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3,514 Europe - All Cruise Reviews

TUI Mein Schiff Cruises is a nice cruise line, but not for everyone. I had the pleasure of participating in a historic event. The July 24 2020 cruise aboard the Mein Schiff 2 was the first large ship cruise after the coronavirus ... Read More
TUI Mein Schiff Cruises is a nice cruise line, but not for everyone. I had the pleasure of participating in a historic event. The July 24 2020 cruise aboard the Mein Schiff 2 was the first large ship cruise after the coronavirus lockdown in the world. Here I must admit that the TUI did a great job with the new safety measures. Muster Drill was conducted in small groups, the crew checked the temperature regularly. Passengers and crew were wearing masks and paying attention to keep an appropriate distance at all times. Hand sanitizers and temperature scanners were everywhere throughout the ship. I felt much safer aboard than in public places on land. Mein Schiff 2 is new and fresh. The decor is pretty nice, although it's a rather simple Scandinavian style. The ship has many nice places to admire the views, a very large swimming pool ( as for a ship) and a very wide Spa and Fitness offer.The atmosphere was very calm and relaxed, there was plenty of space everywhere, especially since there were only about 1,200 passengers out of a possible 3,000 passengers on board due to the virus and capacity limitation. Nevertheless, I think that even with normal occupancy, Mein Schiff ships have a good space-passenger ratio and are never overcrowded. The service is good and most of the crew members are very friendly. One exception is the X-Lounge (a panoramic premium lounge for Suite guests). In such a place you would expect exceptional service, but we felt there as if we were invisible and the crew was completely out of control over the situation. Considering the situation, the fact that this was the first cruise, maybe there were shortages of the crew or something, but TUI should look at the matter and solve the problem because it is not KFC, but a premium lounge on a premium ship. The food is not bad, but very geared towards German customers which may not suit everyone.The food is especially delicious at the specialty restaurants, however those are extra paid and very expensive. I have to say that Captain Thomas Roth did a great job. He tried to compensate for the lack of the port by giving the best views both during the sailaway from Hamburg and during the panoramic stop in Kristiansand where he circled the port for a long time to give everyone a chance for great views. There were two very magical moments on this voyage. The first was the horn battle with AidaPerla while departing from Hamburg, and the second was the family meeting with Mein Schiff 4 and 6 in the middle of the sea on the return to Hamburg during which all 3 sister ships sailed right next to each other in formation. Thank you to TUI Cruises for organizing this and for great memories that will stay forever. As I mentioned, this is not a line for everyone because if you don't know German you can feel lost, The whole entertainment, but also the announcements (including Muster Drill) were only in German. Another thing is that the whole concept of TUI Cruises is aimed at Germans (which is understandable), but I do not recommend this line to people looking for American-style cruises with entertainment, parties, discos, fun etc.However, from my own experience, despite minor shortcomings caused by the human factor, I generally rate Tui Cruises very well. On this very special cruise we did not get off at any port because there was only a panoramic stop in Kristiansand in Norway so I cannot evaluate the shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2020
Normally we cannot book AmaWaterways in Germany. But in this Corona times, no American can board the ship. So the cruiseline worked together with a german Travel Agency and offered 5 day cruises on Rhine and Mosel. We combined two cruises, ... Read More
Normally we cannot book AmaWaterways in Germany. But in this Corona times, no American can board the ship. So the cruiseline worked together with a german Travel Agency and offered 5 day cruises on Rhine and Mosel. We combined two cruises, one heading north from Cologne/Germany to Amsterdam/Netherland. The following one from Cologne to Straßburg/France. A wonderful ship, great crew, extraordinary food. Large cabins with balcony and nice destinations with small and big cities. Most in walking distances to the ship. Loved to cruise on the Mosel and the Middelrhine, with all the castles and wineries. Due to Corona the cities were not overcrowded and we had enough space for social distancing. Wearing masks onboard, was only for about 10 minutes per day, from cabin to public spaces and back, to the upper deck, or to restaurants. Desinfection stations throughout the ship, temperature measurement every day. For us it was a special experience, because 3 cruises were cancelled. Every couple had a table for 4. About 57 guests on board, perfect for us and enjoying the excellent service from the waiters. .You were allowed to bring your own bikes or take a bike from the ship for free. A perfect alternative in Coronatimes Read Less
Sail Date July 2020
I chose this cruise as my first solo cruise although I have cruised with P&O many times before. I was particularly looking forward to the chance of seeing the aurora borealis as this cruise spends three days at the very northern tip of ... Read More
I chose this cruise as my first solo cruise although I have cruised with P&O many times before. I was particularly looking forward to the chance of seeing the aurora borealis as this cruise spends three days at the very northern tip of Norway so the chance of seeing the lights is quite good. We left Southampton after completing health check forms and having our temperature taken and all seemed well. The coronavirus outbreak was in its early stages and some people were wondering if we would get our holiday or not. The North sea was a little rough but Aurora coped admirably. By the second day on board rumours were swirling about the cruise being cancelled as Norway was closing its ports and these were confirmed later by the Captain. The Captain and crew handled the situation extremely well. We were kept informed at all stages about what was happening and each cabin received £400 on-board spending money. Most passengers, although disappointed, appeared to be dealing with the news of the cancellation well. There were of course the inevitable moaners but some people will always moan. Over and above the £400 per cabin spending money, P&O also gave everyone a full 100% refund. I honestly feel that P&O handled the situation as well as they could given that it was out of their control and they tried to do as much as possible for us. I have complete faith in them as a company, to do the right thing by their customers and as such I have booked the same cruise with them in November and a second cruise for next year to Canada. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Picked this cruise as keen to see the Northern Lights. This is a 12-night cruise that spends 2 nights at the very top of Norway that offers an excellent chance to see Northern Lights. I was kind of expecting the cruise to be canceled but ... Read More
Picked this cruise as keen to see the Northern Lights. This is a 12-night cruise that spends 2 nights at the very top of Norway that offers an excellent chance to see Northern Lights. I was kind of expecting the cruise to be canceled but all seemed to be fine as we joined the ship at Southampton. We set sail and headed up through the North Sea. Sea was a bit rough but the Aurora copes well with rough weather so it didn't move very much. This was our second time on Aurora after a 12-night cruise to the Canaries August 2019 and the ship does seem to cope well with stormy weather. However, as the Coronavirus continued to spread across Europe the Norwegian Government decided to close their borders to cruise ships. The ship then had to turn round and head back to Southampton. This of course was very disappointing as nearly everyone had booked the cruise to try to witness the Northern Lights. What did make the news more bearable, and indeed the remainder of the cruise was how P&O managed the situation. This was right across the board from the Captain down to the waiters and cabin staff. Got a full refund and an additional £400 per cabin onboard spend. P&O couldn't have done more. The entertainment was top class. A male trio, solo male entertainer and a female singer - all were top class with great performances. We had a retired Detective Chief Inspector giving a series of lectures - informative and entertaining insights into criminal investigation process. The food in the restaurants was great - nice food well prepared and served. The staff very helpful. We did have a couple of issues with the cabin - but a quick call to reception and these were rapidly sorted. Jut as an aside, it beats me why people leave it until writing a review to complain about things that can be rectified whilst on-board. Didn't bother with the Gym, although it seemed well equipped. Unfortunately didn't get to experience any shore excursions - however, I can confirm that the North Sea is pretty much grey all over in early March So whilst the aim of the cruise to see the Northern lights didn't happen the experience of the 5 nights we had on the ship was fantastic and I would not hesitate to recommend the cruise to others. Already booked on the 12 March sailing to Northern Lights in 2021 Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This ship is very old. Wouldn't be surprised if it gets decommissioned in the coming years. Does not handle the waves very well. Anything from 3 meters up and the voyage will be bumpy. It seems to attract an older traveler. Some are ... Read More
