My wife and I have just returned from a cruise and stay package with Marella, staying firstly at the wonderful conca park hotel in Sorrento then onto the Explorer 2. Given it was our first cruise, We obviously have limited experience of ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a cruise and stay package with Marella, staying firstly at the wonderful conca park hotel in Sorrento then onto the Explorer 2. Given it was our first cruise, We obviously have limited experience of cruises but must say that we found our first experience to be amazing. Every aspect of the cruise was fantastic, from the cabin we had (a standard balcony cabin on deck 8) to the food, entertainment and staff. We enjoyed having so much choice for meals and loved fish and chips at the snack shack, pasta in Nonnas and main meal in the MDR. We were very Impressed with the friendlyness of all of the staff and the amazing shows in the show lounge, we made full use of our balcony and wouldn't like to do another cruise with a lesser grade cabin. So,altogether a great trip and would highly recommend this ship and company to others. The only negative aspect of our trip as mentioned in other reviews was Naples airport which was hell! Too busy, awful service and attitude and a horrible start and end to an otherwise great experience, I can only hope that Marella get the message and change this airport as we would certainly not wish to use it again and would therefore be very reluctant to do another holiday via there again. I had a wheelchair with me and found that all on the ship and tours were very accommodating. It was a bit of a squeeze in the cabin but we managed fairly well. However the same could not be said at the airport. You also realize how far we have come in accommodating disabled people in this country compared with others. Read Less
This was our first cruise and although we have nothing else to compare it with, can honestly say it was the best experience ever. Yes, there is a bit of a walk from the airport to get on the coach, but its not that far. Embarkation and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and although we have nothing else to compare it with, can honestly say it was the best experience ever. Yes, there is a bit of a walk from the airport to get on the coach, but its not that far. Embarkation and check in had a nice feel to it, with welcoming drinks etc., Our Cabin was always clean, with fresh towels and pool towels whenever you needed them, The food choice on board was great, and the Surf & Turf Steakhouse was so good, we booked to go again, before we came home. The staff could not do enough for you and were always pleasant and happy in their work. We did a few excursions, and that was the only thing that we had a negative about as one trip we booked, we hardly had any time to visit the place, as the tour guide decided to take us on tour round the town. so bit disappointed. But, we are already researching our next cruise and it will defintely be with TUI Marella. Read Less
The price, the ports, the all inclusive package and the fact that we could stay on in corfu all lead us to pick this cruise. The ship was beautiful, and easy to find our way around. We had balcony cabins which were great, and our steward ... Read More
The price, the ports, the all inclusive package and the fact that we could stay on in corfu all lead us to pick this cruise. The ship was beautiful, and easy to find our way around. We had balcony cabins which were great, and our steward was very attentive and looked after our needs. We ate alot in the mdr, including the Italian option upstairs and service was excellent as was the food. Many times we ordered a number of starters to be able to sample different dishes, portions were not huge which suited us well. We had an issue one night with our table and did not feel it was handled well however we gave feedback and the dining room manager listened to us and apologized profusely.we also ate at the tapas restaurant in the glass house on 2 occasions and this was a very good experience, much quieter than the mdr but still waiter service.
Captain Chris was from Manchester and it was very entertaining listening to his announcements! A real character!! We did the ship transfer to Rome which was straight forward. Naples was chaotic but we headed up to castle st Elmo and escaped the madness. Messina has an amazing clock tower both inside and out, be there at 11.30 to go inside before the display starts at 12. Valetta was our favourite place, we enjoyed the British quirks around the town, even a George clothes shop!! very easy to do on foot. Taranto- was a great disappointment. Nothing to see there, not even a coffee shop...definitely do a trip out of town if you go to this port.
We stayed on in corfu at hotels bono, highly recommended. Lovely hotel, supermarket nearby and buses around the island were very good. No sandy beaches was a disappointment, kassiopi was our favourite place. Read Less
Viking was wonderful! They met us at he airport and delivered us to the hotel in which we stayed in Rome. A beautiful hotel, which was part of their package. There were Viking agents there almost round the clock to help us with anything. ... Read More
Viking was wonderful! They met us at he airport and delivered us to the hotel in which we stayed in Rome. A beautiful hotel, which was part of their package. There were Viking agents there almost round the clock to help us with anything. They took us on to the ship.
The embarkation was the best of any ship we have taken. Smooth and efficient.
Then the ship was absolutely beautiful. Our bags arrived very promptly and our cabin steward was right there to make sure that we were settled in and aquatinted with everything. The cabin was spacious, beautiful and very comfortable, as was the bathroom.
It is a beautifully appointed ship with ample comfortable and elegant seating throughout. The ships staff were welcoming and helpful.
I really can’t say enough about this entire experience.
