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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: April 2019
We picked this cruise for the Itinerary, time of year and our past successful cruises on RC. Unfortunately, this was our third straight cruise on this RC class ship and, perhaps, at no fault of RC, the cruise experience was fairly “just ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the Itinerary, time of year and our past successful cruises on RC. Unfortunately, this was our third straight cruise on this RC class ship and, perhaps, at no fault of RC, the cruise experience was fairly “just OK”. Everything going on on the ship including the ship layout just got way too familiar and, consequently, boring. So, I’ll try to fashion this review for those who have no to little experience either with RC or crusing. PROS. 1. RC provides a very good cruise experience per dollar. They are very competently run and, in my opinion, is as good as any of the mass market (or lower cost) cruises. 2. Service. Very good. No complaints. The cabin attendant was good and most all of the wait staff were also very good. Excursion staff at the desk were ok as well as the front desk. Check in, like pretty much all cruise lines, is smoothly run like clockwork. 3. Ship. The condition of the ship was very good as well. Although the ship is coming on 15 years old, everything looked in excellent or recently refurbished condition. Carpets looked newish and clean and all furniture was also in good condition. The cabin and bathroom were also in very good condition although there was a little rust and corrosion at the shower door. Cons. 1. Food. We took most of our meals in the buffet restaurant. So, perhaps it is unfair to say that the food was mediocre. The choice was wide and varied, but on this 11-night Cruise, I found it repetitive, sometimes cold, and meats hard and over cooked due to sitting there for a while. Coffee was often cold or like warm. The desserts were also pretty disappointing. Too many mousse’s which pretty much tasted like whipped sugar. We did go to the sit down restaurant twice and the Izumi specialty restaurant once. The problem I had with the sitdown restaurant is that the portions were really small. I’m no food hog, but four measly shrimp is poor in your “jumbo shrimp” dish is pretty poor. Sure you can ask for seconds, but who wants to come off as a food hog. As for Izumi, we ordered five sushi dishes and four were below mediocre. 2. Onboard shopping. The shop was small, limited merchandise. The jewelry shop was much larger, but the prices were outrageous. Example: my Citizens watch that I bought online last year for about $175 was being sold — same watch — on ship for about $500. Why is onboard shopping an issue? Well, it can get a little boring on a long cruise and a nice diversion is shopping. But, with extremely limited merchandise, it was a bust. Wake up RC, a captive audience and opportunity lost. 3. Onboard live shows. I suppose due to budget and cost, lost are the days of onboard performers and mini Broadway type shows. Rather, the live shows are made up of contract one night stand comedians, singers, etc. They come onboard at one port of call, do their show and get off at the next port. The performers were OK, but it would be nice to see some production type shows. Also, the lounge performers were really bad. 4. Shore excursions. These were fairly limited in selection. I suppose, as a modestly experienced cruiser — 8 cruises — I should know and expect that cruise sightseeing is all about in and out. Get into the port and off the ship by 8 or 9 am and back on board by 4:30 and on to the next port of call. That leaves virtually no time to do any in depth sight seeing. Is RC different or worse than any other cruiseline’s offerings? Likely no. But, new cruisers, be forewarned. 5. Port of call onboard information. This is the first cruise I’ve been on where the ship provided virtually no information on the various ports of call enroute to the destinations. Cruises in the past had the cruise director providing tips on what to see and do and shopping tips. Nothing. I’m not expecting cultural lectures on the history and culture of the destinations, although that would be nice. But a little something about what to expect. Even if it was pre-recorded. All we got was daily babbling about trivia — what minor celebrity had a birthday that day — or some inane joke of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the itinerary - not the ship. The 11 night Greece and Croatia cruise leaving from Rome had all the places we wanted to visit, and this itinerary was only happening once! This was our fourth cruise, and 2nd time on Royal ... Read More