This ship is very old. Wouldn't be surprised if it gets decommissioned in the coming years. Does not handle the waves very well. Anything from 3 meters up and the voyage will be bumpy. It seems to attract an older traveler. Some are very old 90 plus. Alot had zimmer frames, walking sticks and there were a few in wheelchairs. The entertainment reflected this as acts were outdated and overall not very good. 1930s music was played alot, which seemed even too old for most of the people on board. Ship is also very small compared to modern cruise ships, with low ceiling height. We opted out of paying the £70 gratuity fee on our second day. If you opt in you can allocate where the tip money goes. Before we opted out our waiter was more chatty and kept telling us what his name was. We noticed a deterioration in the service we received after opting out. Our waiter seemed less interested in us and gave better service to other tables and sometimes forget to offer us condiments. I thought this was very unprofessional. It seems that the staff aren't paid much and are reliant on tips to supplement their salary. Would not go on another fred olsen cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I have decided to write this review to help first time cruisers like myself decide if cruising is for them. There were a lot of reviews, especially about Aurora that were negative and we had no idea what to expect. So from the ... Read More
I have decided to write this review to help first time cruisers like myself decide if cruising is for them. There were a lot of reviews, especially about Aurora that were negative and we had no idea what to expect. So from the beginning; we chose this cruise for our honeymoon for one reason only. To see the northern lights. It seemed like a great way to experience them. Booking was easy and we got inboard spending. The website post booking took a little navigating especially to book shore excursions. In 2020 for such a big company I would expect better. (At one point I got so frustrated I threw my iPad...) we got some info prior to the boarding but had no idea what to expect on the day and to be honest found it quite overwhelming. Lots of people had clearly done it before and knew exactly what to do but we were quite lost. They took our baggage, we then headed in to a long, took a health quiz due to recent events and then were just kind of herded into the boat. It was quick, but we still had no idea what was going on. We were also directed in the wrong direction twice to our cabin... luckily those are probably the only negatives I have!!! Cabin: f220 was apparently an upgrade, I think because it used to be a four berth room so was potentially bigger? Anyways it was compact but we expected that, surprising amount of storage especially for all the jumpers and spotlessly clean. The bed was two singles pushed together and super comfy. It was turned down each night by our cabin steward. We also had bathrobes, champagne and flowers that I had arranged as it was our honeymoon. Bathroom is tiny, and could do with not being peach plastic but big enough for what you needed. TV had a good selection of films, but ours spent most of its time on the information channel or on the ship radio channel which had a live feed of a camera from the front of the ship. Played decent getting ready music! We were on a lower floor and close to the engine but this had no effect on our sleep. We were also toasty warm even with a window. The boat; Aurora is the oldest and smallest of the fleet, a lot of people who had cruised before compared her negatively to other boats, however we thought she was lovely. She reminded me of an old London hotel or an aging movie star, a little bit cracked around the edges but elegant and classy. We didn't use the pools but a few people did and they looked warm. Plenty of space on the different decks and a walking deck which we took advantage of most days when it was open. There were a couple of shops, the last day sale is probably the best day for deals but we didn't see much for us. The salon was super expensive, not worth it unless you got one of the daily deals. The gym was pretty good, we only went twice (trying to counter the food) had a lot of machines to use. Public areas; we spent most of our time in the glass house and Champions pub. The crows nest was right at the front, had good views but after a very up and down force 12 day we avoided it! Anderson's is a gin bar , loads of gins and good cocktails. masquarades had a disco but we didn't partake in this. the glass house with wines from Olly Smith was where we tended to sit and read on sea days whilst working my way through the wine list. We did get the drink package but prices weren't too bad, a fiver for a small glass on average. The wine was great, the little nibbles (you had to pay extra for) were delicious. Service was... chilled! An extra waiter would of made all the difference especially as there was a coffee bar here so lots of their time was spent making cappuccinos. Oh and limited view of the sea. Champions was a kind of pub, there was always a quiz going on there, a bit of karaoke and we did manage to catch the rugby and football. There was a good selection of different beers and the service was excellent. Entertainment; I'm not going to lie, we didn't catch any of the shows, they weren't really for us. It would of been nice to see the comedian but it was on the same night as our excursion. The playhouse showed some decent films, Judy, Jumanji, Midway. A list of these can be found online. There was Orca watch onboard and they did talks about the wildlife, standing room only but you could watch from your cabin. Other talks included one about pain relief and arthritis... I kid you not. We read mostly happy just to chill out. There were also talks about the places we were stopping and things to do there. There was a daily magazine that told you what was going on and the dress code for the night, plus a news round up and daily suduko. There was also dancing lessons and enough quizzes to keep you entertained if you like a quiz, which we do. Stops; Alta was specifically for the lights, there is nothing much else there. A couple of shops and a church. It was bloody freezing!!! We did a trip at night to see them and were lucky enough to see them, absolutely unbelievable. So beautiful, worth braving -14 and snow. Tromso was gorgeous, still cold and proper snowing! We did the husky ride which was amazing. Again very cold (-9) but worth it to go through the snow covered countryside. We also went into the town, walked over the bridge to the cathedral. Alesund was cute, we walked up a very tall hill, not as cold as it had been. Buy souvenirs here, much cheaper! Stavenger was also gorgeous, shopping here was for fashion if you wanted it. (There's a h and m) All in all good places to see, and you're unlikely to see them any other way. Food; I saved the best for last. We like food, our holidays and trips revolve around good food. The food onboard was unbelievable. The buffet horizon we went to for breakfast and lunch most days. Good choices, fruit, hot choices, omelette made to order. Lunch we tended to try and have lighter options, salad, soup (which was excellent) cheese. Oh the cheese! The grill next door made great burgers to order. We ate dinner in Medina most nights. The black tie nights we had the Marco menu which was excellent and most other nights we had the three courses. All cooked perfectly, great steaks, full of flavour. Puddings were to die for. Afternoon tea was also great, although maybe the cakes could be a bit tastier. We also dined at Sindhu twice. It is totally worth it. The food was delicious. I understand why people put on weight on cruises. Seriously good food! All in all we had a great time. We would recommend it if you just want to chill out. With the average age about 55 be prepared, this is not a party boat! But if you want to chill, eat good food, be waited on hand and foot and experience the majesty of the fjords in comfort then this is for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our first Cruise with Fred Olsen. Most impressed. Despite being a small ship, the ship and the cruse organisation were quite superb. The staff were perhaps the friendliest we have encountered on other cruises, They were very ... Read More
