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7,703 Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 and joined the Costa Victoria in Dubai. Overall we were very happy with the ship, the food and the customer service. The ship went into lockdown after a passenger was diagnosed with CoV19. Costa looked ... Read More
We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 and joined the Costa Victoria in Dubai. Overall we were very happy with the ship, the food and the customer service. The ship went into lockdown after a passenger was diagnosed with CoV19. Costa looked after passengers and crew very well in unprecdented circumstances for this century. The ship is appropriate for the fare charged. It is not the latest, biggest, most luxurious boat in the Costa fleet. It is however a good 'starter' cruise. This is our second cruise. Pre-lockdown The initial boarding went smoothly and was over very quickly. We had a short wait in the sun. The crew were very effecient, professional and welcoming. The ship has a patina to show that it has been around. I liked the ambiance of wood and white painted steel. Imagine you are on an 'old school' liner. The food was great. The ship was returning from an Indian cruise and there were lots of Indian dishes available. The 'international' buffet seemed to be very western European focused. We alternated between the Indian and the international buffetts and ate on the stern deck. We enjoyed every meal. The serving staff were great. The pizzas were delicous as well. Post lockdown As the Cov19 epedemic spread around the world ports were closing as we approached them. The captain did a great job keeping us informed. He ran two 'town hall' neetings with passengers, provided a daily PA update, written updates and took coffee each day in the passenger area where he spoke with every passenger that he could. The captain did all that was humanly possible for his passengers and crew. Costa provided every passenger with a 750 euro credit to be spent on the ship or to be transferred to our credit cards. Costa also paid for our charter flight from Rome to Perth, Australia. Costa reimbursed the cost of changing the embarkation port from Mali to Dubai. All considered, Costa looked after passengers very well. The crew remained professional and friendly throughout the event. Imagine that you are a long way from home. Your family in Bali and India rely on your income. You know that in a short time you will be going home with no job to a country enduring a pandemic with a poorly resourced health system. You could get ill at any time. Imagine if you would be able to maintain your friendly and effective proffesional persona while facing daily a bunch of seemingly wealthy passengers who are kicking up a fuss about missing ports and then being qurantiened in cabins. Gemma the English speaking liasion officer was great. Gemma kept smilling in some tricky and challenging conversations with passengers. Rivki (?) in the Fantasia restaurant looked after our specific needs very well. I reccomend Costa Victoria and wish Costa and the crew of Costa Victoria all the best. Thank you Captain, we hope to sail under you again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
It was our first time on MSC. Being that the ship was only half full of passengers and the hole corona virus outbreak made for an uneasy cruise. The food was average witch was disappointing as I was under the impression that their food ... Read More
It was our first time on MSC. Being that the ship was only half full of passengers and the hole corona virus outbreak made for an uneasy cruise. The food was average witch was disappointing as I was under the impression that their food was much better. I will say that they made very good pizza. Not impressed with their steak house, I rarely send food back , but I had to with my first steak (over cooked). The service was great from all the crew members. They too had to be worried about the virus and what was going to happen with them as far as trying to get home are staying on the ship. The ship is beautiful , many places to just sit and relax . Many bars . Cabin was ok , standard size , balcony was nice size. The TV channels where limited ( I know you don’t go on a crusie to watch TV ) I would have liked to have more then CNN for news. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose Divina for the classic nature of the ship and it’s original itinerary but that had to change because of the nature of covid-19 and that was completely understandable. The ship was absolutely beautiful, just as I was told it would ... Read More
I chose Divina for the classic nature of the ship and it’s original itinerary but that had to change because of the nature of covid-19 and that was completely understandable. The ship was absolutely beautiful, just as I was told it would be. From the start MSC buffered us from the harsh realities of the outside world and encouraged us to stay informed but to relax and let them handle everything, and that they did! Service was top notch and 5 star with Alvin and Mac as our MDR waiters and Pasquale the maitre D. So wonderful in fact that we were offered an upgrade to the butchers cut and we politely declined because we enjoyed our experience so much with Pasquale, Alvin and Mac and wanted to spend that last night with them and our other table mates. Top officers of the ship were easily available and accessible most times of the day if you needed anything and very ready to answer any questions or concerns from the captain to the cabin attendants. Guest relations was extremely helpful with one exception where I was told some people are offered better services than others in the same cabin class, which was wrong information. Overall my experiences were overwhelmingly pleasant and any hiccup was quickly remedied by leadership on Divina. I was surprised to find that Bella balcony staterooms were larger than fantastica balcony and Bella was less expensive. The room service included with fantastica didn’t make enough of a difference to lose the much needed space and the loss of a sitting area inside the cabin. That needs to be reconsidered. Floor levels aren’t what determines luxury. I’d have gladly paid more more a bigger balcony cabin on a lower floor. You should consider flipping these categories. There were two hiccups, room service and the one issue with an unqualified guest relations female but both were taken care of quickly and I was extremely happy with the results. The last issue I had was with photography which I will avoid at all costs in the future due to its bureaucracy and complicated schemes to get more money out of you by scamming you out of package discounts. I was waiting for a time share pitch or used car extended warranty offer to follow. No one seemed to know why it was so complicated and offered no valid reason for the complicated rules and regulations set forth by who knows who and who knows why clearly designed to gouge people. Management was completely castrated to make any concessions to the inane rules and regulations to make a sale so I had to pass and walk away rather than pay double for one picture while a package deal should have included it for half. Any questions or requests to modify a “policy” was met with attitudes as if I were a criminal for asking. The worst customer service I’ve ever experienced and in sharp contrast to everything else onboard Divina. This is your one area to focus on major improvement. This cruise was filled with twists and turns and changes and surprises every day because of the external virus situation and in all honesty, MSC turned into a mystery tour that anyone would have paid for the experience. They kept us upbeat and confident that everything was handled and for the most part, it certainly was. From surprise destinations to marriage proposals within the cast of the evening theatre show to whatever... Divina was a very pleasant experience and no one I talked to wanted to leave the ship for the harsh reality of the mainland as we returned. Lifelong friends I made on this beautiful ship that week still talk of commandeering the ship away and starting our own colony at sea with the passengers and crew whom we loved. You’re lucky I can’t manage to steer a boat that large or we might have tried... Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We booked this cruise at full price over a year ago. We wanted to try MSC, I had read all the reviews and decided to go with an open mind. First off the ship is beautiful and very clean, the only think we didn't care for is the ... Read More
We booked this cruise at full price over a year ago. We wanted to try MSC, I had read all the reviews and decided to go with an open mind. First off the ship is beautiful and very clean, the only think we didn't care for is the chopped up layout. The staff at customer service desk were unfriendly like other reviewers have stated. The lack of communication as to what was going on was unbelievable. No crew had the same story. We couldn't make any of the ports scheduled due to the Corona Virus which I do understand is out of control of MSC. But come on, a little compassion would have been nice. We were so excited to go to Tortola but missed it. We paid top dollar for this itinerary and in return did not get our money's worth. When we mentioned this to the Customer Service desk their attitude was, "what do you want me to do about it". They did not care. They also stated that the contract states that MSC can change ports as their discretion. Nice attitude there. The food started out okay but went downhill. The selection was not great. Pizza was awesome. Oh, who runs out of Bud Light? Oh, MSC does. I wanted to give this cruise line a chance but the fact that they are so unorganized makes me think twice about it. I also had an incident with one of the stores. I bought a bracelet which they sell by the inch. After they measured me they did not have the lobster clasp so they told me to come back later. When we went back they still couldn't find one. So I decided to get the bracelet anyways and would have a jeweler back home fix it for me. The girl then informs us that the sales person made a mistake on the price. I had a receipt. She would not honor that price. We had to get the manager and argue about it. we finally were told we could have this 6.00 item for free. Okay all is well, but guess what, we were charged. I didn't even bother to argue about that little amount. That is just one of the little things that bugged us over the week. Not very customer friendly. We paid $1600.00 for a balcony room which was a great deal but then we hear that people on the ship got the same room category a month before for $700.00. We asked for a credit but got nothing. So we paid full price for one of the cheapest itinerary's. Oh well, live in learn. Will we cruise MSC again? I don't know. But they have a ways to go with customer service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this 3 day sailing as an introduction to the Yacht Club. We were markedly impressed with the service. The room was great and the food in the Le Muse restaurant was great. The servers remembered our drink preferences which was ... Read More
