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4,627 Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

Weather in northeast was far too cold to enjoy the beautiful cities of Canada and New England. Embarkation looked like a greased pig rodeo with two individuals (later three) controlling the crowds. The "herder-in-charge" ... Read More
Weather in northeast was far too cold to enjoy the beautiful cities of Canada and New England. Embarkation looked like a greased pig rodeo with two individuals (later three) controlling the crowds. The "herder-in-charge" was too busy chatting with guests (at the head of the line) to keep the processing running smoothly, with agents waving at him frantically to get his attention to send over another person to check in. The subordinate, on the other hand, was constantly distracted by questions, problems, and other issues so that people were jumping the line to check in. When the chatty man in charge noticed the line jumpers, he verbally attacked the other who was facing the crowds. They finally added a third person to make their system work properly. Ship was beautiful. Cabin was clean and well kept. Water was NOT softened leaving the skin and scalp very dry. Dining was good, but not great as there were not too many "simple food" options for people with dietary restrictions. Food too rich. Service was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. All of the cities were places of interest to us and we had not visited them before. We took advantage of the pre cruise add on. Our hotel, Le Germaine, in Montreal had just re-opened after an ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. All of the cities were places of interest to us and we had not visited them before. We took advantage of the pre cruise add on. Our hotel, Le Germaine, in Montreal had just re-opened after an update. The update is quite modern, think chairs hanging on chain from the ceiling. The hotel is in an ideal location for walking to downtown. The bed was comfortable, shower large and wonderful, and the staff could not have been any better. The pre cruise itinerary enabled us to tour not only Montreal but also Ottawa. Oceania had quick embarkation and fast delivery of our luggage. The Riviera cabin with a veranda was perfect for us. The furnishings were standard but the linens and towels were pristine and new. Our cabin attendants, Suresh and Wilmer, kept our room cleaned and the refrigerator stocked at times when we were out, so we never knew they were even around. Our short conversations with Wilmer were pleasant and his smile and friendliness made him a standout in our mind. This was a very casual cruise with no formal night. Most of the female cruisers dressed in slacks and nice tops for dinners. A very few wore a dress. Men don't need to pack even a sports jacket. Laundry use of washers and dryers was free and detergent was supplied. Had I known, I would have packed less. Dining at the specialty restaurants was excellent, as was the service. We especially loved the Red Ginger and were lucky to get 2 nights there. The watermelon and crispy duck salad and the Sea Bass entree were outstanding. Check with restaurant reservations to see if there is room to add extra to your 4. Thanks to Oceania for including the specialty restaurants without an uncharge. Loved lunching at the Waves Grill. A main Dining Room tip: orders at shared tables will not be taken until the table is full. Entertainment was mostly very good. There was one magician that we didn't like due to the shrill yelling kind of delivery he had. He might have been a great magician but his delivery made the magic go away. One comedian was great the first night but a following night had too many "fart" jokes to be funny. Yes, our crowd was old-er but come on. Boutique options were limited. I was interested in the perfumes etc. at one shop. I observed that the clerk was quite friendly with the 2 customers in front of me. However, when I stepped up and asked questions, I felt that I was treated almost rudely by said clerk and not a valued customer. Perhaps I didn't have the look of $$ ? We loved all the ports that we visited but think the ship excursions were over priced. EX: 2 hour walking tour at 119.00 per person! Book from a local or go on your own at most places and you will do so much better than the Oceania excursions. The only exception was the 2 day hop on in NYC. I thought that one was reasonable. On tender days the wait to get off was terribly long. One day we didn't get off until noon. There must be a more efficient way for this. Disembarking was swift, our luggage was gone from in front of our cabin the night before to claim before boarding our bus to the airport. We did so enjoy our trip but would caution that this was a ship of elderly persons. This is not a cruise for children. I would not recommend it for those who are looking for lots of shipboard fun. There were daily Mensa quizzes, trivia, bean bag toss, golf, an art scavenger hunt, and a few other activities. Perhaps this was in part to the ports and time of year. I don't know about Caribbean experiences on Oceania. Enjoy your trip! PS. Points were given for joining in on the quizzes, trivia, etc. At the end of the trip there was a point redemption for awesome items. I scored a fleece lined windbreaker, t shirt, and purse holder! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Oceania is my favorite cruise line, always has excellent food and service. From the stewards to the servers in the dining areas, always outstanding service. Dijon and Suprano took good care of us, always available to our needs. Sedeep in ... Read More
Oceania is my favorite cruise line, always has excellent food and service. From the stewards to the servers in the dining areas, always outstanding service. Dijon and Suprano took good care of us, always available to our needs. Sedeep in the grill in the Terrace Cafe always greeted you with a big smile and asked you what your needs were and often brought our hot dishes to our table if time permitted since my husband is disabled. Jason also assisted him with breakfast ordered an omelette and bacon and brought it to his table. Buddha in the Toscano was outstanding. He provided extra assistance by cutting his food in bite size pieces since he had noticed he had a walker. Mark in the Polo Grill was great too. He also assisted my husband with his steak. All were very caring and helpful, always with a smile. glad I was able to cancel some excursions in New York city because of weather and schedule a panoramic one. My only problem is not enough accessible rooms/cabins. If you look around what is the average age of most your guests and they’re in walkers, wheelchairs, and have walking canes. They put a chair in the shower, it was so big that there was no room for him to step in the shower and it did not fit in the tub either. If you could at least position some hand rails in the shower and tub to hold on to while taking a shower it would make a BIG difference for your physically challenged guests. It would also help every one during rough seas. I already made a reservation for an Alaskan cruise for next year so we could get a handicapped cabin. The Regatta has ONLY 3 Handicapped rooms available in the whole ship an they are inside cabins Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Recommended by travel agent having been cruising 22 years with Holandamerica Asamara Majestic Princess and Celebrity we thought by reputation this could be good .This Ship is tired ,in need of refit .All staff ,food, and shows first class ... Read More
Recommended by travel agent having been cruising 22 years with Holandamerica Asamara Majestic Princess and Celebrity we thought by reputation this could be good .This Ship is tired ,in need of refit .All staff ,food, and shows first class . Time of year for this cruise area should cease September 30th much to cold, ports missed, ports of call retailers closed for end of season Now you know research better than I. This has been the most disappointing Cruise EVER. Embarcation dreadfull .Ship late arrival due to prop fouling ship lines , force 9/11 gale, Ports missed ,other Ports we should have stayed longer like Boston 6 hours not near enough, a day and a half would have been much better.only had time for city hop on hop off bus and quick shop. We were looking forward to this Cruise and knew it was the fall and dressed accordinglay ,this was our first time on a small ship with 290 guests metting new friends and world travelers exchanging travel stories etc Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Due to the fact that it was a two week cruise down to my preferred destination, southern Caribbean, and that it left from New York (bused to Manhattan from Montreal/flew back from Miami) which meant I would sail by the statue of Liberty, ... Read More
Due to the fact that it was a two week cruise down to my preferred destination, southern Caribbean, and that it left from New York (bused to Manhattan from Montreal/flew back from Miami) which meant I would sail by the statue of Liberty, as well as it was totted to be an interesting ship and my introduction to MSC line. Could not resist. Ship was good sized, slightly unique (French builder), easy to get around. Good food, very good entertainment. The itinerary enabled us to visit some favourites like Grenada, Curacao, Aruba, Barbados as well as be introduced to Martinique (liked). Disliked the classing (being pushed more and more by cruise lines) of people by category purchased. You don't get to eat in the same dinning room as Fantastica category guests or have a decent hour to dine. We were given 5:15! Pay more get treated better is back!! In general we have noticed this trend throughout the cruise lines and its becoming a turn-off! Cost has also been increasing so value is dropping for us. After 17 cruises we are starting to rethink cruising. Too bad. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is another one of my part two reviews from our back-to-back Meraviglia sailings in October and November. The first part was a ten day Canadian/New England cruise in a Yacht Club interior cabin beginning October 18th. On this sailing ... Read More
