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590 Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was our family's first ever cruise. We choose this particular one because of affordability and itinerary, I particularly wanted to visit Venice, Santorini and Mykonos. We were two parents and two teenage boys. First the pros: all ... Read More
This was our family's first ever cruise. We choose this particular one because of affordability and itinerary, I particularly wanted to visit Venice, Santorini and Mykonos. We were two parents and two teenage boys. First the pros: all the ship personnel was very friendly, nice and helpful. Embarkation in Venice was very smooth. Our luggage arrived later, but in time to change for dinner. We had Fantastica Inside Stateroom package. The cabin was clean, comfortable with enough cabinets, except for the shower in the bathroom, which was awfully small. The dinners at the Il Galeone restaurant were all good, we liked the food and our two servers. We choose second seating, which was fairly late at 21:30 and we had the 8 person table all to ourselves. Disembarkation was also smooth, we were short on time to get to the airport and purchased transfer from the ship, and it went very fast, we got to the airport right on time. The Venice airport is terrible but this is another story. We did not participate in many activities on ship, never went to the shows but watched couple of entertaining mini shows at the Manhattan bar at night and liked them. I purchased a Thermal suite access to the spa package and I went there every day. The thermal area was nice and clean, very few people there and I used a shower there rather than in my stateroom, because it was more spacious. I had two massage sessions at the spa and both were very good.My teenage kids never used teenage club r participated in any kids activities except playing basketball and mini golf. The negatives are pretty much same as everyone else says: ship facilities are not big enough to accomodate all passengers. It's impossible to find a table at the buffet, and all tables are quite dirty despite waiters efforts and sticky. There are no paper napkins to wipe the table! I expected to have a soda machine in the buffet but no, the only drinks available were terrible coffee, such bad coffee you don't find anywhere in Italy btw, and water. The buffet closes practically half hour before closing time and you can’t get anything if you want to wait out the stampede. Pizza was very good at snack bars but it was awfully hot too sit there and not many tables either. The pools on the ship are too small and were always overcrowded. My kids used the pool once, I have not used it at all. There was shortage of launchers as well. The port times are very short and crammed. We did not buy any excursions because we wanted to explore on our own. Santorini visit was awfully short. Ship came in at 7 am but we only got out at quarter past 9. The last tender back was at 2. We barely had time to get cable car up, to find and get on bus to Oia village, spent there maybe 30 minutes and had to rush back. By the time we got to cable car the line to go down was huge, and people from our ship were walking down the donkey path. We did walk too and it was not pleasant. It took 30 minutes to get down in extreme heat, the donkeys were running up and down, and you have to jump of the way. The last tender left at 2:30 instead of 2 fortunately, and we were last people to get on it, so we barely made it. I could not walk for 2 days after this since my leg muscles were aching terribly after the 650 something stairs down. But the worst was that Mykonos port was on the same day! We left Santorini at 3 and we arrived to Mykonos at 8 pm. It got dark and we could not see anything except the shops and restaurants. I was hoping to see windmills and take a ride to Delos but of course could not do it in the dark. So these were two big disappointments. Next time we will look at itinerary closely and make sure we have more time at ports, but it was not possible with MSC. Dubrovnik was interesting city. We did not take ship shuttle because you could take a taxi and pay same e13 for 4 people as for each person on a shuttle. We asked taxi driver to take us around and we had a nice excursion for 4 for e50 instead of paying ship excursion fees. I believe the itinerary was crammed on purpose to make people buy the ship excursions. However I spoke with some passengers who did excursions in Santorini and they complained that they did not have enough time to see anything and take pictures either. Ports of Split and Ancona were nothing special and quite boring. So all in all I gave this cruise 1 star because it was very disappointing and misleading in terms of ports. Next cruise will be with different company for sure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Chose this cruise for ports of call. Cruised the same ship last year and was happy with it then. The ship is older and could use an update. The cabin attendant had to be asked several time for new towels. She also asked to turn down ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports of call. Cruised the same ship last year and was happy with it then. The ship is older and could use an update. The cabin attendant had to be asked several time for new towels. She also asked to turn down our beds at 4 p.m. as she was getting off at 5. Told her to come back later. Seems like prepaid gratuities have lessened the service provided on cruises. Slow service at bars. Not enough staff to service customers. Waiting line 6 or more deep to get drinks. Dinner typically took 2 hours. Entertainment was like high school production all over. Not very good. Great ports of call. Good flow on all embarkations. Most of staff were very pleasant. Food was decent but very bland for for my taste. Even advertised spicy dishes were bland to me. You certainly can’t go hungry on any cruise. Disappointed they no longer serve lobster. Used NCL several years back to tour Hawaii and likened it to a taxi on water to be able to see most islands without packing and unpacking. This is similar. If anything, NCL needs to improve on service and food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Embarkation: Getting from Rome to the port can be a bit trying. NCL offers a transfer from FCO to the port at $80 a person. Our group (my family plus 7 others) meant that just to get to the terminal was an $800 affair. A private ... Read More
