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8,126 Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We plumped for a caribbean cruise as our first cruise because of the price. We booked it 4 weeks before going and got a great bargain. We flew on the Dreamliner from Manchester and found it to be comfortable and quicker than normal ... Read More
We plumped for a caribbean cruise as our first cruise because of the price. We booked it 4 weeks before going and got a great bargain. We flew on the Dreamliner from Manchester and found it to be comfortable and quicker than normal planes. The check in for the cruise was well organised in Barbados. Our cabin was on the inside on deck 5 and although small, we found it comfortable, and we were well looked after by Gun Gun our steward. The food was fine for us, we usually had dinner in the Lido and breakfast in Sirens. We didnt have a drinks package and found the prices reasonable, our favourite Bahama Mamas! The islands we visited were diverse, my favourite been St Maartens. The staff were extremely friendly and i couldnt fault them. The entertainment was good, we tried to vary our evenings and always enjoyed ourselves. I enjoyed reading the Cruise News before bed each night and thought the communication from the thomsons team to be good. I cant really fault anything as we really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Do not chose this cruise line. Regardless of the price. I beg you. There are too many excellent cruise lines. This is not one of them. First, the embarkation process. This was a total disaster. There were no announcements made. There was ... Read More
Do not chose this cruise line. Regardless of the price. I beg you. There are too many excellent cruise lines. This is not one of them. First, the embarkation process. This was a total disaster. There were no announcements made. There was an "information" line, in which I spent 45 minutes. She checked my documents, and and was told to wait here. It was immediately apparent that there was no purpose to the line. We then saw numerous people walking outside the building, in a pouring rain, with their luggage. We followed. There was confusion once in this new building. After some help from Italian speaking passengers, we got luggage tags, which we put on our luggage, along with a number (6), presumably for another line. We then followed them into the previous building, again in the pouring rain, with our number 6. Number one was called, and all passengers, regardless of their number (1 to 10), lined up, with pushing and shoving. We lined up as well. This was more of a free for all than an orderly process. Costa does this every week. I should have taken this to be a warning of things to come.Suffice it to say, things went downhill from here. We only met our cabin person on the last day of the 12 day cruise, and only by happenstance. We went back to the cabin to grab something at the request of another passenger, and ran into the cabin steward. I am unclear how this happens. We have always known our cabin people from day 1. Next was dinner. After waiting 1/2 hour, we were provided a menu. We were then asked what we wanted to drink. I said coffee. The reply was that I would need to go up to deck 5, and purchase it, and bring it back down. At this point, after waiting for so long, and the coffee thing, we spoke with the person at the front desk. He said that the long wait was due to the muster drill. I said that all the tables around us were being served, and were on the main course, so this was not the reason. He then repeated the muster drill explanation, only louder. As if I would then understand. We ended up leaving in frustration. We thought we could go to the buffet, but there is no buffet for dinner. We also tried to call the front desk, several times, and they didn't answer. On one call, we gave them 45 minutes. We were forced to dress, and go stand in line at the front desk to get answers to our questions. I could go on and on. I think you catch the drift. When you work hard, you expect and deserve a great vacation. You won't find it here. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 ... Read More
After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 yrs old. We took a bus transfer from Nice, France, to Savona, Italy, which was arranged by Costa. This went without any troubles and the driver stopped after about 90 minutes of driving for a 30 minute rest stop, then we continued our way to the cruise terminal in Savona. When we arrived there, we were all given embarkation cards with a number on them to indicate in which order we could board the ship. We were given a card for group number 21 and we waited in a very comfortable terminal for around 45 minutes before our number was called. There was a little children's room available where our kids could play while we waited. Also, there was a cafe and outdoor seating on a nice terrace, if you preferred to wait in the open air. Once on board, we had our photos taken by the crew to go with our Costa Cards and then we were directed to our cabin. I had already looked at the floor plan for the deck we were on, so I knew where to go to find our cabin. I would suggest people do this before getting on board, as the cabins did not appear to be in sequential order! So, ensure you know which direction to head in once you are on the ship! We got to our room and our luggage was brought to us about 5 minutes later. The cabin we had was a classic sea view cabin. We were on deck 5, towards the front of the ship. Our kids were very happy, as their beds were folded down from either side of the cabin, over the top of the king-sized bed in the middle of the cabin (this was made up of two beds pushed together, but it was very comfortable). Everything was made up nicely and I was happy with the cleanliness of the cabin :) We were excited to explore the ship but decided to stay in our cabin until the emergency training drill was ready to take place. We put on our life jackets and headed up to deck 9 where we were 'herded' towards our muster station. The training is useless and just lip service, honestly! I didn't learn a thing. But I guess that Costa have to say they have given us the training and it was all over after 15 minutes. We found 99% of the staff members on board of the neoRomantica to be beautifully polite and willing to help us. After reading other reviews, I had expected the worst, but everyone doted on our daughter and were very nice to us despite the fact we only speak English! Our kids were fine in the Squok club but it was a little bit small. The kids went there for about 3 hours minimum each day and also experienced 3 squok dinners, which allowed us (mum and dad) to have a few nice quiet dinners on our own! The Squok club hours are in three 3 hour lots during the day, usually 9am - noon, then 3pm-6pm, and then 9pm-midnight. Our kids NEVER went to the last session, as it is very late for little ones. For older children, that may not be a problem. We also were informed that we could leave the children with the Squok staff for a continuous period if we were going on an excursion that was booked through the Costa Tours. So if a tour is scheduled to leave at 8am and return at 3pm, we could drop the children off at the club at 7.45am and then the staff would be with them until we returned. We did this twice on our cruise, as sometimes our kids did not want to spend a long day sightseeing. Remember that you cannot leave your children in the Squok club if you are planning to go on a self-organised excursion. On days when the ship is at sea for the entire day, the second session of Squok is from 3pm-5pm, and then the third session begins at 7pm and the children all have a themed dinner together, followed by a movie or games. We found the food on the ship to be acceptable, it's not 'amazing' but it's not revolting either. It is what it is, but don't go in with huge expectations. There were a couple of standout dishes that I can remember from my 10 day cruise and there were a couple I would rather forget, but overall, it was okay. We realised after the first few days that we didn't have to always eat at the restaurant with table service, as Giardino's restaurant actually turns into a self-service buffet for breakfasts and lunches! We much preferred this option as we could make big salads and eat much healthier, balanced meals. You can't rely on getting a nice salad or main meal with vegetables at dinner, so get all the greens and fresh produce you can at lunch time. By the tenth day of our cruise, we were beginning to tire of the multi-course dinners and felt a bit unhealthy. Thank goodness for the salad bar at lunch! We sometimes took fruit back to our cabin to eat at other times. This seemed fine with the staff, as no one tried to stop us. Generally, you can get breakfast from 6.30/7am up until about 10.30/11am. Lunch is at noon. Late lunch is from 2-4pm, then there is afternoon tea from 4-5pm. Early casual dining for dinner begins at 5pm in the Pizzeria (but you have to pay 7.50 euros per person for all you can eat pizza), and 6pm in the Grill (free). The other restaurants are serving from 6.30pm. There is a club restaurant that anyone can book into and pay for their dinner. It looked beautiful but we never went there. Also, if you are not in a Samsara cabin but would like to eat in the Samsara restaurant, you can either buy an upgraded dining package or pay for a one-off dinner at 25 euros per head, excluding drinks. We did not do this, so I cannot comment on the food in that restaurant, but it was said to be 'healthier'. As for drinks, we purchased the all inclusive package. We did not have to purchase this for our daughter, as she is 4 yrs old. 5yrs and upwards do have to have a drinks package. Please be aware that you cannot get bottles of water with the package, only GLASSES of water. We did bring a couple of drink bottles from home and filled these up in our cabin for the excursions. The water on the ship is totally FINE for drinking, so do not be scared by some people's photographs of the water quality!!! We made friends with a couple of the waiters and barmen and they gave us a few cans of ice tea that were unopened for our journey home when we disembarked on our last day. Also, at dinner, if you do not finish the bottled water, just take it back to your cabin at the end of the meal. There is no problem in doing this and you might as well not let it go to waste. Other comments on the ship - the cabins seemed to be pretty sound proof, as I didn't hear our neighbours at all. Sometimes I could hear people in the hall, but this did not bother me. On the contrary, we were probably the noisiest people around with our young kids... We tried our best to keep them quiet! There was a good selection of in-house movies available to purchase through the tv in the cabin. Yes, there were available in all languages, including English. We paid 8.95 euros to watch The Croods and the kids loved it. We also brought our laptop, loaded up with movies, Don't forget to bring a power adapter and a power board/ power strip so that you can charge all of your devices/cameras/etc. The only toiletries provided are soap. There