This is another one of my part two reviews from our back-to-back Meraviglia sailings in October and November. The first part was a ten day Canadian/New England cruise in a Yacht Club interior cabin beginning October 18th. On this sailing beginning in New York City on October 28th we headed straight towards warmer waters so chose a forward facing Aurea Suite with large balcony. I’ll try to keep this a comprehensive review but it might help to also read my review of the previous sailing. If you’re interested in part one or seeing my other reviews it’s easiest to see them in my profile signature after searching my username in the forum boards section of Cruise Critic. I booked this sailing about 650 days out, when it was first released, in order to get a specific cabin, 12010. Even in the Yacht Club we had a lackluster prior sailing, luckily this cabin made the continuing problems on this leg more bearable. For this sailing we were joined by my son and daughter-in-law who I booked into a mid-ship inside cabin due to their being prone to sea sickness. As back-to-back passengers we left our suitcases in our previous cabin, they would be taken to our new cabin while we met up with about 40 other back-to-back passengers and all went together through a quick customs process since the ship had to zero out all passengers between sailings. This was the simplest process I’ve yet done. We had other US ports prior to returning to NYC so we had a quick immigration check a couple days earlier while on a sea day. So for the NYC customs they just escorted our group onto the gangway where they counted us and within 15 minutes we were allowed back on the ship, we didn’t even speak to a customs agent. We were issued our new cruise cards that morning while still in the Yacht Club but they did not have the accompanying Aurea wrist bands so my first objective was to get them at guest services before it became a madhouse. I was in communication with my son who was in the terminal and found that check-in was proceeding rapidly and regular passengers were already being called to board. After getting our wrist bands we decided to see about dropping our personal bags in the new cabin. I was a bit surprised to see our suitcases had been dropped off outside the cabin, on all other back-to-back cruises they were always placed inside the new cabin by the person moving them from the prior cabin. Our cabin steward, Mark, was there almost immediately and said it was fine to move our bags into the cabin. By that time my son had boarded and we went to find them and head to lunch. Aurea passengers are allowed to have embarkation day lunch in the Panorama main dining room rather than the only other open option, the buffet. One major piece of good fortune did happen that also made this sailing more enjoyable. On the prior leg I learned a crewmember friend of ours, the legendary Arthur, was on the Meraviglia. We’ve had five prior MSC sailings with him as either our waiter or head waiter, he is the most meticulous, attentive and entertaining person we’ve ever met on any cruise ship or cruise line. He had spent a couple weeks working in Meraviglia’s Yacht Club dining room but for both our sailings he was working in the Waves main dining room as a head waiter. Waves restaurant on deck five seems to be considered the least appealing of the four main dining rooms, the three on deck six are larger and perhaps a little fancier with Panorama restaurant being considered the nicest and also where Aurea My Choice dining is located. Without hesitation on the first leg I asked Arthur and Mario the assistant maitre d’ in Waves for a table in Arthur’s section for this next sailing, thus giving up the My Choice dining in the Panorama restaurant. We requested and were given a table for six for the late 7:45pm seating in Arthur’s section with waiters he felt we would like. We had two Cruise Critic friends from a prior sailing join my party of four for dinners. After eating several meals in the Panorama main dining room I was even happier with this decision. Our first lunch in Panorama went fairly well, the restaurant was not crowded with only a few Aurea passengers and a group of travel agents that were touring the ship. They had a special embarkation lunch menu, but not quite as nice as I experienced earlier on Divina, and service was a little sporadic. For this sailing I upgraded from the Classic drinks package to the more inclusive Deluxe package – the top package available at the time of my booking but both are now superseded with new drinks packages. I had also done this for our last Divina sailings when the new drinks packages had more recently come out. On Divina I had no problems, my card had the correct package number printed on it and all the servers on the ship knew what the old Deluxe package entitled me to. Unfortunately on Meraviglia the problems started immediately. I’ll go into this for those who are familiar with MSC, when issued our cruise cards I noticed they were printed with an odd drink package number, 836, rather than the normal 536 which usually designates the Deluxe package. I asked customer service about this while getting our wrist bands and was assured we had the Deluxe package. The drink server in Panorama at lunch had no idea what package we had and insisted the $9 a glass wine we wanted wasn’t included. After trying to explain it to him he took my card to his manager who also said the wine was not included. We compromised by signing a charge slip that we would pay for the drinks if the billing department found the wine wasn’t included, luckily I never had to go to customer service to get the charges removed. But this wasn’t the end of problems regarding the Deluxe package on this cruise. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me dining is a big part of what can make or break a cruise. I’m not particularly picky about the food but do know poor quality food and service when I get it. Even though I began sailing with NCL for the Freestyle dining, I really don’t mind MSC’s set dining table policy for the Fantastica and Bella cabins, we’ve found the tables we get are usually with other Cruise Critic members and have had some very nice tablemates assigned. In the main dining rooms I do prefer the last seating as I don’t like being rushed through a meal to make room for the next seating. I find the food in the MDR’s on MSC can be hit or miss and having an experienced wait staff can be crucial. The MDR food on Meraviglia was pretty much the same as on other MSC ships, overall good with a few bad choices and a few excellent dishes. Having an experienced and interested wait staff can make a world of difference here. Our waitress Taciana was very helpful and effortlessly and efficiently handled our non standard dining choices. On Divina we found plates were lacking in vegetables so often ordered vegetable plates to supplement, on Meraviglia we only ordered extra vegetable plates twice because we soon learned it wasn’t necessary as sides of vegetables were plentiful with the regular menu items. We do often order multiple starters or entrees etc… and Arthur was offering us samplings of special dishes the chef was preparing that we shared at our table. This out of sequence dining can cause havoc with some server’s abilities to keep the flow and timing right, but Taciana was never phased. By our second meal Davish, our assistant waiter, had already brought bottles of sparkling and still water before we arrived and was waiting to take our wine order because we always ordered a couple bottles of wine during our meal. While he was a little inexperienced you could tell he was interested in learning and wanted to make our experience better, and in my opinion that means a lot. One thing I found interesting is early in the cruise our dining room section was fairly empty with unoccupied tables all around us. But as the sailing progressed we had more and more tables fill in around us. One table missed their early seating at another restaurant and was able to get a table in our section for late seating, they never went back. Another couple that came to a nearby table said they didn’t like their table mates and others had trouble with their service and they all moved in for the rest of the cruise. This was the first sailing where I saw many more people in the MDR on the last night than anytime throughout the cruise. I’m not sure if this ability to change tables will continue or if this was only due to the ship not being full. After a few lunches in Panorama I really appreciated what we had in Waves. Our experience of Panorama was it’s a madhouse of waiters and head waiters trying to put out multiple fires. When full it was overcrowded and noisy, service was overall poor with multiple missing items long times between courses. For lunch the unchanging menu became a problem with multiple sea days. Unlike other MSC ships the MDR would not provide items from the room service always available menu, on other MSC ships you could order items like a Club sandwich from the room service menu. Since Meraviglia had only done two other US based sailings it seemed like the servers were still not used to providing glasses of water, exacerbating the problem was the rather small glasses which constantly needed refilling. I don’t mind tap water but with having the drinks package it was easier to order a large bottle to ensure we wouldn’t run out. Both breakfast and lunch service was excruciatingly slow. One lunch we left early after it taking over an hour and a half to get the entrees and no sign of when dessert may have eventually come. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch several times and after 23 days on board it became very monotonous, very few items changed from day to day and I found it difficult to find items I liked. I cannot say if this was also the case for dinner and it may not be a problem on seven day cruises. Lack of palatable buffet choices would drive us to keep trying the Panorama when it was open on sea days but in the end lunches anywhere on the ship were a problem. Breakfast options in both the dining room and buffet were a little better but were also unchanging. In the end we rarely ate breakfast, most often we’d stock up our cabin with fruit we liked when it could be found (bananas were scarce) in the buffet and just bring back coffee and croissants each morning. My son booked Kaito sushi for lunch one afternoon and enjoyed it. The only problem was he forgot the Easy drinks package was not valid there and was charged for the water and drinks they ordered. The seating area is also a little strange as it is right along the main walkway on the upper level of the inside Galleria promenade. Since there are rarely people eating there it fells like you are on display as all the people walk past you. Since we were no longer in the Yacht Club for this sailing we had purchased the Tryptic specialty dining package, so with our now Diamond status we planned on four meals outside the main dining room. In my prior sailing’s review I described the one poor specialty dining experience we had in Butcher’s Cut. Our first meal this sailing was in Ocean Cay with two Cruise Critic friends and this meal also was a disaster. It started with having only two poor wine choices – and that was with our having the Deluxe package which actually had a higher dollar limit than the Yacht Club package. We had the same problem in Butcher’s Cut but the assistant manager let us have the same wines which were available in the Yacht Club but priced out of range in the specialty restaurants. This time we were unable to get any other choices because the Deluxe package had a specific dollar limit and on this ship most of the wines were newly priced above that level. Another problem lies with the overall design of the specialty restaurants on this ship, all of them face out onto the Galleria promenade. Some tables are located on the actual walkway overlooking the lower level. The specialty restaurants on deck six are like dungeons having no windows and the ones on deck seven look right at the life boats, it would be better to have had opaque windows. In general the ambiance in Ocean Cay was lacking so I guess it was understandable why this restaurant was usually not very busy, on our night there were only three other tables at any given time. I found the dining experience menu very limited and really couldn’t find an appetizer I wanted. I finally decided to ask about the seafood platter, which is was what I usually like but was horrible in Butcher’s cut earlier. I’ve ordered this several times on Seaside. On Meraviglia the new menus had it listed at $59 and now it was shown as for two people, I was puzzled. It was always a large platter and enough for two so asked was this in place of two people’s appetizers and was told yes. Then our waiter said it is also $59 per person. What? That’s never been the case before. But yes on Meraviglia it was a $118 appetizer. So we stuck to the dining experience items. The final thing that made this such a disappointing meal was the service. There’s no other way to say it but our waiter was just plain terrible. Our meal took over two hours, what’s strange is other tables that came in 30 minutes after us were finished before we even had our entrees. Our waiter was not only extremely slow but ridiculously blasé about the service. Plates were almost slung down in front of us, flatware was slung down like he was playing craps. He would disappear from the dining