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Sail Date: June 2018
We picked this cruise because once in a while we want to go North, rather than South, and Norwegian is our favorite cruise line. We come from New York City and don't have to travel to board either of the NCL ships that call NYC home. Also ... Read More
We picked this cruise because once in a while we want to go North, rather than South, and Norwegian is our favorite cruise line. We come from New York City and don't have to travel to board either of the NCL ships that call NYC home. Also the price for an inside cabin on this cruise was very reasonable. We made two stops in Canada: Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick. Then we made two stops in Maine: Bar Harbor and Portland. Embarkation was very smooth. We dropped our bags at the curb, signed in right away with almost no line ahead of us and got on the ship in a hurry. (We are at the Platinum level with NCL.) We like the Gem because it's a smaller ship and doesn't entail a great deal of walking. We got an inside cabin as the scenery outside in Canada and Maine in June isn't really spectacular. There was plenty of room inside for all our stuff. The TV, sink, shower, and safe all worked just fine. Our room steward was really great. He always greeted us by name and he kept the room in spotless condition. We were on the 10th floor in a convenient location, between the aft and mid-ship elevators. The room was very quiet at night and we had no trouble sleeping. We've eaten in every restaurant on the Gem in the last couple of years. This time we ate in the Italian and French specialty restaurants. Both were good, the French one, Le Bistro, being the better of the two. We were able to eat in both for free as a perk to Platinum level customers but we noticed that the menus were ala carte rather than one flat price and I don't like that. The shows were OK. Like the commercial used to say, "When Hollywood and Broadway say no, the cruise ship says yes". Still, we went to the Western show and the Swing show and were entertained for an hour or so. The casino was nice. We spent a lot of time there without losing a whole bunch of money. All the employees there were great. We had a good time playing Bingo and Deal or No Deal. Since we had been to all four ports before we didn't take any excursions. We just got off the ship, ate lunch, and walked around a bit. It was chilly in all the ports except for the last one, Portland, so we tried to stay indoors. The temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The only problem we had was that everyone had to be checked by Customs on the ship before we pulled in to Bar Harbor. I saw no reason for this because everyone was checked when we got on in NYC and whenever we got on and off in Canada. Not to mention that we all had to clear customs in NYC upon our return. The line to see the Customs agents, there were only two of them, stretched a long way. It would all through the casino and up the aft staircase. Because of this we got off the boat late and Bar Harbor is a tender port with no dock for a large ship. Some people who had purchased excursions were afraid of missing them. This was not something started by NCL. It involved Federal Customs regulations. We had the easiest disembarkation of any cruise we had been on. We put our bags out the night before, picked them up in the terminal and walked through customs in a hurry with only two people ahead of us. It's no longer necessary to fill out a declaration form if you have nothing to declare. All in all we had a very nice cruise and we were well looked after by the staff. I would love to do it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Thought I would write about our experience as I found the cruise critic forum so useful when researching this cruise. Will try to keep it fairly brief with points good and bad. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We got to the dock at ... Read More
Thought I would write about our experience as I found the cruise critic forum so useful when researching this cruise. Will try to keep it fairly brief with points good and bad. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We got to the dock at 10.15, no que, went through paperwork, waited about half an hour then on board by 11.30. Went straight to the Pacific dining room which was quiet and peaceful for lunch. Had inside cabin (10573) which was bigger than expected, clean, lots of storage space, lovely bathroom and could get our (very large) suitcases under the bed easily. We were very glad our bid for an upgrade didn't happen! TV and light didn't work, but someone came quickly to fix them. Actually the TV broke again the second day, again it was fixed very quickly, and when we got back into our cabin at night the guest services had left a bottle of wine and plate of large chocolate strawberrys as an apology, which was a lovely touch. We ate in The Grand Pacific restaurant every night apart from one which I would highly