We chose the itinerary - not the ship. The 11 night Greece and Croatia cruise leaving from Rome had all the places we wanted to visit, and this itinerary was only happening once! This was our fourth cruise, and 2nd time on Royal Carribean. We didn't get the WOW! experience we were expecting... Firstly, the staff was very good and very attentive to details! Excellent staff everywhere. We had booked My Time Dining, but not always at the same time. The first night, they gave us the table right in the entrance of the dining room. We thought that we'd get another table the next evening so we didn't ask for a change, but we got the same table the next evening. We asked to be moved to another table, and that seemed to have created a lot of problems. They kept wanting to take us back to the first table. I'm not sure why this is important - I didn't mind getting different waiting staff every evening. Anyway, as stated earlier, the staff was excellent regardless of the table we had, but I'm not sure I understand the value of pre-booking My Time Dining. The food for dinner at the dining room was good to excellent, with a good selection every evening. In general, the waiter's recommendations were great choices. Breakfast in the dining room was not the best experience. After waiting in line to get seated, they hoarded us to a large table where we sat with other guests. Service was extremely slow (15-20 minutes before ordering, 30 minutes before getting our eggs benedict ). Room service breakfast was excellent on the first morning we tried it. The 2nd morning, the omelettes were chewy and rubbery. On the 3rd morning, some items were missing (eg: cereal without milk). Breakfast in the Windjammer was the same every morning, not many variations. Good in general, but the fried eggs and omelette station was not being replenished fast enough. Lunch at the Windjammer was generally good, with more variety, and fresh items. The salad bar had a good selection. One comment on the salad bar: when the bottle of olive oil was empty, they removed it but did not replace it - why? We had paid for the premium beverage package. Around the 3rd or 4th night, they started missing out on some of the brands our group was ordering (Botannist gin, Chivas, Stoli vodka, etc...) in Schooner's and the Safari Club. One evening, our waiter in Schooner's had to go get our drink at the Casino. After 3 evenings like this, I complained - why were only some of the bars stocked with only some of the brands? They eventually fixed the issue at Schooner's but they were still out of stock on some of the brands at the Casino and the Pit Stop. If I hadn't paid for the Premium beverage package, I would not have minded. But I expected RCCL to stock up on the brands advertized as being part of the package. To me, this is unacceptable. The entertainment was appropriate and varied. Over the course of our 11 night cruise, we didn't see/hear the same band play the same thing twice, which is good! The formal nights were just that - nights where people would dress up. Aside from a small speech from the Captain at the Captain's Welcome reception, I didn't really feel that the evenings were special. For example, on our prior cruise (not with RCCL), the central atrium was decorated with hundreds of balloons for the farewell evening ceremonies. After our last cruise, we were eager to book the next one. After this cruise on the Jewel, I'm not in a hurry to book the next one - I just didn't get the experience I was expecting. And if I book another cruise, it probably won't be with Royal Carribean. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I traveled with our family celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Sadly specialty restaurants are the way to go anymore as Tides food was less than average for dinner, and the service was hit & miss depending on the ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with our family celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Sadly specialty restaurants are the way to go anymore as Tides food was less than average for dinner, and the service was hit & miss depending on the table assignment. Thankfully we weren't at the originally assigned table throughout the cruise. Toward the end of our journey, we chose Giovannis (excellent) and Chops for superior filet mignon and service. Why is it necessary to pay extra for what's already paid for!? If onboard, lunch was best at the buffet. The non alcoholic package was worth it...although again paying extra for what should be included: fresh squeezed OJ and Lattetudes for cappuccinos, frappuccinos and lattes. The staff there was stellar. Our cabin, 9212, was a great location mid-ship and larger than average. Both staterooms were rundown, drapes torn/ dirty, & the refrigerators were never cold. The bed was comfortable and the stewards worked hard cleaning every minute they were on duty. All the ships window were filthy. Entertainment, beyond the midshop lobby, was zero in our opinion. The casino smoke carried over throughout that deck. Watch your folio for added charges you may want to challenge. Both our families did. Embarkation and debarkation was easy. Upon return to airport, we didn't pay more than €100 for two (taxis are waiting to add you to passenger vans). We pre-booked three exceptional tour guides online by reading reviews on Cruise Critic. PKTravel and Santoriniexperts is another. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because it was suggested by our travel agent in the USA. We truly regret not having read the reviews of this cruise ship before our trip. The ship is the oldest of the fleet. Common areas are remodeled but the rooms ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was suggested by our travel agent in the USA. We truly regret not having read the reviews of this cruise ship before our trip. The ship is the oldest of the fleet. Common areas are remodeled but the rooms (at least our inside cabin), were old. The ship is not that big so there are not that many amenities. Theatre performances are average. Variety of music is OK throughout the cruise ship but the worst feature of MSC Sinfonia is the food: they only have one medium size cafeteria on the top level so you have to wait in line to get a table for breakfast. They will sit you with other people and kids you don't know, so expect no privacy. The buffet is awful. Very low quality of food and always overcooked. No egg making station. They only offer sunny side up eggs covered in grease. Cheeses and cold cuts are bulk from the wholesale market (not from Italy, of course), and they offer the same food every day throughout the whole trip. The only option for breakfast is to go downstairs to the main dining restaurant where you can get a separate table for yourself. There you can find also the same buffet (with the same low quality of food), and a la carte menu. I decided to choose my breakfast from the menu but they could only prepare a plain omelette from it. The rest of the items from the menu (like orange juice, yogurt, bread, butter, fruit, etc), were already placed at the buffet so the waiter just kept pointing his finger for me to get up and get my food from there. So then.. I asked the waiter: what is the point of having a printed menu if the same food is offered at the buffet? He only laughed. Dinner at this same restaurant was also a joke. One night they featured "carpaccio" as an appetizer. We ordered that and they brought just a regular, cheap, cold cut with an artificial red color. Funny thing is that we saw the same fake carpaccio the next morning at the breakfast buffet. The Italian risotto was also another huge disappointment. Overcooked. It really looked like a vomit in a small portion. We have been on other cruise ships with way better food quality. Our favorite always is Celebrity Cruises. Perhaps, they should send the MSC chefs on a fam trip on board a Celebrity cruise. They might learn lots of of new dishes and see how they prepare and present the food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Selected this cruise because of the amazing places it went that I never thought I would see—Athens, Croatia, Montenegro, and ending up in Venice. The Acropolis in Athens was a hard climb but so worth it in the end. The views from the ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of the amazing places it went that I never thought I would see—Athens, Croatia, Montenegro, and ending up in Venice. The Acropolis in Athens was a hard climb but so worth it in the end. The views from the top are wonderful. Visit to Olympia to see original site of first Olympic Games was interesting to see. Corfu was a very pretty coastal town. Dubrovnik and Split Croatia were great places to see and explore. But they were not as beautiful as Kotor Montenegro. That is such a gorgeous entrance into port and still a quaint town. Did an excursion up out of town, and even with a cloudy day, the views of town and harbor were wonderful. And stopped at small family run restaurant for included typical lunch with a sample shot or Grappa, which if very strong liquor. Then it was my dream stop of Venice! The sail into the city is very cool. The city itself with no cars and all travel by boat or on foot was as amazing as I had hoped for. St Mark’s Square and the Doge Palace are beautiful, but crowded. My favorite thing to do in Venice was to just wander the n narrow streets and visiting little shops, enjoying a coffee and hot chocolate sitting in a quaint square, and having lunch at a small family restaurant. Viking once again did a great job. Penthouse Veranda cabin very nice with lots of storage. Fridge in room with included minibar drinks is nice when you want to relax on Veranda and have a drink. Included excursions are really good, especially since ship pulls right up to cities to visit, much like a river cruise does. Loved that because I could explore on my own and then walk back to ship. Plenty of great food, especially the king crab legs each night, and varied entertainment venues. Loved the 3D Explorer Dome show. What a dream vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
As I read through several of these reviews, I'm scratching my head, but okay, I'm going to post MY EXPERIENCE as best I can and hope that folks understand that not only am I a person whose character can be selective (not snobby) ... Read More