room for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. The food was okay, barely better than in the main dining room and not even worth the discounted dining package rate we paid. I allowed more than two hours before the theater show we wanted to see and time was now getting close. Finally dessert arrived, at least for the other three at the table. I thought “Okay he could only carry three plates” as he went back into the kitchen. Surely mine would be right out, nope he was gone for over fifteen minutes so the others ate their desserts since we needed to go. He eventually came back with a tablet for my signature, I asked if he could send my dessert to our cabin because we had to go. His face went blank when he realized he had forgotten. We got up to leave and he ran back to get the dessert for me to take with us, I told him I was heading directly to the theater and could not take it with us there. Again I asked if it could be sent to our stateroom but was told that they couldn’t. We left, with not a manager to be seen anywhere in the restaurant for the last hour (Ocean Cay is where the specialty restaurant managers and reservationist are stationed). At that point I decided to see if I could cancel my Tryptic specialty dining package and just call the Ocean Cay dinner our Diamond status meal. So after the show it was off to the guest services line to make the request. The first agent had me wait until a supervisor was available and after explaining my problems was told they would forward the request up the management chain but weren’t sure it would be possible since I had pre purchased the package. I cancelled my other specialty restaurant reservations and waited for a call back. Three days later we had a message asking us to meet with the assistant hotel director. We met later that day, he was interested in our experiences and opinions then admitted he was aware of the problems with menu pricing and food quality and service. The dining package cost was credited back too our on board account. So we had two terrible Voyagers Club meals and an apology for how poor they were, nothing else was ever said. Later in the sailing I noticed the “per person” wording and a few other discrepancies on the menus had been white taped over. It’s about time I got to something more positive again. Aside from our good main dining room experience the biggest positive on this sailing was the cabin. I specifically picked 12010, a forward corner Aurea suite. There are big differences between these cabins on the different decks. Not all are true suites, having a separate living room and bedroom, and there are large overall size differences. Deck 12 cabins are the largest with over 400 square feet cabin space and the ones on the starboard side have the balcony hot tub oriented with the seats to face the ocean. Yes, these cabins have a large private Jacuzzi tub on the large balcony. Unlike the hot tub suites ion Seaside they fit two people very comfortably. The next closest cabins are the Royal suites in the Yacht Club. The living area was very spacious with a double sleeper sofa, two chairs, large coffee table, desk and TV. Storage for the living area was a very large walk in closet. The bedroom was also quite large with two chairs and a sizeable wall closet unit and also had a TV. Unlike the similar suites on Divina there was a balcony sliding door in both rooms. The only thing that could have been better would have been a larger or second bathroom. It could easily have been done if they had made the walk in closet a little smaller. The bathroom was the same smallish one used in all the standard cabins. The only thing that was bad was the sofa couch was stained and was totally worn out. The hot tub was locked at 40 Celsius, which was actually a little hot for me. Actually that’s a first for me on MSC as I find all the public hot tubs are below body temperature and I actually get cold after several minutes. The tub was a little erratic and would lose water over time so if you let it get too low it would cause an error and shut off the heater. I quickly learned to add water once or twice a day to keep from having problems. We were told they would change the water every three or four days, more if requested. I suppose this works out to one change on turnover day and one change during a seven day itinerary. The absolute best part of this cabin was our steward, Mark. Overall I’ve had pretty good cabin steward on MSC but Mark set a new high level, only matched by our butler Vishnu on Seaside. When he found out I had given my son and daughter-in-law my wrist band so they could use our cabin when they wanted he immediately brought extra bath robes, shower towels and pool towels for them. He already knew we had the Deluxe package and brought a stack of reorder forms for the mini bar. He also knew we had a laundry package and offered to do multiple bags rather than the new official all items at one time only rule, luckily this time having four people made us able to do all 40 pieces at once anyway. Again I was surprised to get frequent towel animals on this ship. We did use the mini bar fairly heavily and Mark restocked it at least twice a day, about half way through the cruise he came to me and apologetically informed me that his manager told him the mini bar was not, or no longer, part of our Deluxe drinks package. He said he thought it was wrong but had to ask me to go to guest services to figure this out. On to another wait in line to talk to a representative who didn’t know and called over a manager who got out several papers and they both pondered for a bit and finally decided the mini bar was included, like they hadn’t ever heard of the Deluxe package before. My son rarely saw his cabin steward and did not meet him until the third day, so I wasn’t surprised when Mark told me they had 21 cabins. Since he had all the forward Aurea large balcony and Duplex suites he only had 16 cabins. I’m constantly amazed at how hard some of these stewards work, they were going long before we got up and still going when we come back at night. You could see how tired they got in their eyes but Mark always took time to ask how our day was and if there was anything he could do for us. We wrote a letter to the head of housekeeping praising is work and attitude. I waited until this sailing to book the Cirque shows. After seeing the menus and reading reviews we only did the drink and show, not the dinner version. The show was cancelled about 20 percent of the times, either due to too much ship movement or technical difficulties. My advice is to book these for earlier in the cruise as cancellations were common and towards the end of the cruise reservations became difficult to make. I booked and paid for these shows over a year ago for $14 per person, I think they are now $18 per person. Actual reservation date and time usually need to be made at a booth near customer service or at the aft Carousel theater. Both my wife and I preferred Viaggio slightly over Sonor, in the end they were entertaining enough but I think overall I wouldn’t go again. To me it seemed they just took the acrobatic elements normally found in the other ship’s theater shows and moved them to the Cirque venue on Meraviglia for a charge. At least it made them have different main theater shows. On Meraviglia we went to more shows than we normally would do on the other ships because they were different. I particularly liked Antonio Versini’s show “A world of Hands”, the ventriloquist Serge Massot did a good job with the international audience and multiple languages. He had two different shows that were okay, the chosen audience members could either make the show hilarious or boring. The show “Virtual” was a nice break from the normal MSC show, the story could actually be followed. I noted none of the normal acrobatics were in the main theater, those were moved to the aft Cirque Carousel lounge. Our main interaction with the entertainment crew was at trivia which was held three times a day in the Brass Anchor pub and were well attended. Visual trivia was also held once a day. I’ll go ahead and restate in this review that overall Meraviglia is not a ship I would prefer to book again, perhaps for a cooler weather itinerary but not in the Caribbean. MSC Seaside would be a better alternative. The layout focused on the interior Galleria where many of the ship’s lounges and restaurants were located but all of them lacked views. The three top deck pools did break up the crowds a bit but even with the ship not full on warm sea days they were very crowded so we kept to our cabin’s balcony to enjoy being outside. There were numerous areas I considered design flaws like lack of exits from the theater. There are no aft elevators, do not book any cabin near the aft unless willing to make a long walk to the mid ship elevators. Public restrooms were not adequate, my worst example was on deck seven forward serving the Meraviglia lounge and Brass Anchor pub the men’s restroom had two stalls and no urinals. This was repeated in other areas around the ship. As with all the MSC ships I’ve been on Meraviglia was always kept clean and repairs seemed to be made quickly. Even after 23 days we really weren’t able to fully experience all the venues so for a shorter sailing there should be no lack of exploration opportunities. On this sailing we only booked two formal excursions, both independent from the ship and with others from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. Previously I’ve felt MSC excursions had been reasonable but on this sailing I felt they were overpriced. Because we aren’t fluent in French and didn’t want to exchange for Euros we took an island tour in Martinique with Martinique Best Secret tours in a private van for six people. It was a nice tour for our mixed ability group, we picked a tour that had a heavy botanical focus but they offer a good variety and will personalize trips for private groups. Our other excursion was a private van for eight in Grenada through Tropical Adventures. Again we picked a tour that was easy for our mixed ability group that was heavy on vistas and the islands spice history. We enjoyed the easy pace but they also offer more adventurous versions. In the other ports I organized our own hikes, city tours and beach stops. I had reserved a Deluxe cabana for our Ocean Cay stop but rumors we heard came true and the port was cancelled, the cabana cost was quickly credited back to our on board account. Ocho Rios, Jamaica was substituted but since we’ve been there many times we didn’t make any plans to get off the ship. On our last sea day MSC put out a special disembarkation letter stating they expected difficulties with the customs process and to expect delays of six to eight hours. We had planned to stay on the ship until later because we had 5pm flights from Fort Lauderdale. The letter caused a bit of a commotion on the ship and pushed us to do the earliest 6:45am Aurea departure. We were supposed to meet at a lounge but I saw self assist walk off was being delayed so we decided to just join that line directly. On our last Aurea and Black card disembarkation they just led us from the meeting point to join the back of the self assist walk off line. So I felt this would be the quickest. People did not begin to leave the ship until about 7:30 and by that time loosely snaked back and forth throughout the Galleria. MSC staff did nothing to keep it orderly and pretty quickly the lines deteriorated and it turned into a free for all to the exit point. Luckily we were near the front and cutting into the line was minimal. I have to admit the mediocre experiences on Meraviglia played a role in my canceling two European Preziosa sailings this coming Summer. Another irritation I experienced that is affecting ant future bookings was MSC’s newest cabin pricing policy and upgrade bidding system. I though this sailing was unique and would be fairly well booked, but this sailing had many, many cabins open even with les than a month to sailing, thus had a few significant price drops. MSC would not let anyone who booked earlier take advantage of these drops, even if willing to upgrade. We were held to the pricing structure at the time of booking which was hundreds more than the current prices. Even when I was before final payment they made it too difficult by refusing to allow the Voyagers Selection discount if I tried to cancel and rebook. Then the bidding system minimums made upgrading not cost effective because of our high initial booking cost resulted in paying more than the upgrade cabin’s current cost. The end result was overall poor sales, last minute price drops and finally removal of the single supplement which caused a mass of last minute super bargain hunters booking the sailing. I will leave it that there was a noticeable difference in the passenger makeup on this sailing compared to my other MSC sailings and even the prior sailing. I hope this is not a sign of things to come with MSC over saturating the market for people willing to sail their ships. My future strategy leans towards taking advantage of these last minute deals I see that are becoming more frequent, but I’m afraid MSC might be changing from what I considered a good value cruise line to what I would call a budget cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