We stayed two extra nights in Venice, as we have always loved that city, and although the hotel was across the water from St Marks, it was very pleasant. In fact the hotel itself was amazing and very comfortable.
This was our first experience with Viking, but it certainly will not be our last.
So many passengers on our ship were repeat clients. All sang the praises of both the ocean and the river cruises...our next adventure! Read Less
Taking a Star Clippers cruise is about being on a true sailing vessel. If you like to sail, this is your ship. Our trip to Italy and Greece was amazing. We spent a day exploring Rome on our own and then took the train to Civitavecchia ... Read More
Taking a Star Clippers cruise is about being on a true sailing vessel. If you like to sail, this is your ship. Our trip to Italy and Greece was amazing. We spent a day exploring Rome on our own and then took the train to Civitavecchia (make sure you take the bus from the train station....walking doesn't work) where we boarded our ship. It is breathtaking because it's a sailing ship that is well loved and taken care of. After we did all the check-in's, drills, unpacked, etc. we had a delicious dinner and met new friends. Our stops were Ponza, Palmarola, Sorrento, Lipari, Syracuse (Italy), and Pilos, Elafonisos, Hydra, and Athens (Greece). All of our stops were beautiful. Every day, there is a talk and a sheet of paper that explains destination, tours, opportunities to explore. Do some research on your own too. Many people did the tours but some explored on their own and had a fabulous time. One couple would find a cafe with a beautiful view and spend the day painting. We love seeing their pictures. Because this is a sailing vessel that can transport you to smaller ports, sometimes the ship cannot dock right at port. In that case, you will take a tender to the port. Embarking and disembarking the tender is only as easy as the calmness of the ocean. For 95% of people, this was fine, but there were some that struggled. Also, don't take the first tender in the morning. The first one is too packed with people, it gets hot and they're figuring out how to work with the ocean and waves. The tenders go back and forth regularly so you can have short or long excursions....whatever floats your boat. The cabin size was perfect for us. They are small, but we don't sit in our cabin, we love the ship and spend as much time out on the deck as possible. One of our favorite activities before dinner is to enjoy a glass of wine at the back of the ship watching the rolling waves and the scenery and then going into dinner a little later. You can sit wherever you like at meal times. If you have a preference (i.e., english-speaking table or if you have a group of people, they will seat you together). The food is delicious. You probably get fancier stuff on big ships but this is trip is about sailing. I ate fish almost every night and loved it! Their soup is delicious too. Cocktails are very reasonably priced. We enjoyed their house rose too. We had a category 2 cabin/bathroom and the shower is small....but it feels delightful after a full-day of excursions. I would choose this cruise over a big cruise any day because the crew is fantastic, the ship is beautiful and it's a fabulous experience. There were some issues with night-time entertainment on our ship because the piano player had a medical emergency and could not be on our boat, but we were so tired at the end of the day, we couldn't stay up anyhow. If dancing/music are important to you, bring a phone with your favorite playlist and they will make a party/dance club on the tropical deck. Category 1 (500 level) rooms can hear some of the action on the deck (pounding/repairing sails, music from the dance club, etc). Category 5/6 (100) level rooms can hear the engines. Not much you can do about that other than bring earplugs. Star Clippers vacations are fabulous. Read Less
It was our 1st cruise and we thought it was a great experience the entertainment staff catering bar staff cabin staff highly recommended would do it again .would recommend it to other 1st time cruisers as well only thing we didnt like was ... Read More
It was our 1st cruise and we thought it was a great experience the entertainment staff catering bar staff cabin staff highly recommended would do it again .would recommend it to other 1st time cruisers as well only thing we didnt like was that you was unable to watch england games in the world cup tournament and to have wifi would be rather expensive the captains announcements were very clear and accurate information. My wife unfortunately broke her ankle while we were in rome and the medical staff were great and was Amanda of entertainment who came with us to th hospital while we docked in palermos spain also the very kind taxi drivers who took great care with us .I travelled with my with and mother in law and none of us had been on a cruise before we would do it again one year liked it very much. Read Less
We received an up grade to a balcony cabin, had an excellent cabin crew member,Bambang. Rarely had any spare time as there was so much organized activity to keep us occupied. The ports visited in many cases were a first time for the ship ... Read More
We received an up grade to a balcony cabin, had an excellent cabin crew member,Bambang. Rarely had any spare time as there was so much organized activity to keep us occupied. The ports visited in many cases were a first time for the ship and ourselves. We were offered a large choice of shore tours at each stop which we really enjoyed. The food choice and range was excellent at any dining place on the ship and our table of 8 was spoilt by the service and quality of the meals at our 5:30 pm meal.
Overall, our time onboard was brilliant thanks to the organized running of the ship by the Captain and crew.