This was our first Cruise with Fred Olsen. Most impressed. Despite being a small ship, the ship and the cruse organisation were quite superb. The staff were perhaps the friendliest we have encountered on other cruises, They were very attentive and were always ready to assist those need ing help Though the main entertainment was not as good as the bigger ships, the secondary entertainment was very good, and there was more than enough to do on sea days. Absolutely brilliantt cruise. We used the cruise because of the fabulous Cadiz Carnival, which is easily accessible. We didn't need to do shore excursions as we have visited the ports. We enjoyed the dining experience as you had a choice of waiter service or self service, iin one dining room. On bigger ships you don't have that option. This was a much nicer experience. We would definitely cruise with Fred Olsen again Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to ... Read More
I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to their respective countries and to P&O. The problem on this ship is the U.K. staff. All very well being a ‘British’ ship but if you cruise with them you can expect a British attitude. The ship is run for their convenience and not for the passengers. The kids club needs decent management. Although there are lots of children on this cruise, opening time and registration is a disgrace. Once inside, the kids love it but you’re given strict instructions to pick your child up fifteen minutes before closing. If any of the officers (conspicuous by their absence) happen to read this can I suggest you attend the opening of the club tomorrow and witness the shambles for yourself. Does this ship have any officers? We’ve yet to see one. All the hot tubs are closed. Don’t blame the weather either. I’ve been in worse and it’s just down to them not being bothered in my humble opinion. No request goes answered and the miserable Scottish receptionist would be better suited to serving criminals in Barlinnie jail just outside Glasgow than deal with customers on a supposedly ‘luxury’ cruise. On the upside, the main restaurant is very nice indeed. Thanks but no thanks P&O. It’s a shame but it’s back home to Celebrity for us! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We wanted to try the new Saga ship Spirit of Discovery, having been sent numerous mailings about its design, facilities and the pleasures of 'boutique cruising'. So we decided to book a four-night cruise to Rouen and chose a de ... Read More
We wanted to try the new Saga ship Spirit of Discovery, having been sent numerous mailings about its design, facilities and the pleasures of 'boutique cruising'. So we decided to book a four-night cruise to Rouen and chose a de luxe balcony cabin. Our break did not start well. We were informed that the previous cruise had norovirus on board and that the ship would be 'deep-cleaned' on its return to Southampton which would entail a delayed embarkation and departure. Having been on a cruise some years ago which had the virus on board we knew that the cleaning would not be 100% successful, so our initial reaction was to cancel, but we were told that no refunds would be made. So we decided to go, but with some trepidation. As others have said this is a lovely ship, the décor is elegant in an understated style, the public rooms are spacious and quiet. The service is exceptional and the cuisine is some of the best we have ever had on any ship. We prefer to have a table for two which was no problem in the Grand Dining Room, but we could not get a table for two in any of the speciality restaurants which was disappointing. The evening entertainment was low key but pleasant. There was little to do during the day however. Owing to the norovirus the Library had no books available, the hydrotherapy pool was closed, there was no captain's cocktail party and we could not relax as we were constantly worried about becoming ill. In the event by taking all the necessary precautions, including wearing white cotton gloves to avoid touching the handrails, lift buttons etc. thankfully we were not ill. The main disappointment was that the itinerary had to be changed because of bad weather and we berthed at Honfleur after a much delayed departure. We love Honfleur, which we had visited on previous occasions, but we really wanted to visit the city of Rouen. We did get there on a afternoon coach excursion - which we had to pay for - surely as Rouen was the advertised destination, this trip should have been free? Although we enjoyed Rouen, two hours was not long enough to appreciate all that this medieval city has to offer. Captain Julian dealt with the difficult weather conditions admirably and Honfleur was a good choice of port in the circumstances. Taking in consideration both the norovirus and the bad weather forecast, in our opinion, this cruise should have been delayed or even cancelled to allow more time for thorough cleaning of the ship. We disembarked after a long boring wait in the lounge because the large number of chauffeurs and cars had to be organised in batches in order to avoid congestion. The car service otherwise was excellent. Would we go on another Saga cruise? Probably not. Other itineraries would probably be more enjoyable, but compared with other cruise lines, the cost is much more, even taking into account all the included extras. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
A beautiful ship but cruise was ruined by catching norovirus and being confined to cabin. The previous cruise had norovirus and I was assured the ship would be deep cleaned. Obviously not well enough as a lot of people went down with ... Read More
A beautiful ship but cruise was ruined by catching norovirus and being confined to cabin. The previous cruise had norovirus and I was assured the ship would be deep cleaned. Obviously not well enough as a lot of people went down with it. Evening entertainment was not to my taste. There were no shows as on other cruises featuring dancers etc. Mainly classically. The staff were very good. The destination turned out to be a mystery because of the bad weather and French strikes. The food I tasted was very good but the service on the first night was very slow. I could only try a couple of meals because after the second day I could not eat because of being sick. The cabin steward was very attentive and could not have been better. I could not use the facilities for the same reason. The spa pool was closed due to the previous cruise having norovirus. It is difficult for me to say what the whole experience would have been if the ship had not sailed with norovirus being present. I had expected better from Saga. Many passengers said they would not sail with Saga again. It would be interesting to know if passengers on the next cruise got ill. The only response from Saga was that they follow industry standards. The disemberkment was a shambles. Delayed by bad weather and it talk over 2 hours to disembark after customs procedures completed. We where not offered any food even though it was 3.00 and breakfast finished at 9.30. The taxi procedure left a lot to be desired. My taxi went to the wrong cruise terminal. I heard a lot of seasoned cruise passengers say they would not go on another Saga cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The Spirit of Discovery is a very stylish ship, the staff friendly, helpful and in the main always smiling, the food excellent. However though the cabins are nicely decorated as you would expect from a brand new ship. We had a standard ... Read More
The Spirit of Discovery is a very stylish ship, the staff friendly, helpful and in the main always smiling, the food excellent. However though the cabins are nicely decorated as you would expect from a brand new ship. We had a standard cabin and there is just not enough storage room, especially for shoes. Plenty of wardrobe space for hanging dresses, coats, shirts etc.,and plenty of hangers, but the drawer space was sadly lacking, we were only on a 4 night cruise, might be difficult on anything over 7 days to find room for. The bathroom was just right, walk in shower though not sure the plughole was working probably , as quite often found ourselves standing in an inch of water. The TV was large and a good picture unfortunately the quality of programmes not very varies, you can only watch so many rehashed shows!!! No radio channels. The dining rooms were fine though the Grand Central Dining room got a bit busy, and you can find yourself sitting with people who do not want to be sociable. We preferred The Grill on deck 12 much nicer. Unfortunately we found there was not enough to do during the day unless you played Bridge or enters the quizzes. The evening entertainment was much better, the standard of the entertainers on board are amongst the best we have seen, sadly because of the rough weather dancing in The Britannia Lounge was practically impossible but that made no difference as the musicians were so good it was a pleasure to sit and listen to them. Though embarkation was ok, Disembarkation is at the opposite end of the scale, unless you are one of the privileged few, it can take up to three hours to leave the ship, we would say it is organised chaos, we have never experienced the length of time it took for us to leave on any other cruise ship we have sailed with before. Would we recommend this ship, if you want to relax during the day and do nothing until the evening, if you don’t mind being seated at meal times with other passengers, don’t mind the disembarkation chaos, then this is for you. Would we choose Saga again no Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Having cruised quite extensively with Cunard, Royal Caribbean, P&O and MSC etc my wife and I were drawn to the idea of a smaller all-inclusive ship and thought we’d try a taster cruise with Saga and grin and bear the jokey remarks ... Read More