recommend. We got a table for 2 every night without problem. The food was excellent with a change every night but always something nice to eat. The desserts were delicious. The buffet was 'OK', not brilliant but not bad. Have had better to be honest on RCL. The great outdoors was nice to sit out and eat. Only ate a 1 speciality restaurant - Teppanyki., was all right but not worth the cost, wouldn't bother again. Didn't go to any of the shows. Usually like to pop into the casino nightly for a little gamble on the roulette table, but was shocked that it was a minimum 10 dollar bet each time so only went once. This removed it from being an entertaining past time, it isn't even that in Vegas. Wasn't impressed with the atrium area, thought we might have sat in O'Sheenans people watching but it was busy and noisy. Had 1 snack meal at O'Sheenans which was not good, didn't go again. Would have been nice to have a quiet bar area on the ship but there wasn't anywhere that didn't have music. We did sit around the Maltings beer and whisky bar which was ok. Re the ports, Halifax was a lovely town, just walked from the ship. Nice shops and a lovely public garden at the end. St John was 'OK', not a lot there. Again walk to the town where there was a nice indoor shopping area market place, free wi-fi. Bar Harbor was the highlight. Tender right into the town with a lovely shopping street. Very pretty town Portland was by far the worse. Straight off the ship there were beggars everywhere. We had actually booked a trip around Portland with NCL but they had cancelled it, so we were left to walk around. There was not much shops, it was a very dismal place and we were back on ship within the hour. I would recommend booking an excursion out at this port. On the whole this was a good value cruise for us as we had the ultimate beverage package. The staff and service were excellent. New England was a bit disappointing, especially Portland. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Party of 5 (Mom(44) Dad (42), DD (17) DS#1 (16) DS#2 (10) Avid Cruisers Rooms 8465 and 8467 (Adjoining/connecting Cabins) My Time Dining The good- Embarkation and debarkation Smooth and well organized. Arrived at the ... Read More
Party of 5 (Mom(44) Dad (42), DD (17) DS#1 (16) DS#2 (10) Avid Cruisers Rooms 8465 and 8467 (Adjoining/connecting Cabins) My Time Dining The good- Embarkation and debarkation Smooth and well organized. Arrived at the port around 12:00, Was at the ship by 12:35p. No major lines and security very organized and professional. Headed directly to the WJ to grab some lunch until cabins were ready (they moved the time to 1:30P) Debarking was the same, very organized, no major lines anywhere and bags were available when they said they were going to be available. The best debarkation process we have experienced (and we travel a lot!) Food at the MDR Decent, well prepared and good selection. Lobster offered on Day 6. Escargot available the first 3 days. NY Strip Available every day (we ordered twice and came at perfect temperature) Desserts are nothing fancy, and some are not that good. The Onion and Goat Cheese Tart is AMAZING. Service in the cabins Cabins are serviced twice a day, and kept immaculate. Great service from the Cabin Steward. He really seemed genuine in wanting to know us. Super guy. Diamond Club Never crowded. Nice offerings of drinks and snacks from 4:30-8p. We were able to use our drinks in the MDR without problems. Very Accommodating ambassador Cafe Promenade I heard so many bad things about this cafe and their pizza, that I wanted to go and check it out myself. Perhaps I imagined it to be sooo bad that in reality was ok! LOL... Of course is not the BEST pizza ever, but when your kids are hungry, coming from port and just want a quick bite to tie you up until dinner (since you havent eat in the last 6min!) this hit the spot. I was under the impression that only pizza was offered in this cafe, but they have finger sandwiches (varied selection every day) salads, fruits, dessert and cookies. They also offer breakfast sandwiches and fruit cups and yogurt and granola each morning. This was perfect for us, because we dont like buffets (WJ) and we wanted to sleep in, so didnt go to the MDR for breakfast. It fitted us and what we wanted. The music bands in Boleros There was a Latin Music band (3 Mexican guys) that played everything from Salsa to Merengue to Bachata and they were awesome! and there was another band with more contemporary music, great selection of soft rock, 80's and 90's that was fantastic. Port-of-calls Great places, rich in culture and sights, explored the cities with gusto and curiosity. Portland- Took a trolley tour through the city (booked ourselves) BarHarbor- Went to Acadia Park with Oli's Trolley, fantastic! Saint Johns- Visited several times before so we did our own thing, walking and visiting on our own. Halifax -LOVED it!!! did our own thing, Citadel, and Promenade. The bad- Service. It has definitely gone downhill in RCCL. So sad about this