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2,361 South America Cruise Reviews

First let me say that at the better part of $20,000 per week, this was the most expensive cruise I have ever taken (on a cost per day basis). That said, a few observations: Disappointments: Our “Sky ... Read More
First let me say that at the better part of $20,000 per week, this was the most expensive cruise I have ever taken (on a cost per day basis). That said, a few observations: Disappointments: Our “Sky Suite with Infinite Verandah” would be better described as “Room with Openable Window”. We paid extra, and feel we got less than we would have with the standard cabin with a real verandah. Will avoid this cabin concept on future X cruises! I did this cruise on the Xpedition many years back, and was surprised at how different the demographic was this time. Very similar to that of a transatlantic voyage, the median age was likely in the 70’s, rather than the cross section of “explorer types” we had expected. The food was, by and large, average. Plusses: The vessel is literally a small version of a luxury liner. The common areas never felt crowded, always felt elegant. The staff was way above average in both efficiency and courtesy, at all levels. We experienced no add-on costs. Shore excursions, wines, premium liquors, tips, and two bags of laundry were included. The Internet connection was free, unlimited, and easily the best I’ve ever experienced at sea. So, would we sail on The Flora again? Unfortunately, no. At the better part of $20,000 per week (per couple), we felt the overall product was not commensurate with the very hefty price tag. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have always wanted to observe what Darwin experienced on the Beagle that led to his monumental work and this cruise satisfied me on so many levels. The Flora is a beautiful and well-designed ship for exploration of the islands. The ... Read More
I have always wanted to observe what Darwin experienced on the Beagle that led to his monumental work and this cruise satisfied me on so many levels. The Flora is a beautiful and well-designed ship for exploration of the islands. The crew from top to bottom were efficient, energetic, warm and first class. When was the last time you saw a captain and hotel director loading hand luggage onto the passenger tenders? The naturalists were wonderful and took the same delight we felt in what we saw and experienced. The itinerary was fast paced, making some of wish there could have been a sea-day or two to catch our breaths, but everything went like clockwork and the experiences were magical. Absolutely all us cruisers had only the highest praise for this cruise. If you like to hike, snorkel, kayak, eat and drink well, and enjoy being with animals who have no fear of humans, this is the trip for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I have always wanted to go to the Galapagos and when I received a special offer from Costco travel for the Flora, I jumped at the offer. Be warned, that if you book only the 7 night cruise, you will not get much support ... Read More
My husband and I have always wanted to go to the Galapagos and when I received a special offer from Costco travel for the Flora, I jumped at the offer. Be warned, that if you book only the 7 night cruise, you will not get much support from Celebrity. You cannot book air through them and you will have to call and get the information you need to book air travel yourself, such as the times you should plan to arrive and leave the islands. An important thing to keep in mind when booking flights is that the Flora stays on Ecuador time, NOT Galapagos time, which is one hour earlier. Please note this review is written to give information to people who book the seven day cruise only who have to make a lot of travel arrangements on their own. We flew into Quito on September 13th and spent the night at the airport Wyndham. The next day, we flew from Quito to Baltra Airport. If you are not traveling as a group with Celebrity, when you get to the departing airport in Ecuador, you must pay $20 to buy a tourist transit card (do not lose this, you need to show it when you leave the Galapagos) at the airport. In Quito, the booth is to the right as you enter the departures door. Celebrity will reimburse you for this cost. Then you must have your luggage inspected before checking it or going to the gate. When you arrive at the airport in Baltra, you must go through another line and pay a $100 National Park Entry Fee. Celebrity will give you a voucher for this, showing the fee was paid, but if you are traveling on your own, they won't accept this, so be sure you have cash for everyone in your group. Keep the receipt and you will be reimbursed in cash by Celebrity. We spent the night before the cruise at the Royal Palm Hotel on Santa Cruz and arranged for a driver to pick us up and take us to the hotel. If you are arriving the day before the cruise, you need to make a reservation at one of the hotels on Santa Cruz Island, a 5 minute ferry ride from Baltra. Most of the hotels are located in Puerto Ayora, on the other side of Santa Cruz Island from the ferry. You can take a cab ride; I believe that it is about 30 minutes and fairly inexpensive. There is also a bus. On cruise day, plan to be back at the Baltra Airport around 10 am. Celebrity says you should be there by 2, but arrive earlier. There are Celebrity employees at the airport; check in with them. If they owe you for your tourist transit card or park entrance fee, they will reimburse you then. You will need to wait for the passengers arriving on Celebrity's charter flight from Quito and can wait in Celebrity's VIP lounge. Then you will be bused from the airport to a dock where you will board your tender and ride out to the Flora. The Flora is a beautiful ship. We were in cabin 512, which featured a sky suite with a private veranda. I highly recommend booking this type of cabin; the private balcony is amazing and we never experienced any spray when sitting out there. The room had a very comfortable bed, a sofa, a large screen tv, refrigerator, and a very nice bathroom. Do not be concerned about the frosted glass in the bathroom; you still have enough privacy and it is very cool to be able to look out at the view while brushing your teeth. There is a faucet for filtered water in the bathrooms as well as complimentary metal water bottles. DO NOT drink tap water in Ecuador! Housekeeping cleaned the rooms twice a day. You can have laundry done twice for free during the cruise. There are binoculars in your room which you can use during the trip. The wifi worked fine for email and browsing, but I could not send photos using messaging. I had no problem sending photos using WhatsApp. Food on the ship was good, but not amazing. There was an abundance of fish offered every day, and despite what another reviewer said, there is plenty of lobster. They also had beef (which is pre-cooked sous vide), as well as a chicken dish every night. I got kind of tired of the same food by the end of the cruise. Drinks are free. The wait staff in the dining rooms are all excellent and friendly and speak English well. We especially liked Natalia and Zarella, AKA Lady Gaga. The other passengers were great, mainly from the US, but we also had several couples from the UK and one large family from Chile. There were two children on our cruise, sisters ages 10 and 11 and they were very well behaved and participated in all the activities. Be warned though, that this is NOT a cruise for children under about ages 10 or 11. There are no activities for them, no special food, and many younger kids will be very bored and will not be able to keep up on the daily walks. Every evening, passengers meet in the Discovery Lounge for a briefing on the next day's activities. In another review, someone already posted the outer loop daily schedule, and ours was the same, so I won't duplicate this. There are morning and afternoon activities, with harder and easier versions. Unless you have a physical disability, you should be fine with the harder version. You can always drop out if you have a problem. After the briefing, you sign up for the next day activities. These include nature walks, kayaking, snorkeling, deep water snorkeling, and tender rides. You will be issued wetsuits and they have them in all sizes, including child sized, so you should be able to find one which fits you, as well as snorkels, fins and masks, swim flotation vests, and a bag to hold everything. These are stored in the Marina area. If you enjoy snorkeling, you should try and take the Outer Loop cruise, which offers more deep water snorkeling trips (three) than the Inner Loop. The water when we went (September) was cold, in the 60s, so you will need the wetsuit. My husband did all the deep water snorkels and he also wore a neoprene rash guard and a cap to keep warm. These were the highlights of the trip for him, so if you love snorkeling, don't miss these. The regular snorkeling takes place after walks, so you will need to wear a bathing suit under your clothes. You can store your bag with gear on the beach, so you don't have to carry it on the walk. Everywhere you go on the Islands, you will be accompanied on the trip by one of the Flora's naturalists. These are all natives of Ecuador and many were born and raised in the Galapagos. They are very proud of their country and do a fantastic job of representing their country and educating passengers about the Islands. They are all great, but two special favorites of ours were Diego and Orlando. You can sign up for a special dinner with a naturalist; please do it! I have to give a shout out to the Captain, Captain Jaramillo, the Hotel Director, John Flynn, the Cruise Director, Marvi and Sachin, (not sure of his title) from the dining room. They were all over the ship, talking to guests, and making sure everyone had what they needed and were having a good time. John was at the tenders every day, helping passengers board and carrying life vests and bags. I was very impressed by how hard all of the crew worked. September is a great time for this cruise, due to the cooler weather. It was in the 70s most days, so never got too hot. I can't imagine taking some of the hikes when it gets to 100 degrees or more! You don't need to take any fancy clothing for this cruise; while some people got a little dressed up for dinner, most people were very casual. Popular clothes were things like Columbia PFG pants and shirts. I would recommend capris or lightweight long pants over wearing shorts, just to protect your legs from brush on some of the hikes. I brought a pair of Keen sandals and some Dansko Paisley shoes for hiking and they worked fine. You don't need heavy hiking shoes, but do bring shoes with good soles for hiking on lava rock. You will also need a hat and a jacket. Celebrity gives you a string backpack and a poncho, but you would be better off bringing a lightweight backpack to carry your water bottle, camera, etc. Debarkation went fine. Unfortunately, Celebrity told me not to schedule our departure flight before 2 pm, which was completely wrong. Passengers on the 7 day cruise only were in the first debarkation group, which left the ship at 9 am (8 am Galapagos time). We were at the airport before 9 am! Luckily, we were able to switch to an 11 am departure, so did not have to spend the day sitting in a small airport. All in all, my husband and I had a fantastic time on this cruise. The ship was amazing, the staff were all hard working, knowledgeable and dedicated, the wildlife and vegetation were incredible and we made some wonderful friends. I highly recommend booking a cruise of the Flora; it is a once in a lifetime trip you will never forget. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were moved onto this ship from the Xpedition (which is now back in service) and she is a BEAUTY. Our cruise was her 7th sail, and she did not disappoint. - Overall, it's very well thought out, and uses great colors and ... Read More