Having cruised quite extensively with Cunard, Royal Caribbean, P&O and MSC etc my wife and I were drawn to the idea of a smaller all-inclusive ship and thought we’d try a taster cruise with Saga and grin and bear the jokey remarks from our younger friends. (I am 75 btw) We booked a four night cruise from Southampton to Rouen but due to weather conditions we were diverted to Honfleur (which we found delightful) I’m not going to rehearse the multitude of benefits and facilities that the spirit of discovery offers, we thought it was all brilliant. What was also amazing was that nobody tried to sell me anything during the whole trip, no drinks packages, no Wi-fi, no lengths of gold chain, no art pictures, no handbag sales nights etc !! Oh and if you want an English pub (maybe you haven’t got one at home) or a casino then choose another ship. Naturally all reviews are influenced by your cabin choice we were exceptionally lucky to be upgraded from a deluxe cabin to a midships suite - we took full advantage of its amenities. Now this is the first time I’ve ever written a review about a holiday we’ve taken and the principal reason for doing so this time is to highlight the disappointing disembarkation procedures which are clearly a knock-on effect from virtually everybody opting to take chauffeur driven transport to and from the port. Saga schedule 4 1/2 hours for the max 999 passengers to get off, you are split into 20 groups from say 8 am to 12:30 pm!! The reason for this soon becomes apparent when your group finally emerges from the cruise terminal the chauffeurs are waiting with placards bearing your name. Clearly managing 4-500 chauffeurs is going to present a challenge and this is the cause of slower than normal debarkation. I am unaware of any way of getting priority when leaving the ship other than by dispensing with the chauffeur service and driving yourself in which case you could walk straight off. If anybody knows any different I’d love to hear it. We were assigned group 19 out of 20 so you can understand why I’ve taken to my keyboard. A couple of final observations:- 1. A fair number of change averse saga passengers like whingeing about almost anything but chiefly how they preferred the older ships. I am reminded of an Australian observation that they can always tell when the plane lands in Sydney from London because the whining continues after the engines have been switched off !! 2. if you put nearly 900 old people together for a few days in the winter it’s obvious quite a number going to get ill 3. Lastly the captain and crew reacted swiftly and effectively to changes necessitated by ‘Storm David’ Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Shocking is the only work I would say after paying £25,000+ for a Suite cabin (no bigger than an Oceana Mini Suite) on the Ventura for 5 weeks to Central America and the Caribbean. The food was diabolical and reasonably sophisticated ... Read More
Shocking is the only work I would say after paying £25,000+ for a Suite cabin (no bigger than an Oceana Mini Suite) on the Ventura for 5 weeks to Central America and the Caribbean. The food was diabolical and reasonably sophisticated entertainment non- existent. The never ending daily amount of rubbish fed in the daily paper about commercial 'pamper parties' 'aches and pains parties' and the like was not what most passengers want. Especially when you have to buy something at the end of it!!!. There was only one classical pianist. He was wonderful and played to a packed house for only 4 nights. I was told by the Entertainments Manager that Ventura didn't do classical as it was a family ship!!!! What!! People were crying out for some decent classical concerts in the afternoon. No children on board in this cruise,!!! The shops had old and dirty stock, discontinued lines, and clothes that had all been well fingered over the last 4 cruises. The staff in the shops were unmotivated. Who would buy anything there???? The Chef Trevor Glass should be ashamed of himself to put his name to misrepresentation on the menus. I could go on forever but the food which looked so appetizing on the Menu Cards but when it arrived was no better than school cafeteria fodder. For instance the last Black Tie had 'lobster' on the menu. Anyone who ate it would know it wasn't 'lobster', but a mixture of pulverised 'prawns' and white fish stuffed into a lobster shell with breadcrumbs on the top. Are they allowed to con the food ignorant and unsophisticated people with food like this????? This sort of thing went on the whole cruise. This Company should be brought to book Trading Standards comes to mind. The wines are exorbitant for mediocre wines and most on the ship did not drink wine at dinner. I wonder why???? The Buffets also were like school food. Same, same and same all under different names!! Portuguese buffet ! what a laugh!! As a suite passenger we had the opportunity to breakfast in the White Room. We only did it once as it took 30 minutes to get overcooked black poached eggs and inedible dry hard bacon. There were absolutely no extras on a five week trip e.g.(a Captains/Officers reception etc) for passengers who paid 3 times the price of others. This is quite unacceptable if you want to look after your passengers. Our cabin was kept beautifully and we have no issue with quality of the sheets and towels and cleanliness from our excellent cabin attendant. Absolutely loved Cartegena, Curacao, Bonaire, Puerto Rico, Panama Canal (Colon) Fabulous places!! WOW. Pity the food on Ventura wasn't fabulous too, Will never travel P & O again. Treated like a 3rd class citizen. Predictable. Done and dusted ......for the next fools.......... Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We always try to take a break at this time of the year to avoid some of the UK winter. We chose this trip as it included 4 ports we'd never been to to while also visiting ports that would be likely to be overcrowded later in the year. ... Read More
We always try to take a break at this time of the year to avoid some of the UK winter. We chose this trip as it included 4 ports we'd never been to to while also visiting ports that would be likely to be overcrowded later in the year. We chose Saga Spirit of Discovery because the ship was new and the size seemed a good compromise between passenger numbers / port access and variety of on board facilities. Embarkation didn't go well as they had no cruise cards for us and from the running to & fro and the whispering we overheard, we formed the opinion that they'd given our cards to two other passengers! Sure enough, after we'd been escorted aboard and new cards issued to us, we found two passengers in our cabin (although our luggage was waiting outside!). The Saga crew supervisor who went into the cabin to sort it out appeared not to understand / or be understood and after 10 mins we pushed our way in and straight away identified who the other passengers were and thus where their cabin was. We very much liked the layout of the ship, we thought the food in all the restaurants was great and the service was superb, however the cruise was very much spoilt for us because piped music was played constantly in virtually all the public areas. As is usual, when we asked for quiet so we could concentrate on reading, chatting to other passengers (almost all hard of hearing), or just watching the sea and daydreaming, we were told that other passengers wanted the music. When asked how the crew / staff knew this, as no-one had ever asked us in 50+ cruises, they were unable to say. We could say however, that no passenger (in our age group) we've ever spoken to, has said they liked someone else's choice of half-heard, distorted music played everywhere at a volume decided by a young crew member. As a result of the inescapable row, we could only sit in the library or on deck on the warmer days. As we paid £10,000+ to have this row forced on us we have complained and await Saga's response. Although we have been in the North Atlantic in hurricanes and the Bay of Biscay in winter storms, we have never experienced such an uncomfortable ride as there was at times on this cruise - was it particularly bad sea or is the ship a poor storm rider? It didn't help in the last week that a significant proportion of passengers had norovirus (not us luckily!) resulting in the entertainment being abandoned and the library (the only music free area!) being closed. The last week was the worst week (of 200+) we've ever spent at sea. To be fair to Saga & the S.o.D, we ought to give it another chance, but we won't be doing that unless Saga stopped polluting our on board personal environment with inescapable piped music. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Well last cruised 10 years ago, when we used to cruise with our 2 sons who were children then. Booked this cruise following the cancellation of the Dubai cruise. At first port Madeira sent a text to both my sons to say how good it was. ... Read More
