The Grand Voyage concept is a brilliant idea - spending three weeks at sea travelling to numerous countries / destinations unpacking once! Travelling from Cape Town to Venice on the MSC Opera was a lifetime experience. The entertainment on ... Read More
The Grand Voyage concept is a brilliant idea - spending three weeks at sea travelling to numerous countries / destinations unpacking once! Travelling from Cape Town to Venice on the MSC Opera was a lifetime experience. The entertainment on board was absolutely outstanding - catering for a more mature (in years!) audience with basically no children on board. We were basically entertained from 10h00 - 23h00 daily with a variety of activities resulting in 21 days just flying by.
A variety of shore excursions served everyone's needs and tastes, very well planned to optimize time, getting so many guests on and off the ship. The MSC has served many people well over many years. This was The Opera's last journey before it's major extension and revamp - thus the cabins were not in optimal condition - but no major issue. Dining was great - food was awesome! - variety - with country themes - made dining a memorable experience.
An excellent gym assisted in keeping the weight issue at bay - especially with all the great food.
Disembarkation in Venice was a long process - mainly because most didn't want to leave what has become a way of life and home for the past three weeks.
Highly recommended and a must on your 'bucket list'! Already planning the next mini - retirement on another MSC Grand Voyage!! Read Less
I always have given credit where credit is due but will also give my condemnation when I have received services that are well below what was expected particularly from such a world renowned organisation as the Royal Caribbean Cruise ... Read More
I always have given credit where credit is due but will also give my condemnation when I have received services that are well below what was expected particularly from such a world renowned organisation as the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.My wife and I first experienced the services of Royal Caribbean when we sailed from Sydney on the 5th April, 2012 for an 18 night cruise to Hawaii aboard the Radiance of the Seas. All aspects of this ship were absolutely superb and faultless. From the cleanliness and service of our cabins, the entertainment and the food in both the buffet and the main dining, we had absolutely no complaints. Even with my wife suffering Coeliac Disease, her gluten free diet was taken care of magnificently. It was this experience of the wonderful association we had with Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas that we chose to book two cruises, back to back for 2013. We chose a relocation cruise of the Legend of the Seas departing Singapore on the 5th April, 2013 for a 14 night cruise to Dubai which was followed by a 15 night cruise departing Dubai on the 19th April, 2013 for Rome.Again, the ship was wonderfully presented. Everything fresh and clean especially after a recent refit. We were very happy with our cabin and our cabin steward was a delight and would help us with anything we needed. We were more than happy with the layout of this ship except maybe the Schooner Bar was too close to the Centrum when music was being played in both venues.Our one and only complaint is with the food offered to us in the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant. To put it bluntly, it was absolutely disgusting. Firstly, let me say, that for us, fine dining is a major component of enjoyment on a cruise. We enjoy the social aspect of meeting and dining with new people and we especially enjoy the dining experience itself. My wife and I are good cooks at home and we expect that qualified chefs would be able to prepare meals better than us. Unfortunately this was not the case with the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant on the Legend of the Seas. The menus totally lacked imagination. The menus were duplicated extensively for the second cruise. The meat, Black Angus Sirloin steak was of very poor quality. Totally inedible. The vegetables were presented raw and difficult to eat. The same vegetables were repeated every night. The Salmon was presented dry, overcooked and inedible. Both nights that the lobster tail was presented it was overcooked and tough. They did not understand and cater for my wife's Coeliac diet as well as the Radiance of the Seas had. The food was always presented either tepid or completely cold.We were totally disgusted with the quality of the dining experience and after just a few days into the cruise we had come to wish that we had not chosen to book the two cruises back to back. I might add that we had spoken to many of the other passengers and they also had the same view. I would be interested to know how many made comments in their critiques at the end of the cruise.We complained to our Head Waiter and also at the Guest Services station and as a result we had a face to face consultation with the Maitre D. We were informed by the Maitre D that he had received many complaints concerning the quality of the food and he was taking measures to correct the issues. Unfortunately, the only amendment that we noticed was that the food was actually presented hotter than on previous occasions. All other negative aspects of the dining experience remained the same throughout the whole two cruises. My wife and I sampled the offerings at the Izumi Restaurant and this was by far a much better culinary experience. It is a real pity that we had to pay for a specialized restaurant to be able to enjoy a meal on board this ship.I find it totally extraordinary that two different ships within the same cruise line supply meals in their fine dining restaurants at completely opposite ends of the quality scale. We knew that this was a repositioning cruise and we also came to learn that many of the passengers, mainly from the USA, were given extraordinary good fare discounts particularly for the second cruise and maybe this is why Royal Caribbean chose to save dollars by reducing the food quality, but ourselves and many others, paid full fare for our cruise but were given a second rate dining experience.The Legend of the Seas dining is nowhere near up to the standard we are used to from the Royal Caribbean line.Very disappointed and will have to think twice before deciding to utilise Royal Caribbean again. After returning home I have sent the above complaints to Royal Caribbean via their web site and I was going to post their response here, BUT unfortunately after now waiting over three weeks for their response they have chosen to just ignore me. Funny about that as I thought that they might.Seriously though, if a wonderful dining experience is an integral part of your cruise expectations then stay well clear of the Legend of the Seas. Read Less
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest.
