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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our fifth cruise but our first with MSC and certainly our last. I booked purely on the good reputation that MSC has, big mistake. No one informed us that the starting port for our 15 day cruise on MSC Preziosa from Southampton had in ... Read More
Our fifth cruise but our first with MSC and certainly our last. I booked purely on the good reputation that MSC has, big mistake. No one informed us that the starting port for our 15 day cruise on MSC Preziosa from Southampton had in fact been Hamburg and that every port we called at people would disembark and others would embark amongst the passengers getting off for the day, which felt like we were on a ferry and not a relaxing cruise. All it caused was endless queues and disruptions both on and off the ship. The ship itself is stunning and very clean with staff always cleaning wherever we chose to be. Our balcony cabin on the tenth deck was superb. However, where to start. I had prerequested a table for two in the restaurant and was told to confirm once on board which I tried to do, only to be told everyone in the long queue had requested the same and we would be on a waiting list, never to be contacted again. Now the lack of information about the starting point became clear, all the two seater tables had long since been allocated. Our cruise cards did not include our drinks package, so off to stand in another long queue at reception to get that rectified. Sat on a six seater table in the restaurant on the night with people we had never met and it took just short of two hours to serve us three courses of very small portions with very little choice. It was the last time we frequented the restaurant but listening to other couples later in the cruise they were ordering multiple portions with one couple even ordering a main for a starter and two mains for a main an not because they were greedy, I kid you not. We ate the remainder of our meals in the Inca self service where the food always looked desirable and well cooked with plenty of choice but alas none of it was ever hot. Full English warm, curries warm, carvery warm, the heated counters were never turned on, the later you arrived the colder it all got. Only hot food were pizzas late at night. Oh how I wished I had read previous reviews First port of call was Guernsey one and a half hours waiting and queuing to get off and one hour queuing to get back on. Can't believe someone got paid to design the sports bar, four bays with three not so big televisions in each all situated behind the heads of the people sitting in the fixed seats in front of them, please just raise the televisions by a metre. My wife and myself are in our sixties but the idea of having flamingo dance lessons in the disco at 11.30 pm came as quite a surprise, the following night was Irish dance lessons at the same time Shuttle bus charges at the ports were extortionate with no mention that some times there are free port buses and sometimes it is just a stroll into the city centre (Rotterdam springs to mind) We were disturbed to witness a lifeguard assisting a parent physically lifting his large teenage son out of a wheelchair and into a jacuzzi all on a wet floor in the bathing area ( a health and safety nightmare). A fitted hoist would be a good addition for such circumstances. Overnight stay in Rotterdam was a farce, arrived early afternoon and set sail early next morning, so not the long "explore the sights" stop that the itinerary impression gave. Four days before the end of our cruise we had a leaflet informing us that no duty free could be bought after Hamburg "the start port" for what reason we are still baffled. Once we left Hamburg "the start port" to continue our cruise we found we were now on a mini cruise with new people that had embarked there, calling in at Le Harve, Southampton (our finish), Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg. Strangely the standard of entertainment and quality of food suddenly improved, I can only assume this was to encourage mini cruisers to book longer cruises after this taster. In my opinion the many negative reviews for this ship do not lie, we shall not make this mistake again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Well Eclipse and Silhouette are the same class of ship, have the same cruise director Sue when I have travelled on them, I have had the same cabin on both and having sailed the 8 day Fjords on Eclipse and now the 7 day Fjords on Silhouette ... Read More
Well Eclipse and Silhouette are the same class of ship, have the same cruise director Sue when I have travelled on them, I have had the same cabin on both and having sailed the 8 day Fjords on Eclipse and now the 7 day Fjords on Silhouette can directly compare like for like. So lets start at the beginning at check in, Eclipse was a breeze within a few minutes I was through security and on the ship, Silhouette waiting in lines for security going backwards and forwards along the ropes, check in I did get pushed up as I now have a captains club status however then had to sit and wait in the lounge for more time than the whole check in time on Eclipse. (same arrival time for both ships) Room. I have had the same room on both ships both looked the same and were in good condition except on Silhouette the basin had a big chip in it not a major problem. On Eclipse I had a nice blue celebrity bag a pen etc etc on Silhouette nothing. Room stewards on both ships were 5 star. So exploring the ship they are mainly the same but things are missing on Silhouette. Passport bar no screens for me to watch Formula 1 on the Sunday, most nights casino bar was crammed with people trying to watch football on the small screens behind the bar!, no fridges of speciality drinks and no food service in passport bar, ocean view cafe no bar on outer deck just a make shift pile of drinks, pool deck no fountains, lawn club almost non existent as covered in empty cabanas, who wants to sit in an expensive cabana in the cold of Norway, Iceland or Russia where the ship normally sails, or an open air restaurant, no hot glass show thats one of my favourite things plus a few other little things around the ship that on there own are not much but added together makes a big difference between the ships. Crew and service, the big difference between Celebrity and other lines to me is the wonderful happy friendly helpful crew. On Silhouette it looked like they had all just been told they were fired at the end of the week, service was poor not very friendly and a couldn't care less attitude by many but not all, some bar staff couldn't understand English even when ordering a simple coke and I couldn't understand them. However things got better as the week progressed, perhaps it was 2 things, 1 they were understaffed, 2 everyone had a drinks package or was elite and its the nearest thing to a booze cruise I have seen, theatre was very empty most nights as people just stayed in the bars. Entertainment, Eclipse was stunning, fantastic production shows, great beyond the podium talks, great music around the ship etc etc in fact I watched all the production shows twice, going back and standing at the back of the theatre and even now watch topper, chandelier etc on youtube, Silhouette. cosmopolitan and life shows, no story line at all just random dances and songs thrown together for no reason? Was tempted to walk out and just watch the house bands but kept thinking it will get better but it didn't. Pearl was thankfully much better with some good effects and a decent story line. Ancora was the only guest act that was 5 star. Beyond the podium speakers on Eclipse were great, didn't have any on Silhouette? Cooking demonstrations by the chefs in Celebrity central none on Silhouette, no ice carvings on Silhouette, no fruit carvings etc on Silhouette just shopping. Music and entertainment in daytime on sea days on Eclipse great, loved every sea day even on the transatlantic, no music in daytime on Silhouette till 5 p.m just a quiz each day counted about 30 to 40 people each day out of about 2800 passengers at the quiz, in fact port days and sea days entertainment are basically the same? Sea day today entertainment is a sale in the shops, an art auction, a talk on navigation in celebrity central I have seen 3 times and a talk on booking a cruise on Edge at 1 p.m. Nothing to do but write this and pack the case till about 5 p.m. when the music starts, so bored and hungry as been to ocean view cant get a table as people are sat reading books etc, no problem only wanted a pastry and a drink so headed to cafe al bacio on deck 5 and its full of people sat reading books etc again so cant get a seat, dont want to eat in my room(inside cabin as I pay for 2 drinks packages for 1 person if I have anything above this, already expensive as a solo paying for 2) so just headed to passport bar and had a coke for breakfast, how can this be 5 star? Never been to a 5 star hotel where i cant get a table. Shows that there is nothing to do on board to drag them out of the cafe etc and its too cold outside, only thing for people to do is read and drink and eat, things will only get worse if the library and card room go as rumoured as the people from there will move to cafe al bacio and ocean view as well. Music in Cafe al bacio is pointless as the people who sit there all day just talk loudly and drown the string duo out in the evening. Ensemble lounge one of my favourites 1 group of about 6 would sit there all night just in front of the performer and shout above the music, listening to the details of his vasectomy is not something I think the room needs to hear! We would much rather listen to the quality music he is drowning out. Food, great food and service on Eclipse with a fantastic selection, dinning room had a 2 page menu each evening and was fantastic quality, buffet was amazing, I regularly had a steak cooked to order in the buffet with some chips or had some nice roast beef Yorkshire pudding roast potatoes and horseradish. in the morning I had a cooked to order omelette and always had a nice glass of fresh orange juice. On Silhouette never saw a cook to order steak or fish in buffet, didn't see an omelette station, no roast potatoes only some greasy herb covered things they called roast potatoes no Yorkshire and no chips at lunch time? Very rarely got my orange juice as no service just a line at the bar. Dinning room a 1 page menu, I dont eat fish or seafood so by the time you exclude these off the menu very very little selection my waiter who was great felt so sorry for me he brought me a huge bowl of chips one night, so part the way through the week I just used ocean view cafe, at least in the evening you could get a seat in there and had a better selection. On entering ocean view on Silhouette the hand gel was empty it took 5 goes to get enough to clean my hands so I walked up to the guy in the suit and gold tie who was always busy doing nothing in charge and reported it he looked totally disinterested never replied to me and just wandered off answering his phone, on leaving ocean view i tried the gel machine and it was still empty! A good 20 mins later! Food hygiene seems low priority, having seen many not washing there hands in the bathroom its just time before norovirus breaks out. Shopping, some great shops were on eclipse and I always got tempted to spend money on impulse