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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: September 2019
Chose this cruise primarily for the ports of call. Cannot really fault NCL and The Epic at all as everything was excellent for us. The staff,organization,food and entertainment was all first class.We left Barcelona to Naples > Rome > ... Read More
Chose this cruise primarily for the ports of call. Cannot really fault NCL and The Epic at all as everything was excellent for us. The staff,organization,food and entertainment was all first class.We left Barcelona to Naples > Rome > Livorno > Cannes > Palma > Barcelona. All excursions were first class but if you want to really explore then I suggest the full day options.We visited Pompeii,Pisa and Cannes and all were amazing.Embarkation was stress free and easy as was the disembarkation which all went like clockwork. There is an option to self assist with luggage but we chose the colour coded system which allows you to put all your cases outside your room the night before you get off the ship and it was all so easy.We were in stateroom 14141 on the 14th floor and it was also excellent. Great housekeeper in Wilfred and room was kept spotless.Met some really nice passengers from all round the world and everyone was so approachable including all ship management. We paid upfront for the premium drink package and gratuities and it really is worth looking at that option. Definitely would consider NCL and the Epic again. Loved every minute of it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
MSC Seaview 31st August - 7th September 2019, return trip from Barcelona with stops at Cannes, Genoa, La Spezia, Rome, Ajaccio and Palma This was our 23rd cruise, having cruised, as a couple and as a family, with most of the mainstream ... Read More
MSC Seaview 31st August - 7th September 2019, return trip from Barcelona with stops at Cannes, Genoa, La Spezia, Rome, Ajaccio and Palma This was our 23rd cruise, having cruised, as a couple and as a family, with most of the mainstream cruise lines. Our trip with Seaview was our 3rd MSC cruise experience having sailed both Magnifica and Splendida previously. As before, the decision to choose MSC was driven mainly by the itinerary and the perceived value. Our experience of MSC in the past had been mixed at best, however, the draw of a port intensive cruise along the French and Italian rivieras was sufficient to overcome any concerns we may have had. Sailing MSC from a Med port is a different experience to other lines. The ship acts more like a bus, where passengers from across Europe and beyond can start and end their cruise at any of the main ports. For us, provided you arrive early in the day, embarkation was relatively straightforward (we were on within 30 mins). This is possible as only a proportion of the passenger complement is embarking/ disembarking at any given port. Once on Seaview, our initial impressions were that this ship is large, very large and slightly disorientating. You are sharing your cruise holiday with thousands of fellow guests speaking multiple languages from across Europe and Latin America. The ship is ‘busy’ - this is not a ship to choose for peace and tranquility! The design theme of the ship is ‘modern’ - plenty of glass, steel, mirrors, chrome and vinyl in a muted pallette of purples, greys and greens. Whilst we would not describe the ship as dirty, it was the least ‘kept’ ship we have ever been on. This could be to do with the thousands of people in constant movement on the ship, but one of the biggest differences we noticed is the total lack of staffing. We rarely saw anyone cleaning the public areas, and it was common-place to see unvacuumed carpets or handprints across mirrored surfaces. Hygiene did not seem to be enforced on the ship with no one being asked to wash or sanitise their hands before entering the restaurants. Whilst embarkation was straight forward and quick, the rest of our ‘cruise prep’ was nothing short of a mess. We had pre-purchased our drinks package and had paid extra for the ‘Fantastica’ experience to ensure we had our choice of dining time as we enjoy eating later in the evening. This was all confirmed with MSC by our TA and our tickets issued by MSC confirmed the same. Once on board we celebrated the start of our cruise with a sail-away cocktail only to be told by the barman that no drinks package was loaded to our account - at this point we noticed we had been allocated the first sitting (6.15pm) for dinner. A trip to Guest Relations was required. We felt sorry for the staff in the end. There are just too few of them employed by MSC. This means they are overworked and tired and begin to see guests as a problem. We queued for 20 mins to see the agent at Guest Relations. He could not help as his computer just said ‘no’ to finding our drinks package. His colleague was better equipped to help but never once looked us in the eye and continued to tap furiously at the computer trying to find our drinks package. After calling over a third colleague and then reissuing our whole party’s cruise cards we were all set to go. This episode had taken 1 hour. We mentioned the dining time error and were dismissed with the wave of the hand and told to report to the restaurant to request the change. We duly reported to the head waiter at the restaurant and after a further queue we were summoned forward to plead our request to change our dining time. Our request was met with a snort and we were asked if we knew how many children were on board (1500 apparently). We were informed that children like to eat late so we would have to eat early - no ifs or buts. We protested that we had paid the extra to eat at a time of our choosing. His response was, with a wry smile, to read the small print (there is no guarantee that MSC will honour the time of your choice). We continued to protest - clearly the head waiter had heard all of our arguments before - and only gave us the blank stare look. Eventually we must have hit the correct word pattern for him to take out a notepad and write down our request for a table for 5 at a later time with a promise to see why he could do ‘tomorrow’. Unfortunately this start to the cruise was an all too familiar MSC experience for us. We don’t understand why they make such hard work of such basic elements of their service. Clearly the deficiencies are all too evident to their staff but they seem so indifferent to their employers incompetence. Our inside room was well appointed, the beds comfortable and the IT (interactive tv and USB charging ports) were excellent. Whilst most continental channels were provided, English speaking guests have a diet of three news channels or PPV movies at 7 Euros a go. Our room steward made himself known. He was efficient if somewhat aggressive. MSC only allow you one pool towel that you must return to your cabin. Failure to comply will result in a 20 Euros fee. Our towel was taken by ‘persons unknown’ whilst we made use of a jacuzzi. The cabin steward took some convincing that we had not sequestrated an MSC branded towel. Whilst familiarising ourselves with MSC app we discovered the head waiter had managed to change our table reservation for a later evening slot as originally confirmed by MSC. Hooray! Not that this was communicated directly to us, we just noticed the table number had changed on the MSC app. A call to Guest Relations did indeed confirm the change. Dining with MSC can never be described as a culinary experience. There are three set dining times, with just a 15 minute window for you to enter the restaurant at your set time. With up to a third of the ship eating at any one time, it is a miracle what they do achieve. It was staggering sight to see so many people crowed outside the restaurant waiting for the ‘rope drop’ moment when the hoarding mass is let into the room to feast. We ate in the Silver Dolphin restaurant. A dull grey affair with seating that resembles 1970s office furniture. Our ‘new’ table for five was in fact a table for four with the fifth person stuck on the end. This person being just inches away from the adjoining table; they could easily join in with that party. The waiters did well, but they were clearly overworked covering a wide section of tables. We would arrive around 8.15pm and would be asked to select all courses. We would not receive our first course until well after 9pm. The rest of meal being served in quick succession to ensure we were out by 10pm for the next sitting. The food itself is fairly bland and uninspired and was served to us ‘warm’. Most dishes appeared to be a variation of fish and pork. The din in the room was so much it was very difficult for us to conduct a conversation. In a first for us, we ate more frequently in the casual dining option (Deck 16 buffet was a good option) to escape the confines, noise and mediocrity of the main restaurant. It has to be repeated - this ship is large. This wouldn’t normally have fazed us, but this time we travelled with an older family member