We were moved onto this ship from the Xpedition (which is now back in service) and she is a BEAUTY. Our cruise was her 7th sail, and she did not disappoint. - Overall, it's very well thought out, and uses great colors and textures and has TONS of windows - The lounges are big enough that you don't feel crowded, even when everyone is in there for the pre-dinner presentation of the next day's activities - The dining room could use some better sound-proofing panels in the ceiling (when it's full, it's noisy), but the wait staff was exceptional and great views from nearly all the tables - Food is fantastic. This is not a stuff-your-face-24-hours-a-day ship; there are set B/L/D times since you are off the ship doing things in-between meals. When you come in off a tender, you're greeted with a little snack and some flavored water - Wine selection is better than the spirits, with some exceptions - be sure to try the local Ecuadorian gin, called UNDER, in your g&t! - Rooms are beautiful and the bathrooms are HUGE (larger than the ensuite in my 1950s house)! Some people had leaking showers during rough seas, but the ops team was working on correcting that during the following week's cruise - All staff is friendly and approachable; the naturalists clearly love their jobs and are really knowledgeable - Don't skip any excursions. Everything is super-interesting, and there are different "levels" of each excursion, depending on your mobility/how much exercise you want/etc - Evening entertainment is non-existent (after dinner), but there was a lot of time spent in the bar making new friends. Really great group of people on our sail. - The first day(Sunday) is a little chaotic, as you're getting through embarkation, the safety drill, snorkel safety class, unpacking your bags and a bunch of other things. That isn't the tone of the cruise going forward, so don't let it get to you. - All ports/excursions are reached via the tenders, which have a great set of steps to get on/off. Note that in rough seas, these stairs go up and down and it's a bit like a Fun House ride in an amusement park Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked the 10 night package through Celebrity and from start to finish it was amazing! From the minute we landed at the Quito airport to the time of departure, everything was so well organized and every staff member we encountered both ... Read More
We booked the 10 night package through Celebrity and from start to finish it was amazing! From the minute we landed at the Quito airport to the time of departure, everything was so well organized and every staff member we encountered both on land and at sea was great. The ship is gorgeous and very well designed for sailing in the Galapagos. Our cabin was the sky suite with veranda and it was spacious enough for two with a large bathroom and shower. I see that some other reviews have mentioned issues with water on the bathroom floor but we didn’t run into that at all. Our cabin attendants were phenomenal and did a great job. We never had to ask for anything as our room was kept immaculate and restocked daily. The restaurant and bar staff were excellent and they worked extremely hard. We had no issues with the service at all. In fact many of them went out of their way to make sure we were enjoying our experience. The food was quite good. Some things were average, but for the most part it was very good and we were happy with it. The naturalist guides were fantastic and you can tell how much they love the islands and love sharing it with others. They were all incredibly knowledgeable and really made the excursions enjoyable. The tender boat drivers were also all great. They were friendly and always tried to position the tender in ways that would allow for great photos of the wildlife. The captain, cruise director and hotel director were always around and checking in with guests to ensure things were going well. It was obvious that their main priority is to provide their guests with the best experience possible and they and their crew are working hard to deliver. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so glad we chose the Celebrity Flora. I really can’t say enough good things about every one of the Celebrity staff members and the ship in general. There were a couple minor negatives for us that I will mention. One was inconsistent room service quality. We ordered the club sandwich one day and it was great. A few days later we ordered it again and it was a totally different (and very subpar) sandwich. Everything else we ordered from room service was good though. Another thing is the policy of only 2 people to a cabin and still allowing children. There was a family on our cruise with 4 kids and the kids had their own cabins while the parents were in a different cabin. The kids cabins happened to be the ones next door to ours and they were noisy and disruptive on the first couple of days without supervision in their room. I think they got tired out after that and were pretty quiet for the remainder of the cruise so it was not a big deal, but it could have been much worse. Not only do I think unsupervised children in a cabin is a bad idea due to possible disruption of other guests, but it’s also a safety issue. When the kids were horsing around on their balcony next to ours it was obvious that one could easily end up going over the balcony railing. I will say that overall, kids being on the ship was fine and the ones on our cruise were generally well behaved, but I really think Celebrity should reconsider allowing children to stay in their own cabins without parental supervision. Side note - We were able to upgrade to first class on the charter flight from Quito to Baltra for only $220 USD per person round trip once we were checked in to the hotel in Quito. Celebrity made it super easy and I was happy with the price. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We just returned from the August 25, 2019 Inner Loop sailing on the Flora. It was a trip of a lifetime and Celebrity exceeded our expectations!!! From the minute we stepped off the plane until the minute we flew home, they were right ... Read More
We just returned from the August 25, 2019 Inner Loop sailing on the Flora. It was a trip of a lifetime and Celebrity exceeded our expectations!!! From the minute we stepped off the plane until the minute we flew home, they were right there taking care of all the logistics...ticketing, transfers, documentation, luggage, etc. It's also the first time on a cruise that we had a ZERO balance on the last day!!! I agree with all that Kathy said and I'm thankful that I don't have to give such a thorough review now!!! I had so many questions before the cruise and I wish I had read this sooner. For our experience, I found that my Chaco sandals were good for the beach hikes, but was very thankful to have trail shoes (Columbia trail running shoes) to navigate the rocks and lava fields. Plenty of people wore regular sneakers, which was OK, but they did slip on dusty rocks at times. There were 2 times they recommended long pants/sleeves, but I'm not really sure why? It was not necessary. The naturalists and the tender drivers stay covered head to toe at all times to protect from the sun. I'm from Georgia and don't like to be cold, but had the attitude that I could withstand it for a 45 minute snorkel!!! One time, I had to talk myself off the ledge because the cold water took my breath away upon entry. Once I regained my composure, it was totally worth it to see the turtles feeding on algae! I felt good about my clothing choices. Kathy is correct. No one cares what you wear. I would say most were dressed "nice" for dinner, but I did see some in jeans and even one couple in gym clothes. I usually wore a sun dress or pants with a cute top. Men wore jeans or slacks with a shirt. I also felt like I needed to look the part of adventurer, but that is not the case. The dry wicking shorts are nice and I used a PFG long sleeve shirt as my top layer. If you go straight from a hike to snorkel, wear your swimsuit as there is no where to change!!! I'm sure it would be frowned upon, but we figured out to take a washcloth with us to brush the sand from our feet after a wet landing. As for the underwater camera...I had a Fuji, but it filled with water on day 3. Before that, it took great pics. I'm sure it was user error as many people had the same camera. One thing I realized is that I was more free to enjoy the snorkel without worrying about the perfect shot. At the end of the cruise, they do give you a USB with pics from the week. Travel and tourism in the Galapagos is HIGHLY regulated, so you cannot just jump in the water anytime you want...or walk anywhere either. There were a couple of times, when we didn't have far to cruise, that we would just sit until it was our appointed time to disembark. We sat looking at nice calm water with a white sand beach in the distance but were stuck on the ship. By the time we snorkeled, the water there was choppy. That is my only complaint and Celebrity has nothing to do with it!!! The "deep water snorkel" is the best and you don't have to be super experienced...you just can't touch the bottom. They do give you a talk the night before each island to discuss excursion options and level of difficulty. Obviously, this is subjective, but we felt they might have put a little too much emphasis on "strenuous" or "fitness walk." I'm 51 and in decent shape. I walk a lot for exercise and found all the walks easy. My 81 year old mom would not agree. According to my Fitbit, the hike that went by Darwain's Lake was 33 flights of stairs. The one on Bartolome was 402 stairs plus some incline. All of the hikes had stops along the way for the naturalists to talk and point out critters. A disappointment for us was there was no snorkeling the last 2 days. The Darwain Tortoise Center was good, but I could've breezed through there and then snorkeled. I did not need all of the allotted time to shop. As stated the food is good. The breakfast was basically the same everyday, but yummy. The Grill is great for lobster, but I did hear someone say they will bring it to you in the MDR if you ask. The french fries are not worth the calories. I enjoyed the cultural food and different ceviche everyday. There was a family on our cruise with 4 kids ages 9-15. They were wonderful and added a great touch of fun to our week. I did hear that the week before had some challenging kids. As with any cruise, you never know what people will be there. We had a great group by week's end. There were those who kept to themselves and others who formed connections as the week went by. I have attached our weekly activity sheet. I'm happy to attach pics of the hikes and conditions if wanted. Celebrity provides you with a water bottle, poncho (needed once), lip balm and a string backpack. As noted, you must have your bags out the night before the cruise and the last night of the cruise. I wish I had had a bigger backpack or carry-on for this purpose. Hope this helps!! Have a great trip to the Galapagos. You will NEVER regret it or forget it!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I are totally satisfied with this cruise. Silversea did an excellent job to make your experience as pleasant as possible from the moment you arrived in Quito to the last minute you catch your flight at the airport to return ... Read More
My wife and I are totally satisfied with this cruise. Silversea did an excellent job to make your experience as pleasant as possible from the moment you arrived in Quito to the last minute you catch your flight at the airport to return home. This is not a typical luxury cruise you expect from Silversea. This is probably the best adventure cruise offered to the Galapagos Islands. If you expect Grand Dining room experience, elaborate evening show, daily fitness class and top notched spa and messages, this cruise is not for you! Our daily routine starts at about 6 am getting up, have buffet breakfast (or 24 hours room service if you prefer) and be ready to board the zodiacs to your choice of activities by 7 am. Typically one in the morning and one in the afternoon with snorkeling, kayaking or beach activity in between. I really enjoyed the lunch on deck 5 grill after a rewarding morning adventure to see different species unique to each island. The chef did a wonderful job with special sea food menu each day. The waiters who may not have a good command in English are eager to entertain the guests by singing and dancing to the Latino popular songs played by the piano man. You can sense they are genuinely happy with their jobs! The ship usually set sails to the afternoon location while the guests are having their lunch on deck enjoying the beautiful ocean views. Afternoon activities finished around 4 pm. After showering and an occasional quick nap, we always attended the daily debriefings conducted by the Naturalists who led us to our daily adventures followed by the introduction to the activities on the next day. These sessions are very interesting and educational in a relaxing atmosphere. A perfect prelude to the dinner that followed. Although the dinner menu may not have many choices as the other Silversea's, I found it more than adequate. This is the first time I tried Cow Cheek and Scorpion fish. They are both delicious! Wine choices are mainly local selections of very acceptable quality. We had a wonderful time on this cruise as well as the pre-cruise visit to Quito city and the Equator attraction. Fellow guests we met were all very pleasant and easy to get along. The previous reviewer's family of 4 are charming. The kids are well manor and well liked by the guests and staff. The 2 nights JW Marriott hotel and the EB day hotel are first class. They are included in the cruise fare which I considered very reasonable. If you enjoy nature in an unspoiled natural environment this is the cruise not to miss. There are very few places on earth that you can be so close to animals that are totally not afraid of you, even the Sally long legged crabs will walk past you ignoring your presence! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