As I read through several of these reviews, I'm scratching my head, but okay, I'm going to post MY EXPERIENCE as best I can and hope that folks understand that not only am I a person whose character can be selective (not snobby) and want quality for my hard neared dollar. Also, since there is not a lot on this site about this specific line and this specific ship, not trying to deny other people THEIR experience, I have to share because what I have read is far from and light years away from what we experienced. Let me start by saying that this cruise, taken in 2019, was planned since 2012 because I wanted a high-quality cruise experience for my now deceased mom's landmark 80th birthday. Since I didn't want to cruise Viking (thought it would be too stuffy for my mom's likes), MSC became the choice because their itineraries were exactly what I wanted. I lost my mom in 2015 so my BFF (a gay man..trust me, this will matter in the review) and I decided to celebrate our moms' in spirit since he lost his mom also and make this a couple of days prior to the cruise on land/excursion beginning in Barcelona and after the trip on land as we flew to London at the end of the cruise before coming home to the states. Flew into Barcelona from San Francisco (via Delta Airlines) and stayed a couple of days in Barcelona at a nearby Best Western (a friend works there and we received excellent service from them as well). The port city of Barcelona was PERFECT since disembarking from there helped make what could have been much more difficult, much easier. Barcelona is a busy, well-organized port city, that was the case, but it was a great choice on our end. That's where our trip began. Food: We were initially overwhelmed by all of the options for food and drink, which MSC Sinfonia seemed to dominate like an Italian aunt that wanted you to feel at home in her house. The option we purchased including beverages in our cruise package was smart, since this cost can be quite substantial to your cruise, and while we didn't choose the highest level liquor package, we did pick all you can drink coffee/tea/soft drinks/wine and cocktails (selected with quality liquors but not the Hennessey-level booze...didn't buy it because we don't drink all THAT much and can pay for those beverages as an aside). Great food, including a diversity of tastes and flavors, for all meals and snacks of the day, were fantastic. Not all were with an Italian taste but there was plenty of Italian-based tastings and we were very satisfied; because we are Americans, we also appreciated the pizza/pasta/sandwich bars along with the burger/hot dog and fries bar; they have fresh gelato as well as a Vitamin/Smoothie with fresh fruits bar and when you can get avocado and pineapple in a smoothie in the middle of the Mediterranean, I'm there! There was literally enough good healthy food along with the corrupt stuff you don't want your kids to eat, but being on vacation allowed everyone to be happy. While there is a breakfast buffet with enough options culturally to satisfy pretty much every country on the planet. But my travel companion found that if you get to the areas where you'll typically find pizza and burgers at lunch, you can get your omelette/pancakes. I loved to sleep in so I didn't get much of this but it was nice to know it was an option besides the over abundance of bacon and eggs or oatmeal and yogurt (greek yogurt). And that's another thing...they had delicious oatmeal. I was trying to be good with all the food goodies on board and didn't feel like my doctor would kick my bottom when I see him next visit. The coffee barristers and bartenders made our tasty drinks and pretty much to taste for us. I didn't have to ask for my tequila to be a specific one or have my drinks made in any way. Their bartenders know exactly what to do and how to make drinks. For the dinner/fine dining dinner option, we had My Choice dining as part of our package, allowing us to eat at a time of our choice and since we dine on the later side, we mostly sat without anyone else at our table (you're thoughtfully placed with others but it's not weird like putting a single couple or couple with a large family). We became to know the servers and the Dining manager was a professional maitre'd and could have worked at any of the 5 star restaurants we're used to going to in the US. Excisions: The opportunities and options were fantastic. From the choices of the well-thought out excursions, which were fairly priced and surprisingly well-organized to get folks on and off the ship efficiently, allowed us to make choices on how we wanted to live on the ship on our own. We were on a 12-day/11-night Mediterranean cruise, out of Barcelona, with stops in Malta/Corfu/Katalion/Herkalion/Pireaus/Civitavecchia/Genoa/Marseilles and back to Spain. What a GLORIOUS cruise this was. For myself and my friend to cruise for the first time, we were thoroughly overwhelmed. We experienced every opportunity on this ship that adults without children can experience, and we did visually see families enjoying themselves, so even if we can't speak as a family, as two single adults traveling together, we can both cheer for this cruise and this specific excursion. The Ship: There were lots of