buys, one thing I always bought was some Ralph Lauren smelly as duty free it makes sense, on Silhouette I bought nothing, I didnt need a faberge egg, I dont want a hand bag or expensive ring or necklace and the watches are cheaper in the uk even paying the duty at my local jewellers I checked. I did go to get my Ralph Lauren as normal only to be told that the 2 types I have bought on Eclipse are too upmarket to be sold onboard! I am sorry but I just walked past Cartier, Faberge, Rolex etc? Yet they only carry the cheaper Ralph Lauren? Also why everyday do we have a car boot sale in the walkway outside the shops of Russian souvenirs? Russian hats, dolls, russian xmas ornaments in spring! did nobody notice we were in Norway not Russia! Not one Norwegian souvenier in sight, Celebrity has lost the plot Great to see the paper straws on Silhouette replacing the plastic and they are not too bad, however a long way to go in the Eco department as the shops give you a plastic bag, and each night you get your planner loads of junk mail from the shops and art gallery falls out, chances are that if I didn't want a handbag, spar day or oil painting on day 1 sending me junk mail every day will not change my mind! On Silhouette I have now got to Select level so qualify for some sort of officers party, great. On top of my daily planner one night was a letter saying that due to the high number of guests that are of this level or above the party is cancelled due to lack of room. Could they not have more than 1 party? The thing that got me was that as compensation they were giving me 3 free drinks! I and nearly everyone on here has a drinks package, you cant not if you go oceanview or above (UK booking rules) and even me in an inside cabin has bought a premium drinks package so I took this as a very lazy insult. Next morning I took the vouchers to the Captains club host arriving at 10.05 but she was late for work, probably stuck in roadworks in between home and the ship, returned about an hour later to see it was the lady who forgot here safety equipment at muster drill and had to go back for it giving you confidence in an emergency and explains why muster drill took about 45 mins, i waited while she served a guest then she wandered off to chat to her friend so I gave up and returned the vouchers to guest services. Itinerary on both cruises is almost identical except we didn't go to Flam on Silhouette as its a 1 day shorter cruise so you would think everything would be the same? No The highlight for me and probably many more is the sail into Geiranger it is amazing, On Eclipse I spent hours watching the cliffs getting closer waiting to see the seven sisters then hearing the cannon as we entered Geiranger itself before spinning the ship and watching the seawalk come out, on Silhouette we docked in Geiranger at 5 a.m. in the dark! Yes we did see the scenery on the way out but once you pass the 7 sisters and the fjord widens its just not the same as sailing in. So 2 ships almost the same on almost the same cruise with the same cruise director, in my reviews on cruise critic etc I gave Eclipse 4.5 out of 5 Silhouette i will go 2.5 Heard many other complaints while around the ship such as no cot for baby booked on board despite phoning Celebrity day before to make sure they had organised it from the original booking, plus 1 couple had a dirty cabin and reported it to guest relations and while his wife was changing the steward just walked in without knocking! Not sure if the difference between the 2 cruises is the ship or Celebrity cut backs. Hopefully its just the ship because otherwise my next cruise will be my last on Celebrity. Many UK passengers were on Celebrity for the first time from Royal, Cunard and P&O and say they will not be sailing Celebrity again and thats a shame as I know that Celebrity can be so good but unfortunately not this week. So in summary. 5 star modern luxury? On Eclipse yes 5 star Silhouette 2 star its not living up to its potential (2 stars is given for room steward, waiter and a few bar staff that were the usual special wonderful Celebrity crew). I have recommended Eclipse to Family and friends and all have had a great cruise, I will not be recommending Silhouette quite the opposite. One thing I will say is Silhouette is the first Celebrity ship I have been on that has had a solo get together. However its in passport bar at 8 p.m. a time when the music is playing in the foyer and the bar is so busy its standing room only so not got a clue if anyone else is solo on here or if they were at the meeting so a good try but a total failure, Celebrity need to start doing things for the solo cruiser as they will soon have 5 new ships with solo cabins. My suggestion would be a coffee morning or something somewhere quieter. My review is written from a solo travellers point of view, something that is totally different to what most of you may experience on board, for instance in ocean view you leave one person holding a table while you get your food then swap over, as a solo I have to get my food then hope I can get a table or wander around for ages to get one only to have cold food! A thing a solo traveller hates is to finally find a seat at a table only to hear a couple moan oh look there is one person sat at a table for 4! Well its probably the only table I can get and you are very welcome to join me. Entertainment on board is a big thing for me and other solo travellers. Give me live music and a coke I am happy, watch something like the egg drop, dancing with the officers is the funniest thing i have ever seen, a good beyond the podium speaker, officers versus crew volley ball etc etc. All the things that Celebrity dont have on this cruise and seem to be doing away with for shopping all day, sorry but i would rather spend my money on another cruise than some painting or a watch. I have a cruise booked on Edge and Apex, I will go on Edge as it will cost me too much to cancel in airfare etc etc but unless its better than this cruise it will be my last Celebrity cruise as will cancel apex and find a cruise line that will keep me entertained rather than just trying to get me to spend money in the shops and car boot sale type sales in the walkways. Cant imagine the Hilton, Savoy, Fairmont or Panpacific having a car boot sale in the foyer and keeping there 5 star status yet it seems ok at sea? I have seen people returning handbags today that were bought early in the cruise on table sales with broken straps already! I have been a Big Celebrity cruise fan and recommend it to many people as have had some fantastic cruises with them, I hate moaning about it and would rather be enjoying a cruise and be in future cruise booking another, than sat bored writing this. Written from the point of view of a Solo non drinking Celebrity Cruise fan on the last day of the cruise, you may have a different view but this was my experience and my opinion. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Myself , My Partner & My Parents Done a Back to Back 8 day cruise on 22nd April 2018. We arrived at Southampton and joined the ship very easily our rooms where ready and all our details where checked very well. We had a easy ... Read More
Myself , My Partner & My Parents Done a Back to Back 8 day cruise on 22nd April 2018. We arrived at Southampton and joined the ship very easily our rooms where ready and all our details where checked very well. We had a easy Drinks package and was surprised of the lack of choice on this package included however I did include the drink my partner mainly drank that was until half way through the cruise and they changed what we where allowed so our drinks package was a waste of time after this Food was always cold in the buffet restaurant no matter where time we actually went to eat, we changed our eating time over the cruise but this didn’t matter , at the al la carte restaurant the menu was limited and portions very small Entertainment was not the Best compared to other cruises it was very amateur and some of the show themes just didn’t make any sense. The only think that made this cruise enjoyable was the staff , they are one of the best we have experienced and they can’t do enough for you, always smiling and asking are we ok and telling us to enjoy our day, Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been on several MSC cruises in the past and have enjoyed them very much. But our recent Baltic cruise on the Poesia was disappointing. The food in the Lido was poorly prepared---too salty or dried out in particular--and heavy in ... Read More
We have been on several MSC cruises in the past and have enjoyed them very much. But our recent Baltic cruise on the Poesia was disappointing. The food in the Lido was poorly prepared---too salty or dried out in particular--and heavy in refined carbohydrates; the main dining room was extremely noisy and cramped, so much so that we simply avoided it most nights; and the entertainment was very amateurish. Another annoyance was having to pay for water (bottled only) in the dining room as well as a cup of coffee! On the positive side, the ship was very clean and the room steward was excellent. As well, the ports of call were excellent, although we typically had only 6 hours at each stop, probably to minimize port charges. This made our visits to most of the stops rather superficial and rushed when they didn't need to be, given the proximity of each port of call..And because the Poesia docked at some distance from the center of almost every city or town, we had to pay for an expensive shuttle bus service most days. Although we enjoyed the Poesia's itinerary very much, we will not take another MSC cruise. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have cruised many times with Celebrity and always received 1st class service. We have completed many of the popular cruises more than once so was looking for alternative itinerary's. We booked an Explorer Suite with ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times with Celebrity and always received 1st class service. We have completed many of the popular cruises more than once so was looking for alternative itinerary's. We booked an Explorer Suite with Viking (similar price to a Penthouse with Celebrity) expecting a premium cruise experience but how wrong we were. We opted for the flight and cruise package just in case of any delays etc but unable to pre-book our seats so we could not sit together. Check-in was OK but the welcome champagne was an inch in a glass and no member of staff to show us our suite. The suite was as expected, sensible size decorated with furniture from Ikea. The one big issue was trying to keep the room warm as the outside temperature was as low as -18. We had all the curtains closed, all heating including an electric panel heater on full, blankets on the bed and still cold. The same for the pool area and the world café, you needed a sweater or fleece to eat your lunch. Service was very slow with many dirty tables waiting to be cleaned and members of staff just walking past. Must say food quality and variety was good. Room service was very slow to start, 1230pm and still no clean, 8.40pm no clean or turn down. After a couple of complaints this did improve. Shore excursions a complete joke, they were either cancelled or changed at the last moment and those that did proceed were poorly organised. I complained to Judi Buikman the shore excursion manager as she cancelled Northern