Well last cruised 10 years ago, when we used to cruise with our 2 sons who were children then. Booked this cruise following the cancellation of the Dubai cruise. At first port Madeira sent a text to both my sons to say how good it was. Cabin was just an inside with queen bed, perfect for us, cabin steward was excellent. Food in buffet was always hot, fresh and plentiful. Enjoyed the restaurant at night as we had a great table of 4 other couples, good chat but I did find the food a bit poor, however I am a very fussy eater. I also didn’t find our waiter very accommodating of any special requests. Ports were all enjoyable but least favourite was Lisbon, on next cruise , yes we booked another while on this, we will plan to take underground out of main Lisbon centre. Entertainment was good, great comedian and soul group, headliners a bit showy and shouty for us but again personal choice. Found on some evenings there were no free seats in any of the bars or atrium, bit disappointing. It was my 50th birthday and my husband purchased a cake on the ship, which was brought to our dinning table and was a beautiful cake iced with my name. This had only cost £10 which was excellent value. Overall had a great time and looking forward to next one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
To keep someone company. More fool me. Good job I like to read. Entertainment was more like a travelling Hi-de-hi camp. Very hard to find somewhere quiet if you only wanted a read for an hour. Music or entertainment everywhere - a bit ... Read More
To keep someone company. More fool me. Good job I like to read. Entertainment was more like a travelling Hi-de-hi camp. Very hard to find somewhere quiet if you only wanted a read for an hour. Music or entertainment everywhere - a bit overdone. Maybe a review of your retired speakers etc needed - appreciate their knowledge but it takes more than that to keep people interested. Food needs a step up in quality etc in the main dining room. Food ready plated with veg and obviously kept warm is not very enticing. Seating needs to be looked at and allowance for people wanting to move tables should be accommodated. Not all people get along sufficiently to be expected to sit together every evening for a whole cruise. People make friends and would rather sit to eat with them. Fred Olsen saving grace is their Cabin, Restuarant and Bar staff - they are amazing. They made the cruise as pleasurable as they could. Without them it would have been a very sad trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there ... Read More
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there standards drop cold food tough stake Very small portions very little veg boring choice whent to beach house 4 times only time we had a good meal .staff were lovely and helpfull could not fault them . We cruise regularly with p and o but it's time for a change entertainment was boring also kept changing venue to what was advertised very confusing .ports of call all very nice loved Valencia . Loved oceaner our second cruise on her but the food and entertainment let her down we can usually find something food wise to suite use but very poor food this time I enjoyed our cruise but will be looking to cruise with some one else next time its bean a slow decline with p and o for the last 3 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose this cruise to celebrate New Year in style and also to see Amsterdam and Bruges having never been there before or travelled on P&O before. Embarkation was fantastic with boarding passes being printed out at home before we ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate New Year in style and also to see Amsterdam and Bruges having never been there before or travelled on P&O before. Embarkation was fantastic with boarding passes being printed out at home before we travelled which cut out the waiting time to board the ship. All went without a hitch and we were straight on board in no time. Our cabin was very good, clean and tidy and our steward was just excellent with great attention to detail - nothing was too much trouble. Food was also very good and the service could not be faulted, especially as my husband has a nut allergy. Every care was taken when preparing his food. The entertainment on-board in the theatre was first class and the magic show was just amazing. The ship was very nice however there were a few places where a bit of TLC would not have gone amiss. It was a disappointment when we were invited to attend the Captain's party only for him to not show - understandably we were informed he was busy on the bridge but when we were told the Deputy Captain would attend it would have been nice of him/her to make himself known!!!! After about 15 minutes the majority of people dwindled away! Next came New Year's Eve and the party we had been looking forward to. Unfortunately there was no "big party", only the bars doing their own thing. The staff worked hard but it was not what we expected. Then for the sail away party - or not. Admittedly it was very cold and the staff tried to get the few people involved who had shown up but where were the flags, etc. After a song from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England (which were not the usual songs played at a sail away party) the staff disappeared. There was not the atmosphere there that there usually is. Would we travel with P&O again? In short Yes but not for New Year -sorry P&O! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a ... Read More
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a night and on, on more than one night. The drinks package is completely pointless unless you become friendly with the bar staff or walk from bar to bar as theres a 15 minute wait time on the drink and they serve the drinks in the smallest glasses possible it may as well be served neat. The customer service is appalling there is no Ps or Qs upon that ship and all the staff look unhappy except clifford in the Havana bar and he was the only one with any manor or able to crack a joke with you. Security dont know what day of the week it is let alone helping you out. Someone also made a noise complaint about me and my mate next thing there was two guys at 4am in the morning outside our cabin who came in arguing with us in relations to this and was very unprofessional. To top the entire experience of i was charged over £1300 when i got of the ship and had to get the bank to cancel payments as I was charged twice as well as that I was considerably over charged for the mini bar in the room. The toliet blocked over four times on the cruise and the last night we was informed it would be sorted but it never was.Overall would recommed celebrity, NCL or royal Caribbean. You get what you pay for on P&O and no more, if not less. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I ... Read More