things to do, both on and off the ship from shows, to televisions everywhere to watch sports and have a beer or cocktail/coffee/tea or soda...public spaces, a casino (and you do get your winnings); of course traveling in early Spring as we did wasn't a guarantee of great weather but we did fortunately have sunny days and it was amazing. We were all able to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean sunshine. Fresh foods every day (fresh fruit for Americans that live in California is a huge deal and for me, as a New Yorker that lives in California now, as I said earlier, this was supposed to be a mom celebration...and baby, I LOVED my Momma....as did my friend. I even had a bout of bronchitis and he a bout with gout, so we visited the ship's doctor and even that experience was top-notch (needed antibiotics and received in an IV drip so I could fly and ended up continuing my trip without even having felt like I was ill). They had a photo studio where you can purchase pictures and capture everything from wedding to family portraits. In fact there was a wedding/reception/honeymoon on board the boat if I can properly recall. Their Staff/Crew: We were treated with wonderfully, energized joy by the MSC crew. It was like a Welcome Party. The preparation to have you get on-board starts with your obtaining a cruise card, which is basically your on-board, ID card, charge card and access card. Makes keeping your valuables safe painless. My plan was to relax and spa since we took advantage of the Aurea Spa package, which allowed us to obtain massages and add-on other purchased pampering. Again, since this was supposed to be a mother-daughter thing, I was looking forward to a facial and other treatments. These are on the pricier side, but considering their estheticians are the same quality of major spas in international cities, the price point wasn't out of reach or not something worth reviewing. They have a full service hair salon on board as well as treatments from acupuncture to various massage methods. MSC makes sure folks understand that it's not an unlimited financial card because your ability to have fun, responsibility both fiscally and emotionally are always gonna be front of mind. They have all types of shopping and other fun things to do, so even if you're not born rich, they treat you well and with car. We even met a couple from Perth Australia who told us that they've been cruising for years and they love Sinfonia even though MSC has newer ships. They described it as "old-stool' cruising and I understood what they meant. Being American, you can have some Disney-styled cruises (too child-attentive/better for families) or too Viking-esque (potentially too snobby and stuffy even if luxuriously appointed). We wanted to be treated like Viking, with party options that were not too immature). MSC hit the bill OUT OF THE PARK for us. To add to the other points: My friend is a gay man over 50; he was VERY happy and because he also blogs for LGBTQ entertainment, he plans on doing a piece on this experience...which I'm whole-heartedly rooting for because it was more than deserved. Also, I saw lots of disabled people: seniors with canes and wheelchairs in families and couples; a disabled athlete in a wheel chair; a family (it seemed since there were 2 visually impaired people in the group). We saw sign language used and when it came to language barriers, there were none....They have a talented, multi-linguist staff and their tours which were conducted in many cases in multi-languages, were just another impressive action because their folks speak multi-languages. I was impressed. A special shout-out to: Adrian (Dining Services); Shubert (Bar Services); Melray (Buffet Manager); Anthony (Stateroom Attendant), Irina (Spa Services) and all the servers on Sinfonia. You made us never forget you and we WILL BE BACK! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We previously cruised on Costa, Carnival and Holland America as suite guests. We purchased a suite on MSC. This time there was no champagne in the cabin, no daily fresh fruit, no coffee and no hair conditioner. And no folded towel animals ... Read More
We previously cruised on Costa, Carnival and Holland America as suite guests. We purchased a suite on MSC. This time there was no champagne in the cabin, no daily fresh fruit, no coffee and no hair conditioner. And no folded towel animals :-) One of the mirrors was making a rattling noise in rough seas when the boat was rocking. Needless to say the noise was keeping us awake at night. Cabin server did not pay attention to details. I had to call Guest services to have hand soap refilled, bath towels and bathroom floor rug delivered. He was not picking up drink glasses that we were bringing from a bar. There were times when the glasses were sitting on the table for two days. Excursions were nice and most of the tour guides were very knowledgeable. We didn’t care for the tour guide in Marseille- Ola or Olga. Her English was not great and she was sometimes out of words. We were surprised she was not better prepared for the