First, although Cruise Critic insists on calling this a 5-night leaf-peeper run, it was in fact a 13-night repo from New York to Miami via the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I booked this cruise as a target of opportunity: a nice way to ... Read More
First, although Cruise Critic insists on calling this a 5-night leaf-peeper run, it was in fact a 13-night repo from New York to Miami via the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I booked this cruise as a target of opportunity: a nice way to celebrate her birthday, a nice opportunity to see our kids in New York before the cruise, and a nice opportunity to visit cousins in Florida afterward. We chose the Meraviglia partly because of a good experience with MSC a little more than a year ago and partly because we were curious to see whether a ship this big was really too big. This was our 35th cruise since our first in 1976. Coincidentally, we marked a full year at sea during this run. We realize that to many people who spend every possible moment at sea, a year is no big deal. And since it took us well over 40 years to reach that milestone it’s obvious that we average less than a cruise a year. We differ from many on board this cruise in that we’ve always taken more vacations on land than at sea. Pre-Cruise Three days before the cruise we took the train from our home in the DC area up to New York and checked in to the Conrad Midtown on West 56th Street. This was an excellent headquarters for our activities with the kids, and made for a very easy 10-minute cab ride to the ship. Embarkation Absolutely no issues boarding. Bags were dropped within seconds of the cab pulling up to the West Side terminal, our Diamond status got us to an agent immediately, check-in was very efficient, and we were onboard quickly with no fuss. This was surprising given the dire warnings about long waits to board previous cruises here. The Ship Meraviglia is big. Very big. If your cabin is at one end of the vessel or the other (or even if it isn’t) you walk a lot. That’s not necessarily bad, it’s just a fact. A big plus is that getting around the public areas of the ship is extremely straightforward. No hidden public rooms, no “you can’t get there from here” adventures. The customer service desk is on five. On six, the main restaurants are aft and the main theater is forward. On seven, the casino and the big Carousel Lounge (Cirque de Soleil and other things) are aft and the spa is forward. In between on both six and seven is the central core of the ship, with all the shopping, boutiques and specialty restaurants easily found under the huge and very clever semi-circular LED “ceiling” that functions variously as décor, light show and video screen. Overall, the ship gets high marks for being quite attractive in a Las Vegas sort of way. If you’re past MSC customers and/or Diamond (formerly Black) card holders you’ll be invited to one or more parties in recognition of your status. Unless you’re absolutely desperate for a free glass of champagne, you’d be wise to skip these assemblies. Where on most ships these events are held in one of the larger lounges, with seating and reasonable breathing room, the size of the Meraviglia and the number of eligible guests forces them into the promenade on deck 6, with no seating and little room to move. They use crowd control barriers to be sure only those with invitations get in, while others are forced to the sides of the promenade to get by. The feeling is distinctly one of a cattle pen. The program consists of the cruise director appearing on the deck 7 bridge over the promenade to say a few words and to introduce the captain, who does a quick welcome. The Cruise Critic party, on the other hand, was held in the deck 18 lounge on the morning after embarkation and was very well done. Although those who sign up are supposed to receive invitations, we did not. However, we saw it listed in the daily program and found our way up there in good order. So if you’re signed up for such a party, keep your eyes open. You may not get a personal invitation. Accommodations We booked an Aurea suite on the 13th deck, in the bow just under the bridge. We had a large balcony and a private hot tub which was very nice. The ergonomics of the suite, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. While it was nice that there were two closets, it seemed strange that one of them was in the living room. Similarly, the only access to the bathroom was from the living room. Entering from the bedroom would have made much more sense. Finally, although the total area of the suite was fine, parts of it felt really cramped, especially along one side of the bed, where the open door between the rooms all but blocked access. To boot, that door was extremely heavy, and would not remain in the open position by itself. MSC provided a very flimsy doorstop to wedge under the door, but it was awkward to use and only marginally effective. A sliding pocket door would have been the best solution here. Overall, an annoying setup for a premium room. Shipmates We always enjoy situations where we can meet and chat with people from other countries, and MSC ships reliably provide plenty of opportunity for that. We had great fun talking with Canadians, Brits, Norwegians, Australians, Kiwis, Danes and many others. Not so enjoyable were some Americans whose sole focus seemed to be on the rock bottom price they paid for the cruise. This seemed to be the only thing they could talk about except for their further proclamation that small inside cabins are the only way to go because, “all you do is sleep in the room anyway.” I resisted pointing out that this is the classic self-fulfilling prophecy. One person with an inside room told us frankly that it was virtually unlivable compared to similar rooms he’s had on other ships. I realize that ship dress codes have largely fallen by the wayside, and I’ve never been a big fan of dressing up on cruises. But I have always respected the traditions of the sea and followed the code of whatever ship I was on, including digging out the tux back in the days when they were expected. On this cruise several nights were designated as “elegant,” which to me meant nice slacks, tie and jacket. I was conspicuously overdressed. A very few people did dress up, but many more arrived at dinner every night looking like—how shall I say it?—slobs. Torn clothing, ratty shorts, t-shirts with all sorts of inscriptions, some of which were downright obscene. MSC says that they forbid shorts and t-shirts in public areas after six, but no attempt was made to enforce this rule. Food Compared to most other cruises we’ve been on, except for the specialty restaurants the food on Meraviglia was borderline dreadful. Yes, we’re foodies, but we also understand the limitations imposed by steam-table operations when cooking for thousands at a time. But the fact is that if you got a mediocre, “just OK” dinner in the main dining room, it was a good night. On embarkation evening, my wife’s “blackened” fish entrée was stone cold and showed no signs of blackening. On the next night I opted for the “always available” New York strip steak. What arrived was a piece of meat roughly 4 inches square and a quarter inch thick. I just stared at it. A few nights later we ate at the specialty steakhouse where I held my breath and again ordered a New York strip. Happily, what arrived was an excellent steak, cooked as ordered, with a nice array of sauces. When the waiter asked if everything was OK, I told him that it was, and suggested that he have the chef take one of those steaks over to the main dining room and show them what a New York strip looks like. At a main dining room “fish and chips” lunch the fish was 90% soggy, greasy breading. On another night, “Maryland Crab Cakes” were on the menu. Our home in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area boasts the best crab cakes anywhere, and we just laughed at what the Meraviglia’s version might be like. We didn’t order them. In the main dining room, soups were generally OK, salads tended to be less than fresh and quite small, entrees ranged from awful to just bland, and the best bet for dessert was ice cream. Upstairs in the buffet, at breakfast the omelet station turned out a perfectly credible product, the bakery items were OK, as were some of the meat products. The highlight of the place is the “mozzarella factory” where they make fresh batches of the cheese while you watch. They evidently supply mozzarella from here to all the restaurants on the ship, and the quality is excellent. The much-publicized pizza, on the other hand, is utterly ordinary and not up to MSC’s standards. Neither New York nor Chicago (nor Washington, for that matter) need fear competition from these pies. Most items in the buffet are just OK, generally under-spiced and, well, dull. The best food we had was in the specialty restaurants. We ate at the steakhouse twice, the seafood restaurant once and the Japanese restaurant once. All were very good to excellent, with high quality, well-prepared food, and a healthy dose of imagination. Also good were the various bars around the ship where, in addition to booze, you can get very credible specialty coffees. I think we used the drinks package that came with our room much more for coffees than for liquor. But drinks package or no, the availability of good coffee all over the ship is a big plus. Entertainment I think it is now a well-established law of the sea that no cruise ship is allowed to complete any itinerary until somebody sings Andrew Lloyd Weber’s feline anthem, “Memory.” Meraviglia’s entertainment troupe didn’t pussyfoot around, getting that chore out of the way on the second night. In their version of the standard Broadway mash-up show, which was performed to an entirely pre-recorded and synthesized orchestra, “Memory” was sung by a trio (odd). “Singin’ in the Rain,” which is actually a lilting, laid-back swing tune, was given the full aria treatment (very odd). On the other hand, the show managed to channel some moments from Chicago pretty well, and the contemporary stagecraft which made ample use of scenic projections was impressive in this and a number of other shows. After that first experience we imagined that there was no stage band aboard, but in fact, there was. They played a number of other evening shows, but they