At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest.
At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad service was going to be. I decided not to have a drink (that was being passed around as part of our org's welcome party) but a simple glass of water. I was told by the bar tender that I would have to buy a Â½ or 1 ltr. Bottle of water. From there on, it goes downhill.
At dinner the wait staff will only take your order if you order all courses up front. You better know what dessert you want before you have your appetizer as that is what the waiter 'insists' upon. Now, you finish dinner and ask for coffee with that desert; they don't serve it. You are told to go to another deck and buy a cup at the coffee bar! Meanwhile, coffee and water are free and available at the buffet. Oh, and if you want water at dinner, you have to buy it too. I don't suggest the water package as it is too many liter bottles and the savings is insignificant and you won't use it up if you tried! Overall the food in the dining room was awful. One of their 'always available' items is a steak that is on par with the quality of a steak served at a mall food court. When I didn't eat mine past one bite, instead of the waiter asking if he could get me something else, he just took it away and said nothing.
The buffet, where we had breakfast and dinner offered the same items every day. Only one very small area labeled as Ethnic changed their lunch offerings. The pastries were okay but nothing exceptional. And, here too you had to eat what they wanted to serve you. For example, my wife wanted tuna salad one day. Well, it was only offered on a roll as a sandwich. The person serving it would not put plain tuna on a plate. So, we ordered the sandwich with the intention of removing the tuna from the bread except the server kept mashing it into the bread. It wasn't a language barrier, he was doing what he was told and that is to do as instructed by management, not the customer!
The Divina is a huge ship that is not designed well in my opinion. If you are at the bow on level 6 and need to go to the stern where the dining rooms are, be prepared to go up and down stairs. The Villa Rossa dining room is also on 6 but there is no straight path to it. At mid ship you must go up to 7 and then back down to 6 ridiculous. If you are a jogger, be prepared to push people out of your way as the 'jogging' deck is packed with deck chairs and people milling all around. When taking elevators, be prepared to run. Why? There are usually 4-5 elevators per bank but the door close button works great so most times when a crowded elevator reaches your floor someone on the elevator immediately hits the door close button and you usually miss it unless it opens right in front of you. If you hate cigarette smoke, this cruise line is not for you. It's everywhere. Instead of having totally separate rooms for smokers, they split the rooms but their venting system cannot keep the smoke out of the non-smoker's side. As for bar snacks, potato chips anyone?
We pre-booked our excursion on-line while in Dubrovnik to receive the discounted rate. Well, we were informed the night before that it had been cancelled (not the ships fault as there were warnings that this could happen). However, when we went to the ship excursion desk to book a replacement we were told we would have to pay the on-board price which was about 25% more.
Housekeeping was terrible. After a few days we realized that our water glasses left on the desk next to the ice bucket were not being replaced. They were just putting paper covers back over the used glasses. The bath robes they give you to use (which are never changed) are removed from your cabin on the last night.