because I didnt want to believe what I read about this. There were a few here and there that really went above and beyond (our Cabin Steward, Waiter and Assistant Waiter on table 266, the Diamond Club Manager, 2 Guest Services Agents and 1 Casino Cashier) All the others we encountered, it was like they didnt want to be there... and perhaps they dont want to be there. No eye contact, short, rude and plain awful. It didnt spoil our vacay, but definitely not what it used to be. WJ Let me start saying that we are not buffet ppl. I cant stand the mess and the rude patrons eating with their hands and then reaching out to the thongs to serve themselves some more. So I am the first one to say that my view *might* be skewed LOL... Buffet was messy, no themed what so ever. Its like they put random dishes out there... Mind you this is just my impression of the ONE day I ate there. Might not be a totally fair review. JUST MY OPINION Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise as an alternative to the same old Caribbean/ Bahamas.... This was a fantastic cruise even though the weather was cold. It was humorous seeing everyone scramble to buy sweatshirts and jackets in Portland and bar harbor. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an alternative to the same old Caribbean/ Bahamas.... This was a fantastic cruise even though the weather was cold. It was humorous seeing everyone scramble to buy sweatshirts and jackets in Portland and bar harbor. We did the Kennebunkport excursion. We really enjoyed all of the stories and history of the area from our tour guide Dotti. It was neat to see where president bush vacations in the summer. The whole area was stunning to say the least. Really made you want to live there. In bar harbor and St John's, we chose to walk around ourselves as there is so much to see and so many shops to go into. In Halifax, we went on the Peggy's cove excursion. The tour guide was excellent and really knowledgeable. I can't remember his name, but he was a retired science teacher and it showed! Peggy's cove was amazing, and you should see it, but there were too many tour busses for such a small area, which made it over crowded. The ship itself is immaculate and someone is constantly working to keep it that way. We found that the best food was in the wind jammer. Food was always hot, and there were so many things to chose from that there was no way to try it all. I can't see how anyone couldn't find something they like. They had a panini bar everyday for lunch, and dinner always had different items each day. The service in the dining room was spectacular and Joseph and kaixin really went out of their way to see that you had all that you needed. The food however was so so. A lot if the sauses were flavorless and the veggies a little undercooked. But still over all decent. And if you didn't get what you want, you can always leave and go to the windjammer which was open untill 9. Also the promanad had different little sandwiches everyday to snack on which was nice. Last year on the allure, they were the same every day and you got tired if it. The entertainment was top notch from the comedians to the bands. We spent a good deal of time at boleros listening to the bands. Our favorite was the elevation band. They played a variety of music. Arnie, Wilford, Jose, and Aileen never made you wait long for a drink, and we really enjoyed getting to know them and they enjoyed us as well, and wanted to know about our lives as well..overall I would definitely recommend this cruise. It was our best cruise ever, and that is saying something considering the weather was in the 40's and 50's Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Main dining room food was disappointing. Windjammer restaurant food was excellent on themed nights. Service was excellent in main dining room and good in WJ. The temperatures in Maine and Canada were in the 40's and low 50's. Would ... Read More
Main dining room food was disappointing. Windjammer restaurant food was excellent on themed nights. Service was excellent in main dining room and good in WJ. The temperatures in Maine and Canada were in the 40's and low 50's. Would suggest this cruise not be offered in early June but more like mid- June and later. Very good fitness area. Cardiovascular machines were good but a bit old. Weights were pretty good. Lots of treadmills. Wonderful production shows, and events. Singers and dancers were outstanding and someone remarked that they were 'Broadway' caliber. Staff was dedicated to excellent service and always friendly. This included dining rooms, guest services and, really, all over the ship. Shore excursions were not as good due to the cold weather but that was not the fault of the crew. All-in- all, minus the weather, and main dining room food, it rated a 4 of 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
From a villa in St. Barths to crossing the Atlantic on the QE2 in Princess class after a week in Epernay France, I consider myself a discerning traveller. We embarked on the Canadian Empress from my hometown of Kingston Ontario intrigued ... Read More
