the list above is spectacular from both a historical and cultural perspective...and more crowded than any destination I have ever visited. The first day we hit every stop except Peterhof and Catherine's Palace. Turns out we were there starting Tuesday and a couple of places were closed on Wednesday, so they packed it in to he first day. I did not know this at the time, but it made for a long, hard day. Words cannot describe some of the things I saw in St. Petersburg. The art and architecture are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. The Hermitage in particular is stunning. However, the Russian authorities know this and push more people than comfortable through these locations. The Hermitage was packed with tour groups, literally shoulder to shoulder, shuffling along like zombies. That was the worst, but all the urban locations were nearly as bad. Only on the second day did you get some relief at Peterhof because it is about an hour outside of town and is a giant park. Much nicer. That said, still go see these places. It may be miserable, but walking into a room with 26 Rembrandts hanging was remarkable. The tour itself was nice and our guide spoke excellent English. Helsinki, Finland Weather bit us here and we just walked around town taking in the city. We took the "Hop on, hop off" bus around to the Rock Church. As a suggestion, if you go to the cafe run by the church on the left of the entrance you can get a cup of coffee and a discount ticket to the church. The regular ticket line was long and we just walked in. They had a small choir singing and the acoustics were interesting. Too many people though. Death by tourist. For some reason the Sibelius Monument (he was a composer) is a tourist stop. Not much to see, just a large piece of modern art. Took all of five minutes to exhaust that stop and we got on the next bus. We took some photos of old buildings and then headed back to the dock where there was a sort of flea market (tourist junk) and food vendors. I got a reindeer burger (tasty with mustard) and the wife got vendace. Vendace are small fish cooked and salted, basically sardines. However, after taking a few bites a large, aggressive sea gull swooped down and attacked her lunch! The look like an ongoing issue at the port, so hide in a tent before eating. Weather was poor (cold and wet, with wind), so Helsinki was not a truly memorable stop. Except for the seagull. That is burned in our memory forever. Stockholm, Sweden. Again, no excursion because I did not see the need in a country with spectacular public transit. However, I did buy a "Hop On Hop Off" (HOHO) bus ticket from the Stromma company. The ship docks at Nynashamn about an hour from Stockholm and the "Hop On Hop Off" bus makes a couple of special runs between the dock and Stockholm. However, I did not catch that they leave the port at 1000. We got off at 0800. The driver explained that many people get confused by this and they just walk 20 minutes and buy a train ticket at the local station. The trip to Stockholm takes an hour. Once there you can use the HOHO ticket inside the city. We took this option and it worked well. Tickets for the train were inexpensive and you need to buy them at the tourist office just outside the port area. You cannot miss it. Once you have a ticket, just follow a blue line painted on the ground for 20 minutes to the station. We got off at the main station in Stockholm and decided to start with the Vasa Museum. Vasa is a ship that sank and was raised and put into a museum. We hopped into a cab and promptly spent 20 minutes in traffic. After creeping along we got out of our driver that the South Korean president was in town and security had tangled up the entire downtown. The HOHO buses were not running at all! Thanks Stromma for not telling the people who pre-bought tickets about a massive issue with your service. I was not happy. However, while stewing at the thought of losing out on precious time stuck in traffic, I noticed 20 men in full military regalia ride by on horseback. We bailed on the cab and discovered the South Korean leader was getting a full military parade/escort to meet the king. Amazing experience and we felt so lucky to have seen it. Security was super-tight, so we could not get in the palace, but the parade more than made up for it. Traffic was a disaster, but I remembered that our HOHO ticket included their HOHO boat that ran around the harbor. We took it from the palace without issue and hopped off at the Vasa Museum. Vasa is amazing! A huge sailing ship that sank hours after it was launched and basically raised nearly intact in 1961. I loved it and the associated museum is fascinating. We also visited the Nobel Museum. Small, but fascinating history of Nobel winners and the man himself. There was a Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit going and it was interesting to see American history from a different perspective. After a quick lunch at a restaurant named "Paris, Texas" (expensive but very tasty), we headed back to the ship. No real issues navigating the public transit. It was easy. In Nynashamn is a small chocolate shop named "ChokladHuset" that you should see the sign on the way back from the train station. Expensive, but excellent chocolate. Their claim to fame is they do the chocolate for the Nobel prize winners when they visit. Copenhagen, Denmark Although this was the embark/disembarkation port, we were there long enough to do some things before and after the cruise. We basically wandered around. The Kastellet is an old fortress near the center of the city converted to a lovely park. We also visited Tivoli Park, a 100+ years old amusement park. Do not think Disneyland here. It is a small, charming affair with some rides that look better suited to a local amusement park in rural America. Lots of places to eat, play carnival games and generally enjoy the long evenings. We even found an open, unattended fire pit to sit around! Be warned, while entrance is cheap, we got beef stew and a bottle of water for $71.00 USD. Tasty, but clearly your are paying a premium on top of the already expensive Danish restaurant prices. Copenhagen is on the return visit list for us. Wish we had more time here. Disembarkation in Copenhagen, Denmark This next bit got my blood up. We got a letter stating that the port has limited transportation options (including cabs) were limited at the port on disembarkation day. So we bought the $15/person transfer to the main train station offered by NCL. This meant we got off the ship at 0940 in the morning. As haven dwellers we could have been the first off. Instead we had to sit around for hours only to watch perhaps 20 taxi cabs waiting near the port. Because of this we did not go through the Haven disembarkation process and went out with the rest of the passengers. This was painful, long, crowded waits to get off and, my favorite, an idiot decided to carry his own luggage off the ship. Normally you leave it outside your cabin the night before and then pick it up on the dock. This genius (who was elderly and wearing a back brace!) tried to carry all his own luggage off through a crowd of surly people down two flights of narrow stairs. He got some help from good samaritans, but the level of stupid was impressive. Bottom line, NCL oversold the transport issues in Copenhagen to sell their transport option. Summary It was a great cruise with a few glitches. Nothing that would prevent me from suggesting you check it out. My lessons learned include: 1. Skip the spa suite 2. Check hotel room size better before leaving 3. Wear comfortable shoes. The cobblestones are murder on your feet! 4. The weather went from hot to cold and miserable. Pack appropriate gear. Have fun! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Let me start with the positive - the ports were fantastic and our family enjoyed every minute visiting the beautiful cities. We found the disembarkation and embarkation process efficient considering the number of passengers on this ship. ... Read More