with limited mobility. We were somewhat reliant to travel by lift when we wished to move between decks. The ships deploys an ‘intelligent’ lift system where you select the floor you wish to travel to prior to entering the designated car. Whilst this may result in a fair distribution of available lift space it can mean lengthy waits in the lobby area. This can become tedious especially at peak times as you can’t just jump in the next available passing lift. Based on our previous MSC cruise experience we knew that a drinks package of some description would be required - the only free options are water, tea and coffee in the buffet areas and ‘juice’ at breakfast. To find someone to order your drinks from is a challenge. Again MSC don’t employ sufficient staff. In the buffet a call bell system is deployed where you press a button on your table that buzzes a nearby waiter’s watch to notify him to coma and take your request. That’s the theory but it rarely worked without prompting. We noticed that several bar staff were manning at least three of these watches. Where were the staff? On the outside deck we never saw a bar service waiter. One of our party needed to make a trip to a bar to get the order. On one occasion the bar man asked a colleague to help take out our drinks to where we were sitting - this was met with a ‘do I have to’ protest. To sum up, we were aware of MSC’s deficiencies before we booked and they did nothing to change our view. The ports of call were excellent and were the focus of the holiday, and therefore we enjoyed our time. MSC seriously understaff their ships and whilst there were a couple of exceptions most staff appeared disinterested in the customer experience. The food remains average. The consequence of a large ship is lots of people, noise and queues at peak times. For us, this will be the last MSC cruise. We will focus on the quality of the experience and steer clear of the larger mega-ships. If MSC spent as much money on their staffing and food offering as they have on their latest ships the overall product would stand better scrutiny. We would rate our overall experience as 3 out of 5. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
My partner and I had cruised before on one of royal Caribbean ships and said we would give the d2 a shot as it was handy for us to get to Palma and so on we had a balcony cabin it was nice We are in the islands restaurant it’s great ... Read More
My partner and I had cruised before on one of royal Caribbean ships and said we would give the d2 a shot as it was handy for us to get to Palma and so on we had a balcony cabin it was nice We are in the islands restaurant it’s great for breakfast and lunch but not dinner it’s seemed by the time you fit your food found a table the food would be cold. 47 & gallery 47 the food was very nice and staff were nice The pool area was nice and relaxing except every day the entertainment team would do quiz games and were really loud I personally don’t like that and I thought it was too noisy it seem to be a big hit with the British guests but you should rage into account not all guests on board are British. It was the one thing I hated every day I like to relax. The staff are very friendly and our cabin girl HANNAH we stayed in cabin 6600 from 31/08/19 she was brilliant nothing was any trouble The one other staff member that really stood out too us was MOKA the lounge bar mAn in the live bar by night and pool bar by day I have the say he was brilliant Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call Discovery 2 was visiting and we have had a wonderful holiday. The entertainment team put on some truly spectacular shows we especially enjoyed the Freddie Mercury show absolutely amazing, also ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call Discovery 2 was visiting and we have had a wonderful holiday. The entertainment team put on some truly spectacular shows we especially enjoyed the Freddie Mercury show absolutely amazing, also Carl the UK comedian had everyone laughing from the minute he came on stage to the minute he left and what an amazing voice he's got! The cuisine in all the restaurants is excellent, we especially enjoyed the Italian restaurant, our waiters, we're John Vicoy, Gilzen and the lovely Mary Rose, ask to be seated at Mary Rose's section of the restaraunt, I assure you they will add to your dining experience, thank you guy's and Mary Rose, you really made our holiday special and the trio of tiramasui is the best desert I have ever tasted! A mahoosive thank you to each and every crew member for making our holiday so wonderful. We will be back! Carol and Robert Parkes Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had sailed on Magnifica previously and really enjoyed the cruise, so we tried sea view. The positives were the Cabin and restaurant staff, really friendly and helpful. However on the Magnifica the atmosphere was different, it seemed to ... Read More
We had sailed on Magnifica previously and really enjoyed the cruise, so we tried sea view. The positives were the Cabin and restaurant staff, really friendly and helpful. However on the Magnifica the atmosphere was different, it seemed to have a more personal touch. The entertainment team on the Magnifica were really friendly and I didn’t feel the same on the sea view, I don’t know if it is because it is a large ship, or just because of personalities but the ship just felt sterile in the entertainment department. The team weren’t as lively in that department, so it just wasn’t as much fun, however they do work really hard. I just felt the entertainment did start later, also which did make a difference, but there were more games played on Magnifica which really got everyone mingling together which was fun at an earlier hour. Some staff outside the ship didn’t even say hello, when I greeted them so ....... it was just so strange and just not what I had previously experienced at all. The ship passengers were rude also which really doesn’t help, queuing doesn’t exist in the buffet area at all, it really is just dive in. Otherwise I did find the cruise good but there were some niggles, new ship perhaps still but overall it is a good cruise at a good price. The shows are really good, with singing, dancing and acrobatics and the talent is absolutely amazing. On the Magnifica the shows weren’t as good, the singing was good but really the shows aren’t as good, however the entertainment team really covered this area and ensured we all had a great experience. The main restaurant was good and their food was superb in my opinion, nothing was to much trouble. I hope this gives an idea of positive and negatives. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We celebrated are 30th anniversary by cruising this ship. We have cruised 4 times previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival all in the Caribbean. This is our first time on a ship of this size. We chose our itinerary first, ... Read More
We celebrated are 30th anniversary by cruising this ship. We have cruised 4 times previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival all in the Caribbean. This is our first time on a ship of this size. We chose our itinerary first, Mediterranean, and then picked from the available cruise lines. This ship had the best stops in our opinion. Livorno/florence, Cannes, Majorca, Barcelona, Naples and one day at sea. I was pleasantly surprised that given the amount of cruisers it never felt crowded even though i was told ship was at 90% capacity. the uniqueness of this particular itinerary is that the ship on boards people in 2 different ports. some people get on in Barcelona and sail Sunday to Sunday, we got on in Civitavecchia/Rome and sailed Wed to Wed. I was told that of the 4000+ passengers 2/3 get on in Barcelona 1/3 in Rome. that being said check in in Rome could not have been easier. from the time we got to the port to the time we walked into our room was about 20min. very well organized. we didn't find the ship layout confusing unlike others. different as there is no mid-ship elevator. and getting to the 5th floor where guest service is as well as the atrium means going to 6th floor and taking staircase or escalator down to that floor. restaurants are spread out between mid-ship and aft. with theater and dinner theater locations in the forward part of ship. first time we have been on ship with so much freestyle dining which was perfect for us. not being relegated to a particular sitting as 5 of 7 nights we were on excursions during the day so was nice not to be the relegated to the older 6:30/9:30 dining room options. definitely a positive change by the cruise industry in general. We ate in the Manhattan main DR room (aft)twice, and the Taste(near atrium) once for dinner but 3 times for breakfast. food was good. service was good for most part. waiter in the Taste was a little off her game the night we were their. We purchased the AI beverage package as well as 3 specialty dining meals. Cagney steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria, La