Embarkation: Getting from Rome to the port can be a bit trying. NCL offers a transfer from FCO to the port at $80 a person. Our group (my family plus 7 others) meant that just to get to the terminal was an $800 affair. A private shuttle from FCO to the port, cost $200. This was the first indication that NCL has turned nickel and dime-ing into a bloodsport. Once we arrived at the terminal, however, the staff and crew were helpful, and got us on board with minimal fuss. We opted for an oceanview cabin, midship, on the 6th floor of the ship. What struck me as odd, once I was onboard, was the complete lack of Roman/Greek decor. The ship seems outfitted for Asia. The art is Asian, the statues Asian. Sushi, Teppanyaki, Asian fusion restaurants along with bar/lounge decor. Our cabin was dirty. Not in the "a spot was missed" kinda way. Under the bed were wrappers for food, old itinerary papers were tucked away in the closet, and zip lock bags in the desk drawer left me with my first serious disappointment. Peeling molding and drain covers that were unscrewed made me regret my choice of berthing. I knew the Spirit is a smaller, older ship, but I was taken aback at the obvious maintenance backlog. Having kids means that most of my meals were taken at the Buffet. Raffel's as its called was a bright spot. The food was hot, and seating was never unsolvable crowded. There is plentiful variety, with special themes each night. Buffet eating means large quantities prepared constantly. My two complaints are there is lack of variety in terms of fresh fruits and salads, secondly the quality of the fruits was mediocre. We purchased a meal package which gave us 3 premium dining experiences. I tried La Trattoria, Le Bistro, and Teppanyaki. I found the food in Le Bistro and the Trattoria were remarkably the same as what was served in the buffet, simply with a better presentation. A cloth tablecloth does not a premium dining experience make. An exception to this was the Teppanyaki dinner. This was served appropriately, and the ingredients were fresh and done well. It's not Benihana quality but it was done well. We tried a movie out during our "day at sea", the screen bounced and the sound cut out repeatedly, which made me wonder if anyone was even there in the film booth. There are two pools, one for adults and another for children. There is insufficient seating for families with kids at the children's pool. The water features were not operational in the pool, and it was closed on three separate occasions. After the first swim, my daughter contracted conjunctivitis. The next day the pool was closed. I saw blood, and feces in pool on different occasions. A trip to ship medical, to get the pink-eye medicated yielded a $240 charge, eyedrops, and a ban from the pool and kids club until we could follow up in a few days time. Appropriate cautions, but word had got out about it, and no doubt many parents opted to not treat their children, nor was there any enforcement mechanism preventing infected kids from using the kids pool. A note for summer travellers: The ports are Sahara desert hot. You need to stock up on water. If you don't book your excursions through NCL (at significant markups) then port disembarkation ends at the gangway. No information on how to proceed through the port, gain transportation, etc. Transportation from the ports to the places you want to go is problematic. Taxi drivers are unscrupulous, and prey on visitors. Each port was also filled with barkers selling trinkets out of suitcases. Don't let them put anything in your hands, or you will be forced to buy it when they accuse you of trying to steal away with their bauble. Many of the ports were filthy, and the lack of direction from the cruise ship staff can let passengers go astray quickly. Be on your guard. As the 11 day cruise wore on, I felt as if the staff became less and less engaged. Perhaps the grueling schedule was putting them off. I felt more pity for them than anything, because by day 7 things were not working. An example: We had three pool towels day one, it became impossible to get a third towel after day 6, despite repeated requests. Anytime they found three towels in the room, they left us 2. Sometimes even leaving two still wet towels, and unexplainably taking the third. The internet service on board is a scam. They monitise you being unable to connect. They monetise you trying to get the service to stop. I spent 10 minutes of my 250 trying to get the data service to stop. There is a app called iConcierge which can be used to send messages to other phones on the ship. It doesn't work well. Don't rely on of these services. Even at the "top tier" unlimited data plan, at $45 a day per device, the ability to read email, or get a weather report was more miss than hit. I recommend buying an international data plan for your cell phone and use the land based infrastructure. The ships system is simply inadequate. Shame on NCL for offering this level of service for those prices. The ports of call are like a bucket list for Iliad enthusiasts. My complaint here is the time allotted to many of the ports of call. Disembarkation at 8 AM fine, but many ports of call require travel to a destination, and most of the ports wanted you back on board by dinner time. Some places we had 6 hours or less. Mykanos, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini were all amazing places to see. Rhodes seems to have the best infrastructure to receive tourists en masse, and the beaches and restaurants are amazing. Santorini was terrible crowded but picturesque like no place else. In Mykanos we went off the beaten path and had a great meal on an organic farm with a nice family. In Athens we went to the Parthenon, used the Metro to get there. The metro in Athens is great. In Malta, a word of warning. The on-off busses must compete with container trucks on an island with few road alternatives. Apparently there are 300,000 cars in Malta with a populace of 440,000. A single traffic snare can leave you on a bus in a two hour traffic stop. They are not air-conditioned. It was north of 40 C ( 103F) on the top a bus. Not a pleasant experience for the kids. I don't have any experience with NCL other than this cruise. There may be other ships and itineraries with NCL that are better than this, but I can't recommend this cruise and sadly must wave off any prospective buyers. Not from the ports of call, but from the cruise itself. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
great crew, but would not travel with this cruise line again. The dinner food was actually terrible, even after trying 4 of the different dinners. There was no special dinner for the dress-up nights - in fact, most people didn't even ... Read More
