We embarked in Warnemunde Germany on September 15 and should have disembarked there on September 24. However, at approximately 11 AM on September 22 we were informed that we had to leave the ship in Copenhagen on September 23. A mad ... Read More
We embarked in Warnemunde Germany on September 15 and should have disembarked there on September 24. However, at approximately 11 AM on September 22 we were informed that we had to leave the ship in Copenhagen on September 23. A mad scramble issued to make new travel arrangements. Only 5 computers and 5 phone lines were supplied to make these arrangements. If you used the ships WiFi or your room phone you were charged. The waiting line to access these supplied computers and phones took about 2.5 hours. That is the only support offered by Norwegian. Great way to spend you day at sea. They offered up to $300 to compensated for travel arrangement, but you have to submit your receipts to them. So more wasted time doing that. They should just give you the $300 and be done with it! We spent the day in Copenhagen and rented a hotel room (expensive). The ship happily staid in port and was still there the next day as we headed out to the airport. Friends of ours who used a bus to travel back to Germany said that a fleet of luxury buses arrive at the cruise ship having transported the new Germany passenger. It seems that since they had gotten our money already we didn't deserve arranged transportation. It's all about the money I guess. This was my first trip on Norwegian. I've cruised we Princess, Holland American and Viking before and they were all much superior. Needless to say that I will never cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Cruise ended one day early due to bad weather which was totally acceptable, except the crew did absolutely nothing to help all the passengers to make arrangements to get from Denmark to Germany. They basically threw computers at us and ... Read More
Cruise ended one day early due to bad weather which was totally acceptable, except the crew did absolutely nothing to help all the passengers to make arrangements to get from Denmark to Germany. They basically threw computers at us and said "google how to get to Germany". I was appalled at the lack of concern for any of us. I know it our cruise contract it states that they can end the cruise early at their discretion without a refund, but there are times that a refund is necessary when it costs a guest a lot of money to get home. Offering $300 per stateroom was not enough to cover the costs. I feel Norwegian needs to work out how to treat guests with more compassion and dignity than I found from them. I will not be cruising with Norwegian in the near future because of these reasons. I hope that they can work on these issues in the future. Read Less
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic States and we were pleased with all the ports. However, the NCL Breakaway was a big disappointment. Embarkation in Copenhagen was easy and we were on board by 12.30 but our mini-suite (12824) was no ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic States and we were pleased with all the ports. However, the NCL Breakaway was a big disappointment. Embarkation in Copenhagen was easy and we were on board by 12.30 but our mini-suite (12824) was no bigger than our normal verandah cabin on RCI or Celebrity and so don’t imagine suite means spacious! Our cabin steward was delightful and gave us every assistance we asked for.
So, to the problems.
The layout of the ship means that there is no central stairwell/lifts and only a set forward or aft. Our cabin was midway!
The ship’s company when designing had obviously tried to jam as many cabins in as possible at the expense of open lounge areas that were quiet or bars that were quiet. There simply wasn’t a quiet place to sit anywhere on the ship except in the library or card room. Usually these rooms on ships never see a soul from one week to another but on this ship, the library offered a quieter (not quiet, it was right next to the atrium where all the public games were held) place and so was constantly full when we were at sea.
The general noise level of music no matter where you were on the ship became increasingly annoying and I’m glad we only had two sea days. The quietest location was our cabin, as has been said before.
The other annoyance was the fact that we’d prepaid our gratuities (this is obligatory for Australians taking cruises). That in itself wasn’t the problem, but the issue came with the ship’s crew, particularly in the dining room. The second night we went to the main dining room and were shown to a four-person table (only 2 of us) and about five minutes later another couple were shown to the adjacent 4-seater table. They removed the cutlery and then proceeded to serve the other couple first in all things. A minor issue you, the reader might say, but it was pointedly obvious that the second couple had not prepaid gratuities and so the grovelling that went on meant we were ignored, food was served cold and we were disgruntled. The receptionist at the dining room can see who’s prepaid and who hasn’t so all staff are made aware of who they have to butter up and who they don’t. Needless to say we chose the buffet for all future meals.
And finally, we carefully read the ships rules before we embarked, declaring our two bottles of spirits which we were immediately told would be tipped out because the seals were broken (we’d been travelling for three weeks by this stage and had duty free from another country). As there was no opportunity for us to get our hands on the bottles whilst they were below decks, we didn’t see the problem. However, the ship did and on our last night we asked for our bottles to be returned only to be told that they had been ‘tipped out’ and we were not offered any explanation or refund. So, my husband told the purser that we would remove the prepaid gratuities to get some compensation for our loss, to the tune of about $AU360. The ship’s crew missed out and I don’t apologise. The ship’s rules clearly state alcohol must be handed in, which we did, but it didn’t state that bottles must be unopened, one of the bottles was 98% full.
Anyway we won’t cruise with NCL again, too noisy and too crushed Read Less
We found ourselves a great discount deal for a Baltic cruise, something on our bucket list and booked with Norwegian as a result, deciding on the mini-suite based on the description of the luxury bathroom and additional space over a ... Read More
We found ourselves a great discount deal for a Baltic cruise, something on our bucket list and booked with Norwegian as a result, deciding on the mini-suite based on the description of the luxury bathroom and additional space over a balcony cabin.
We arrived in Copenhagen 2 days early to enjoy the city, but were shocked by the prices of food, coffee and accommodation! Getting to the ship was relatively easy and very cheap as the public buses run right to the terminal, you just have to ensure you know exactly which terminal as there are two.
Checking in and boarding went smoothly, we were pleased that this was fairly hassle-free, but upon reaching our room 12200, with the door wide open and inspecting it, I was really disappointed that we had been allocated a "family mini suite - adjacent to the kids club, and with a bath, not the luxury shower I was expecting. As mature travellers, we certainly didn't need to be anywhere near the kids club, and I totally dislike climbing in and out of a bath to take a shower. I raced down to the guest services desk to ask if we could be reallocated as this was not at all what I expected nor wanted. It took a while to make the consultant understand what my concern was - I got a mini suite didn't I? She explained that the ship was full, but they would try to help us out if possible, but in the meantime, that was our room. My husband then arrived, saying he had been asked to leave the room, as it was not yet supposed to be occupied - no-one had told us that we couldn't go to our rooms at all.
We decided to head up to the garden buffet cafe for lunch before it got too crowded and then returned to settle in once the all-clear was given over the ships announcement system.
Over the next couple of days, we were invited to look at new room options - one was a downgrade to a balcony room, but the bathroom was even smaller, and the room smaller too. We turned that down but a day later we were offered a mini-suite on a lower floor (8714) which had the bathroom of my dreams (well, ok, the bathroom of my expectation) and a bonus was a huge balcony - but really not used due to the weather. We agreed to change rooms and were pleasantly surprised to receive a plate of chocolate strawberries and a bottle of wine as well for our trouble. (pretty much the only extra we received).
Comparing the "mini-suite" room to the balcony room on our previous (Nieuw Amsterdam/Holland America) cruise, it was so much smaller and had no extra touches that made you feel special at all. No robes, no slippers, no water! We got one towel sculpture the whole trip and the room attendant for our second room never bothered to introduce himself and ended up tidying too much away, taking the empty water bottles we were keeping to take off the ship for excursions and also use in the gym.
Because this was a budget trip for us, we did nothing that cost extra which meant only the main dining rooms were frequented and free shows attended.
One of our main issues with this cruise was the disappointing meals - firstly, freestyle dining means you'd better get there early or you wait up to an hour for a table.
Of the 9 nights, we ate 7 in the main dining rooms, Taste, Savor or Manhatten. The decor in these is very subdued - really dark and old-fashioned. Service varied depending on our server, but there was nothing exceptional and some misunderstanding as well. One night, I only wanted a light dinner so ordered an appetiser to come as my main course. Of course, it came once we had finished our first appetiser, and I had to finish it while my husband watched me eat, and then his main arrived and I had to watch him eat. Trying to make the waiter understand we wanted his main course to come out at the same time as my second appetiser was impossible.
BUT, the main issue is that of the 7 meals we had we were served cold food on 5 of those occasions! After the 3rd time, we were amazed that it was happening so much. Usually only one of the mains would arrive cold and once, after sending it back it arrived cold a second time, by which time we said, no let's try something else. We shouldn't have to specify to our waiter that we wanted a HOT meal, but that's what we had to do our final night as our experience had been just awful. Most of the food we found tasty and reasonable choices with the chef's special changing nightly.
We tried 3 shows, enjoying the Fly Boys and Burn the Floor, but gave up on Rock of Ages after about 15 minutes, the content and story really wasn't great at all.
We arranged our own shore excursions - FYI, if you book the Stromma Hop on Hop off bus tours online, you pay less than half the ship prices, and they still pick you up at the cruise terminal and return you there. And in our case, because we didn't make it to Copenhagen, we were refunded the price of the tour.
It was easy to walk into Tallinn and around this lovely town (even on a rainy day) as it was in Warnemunde with a local train to Rostock. Helsinki was the hop on hop off, and easy walking around the downtown. St Petersburg, we went for 2 days with TJ Travel tours and they were excellent, definitely recommended (at half the cost of the shipboard options).
Waking on the morning we were due to arrive in Stockholm we realised we were nowhere near it - we never made it there - and it took quite some time to have this information communicated to everyone, that the weather conditions meant we couldn't dock. You must be aware that prices for food and drinks in the Scandinavian cities are very high, St Petersburg was much cheaper comparatively.
The gym area had a number of machines and exercise areas available, but unbelievably nothing to have water in - only a fountain, so if you are on an hour run or cycle, you would need to hop off to hydrate on a regular basis. Some cups provided would be appreciated.