are no shower caps, or shower gels, shampoos, etc. You can purchase those things in the dutyfree shop on deck 9 if you come unprepared. The entertainment on the ship is a number of little bands which are directed at old people, not very exciting for us (in our 30's). The dancers were pretty good though. There was a magician one evening, and we thought he was good, as did our kids. He did the show in Italian, French and English! Other nights there were events that we didn't attend, but that is because of our kids needing to go to bed. I am not going to rate the shore excursions, because everyone would be different. We took an excursion to Ephesus from the port of Izmir, Turkey. This was a good tour, but we were taken to a rug shop after seeing Ephesus were we were hassled to buy a rug. These people were nice enough and I would have liked to buy a rug but I do not like being forced into a situation like that! We were given wine or tea here too, and a little demo about how the silk is farmed and the rugs are made. After refusing many times to buy a rug, we had to find the exit which was at the end of numerous rooms containing jewellery - we have never seen so much jewellery in our lives! The actual tour in Ephesus was very interesting though! The other tour we took was to see the volcano in Sicily called Mount Etna from the port of Messina. It was quite a drive to get there (2 hours, not 90 mins as stated in the tour guide). However, it was cool to see the volcano. Take very warm clothes if you go here during the colder months. It was incredibly windy and FREEZING. I used the gym a number of times. It is sufficient for keeping up fitness on the cruise but if you go at peak times, you will need to wait to use a cardio machine. The machines are meant to be used for 20 minutes per person, but keep your eye on people, as some rude individuals may try to restart their session as soon as the 20mins are up! As for weights, there are 3 benches and dumbells ranging from 4kgs upwards. There are some weight machines but I didn't like them and never attempted to use them, as they weren't the traditional type but some weird ergonomic sort. There is a stretching area with a few yoga mats and an ab ball or two. The view from the gym is directly over the front of the bow of the ship, so quite nice. Disembarkation took a while and we were given an approximate time of 10.30am as our timeslot (the ship docked at 9am). We ended up getting called off at about 11.15am. We were not allowed to be in our cabin after 8am, so after we had breakfast, we sat in the main bar, where we could get drinks, etc. It is very comfortable there, so we didn't have a problem. I even took my daughter back up to the Squok club for a play. You are able to utilise anything on the ship until you are ready to leave, except your cabin, ofcourse. This review is getting very long but I just wanted to say that if you go on the cruise with an open mind, you realise that some Europeans can be a little rude at times, you are polite to the people who are serving you - you will have a nice time. Honestly, the neoRomantica was fine! Each ship can speak for itself, I suppose. But I wouldnt hesitate to go back again to this one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Briefly: four adults and a twenty month baby, the holiday of a lifetime, cost >£8,000. Booked through Thomson Travel. Assured that ship's problems highlighted on BBC Watchdog programme, had all been resolved. First sight at ... Read More
Briefly: four adults and a twenty month baby, the holiday of a lifetime, cost >£8,000. Booked through Thomson Travel. Assured that ship's problems highlighted on BBC Watchdog programme, had all been resolved. First sight at Kingston was a disappointment. Ship was advertised as Thomson's latest cruise ship did not mean NEW. We discovered later that the ship was 25 years old. It looked worn and tatty and smelt of rotten vegetables. Our first nigh on board, one of the ship's engines caught fire. It was a terrifying experience to lie in bed and listen to the instructions to the crew, to put out the fire. The rest of the trip was ruined by 1] the severe list due to the ship running on one engine. 2] this meant that the air conditioning in the cabins and through much of the public areas did not function. Numerous complaints and the attentions of an engineer did not fix the lack of ventilation/ air conditioning. The baby developed a chest infection which was treated by the doctor on board, on the second appointment. The adults fell ill one by one, with chest infections or Sickness and diarrhoea. Vouchers were received by way of compensation. Cash payment was refused but is being pursued. I will never use Thomson again for any type of holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our first cruise on the Thomsons Christmas and New Year cruise. This was not a Christmas or New Year cruise there was nothing at all except for a carol service from 11:30pm to 12:00am, if it hadn't been for this you wouldn't have ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Thomsons Christmas and New Year cruise. This was not a Christmas or New Year cruise there was nothing at all except for a carol service from 11:30pm to 12:00am, if it hadn't been for this you wouldn't have even known Christmas or new year. The first week wasn't to bad but the second week they didn't want to know us. Every where you went photographs, selling wine packages, pay £9.95 to reserve a seat for Christmas and new year, what Christmas and new year ? We were all inclusive tries charging us £9.95 for a steak meal under the starts when we could eat inside for free. The night shows were the same ones over and over again it wouldnt have been that bad but the performers couldnt sing or dance. There was a comedian on each show it was the same jokes every night. The towels were grey and worn, the cloths the staff used to wipe the tables they never rinsed it out and the maps were filthy, no wonder there was a break out of the Novo Virus, even the staff had the bug and were working with the passengers. The cruise was just a 'Floating Butlins'. The only good thing about the entertainment was a group called 'Top Man' they were fantastic they need to get themselves off that ship as they are far to good to be working there. Also be aware if you go on this ship, do not leave your hand luggage in the room provided, there was only one girl looking after the room. i made the mistake off thinking that this room was safe and secure to leave my belongings in, i was severely wrong. I went and collected my bag and when i opened it i found that £400 was missing, my bags were then searched in case i had misplaced it but they did not do this in a private room they searched all my bags in the coffee lounge in front off the other passengers, i didn't get any satisfaction. House keeping person and security are a waste off time, no CCTV coverage in the luggage room which i found very convenient for the thieves on the ship. NEVER AGAIN THOMSONS.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Bullied into paying 15% 'service charge', for drinks ; is too much, considering you are charged 48.00 euros each for 'service charge' with the final invoice. This is on top of extortionate prices for drinks - 20.00 ... Read More
Bullied into paying 15% 'service charge', for drinks ; is too much, considering you are charged 48.00 euros each for 'service charge' with the final invoice. This is on top of extortionate prices for drinks - 20.00 euros for a white table wine, plus 15% plus daily 'service charge', or 43.48 euros for a nice-ish white chardonnay, plus 15% plus daily 'service charge'. Water is also included with 'service charge'. Cocktails would have been more enjoyable if the makes were recognisable, Discount packages are available, which I was not made aware of, and you need a fair intake before they seem worth while. Because of the size of the liner, only the largest commercial ports are available, therefore the romance of the mediterranean is spoilt by hundreds of containers, container ships, naval shipping. A courtesy bus is usually on hand to take you into town which is a big positive, except in Marseille where the bus is charged for, as the journey is 15 minutes to the tourist area, which is the only part of Marseille worth seeing. Excursions were always available, although, personally I prefer to travel less, and get up later !! At 50.00 euros a day each, this would have mounted-up quickly. Cabin was more-than-big-enough, very clean, room valetting was excellent. Overall service offered was very good. Information was readily available at the information desk, not always polite, but it's a long day and full of problems. Food was ok, considering the 'New York New York' restaurant caters for hundreds of people, it's amazing that it is as good as it is. 'Blue Moon' restaurant service was exemplary, the food was ok, and the prices were ridiculous, considering it is on top of the daily rate charged for food already. Needless to say, there were six of us in the restaurant, one couple sharing a main course. I would have liked to see more signs while onboard; there are 13 decks !! Going by the number of people asking for help, including myself, it would be an improvement. Gym was small but good, Spa was, again, very overpriced, but there are discounted packages available, which still seem expensive. Entertainment was from dance lessons, through bingo to onboard walks, and karaoke. Theatre was worth seeing, really enjoyed 'The Two Paraguayans' duo, by the 'chocolate bar'. I hope this review meets you as objective, it is not supposed to be a rant, just the help that I didn't have to make a decision on taking the cruise or not, and how to finance it.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is my fifth cruise, first time on NCL. The destinations and excursions were excellent, I would highly recommend booking the excursions with NCL. I would compare the boat to a Comfort Inn or Red Roof Inn level. It is an old boat, but ... Read More
This is my fifth cruise, first time on NCL. The destinations and excursions were excellent, I would highly recommend booking the excursions with NCL. I would compare the boat to a Comfort Inn or Red Roof Inn level. It is an old boat, but clean and comfortable. Our Cabin was an inside room, but quite spacious...I think it was called a ¨family suite.¨ The staff are excellent and really work had to accomodate all of the guest needs. The food is by far the worst I have ever had on a cruise. The complimentary dining is really inedible, the specialty restaurants are not much better....I cannot stress enough how brutal the food on this ship was. The Room Service menu is pathetic and the only thing I was able to eat after ordering a pizza, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, soup, and peanut butter and jelly was the the peanut butter and jelly...and they still managed to make a PB and J taste terrible. We cruised for the destinations, great stops, so I would recommend the cruise based on the locations (Morrocco, Canary Islands, Maderia, and Malaga)...all were fantastic. I recommend going to Marrakech for your excursion. Great price, fitness facility were not great, but ok.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We had done a cruise with Holland America last year this time since it was December and options were limited we went with MSC Ship Speledida lives up to its name its absolutely "Splendid" The activities in comparison were very ... Read More