great crew, but would not travel with this cruise line again. The dinner food was actually terrible, even after trying 4 of the different dinners. There was no special dinner for the dress-up nights - in fact, most people didn't even dress up, so it was no big deal at all. The activities were almost non-existent, especially on the sea days. It was extremely disappointing. I compared this to many Carnival cruises, and this was far below my past experiences. The at sea days were actually filled with fun activities around the pool and were very enjoyable. The only activities that RCI provided for the at sea days were a belly-flop contest (one day) and a sexy man contest (the other at sea day). It was pathetic! The nightly entertainment was a little more than high school. I felt nickel and dimed the entire cruise, always asking for more money, spa experiences, expensive drinks, etc. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which itself was great but the ship was a disappointment. It felt more like an ageing holiday camp atmosphere with a regular call from the bridge every morning at 8.00am and second rate ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which itself was great but the ship was a disappointment. It felt more like an ageing holiday camp atmosphere with a regular call from the bridge every morning at 8.00am and second rate entertainment that at times was painful to listen to. Noise from events at the atrium could be heard in mid ship cabins. Free for all buffet where the food was better there than in the more formal dining room which served up rather small portions of everything. The All Inclusive doesn't include everything on the drinks & cocktail menus - you'll have to pay extra for a number of drinks. Usual hogging of sun beds but I suppose we are now used to this. No minibar/fridge in the balcony cabins to keep water etc cool. Smelly drains in the bathroom for the duration of our holiday and very limited storage space in our cabin. With better organisation, cabin improvements, better entertainment, better standards of food and more bar & waiting staff, it could be quite good. We did however throughly enjoy the various ports of call around the Adriatic but overall felt standards had sadly fallen compared to our experiences on other Thomson/Marella ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
we choose this cruise purely for the itinerary as did most others we spoke to on the ship. It left Roma and sailed up the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik, (fab) to Venice 2 nights, back to Koper,( why?) Split (great) Corfu, Katakolon (beach? er ... Read More
we choose this cruise purely for the itinerary as did most others we spoke to on the ship. It left Roma and sailed up the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik, (fab) to Venice 2 nights, back to Koper,( why?) Split (great) Corfu, Katakolon (beach? er no), Valetta, and back to Roma. Our fourth cruise and the only one where we have not met many friends - pretty much none at all and we have met so many on other cruises. We are pretty out there people but struggled with this cruise, it was mainly loud Americans and Euros who didn't speak English but the ship was not conducive to meeting people due to pokey bars or widespaced unfriendly areas. At Dinner we sat by ourselves very night often chatting with guests at the next table for company. Compare with Celebrity where they had a cocktail bar outside facing the bow so you could watch your port disappear into the sunset ( a sunset bar) and where we met people every night. At dinner on Celebrity we had the option to sit on a table of ten with 4 other couples often who we ended up spending the evening with drinking and dancing. Food was fine, drinks were stupidly expensive, US$9 a beer plus tax made them close to US$12, that is AUD$16 which is twice the price of a beer in an expensive bar back home. Glasses of poor/medium quality wine were the same, the price of a medium quality bottle at home. We didn't do any ship tours we organised our own on shore and paid around a third of the price of the ship's tours. Our room was small but acceptable, the service was good enough, the pool was tiny and freezing cold in the middle of summer, and of course there were no sunbeds left after 9am all reserved by towels with no policing by staff of this terrible practice. We won't use this cruise line again, Americans may be happy with this service and cost but for us Celebrity was soooooo much better in every department at the same price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our thirteenth cruise and our first on Celebrity. We were expecting a step up from our other cruises which have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess, but we were sadly and utterly disappointed! I am not sure what the ... Read More
This was our thirteenth cruise and our first on Celebrity. We were expecting a step up from our other cruises which have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess, but we were sadly and utterly disappointed! I am not sure what the problem was but it seemed that every crew member, apart from our room steward, did not want to be there. They were uncaring, disinterested and, quite frankly, just going thought the motions. Not once were we referred to by name or made to feel welcome. On other cruise lines when you have visited, say, a bar for a couple of days, the staff know your name and your favourite drink...not on this ship. We thought the food in the main restaurant was very average, as was our experience at the Tuscan Grille Italian restaurant on the first night.One highlight was our meal in QSine, which, to their credit, was probably the best meal we had ever eaten at sea. The service there was good too. The nightly shows were also disappointing with all but two being the on board crew performing various songs and dancing. They too, sadly, were below par. Very disappointing and we will not be rushing back to Celebrity when others make much more of an effort! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our second cruise on Discovery 2 and will be our last. Firstly the positives, check in and getting to ship and cabin was easy and reasonably quick, we did end up sitting in a bus at the cruise terminal for about 30 mins but it was ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Discovery 2 and will be our last. Firstly the positives, check in and getting to ship and cabin was easy and reasonably quick, we did end up sitting in a bus at the cruise terminal for about 30 mins but it was a busy period. The cabin staff are fantastic and can’t do enough for you and the balcony cabin we were given was clean,tidy and exactly what we booked and expected. The ship itself is impressive and has plenty bars, restaurants and social areas, these are generally clean and have attentive staff to look after guests. In my opinion there is a severe lack of seating in the “live and Atrium” bars and these areas fill to capacity very quickly making it near impossible to get a drink at the bars. Bar staff don’t appear to understand queuing and tend to serve those that shout loudest first and this can be frustrating