We chose this 3 day sailing as an introduction to the Yacht Club. We were markedly impressed with the service. The room was great and the food in the Le Muse restaurant was great. The servers remembered our drink preferences which was awesome. Our Butler and Assistant Butler were awesome. We will definitely be back to the Yacht Club. Areas that MSC could improve on would be some of the entertainment selections. I know that on newer ships the Yacht Club Restaurant and Top Sail Lounge are in the same place but on MSC Divina we found it to be a bit awkward to have to traverse the entire length of the ship to get to the restaurant. We attended the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle and will do it on every sailing we ever go on. The upselling was slightly annoying as well but they weren't pushy. The Yacht Club area on Ocean Cay was serene and the food delicious. I understand that they are still working on the island so I won't fault them for the port-a-potty trailer as I know they are working on actual restrooms. All-in-all it was a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We booked this cruise on black friday.Very good price.This ship is beautiful and very clean.The cabins are also quite large and comfortable. THATS THE GOOD.Now the food is very bad.All food was cold.Cold food was warm we were scared we ... Read More
We booked this cruise on black friday.Very good price.This ship is beautiful and very clean.The cabins are also quite large and comfortable. THATS THE GOOD.Now the food is very bad.All food was cold.Cold food was warm we were scared we would become ill.We ate pizza for three days.The service desk is a no go.Most staff have very limited English. We were charged for drinks on Ocean cay even though we had a drink package.We stood in line one hour to get this taken care of.Many people with the same problem. STAY AWAY dont fall for the great price and beautiful pictures.The entertainment was also lacking.We never saw or heard cruise director.Alot of the music is in Spanish we were very board most days.This is not a fun cruise this is a laid back most people sleeping after 10 kind of cruise.Like I said save your money dont go on this cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
MSC Divina was more than perfect! After reading reviews, I was hesitant, expecting a bad time and rude employees, as most of the reviews say. Embarking- NO long lines and NO trouble! We expecting to be waiting all day in lines and what ... Read More
MSC Divina was more than perfect! After reading reviews, I was hesitant, expecting a bad time and rude employees, as most of the reviews say. Embarking- NO long lines and NO trouble! We expecting to be waiting all day in lines and what not, but we arrived at our terminal at 11am for check in and was on the boat eating lunch by 11:30! We weren’t expecting to board until 2 or 3pm, I think that’s where most people go wrong. Get there early! Avoid lines! For starters, the buffet was AMAZING! This was actually my favorite part of the cruise overall, as my boyfriend and I are foodies. They have almost anything you can think of. Whether it’s soup, salad, chicken, pasta, beef, eggs, Italian, American, they had it all. There were people at every food station with hand sanitizers. The room was clean. We overall loved the cruise and would love to come back. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The gelato was great! We got it many times. Ocean Cay was stunning and getting on/off the ship was easy and quick. 3 nights wasn’t long enough! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I have cruised MSC before many years ago and had a good experience. I have also cruise with Carnival 6-7 times, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. I realized very quickly this cruise line was not the experience I was looking ... Read More
I have cruised MSC before many years ago and had a good experience. I have also cruise with Carnival 6-7 times, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. I realized very quickly this cruise line was not the experience I was looking for as an American. I booked this cruise because the dates worked for my step-daughter's spring break and because the prices were great, and free drinks and wifi package. We tried to cancel our cruise due to the sudden Coronavirus onset just a few days before leaving but we were unable to reach anyone after a long phone wait. When we arrived the port crew was extremely unfriendly and I immediately felt uncomfortable. I felt as though I had just arrive for my prison intake. Again, lots of cruise experiences and never felt this way. The gentleman who checked us in did a good job of making us feel welcome, which helped. However, as we boarded the ship I found the crew to be more like security, very unfriendly feeling and barking orders or demands. I am acclimated to all the smiling faces and helpful souls of the Carnival cruise experience and I will be returning to them as a loyal customer from here forward even if it means paying a little more money. At dinner we sat for typically an hour and a half because the wait staff was handling so many tables. Our waiter was friendly and did his best to accommodate. They would bring rolls, and I asked 3 times for butter while we sat there hungry for 30-40 minutes waiting on the butter. The food served was very small servings, and not up to par for an evening dinner entree experience. Shrimp cocktail contained 2 shrimp, the steak ordered was paper-thin. The second night we decided to upgrade for the rib-eye with bearnaise . When the steak came it had no bearnaise. We asked the waiter who shrugged us off and never returned with the sauce. Twenty minutes later we went to find some sauce from another waiter, but by this time the steak was cold. We asked for the head waiter, who never came. We asked for refund which we were also declined. We were offered a 20% discount, which we also did not receive as per our bill at check out. We asked for the manger on the way out of the dining room and informed him we will not be returning to eat in the dining room, nor will we return to this cruise line in the future. They continued to mix up our orders and bring out wrong dishes we had not ordered. It was clear they did not have the staff needed to get the job done efficiently. The cruise seemed to be half booked which leaves me wondering what would have happened if it had been full. Our room was extremely tidy, and our room staff were friendly. We also found it easy to obtain beverages in the bar areas which we loved as well as the ability to use use the drink package the day we were on the cruise ships owned island. My suggestions to MSC, is to train your staff for customer service, we are your customers not a bother! Add more staff to you dining room and more things to do throughout the day, the choices of entertainment were slim. Leaving us sitting in our staterooms for hours at a time waiting for the evening show. I hope this review helps those who are shopping for a great deal to see what gets cut when prices are so low. Spend the extra $50-$100 a person and enjoy your vacation experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
To start I need to tell you that the ship was at best at half occupancy. I am sure this had a huge impact on wait times, table availabity in the buffet area and deck chair availablity. The occupancy was heavily affected by the ... Read More
To start I need to tell you that the ship was at best at half occupancy. I am sure this had a huge impact on wait times, table availabity in the buffet area and deck chair availablity. The occupancy was heavily affected by the coronavirus. Embarkation went quickly and easily. We arrived around11:30 am and were on board by about 12:15. There were no lines to check in. We had to wait until noon to start boarding. we were in group 14 and were on board by 12:15. Every few, less than 200 people, waiting to board at this time. Rooms were ready right at 2:00 pm. My luggage arrived just before the safety drill and my daughter's just after the safety drill. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. I had only one issue. the windows in most of the public rooms were very dirty. This made viewing out of them unpleasant. The layout of the ship was awkward in places. A few times we found ourselves in a "you can't get there from here" situation. We would have to go up or down a deck to get through to another area of the ship to return to the deck we had been on. We use the stairs most of the times, but on the occasions we took the elevator, the wait time was minimal and the elevators were rarely full. The food was a hit or miss situation. All three times I at at the buffet, most of the hot food was barely warm to cold. Most appeared to have been out too long and the warmers did not keep the food warm. The meals we had in the MDR were good but nothing to write home about. Our waiter was efficent and made sure our meals were delivered hot. Drinks in the MDR were never correct. I tried to buy a drink from the bar (I only purchased the non-alcholic package) but was told my package did not cover it and could not have it. They could not even get my daughter's soda correct. One person at our table ordered wine each night and only on the first night was it the correct wine. The other nights she recieved the same wine she ordered on the first night despite having ordered a different type of wine. Another person at our table ordered iced tea. She recieved a glass of the ice tea concentrate. Very disappointing. Drinks package was a problem throughout the cruise. I purchased the non-alcoholic package as I will ususally only have one or two drinks a day. Each time I went to the bar to purchase an alcoholic drink, at first I was told no because I did not have the premium drink package. I told time I wanted to buy a drink. It always took two or three attempts before they would fill my drink order. Any drink not on the menu was usually wrong, even something as simple as a whiskey sour. I did like being able to get fruit juice and bottled water on the package I did purchase as I do not like soda. We had a Fantastica level balcony. The room was tight had enough storage. The luggage fit under the bed easily. We had asked for twin beds, but the bed was a queen when we arrived. We asked that it be made into twins and it was done before bedtime the first night. Our room steward was nice and helpful. Only issue was he forgot our beach towels on morning. He brought us the towels as soon as we asked. So no real problems. We did not enjoy the one show we went to. It was difficult to follow, no real continuity between acts. The dancing was more prancing and posing thand dancing. The acrobats were good, did not really seem to belong in the show. Decided not to go to any others. Ocean Cay was beautiful. But the lines for lunch were long. With only one main buffet on the island, I wonder how much worse it would have been if the ship had been at full occupancy. Again, all the food was cold and most was flavorless on the island. The bar staff once agian was difficult. The only drinks that were correct were sodas and bottled water. Not even a simple juice order was correct. The snorkling excursion was fun and well run. Plenty of safety people in the water and a great guide explaining different types of fish. The excursion to swim with the stindrays was cancelled. The explaination was that the ship was not at the island long enough. If that was the case, why was it offered at all. The departure time was known by the cruise line. We tried to book the scuba excursion instead, but was told they were offering those yet. Why were they being offered on the website prior to the cruise if they were not really available. Disembarking and embarking at the ports of call were easy with no long lines. Our temperature was checked each time we re-entered the ship. Final disembarkation went very smoothly. We did express embarkation and took our own suitcases with us. Again there were no lines so we were off the ship in less than 20 minutes. Everyone in our group did make sure to settle our accounts the previous evening. We had a balance due as as we had pre-paid the service fee and excursions. With the one excursion being cancelled we were due a refund. Instead of applying the amount back to my credit card, we had to recieve the amount in cash from the guest services desk. I found this awkward. I am glad I did this the night before disembarkation. This was the only time I had to wait in a long line on the ship. I was very dissappointed in trying to work with MSC prior to my cruise. I was the only one in our group who was able to pre-pay our service fee. The other two pairs in our group tried but was told they could not do it. Trying to get basic question answered always required a long time on hold. The shortest time on hold with MSC was 42 minutes. I was very discouraged by the lack of excursion in Nassau to discover there were a number being offed on the ship. As well as a number being offered online for Ocean Cay were in fact not available because the island is not finished. I also tried to purchase airport transfers and was told they were not available, only to discover onboard they were available. The lack of accurate information before and during the cruise made things difficult. I have cruised a number of other cruise lines. I doubt I will be cruising with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
For those people looking for the bells and whistles of a large ship, do not look here. However if your looking to see parts of the world that are on your bucket list, then come on this cruise! Yes, ship is small, little older, but for ... Read More
For those people looking for the bells and whistles of a large ship, do not look here. However if your looking to see parts of the world that are on your bucket list, then come on this cruise! Yes, ship is small, little older, but for the price and what's included it was definitely worth it, despite what was going on in the world. We were the last ship to go to most ports due to the Corona Virus. Actually couldn't land in Israel as they had closed their borders. But despite the craziness of the world, I had one of the best times. Cruise starts in Athens, so was there prior to sailing. The first night I booked a food walking tour, ended up private as most people had canceled due to the Corona Virus. Next day I went to the Archeological Museum. Unbelievable! And headed to the "Athens Flea Market". Tons of great shopping and food. Then took the hop on hop off bus. Make sure you travel up to the Parthenon. It is a hike. Also, keep an eye on all valuables as one of our party had their phone stolen. Included in the cruise are 3 excursions, (1) in Cairo, (1) Rhodes, (1) Ephesus. All 3 were fantastic. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and were great to listen to. Also included are all your gratuities and most all your liquor, unless you want premium, and you have to pay for that separately. They do not have a premium package you can upgrade to. That includes paying for water, however, buying water on this ship is not as expensive as on a large cruise ship. Included Excursion - Cairo - Bucket list to see the Pyramids and the Sphynx! The tour is very long, as it's a 3 1/2 hour journey each way. We left around 6am and got back to the ship around 10pm. Plan for a long but very rewarding day. Pack something to bring to eat for snacks, as they only give you a granola bar. However, you do stop for a fantastic buffet lunch. Pay the extra 8 Euros to walk inside Pyramid #2! Not for the faint hearted, but definitely worth it! Also, you go to the National Museum, which was being moved at the time we were there. And the papyrus museum. Instead of Israel, we stayed in Alexandria. I went on an excursion that went to the Catacombs. Really interesting. Incuded Excursion - Rhodes - Greece - They take you to Lindos, where there is a Citadel. I physically couldn't climb up it. 300 stairs up, with no railings; unlike going to the Parthenon. Pretty little town. Only opened for us, so not all stores were opened and not all stores took charges. May begins their season, so we were there off season. Then back near the ship to go to the old city, to the street of the Knights. Really interesting place. You can walk back to the ship or take the bus back. Again, there are other excursions that you can upgrade to as well. Included Excursion - Ephesus - Turkey - I've been here before 10 years ago and it still was exciting to walk down the marble road! There are a number of other excursions you can pay extra for on the ship. They also take you to a Co-op where they teach the old ways on weaving rugs. It's now a dying profession. They tell you all about how they are made and show you what they have to sell. We had a number of people who bought some beautiful rugs. There are also other vendors there as well. And we were also given drinks, and appetizers. You also go to Cyprus. I opted to walk off the ship with a couple of people. We wandered around the waterfront, found the castle and the monestary. Wish we had gone to the winery but we did have a good time. We lucked out with the weather, no rain at all! As for the ship itself. The casino is tiny. Never really ventured in it. Lots of different bars. We loved the Thalassus bar located at the back of deck 5. Got some great sunset shots there. That's also where the only jacuzzi is. Small pool located on deck 9, Helos. Spa is there. Had a great leg message. Also, this is where the buffet is located. Good food. Need to change where the coffee machines are as they are right at the end of the buffett, so the line backs up during breakfast. Very small, specialty dining, on Deck 8 outside one of the main dining rooms. You can get most of what they offer, but it is an extra charge (steak, lobster). Food all together is pretty good. There were some meals that weren't great, but the waitstaff was accommodating and would get you something else if you chose. We didn't have much of an issue with ordering drinks. Since our cruise there were only 380 passengers on board. Only went to one of the shows on board. It was all about Greece. Was pretty good. However, I did go to the lecturer they brought on board to talk about Egypt and what you would see. He was fantastic! We spent most of our nights in the disco signing Karaoke. All in all this was a great cruise. I would definitely recommend it to people. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the ... Read More
Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the included excursions, we decided to repeat the cruise this year. Celestyal offered a fantastic Black Friday cruise deal including drinks, gratuities, and three paid excursions. I thought it was the same package as last year as the excursions included Ephesus which I really wanted to see. Turns out this package included Cairo, Cyprus, Rhodes, Ashdod, and Kuchidassi (Ephesus). After a day at seas we disembarked in Alexandrea, Egypt for our excursion to the pyramids in Cairo. The twelve tour busses were accompanied by an armed escort with an armed guard on the bus. This is told not to frighten you, but to show the Egyptian government is serious about protecting tourists. We lunched at the Meridian Hotel near the pyramids (included). I will admit to being surprised at how much civilization has encroached on Giza, and even more surprised at the aggressiveness of the hawkers trying to sell their wares and services at the pyramids. The Cairo Museum was very interesting with more than you could possibly take in for a limited amount of time. There is an immense new antiquities museum to be opened soon near the pyramids. I can only imagine the undertaking this will entail in making the move of all the artifacts from the Cairo museum. Two more busses joined our convoy back to Alexandria and it was interesting to me (my wife was a bit unnerved) to see the coordination between the bus drivers and our escort. Getting back to the ship, we found out Israel had denied docking to the ship so our excursions to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv were out. Amazingly, Celestyal gave all the passengers a E100 shipboard credit for something that was really beyond their control. We spent another extra day in Alexandria and we elected to stay aboard. Those who took excursions to the Library of Alexandria or Tel El Armin reported enjoyable excursions. A side note: they aggressiveness and rudeness of the pyramid hawkers somewhat diminished the pyramid experience, but putting it into perspective, that's how they're trying to make a buck while they can. My wife sat next to a fellow whose work took him to Egypt and he told her not to judge the Egyptians by our experience at Giza. He said the Egyptians were warm, friendly people eager to show the real side of Egypt. Next stop, Cyprus. We used some of that E100 credit to purchase a tour of Tombs of the Kings and the nearby ancient Roman manors and their mosaics. It was also enjoyable and we found Cyprus to be very beautiful. I hear the island has been closed in the week since were their. Next stop, Rhodes to see the acropolis of Lindos and the medieval part of the city of Rhodes. It is a steep walk up to the acropolis and with a bum leg and hip, I got half way up and decided to give my wife the camera and see the ruins through her eyes. Back in the old part of Lindos, I found the need of a restroom. I came across this charming little tavern, the Captain's House to use the restroom (BTW the cleanest of anywhere off the ship) and enjoy a local Cypriot beer. Like many of the building in the old village, part of the walls of this tavern were of medieval vintage, adding to the beauty and charm. Back in Rhodes, we wandered the old walls and buildings from the times of the crusades, in very remarkable condition. From Rhodes, it was on to Kuchadassi for a tour of Ephesus and a hand woven rug factory and lunch. Ephesus was certainly a highlight of the excursions, very well preserved and still undergoing archeological discovery. Our tour guide, Tuba was very interesting and informative. Next, the rug making coop and lunch. This was an unexpectedly interesting tour, seeing these works of art spring to life from the silk cocoon to the beautiful soft finished product. Had I not known how my retirement accounts nosedived in the past two weeks, it would have been tempting to give into the desire for one of those beauties. Thankfully, there was no pressure to buy anything and we made our way back to the ship. If you've gotten this far, and forgive my verbosity, let me tell you about our shipboard experience. Had never heard of this cruise line 'til last year. I'm surprised Celestyal didn't cancel the cruise. There were 347 passengers on a ship able to carry 1200. The crew outnumbered the passengers and yet, Celestyal honored their commitment. Every other cruise we've been on, the crews and food have altogether been great. This cruise, the crew added a level of warmth and friendliness like never before. I think of the cruise director, Danny; funny, fluent in many languages, and approachable. He even participated in some of the evening entertainment as a singer or actor. Our cabin stewards were sweet and sincere. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and surprisingly roomy. The service desk manager, Thiago, sunny disposition and humorous even remembered my wife from last year's cruise (honest). The wine steward, Rafael, knowing I didn't like dry wines, brought a bottle of sweet wine to our supper table after I mentioned at a wine tasting class my distaste for dry wines. The young lady who greeted us each morning at breakfast with a smile and sincere greeting. The food was very good. These all added to one of the best cruises we've ever had the pleasure to be on. Celestyal went above and beyond in caring for their passengers and their crew for that matter. We spoke to some of the crew members who told us they had nothing but good to say about their employer, some of them who had worked for other cruise lines and decided they found a home with Celestyal. I hope this coronavirus thing is just way overblown and things return to a semblance of normality. I hope this does not sink such a fine company as Celestyal (or any of the cruise lines or hospitality industry for that matter). Mr. Chris Theophilides runs a great company. Without hesitation I would recommend a cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), ... Read More
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), gratuities and drinks (albeit you could also pay for “premium drinks”). We had read the reviews on the Celestyal Crystal and had “lowered the bar” for our expectations slightly - and we were not disappointed! PORTS Cairo We had an early arrival in Alexandria and then travelled as an 18 bus convoy complete with armed military escort on the bus and with the convoy for the 3 hour trip to Cairo and later up to Port Said. Cairo is not an overly impressive city - lots of traffic and chaos. We first stopped at the Egyptian Museum for about an hour with our guide rushing through an explanation of the mummies and artifacts. The guide was difficult to hear on our hearing devices and despite the short visit and difficulty in hearing was still interesting. Then a stop at a large hotel for a 45 minute buffet lunch and off to the pyramids. There were many hawkers and vendors there and one had to be firm to say NO. We did have a boy of around 18 offer to help take our pictures which lead to taking more pictures which seemed quite innocent enough. Then he encouraged us to get on some camels for a picture and I remembered being told if you get on a camel you would have to pay to get off. Anyways after being asked for something from Canada we gave him 5 Euros - but be on guard! After this we went to the Sphinx - very interesting and then a papyrus and gift shop before the 3 hour trip to Port Said where our ship was waiting. LONG day but enjoyable. Jerusalem/Bethlehem We were delayed leaving Port Said and missed our slot into the Suez Canal and ended up getting into Ashdod 3 hours late. Because of this our ship excursion had to be shortened and we didn’t do lunch. We had a trip to Bethlehem but as usual because of long line ups we were unable to visit the grotto where Jesus was born but had a good explanation of the surrounding buildings and area. Then to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to the wailing wall. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and we felt we learned more than on previous trips there. Cyprus Because the 2 previous days were supposed to have been quite long we chose to take the bus into Limassol for EUR 1.50 each. When the bus got to town the driver announced there would be a tour at 2pm for EUR 10. So we walked around town, had something to eat and took the tour which for what we paid to visit some historic castles and digs was fine. Rhodes This was our third time to Rhodes - a place we always loved. This time the excursion. Went to Lindos an old castle about 45 minutes from the port. Again a wonderful guide and some time to explore then back to the downtown of Rhodes for a walk about. Great day! Ephesus A wonderful 3 hour tour with a fantastic guide and great explanations. CREW The friendliness of the crew was unbelievable. The cruise director - Danny was absolutely phenomenal- he spoke something like 5 languages, was always full of energy and up and also participated in some of the shows! MEALS The food was good - maybe not quite as good as on other ships or not the variety but still quite palatable. The waiters worked very hard to serve and please and we’re awesome. Buffet is also served for lunch and dinner and the variety is a bit lacking. Conclusion Yes this is a 40 year old ship and yes there are a few things that might not be quite as good a standard as bigger ships but lower your standards a little bit and go with an open mind. The mix of passengers is mostly European (Danny’s announcements were first in English and then Bulgarian! followed by Spanish, German). The value for what you pay far outweighs anything where the standards might be a bit lower and we can only HIGHLY recommend the Celestyal Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the ... Read More
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the offerings you'd find on larger luxury boats but we found the Crystal to be very adequate for this type of cruise. Clean and well maintained throughout, friendly and responsive staff, enjoyable entertainment (great dance group and Dani is awesome). Each day we had very good experience with the shore excursions, guides, transportation arrangements. Well organized. Appreciated the included drink package as well as 3 excursions (a big reason this cruise is a value). No serious negatives. I found getting coffee in the morning buffet too challenging (one machine was broke most of the week...traffic jam). Also this trip and ship is geared for the adult experience, boring for kids. Been on eight previous cruises, lots of fun experiences, but I am thinking this was my favorite. Primarily due to the ports we visited but the whole experience was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have been on 17 cruises and this was by far the worst I have ever been on. I purchased this cruise thru cruise builders (never again) and therefore I don’t know how much the cruise by itself cost us. We are a couple in our 50’s and ... Read More