The shore excursion to Petra in Jordan was on our bucket list and was a highlight of the tour except that through lack of information and understanding we decided that my wife would be unable to undertake the long and strenuous walk and climb it entailed. Had I known, it would have been possible for my wife to have taken a horse and buggy ride both down and back, she would have been able to go. To me that was not highlighted enough and was our biggest disappointment. Read Less
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and Florence were fantastic. The ship was also very nice; the cabin size is average for a river cruise but very comfortable, (we loved having a candy dish full of chocolates in our room); the food was good, but not great; the entertainment was what I expected from a river cruise - a pianist/singer who was good; the service was exceptional and the staff was very friendly and accomodating; the ports were wonderful, the shore excursions were great, and the local guides were fantastic. Our cruise director, Agnes, was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was that the trip wasn't a few days longer, especially in Venice and Rome. In Venice it would have been nice to have an extra free day and in Rome, you really need at least two more days to see it all. Plus, since the hotel in Rome was not in the heart of the city, we would have liked to be given the opportunity to stay in town for the day or an afternoon and then to be picked up by the bus to retun to our hotel instead of finding transportation on our own. But we loved this trip and would recomend it to everyone. Read Less
CroisiEurope should be proud of the staff on board the Michelangelo, they were magnificent, very helpful friendly and pleasant at all times, they clearly worked hard. The ship was spotless and the food absolutely wonderful. The cabins ... Read More
CroisiEurope should be proud of the staff on board the Michelangelo, they were magnificent, very helpful friendly and pleasant at all times, they clearly worked hard. The ship was spotless and the food absolutely wonderful. The cabins were roomy with plenty of wardrobe space for two and there was a large window in each. Air con or heating was standard at the flick of a button and cabins were cleaned thoroughly each day. I would say that it was great value for money. I would definitely recommend to all my friends, a holiday with a special difference. The tours and the cruising was excellent, Michelangelo docked every night by the quayside in Venice not too far from the Doges Palace and St Marks Square. During the day when not on an organised tour its possible to see lots of Venice using the vaporettos to get around. The atmosphere on board Michelangelo was very convivial with some form of entertainment on every night. Read Less
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer.
We ... Read More
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer.
We were in the different parts of Italy many times but not in Sicily. So the decision was easy.
Embarkation was smooth and easy. We were upgraded to a higher deck - which was a nice surprise. Cabin was clean and kept clean all the voyage.
The dining on Windstar ships is the one of the best you can get on a cruise ship. All the time 5* - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, BBQ event - everything!
The ports were interesting for us as I've mentioned. All around Sicily plus Malta and Gozo (small island next to Malta). Unfortunately due to the weather conditions in Gozo captain decided to stay one more night in Valletta so we couldn't see Gozo. But safety first and we spent a wonderful one more day in Malta - which was nice :)
Special event was very well organized. Additional point to the Team.
Miss the ship already and dream to come again! :) Read Less
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available.
From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele.
After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area.
One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters.
Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
Wanted to try a short cruise and the destinations of Sicily and Malta were places that we had not been to before. The ship is classed in todays world as small ( 600 passengers) but this made it easy to find your way round and meet the same ... Read More
Wanted to try a short cruise and the destinations of Sicily and Malta were places that we had not been to before. The ship is classed in todays world as small ( 600 passengers) but this made it easy to find your way round and meet the same people.We spent 3 days in Rome before the start of the cruise which was well worth doing. Everything about the cruise was very good, dining, entertainment and service. We had a Veranda stateroom which was furnished very well although slightly small. The shore excursions were very well organised but slightly expensive. The wifi and internet were expensive on board ship so used the wifi at the ports we stopped at. The crew and staff were very attentive with nothing being too much trouble for them. The captain was very approachable and was often around when we were leaving the ship for excursions and during part of the evenings entertainment. He would often make suggestion about when was a good time to be on deck ie. when entering Valletta in Malta for the views from the ship. We would definitely travel with this company again. Read Less
The idea of cruising on a brand new ship was exciting and it turns out it was also very worthwhile. The Konigsdam is magnificent. Her captain and crew run a tight ship. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was on time, pleasant, ... Read More