Cucina. all three were very good. Cagney and Moderno share the same space right about the Manhattan room on deck 7. Moderno is a brazilian steakhouse where they walk around brining different meats to your table until you tell them to stop Italian was the fanciest and is forward with views right out into ocean on the 14th floor. you actually access it by walking through the garden cafe buffet to the front of it and down the stairs. O Sheehans bar/grille which is on deck 6 midship is very popluar congregating place. Open 24 hours for food(fixed bar/pub food menu) but stops serving booze at 3am. food is just average. has a little game room with pool tables, arcade games and 3 lanes of ten pin bowling. We found the selection of alcohol was very good and pretty consistent among all bars. maybe a little less likely to find exactly what you want at the 2 pool bars. our AI beverage package got us everything that was $15/drink or less. so bicardi, grey goose, kettle one, bombay sapphire, jack daniels,bulleit, patron all part of the plan. next level up we would have had to pay surcharge. all beers were less than $15 and there were enough wines to choose from $15 or less as well. spent our ship time at the SPICE H2O pool bar and grill which during the day (to 6pm) is adults only. this was nice. always manage to get a seat. in chair waiter service was really good here. server to cruiser ration much better than around the main pool bar where we spent 1 afternoon. Really like the Maltings beer and whiskey bar as well as the Martini bar. We also participating in Sky vodka ice bar which was an additional $25/person. this got you the outerwear and 2 vodka drinks once in side. we had never been in one and wanted to try one. it was interesting and glad we did it. we did 3 cruise sponsored excursions. Livorno/florence we did the Pisa & a Taste of Tuscany excursion. 40 minute ride and then you spend the morning in Pisa. then 40 min ride you go to Lucca, mountains to a winery where you get a little tour about the place/process. then you sit down to a meal with the ability to sample the wines they make there, both red and white. We really liked this excursion. very well organized by Norwegain EE's. In Cannes we did a tour of Monaco/Eze/Monte Carlo. you bus to each of these location spending 1-2 hours in each location. Monaco was good and Eze was fantastic. Monte carlo was a waste of time as really nothing there but the famed casino and you can't even get in without paying a fee. on the way to Monaco we drove by/thru the seaside town of Nice. It was really nice and wish that was on the itinerary over Monte Carlo. Naples we did the Mt Vesuvius & Pompeii. This was really good. see the active volcano and the city it buried in ash back in 79 AD. really picturesque and really historical. In Barcelona and the island or Palma, Majorca we went on our own. all ports off and on boarding very well organized. We didn't do any of Epic theater shows except the Beatles tribute band. other offerings just not our style. went to Headliners couple of nights which had various musical acts, told that when this ship cruises out of US the actually have comedians mixed in with musical acts. Bliss lounge had karaoke most nights. they don't in Mediterranean due to language barrier/issues. Dueling piano show at this venue a really good take. All in all we were really pleased with the cruise. We would definitely sail aboard this ship again and given our liking of this ship would definitely cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , ... Read More
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , hard to get a drink , food not nice at all not enough choice..all in all an awful experience , food poor in restaurants also, we were glad to get off the ship to have a nice meal that we actually enjoyed , anything that’s any good you have to pay for cirque do soleil 15 euro each and you get an awful drink that’s supposed to be a cocktail, although the show is good, speciality restaurants very expensive but nice food the standard the food on the rest of the ship should be , bowling arcades and cinema not free total rip off 50 euros to use all 3, theatre shows average at best , drinks package needed to be upgraded as soon as we boarded as it soon became clear we could only drink Heineken and 1 wine and spirit , pools far too crowded and people reserving their beds with towels and not turning up for hours this should not be allowed , the ship is lovely but the crowdedness and standard of food really let our overall experience down, msc trips not worth the money a nice relaxing boat trip to Portofino was 500 people being crammed onto a dingy ferry and loudspeaker blasting out about 7 different languages all the way there’s and back really not a nice experience at all , if you are have kids and are a willing to spend a lot of money for extras and eat pizza and burgers for a week then this is the ship for you ! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Boat was amazing the food and service was top notch. Entertainment was excellent and the ports were amazing. Rooms clean and functional. Epic has a great staff with friendly servers and for a big ship never had to wait in line. Beatles ... Read More
Boat was amazing the food and service was top notch. Entertainment was excellent and the ports were amazing. Rooms clean and functional. Epic has a great staff with friendly servers and for a big ship never had to wait in line. Beatles show was alot of fun as was Broadway show. Western mediterian had amazing ports and the times in port were perfect. Also loved the cruise director whi had fun activities planned all day and night. The glow night party was also alot of fun. Maybe the pools were a little small would be the only complaint we had but didnt really go in any of them. Breakfast at taste on deck 5 was our favourite. Never waited for a drink and the casino was actually better than we thought . I would travel.on this ship again and would like to try this ship when it travels south in winter. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Extended family holiday - found a lot of staff rude and unhelpful - probably to do with pre paid gratuities. The only real exception was the cabin staff. Due to large number in group we were never able to sit together and found that ... Read More
Extended family holiday - found a lot of staff rude and unhelpful - probably to do with pre paid gratuities. The only real exception was the cabin staff. Due to large number in group we were never able to sit together and found that meals were brought up at different times - understandable in the main restaurants but not acceptable in the extra dining venues. In Le Bistro some were on dessert while we were still waiting for starters. Cabin was awful - think more suited to 2 people - not suitable for children also. Good points - food was lovely - drinks had a large selection - never had a problem with sunbeds. This ship is quite old and should probably have a refit its lets NCL down as this was our second cruise with them and we were very disappointed. Will try another cruise line next time. Customer service terrible so far since home sadly also. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my wife's and I first Norwegian Cruise and we picked this one because of the European ports of call and the fact Carnival does not offer the European cruises unless they have a new ship launch..The European ports we stopped ... Read More
This was my wife's and I first Norwegian Cruise and we picked this one because of the European ports of call and the fact Carnival does not offer the European cruises unless they have a new ship launch..The European ports we stopped at were fantastic and we visited places we had only dreamed of in the past. We have been on 13 previous Carnival cruises with 11 of them being balcony cabins with them all being on the Conquest class ships or the Dream class ships..This is what we found...Freestyle cruising and that's what Norwegian calls it is not for us .They want you to book ahead of your cruise any specialty restaurants or shows you want to go to..We had the Liquor package thrown in with our cruise along with 3 specialty dining restaurants..We picked Le Bistro(french),Madurno's a Brazillian steakhouse and Le Cuchinos a Italian restaurant...If we had to pay for these restaurants the bill would of been just under $300.00..The meals were excellent in the 3 specialty dining restaurants but were subpar in the main dining restaurants Manhattan and Taste.We found the main dining restaurants to be very noisy and several food items to be subpar with what you get on Carnival in their main dining rooms.With the free style concept you go to eat when you want or better said when you can get the reservation..My wife and I like the early dining option on Carnival thus we were not to pleased with the setup on Norwegian except for the superior quality food in the specialty restaurants and like I said before you pay for it....Also on Carnival your