Lights tours as not dark enough, tidal water phenomenon as it was low tide and a train and snow mobile tour as there was a road incident at 7am and she was worried the bus could not return passenger's back to the ship at 4pm. When I pointed out she failed to do her homework on the excursions, she replied "fair comment". We had arranged dinner reservations prior to sailing for the specialty restaurants but then refused to alter the seating from 2 to 4 persons as we had met new friends. After a sharp conversation with the Hotel Manager and Restaurant Manager this was changed but it should not be this way. The service in the Lounge Bar was very slow if at all, quicker to order drinks at the bar. The evening entertainment was fine for us, either a guitar or piano entertainer. One day the Cruise Director Drew Raitch performed his song book for us, it was embarrassing, the man cannot sing at all so please don't try. Viking Ocean Cruise are a new start-up cruise line (not river cruises) and it shows. The staff are not trained or experienced at ocean cruises and require constant direction from the Officers who themselves require more training. The ship itself was very well maintained but then it is only 2 years old, it is however very noisy when in rough seas and when using the bow thrusters, no pods fitted to this ship. My wife and I really wanted to like Viking as our new "go to" cruise line with different itinerary's but not a chance. Viking are now what the cruise industry was 10 years ago and customers paying premium rates for the top suites and Penthouses demand service. Celebrity have a Butler who takes care of everyday issues such as excursions, dinner reservations, laundry etc. They also have a dedicated restaurant and lounge bar with concierge for suite guests only and unlimited use of the speciality dining rooms. We are so glad we booked Alaska with Celebrity in May and not Viking, we would have been so disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to ... Read More
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to bring magnetic hooks or it would have been a worse mess. The food was average and the service was average at best. Some people were great, like our room steward. The reason we didn't rate guest services and the shore excursion staff well was the following: they played the blame game. They had many, many excursion difficulties to the point of having to fully refund, or partially refund, the money back to passengers. Never once did anyone say "I'm sorry". No, they blamed the tour operators or used the excuse "this is the first time we have been to this port" or (best one!) "it wasn't listed online". Bear in mind that the tour operators complained of how difficult it was to even REACH the Viking Sky staff, much less, that Viking did not listen to the tour operators when they made suggestions and believe me, they should have listened. It was a bucket list trip for me and I refused to let anything ruin it, but the disorganized, poorly planned, not properly vetted, pricey excursions were very disappointing. And the attitude of the Viking staff really added insult to injury. I spoke to many people who were long time cruisers but first time Viking Ocean cruisers and the consensus was the same...one and done. Back to Regent. Back to Azamara. Back to Celebrity...you get the drift. I wanted to love it...I love Viking River Cruises. But it was just too disappointing. The ship was gorgeous, the itinerary was amazing, and I did see the Northern Lights. But the rest was not great, except for embarkation, which was the best I've experienced out of 25 ocean cruises. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we ... Read More
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we were in the wrong area. It was like Custers last stand! There were cars going round and round in circles all being in the wrong place. We finally got to the right area and had to sit under a marquee with rain, whipped up by high winds, blowing through!! The first impression of the ship wasn't good. It looked pretty unkempt . We were on deck 7 and the smell of sewage and fuel oil was overwhelming . I made a comment to one off the crew and we were told " It's an old ship " and that this was it's last trip before a refit. The smell got worse over the next 4 days particularly when the Captain made a decision to sail with a force 11 predicted!! We had 7/8 metre waves and hurricane force winds. This was a full day at sea. The opinion if the guests was that we shouldn't have sailed. The smell after was REVOLTING. It made your eyes sting and you held your breath until you got away from the stairwell. The food was bland and pretty much the same every day. The trouble was seating. There simply wasnt enough seats and tables to cater for everybody. We had to sit on the window sills on two occasions!! They were constantly running out of cutlery and crockery. Mugs were at a premium. The room staff were SUPERB, as were the waiters, but other bar staff had a couldn't care less attitude. We were served the wrong drinks numerous times and had our cards swapped on 3 occasions. The shows were, well what do I say?. Queen tribute night summed it up. The backing ' band' were terrible. The 4 singers went from English to their native tounge if the couldn't remember the words. I didn't know if to laugh or cry! We walked out after the third song. Some people did say they enjoyed it to be fair. The comedian we saw had the oldest jokes you could think of. To make matters worse he tried to play the guitar! He couldn't keep up with the back music AND played out of time and time. The tours were good and we saw the Northern lights, which was the reason for the cruise. The tour guides were very helpful. We wouldn't sail again on the Meggelan. I know this was it's last trip and it showed, but it just lacked the things that make it a nice ship. Perhaps after a refit things might be different. But going on our experience, this was a outdated old smelly ship and had we known that, we wouldn't have booked it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Overall - The food on this ship was shocking. Typically it was to a standard I wouldn’t accept if I was cooking at home. On the plus side, nobody I knew gained weight from eating on the cruise. Deserts were limited and when ... Read More
Overall - The food on this ship was shocking. Typically it was to a standard I wouldn’t accept if I was cooking at home. On the plus side, nobody I knew gained weight from eating on the cruise. Deserts were limited and when available, nothing to write home about! - The only drinks available were water, tea or coffee. Some juices were available with breakfast - Waiters at breakfast and lunch were of Indian extraction and had very poor command of English, leading to poor service. - The entertainment was very 'Carry On', as though people's taste hadn't progressed in 60 years. It was often offensive on many levels. - I tried lodging a complaint after the cruise but none of the e-mail addresses for communication were working. All my e-mails bounced back and the help line is only for pre-cruise communication. They only communicate with people before a cruise. - My mother is an active 82 and she had been looking forward to this cruise. There are few pleasures in life when you are senior but food is one of them. Breakfast My mother (who is 82 and has blurred vision and poor hearing) would attend breakfast sitting at the Kensington Restaurant. The canteen on deck 10 was too much busy for her. She is careful not to trip and fall. 1. The eggs when requested were typically served hard when boiled (with a black ring about the yoke) or the omelette included ingredients, such as peppers, not requested. 2. The porridge was closer to concrete than pre-soaked oats. My mother eats porridge regularly and is not convinced that the raw material was, in fact, oats. She believed it to be some type of gruel. On one occasion an attempt was made to ‘top’ the offering with canned fruit cocktail. 3. The fruit ‘compote’ offered was actually canned fruit cocktail. 4. None of the pastries offered in any restaurant were freshly baked. 5. Accessing fresh drinking water was an issue in the Kensington. Water had to be requested and then was served luke warm. I don’t drink tea or coffee. The reluctance to put a jug of water on the table at all meals was not appreciated. 6. Juice was removed from the ‘bistro’ after breakfast and so for all other meals, water was the only beverage available to me. Most of the staff in the Kensington restaurant during breakfast / lunch have poor little English. Explaining to them that when ‘fruit compote’ was ordered, the guest didn’t expect what arrived, was an unnecessary burden. Indeed attempting to explain a problem was often likely to yield no benefit and cause further frustration to everybody involved. Lunch Again, my mother sought to have lunch, as much as possible, in the Kensington. If the quality of the food on offer was not good enough for her to contemplate eating, she found herself hunting for a meal on deck 10. In general, the hot meals served in the ‘bistro’ were of canteen quality – over cooked, lacking in flavour, stodgy and closer to the kind of food served at a busy truck stop or in a good café frequented by builders. A number of times, because of entertainment and excursion commitments, my mother was unable to lunch in the Kensington and so attempted to lunch in the bistro. However, the only food offered when she attended late was pizza, not food she has ever chosen to eat before this trip. While younger people with a different digestive system might welcome pizza, it is not suitable for an older person, who needs to ingest as little processed food as possible. Based on the demographic make up of the ship, why is pizza offered as the only food to bridge the lunch / dinner gap? Surely it is for the convenience of the kitchen than the comfort of a group who mostly senior citizens. Even an omelette, while also part of the breakfast menu, would be a soft, nutritious and freshly prepared food. For a lady of almost 82 to find herself moving from restaurant to canteen, seeking food, when she has paid so much for the service, is unsatisfactory. On the day of the BBQ, I was looking forward to, what should have been a good meal for her mother. This was a pool side event on Deck 10. Unfortunately, because the management were busy ‘upselling cocktails’, many guests who had been off the ship on excursions, were unable to find seating to enjoy this meal. The chaos of people hunting for chairs and tables as well as the noise generated by the team tangoing with cocktail shakers, detracted from what should have been an enjoyable occasion. The meat and vegetables on this occasion were satisfactory. Some more dry madeira cakes with various flavours were also presented. Indeed, ladies who were experience bakers offered their opinions on why the fruit fell to the bottom in one of the deserts. Dinner On the third day of cruising, when the new group of British guests boarded, a manager inquired at our table (Waldorf, 31 on the first sitting) if we were satisfied with the food. This was the first full day for the British guests to be on board and there was a marked improvement on the food offered in the restaurants on that particular day. I explained to the manager that, while the food that particular evening was adequate, the quality, on the whole, was not satisfactory. I