Let me start with the positive - the ports were fantastic and our family enjoyed every minute visiting the beautiful cities. We found the disembarkation and embarkation process efficient considering the number of passengers on this ship. The two NCL excursions we participated in were a good value for the money and were very well run. Our independent tours through TJ Travel were fantastic. I agree with an earlier reviewer that this ship is designed for warm weather travel, making the interior public areas very crowded, so bring warm clothing so you can take advantage of the outdoor areas and activities. We were very fortunate and had beautiful weather the entire trip. It was hit or miss with staff overall, some were friendly but most seemed to be going through the motions and giving their minimum effort to engage with guests. Our room steward did his job, but made sure we knew when he was off the clock, which we thought was odd since the only thing we asked him for were some extra towels. Our issue is with the overall cleanliness, food handling and sanitation practices aboard this ship and is the main reason we will never sail with NCL again. I understand staff can only do so much, but sanitation practices are critical aboard a ship - especially one of this size. Public areas including the railings and elevators were not wiped down and sanitized during the cruise; by the end of the cruise, visible fingerprints and grime could easily be seen throughout the ship. Vomit in the public bathrooms was not cleaned promptly. Cafe' (buffet) staff did not practice or enforce basic sanitation practices (despite signage everywhere) other than "washy washy" and passengers reused dishes and routinely filled personal beverage cups right in front of staff and staff did nothing to stop them despite our comments and complaints. A large amount of passengers were coughing and sneezing openly throughout the ship, making proper sanitation practices all the more important. Our first specialty dining experience at Moderno went well and the food and service was very good. Our next dining experience at La Cucina was not so. The members of my family ordered different food items at La Cusina, but we all wound up with identical gastrointestinal distress afterward indicating whomever handled our food did not follow basic food sanitation practices; we all refused to attend our last pre-paid dining experience at Cagney's for this reason. I have shared my experience with NCL, and can only hope that for the sake of future passengers they will review and improve the food handling and sanitation practices aboard this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Tons of fun on the NCL Getaway June 7th, 2019 cruise. The ship just got off from a 1-month dry dock and you could tell all the wall furnishings, artwork, carpet, paint, and other details were attended too. Embarkation: Fast and ... Read More
Tons of fun on the NCL Getaway June 7th, 2019 cruise. The ship just got off from a 1-month dry dock and you could tell all the wall furnishings, artwork, carpet, paint, and other details were attended too. Embarkation: Fast and painless Took about 35 min or so. Food: Recommend eating at Savor/Taste whenever you have the chance. These two dining rooms are 2 of the 3 main dining halls apart from the buffet. They have their own kitchen and you can taste the difference. First night line was long-about 45-minute wait but only 15-20 each night thereafter. They did allow reservations on the last night and thank goodness we did that. People were waiting for an hour or so I hear. Tropicana allows reservations but they go really fast. Book for your entire cruise if you don't want to wait. The food and service were lacking compared to Savor/Taste. Tropicana has nightly entertainment which can be fun. Buffett was a buffet, not horrible or great. Crazy, crazy busy ALL the time. We sat outside a few times-a little chilly but a nice break from the crowds. Cabin: BEST CABIN out of my 7 cruises. Had 2 adults, 2 kids. Plenty of storage (2 closets and multiple drawers. Bunk bed plus lower couch bed which kids enjoyed. Bring a window curtain or shower curtain with hooks and you can partition off the room at night time. Entertainment: Free Burn the floor was meh. Great dancers-but there was no storyline or anything to keep you entertained. It was just dancing for 45 minutes. Wish we would have seen Million Dollar Quartet- one of the guys showed up at the Dueling Pianos and he was AMAZING. Dueling Pianos was good fun. Mr. and Mrs. Smith was great. The Comedian was dumb...but with enough alcohol I was laughing. I enjoyed Escape the Big Top-its like Escape the Room. Did not wish to pay for any shows. Water Slides-Kids loved it. Slides are not heated so there were really cold when we went. Pools were a little warmer and many ppl enjoyed. Ropes Course is great with a zip line to at the end. Not to be missed. Mini Golf and rock climbing were great! Osheehans games are fun! Mini bowling ($6/person/game) Pretty expensive and not included in the all-inclusive game package. Air hockey, Pool, Basketball and some others. You will find more in the arcade room too. If you have kids, the all-inclusive game package is worth it. Each game is crazy expensive- 1.50 and up I believe. Kids Camp/Splash Academy: $6/meal which I think is crazy. There is a show performed by the kid's last sea day and if your child does not want to participate, they can't go during that 3 hour block of time. SPA: Booked a couples massage. Was good-not the best. Ended with a hard sales pitch. No Sauna, hot tub, amenities or a shower after... There is a 20% off coupon first sea day-art auction. If you want to use SPA, go get that coupon. Otherwise, the daily deals are ok, but spots filled up fast. Couldn't get into Thalassotherapy Pool-they only sell a limited amount of passes and had zero Sea days available. Ports: Berlin: Best of Berlin & Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp by Viator. Highly Recommend. (ULK tours) Probably one of the best tours I've been on. I was debating the 3hour bus ride both ways...but it was worth it. The camp really made the tour. This was one of the longest days we had, but since there isn't much to see during the bus ride- you have a built-in nap. :) St. Petersburg: Beautiful and surprising! Tour from TJ Travel: 2 day St. Petersburg City Tour. We got SUPER lucky and had Olga who was smart, funny and customized our tour due to the traffic. We overheard many saying they did not like St. Petersburg because of the lines and the number of people. There were quite a few ships in during our stay and line to Hermitage was NUTS. We ended up going first thing on the 2nd day and waited only 30 minutes. The otherwise-the line wrapped around the building. Probably a 2-3 hour wait. Petergof was AMAZING and equally surprising was the Subway Station! Make sure your guide allows you a few minutes at each stop to just look around. It's quite something. Side note: Our tour started at 8:45am and we got outside probably around 9am. You could see most tour operators were waiting outside and not leaving people who had reservations. NCL sends a notice the night prior saying NCL tours only will get off first, and then after 8:45, other tours. You get assigned a group number ( I think there are 12 groups total). The passport line after getting off the ship added to the time it took to get to the tour. (The 2nd day went faster since they entered your information already) Plan accordingly. Tallinn: Walked from cruise port to Old Town-easy walk. About 15-20 minutes. No tour needed. Beautiful place just