We found it incomprehensible that we couldn't take water on board, or water bottles were not provided in the staterooms. Not at all sure on the logic of this.
All in all, the ship was a means to get to some interesting cities we would never have reached otherwise. But we won't look to book on Norwegian again. Read Less
Background info: we´re a gay married couple (40 and 41) from Norway and this was our 19th cruise overall and the third with Norwegian Cruise Line, first time in a Haven. Booking was based on itinerary, price and ship; in that order of ... Read More
Background info: we´re a gay married couple (40 and 41) from Norway and this was our 19th cruise overall and the third with Norwegian Cruise Line, first time in a Haven. Booking was based on itinerary, price and ship; in that order of priority and because we wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday on a cruise. Most of our cruises have been on RCCL and Celebrity but I will try my best to not compare standards between cruise lines given that we all know the differences between them.
PRE-CRUISE: We arrived to Copenhagen the day before the cruise late at night and stayed at the Comfort Hotel® Vesterbro in the center of the city. We have been there before so for us it was just a night to sleep and a morning to take a relaxing walk around the center before going on board.
EMBARCATION: it was one of the more effective and organized embarkation we have experienced, taking into consideration that we booked a Haven cabin and had priority line; however it looked like everything was very well organized for everybody. After checking inn, a butler escorted us directly into the ship and all the way up to the Haven lounge.
SHIP: The Norwegian Breakaway is a great ship with tons of things to do all around, and it comes with pros and cons. I just will go through what we liked and what not from our point of view:
The good: The waterfront, different venues for entertainment with simultaneous activities that gives you different options every day/night. The Spa (and thermal suite) design and structure is amazing.
The not so good: The size of the pool deck, the structure of the decks 6-7-8 with a big corridor through them without really looking out to the Sea, kind of you forget that you are on a ship. The lack off relaxing places like lounges or places just to sit and read without being on a Bar.
CABIN: we booked a Haven Spa Suite (H9) cabin 14738 and loved everything about it, this cabin has a pole in front of the Jacuzzi tub and it really doesn’t bother at all. Balcony was on the small side but enough for sitting for a coffee. A lot of storage space, a nesspresso machine the we used a lot. Super Comfy and huge bed.
HAVEN CLASS PERKS: Once we checked inn in the terminal, we were shorted to the Haven lounge by one of the butlers. Once there we met Seka (our butler) who informed us briefly and very fast that she was our butler and she would take care of us and everything in our cabin, gave us her card and that she would come by the cabin later on. She was of great assistance during the week, basically by magic she learnt or guessed our schedule so whenever we were out of the cabin she was inn to leave daily snacks or pick up things we left. She also delivered orders from O´Shenans restaurant (chicken Wings) and from the Noodle Bar ( a full dinner); we didn’t know this could be done so we’re informed by the restaurant while waiting to be seated that our butler could take the order and deliver to the cabin. This was great....
We also met Virginia, one of the Concierges, she was amazing all the cruise. We just needed to fix small things like to change and cancel reservations for the specialty restaurants, excursions preparations for St. Petersburg and tickets for the shuttle in Helsinki. The Haven lounge Bar bartenders: Kumar and Olga and the waiter Kai were AMAZING... It was great to have a place where you could relax and find assistance (if needed). Also our Stateroom Attendant did a good job and kept our room spotless during the length of the cruise even though the most of the days it was extremely slowly in the mornings. The Haven restaurant will be commented under Dining.
We has included access to the Thermal Suite at the Spa, which was great and we really enjoyed the first visit when it was a real sanctuary of peace and quietness. Our second and last visit, lasted 10 minutes after which we just felt it was overcrowded and loud. Some people even opened a bottle of sparkling wine which sprayed some towels and bathrobes and was drinking inside the pool and jacuzzi (to my understanding this is not allowed).
We think is worth to pay the extra for the Haven Spa Suite and the perks that come along, would we book it again?, Maybe, if the price range / value is Ok for us and in of the newest ships of the Breakaway Plus’s Class
DINING: as part of the Haven, we had access to the Haven restaurant as our main restaurant for dinner, breakfast and lunch everyday. In general this was a great addition considering the ship, the menu is limited and doesn’t change during the cruise and for lunch and dinner this could be repetitive, there is a daily special that we tried twice and in our opinion it doesn’t get to the standard of the rest of the menu in terms of quality. The menu is good and everything was perfectly cooked, perfect temperature and good flavors. Once we asked if it was possible to get a Onion Soup and were told No. Service was excellent in the restaurant at all times. Notice that we didn’t see a Sommelier in the Haven restaurant. Also as part fo the Haven perks we had three specialty restaurants included that we visited in the following order:
Le Bistro: we had big expectation that were not fulfilled. The food was very standard for being a specialty restaurant, the service was on the just delivering food side, no interaction or whatsoever with the guests. Our least favorite meal of all the cruise and a disappointment.
Moderno: we love the concept and have tried it before in the Norwegian Epic and the real concept in Brazil several times. The quality and flavor and temperature of the meats was on point and the service was really good. We just felt we were being rushed to eat fast and leave fast, to the point that we have to say so that we wanted it a little slower. But it was goooooooooood.
Teppanyaki: we also know the concept and was an enjoyable and funny dinner with good quality of ingredients and service.
Ocean Blue: we reserve this one for my Birthday and this was the highlight of the restaurants on Board. Food, service, menu, quality, temperature everything was PERFECT, even better that Haven restaurant. We also tried the lunch on the sea day through the small window to the waterfront and it was Out of this world. Just AMAZING.....
Garden Cafe / Buffet: Very standard selection for lunch (when we were there), good quality and tastes, lack of service from the staff. It was like a big Cantina / Cafeteria.
O´Shehans: Pub food, good burger and amazing chicken wings and amazing service. Being in the Haven we didn’t know we could order with our butler who delivered to the stateroom.
Shanghai Noodle bar: We went one day for dinner and while waiting in the queue the maitre told us we could order with our butler and have the food delivered to the stateroom instead of waiting around for one hour. We did so and the food was good good good....
Taste Main dining room (Lunch): Slow service, cold and tasteless food. We order: Pho Vietnamese soup and it was a joke... the fried chicken and the salad for the main were also just bad. And for me is difficult to find a salad and chicken bad.
BARS: we had the Ultimate Beverage package and found it was OK. We spent most of the times in the Haven Bar (that we loved it). The drinks were good but the service standard in the bars was lacking, kind of get your drinks and get our of there.
ENTERTAINMENT: for our taste this was a rollercoaster: Rock of Ages was a disaster with sound problems and a bad production. We enjoyed a lot our times at Syd Normans Pour house, the rock band was very good. The night in the Howl at the moon, was funny and i loved it. Cruise Director Adriano, sorry but imho this guy could be a good International ambassador but not a cruise director.
ACTIVITIES: we wanted to try the ropes course and the water slides but being this itinerary so port intensive we though about doing these at the last sea day or in the last port - Stockholm -; however the weather didn’t help and we missed the last port and the last two sea days the outer decks were closed and therefore we didn’t try these. This situation also made us think about the inconvenience of this ship regarding sea days with bad weather, felt crowded everywhere and not enough space for a full sold cruise.
SERVICE: I would say the service all around the ship was OK, nothing memorable just OK
SHORE EXCURSIONS: we prebooked two excursion for St. Petersburg that were very good and we enjoyed a lot.
POST CRUISE INFO: We were shorted out of the ship by one fo the butlers, and took a taxi to the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen.
CONCLUSION: we had a great time, we enjoyed the cruise and loved the ports and the Haven experience for my big 40 birthday but we definitely didn’t like the ship and what it offers apart from The Haven. We would double think before cruising with NCL again, we don’t feel this product is our cup of tea. Read Less
We choose this cruise to explore Northern Europe. However, one of the major ports we were to stop at, Stockholm, we were not able to stop at. This meant instead of spending 1 night at sea, we spent 2. I have been on other cruise ships that ... Read More
We choose this cruise to explore Northern Europe. However, one of the major ports we were to stop at, Stockholm, we were not able to stop at. This meant instead of spending 1 night at sea, we spent 2. I have been on other cruise ships that could not make one of their scheduled stops, but they always made it up to us with another stop.
Norwegian just failed to do this and offered no real explanation. When we asked for an explanation we were told for safety reasons. My question is if it was that unsafe why not just go back to Copenhagen rather than stay at sea for 2 days.
There was very little entertainment on the ship and what they did have was poor at best. Other cruise ships I have been offered 2 shows per night. Norwegian offered shows at an extra charge. I never experienced that before.
I scheduled our own excursions with a company called TJ Travel out of St Petersburg, Russia. They were excellent, best I ever had.
I heard several passengers complain of the excursions sanctioned by Norwegian, especially the Berlin tour. Read Less
We booked this cruise in November 2016, primarily for the itinerary and small ship and also took the option of the Iceland pre-cruise extension and looked forward to it for 2 years. It was expensive but having cruised before on upper ... Read More
We booked this cruise in November 2016, primarily for the itinerary and small ship and also took the option of the Iceland pre-cruise extension and looked forward to it for 2 years. It was expensive but having cruised before on upper premium and middle market lines we felt that that the inclusions of wifi, included wines and beer and some tours were worth it. Booking from New Zealand meant we had to pay in Australian dollars, unlike other lines, which left the currency risk with us.