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I recently went on New Year Cruise UK Departure Date 29 Dec 19 Total Trip Nights: 5 I was very disappointed in the food and service. Food was of a very poor quality and standard, and presented like kids had prepared it. The service in all catering and bar areas was appalling. Enclose is a diary i kept. Day 1 29th Dec When we arrived at the terminal we were asked if we had checked in on line . We all had but then got told had we registered our credit card . No where did it say to do this . We was told no drink package on this cruise, every one moaned and you could feel tensions getting high. P O opened the exchange bar to purchase the drinks package, long que formed and took a hour to purchase . We went to buffet for lunch, small area and even smaller choice of food. Salads look like the end of the night at pizza hut and not much choice. Cheap food item were on offer. Went to room, this was good . First night dinner took 20 minutes to get in to restaurant, rolls were of a poor quality . Starters was good but main pork roast not so good, stuffing no taste, roast potatoes deep fried then roasted hard in middle and dark brown . Gravy had been left on hot plate to long. The steak pie that my father chose looked like a school meal, peas and carrots and a scoop of mash. Raspberry pavlova that i chose for dessert was not a pavlova. It was one of our guests 75th birthday . One of the head waiters I think white uniform ask who's Mark Acton . Mark said hello the head waiter just plonked this dry old cake by him and ran and I mean ran off . No candles or happy birthday singing . We went to the Havana bar it took 30 minutes to get a drink . Then ages for another. Day 2 Went to watch rocket man in the Havana bar no chairs out left to our own devices. Dinner took 42min to get a drink after I caught a head waiter sort of guy. Lamb steak full of bone tough and small portion. Sent it back another came, tougher then the first one. Powder mash, on other guests dinners the quality was poor . I had the Cheese and biscuits for sweet, says continental and British isles but all were British cheese . We did the elimination quiz they held it in the buffet restaurant. Only one drinks waiter on then was told the bar was closed at 1130 and could not get another drink. So we went with out. Day 3 Getting off to Hamburg we decided to get a take away tea. Was asked cold milk we said yes please . The lady asked the waiter to pass the cold milk. He ignored her and shook the hand of another waiter wished him happy new year. Wasnt new year yet. Lucky the pastry girl saw this and jumped in. Went to buffet once again small, poor choose and quality of food. News eve gala dinner . No one explained our menu and what we had to do. So we missed out on the sorbet course. The chicken soup should have had croutons none of us got croutons . The lobster tail on three of our plates were inedible had to be sent back. The creme brulee was definitely not a creme brulee but a mousse no egg custard or caramel to be seen. Cheese board had Parmesan cheese on. Not really a cheese for the cheese board but a cooking cheese. We sat out in the outside bar, for News Eve. No waiter service at all had to que to place our orders. Day 4 Machines in buffet restaurant only dispensing water no other drinks available. We booked the Afternoon tea in the white room. Was good but not enough savoury too much sweet stuff and very sweet. We waited once again ages for drinks at dinner . Only one wine waiter that we could see. Day 5 I chose the pork and sage roll to start at dinner . It was a two inch sausage roll not what i would call a starter. Mixed grill was small i asked for two. lamb cutlet was tiny over cooked steak and liver . No egg, gammon, sausage or onion rings that you would hope to find on a mixed grill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After over half a dozen wonderful cruises on Arcadia, we booked this special new years cruise without hesitation and again we were not disappointed! Everything from start to finish was very good indeed. From a smooth and quick ... Read More
After over half a dozen wonderful cruises on Arcadia, we booked this special new years cruise without hesitation and again we were not disappointed! Everything from start to finish was very good indeed. From a smooth and quick embarkation, the very tasteful Christmas Decorations in Arcadia's already classy public areas to our lovely mini suite and generally attentive and happy crew it really was a 'new year' to remember. It was also nice to see routine maintenance such as painting the hull being done after my concern of her rather 'stained' condition from a previous cruise to Venice. Just those handrails on the balconies to do now P&O! ;-) We couldn't have been happier with our mini-suite cabin. Clean, tidy and well appointed with plenty of space and good amounts of storage. A lovely sized balcony and being slightly larger it had space for a a table and chairs as well as a couple of loungers. Our steward was always polite and friendly but it does worry us just how many cabins they are having to do - it's amazing the standards they achieve. Enjoyed just about everything we ate whether it be in the main restaurant, buffet or Sindhu - the speciality fusion restaurant on-board. One or two dishes came out a little 'different' to what we expected in the main restaurant but still tasted good! However we really did notice the sheer workload of the restaurant stewards (we were club dining)- almost looking rather rushed and frantic at times! A good selection of entertainment was provided - especially being a new years cruise. The Palladium theatre is without doubt the best theatre of the fleet and the headliners did a good job with 'Astonishing' and the 'Burt Bacharach' tribute show - both really enjoyable with high quality audio and lighting. P&O really are upping there game across the fleet in this respect! Overall we found all the service on-board polite and attentive and there's always a few wonderful 'characters' who really help to make your holiday. Of course if you treat them with respect then you get the same in return - a lesson a number of passengers could take note of.... Only ports of call were Amsterdam and Zeebrugge. Both always enjoyable and worth a visit. This was my 18th cruise - most of which were on all the various P&O ships as well as one or two on Cunard, and for me Arcadia is the most special indeed. The right mix of facilities and spaces, quite understated (not too much fake ritze and glitz) and of course the real wow factor and beautiful lines of a Vista Class Vessel - not to mention being by the most stable and comfortable of the fleet! Yes her Atrium is small and a little underwhelming at first but it does make an excellent social space throughout the day and especially in the evenings - something many other atrium's can't boast being often just too big! Remember people are much quicker to complain and moan often using these forums to air their gripes rather than just discussing directly with P&O. The fact that P&O is having no problem filling this lovely ship with a VERY high level of loyal and returning custom speaks for itself. Loved it so much we just booked the full world cruise on her in 2021 - can't give it a higher recommendation than that! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We’ve just returned from a most enjoyable new year cruise to Amsterdam on the Arcadia. The experience was absolutely fantastic with friendly and attentive staff, excellent standard of food in the Meridian restaurant and some quality ... Read More
We’ve just returned from a most enjoyable new year cruise to Amsterdam on the Arcadia. The experience was absolutely fantastic with friendly and attentive staff, excellent standard of food in the Meridian restaurant and some quality entertainment. We have cruised with other companies before and found that P&O is much better value in terms of cruise price and also the price of services and drinks on board. The bars and communal areas are all very comfortable with plenty of different options to choose from; all are well decorated and it’s easy for time to pass by on a sea day. The cabins are standard size and whilst, as other reviews comment, the decor is a little tired, our cabin was clean, comfortable and out steward made every effort to ensure our trip was as enjoyable as possible. The food in the meridian restaurant was of a very good standard and well presented with plenty of choice. The vegetarian menu was by the the best we’ve seen. We’ll definitely be booking another cruise with P&O again in the future. Overall, absolutely no complaints! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Never having been to Europe before nor done a river cruise decided on the Romantic Danube cruise at end of December. We have done a number of ocean cruises but this was our first river cruise. Having heard so many positive things about ... Read More