excursion. Her English vocabulary was poor. Shows were excellent and I gave MSC a score of 10 for their entertainment. You will enjoy their evening shows! Food - food presentation was 7-8 on the scale. Portions are really small. Breakfast and lunch for suite guests were the weakest areas. We had breakfast 4 times in a private restaurant but gave up after the 4th day because omelettes didn’t have the ingredients that we ordered and light Pepsi and orange juice were not delivered. So we started going to the buffets. Spa - I had 2 massages and a facial. Bali massage was great but the hot stone not so much. There was no music for the first 20 minutes because the system was down. I sent the massage therapist to the front desk twice to ask about it because all I was listening to was the sound of the blinds hitting the window frame. Hot stones were getting cold and the technician was not removing them so I was cold. When I walked in, the room was cold. The technician told me she was cold. So how was I supposed to relax when my feet turned into icicles? The temperature should have been much higher. Facial - they don’t have the arm that releases steam and warms up skin. Basic setup. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked all inclusive package for couple (3 massages p/p). When we tried to schedule our massages the spa reception lady told us that they cannot accommodate the time when we wanted to have our massage. She gave us all the rubbish times ... Read More
We booked all inclusive package for couple (3 massages p/p). When we tried to schedule our massages the spa reception lady told us that they cannot accommodate the time when we wanted to have our massage. She gave us all the rubbish times instead (our scheduled dinner time). She said they are fully booked. But how can they be fully booked when they are offering discounted massages everyday. The couple we met on this cruise who cruises regularly said to us that it's better not to book it in advance because they will give you a schedule according to your liking if you book it right there and then and they have discounts everyday anyway. Spa is basic, just 3 thermal rooms. No jacuzzi or whatsoever. Food is average. Not too bad. Not that great either. Bathrobes not available unless you pay extra hundred pounds (available for aurea guests only). Do not get the fantasia upgrade, there are travel companies who can give you free water at bella experience. Fantasia is not worth it unless u wanted a Mediterranean breakfast delivered to your room everyday (just croissants, bread, jam, cereals). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We cruised with overseas Adventure Travel and loved the ship. The food on board really emphasized the food of the region, and the chef was delightful. He really cared that people liked what he served. The cabin was nicer than ... Read More
We cruised with overseas Adventure Travel and loved the ship. The food on board really emphasized the food of the region, and the chef was delightful. He really cared that people liked what he served. The cabin was nicer than expected. It was very well designed and comfortable. We had a small balcony-we were traveling in March and it was cool so we didn’t use it as much as we would have liked, but it was nice to pop out in the morning while we docked, or to check the weather. The cruise worked out so both sides of the boat sometimes had a better view, so one side isn’t better than the other. There is one large lounge-comfortable with books, games, etc, and a variety of seating. This was our first small boat cruise and it was much more relaxing than a larger ship. We would sail on this ship again anytime. I will review the activities on the OAT website. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our 45th anniversary in style so we chose the Queen Victoria. We have been on the other two Queens and were very pleased. We live in south Florida and just didn't want to do the Caribbean again. ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our 45th anniversary in style so we chose the Queen Victoria. We have been on the other two Queens and were very pleased. We live in south Florida and just didn't want to do the Caribbean again. We booked our cruise in March of 2018 and were told by the agent who took the booking that if we took an interior guarantee we'd probably end up with a window or balcony. Wrong - we didn't get our cabin until just before we sailed and it was a very large interior but next to the pool pump for the Hydrotherapy pool on the floor above. To make up for the noise that went from 7AM to 10 PM the ship gave us a $300 on board credit. There were no other rooms for us to move into. The cabin stewards were wonderful, we never had to ask twice for anything. The entertainment was the best we've had on any cruise. The lectures were wonderful; Our one complaint was the food. Many nights the food was over cooked, dried out. We were so disappointed in the food that I doubt I'd take another cruise on this ship. Read Less

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