This cruise line is in for a rude awakening when they bring the Divina to Miami this fall. Expect to read about coffee riots in the news (oh, by the way, they don't offer decaf). Management runs the ship for the benefit of the cruise line not the cruisers. They have no idea about service. Now, I am only speaking for the regular side of the ship where we booked the top price cabin. I did not book in the Yacht Club level. However, we met someone who booked the YC as we were embarking. We actually met up with her at disembarking. We asked how her side was and all she could say was that she was headed to Barcelona for another cruise with MSC and she dreaded it.
We found being on an international ship intriguing with all of the different languages. Europeans can be very pushy and rude. People will cut in front of you and push you out of the way. Don't worry about being an 'ugly American', just push right back and stand your ground while saying 'esscusa'.
Thank goodness we ended our vacation back in Venice at a wonderful bed & breakfast where the owners understood service. Read Less
This will be a review of the ship and pertinent comments about the itinerary and ports but is not meant to be a travelogue of our journey. This was our 3rd sailing with Celebrity, 16th cruise overall covering 9 different cruise lines, so ... Read More
This will be a review of the ship and pertinent comments about the itinerary and ports but is not meant to be a travelogue of our journey. This was our 3rd sailing with Celebrity, 16th cruise overall covering 9 different cruise lines, so we have a good basis for comparisons.Embarkation The itinerary included an overnight in Venice. We had come in early to tour Venice so we boarded on the 3rd day in the city. We took the Alilaguna boat from near San Marco where our hotel was located to the port, arriving around 12:30. Unlike most ports we have sailed from, the place where one drops off their luggage is a separate building from the cruise terminal itself. This involved a bit of a walk from the local boat drop off point with all our bags, then another walk with our carry on luggage to the terminal itself. Check in took about 30 minutes, not too bad but there are some opportunities for efficiency improvements. First, rather than fill out the standard health questionnaire prior to entering the queue Celebrity had us fill it out at the counter, which holds up the line. Also, the process of getting one's photo taken for the boarding card was slow, while other lines take it as you board the first time. Finally, my credit card used for charges had expired and been renewed, same number but just a new expiration date. Rather than making a note or marking up the original online form, they made me fill out a whole new form. Bottom line, not a bad check in but could have been even better. By the time we boarded our cabin was ready, which was very convenient.The Silhouette is one of Celebrity's newest ships. It takes advantage of state of the art technology and its furnishings are modern and Art Deco. The public areas are laid out so we never felt crowded wherever we went on the ship.Our CabinWe were in stateroom 9266, a starboard side verandah mid ships. The location was excellent except we learned port side would be better for this itinerary as we faced away from town at all ports where we docked . Because our cabin was in the "bump out" we had a larger balcony, which was appreciated. The stateroom was large enough and well appointed. There is a large closet and extra storage over the bed. The beds were high enough to fit our 2 large suitcases and 2 carry-ons under the bed. The only downside is there are 3 fairly small drawers to put away clothes so we had to access our suitcases regularly. The bathroom had lots of room to move around and loads of storage for toiletries, so much that we did not come close to using it all. The shower is also roomy. We were very pleased with the in-room entertainment as there are a large number of first run movies available on demand as well as the largest number of TV channels available we have experienced to date.DiningWe elected Celebrity Select for dinner, which means we can eat any time between 5:45 and 9:30. You can make reservations earlier that day or one day in advance. We quickly discovered that whenever we went down without reservations there was very little wait, the dining room was incredibly efficient. We were always happy with the food quality and wide variety of selections and the service was excellent. We never dined in the speciality restaurants as we were happy with main dining room. We did eat at the Oceanview Cafe twice for dinner when we came back tired from a long day of touring, but found the food at dinner less than satisfactory.For breakfast we either ate in the Oceanview Cafe buffet or had room service. The selection of food at the buffet for breakfast was staggering and generally good quality. Some of my favorites like smoked salmon and herring were available every day, as well as eggs to order and so much more. Room service can be ordered through the TV the night before. The selection was much more limited but the convenience was appreciated, especially on days when we had early tours. Since the itinerary