Never having been to Europe before nor done a river cruise decided on the Romantic Danube cruise at end of December. We have done a number of ocean cruises but this was our first river cruise. Having heard so many positive things about Viking we had high expectations. The first part of our trip the 3 day Prague extension was wonderful - viking host and guides along with nice hotel made for a wonderful Christmas experience. The bus ride to Nuremberg was fine, embarkation easy. We very much enjoyed the ports visited and for the most part (Except for Nuremberg) the guides were good. In Nuremberg guide seemed to just want to get it over, instead of making stops at places like the Zeppelin Field so we could get out for a few minutes to really look at it - just a quick drive by. We had plenty of time as Christmas Market was gone and many things closed in town so stopping for a few minutes would have been fine. At end of walking tour he said ok tour is over and just walked away. We did day trip to Munich which was fun although bad timing (not Vikings fault) as it was a Sunday and most places closed. Guides in Passau, Krems, and Vienna were good. Our guide for Budapest was excellent. Our experience on board was very disappointing. Our cabin stewardess Dora was wonderful but rest of staff were lackluster and indifferent as well as not very accommodating. For example one night at dinner hubby want to switch out potatoes that were offered on his entree for ones that came on another entree - no can do according to waiter. Another guest asked for additional vegetables with her entree and was told no. It seemed to us that if you weren't in the drinking crowd or part of a regular dinner table (we ate with different people each night) then you were ignored. As for the food it was terrible. Breakfast was ok - that was best meal of day. I'm guessing that since this was last cruise of season they just were trying to use up what they had. Entrees were pretty basic and didn't seem reflective of area we were in except for the taste of Germany night. It was nice having the machines you could get hot chocolate or tea anytime but often the pastries or cookies there were dried out. They have 1 restaurant and 1 seating (7 pm) each night so not really any other options for food either which would be fine if food was good. Only had lunch on board 2 days (ate in ports other days) and food so bad the one day I ordered a burger figuring that was safe - nope not good and the other day the Reuben had bread that was rock hard. From what we had heard expected the food to be much better. As for the cultural experiences on board - very little. Of the 7 nights had a night of Franconian music in Nuremberg, the oompa band for taste of Germany dinner, and a choir on our last night in Budapest (this was at 9 pm) that many guests missed as were departing ship at 330 a.m. Also had 1 afternoon talk about Bavaria. Even if you count the 15 minute port/excursion talks before dinner that's not much so again a disappointment. What they did have was trivia every night and a piano player mostly for the drinking crowd. As for cabin - we were on top deck so that was nice, unfortunately never really had hot water in shower - it would get warm but that was it. At least not ice cold. Given our expectations don't think given the price will be sailing with Viking anytime soon but will look at other river cruise companies as this definitely wasn't worth the money. As I said we enjoyed the ports a lot, the before part in Prague was wonderful, Viking crew there met our expectations but on board the Tor fell short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My sister and I worked hard to find the vacation of a lifetime that our family of nine could all enjoy, including our 80 year old physically challenged mother who was gifting us this trip, our husbands, three 20-something kids and my 15 ... Read More
My sister and I worked hard to find the vacation of a lifetime that our family of nine could all enjoy, including our 80 year old physically challenged mother who was gifting us this trip, our husbands, three 20-something kids and my 15 year old daughter. A fabulous experience seemed to present itself in an NCL Spirit 11-Day Holiday Celebration leaving Rome on December 22, 2019 that would take us, together, into new ports and the New Year. We booked our cruise and airfare directly through NCL Group Sales assuming that by doing so we would be ensured efficient and safe travel from our homes in New Jersey to meet the ship in Rome prior to sailing. When the booking information arrived, we were immediately concerned because some of our children were booked on flights different from the rest of us and horrified that we had to figure out ourselves that the flights you booked them on were not even going to put them in Rome until the day after the cruise set sail!! We called more than once as we were very concerned that there wasn't enough time between the flights in Lisbon, especially with a special needs traveler, but were assured all would work out well. We could not leave the day before, as we had hoped, since one of our college students had a final until 7PM that night! Uggh. We were right! We did not land in Lisbon until 6:25AM, at which point there was no way possible to make our connection on the next flight which closed its door at 6:40AM, especially as we had to clear a customs and immigration entry point with an hour long line. We were dismayed to learn that there had been a 10AM flight out of Lisbon all along and, had we been booked on that from the start, it was much more likely that we would have made it to the ship before it was scheduled to depart at 5PM. Of course, the 10AM flight was full by the time we were stuck in Lisbon and could not be accommodated. Utterly disappointed, we came to terms with the fact that we would have to wait to board the ship in Venice, missing the first few days of fun and excitement that the rest of the travellers would have at embarkation. We were rebooked on a Tuesday, December 24th flight from Lisbon to Venice. While still in the Lisbon airport Sunday morning, we tried desperately to reach anyone at NCL to help us and we left urgent messages for our Group Sales agent Shanice, which were never returned. The call to NCL’s emergency numbers took several tries before we finally reached someone at Total Travel Marine named Tania. Tania explained that she was just at a call center but would forward our information via email to NCL and advise them that we would be meeting the ship in Venice. Tania's email, which I have a copy of, clearly states our phone number and asks for someone at NCL to call us as soon as possible. To date we have heard from no one at NCL. We had pre-arranged for a van to pick the nine of us up at the Rome airport Sunday to transport us to the ship and since it was too late to cancel, we were charged for the missed pick up. Luckily we were able to schedule with the same company for pick up at the Venice airport on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, when our next flight was scheduled to arrive. All of these calls and efforts to reschedule our vacation had us at the airline counter until after 1PM. Exhausted, confused and frustrated, the nine of us trudged to the Lost Baggage area of the Lisbon airport expecting to retrieve our luggage. Another two hours later, the search for our luggage began but no one could find any information on them anywhere. By 6PM we finally left, being told by TAP that “there were well over 2,000 bags in their holding” but that ours would be located and placed on our flight two days later to Venice. On Monday, December 23rd, I tried to call our NCL group sales agent again in Florida, at an hour that I assumed the US staff would be working. While I was never able to reach her directly and left several more voice messages, I finally got to a general customer service agent. I cannot tell you how flabbergasted I was when she actually said to me, “had you purchased your travel insurance through us, we would help you but since you didn’t, once your ship left port, you are now considered a closed case”. Is this really how NCL has trained their customer support team to respond to travellers in distress? On Tuesday morning, Christmas Eve, we left the hotel at 4:20AM and headed back to the Lisbon airport to make our 6AM flight. At the Lisbon airport we went directly to the wheelchair area to get mom assistance but were told we would have to wait. We gave it until 5:30AM but concerned at how long it would take us to get to the gate, and afraid to miss our flight, we grabbed a chair and pushed her ourselves. We finally settled into our flight to Venice, exhausted, dirty and stressed but ready to grab our bags and meet our cruise and begin our holiday together. Two hours later, watching an empty baggage carousel spin by with no luggage in hand, we dejected made our way to the lost luggage counter at the Venice airport. We told the agent that our ship would be in Venice until 5PM on Wednesday 12/25/19 and she assured us that our nine bags would be flown to Venice in time to be delivered to the ship before we set sail again. After dealing with this, we headed out of the baggage claim area to meet our driver. It was now just before noon and although our ship was not due into Venice port until 5PM, we figured our best option was to be dropped at the port and wait. We arrived at the gate to the port around 12:30PM only to be advised that the ship had hit bad weather between Rome and Venice and would not be arriving until after midnight and we would have to stay in another hotel overnight and meet the ship the next morning. So Christmas Eve would not be spent celebrating on our special cruise, but instead in a cheap hotel near the port of Venice, cramped three to a room. We were now also on day three in the same clothes and we did not have anything nearly warm enough to wear, nor any toiletries and we could not board a cruise uncertain that we would ever have our necessities. We found a local mall and purchase a few necessities that we believed we would need until our luggage would be brought on board later the next day. Later that night, I called the Lost Baggage Service to track our bags and was asked to email them a copy of our cruise itinerary, which I did. The next morning we were finally delivered to the ship where we boarded and