From a villa in St. Barths to crossing the Atlantic on the QE2 in Princess class after a week in Epernay France, I consider myself a discerning traveller. We embarked on the Canadian Empress from my hometown of Kingston Ontario intrigued by a voyage on the St. Lawrence River through the locking system to our final destination of Quebec City. It will enter my travelogue as one of the most enjoyable journeys I've ever experienced. My fellow passengers were also world travellers with fascinating interests and professions hailing from Europe, UK, US with a sprinkling from Canada. I haven't laughed so much in a long time! The ships staff were exceptional from Trevor our intrepid Purser who always showed up with something new to do from kites off the stern to the rules of shuffleboard which led to a rousing tournament - to the deck hands who never stopped polishing rails or wiping down the decks. Who knew Upper Canada Village would be the best example of my tax dollars at work? Or that Montreal, a place I grew up in, would come to life from a different perspective by our intrepid guide. With the ship so close to the water the views were spectacular, never impeded by weather - you could always find a spot to enjoy the river, and the freighters going by even from the interior of the grand saloon on inclement days. And somehow the design of the ship provided smooth sailing even on rough days. If you go, pack light. to the crew, keep the dance floor open! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to ... Read More
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to explore. The Maasdam does show some signs of its age, but for us the small size and outstanding service trumped the age. We had no plumbing or other mechanical issues during our one week stay. This was our 8th cruise, our first with Holland, and this was the smallest ship we have traveled on. We did love the convenience of being close to everything - decks, library, dining room, casino, gym, spa, etc. We also enjoyed the other passengers, and felt like we belonged (ages 60 & 65). The entertainment was as good as any we have had, we especially love the trio who performed nightly in the island bar, and the nightly shows in the auditorium were outstanding because of the talented performers. We had a significant snafu with our booking, we booked with another couple through a local travel agent. On the day we booked the travel agent confirmed that the 2 rooms we selected, 124 & 126 had a balcony "wall" that could be removed so that the 4 of us could be together on one shared balcony. Unfortunately the petitions separating our 2 balconies was permanent, and we were sorely disappointed. We were offered a "free" dinner at the italian restaurant which we declined as we felt we had paid for eating in the dining room, and were pleased with our table, wait staff, food selection, etc. If some type of room credit had been offered we would be booking another Holland America cruise for the fall, but it is hard to wrap our head around the company's unwillingness to compensate us for their mistake. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I have vacationed with 2 other couples for years. Recently one of the wives was widowed, but she came on the cruise with us and it went very well. We were thrilled we could convince her to come along. The other couple is ... Read More
My wife and I have vacationed with 2 other couples for years. Recently one of the wives was widowed, but she came on the cruise with us and it went very well. We were thrilled we could convince her to come along. The other couple is celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year and they picked the cruise ship and the destination. After reading some of the reviews, we were afraid we might be traveling with a nursing home crowd, but as it turned out the majority of the cruisers were in their sixties. 2000 cruisers, but only 20 below 18, but school is not out yet. The cabins were clean and well maintained. We had an inside cabin. I like the layout of this room better than a typical Carnival cabin where you walk through a hall as you enter the room. Main dining room food was great. I would have liked more variety with the starters, but once I asked for a garden salad they had a fresh one each night for me. Maha and Gavin were excellent waiters. I'm not personally a big fan of the buffets on any ship so I refrain from making any comment on The Windjammer. Mike, the cruise director, was also fantastic. The headliners were great and the staff variety show was very entertaining. I also enjoyed "Mama" and think she should be featured more. Some shows in Centrum would be better in the South Pacific so more people can see. While the weather was cool and rainy for several days, the ship provides lots of indoor areas for relaxation. Both the Centrum and the Solarium are great choices for respite. Great choice on the ports of call, we took private tours each day. A tour guide would meet the 5 of us in a minivan and off we would go for the day. This was our first experience trying this and I highly recommend it. Boston - Boston Custom Tours Portland/Kennebunkport - Maine Day Trips Bar Harbor - At Your Service Taxi and Tours St John - Charlene's Bay of Fundy Tours Halifax - Halifax Tour Guys Nova Scotia Great ship. Great Size. Lots of great relaxation Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