noted that the potatoes offered in the bistro were overcooked so that they were unrecognisable. Other Irish guests had also wondered about potatoes served in the bistro that day. While I thought they were just boiled to mush, many agreed they were from a box. The people at the table were introduced to a cook and he listened to our concerns. When I discussed the quality of the food with the cook at the outset, he asked what could be improven upon. Not having any professional cooking qualifications, I was not in a position to advise the gentleman. I encountered that cook during the trip, but was never in a position to agree that the quality had improven on the whole. Often cheese or a cream sauce was put onto an element of the meal, for no apparent reason. It was assumed by the guests that this was to disguise something. Occasionally items appeared on the dinner menu that caused comment and guests to dare each other – the most amusing being Marmite Soup Henry IV. There was also a salad that was described as ‘greens with potatoes, turnip and carrots’. Most of the deserts offered both in the bistro and in the restaurants were not made on board and were very industrial. Frequently we would see a cheesecake with a pastry base or a variety of very dry madeira-based cakes (with pieces of quince and various other additions, in an effort to create flavour). Brownies were served in the bistro on the day when the British guests boarded and were never seen again. Toward the end of the trip ‘Chocolate afternoon tea’ was provided in the bistro. It appeared that the deserts missing throughout the trip had materialized in one fell swoop. Pretty looking deserts could be purchased in the coffee-shop next to ‘Sinatra Bar’ on deck 9 throughout the trip. However, I believed that we had paid for the food and were not about to pay more. Indeed, I learned that people who did pay more for the ‘surf and turf’ dinner, did not receive a satisfactory meal either. On the last night of the cruise, a ‘feast’ was held at 11 pm. Guests were invited to photograph this, including the ice sculptures and displays with company logo’s nearby. While the food was pleasant, it seems a poor idea to offer such a meal to people, mostly in advance years, at that time of night. Certainly, some elements of the ‘feast’ including the salmon and chocolate cakes could have been served earlier in the day to facilitate the guests. The infrequent presentation of food of an adequate quality demonstrated that the staff could perform but less for the benefit of the guests and more to make an impression worthy of photographs. It appears to me that strange menu choices, coupled with poor ingredients and limited skill resulted in the low-quality food offered on the Magellan. Strong flavours were routinely used rather than light subtle, natural flavours of the food. Occasionally effort would be expended to create a ‘display’ (such as the chocolate tea, Feast or the BBQ) but these served to highlight the poor quality of food offered on the other occasions. When discussing the food with guests, many people, including our clients, agreed that they could and did, cook better at home themselves. For many people food can be a pleasure but during this cruise, no meal was enjoyed to any degree because of the food served. It was nutrition with without the pleasure that food can bring. No meal included anything new or inventive. There was no culinary excitement but apprehension before each meal. There was no place on the comment card, provided at the end of the journey to outline issues with food, specifically and in details. The politeness and competence of the hotel management and captain were queried, in detail. It must be noted that hygiene on the ship was to a very high standard. However, poor nutrition can also leave an elderly person vulnerable to infection and this needs to be considered, particularly given the demographic of the ship. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships ... Read More
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships are lovely, as are the cabins. The cabin stewardess was excellent. The cruise director was excellent - but the apparent problems are far from his control. Sadly, the service throughout the remainder of the ship fell far short. The service on Seabourn has continually degraded since its office merger with Holland America. In the Restaurant and in the Colonnade, service was extremely slow. The norm to wait for coffee or a glass of juice was often 15 - 20 minutes. The staff were excellent - there were simply too few of them. The clear way to improvement in this area is to hire more staff and to train them well in the Seabourn manner. The spa is beautiful but it, too, seems understaffed. The major problem there is with scheduling. Armed with a page outlining my requests for dates and services, I was told they were unable to fulfill these requests. For guests who are aboard for two or more As for the decline in entertainment, that area, too, needs a huge overhaul. How long can two ships live on one show? The Tim Rice show is well done - but for two years now, it's the only show onboard that's been worth seeing. Seabourn no longer offers the exclusive service and the personal touches that originally made it shine, and which were the basis for Seabourn ships and cruises consistently ranking #1 in the industry. It's a sad realization, but Seabourn is no longer great; it's not even good. It has removed services, diluted service in public areas, reduced the numbers of staff (pre-dinner in the Observation Bar, it was next to impossible to get a waiter), and in general, the attitudes of the service staff have been reduced to that of the mid-range ships. For example, one morning, we were leaving the ship for an excursion and waiting for approval to debark. Three staff members were on duty in that area, and one was vocal about how badly the company treated its employees. This kind of attitude was also displayed by some staff members in the Colonnade. Two extremely large spaces on this ship and its sister ship, Encore, sit empty most of the time. The retreat (why in the world would someone PAY to sit in an area that's already available FREE?) and the beautiful deck area outside the Grill, under the Colonnade deck. We were told that Thomas Keller doesn't want his food served cold. If that is the reason, it is ridiculous. In the Mediterranean, the weather is balmy and the temperature outside is warmer than inside. The number of steps from kitchen to table is the same. Whatever the reason for this space sitting empty, it has involved very poor planning. Yes, guests could walk down all of the steps to get there from the Colonnade - but very few actually do it. The space sits empty. Whether the overall problem is lack of planning, lack of training training, hiring of so many new staff due to the two new larger ships, or to something else - is all irrelevant. Seabourn has lost its shine. No wonder its 2018 rank sank to #4 - another new low. The ports were fine, but the shore excursions, too, reveal that Seabourn is looking for a bargain - not for quality. Excellent tour guides still live in all of the ports; we didn't encounter any except on tours that we privately ordered. The ship's tours were fair - but did not begin to equal what Seabourn has offered since its inception. Too much emphasis on economy and Thomas Keller, and not enough emphasis on the guests. We will not likely return. Many other regular Seabourn guests shared their disappointment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise was to celebrate our 25th anniversary and we wanted to experience places in Europe we have never been before. The itinerary we booked was for 6 ports starting in Warmemmunde (Berlin). When we arrived in Berlin a few days ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate our 25th anniversary and we wanted to experience places in Europe we have never been before. The itinerary we booked was for 6 ports starting in Warmemmunde (Berlin). When we arrived in Berlin a few days before the cruise was scheduled to pick us up, we received texts messages form NCL saying that they were not going to stop in Berlin and that we had to get to Copenhagen with only $300 to help us get there. Last minute flights from Berlin to Copenhagen were over $800 each. The train and taxis we did take cost us over $300. And we cancelled the tours and tickets we pre-purchased for tours in Berlin and the connecting bus to the Berlin port (about $500). Then while on the ship, our schedule was shifted back a day since we had to spend an extra day in Tallinn, so by the time we left St. Petersburg we had to skip the port stops in Helsinki and Stockholm in er to get back to Copenhagen on time. We were credited back some or our pre-paid excursion costs and then recharged what we did take but it was not made clear to us if this was and equitable credit/charge. Also, when we boarded we did not get our Platinum rewards coupons and invitations so the first night we dined in Cagney's as our reward dinner we had to go round and round with the restaurant manager and the Cruise Next desk to get the rewards we were entitled to. Because our Platinum benefits were given to us late, we missed the Latitudes cocktail party and behind the scenes tour. Also,, the laundry initially charged us when it should have been free. All these corrections to our bill and benefits required us to stand in long lines at Customer Service, Cruise Next or Shore Excursions to get fixed. Overall, we were not very happy about our experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Where to start? we have travelled for years both ocean and river cruising, and never on a mega-ship before! To begin with, if you like your sleep! forget it! this modern ship has cabin doors which are of the automatic slam shut ! variety, ... Read More