to stroll around and grab some espresso. We all enjoyed it! Helsinki: Hop On Hop Off by Stromma with Canal Tour. Lots of mini islands which was nice to see. We did not hop off and tour any places as it was freezing for us. The bus was right outside by port. Stockholm: BEAUTIFUL and I wish I had more time there. It would take a few days to explore. Hop on Hop Off by Stromma...EXCEPT this was a horrible experience. They were allowing people getting off the ship to buy at the port-which is fine, if they had enough buses and if it was organized. Took an hour or more just to get on the bus and then an hour or so to drive into town. Then they make you get off by the ABBA museum to catch another bus or get on the canal tour. Another 45 min to get on the canal tour. So we wasted a ton of time with this bus company. Not to mention AC did not work on any of the buses and it was deathly hot. There weren't enough buses to take everyone back to the ship either...so the company had to call in another bus everyone...This took another 1.5 off of our day at port. Book a real tour because this city is not to be missed. It probably would have been one of my favorites. Copenhagen: We spent 3 days after the cruise. Originally had Hotel Nebo booked-which we stayed at before the cruise. Do not recommend at all...ended up at Hotel Tivoli which was great! Spent the entire day at Tivoli (11 hours) and that wasn't enough. My parents (in their 70's) had fun and went on rides. The gardens are beautiful and the food was good. Copenhagen Zoo on the next day. One of the best Zoo's I've been to! Watched a baby polar bear play and jump in the water while the dad ate. Saw a baby kangaroo come out from the mother's pouch and watched others jump around the fields. The panda was eating its bamboo and the monkeys were playing. The 3rd day was just walking around enjoying the city, did a canal tour (highly recommend) and enjoyed local food. Great tour overall. I would say there will be mixed reviews-but it is what you make of it. It's your vacation and some things won't go according to plan or what you hoped for. We just roll with it. It all works out and makes for some great memories in the end. Was the ship too crowded? Yeah. I would opt to go on a smaller cruise next time. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely-one of the better ones. Would I do NCL again? Yes Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The itinerary was what we were looking for, hoped previous experience with NCL would be improved upon, not to be. The good... We made it to all the ports, even if it was a little late a couple of days. Our room steward was very ... Read More
The itinerary was what we were looking for, hoped previous experience with NCL would be improved upon, not to be. The good... We made it to all the ports, even if it was a little late a couple of days. Our room steward was very competent and attentive for the most part. The show Million Dollar Quartet was excellent. We did not use any NCL shore excursions, mainly due to the cost and previous reviews. We used an independent company for Berlin and St Petersburg, which were very good, but used Hop on hop off tours in other cities. Most are okay, although construction, traffic and street closures impacted the ease of getting around. Highly recommend using "Free Tour" walking tours, available in many cities. The bad.... The Internet. We had been warned, but reviews I read made me hope things had improved. Not so. Given that WiFi is available in every port, I would discourage anyone from purchasing the Internet packages. The IT staff were terrible, Even leaving passengers standing at their desk, leaving without any explanation. I had over 100 minutes on my account as we were coming into Copenhagen which I hoped to use to check on travel arrangements, only to find they had cut off access to my plan, and wanted me to sign up again! Giving you bonus minutes only helps if you can get on the Internet. All your time should not be used loving on and logging off. Very slow. The meals.... Trying to get anything at the trough they call the Garden Cafe was a joke. Limited variety, mediocre to poor food, and (although not the ship's fault) incredible rude fellow passengers made it a very unpleasant experience. You should not have to pay extra plus an automatic gratuity to get good food! As the cruise progressed, both my husband and I developed breathing issues while in the cabin. Headaches, clogged throats and sneezing. We asked the steward if they had used some kind of chemical carpet cleaner, but he said no, but by the time we left the ship, neither of us was healthy and both had hacking coughs. We noticed several other passengers in the same condition. The disembarkation process was a joke. As we were taking our own luggage and had a very early shuttle to catch, we asked multiple crew where to line up. Four people, four different answers. Unless you were travelling with NCL arranged shuttles, they had no idea. We almost missed our bus, no thanks to this confusion. A simple direction on the paper delivered to our stateroom directing those who planned to "walk off" to go to the forward elevators would have helped a lot. Instead they just said N/A. Publuc announcements would really have helped, too, but none seems forthcoming. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Dining: Freestyle dining is probably the best part of this cruise from a family perspective. We tried all the complimentary restaurants but the buffet remained our preferred dining area since it offered the widest selection. Our ... Read More
Dining: Freestyle dining is probably the best part of this cruise from a family perspective. We tried all the complimentary restaurants but the buffet remained our preferred dining area since it offered the widest selection. Our favorite non-comp restaurant was Moderno because the meat was delicious and there was a wonderful variety. The waiter brings different types and cuts of meat to the table which you choose whether to try or not. It also had an excellent salad bar with seafood, sushi, green salad, soups, cheeses, and cured meat. Family activities: Our family enjoyed having so much to do onboard. The water slides, ropes course, climbing wall, pools, and games in the library were all viable alternatives to just putting the kids in the very popular kids club. Kids club: The kids club was excellent. Our youngest (3) never wanted to leave and woke up every morning asking to go back to the club. The 9 and 11 year old also enjoyed themselves. The 11 year old could sign in and sign out after two hours. We left our youngest onboard in the kids club while we toured St Petersburg. There was an additional charge for meals on port days ($6 per child per meal) if the kids received their meal while at kids club. We booked our kids in/reserved a place for them ahead of time to ensure that there was space for them while we did our St Petersburg shore excursion. We had to change our day 2 SP excursion since kids club opened at 8am so we changed to an afternoon excursion. On sea days kids club closed for lunch and dinner. Kids club also put together a wonderful circus variety show for parents. During the cruise they taught the kids circus tricks and then the kids performed them in the theater as a big group on our final day at sea. Kids club was no charge until 10:30pm. From 10:30pm-1:30am it was $6/hour $4/hour additional sibling. Teen club: Very happy with their teen club. Our teenager probably had the best time of anyone in our family and was definitely the most hesitant about the cruise. Didn't actually hear much from our tight lipped teen except that it was "really good" which is high praise from that child. It was open until 1:30am, no charge. Guppies: For 2 and under it was a parent/caregiver playroom where parents