after a long wait. The two main restaurants 47 and Gallery 47 are superb and the food was excellent as are the staff working there, sadly the same can’t be said of “islands” restaurant, the food there is buffet style self service, often look warm and tasted as if it had been prepared a long time earlier. More concerning was seeing people pawing food with hands and not using utensils to put food onto plates, this unhygienic trait really put us off eating there. The crew really try to encourage hand cleanliness and there are hand sterilisation points all over the ship especially in toilets which are used by most but unfortunately not all which on a ship is concerning. Entertainment....World Cup...no thanks but that’s what we got on our day at sea and also in Croatia. Decks 4,9 and 10 social areas were awash with painted football supporters,boozed up and behaving like louts. Verbal abuse, threatening and general intimidation are not what we paid for or expected. I along with 64 others did make our feelings known to front desk staff to no avail. Ports of call were superb and all within easy reach of the ship, the itinerary of the cruise was fantastic for us and allowed us to visit many interesting and beautiful places. In summary, excellent ship, excellent staff, reasonable food, plenty to drink if you don’t mind queuing and fantastic itinerary. Unfortunately Marella let many guests down by allowing football to be shown on every social deck leaving non interested guests no where to go to escape it. Corfu Airport is prehistoric and a disgrace considering how long tourists have visited the island, high time Thompson and other tour operators put pressure on the airport operator to seriously upgrade facilities. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, and probably our last. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We really enjoyed our time off the ship. Our excursions were professional, very educational, and well worth the money; ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, and probably our last. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We really enjoyed our time off the ship. Our excursions were professional, very educational, and well worth the money; we really had a great time. The ship was a different story. The ship was tired and warn- out. We stayed on deck two and had to deal with a sewer smell in the stairwells and passageways most of the cruise. This ship was the most noisy I have experienced. A metal on metal banging sound at all times at night woke us up numerous times each night. The food was subpar at best. I never really expect much from buffets, but I do expect proper temperature and semi-fresh, not cold and dried out. The main dinning room's food was consistently poor. Service was a mixed bag. Our cabin attendant, waiters, and other staff were professional and did their best to make our stay enjoyable. If you needed help from the front desk don't worry about calling, because no one answers; also very undermanned. Spent over $300 for the slowest wifi on the planet, and it didn't work the entire time. Due to the excursions, we had a great time. The ship was not enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The ship was not well maintained. One of the elevators never worked. The food at the Windjammer was poor and the place not well cleaned. Very poor room service, one day we never received the breakfast we ordered, when called to ask why ... Read More
The ship was not well maintained. One of the elevators never worked. The food at the Windjammer was poor and the place not well cleaned. Very poor room service, one day we never received the breakfast we ordered, when called to ask why they said that they were very busy with too many orders, we had to leave the ship on a tour without breakfast. I have always cruised with Royal Caribbean but after this experience we will have to look for other options. The shows were of poor quality specially comparing with other Royal Caribbean cruises that I have taken. Drinks served at the theater were awful, I have to recognized the good service received at the main dining by Progica and Milos and the good service received by the personnel cleaning our cabin. This cruise was terrible and it questions the commitment of Royal Caribbean to support this route of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Jewel of the Seas has to be towards the bottom end of the scale for good value cruising. If you value a good night’s sleep do not stay in cabins near the central area as the music blasts out of the Centrum every night until midnight ... Read More
The Jewel of the Seas has to be towards the bottom end of the scale for good value cruising. If you value a good night’s sleep do not stay in cabins near the central area as the music blasts out of the Centrum every night until midnight and can be heard loud and clear in all the cabins on all levels near the central, open area of the ship. For some reason all the entertainers on the ship thought passengers were deaf and made it impossible to have a discussion without yelling, while they played. On the subject of entertainment Jewel of the Seas fails dismally. It’s nightly shows are probably the poorest we have ever seen and was reflected by the low attendance by pasengers. Meals are very ordinary, with little change to an unimaginative and bland menu, even the buffet was better. Public area toilets were disgusting and often caused an odour around the ship. Cabins were given only a cursory clean. The smell of burning fuel was ever present and made it impossible at times to sit on the balcony plus every now and again large deposits of black material were emitted covering unsuspecting passengers in spots of black which the ship’s laundry was unable to remove. I’m not sure what all the money was spent on refurbishing the ship only two years ago as I found little evidence of it and very little to none must have been used on the cabins which were generally very tired looking. The only positive was the embarkation and disembarkation processes, which worked well. Overall not worth the expense and I would suggest if you are looking at a good, value for money cruise, don’t go on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I will compare Celebrity to a recent similar itinerary on Oceania: 1) Guest trash left for hours on rooftop terrace and pool area. Never happened on Oceania 2) Staff service at pool and rooftop for drinks was almost non-existent on ... Read More