Where to start? we have travelled for years both ocean and river cruising, and never on a mega-ship before! To begin with, if you like your sleep! forget it! this modern ship has cabin doors which are of the automatic slam shut ! variety, consequently 24/7 doors are being slammed the length of the vast corridors, and no one thought to hang on to the handles as the doors closed, why 24/7? because of discos and casinos there was always something going on. As for the dining! being of a free style variety! you either joined the chaos of top deck diners, with all of its constant noise, and shoving to get food and find a table, or you joined a few free restaurants which in the evenings were so popular (no surprise!) that you then had to queue before a table became free. Obviously you could choose to pay extra and dine elsewhere. With most busy ships numbers of passengers can disappear with many activities but with 4,000 passengers and approx. 1500 crew there was no where to escape to apart from the llibrary and the smokers room!! A word of warning, if using the main theatre which is canted so everyone gets a good view, however near the top of the stairs two short steps follow each other so that the number of people stumbling and even falling, occurred each night we were there, one night an elderly gentleman stumbled down them and went crashing into a seat back, did anyone care? Needless to say a stop in Stockholm was cancelled because of bad weather (this is quite often the case as its a floating dock!), so we had to spend two days of a short 10 day break going slow to waste time. If we missed the stop why could we not have made it a day earlier to Copenhagen as compensation, as it was for the two days the decks were roped off! so had to stay inside, and as many ended up with the ships cough! at $250 dollars for a brief visit with the ships GP and a few antibiotic tablets. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We are veteran cruisers. This, from Copenhagen to Copenhagen was our 50th. We are brand loyal to NCL - this was our 25th cruise with them - our first on the Breakaway. If you are a non-smoker, there is a huge design flaw with this ship ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers. This, from Copenhagen to Copenhagen was our 50th. We are brand loyal to NCL - this was our 25th cruise with them - our first on the Breakaway. If you are a non-smoker, there is a huge design flaw with this ship that may ruin your trip. They put the Casino on deck 7 in the middle of the boat and it has an open ceiling to the 8th floor and open to the 6th floor . Smoking is permitted any time the Casino is in operation. Every time you walk through the middle of the ship on floors 6, 7 or 8, you are walking through s haze of second-hand smoke. In 2018, with what we know about smoking, why would a cruise line cater to 5% of their passengers and penalize 95% of non-smokers? It gets worse. On deck 8 mid ship they build a very nice, open air Italian restaurant. It faces a very comfortable bar and lounge area. In the lounge area they built a CIGAR BAR. The knucklehead who did this thought they would solve any smoke issue by simply adding a door to the Cigar Bar - which is fine - as long as the door remains closed. Once it's opened, the cigar smoke fills the adjoining bar lounge and wafts over to the open air Italian restaurant. It's just silly. Lastly, next to the bar/lounge is a Rock n Roll band bar. When they play every evening, the thumping of their musical instruments and the vibration can be felt in the staterooms. We were on the same floor, HALF WAY DOWN THE SHIP IN ROOM #8746 and had to wait every night until the band quit at 11pm ... STAY AWAY FROM THE 8TH FLOOR! Before we booked, we didn't realize THE BREAKAWAY was designed exactly the same way as THE EPIC (and the GETAWAY). We'd already vowed never to travel on The Epic again for the reasons mentioned above regarding The Getaway - ALL THREE BOATS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. We really enjoy the after dinner entertainment on cruise ship. The Breakaway was the worst line-up of entertainment we'd experienced. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise as it was starting in Southampton and we were able to drive there. On the 2nd day my phone was stolen whilst on board and staff were not helpful at all even though I was told by one member of staff that they are aware ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was starting in Southampton and we were able to drive there. On the 2nd day my phone was stolen whilst on board and staff were not helpful at all even though I was told by one member of staff that they are aware of "long fingered guests" and refused to let me check the camera with them. I felt uneasy throughout the rest of the cruise knowing there was a thief on board. Food was appalling all week and service was slow. There was hardly any entertainment throughout the day and evening. The shuttle bus charges out of the port terminals were ridiculous. Although our cabin was nice, it wasn't regularly stocked up. We didn't meet anyone who was happy with the magnifica. This was our 6th cruise, but first and last with msc. Such a shame as the ship itself was beautiful but that's the only good thing I can say about it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because a few friends who have been in the cruises before decided to go again with a group of other people so my friend and I decided to go along. Also its route was interesting for me as I have not been any of these ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a few friends who have been in the cruises before decided to go again with a group of other people so my friend and I decided to go along. Also its route was interesting for me as I have not been any of these places. Very unlucky, the three ports out of 5 were cancelled. As a result, everyone was forced to be in the cruise with limited entertainment offered but food and food. In this day and age, the forecast of the weather conditions should be easily obtained and alternative plans should have been scheduled in case. On top of that communication between the crew officials and the people on board was poor. Lessons to learn: never travel in a big cruise as such. There were too many people crowed around and often we needed to look for places to sit. There was no flexibility to do what was not planned if any "bad" weather condition occurred. No plan B or C so to speak! People in our group of over 60 people have all expressed unsatisfactory over the whole experience. And almost all said that would never take this cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I recently returned from the NCL Breakaway cruise to the Baltics and want to share directly the complaint that I registered on behalf of myself and numerous others (a list of some of the passengers and their staterooms was attached to the ... Read More
I recently returned from the NCL Breakaway cruise to the Baltics and want to share directly the complaint that I registered on behalf of myself and numerous others (a list of some of the passengers and their staterooms was attached to the complaint) with the ship’s guest services during the trip. A letter was also delivered to Miami headquarters over two weeks ago, and has not yet been answered. Weather conditions were not good for much of the trip. As a result, we missed stops in three of the five ports scheduled for the cruise. I don’t hold NCL responsible for the changed itinerary but did find that leadership was not honest with the passengers and withheld information. We boarded the ship in Copenhagen, and learned of the first change to the itinerary, i.e., no stop in Warnemunde, when we checked in. Passengers who were due to board in Warnemunde (Berlin's port city) learned of the change more than 24 hours in advance of the Copenhagen passengers and were provided with a stipend to make their way to Copenhagen. We of course spent an extra night in the Copenhagen port. No effort was spared to contact the Berlin passengers, and none was afforded to the Copenhagen passengers. I can guess why and am angry about this lack of consideration for how I choose to spend my pleasure time. Secondly, we learned in Tallinn that Helsinki and Stockholm were dropped from the itinerary, an extra night and day was planned in Tallinn, and we would arrive in St. Petersburg a day behind the original schedule. Weather was again blamed for the changes. All the while we were on the ship, a regular schedule of ferries to and from Helsinki was operating from a berth walking distance from the Breakaway. The ferries were visible to me until late at night and very early in the morning. We were never given the option to take the ferry (or perhaps, better yet, issued vouchers) and return to the ship before departure. I can guess again why, and yes, I am angry. NCL is in the people business and the passengers are their greatest asset. They did a poor job on this cruise. I and the many passengers who are unhappy with NCL's lack of effort on the cruise wish to be compensated. In the absence of an appropriate response, NCL will likely lose many of us on future cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the exciting, port intensive, Baltic Sea itinerary ~ round trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, with stops scheduled for Warnemunde/Rostock, Germany, Tallinn, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Russia (overnight/2 days), ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the exciting, port intensive, Baltic Sea itinerary ~ round trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, with stops scheduled for Warnemunde/Rostock, Germany, Tallinn, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Russia (overnight/2 days), Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. We decided to also book the following 14 day Transatlantic cruise from Copenhagen to New York City with ports of Gothenburg, Sweden (changed from the original Amsterdam, which was a disappointment), Southampton, England. Cobh/Cork Ireland and Ponta Delgada, Azores. We were on Breakaway a total of 23 days for the back to back cruises. I had reservations about sailing on such a large ship that accommodated so many passengers and crew because we had only sailed on smaller ships previously. The scheduled outstanding itinerary on the Baltics portion won us over, plus we had only called at Southampton, so the Transatlantic portion ports were new to us. We arrived in Copenhagen, a VERY expensive city, just one day before we were scheduled to sail. Due to jet lag and general travel exhaustion, we stayed in our centrally located hotel, Scandic Palace, and didn't explore the city. The following morning, we took a taxi to the Oceankaj Cruise Port, which is a considerable distance from the center. Our taxi ran us about $45 USD. The embarkation process was the best we have ever experienced. There were no porters in the one story terminal buildings. You simply rolled or carried your own bags to a conveyor belt, tipped them on (no lifting necessary), went through security and then checked in with one of the numerous NCL representatives. We didn't experience any lines or waiting. In no time at all, we were able to board the ship. We went directly to our cabin 8762, even though the hallway access door was closed, so we could get rid of our carry on bags and jackets. The weather was chilly and windy and remained that way basically throughout the entire 9 day cruise, with many days far worse than what we encountered in Copenhagen. Our midship balcony cabin located forward starboard on Deck 8 was roomy enough for 23 days onboard without feeling cramped. It had a queen bed, large sleeper sofa, coffee maker, fridge and a reasonably sized bathroom. The shower had a actual door instead of a curtain, which was great. We had ongoing issues with the toilet, which in spite of being reported numerous times, flushed very erratically. Sometimes there would be a delay of up to three minutes or more after pushing the button before the toilet would actually flush. I kept worrying that it would back up into the cabin, but that never happened. We discovered that we needed to keep the sliding glass door to our balcony (which we never used due to inclement conditions) locked, because if we didn't, the wind would cause the door to open. Our cabin was in a very convenient location ~ near the forward elevators and stairs, close to Maltings Whiskey Bar (which became our favorite hangout), one deck up from O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill and close to the theater on Deck 7 and Spiegel Tent on Deck 6. Our hallway was constantly filled with NCL staff at all hours of the day and night. Their sleeping quarters and access to working areas of the ship were also located in the same area as our cabin, so we experienced lots of traffic, foot noise and talking, but not enough to wake us. The ship itself, while nicely decorated, was not laid out well, in my opinion. The