I have been on 17 cruises and this was by far the worst I have ever been on. I purchased this cruise thru cruise builders (never again) and therefore I don’t know how much the cruise by itself cost us. We are a couple in our 50’s and we brought our two adult daughters. But Costa tries to charge for every little thing. You should not go hungry on a cruise and we did. The buffet is open only short periods of time through the day and it is the same every day. The sit down dinner was so bad. Food was terrible, the food in the buffet is better. We were at dinner for two hours and still hadn’t received our dessert. We decided to give it another try and the food was worse the second time. We didn’t return. On all other cruises we have been on pizza and ice cream are free and available a lot of the time. Burgers and fries are also available for free. And there are lots of free food options. The saying in the USA is that you will gain a pound of weight a day on a cruise and none of us gained weight. We actually brought snacks back on the ship. The food off of the ship at the ports was amazingly good. I understand that Costa pays their staff the worst of any cruise line and it shows. You have the least staff of any line we have been on. Costa is the least friendly and helpful. No one asks if you need a drink or anything else for that matter. I saw a photo lady trying to take a picture of some ladies and she was very rude to them when they expressed how they wanted to arrange themselves for their picture. She said, “This is Costa, I have to do it their way” (she said it in a super rude way). I felt bad for the ladies. I would have told her I was not interested in pictures anymore. Also, I saw a man approach some ladies and tell them they could not play cards in the buffet area. He was super rude. We are on vacation and paid a lot of money. We should not be treated like children and spoken to rudely. We are also told we can’t take food to our rooms or out of the dining area. Are you serious? We needed to stock up for the sea day because we knew that the dining room food was terrible. I was told by two other people, after I purchased the cruise, that Costa was terrible and they would never go again. We now feel the same. The ship was amazing and beautiful. The bands in the main hot tub and pool area were fantastic. I wish we could have the ship on a different cruise line. All the overhead loud announcements, in our room, each day new guests arrived was over the top. There should be a better way. The rooms were beautiful. We did not make a connection with our room steward like we normally do. We did not ever formally meet them. Getting on and off for excursions was easy and good. Why couldn’t we give a credit card on file before the cruise. We had to take time out to sign up our credit card, after we got on the ship. That has always been put in during registering for the cruise when we put in our passport info and emergency contact info. Why do we have to wait to collect our luggage until after all the luggage is set out for each color (stupid rule). If they are so concerned check the luggage tags against the tags that are torn off. I guess in Italy people don’t use washcloths, that’s okay I just used the hand towel to wash my face. We usually get shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion in the rooms and there was just hand soap and one wash in the shower for hair and body, no conditioner. And there is usually a fridge with soda, water and alcohol for purchase and there was not even a fridge. This was not a big deal to us. With our package it stated USAwater meaning that we could get tap water for free, but we were also charged for this. We had a wonderful time at all of the ports. We made great memories with our daughters. But Costa won’t see us again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I went on the Costa Smeralda cruise to the Mediterranean with three friends. We had two premium balcony cabins with the upgraded drink package. We found the ship to be beautiful, the service to be excellent, and the on board activities ... Read More
I went on the Costa Smeralda cruise to the Mediterranean with three friends. We had two premium balcony cabins with the upgraded drink package. We found the ship to be beautiful, the service to be excellent, and the on board activities to be lots of fun! We had read the awful reviews and were prepared for the worst. To out delight, the cruise couldn't have gone more smoothly. Embarkment and disembarkment were the easiest I've ever encountered and I've been on several other cruises. The ship was clean and the cabins were larger than others I'd stayed in. We always had our breakfast delivered to our rooms as we left the ship early each day to go on excursions. We were able to get coffee, butter, or anything else that we wanted. We often ate lunch on shore, but when we did eat in the dining room we found there to be many wonderful choices. For dinner, we ate in the regular dining room three times and tried the specialty restaurants the other nights. We didn't mind paying a little extra for finer dining, as the cruise was very cheap to begin with. We enjoyed the casino, the special theme nights, the dance parties, and the overall ambiance of the ship. I would definitely recommend this cruise to others looking for a good time at a great price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We choose this cruise as we wanted to sample their new flag ship, having cruised twice before on the Diadema, We were at the time able to book a cabin for 5, having done so on the Diadema where we had 1,5 bathrooms and 5 proper beds, we ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we wanted to sample their new flag ship, having cruised twice before on the Diadema, We were at the time able to book a cabin for 5, having done so on the Diadema where we had 1,5 bathrooms and 5 proper beds, we expected the same if not better! Embarkation went really well, and we loved the parking at Savonna. However a few more signs would really help. The cabin 5070 was only a cabin for a max 4 people, only 1 bathroom - with the glass showing through to the cabin - I know there is a curtain but with kids who think it is fun to play with, it doesn't feel relaxing! Well to accommodate our 5th person, we had a camp bed along side the bunk beds, so no space between the dressing table which meant we couldn't get to the window. So after several visits to the reception desk we were offered a second room for free. Great you may say, however Cabin 5076 was just below the Theatre, which had a disco until 2am on one night the noise and vibration was so bad I called reception where I was offered earplugs! Dining was great. This time we tried the Pizza place which we found excellent, better designed than on Diadema. However lunch in the buffet restaurant was too popular for the size of the restaurant, with queues to enter, then it closing for afternoon tea. Needs to be re thought. Bars - could do with more staff. Swimming pools. On the day of arrival the slides were open, however they were closed for the rest of the cruise due to poor weather. This I would dispute as we had blue skies and temperatures like on the first day on many of the days of the cruise. The Ship only has 4 indoor Jacuzzis which were 4 place, no under 16's - meant the swimming pool was full of little children and 1 x 8 man outside Jacuzzi which was always full. They need more outside Jacuzzis. The designers also placed the indoor showers on a level which flooded the seating area floor ( needs to have a tray to keep the water in). Entertainment - shows were short. There is no 4D Cinema, laser quest, F1 only a small games room, however they did have a kids/teens club which our kids did not try. Shopping on board also seemed poor, lack of choice, shops were not enticing enough. Would we go again - no on the Smeralda, yes with Costa. They have just built too many cabins at the expense of public areas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
After reading all of the negative reviews for this cruise we were very apprehensive about our trip. Our experience was quite different than the reviews I read and I feel compelled to write my own. This was our 12th cruise. We have ... Read More
After reading all of the negative reviews for this cruise we were very apprehensive about our trip. Our experience was quite different than the reviews I read and I feel compelled to write my own. This was our 12th cruise. We have previously sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and MSC. This was our 3rd cruise out of a European port. The other two were on MSC and Royal Caribbean. We are from the US but have been living in Eastern Europe for the last two years. During our time living abroad we have visited 24 different countries. The first thing everyone needs to understand is that Costa is a European cruise line. It is not an American cruise line and really shouldn’t be compared to an American line. The level of service and the food were right on par with what we’ve come to expect when traveling throughout Europe. They cater to the European demographic as that is their main clientele. It is not uncommon for European cruise lines to embark/disembark in each port. The announcements are first made in Italian but were all repeated in English (with the exception of a few where they announced “for crew only” at the beginning). Every crew member that we encountered spoke English. They were all friendly, polite, and respectful. The food was good and always served hot. Keep in mind that the food is prepared toward European tastes. We have found that they tend to use less spice and less salt. Also, butter is only served upon request because it’s not common for them to butter their bread and the butter will not be salted because salted butter does not exist in Europe (at least from what I have been able to find in the grocery stores). I cannot speak for breakfast dining because we opted to have breakfast delivered to our room every day - the crab eggs Benedict is delicious! As for lunch, there are multiple options available for sit down table service (two dining rooms offered table service every day) or buffet style. The schedule is listed in the Oggi each day. We chose to eat in our assigned dining room each night and did not feel the need to try the speciality dining. It is true that there is no free pizza, not even on the children’s menu. It is true that there are no free burgers on the dinner menu, but they are included on the children’s menu. Also, hamburger patties (no buns) are available in the family buffet on deck 16. There is also no free ice cream, again not even on the children’s menu. In fact they did not offer any special desserts for kids like cookies, brownies, or Jello. The gelato on board can be purchased for €1.5 per scoop which was cheaper than we found in any of the ports. It seems that the lack of table cloths is a complaint for many but personally, I’ll trade the