2nd time to Galapagos, having travelled before on the Xpedition. Wanted to go on a more luxurious ship, for a stress-free experience as much as possible. There were a few glitches in the trip, but overall was a very good trip.I wanted to ... Read More
2nd time to Galapagos, having travelled before on the Xpedition. Wanted to go on a more luxurious ship, for a stress-free experience as much as possible. There were a few glitches in the trip, but overall was a very good trip.I wanted to review the cruise, to counter the unnecessarily harsh recent reviews. Don't let a few small negatives keep you from having a fantastic cruise on this ship. Of course, the off-ship excursions were excellent. Very good naturalists and beautiful scenery and animals. Enough said. Food quality was very good, especially for such a remote location. Always offered plenty of seafood, including lobster. Served a very good Chateaubriand beef on special dinner night, when a naturalist joined us at our table. There are now at least 3 people serving/busing during buffet meals, so things have improved. However, they are still not prompt in removing dirty dishes from the table or offering initial drinks/coffee upon sitting. I would even suggest they offer a self-service coffee station during breakfast. Most of the rooms do not have a coffeemaker in them, and we are very keen on getting our morning coffee promptly. I requested a coffeemaker for my room, and the hotel Director found me one. Thanks. There is a very kind Maitre D' that made sure I got the lobster for lunch that I inquired about. It wasn't until the middle of the cruise that I found out that lobster was plentiful. There are small design flaws of the ship. Several of the showers overflowed their glass door& shallow pan onto the bathroom floor during the trip, if trying to shower when the ship was underway. The engineers tilted the ship a bit to counteract this, but really it took planning and a bit of diligence to avoid getting water onto the floor. I'm sure this is ultimately a correctable problem with the shower enclosures. There is no ventilation in the bathrooms and there is no light suitable for reading in the bedrooms. So, if you like to read in bed, maybe a wildlife guide for prepping for the next day, bring a clip-on reading light. Entertainment was fine. They had a very popular "Silent Disco" night, where you have headphones on and listen to 1 of 3 streams of dance music. Wow, sometimes we had up to 30 people dancing, overflowing the dance floor. Recommend they repeat that. Some people missed that night and were sad they wouldn't get to experience it later in the week. They had a young Brit solo guitarist singer throughout the cruise. Several of the people we spoke to said she needed to mix it up a bit, that some of her songs sounded alike no matter the genre. I would recommend adding some light Latin songs, to remind us that we are somewhere far away from home. Maybe they should hire a Latino guitarist /singer instead. The cabins were kept in great shape by the accommodating cabin staff. The gals worked long hours and carried the phones for our service calls. Tip them, please. Room service needs improvement- twice received 1 cutlery set when I clearly stated I wanted cutlery for 2 people. Coffee arrived without sugar/creamer twice. These seem like small complaints, but it took up to 15 minutes to get what we needed. I would also suggest that they post signs that say "Quiet Please" at each room hallway and specify that there is No Running while on board, as one of their rules. We had the unfortunate luck to have a couple of kids under 10, running up and down the hallways while we were trying to nap. Not my idea of luxury at all. I hope our complaints are getting addressed. This is a beautiful ship with a great crew. They deserve great success! Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I posted many more details (and a few videos) on the "Just back on Flora" thread in the Flora roll calls but will try and summarize here. It seems like many of the other reviewers' comments may have been heard and addressed ... Read More
I posted many more details (and a few videos) on the "Just back on Flora" thread in the Flora roll calls but will try and summarize here. It seems like many of the other reviewers' comments may have been heard and addressed as we didn't experience those problems. From pickup at the airport to dropoff at the airport, Celebrity handled the logistical details seamlessly. We did the 10 night package and enjoyed the precruise experience at JW Marriott, the Quito city tour and lunch, and to a lesser extent the dinner (there were not many choices off what is an extensive menu). The charter flight was fine, the food served on it was very good. Yes there is a line when you arrive at Baltra to go through immigration but you do have access to restrooms and since you can travel with liquids, you can certainly bring a filled water bottle. The VIP lounge is not all that exciting but it was fine for the short wait while they sorted out the logistics and was a good time to chat with your fellow cruisers. The ship was beautiful - we were in 503 which was a regular verandah cabin and we thought it was spacious for a cruise ship cabin, especially the bathroom. We did not experience any issues with the sinks or the toilets and once I learned to put the bathmat down just as I opened the shower door, no problems there either. We found the mini nightlight under the sink in the bathroom was adequate for our needs, so never needed to turn on the main light- if you did I can see where that could definitely wake the other person given the glass wall. The sliding door to the balcony was very hard to open or close but without me saying anything to anyone, someone came one day and fixed it! The tender docking approach was great- with two options it was very easy to get on and off and emerging right into the marina area to rinse your shoes and sort out your snorkel gear was very useful. Loved getting something to drink and often a snack once you came off each excursion- the hot chocolate was gratefully received after snorkeling through water in the low 60s- and the sparking wine was appreciated each afternoon! The dining was disappointing; understand the restrictions on food coming in but we still think more could be done with what was there. The breakfast and lunch buffets were extensive and the salads at the buffet were colorful and interesting, but we got bored with what seemed to be the same fish prepared the same way every night. And it was inconsistent- one night I braved a meat order and left most of it, but apparently the Chateaubriand on the last night was great. That said, we didn't do this cruise for the food and what they served was certainly sufficient. Burgers and grilled lobster tails on Deck 7 were definitely a hit! I do agree that having the Ocean Grill bar open more- perhaps during sailaway and when you come back from excursions- would be nice, but going down to Deck 4 to get a drink and bringing it back up was not a big deal. Between two and sometimes three excursions a day (if you did the deep water snorkeling) we didn't need any more activities but I went to most of the naturalist talks - all of which were informative and worthwhile- and the cocktail mixing which was great fun. I thought the staff was fine- as good as or better than we have had on most of our Celebrity cruises- so no complaints there. Our cabin was serviced beautifully, the waiters and barstaff were helpful and efficient. The naturalists and tender drivers were just amazing. And the captain and especially the hotel manager- John Flynn- were always around and visible and willing to listen to issues. I am not a breakfast eater, and one day I just had not had enough to see me through both the morning excursion and the deep water snorkel scheduled before lunch. I stopped at Guest Services on the way back from the excursion and asked if someone could bring some cheese and ham or something up to my cabin in the 20 minutes that we had between these. Sure enough, ten mins later I had a plate. And I learned to at least try and have an egg in the morning! (one hint- fill a small cup with nuts at breakfast, or popcorn or corn nuts at lunch,it's great for a quick snack in your cabin later:) Shore excursions were definitely the highlight of the trip. Even with 100 people on board, when you tour in groups of 12 it seemed small, and we often were grouped with different people which was fun as we got to know many more people on the cruise that way (the group you are with depends on which of the excursions you are doing and what time you showed up to get your tender tickets). The 7:15 pm briefings were very clear and informative about what to wear, bring and expect but you do need to pay attention. There are two ways to snorkel- if its a beach snorkel, wear your bathing suit under your walking cloths and bring your snorkel gear (which you get he very first day and is always on hangers marked with your cabin number in the marina area). For a deep water snorkel, take your wetsuit to your cabin and change, then go to the marina and pick up your snorkel gear on the way out. Seeing the animals and birds in their natural environment was beyond amazing. Yes there are restrictions on where you can walk but I think most of us recognize and appreciate that as this place is magical and it is so important to do what we can to save it. Others have talked about what you can see on these, and I posted videos on the thread listed above so the only thing I will add is that if you are preparing to go on this cruise, and want to get the most out of it, practice your balance, and practice walking on very uneven terrain before you come. The distances were not long but the terrain could be rugged. There were several children and teenagers on the cruise. For some of these you would not have even notice as their behavior was very adult-like. Others were typical kids and at times some of the adults found them disruptive. As others have said, there are no specific activities designated for children so if you are thinking of bringing yours, do assess their ability to be part of an adult experience 24 x 7. This is inherently a tiring cruise- up and out early, back for a few hours in the early afternoon and then out again for the next excursion. I was surprised about the comment "not enough to do on the ship", we were trying to figure out who had time! We used the afternoon break for lunch, naps, gym,and showers although I did try and get to as many of the afternoon talks as I could. We couldn't stay awake long enough to check out the evening entertainment, but we did take two nights to go up to Deck 8 and look at the stars which were extraordinary- do not miss this if you get clear nights. Last comment about managing expectations. Yes this is an expensive trip and at the price point some people were expecting that the food/service/ship/staff/etc would be better. In terms of the ship and shipboard experience, I was expecting more or less what I have found when booking a verandah on other Celebrity ships (we have been on the Equinox, the Summit and the Silhouette) so I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the Flora was. I considered the bulk of the cost to be the other inclusions (pre and post cruise, charter flights, etc) plus the overall expense of touring the Galapagos. I can see if you are expecting a luxury ship experience or are used to the higher end suites and you don't have one on this ship, you might be disappointed. I dinged a bit on Value for Money because once on, we started learning all the deals that others had gotten (booked on an earlier Flora cruise that was cancelled, or booked on the Xpedition, or BOGOHO, etc) but realistically that's all part of travel. I don't usually look at prices after we pay for that very reason! This is definitely a different kind of cruise than others we have been on but it was wonderful. I was looking for details before we left but they were sparse since it is such a new ship, so hopefully this review and the postings in the Just Returned thread within the Flora roll call will help others in terms of what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Pros- The Naturalist are great and that is a main reason for going to the Galápagos. They are informative and dedicated to the area. The ship is new and beautiful. The staff is all Ecuadorian and try very hard. Cabin- See below ... Read More