waiters get to know you and build up a bond with you night after night thus the service is better on Carnival. Another thing you do not get this on Norwegian and we found the service to be very impersonal. What we missed on Norweigen is that with Carnival your waiters put on a song and dance show during your meal. Your not going to get this on Norwegian. Another item we found sub par on the Epic was that the elevators were very slow compared to the 13 other cruises we have been on. It seems like they do not have enough elevators for the 4100 passengers on board. Entertainment we found not as plentiful on the Epic compared to the carnival ships...They had one Broadway style show which was very good however the Circus du Solei show was a pay show only so we decided not to attend.For the most part EPIC had less live music than you would find on a Carnival ship and most of the singers were sub par with the exception of the Epic Beatles and a Filipino singer named Allan who sang solo near the Whiskey Tasters bar. The balcony cabin that we had looks nice but was badly laid out and not as functional as on Carnival. Our room steward was good but did not have the same friendliness we have experienced on previous Carnival cruises. When you disembark you feel you are just a number not the feeling that you are leaving family on Carnival.Do not get us wrong this is a beautiful ship with a lot of polished wood but for our liking we would of been more than happy on Carnival Breeze or Dream.Yes we would take another Norwegian cruise but not on the Epic...Long story short my wife and I feel that Carnival has the best value for our vacation dollar. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first cruise and we decided on the Cosmopolitan Classics cruise around the Med. Flight and transition from airport to ship was very smooth and embarkation was fast for 12 noon time of day. Our cabin was also ready when we ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we decided on the Cosmopolitan Classics cruise around the Med. Flight and transition from airport to ship was very smooth and embarkation was fast for 12 noon time of day. Our cabin was also ready when we went to put our hand luggage in it. Ship: Very clean, tidy, easy to navigate around and always seemed like there wasn't a lot of people on ship despite it being full. Staff: There was a really happy vibe on the ship and this was due to the happy and friendly staff. They simply couldn't do enough for you. Captain Chris was down to earth and gave interesting ship announcements and information. The entertainments director, Johnny, was very funny and also very informative on daily activities on his TV broadcast each day. He seemed to appear everywhere and set the fun vibe for the cruise. I can't fault all the hardworking bar staff and our cabin steward, Malvin, who's service was excellent. Entertainment: There was always something to do on the ship in the day or night from poolside, talks, dance classes, trivia and Broadway Shows. The entertainment team were top notch and the shows were amazing. The young actors/dancers/singers were all professional and amazing to watch. We went to 5 shows in 7 nights and they all worked really hard as they also work in the day and around the rest of the ship. There are also some very good musicians on the ship playing in the atrium and the live lounge. We did visit the casino some nights and had few goes on the roulette table. Food: we usually ate in the buffet as we found the quality and variety of the food to be exceptional and it suited us for time to allow us to do other things. I always find it difficult to find good vegetarian options in restaurants, but found the buffet offered so much choice for me. We didn't try the paying restaurants as we were so happy with the food in the buffet. Excursions: we booked 3 excursions for the week with Tui. Naples: the port was beautiful and very picturesque. We went to Pompeii and Vesuvius and really enjoyed this trip. Tip_ climbing the rest of the way up the volcano after the coach drops you off at 1000m was hard work, but worth it! Tui books local guides from the area who are very knowledgeable and this really makes the excursion interesting. We also went to Pisa and Wine Tasting and loved this cultural trip and even bought some wine from the vineyard. We went to Monaco and Monte Carlo as we are F1 fans and the lovely French guide gave us time on our own during the trip so we went to the 'Cafe de Paris' and had an expensive coffee and did some people watching. Some people say to not book excursions and do your own thing, but I like the ease of transport and the local guides make the trip more exciting and informative. I think the Tui excursions were value for money. I'm glad we didn't book more than 3, though as you do need time to relax. It was so exciting to find ourselves at a different port each morning and that has given us the cruise bug from now on. We also went on a 'Behind the scenes Ship tour' for £39 each. We met Captain Chris and had a 15 minute question and answer session on the bridge. We were offered tea and shown around the bridge by the third officer. We also visited the engineering room, the M1 under ship corridor, the kitchen and staff and had a glass of fizz with the Hotel manager. We also had a free photo with the Head chef and his hard working kitchen staff. This tour was great and we would highly recommend it. Overall, we had a great first cruise on a friendly and relaxed ship. All the guests were relaxed and happy due to being looked after by the staff and the happy vibe of this ship. The hardworking staff made the voyage memorable and Tui should be congratulated on all the travel organisation and ease of travel. We came home and booked our next Tui cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was the first time we have done a cruise and we really did not know what to expect. We traveled as a family with 2 older teenagers and chose the MSC Bellissima in the hope that it would offer enough to keep them entertained (the Aqua ... Read More
This was the first time we have done a cruise and we really did not know what to expect. We traveled as a family with 2 older teenagers and chose the MSC Bellissima in the hope that it would offer enough to keep them entertained (the Aqua Park was the key deciding factor and not the itinerary). Just to start - the Bellissima is a beautiful and elegant ship, yes we were very impressed by the Swarovski crystal staircase. It is also loud, lively and family friendly. So if you don't appreciate sharing your holiday with lots of children of all ages then this probably isn't the ship for you - particularly during the school holidays. There are plenty of activities on board. The children's clubs seemed to be very good although we did not use them.The sportsplex although almost always busy again was good. We all particularly enjoyed the F1 simulator, bowling, ice hockey and interactive cinema here. The fun pass came in very handy and I would highly recommend purchasing this in advance as it offered excellent value for money compared to on board prices. The swimming pools were lovely, although crowded. As with many holidays, you still have the unfortunate experience of people hogging sun beds with their towels but never really appearing in person! There is absolutely no need for this and this was probably the most irritating thing about the whole cruise. The Aqua Park was very nice but not nearly big enough to entertain my older thrill-seeking teenagers. It is, however, excellent for slightly younger children. The Himalayan walk was fun. The Cirque du Soleil shows were excellent. We saw one as a dinner show and the other as a cocktail show. I would highly recommend the dinner show. The shopping was good but expensive, primarily due to the poor exchange rate for the pound against the Euro. However, there are promotions on everyday with significant discounts. We bought the unlimited internet package in advance. This seemed very expensive at the time but proved essential for my teenagers using social media and keeping in touch with friends. They complained it was a slow internet connection - however it is satellite wifi and so not as fast as home wifi. We did one MSC organised excursion to Gozo by powerboat followed by a jeep safari around the island and time on the beach. The excursion was well organised. It seemed expensive at 115 Euro each, but we all really enjoyed the day so it was worth the cost. The service was excellent from all the staff we met. I appreciate this is contrary to some reviews I read prior to booking but we found that all passenger facing staff spoke very good English and,as a minimum, they were all polite and professional. Our cabin attendant, Jean, was particularly friendly and helpful and went out of his way to make our stay special. The restaurant service was almost always very rapid and always courteous and polite. In the seated restaurant the staff would try to offer something else if you did not like what was offered on that evening's menu. The buffet restaurant had a huge variety of dishes to suit all tastes. We had the premium drinks package included which was very good for us and again I would definitely have this again. The whole ship was spotlessly clean and you could see staff at all times of day cleaning public areas. There was a real focus on hand hygiene at meal times with excellent facilities for hand washing outside the main buffet restaurant - a welcome sight! We did use the Zoe voice activated information system as a bit of a novelty, however the MSC for me app was much more useful. Embarkation and disembarkation were busy but well organised and there were minimal waiting times. Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience and will definitely travel with MSC again. I am confused by some of the negative reviews I have read but I would highly recommend both the company and the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted to explore Rome, Barcelona, and points in between; this cruise afforded us the opportunity to travel safely and with few worries. The Viking Star was the cleanest ship imaginable, and our cabin was immaculate. Staff members ... Read More