I will compare Celebrity to a recent similar itinerary on Oceania: 1) Guest trash left for hours on rooftop terrace and pool area. Never happened on Oceania 2) Staff service at pool and rooftop for drinks was almost non-existent on Celebrity 3) Oceania freely gave us good water during a hot cruise. Celebrity not only took away glasses at 3:00 for you to help yourself but nickled and dimed you to death over bottled water. Sent us out on a 9 hr excursion with no free water. 4) Bar staff outdoors was rude and if you didn’t care to buy an unlimited drink package handled your request and card uncarefully. Had to watch them like a hawk. Oceania staff manners and efficiency were outstanding 5) Oceania constantly had their handrails and public surfaces being disinfected and wiped. Only thing that I ever saw Celebrity do was to keep their deck surfaces wet at very inappropriate times 6) because ONE cabin underneath the table tennis room complained, they moved both tables out onto the pool area resulting in very loud noise and ping pong balls hitting you on your chaise lounge 7) Most importantly the buffet food and service was like a Denny’s only with less selection and it took pleading to have the staff bring me hot coffee instead of having to carry it dangerouslly through a crowd. All their chef inspired food had heavy Indian spices and curry in them or the bacon and eggs were either under or overcooked. Oceania’s buffet was 5-star and often offered shrimp and lobster on the buffet. In addition Oceania is a healthier ship as they do not allow guests to touch repeated utensils at the buffet. Will not return to Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary . My husband and I took our children, spouses and grandchildren (party of ten) on the 7 day cruise. My husband and I had gone on a previous cruise on another cruise line a few years ago and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary . My husband and I took our children, spouses and grandchildren (party of ten) on the 7 day cruise. My husband and I had gone on a previous cruise on another cruise line a few years ago and wanted to take our family to see some of these places. We booked 3 balcony rooms and 2 rooms across the hall. We were very disappointed in the cruise. The food was just o.k. - not as good as the food on other cruise lines that we have been on. There were no extras such as making animals out of towels, ice sculptures, waiters dancing like we have had on previous lines. We have always loved the waiters and cabin personnel on other cruises and hated to leave them. We met no one we felt that way about on this cruise. We found the crew members indifferent and not very friendly with the exception of the girls handing out plates & silverware in the buffet dining room. The cabins were very nice and the public areas. Most of the excursions were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I hardly saw Dave, the cruise director. One thing that NCL should correct is the freestyle daily. It says that bars are open 24/7. They are not. I don't understand how the only thing open in the ship 24/7 is one small restaurant. This ... Read More
I hardly saw Dave, the cruise director. One thing that NCL should correct is the freestyle daily. It says that bars are open 24/7. They are not. I don't understand how the only thing open in the ship 24/7 is one small restaurant. This is outrageous. A bar should at least stay open. Additionally, one day I went to get chocolate milk in the morning in the buffet and had to wait for over 20 minutes to get milk. This is ridiculous. I had to get a managers help. I ended up waiting over 10 more minutes for a cartoon milk. Sometimes, my plate of food at the buffet (during breakfast) stayed in front of me even after I got up to go get another plate of food. Service needs to be improved. Moreover, the area on deck 12, outside the nail salon, on the way to the pool (left side) smelled like trash all the time. There should be more entertainment activities on board. The BMW group was good as well as some of the shows. However, the magician needs to update his trick. Most of his tricks included hiding his assistant and then having her reappear. Additionally, the cruise should not port in Chania so early. Nothing was open at the time of docking. It seemed like a waste of time. Furthermore, when I selected my cruise picture, a staff member gave me attitude for asking him to reprint them because they had fingerprint marks on them. This lack of friendliness is unacceptable. Additionally, the salon staff lost my free $200 voucher and charged my credit card multiple times until it got corrected with the final price of my massage. Dealing with this was super annoying. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the day before, The information given to us at Palma was "You know as much as we do" which wasn't very helpfull. This was advertised as Marella Explorer first sailing? The ship was launched in May 1996?? I would rank it as a average cruise ship with nothing exceptional or nothing really bad apart from the things below. Bars -- I found that in all the bars I visited that the staff were very obliging but were very inexperienced The waiter service was slow and that orders were frequently wrong, The bar & waiting staff were also not familiar with the computer terminals that they were using that led to ques forming, on one occasion I noted that there were five staff behind the bar and only one serving and on another I asked for my usual drink and was told that it was not on the all inclusive package and that I would have to upgrade to get it, after I was told this I went to reception to check this out and was told that the bar staff were mistaken. Restaurants Market place- Only ate here a few times and found that the food was genrally good but was let down by food being slowly replaced when required and that some hot food was only luke warm. On one day the only plates that were available for salad and cold meats were just out of the dishwasher and were hot. Latitude 53- The food at latitude 53 was good where we mostly ate Most of the staff here seemed experienced and most orders were served correctly but one lunch time I made the mistake of ordering a Vegeterian Burger after a 20 min wait the waiter apoligised for the delay and said the chef was making it from scratch when it arrived 15 min later I was disappointed to find that it was just fried cooked lentals with a sice of tomato in a burger bun, Definitely not Restaurant quality. Broadway Show lounge The entertainment in the Broadway Show lounge was good and varied we were able to get seats on all the nights we went there except one where we had to stand for half of a poular show, On this night there was a portion of the seating cordoned with a sign saying reserved seating, the next day I questioned this at reception and was told that "It is not possible to reserve seating" I then asked why there was reserved seating the previous night? The receptionist took my cabin number and told me that she would list it as a complaint and get back to me. 10 hrs later I had