Pros- The Naturalist are great and that is a main reason for going to the Galápagos. They are informative and dedicated to the area. The ship is new and beautiful. The staff is all Ecuadorian and try very hard. Cabin- See below Food- Good not great. Daily Ceviche is very good. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. Drinks- Limited top shelf selection of alcoholic beverages. Cons- Restaurants and bars are understaffed. There are no snacks in the bars other than chips and nuts. There is a baby grand piano that should be used by a musician, there is zero entertainment. Room service is very sketchy, takes a long time and once never came. In conclusion I would definitely recommend this cruise and the ship. Celebrity does an excellent job of picking you up no matter what time you land and they transfer you when yo u leave. The land excursions were good and so were the included meals at a restaurant and in the hotel in Quito. We had an issue with what smelled and probably was carbon monoxide in the halls the last 2 nights at the JW Marriott, we insisted on being transferred to a sister Sheraton. The hotel did not want to admit there was a problem. We asked for an accommodation for the cheaper hotel and smaller rooms. The agent was supposed to take care of this and we never found her again before departing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Galapagos cruise aboard the Flora is Celebrity's attempt to break into the all-inclusive luxury market. As of the August 4th sailing, Celebrity is failing in epic fashion. The Flora is an incredible ship to be sure. However, ... Read More
The Galapagos cruise aboard the Flora is Celebrity's attempt to break into the all-inclusive luxury market. As of the August 4th sailing, Celebrity is failing in epic fashion. The Flora is an incredible ship to be sure. However, the service aboard the Flora is well below the service I have received as a suite class passenger on other Celebrity ships, and it is far below the service one expects from a luxury vacation. For the price, you can find far better service aboard an actual luxury vessel. And if you're willing to accept the poor service you'll receive onboard the Flora, you can take a much cheaper vacation. I have a lot to say about this "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, so I'll try to be concise: Booking: Proof that Celebrity is not ready to enter this market is the fact that the Flora is treated as an afterthought or an entirely different ship while booking. For example, the Guest Ticket Booklet (which you are expected to print off yourself because Celebrity can't be bothered to mail you a copy of this 42 page document) doesn't even list the Flora among Celebrity's ships. I had to wait for 45 minutes on a phone call to Celebrity to find out what number family members should call in case of emergency because the Guest Ticket Booklet didn't even list the Flora. This is just one of many examples of Celebrity and its Galapagos desk not being ready to debut this ship. Arrival: Arrival in Quito was one of the few good examples of Celebrity service. Someone met us right outside customs and took us to the JW Marriott where we had the King size room we had requested. (We are currently on the land extension of our trip and none of our rooms have been booked correctly and Celebrity has yet to address the issue.) Quito: Our one day in Quito was filling with amazing food and adventure. Celebrity has a really good group of people running the ground operations here and it was probably one of the top three parts of this trip. We always had bottled water, access to restrooms, and were given an lovely introduction to and education about Quito. Galapagos arrival: We flew on a chartered flight from Quito to Baltra and were served a nice breakfast on the plane. We had to wait in a lengthy customs line, but I don't think Celebrity could have done anything about that. However, they could have provided us WiFi access while waiting, in addition to bottled water because it was quite hot. Celebrity's "VIP lounge" is a terribly small room with a soda fountain. This was the beginning of the realization that there was nothing luxury about this trip. Ship check in: You would think that on a luxury cruise of only 98 passengers, the crew would know everyone's names. However, the crew never even learned our names (or standing drink orders) by the end of the trip. We were not offered any kind of unpacking service. Key cards didn't work for half of the ship upon arrival and we had to trouble the attendants to gain access to our own rooms. (For the inconvenience, which lasted nearly half a day, we were provided a chocolate bar.) Ship and rooms: Outstanding. The Flora is a beautiful ship, meticulously appointed and breathtaking. We went with the standard balcony and weren't disappointed. The beds were comfortable; the rain shower was awesome, as was the constant ocean view; and we always had hot water. The dining room and Discovery Lounge are beautiful and it never felt like there wasn't enough room for the 98 passengers onboard. I could say more, but a ship like this is only worth it if the quality of the food and service matches the quality of the ship itself, and it does not. No ship is nice enough to justify a poor service experience. Food Service: The food is mediocre. Not terrible, but certainly not great. There's one wonky toaster, the eggs are always cold at breakfast, and some of the desserts were the most stale and bland items I've ever eaten. For being in a country that prides itself on its chocolate (and for being on a ship that only uses local foods), we had surprisingly few chocolate desserts. More importantly, food is not always available! There is a gap between breakfast and the beginning of room service where you can't find anything to eat unless you manage to catch a bartender and ask him for chips or peanuts. If you appreciate that one of the hallmarks of cruising is the free-flowing food and drink, don't book this trip! It's quite easy for Celebrity to call this an "all-inclusive" experience when very little is actually available. For the better part of our cruise, there was only one working soda machine on the ship. And no one ever took my drink order in under five minutes, so getting a Diet Coke was a 15 minute experience. After a particularly long hunt for a bartender one day, we took to fixing our own drinks. None of this may not seem like too much of a problem to you now, but when you realize that you have to start every single day early to make the excursions, you'll wish you could get into and out of the dining room in a reasonable amount of time. Instead, we found ourselves having to wake up an additional half hour earlier (WARNING: You will NOT sleep in on this vacation unless you want to miss an excursion. So don't think of it as a vacation--think of it as an adventure.) to compensate for the slow food and beverage service. Laundry: Celebrity provides laundry twice, but only for four days of a seven night cruise. Thursday is the last day for laundry even though you don't leave the ship until Sunday. For folks like us that had a land extension, this was particularly inconvenient, and Celebrity doesn't offer laundry once on the land extension. Otherwise, the laundry service was great. Excursions: Once you understand how the Galapagos works, you'll realize that Celebrity has very little input on this part of the cruise, so it seems unfair to comment. However, I'll note for anyone considering a Galapagos cruise that you should realize how little freedom you have to explore the Galapagos. You'll always be accompanied by a naturalist. You'll never be able to stray off on your own. You won't be able to interact with wildlife (outside of blowing bubbles at sea lions while snorkeling). Ships have to go to particular places at set times so that there are never too many people in one place. It's the most heavily regulated "adventure" you'll ever take. The fact that excursions are so rigid--and the fact that the first ones of the day are so early--are what make it SO important that your time aboard the ship be particularly enjoyable. That's where Celebrity is falling short here. There's really nothing to do on board the ship between excursions--you can't even eat. Sure, you can order some incredibly mediocre room service. But what you'd really like to do is go up top to the Ocean Bar and sit outside with a drink and a snack. But the crew is unable to handle that, so you have to wait until lunch. It also doesn't help that no matter how many times your husband orders coffee and you order Diet Coke, no one will remember. You can't even get WATER in a timely fashion. I took to sneaking behind the crew section in the dining room to get my own. I'll admit that my review is somewhat biased by the fact that we are still on our "vacation" with Celebrity doing a land extension. This portion of the trip has been equally marred by incompetence and indifference on Celebrity's part. Today they left me on hold for 30 minutes only to tell me to call back tomorrow because the person who could help me had gone home. Keep in mind that they know I'm in a foreign country on a vacation WITH CELEBRITY. I'll update my review later when my rage subsides to see if I want to up the ratings at all. But I don't think that'll be the case... Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have always wanted to go to the Galapagos but are so glad we waited for Celebrity Flora, a brand new state of the art ship, built specifically for the Galapagos. We took the 10 day package with 3 nights in Quito. It included absolutely ... Read More
We have always wanted to go to the Galapagos but are so glad we waited for Celebrity Flora, a brand new state of the art ship, built specifically for the Galapagos. We took the 10 day package with 3 nights in Quito. It included absolutely everything! Meals, beverages, gratuities, transfers and charter flight. I would not recommend going any other way. This was a first class package.The Flora was beyond a dream. We had the Penthouse Suite and I could have been happy to spend the entire week right there. The service and accommodations were superb. There were 2 tours daily and only 8-10 people per naturalist to explore the islands. The weather was perfect, in the 70's. Celebrity provided for all our needs including wet suits, snorkels and fins. There is a laboratory on board. The tenders were easy to board and comfortable to ride. This was our first cruise on Celebrity and we have already booked another. Best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I wish I had read the Cruise Citic Reviews for this ship before I booked. I would not have gone ahead. Many of the reviews do not have nice things to say about this ship and they are accurate. Silversea claim that this is a 6 star ship. I ... Read More
I wish I had read the Cruise Citic Reviews for this ship before I booked. I would not have gone ahead. Many of the reviews do not have nice things to say about this ship and they are accurate. Silversea claim that this is a 6 star ship. I have done several Cruises and it is1 -1.5 stars at best. So in summary I paid a six star price for a 1 star ship. Everything on board is the cheapest of the Cheap. Even the bottled water in the cheapest they could buy. No Evian here - cheap water from somewhere in China. Cabins are rusted, no AC working, crew is not allowed to speak any other language then English and they are Latin Americans. The quality of the meals is the worst ever I have, the lowest quality and charged as a 6 Stars. Ship - Tired and Run Down. Staff - poor levels of english and you have to ask for everything 4 times Management - Don't care - we told them of our dissappointment only to be ignored - One manager organised one special meal for us and that was it. Special Requests - At first they tell they can't do special things for you hoping you will stop asking then after a while the reluctantly give in and get it for you - not what was expected on a "6 star" ship. Don't expect any pampering on this ship. They claim to have daily yoga, pilates and fitness classes - they had nobody on board to do them. This is the worst cruise I ever gone and not worth a Penny is TRASH.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Could not have asked for a better experience. From the moment we were in the hands of Lindblad everything was handled flawlessly. Pre travel questions were handled in a professional timely fashion. All land accommodations were ... Read More
Could not have asked for a better experience. From the moment we were in the hands of Lindblad everything was handled flawlessly. Pre travel questions were handled in a professional timely fashion. All land accommodations were excellent. Embarkation and debarkation were well coordinated and executed. Ship board accommodations were comfortable, roomy and clean. Housekeeping visited the cabin on a frequent basis to insure cleanliness throughout the day. The dining room and staff were excellent. Special appreciations to the wait staff and cooks. My son has dietary restrictions and they were very attentive to his needs and provided alternatives when necessary. Food was very good and a good variety of options. All of the days activities were well planned and explained as to the degree of difficulty or other particulars.While the day was full we never felt rushed or "we have a schedule to keep". The naturalists were knowledgeable and eager to provede information and respond to questions. I have already recommended this trip to friends and will certainly consider Lindblad for future trips. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The direct mail solicitation came with a buy-one, get one half off. We were celebrating a birthday and there were still two rooms available for that time. There are three ways to take this cruise: solo seven-day cruise where you have to ... Read More