We wanted to explore Rome, Barcelona, and points in between; this cruise afforded us the opportunity to travel safely and with few worries. The Viking Star was the cleanest ship imaginable, and our cabin was immaculate. Staff members Made and Maha kept it that way the entire cruise, and accommodated our few special requests. We enjoyed all restaurants and cuisine we tried -- World Cafe, Manfredi's, and the Chef's Table. Dining al fresco was a special treat for the four of us. We enjoyed lectures available on board, and also the evening entertainment in the Star Lounge. An unexpected acknowledgment and recognition of the Viking staff on our last night onboard by the cruise director was a very poignant moment. (Good job!) The spa was a favorite activity, as was the infinity pool. Shore excursions were exceptional, if not a little tiring. We were very impressed with very smooth embarkation and disembarkation experiences, thanks to Viking's top-notch staff. And we look forward to our next Viking cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
First...the Epic is a fantastic boat for all. I felt like it does everything at an A- level. Nothing was A+ which to be honest is just super. Some boats have varying degrees of grades in my perspective but everything was top notch so ... Read More
First...the Epic is a fantastic boat for all. I felt like it does everything at an A- level. Nothing was A+ which to be honest is just super. Some boats have varying degrees of grades in my perspective but everything was top notch so for a family looking for a lot of different things, I think this boat is just big enough with a lot of different things to do an experience. It felt like a big boat and not busy which was even better. Overall the Haven suite (2 bedroom) is perfect for a family. It is a bit pricy but the experience and to some degree the sanity you get from this is well worth the price. Plus we always had priority on shows, dining locations, etc. made it worthwhile as then we didn't have to wait in long lines at all. The Haven dining room was amazing as well and I felt like a VIP the entire cruise. Also the Haven 2 Bedroom Family room had an amazing Master Bath (best in class) and I was so surprised by it's size (and view!). Rome embarkation was quick and efficient as only 1.2k people boarded. Mid week we docked in Barcelona and that is when 3.3k people came off and on. So the learning is find out which port has the 'lower' embarkation number of people and go that route. Food was excellent in the restaurants and some of the best food I have ever eaten to be honest. The buffet on deck 15 is pretty good, but not memorable. I recommend getting the specialty dining to use at places like Teppanyaki (which was my favorite). The Beverage package for the free drinks was amazing and I just wonder how NCL does it as I have read that is where they make huge margins. Maybe it is built into the price but even then I notice the price on my cruise was lower than what I found for like experiences on Royal or Princess. Entertainment was excellent. Loved the Drag Queen show, Burn the Floor and all the other singers on board. The escape room was a bit hokey but fun for an hour. The circus show was amazing as well but it was a diner show which was plated to start with so didn't get a ton of options to choose a meal (but it was still great). Western Med was a great family cruise and I took advantage of the excursions. The value on the boat is just ok to be honest, and would recommend probably going outside of NCL to book them, but if you want hassle free.....it is not too bad. I would say end to end I give this cruise an A- across the board. It was close to an A in my book, but the boat did show a bit of age at places but it is going through a refurbishing soon. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Went on 4th cruise... chose Marella Explorer 2 for itinerary and port of Naples .... cruise and stay to encompass Sorrento and Amalfi Coast.. Travelled with friends to celebrate 30th wedding anniversaries. My opinion ( shared by husband ... Read More
Went on 4th cruise... chose Marella Explorer 2 for itinerary and port of Naples .... cruise and stay to encompass Sorrento and Amalfi Coast.. Travelled with friends to celebrate 30th wedding anniversaries. My opinion ( shared by husband and friends). Fabulous week had by all. Ship and cabins very comfortable and spotlessly clean. Service and staff all amazing . Bend over backwards to ensure passengers enjoy their time with them . Food brilliant standard. We tend to avoid the buffet type restaurants. Prefer to be waited on and finer dining offered in the other restaurants. Had one upgraded meal “Surf and Turf” which was an excellent experience all round. Food service all faultless Entertainment on board was very good. Shows ok to good. The musicians .... in a class all o their own. Just absolutely brilliant. Sooo talented. And something for everyone. Jazz/swing quartet to soul and rock sessions. Just amazing. Can honestly say the best we have EVER seen ( apart from famous band of course). Standard of hygiene, the decor and presentation of on board facilities all very good and o par with 4 and 5* all inclusive resorts we have stayed in many times previously across the Med, Caribbean and Australasia. I dot understand some of the bad reviews... beyond me how people have rated below 4*.....were we on same ship?? My advice.... if you are looking for all round fun, value for money, good food and service then Marella deliver on all . Do not listen to the moaners.... maybe they have 5* lifestyles every day. T Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This is a very hard review to write because this trip had so many aspects. I’ll try to break them down for you. First I’ll let you know we are a family of three, my wife, seven year old daughter, and myself. We got on and off ... Read More
This is a very hard review to write because this trip had so many aspects. I’ll try to break them down for you. First I’ll let you know we are a family of three, my wife, seven year old daughter, and myself. We got on and off in Rome as apposed to Barcelona. I was told that much less then half the ship embark in Rome. We carried our one large suitcase and three carryons onto the ship so we didn’t have to wait on our stuff. Also got on around 2pm and everything was ready. On to the ship, other then a few rust spots (very small) on the balcony, a few paint over spots, and a small deck area being worked on, the ship was very good condition. It’s not a brand new ship but no complaints. The food was hit or miss. All breakfasts were in the buffet and and it’s a little better than basic. Specially restaurants were okay. A few great plates followed by an ok one. I understand we are on a ship and not every meal is going to please everyone. One stand out was the hibachi! Awesome! The pool and deck. Crowded! Especially on the one “at sea” day. On this day we made the mistake and slept in. By the time we got to the deck, 11 ish, every deck chair was taken and no one was giving them up. My wife went to a single chair in the back of the ship and I waited up front. I got extremely lucky and grabbed two chairs. Was a handful of people doing the same, fortunately for me I was closest to the chairs. If you choose this trip designate someone to get to the deck before 9, grab your chairs, put towels and a shoe or hat on them. This might be a common practice for regulars but in was not prepared. Kids area. My seven year old daughter loved the kids area. She would go everyday after dinner till we picked her up at 10:30. They start charging after 10:30 pm. No matter how tired she was from the day she had energy to go to the kids area. This was gold for me and the wife! We got at least an hour and a half to two hours alone to enjoy time together. Bars and