At our first touch point with Viking there was no-one to at the notified transfer point at Reykjavik Airport. We were at the place our documents told us to be and after 20 minutes I smelled a rat and took photos of where we were and the airport clock. The only contact phone number we had was for the pre-cruise hotel and they were disinterested. Eventually we were given the number of the local agents who, after a long time on the phone (at 3 bucks a minute), arranged a van to the hotel - had we had to do this ourselves a cab would have been USD150. It later transpired that Viking had not loaded our inbound flights into their system so while they knew we are coming they then virtually ignored us. The local agents went from uninterested to aggressive when we complained and told us we must have been in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Photographic evidence refuted this but to no avail. One female Viking agent turned out to be one of the tour guides and had a face like a dropped pie whenever she saw us. No tip for you!
The hotel provided was the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. The promo information from Viking stated we would be accommodated in a Hilton or Hilton equivalent but this was no Hilton! It was 3 star at best with slow and unfriendly staff. A lot of our fellow passengers had flown in from the US, arrived at 6am and were told that check in opened at 2pm and to leave until then. Considering the cost of this trip, this was unacceptable - several elderly and exhausted passengers were on the verge of tears at being dumped for 6 hours in a hotel lobby after flying all night.
The included Golden Circle tour was interesting with tours of geysers,Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss falls, Kerid Crater and many panoramic views of volcanoes and glaciers. Our guide, fortunately, was not the pie lady. The next day we went to the Blue Lagoon which was fun and then on a city tour. An early check out and transfer took us to the airport the next day and we flew Icelandair to Stockholm to board the Viking Star
The arrival staff at Stockholm were efficient and we were swiftly transferred to the Viking Star. Boarding was efficient and a glass of champagne and a cool towel were offered one embarkation - a nice touch. The ship was beautiful on first impression and our deluxe verandah stateroom was spacious and nicely appointed with the best bathroom we have seen at sea (and even in some hotels). Our stateroom attendants were fantastic and we were greeted by name from the first day. The room was always made-up - we came back from breakfast after 45 minus to find it cleaned and made up - witchcraft we assume was involved.
We found some jarring touches though - the terrace behind the buffet had potted rosemary plants on the tables - 50% of these were dead and dried up. We also noted drooping wires in some public spaces secured with electrician’s tape and the pool area smelled bad - chemicals and something else undefined but unpleasant. The included wifi was so slow that we gave up on it and used the wifi available onshore. In Aalborg, Denmark the weather was sunny and the temperature was 25C. With an onboard time of 1pm the restaurants were crowded, so we ate lunch in the very crowded pool deck. The much vaunted opening roof on the pool deck remained closed and temperatures soared - easily into the high 30’s and very uncomfortable. Many people complained to the waiters who tried to do something but to no avail.
In most ports we took advantage of the included tours, which mainly consisted of a bus ride around the city, a bit of a walk around, an hour of free time and a transfer back to the port. These were mostly fine if uninspired. We were trapped in St Petersburg due to high winds and had to cancel the scheduled stop in Gdansk. Because of Russian visa restrictions we had to stay on the ship while it was trapped though Viking organised a couple of paid trips - none of these were interesting and we thought that Viking’s contingency plans should have included what to do if the ship couldn’t leave. Other ships that were due to call into St Petersburg couldn’t get in so there would have been plenty of other tour options available. Other paid tours we went on were high quality and good value compared to some of the other lines we’ve sailed on.
Where Viking lost us as future passengers was the food. The wait staff were disorganised and slow - it was faster to go to the bar to get a drink than wait for a wine waiter to come to our table, though we noticed a marked improvement halfway through the cruise when a new maitre d’ took over the World Cafe. We saw a few sharp comments from him and shall we say motivation looked like it had increased. One wine waiter who had been uninspired before this, appeared with a bottle every time we took a sip - from sublime to ridiculous.
The food in general was not good. The buffet was okay but uninspired.We noted every night that there were overcooked steamed broccoli, carrots and cauliflower as a vegetable option and these appeared in the Restaurant as sides. Salads had nice names, but were often warm and wilted which made the dressings slimy and unappetising. The desserts in the buffet were all cold with no hot option as seen on other lines. The stand out offerings were crab legs and shrimp in the World Cafe though man does not live on seafood alone. The breakfast buffet was acceptable but by the end of the cruise had become very “samey”. Dishes prepared on demand at the buffet, such as steak, Caesar salad or eggs Benedict were very good.
Manfredis Italian restaurant was not a patch on the competition we’ve sailed on, the Restaurant suffered with the same wait staff malady as the buffet and the Chef’s Table was execrable. Not one of our fellow passengers we interacted with had anything good to say about it - it begs the question who Viking are trying to impress with this - their guests or themselves?
A couple of standout fails. In the Restaurant I ordered a dessert of pear clafoutis. This is a golden custardy light dessert - except on Viking it was dark brown, hard and burnt - and sent back. The Chef’s Table degustation was horrible - lightly seared tuna as appetiser and barely cooked steak served on a plate with a smear of grey mushroom sauce that looked like moly grease and had all the visual appeal of that grease on a mechanic’s overalls. Thankfully there was bread on the table so we didn’t go hungry. Other lines do fine dining so much better.
We should point out that the bar staff were fabulous. We had the Silver Spirits beverage package at extra cost and from day one our names and drinks were known and with generous pours. One waiter who knew we were going to be outside on the smoking area on deck on a stormy night gave us two drinks so we didn’t have to walk back while the ship was pitching and rolling.
Guest relations scored a point for investigating the Reykjavik stuff up (prompted by my travel agent at home) and finding that Viking’s Sydney staff had not loaded our inbound flights causing us to be stranded at the airport. They gave us onboard credit in recompense and refunded the not insubstantial cost of making cell phone calls in Iceland. That scored point was promptly lost when we filled out the request for paid transfers from the ship to the airport on disembarkation which was slipped under the door. This form was never processed and our luggage was tagged as “own arrangements”. When we went down to guest relations to enquire a lady shrugged her shoulders and said we were on our own as the arrangements for transfers were closed. A phone call to the manager who resolved the first issue fixed that but why was it a problem in the first place?
Disembarkation was rapid and easy, our bags were taken to the coach and we were swiftly transported to the airport for our own arranged flight to Oslo and London. SAS had technical problems however and virtually all of the Viking Star passengers were milling around the airport trying to find out from SAS and Viking air what was going on, particularly those with connections onto the US. So our trip ended as it started with distressed people milling about with virtually no support from Viking.
We had high hopes for Viking, the itineraries, the inclusions, the beautiful small ship, all were turned to naught by amateurish and clumsy details, indifferent service in some areas and awful food. Viking charges an upper premium price but delivers a less than mid market experience. We’ll cruise again (already booked) - but not with this line. Read Less
Have travelled with Cruise & Maritime before - took advantage of 2 for 1 offer by booking early.. Lots of good points - Entertainment excellent., cabin steward Jaya brilliant & also Anna - Maria in Hampton Bar.. Most excursions ... Read More
Have travelled with Cruise & Maritime before - took advantage of 2 for 1 offer by booking early.. Lots of good points - Entertainment excellent., cabin steward Jaya brilliant & also Anna - Maria in Hampton Bar.. Most excursions also very very good
Whole experience badly let down by food. We chose to eat in Grill as found times of restaurants either too early or too late. (Perhaps they need to consider "open dining" as on other lines). Food was often lukewarm to cold - main dishes dried out for sitting too long. Not often a jug/tureen of sauce offered so food very dry. Vegetables a disaster - mixed veg EVERY night & boiled potatoes 9 times out of 10. (& my husband hates sweetcorn !!). Hot dessert rotated between 3 or 4 choices. Staff did try very hard to correct individual problems ie heated our plates & added sauces. But shouldn't have been necessary.
Other complaint was itinery. We knew it in advance but as we have only cruised 3times in past didn't appreciate how many days at sea there were. Too many & we didn't enjoy this aspect although, to be fair, spoke to others who did. Felt end of cruise was badly organised with 3hrs in Aarhus then 2 days at sea. Bad weather (no-ones fault) meant we only had very limited time in Cobh Read Less
I chose this cruise through my travel agent who booked a large group cruise with friends. This was my first NCL cruise and I was disappointed in the ship. It was very crowded and the buffet was horrendous. I am used to Royal Caribbean ... Read More
I chose this cruise through my travel agent who booked a large group cruise with friends. This was my first NCL cruise and I was disappointed in the ship. It was very crowded and the buffet was horrendous. I am used to Royal Caribbean whose ships are amazing. Other cruise lines don't use their space wisely like RCCL and have tiny public areas whereas RCCL has massive promenades with beautiful wide open public areas and beautiful multi-level lobbies. I have cruised RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity and now Norwegian and unfortunately Norwegian comes in last in ratings. Food in the dining rooms was not impressive at all. I found the food in the buffet better than in the dining rooms but the arrangement was horrible and you could barely move for the people. All of the complimentary restaurants had the same menu and the menu in the dining rooms was almost the same every night. The variety was horrible. Activities were VERY limited and very boring. On every other cruise I've been on the cruise directors are always very interactive with the guests in many activities such as deck parties, line dancing, etc. I never saw or heard from the cruise director unless we went to a show. There were no deck parties, no activities, nothing. There is a huge beautiful area on the back of the ship known as H2O which is a waste of space because there was not one activity back there. The Breakaway brochure and website advertised "dance the night away at H2O after a night at Bliss nightclub". We were looking very forward to activities at H2O but not ONE THING took place there. Very disappointing! My balcony room was VERY nice and immmaculate. My biggest complaint about cruise ships now (and they are all doing it) is how large public areas are walled off for elite guests only. The Haven looks like it encompasses a large Solarium pool area which is not available to "common" guests. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ABSURD!! Stuff like this is why I am pulling away from cruising. This is not right.