stayed with the baby and it had opening/closing times. Exercise: The gym was excellent and the jogging track offered lovely views for runners. There was a separate weight room and another room with boxing equipment plus the cardio area which had seaviews. Cons: The ship is huge and it's also quite crowded in the atrium area. Depending on the time of day it was impossible to get a seat and all public spaces in general were often crowded. We didnt mind the crowds. When you book on a huge ship then it's reasonable to assume that there will be crowds. Shore excursions: The shore excursions were all excellent. Some family members booked NCL excursions at every port and there were no complaints. It was really easy to explore the German port town on your own. The train in Germany was literally 5 min walk from the ship and the port had a lovely boardwalk. Tallin was about a 20 min walk from the port and easy to do independently. SP needed an organized shore excursion and our only issue was with timing and kids club opening hours which was solved by doing a half day afternoon excursion on day 2. The HOHO in Helsinki was perfect for our family. Our only issue was the Hoho in Stockholm which had a badly organized return to the ship. Public transportation in Copenhagen: Transportation from the ship to the airport was easy. We used the public bus which had a ticket kiosk literally in front of the debarkation area. The bus took us straight to the metro station where we caught the metro directly to the airport. It took us about 40 minutes. The bus stops right at the ship and is far cheaper than a taxi. One adult ticket allows two kids 12 and under to ride free of charge on the bus and metro. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Full disclosure-this is about number 40 cruise for us over about 30 years of cruising. First, let me tell you all of the GOOD things about the cruise. 1. The food was universally very good. We have cruised on some of the best (and ... Read More
Full disclosure-this is about number 40 cruise for us over about 30 years of cruising. First, let me tell you all of the GOOD things about the cruise. 1. The food was universally very good. We have cruised on some of the best (and worst) and overall the food on the NCL Getaway is very good and in some restaurants just excellent. The best restaurant on-board hands down is Le Bistro. Cagney's is a close second. La Cucino's is just ok. Pretty boring and just ok Italian. The best (no additional charge place) on the ship is O'Sheehan's. It is fun, great service, great food and always open. It is a great alternative for breakfast. The staff is universally good. Dining rooms: Savour is the best. Taste is the worst--poor management and nasty front staff ruin the dining room experience at Taste. The Tropicana is also good and fun with live music. The buffet was just a mess for us. We had a very large tour group from Asia on-board that dominated the buffet whenever it was open. After a couple of attempts we just gave up on getting close to the food or having a place to sit. As mentioned O'Sheehan's was a great alternative. 2. The ship was just overhauled so it is bright and clean. In general a very nice ship. They made a couple of huge errors in design mentioned below. 3. The bars (and there is one every 50 feet) are all nice, well-staffed, and fun. 4. The dinner/circus act is fun and the folks are incredibly talented. Illusionarium I think is the name of the separate dining and performance area. Do not miss this act and dinner. You will have to arrange it in advance of your trip. Ok, now for the BAD stuff with the ship. 1. The internet does not work. Not even a little bit. For those of us who have to work even while on a ship it is a disaster. The manager, to his credit, knows that it is really bad. It is impossible to work or even search on the internet. It is the worst experience for us since the implementation of internet on ships. It is a deal-killer for us as I have to have internet capability. I was refunded all of my cost but that does not solve the issue. 2. The ship's excursion staff is the worst we ever encountered. They are just lost with no management or oversight. Rude, incompetent, and sullen is the best i can do. We heard endless complaints about the staff and the quality of the trips offered by the ship. They fouled up the only ship arranged excursion we purchased. Ultimately we ended up canceling because of the staff errors. It was to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Although we scheduled our trip months in advance (along with this one excursion) when we got on-board they told us that our trip was full and that instead of a 130pm departure we were booked on a 6am departure....huh? Again, no coordination and no one to talk to about the issues. 3. The entertainment is high school level. Sorry, but if you expect anything in the way of entertainment do not look to this ship. The Burn the Floor group is painful. The bands on board were loud. Loud because that was all they could do. Compared to other ships the Getaway has to do better than the folks we had on board. 4. The casino. My suggestion is do not go near it. Over 14 days we saw no one....not a soul...win anything on the slots. We talked to folks who were using the casino and to a person they said exactly what i am telling you. The payout for the slots has to be hideous. I asked what the payout percentage was and they refused to discuss it. That has to tell you something. Walk through it or just donate your money to them and save time. 5. Maybe the poorest design on any ship we have been on is the band/performance/public area on the 6th floor which opens to the 7th floor. It is dead in the center of the 6th floor. It is a horrible place to stick bands as it is just deafening and you cannot get away from it. The sound is ramped-up to an uncomfortable level. It is like a garage band in your neighbors garage that you can hear all over the neighborhood. HInts: 1. In Bergen do a hop on hop off and wander on your own. 2. In Reykjavik walk from the ship and take a taxi downtown. It is about the same price as the mess they have with the bus transports. It is faster and way less hassle. 3. Go to Vitar (or any other trip planner for the stops) and get a private provider for wherever you want to go. It is cheaper, better planned, and a lot less hassle than fighting with hundreds of others who will push you out of the way to be first on a cruise ship bus. 4. Do not believe the provided by the cruise director or others about needing to use the ship provided excursions. You can rent a taxi or private tour for the same or less than you pay to be one of two hundred on a ship excursion. 5. Edinburgh and Copenhagen on your own or on a hop on hop off. Both cities are just wonderful and you cannot get lost. 6. Departing Copenhagen. Stay at the airport area and take the train to the city center. You cannot get lost and it is cheap, clean, and fun. The Marriott AC (the totally weird hotel design) close to the train and the airport is perfect. You can walk to the train station in five minutes. 7. The Tivoli in Copenhagen is worth every penny. A zillion cute restaurants, wonderful gardens, and a fun place to spend a few hours. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the balcony stateroom. They allow open smoking in several areas inside the ship which permeayes the showroom and other bars! There are over 21 points for improvement with this cruise company. The entertainment us cheap, appears unrehearsed and karaoke like most nights. Embarkmemt required showing proof you were a real person I've 3 times and queuING each time. If you are a first timer cruiser this cruise may be good for you as you would not know how low a standard MSC is. Of course you may like to pay to have open dining but other crise companies have all the above plus more included in their offer Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