nightlife. We got the all inclusive alcohol package. This worked well for us. We are not big drinkers it it’s nice to know that everything is paid for. We spent most of our evenings at the whiskey bar. I drank beer or wine, wife drank wine. We lived this area because ever night they had live music. Perfect level of energy. Not sleepy but not to crazy. Want crazy, head up to the deck. Always a evening party up there but we never went so no review on it. We also spent time at the casino. This was also a blast except when the big ballers came along and would take over the tables. This didn’t happen often so I wouldn’t take points away from it. Now on the the most important part, excursions and port visits. We did a tour in every port except where we got on, Rome, and Canes. I’m a huge traveler and this and I love to experience other cultures and really get in-depth. You won’t get that on a cruise. We found this is great to walk around, take a few pictures, buy some magnets and souvenirs, get going on to the next one. The time you spend in port is not Long enough. -First port was Florence & Pisa. We did the “on your own tour”. Glad we did. Basically it was a informative bus ride to Pisa for pictures then a two hour ride to Florence, then back to the ship. This worked well for us but because of time restraints we couldn’t see David or climb the leaning tower. -Canes, no tour. We didn’t need one because the ship pulled right in downtown. Got off and saw most of the city on foot. Beautiful. -Majorca, Palma and Villdemosa tour. This tour was just okay. We first took a ride up the Castle, wast of time. Just good for a few pictures overlooking the city. Not worth the time it took to get there. Then Villdemose, AMAZING! Love this little town! Made this tour worthwhile. After lunch in this town we were brought back to Palma and took a few pictures at a beach but didn’t see any of the city. -Barcelona, biggest disappointment because I love this city. We took the “best of Barcelona” tour. Started with a short bus ride around the city then a walking tour of the old city. The guide was informative but spent a lot of time on local politics. After downtown is when the tour lost me. We took a 20 minute ride to a tourist trap. An old replica of a Spanish village. WHAT THE HECK!!! We are in real Spain, why are we here for over an hour? This is appropriate for a school field trip. After waisting a chunk of the day there we went to La Sangrada Famila. Beautiful. Loved this part until again the tour ruined it. We did the walk through of the church then were told to get food and meet up in an hour. Why eat here? I asked the tour guide if we would make it to la Rambla and was told we did t have time? Best of Barcelona and we had over an hour for some fake Epcot Spain exhibit but no time for La Rambla? Unbelievable! Whole day with this tour and don’t get 15 minutes to sit, drink a sangria, and people watch! This was a huge fail! Do yourself a favor, do the hop on hop off tour! Save a ton of money! -last was Naples, best tour of the trip. We did the Amalfi coast and Pompei. Amazing! Do this tour!!!! Only advice I can say, take motion sickness medication before you guy. Bus ride was crazy but that’s part of the fun, and sit on the right side of the bus. Long review but like I said this vacation had a lot of elements. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first cruise. We were concerned by reading other reviews, but eventually the overall experience for us (a family with 3 kids) was very good. The food choice is good. If you are organized enough to reserve a restaurant in ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We were concerned by reading other reviews, but eventually the overall experience for us (a family with 3 kids) was very good. The food choice is good. If you are organized enough to reserve a restaurant in advance you will not be waiting too much. Hi if you are not pre scheduling and would like to eat your dinner around 20:00 at Taste or Manhattan you will have a line of around 45 minutes, but you always have an option to go to the buffet or Osheean’s. We preferred the restaurants over the buffet, which was always noisy and very hard to find a table in busy times. We tried La Cuccina ones. It was good but not worth the extra package, unless you get it for free. Osheeans was good for quick lunch when we got back early on port days. We bought soda package for the kids and they enjoyed. The service at the restaurants was excellent. My daughter needs gluten free and the chef was always so helpful to get her something she liked and it was great. Our stateroom was always clean, few times a day, and the service on your room is flawless. Entertainment is also good. Percilia is great, burn the floor as well, and the short piano and magician shows. You have flexibility on what to choose. Don’t miss the Cirque show. It worth the extra money, as we experience the show in a way we didn’t experience it before. The performers are just one meter in front of you (be there 45 minutes before the show to get good seats). Fitness center was good, although a bit small. Embarkation in Rome was good and quick assuming you arrive before 14:00. For the less good parts: the pools are very small. EPIC preferred a large water park over pools and you fill it at busy times. If you want to swim this is not the ship for you. The elevators are wasting a lot of your time. Those are always crowded and you can wait 10 minutes just to get into an elevator on busy times. To make it worse, if someone has a vip card, he can bypass all floors, and this is really annoying. Norwegian needs to find a solution for that. I recommend taking your stateroom in one of the higher floors (13, 14), so you can always climb the stairs to the pool or buffet at 15. The 15$ for a day per person for service charge is too much to our view. Especially when they take service charges on alcohol and other priced items. Disembarkation in Rome was very bad. It is a shame we ended our trip with a bad taste of waiting 40 minutes in line with all our luggage. People registered to excursions were getting a priority which I really disliked. It reduces a lot of points, because I do expect a vendor to give the service till the end. We got exhausted to our return flight because of that. Overall I recommend a vacation at Norwegian EPIC. I might return, but I will try other ships first to compare. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. ... Read More
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. The positives are its an older ship but has some great venues and bars which makes the personnel touches better than the bigger ships and it proved no different from our previous sailings. The services from the bars and restaurant staff were excellent. The professional entertainment was excellent although some of the best act were too late in the evening. We read on an informative letter in our cabin on arrival that they listen to the cruise feedback reviews. They had decided they would let children use the adult pools which I’m not sure was thought through. We like the lido pool on deck 9 it has a children’s pool but they all used the adult pool. Not supervised by staff and parents and just basic chaos all week. Jumping,pushing,shoving,inflatables the size of a person. Water guns the size of cannons firing all over the deck. We are not stick in the muds we have 3 children who don’t behave in this fashion. Three times we complained to reception and all we got back was they are the same throughout the ship. Ruined the holiday and experience. The sail away party the life and sole of these cruises was ruined by the life safety drill taking place at 10.00 in the evening which is unheard off. The food which was always the stalwart of the Dream has gone backwards!! Repetitive basis offering and the sweet selection was really poor. The Cruise Director spent more time trying to sell upgrades than actually information around the entertainment. The 2 hour flight delay coming and 5 hour delay going back didn’t help either. This is our 2nd Marella cruise this year which hasn’t come anywhere near expectations with delays and standards going backwards.one of the biggest frustrations is trying to get your voice heard. The Tui App on the ship is loaded with questions they want to hear rather than anything they don’t. The questionnaire they send you is just as frustrating and if you criticising too much will not let you complete. Prices going up and standards going down. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our Second year on the Dream, I was a little worried about some of the previous reviews , all I can say is they must be quite fussy. First of all this is a 95% British ship, and you certainly see a complete cross section of British ... Read More