The idea of cruising on a brand new ship was exciting and it turns out it was also very worthwhile. The Konigsdam is magnificent. Her captain and crew run a tight ship. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was on time, pleasant, efficient, and professional. The public areas are well appointed and once you understand that you have been immersed into a musical instrument, you really enjoy the décor. Watch HALs short video done by the award winning designer and you will understand what we mean. The areas were magnificent. There is a lot of people, and the room is huge yet you had your privacy and intimacy at your table. The new design of the Lido restaurant is efficient, and there was plenty of seating at every sitting. The swimming area of the Lido looks crowded and yet once you start moving around during the cruise, everything flowed very easily and efficiently. The Dutch Café was delicious and a lovely seating area. The Crowsnest has good seating with nice arm chairs that were comfortable. The small explorations café was adequate if you were up on that deck and wanted a coffee. There isn't a library but there is a small area of bookshelves and many tried and true HAL sailors placed books there for sharing. We have cruised with HAL on 9 separate voyages and the food on this cruise was the best we have ever had ... at all meals ... in all the different dining rooms and restaurants. The room stewards on HAL are magnificent and this cruise was no exception. Our stateroom was always cleaned in a timely manner and of course, twice a day. The new bathroom set up is great. The walk-in shower was commented on by many of our fellow cruisers. It is perfect. The water pressure was great, the shower head is removable and adjustable, the stall has safety bars, and the floor has a high enough ridge to contain the water flow yet you didn't have to climb in, it was easy access. The stores on the HAL line have always been a bone of contention for me. I have often wondered who would were the three types of t-shirts they sell and only in small sizes .... that has changed dramatically. There was a very nice selection of men's and women's clothes and the sizes went from XS to 3X. They had a collection of Joseph Ribkoff clothes that was very nice and at a good price. It was a pleasant change and I felt that someone from HAL had taken the time to read reviews and address issues. The entertainment was good and there was something for everyone. It is also very subjective so my choices might not be that of others but if you don't like what is going on around the ship, you have a large library of movies and TV shows in your stateroom on the television than you could possibly watch. I think HAL is working very hard to be innovative and creative for the clientele they cater to. Thank you for a fantastic holiday. Read Less
We had travelled with Regent before and wanted to experience their new ship. Although quite different in decor to the other ships - the wood is slightly darker, it is a stunning looking vessel with lovely touches such as beautiful glass ... Read More
We had travelled with Regent before and wanted to experience their new ship. Although quite different in decor to the other ships - the wood is slightly darker, it is a stunning looking vessel with lovely touches such as beautiful glass and works of art scattered around the ship.
The internet needs work - it seemed to be switched off in port which, as we were in port most days, meant that it had limited availability.
The staff were amazing - so friendly and kind at every single level and always smiling. The entertainment was brilliant - I know there are those who still think they should have Celine Dion every night but that is not going to happen. Those seeking such high levels of entertainment should perhaps go to Las Vegas?
The singers and dancers were really good and thoroughly charming both on and off the stage.They did some great shows. The acts they fly in were all tremendous Paul Soha the violinist was exceptional.
The cruise director is first class - John Barron. He is funny, unflappable and a great entertainer and a complete asset to Regent. His sense of humour might not be to everyone's taste but he was popular with 99% of those on the ship and his own shows were packed out. His assistant David was also excellent.
They have added a new restaurant called the Pacific Rim which was just fantastic - Asian fusion and a real stand out service from start to finish. The French restaurant actually got our vote for the best food - yes it is French food, which may be a little refined for some travellers who like their food in larger quantities. Prime 7 is probably the most popular with US travellers as it is home from home and it is always fantastic. That said, the Compass Rose which is the general restaurant has also really upped its game in terms of the variety and quality of food. We did not manage to eat in Sette Marie this time as we ran out of time but as were were travelling round Italy we had quite a bit of Italian food anyway.
The excursions were all excellent. More detailed guidance on how strenuous they were and how long meant that there were fewer occasions when someone was on the wrong excursion or we have a petition to go back early because those who like to eat at 6pm had dinner reservations. There was something for everyone.
A standout person in the Explorer lounge was Magdelena - a fantastic coctail maker, totally calm and collected and always remembers your drink.
Any downside? Well, as the age profile of the travellers starts to go down, perhaps a bit more nightlife would be good as most things closed at 11.30. Read Less
Our previous cruises were all on Carnival ships, so the elegance and 'dignity' of the Riviera was a very pleasant change, as was the smaller ship with fewer guests. We noticed no loss of pleasant attendance by a reduced number ... Read More
Our previous cruises were all on Carnival ships, so the elegance and 'dignity' of the Riviera was a very pleasant change, as was the smaller ship with fewer guests. We noticed no loss of pleasant attendance by a reduced number of crew (from the larger ships). The four specialty dining venues at no extra charge were lovely, although we did not know to make reservations BEFORE the cruise and therefore could not visit them all.
The bed and bedding were luxurious and the veranda we had divine. I spent a lot of time trying to master the WiFi and a laptop computer, and so the width of the room became narrowed between me in the chair and the coffee table and couch. Not a real problem, just an irritation as I spent much longer trying to use the internet than should have been needed. Chalk that one up to user error.
Even though I had told our charge card company that we would be travelling, I was unable to log into my account to look at transactions made during the trip. This was very frustrating, as we thought we had been cheated by one merchant and could not find out. The company wanted us to call them because of possibly fraudulent login attempts (mine), but we had no phone.