We had done a cruise with Holland America last year this time since it was December and options were limited we went with MSC Ship Speledida lives up to its name its absolutely "Splendid" The activities in comparison were very limited 1 activity at each hour no choices The Service left a lot to be desired as the Italian staff were always walking with swollen faces The cabin was fantastic hygiene levels on ship excellent Dining had limited choices and same Menu for breakfast everyday and same Menu for lunch everyday. Food was pasta inclined on a ship whose occupancy was mostly Asians/American and v few Europeans in comparison we never got any other food than "Italaian" Children activities were Ok Library was pathetic The Entertainment was average The disembarkation not v well arranged if you have traveled before on other cruise liners you may end up making comparisons like we did and will be a tad bit disappointed however its great value for money ,ship is beautiful and rooms excellent.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my second time on the Jade, and my partner's first cruise ever. We were both generally very happy with the ship (activities, food, service) and the itinerary. We had wonderful sunny skies, mild temperatures, and calm seas for ... Read More
This was my second time on the Jade, and my partner's first cruise ever. We were both generally very happy with the ship (activities, food, service) and the itinerary. We had wonderful sunny skies, mild temperatures, and calm seas for all but the last two days of the cruise, so we were very lucky there. We stated overnight in Rome and took the train to the port around 11am the next day. We had a short walk around Civitavecchia looking for some bottled water to take on board, then took the port shuttle to the ship. Check-in was fast and efficient, and we were on board in no time, and our stateroom was ready. Our suitcases didn't arrive until almost dinnertime, however. We had booked an obstructed oceanview guarantee and got the dreaded "upgrade" to a deck 4 forward porthole. It was fine. We didn't notice any crew or mechanical noise. We could hear the waves on the last couple of nights, and in some ports people would be walking right outside our window, but we thought it was funny. The room was a bit out of the way for some activities, but convenient for the theater, the fitness room, and for getting on and off the ship at most of the ports. It was especially practical on disembarkation day, since we did the easy walk-off and just had to roll our suitcases down the hall and off the ship. This was a Christmas cruise, so there were decorations everywhere, and holiday music playing all the time. There were a few special events and menus for the occasion, and on Christmas morning the Captain and Cruise Director dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and gave gifts to all the kids. And there were a lot of kids. I think NCL had trouble selling this cruise, so the prices dropped way low in the last couple of weeks and the ship filled up with lots of local Italian families. We didn't see the Captain (Lars Bengtsson) a lot but he seemed like a really funny guy. We saw quite a lot of the Cruise Director (Jill) but I'm sad to say we didn't like her style. Her shtick of constantly pretending not to be able to speak Italian was particularly irritating. The rest of the cruise staff was fine. There weren't that many organized activities that we were interested in, but the trivia games were fun and well-attended (the prizes, however, were crappy haha). We enjoyed some of the shows, especially 4Ever (who I believe have now moved to a different ship) and Elements (despite the horrible magician Cripton with his "I'm evil and I hate you, or maybe it's just indigestion" face). There were two separate juggling acts, which seemed a bit excessive to me… The food on board was mostly very good. We usually went to the dining rooms, but it was always nice to wander through the buffet to see all the variety, and inevitably get temped to have a little taste of something. They did some poolside cooking on some days, which was fun to watch. There was a special menu for dinner on Christmas Day. We went to the 24 hour comfort food restaurant a couple of times, and we did Moderno Churrascaria one night (excellent). We also did the Chef's Table, which was interesting but not worth the $89/pp (they were very generous with the wines, but we already had a beverage package with unlimited wine), and I wish they hadn't scheduled it for Christmas Eve and caused us to miss the last few hours in port in Istanbul. The ports themselves were great, and we did most of them on our own, so I won't write about them here. The only excursion we took with NCL was the "Behind the Scenes" tour of the ship itself. At $55/pp, this was seriously overpriced, considering what it costs them to run it, and it was also scheduled at an awkward time (Christmas morning), but we enjoyed visiting the laundry room, the bridge, and the food storage/preparation areas. On my previous cruise, I really liked the Thermal Suite, but the price has gone up ($159/pp for the 10-day pass), so we just used the regular whirlpools and the small steamroom in the fitness room. The fitness room was often crowded with unaccompanied children and several of the machines are in need of repair. We don't gamble or buy jewelry and artwork, so our major expense on-board is alcohol. We bought the UBP on the first day and I think we broke even somewhere around Day 8. Some of the bar staff are still poorly informed about what is and is not included, and the whole thing seems like it could be made a lot simpler, but in the end everything we ordered was included, and we ordered plenty. Bar service can be quite sluggish in the dining rooms and restaurants. Disembarkation was very easy: no lines, no wait, off the ship and onto a shuttle to the airport. I am sure we will cruise on the Jade again, since NCL doesn't offer that many other choices in Europe. I hope, in fact I fully expect, that our next cruise will be as enjoyable as this one was! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The flight and embarkation all went reasonably smoothly and it was helpful that our bags were delivered to our cabins directly from the wagon that took them from the airport. Our cabins were ready, and the ovation of mine, midships and ... Read More
The flight and embarkation all went reasonably smoothly and it was helpful that our bags were delivered to our cabins directly from the wagon that took them from the airport. Our cabins were ready, and the ovation of mine, midships and near the lifts, was ideal because of my walking problems, so I was very pleased about this. Unfortunately my cabin had been made up as a double, despite my request for twin beds, and had I left it like this I would hardly have been able to move around the cabin. The toilet cubicle was very small and as someone who has arthritis quite severely this caused problems. My cabin steward was very helpful - and unfailingly cheerful - and sorted the bed situation out within a few hours. I have cruised with many cruise lines over the last ten years and unfortunately the standards of Norwegian Jade fell well below what I have come to expect. The standard of food in the restaurants was very poor - only three courses, too much repetition of choices, which were limited to begin with, and often barely warm and/or overcooked when they eventually came to table. Table service was very slow and not always friendly and the waiters' understanding of English/knowledge of the menu components was often limited. On two occasions I had to leave the meal after my starter in order to meet a friend at the late show in the theatre - having been at the table for two hours! On two occasions we paid a supplement (usually at least 20$) to go to one of the speciality restaurants, where the food was more like what i would expect in the main restaurants, but in the Teppenyaki restaurant four of our party of suffered significant stomach upsets overnight, following this meal. The cost of very mediocre wine was prohibitive. The standard of the shows in the Stardust theatre was very poor and amateurish - apart from the acrobats who were quite good - and the MC Jill made me ashamed to be British. Her attempts at communicating in Italian were embarrassing and underlined what every continental believes about the British and languages.The words she spoke on Christmas Eve - speaking about that Christmas means to Britons - were banal and certainly did not reflect the views of many of us. Usually, the shows are interspersed with more cultural entertainment on alternate nights. Not on Jade - there was nothing remotely cultural at any time, anywhere. Normally on a cruise, and especially on sea days, I rush around from one activity to another, failing to fit in all the things I would like to do. On Jade I was struggling to find anything that appealed and spent a lot of the time in the poorly equipped library, whose shelves were rarely open. Thank goodness for my kindle. Many of the so called 'seminars' were actually little more than selling opportunities for the SPA, which was extortionately expensive. Even a trip behind the scenes incurred a charge - unheard of! Bearing in mind that we spent christmas on the ship the Christmas celebrations were a joke. The food was a poor as ever, the show even worse the usual; there was appalling Carol singing on Christmas Eve and a token service that was a total embarrassment. The priest who should have been o board was not present on the ship and a stand-in chaplain took as so-called service, introduced by Jill with the words "welcome to the show". It was not in any sense a spiritual experience. On disembarkation day we had to leave the ship at 6.45am, although our flights were not till 12.15. We were at the airport in Rome not long after eight, could not check in till 9.30 and there was nowhere to sit, or get a drink. Not a good experience. The places we visited - Olympia, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul and Naples were wonderful, but the cost of organised tours was very expensive compared with what you could do on your own. All in all a very disappointing holiday, cruise-wise and one that I have no desire to repeat. Other 'value for money' cruise lines such as MSC offer a far better experience to the same destinations.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My husband and I have never been disappointed in any of our sailings on the Pacific Princess. We have traveled for 32 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Sydney and never once felt cramped, bored, or invisible. There was always something to do ... Read More