We were unable to dock in Sweden because of high winds which is understandable but I have been in this situation before and the other cruise lines always offered small perks for the disappointment such as a day of free internet usage, free drinks or free movies in the rooms. The Breakaway offered NOTHING. We even asked since we were out to sea could we have 30 minutes of free wifi and the answer was no. I have never experienced this on other cruise lines before. Also, it was announced that a new activity schedule was being printed once we knew we couldn't dock and this was a JOKE because there were NO activities other than the usual boring Bingo, etc. This is the FIRST time I have ever been bored to tears on a cruise and this was my 35th cruise. Every other cruise line has sail away parties with themed food of the port of call on the pool decks but the Breakaway had nothing, not even fun pool activities of any kind involving staff members.
I am not impressed AT ALL with Norwegian. Read Less
Things I like about the NCL Breakaway ship and this cruise of the Baltic Sea fall far short of what was to be desired or should have been provided. I appreciated greatly that the cabin is well appointed including coffee making facilities. ... Read More
Things I like about the NCL Breakaway ship and this cruise of the Baltic Sea fall far short of what was to be desired or should have been provided. I appreciated greatly that the cabin is well appointed including coffee making facilities. It was wonderful having dinner and not being hassled by waiters selling wine packages. The best thing about this ship is the friendly and capable staff. Being a member of cruise critic meant we were personally introduced to senior staff and provided with their phone numbers on board if we encountered any difficulties. This was an advantage but from reading past reviews of the Breakaway today, the problems we encountered were nothing new to the staff and I prefer instead to share my experience with the public.
Now for the list of things that were disappointing, frustrating and which hampered our enjoyment of the holiday. These are in no particular order of importance.
1. We experienced stained and torn bedding, pictures available. We were in balcony statement room cabin 13226
2. 1950 and 60s music was not staged at a reasonable time. Staff must realise that after touring all day, having this entertainment on at 10pm is just was too much to ask of passengers. Us oldies appreciate this style of music. I do not have the stamina to tour all day and party till the sun comes up. I think having this type of entertainment on so late is a self fulfilling prophecy. People don't attend so it does not need to be provided earlier whereas that in my case was not true.
3. Drink waiters are absent in the complementary dining rooms. if they do exist they are not visible and proactive like they are in the casino. In the Garden Cafe it would have been nice to get my food and eat it while it’s hot knowing that the beverages were being provided. There are no trays to help you carry food and drinks simultaneously therefore you have to come and go leaving either your drinks or your meal unattended on the table.
4. There are way too few afternoon free activities if any. Everything is at a price. I have retained the daily programs for further information. This is not my experience on the other cruise lines I have sailed with including Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
5. The theatre is designed for 797 guests and with 3,963 passengers; it is clear that entertainment is not the priority of the company. From reading past responses it appears that the company believe that having multiple performances solves the lack of seating but their logic is flawed. People can see the show more than once. I tried to book on several occasions without success. After touring during the day on shore it is tiring to stand in line to find out that there are “STILL NO SEATS”. Other ships provide management options for popular shows, this problem needs to be addressed by NCL. Watching shows on theatre screens is certainly not the same as a live show.
6. On the subject of passenger allowances, the ship is designed for 3,963 passengers having double occupancy in the cabins. Paraphrasing what we were told during our lifeboat drill "if you can't get to a lifeboat there is capacity to go with crew" made me question whether there are enough life boats as cabins can take not just 2 but 3 or 4 people and regularly do. I have been unable to find any details about life boat capacity on any web site. If alternative rescue requirements are to be utilised should not the passengers receive this at the drill also.
7. I did not appreciate having jazz playing whilst I was having dinner. This is such an exclusive form of music and I was not surprised when no-one clapped after each song. I felt captive even if it was only for a few items.
8. In room information would be nice; there were no user manuals. One thing I can laugh about now is calling maintenance to fix our shower. It was a nice shower with body jets everywhere but there was no information on how to use it, another case of “operator error”.
9. It took us a couple of days to locate the timepieces aboard. I would like to see clocks especially as they want us to be ready and at meeting points on time. If they are not visible they are not there.
10. We were programmed to dock near Stockholm and had a late scheduled NCL bus to get us to the city. It was a nice sleep in. We awoke not knowing what is happening and why we were still at sea. There were no announcements for quite some time and these were in the hallways only. By the time we got the TV onto the relevant channel the announcement was finished. There was no news item published and the itinerary on the TV showed no change to that published the day before. I was puzzled and rang to find out why we are not in port. What does this mean for departing at Copenhagen, do I need to change my flights or tell the people who are meeting me when I will be there? They need to improve their communications. An example of good communications was when we on a Princess Cruise traversing the Pacific Ocean and we had to turn around to rescue some marooned sailors. We knew what was happening and the effects on our itinerary straight away because the information was published on the boat’s TV program and the frequency of the PA announcements.
11. The quality of entertainment that we could get seats at is not worthy of passengers. We ventured to the Headliners Club to catch the Duelling Piano’s; my husband like most people left after a couple of songs; I lasted a little longer. They were enthusiastic and capable pianists but could not sing. I would expect this quality of entertainment in a talent show and not from a professional.
12. It would have been nice if security smiled back when we reboarded or even just said “hello”. I recognise that they need to be tough at times but welcoming passengers back is not one of them.
13. Smoking in the casino was a real and serious issue. The health of staff and passengers is being put at risk. I felt discriminated against as the “fun and new” machines are located in the “no smoking” section. The majority of passengers are none smoking so management should make at least half of the casino “non smoking” and provide the same machines and tables in the other section for those who choose to smoke. The vast majority of people around me did not smoke. Have management conducted a review to see how many people are smoking in the casino or are they just going by “damned statistics”.
14. On the subject of smoking the ship’s smoking venues should be located at the stern end of the ship. This would mean we can walk through without encountering second hand smoke and also mean that the smoke is blown away out the back of the ship and away from the facilities.
15. On the subject of the casino, why do parents have to bring their children through the casino to get to the theatre. This is alarming for me as it is illegal for children to be in casino’s in so many countries.
16. I appreciated the complimentary wine however I do not drink red wine and was not given a choice.
17. How lovely it would have been to have teaspoons with my coffee rather than bits of sticks which is not a green option as it means fewer trees.
In summary this ship has turned me off cruising. Being new to Cruise Critic I now know what to look for before booking a cruise. Read Less
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship
The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection
Food quality was also poor:
Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship
The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection
Food quality was also poor:
Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange tasting scrambled eggs, soggy weird tasting French fries.
At lunch time the buffet was the only option
The main dining room food quality lacked imagination and was of average quality at best. Little emphasis on providing regional dishes or specialities.
Each of the specialty restaurants was pretentious . While having some good dishes ( veal chop in Toscana, lamb in Jacques and red ginger) the French onion soup was watery , pasta tasteless ,crepe Suzette rubbery and bitter and pastries soggy . EXTREMELY. DISAPPOINTING!!
The cabins were nice with a shower and separate bath,
Shore excursions were well organized and had some great guides.However several were spoilt by unfit elderly travelers ignoring fitness recommendations for the tours by selecting strenuous walking trips . Only to complain and hold up the whole group as soon as any walking was required
Entertainment was on the poor side.
Boarding in Stockholm was time consuming but disembarking in Copenhagen efficient
Staff varied considerably in performance.
Some were very friendly helpful and attentive. Others down rite rude
Last Crystal cruise was superior in every aspect. I cannot imagine how Marina has a high culinary rating!!!!! Read Less
Second time on Celebrity and the last.
First trip was some years ago on Millenium - hated every minute of that ship so it has taken me some years to dip my toe in again.
We primarily booked the trip because it was the itinerary we ... Read More
Second time on Celebrity and the last.
First trip was some years ago on Millenium - hated every minute of that ship so it has taken me some years to dip my toe in again.
We primarily booked the trip because it was the itinerary we were looking for and my cruise agent urged me to give them another go as the 'newer' ships were much better.....
I think what I have learned with cruising over the last 22 years is that everybody probably ends up with a favorite cruise line, and that has never been more evident to me than after this cruise.
I am pleased I have given celebrity another try as it has absolutely satisfied my mind that they are not the line for me and never will be - they are just not special enough in my opinion.
For me the 'Celebrity brand' doesn't do what it says on the tin. A luxury cruise line it isn't. All in all we found it completely UNDERWHELMING!
I don't say that lightly, but the mood of the ship is definitely aiming at sophistication, but it misses the mark! The whole mood of the ship is one of darkness, feeling almost claustrophobic with its small bars and spaces. lighting is very subdued, both day and night, giving it an almost 'club' like feel.
Because of the design of the ship there are no quiet areas, even the library (which is lovely) is noisy, with the sound of ping pong and the lifts. Music pumps out from almost everywhere and sometimes you just want a pleasant place to relax. We found it so frustrating that when sailing out of beautiful places the music was blaring and almost everyone was commentating on it. Sometimes Celebrity, silence is golden and far more appropriate!!
It was the little things we missed, which other lines offer, which matter - no nibbles at any of the bars and inconsistency of the drinks in almost every bar, literally no two drinks were the same. There were also no self service laundry facilities - really? and one of our favorites was missing - movies under the stars, very disappointing. We found the service overall just OK, certainly not outstanding.
Where the ship massively disappoints however is the main dining experience. This is by far the worst dining room I have experienced. Tables are crammed together, sometimes almost impossible to pass,the design of the room is awful and has more of a feel of a 'kitsch' restaurant. More disappointing is the food which is little more than mediocre. We really disliked eating here and the only relief was we had booked 4 x night specialty restaurant package.
To be fair there are however a couple of positives which we should mention. Firstly Murano restaurant is just fabulous, the ambiance, the staff, food and service is outstanding. I can without a doubt say that this is the best restaurant at sea I have eaten in so far. Bravo to the staff and chef's, you do yourself proud!