The direct mail solicitation came with a buy-one, get one half off. We were celebrating a birthday and there were still two rooms available for that time. There are three ways to take this cruise: solo seven-day cruise where you have to get yourself to Baltra, nearly all-inclusive ten or 11-day package with days in Quito before and after, or the former including $1500 flight credit per person. They call the latter "free flights" but you actually pay $1500 per person or in our case, $1500 for person one and $750 for person two with the buy one get one half off promotion for $3000 worth of flight credits. If you have miles or can find a cheaper route, just get the all inclusive less flights to save the money. However, you will forego Flights by Celebrity support to ensure that you get to the cruise. One downside to using Celebrity for flights: you have to call them on the phone. Do your searches ahead of time. Their prices were similar to published fares and you can use the full credit for first class and pay the difference. We took an AA flight through Miami that used up about $2600 worth of the credits. The first-class fares were way too expensive so we forfeited the $400 credit and had to pay AA for better seats too. Each cabin accommodates a maximum two individuals, adults or children. If you are solo, the single supplement is nearly double. If you have kids, you have to pay the full fare for them in additional rooms. There might be some allowance for infants, but I am not aware of it. The park limits the cruise to 100 passengers so don't expect the usual accommodations for children as overflow guests. There is nothing on here especially for kids. No game consoles. No kids areas. No baby sitters. No kids menus as best I saw. The adventures require good physical fitness over uneven terrain near wild animals that bite if you get too close. I would not recommend it for children. You can forego the adventures but it probably isn't worth paying $10K per person to go on this trip if you are not going on the adventures. One piece of bad news: the arrival times to Quito tend to be late and the takeoff times tend to be midnight and 5 AM so you have to burn up full days on both ends traveling to the US. There is one flight through Panama City on Copa that is better, but it was expensive and you could get stuck in Panama because there are not many alternative flights if something happens. The arrival flights to Quito tend to have a quorum of cruisers so start getting to know your fellow passengers when you see the Celebrity sign. This was a very friendly cruise where all but the large groups were very interactive. Expect to be tired for most of the trip because it is very active and starts early every day. Day one is a bus and walking tour of Quito. It was nice to see but I could have used the sleep. Three meals were included. Day two you fly on a chartered A319 run by Avianca Ecuador from Quito to Baltra. That means another bus ride to Quito airport, about 50 minutes from the JW Marriott. The Celebrity team hands out boarding passes the morning of the flight. You can buy upgrades to first class for around $250 a person per direction. The Avianca staff was accommodating with seat change requests. The ride is about 100 minutes. You drop off your luggage by 5:30 AM in the hotel and it gets inspected and transferred to Baltra so prepare to drop it off the night before and keep your clothes and toiletries. Good news: there are no liquid restrictions on domestic flights. When you arrive, you are placed in a lounge until your section is called. You get on a bus and head for the dock. Instead of boarding the ship, you board a 20-person inflatable, motorized zodiac raft. Your luggage gets transferred and delivered to your cabin so you only need to take your personal items on the raft. Each time you board the zodiac, you have to don a life jacket. The wildlife part of the adventure starts then. Sea lions and birds will be around the zodiac either fishing or sleeping. Watch out for poop. One person got bombed by a bird on one of the adventures. You take Zodiacs between shore and the ship because Flora never docks. It uses a dynamic positioning system to stabilize itself against counter currents. It is a neat idea but the thruster motor sounds were annoying to some passengers with cabins near the front or back of the boat. The system keeps the ship’s anchor from destroying the seafloor. All the other ships in the area use anchors. Boarding the zodiacs can be dangerous so you have to be careful. The zodiacs perform “wet landings” and “dry landings”. Dry landings are against rocks or a dock. Wet landings are generally a beach shore. If you time the waves well, you can generally keep from getting your shoes wet but don’t expect everything to be dry. These zodiacs have a squared-off front with an articulating platform and a stairway so they are much safer than the older zodiacs that require you to crawl over a tube to get on or off. I rolled up my pantlegs to my knees and never once had anything above my knee wet including my backpack. The flora and fauna… wow! It was better than I had seen in pictures and videos. The theory of evolution is obvious in plain sight. There are piles of marine iguanas on shorelines. Sea lions are sleeping, nursing, and rolling around in the water. Land iguanas are guarding their food sources. Giant tortoises are roaming around. Penguins are perched and swimming. So many birds and crabs! I cannot do the animal and plant life justice so suffice to say, it will far exceed your expectations. The rule is to keep a safe distance (~6 ft) from the animals. Although the animals are wild, if you respect the distance rule you will be fine. The adventures area all included so do as many as you like but expect they will wear you out. Each day has a morning and afternoon adventure in two places. The evening before, a group meeting is held in the Discovery Lounge where you select which adventure you want. Most are either a longer, harder version or a shorter, easier version in the same area. A handful of times, you can opt for an ocean kayak or “deep water snorkel” from the zodiac. The naturalists are limited to 16 guests per leader but they try to keep it to 12. They had plenty of naturalists to allow guests to select the adventures they wanted. The only constrained resource was the kayaks but that didn’t seem to be much of a problem on our trip. You arrive the next morning in the Discovery Lounge to get tender tickets. We were always in Tender 1 which was a de facto cohort of energetic, able-bodied, younger travelers. The tender number tended to correlate with physical ability. The “deep water snorkel” adventures meant feeling comfortable floating in the ocean for ~45 minutes using a snorkel and mask where the water is too deep to stand. In return for this effort, we saw and swam with sea lions, turtles, many fish, and even one octopus. One word of advice: take the tender number that corresponds to your interest and ability. If you want a slower place or are less prepared, take one of the later tenders. While they have “rules” about footwear and ability, they are not strictly enforced which can be a conflict when you have well-prepared guests in the first tender and then some slower, less able guests join an early tender with walking sticks and improper footwear. I was one of those people with improper footwear once and powered through it over rough lava and could have hurt myself. On nearly all the adventures, there were plenty of naturalists where you could bow out and let the group continue on if you got hurt, sick, tired, or wanted to return to the ship early. I don’t mean to present the picture that you have to be in great shape to enjoy this cruise. It isn’t handicapped accessible, but there are many older people who enjoyed a slower-paced group. As long as you go with the proper group, you should have a good time. The meals are good, but I have had better on other cruises. There was a Michelin-starred chef on our cruise overseeing the cuisine but he departed with us. The supply of food is constrained by park regulation – Ecuadorian regulations specifying that raw food must be partially cooked before transport to the Galapagos Islands to minimize risk of spread of organisms, for instance. Many of the menus had substitutions because items were unavailable that season or in the park at that time. It would have been easier to reprint the menus that posting the incorrect version for the day and then later finding out that the item wasn’t available as described. There are two eating venues: an open-air top deck and a main dining room. The open-air venue has a more limited menu including burgers, chicken, and fish for lunch and steak, fish, and chicken for dinner. The lunch fries were great when freshly fried. All venues have vegetarian options but were not well suited for people with special diets such as vegan, gluten free or kosher. For instance, there was one toaster and few indications that items were suited for special diets. The staff was good with my food allergies, but I was also careful to make sure I did not try anything in the buffet that may cause anaphylaxis. The staff on this cruise is exceptional. It is much more intimate than a typical cruise because of the size. We had various issues and suggestions. They were quick to address the issues they could. While the dining staff was working very hard and still had additional labor of the training staff that departed with us, the dining room was understaffed and will likely be worse on subsequent cruises without the training staff. Often times, you had to wait or ask for refills, and buffet plates would pile up on the table while the staff was attending to other guests. You get better service if you get there when the dining room opens. They even remember your drink preferences and have them ready for you without asking. The standard rooms are nice and spacious but the suite moniker has been overused. The base “suites” were larger standard ship rooms without any kind of dividers between living and sleeping areas you would expect with a suite. We had a standard balcony which I would recommend over the infinite veranda which does not have a proper balcony, just a sliding window. Standard rooms allow you to put out your clothes to dry and cost less. In the hall near the closet, the carpet was getting wet. There were a few people who had this issue. While the wet socks were annoying, we were thankful that they did not tear up our room to fix the issue while we were on the cruise. The bathrooms have gradually frosted glass that allows you to see out while standing up. Some complained about the lack of privacy because you can look into the bathroom from the bedroom. However, you would have to try hard to see anything. Another drawback of the window is that it doesn’t contain sounds or light as well. We covered up the bathroom nightlight because it made the room glow. The sinks were poorly designed. There is a small filtered, refrigerated water dispenser basin that always made a mess when used for rinsing a toothbrush. We had to put the shower mat under that area because the water went on the floor. The main basin is large but does not drain well because it is mostly flat. The shower is very nice, but the controls were awkwardly placed behind the door that opens inward. For larger people, you may not fit in this shower because of the inswinging door. As any ship toilet, it is very loud and you can hear others flushing throughout the night. Each cabin has a stocked refrigerator, TV, and many US-style plugs. The TV does not get many channels and cut out so do not expect to use it much. They do not print a daily cruise guide unless you ask for it, but it does play on channel 2 of the TV on loop. We would take a picture of the daily schedule as it looped by. The internet generally worked well. It is satellite so expect lots of latency. I was able to make short calls over WiFi. Expect to get about 5 Mbps, plenty to stay connected but do not expect your photos to quickly send. The islands have very poor or non-existent cellular service. Expect to use the ship for your connectivity. The ship was blocking my VPN. I was able to stream from YouTube but expect paid streaming services to block your access because you are out of the country. The passengers were mostly upper middle class native English speakers from the US. For many, this was a bucket list trip. While the trip was expensive, the people were down to earth and pleasant. They arranged Spanish-speaking groups for those who preferred Spanish but the default language was English. The trip exceeded my expectations. The crew and passengers were very nice. The ship was better than the renderings. At the end of the cruise, we were surprised with a USB key containing the pictures from the naturalists and crew. The day after returning to Quito, Celebrity offers excursions for $140 to $190 a person. We had the JW Marriott arrange a tour through a local operator for half the cost. We had a private van take us bird watching and hiking. It dropped us at the airport that evening. There is a private lounge outside of security with a shower for $36 a person. There is a Centurion Lounge past security with a shower and great food. Either lounge was free with Priority Pass. Packing list Comfortable walking shoes Hiking shoes if you want to traverse the lava flows Water shoes Large sun hat Sun shirt Convertible sun pants Rain shell Sun block Bathing suit to fit comfortably under a wetsuit such as a Speedo for men Bathing suit for kayaking Ship supplied: Drinking bottle Wet suit Walking sticks Binoculars Life vest Diving mask Snorkel Slippers Bathrobe Lip balm Small backpack Rain poncho Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The Galapagos is a bucket list destination for my family of 4 (spouse + two college age adults). I've been planning this trip for a while and when I saw last year's announcement of the Celebrity Flora coming in 2019, I decided ... Read More