The Grandeur of the Seas - 9 days to New England / Canada This is an overview of my May 2018 cruise and my second cruise on the Grandeur. First – embarkation and debarkation is fast and the port of Baltimore has this process ... Read More
The Grandeur of the Seas - 9 days to New England / Canada This is an overview of my May 2018 cruise and my second cruise on the Grandeur. First – embarkation and debarkation is fast and the port of Baltimore has this process down. The ship is old but the crew is constantly cleaning or painting something. However, on the promenade deck 5, the metal ceiling panels are pretty rusty and showing its age. For us walkers the ship is always being roped off with them pressure washing the deck, cleaning windows or painting making it difficult to navigate where or when to walk. The food is consistently good and the wait staff mostly attentive. The entertainment ranges from satisfactory to very good (one night we had the 50’s / 60’s vocal group - The Platters). The ship has many Royal Caribbean selling TV channels but only a few watchable entertainment channels. The only news channels are CNN and HLN (HLN is a CNN affiliate). Last year we had the Fox News channel but now it’s gone. The self-serve soft ice cream machine on deck nine actually has pretty good ice cream. The ship sailed Thursday evening at Four. I like that the new muster drills no longer requires you wear your life preserver. We chose “my time” dinning at 5:00PM. Seems that the first dinner night is always a little crazy making it appear like the waiters have never done this before. However, we (a couple) sat at a large table and had wonderful (interesting) table mates for nine days. Day 1 – (Friday) first full day at sea. This is a formal dinner night. We were tired so we missed the first show although we later heard it was good. Our room was cabin 7049, which is an inside cabin. The cabin is small but comfortable (but the furniture was showing its age). The beds were pushed together to make a queen size but kept separating in the middle so you could not lay in the middle of the bed. The inside dimensions of the shower are 24” to 28” inches, so it’s small. Hopefully the larger cabins have larger shower stalls. The water pressure is good but their shampoo is pretty bad. We brought our own hand soap and hand sanitizer. Day 2 – First stop was Boston and we took the Old Town Trolley (not Hop On & Hop Off like we thought we signed up for) bus tour of down town Boston. This was the most popular tour and had 5 full size buses. Getting off the ship and to our bus was somewhat difficult (seemed like it was RC first time doing this) as after you got off the gangplank you had to figure out where to go, what to do, and what line to get it. We had what looked like 500/600 people trying to catch their tour bus at the same time all within a very small condensed congested area. Also, having it raining slightly added to the confusion and discomfort. The tour was ok, our tour driver just ok (whereas another couple said their tour guide was excellent). Day 3 – Our second day was Portland Maine. We decided to walk the town ourselves without any excursions. We found the ocean walk path (next to the railroad) fun and the locals were friendly and easy to talk to. We saw a fair amount of homeless people when we headed "downtown" but never felt like we within a dangerous area. Day 4 – The island of Bar Harbor Maine (the stop is tendered). Hey but what a beautiful clean island. We took the Intimate Look at Acadia National Park small bus tour. Susan, our guide, was very good and would stop or pull over so a few of us could hop off and take photos. The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain was obstructed by fog (amazing watching it roll across the top of the mountain) and the wind was really blowing. The island is very lovely and interesting and a wonderful experience. After our tour we had a lobster roll lunch special at a local in-town restaurant (recommended by Royal Caribbean) and then we walked around, finding an ocean inlet path along the shore. The granite rock formations were absolutely stunning. Day 5 – We were at St John Nb (Canada). We took the Bay of Fundy Coastal Photography Tour of the Bay of Fundy and the reversing rapids and falls. The area was so different from what I see around my home in Maryland. I found the area, plants and trees very interesting and quite spectacular. Our tour guide was very passionate about photography making for a very good tour and scenic experience. Day 6 – Halifax NS. We