Secondly the cabins are fine, great bathrooms and well laid out. We had a fabulous cabin steward who looked after us so well, and our room became our sanctuary.
We had high expectations of the ship and whilst this didn't live up to the hype we are still glad we went, because we have satisfied ourselves that we never need look at celebrity again and wonder! Read Less
My wife and I booked this and it's following cruise through a travel agents promotion in Australia. It looked like a good deal at the time. I have been on cruises with several other companies which have all been good. After ... Read More
My wife and I booked this and it's following cruise through a travel agents promotion in Australia. It looked like a good deal at the time. I have been on cruises with several other companies which have all been good. After booking this cruise we looked at cruise critic and were a bit shocked at some of the reviews which led us to be apprehensive about the trip. The embarkation was ok as it can be a bit chaotic on any cruise. On checking out the ship on arrival we were impressed overall especially the cabin which looked like it had just had a refit. After that it was all down hill. You cannot get an ice cream on board unless you pay for it not even in the main dinning room with dinner. You basically have to pay for everything extra. I always have a sauna when on the ship. When I couldn't access the sauna I enquired and was informed that it was 25Euro a day to use it which is a ridiculous amount to use a sauna for half an hour. No wonder the sauna looked unused. I have never paid for the use of the sauna before. Now for the real bad. The bistro was the most unbelievable place you could ever imagine. There is no hygiene control. No one uses the chemical supplied to sterilise their hands when entering the bistro. People touch food, cutlery and plates with their hands without using same. There are signs to show entry and exit but no one uses this. It is a free for all, pushing in to the middle of the que and going up the wrong way is just normal. It is normal to get pushed aside by people who think they have right of way. There are no staff as in other cruise lines controlling this. On other cruise a gloved staff member hands out the plate and cutlery after you have sterilised your hands. I don't know if this is normal on Italian cruse lines but the amount of food taken off the ship by people going on day trips staggered me. It looked like they were feeding a hoard. It was normal to see cruisers off the ship sitting eating the food from the breakfast session in the middle of cities we visited. Gratuities on this cruise line are compulsory and enforced and as such should be included in the fare not added on. In this case I would not have paid any gratuities as I found the food average, entertainment average and the service in most cases average. Mostly Italian is spoken during shows and entertainment which is a real problem for english speaking cruisers. Shore excursions were expensive.
This is a cruise line built for Italians and only Italians. In my opinion if you are not Italian don't use this company. If Costa wants to improve it's image it needs to change its business format becoming an International cruise company catering for all nationalities. In its present format I cannot see Costa prospering as a major cruise line.
The only area of the ship I liked and enjoyed was the Piano Bar. The staff in this bar were the most efficient and personable on the whole ship making it a pleasure to go there each night before and after dinner. Read Less
We chose this cruise as we have not traveled to these countries (Norway, Denmark) and were also interested in add-on to Iceland. We have done river cruises with Viking in the post and were generally very happy with the sightseeing ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have not traveled to these countries (Norway, Denmark) and were also interested in add-on to Iceland. We have done river cruises with Viking in the post and were generally very happy with the sightseeing opportunities and excursions offered there.
First of all, this trip was new to Viking Ocean and there were definitely problems. The scene at the airport was completely chaotic; the buses to take us to the ship were not at the airport, hotel assignments were a mess (some people were told their names were not on the roster), communication between the Viking reps and us completely non-existent.
Finally onboard, check-in was also chaotic. No lines, just a crowd of tired passengers vying for room assignments and a bottle of water (None offered!)
The ship is clean, attractive. Staterooms pleasant. Nothing exceptional.
Shore excursions: poor: Optional excursions very expensive, included ones were a quick jog (1-1/2 hours) through port leaving no time for questions or photos. Best excursion was the full day train ride to Flam (pricey but enjoyable)
The best thing about the cruise was the service and dining room attendants. Friendly, efficient, accommodating. Read Less
This is a long review because I have tried to convey things other reviewers have not. My husband and I are in our mid 60’s, have traveled extensively, and this was our fourth cruise: 1 with RCL and 2 with Princess. We had 14 day ... Read More
This is a long review because I have tried to convey things other reviewers have not. My husband and I are in our mid 60’s, have traveled extensively, and this was our fourth cruise: 1 with RCL and 2 with Princess. We had 14 day cruise through the fjords with HAL on the Koningsdam that was split into two seven day cruises returning to Amsterdam after seven days.
We did our own airfare. My problem with booking through the cruise line is that as long as everything goes right, it’s great. But, when things go wrong, and on the international leg of a journey anything can and does go wrong, you do not have the contract with the airline, HAL does. So, you have a third party involved, which complicates changes when things go wrong. It has to go through HAL.
We used Dutch Limo to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel, and Dutch Limo to take us to the ship from the hotel. Excellent, as one other reviewer remarked. It was nice after being up all night to see your name and follow the driver to your hotel.
We stayed at the Ibis Styles Amstel, which was an excellent choice. The Ibis Styles Central Station (across from the Central Station) was sold out a year in advance, as were many hotels. Our room was ready at 7:00 in the morning which made us very happy. The staff is great and this is a great part of town with a street market and nice restaurants right down the canal from the Rijksmuseum.
The Good: There are some things worth mentioning. The food overall (if you can get to it) was relatively good. The crew was outstanding doing the best they could under very trying circumstances. Because you are served in the Lido, fewer hands actually touch the food, so in that sense, it is a lot more sanitary. There are hand washing stations (a nice touch) at either end of the Lido and hand sanitizer everywhere. The beds were great and the bathrooms, as mentioned by so many, are a vast improvement. Hand lotion in the women’s bathroom, Happy Hour every day for an hour with some eats put out (with the second drink $2) were fine touches and very popular. They had two female piano players in the evening, who I thought were good and in the afternoon every day they had a solo piano player in the billboard area. Some of the classical music was also nice. We did not go into the theatre but heard many complaints that it was “too small.”
Embarkation. Be ready to stand in several lines for over an hour. Of course, others boarded earlier and got on much easier. You have to endure a terminal with no air conditioning and it was chaos with families and children.
Cabin: I have to say the cabin was OK if not much smaller than we had on RCL and Princess in the same category (inside). There was sufficient storage for items and clothes. The bathroom on our inside cabin was one of the best we have ever had. As others have noted, the shower was exceptional. Unfortunately, there was garbage under our bed and behind the vanity when we arrived. That’s what happens when you have overloaded cabin stewards. In addition, our bathroom on the Gershwin Deck rear had a constant sewer smell, although it did not go into the room.
Lido: If you do not make the early cut-off for breakfast in the dining room (9:00 am), you can battle it out in line at the Lido.
Now, remember, the dining room is only open for lunch when you have days at sea, and not even then since there were two Mariner lunches to which the general public was not invited. Over 14 days on our cruise, you can only have lunch in the dining room maybe 2 days. What does that mean? The Lido. While any of the alternative dining rooms are available for lunch, they will set you back additional money. Obviously, the message is if you want a nice lunch and to be waited on, you will have to pay extra.
Ordinarily, at any buffet you would have trays. Why? Because then you can gather your meal in an organized fashion all at once. There are no trays in the overcrowded Lido. So, this is a two person operation. You would think on a new ship seating would be appropriate for the number of people on the ship. Not so. There is a GROSS shortage of tables. Therefore, you have to have one person find a table first, no small matter. People can be aggressive, and you have to be if you want a seat to enjoy the meal you have already paid for.
Next, once you find a table, it is most likely dirty. So, you have to wait for the staff to clear it off, or failing that, do the work yourself. Amazingly, the waiter stations in the Lido area have no running water. Your table will be wiped with a rag that is rung from a bucket of water (not kidding).
Once you have the table clean and have claimed it, you will remain in the middle of those jostling with their plates and those who are aggressively seeking a place to sit. Not a pleasant experience. There are literally hundreds of people along with walkers and wheelchairs, young kids and staff moving in what is basically a confined space. So, be ready for contact.
They do have pizza also in a separate venue above the pool. It was OK. There was a place to order but no place to pick up so you had to insert yourself in the bar to pick up your pizza. If you are sitting in the Lido area around the pool, you will have to negotiate a winding staircase to your table with your pizza in hand.
The burger and fries area was much more organized and on the same level as the Lido. They had something missing from the Lido: trays.
Actually, there was almost a fight over a table while we were sitting there in the Lido by the pool. The staff kind of broke it up before it got out of hand. With tensions high and people hungry, this can happen. The Lido is obviously too small and not well thought out. It is equivalent to a college cafeteria with better food. Sharpen those elbows before you hit the crowds.
Dining Room: Forget fine dining if you are in the main dining room. The dining room is a two story beer hall that echoes loudly before you even enter. It is so loud it eliminates any possibility of a nice dinner. We requested late seating and found out at the last minute we did not get it, even though we paid our nonrefundable deposit almost a year in advance. All tables for two were eliminated for reservations after the first day. And, of course, the table for two you want may not be worth going after. One of the reasons to try and get a reservation is that anytime dining is even worse. Most of the decent two-tops are taken already by well-heeled passengers and fixed seating.
We went early to dinner one night just to see if the chaos and noise were a figment of our imagination or real. We requested a table for two and turned down the first offer (a table next to a double stack of clean glasses and the exit to the waiter station). So, we were given a table for two (which actually was fairly good by HAL standards), up against the front part of the waiters’ station. The waiter stations are too small for what goes on and as a result, there are trays of wine glasses and waters glasses stacked outside the stations. Also, on the outside of the stations are the dirty dishes and silverware that must sit there because of the stations poor design. No cabinets for glasses. So, as you sit down you are looking at wine glasses stacked on these trays that are going on your table, like you are eating in the kitchen. The noise from the station, which has low walls so you hear everything, interferes with hearing the person sitting across from you. If you are at a large table, no one can hear across the table.