We only attended one of the evening musical productions, and that one badly needed more thought. . . There were so many amenities available, but with a new mooring every day there was little time to explore them.
The shore excursions were rather expensive, and I was especially watchful because I have difficulty walking -- one 'easy' one had us walking on cobblestones, uphill, for a good 15 minutes, which is nothing to a younger person but very difficult for me.
The ports, especially Corfu and Kotor, Montenegro were delightful, picturesque, and well worth all the money I spent in the shops.
Service was spectacular and I would recommend this line to anyone wanting classy, luxurious cruising. Read Less
We had actually done the Viking River Cruise and heard of the new ocean vessels and wanted to experience a smaller ship on a ocean cruise. We were not disappointed as the Viking Sea was a beautiful ship with excellent cabins, restaurants, ... Read More
We had actually done the Viking River Cruise and heard of the new ocean vessels and wanted to experience a smaller ship on a ocean cruise. We were not disappointed as the Viking Sea was a beautiful ship with excellent cabins, restaurants, activities and an amazing crew. We were treated first class from start to finish and would certainly return to Viking for future cruises. Embarking was effortless as was the disembark as it was superbly well organized.
What truly impressed us was that Viking had many optional excursions from each port that you could take as a part of your package or add any other excursions that peaked your interest at reasonable prices.
The meals were exceptional and afforded many taste and optional locations for your convenience.
The entertainment on the Sea was absolutely amazing from day one to the end. What a fantastic group of entertainers for all likes.
We are looking at other Viking sea cruises now and would highly recommend them. Read Less
Rarely does a second experience live up to a perfect first one but in the case of recent Windstar cruise, this is the case. Three years ago, we had the cruise of a lifetime on The Wind Star, highlighted by our marriage on board with ... Read More
Rarely does a second experience live up to a perfect first one but in the case of recent Windstar cruise, this is the case. Three years ago, we had the cruise of a lifetime on The Wind Star, highlighted by our marriage on board with Santorini as the backdrop. The Windstar experience was beyond our expectations and created such indelible memory for all of us that my wife and I decided that we must celebrate our 3rd anniversary with another Windstar cruise. Once again, we were fortunate to have all 3 of our adult children join us, although it was obviously not too hard to convince them! This time, we decided on the Star Breeze’ Italy and Dalmatian Coast itinerary.
While the sails of the Wind Star create a majestic and awe-inspiring visual experience, the spaciousness of the cabins, all suites, and increased deck space of the Windstar motor yachts, such as Star Breeze, compensate for it in a different but equal way. What is not different is the warmth and feeling of being amongst friends from the minute you step aboard. For those of you who remember the TV show Cheers and the line from their theme song, “where everybody knows your name”, you would be able to easily apply that to the Star Breeze crew. From the minute you step aboard, somehow magically, the crew know you by name and immediately start to pick up on your desires and likes. You really feel as though you are on a private yacht and that you have known these people for much longer than a day or two.
On big ships, other guests pass you anonymously and you are part of a large “pack” that moves around from activity to activity or reservation to reservation. On the Star Breeze, you almost immediately start to develop conversation an in many cases, friendships, with your very select 200 or so shipmates. You find yourself interacting and smiling much more than you though possible. You also do not have to worry whether you made a diner reservation or if you are running late, the Amphora dining room staff works on your timetable and when you show up for dinner, your table and very smiling, attentive staff are there waiting.
Once again, Windstar did those little “extras” that mean so much and make you feel very special. We were welcomed onboard with a bottle of champagne and a beautiful flower arrangement waiting for us in our suite. We were then given a special Honeymoon gift of a professional family photo shoot, champagne at dinner and breakfast in bed. While most hotels or cruise lines would give a guest a mediocre bottle of champagne, ours was our favorite, Veuve Clicquot. This is just one more example of how Windstar shows how much they value their guests.
Windstar’s itineraries have allowed us to experience more of each port of call as well as visit ones that we would never have even contemplated. Rovinj, our first port after departing Venice, was absolutely idyllic. The cobblestone streets and small shops that dotted the mountainside were only equaled by the incredible truffles sold in the local market. This is a port that no large cruise ship could visit nor would it be welcomed. Our ship at 214 passengers did not overrun the small town and allowed us to get the feel of a local Croate village. This is what true travel should be! In Dubrovnik, we sailed at 11:00 PM which allowed us to experience the Old City by gas lantern-light, truly a trip back to the Middle Ages and a page out of Game of Thrones.
Overall, Windstar has once again given my family and I a truly memorable experience of not only fantastic ports but also of new friendships made and eager anticipation of our next Windstar cruise! Read Less
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at ... Read More
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at hospitality. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom with a rain shower head. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. We were well cared for and the staff looked out for our every need. The food and drink were of excellent quality and represented fresh local cuisine and regional wines. The wait staff were attentive and engaging. Overall, the staff were courteous and very helpful with on board activities such as embarkation, disembarkation, and other events which were efficient, well planned, and easy processes.