was so port intensive, many days we just grabbed a snack while we were out, had tea in the Oceanview Cafe and then had a late dinner. A few days we had lunch in the Oceanview Cafe where there was a large selection which always included Indian, Chinese and Mexican food, pasta, sandwiches and a variety of hot entrees as well as a large salad bar and a build your own sandwich station.EntertainmentWe caught about 1/3 of the main shows. This included a few musical productions, a young violinist and a comedian. Enjoyable but nothing above standard cruise fare. The lounge acts we enjoyed were the party band Sipra, an A Capella group that was very talented and a pianist in the atrium lobby. All made for a relaxing interlude but were not on a level with some other cruises we have been on, including our Celebrity cruise to Norway. A special treat were the 5 lectures on the space program by Ed Buckbee, who co-founded Space Camp and was in public relations for NASA and knew many of the astronauts personally.Pool and SpaThere are 2 main pools, each with a number of hot tubs, the outdoor pool and an indoor solarium. Except for the one day at sea, neither looked like it was overwhelmed. I primarily swam and relaxed in the solarium. Even on the rainiest days I never had trouble finding a place to lay down. The pool water temperature was perfect, comfortable but not warm. The hot tub was not as warm as I prefer but understandable since it has to appeal to a broad range of tastes.Other Ship ServicesOur Cruise Critic Roll Call group approached 200 people. Celebrity scheduled our Connections get together the first night in Venice, which was a bit unfortunate since many in our group were still out touring as we were docked overnight. On the plus side, they gave over most of the Sky Lounge to us and the free champagne was available for the entire time we were there. For the Venice sail away we took over the Sky Bar and Celebrity put on extra staff to handle our large group. This was representative of the attentive service throughout the cruise.The Internet service was excellent. Except on rare occasions it was able to handle e-mail and browser searches rapidly. We did not use it for streaming music or video as the cost would be prohibitive for usage time. We bought a package for around $98 that gave us over 200 minutes which was more than adequate for our needs.The guest services desk staff were friendly and knowledgeable on the few occasions when I used them. We arranged all our shore tours privately or simply walked the ports on our own, so the only time we used the Shore Excursions desk were for shuttles in Ravenna and Dubrovnik.PortsThe intent here is not to discuss what to do in each port as there is ample information on Cruise Critic and elsewhere, but rather to describe access to the ports and the relevant facilities and transportation.Koper, Slovenia The small city center is right across the street from the port. There were a few tour operators at the port selling shore excursions and a small number of taxis. There is no big terminal building so other services must be accessed in town.Ravenna, Italy The town is a 20-30 minute ride by taxi or bus. Celebrity offered a shuttle that for 2 people was about the same as the cost of a taxi. There were many taxis waiting at the port. The terminal is very small with minimal facilities that included a Wi-Fi hot spot. In town there is a hop on hop off bus.Split, Croatia This was a tender port. This turned out to be the only day where there was a disembarkation issue through no fault of Celebrity. Due to rough weather the number of places around the ship where tenders could tie up were limited so the tender operation ran about 30 minutes late. Kudos to Celebrity for placing paramount focus on safety. We had the cell number of our tour guide so we could keep him appraised of our progress. Once you reach Split you are right in town, including the massive Diocletian Palace. Taxis were everywhere as we're folks offering shore excursions.Dubrovnik, Croatia The old town is about a 5 minute ride by taxi or bus. Celebrity offers a shuttle that for 2 people was cost competitive with the cost of a taxi. You can take a city bus into town at a much lower price but you need Kuna to pay the driver. Taxis were abundant, and they also offered area tours as well as transport to town. There is a fairly large port terminal in Dubrovnik. This was the one port where popularity as a cruise and tourist destination was painfully obvious. The old town was a crush of tourists and the wall looked like a sea of humanity. Here I will offer one tip, if you want to walk the wall, go to the far side of the city to access it where there was a small line.Kotor, Montenegro This was the other tender port and here the disembarkation was fast and easy. We got our tender tickets at 8:00 for group 1 and by the time I went back to the room to meet my wife and head back down they were already calling group 3. Where the tender docks is at the foot of the old town. I saw a lot of boat tours offered but did not see taxis, although I assume they were available as the town was quite busy. There was no big port terminal but all manner of services were available in town.Bari, Italy Celebrity