In addition, people seem to be permitted to wander around the dining room during dinner, looking at you, what’s on your plate and just standing around in the middle of the floor. This is what occurred on the night we had dinner there. Where the head waiter was, I have no idea but these people stood in the middle of floor, hovering over tables with kids hanging out with them for over a half hour when we were there.
So, we ordered a bottle of white wine. We get the bottle in the ice bucket that is placed behind us right next to a tray that holds all the dirty silverware that is literally next to the bucket. The noise becomes deafening as this group of about 30 or 40 enters the dining room to find their seats (and of course there is controversy about who sits where) and this adds to feeling of chaos in the dining room.
One thing I did do was get to breakfast as many times as I could, but you could not stay up late at night. In addition, they never ask your name, they ask your room number when you want a table. You are linked forever with the cabin you get.
I will also add that there is NO ambiance in any of the main dining areas. The Lido is a buffet, with all that it implies. The dining room, as mentioned before, is chaos. So, what do you do? You have to spend additional money to get some peace and quiet and service, which is why many suite clients end up eating solely at the Pinnacle Grill and the other alternative (read “extra money”) venues. Even they don’t want to eat in the dining room. One review I read from a suite passenger stated emphatically that they never once ate in the main dining room.
FYI: If you dine in the Canaletto, as we did one night for extra money ($30), your meal will be less noisy than the Lido proper, but then your meal will be served directly from the Lido to your table. We were seated right next to the waiter’s station with all the noise.
There were many negative comments I heard about the noise in the dining room from other people who were from other countries. There were many Aussies, Brits and Dutch on board. One man I heard comment (not American) said he was seated in the dining room by a main thoroughfare and the waiters along with those being seated kept banging into his chair during the entire meal. The tables are also too close together. He said he had to resort to the private dining venues to get a reasonable dinner without the noise. The two tops are all pretty bad. They are either up against a noisy station, and if you are lucky you don’t have to sit next to dirty dishes and silverware. Otherwise, you will be having dinner similar to the experience of an Olive Garden. There are just too many tables jammed into the dining space. It appears that HAL cannot handle the anytime dining with the size of their dining room.
It also appears that their goal is to get you to pay to dine after you have already paid for the cruise. We had a lunch given to us by our travel agent in the Pinnacle Grill. It was nice but dinner will set you back $50.00. You get peace and quiet that you supposedly already paid for.
Don’t plan on the Crow’s Nest for take off. It was closed for a private function on both embarkation days. However, if you can stake out a place 2 to 3 hours before sail away at the various ports, you can get a seat. They need to eliminate the “computer area” and remove the tables blocking the windows on the other side.
What I did not know was that the hull of the Koningsdam is the same as QE2 and the Queen Victoria. What was noted by someone who actually traveled on the QE2 and this ship was the breaking up of space for “pay” venues. I never saw anyone in the Retreat the two weeks we were there, but the place takes up significant space. Her main criticism was that there were many little spaces that had limited seating and were too small for the number of people on board. A perfect example of that, and here I totally agreed, was the Dutch Café. The concept was nice; however, it is way too small for its purpose. There is a small area with tables that are continually filled and it pushes out into the Atrium. People park there, which is understandable, but it makes it impossible for you to get a seat. This should be much larger. Other wasted space includes the walkway around the Culinary Arts area. This is next to the dining room on the second floor. Instead of putting small sofas by the windows where people could sit and look out, there are these ridiculous dining chairs, in an awful color to boot, lined up facing the hallway. In addition, there are these ugly metal structures containing promotions blocking the windows to make sure you can’t see out. It would have been nice if they put seating there with some tables so people waiting for dinner have a place to sit and wait close to the dining room.
We were sitting in the classical area listening to music from the other music venue. Supposedly, this problem will be fixed in dry dock in December. Poorly designed.
We did attend some of the lectures which were not exceptional but informative. The big problem is that when you get an announcement throughout the ship it will not come in your cabin. People were mystified why HAL did not put the main intercom (including the Captain’s updates) in the cabin so you didn’t to open your cabin door to listen.
All in all, we will not be back on Holland America. My concept was being served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, I found out the dining room is closed for lunch and you have to get up early on vacation to catch breakfast. Why breakfast was not extended until at least 10:00, considering they don’t serve lunch, I do not know. Dinner was such a production to get a table, and a bad table at that, it was not worth it.
Please note that when you get in line in the Lido for your entrée, you may be waiting behind the staff. Yes, the staff gets in line and you have to wait behind them to eat. They do not have their own dining room and you will be in line behind them and in some cases, they will get waited on before you.
Laundry: We did three bags of clothes for $30 each. Be sure to bring Spray and Wash. The first round of laundry had to be redone because none of the grease came off the shirts and as a result we had to pick up some Spray & Wash in Amsterdam and have the clothes rewashed. They have no room for laundry where you can iron your clothes and the staff will not bring you an iron.
Disembarkation: That was easy because we left the ship with our luggage. It felt good to be off the ship. I was looking forward to getting waited on and having some relaxing dinners with a little atmosphere for a change. Read Less
We chose this cruise for its Baltic itinerary and decided to indulge in the Aurea experience. MSC ships (as seen on AWE Dream Cruises) are beautifully decorated and quite well maintained. Cabins were clean and well attended to. Most of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its Baltic itinerary and decided to indulge in the Aurea experience. MSC ships (as seen on AWE Dream Cruises) are beautifully decorated and quite well maintained. Cabins were clean and well attended to. Most of the nightly shows were entertaining but there are few other interesting activities offered and the handful of movies available in your cabin cost 7e each.
If you don't buy a drinking package, your only option is tap water after breakfast.
We have been on MANY cruises with Holland America, Princess and NCL and we enjoyed the food offered at the buffets or restaurants until this MSC cruise. The chef should be shot or, better yet, forced to eat the low quality concoctions he prepared 3 meals a day for 11 days. How many folks eat pork necks, ox tails or venison stew? Pasta and pizza on this Italian line were disgraceful.
Also, the ship had a very annoying mechanical vibration that traveled all the up to our cabin on deck 15 that we've never before experienced. Read Less
We booked this cruise about 6 months prior to sailing date.
Embarkation and disembarking was very smooth. On the first day we arrived just before noon and there was almost zero line up to get on the boat. We brought our own luggage ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 6 months prior to sailing date.
Embarkation and disembarking was very smooth. On the first day we arrived just before noon and there was almost zero line up to get on the boat. We brought our own luggage down on the last day, and had breakfast at the buffet before leaving at 9am (time when they require you to leave the cabin room). If you needed them to bring down your luggage, you would have to get time coded tags prior to the last day (and the later times were restricted to certain guests).
Service: Mostly friendly, but had some sloppy line chefs at the buffet omelet station, and some of the waiters didn't clean our stacked dirty dishes from our buffet table (yet they would clear the larger table next to us, after they were handed a cash tip, which they gladly took). Our cabin steward was excellent.
Youth Entertainment: the centre for ages 13-17 wouldn't allow my son to register (with his older cousin) even though my son was just 1 month shy of being 13 years old. In the end, none of our kids used their entertainment areas.
Activities: High ropes course was fun, best to go when the shipped is docked and near sundown (you'll get some spectacular views and it's not as scary). Mini golf was fine, enjoyed the water slides (when the weather was warmer). The one main pool (warm water) was a bit small and crowded most of the time. Kids pool was busy too (also warm water). My senior parents enjoyed the hottubs. Only 3 ping pong tables, which was tricky to play on windy sailing days. Fitness room was adult only and split into one tiny weight room and another tiny room with bikes/treadmills/etc (one section of the bikes area had very poor ventilation).
Shows: Enjoyed Burn the Floor - some very good dancing and singing (you can prebook a time on the NCL website prior to sailing). Roxy (4 person singing group) was lame, as well as Rob Linacre (kept singing female Motown songs in high pitch squeal). Why so much 80s music focus? Do some more modern productions please. We were interested in seeing the Cirque show, but there was a surcharge. NCL loves to make you pay. Didn't see any comedy or magic shows and nothing that the kids would enjoy.
Dining: Mostly horrible. We didn't bother to pay extra for the fancy restaurants, since the included places were quite poor to begin with. Our group of 19 always had nightly 5:30pm dinner booked at the Manhattan, so getting a table wasn't difficult (even if we walked in as a smaller group, at a later time). Their kitchen was quite slow on average, at times food would come cold. Desserts would take forever to arrive. Do not order the Vegetable Tempura or Beef Carpaccio appetizers, they are horrible. Cesar salads were consistenly bitter. Pork belly dish had a piece of large fat with almost no meat on it. Steaks were tough as leather. There is not quality control when the foods come out of the kitchen. Absolutely horrible head chef.
As for the buffet, we often had difficulty getting a table of 4 during the busy hours. Lots of repetition, even though the buffet extended 360 degress (about 4 sections that are repeated). For breakfast I only enjoyed the poached eggs benedict. Omelet stations often had long lineups of 5 or more people. For dinner, they would have some different theme nights. Really didn't enjoy any of them, and there was always lots of repetition (in a bad way). Even the veggies were very limited. Juices were all badly watered down. Ate at Moderno's for a more calm breakfast buffet (no surcharge).