Our Second year on the Dream, I was a little worried about some of the previous reviews , all I can say is they must be quite fussy. First of all this is a 95% British ship, and you certainly see a complete cross section of British society, so expect a fair share of tattoos ( and that's just the ladies) there were more children this year , but also good to see more disabled on bored , I would have never recommended a cruise to someone with mobility issues but they were fine, so that's good to see. enough people have mentioned how hard the crew work and of course they do , the food was excellent, and the entertainment also top drawer, the comedian ( always a risk) was great and you could hardly get a seat in the Broadway lounge for his second show. Top Tip, if you are in a port where you aren't going on an excursion ( we only went on 2) then I recommend hitting the pool area straight after breakfast, most people head ashore straight away and you therefore get the pool , and hot tubs , to yourselves. It gets very busy in the afternoon . However there are quiet areas to go to ( deck 7 aft, you will get a lounger anytime ) also since Tui made the holiday " Proper" inclusive getting a drink is not an issue, they have Beer & wine carts where you can more or less help yourself. So in summery you are getting 7 days cruising , fully inclusive for under £1000, come on whats not to like.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite ... Read More
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite on MSC - the space was really important as we were travelling with our 16 year old daughter). We flew to Majorca with Ryanair getting into Palma for lunch on the ship by 1.30pm. Embarkation was easy and even though we were supposed to have priority this didn’t appear to be available - although there was only two families in front of us so it wasn’t a big issue. This is where the loss of the star lies too, passing on information is not a priority of MSC, we only knew that our cruise cards would be in our rooms as we overheard somebody else’s conversation with a member of staff, we weren’t told that we had to authorise our card (however I had found this out before hand after researching on here), we had AnyTime dinning but this really isn’t anytime you still need to decide wether you will use the early or later time slot - it’s anytime within your chosen time slot, not anytime the restaurant is open. There was also a lack of information about the spa and the included massage. It would also have been nice to have a map of the ship in the room. I honestly think a welcome pack is in order - it wouldn’t take much. Our room was just about ready when we got onboard - our room attendant was just finishing it off so we had a walk round and found a quiet little area at the back of the ship that became our go to place for port photos. Once in the room it was clear that it was immaculate, with a lot of storage space (including a hidden cupboard behind the mirror on the dressing table), the room had everything we needed including a walk-in wardrobe, hairdryer, robes and slippers. The bed was enormous and the sofa bed was very comfortable. The only complaint about the room and it will be the same for all the rooms in the vicinity is that it is very noisy when docking - sometimes this is as early as 6am so these no need for an early alarm! The food served onboard is lovely both in the Red Velvet restaurant and the buffet, the latter can get really busy but it is always possible to find a table if you do a bit of looking. There is a good variety of food in the buffet. Service in the Red Velvet was lovely just about right not over the top but attentive enough to notice if you didn’t like something they would offer alternatives. There were a lot of activities onboard but we are much more of a keeping ourselves to ourselves type of family and having access to Top 18 was great. We always found a sunbed and the waiter running the bar was lovely remembering our room number and the drinks we enjoyed. We did three MSC excursions, two were really great value the other not so much (aquarium visit with ferry transfer in Genoa). NAPLES: we did a walking tour of vasuvios organised by MSC. The guide was very good and kept a good pace with information in three languages. In the description it did say that it was a moderately hard excursion but I would say anybody with walking difficulties wouldn’t manage it the path is quite steep and even though we were before 9am it was still very warm. The views from the top were amazing and worth the walk. MARSEILLE: another MSC tour with was really well organised and interesting, the guide again did the whole thing in three languages. Following the tour we were able to make use of any of the shuttles returning to the ship. This made it really great value as the shuttle on its own was around €15 each. GENOA: we bought, on board, the excursion to the aquarium on a ferry. In my opinion it really wasn’t worth the price paid. The aquarium is lovely and worth visiting but the tickets for the aquarium can be purchased for €18 and MSC charged around €40 each for the use of the ferry. This literally takes five minuets and is packed full, there were two MSC ships docked and the ferry had a mixture of passengers off both ships. We actually walked back to the ship it was that close. Overall the cruise was lovely but had a very European feel, English speakers are defiantly in the minority but we never felt left out. The staff are great and the ship is beautiful. Having the Premium drinks package meant we could virtually drink what we liked, it was very good value. We would sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose this cruise because my friend was going but she later cancelled. When I arrived at the terminal there was some confusion at curbside re luggage checkin. When I got onboard went to Garden Cafe for lunch and the place was busy. I ... Read More
Chose this cruise because my friend was going but she later cancelled. When I arrived at the terminal there was some confusion at curbside re luggage checkin. When I got onboard went to Garden Cafe for lunch and the place was busy. I noticed many children with their families. I guess that’s to be expected during the summer season. I had an inside cabin that had a small stocked refrigerator. The toilet was in a small room alone, the shower outside and the sink on the counter. Eventually, I didn’t care for this setup. The toilet area should have a small self for personal items and there’s no privacy (I had a roommate). I saw 2 shows, “Priscilla, queen of the desert” and “Dance “? Enjoyed both shows but they shouldn’t allow kids to see Priscilla. It contained adult “gay” subject matter and language. I ate in both dining rooms, food lukewarm but The Hawaiian pork belly was good. Also ate at Moderno (delicious) and Shanghai ( good) restaurants. Excellent fitness center, attended the White Glow Party on outside deck 15. It was too windy, too cold and they played techno music. I had 1 drink stayed 40 min then left. It should be indoors like the Pride of America. Garden Cafe was good with a large variety. Room service breakfast was hot and timely. Cabin steward, Rene, attentive. My shore excursions were booked with private company. Disembarkation was ok with 2 exits. Ship’s internet ok, I ordered 250 min. Plenty of activities. Beautiful ship but too large for my tastes (4500+ passengers) Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Western Med cruise, very impressed. Ship was magnificent. Clean, good staff, food very tasty and lots of options for eating. Facilities were excellent, lots of entertainment of high standard. CATS show was on -have to be honest, did not ... Read More
Western Med cruise, very impressed. Ship was magnificent. Clean, good staff, food very tasty and lots of options for eating. Facilities were excellent, lots of entertainment of high standard. CATS show was on -have to be honest, did not get what that was all about! Aqua show was fantastic! Best thing for me, waking up in a different port each day and going out to explore. Catch a city bus for quick overview of city you are in. Advise to Royal Caribbean, why the need for kids club? If people cannot look after their own children on a FAMILY HOLIDAY, do not have kids. So sad to see these little kids being 'shipped' off as parents too lazy or inadequate as parents. More FREESTYLE machines please. Only 6 on ship and often not working. Should make the ice cream parlour complimentary as well. Boardwalk and central park were fantastic areas to relax in. Thumbs up. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have just finished an amazing cruise on the Epic. We went with our two kids aged 10 and 7. This was our first cruise with kids but have done a couple of Cunard cruises with the two of us. Embarkation couldn't have been better - ... Read More