During our week on the River Countess, the shore excursions were very well planned and the local and expert guides, including art historians, were well informed and provided informative and insightful background for our experiences. During our land excursion to Florence and Rome the bus was comfortable and the tour manager was very attentive to our every need. Our accommodations in Florence were not up to rest of Uniworld's standards, however, the accommodation in Rome were excellent. Our local guides in both Florence and Rome were also excellent and highly trained and informative.
We would definitely take another trip with Uniworld. Read Less
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be ... Read More
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be there, the views are so gorgeous, the other passengers so pleasant. There's no fighting over deck chairs, no scrambling to get the best seats, no worry you'll get reservations to the restaurant of your choice. There's a feeling like, "Relax. Chill. There's enough of everything and they have it all planned out." From the time I arrived at the airport at Venice and a Windstar agent was waiting to take us to our hotel, I just feel relaxed and taken care of.
The food on t his cruise was even better than the food on Windstar, the last ship on this line I cruised, and that's really saying something! There was more variety, I think, more food from local markets featured in all three meals. I honestly couldn't have imagined fresher, more appealing meals than all of those that were offered--I can't think of one that wasn't really delicious. In the city where I live, I can't get food anywhere this good! Yes, the entertainment isn't great (although I liked the duo Splash). But really, the entertainment is in the vistas all around you and the conversations with other passengers. We didn't get to have our signature event, which was supposed to be a cocktail party with folk dancing in Dubrovnik. The lead dancer died that day, so you couldn't fault Windstar for that. And they brought in some folk singers on to the ship instead (not the same, though; I didn't care for them much).
Our deck barbeque had to be moved indoors because of weather, but it was delicious and brilliant all the same--they work so hard on this! And we missed one of our ports, Capri, one of the ones I was most looking forward to, because it wasn't safe to tender (seas were too rough). The usual captain of Wind Surf was on vacation, and the substitute captain had an emergency, so the first officer became captain for his first time ever. Even with all of this, though, there was such sincere desire to please the passengers and make their vacations memorable that I think the crew cared more about the things we missed than we did. The ports of call were great, the available tours were outstanding, our cabin was comfortable and so well taken care of during our voyage (thanks, Azhar!) that it was just overall a really great vacation. Windstar, you've spoiled me! Read Less
We have cruised many times with P & O, preferring Azura for Caribbean holidays, but decided to try a smaller ship, i.e. Oceana. The price was reasonable and as a seven night cruise was a good way of deciding whether we would like the ... Read More
We have cruised many times with P & O, preferring Azura for Caribbean holidays, but decided to try a smaller ship, i.e. Oceana. The price was reasonable and as a seven night cruise was a good way of deciding whether we would like the ship, we booked it - Genoa to Venice. However, on reading some of the reviews before leaving, we were wondering just what to expect as some were very off-putting.
Flying from Newcastle (which is rare for P & O), on the plus side we never saw our luggage until it appeared outside the cabin. Transfer to the port was ok but there was confusion at check-in when they said the cabin we were booked into, wasn't assigned to us on their database, so we had to chase this up with Reception on the ship. Eventually it was sorted and we received a note apologising for the error.
We had an outside cabin on D deck, which, for a week, was fine. There were no problems with noise and was within easy reach of the lifts, theatre and shops. On longer trips we would book a balcony. It was clean and adequate, although the shower area is too small but serves the purpose. Shower gel, shampoo and conditioner are supplied. After previously doing a Thomson cruise where the towels are grey and thin and the shower area was in need of maintenance, this was luxury!
As for the ship, we were amazed at how nice it was - it was well preserved and clean; the Atrium is beautiful. After reading all the comments about rust, we were actually looking for it, but all ships have a little bit of rust on the outside and this ship was no different. It is a very homely ship and the buffet area is the best I have seen for comfort and space.
Food was acceptable, maybe not the best we have had on a cruise ship, but you didn't starve and there was usually something to suit all tastes, both in the buffet and the restaurant. My husband eats vegetarian food and he managed to find something to suit his tastes. We like Indian food but thought they served it probably too often in the buffet. The Asian and Oriental night in the buffet was really good. One of the reasons we ate more in the buffet on this cruise in the evening was to eat quicker so that we could see both shows - one at 8.30 and the other at 10.30. Eating in the restaurant can take two hours. The staff were very efficient in clearing the tables and polite.
Some reviews criticised the entertainment but we would give it a high rating, both for the resident singing and dancing group and the visiting acts. Thoroughly enjoyed all the entertainment, including the speaker and the art talks.