herd nothing and went back and saw another person and was told that there was no complaint noted and that she would try and find out for me about the reserved seating, After consulting with someone in the back office she came back and said that the seats were probibly reserved for crew members as it was captains night and that if I wanted to see a show that I should arrive earlier to which I replied "Is it TUI policy to put the crews comfort above there passangers" To which there was no reply So I can only assume that this is the case. At 07:00 one morning the captain came over the PA to tell us that we had docked and that we were free to go ashore I asked at destination service (There was a que at reception) why there was a need to make the announcement so early and was told that it was for the benifit of the passengers going on excursions to which I pointed out most were not and what about them, I did not receive a reply. I was considering going on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords next year but it will not be on the Marella Explorer, Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Greece, in particular Santorini has been on my bucket list for a long time. While getting on and off the ship was efficiently handled and the crew overall were very helpful and accommodating, the ship is old, cabins blah and food was ... Read More
Greece, in particular Santorini has been on my bucket list for a long time. While getting on and off the ship was efficiently handled and the crew overall were very helpful and accommodating, the ship is old, cabins blah and food was awful on several nights in the main dining room. Some of the specialty dining was no more specialty than at Applebee’s or Ruby Tuesday’s. Entertainment was average at best. We enjoyed many of the beautiful Ports and sights. Probably could have been 1 or 2 less ports. We booked two excursions through the ship and had some disappointment with both. The excursion to Santorini included a visit to a winery, apparently drinking wine at 9:30 a.m. is norm. In addition, waiting in line for the cable car for an hour and a half with people cutting in did ruin the experience. On our second excursion to Amalfi by land and sea, the land portion was only an opportunity to take a captive audience shopping. First, a cameo and coral jewelry factory, next a furniture factory, third, a lemonchello manufacturer. There was no mention of these stops in the tour info. The sea portion was well worth it. This was our third sail with Norwegian but I don’t think I will sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be visible and friendly. The entertainment director is a very talented singer and entertainer and was a lot of fun. The cabin staff were very friendly and efficient. But the food was sub par and I had to return multiple items that I ordered. The food was served cold most of the time and the bread was stale The internet service very expensive and did not work at all. The Windows restaurant is little more than an average cafeteria. The wine served in the basic package is very low quality, maybe $6 a bottle. The stateroom was tiny and the bathroom smaller than a closet. I will not be back on Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, ... Read More
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, do not purchase any of the excursions; as on so many cruises, these are considerably overpriced. On our trip, they were, well, rip-offs. Incompetent or disinterested tour guides (vendors) consistnetly failed to provide even the minimum offered in excursion descriptions. Worst of all on our cruise, and most surprisingly, service in main diningroom was more than once the worst we have experienced in almost 20 years of cruising up and down the price range: vanishing waiters, failures to deliver, missing follow-ups. Finally, we just left. Try another luxury line instead - even if, you guessed it, it costs a bit more. Based on our experience on this one trip, I'm disappointed to say: avoid WindStar. Service was so bad that I am motivated to post this review - my first anywhere, any place, about anything. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I just spent 24 days all over Europe. We decided to incorporate this 10 day cruise because of the route, since we had not been to Greece nor Sicily yet. Our and many other passengers' experiences were not too ... Read More
My husband and I just spent 24 days all over Europe. We decided to incorporate this 10 day cruise because of the route, since we had not been to Greece nor Sicily yet. Our and many other passengers' experiences were not too satisfactory. Many agreed that the ship's decorations were mainly Asian (of course we found out that this used to be a Gambling Asian ship many years ago, apparently), so it made sense. There are not many restaurant options, main dining food and service was not good at all, and the ship moves too much. Worse part was the stateroom being so noisy that we could hear the people next to us, left and right. This was my 2nd cruise with Norwegian and both times have been the same issues. Shore excursions were too expensive and rushed for the cost of it. Will not recommend nor will cruise with this line again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have sailed several times on Victoria, always in Princess Grills, and loved it. This time the room was dirty, and very noisy. The ship was under crewed and no one seemed very happy. The room was not cleaned until mid to late afternoon, ... Read More
We have sailed several times on Victoria, always in Princess Grills, and loved it. This time the room was dirty, and very noisy. The ship was under crewed and no one seemed very happy. The room was not cleaned until mid to late afternoon, which is unusual and was very inconvenient. The ship was very noisy with the infrastructure creaking and groaning 24/7 The food was adequate but not of the usual standard and the menu should really be changed more regularly. To have the same limited menu for two weeks is not luxury. The meal times were only redeemed by the Maitre'd, he was a lovely man and extremely attentive and helpful. We, and others in Grills, encountered a lot of aggression, abuse and inappropriate comments from other passengers because we were Grills passengers. That was a first! The entertainment was not of the usual standard, and the young dancers in charge of line dancing seemed to forget we were all on holiday, for fun, and treated it like one of their rehearsals. The fun was missing We didn't do shore excursions because we felt they weren't value for money. It was a bad experience all round and as a result we will not be travelling with Cunard again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