took the Historic Halifax Walking Tour of the city starting at the Halifax Public Gardens. Next we walked to the fortress - Citadel Hill (which is all up hill). It was a long walk up but our tour didn’t grant us access to the fort (strange). We also looked at the outside of several old churches then our tour guide walked our group down to the water (and to our surprise that was the end of are tour). We had to find our own way back to the ship which was (best guess) a mile or more away. I would not recommend this tour. We left Halifax around 5:00PM and right into a thick fog bank. Day 7 – At sea (very dense thick fog, high winds and rain). The Grandeur used its fog horn which blasts every two minutes, making it near impossible to walk around the top two decks, 9 & 10, that is - unless you didn’t mind risking losing your hearing. The other outside deck, Deck 5, was partially closed down for maintenance. Very frustrating. Day 8 – At sea (more very dense thick fog, high winds and rain). I think everyone on board was looking for things to do. It would have been well received if the ship would have shown a movie in the Palladium theater. They had the new movie “Black Panther” and showed it on the 9th floor deck screen – which is outside in 40 degree weather with high winds, rain and the fog horn blasting every two minutes. They scheduled the movie for viewing at 6:30 and 9:00 on the Pool Deck in the thick fog, rain, fog horn and high winds. We really wanted to see it but couldn't due to the conditions. I realize these things are scheduled and planned in advance but they should be able to adjust to move the movie inside (or on the TV) when the conditions do not allow for being outside. During the day the adult pool area, the Solarium, was packed. I wish people would not place towels on the chairs in the Solarium (indoor pool) to hold them. We went into the Solarium at 9:00AM and 99% of the chairs had towels reserving the chairs with no people around. Although it is a heated pool they don't turn the heated water on until after 9 AM. It takes about an hour to warm up the pool water. The Solarium was pretty chilly and an amazing number of people, staff included, leave the doors open which chills the area further by bringing in the cool outside air. Day 9 – Back at the port of Baltimore on a rainy, dark morning. We used the option to carry off our luggage between 7:30AM – 8:00AM. People were already starting to line up their luggage at the gangway at 5:45AM so they could be the first ones off. They drop off their luggage then go off to do whatever. The Windjammer opens on the last day at 6:00AM and it is already crowded at 6:00AM, but it offers a full compliment of food, just like every other day. Once the debarkation starts it moves pretty quickly. Customs should have had more than 2 lines open. We enjoyed ourselves, in part due to meeting some wonderful people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We travelled out from the UK the day before departure for this cruise and were booked into the Sheraton at Montreal airport. The ground staff (which was one very nice lady) met us at the airport but did not assist us with our luggage even ... Read More
We travelled out from the UK the day before departure for this cruise and were booked into the Sheraton at Montreal airport. The ground staff (which was one very nice lady) met us at the airport but did not assist us with our luggage even those with walking difficulties. They walked us half way round the airport and showed us where to line up for the hotel shuttle bus. This bus covered more than one hotel so the bus was full and we had to stand to the hotel. Fortunately it was a short trip but after a 7+hour flight this was not a great start to a “luxury” cruise. The hotel is ok for an overnight stop but like most airport hotels is fairly isolated so you are restricted to the hotel for dining unless you book a cab. The transfer to the ship was fine and we were on board in time for a quick lunch leaving time to explore old Montreal which is nearby. Our cabin was available around 14.00 and the luggage was already there. Our cabin stewardess met us and welcomed us. We found virtually all the staff to be friendly and efficient as usual and this cruise was something of a break for the crew as there were only 416 passengers on board. The cabins do need refurbishing as they are showing signs of wear and tear. The housekeeping staff however do great job of keeping them clean. Our balcony door creaked and rattled when opened and was quite heavy to move. Our shower (no tub) was good but filled up with water at the bottom and came very close to overflowing the raised lip into the bathroom. We highlighted these issues to housekeeping but they were not fixed during our trip. The only cleaning issue we had was that the balcony doors were not cleaned for about 5 days and they were covered in sea spray. We did have a faulty hairdryer on our first night which set off the fire alarm on the bridge but fortunately not the whole