Disembarkation was fine from the ship but poor when leaving the coach for the airport in Venice. It was raining and we had a long walk to reach the airport. Bad planning!
Overall, this is one of the nicest ships we have been on and we have done 29 cruises. We wouldn't hesitate to book another cruise on the Oceana. Read Less
I read reviews prior to going on Oceana and went with an open mind. From getting on the transfer bus to embark and returning to the uk we found the whole experience a joy to behold. The inside cabin A727 was ideal for us and the steward ... Read More
I read reviews prior to going on Oceana and went with an open mind. From getting on the transfer bus to embark and returning to the uk we found the whole experience a joy to behold. The inside cabin A727 was ideal for us and the steward Radesh was an absolute star keeping the cabin clean and stocked up with the necessities. We decided to pay extra to dine in the Beach House and Le Jardin for the entire trip and we had no complaints and the service was superb. We loved sitting and listening to the piano players prior to going to dinner. We took a trip to Florence and walked about ourselves, lovely city worth a long break here. Our next trip off the boat was to Pompeii. It was over 50 minutes waiting to buy tickets with just one person at one till. Group leaders continually barged in to get their tickets. Do not go without getting your tickets before you arrive!
We got caught in the most horrific thunderstorm and were soaked to the skin and had to wade through 10 inches of water, but, we still thought that it is an incredible place to visit and worth re-visiting.
Our next visit ashore was in Dubrovnik, Croatia we paid to walk the walls £12 equivalent each. This was well worth doing showing the city off at its best. Dubrovnik is a very clean port and very inexpensive with plenty of good tourist shops and restaurants. We were charged £20 for our bus transfers (£5 each way per person) that was a fair price and very convenient.
Without doubt the highlight was arriving by Oceana into Venice absolutely incredible!
We decided to walk from the ship to St Marks Square, most people took the water taxi or water buses at a charge. We loved the walk through the side streets and the feel of the place. We have visited before and will certainly visit again.
The highlight on board ship for us was the Martini tasting by Mel, Sam and the team. It is limited to just 20 people. You get 4 great cocktails and a wheelchair return to your cabin.
Mel's adult humour and the whole experience is worth the £10 a head that we paid.
We had a fantastic holiday on this lovely cruise ship and the staff are exceptional, kind, polite and caring. Read Less
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss ... Read More
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss the work/workers we encountered as that goes with the territory and all items I noticed during the cruise were fixed/finished/installed/etc by the time we left.*** My husband and I did this 5 day cruise from Venice to Civitavecchia with additional days in Italy before and after as well as some time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam following the cruise.
The ship is absolutely beautiful. Modern yet still keeps a lot of the Holland America Line "feel" that the other ships have, minus the bright colors and over-emphasis of red color palettes and brass. Public spaces still have a feeling of intimacy for the most part. Yes they are larger to hold more people but compared to other ships of similar size the ship does still keep a "coziness" to it. Not ever single room is designed to hold hundreds and hundreds of people and that's a really good thing.
I've posted a massive photo post on the HAL forums of the ship here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347682 and our room here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347714 so those will likely help with a lot of understanding of how the ship and the room look.
As far as dining goes, here's where we ate:
**Lido Market - Had one breakfast here and the omelet was a little undercooked. We brought it to his attention, he made another one and it was great.
**Dive In - Great burgers and fries as always. Cannonball is the BEST!
**New York Pizza - Had the pizza that Elizabeth Faulkner won an award for a pizza contect in Italy with called "Finnocchio" if I remember right. Cream sauce, onion, fennel, sausage... YUM!
**Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center - Incredible experience. They encourage you to socialize with each other and the chefs as they prepare everything. Farm to table, very fresh food and ingredients. Unlimited red and white wine they've selected as well (we had organic wines from Columbia Winery, not sure if they vary)
**Tamarind - One of our favorites and for good reason. Everything is flavorful and cooked to perfection here. The venue is even more gorgeous than on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. They've really outdone themselves. (Get a cold sake, the presentation is really neat!)
**Sel de Mer - Seafood at it's finest. Yes it's a la carte and as our group of 4 wanted to try a lot the bill came to $205 (ack!) but had we not been on a mission to try so many different things the bill could easily be within just a few dollars of the Pinnacle Grill. Unless you're allergic to seafood, this is a must do!
**Room service - Got it a couple times late at night. Menu is limited that late, but the food was the right temperatures and tasty
**Grand Dutch Cafe - Tasty coffees and amazing split pea soup, Koningsbol and bitterballen. This needs to be retro'd onto all HAL ships YESTERDAY!!
The Music Walk area is genius with Billboard Onboard, Queens Lounge (with BB King Blues) and Lincoln Center Stage all within steps of each other and alternating performances all throughout the evening. There were A LOT of us that closed the bars down every night, and while I was skeptical, the Queen's Lounge actually makes for a great nightclub space too.