found our staterooms. My mother and children (a 21 year old man and 15 year old teenager) were booked to share a balcony room. Once the beds were opened at night, there was literally no room to move. The floor was nothing but bed and my son had to climb over my daughter to go to sleep! I can’t even imagine that this is not a safety hazard waiting to happen. When we boarded, NCL staff did provide us each with a bag that contained a tee shirt, a tiny toiletries bag and one ticket each for free laundry service (the best part of the bag!). However, the shirts were all one size (XL) which were too big for most of the women and too small for two of the men. Christmas evening dinner in the dining room was very nice, although we thought it would have been even nicer if we had the special outfits we had purchased and packed to wear for pictures since we had a 20 Picture Package that we had chosen as our on-board promotion. That did not seem to be much of an issue, however, since no photographer ever came into a public space we were in the entire time we were on the ship. The two times we had pictures taken were when we got off the ship in a port or if we found the photographer and their backdrop in the main lobby. This too had been a disappointment as we had first been advised that we could choose the Soda Package in our room as our on-board promotion since we do not drink alcohol. I was even quoted that we would be charged $17.49 per person for the 11 days in service charges, to which I had agreed. When I did not see that package on my itinerary closer to sailing, I was then informed that this was not actually a choice I could have made, that the only choice would have been to choose the “free alcohol package” that would have cost me $400 for the stateroom in service charges. REALLY?? Clearly this package was made available to some travellers, why not to us? Of course, by the time we sailed out of Venice on Wednesday evening, our luggage had not been delivered as promised. We were assured it would be flown to Dubrovnik and would meet our ship the next day, Thursday, 12/26/19. On Thursday morning, 12/26/19, we headed into Dubrovnik for a day of sightseeing. Freezing cold without our warm clothes, we bought some more warm things to wear for the day. Upon arrival back on board at 5:00PM, we were advised that two pieces of our family’s luggage had arrive on board, but the remaining 7 bags were hopefully going to be found and brought on board before we left port at 10PM. By 9:30PM the ship had already started moving and no luggage had been delivered. The next day we tendered into Kotor. By now it had been six days without our belongings and little more than a change of underwear and a toothbrush. Our first stop that morning was to a pharmacy because, by now, my husband had a headcold and needed medication which I would have had if I had any luggage. As soon as we got near a local restaurant with free WIFI I checked my email to discover I had received a notice from the Lost Luggage company stating that our bags had been delivered and the case was considered closed. Since we had only received two of our bags by that point, we were quite concerned and immediately had to tender back to the ship, missing any opportunity for real sightseeing in Kotor. Back aboard, we called Lost Luggage again and were advised that all of our bags had been sent to Venice but that seven of them had then been re-routed to Munich for some unknown reason rather than delivered to the ship with the first two! Almost an hour more was spent on the phone with the agent from the Lost Luggage company before he advised me that our bags would be flown from Munich to Pisa where they would be sent by courier to meet the ship when we arrived in Livorno on 12/29/19. So, on top of everything else we had missed already, we missed Kotor as well. We spent the next day, Saturday, 12/28/19 on board the ship in our barest clothing while having our bits and pieces washed at the laundry so that we had clean clothes again to wear when we arrived in Livorno on Sunday, 12/29/19. We spent the day Sunday with a tour of Lucca and Pisa and returned to the ship at 6:30PM, initially excited to hear that our bags were finally waiting for us at our stateroom, then utterly dejected to discover that one bag had been completely destroyed and was being held together with packing tape. Two others had been damaged to the point of having to be replaced as well. We spent part of our day in Barcelona purchasing new luggage in order to repack for the trip back home. We began this trip with the highest of hopes for an unforgettable family vacation. Unforgettable is certainly what we got. We are BRONZE level NCL cruisers who would have been one day short of reaching SILVER level when we disembarked at the end of this trip and couldn’t wait to begin thinking about where that next adventure would be. As of today, because meeting the ship in Rome had been taken away from us, we only got credit for 8 days on the ship and although I assume that we will be financially compensated for the missed days, the cost to my Latitudes account is just one more way we are feeling let down by NCL. Fruthermore, had we known at booking that the Spirit was going into dry dock at the end of our trip for a complete refurbishment, we would very likely have made other vacation plans from the start. What a difference this ship was from the NCL Gem, a previous NCL ship that we sailed on. While their staff, as always, was courteous and professional, we noticed the little touches that were missing. As I mentioned, no photographer throughout the ship. No towel animals ever appeared in any of our rooms on any night. My daughter’s dinner order placed the night before (she has a life-threating nut allergy) was forgotten one evening so that she had to wait for her dinner while everyone else was served. Even the chocolates put out at the dining hall on Christmas were old and stale (they had already turned white inside the wrappers!). We were on the Norwegien GEM from Christmas to New Years Eve so we had a reasonable expectation that the Spirit would be a similar experience. We could not believe that after the hubub of midnight passed on New Years Eve, there was not a morsel of food available to ship full of drinking passengers! Truly not a cracker or a cookie, the buffet room was locked up tight. While the lost luggage fiasco was technically not NCL's fault, the bottom line is that we spent a great deal of money booking our trip as a whole unit directly with NCL because it was our belief that NCL would be best qualified to ensure we were safely and reasonably delivered from our home to their ship. Had we realized how “hands-off” their group sales and travel departments would be as soon as our check cleared, we not only would have booked our own flights, and now know to do so for the future, but we probably would have booked either through a separate travel agent or with a different cruise line altogether. Travel insurance will cover the cost of a hotel or new piece of luggage, but when we were scared and stranded in a foreign country in the middle of a voyage that a company scheduled and booked for us, it is hard to believe that NCL's customer care policy is to "not care". We found out after returning home that NOT taking the cruise line's insurance policy was one of the smartest thing we could have done for ourselves. Frankly, although it saddens me to feel like this, it is very likely good-bye from our family to the NCL family. There are just too many other cruise lines we can choose from who we hope will treat us like we matter. I only hope that when I share this story, it will save other families from making the mistake we made. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
rewards for oceans members appalling compared to previously: no fred olsen pens [surely this is a free advert when cruisers leave them around or lend them , miserable selection snacks as only reward for diamond oceans members [one between ... Read More
rewards for oceans members appalling compared to previously: no fred olsen pens [surely this is a free advert when cruisers leave them around or lend them , miserable selection snacks as only reward for diamond oceans members [one between two!!]. guest entertainers very poor. tap dancers may be talented but who want to have to endure two shows of them. comedian OK but other musicians no one wants to see more than once. opportunity for swapping guest entertainers when in same port as black watch was an opportunity that shouldn't have been missed. what else do you want me to waffle about? nothing wrong with the ship. pity to miss morocco and the opportunity to visit funchal on NYE but captain knows best. a few noisy children on board - belonging to crew. crew very helpful dealing with wheelchair . not sure why there were so many 'free' cocktail parties for oceans members when the presents given as rewards for loyalty were so poor Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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