we choose this Cruise to celebrate out 50th Wedding Anniversary Embarkation and disembarkation were very well organised - The ship never stopped rolling never been on a ship that moved so much Cabin small /shower very small / ... Read More
we choose this Cruise to celebrate out 50th Wedding Anniversary Embarkation and disembarkation were very well organised - The ship never stopped rolling never been on a ship that moved so much Cabin small /shower very small / but very clean Used Britannia Restaurant most of the time - Food and service in Evening excellent but think this was a training cruise - breakfast and Lunch could be hit and miss - Waiters had attitude Entertainment was not bad - speakers were excellent - have seen better shows photography - not well publicised - bought an expensive package- only to find wrong photos so have no records of Anniversary no sign of senior officers around deck - waiters in short supply to clear tables and serve drinks - did not know where upper deck was Drinks were over priced - west end prices would not go on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Chose this cruise because I wanted to be in Madeira for the firework display and to spend Christmas on board. Service was very poor, the staff looked tired and everything was an effort. The food in the Lido buffet was not replenished ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I wanted to be in Madeira for the firework display and to spend Christmas on board. Service was very poor, the staff looked tired and everything was an effort. The food in the Lido buffet was not replenished fast enough, e.g. when one quarter of tomato is sitting alone in the tray it should have been replaced before it got that low. I had to ask for cuttlery in the Lido and I saw one passenger cleaning the table herself as it had not been done by a waiter, The ship is shabbty and looks as tired as the staff. I stayed on the ship on 7th January as my sister was joining me to sail to New York. I changed cabins to 4145. I have travelled on Cunard many times and these were the worst sailings I have experienced. It was hard work getting co-operation from the pursers' office when I had a query or complaint, Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Trans Atlantic Inaugural Cruise Some things were good.The worst of many is when we arrived ion Miami and disbarked at our designated time.The luggage was still being taken off the ship.Their was almost a riiot and peolpe had planes to ... Read More
Trans Atlantic Inaugural Cruise Some things were good.The worst of many is when we arrived ion Miami and disbarked at our designated time.The luggage was still being taken off the ship.Their was almost a riiot and peolpe had planes to catch.No officers from the ship from their to tell us how long it would be before we could get our luggage.Never experienced anything like that before and we have been on over 50 cruises The food was bad.The ship is built for 7 day Caribbean sailings as their was not enough draw space for a 20 day cruise where you needed all typesf clothes as the first 11 days weather was cold and the last nine werein very warm climate.The shows were so so.No band,all music piped in.They did a good job with most of the shows and the costumes made the shows.With saying all of the above,sailing in warm climate for which the ship was built combined with the low prices should fill the ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Apologies in advance – this is going to be quite a long but hopefully balanced review. To cut it short, if I was asked about whether I’d cruise on the Spirit again, the answer would be ‘probably not’. Not because of the ship ... Read More
Apologies in advance – this is going to be quite a long but hopefully balanced review. To cut it short, if I was asked about whether I’d cruise on the Spirit again, the answer would be ‘probably not’. Not because of the ship itself - we knew it was older and would be a little worn in places, but it was charming. Rather, our reticence reflects some of the issues we experienced. Similarly, it would take some persuasion before we booked another Marella cruise unless we could be assured that their other ships had a rather better offering that that we experienced on the Spirit. There were plenty of positives so not all moans and groans. Our flights were on time and uneventful although the hand luggage allowance on TUI is unnecessarily low – lower than I’ve experienced on other airlines and something that lots of passengers similarly complained about. It’s certainly a budget airline with limited space and no frills but then we knew that. Things were well-organised on arrival and our embarkation to the ship was quick and hassle-free. The ship itself was charming. A nice size with plenty of space and facilities but without feeling like a characterless ocean-going apartment complex. We should also mention the shore excursions - these were well-priced and good value compared to other lines. Our suite (119) was large and comfortable with lots of storage space and a great bathroom (of which more later). Not sure why we could only have cream in the room with the tea and coffee making facilities though – milk would be much better for tea drinkers so we resorted to taking some from the Lido buffet each day and keeping it in the fridge. For those wondering about the suites, I’d say they are worth the price of the upgrade – very spacious and quiet. You get the safe included (rather than paying extra) as well as a few perks like quick check in, some ironing and a free room service breakfast. You also know you’re going to get a proper king size bed rather than risking an L shape twin configuration if that’s important to you. Elemis products in the bathroom were much nicer than a wall-mounted detergent dispenser. Our cabin attendants were great too – the ship may be old but the cabin was spotless and well-maintained. And we loved the nice line in towel-folding courtesy of Valentina. Shame that some of our towels were well past their use by date though - I didn't really want to receive a clean towel with someone's mascara stains on it. However despite the best efforts of the crew, there are some issues with the ship that require urgent remedial attention. The plumbing system is one – we were not impressed when we realised that when the people next door were showering, their waste water (and some lovely drain smells) was coming back up through the plug hole in our bathroom. If we put the plug in, the pressure was strong enough to move it out of the way so that didn’t work and the base of our bath near the plug hole was covered in dirt and scum after next door’s ablutions. Despite repeated attempts over a couple of days, the plumbers on board were not able to properly resolve this problem although to be fair the staff at reception were