My husband and I have never been disappointed in any of our sailings on the Pacific Princess. We have traveled for 32 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Sydney and never once felt cramped, bored, or invisible. There was always something to do and the food was wonderful and fresh. The Library is lovely and a nice place in which to relax. We attended a wedding of table partners that was beautifully appointed in the Library. We have also sailed in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and other sailings over the years. This ship has a wonderful energetic friendly staff. Since it travels the world we always check to see if we can connect when we are ready for another excursion (no matter who owns it and realizing the staff and crew make a huge difference.) The Best memory (hard to choose from so many) was seeing my husband participate in the traditional ceremony for first time Equator Crossers. What a delightful, fun, mess. Other entertainment was on a small stage in a cabaret lounge setting and other venues. Each port had marvelous acts board for the evening. And, of coarse, the talented singers, dancers, comics, jugglers, bands, etc. who traveled with the ship entertained us at sea. (Good movies, too) The overall feeling was that of sailing on my own private yacht with friends. Hint: For any sailing, don't try to be the first on board. Relax, know when you MUST be on board, have a late`or a beer near by, and walk on board comfortably without spending your vacation in line. Don't be a "Hurry up and wait" person. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our first cruise with Oceania (Regatta) was a gem. We were especially impressed by the quality of the food, so we looked forward to the experience on their decades newer ship, the Riviera. Cabin was great. Service was great. Food was ... Read More
Our first cruise with Oceania (Regatta) was a gem. We were especially impressed by the quality of the food, so we looked forward to the experience on their decades newer ship, the Riviera. Cabin was great. Service was great. Food was awful because the hot food was all to often not hot. We were served supposedly hot food that was at refrigerator temperature. The only hope of being sure to get hot hot food was to only eat burgers at the pool side grill, and who wants to eat EU burgers three times a day for 12 days? Same experience in the specialty restaurants- Had a decent bowl of French onion soup, a mediocre entree accompanied by cold green beans, and an intentionally cold dessert (creme brulee). If you must travel on this disaster of the seas, the only safe way to eat is to go to the cafeteria and get a small serving of everything that's supposed to hot on your plate. Then start sampling. Odds are good that out of 6-8 supposedly hot options, you will find 2-3 that are fit to eat. They well may not be what you want to eat, but a hot fish beats a cold steak. I disagree with another comment which blames the sale of Oceania to NCL fro the decline in food quality. Our Riviera trip was before the sale, and there was a notable decline in the quality of food from our first Oceania cruise years before on the Regatta. Otherwise, nice boat. Great cabin. Good service. Had it not been for the ineptitude of the kitchen and the incompetence of reception* to provide information on the ports, this would have been a most enjoyable trip. But it wasn't. * I listened dumbfounded while the "expert" brought on broad from the local touristic office in Livorno told the people in front of me in the line for port information that the way to get to the train station to go to Pisa was to walk 2 miles up the street outside the port entrance to the main square to catch the # 10 bus. I knew the # 10 bus stopped outside the tobacco shop (where you can get bus tickets) 100 yards from the port. I decided to skip asking the 'local expert' how to get to Lucca by train, picked up a map and went off to the # 10 bus on our own. On arriving at the train station, far ahead of the guy in line ahead on me on the ship, it was easy finding the train to Lucca Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Just returned from our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean and had a wonderful time. The food was very good, we ate on my time dinning sometimes in the King and I and Windjammer, the food was very good in both but we enjoyed the Windjammer in ... Read More
Just returned from our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean and had a wonderful time. The food was very good, we ate on my time dinning sometimes in the King and I and Windjammer, the food was very good in both but we enjoyed the Windjammer in the evening as there was a very good choice of meal etc. There is also a good choice of food and snacks, cakes from the spa area and the hotdogs are good on deck 9. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 (6086)  Cabin was a good size with a balcony big enough for 2. No tea making or fridge. Was always kept clean. We only did one trip and that was in Turkey, Split and mykonos are very nice places to just get off and walk about and have a drink in a bar. We had the beer and wine package which was worth it for us as the drinks on there are dear if you like a drink or two, in the resturants and Windjammer they do keep your wine topped up or will get you a beer when needed. We found all the staff to be very friendly and helpful, the majority of them coming from Brazil. The entertainment wasn't as good as we have had with NCL and PO, but would do another cruise with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Ship information: MS Rotterdam ocean view deck 3 Activities: nightly show in theater, and daily filled with different workshops that's easy to follow Service: outstanding! Everyone I spoke to went out of their way to make the stay ... Read More
Ship information: MS Rotterdam ocean view deck 3 Activities: nightly show in theater, and daily filled with different workshops that's easy to follow Service: outstanding! Everyone I spoke to went out of their way to make the stay enjoyable Port & shore excursions: HAL offers different excursions but we always found our ways. Presentations of each port are available, all of which are general info. Travel to embarkation Port: very easy from a hotel nearby, just 5 minutes walk. There's a direct bus from the airport for those coming straight from the airport Cabin: EXCELLENT! Dining: also EXCELLENT Children's clubs: I saw there were 2 rooms, if I'm not mistaken, that could be use for kids, but I didn't see too many kids on board, very very few Entertainment: I thought this was OK but I heard other passengers were not too happy with the OK standard, they expected more. Disembarkation: very smooth, no problem whatsoever Summary: an unforgettable experience that I hope to repeat again and again, at different ports. No problem with water, food, service, nothing whatsoever, it was simply perfect. Both crews and passengers. The only service needs improving in my opinion is the receptionist team.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our third trip on the Jade so we had very definite benchmarks to compare all aspects of the cruise. Its sad to report the departure of Gary Glading, the Cruise Director on our previous 2 Jade trips. His many talents were greatly ... Read More
This was our third trip on the Jade so we had very definite benchmarks to compare all aspects of the cruise. Its sad to report the departure of Gary Glading, the Cruise Director on our previous 2 Jade trips. His many talents were greatly missed and his replacement, Jill Tasker, is simply not in the same league. Similarly, we found that with the exception of 1 or 2 cruise director's staff, the rest of them were poorly trained and generally amateurish. Most found the English language somewhat challenging - to the extent that the trivia quizzes we so enjoy, were rather poorly conducted. The schedule was seemingly geared to ensure that all quizzes were in conflict with meal times and with the exception of 2 excellent acts, there was little to tempt us in the evenings. Our cabin steward was just about satisfactory - but only just ! We have had much better on all previous cruises. The dining room staff were first class, almost without exception, and when my wife asked for a specific vegetarian dish, the staff responded extremely well. In general, we felt that the food had deteriorated slightly since our last trip in 2012 but not so as to deter us from another cruise if other factors were corrected.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This is the first cruise my husband and I have been on! But it will not be our last. We booked this cruise late at an excellent price, though after reading some of the reviews we were a little nervous but we need not have been. ... Read More
This is the first cruise my husband and I have been on! But it will not be our last. We booked this cruise late at an excellent price, though after reading some of the reviews we were a little nervous but we need not have been. Embarkation required waiting for some time but several flights arrived in Cyprus at the same time so there were large numbers waiting. However once through immigration we found our cases had preceded us and we were quickly able to settle into our room. The rooms are small and I think paying for the plus cabin would have been worth it. However in spite of this we were able to pack everything away without too much trouble. The cabin while small, was clean and comfortable, the bathroom tiny but the shower was hot and powerful. I can only repeat what other passengers have said about the restaurants,the food was excellent with more than sufficient variety. The service efficient and although we intended to use the bistro we did not in the end, as the food in the main restaurants was so good. The buffet also offered excellent, though simpler choices. Tea, coffee and water was also freely available on the top deck in the buffets, as well as in the restaurants during meals. It is true we were often sat at tables of 6 or 8 with strangers, but for us this was part of the charm.tables for two were available on request. The entertainment was outstanding and we often stayed to watch the main event twice. In the royal observatory (one of the many bars) we listened to a wonderful violinist and pianist called the Budapest duo. I could mention so many of the entertainers, singers, dancers and musicians, they were all wonderful and very enjoyable. There was always live music going on somewhere and when everything else had stopped there was the late night disco. The cruise news listed all events. In every part of the ship we were welcomed and assisted by a very able and friendly crew. The waiters, bar staff, reception and pursers were excellent. Housekeeping was superb and kept our rooms spotless, cleaning and tidying them at least 3 times a day. I do have a criticism about the sun beds, they were often left empty but reserved for long hours, and although we were told policing would take place I certainly never saw any. Trips off the boat were run efficiently, but were expensive. £98 each for a day out to Jerusalem, (which admittedly was 10 hours long and included a short trip to Bethlehem and lunch,) seemed like a lot as their were no admission prices. And the shop we were taken to offered outrageous prices, a medium sized olive wood crib with figures. $4000.00. I had bought shekels in England, I needn't have bothered € and $ were all they were interested in. And while there were many other shops I would have liked to have shopped in, we were told very firmly we could not shop anywhere else. There was no time. A trip to the Dead Sea was the same price, though this included a trip to Masada, lunch and use of hotel facilities. Overall I would say that while the ship maybe an older lady, she is a grand lady and her staff are wonderful. I had an amazing time, saw some wonderful sites and met many interesting and friendly people. I would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My partner and I sailed on the Norwegian jade on the 6th Nov on its East Med cruise and it was our first experience of the Freestyle Cruising Concept. We were aware that some cruise ships had introduced some freestyle options and having ... Read More