main central Atrium was used as a non stop entertainment venue for salsa and line dancing lessons, trivia contests and other amplified, LOUD activities. These made conversing with staff at Guest Services, the Cruise Next Desk, Internet Cafe, Accounts Desk and Shore Excursion Desk next to impossible. I honestly don't know how staff assigned to these services coped with the extreme noise levels. Also, the amplified activities carried up to the various seating areas in O'Sheehan's, located around the Atrium opening on Deck 7. The Library, Card/Game Room and Meeting Rooms, normally located in quiet areas on other ships, were along a small hallway just off the Atrium, so all the LOUD activities carried over to these places, too. Due to stormy, chilly weather for most of the Baltics cruise and most of the Transatlantic cruise, many of the outside public areas and decks, which I would guess comprise about 1/3 of the ship's common space, were closed for most of the two cruises. Although the hot tubs were functional when we passed by them, we didn't see water in the pools until the next to the last day. Margaritaville Bar and Spice H2O on Deck 16 were open for an hour or two at the start of the cruise and the next to the last day of the Transatlantic. To my knowledge, NONE of the outside restaurant seating was ever open during our 23 days onboard. The only outside bar that was open on a consistent basis was Maltings, adjacent to the smokers' section on Deck 8 and even it was frequently closed. Due to the closing of the decks, the public areas inside the ship were overcrowded and NOISY. Seating was almost impossible to find, as many people ensconced themselves for hours on end as their only alternative to sitting in their cabins. People buying specialty coffees and pastries at the cafe on Deck 6 frequently were prevented from sitting at the tables provided for them because of book readers and card players sitting there. The same was true at the Atrium Bar. People simply watching origami folding or cake decorating demonstrations would take over bar stools. Similar problems took place in the Garden Cafe making finding a place to eat lunch next to impossible. Food was reasonably good, with a number of choices available. However, whenever we chose to eat at one of the standard full service restaurants, it seemed like it took forever for our meals to arrive. Other people we spoke with seemed to feel that service times were not overly long. Due to our own problems with lengthy service times and erratic closures of the Savor and Taste dining rooms, we resorted to eating most of our meals at the Garden Cafe or the Moderno buffet where we could serve ourselves. We have RARELY eaten at the buffets on other cruises we were on. Entertainment seemed to be pretty good. We saw the "Rock of Ages" show, one of the comedy acts and also went to the Cirque Dinner show, which was as good as any we have seen for acrobatic skills. I pre-booked the Cirque show, but got reservations for "Rock of Ages" and the comedy show while onboard. We also went to a mediocre magic show which had open seating.For those of you contemplating going to Rock of Ages, rough language is used and there is stripper-type dancing in the performance. In spite of being pre-warned about this, a number of people in the audience walked out. Service and staff were EXCEPTIONAL on this cruise ~ literally the BEST we have ever encountered. Everyone seemed VERY anxious to please and really went out of their way to provide A+ service with a smile. My husband and I were greeted by staff all over the ship by our first names. Due to extremely stormy weather in the Baltic Sea, our departure from Copenhagen was delayed by one day. We were scheduled to sail at 5:00 pm on Sunday, but instead spent the night in port on the ship and didn't sail until Monday at 2:00 pm. This caused us to miss our port of Warnemunde/Rostock and caused terrible problems for unfortunate passengers who had booked the previous cruise R/T Warnemunde. These passengers were forced to leave the ship in Copenhagen and had to deal with arranging alternate travel arrangements with virtually NO assistance from NCL. Because of the 2:00 pm departure from Copenhagen, our mandatory life boat drill was held at 12 noon. ALL of the dining rooms were closed during the duration of the drill and the resulting pandemonium of 4000 passengers trying to get to lunch or a bar after the conclusion of the drill was UTTER, COMPLETE CHAOS. We were able to make port in Tallinn in spite of rainy, cold, windy weather. Winds were in excess of 60 knots (over 60 miles an hour). The Captain was informed by port officials in St. Petersburg, Russia, that they were closing the flood gates in the harbor entrance, due to severe westerly winds, which were driving sea water towards the flood prone city. We were informed that we would spend the night in Tallinn. The next day, the weather conditions were still VERY bad and many onboard feared we would not be able to call at St. Petersburg. Any passengers wishing to do so were allowed to go out and explore Tallinn during the extra hours we were there. We were finally told by the Captain that we would be sailing and would head for St. Petersburg, as it was anticipated that weather would be improving. The weather DID improve, and miraculously, we had two GORGEOUS sunny, but chilly days to experience this BEAUTIFUL city! NCL attempted to severely restrict early debarkation for passengers who had opted to book independent, non-NCL tours, which again created chaos. We saw a shouting match ensue between a staff person and a passenger. My husband and I positioned ourselves adjacent to the forward staircase on Deck 6, and when the crowd started moving, we slipped around the temporary barrier that had been placed in the stairwell and exited the ship with the NCL tour folks. Some passengers were "bullied" into waiting until ALL the NCL tour groups had left the ship, which caused departure problems for some of the independent groups. Due to the extra days in Copenhagen and Tallinn, we were informed by the Captain that we would not be stopping in Helsinki, Finland or Stockholm, Sweden. We missed visiting 3 of the 6 ports in our wonderful itinerary, which infuriated quite a few of the passengers. After our return to Copenhagen, we left the ship and then reboarded for the Transatlantic leg to NYC. The weather, for the most part, continued to be chilly and windy, with high seas at times, which made walking around the ship difficult. It seemed that the Transatlantic portion drew a very large group of cruisers with mobility issues, who used scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, push chairs, etc., to help them get around the ship. All this equipment added to the already crowded situation in public areas of the ship. Ports on the Transatlantic portion were generally good, although early on, Gothenburg Sweden was substituted for the original port of Amsterdam, which again angered quite a few passengers. The port in Gothenburg (a container facility) is located about 20 minutes from the center, so passengers not on a tour (practically none were offered) had to pay $15 each for a shuttle or remain on the ship. Gothenburg actually turned out to be a pretty city. My husband and I enjoyed a FANTASTIC fish soup lunch in a local place in the historic old Haga District. At Southampton, we opted to take a taxi to the nearby Red Jet Ferry pier and spent the day on the Isle of Wight. The dock at Cobh/Cork, Ireland is virtually steps from the interesting main street. There is also a tourist center immediately outside the gate. Ponta Delgada, Azores has a very nice, modern cruise terminal which is within walking distance of the main street skirting the harbor. In both these ports, we opted to take non-NCL tours. At the Port of New York, we chose to purchase NCL bus transportation to the airport, as we had recently done this in Miami and it was well organized and efficient. The exact opposite was true in New York. TOTAL CHAOS, crowds and disorganization for those of us who had opted for NCL buses. Walk offs who took taxis had no issues, apparently. We also found out (after the fact) that if you hire a porter to wheel your bags you are escorted to the head of the line. Live and learn. Generally, we did enjoy our two cruises. The staff was absolutely WONDERFUL. We DID NOT enjoy being on such a behemoth of a ship which is literally a small city at sea. It was far too crowded and noisy. First and LAST time on a big ship. We will stick with smaller NCL ships which we enjoy. We were told by a few other passengers that we should have booked rooms in The Haven area, but we prefer to go on a lot of cruises in balcony or mini suite cabins rather than pay the BIG $$$$$ necessary to book luxury, VIP suites. Our next cruise? Back to the "little" Norwegian Sun! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this cruise because we had not been to this area before. We were excited to visit and tour Copenhagen, Denmark and the 5 planned stops: Berlin, Germany; Talinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we had not been to this area before. We were excited to visit and tour Copenhagen, Denmark and the 5 planned stops: Berlin, Germany; Talinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden. Due to bad weather we missed 3 out of 5 stops. While the shore excursions we booked were cancelled for those stops, we did receive credit for them. However, we missed the opportunity to visit & see the cities. We stopped in Talinn and had a very informative tour of the city. It rained most of the day and the wind made it even more uncomfortable walking on cobblestones. The best weather days were in St. Petersburg. We had two very nice days and outstanding tours of the city and the Hermitage and other outstanding sights. While on board the ship the weather prevented us from using the outside decks & facilities. The theater on the ship was too small for the capacity of the ship. We were only able to see one show because the lines were too long. The shopping was below what we have experienced on other smaller ships, fewer stores and the prices were high. The food was very good but, again, the crowding made it difficult to dine in a specific restaurant at the times we wished to dine. Our balcony stateroom was very good and all of the people and services were good. However, I expect we will avoid ships of this size in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wow, where do I start, What a terrible adventure for a first time cruiser. We didn't even get off to a good start, we were delayed in port an additional 12 hours on embarkation due to weather. Our first port of call, Warnemunde, ... Read More