were most enjoyable at a pair of afternoon jazz sets in the large theater. This was some of the most authentic and best music on the entire cruise. Also good was an afternoon classical concert, consisting mostly of arias and guaranteed-to-please Italian fare from the operatically trained young singers in the entertainment troupe. And, to their credit, MSC paid tribute to its roots by taking a swing at an opera, namely La Boheme. This Cliff’s Notes version of Puccini’s hit opus was credibly performed by the house singers. It’s interesting that the threadbare plot of young love thwarted (boy meets girl, boy courts girl, girl gets sick, girl goes away to recover, girl doesn’t recover, girl comes back to boy, girl dies) is about as well-developed in this 40-minute version as it is in the hours-long original. But the real point is that some of the music is gorgeous. Two magicians and a Canadian improv troupe were featured in other evening shows. The main theater is pretty, but does have some flaws. There are no railings to help folks up and down the aisles, and the LED floor lighting sometimes creates optical challenges for people with balance and visual issues. Most surprisingly, not only are there no drink holders at the seats, but drinks are prohibited in the room. Drink service at the shows represents a solid revenue stream on most ships, but not on Meraviglia. Drinks are available (and come with the price of admission) at the two Cirque de Soleil shows that are performed onboard. We saw both of them and enjoyed them. You can choose the “drinks only” version or the “drinks-and-dinner” package. We did drinks only after seeing some pretty bad comments about the set dinner that is served there. We think this was probably the right choice, especially since the dinner people are seated in the back of the room while we had prime seating up front. TV Television offerings were minimal. Something like ten or twelve channels were devoted to shipboard stuff, including shopping, tours, safety, bridge cams and ship’s technical data. They carried CNN US, CNN International and CNN Spanish, two ESPN channels, and two Turner movie channels, both of which experienced several audio and video dropouts per minute for the entire 13 days, and therefore were useless. A few other channels featured the languages of the international clientele on board. A small menu of pay-per-view movies was available for $8 each, and an even smaller array of hard-core porn films could be seen for $16 each. Noticeably missing was a morning broadcast by the cruise staff. While these shows are never Emmy material their absence was unusual, especially since one of the bars is called the “TV Studio,” but except for a nice little control room behind glass panels seemed to be just a bar. Ports We’d been to these islands a number of times, so we took no ship’s tours. We did pick up a local tour in Curacao, the one port we hadn’t visited before, and had a nice three-hour introduction to the island. We were due to be the first cruise to visit MSC’s new Bahamian private island, but that stop was cancelled because evidently the place wasn’t ready yet. We went to Ocho Rios instead, where we were among the many, many passengers who absolutely did not get off the ship. MSC gave everyone a $100 per room credit and a certificate worth 20% of their current fare on a future cruise to compensate for missing the private island. Debarkation The cruise staff warned us that owing to the large number of passengers and the fact that there would be many ships pulling into Miami that morning, getting off the ship could be a lengthy ordeal. Bottom line: it wasn’t. We were eligible to get off early, but we lingered over breakfast, chatting with another couple. When we did go, we waited in line maybe ten minutes. Once we got to customs we waited less than five more minutes. Out on the sidewalk, it was another 20 minutes to catch the shuttle bus to the rental car lot at the airport. The whole process was efficient and well managed. This and That • Our room steward, the dining room and bar staffs, and the cruise staff were universally very good to excellent. Absolutely no problems on those fronts. • The “MSC for Me” app tied to the shipboard internet system is excellent. There’s no need to subscribe to an external internet package to use it, so the service is free. It’s a welcome alternative to carrying around the printed daily schedule to keep track of your planned activities. You can also make restaurant and show reservations with the touch of a screen. The app gets high marks for usefulness. • Our room included the standard internet package for general uses like emails and web surfing. It, too, was very good and we didn’t come close to reaching our data limit, even on this 13-day cruise. The wi-fi signal was strong everywhere on the ship, and it was nice that the data package could be shared between two devices. • The cruise spanned the last two games of the baseball World Series, where our home team Washington Nationals emerged victorious. Although the games were carried on one of the ESPN TV channels, it sure would have been nice if the cruise staff had turned them into special events, maybe with hot dogs and popcorn under the big screen on the pool deck. I realize that MSC is a European line, but this cruise started and ended in the US, and the cruise director was American, so this was an obvious missed opportunity. • Lines at the customer service desk on five were hellishly long for the first four or five days of the cruise, as people waited to get various problems straightened out. The lines diminished later in the cruise, but this was a two-week run. With such a high passenger count, the lines could be long for the entirety of shorter cruises. And Finally. . . Is the Meraviglia, for all its good features, just plain too big? Our answer: yes it is. We feel that many of the negatives we encountered were directly tied to the 4,000+ passenger capacity. We remember back around the turn of the century when we were worried that the new 2,000+ passenger ships like Celebrity’s Millennium would be too big. We found that they were not. But we think that 4,000 people, many of whom are on board solely because they scored dirt-cheap rooms, are a bit too much. We’re likely to stick to smaller ships on future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After 36 cruises (on different cruise lines), we found a team at the Edge Bar that went above and beyond to be helpful and friendly. They were always courteous, hardworking and very professional. They were Neptin Alie, Gregory Jean, ... Read More
After 36 cruises (on different cruise lines), we found a team at the Edge Bar that went above and beyond to be helpful and friendly. They were always courteous, hardworking and very professional. They were Neptin Alie, Gregory Jean, Mariel Magallano, Angela May Lamog, Max Magotsi and Yange Ndayi. They took care of us for 23 days. The atmosphere with them around was always pleasant and made our cruise unforgettable. Service like this is very hard to find. We tried to recommend them on the cruise, but they do not have a system in place to do it as on other cruise lines. We have to compliment Meraviglia on their shows, as they were excellent and very entertaining. We battled with the packing space in the stateroom, as it was very limited comparing to other cruise lines. The buffet area is very busy and sometimes chaotic and the variety is limited. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The price leaving NYC 13 day cruise was great we even got a balcony , the balcony was tight for luggage space, ,embarking from NY was smooth , disembarking was havoc , The main dining food was not that good ,they push specialities ... Read More
The price leaving NYC 13 day cruise was great we even got a balcony , the balcony was tight for luggage space, ,embarking from NY was smooth , disembarking was havoc , The main dining food was not that good ,they push specialities dinning ,thecrew was inexperienced and very new to working on a ship,but very eager to please, and we took care of our waiter, assistant waiter and steward with cash gratuities, most ships allow you to go down to guest services and get envelopes to give cash ,do not allow the cruise line to decide who gets your tips, its there job to pay for higher earning labor ,which comes out of your purchase price. Alot of guest did get sick coughing due to (we were told)very cold air conditioning and hot weather, it plays with your lungs.Save yourself $125 to $175 from going to ships Doctor, bring a z pack or antibiotic, benadryl,inhaler albertoul de-congestion etc, just in case , If you go to one of the islands ,stop at a pharmacy and try and get cough medicine with codeine, works great on suppressing coughs. The maitre d were in main dinning room great overall I recommend this ship especially if they can keep cost low. If you have the money great spend it, but if your on a budget, this ship can be negotiated, just dont get stupid with spending on excursions, and alcohol if your looking for a beach for example in Aruba it will cost you $49 dollars on ship excursions ,were as a local bus will take you there and back for $2.50 each way,Curacao anther ex, $59 dollars tour to town , blue curacao liqueur factory, and beach, $25;to $30 neg. same tour in van with locals, for first ,timers,newbies,, who are inexperienced , go to ship excursion , By the way the ship cancelled their new island,(not ready) and we went to Jamaica instead, not my choice: but it was class act by MSC who gave every cabin $100 back and %20 off next cruise, they were not obligated to do that and are allowed to change ittertinary any time, MSC PROVED TO ME THEY ARE A Class Act Thank You Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This ship is absolutely beautiful. Everything was clean and fresh and shiny. The food was good to delicious in the MD and the buffet. In fact, the prime rib was better than we had recently at a local steak house. We enjoyed the ... Read More
This ship is absolutely beautiful. Everything was clean and fresh and shiny. The food was good to delicious in the MD and the buffet. In fact, the prime rib was better than we had recently at a local steak house. We enjoyed the Cruise Critic party. It was held in the Sky Lounge and was the largest number of guests to attend. There were drinks and snacks and we got a chance to meet the Officers. The crew we met were mostly friendly and efficient in their duties. We did see 2 occasions when guests were rude or aggressive in their behaviour towards crew. Sad but common nowadays. The itinerary was especially appealing. Most days we went to the beach and soaked up the sea and sand. Entertainment on the ship was top notch. The evening shows were Very professional. We did see Cirque show Sonar. We thought it was amazing. The theatre is attractive and interesting. A cruise is what you make of it. Your attitude will go a long way to determine your enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
New York Boarding was a breeze .the shows were excellent . The meet and mingle was a highlight to meet and greet cruise critics fans. Outstanding! Staff in all areas were very friendly and helpers with our internet.ship was different ... Read More
New York Boarding was a breeze .the shows were excellent . The meet and mingle was a highlight to meet and greet cruise critics fans. Outstanding! Staff in all areas were very friendly and helpers with our internet.ship was different than our usual cruises. Enjoyed our new cabin after we had to change due to problems in our original cabin. Cruiser were friendly except that we had trouble communicate with different languages. The islands we visited were good, took a few tours with local vendors. Some of the island’s celebrate an holiday so many stores and museum s were not open and we had a lot of rain. Enjoyed the food , ice cream and the hot tubs. The ship was very clean and the bed and pillows were excellent. There always a problem getting off any cruise which is normal. We enjoyed the cruise which was the first on MSC Different but still enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This ship is beautiful and the shows were outstanding but cold food and lack of hygiene and sanitation made it undesirable. There are no hand sanitizers at all entries to the buffet. It was not until the ship became a cough fest did MSC ... Read More