Shore excursions: Our friends took the SPB bus to Berlin. It was a long day of travel for them, as it's 3+ hours bus ride each way. They weren't too crazy about the tour. We spent a few hours in the Warnemunde beach, kids absolutely loved splashing around in the large waves, as it extends quite far out without being too deep (and they had lifeguards). Tallinn we walked to the old town, didn't find it too busy. Quite steep at some areas so maybe difficult for seniors.
St Petersburg we pre-booked a private custom tour for 19 people with SPB tours. We managed to get 2 tour guides, both of which could speak Mandarin Chinese (perfect for our parents). TIP: 2 days prior, you need to register your group a disembark time (starts at 8am). As soon as you see the paper notice, do it ASAP if you want to get off the boat earlier. They usually allow the NCL tours off the boat first, followed by the independent tours. We started to lineup at 8:30am and didn't get out of passport control until 9:45am).
Our custom tour was amazing and we had our own luxury tour bus. I prebooked all of our ballet tickets at the Mariinsky (Swan Lake, used the Kassir website was easy with a Visa card payment). Do note that it's not the regular ballet dancers performance, as they take the summer off. We requested a traditional Russian dinner at Petrousha and we all enjoyed some very good food and very reasonable prices.
Stockholm: took the short bus ride, followed by the 50 min train ride to central station. Then took the metro to Vasa museum first thing in the morning to avoid the line ups. Lots of interesting things to see there for both adults and kids. Then explored the old town area (buses weren't running into there on that day for some reason). Had an amazing lunch on the patio at Ebenist. Some reviewers mentioned that the ship may have changed the port 1 month prior and instead of sailing right into Stockholm, they stopped at Nynashamn instead. So best you confirm that at time of booking and keep documents handy in case you want to get them to pay for your bus/train ride to Stockholm.
Helsinki: Took a hop on/off bus, and our group of 19 got $5 discount when we paid as a group when we got off the boat. Saw the rock church, sibelius monument, had lunch at the pier market area (lots of fresh seafood dishes).
Overall I enjoyed the sights that I saw at the destinations we visited on this cruise, and found the ship's amenities and rooms to be very good, but the food was horrible and service so spotty and entertainment so poor, that I will definitely not sail on another NCL cruise in the future. Read Less
The reason for our low CABIN SCORE: Breakaway crew came to our “stateroom” to investigate my concern The non-physician said it wasn’t bed bugs. He decided it was in the fabric of the couch on which I fell asleep. They promised to ... Read More
The reason for our low CABIN SCORE: Breakaway crew came to our “stateroom” to investigate my concern The non-physician said it wasn’t bed bugs. He decided it was in the fabric of the couch on which I fell asleep. They promised to wash the fabic/replace it, BUT NEVER FOLLOW THROUGH; they did not deliver on the promise AND were wrong on their non-physician diagnosis!! Otherwise, room space was good, balcony was tiny, double size bathroom was awesome, room maintenance, other than the poor diagnosis and failure to deliver, was great.
THE REASON FOR OTHER SCORES: Food was mediocre. For example, French fries came to the table cold in the TASTE dining room. In the sit-down dining rooms, spicy food was not spicy, etc. Restaurant service was excellent. Grill food was good, Specialty foods were mediocre at best.
- Entertainment: if it ain’t gonna make them money it’s not part of the package. No comedy shows. I perceive that Bingo is such a stupid money making venture. And what the hell was the cruise director doing on stage of “Rock of Ages?”
-One very BAD St. Petersburg EXCURSION- TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY! No easy way to let Norwegian know about this (LINES, LINES, limited hours!)
- TRIED TO DO THE NORWEGIAN ONLINE FEEDBACK FORM AND IT FAILED FOUR TIMES. I guess it was because I scored everything as good, fair or terrible. Read Less
Once Aboard, it took an inordinate amount of time to receive our luggage (approximately 2 hours).
The suite was very small and some of the plumbing did not work: could not regulate hot and cold water in the sink, drain in the tub (2x), ... Read More
Once Aboard, it took an inordinate amount of time to receive our luggage (approximately 2 hours).
The suite was very small and some of the plumbing did not work: could not regulate hot and cold water in the sink, drain in the tub (2x), then a loose faucet in the sink after the repair. Only 3 outlets in the entire cabin and 1 was already utilized by the clock. No loutlets in the bathroom except for an electric razor.
For the most part the entertainkent consisted of 6 fairly talented young performers (unfortuaately one got incompacitated toward the end of the voyage). One night in the beginning, there was only a terrible movie on 2 little screens and only 4 people in the audience.. We like to dance and there was no dancing until the middle of the voyage and in the bar only.(i believe because a complaint was made by some of the passengers.)
The ship missed aGdansk Poland because of Engine problems
The last straw was that our "confirmed" seat assignment on Swiss Air was changed without any notification. We were fortunate to find a ticket manager to help us get better seats but not the ones we were assigned.
Some of the tours were good and some substandard. For example: in St. Petersburg we were on the canal ride and sat outsided but the sound system was inaudible. Some were boring; some exxcellent. In Latvia the guide was poor.
We were on Oceanic previous and was convinced by the travel agent that Silver Seas was a step up. Read Less
I was told it was a 5 Star cruise line. This ship is past due for updating which I understand will happen this November. However, I found the cabin staff poorly trained or beginners.
The food menu was very shallow. Several meals did not ... Read More
I was told it was a 5 Star cruise line. This ship is past due for updating which I understand will happen this November. However, I found the cabin staff poorly trained or beginners.
The food menu was very shallow. Several meals did not have anything of interest beyond a steak or hamburger. The desert offerings were very poor. With only a few nights exception, ice cream was the only interesting offer.
Staff works hard to call you by name and are very friendly. Good iterinerary and shore excursions were good except one in HELSINKI (The tour that toured via sail boat was unpleasant).
Quality of entertainment was good but surprised that there were several times when there were not activities on the ship for several hours while at sea. They could have bingo, "bag toss" with crew or other activities.
Surprised that they upcharge for La Dame dining. First visit experienced very slow/poor service and they offered a scond visit which went well to correct the complaint.
I think the new owners have some work to do in order to compete with Seabourn or Regent. Read Less
Picked this cruise for the Baltic ports. Definitely enjoyed most of the ports except Helsinki and the fact Princess was the only ship to Park an hour away from Stockholm, wasting much of everyone's day do they can save money. ... Read More
Picked this cruise for the Baltic ports. Definitely enjoyed most of the ports except Helsinki and the fact Princess was the only ship to Park an hour away from Stockholm, wasting much of everyone's day do they can save money. Celebrity had a ship that followed us to most ports and docked right in town. I would recommend that ship, better entertainment too.
I have sailed on many cruise lines and while this was a beautiful ship it definitely was the most boring ever with the exception of the Beatles tribute band. The definately need to replace the entertainment director immediately . Every band and musician on the ship where made to play what I call sleepy time music and we were bored to tears. The main shows were so bad I had to walk out after 10 minutes. The main dining room was hit n miss with mediocre service and just ok food, so only went twice then started going to the buffet. The food overall wasn't anything memorable. I actually had better food on a carnival cruise I took years ago.
Room was nice and well serviced, room service worked out fine.
Staff was nice and international cafe useful for late night snacks went to a few trivia events at princess live that was fun.
Would I cruise this ship for 11 days again? No way, ports are wonderful but sea days and evenings are beyond boring. It's a shame really as they have some nice lounges and talented musicians . I also hope the phase out formal nights for more casual nights as other cruise lines are doing. It's difficult to drag so much luggage around the world and airlines are getting so restrictive on luggage weights and amounts. Read Less
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin ... Read More
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin was hideously dusty, the 'bathroom' cramped and badly designed, and the first time since the Heysham ferry I've hated the way a ship performed in slight 'weather'. This from someone who's felt perfectly fine going through a hurricane with 100ft waves in the QEII. Stick a funnel on a margarine tub and you get the picture. I feel thoroughly ripped off.
Never having used Azamara before (we're itinerary driven cruisers) we asked other passengers was this the usual Azamara experience? All said a resounding 'no' and 'that the service was way below par'. We met a couple who'd been on the Adonia just before Azamara took her over and said there was little difference save a coat or two of paint!
I accept this was only the second voyage for the ship but the crew really need better training. Having young officers openly mocking passengers whilst using the dining facilities is frankly appalling. On seeing an overweight disabled passenger one young officer shouted out 'I can see a whale' as the poor soul struggled past. Shame! Worse still the senior officer present didn't rebuke them. The Captain really has to take responsibility for this. I don't don't want a big 'happy family' of a crew I want a well-structured/disciplined professional framework of command and leave the jokes to the Cruise Director (who incidently was the best thing on the ship).
Incidentally first time a ship's crew have tried to alter reality to cover their failings. Howsabout admitting fault, apologising, and try to do better? You will get caught out otherwise.