My partner and I sailed on the Norwegian jade on the 6th Nov on its East Med cruise and it was our first experience of the Freestyle Cruising Concept. We were aware that some cruise ships had introduced some freestyle options and having sailed on more formal ships in the past we were apprehensive of how the totally relaxed format of the Norwegian freestyle cruising concept would work in practice. Our fears were quickly dispelled by the friendliness and cooperation that we received from all staff, form the most senior to junior members and nothing was too much trouble. Whether you wanted to formally dress and take the more casual approach each passenger was treated with the same courteous response one would expect from the top cruise lines. We would consider Norwegian Jade to be up there with them all and we have previously sailed on P&O, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. For us what makes Norwegian special is that all customers are afforded the same quality of service regardless of their class of accommodation. Meals in all restaurants were good and varied with special mention being given to the speciality restaurant Le Bistro whose food was superb. Other guests also told us that Teppanyaki and Cagney's were equally as good. Plus, there was an excellent varied entertainments programme throughout the day and particularly in the evening's. All in all as novices to Norwegian we would heartily recommend that cruisers give them the benefit of the doubt and try Freestyle Cruising. A good sized balcony cabin with all that was required to ensure we had an enjoyable cruise. The cabin was close to lifts and staircases as well as being located close to the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13 and the Spa facilities on Deck 12. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Having just read a review for the Constellation’s Turkey and Greek Isles cruise I felt compelled to put pen to paper (so to speak) as I think I must have been on a different cruise. We came away from the cruise thinking it was one of ... Read More
Having just read a review for the Constellation’s Turkey and Greek Isles cruise I felt compelled to put pen to paper (so to speak) as I think I must have been on a different cruise. We came away from the cruise thinking it was one of the best we’ve been on. I base this mainly on the general atmosphere and friendliness on the ship; the fact that the weather was very kind to us; and the ports were great, many of which we had never visited. We loved the daily show hosted by Cruise Director JC with Mark as his sidekick. They were a brilliant duo. I don’t think we have ever laughed so much at a daily show. If we weren’t able to see the whole show before breakfast we always caught up sometime during the day. One of the good things about the daily show was that you were introduced to the entertainers (musicians, illusionists, comedians) who were due to give performances that day in the theatre. This encouraged us to go to shows we might otherwise have missed and we thought they were really good. We particularly liked Nicola Loud (violinist) and Steve Caouette (comedian.) The crew talent show (more below) hosted by the Cruise Director was very entertaining. I have since heard JC singing on video clips on the net and he should seriously consider doing a set. JC was also an excellent host at the Cruise Critic Connections Party. We also liked the timing of the two theatre shows, 7 and 9pm which seemed to work well around dinner arrangements. What can I say about Captain Tasos? He was FAB. Obviously a charismatic leader who encouraged his officers and crew to mix with the passengers; he endeared himself to the passengers with his witticism and his dancing. Yes, he joined in with his officers in a Greek dance on the crew talent show! I have never known a Captain to be so visible. We need more Captains like him. We were last on the Constellation in 2009 and she has undergone a recent refurbishment which we thought was wonderful. Considering the cruise was at the tail end of the European season the ship was remarkably spick and span. We particularly liked the Reflections Lounge where the Elite members had their evening aperitifs. As usual on Celebrity cruises, our stateroom was excellent. Our attendant, Joachim couldn’t have been more attentive and very quickly sorted out a problem concerning some items sent to the laundry but which didn’t return! The Maitre D in Blu should be given a bonus; he was unable to find us a table for half an hour one day so, to kill the time, we ended up in Future Cruises and booked another cruise! It became a long running joke between us and we never waited for a table again!! Sadly, the variety of the menu in Blu did not match the excellent service. We feel that Celebrity has lost sight of what it intended for Blu. If it wasn’t for the timing of the late seating in the main dining room we would have gone there more often. Overall, we had a wonderful cruise but we are concerned that the culinary expertise is not what it used to be. This is the reason that we chose Celebrity in the first place and we hope there will not be further cost cutting in this area. We also hope that one day we will again sail under Captain Tasos’ command and that JC and Mark will still be making us laugh.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We've recently returned from our 10 night eastern med cruise with NCL aboard the Jade, having booked about 7 months prior to departure. A week before we were due to leave, we still hadn't received any documentation or tickets, ... Read More
We've recently returned from our 10 night eastern med cruise with NCL aboard the Jade, having booked about 7 months prior to departure. A week before we were due to leave, we still hadn't received any documentation or tickets, so, rather concerned, we phoned them and were told that they no longer post such items, as it's all sent via e-mail..we print the items required. Fair enough...but on the Saturday before our flight, we still hadn't received anything, so we phoned Iglu again. This time we were told that as part of the package was customised (we changed our return flight from 10.30pm to 1.00pm...pointless waiting round an airport for 12 hours) and the customised team didn't work weekends, we'd need to phone back Monday...bearing in mind the flight was due to leave at 6.30am on the Wednesday! We phoned first thing on Monday, and spoke to someone who said they'd posted the documents(?), and also by e-mail....hmm...but, after the 5th call, they 're-sent' the documents by e-mail, so at least we now had the required paperwork..phew! If you're new to fly-cruise packages, and you see a discount price advertised, worth enquiring about the flight times, because you'll normally need to depart way before the dawn chorus and return around midnight...changing either of these flight times will bolt a considerable additional amount onto your final holiday price. So, on Wednesday the 27th, we left home slightly knackered at 2.30am to get to Heathrow for the 6.30am flight. All went smoothly..baggage checked in, and sat down with a coffee. The flight went without a hitch, and I remember thinking how nice it was to be offered a choice of in-flight drinks and a packet of bread stick snacks free of charge. We arrived on-time at Rome airport, collected our luggage, and went to find the transfer coach to get to Civitavecchia port. We were guided to an old beaten-up Luton Transit, with a couple of dodgy looking Del and Rodney characters who threw our cases into the van, then pointed us towards the coach. A little concerned, we boarded, and within around an hour we arrived at the port. Embarkation was smooth, and soon we were on board the Jade, which felt like seeing an old friend, as we'd previously sailed with her 3 years ago on a cruise along the Amalfi coast. Many different packages or bolt-ons are available on NCL's website, including the unlimited soda package (draught Pepsi, 7 Up etc) which we always buy, as we drink far more soft drinks than alcoholic ones! The only problem with this, is that they give you two tall plastic thermal beakers which you have to carry everywhere, and ask them to be refilled as and when...the downside is that, as the drinks staff are obviously on commission, as soon as they clap eyes on your drinks mugs, you're avoided like the plague...not once did anyone ask if we'd like a drink, and going to the bar with our mugs normally resulted in a somewhat surly service. We got around this by day 4 by leaving the mugs in the room, and asking for a fizzy drink by showing our cards...then we were given the drinks in flimsy throw away plastic glasses!! Why? I'll have to draw parallels between our first cruise aboard the Jade, and this one. Back then, the staff were always pleased to help, the Entertainments Director (Gary) was slick, polished, and very knowledgeable, with every show being a real 'must-see'...we looked forward to them, and saw every one. He was like a warm-up man, and knew how to work a crowd. Gary 'left' a few months before (no-one wanted to talk about it...some even said 'Gary who?' even though he'd been with the company for some considerable time). So, to our surprise Jill, the new Entertainments Director appeared, made herself known, and appeared at the end of every show to announce what was lined up for the rest of the day or evening (normally with a fair degree of sarcasm when people didn't give a wild round of applause when it was announced that activities involved such events as napkin folding or line dancing tuition). These, and other similar 'entertainments' were few and far between...almost everything else involved raiding your wallet...art auctions galore, $20 a time bingo, even game shows had to be paid for (Deal Or No Deal) Paradise Lotto...even the evening shows you were a captive audience to staff pushing $20 instant win cards, ice cream, and drinks....then of course there were the usual pestering photographers, stalls of various over-priced tat, expensive (very, very expensive) wines, etc. The cheapest bottle of nothing-special Californian house white wine worked out to just shy of $30 with gratuities, whilst 2x half-pint bottles of no-name Belgian Lager cost just shy of $14....or $28 for two pints of beer. Yep. Every drink ordered has gratuities added on...this is on top of the $12 a day per person gratuities automatically charged to your account, The evening shows were fair, but nowhere near as good as our first visit...no comedian, the same stunts being shown on 3 occasions, and a 'boy' band (4Ever) appearing on two nights. I say boy band...they were all at least 40 years old, and crucified the classics with gay abandon. Musicians around the ship were also sparse...I didn't once see a 'proper' band (lead guitars/ vocals, bass guitar, drummer, keyboards), and as our tastes centre around rock music, line dancing lessons and boy bands didn't appeal, but each to their own. The ship is still looking great...clean, tidy, functional, and with a feel-good factor all her own. We had a balcony stateroom which was clean, tidy, but rather compact..about half the size of an interior promenade balcony stateroom aboard RCI's Independence Of The Seas...VERY VERY small toilet cubicle....if you're not straight off the catwalk, you may struggle a little..but with a reasonably sized shower and wash basin. Small flatscreen TV constantly runs onboard bombardment hard-sell, with only two other English speaking channels, this being BBC Worldwide, and a movie channel, playing more or less back to back very recent releases..I enjoyed a few of these before hitting the hay. Two power sockets...110v and 240v, both U.S twin round pin type. We always travel with socket adaptors, and a 3 socket extension lead, so no problem there. We later found out that having a travel iron was a no-no, as it'd be confiscated, but (surprise surprise) you could always hire one of theirs whilst yours has been confiscated...as could you avail yourself of their laundry room ($25 for one bag of dirty washing, returned fully laundered)...they even charge for a tour around the captains deck, or engine room. EVERYTHING has a price with NCL, right down to $10 for a pack of paracetamol, served by an unbelievably surly cashier in the gift shop, who was very rude to my wife when she dared to ask for our 10% discount on some clothing items (a bonus for NCL loyalty is a 10% reduction on certain items) The food. If you're a cruiser, then like it or not, you're probably a 'foodie'...we are! We enjoy our food! The last time we sailed, The Garden Café (buffet dining room) was open 24/7...now it closes at 9pm. The quality of the food has really taken a dive, as has the selection and availability of said items. If you'd like a freshly sliced cut of turkey, beef, or pork, there's normally a joint there for you...just don't ask the carver for more than one thin slice, or he'll throw you a dirty sideways look. Around 40% of the items were no longer offered. In the main dining rooms, the menu remains the same, night after night, with only one, possibly two new main course alterations a night, and normally one dessert addition a night. Here again, corners have been cut (bone dry, powdery obviously instant mashed potato, sinewy beef), with a drastically reduced waiting staff...the poor sods were working flat out to keep up with demand, carrying up to 14..yes, 14 main courses on huge circular trays at a time, with the inevitable consequences on a couple of occasions. But, credit where credits due, still head-and-shoulders above the 'budget supermarket own-brand slop that Royal Caribbean dish up), and generally served with a smile, even though on quite a few instances, we were still eating when our plates were taken away. If you're going to cruise these days, pack a variety of thin shirts, as they all employ the same method of ramping the temperatures up to volcanic levels in the evenings and seadays, with the dehumidifiers working flat-out, to increase your bar tab...none more so than the Jade now, as we simply couldn't drink enough, always waking up with bone-dry parched mouths you could light a match on. Excursions We normally do our own thing here for two reasons...firstly, we can go at our own speed, and the cost consideration. Example:- When we docked in Naples, we wanted to go to Pompei. Excursion price $100+ each...or...leave the terminal, fight off the herds of cabbies, and turn right. Walk for about 10-12 minutes, and find the coach stop. Pay 5.8 Euro each, return, in a modern, comfortable air-conditioned coach that go and return roughly every 20 minutes. Arrive more or less directly outside the gates at Pompei, and pay 11 Euro each to enter for the day. Total cost - 16.8 Euro, versus $100, and done at your own speed. Virtually every European port has one of the hop-on, hop-off open top red bus services running, typically around 22 Euro each or less, and these are the preferred transport option for us, as you can get on and off as often as you like, are supplied with earphones that plug in to your seat, and have an enjoyable 'guided' tour around your destination. P.S:- The only sensible way to look around Rome, believe me. We did take one ship excursion...visiting the Blue Mosque, mini cruise along the Bosphoros, and visiting the Grand Bazaar. The Bosphoros cruise was excellent..very enjoyable indeed, and recommended. The tour guide, however, must have been a retired Olympian runner, as we all struggled to keep up with him on the way into the Blue Mosque (only 20 minutes allowed inside), followed by a sprint to the coach for 1.5 hours allocated to look around the 5,000 shops within the Grand Bazaar...and boy oh boy, prepare for a level of hustling so severe, it puts any cruise ship to shame. They do not understand the word no, and follow you forever, pleading and begging, with the price for the goods dropping by the second. 90%+ of the goods in the Bazaar are counterfeit...clothing, perfume, bags...all fake, so beware! As I say, we prefer to wing it, and at our own speed normally.... To sum it up, all in all a good cruise, but still sad to see a company and ship that I'd previously raved about to anyone prepared to listen to me slip to only acceptable. We were promised the Latitudes reward Priority Embarkation...we didn't get this, and had to stand and queue. The Latitudes Loyalty lapel badge...didn't get one, and when we asked, we were told they'd run out on the first day, and that if we wanted one, we'd have to write for one. In short, I'm afraid it'll be Cunard or P&O for us in future. Such a shame.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Let me start of by telling you this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was my husband and my eighth cruise, but only the second with our children. We took a 10 year break in cruising to have our kids, currently ages 8 and 4. ... Read More
Let me start of by telling you this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was my husband and my eighth cruise, but only the second with our children. We took a 10 year break in cruising to have our kids, currently ages 8 and 4. Our first cruise with the kids was on HAL, to the Norwegian Fjords, in Jul. Overall, we had a great time. We had great ports; great weather and the kids loved the kids club. That said, we did encounter a few problems along the way, mostly with our cabin. Transport: While we are Americans, we are currently living in Germany and chose to drive to Venice. We drove out the afternoon before the cruise and spend the night at a small hotel just outside of Venice. Saturday morning, we left the hotel about 1000 and had an easy 45 min drive to the cruise terminal. RCCL had a drive up luggage drop and then directed us to parking. Venice Port Authority has four parking lots around the terminal and offers parking for 95 Euro’s for the week. We parked the car and had a very short walk to in process the cruise. There was almost no line, so we had our pictures taken and were on board within minutes. A quick stop to get wrist bands for the kids and we were off to the Park Café for lunch. After lunch, we had a short wait until our cabin was ready. Our Cabin: I had splurged this trip for a Deck Seven (7638) Cat D1 Aft Balcony. I was really looking forward to our cabin and our balcony. Unfortunately, our cabin turned out to be a major disappointment. We found the cabin easily, open the door and were immediately hit by the strong stench of what I thought was mildew. My husband thought it was more a cigarette smoke smell. This presented a major problem. I suffer from allergies and asthma. We immediately opened the balcony door and tired to air the cabin. We reported the problem to the steward, who promised to reclean the cabin and spray down all surfaces. When his efforts did not help the situation, we reported the issue to guest services, who organized having the cabin deep cleaned while we were in Split . Over the next 5 days, the smell dissipated (we kept the balcony door open at all times), but I was forced to use my inhaler quite frequently and had breathing difficulties throughout the trip. I loved our balcony, but other than that the cabin was a great disappointment. Split (Tender Port): Tender dropped us about a 10 min walk from town. The old city was beautiful and fascinating. I wish we had more time. The kids loved having an ice cream, while walking the promenade and the fortifications were very interesting. Our only purchase was some fresh lavender balls we used to try to control the stench in our room. We hope to visit again. Kudasasi: We arraigned a private tour to Ephesus. The company picked us up about 30 mins after the ship docked. We had a private van for the four of us and the company provided carseats for the kids. Ephesus was amazing and the Terrace Houses were a must see. Being on a private tour allowed us to keep our own pace, not have our kids annoy other folks and saved money. We were also able to avoid the craft display. Our tour lasted 3.5 hrs and that was the right amount of time. Our 4 year old fell asleep in the van on the way back. After a quick Turkish coffee and some Turkish Delight, we returned to the ship. Mykonos: We really wanted to visit Delos, but not with the ship. We were quite disappointed when we docked to find out that we were on the far side of the port, with no sidewalks and a 35min walk to town. RCCL arraigned buses to run from the ship to near the city (still a 10 min walk) for $8 a person, but failed to tell anyone there was a Sea Bus that ran on the hour for 2 Euro per person that would drop you off in the middle of town. After our bus ride, walk, we purchased Ferry tickets to Delos and had a short wait for our ferry, which let us walk around Mykonos and buy some pastries. The Ferry was fun and Delos was amazing. Delos is very different from Ephesus, but well worth the trip. The kids elected to stay on the ship, having seen enough ruins the day before. We hired a local guide on the island for $10 per person. He was very informative on the history of the island, excavations, and lifestyle of the previous inhabitants. I just wished we had more time, 2.5hrs was not enough. Argostoli: The weather was a bit cold and rainy, so we chose to make a short venture of this port, while the kids had a short break in kid’s club sessions. We hoped off and found some hot chocolate, croissants, and coffee. The main part of the town is about a 15 min walk from the