From the beginning of the embarkation to the end I would have to say that we were sorry that we chose Costa. No communication had been given to us for getting to the ship from the airport. The phone number we were given was not in service. ... Read More
From the beginning of the embarkation to the end I would have to say that we were sorry that we chose Costa. No communication had been given to us for getting to the ship from the airport. The phone number we were given was not in service. We worked it out with a taxi at the beginning and end of the cruise at the cost of €100 each way. The itinerary was what we wanted and the tours were well done but for the language barrier. English was at the bottom of their priority list and messages were read after at least 4 other languages first. No one spoke English with less than a severe accent and making it difficulties follow. The crew was sour and rarely smiled. Our safety drill was a series of lining us up at the muster station. Pushed into rows of three, shoulder to shoulder I resented being touched by these serious crew members. Don’t touch me! Tell me. Oh yes, you can’t speak English. The food was mediocre at best. I’ve never lost weight on a cruise before. Communication and manners were lacking almost always. There were no substitutions in the dining room and vegetables were lacking. Any other cruise we’ve been on offer alternatives every day. The buffet was also lacking taste, variety, and tender meat choices. The same menus were offered every day. We could not have butter unless we asked for it and waited for someone to get it from the kitchen. Coffee was offered with breakfast and after that we had to pay for it at the bar. They actually have a drink pkg for coffee juice and water. Most of all, the waiters pushing past you with trays or reaching across you to serve or remove dishes was so rude. Whether you had to step aside for them as they rushed by or get shoved out of line as they filled the clean cup tray, the waiters were rude. Even in the dining room our orders were mixed up and waiters could not seem to serve plates in a mannerly way. They still reached across our faces to serve others. The entertainment was mediocre at best except for one singer and 3 acrobats. The dancers were not nearly what we have seen on any other cruise. Their poor synchronization accompanied poor routines. I guess what frustrated us most was the inattention to the English speaking guests with brief announcements which we did not understand. As well, the tour guides who could speak good English were few with a lack of ability to converse with us. Speaking of inattentive behaviour on the part of the crew, we were mainly ignored with little or no eye contact. The sour looks on most of the employees’ faces indicated a poor work climate perhaps and poor morale amongst staff. Wait staff never helped in any way but to clear dishes at the buffet. No smiles, no good morning, no ability to understand what you might be asking for, such as “Do you have hot cereal this morning, porridge, oatmeal, cream of wheat?” Our room steward was sweet and did his best with a stale-smelling stateroom. The pillows seemed to need washing and the carpets required a good shampoo. (So did our soap dispenser in the bathroom) Another warning is that the added 15% per day is a required fee. They do not regard it as a tip. In fact, they told us that we were free to tip individuals but we could not withhold any of the 15% per day charge for our severely poor service in the dining room. Speaking of money I’d like to say how angry I was at not being able to get an accounting of my charges. I had to have my husband with me because all room charges were put on his account only (even though we signed equal status for charges.) I was the one who booked the cruise, arranged for the tours, paid for our two watches that we bought, all on my Visa not my husband’s. When I asked them to change the accounting they told me that it could not be changed because of the system. All charges and payments would be under the man’s name in a cabin. Really, is this 1950? All said, our itinerary was ideal and the tours worth the money even without good tour guides. There was a lot of written information on each port to follow along. Within the opulence of this ship a number of disappointments seized us and threatened our joy of going to see the land of my heritage. But Norway out-performed this costa ship with its grandeur and awe inspiring beauty. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Initially I chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary around the Baltic and the 3 day stay in St. Petersburg. Additionally having been on two prior cruises with Oceania I was once again attracted to the cuisine as well as the level ... Read More
Initially I chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary around the Baltic and the 3 day stay in St. Petersburg. Additionally having been on two prior cruises with Oceania I was once again attracted to the cuisine as well as the level of service offered in concierge and generally throughout the ship. I was very disappointed in the food this time ( with a couple of exceptions in the speciality restaurants) I felt the quality had declined and the menus seemed tired and needed some fresh input from a culinary standpoint. Essentially what I had on my first cruise was now the same over a 10 year period. Of note are the “scrambled eggs” they were more like scrambled soup. The bacon, ham, sausage, cold meats etc. were poor quality and the fruit was tasteless. Additionally the wait staff were poorly informed as to what some dishes actually were. I purchased the full beverage package and so did my wife, it is convenient and I like convenience, the wine by the glass is generally good so no complaints in that regard. However competing for a decent drink during the daily “Happy Hour” was virtually impossible and impossible to get a seat. The crowd takes over the Martini Lounge like a gas station running out of gas and the person who paid for a full beverage package ends up subsidizing the rest with drinks from the “well” The system of “Happy Hour” needs to be revamped to accommodate those paying full price. Many drinks were not delivered correctly and not with the liquor of my choice. The wait staff did their level best to keep up with the hoards of cheap well drinkers who ordered 2-3 drinks prior to the cutoff time and sat there for another hour. It should be noted that Oceania is registered in the Marshall Islands and that the labor law rights of those working this ship are virtually non existent (so I doubt that management gets many complaints for fear of dismissal) It has been noted by several people that the $16.00 per day per person in gratuities does not trickle down to the staff as a whole and that is just another way for Oceania to improve their bottom line at the expense of the hard working crew. I felt that many of the crew seemed to feel they were like indentured servants working for less than when gratuities were handed In cash to those deserving it. It does not make for an ideal environment for many of these hard working people who otherwise have no options from the countries they come from. Oceania is the only cruise line registered on the Marshall Islands and for good reason.They can avoid taxes, safety as well as labor regulations and justice. Think twice before you decide on this company. The third time was not a charm and the country club atmosphere has definitely disappeared in exchange for the look and feel of a Holiday Inn in need of an overhaul. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