Wow, where do I start, What a terrible adventure for a first time cruiser. We didn't even get off to a good start, we were delayed in port an additional 12 hours on embarkation due to weather. Our first port of call, Warnemunde, Germany was cancelled because of rough seas, high winds and a narrow port! So we sailed on to Tallinn, Estonia, while this is a nice old town and well worth a single day tour, we ended up there for two days, this is not a two day tour town". There were flooding conditions in St. Petersburg which required they have the dam closed that allows entry into their port areas, so we arrived a day late. When we finally arrived in St. Petersburg we were the only cruise ship in port. This is the rules for disembarking in St. Petersburg according to our tour company: "This year port authorities have changed the rules: they are letting large cruise ships groups to disembark first and all private companies are allowed to meet their guests only 90 min after the ship’s arrival. However, and this is the most important, these rules apply only on the days when there are 5 or more cruise ships in port which is not the case on the date of your arrival. In other words, cruise lines do not have a right to prevent you from disembarkation." NCL forced us to delay until all their groups were off before allowing the non-NCL tours off the ship. Our two days in St. Petersburg were great well worth the trip to see, but again it went down hill. Since we were already a day and a half late we were also forced to skip Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm Sweden. Instead we cruised back to Copenhagen at a leisurely 15 knots to make it back in time. The ship can do better than 20 knots as an average so we slowed to make it back on time. We went on this cruise to see the Baltic area, not miss 3 of the 5 ports of call and spend most of the time on a ship the stank of cigarette smoke in the Casino area and had only mediocre cafeteria food at any of the restaurants. The service area was a nightmare, this was located in the main atrium, so the noise from everyone not in the long line was bad but add to that the shows going on at the little theater in the same area where they used microphones and speakers to out noise the people in that same area, the ship making announcements and the soft spoken service representatives, suffice it to say that it was rather difficult to conduct business while lip reading because you couldn't hear. The upper decks were closed 3 days due to high winds, so even going outside was difficult. Bottom line, NCL knows what the weather is like in late September but went ahead and booked this cruise (did I mention that there were no other cruise ships in St. Petersburg). I feel like I got ripped off so I went to the AA web site to write a review and I couldn't even do that because most of the drop down menus didn't work on the site and you couldn't enter the review without that info. I am pretty sure I will not be booking with NCL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
3 out of the 5 countries were cancelled due to bad weather. While it wasn't Norwegian's fault that the weather was bad, they also did nothing to make our experience better other than adding one more show time. In fact, because we ... Read More
3 out of the 5 countries were cancelled due to bad weather. While it wasn't Norwegian's fault that the weather was bad, they also did nothing to make our experience better other than adding one more show time. In fact, because we were ship bound for more days than expected, the dinning halls or restaurants were not ready to open so EVERYONE was stuck eating buffet. Can you imagine thousands of people eating in the buffet room at the same time. It was chaotic! People almost had to fight for food and no seats at all! Food quality was poor even for some of the speciality restaurants. Host and waiters or waitresses have no smile on their faces. Service was slow at the restaurants. I guess we were spoiled by our last cruise ship which we were very well fed and attended. This would be the last time we cruise with Norwegian . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It started in Copenhagen with stops near Berlin and in Tallinn, Estonia, on the way to spending two days and a night in St. Petersburg, Russia. On the way back to Copenhagen, we were scheduled ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It started in Copenhagen with stops near Berlin and in Tallinn, Estonia, on the way to spending two days and a night in St. Petersburg, Russia. On the way back to Copenhagen, we were scheduled to stop in Helsinki and Stockholm. Unlike similar cruises, the dates allowed us to see the Russian ballet. We were excited about it. The line canceled the stops near Berlin and then holed up in Tallinn for an extra day, ostensibly because of the weather. I'm a sailor – I understand weather issues and I would never suggest that the captain ignore that risk. But I do think it was the responsibility of the captain and the cruise line to juggle the remaining schedule to maximize stops in the promised places. Instead, stops in Helsinki and Stockholm were canceled as well. We spent most of our trip onboard ship – without the addition of entertainment, day trips or really anything. An hour-long ferry ride to Helsinki from Tallinn could have been easily arranged. A brief stop in Stockholm was clearly possible – we could see the city as we crawled toward Copenhagen so we didn't arrive too early. There were no apologies and no compensation was offered for the diminished experience. If we hadn't been on the ship so much, I probably would have overlooked its shortcomings. As it was, it bothered me enormously that the Wi-Fi was inadequate and costly. The lack seriously hindered communication on the ship – no catching up with friends lost among the 3,000 people onboard and no ability to work or check on things at home during the long, slow days with nothing to do. I was also annoyed by the dining arrangements. The cafeteria where most of the meals were served was so crowded that it was impossible to find a table. One person had to grab one while the others snagged food. To add insult to injury, one member of our party chomped down on a metal screw that was hidden in her salad and broke her tooth. Initially, the customer service people refused to take a report. She persisted and, ultimately, saw a doctor (no dentist onboard) whose first question was, "Why didn't you report this earlier?" I've cruised often on other lines and – and had itineraries changed because of weather – but never had an experience that was as negative overall as this one. I would never travel on Norwegian again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
NCL is the worst cruise line we have encountered.This was also a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary for us. We chose it because we wanted to sail on this date and the Baltic itinerary was at the top of our wish list. Pricing seemed pretty ... Read More
NCL is the worst cruise line we have encountered.This was also a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary for us. We chose it because we wanted to sail on this date and the Baltic itinerary was at the top of our wish list. Pricing seemed pretty comparable to other lines we have cruised for similar time periods. We suspected we were going to be unhappy with the customer service level when although we had a complete drink package we couldn’t get a bottle of sparkling water without a six dollar Per bottle charge. We were in a mini suite and have been told that we would each get 1 L of regular water bottles per day, but the best we could arrange was to have room service keep bringing us pitchers of water. We have met other people on our private tours who are also in a mini suite and get 2 L of water a day, but we cannot do that it seems. Add insult to injury when they confiscated a 1L bottle of sparkling water we had purchased and not used in our hotel. Any other line has allowed passengers 2 liters of wine or water on boarding, and not confiscated it. And worse, their overpriced water package only offers regular, not sparkling water. Although we boarded in Copenhagen, we heard horror stories from people who were stranded in Berlin and Warnemunde. We wanted to spend more time in Copenhagen and booked a post-cruise hotel room giving us two extra days. We didn’t need to be here an extra day on this end and we’re disappointed not to get to Northern Germany. The extra day In port was a waste of time, and NCL’s big solution was to offer overpriced excursions for a half a day. A more gracious customer service oriented line would have offered shuttle buses into town from the port. Little did we know that we would lose two additional port stops, and that we would be stuck in an overnight in Tallinn where again, NCL did not even think to run shuttles into town. We are not loungers, and choose cruises with port heavy itineraries. This ship has nothing to on it. Much of the time that we were stuck in port, the shops and Casino were closed. Inclement weather meant the outdoor pool and recreation areas were not accessible. If you go up to the level with the buffet and mistakenly take the fore elevator, you have to make your way across treacherously slippery outdoor decks hoping to find the backs of occupied chaise lounges on which to grab a hold. The Garden Café buffet has been beyond overcrowded and there were long lines everywhere for everything. Try to get a seat in the atrium lounge to play trivia and you better be there a long time before the start time. On other cruises we have felt pampered and treasured as clients and guests. Here we find we are constantly requesting things that have been prearranged but not delivered. The food is pretty good, but there is not much attention to documented allergies and special needs. My allergy to 5 specific vegetables has resulted in no vegetables, or mystery sauces which, when I questioned ingredients was met with “it is just gravy” and “well, are you having a reaction?” I was not, as I would not take a chance and see if it brought on an attack. Wonderful maitre’d brought me a plain serving sans gravy, but I felt like a demanding guest rather than a guest with an attentive staff. We have heard that perhaps we will be refunded some money for a 6 port cruise that only reached 3 ports , but that is met with conflicting responses from staff. They just told us they are only reimbursing us for port charges. We spent nearly $3000 in airfare to get to this part of the world and had no budget or plans to return. Never would we have spent that much to see Estonia and St. Petersburg alone. Were we in charge, we would have switched the order of ports, not kept passengers captive on a boring ship. Past sailers on this line have noticed huge cutbacks in perks, old standards (no more lobster nights), carry on beverage problems. The mismanagement of disembarkment in St. Petersburg, stranded passengers in Berlin and Warnemunde etc. has been documented in other posts. Cruising is a business and is expected to make a profit, but the wise marketing approach is to make your clients feel as if their pleasure, and thus their business, is valued. The cruiser should feel as if the staff is there to make their experience the best it can be. Here, our feeling is that we are only here to increase their coffers, and no one really cares if we are happy campers. Thus, they will never get a second chance with our precious travel dollars. We will sail with companies that value our business and do whatever they can to enhance our trip NCL is not customer service oriented, the staff is often rude and non-responsive to guests’ issues and should be booked with a buyer beware caviat. There is lots of misinformation- from the concierge who told me I could get cans of club soda (not true) to the newsletter sending us to 40 min lines to get luggage tags only to be told we could just get then from a table around the corner, to holding guests who booked private tours for an hour and a half to let NCL booked tours depart earlier, to promises of reimbursement that do not appear to be valid. We came with some level of expectation that was not even close to being met when they cancelled half of our ports with no compensation or apology. Incidentally, we heard that this captain had an experience with a rogue wave and is now overly cautious. It is always great to get away, but knowing we will probably never see Stockholm or Northern Germany because of this guy’s decisions does not sit well with us. Stuff happens but NCL MAKES IT OUR PROBLEM WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY OR COMPENSATION ON THEIR PART!!! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med. It has been a while since we last ... Read More
Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med. It has been a while since we last sailed on a Seabourn cruise and it will be a while - if ever - before we try again. The interior of the Encore including the suites is fabulous, but we cruise where the weather is good and the outside spaces are crammed and chaotic. The pool deck (serving simultaneously as a bar, as a restaurant and as a sun deck is at least 30% smaller than on the Odyssey class - for 150 more passengers. You will have lunch (if you can find a table) less than 10 inches from a sunbed maybe inhabited by a very large person in a very small bathing suit. Even if the food was good you could easily loose your appetite: You reach for the ketchup and you wind up with a bikini top in your hand.... But this goes to the core of our grievances: The food is actually horrible at all of their restaurants. We did not have one good meal out of the 40 odd meals we had during the two weeks. We could not fault the main Chef (from Bologna). He did what he could with an insufficiant budget and inferior ingredients: Dry, tough and tasteless meats. Tired fish. Too few mushrooms to make the mushroom soup taste of mushroom - not dish water. Ill smelling and ill tasting pork belly with a scallop on top with the texture of jelly. Mushy berrys at the breakfast buffet way past their last selling date. Now they have the new specialty restaurant to which Thomas Keller has sold his name. Shame on him. We dined there four times with exacly the same result: The cook has a better budget hence better ingredients. But the guy on this particular cruise did not have any idea whatsoever how to prepare them: The cured salmon was so salty that your palate burned. It was uneatable so it did not matter, that he had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap from the dish. A “grilled” Rib-eye for two was burnt to a crisp on the outside. The proud cook pronounced that it weighed 900 grammes. He cut it up in 14-16 slices at the table and slammed half of the slices down on my wife’s plate and the other half on mine. The plates looked like what you would feed a very big dog. We tried all the sides during our four visits. All of them were seriously over-cooked. Mushy and tasteless. For the first time ever we had a sinewy Lobster Thermidor. It is beyond me how he accomplished that. Once before on all of our Seabourn cruises we have had food as bad as on this one. On that particular one the Chef had a nervous breakdown and was totally unable to function. They had to fly in a trainer/replacement. My guess is that Seabourn has now finally been 100% “incorporated” in Carnival’s HQ in Seattle and has been forced to “piggy back” on deals with the vendors supplying their 4 star cruise lines even though they still charge six star prices. Finally a word about the ratio between newbees and experienced staff. It is way too high. My guess is 80:20. In fact Seabourn rely on the guests to train the majority of the staff who are on their first contract. As a guest you need to in order to get what you want..... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Let me begin by saying that I have cruised many times and with many different cruise lines. This is not the worst cruise line I have ever been on (that would be Costa Cruises) but it is close. We chose this trip for the destinations. ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I have cruised many times and with many different cruise lines. This is not the worst cruise line I have ever been on (that would be Costa Cruises) but it is close. We chose this trip for the destinations. However, we were able to only stop at one of our original destinations. The rest were canceled or changed because of weather. Since this was a small ship in the Northern Atlantic, we were really tossed about.....so much so that stomach distress bags were scattered through out the ship. We were expecting so much from this cruise line because of all the high reviews. But while the cabins were nice, the rest of the ship was just ordinary for a cruise ship. We found out later that the ship will be dry docked for a complete refurbishment in a few weeks, so that makes sense. We had gotten so sick during the first part of the cruise, then were told that we would be crossing the Northern Atlantic to our final destination in Iceland over very rough waters. They then canceled another 2 ports of call because of the rough waters and were going straight to Iceland with 2 days and nights nonstop at sea. At that point, we jumped ship and bought airline tickets to our final destination in Iceland. We missed the last 4 days on the ship.....but we have no regrets that we were able to disembark when we did. Iceland is beautiful and we enjoyed the extra days on shore rather than sick at sea. If you are thinking about this cruise line be aware that it does not do well in open waters and choose your destination accordingly. If you are looking for a smaller more intimate boutique type cruise experience, look at Azamara. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I have been on PO, carnival, and celebrity. I wanted to try holland America. So the pros: 1. Ship ok, but very poorly designed. 2 Laundry cheap, photos cheap 3. Food was good 4 service ok, but Not great. 5 getting on and ... Read More
I have been on PO, carnival, and celebrity. I wanted to try holland America. So the pros: 1. Ship ok, but very poorly designed. 2 Laundry cheap, photos cheap 3. Food was good 4 service ok, but Not great. 5 getting on and off ship easy 6 ship on time Cons Wow, where do i start: 1 smoking in casino and it spreads. Smoking outside in some public areas allowed. I found the smoking quite annoying. 2 entertainment at night rarely above b grade. 3 my biggest gripe no activities, except paid ones. Not even dance glasses. Outside the daily quiz night, there was little. The ship had no spirit, one couple mentioned to me the only excitement was going to their room to see the towel animal created. The ship needs to be fully audited, it just was a platform with no energy, nothing, staff were in large part not engaged. Sad really. So let me put it this way, celebrity is 200% better. If you want plain, with nothing to do on ship days, then this ship is for you. I was underwhelmed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise because the dates suited our vacation and because of the destinations. We boarded in Amsterdam and did the 12 days to Rome. The ship was very nice and the crew were great. I thought the main stage entertainment ... Read More
We chose the cruise because the dates suited our vacation and because of the destinations. We boarded in Amsterdam and did the 12 days to Rome. The ship was very nice and the crew were great. I thought the main stage entertainment was a bit boring and wasn’t for us. I actually fell asleep in one of the shows, that’s how much I thought of it. The comedian Jo Little was good but her humour was lost to a lot of the Americans. One night there was an opera singer on? We didn’t go as not for us, also a saxophonist one night. I like a saxophone when it’s part of a song or a solo but not the full show. They had the blues band and they weren’t bad but one night the 2 singers didn’t come out for the last set as BOTH of them had sore throats. So the band played their instruments and tried to do a so called funny ed and he said mime act. It wasn’t funny and they did that again on another night and it still wasn’t funny. The highlight of the entertainment for us was the piano bar 2 very talented girls. I think their names were Ivy & Paulini. Thank god for them as we would have went insane of a night. They entertained us every night except for their night off. Thank you The only bar that was open after midnight was the casino. We didn’t want to go there as we don’t gamble and we don’t smoke. Speaking of smoking in the casino we walked through there on the non smoking night to find people smoking and no one stopping them. Why wasn’t there any other bars open? It was like we were school kids being sent to bed. Totally unacceptable as far as we were concerned. We did enjoy the crows nest bar of an afternoon when we were set to sail. Food was good but on our last day it was an at sea day. At lunch in the buffet it closed at 2:30pm. I asked to speak with someone about this and an officer came and I asked him why it closed and he said because it’s time too. I pointed out to him that most people on the ship us included had a later breakfast and was hoping to have a later lunch. I also asked him what lunch finished the day before and he replied 4:00pm. So why are the times inconsistent? He really couldn’t answer just saying that they were the times. We had been through there earlier and I knew what I was going to have but wasn’t hungry thinking we could eat later. There are 2 sides of the buffet nearly a mirror image each side. I asked why they couldn’t have kept one side open at least? The officer was very good to try and accomodate us by saying he would get us what we were looking for. I wanted the buffet open I knew what my protein was but wanted other things as well. He also reminded us that there was the burger and pizza bars open and we could go there. That’s what we were going to do. I give him credit he pursued us and offered to make a reservation for us in the Italian restaurant free of charge. I thanked him but declined as I was upset with what had happened and wasn’t thinking about dinner I wanted lunch. In the end I said thank you please make the reservation but no sure if we will go. We ended up taking the offer up. The cabin was great and our room stewards were fabulous. The biggest disappointment though was when we went to the port of Heulva (I think that’s what it was called). It was Sunday and we didn’t really feel like going to Saville 90 minutes each way by bus. So we thought we will stay in the port town relax wonder around see what they have. There was a free shuttle bus from the port into the city. It was on the bus that we and most of the other passengers found out that the only places in town that would be open was food and drink places. The guide on the bus told us and she was 100% correct. That’s all that was open, I couldn’t even get a souvenir not even a fridge magnet. The bus dropped us off at the “tourist information centre” where there was 1 person working and a line up of about 50 people and they ran out of maps. Why would Holland America do this? What sort of itinerary is this? Honestly absolutely ridiculous. We weren’t the only ones unhappy with this. I did the survey that they sent us and they asked could they get in touch with us to discuss our rating. I said yes but we still haven’t heard so that’s why I have put my review here Read Less

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