ship. It is not nearly as pretty or as historic as the other stops. Dining: We really enjoyed the main dining room. We had My Time Dining but had made a standing reservation at 1800 for a table for four. We had a wonderful waiter and steward, who provided great recommendations and extra options for the kids. The food was good, better than we had expected. The staff also sped up dinner for the kids, who do not really enjoy long events, and would give us a short break to run them up to the kids club before our main course. In addition, to four nights in the MDR, we had one night in Izumi, one night with Chops and one night at Chef’s Table. I would do the Chef’s Table again in a heartbeat. The meal was wonderful and the company exceptional. It was a true treat. As for Izumi and Chops, for me Izumi was just ok, nothing exceptional. As for Chop’s, the steak was excellent, the venue nice, but the rest was only ok. On HAL, we had used the Pinnacle and Tamarind, almost every night, if we did Splendor again, I would return to Chef’s Table, but skip the other two. Other impressions: The Windjammer Café is poorly designed and does not have enough seating. Also, being forward, it is a logical place to want to sit and watch the water, when raining or cold, but can only seat 500 of the 1800 on board. We also felt the ship lacks indoor quiet areas to read and relax. This might not be a terrible issue in the summer or warmer climates, but our cruise was in November. We missed a "crow’s nest” type location where we could read or watch the water. It also presented a challenge to find someplace to hang out when the smell of our room was too much for me. Disembarkation: Was easy, we were in Group 4, we had to wait a few minutes in the Theater before being directed off the ship. The first groups departed about 0735, we left about 0745 and had our bags and were at our car before 0800. Adventure Club: My kids love the Adventure Club; so much so, they begged to go to the sessions. My daughter passed on swimming in favor of staying at the kids club. Our daughter would watch the clock, counting down the minutes until the activities started and demand to have one of us take her. They both really enjoyed the games, arts and crafts, toys, movie nights and other activities. Additionally, the staff was excellent and very engaging. A few annoyances we had were with baggage delivery, strollers in the hallways and diapers in the pool. Maybe it is RCCL, but I’m used to my bags being delivered to my room, on this cruise, all the bags for our area were piled near the elevator and we were expected to identify them and drag them to our room. We also had several parents that chose to store their strollers in the hallways (passageways), one family with a double stroller, made it impossible to pass and presented a hazard. Lastly, is more of a policy enforcement, there were several families with children in diapers using the pool. There are signs posted indicating that diapers were not allowed in the pools and it was in the daily bulletin, but the policy was never enforced. Cruise Critic: We had a nice get together on Day 3. It was lovely to meet Ship’s Cat and several others. RCCL put on a nice spread of snacks and drinks. The Cruise Director hosted the event and had a small gift for each of us. Overall: We had a good cruise. If our cabin had not smelled so bad, I would have called it a great cruise. Splendor is a nice ship, with a good staff and is not showing her age. The few things, I dislike about Splendor would likely be different on another RCCL ship. The kids loved the kids club, which gave us time to relax and enjoy the sights. I would consider RCCL again, mostly because the kids loved the activities.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We recently returned from our 10 Day Eastern Med cruise. This was only our 2nd cruise with NCL but decided to use them again because we had such a great time on the Star during a 14 day Panama Canal Cruise. Another factor was the FreeStyle ... Read More
We recently returned from our 10 Day Eastern Med cruise. This was only our 2nd cruise with NCL but decided to use them again because we had such a great time on the Star during a 14 day Panama Canal Cruise. Another factor was the FreeStyle concept which I enjoy, when on vacation why dress up for dinner on specified nights. Did that a couple of times and that was enough. We were 2 families with our grand kids 11 and 14. Ports visited were, Kakatalon, Athens, Ismir, Istanbul and Naples. We decided on our own Port Excursions and did that because we wanted a smaller more personalized tour. The tours were the same as what NCL provides and the costs much less. For all 5 port stops we were extremely happy with the tours we arranged. If anyone wants to know who we used e-ail me and I will provide the Tour company names. Not going to review each stop because we did not use NCL for them. For Dining we used a variety of the options available onboard from their buffet, Main Dining, room service and specialty restaurants. Food was good and we didn't have any major complaints. Specialty restaurants used were Teppanyaki's which is always good because of show that you get with it and the food is good, Jasmine Garden which was Asian, this was ok and finally Moderno's which is Brazillian Barbeque. This is like a 9 course meat dish and we were only able to get through about 4 of them. Couldn't get through dessert but they offered to have it delivered to our stateroom but we declined. Nice touch though. The Shows were ok but after a couple of them I stopped going to them Room: Cabin 14000, What can you say. We had a Haven suite and were absolutely spoiled. The grandkids did not want to go home after experiencing this. We decided to splurge here because there were 6 of us and we wanted to be together. The suite had 3 bedrooms each with its own bathroom and balcony. It also included a private balcony with hot tub and sauna along with a upper sun deck with a hammock and extra lounge chairs. The living room was huge as well and included an 8 place dinning table for meals and also a 8 place table on the patio if you wanted to have lunch outdoors. Our Butler Willy was fantastic!! He interacted with the kids, made sure that we had everything that we needed and learned our preferences after the first day. My wife likes raisin cookies and we couldn't find them anywhere on the ship. We mentioned this to Willy and we had these cookies for the rest of the cruise waiting for us after each days excursion. We utilized him for all the breakfasts since on excursion days the lines were long at all the venues and port times were early. Usually when we walked into the dinning room breakfast was set up and waiting at the designated times. Didn't eat dinners in the room because after we had the appetizers in the afternoon we were all full. Antonio was our room steward who also did an exceptional job. He was always checking on us and kept the rooms spotless. They even went as far as shampooing all the carpets one day during an excursion day. Loy, kept the outer deck areas set up each day and made sure the cushions and towels were readily available. The Haven suites also included a private pool and lounges with a retractable roof so you could enjoy this on inclement days. They also had tables set up so you could order meals poolside as well as snacks and drinks all day long. Would I use this room again and the answer is yes. It is great when you have 6 couples cruising together and makes for a very enjoyable time. When traveling solo we will use the penthouse or owners suites as they are more suited for single couples. Concierge: Mark. We used Mark to set up our meal reservations as well as finding out where to store our excess luggage while we made a side trip to Barcelona after the cruise. Mark also set up transportation to the airport after the cruise. We had a time set up to disembark, our luggage was set aside and waiting for us on the pier when we got off the ship and was quickly off to the airport. Less then 10 mins to get off the ship. We also had priority disembarkation on port days for our tours. We were always taken down a service elevator and off the ship really quickly. Overall we had nothing bad to report on this cruise and have already enrolled in the Cruise rewards program for our next cruise. The only thing that I see that NCL could do is to open up their routes to include the South Pacific. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It was my firth NCL cruise (was on many other lines as well to compare), third on Jade and second on this route ;-) Took the same cruise in January this year and obviously liked it. The itinerary is interesting with nice ports of call. ... Read More
It was my firth NCL cruise (was on many other lines as well to compare), third on Jade and second on this route ;-) Took the same cruise in January this year and obviously liked it. The itinerary is interesting with nice ports of call. Even in November-December months it was quite warm (except Rome where it was exceptionally cold and Istanbul with its rain). The overnight stay in Istanbul is definitely a plus of this cruise. In overall, I really enjoyed this cruise and, as usual, it was sad to leave the ship at the end. Let me summarize positive and not so good points, as well as definite things that need improvements. Positive: - Nice itinerary with overnight stay in Istanbul. - The ship is maintained very well and everything is very clean and shining. - Great service – everybody is very nice on board. - Exceptional evening shows of the highest standard. - Nice food, very good variety in the buffet. - Not only free water and ice tea in the buffet (like it was before), but flavored water and lemonade – my favorite! - We had CruiseCritic meeting with senior staff. Things that could be improved: - Captain was very quiet the whole cruise – only heard one (!) announcement from him on the last day. He did not even say anything during the farewell show. - Latitude rewards benefits for Silver and Gold members are very few and not really exciting. - NCL menu is always the same. Would be nice to taste new items! - NCL should review their deserts menu – really boring and often not very tasty (both in the main restaurants and the buffet). Chocolate night was a joke with many nice looking things but all testing the same artificial flavors. Can I send recipes to their main cook? - Would be very useful to have hooks on the walls in the sauna/shower room, don’t you think so? Negative things: - On my last two NCL cruises I noticed that started to use not 100% cotton bed linen (mixed with synthetics). I really do not like it – it is very uncomfortable. IT IS VERY CHEAP, NCL. Hope they can hear me screaming. - Somebody “smart” decided to close all buffet area after 11pm. So you cannot even get to water/tee/coffee station in the evening. This “innovation” is not acceptable! Keep at least one station open. - Latitude member used to have 10% discount on all items in the shops. Not anymore! Few months ago NCL decided to limit this discount only on NCL branded items. Not a good manner to take away something we used to have. - As usual, Internet is really overpriced on NCL, time packages are quite big and they refuse to give discounts to Latitude members (offering extra minutes instead). I do not need extra minutes to a big package. I want cheaper prices and discounts (or even free minutes like on their lines) to loyal customers. Hope my thoughts are helpful to people thinking to go with NCL in the future (I would definitely recommend!). I also hope NCL representatives could find these points useful.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We recently returned from three back to back cruises on Oceania's Riviera. We have sailed on their smaller ships before, so this was our first sailing on one of their larger ships. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We have already booked the ... Read More