genuinely concerned and did what they could to try and get things sorted out for us. I don’t think our cabin was an isolated incident though. I’d read another review which mentioned a strong smell of urine when entering parts of the ship, which I had assumed was just an isolated complaint by someone who was particularly sensitive to such issues – but sadly I have to confirm they were right! We avoided one of the lounge areas completely for the whole cruise because of this. There must have been a previous leak on to the carpets in that area, but the clean-up had not successfully got rid of the underlying vague stale background smell – not a good first impression when we were wandering around the ship on the first night. Others have commented on the notorious shudder of the ship, even when docked. Well it was certainly noticeable - in particular in the Horizons Bar on the top deck - one of our favourite venues but you'd not want to go there with loose fillings! I suspect that whatever is causing this is too expensive to put right though, so if you want a completely smooth sail, go on another ship. Nevertheless we enjoyed some great company and met many lovely fellow passengers with whom we'll keep in contact. I wish we could say the same thing about some of the crew. We’d heard so many good things about how friendly the crew were on the Spirit and we did experience some of that; but on more than one occasion we encountered downright rudeness. Perhaps it was to do with being the final cruise of a long 9 month season, but we were surprised. Staff working in bar areas in particular seemed to be over-worked and weren’t at all friendly – perhaps they didn't have time to be given how few of them there seemed to be, but this was very different from our previous experiences on CMV (Magellan) and Cunard (Q Victoria). We were also surprised - and not in a good way - at the quality of the food, having read other glowing reviews. Our room service breakfast included croissants that had either been stored too long and gone off, or been made with rancid butter – very unpleasant indeed (again, to be fair, reception dealt well with this when we informed them). Forget healthy cereals for breakfast - there were no sugar free options. Dinners in the Compass Rose never quite hit the mark and although individual dishes were OK, we never had a complete meal that was good from start to finish. Sadly it was the mains that were usually the weakest link – cheap ingredients and gloopy sauces that gave off every indication of having come from a packet mix. A meal in Scirocco’s was similarly disappointing – I’d never before had a lamb shank that was tough and chewy with no sauce. But I have now. This was without doubt the worst food we’ve experienced on a cruise. We expected Cunard to be much better and it was – it should be given the price you pay – but we thought Thomson/Marella would be a match for CMV. Sadly we thought wrong – on the Magellan our meals were always at least good and sometimes surprisingly so; on the Spirit they were adequate, occasionally veering towards good in parts. The food was nowhere near as good as you’d get from a decent pub let alone a good restaurant. Suffice to say, the best food we had on this trip was the meals we ate off the boat. On board, it’s probably best to make wise choices from the Lido buffet rather than have high expectations from the restaurants. We had the AI drinks package that was included at the time of booking, and the house wines were good – the red in particular – so no problems there. House spirits were OK too, and you could always upgrade to something better for a small extra charge. People seemed less happy with the beer choices but that wasn't an issue for us. Cocktails were best avoided though – weak, watery and unimpressive, they were probably made with cheap mixes and were only vague approximations of what they could have been. There were some good entertainment options available. Strum Jam are very talented and I can see why they command such a following. Singers in the main shows were better than we’ve experienced on other cruises although the shows were let down by bland and unadventurous choreography – we got the sense that the team were talented dancers but they hadn’t been given the choreography to let them show off their skills. It’s a shame the shows were to backing tapes (again an area where CMV does better with a good live band in their main theatre) and the music offerings around the ship were limited to (mostly) rock and some jazz. An area with a bit of classical music like we had on the Magellan would also have been nice but that wasn’t on offer here. So, overall I can see why people love the ship – but it needs a bit of urgent plumbing work while it’s in dry dock over the winter. I don’t understand the comments about how good the food is though – it really isn’t. This felt like a cruise where costs had been cut to the bone and we were glad to get off after the week had passed. Thankfully we had another three days in Paphos in a lovely hotel (The King Jason, owned by the Louis company who ironically also run the Spirit on behalf of Marella) where we experienced the kind of service we’d hoped to receive on the ship. Hopefully our experience was unusual and perhaps affected by the fact that we were on the final sailing of a long season but, with regret, despite its charm the Spirit is probably not a ship we’d travel on again unless we knew that Marella had upped their game quite considerably. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
BLU restaurant - Poor foods and menu selection are limited, and very ... very slow service, We need at least 2 to 2 1/2 hour to finish a meal !!!! Very disappointed !!!! Some days we rather go to the Oceanview restaurant to have our ... Read More
BLU restaurant - Poor foods and menu selection are limited, and very ... very slow service, We need at least 2 to 2 1/2 hour to finish a meal !!!! Very disappointed !!!! Some days we rather go to the Oceanview restaurant to have our dinner just to save time and better foods. Our Aqua class cabin was clean and nice, the stateroom attendant was friendly and professional. The staff at the emporium were also very friendly. However, staff on the rest of the ship were NOT very friendly, especially the staff at the future cruise dept., they are not very helpful in answering questions or give any future cruise suggestions... They have only two good shows in the theater - ihollywood and elyria, other shows in the theater were terrible. Overall, the staff on the ship gave us an impression of "don't bother us" attitude. This is our first time on the Constellation and we were very disappointed !!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017

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