elegance that they add for the positive environmental impact of not having them. Our 7yr old went to the kids’ club several times and had a great time; she even found other children who spoke English. Our 13yr old was not interested in participating in the teen events and activities so I can’t provide any feedback there. The swimming facilities are definitely lacking for a ship this size. There is one small indoor pool and only four hot tubs; they were always packed. There are two small outdoor pools and the water is heated but again they were often crowded. The biggest disappointment for our kids was that we only saw the water slides open one time the entire week and unfortunately it was on our embarkation day so the kids never got a chance to try them out. The gym appears to be somewhat small, but we went 5 times (always in the morning around 9 or 10) and it was not crowded. There were always open machines and the best selection of kettlebells I have ever seen on a cruise ship. We also used the jogging track 3 times and found that most people were respectful of it’s purpose and would move out of the way. Of course, like every other ship there were also the oblivious few who had no clue or no desire to move and the rudest of rude that think the jogging track is a good place to hang out and smoke. We booked a balcony guarantee but were some how extremely fortunate and were assigned to a grand suite. The room was incredible! On Costa, when you receive a room upgrade, it does not include the upgraded amenities. However, for just a one time fee of €100 we were given the option to add the butler service. It was beyond worth it! Our butler and our room steward were fabulous. Our room was always spotless. We had the Brindiamo drink package and found that it was sufficient for us. You don’t get to choose your wine - you get whatever red, white, or sparkling that they give you. We found that it did vary at times and while perhaps not the best it was definitely drinkable. We only did one shore excursion which was Pisa on Your Own. It was a good experience and I’m glad we went. Two of the ports are “non-pedestrian” and a free shuttle is offered in those ports. Some of the other ports have an optional shuttle that is way overpriced. We chose to stay on the ship in Marseille as we had been before and didn’t feel it was worth the transportation cost to head into town. Barcelona is a fairly long walk but definitely doable and we chose this option. Palma de Mallorca is also a long walk. We took a taxi into town as it was WAY cheaper (at least for a family of 4) than the shuttle but we chose to walk back. Overall, this was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We booked this cruise 18 months before the sail date. The itinerary was great and included many bucket list places for us. Several months after we booked, we found out the ship was going into a major renovation/dry dock. We debated ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months before the sail date. The itinerary was great and included many bucket list places for us. Several months after we booked, we found out the ship was going into a major renovation/dry dock. We debated canceling but the itinerary had so many of our bucket list places it was too good to pass up. A few months before sailing, we were advised our 21 day cruise was down to 20 days and leaving a day later. We were given the option of a night in NCL’s hotel or a $300 credit plus we lost a port - Kusadasi. So much for seeing Ephesus this cruise but we stayed with the cruise. 1 day before we were scheduled to leave our home and start our travels, we received another email saying the ship’s departure was delayed another 3 days so we were now on a 17-day Cruise AND we lost 4 more ports of call. We had now lost 50% of our original itinerary with many changes in port times resulting in shortened visits. We were given the option to cancel with no penalty but were able to arrange for extra time in Rome and decided to go for it since we still were going to Israel, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, and UAE. On our travel day there were rumors on Cruise Critic the entire cruise was canceled so more stress but within 2 hours we were able to determine our cruise was still on. Toughest 2 hours I’ve ever spent at an airport! So off to Rome where we had a fabulous time for 6 days. Embarkation day arrives and on check in we are given a cabin different from what we had booked. We were told it was an upgrade. Huh? We were booked in a DOS so there were no upgrades but they told us we could sort it out with Guest Services once we got onboard. Once we were checked in we learned the truth from our Concierge. No suites were completed so we were downgraded into a balcony across from a service entrance and with a connecting door that seriously leaked noise. We were told it would only be for 1-2 days. We moved into our suite on day 13 of a 17 day cruise. I fault NCL for not disclosing this to us when they delayed the embarkation day. They certainly were aware of it and willfully withheld that vital piece of information from us. Yes, had we known the day before we left home, we would have canceled the entire trip and called it a day but we were stuck. We may even have canceled before final check in had we known it would be 13 days before we were able to occupy our booked suite. Now a bit about our travel habits. We are not balcony room people. We travel in OS or DOS’s or we stay home plus we usually only travel once a year. So this was a new experience for us. The room was small but we did find places for everything although we are not used to eating, reading, watching tv, and writing in the same place we sleep - our bed. We enjoy spending time in our cabin when we cruise. We heard noise from the service alley at all hours of the day and night as well as noise from the adjoining cabin. Not the best experience but we did manage to survive in there for 13 days despite toilets not flushing, hammering above our room all hours, room phone not working, workers throughout the ship with open panels all over the ship, and general disarray throughout the ship. Several venues were never completed like the Spa, many were delayed in opening like Teppanyaki, and many cabins were in far worse shape than we were. Some passengers reported no toilet seats, toilets either not flushing or flushing on their own in the middle of the night (happened several times in our cabin - so bizarre), no shower heads and even one person with no door to the room. I’m still wondering what happened to the people who were originally booked in the balcony we were given. Where did they get downgraded to? Personally we found the renovation workmanship to be shabby and cheaply done. NCL should get their money back! We had big dents in our ceiling and we were the first guests in there! Eventually we were able to move to our DOS where most things were done but finishing touches like cabinet shelves above the bar area were still missing, no pictures on the walls - you get the idea - just the basics. Overall though we enjoyed the DOS after being sandwiched in the balcony. And the staff bent over backwards helping us move. It took us 90 minutes to pack, move, and unpack. Yes, we were anxious to get into our suite by then! Quite honestly we got used to only one of us moving in the balcony room at one time and could only laugh after we got beyond our disappointment and anger at NCL for deceiving us. The staff were absolutely wonderful. They were dealing with so many different things out of their control and never complained. Always a smile and good humor. We had breakfast and lunch mainly in Cagney’s and found the food to be very good with enough variety for our tastes. Our specialty dinners in Cagney’s and Le Bistro were top notch but I found Onda a big disappointment. My spaghetti tasted like Chef Boyardee from a can so one night was all we did there. We skipped Teppanyaki just because we were more interested in other venues. The Local is good although I miss their Shepherd’s Pie, always one of my faves. And it was always very cold in there while other areas of the ship were too hot. They definitely needed to work more on that as well as hot/cold water issues throughout the ship. One morning I could only get scalding hot water so my shower was very brief. Others described only getting cold water at times. And one morning in Cagney’s they gave us blankets to cover up with because it was so cold in there. The Captain came in to eat there and left because it was too cold for him! We usually do the shows but missed every one this trip. We were too tired or too frustrated so we skipped them all. The casino is nice and has a smoking section so the main casino itself is quite smoke free. People tried to hide out in the smoking areas to smoke not gamble but they really chased them out unless they were also gambling. The machines were not good to us but we had fun and casino staff were very friendly. I did 2 of the Canvas U Paint sessions and had a great time there. The sessions were not in big demand as I’ve found on other ships so not a lot of crowding. Arriving at ports and debarkation was a disaster due to both people not heeding instructions and delays at getting ship clearance. In Aqaba, we were delayed almost 2 hours so our private tour was shortened but we managed to do everything we planned since we were on a private tour and could move quickly. Another bad thing with this cruise - days we were to be in port changed so we had to change our tours around. Also times in port changed including our port arrival in Abu Dhabi was changed 3 times with the last change occurring 12 hours before our arrival. Thankfully our private tour companies were really responsive to last minute changes. We loved our visits to Haifa and our overnight in Jerusalem, on to Masada, Qumrum and the Dead Sea but due to late arrival in port, we missed getting to Bethlehem, our overnight in Luxor (a return visit for us), our absolutely stunning day in Aqaba to Petra and Wadi Rum, a shortened day in Muscat, the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi (a real treat for us!) and debarkation with 2 days in Dubai. Definitely do a desert safari in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. It was a hoot. But we did all private tours although at most sights we saw the NCL tour groups so they did/saw many things we did but I’m sure they had to move slower. So what was our overall impression? We loved all of the ports and that was the reason we selected this cruise. We were disappointed to miss Athens and Kusadasi (Ephesus). As to the ship - even if we had been on a completely finished ship, we prefer mid size or mega ships (in the Haven). The ship seemed too small to us plus you add all of the ongoing construction and it was disastrous. The food generally was very good. Service was very good. The staff were wonderful and worked so hard to make it a great experience for us. Did we have a great time? Yes due to those ports and the places we toured. Am I upset with NCL? Yes because they knowingly withheld vital information from us prior to embarkation when we could have changed our travel plans. But they did give us a refund plus a 50% FCC which I’m still waiting for. We were very lucky to stay a few steps ahead of the Covid hassles and were so thankful to get home without any extra hassles unlike the Spirit Cruise right after us. And I don’t care how great an itinerary may be, we will never be booked on the first cruise out of drydock again! It’s just not worth the hassles. So all in all, we made some wonderful memories and despite all of the snafus, we are happy we did this cruise but also learned some valuable lessons and were very happy we returned home without any Covid delays/hassles. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Wow.. This was a ridiculous experience. First a couple days before sailing from Rome, we received notice that our trip was postponed by a few days.. and 4 ports were removed. Well, we were supposed to board a flight to Rome on Feb. 8 ... Read More
Wow.. This was a ridiculous experience. First a couple days before sailing from Rome, we received notice that our trip was postponed by a few days.. and 4 ports were removed. Well, we were supposed to board a flight to Rome on Feb. 8 with sailing on the 11th. Now we were sailing late evening on the 14th and 4 major ports were taken away. No advance notice.. NCL said we had the option to cancel but they would not pay hotel or airfare fees. Well.. hmm. No support. So we changed our flights and had to pay an additional $325 per person. We got to the ship and boarding was fine. But what the heck were they talking about??? Dry Dock... what, the ship looked like it needed to be refurbished. NOTHING worked in our room from lighting to plumbing. The only positive was the balcony. Ridiculous! Customer services was useless. The wait staff and hotel staff were amazing though. The shows were great, Food was terrible for the most part. Ended up having salads most days. Due to all the ships downfalls, NCL said they would reimburse us 25% of the cruise fare as well as give us another 25% credit towards another future cruise with NCL. To date - the reimbursement on the airfare, the cruise fare credit nor the future credit have appeared on any of my invoices. I filed a claim as soon as we hit land.. and told it would be processed but no record of such claim exists per NCL. This is my 11th cruise on NCL. Really .. I am a Platinum Member.. For God's sake customer service is the least they can offer. We were thinking of getting off the ship in Israel.. that's how bad the trip was . But I got sick with the flu (not coronavirus I promise) and wasn't able to get out of bed for 4 days. The ship needs help but what needs help more is the NCL management staff. Is this what has become of NCL. I am shocked. Another positive for the ship was the walking decks.. the pools though were a joke. The pool at the rear of the ship (adults only) was 3 ft deep. No joke. You had to get on your knees to basically cover your back. One reason my husband and I sail on NCL is because of their Thermal Suites which I was assured was updated and in working order. We join the spa and are granted access to the suite (paid service). Previously we average 2-3 hours per day there. Guess what.. shocker... are you ready???????? IT WASN'T WORKING!!!!!!!! AND NEVER OPENED UP. This was and remains my #1 luxury that I look forward to with every sailing. What a disappointment! Avoid this ship.. you know what, when the cruises open up again for service... avoid NCL until they get their damn crap together. I was reading reviews from the passengers that stayed on for the next leg of the trip.. sounds like the ship or staff didn't improve much on that journey either. One more positive note.. the Suez Canal was the most tranquil passing I've been through. Not much to see but if you focus on the tranquility of the water.. it would leave you in awe. NCL... This trip was simply disappointing.. and this is coming from one of your loyal (up until now) Platinum members! You lost me NCL... My referrals... My 120 member family that frequents your vessels.. and most of all my trust! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice ... Read More
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice which we booked in February 2019 and booked our air-fare shortly after. And the dollar-coaster ride began. Between February and July there were three price reductions bringing the balcony cabin cost from $188 per night to $140 per night. In September we were advised that the cruise was to be shortened to 20 days and be embarking 2/11 instead of 2/10. Also 2 price reductions bringing the nightly cost to $119. It needs to be mentioned that every time the reservation is rewritten, there is a $100 processing fee payable to the travel agent. In January, the Spirit went in for a 40 day refurbishment. We would be the first to sail on the new Spirit, how exciting! We arrived in Rome on February 5th planning to do some sightseeing before we boarded the ship on February 11th. While we were in the air, NCL sent out a notice to some, but not all passengers on the upcoming cruise that said, because of a dock worker strike, the cruise was being delayed for 4 days and would not leave until February 14? We would also be losing stops in Greece and Limassol. Because of the delay our cruise cost would be reduced by 25%. (The cruise was now 1/4 of what it was initially). There was no assistance offered for the extra cost in hotels, food, flight changes and other ancillary expenses. Embarkation day and no more changes. The shuttle took us to the terminal where the boarding process began. NCL staff was friendly but everyone had a different answer to our requests for wheelchair assistance. Our temperatures were taken, passports traded for room keys and we were on our way. Once onboard, we had lunch in Windows – the main dining room. Wait staff was friendly, professional and fun to talk to. One of our waitresses was from Wuhan China. She told us more than once that she was safe, the significance of her statement did not sink in until later. Lunch was good except french fries were cold – this was an issue throughout the cruise. It appears to be mission impossible to get french fries from the kitchen to the table still hot. For the most part NCL staff were wonderful.. Easy to talk to and very good at their jobs. They would admit to the difficulties of the delay in departure but would only talk about it briefly. I must confess to being uncomfortable about being a “guinea pig” for the refurbishment process. Drains drained slowly, toilets didn’t flush or only flushed partially, some toilets didn’t have toilet seats, handicap restroom doors didn’t open or close properly, stair rails were not attached, there was banging and hammering all night long as the work continued to bring the ship up to par.. The line at customer service was horrible and remained that way for the majority of the trip. Staff that worked the counter were for the most part, attentive and understanding. We had an ongoing issue with a premium beverage package, it took 10 days to finally get it straightened out. As a meet and greet activity for members of our group, we had a Pub Crawl that was a combination of bingo and a poker hand. The Cruise Director and Beverage Manager were great to work with. The Champagne Bar over looks the atrium. Evening entertainment was excellent. Of note was a piano player that played several evenings and he was absolutely wonderful. He had an extensive knowledge of piano classics and it was possible to talk without yelling. But I date myself. The addition of Starbucks was a plus for me, but I miss the towel animals and chocolates that used to be a part of turn down service. Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro remain my favorites for good food and excellent service. The new Omada was excellent as well. A very nice addition was the certified wine sommeliers. The new color scheme is a modern greys, blues and burgundies. I miss the three color coded carpeting (you knew if you were up front, midship or aft by the color of the carpet), it is all the same color now. I will probably sail with NCL again.although I sincerely hope that I never have to go through the difficulties we faced dealing with the corporate offices and trying to adjust on the fly to the changes we had to work with on this cruise. Despite my disappointment at not being able to visit Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and UAE were all I had hoped for. In addition, the folk on the Cruise Critic blog were the best and the cruise staff is what made the cruise special once we finally boarded. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the ... Read More
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the public areas were available. The toilets worked intermittently for the first few days. Our cabin's heating/air conditioning worked intermittently as well. We stayed in a hotel that lacked hot water but for some reason there was no cold water, at times, in our shower and no way to cool the scalding hot water. The shore excursions desk people were unfriendly and not helpful. They could not or would not answer any questions about any upcoming port. Usually, with any cruise, the customer service desk is busy the first or second day of the cruise. On this cruise there was a line of at least 10 to 20 people every day and the phone system didn't always work and when it did work, no one answered anyway. Only recourse was to wait, often more than an hour, at the customer service desk. Our first port, Haifa, was a disaster. For some reason the crew on the ship was holding everyone and, having been released to go on our shore excursions, had to wait in the stairwell. If their concern was to limit exposure to COVID-19, then holding several 100 people in a congested staircase is a bit guided. The fact that we have been given the runaround on our 25% refund, the lack of involvement by the officers, and overall abysmal customer service tells me that these problems are endemic to Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it ... Read More