offered a shuttle but the walk in to town was no more than 10 minutes at an easy pace. Where we docked was just down from the huge port facility. There were taxis available as one disembarked as well as at the port terminal and in town. There were also local tour operators at the port terminal as well Amy's a hop on hop off bus.Valletta, Malta The city overlooks the dock area. A short walk takes you to an elevator which brings you up to the old city. There is a large terminal with an abundance of services and access to taxis and tour operators.Catania, Sicily The entrance to the old city is a 5 minute walk from the dock. Where we docked there was a full service port terminal and just outside is a taxi stand. Naples, Italy The Naples cruise terminal is one of the largest we saw and has a multitude of shops and services. Once you exit you are by Castle Nuovo and the foot of the old city. Taxis are plentiful as are all manner of tour operators. There is a hop on hop off bus as well.Disembarkation in Civitavecchia for RomeThis was by far the simplest disembarkation we have ever experienced. We walked off the ship with our carry on bags, had our luggage in 2 minutes and there was no passport control, only a token customs officer. We met our transportation and 90 minutes later were at our hotel in Rome.One final note, Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis was the most entertaining ship's captain we have ever encountered. He is clearly a frustrated stand up comedian and he would be very good at it. He is a consummate professional and takes his duties very seriously. We always looked forward to his announcements and seeing him around the ship.In closing, the cruise lived up to our expectations of Celebrity and we would not hesitate to sail with them again and recommend them to anyone. Read Less
Our trip started on Mother's Day and ended on our Anniversary (great way to not have to think up gifts). It was a "sandwich" trip with a land portion, the cruise and then more land travel. I should also mention my wife is ... Read More
Our trip started on Mother's Day and ended on our Anniversary (great way to not have to think up gifts). It was a "sandwich" trip with a land portion, the cruise and then more land travel. I should also mention my wife is totally blind since birth. Also, you should know we've cruised 19 times with 7 different cruise lines. We are mellow and don't get excited because something minor went wrong. To begin, I regret it is with a "bad". Since our very 1st cruise we've asked for Braille menus, not received one and wrote the cruise line afterward. We've suggested everytime we'd be happy to Braille their menu for other blind folk. We talked with a Carnival rep this time who sent us printed menus ahead of time but said "No" when we offered to Braille them. We've suggested putting the menu on a dedicated phone # onboard, same with the Daily Activity newsletter on our bed every night. Nope. Sadly, Carnival seem uninterested in meeting this need.
Okay, the cruise itself was very nice. Food was good, service good, room steward good. Movie offerings were better than most ruises BUT good luck finding what time they started -nothing in the daily schedule.
Opening show was the usual Cruise Director welcome but that was the only similarity to introdction night. Instead of introducing the Captain, Food Director, etc. John Heard, Cruise Director, was as good a stand up comedian as I've seen. He basically did a show while giving info. Later he did port talks in a comedic waythat was great. Great job BUT never saw John except at the theater. He did a TV show each day that was not impressive at all. The rest of the shows were the usual mixed - some god, some bad but one night it was just a movie!
Tour organization was pretty good getting us off the ship. Tours were normal and good except our Venice "Gondola, Murano Island, etc." The boat captain that picked us up at the ship couldn't find a place to park his boat, wasted time looking for one, then we had to walk 25 minutes to get to the gondola. We were late and instead of 1st class gondolas with singers, we got 2nd class ones. It wasn't a good tour and felt like rookies all around.
The boat itself is way too gaudy with a Roman urn theme repeated way too much.
Cruise excursion staff helpful but hours are poor,
Automatic tips - bad idea. Cabin service seems unaffected but all the rest, in general, has slipped. Waiters have too many tables now and it just isn't as good.
The buffet is mixed good and not so good. Food is fine except desserts were ho-hum. The problem is pizza had one guy working, very slow going. Wrap/sandwich station great sandwiches but took too long. Design of the drink/dessert/pizza/salad area threw too many people in one area. Salads were very good. Ice cream machine is well hidden!
First cruise we've been on that seemed to understand people like Trivia Games a lot. Several versions every day. Very good idea.
Self-serve laundry is a great idea. Very clean and nice. $3 a pop is a bit much but easy to use with ship card instead of quarters -great idea.
Small jogging track with miniture golphers constantly stepping in front of us.
Best disembarkation ever in Venice. Great way to do it Carnival.