ship. This was quickly replaced by an old model which didn’t work properly either and again this was quickly replaced by the cabin stewardess. Some of the lounges on the ship have been refurbished already including the observation lounge but it had a peculiar smell of chemicals and we couldn’t use it throughout the trip as it made us cough. This was raised in the mid cruise comments and with housekeeping manager but no action was taken and it still had the odour when we left the ship. The food was good and varied and the service on the whole was good. The definition of “well done” appears on the Prime 7 menu but disappointingly my filet mignon appeared with the blood oozing out. I returned it and when it reappeared it was still pink in the middle. I returned it again and both the maitre d’ and the Head Chef appeared to resolve the problem. Signatures Restaurant was excellent and we manage 3 visits. We did have some issues with the wine waiters some of whom required a lot more training on what wines were available and even how to pour it properly without dripping it on the table. Some of the “sommelier” really shouldn’t be wearing the cup! One didn’t know the difference between a Bordeaux and a Cote du Rhone. Overall in my opinion the quality of the “house” wine is dropping but there are some reasonable New Zealand (white), French and Argentine ones if you ask one of the more knowledgeable sommelier. The lunch in the galley was badly organised. We were ushered into the galley without any explanation of what was available and where. We picked up some salad as it appeared first but just round the corner was a huge selection of other food. If you wanted more food you had to join the line to go round again. Fish and desserts were in the main restaurant but no one told us. We gave up after a salad and went to la Veranda On a port day in NY we seemed to be invaded by family and friends who brought lots of young children. I don’t have a problem with this but it is a pity they were allowed to run riot in the buffet and in the bar taking over several of the larger tables in the restaurant at the expense of the paying passengers. A last minute change to our excursion in Maine was communicated to us by letter at 21. 00 after destination services closed so we were unable to change the excursion. The NY by land and sea tour was a complete disaster. The tours left late due to other bigger ships docked beside us and causing congestion. Our guide was hopeless and made up the route as she went along. She talked nonstop but all about TV and film stars and didn't tell us about the history or sights we were passing. The bus pa system was so poor we had to turn the aircon off to hear the rubbish the guide was spouting. Then we got so hot we had to turn it on again to breathe. When we got to the port at 11.30 for the river part of the tour we didn't have a booking as we had missed it by 2 hours and the only cruise available was a 2. 5 hour cruise. We gave up at that point and walked back to the ship! Generally the other tours were ok. The only tour available on our disembarkation day was the hop on hop off bus in Miami. Many of the buses are retired London transport buses (right hand drive) and all we used are in poor condition and very dirty. We were loathe to sit in many of the seats as they looked as though they had never been cleaned ever! The pa system doesn't work properly in many of the seats and not at all in other's. The minibus transfer to the airport was not at the times advised by Destination Services. We were allocated a 15.45 transfer as the last available when we got ashore for a 21.25 flight so had to spend 5 hours at the airport. The minibus used for the transfer was in poor condition and several of the seat belts did not work including mine. Bearing in mind Regent is based in Miami it wouldn’t be too difficult for someone to check the quality of this product? On previous Regent cruises we have had options of proper tours or a day room in a hotel. Regent need to do better than this as a poor end to a "luxury " cruise sticks in your mind when booking the next one. When the ship entered the USA we had to go through the immigration formalities on board. When this was advised on the ship we were notified to bring a paper copy of our ESTA. This was essential as the immigration officers on board did not have a computer system to check the ESTA. Fortunately we had a copy with us but many did not as it is supposed to be an electronic system after all. I think this requirement, not just to have an ESTA but, also to have a paper copy should be highlighted in the pre cruise documentation. Overall we enjoyed our cruise but the start and finish are just as important and they didn’t go too well. We may look at “cruise only” next time as Regent don’t seem to be getting to grips with the non cruise part – alternatively we may drift back to Silversea or Seabourn to see how they are coping with the budget squeezes. Read Less

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