I will never use Azamara again. Emperor's New Clothes Outfit. Read Less
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised on Journey doing the Norwegian Fjords. That cruise was exceptional. The Pursuit was a huge disappointment. Our main complaint was a constant tapping noise along with an intermittent foghorn sound in our room. Our cabin, 8058, was torn up for the good part of two days with the ceilings and walls taken apart. The tapping sound was partially eliminated, but since techs were not ever in our room when the foghorn sounds appeared, this was never solved. They didn’t know what it was causing it. However, we were never contacted by guest relations to ask how we were surviving what I deemed the “insane asylum with good food” even once. Several other passengers suffered similar noise problems and complained. We discovered a few days before the end of the cruise that the foghorn noise was an air conditioning problem. If we turned the AC off and then back on, the noise went away temporarily. We had to do this multiple times a night. I suffered headaches from lack of sleep and while the ports were great, my enjoyment of them was thwarted. We were told there were no suites for us to move,although one day when our room was in shambles, they gave us a balcony room to rest in. Later, friends also with noise problems told us they had been moved to a Spa Suite. Hmm. We were happy for them, but they were at Explorer level, and we are Discover+ with 2000 points. Selfishly we thought we should have been given priority. In fact, on this cruise, we received NO advantage for our loyalty. We didn’t even get an invitation to the CC meeting for the first time although we signed up it. The laundry and internet minutes we received were the same as our continental suite provided. We have never felt so ignored or unappreciated on an Azamara cruise before. Service by wait staff and room stewards were wonderful as usual. The dry cleaner shrunk my pants so they are now too short. Food was good and we thought the entertainment was at times great. We met with the guest relations manager to express our disappointment and sleep deprivation before the cruise ended and he said he would report it. Wow, thank you. When I mentioned my dry cleaning- which I had gotten back the day before- he said I should have reported it. I said I just did. Nada. I asked what he could do about lengthening my pants (which I had on at the time so he could see) and all I got was a blank stare. Maybe he was overwhelmed, but he underwhelmed me. I let him know that for the first time ever I would be leaving a negative review. Also, small thing, but the movies they showed were mostly for children on a cruise with few children. And they repeated several times each on this cruise. Pay movies were not available as they are on Journey and Quest. We have eight more Azamara cruises booked (excited about Africa and Japan) but happily none of them are on the Pursuit. I am sure they will work the problems out, but until then, we will avoid this ship. If we receive any positive response to our nightmare that cost well over $20,000, I will post an update. Read Less
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was ... Read More
Here goes, firstly the good points…the food was very good and the waiting staff where on form and attentive. The room was as expected and overall the interior of the ship was good. The entertainment from the guest performers was excellent, Steve V King and Barnaby were fantastic.
And then the negatives…I thought the class system was fading out but how wrong, we wished to change our dining time from the later to the earlier sitting which involved one click on the computer, we even had the same table. This we were charged £4 per day, considering there were tables that were not being used for the whole cruise on the first sitting, I found disgusting. It was at this point we discovered ANCHOR CLASS. We had booked the cruise, last minute, and paid £2700 for 11 days of Baltic cruise to be in the bowels of the ship, deck 2.
The last cruise we went on we paid £1700 for 7 days in the Mediterranean inc flights on deck 10, so our expectations from Fred Olsen were high. Unfortunately we were wrong, The Braemar was in fact a floating care home for the elderly, which we were under no illusion about, some whose only purpose in life was the daily charge for the restaurant, sorry I was incorrect because when the opportunity arose after food, there was an even bigger the race for the best seats around the ship with the nicest views, which after securing, they promptly fell asleep depriving people the chance to take in the sights. If they want to sleep GO TO YOUR CABIN, selfish gits. So now deprived of the good seats we went for a stroll around the ship, if you like the smell of paint then this is the ship for you, remember despite the 2018 price you paid, this is an old ship (1993) and the rust is appearing all over the place.
Back to Anchor class, you would be charged for shuttle buses whereas other floors were not. The subject of upgrades was broached onboard during Captains question time and it is not company policy, we were also told that other cruise lines don’t do this, well Fred Olsen is wrong, all the other cruise lines we have used, do free upgrades.
When my other half booked this, she told me we would be going to Sweden, Denmark and Finland,..two out of three wasn’t bad. We went to an obscure little island that belonged to Finland, with two attractions, a museum and an old sailing ship. The ship was shut for renovations….need I say more. I have resisted reviewing the holiday for a while so hopefully I would forget some of the horror. Up until this trip I have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising experience, and recommended others to try, just not maybe with Fred Olsen.
There are much better Cruise company’s and cruise ships out there, younger, cheaper and better.
Even worse, we sent this review to Fred Olsen and they didn,t bother to respond. A simple apology would be a good start, so even customer services are poor as well. Read Less
This was my third sailing with Princess since 2013 and it has really gone down hill. The Norwegian Fjords were obviously STUNNING but if I were to do the same itinerary again (and I absolutely would go to Norway again in a heartbeat), I ... Read More
This was my third sailing with Princess since 2013 and it has really gone down hill. The Norwegian Fjords were obviously STUNNING but if I were to do the same itinerary again (and I absolutely would go to Norway again in a heartbeat), I would go with a different cruise line.
The transfers to and from the cruise terminal and Heathrow airport were hectic with people rushing us to get on and off the bus. I don't really know why. They were just very pushy. Luckily once we were on, it was fine and our luggage was not lost or tossed around carelessly. So that's something.
Embarkation always involves a bit of waiting in line and this was no different but the check-in agents were working very quickly and they were friendly. This process was seamless and, once through the line, we got onto the ship very quickly. Once we were onboard, we we met our cabin steward who was very friendly and he informed us when the muster drill would be. He also said there was no longer a requirement for passengers to wear their life vests during the drill so we could just go straight to our stations. That was really nice! Our cabin was also very very spacious. I don't know how we got it but it was a wheelchair accessible room with lots of extra space. There was a ton of storage with a wall of closets and the bathroom had a large wet room type of shower. Much nicer and more convenient than the normal ones. The bed was also incredibly comfortable and we had a hard time getting out of it several times! We took many naps.
Service level was hit or miss. I would say about 2/3 of the employees we interacted with were not good. By that I mean they either had a bad attitude, were slow with the service, never brought us what we asked for, didn’t greet us etc. It felt like we had to go out of our way to get serviced sometimes. Then 1/3 of the staff were fine. However, only one dinner waiter (we had anytime dining) and one drink server come to mind when I think about people we received excellent service from on board. The cabin steward was good and friendly but mostly invisible with not a lot of interaction to judge on. Our cabin key cards demagnetized probably 7 times during the trip which was annoying because we had to bring it to the front desk each time to get a new one. A lot of the times we had to wait in a line of people to talk to the front desk clerks too - while being locked out of our room! We asked how we could prevent it and they said “did you have your key card near your phone or a magnet?” And sometimes we did but there was at least one time I know with 100% certainty that it didn’t touch either because I didn’t even bring around my phone with me (had no service anyway) and I kept the key card in its own pocket. They were not helpful but they really just need a better system that doesn’t fail so easily.
The food was very disappointing. The buffet food was 90% gross and 10% okay. On a cruise, I’m splurging and endulging on, I want good food, not just sustenance. The food was not satisfying in that way at all. We even went to the steakhouse that costs extra (with a credit from our travel agent) and it was just about average/passable. Surprisingly, the pizza and burgers out on the pool deck were better than some of the buffet food. We got the feeling that Princess was penny pinching and skimping out on quality. Maybe it was because we were in a more remote place in Norway where fresh ingredients were harder to come by but everything tasted frozen and reheated the whole time. The dinner menus also seemed to be less creative than I’ve experienced before. We had breakfast in the dining room once and it was literally just the food from the buffet and international cafe put on a plate and brought to our table for us.
We didn’t go to any of the main stage productions but we passed by the theater a few times during and could hear some off-key singing voices. Some of the bands and singers in the lounges were also off key or just boring. People hardly danced at all. It also seemed like there were much fewer activities like games and karaoke going on throughout the days and nights. The sea days were almost boring because of that. The pools and hot tubs were overly crowded (probably because there wasn’t much else to do) and at the “adults only” pool, the rule was not being enforced so there were kids splashing around in it and in the hot tubs.
Last cruise we did with Princess, we got the premium beverage and spirits package and thought it was a great deal! This time, not so much. It’s very expensive and you have to drink a LOT to break even. The beer, wine, and cider selection is very weak. The bartenders would not allow us to get a large bottle of water and we could only order 2 small ones at a time. So, we couldn’t even get our money’s worth with non-alcoholic drinks let alone booze. Adding in specialty coffees, I think we just barely broke even but that was with actively trying to drink as much as we possibly could. I would not recommend it.
We only did one. We did the Bergen (Norway) walking tour with ice bar. It was good and I would recommend it for a nice overview of the city. Our guide was very nice and friendly. The ice bar was more of an attraction, a bit gimmicky, not an actual bar open to just anyone but it was still neat. It came with a cocktail.
I got my acrylic nails refilled at the Lotus spa and the tech was friendly and did a great job. No complaints.
Selling and upselling was very prevalent. “Book your next cruise!”, “Buy this jewelry”, “go to this wine tasting for an extra cost”, etc etc.
When it came time to disembark, this is where things got really bad. It seemed clear to me that, because we were done, we couldn't spend anymore money, they no longer cared about us. The night before disembarkation, we received instructions in our stateroom that had a meeting place and time. This was where we would meet and gather to be connected to our airport transportation. The instructions EXPLICITLY STATED “do NOT arrive early” to the meeting place. This made sense because there are different groups that may be meeting in the same place but at a different time. We got up early, sat around in the piazza and drank coffee waiting for our time slot. At 9am we went to the meeting place and sat for a minute. Then, the coordinator announced that “the last group” (not ours) could go. We looked on the sheet provided that detailed the groups, meeting times and places and saw that the group he called wasn’t supposed to meet there until 9:45 but. We went up to him and asked for clarification. He casually said they were just running ahead of schedule. WAIT WHAT? Again, the instructions specifically emphasized not to arrive early, so how is that possible? Of course now, we rush out. We get to baggage claim and notice our bags are the last ones left in our group. There was a woman there telling us to hurry because our bus and everyone was waiting for us! Again, even though we were precisely on time. It was confusing and infuriating. We were wondering what would have happened if we were in the 9:45 group that left 45 minutes early! Would we have been left there with no transfer? Luckily we got on the bus but it left a really bad taste in our mouth how the whole thing was handled.
Overall, there were some good things and some bad things but I can say I will not be sailing with Princess again. It’s just not worth the money. Read Less