Overal a good cruise that went smoothly except for power outage of about 40 minutes. Read Less
I am a little late writing this review but we sailed summer on Windsurf's Classic Itlay and the Dalmation Coast cruise. It was fantastic from start to finish. This was my second time sailing Windstar and I loved it again. The surf is ... Read More
I am a little late writing this review but we sailed summer on Windsurf's Classic Itlay and the Dalmation Coast cruise. It was fantastic from start to finish. This was my second time sailing Windstar and I loved it again. The surf is bigger than the Windstar and for me the largest ship I'd sailed on. This was my third cruise - al on small ships - which I love. I'm not a big entertainment fan - just a few drinks some nice copmany and conversation after a long day of touring is just fine by me.
The best things about this cruise:
- Small ship like this means you know almost everyone by the end ofthe week. The staff around the ship all know you by name.
- Great food, laid back resort casual atmosphere
- Swimming off the back of the ship and also other water sports
- No lines for anything ever
Honestly the only thing I think could be done better on Windstar Cruises - I wish they would incorportae more local food specialties and local wines each day to reflect the areas where we're stopping.
I can't wait for my next Windstar Cruise... the question is when :) Read Less
Well what can I say other than DON'T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE.
Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were trying to serve ... Read More
Well what can I say other than DON'T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE.
Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were trying to serve food. Buggies and prams cluttering up the aisles when trying to get food in the buffet. One child even rode his bike into a crowded lift!!! We were woken up at 4am one morning with children running and shouting in the corridor outside our cabin.
The passengers were extremely rude and pushed and shoved the whole time and whilst waiting for the lifts which were erratic to say the least, the passengers (mostly Italian) barged to the front and would not let people get out of the lift before they got in.
The lifts, the kids pressed every button on every floor so it took us half an hour to get from Deck 5 (Restaurant for dinner) to Deck 12 ( our cabin) every evening. These lifts dominated our cruise experience because this was not a small boat and you had to use them. In most situations you would say that this was a major design fault in this boat but this (perhaps) may not be the case if they were not constantly abused.
This was the most stressful holiday my husband and I have ever had.
The food was not good either, there was far too much salt used in the cooking and the food was very poorly presented, it reminded us both of school dinners. The food was also nearly always cold by the time it was served. My husband bent his metal fork whilst trying to cut a piece of stale bread when eating Eggs Benedict for breakfast. There was no toast supplied at breakfast and the rolls and bread were stale by the end of the week. The juice drinks machines more often that not where out of order or not switched on. Not good when you want a cold drink. Also the juice when you could get it was watered down and had sugar added to it. Also there were no glasses at the juice machines and we had to use warm teacups to get a drink when the machines were working. There was no fruit that was fresh in the buffet either and mmost of the fruit supplied at breakfast was tinned.
The departure from the boat at Majorca and Villefranche was totally disorganised to say the least with the usual pushing and shoving from the Italian families.
But the worst situation by far was on the Wednesday 10th July. My husband and I went to the pool on the 13th deck, got our towels and found two sun beds. This was at 9.20, we sat down for a while and put on sun cream, at 9.40 my husband said "I think I'll go for a swim now" so I said "OK I'll join you". We went down to the pool and were only gone for 20 minutes, when we decided to go back I went up the steps first whilst my husband had a shower near the pool, when I got to our sun beds there were other people there arranging their towels and belongings and all our belongings had gone. We went down to the attendants who had given the towels out to find all our property including phones, watches, cameras, shoes and our towels had been thrown into a plastic sack.
The attendant started being very rude and aggressive and shouting at us and quoting that in the contract you are only allowed to leave the sun bed for 30 minutes, we had been gone for 20 minutes. I spoke to a Security Guard who was standing nearby but he could not help me, the attendant who I originally spoke to stood there watching me and smirking at the fact that I could not get anywhere with any of them. There were other people leaving their beds for 2 hours and more, also children who had beds who were never on them.
We could not get anywhere with this rude and aggressive man so we had to go inside down seven decks to the desk, barefoot and dripping water, me in my bikini and my husband in his trunks because everthing had been taken, we did not even have a towel to dry ourselves with. We spoke to someone at the desk who again, was not very helpful but we demanded a meeting with the manager and this was eventually arranged after two put offs for the evening. We finally met Shameem (sp) who I must say, did handle the situation very well as we were both furious at this unfriendly and discourtesious way of being treated. Shemeem said she would report it back to the management, as they did not want passengers to be unhappy.