The Galapagos is a bucket list destination for my family of 4 (spouse + two college age adults). I've been planning this trip for a while and when I saw last year's announcement of the Celebrity Flora coming in 2019, I decided to wait to make the trip on this new Ship designed specifically for these islands. I have to say that I am glad I did and the cruise exceeded all of my extremely high expectations. We chose the Penthouse Suite 625 because it looked completely amazing with its sweeping 270 degree views and awesome family area to play games and hangout (inside and outside). We're glad we chose and got 625 over 525 because we prefer the split balcony vs the single wrap around balcony. The balcony advantages include being able to see on both sides of the boat (vs limited to one side). In addition, the alcove-like side balcony allows for reading or napping in privacy while the larger main balcony is large enough for all of us to hang out together if we want ... the best of both worlds. 625 is also preferred because it is slightly higher and feels more private. We also reserved 624 which is the cabin right next to 625 for our children. I highly recommend this configuration for a family of 4 travelling. For those wondering whether getting the Penthouse suite is worth it, i would say the following: If you can afford it, do it. The Penthouse suite is unlike any other Suite I have ever seen on any boat. The panoramic views are spectacular and the extra space allows you to do things as family together (like playing board games which we love). The huge jacuzzi tub is another totally crazy amenity. Lastly, as a penthouse suite guest we made all our excursion requests through the Chief Naturalist directly after the briefing each day. Our family has been on many cruises before on Princess, RCCL and Disney and were struck by how different our experience was on the Flora vs previous MegaShips ... in a good way. The personal service and attention were superb throughout our cruise from the time we boarded to the time we disembarked. Each day was packed with shore excursions in the morning and afternoon with extremely knowledgeable Naturalists. Groups size varied from 4 - 11 for our excursions which was fantastic. The animals, plant life and landscape were extraordinary. We did not know whether to take the outer loop (our trip) or the inner loop itinerary so we chose blind on reserving. It turns out that it doesn't matter a lot since the key things we missed out on were the red-footed boobies and the iconic landscape view you always see when you search for Galapagos on Google. Don't fret, the iconic views on the outer loop are just as jaw-dropping and you get to see the waved Albatross which you can't get in the inner loop. The snorkeling excursions were amazing and wet-suits were provided to help you stay in the water longer. The food for the cruise was excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The room service menu was limited but was still good enough. Andrea was in charge of Hotel Services and did a excellent job of making sure all her guest were having a good time and enjoying. She even arranged a visit for us to see the Bridge and have Captain Vladimir explain how the Flora operated. Service throughout the ship was excellent. Hymena was our cabin attendant and she always made our room clean, neat and comfy. The waitstaff in the dinning room knew your favorites/preferences after your first day and provided terrific service as well. Last but not least, were the team of Naturalist who took us on all the excursions. They were super knowledgeable, friendly and answered all the questions we through at them. Even though this is a new boat, Celebrity staffed the Flora with their best Galapagos Naturalists to get this new boat off to a good start. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was a once in a lifetime cruise starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, this cruise was ... Read More
This was a once in a lifetime cruise starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, this cruise was forty-two days and technically two back to back cruises on Seabourn Quest, which is reinforced for Antarctica. This was the last summer trip to Antarctica for the season. We are somewhat adventurous active 60’s with a strong FOMO attitude. This was our second Seabourn cruise. Our first was around the boot of Italy and Croatia. We were so impressed this time that we have signed on for Seabourn’s 146 day 2020 World Cruise. A main difference for the Seabourn Antarctica cruises is their expedition style. The style during the six days of Antarctica landings is true expedition with professional naturalists, wildlife and geology briefings, safety briefings, equipment checks and lots of outdoor activities. But no doubt, Seabourn Quest is a luxury ship for around 450 passengers with fine dining, spacious cabins, inclusive beverages (even alcoholic), spa services and intuitive anticipatory service. The ratio of crew to guest is about 85 to 100. Food was better than cruise ship average but could still improve on spices and regional dish selection and variety. The main restaurant serves four courses with a variety of daily house wines. Premium wine is available at a premium cost. The Colonnade is buffet style with excellent salad and entrée choices with indoor and outdoor seating. Menu is often theme oriented. Patio/pool side dining has basic fare of burgers, pizza, grilled shrimp, tacos and grilled meat of the day. The Grill is an upscale “steak house” without added cost but limited seating requiring reservation. It is over the top service including some dishes prepared tableside. The menu has classic, timeless dishes like steaks, lobster thermidor, and Caesar salad. The menu has a varied “dish of the day” but other options remain the same. In suite dining is inclusive and includes the restaurant daily course menu as well as basics. Guests are regularly invited to share a table of eight to twelve hosted by a Seabourn Quest staff member or naturalist. We chose a Veranda Suite which is just less than 300 sq ft and well designed with a walk-in closet, small desk space (sized and plugged for charging devices). There is a queen bed, nice living area with full square table for eating and working. There is a small comfortable sofa, chairs, pull out TV and bar area. (We had our cabin stewardess remove the over abundance of decorative pillows). There are additional drawers and storage space in the TV and bar cabinets. The veranda has two chairs with a small table. Lay back loungers would have been a nice touch. The veranda is very private except in ports when moored beside other ships. Cabin service is unmatched. Cleaning service is at least twice a day. Stewardess is quick to help with special requests. Lots of towels and no annoying signs about laundry/water conservation. For well traveled passengers, it is implied. There are ample electrical plugs and lighting. Mini bar and house liquor,wine and glasses are promptly replenished. Ship facilities are large and spacious considering the number of passengers. Pools and pool areas are small but chairs are always available and are is swept and clean. Towels and drink service easily available. The Grand Salon has space for all passengers in a single sitting for information, lectures and entertainment. It has comfortable padded chairs and sofas for 3-5 people. But supporting columns are impossible to see around. So it was necessary to scope out preferred seats. Self serve wine/beer/soft drinks were available upon entry to Grand Salon. Full bar table service was also available but limited number of servers, so minimal attention here. Entertainment is pretty standard cruise ship style. In fact, we knew dancers from a previous (HAL) cruise. But the program on the first three week cruise was repeated exactly on the second three week cruise even though we were mostly the same guests. Regional programs brought on board were more enjoyable and unique even if not always in English. The Seabourn Quest (and sister ships) are small and easy to navigate with lots of elevators. Staff is friendly always saying hello and often calling us by name. The Seabourn Square is comfortable with a minimal library. Available snacks, specialty coffees, drinks are included. Bar and club entertainment is OK. Lots of seating and dance space. Small casino. Excursions are much improved from our first Seabourn cruise when more than half were cancelled. One of our excursions on this cruise went on even though there were only four people. Local maps and information for us independent types was available at least a day before. But we did wish for the HAL just in case card that had taxi ready port address and phone numbers in local language. The shore excursion staff will also make special personal arrangements. We used this service for opera tickets in Buenos Aires. Their follow thru determination included contact by fax for critical ticket timing and approval to a pre-cruise, on our own, resort without wifi. They arranged box seats and a driver to and from the Opera House. The Antarctica week of the cruise was amazing. It was certainly expedition style. Included in our fare were daily landing excursions off the ship for all passengers. There were zodiac rides, hikes and penguin encounters. Hikes were short or long by choice. Might be a beach walk or a mile hike up the hill. Only 100 people are allowed ashore at a time so we were divided into five groups with changing daily excursion time. Naturalists were waiting on shore as well as on the zodiacs. Zodiac landings were in groups of twelve. Of course, there was boarding assistance for safety and ease. This part of the cruise does require stamina for physical activity and cold weather. But unmatched geography, animals, and ice! A highlight was Deception Island. The captain maneuvered our ship inside this volcanic caldron. Even though the air and land temp was below freezing, the water was tea temp, approx. 90 deg F. Parkas are provided. Boots and walking poles are available to rent. So no need to take up packing space for these. Gloves, hats, scarves and extra layers are absolutely necessary. An excellent list is sent pre-cruise. Kayaking is available in Antarctica as an extra purchased excursion. This is an opportunity for a second daily landing, even for inexperienced kayakers. These are two person kayaks. The trips are well supervised by special kayaking naturalists. Kayakers get a special pass to join any zodiac group of the day for scheduling purposes. Each Antarctica day ends with a pre-dinner recap in the lounge by the naturalists. This includes the next day plan and special documentary topics. The rest of the cruise up the east side of South America was quite enjoyable but not nearly as unusual. Lots of beach and urban ports. We were able to take a Zodiac tour deep into the bays of the Amazon River. All in all, the perfect trip for FOMO adventurists with strong luxury ship preferences. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star ... Read More