In reflecting on our 11 nights aboard the Silver Spirit, I can honestly say we couldn't think of a single thing we would have liked to change. This ship and crew are the epitome of why we sail with Silversea again and again. Every ... Read More
In reflecting on our 11 nights aboard the Silver Spirit, I can honestly say we couldn't think of a single thing we would have liked to change. This ship and crew are the epitome of why we sail with Silversea again and again. Every single crew member we encountered was friendly and professional with some being old friends that we were happy to see again. I personally like the decor of the Spirit as it has a bit of the darker wood and warmth that I thought was lacking in the newer Muse. Our suite was kept immaculate for the entire voyage and all the public areas were clean and well-maintained. My daughter even commented on how the crew was painting and repairing something every day to keep it all looking fresh. The ship never felt crowded and the crew always had something planned to try and keep us busy even if we were at sea. We love the daily trivia, golf putting, and the special events such as chef's cooking demonstrations, and galley tours. The singers were very good although we didn't attend all the shows. We are late diners so many nights we were still enjoying dessert at that time. We found the food in all restaurants to be very good. The menus in Atlantide and La Terrazza did have a few changes during our voyage. Service was excellent and the wines were generally very nice as well. My glass of pre-dinner champagne only had to be requested for the first few nights and then magically appeared for the rest of the cruise. My daughter enjoyed that caviar was offered as an appetizer choice--I'm not sure I remember seeing this on any of our other voyages. Compliments to the chefs and staff as each dining experience was very good to excellent. Not to be missed...there were some seriously talented bartenders on board as well. If I had to nitpick, Silver Note was our least favorite food-wise but the jazz duo was lovely so we counted it as a win as well. The spa was beautiful and we enjoyed some services there. They were giving tours on embarkation day and some giveaways so it was a fun introduction. The gym is a bit small for this size of ship and my only comment about the fitness classes is that the yoga classes and such were only offered at 7 am but tours went out around 8:30 each day so I didn't get to go to any classes. I was disappointed as I brought my yoga gear and was ready to practice. Most of the afternoon classes where paid classes such as booty boot camp, etc. In general the excursions were very good and I was impressed with how organized they were even on the days we had to tender. Everything went quite smoothly. Embarking in Barcelona was easy but there was an actual line to board which I've never experienced before. I think flights must have come in just before we went over to board so many arrived at the same time. Mallorca- Caves of Drach was very pretty and interesting. The added on Majolica pearl factory tour was really a store to purchase jewelry with one person demonstrating how the pearls are made... no commentary. We weren't there long so not a big deal but a little underwhelming. Cadiz--Andalusian Horse show was fantastic. What gorgeous creatures and the trainers have really worked magic with them. No photos or video allowed which was a bit of a bummer but actually made everyone stop and watch the horses. Not to be missed! Lisbon--We did a city drive and river cruise on the Tagus River. The city drive was ok but our guide was my least favorite and the river cruise was not too good. Not much to see and there weren't enough seats on the top deck so those of us that sat below had dirty and scratched windows to look out of and a very limited sound system so we didn't hear much of the commentary. Cascais and Sintra--both towns were very cute and the drive up the coast and through the mountains was lovely. Our guide was exceptional and we enjoyed walking around. Maybe a bit more time especially in Sintra would have been nice as it was very crowded and we didn't have time to see the palace and finish the shops. It was quite cool when we got up there as well. Porto--LOVED this town. Wish we had more time here as there was a lot we would have loved to have seen on foot. We had a great guide who was an architect and offered much educational commentary on the buildings including the stunning port terminal where we docked. We took a bus tour and a river cruise on the Douro with its many bridges and then went to a winery to taste the port wines that the area is famous for. The river cruise was much better than the one in Lisbon and the entire visit made us want to go back to Porto. St. Malo--Went to Mont St. Michel and had our exercise for the day--up 350 steps. The guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed the tour. I think it was probably handled as well as it could have been given that it was a Sunday and every person in France and four other countries much have been there....crazy crowded. Our only complaint was that we were given several hours of free time to shop and eat afterwards and the crowds made it impossible to shop and the food was not very good in any restaurant. We would have preferred to have been taken back to St. Malo and allowed to dine there and see the town. We were very disappointed not to have seen it but very happy to have seen Mont St. Michel...it is stunning. Guernsey--What a charming little place. We did not get to see the whole island as we opted to take the powerboat ride and just walk around the town where we docked. We did get to see puffins and seals and has a fun ride so we are not complaining but hoping to go back again and see more. Portsmouth--Home of the Royal Navy...felt very safe. Interesting tour to the town of Winchester and the beautiful cathedral. Jane Austen is buried here and the remnants of the castle nearby have some ties to Henry VIII so that was interesting. Probably a little too long in town for us though as we had nothing to do after the guide dropped us off. I think there were some pubs open and some passed the time there. Disembarkation in London was very easy. Cruise Director Roy was delightful and a wonderful addition to the Silversea family. Overall, one of the best cruises we have taken and an itinerary that we would do again given the chance. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Picked this cruse experience due to a special Travelzoo deal that included flight, $85 onboard credit, $58 special dining credit and one bottle of red wine. Itinerary - wonderful, all the ports were worth visited again. Dining - ... Read More
Picked this cruse experience due to a special Travelzoo deal that included flight, $85 onboard credit, $58 special dining credit and one bottle of red wine. Itinerary - wonderful, all the ports were worth visited again. Dining - food was not great, compared to the Celebrity cruise that I took before. In general the sit down dinner dishes ( especially fish) were not prepared well and not impressive. Entertainment - not great, mostly signing and not that entertaining. Service - not as good as Celebrity. Especially the Symphony dining room waiters were kind of rude. Cabin - not bad, 3 of us stayed in a balcony suite and still lots of room Shore Excursion - before the cruise, we kept receiving emails that we have to book St. Petersburg excursion with Princess in order to avoid Russian visa. However that's not the case. We booked excursion with TJ travel and the process was very smooth. The port custom didn't even check if we booked local excursion at all, just checked our passport. Internet service - AWFUL ! Paid $75 for internet because kept receiving email that Princess internet connection is "fastest at sea like landline". However could not even open a picture... went to the Internet cafe, the manager's attitude was terrible and said that I should "read the internet contract because the internet only works well at Caribbean...". I replied that if the internet only works at Caribbean why did Princess advertise the service on the Baltic Sea Cruise and kept sending emails, I also asked the manager to show me where the statement is on the contract, and he couldn't find it. I have been on cruse before and understand the internet speed will be slow. However for $75 I couldn't even open a file or a picture, and the fact that Princess kept posting and emailing false advertisement is not acceptable. Overall, I would recommend this Baltic Sea route, but just not with Princess Cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We had tried to get a group of friends together to tour the British Isles for a few years, but it never happened. My wife and I decided to take a British Isles cruise on Regent's Explorer instead, and are very glad we did. We used ... Read More