World Stage is a game changer. Simple as that. The screens add so much, are not "gimmicky" and on several occasions, a transition on the screens between or during performances got oohs and ahhs from the crowd. This is some of the best entertainment of ANY ship we've ever been on (and we've been on 30+ cruises, multiple brands).
The ship is definitely in the right direction for the future of HAL, and while we've done the majority of our cruises on HAL we were also starting to branch out more and more for variety. This has brought us right back "home" and given us lots of motivation to stay there.
Well done HAL! Can't wait for K2 (Koningsdam #2 due out in 2018) Read Less
Loved Viking River Cruises and couldn't wait to experience a Viking Ocean Cruise. This was a surprise trip given to my husband for his birthday and retirement to finally go visit his Italian family roots. Viking Ocean Cruise was ... Read More
Loved Viking River Cruises and couldn't wait to experience a Viking Ocean Cruise. This was a surprise trip given to my husband for his birthday and retirement to finally go visit his Italian family roots. Viking Ocean Cruise was spectacular and perfection in every way. Boarding and departure was very smooth, amenities aboard ship were the best, crew was extremely friendly and always there to offer anything you needed, and entertainment was wonderful. Without a doubt, we will do another Viking Ocean cruise. The arrangements in all ports were flawless and the tour guides were from the area so they could really give you the true history and worth points of interests to see and know. Coaches used in each port were very clean. The process for departing the ship each day for your daily excursion was very smooth considering the number of people they needed to move off the ship. Well worth it in every way. Read Less
This cruise was a part of our honeymoon, so I spent extensive amounts of time researching and planning. I am writing this review because I found it difficult to find a straight-forward review. We loved it & would have booked sooner ... Read More
This cruise was a part of our honeymoon, so I spent extensive amounts of time researching and planning. I am writing this review because I found it difficult to find a straight-forward review. We loved it & would have booked sooner with more confidence if it wasn't for the cruise snobs complaining about the smallest trivial things!
This is what we wanted in our cruise:
1. Clean and comfortable
2. A way to see a lot of Europe without having to re-pack our bags every day
3. Good food
4. Stopping at good ports
5. Fun activities on the cruise (although we spent most of our time on shore)
And we got all of it!
Here's what I was confused about even after reading all the reviews:
1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY WATER. I drink a lot of water, so it sounded like you have to buy every cup. That's only if you're in one of the fancy restaurants that you have to pay extra for. There's Buffets for every meal that is included in the cruise without extra charge and all the free water you want. People seems to complain for the extra cost of water at the fancy restaurants but that's typical if you ask for bottled water at any restaurant. You can also buy bottles of water on the ship, we prepaid for 12 large 2 liter bottles for like $3 a piece. Really reasonable and we were never thirsty.
2. There's open breakfast buffet upstairs, but you can eat a nice sit down breakfast downstairs at no extra charge. You can order eggs, burritos, and any of their pre-set hot meals. I guess europeans are used to eating small breakfast (like cheese and croissants) so it wasn't crowded downstairs. Lunch buffet has pasta, pizza, salads, etc. So no extra charge to eat, only at the fancy restaurants that you need to make reservations for.
Also, the ship does have a lot of Europeans, I think we only ran into a few Americans, but there was no problem communicating in English. Read Less
My husband and I took our first Viking River Cruise in 2011( Christmas Markets). After friends heard our how we loved it, they accompanied us in 2013( on the Rhine). In 2015 we stepped up to the Ocean cruise with yet another couple. (3 in ... Read More
My husband and I took our first Viking River Cruise in 2011( Christmas Markets). After friends heard our how we loved it, they accompanied us in 2013( on the Rhine). In 2015 we stepped up to the Ocean cruise with yet another couple. (3 in total).
Having been on the smaller river cruises , we did not know how we would feel on a larger ship. I tell you the worries were unfounded. The crew is professional and accommodating. The ship was beautiful and plenty of space for 900 passengers. I felt as if we were on a floating hotel and we had plenty of places to explore and relax after a day of sightseeing and a wonderful dinner. There was no "crowed" feel. All our meals were delicious.
The excurssions were a little disappointing ( i think they are on all cruises) I personally would not do Pisa ( yes you need to see the Leaning Tower , but not really) Toulon, I would not choice Aix and on Corsica, there is no need to take a 3 hour bus ride around the island, although the brief stop at a local tavern was very nice. In Monaco we took the bus to Nice. ( cost a 1.50) Oh and a must see is Monserrat while in Barcelona. And I wish I had 2 days in Florence and a week in Rome!!! Two beautiful cities and so much to see. Our guides in these cities were spectacular!
I highly recommend Viking to everyone and have had other friends take cruises based upon my reviews and they have enjoyed the trips as well. Read Less