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star cruise ship , my arrival was direct from the airport , the schedule washboard on April 7 and ship overnights 1 night in Manaus so touring Manaus was very helfull using the ship as a hotel with all its confort that really struck any pasta large cruise pax as my self . thus was my first small cruise ship and ohh my what a difference , on arrival to my cabin located on deck 7 , the cabin attendant welcomes us and in a tray she has a menu of different types of soaps to chose or select during your cruise , it seem like a different and very intimate gesture , after departing I notice that every thing was so near by and this made everything so nice , another unique appointment to me was that the ship has a suit tub in the bow and decently every night before 20:00 hrs I made my list and just sat there and watch the the amazon go by with a glass of Champaign served to me every Time , the food was just incredible , fool of taste a different and unusual flavors created every day , the observation deck was a magical plcace where the piano man sat and entertain all guest , the caves was always a must here before dinner here , I really think the ships from seaboard are very well thought through out and really can wait to be papers again , the bed linen and pillows where the best I have sleep on and probably made my rest the best on a vacation which I think I had deserve , what I think they could improve is ti have more reasonable priced excursion on the zodiac the where good bu hey USD 500.00 for 2 pax situation ..I ended fonding my own excursion in ports and was way luckier than the rest of the fellow passenger at least on adrenalin of the Amazon , hopefully I can afford to go to Antartica on the Quest ! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise turned our to be the worst possible nightmare! - We booked the Top Grade Aurea package as this includes "My Choice" dining, where you can dine anytime between 7.30 and 10.45pm, and at a table size of 'your choice' either on a large shared table or an individual table for 2, it's all based on "My Choice" - The Aurera Class also includes the 'Inclusive Drinks Package' and provides a priority boarding procedure. After a smooth embarkation, we found our cabin on deck 15, to be superb, after the usual Safety Drill, we went to a bar for a drink so that we could settle into our new home for the next three weeks... Little did we realise the horrors that were to follow! At the bar we were told, Sorry you cant have a drink on this Cruise Card Code, this is only valid for a drink whilst eating in the restaurant or buffet during meal times, we told him that we had paid for The Aurea Class etc, he merely told us to go to reception and see what they have to say about it... We went down to Reception only to find dozens of people all queuing up with various complaints, we waited very nearly an hour before we reach a receptionist, on explaining what had happened, we got the impression that he thought we were just trying to get something extra for nothing! eventually after making some phone calls he said that he would change the cruise card and code, this worked at the bar and we got our two drinks, and we then felt more relaxed about this unsettling incident! At around 8pm we went to the Aurea Restaurant and asked for a Table for Two, only to be told that they did not have enough Tables for Two, also they were full and had no further room until after 10pm, which would be on a large shared table, we declined this and left, we did not eat anything this first night, as there were no free seats in the buffet either... The next morning we telephoned the Restaurant to make a reservation for a Table for 2, at around 8pm, the Restaurant Supervisor told us that he could not promise to do this as there are not enough small tables, he suggested that we arrive at the restaurant at 7.30pm right at the opening time and he would 'try' to get us a 2, he then said that if he did manage to do this, we would have to agree to keep this particular table and time for the whole duration of the cruise, we agreed to this, and he did get us seated on a table for 4, but for our use only, on the strict understanding that we vacated the table by 9.45, so they could get it set up for the second sitting... We carried on like this for the remaining 22 nights, which is certainly not what MSC promote in their "My Choice" dining options, another annoying thing is that the ships photographers would come around the restaurant 'whilst you are eating' and virtually insist on taking your photograph sometimes even by sitting with you or cuddling you!!! We gave up even trying to get a lunch in the dining room, as they only have 3 Tables for 2, in the entire restaurant! - In most cases we tried to eat ashore as much as we could to relieve some of the stress of dining on-board... With the Aurea Inclusive Drinks Package, we were unable to choose a wine either in the bar or restaurant, we could only request a Red or White wine, we were not looking for the Premium Brands, just basic drinks, could not select type of wine, or get an Irish Coffee or even a Bloody Mary, you were may to feel that you were trying to cheat the system! In addition to the dining saga, we found the theatre shows to be rather poor and repetitious, the Cruise Director seemed to get most enjoyment from his pre-show introductions, which he delighted in giving out at high speed in several different languages, apparently for his own amusement. Relaxing in the various Bars was often spoilt by the fact that sales staff would set up tables along side the seating, to sell Watches and Perfumes etc, it was at times like sitting in a Market Place! We appreciated most of the shore excursions that we did, particularly as they got us off the ship! - We actually tried to fly home to the UK from Brazil after just four days on board, sadly this was the Easter Holiday weekend and most of the flights were either full or very expensive, we reluctantly decided to stick it out until the bitter end! As a result of this very distressing cruise we have now decided to cancel our 2020 cruise, as there is no way we could go through this dreadful experience again, which is a great shame as we have enjoyed many cruises in the past on various shipping lines, including MSC, but NEVER AGAIN with them! In all fairness, we must mention that we found the ship itself to be clean and smart and all the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I think I should start with what I did like. The new (i had not seen these before) hand wash system in place and the covers over the dining selection in the Lido dining room. Its a pity that guests do not adhere to using these and it is ... Read More
I think I should start with what I did like. The new (i had not seen these before) hand wash system in place and the covers over the dining selection in the Lido dining room. Its a pity that guests do not adhere to using these and it is not monitored by staff. Only one sanitiser as you come out of the lift and again not many use this either before going to the food counters. I think the comedian on board hit the nail on the head when he said that these things are done to stop guests getting infected and ill. I saw guests drinking the juice from the breakfast selection and leave the now dirty glass on the counter in front. Another leaning on the glass covers on the section making the rolls up, Guests filling water bottles direct by placing bottle inside the dispenser instead of filling a glass and pouring into bottle. Bowls of apricots and nuts etc removed completely from the cabinet when there are spoons to use in each bowl. Guest could not work the tongs on the cold meats and sliced cheese counter so proceeded to hand pick her slices with her hands. The Café a guest took of his hat and placed it on the counter while waiting for his coffee. I think I will leave that there but every day at least once I witnessed something that made me question where are the staff as I challenged on 2 occasions only for the guests to flare up and get angry with me. I did get a stateroom change as 1962 was very noisy and I couldn't get decent sleep. Started usually around 4am to am due to engines and propellers side thrusts when docking. Not recommended. Too many trips down to guest services regarding laundry, I had paid for unlimited laundry package but still had this put this on my bill 3 times and I had to go to guest services to get it removed. Drinks put on my bill in the dining room that I did not have (although) this was removed before I saw it on my bill. Easter came and went with no recognition apart from hot cross bus offered in the bread roll selection in main dining room and 2 mini choc eggs left on the bed instead of squares. No entertainment in the theatre on Easter Saturday and very limited bars. I asked Michael the travel agent on board why no show etc and was told it was because we had 2 late departures and this very often happens? So we went out ashore in the evening but because it was Easter everything closed between 4pm and 8pm so we went back to the ship.We had 20 nights on boad and the Zaanda singers and dancers were only on 4 times? We are booked on the Westerdam in October (this was booked before we had cruised with Holland America) so I asked Michael for some information while we were on board as he said he had just joined Zaandam after 6 months on Westerdam. He told me couldn't help me as I did not have my booking reference with me. I am sure had I been going to book he would have been more helpful. Drinks are quite expensive. Ran out of IPA (bottled craft beer) 7. but not available.7.25 and 7.5 volume too strong for the average drinker. Hand pump for boddingtons . Rekordling cider ran out in Crowes nest. One day of rain and water was leaking through the ceilings into the Lido dining and through a light fitting outside the toilets and Crowes Nest bar. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We recently travelled on the zaadam for three weeks although we enjoyed the cruise It was spoilt by the lack of entertainment at night, not much going on in the day either, no sail away parties, no fun around the pools, the ship was like ... Read More
We recently travelled on the zaadam for three weeks although we enjoyed the cruise It was spoilt by the lack of entertainment at night, not much going on in the day either, no sail away parties, no fun around the pools, the ship was like an old folks home! We are entering our 70's but that does not mean that we want to be in bed by 10pm. The ship was like the Marie Celeste after dinner. There were 4 shows with the ships singers and dancers in 20 nights, the only time we saw them after this was eating, other ship we have sailed on we have seen the dancers taking part in the daytime activities, what a job they have 4 shows in 20 nights. Our evening entertainment one evening was the blue planet which has been on TVs at home it was a pleasant hour as the ships band accompanied the action on the screen. We tried the disco on several occasions only to find Erica propping up the bar with her iPad there was no acknowledgement that we were there which seemed a little rude as there were of six other people, she made no mention of what she was going to play just touched the iPad screen. The one evening we stayed in the disco until 12 midnight with four other people only to find the bar staff closed the bar switched off the lights and said goodnight! The ship was very cold in the public areas, deck 4 & 5 and particularly the theatre were guest were wearing body warmers, cardigans, shawls and jumpers, when I complained to an Officer I was told that it would get warmer closer to the equator, it didn't. Surely in would be in Holland Americas interest to have guest staying in the bars and discos longer rather than most people being in bed by 10pm . Will we travel with them again very doubtful it would have to be an exceptional itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Choose this cruise for the itinery and appeared good value. Cabin fine we choose interior and are happy lots of storage. The itinery was good and we saw lots the highlight was transitting the Panama canal AWESOME. Yes there were senior ... Read More
Choose this cruise for the itinery and appeared good value. Cabin fine we choose interior and are happy lots of storage. The itinery was good and we saw lots the highlight was transitting the Panama canal AWESOME. Yes there were senior passengers on board but we were treated as aged and any entertainment past 9.30 pm was considered to be a disturbance to those asleep in bed according to the entertainment Director Tino We asked for 50s 60s night party told NO we asked to change music on lido deck which was on a loop and told NO asked to have an announcement when crossing the Equator and told NO after going through Panama canal no cheers no horns no nothing. Even Easter Sunday passed without any acknowledgement. Easter Monday late bought round some trays of chocolate. All passengers I spoke to English some USA and Australians said they were bored had never read so many books on holiday or been in bed so early. The Captain sails the ship the engineer keeps the ship going the chef feeds the passengers. The Entertainment director and assistant should keep the passengers happy and entertained well it didn't happen 4 shows from cast in 21 days hardley ever saw the entertainment Director no people skills bad jokes telling us to take clothes from people's cases left in corridor night before departure !!!!!. Very inexperienced person did not know the passengers feelings never asked how things were? Deputy Erica needs to change her job not happy does not speak or acknowledge passengers is not part of the team that makes the ship work. Some people had been like us on many cruises 5 plus and could not believe the lack of entertainment on offer. No sail away parties and the disco should be closed and used for something else. Very sad to be writing this as had high hopes for this cruise the itinery saved the day. And finally the main entertainment areas were freezing main stage theatre wajang theatre, Dining room, people got colds coughs and All the throat sweets were sold out. We would sit in the main stage theatre with body warmers on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have sailed mostly with RCL previously and was looking forward to sailing with a different cruise liner. This was our first time sailing with MSC. Embarkation process was alright. We embarked from Salvador (Cruise started in Santos, ... Read More