The trouble was the damage had been done and we had to spend the rest of the day in our cabin as there was nothing else to do and all the sun beds had gone by this time. I am sure that we were targeted because we were English, it would not have been done to an Italian family. There were very few English people on this trip, Im not surprised!!
We did however go to some lovely places such as Rome, Majorca, Monaco and Palermo and we also met some very nice Australian people who sat on our table at dinner each evening and who incidentally did not like the cruise either and had said they would never travel with MSC again. They were horrified when they heard what had happened to us at the pool on Wednesday and thought it was a disgusting way to treat people. If they are going to take one set of people's belongings because they have been away from their bed for a short while then they must treat everyone else the same and not target individuals. We will never go on another MSC cruise again and shall make sure that everyone we know hears about this.
A year ago, 4 couples decided to cruise the Ionian and Adriatic Seas from Athens to Venice on the Star Pride. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of ladies. The Birthday Girl was familiar with the Wind Star ... Read More
A year ago, 4 couples decided to cruise the Ionian and Adriatic Seas from Athens to Venice on the Star Pride. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of ladies. The Birthday Girl was familiar with the Wind Star Line, so the rest of us joined in. We arrived in Athens on July 3rd, checking into the St. George Lycabettus Hotel (recommended by Wind Star) at around 3pm. The hotel was in a beautiful neighborhood on the side of Lycabettus Hill. The hotel staff was very accommodating, and without much difficulty we made our way to our rooms. Our room was a little dated, but comfortable. The shower was absolutely horrible, but we managed. Our friends had good showers, so it appeared that we were just unlucky. Any disappointment vanished when we looked out of our window. There is all its glory was the city of Athens including a front row seat of the Acropolis. Wow! The same goes for the restaurant at the top of the hotel. Wind Star was fully represented at the hotel. We registered with one of their representatives, and we simply had to have our luggage ready to go by 9 am on July 6th. Two buses arrived at around noon, picked us up and along with our bags, we headed to the ship.
We arrived at the port after a short drive through Athens. When we arrived, we went through a security check and boarded the Star Pride. We turned over our passports, credit card info, received room keys and made our way to Cabin 219 on Deck 5. Our friends were close by. We had a Balcony Suite. It was absolutely wonderful with King bed, large bathroom with double sinks and full shower/bath, and a very comfortable sitting area with TV. DVD, Boise sound system, and minibar. The cabin had a walk-in closet with plenty of space for clothes. Our suitcases fit under the bed. We toured the ship on our own after a mandatory life boat muster in order to check things out. Before we knew it, we were at sea!
The Good (Great included):
1. Without a doubt, our Cabin 219 was wonderful in every way imaginable. Our Steward, Rusi, exceeded our expectations. We selected the laundry package ($140 for the cabin) and it was exceptional. Everyday we had things either pressed or laundered, without a single problem. I needed cold gel packs each day for an ankle injury, and Rusi asked me to dial 0 and request them. Once again, expectations were exceeded. The Cabin was organized and spotless the entire cruise.
2. We dined in the Veranda for breakfast each day. The selections were over the top. I had some fun with it to see how far I could go without a problem. I never had one, as they came up with everything!
3. We dined either in The Amphora Room or Candles for dinner each evening. The drinks, wine, menu selections were fabulous.
4. Our waitstaff at all meals were exceptional. Harry served our table as the primary waiter. He became family on the cruise. Marcus and Raphael were our bar stewards. They met every request from cocktails (Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Martinis) to wine and after dinner liquors. The dining room Officers watched over the entire process making their presence known.
5. The onshore excursions were all great. We toured Delphi, Butrint, and Dubrovnik including a wine tasting. Other days, we simply enjoyed the cities we visited.
6. The Gift Shop was very nice.
7. The nightly entertainment was also fine. We sang, danced, and one of our party, joined the band as a drummer.
8. The Deck BBQ was over the top!
9. The Executive Chef and Soux Chef were both very visible. I joined the EC on a visit to the market to purchase fish, vegetables, olives and cheeses. The SC held a cooking class.