This ship is beautiful and the shows were outstanding but cold food and lack of hygiene and sanitation made it undesirable. There are no hand sanitizers at all entries to the buffet. It was not until the ship became a cough fest did MSC stand a crew member to spray hands and this was only at the one entrance with sanitizers in place. MSC allowed guests to refill water bothles bu putging the used botgle right up into the water nozzle on thewater machine this also occurred on the pumps of coffee creamers. People reused glasses to get beverages also. MSC failed to changed serving utensils when they replenished the food. Not only is this disgusting it can contribute to illness and food poisoning as well. All utensils were used the duration of the food service. People also urinated in showers and pools as we seen one gentlemen pull his trunks outwards to rinse of his private area. Many people but no water on floors leading into bathrooms and it wasnt bc MSC squeegeed the floors nonstop. The ladies bathroom by the buffet had no soap or water for a few days but remained open. On many occasions the guests onboard failed to wash after using the restroom even in working facilities. Seating is very minimal in many music venues so if you want to listen to it be prepared to stand. I have cruised NCL Carnival Holland America and Disney snd the careless concern for spreading of illness would more than make me think twice about booking again. I want all health and sanitation to be top notch not simply the facade Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Had a really good time as usual we dont let the little stuff get to us.The crew were unreal and worked harder than ever to make our vacation as good as it could be. THE PROBLEM? The company completley misses the mark on the importance ... Read More
Had a really good time as usual we dont let the little stuff get to us.The crew were unreal and worked harder than ever to make our vacation as good as it could be. THE PROBLEM? The company completley misses the mark on the importance of quality and making tools available to the staff. We have done about 15 cruises now Royal Caribbean, celebrity,Cunard, Seabourn, viking and even Carnival and have never had such poor quality of food.the chicken breast was frozen the soups were thin tasteless even the cheese on the onion soup was welded to a round wafer of bread I think That was not eatable. The pasta was limited to 2 or 3 different sauces that resembles wallpaper paste. Italian cruise line? The cheeseburgers were ok and pizza was good. The waiters at the table were inexperienced but tried hard but not even supplied with bottle opener and had to search around for one before opening my beer every night even in the specialty restaurant. My wife even asked for a cranberry spritzer that after 10 days and multiple explanations couldn't get it right. We went to the specialty restaurant using a package of 3 that includes a show. Sorry to say that even didn't measure up. So was below avarage and food just ok.The ship is beautiful and is not really crowded dispite the amount of people aboard.The shows were ok and didnt see anything that wowed us. The bingo was expensive and we didn't play but the last game they proudly boasted a $500 grand prize. No art auction or inside movie theater although they have a few cool things like bowling, f1 race cars and simulators at extra charge. The pools were crowded the hot tubs were small and cold the slides were fun and oh yes dont forget your room supplied beach towel that needs to go everywhere with you ( even on excursions) and if you lose it $20.Overall disappointed and would not return to MSC. There are too many companies out there that work really hard and deserve our business but Hope's of MSC improving are slim. GEORGE l Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Download and complete the Ocean Medallion ahead of time makes embarkation and disembarkation at all ports a breeze. The Regal Princess is beautiful and well maintained. Crew and staff were very pleasant and helpful. Salute to Caption Tim ... Read More
Download and complete the Ocean Medallion ahead of time makes embarkation and disembarkation at all ports a breeze. The Regal Princess is beautiful and well maintained. Crew and staff were very pleasant and helpful. Salute to Caption Tim for a relatively smooth ride during a major storm that kept us from docking at St John !!! Regal Rock Orchestra was amazing ! Tours were well organized and Newport, Bar Harbor, and Halifax are wonderful coastal towns to explore. Food for the most part was high end. Minor notes: 1) the bathrooms are "really small" ,2) breakfast at the Horizon Buffet had lots of selections, but food for most part was on the cool to cold side so use the Made to Order Omelet station, 3) due to low lighting in the Crown Grill I unexpectedly ate a large piece of fat but otherwise it was the best food on ship, 3) the water taxi service needs improvement at Newport. This was the only port that Tours did not disembark as a group and even thought I allowed 1 1/2 extra time to get to port I almost missed my tour, so plan ahead 4) the Compass app of Ocean Medallion never worked for me or others on the ship, even with a visit to Internet Café for tech help, but everything else worked on the app worked as designed, and 5) Peggy's Cove is beautiful coastal fishing village, but for the hour ride out, ONLY an hour there, and another hour ride back and the fact most tours go there (we were the only ship in port and we had 10 buses on site) it was over crowded and by the time you get though the gift shop (where the bathrooms are), it doesn't give you much time to explore the site, so I don't think it isn't worth the tour prices. Again the above are all minor points and did not take away from a wonderful, relaxing, get-a-way. Overall a wonderful experience and would book another cruise, even this cruise again with Princess. They really mean " Come Back A New " !!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to do the East coast Fall colors cruise. This was the last cruise of the season, which led to a second cruise of the Caribbean. Stopped at most of the main east coast cities. Bar Harbor, Nova Scotia, Boston, NYC, etc.. Quebec was ... Read More
We wanted to do the East coast Fall colors cruise. This was the last cruise of the season, which led to a second cruise of the Caribbean. Stopped at most of the main east coast cities. Bar Harbor, Nova Scotia, Boston, NYC, etc.. Quebec was a wonderful place to start. We stayed there for 4 days before boarding the cruise and had great food and a great time. Quebec is a French speaking area, however my wife speaks french and many locals speak English. the Cabin was a typical small balcony. No couch only a single chair and small desk. I have been on many Princess cruises.On this cruise the food was very bland. Both the buffet and the main dinning room were both the same---Bland. We traveled with a second couple and all agreed about the bland food. However the service was excellent. Cabin steward and all waiters were outstanding. Fortunately the Pizza stand was excellent. The hamburger, chicken and taco stand was also excellent. The Caribbean portion of the cruise was a great itinerary. 7 islands in 10 days. My wife snorkeled on 5 islands and loved it. This included a face to face with a very large sea turtle. The ship was very clean and well presented. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had to skip Newport because of high winds, not any fault of Princess. Most ports we did on our own and the ones were we chose excursions were fine. There were 2 sea days were we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had to skip Newport because of high winds, not any fault of Princess. Most ports we did on our own and the ones were we chose excursions were fine. There were 2 sea days were we had ¨not so bad weather¨(the rest of the cruise was pretty cold). We hoped that there would be a good movie on Lido deck but no it was only football games and concerts during the day and sadly there were very few people attending, I think a good movie would have been nice entertainment at this time. The evenings were very cold so not comfortable for movie under the stars. We only attended a few shows in the theatre. We had second seating in MDR so very hard for us to get seats for the most popular shows. We have no complaints on the food, it was not great but ok. We enjoyed the medallion class especially for embarkation, and going out at ports. Also very convenient as key to cabin. Overall it wasn't a bad cruise, but we've had better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My wife and i sailed on the anthem for the second time on a cruise to new england and canada. We were both disappointed this time with most everything on the ship especially the food. The food quality in both the specialty restaurants and ... Read More
My wife and i sailed on the anthem for the second time on a cruise to new england and canada. We were both disappointed this time with most everything on the ship especially the food. The food quality in both the specialty restaurants and the dining room were less than average. We ate in chops 3 times and once in jamies and were for the most part disappointed. We had a balcony room in what i thought should have been a very quiet location room 10572, slightly forward of mid ships, however it was quite noisy, possibly just noisy neighbors but quite annoying. I must comment on embarkation and disembarkation which was outstanding, and parking right next to the pier was also a pleasure. Overall will not be sailing on the anthem anytime soon. As for the excursions we did kennebunkport and scenic cruise in a rainstorm, the scenic cruise was cancelled and we were refunded that portion of the excursion, however we were left in town for approximately 2+ hours and not allowed back on the bus which proved to be a mess with the heavy rain. The other excursions acadia national park, st andrews by the sea and peggy's cove were all good, our tour guide for st andrews lynn adams was hysterical, very entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
First off there was nothing to do unless you are a trivia person and you need another useless bag or wine stopper that gives free advertising for the princess line. The Caribbean Princes was dirty my room had used bandages stuck to the ... Read More