We have sailed mostly with RCL previously and was looking forward to sailing with a different cruise liner. This was our first time sailing with MSC. Embarkation process was alright. We embarked from Salvador (Cruise started in Santos, Brazil a couple of days before we embarked) and therefore they only had 2 staff at the check in desk which probably took longer than it should have. As soon as we got on the ship, my first impression was what a stunning ship! There is a lot of mirrors which makes the ship look even bigger. It looks very extravagant. It has a water slide, jungle pool, pools, jacuzzis, zipline, bowling alley, arcade, library, theatre, cinema etc. Our rooms were also ready unlike RCL where you have to wait until 2pm (we were in the ship around 12ish). We had a balcony room and it is very spacious and the bed is comfortable. Also the wardrobe space is adequate. They describe the ship as a smart ship. I recommend purchasing the wrist band (about $5) as you don’t have to worry about your cruise card at all. But you will need your cruise card when you get off the ship. You can use the wrist band to purchase things and for reserving theatre shows if you haven’t done it yet on your TV. There’s about 11 free movies and some of them are quite decent. Live TV channels are also available that caters to different language speakers (we’ll come to that in a moment). You can also check menu from the dining room on your TV and book spa/excursions. I would also recommend downloading the MSC for Me App as you can use it onboard to check for activities and book stuff without having to pay for the internet. You can connect to the ship WiFi and then use the Internet ID that you can find in your cruise card and cabin number to log in. This will not work unless you are connected to the ship WiFi, i.e. will not work outside the ship. Now for the not so good reviews. Food - If you are looking to go on a cruise and worried about gaining weight- this is the cruise for you. The food is not great in the dining room - with the exception of desserts, they’re pretty edible. The buffet isn’t great either. No comparison with RCL on this one - RCL’s food is definitely better! Service - In comparison with RCL, I missed the smiley faces of the crew regardless of who you are. In RCL, they greet you in the corridors with a big smile, everywhere in the ship. In MSC, you’ll be lucky to get one. The staff are pleasant but they don’t go that little bit extra which makes your cruise special. Entertainment - In terms of activities throughout the day - you’ll get bored. There’s nothing fun. This is what the ship lacked - a sense of fun! A waste of a beautiful ship! However, the in-house entertainment is definitely better than RCL. In fact RCL can learn from MSC in delivering a great show. Also the staging and costumes are phenomenal. However, the guest performers on some nights are quite so-so. Language issues - It gets a little bit exhausting when they had to repeat the same thing 7 times in different languages. It’s mostly a Brazilian cruise but dear God, apart from Portuguese, it was translated to English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Polish. So an announcement that should last 30 seconds, lasts about 10 minutes. They need to learn from RCL on this one on how they make it work. Disembarkation - the disembarkation is also an issue. We were delayed in our stop in Malaga due to three medical emergencies during the cruise (one was a pregnant woman who had to be taken off the ship using via an air ambulance). So when we disembarked in Malaga, we had to queue for about an hour before we were let out and there was no queuing system so people started overtaking us. It was a shamble! Overall, I think it’s a nice ship and I would go back only if it is destination heavy. Will never go back on a transatlantic cruise, it was a slow death! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This review is for two adults in an Aurea balcony on MSC Seaview. Salvador , Brazil to Barcelona, 11 nights. Our first on MSC... Boarding in Salvador was very quick, we were in our cabin by 12.45. Most passengers started 4 days before ... Read More
This review is for two adults in an Aurea balcony on MSC Seaview. Salvador , Brazil to Barcelona, 11 nights. Our first on MSC... Boarding in Salvador was very quick, we were in our cabin by 12.45. Most passengers started 4 days before us in Santos and reported 5 hour delays getting onboard. We were told the ship only had 3400 passengers out of a possible 5179. The Cabin was clean, amazing bed and pillows, big interactive TV and we had a large balcony with two sunbeds, 2 chairs and a table. Our room steward was friendly and sorted several things we needed straight away. The bathrooms a good size with a roomy shower with three pressure settings. The decor of the room was an awful green and didn't match up to the rest of the ships glitzy interior. The rest of the ship is very nice, its modern but classy. The Swarovski staircases were stunning. The ship is marketed as bringing you closer to the ocean than ever before but i found the opposite. As deck 8 is open air, the rest of the ships built inwards, therefore restaurants were surrounded by decks and chairs not seaview windows, the side panels were very high along the decks, no venue at the front of the ship to look out from, decks 4/5 had little to no windows at all and at the front there is a massively high side wall blocking deck 9 balcony views. Some days there was very loud and deep bags from the waves hitting the hull, you get it on all ships but this was much worse than we have ever experienced. Another passenger we met actually complained and they were told by an officer its the ships design and the speed we were going at the time... The pools are salt water and were not heated. There was more than enough sun beds across the ships which were very comfy with headrests. We found the food to be very good overall. The main buffet had lots of stations and did vary each day. The buffet stopped dinner at 10pm and then pizza was available until 2am and the Pizza is amazing! We found numerous veggie options in all eateries every day. The smaller buffet on 16 has themes each night including tex-mex, BBQ and Indian. They could get crowded so i dread to think what it would be like with over 5000 onboard. The main dining room had lots of options every night, usually 4/5 main courses plus the "always available" menu giving you another 5+ main course options. The service was mostly very good, just the occasional delay between courses. Every third night was also themed in the main dining room. One afternoon we tried lunch in Golden Sands and was seats in the Bella Fantastica area. Our experience was very different, the service was extremely slow and the mains were cold they took that long to come. The waiters had too many tables to serve and it doesn't help them that everyone gets seated at the same time causing a big rush. The tables for 2 were also extremely close and in long rows, you may as well have been on a table for 8/10. If we would have had this experience the entire cruise we would never consider MSC again. We ate at the French Bistro twice and its great value for money at $15pp. Portion sizes are massive. There is lots of nice bars all over the ship and plenty of seating. Seaview lounge is nice with chilled acoustic music, the Garage club seem to just fill a walkway, shine bar is a good spot for listening to any musicians in the atrium and Sunset beach bar was often lively with an afternoon DJ set. A glass of wine started at $3.40 and cocktails were mostly $7.90 upwards. The coffee onboard is very good and they serve is everywhere. Entertainment was the biggest disappointment, the in house shows were shockingly bad, propped up by the odd quality variety act. The shows became boring and the acts were repeated. All of the musical shows include opera, they even worked it into their dire Tina Turner tribute. The shows were only 35 minutes each as there is three a night, 19.45, 21.00 & 22.15. The theatre is small for the size of the ship, so it will be a struggle to get in when the ships full. There was lots of good bands/ singers on across the ship during the day and evening. Daytime activities were average, most being games or chargeable activities. The slides were great fun, especially the surf board one. The zip line was closed when ever its windy, which is a lot of the time on a moving ship... The party's in the atrium had a great atmosphere and went on until the early hours. The two male cruise directors were almost invisible, the only time we saw them was in the dining room or buffet. Clearly employed for their language skills to quickly open the shows then disappear but not much else. We found the MSC for me app really useful, booking everything on it. The wristbands were much easier than carrying your room card and worked for everything including access to your room. Communication onbaord was very poor, PAs were inaudible most of the time and no announcements from the captain, even after a 3 hour delay leaving Salvador and then arriving into Malaga half a day late. As others report with MSC the Pas are made is multiple languages, we counted 7 one night and i have to agree it does become tedious. The main staff were really very good. They went out of their way to help, they were always polite and happy to chat. Our main waiter was great, very chatty and friendly, he would always give us little appetisers before we even ordered. The service overall was very personal for such a large ship. Aurea Experience- With Aurea we had my choice dining so could turn up when we wanted between 6pm and 10.15pm at Golden Sands and select a table we wanted. As we booked a while ago we had the old "classic drinks package" with upto $8 drinks, coffee and gelato. This included the vast majority of every drinks menu across the ship and was a great saving for us. We really liked the chilled top19 deck, lots of sunbeds, 2 Jacuzzi's and nice sofa seating by the bar. It was very quite compared to the main pools and the server said its always quiet up there even when the ships full. We used our massage that was included which was really nice, however as soon as they finished they were trying to sell you more. The free access to the thermal spa was a really nice bonus too, there were about 8 different rooms and the salt room was so relaxing. There was a few nice touches in the cabin too with slippers, robes and a diffuser. You also have priority disembarkation and your bags were ready first in the terminal. We loved Aurea class and would not sail MSC without it because of the flexibility it gives you. Getting on and off at the ports was easy during the cruise but final disembarkation was painful with ques to get off and ques in the terminal. We did not like MSCs disembarkation procedure, giving us times to meet and get off and also taking our bags away the night before. When we went to the meeting point there was no staff or guidance so we just made our own way off after breakfast. Taxis to the airport from the cruise port are 39 euro fixed price. Few Tips for anyone new to MSC or Seaview- - You only get sunbeds on your balcony if you book Aurea on deck 9. But the very forward ones have obstructed views which they don't tell you when booking. Go 9024 or backwards. - Aurea bookings now only give you easy drinks package which is up to $5 and this really reduces your drinks list. You would have a few wines and Skol beer along with the house vodka and gin with mixers. If you like cocktails, proper coffee, branded spirits and shakes its worth upgrading, i believe you can just pay the difference in the package prices. - Bella and Fantastica have set dining times and your not guaranteed a table size or time. Dinner times were 6pm, 8pm & 10pm in Golden Sands, 7pm & 9pm in Silver dolphin. - Book shows the day before if you want to get in. - If you use the spa they have sales during the cruise. Getting on it was 10% off when you booked 4 treatments but a few days later it was 30% each one. - No kettle/ coffee machine in room, take your own as getting one was not easy. Finally comparing MSC to our favourite cruise line NCL. MSC defiantly felt more upmarket because of the look of the ship and our Aurea experience but it was more restrictive. We had a very nice cruise but because of the lack of good entertainment we would choose NCL hands down. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

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