We had tried to get a group of friends together to tour the British Isles for a few years, but it never happened. My wife and I decided to take a British Isles cruise on Regent's Explorer instead, and are very glad we did. We used the included business class to arrive in Southampton a day early. We mainly used the day to shake off jet lag, and the next day used the hotel's complimentary car service to get to the port at around 12:30. Embarkation was a breeze; we were the only passengers there, and had a choice of 10 people to take care of us. We had cocktails on the pool deck, and were in our room with our luggage just after 2:00. That couldn't have been easier. The room was an F2 (Superior) suite. It had a large walk in closet, with more hangers than we needed (and we overpacked). The bathroom was nice with double sinks, a bathtub and a separate shower. All of the surfaces were luxurious marble. The bed was very comfy and faced the veranda, the veranda was big and had nice wicker chairs,and our room attendant dropped off a bottle of scotch and a bottle of bourbon. No complaints about our room at all, and it was one of the bottom end suites! We spent some time touring the ship, and were frankly amazed at how nice all of the public areas were. It's maximum luxury, almost obsessively so. Everything was spotless and appeared to be in perfect shape. Explorer has been in service for about three years, and looks like it's a brand new vessel. It's supposed to be refurbished this fall, but the passenger-visible areas don't seem to need it. We split our dinners between Compass Rose (the main dining room) and the specialty restaurants. We like to eat late, and that made it easy to get additional reservations at the specialty places. We can honestly say that we didn't have a single dish that we were unhappy with. The service was also great, everything was perfectly paced. One or both of Prime 7 and Chartreuse are open for lunch each day, and that was really nice. All in all, it couldn't have been better. We don't pay much attention to the entertainment. Since we eat late, the show has usually started by the time we're ready. But what we did see was pretty good. Cruise director John Barron's show was excellent. He's really a great CD, the best we've run across. They had an Irish flute player that we liked. The real highlights were two groups that John brought on board. In Belfast there was a troupe of musicians and dancers that told the Belfast story. But the topper was in Liverpool where he had the Cavern Club Beatles on stage. They are the house band at the Cavern Club, the place the actual Beatles play hundreds of times. The theater was definitely rocking that night! Cons: 1. The theater has too many obstructed vision seats. The steps are tricky when the lights go out, and we saw a woman fall and break her ankle. She had to be airlifted off the ship the next day. 2. British weather. Pros: 1. Literally everything else. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We did this cruise because we'd never been in the Baltic before. We've sailed with Princess before with mixed results and this trip was par for the course. The destinations were excellent. (St. Petersburg was the surprise ... Read More
We did this cruise because we'd never been in the Baltic before. We've sailed with Princess before with mixed results and this trip was par for the course. The destinations were excellent. (St. Petersburg was the surprise disappointment, Talinn and Warnemünde was outstanding!) Embarkation and disembarkation in Copenhagen was really easy. Actually, with the medallion, getting on and off at all the ports was easier than we expected. One of the problems we had was room size. There were four of us, and once the upper bunks were lowered at night, moving around the room was awkward and difficult. Also, because there were four of us, we couldn't push the bottom beds together. I'm pretty tall and my wife is pretty short and with a double bed it works out. This trip my feet were dangling off the end and the mattress was just wide enough for my shoulders. Ugh. We took advantage of the Elemis Spa Enclave, a room that has a large soaking pool, some steam rooms and heated seats. We went there almost every day and felt that it was worth every penny. We were pleased that we had the place mostly to ourselves for the duration of the trip. We had a lot of fun. We like exploring on our own, so we didn't do any of the Princess Excursions but we did make arrangements for an SPB tour on our own for St. Petersburg because the only way to see Russia without a visa is through a tour. The food was pretty standard, both in the main dining room and the buffet. Not amazing, but not terrible, and even on an eleven day cruise, they kept the menus varied enough so we didn't feel like we were eating the same stuff over and over. One complaint was the soup; the thick soups (jambalaya, albondigas, etc.) tasted like they used the same base and just swapped ingredients, while the clear soups (miso, chicken noodle, etc.) were really, really salty. And that's all I've got. I'd recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my 13th cruise with NCL and every year they seem to get worse and worse.The Food,entertainment and overall service is deteriorating like anything. Food is cold even in specialty restaurants. The spirit should be grounded as ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise with NCL and every year they seem to get worse and worse.The Food,entertainment and overall service is deteriorating like anything. Food is cold even in specialty restaurants. The spirit should be grounded as soon as possible as it is in a terrible run down condition and most areas of the ship seem to be in need of an upgrade or repair. The service in specialty restaurants is extremely slow and in the end you get cold horrible food. the menu is extremely limited in all restaurants. The music was sub standard throughout the ship. The air conditioning is virtually zero as it is centrally controlled and they are trying to save money by keeping the cooling to a minimum. I stayed in a penthouse this time which was in an old depleted condition with foul smell in the bath area. Everything seems to be needing some kind of upgrade. I am Platinum member a status which has virtually no benefits. Am seriously considering shifting to other cruise carriers for my future cruises. 'I STRONGLY DO NOT RECOMMEND NCL TO ANYONE" It has really really deteriorated over the years .Total waste of money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin ... Read More