10. We passed on the drink package and were glad we did. We spent less money and had a better selection.
1. The internet was just plain bad. I spent $150 for three separate packages and was very disappointed. We had to rely on shore visits in order to have reliable wifi.
2. The swimming pool looked pretty bad. I never saw anyone in it.
1. By far, the most disappointing experience involved the tender returning from the Butrint National Park in Albania. The shore staff lost control, as there were people breaking in line, it was hot, and we just sat around the dock waiting for the tenders which came about every half hour or so. Some of our group waited 2 hours to get back to the ship. The Captain made a personal apology to the entire ship and refunded each participant 20% of the fee for the excursion.
In summary, we were very pleased with our cruise. It was expensive, but to a person, we would return to the Star Pride and Wind Star cruises for the crew, the food, the drinks, and the Cabin.
The entire Noordam staff were graduates of smile school, and were very accommodating to any need that we expressed.
- The Maitre 'd made a point of soliciting our comments about the Vista Dining Room ("tepid soup, slower service ... Read More
The entire Noordam staff were graduates of smile school, and were very accommodating to any need that we expressed.
- The Maitre 'd made a point of soliciting our comments about the Vista Dining Room ("tepid soup, slower service between courses than expected"- which he remedied). Portions seemed smaller than I remember from previous cruises, so we often visited the Lido deck later to get a bite.
- The Excursion Director, KK, provided an informative overview of the destinations and had scheduled hours at her Main Deck desk to respond to individual questions; she had unlimited patience in dealing with people who did absolutely nothing on their own to become informed (and who also wasted everyone else's time). We took one HAL excursion and explored other destinations on our own- I find that privately arranged tours are about half the charge of HAL's and you can alter them as you'd like. Hop On-Hop Off buses are also a fairly quick and inexpensive way to get the lay of the land.
- The crew was especially attentive to passenger safety during tendering operations at ports where the ship couldn't dock.
Our single significant disappointment was that complimentary wifi wasn't available- not in the cabins nor in a central location such as the library. Cruisers get pumped about their activities and increasingly want to share their excitement through email and facebook (generating some buzz for potential HAL cruisers?).
While Motel 6 provides it free, HAL gouges passengers 75c a minute, or lesser amounts if you shell out for a package of minutes, starting at $55 for 100 minutes ($.55 a minute). If capacity was a significant factor, I'd suggest providing some basic minutes free and charging for usage over that amount. Read Less
This was our first Azamara Cruise, having heard good things from former passengers. This cruise did not disappoint! Previously, we've taken cruises on Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Princess. We also really like river cruises and ... Read More
This was our first Azamara Cruise, having heard good things from former passengers. This cruise did not disappoint! Previously, we've taken cruises on Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Princess. We also really like river cruises and we've done Viking and AMA Waterways. The Azamara Quest is a great size! It has all the amenities of a larger ship (e.g. spa, specialty restaurants, and fitness center), but is cozy and easy to get around. And after a few days, passengers begin to recognize each other.
This was our first trip to Croatia. What beautiful landscape! Our favorite excursion was the Hvar Off-Road Adventure. It is not to be missed! In a couple of places, we did self-guided tours. The Azamara-provided tour of Kotor was a disappointment. We were disappointed that we spent too little time at some of the ports (but too long at others, such as Kotor). We would have liked to have spent more time in Dubrovnik.
Getting on and off the ship at each port was a breeze! Very similar to disembarking on a River Cruise. We were tendered at one of the ports, but that was painless too.
We did not attend any of the shows or go to the casino; not "our thing."
The food was abundant and very good. We did the Windows Café for each lunch and one dinner (we sat outside when we were docked in Venice; it was lovely!), and had dinners at both specialty restaurants. Service was impeccable at the specialty restaurants.
The "Azamazing Evening" - an outdoor concert by a Croatian cellist - was a disappointment. The venue was pretty, but the concert went on for too long.
The only negative that I can report is the miserable experience we had with Choice Air. Our reservations were screwed up both on the outbound and return flights, and Choice Air was not responsive to our travel agent, even when the error was theirs. Never again!
We will definitely do another Azamara cruise. Read Less