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. A new date Feb.14 was given, we were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Civitavecchia . Because of this delay there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We have trip insurance so we are trying to recover these costs, which is ridiculous as the insurance coverage will not begin to cover the amounts.   The ship was not completely finished and should have never been allowed to sail with passengers.  Work crews continued to swarm the boat as passengers were aboard, long lines of irate customers were at the Cruise Assistance desk and this frustrated and angry line queuing went on for days after the ship was at sea. The nightmare started from the moment I arrived at the ship’s boarding process.  There were nearly 300 people standing in line at the Guest Assistant desk in an over 3 hour wait, all massively complaining about no rooms, or not the room they booked, incorrect financials that were being sent prior to boarding saying people still owed monies for the entire trip and so much more.  In fact a near-riot was being filmed on many cell phones with people screaming NO NO NO when told that we had to get out of lines we had been in for 2 to 3 hours so to learn the safety protocol.  It was the nearest I have ever come to being afraid for my safety, and I truly think this could have gone very very badly if not for one wise NCL security officer who began a number taking process for your place in the line.  Other NCL management staff were simply watching the horrible situation from the balcony above, and much more followed with poor entertainment, problems found in the rooms like closet rods not properly affixed, in room refrigerators not working, shower-stall water backing up in the pan of the shower, and key cards that should be specific to your room only-opening other suite doors. The disappointment continued with poor entertainment on board, nothing in gift shops-as we were told the vendors did not have time to stock their shops, a non-working ATM thru the entire trip so the only way we could get money was thru the casino cashier who charged fees for their service and so much more.    Personally, I was told I did not have a room when I boarded, then was sent to two other rooms which when I arrived found other occupants in those rooms and finally arriving in a room that was much less than I had booked.  Each of the rooms I was given the toilets did not work.  I received a small compensation for this disaster. While on the ship we proactively brought concerns to the ship hotel manager and the concierge.  The concierge staff member was wonderful, the ship hotel manager did nothing but send me a form note.  We never heard a word from the captain.  I wrote two very descriptive notes to the ship upper management with no reply.  When I arrived back home after a less than happy experience, I immediately sent a three-page registered letter to CEO H Sommer and NCL Guest Services manager K Bird, to date no response.  Both the ship concierge and the NCL booking agent said their hands were tied to address issues as well as they could not respond to when we would get the offered compensation back to our accounts as promised in letters from NCL.  I would like to take a moment here to recognize all the hard working NCL staff members on the ship:the room attendants, the food servers, the bartenders, the housekeeping staff,the ship cleaning staff....these people are heroes and worked tirelessly in very stressful situations.  I doubt if NCL acknowledges these front-line staff but they are the ones saving a NCL reputation which is clearly tarnished and documented in recent shared newsletters and stories.  And as to the compensation process, many were offered different amounts seemingly based on the status of the rooms booked.  In my mind we all equally suffered and should be equally compensated.  In asking many of my fellow travelers no one has received any apology from NCL, nor any acknowledgement of the issues on this cruise, nor any updates as to compensation timing or consideration for fair and equitable compensation. I enjoy cruising very much and have previously enjoyed NCL on many occasions, all with great success.  Sadly, this time is so horrible I can’t imagine how NCL could rebuild trust.  It will take a massive effort. As of now I think of NCL as "NoCustomerLove". Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the ... Read More
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the world. Played and won deal or not deal game( one of my favourites) . Went to most of dance classes , where Dan and Bianca where instructors, laughter during their dance class since it was not only a class it was just amazing and funny show. Since ship was just refurbished there was some small stuff which could and was improved almost instantly . Where were tons of dolphins swimming by cruise ship, jumping and people watching. My room was super clean though I was just coming to sleep there. Front desk was overwhelmed since it was the first cruise after it was remodelled and I saw lots of people there. Nice karaoke as well. Did not have time to check casino though it looked beautiful. Will recommend to friends and family as long as they are not too picky and want to have good time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ... Read More
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ncl put me up in a hotel for one night at fumicino airport. I had to arrange my own transfers to be refunded later which was odd as I was greeted at the airport by an ncl person who informed me of a coach the following morning from rome airport to the port which would cost me 60$ - so either pay 60$ to ncl or arrange my own transfers of 105 euros which ncl said they will refund, makes no sense whatsoever embarkation took over 3 hours, the longest ever, arrived on board for the safety drill which was the longest drill ever covering everything form use handrails and don't forget to tie your shoe laces only to be repeated all again in Italian my cabin, apart from the first 3 days and nights being cold and uncomfortable was very good, a number of suite owners had no suite available for the first 10 days the ship had had a refit which was incomplete hence the delayed sailing date and loads of workmen on board and was not fit to sail there was a staff shortage - entertainments staff should have been 5 was 3 - a lot of staff were unable to sail because of previous close contact with china there were a lot of unhappy people on board but being English we made the best of things and apart from my cold initial cabin and statement being wrong and having to queue every 3 days to sort it which in fairness ncl did sort out I was relatively happy but others who had paid a lot of dosh for suites that were not available were not any sign of the captain or hotel manager apologising or explaining the difficulties er NO, senior staff were conspicuous by their absence, the poor front line desk staff had to take a lot of flak for something that wasn't their fault or responsibility - they were brilliant a pity the senior staff weren't I have had automated replies from ncl but no direct contact from them or my travel agent about the promised refunds which is disappointing especially from the travel agent as there were only 5 of us who had booked from that particular agent, just an e-mail to inform us of the refund situation but nothing in 2 weeks I could have made more of an issue about my cabin and the mistakes in my account charges but I did not as there were a lot of people with much more serious problems like wet carpets in their cabins, toilets that didn't work etc basically the ship was not ready to sail and ncl should have cancelled the cruise instead they went ahead and upset a lot of passengers - I sailed on the star in November and although there were not the same refit issues there was no organisation and again low profile captain and a lot of unhappy passengers, my previous 4 cruises with ncl were brilliant sad to say my last 2 with ncl were far from brilliant - NCL YOU HAVE LOST THE PLOT Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 ... Read More
Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Rome. Because of this there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We had already left so flights was not an issue but they would not offer the money towards hotels if not needed for flights. Which is ridiculous. It took 4 hours to board the ship because they were so unorganized. The ship should have never been able to depart. Toilets around the ship and in cabins did not work. No hot water for days. Flooding in the halls and around elevator, squishy wet carpet everywhere. Terrible smells from carpet glue and other construction. People were sick from the smell. Lights in some cabins never worked. Our cabin door did not lock and close properly. The staff was clearly not trained. No one knew what to do. Lines were huge at customer service desk with no resolve. Took three hours to debark ship at first port because they were so unorganized. We lost half a day in Jerusalem. Took almost two hours to get main entree in dinning room. Finally just ate at buffet. Jets did not work in Jacuzzi's. Games and events around the ship were very poor. They had you carry around a card they signed when you went to the games. After 10 signatures you turned it in for for a bottle opener or deck of cards. Hardly any shopping areas. The shows were very poor except for their dancers which were very good. Said they would give us 25% off cruise and another 25% towards another which I have not seen. I have reached out to them about this but no answer as yet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020

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