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin steward did a good job and dealt with our needs. Service in the main dining room was a little slow at times, especially at breakfast, however the food was acceptable. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the shows as the timing could not be fitted around our dining time (Mytime). We did however manage to see the ice show which was fabulous. We didn't do any cruise excursions we had visited most of the ports previously. Not sure if we would use RCL again we much prefer Celebrity or P & O as was disappointed with the Ship a little sad in places. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were all dark and dingy. The ship seemed to be overflowing with people, hard to find a space to escape the crowds. The entertainment was just adequate. Not of a high standard although the Ice Show which had a theme was very good. The food- average. The best night we had was at Izumi. Giovanni average. The Windjammer was like a canteen. And the Saphire lunch and dinner was almost same food as the Windjammer. The cabin was lovely, spacious however there seemed to be a permanent odour of some sort. The staff seemed in the main to be pre occupied. Not all happy though they tried hard. We are going to go on Quantum of the Seas in January - this was booked before this cruise and I am really hoping for a better experience Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Our party of four sailed on Oceania's Nautica in May 2019, leaving Barcelona onto Lisboa, with a southern dip to the Canary Islands. Spent additional four days in Lisboa and the surrounding area. The cruise itinerary was terrific, ... Read More
Our party of four sailed on Oceania's Nautica in May 2019, leaving Barcelona onto Lisboa, with a southern dip to the Canary Islands. Spent additional four days in Lisboa and the surrounding area. The cruise itinerary was terrific, the main reason we chose. Alas, the ship is a tub, well past its prime. Built in 2000, this almost two decade boat shows its age. Cabin furnishings are tattered. TV is tiny. WiFi didn't work and when it did you were limited to one device per cabin, and it was dicey to change devices without losing the WiFi. Ships colors are dull and lifeless. Casino has perhaps 10 slot machines, some out of order. Our Veranda chairs had to be replaced due to stains. Concierge class offers nothing over standard Veranda cabins (brochure highlights of Concierge benefits only apply to Oceania's larger ships...bait and switch). Food in main dining room average. For the premium price Oceania charges the experience is vastly overrated. jWE cruised on Oceania 7 years ago and found everything to be classy. Something has happened to lower their standards. To be fair, highpoints: cruise Director Carson is absolutely wonderful. Such a waste of talent to be assigned to the Nautica. Shows and fly-in talent were great. Avoid this ship till after 2020 June. If you book prior to that date Oceania should give you a big discount. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 ... Read More
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 star experience. But that is not how Silverseas is marketed. Fellow travellers were discussing looking elsewhere. Food was good but not exceptional. Furnishings slightly raggedy around the edges. Again, nothing disastorous but not the kind of attention to detail you would expect from say Four Seasons which is the type of place Silverseas clientele typically frequent. Casino crew were downright miserable, servicing a worn room with an unfathomable set of slots. Silverseas still check all the right boxes, but the fear is that the new owners are destroying the brand by their cutting of costs. Silver Wind needs sorting out and quickly. This overdue refit can only damage the brand. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Wow what an amazing family holiday! This was our first RCCL Cruise & we will definitely be booking again. Absolutely everything was hassle free & brilliantly organised. We ranged in ages from 76 to 7 & everyone had a blast. ... Read More
Wow what an amazing family holiday! This was our first RCCL Cruise & we will definitely be booking again. Absolutely everything was hassle free & brilliantly organised. We ranged in ages from 76 to 7 & everyone had a blast. Our cabins were lovely & clean with connecting doors. The children adored this & loved the bible that flipped out of the ceiling. The food in the dining room & buffet was exceptional quality & the choice was awesome. There was one day when it was busy & we waited ten minutes to enter. This was no problem & we were happy to wait for a table. The attention to hand hygiene was great as I was worried about this. We also are at Izumi & this was INCREDIBLE. The staff ship wide were amazing. The sorts staff were great. Our girls tried every activity they could - loved the flow rider, the trampolines, the swimming, shuffleboard, bingo, ice skating, the shows, laser tag and all the silly napkin folding and crafting classes. I would recommend this cruise to anyone travelling as an extended family who wanted something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely ... Read More
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely decor. Stateroom was a good size (Balcony room) and the attendant did his thing every day very well. Dining. Food in the MDR was OK but nothing special, buffet was good with loads of different options. Had a choppes grill which was superb, highly recommend. Also the pizza at Sorrentos was absolutely delicious! We saw several of the shows (theatre and Ice) and they were all amazing. All the staff were really nice and friendly, but the bar staff seemed very busy in the evenings and they could do with more bar staff IMO My 2 gripes were that the ship felt a bit too busy/crowded at times, and that in the casino they literally want to screw you out of every last penny. The blackjack has the worst rules of any casino in the world coupled with 6/5 payoffs for a blackjack, which is an insult basically. Anyway if you are not a casino lover you will have a great time on Indy, but as we are gamblers my next cruise will be with NCL. Im sure they will be just as stingy but I feel I need to vote with my feet, Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Chosen as a quick get away for half term with our young children. Embarkation was not the usual standard RCI provide at the pier. We were travelling in a suite and got moved from suite line to regular line and ended up waiting an age. The ... Read More
Chosen as a quick get away for half term with our young children. Embarkation was not the usual standard RCI provide at the pier. We were travelling in a suite and got moved from suite line to regular line and ended up waiting an age. The ships makeover has done her good. The activities for the children were brilliant and they loved exploring. Even though there were over 1000 children onboard it didn’t feel like it. They never really had to wait too long to get on their chosen activity. We were travelling in a JS, room 1106. One of the new cabins placed up by the spa. The room was lovely and quite spacious for four of us. However I would advise if looking to book this cabin for a sunny cruise the balcony may be an issue. Whilst a great size with table and chairs and two loungers as it was previously part of the spa the balcony is protected by glass all round with only the middle section being removed for you to see out. This prevents the sun coming through and I would imagine on hot days would make the balcony very hot. Main dining room and service was exceptional. Never ventured to windjammer. Izumi experience was brilliant and would highly recommend. The only negative we had was that we felt the staff (save our dining room staff) didn’t seem as happy/content as previous RCI cruises. Whether this was because it was only a 4 night cruise or for other reasons we couldn’t tell. Read Less

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