First off there was nothing to do unless you are a trivia person and you need another useless bag or wine stopper that gives free advertising for the princess line. The Caribbean Princes was dirty my room had used bandages stuck to the balcony door handle. The computer system allowed my computer to get three viruses and even if you want to use your own server then leave your computer at home they block you so you cannot contact your family. Second if you are older or handicapped don't believe them that they will accommodate your needs both on the ship and on anyone of the excursions. They refused to loan or rent any of the 30 or 40 wheel chairs they have on board for an excursions but they will tell you that a rental will be available at the excursion sites. Don't believe them they are lying. This was the worst ship we have been on. The so-called entertainment staff had a Romanian woman who started yelling at everyone at a trivia game because she was missing one golf pencil and said we were not to take the pencils and papers until she gave them to us. This same woman refused to allow anyone to use the restroom when we were waiting to dis embark in the designated dining room. Also if you are diabetic don't go on any excursions because even though they tell you you will be able to get something to eat don't believe them and bring something. We went to Williamsburg and every thing was closed for the season. they even make you cross through an open field in the dark. I tripped over tree trunks and rocks because there was no light to see by and the tour guide was in such a hurry he would not slow down for those of us who were slower. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I read many reviews before this trip. There are couple things I didn't know until I got in the ship. - the ship only provides hair shampoo & conditioner & body soap in the same bottle, and one bar soap. There is no hand ... Read More
I read many reviews before this trip. There are couple things I didn't know until I got in the ship. - the ship only provides hair shampoo & conditioner & body soap in the same bottle, and one bar soap. There is no hand lotion. Since we washed hands many times a day so really need to have hand lotion. - the bed in my cabin wasn't good. My husband and I got back ache when waking up in the morning. We requested the top cover but it wasn't any left so the stateroom attendant had to use a comforter to put on the top of the mattress. It helped a little bit. My sister cabin didn't have this problem. - the last sea day is really rough. I had a tough time even I took a medicine. - Royal app: doesn't allow to do a text inside the ship. I wish the app shows the list of activities of a day same as you saw in the paper. This way is much easier to follow. - Three main shows are just ok because difficult to follow them. - taxi from EWR airport to Bayoone is $41 + $5 (toll fee) + tip - taxi from Bayoone to EWR is $65 + $3.75 (toll fee) + tip I don't know why they are different price. We are 4 pp, 4 carry-on and 1 check in luggage Good things: - my waiter in dining room - Fellington did an outstanding job. Food was great. - cabin is clean. - Fitness center has all good machines and good classes. Instructors are nice. - Casino is nice and has good machines. - come in and out of the ship are very easy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After having been on 4 Silversea cruises, we chose the Canada and New England cruise at this time to be able to sail into NYC. It was a thrilling experience! We have sailed on the Wind, the Spirit (twice), and the Cloud. Each ... Read More
After having been on 4 Silversea cruises, we chose the Canada and New England cruise at this time to be able to sail into NYC. It was a thrilling experience! We have sailed on the Wind, the Spirit (twice), and the Cloud. Each cruise was excellent. We loved the small-sized ship, and the crew was exceptional. The personalized service of Silversea, from the butler to the maitre d'hotel, was also superb. We were always greeted with a friendly smile and many times, greeted by name at the reception area, excursion desk and restaurants. We were disappointed with a windy day which prevented us from anchoring in Newport, but the crew and staff immediately planned activities for our unexpected day at sea. Although not a new, glitzy ship, we noticed updated decor as the ship was refurbished last year. It was understated elegance in all the public areas. We ate in all the restaurants except the grill due to weather. The food is outstanding, as we had remembered from all of our previous cruises on Silversea. The afternoon tea was a favorite time, with Trivia with the cruise director. We would have preferred the enrichment lectures be more in line with the ports we visited, giving history and landmark information. The excursions were very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because Bridge at Sea was holding a bridge event, the bridge was fine- the ship was a huge disappointment. The interior spaces are old and tired, wear and stains on every surface. The room was tiny, we knew that, but ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Bridge at Sea was holding a bridge event, the bridge was fine- the ship was a huge disappointment. The interior spaces are old and tired, wear and stains on every surface. The room was tiny, we knew that, but we didn't know that the beds weren't full sized, the brochure said "queen-sized", instead they were shorter and narrower than standard beds. Nice quality linens, though. The much touted butler introduced himself the first day and asked if we needed anything. My wife asked for an extra washcloth each day and bar soap (shower gel was provided but we like bar soap), we got two extra washcloths and two bars of soap on the last day (TIP DAY!). That was the total of our interactions with our superspecial personal butler. Dishes from room service breakfast were cleared away during dinner. In a tiny cabin, having the dirty dishes around all day was both disgusting and inconvenient. Room service food was uniformly cold. In the restaurant, they had lobster on the menu every night. Folks, in Ohio we call crustaceans this size "crawdads" and they were always shrouded in a gloppy cheese sauce or gravy mix. "Lobster Thermidor" was the same cheese sauce AND gravy mix with a mushroom. La Dama, specialty restaurant for a $120 upcharge, was adjacent to the smoking room and the nauseating odor permeated the room. We are unsure what the specialty was, the food was the same as the regular restaurant. La Terraza, the Italian grill, was, obviously, Italian. On Silversea, Italian means that everything has a large dollop of Parmesan cheese and cilantro cooked in, we prefer to add Parmesan or cilantro to taste, asking for a dish without Parmesan and cilantro we were told everything was prepared in advance and it wasn't possible. They did make fresh pasta for every dish but it wasn't very appetizing unless you liked it to the chef's taste. One time, they had pasta with onions and garlic (and Parmesan and cilantro) and they made it fresh for my wife - plain pasta in olive oil, no onions or garlic. The Small Ship Experience - while heavily touted as an advantage of premium lines, we never stopped at a port that didn't have a 2,500+ passenger ship from a popularly priced cruise line and the large ships get the dock while we had to tender. Most the ports were 1/2 days and tendering took a big chunk of time. Summary - I wouldn't go on Silversea again, if the trip was free Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Took this cruise to relax and enjoy the Fall foliage. Beautiful color in each port. Especially liked Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport. Nice boardwalk in Nova Scotia. Great clam chowder and lobster everywhere. Locals in every port were very ... Read More
Took this cruise to relax and enjoy the Fall foliage. Beautiful color in each port. Especially liked Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport. Nice boardwalk in Nova Scotia. Great clam chowder and lobster everywhere. Locals in every port were very friendly and welcoming. Went to specialty restaurant Chops Grill and Izumi. The food, atmosphere, service at was excellent at Chops Grill. Izumi asian restaurant was very enjoyable with lots of beautiful sushi choices. Bingo sessions were fun, especially since several at my table won money or give-aways (t-shirts, gift certificate to spa, ship photos, etc.) Enjoyed a Swedish Massage on board during one of the cruising days. There were two formal nights on this cruise. Professional ship photo area was good, but twice the on-line photo review PCs has issues with allowing the customer to order or update information. As a result, self-service digital orders that would have normally been done on the PC had to be manually recorded on paper by a cruise employee, which caused some confusion. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and were well organized. Will definitely consider taking this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We've taken this cruise before (although with different cruise lines) because it offers a nice getaway without the airport hassle. Our balcony (partially obstructed view) was fine. Actually, the shower was somewhat larger than we ... Read More
We've taken this cruise before (although with different cruise lines) because it offers a nice getaway without the airport hassle. Our balcony (partially obstructed view) was fine. Actually, the shower was somewhat larger than we anticipated. One major complaint is that this ship does not have an aft elevator (only mid-ship and forward.) Since our cabin was near the stern this resulted in many long walks... The food was fair/good. The variety and taste left much to be desired -- same two vegetables every night -- fine if all you like are carrots and broccoli. With just a few exceptions, the desserts do not seem fresh, but rather frozen and reheated -- have they done away with a pastry chef? Only one place to buy specialty coffee. We chose late traditional seating for dinner at a large table -- they seem unable to accommodate the request for dining companions; only two other people were assigned to our table for 8. Several nights we sat by ourselves. The entertainment was standard, but OK. There was absolutely no cultural presentation / information. I would hesitate to take a longer or more expensive Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just got back from the Canada New England cruise. I will start out with our meals at night, they were absolutely delicious-every single night from the appetizer to the dessert. Also, we had exceptional service from our waiter Ikadek ... Read More
We just got back from the Canada New England cruise. I will start out with our meals at night, they were absolutely delicious-every single night from the appetizer to the dessert. Also, we had exceptional service from our waiter Ikadek and his assistant Marcos. They both had had great sense of humor, and had great attention to every detail, we always looked forward to seeing them at mealtime. Next our room attendant was Shawn and our room was cleaned twice a day with the cutest little towel animals on our beds at night. We ate in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunch and so many choices and everything we had from the waffles, ham that melted in your mouth to the carved meats for lunch and also hotdogs and hamburgers. The shows at night with the dancers and singers were Spectacular!! Those people are really talented. Now for the reason we will forever cruise with Royal Caribbean, one of the days Nick, the Activities Director, had all the veterans meet in one of the bars to meet each other and tell what branch of service and a little about what they did, that was so special, and if that wasn’t enough, on another day, they had all the vets meet in the Centrum and had the band the song for each branch of service and at the end they played God Bless America. There was not a dry eye in the house. I told Nick, “I will Love You Forever for doing this.” Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Let me start by disclosing that this is a fairly lengthy review, which I would loved to have had before we left. Bear with me please. There were some very nice things about the Norwegian Dawn, its crew and our experiences you should ... Read More