We recently returned from three back to back cruises on Oceania's Riviera. We have sailed on their smaller ships before, so this was our first sailing on one of their larger ships. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We have already booked the Riviera for our next cruise for 2014. Our prior cruise with another company went from good, to bad to worse when the crew was reduced by 25% midway through the cruise. It was great to be back with Oceania and to experience the Riviera. We took the ship's transportation from the airport to the ship in Istanbul. Embarkation was very quick and easy. We went straight to our cabin and our luggage was already outside our cabin door. We brought them inside and then went up to the Terrace Café for lunch. Note: If you are on a back to back cruise, continuing guests are invited to a special lunch in the Grand Dining Room, away from the newly boarding guests in the Terrace Café. Our cabin, #7131, had an extended veranda with a 6 foot overhang above it. This provided us a choice of shade as well as sunshine. We have suggested that a chaise lounge be provided on these verandas. The cabin size was sufficient for this long of a cruise, and we enjoyed the larger bathroom than those on their smaller ships. The closets were a bit smaller, but they did have lights inside to better see your clothes. Another plus was the night light in the bathroom. Oceania listened to its customers when designing the Marina and Riviera. Our cabin stewards were very friendly and they kept our cabin spotless! We always had fresh towels. The Red Ginger was one of our favorite restaurants and we were pleasantly surprised at their tea menu. There was quite a selection of tea. The pear and ginger tea was my favorite. Our second favorite restaurant was Jacques, French restaurant. For a special dinner try the Privee. We were fortunate to find a listing on Cruise Critic's roll call from a guest offering other guests to join her and her husband, who reserved this table for 10 guests in advance of the cruise. We all received an invitation giving us the date, time and where to meet and then we were escorted to the Privee. Each couple reimbursed the couple who had paid in advance. This was one of the restaurants for which Oceania has a separate charge ($50.00 per couple), and the other is the . The Grand Dining Room is tastefully done, and there are many tables just for couples. All of the meals were served beautifully and timely, with one exception where the meal ticket got lost and there was a delay between courses. The very observant maître d quickly resolved the situation. The Waves Grill offers great sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers for a quick lunch And, it is next to the ice cream bar. There is a selection of ice cream and sorbets which changes daily. Try the milkshakes and smoothies, or create your own sundaes. The Terrace Café offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet dining. The tables at the dinner buffet are transformed with gleaming white linen table cloths and a different colorful china place settings. One can also dine al fresco on the outside veranda. The Terrace Café also offers special buffets such as Asian, Spanish, Italian, etc. buffets throughout the cruise. For early morning risers, there is a coffee corner in the Horizons beginning at 6:30 am. Fresh coffee, cappuccino, espresso, tea, chocolate, juice, rolls, cereals and fruit is always available. A friendly waiter is there to assist. The Barista on Deck 14 for cappuccino or coffee frappe is a nice hide-away for a quick cup of coffee and a biscotti from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. The Horizon's afternoon high tea is wonderful, with special desserts, cookies and finger sandwiches. There are specialty drinks of the day at special prices and each day there were "happy hour" prices for drinks in all of the ship's bars for beverages listed in the Martinis Bar menu. The entertainment was very good. Our only complaint was that because we had three back to back cruises, a few of the entertainers repeated their acts three and four times. The "Broadway" type of shows, although repeated, were so well rehearsed that each show appeared new and fresh. The Jean Ann Ryan Company's salute to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber," Now and Forever", was exceptional. Although they now have a true theater, the stage could have been a little higher as well as the ceiling height. When they hoisted the dancers, their shoes came close to the lights. Oceania provides shuttle service in most ports, some free and some for a modest cost. Their shuttle in Barcelona was less expensive than the pier's private shuttle. Unfortunately, the shuttle ran only the first day of our overnight. Although the shuttles were listed in the daily news, I would recommend that a notice of the shuttles also be posted at the gangway. Oceania is for vacationers, and we enjoy the country club casual dress. Thankfully, gone are the formal dress nights. I did not even pack a tie. Also they do not have ship photographers to interrupt your dinner, or stall everyone on the gangway at every port to pose you with a crew member dressed as a... (add your own character)... The shore excursions like most ships are pricey, and always include "shopping". Personally, we cruise to see the cultural things. If we want to shop we stay home. If you don't want to schedule your own private tours, then take the ship's tour. The ship will always wait for you if your tour bus is late. With a private tour, they will not wait. We were very pleased with the Riviera. We enjoy the mid-size ship and the wonderful décor. Four specialty restaurants are an enhancement to dining.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We sailed on the Constellation in November on their Greek Islands cruise., not our happiest. Travelling to istanbul was as usual for us easy as not that long a flight from U.K. and train and tram from Attaturk airport is so so simple. we ... Read More
We sailed on the Constellation in November on their Greek Islands cruise., not our happiest. Travelling to istanbul was as usual for us easy as not that long a flight from U.K. and train and tram from Attaturk airport is so so simple. we got of the tram just a couple minutes from where the Constellation was docked. Embarcation was wonderful as by six p.m. no crowds just a few late comers like us, no stress. Went straight to our cabin which although a little shabby was clean, still took a couple of hours for bags to arrive!! There are two very strange men giving out info on the t.v. I suppose they may entertain pre-teens with their infantile humour but do we really need it? The main restaurant is on two levels, one has a young lady Ass. Maitre d' she is wonderfully efficient and helpful. the other has a guy who seems to be on a ego trip, I do not expect when told by the guest desk to ask himabout a table change that "I am the Ass. Maitre D' I do not deal with tables changes, go and ask the cutomer relation desk" He sorted it out for us after I told him we had been asked to get him to do it. Food: The buffet if very good and varied. The food in the dining room is not. The entrees and desserts are beautifully presented and very nice but there is a problem with the main course. One meal was a "Veal cordon bleu" which when cooked correctly can be wondreful, this was not, deep fried veal snitzel with a deep fried vegatable croquette is not a Cordon bleu. Reconstituted chicken in a roll cut in to portions with a strange sauce over it is not "Chicken Sambuca". Overcooked lobster is just a bad kitchen operation but the Aberdeen angus sirloin steak was terrific, what is this all about. The waiters are telling you at every meal that if there is a problem just have something else. It seems if you complain about the food or mark in down on the card then the waiter is also marked down by Celebrity for something that is not his fault. All of the places we stopped at we have been to before but if was great to come back even though this was our second East Med cruise this year our 3rd. in total and our13th. cruise customer service is good but Ellen on guest relations has a problem, unless a guest is being rude or uncivil to you it is your job to be helpful and to keep your personal opinions to yourself. Maybe a few months seconded to Sainsbury or Tesco will show you how customer relations really works. Disembarcation: Easy as we left early with our own bags, safest way we find. Not a cruise to look back on with total joy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was the first time we had been on an Adult only cruise and the difference has persuaded us that this is the way to go. It was only the second time we had sailed with P&O (the last one was on the Ventura in 2009) being regular ... Read More
This was the first time we had been on an Adult only cruise and the difference has persuaded us that this is the way to go. It was only the second time we had sailed with P&O (the last one was on the Ventura in 2009) being regular Thomson cruisers in the past. We had 5 formal nights, 5 smart nights and 10 casual nights, and it was lovely not to feel overdressed, as most of the other passengers followed the dress code. You may wonder why I have put in two cabin numbers, well.........E182 is on the back of the ship, and one morning we woke up and the balcony was covered in soot.....they cleaned it up, but it was still a mess, so they kindly moved us to C199. Both cabins were the same with a sofa, table and a king sized bed......the balcony on E182 was far bigger than the one on C199 The ship itself was lovely, although ready for the refit it was due to have on our return......we used to play "where will the bucket be today" as there were leaks springing up all over the place in the public areas, but always from above not below!!!!!! The staff were all fantastic, friendly and helpful, and the food was fabulous, in both the Self service and the main restaurant, and the service was brilliant too. We also joined a dancing class, and with the help of the fantastic Eamon and Anna both my husband and I can now do the basic Foxtrot, Quickstep, Waltz, and the Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, and Jive.....we really enjoyed it and are looking to carry on now that we are home. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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