Let me start by disclosing that this is a fairly lengthy review, which I would loved to have had before we left. Bear with me please. There were some very nice things about the Norwegian Dawn, its crew and our experiences you should know about. There are also some things to be critical of as to our destinations, the time of year we chose and the excursions we experienced as well. It is important to not just levy criticisms without pointing out bright spots. We picked the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Dawn for a two week, Northeastern Canada and New England tour. It included Quebec City, Halifax and Sydney, Bay of St. John, Nova Scotia and Corner Brook, Newfoundland. There were stops in Boston, Portland, Maine and Newport Rhode Island also. New York City was the final destination but we did not get to see it as we just barely got in in time to get our flights home. We missed The Rhode Island stop as well due to a storm which cut our trip slightly short. Our trip started with two quick jaunts from Virginia to New York City, then to Montreal, where we were to be bused to Quebec City. That's right, bused. It's a four-hour drive, and that's what comes with the $99 airfare package coupled with the $200 transportation package. Note this straight away, and here's why. After customs in Canada, they begin filtering you like salmon onto a few buses waiting outside for you. Our bus came with no air conditioning, apparently, and that's a fun three and a half hours with 50 other people. In case you absolutely had to, and many did as you could imagine within four hours, there was a latrine on the bus that stunk to high heaven. It apparently had not been serviced, pretty much, ever. The stench was ghastly and I felt badly for the four people seated around it. Along with the heat and the stink, there was no water for passengers, no food, no nothing. Everyone had just come off of long flights cross country and gone through customs as well. The driver did not care and did not stop anywhere for anything or anybody. It was a frightful way to start a vacation, for sure. Note that this is part of Norwegian Cruise Line's passenger transport package, which they are not good at, is the takeaway. It is an abominable attempt at service; they should stick to cruises and get out of this line of business. It is absolutely inexcusable. (To note: In a case where you don't fly directly to the ship's embark destination, next time I would stay away from the cheap cruise line transport package and pay a little more, as some did, and book direct flights to the destination to and from the ship - at least in the case of a Norwegian cruise. We did not have this issue with Holland America, for example, who also provided constant supplies, food, water and rest room stops for any bus rides you might be doing). Now, as for the ship, the Norwegian Dawn. Things got better as we found the crew and ship's staff were excellent, diligent and friendly. The ship was in excellent shape and fairly attractive if slightly drab, was exceedingly clean and neat well-kept. The crew worked round the clock to keep it that way, cleaning, wiping and sprucing continuously. Even the on-board restrooms were beautiful and pristine. Not one case of Norovirus was heard of for the entire two weeks, and that is as much a testament to the diligence of the crew of the Dawn as it is impressive. The food in the main dining rooms, the Aqua and the Venetian, ranged from decent to just edible. Their soups were very good and they had a wonderful Caesar salad. The main entrees were repetitive and average, at best. The service and staff in the main dining rooms, however, were excellent. They often would share what to stay away from and what was pretty fair and would bring whatever you wanted. They were friendly and personable, and, like all of the ship's staff, were a joy to be around. We did not and would not venture near the daily buffet line, but heard it was worse. I should add that each day, our upgraded cabin came with breakfast at Moderno, a specialty restaurant, and it was very good and came with the attention of its exquisite staff. Starting every day with a cappuccino and view of the pool and bow of the ship and wherever we were docked was a very bright spot on this long trip. We dined half of the trip for dinner in the two main dining rooms previously mentioned, and the other half was spent in the specialty restaurants. Attending the pay restaurants was part of our perk package, and there are some very good things to say about these places. Overall, the five specialty restaurants we attended ranged from very good to outstanding. Our favorites were Moderno's, which while was the same place we attended for breakfast, had Brazilian fare in the evenings, and was really well done. The other fave was Cagney's steak house, which was Arnie Morton's and Ruth's Chris good. I've not had a better ribeye than the one they served, anywhere, ever. They had top-quality prime beef here and you could see the soux chef preparing all the cuts as you walk in. The Mexican restaurant, the Chinese restaurant, The Japanese Benihana-style restaurant all tied for second place but were very good, if slightly different than what you might be used to at home. Le Bistro was a failed attempt at continental cuisine, grading out at borderline fair to poor. Frozen/thawed mussels and seafood was rubbery and tasteless. It was to be avoided, for sure. Getting to the entertainment portion, which, with the exception of two shows, average and not overwhelming. I thought Princess and Holland America both excelled with their entertainment offerings, but the Dawn's gets an overall 7 out of 10. The very first night's Soul Rockin' Nights and the very last, Elements, were both excellent. Elements, being the very last performance on board this cruise, involved representatives from every facet of service on board and it was fun to see the people who had been with you helping you for two weeks get the spotlight. The magic act was fairly pedestrian and pandered to children, though there was seriously only one child and two teens on this entire ship. Those poor kids must have been bored out of their minds. The acrobatic duo were very adept, but the performance was long, wandering and repetitive. There were two comedians on board, one woman - who was very funny the first night and not so much the second; and an Irishman, who was more down home-ish and really very funny. The last night's Elements was a medley of all of the performances and they all were much better served up that way. There was a husband/wife duo who sang oldies in the ship's main Atrium lounge and were quite good, but again, sort of a one-trick pony here. I will say the older folks just flocked each and every night to hear them, so I feel like I should mention that. There was an excellent big-band and jazz style group who were as good as any of the many Hollywood studio players I knew and worked with over the years. Comprised of a couple of Ukranian guys: the pianist and a fantastic horn player (trumpet); a kid from Mexico, an excellent drummer; a young US guitarist and a Brit band leader who was a sax player and a vocalist with a lovely voice - overall a very enjoyable and a very talented group. The shore excursions were flat disappointing and overpriced. If one ever goes to New England or Northeast Canada, book your own tours with the locals. Don't mess with the Norwegian offerings, as with the exception of the Corner Brook, Newfoundland nature hike, they all failed badly and we way overpriced. We had a horrid experience in Sydney, Nova Scotia, which placed the lives of 42 mostly elderly, (some handicapped), people at risk. The issues: a.) Elderly people being made to stand in a torrential downpour outside the disembark terminal waiting for the bus to arrive. No cover whatever. b.) The bus wouldn't defog in the rain and the tour guide was forced to wipe the windshield with paper towels while standing - in a moving bus, weaving in and out of the oncoming lane with moderate traffic - next to the driver, OMG - just so he could see through a small hole in the fog (!!!) and c.) the inexperienced driver who did not know how to fix the defog issue or how the basic heater function worked. This driver, who apparently just got his license, (I heard him say after the trip, "Boy I didn't know much about this but I sure learned a lot today!"), was barely able to see to the point that passengers were frightened and screaming for him to stop. I mean, holy Lord, you have got to be kidding with this. Amateur hour on a bus with 42 lives at stake? Really? It was positively horrifying and should never have happened in a torrential downpour to this ridiculous museum. On a nicer day, the scenery to and from the museum would have been exquisite, as the foliage there was absolutely popping. During the few moments when you weren't fearing for your life, you could wipe a small hole with your sleeve on the window and peer out at the gorgeous color. My wife said I should say something positive. There it is. Five hours of hell, money out and time you can't get back and no recompense from Norwegian, not even an apology. "The show must go on," was basically the company line. "We go rain or shine," was what they told me. I told the excursion director of the ship, Miguel, the story and he said he had not heard any other complaints about it. Odd, seeing as how the concierge we used to book the trip heard plenty. Anyway, they gave us $30 back, like that would help. This trip could have ended in disaster for forty-two families and for Norwegian, and at the very least was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Thing is, you have to look at this as an overall part of how they care more about getting paid for excursions rather than the safety and satisfaction of their passengers. HUGE FAIL here. Our cruise got cut short by a storm and so instead of getting to Newport, RI and New York City in time to see them, we sat in the Gulf of Maine, Cape Cod Bay, basically, just off Boston, and waited almost two days for the seas to become navigational. It's part of what happens when you book a cruise in the North Atlantic in October. It comes with weather. It rains a lot up in Northeast Canada in the summer also and tends to be very cool. We met people at LaGuardia who had been on a Princess cruise that followed us which got pretty drastically truncated due to the weather. Lastly, the disembark process was no picnic either. This is never fun, on any cruise, as there are 2,000 people with luggage waiting to get off the ship. There were also 3,000 people from a Princess cruise also getting off of their cruise, too. They attempt to organize groups and times, but our concierge grabbed us and said, "Just go now," which I guess was considerate, but once you get down the gangway you see you are a collective throng trying to get to buses with all of your luggage. The buses are random, and nobody knows which is theirs as they all have various destinations out of New York, Newark, JFK and LaGuardia. People are just standing in a clump waiting for direction, and the bus drivers wind up being your last tour guides. They really did as well as they could, and one guy loads 50 people at a time's multi-bags underneath the bus. My wife and I got on first and so helped the older folks with their bags and gave them to the driver to stow them. There are so many fragile people on these cruises, and you really wind up looking out for one another out there. So, a long review, but all of it is important - for me - to note. If someone had shared this with me beforehand, we probably would have just driven up to New England from Virginia and gone to our usual fave places: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Boston and maybe Niagara Falls and Toronto. FINAL GRADES: OVERALL SHIP APPEARANCE, PRESENTATION AND CREW: A+ OVERALL FOOD AND BEVERAGE: B ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT: B- OVERALL TOUR AND EXCURSION EXPERIENCE: D OVERALL TRANSPORT PACKAGE TO AND FROM SHIP: D- Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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