We have just finished an amazing cruise on the Epic. We went with our two kids aged 10 and 7. This was our first cruise with kids but have done a couple of Cunard cruises with the two of us. Embarkation couldn't have been better - we were on board within 30 minutes of getting out of the taxi. Thought the food was great throughout (although much preferred the sit down dining to the buffet as this was a bit hectic). I also really enjoyed the all inclusive beverage package with a great range of drinks available (including Newcastle Brown Ale on draught which I have never seen in the UK!) and delicious wine with lunch. The entertainment was fantastic - Priscilla was genuine west end standard, loved Burn the floor and all the other musicians and singers on board were really talented (especially Howl at the moon). It was busy on deck around the pool but we always got loungers and really enjoyed the waiter drinks service on deck. We did our own thing at the ports of call, which probably meant we missed the majority of the queues getting on and off - this was never really a problem for us. The cabin was comfortable but a too small for the four of us - there was very little space when the bunk bed was down but we didn't spend that much time in there so not too big a problem. All the EPL games were on TV which is a bonus if you like football. We booked most of the restaurants in advance but it was hard to walk up and get a table after about 8:30 (no issues earlier on) so we never managed to eat at Shanghai. The kids didn't want to do the kids clubs so just came along to all the entertainments with us - they loved it all too. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Just returned from from 7 night western med cruise from Barcelona. We have previously cruised with NCL 3 times. Embarkation slick and easy, taxi from Barcelona cathedral costing 13 euros. Not worth queing for the the 3 euro bus, tpoo ... Read More
Just returned from from 7 night western med cruise from Barcelona. We have previously cruised with NCL 3 times. Embarkation slick and easy, taxi from Barcelona cathedral costing 13 euros. Not worth queing for the the 3 euro bus, tpoo hot, too busy. The ship is showing signs of age and appears tired in places. The layout is easy to navigate however there was a lack of public space around the atrium. The bars were good, in particular the Whisky bar, great staff and some good music. Try out the quiet zone sun deck on deck 18. Great beds and some space to relax. We had a spa balcony which provided sufficient space for three occupants.There is a strage layout, the sink is in the main room. It is a rather silly idea, so much so we resorted to using the spa to shower etc. Our steward, Erold was super efficient and friendly. The dining rooms were good, however the ship was full with some very boisterous large family groups who had little regard for other diners. Children climbing over charis and tables in the main restaurant at 9.30pm is a bit much. Staff were patient and tried to manage these groups but on occasion dining was a scrum rather than a pleasant sociable event. Speciality dining. We ate in four restaurants; Cagneys - poor. Service was chaotic and the food undercooked and cold. On the evening we were there multiple diners complained about the service and the quality of the food. La Cucina - ate here twiceand found the food very good indeed.Great service from professional and efficient staff. Sushi - excellent meal. Prepared to order and a nice change. Le Bistro - nice ambience, good staff. The food was very good. The gym is very big and well equipped. The spa is good but dated. The best group/evening entertainment was the Howl at the Moon. Good fun, fantastic musicians who generate a great atmosphere. Our 16 yr old loved it! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have now been back for a few days so thought it was time I got down to writing my final and overall review of our two week, first ever, cruise. First thing I want to say is that I would definitely recommend a cruise on the TUI ... Read More
We have now been back for a few days so thought it was time I got down to writing my final and overall review of our two week, first ever, cruise. First thing I want to say is that I would definitely recommend a cruise on the TUI Marella Discovery 2 as an amazing experience on a fabulous ship (just in case you are wondering, it is a ship and not a boat, Captain Chris told us so). The ship is incredibly comfortable and I must say unbelievably clean and tidy, this being due in no uncertain terms to the tireless cleaning, polishing, hoovering, clearing, bed making and cabin tidying of the members of the crew who seem to be on the go 24 hours a day. Everywhere you go on board you see someone with a cloth in their hand or a vacuum cleaner running it over another bit of carpet just because. The waiting staff, in the same way, are on the go from way before sun up to well after sun down. Breakfast starts at around 6am when there is an early start to the excursions which I would guess means someone is starting preparation by at least 4am, then as soon as breakfast is over they are then getting ready for snacks, then lunch, then afternoon tea (with proper Cornish Clotted Cream for the scones I must add, yummy, and there was enough for a gurt great dollop). Sorry got a bit carried away with that memory. They are then getting set up for dinner which starts at around 6pm and with 1800 very hungry passengers, many of whom who have been away from the ship on exhausting and hunger inducing excursions, so you can imagine the chaos with this and that is not the end of it for the catering staff as once they have finished with the dinner service they are then preparing food for the midnight snack bar which goes on till... actually I have no idea what time that finishes as the latest we went to this one was around 11.30pm and there were still plenty of people coming in after us. Then just a few short hours later it starts all over again for them. As far as the individual restaurants are concerned, here we go. The Snack Shack - our first experience of dining once we embarked on board. We were wandering around the ship trying to get our bearings and we came across this one and thought, why not. It has a cold frame with sandwiches, wraps, salads and fruit which you can help yourself to and then there is a serving counter where you can get fish and chips, burgers, hot dogs, etc and then the bar area for drinks. I will say the fish and chips were lovely and everyone else in our party were impressed with whatever they had. So good start, well done Snack Shack. Islands - I must be honest, we only ate in Islands a couple of times for breakfast and the 'Cornish Clotted Cream' afternoon teas but from what we could see it was good, wholesome buffet style food which looked tasty and hot. 47 Degrees - Again being honest, we tried to get in here on our first night on board requesting a table for 4. Well... we were told it was very busy and it would be about 30 minutes to get a table. How dreadful... NOT, when you consider that right next door to the restaurant is the Atrium bar where you can get a drink on the house... or was it on our All Inclusive package?!! Sorry, back to being serious now, we were given a buzzer and told that once they had sorted a table for us the buzzer would go off, which it did, but not 30 minutes later, it was about 15 minutes, what a service. We were welcomed at the door by two smiling hostesses who passed us on to the waiting staff who again had huge smiles on their faces and we were shown to our table. Waiter service? But I thought All Inclusive was always buffet style! Not on this ship, 47 Degrees is a fully waiter serviced restaurant where you get a proper fine dining experience of the waiter placing your napkin on your lap, immediately asking what you would like to drink, and I must add, as we had upgraded to the premium drinks package, this basically meant we could have whatever we wanted (too many good quality wines and spirits to list here, I would recommend the upgrade). The menu changes every day and always has a choice of 5 dishes in each of the starters, mains and deserts. The food was amazing, again I can't list all the fantastic dishes on the menu as, like I said they change the dishes every day. One dish I will mention though is Sticky Toffee Pudding. We met the Executive Chef, Carl, on the stairs one morning and I mentioned to him how much I really love Sticky Toffee Pudding. He told me that unfortunately this pudding was not on the menu for another two weeks. Obviously seeing how disappointed I was, three days later on our table at dinner when it came to the desert course he had made a Sticky Toffee Pudding just for me. Honestly! Everyone around was so jealous especially when I wouldn't share it. Actually I did let them all taste it, it was delicious. One of the best I have had, thank you Carl! The Glass House - We ate in here a couple of times for lunch where they did a mean sandwich, chips and salad which you ordered and was made fresh for you from the serving counter. We also had the midnight snacks in here a couple of times, where the curries were lovely and the burger and chips really do sit well at about midnight, or is that sit on your stomach well at about midnight. Not sure? Surf and Turf - You pay a supplement for this restaurant but then you do get to order some impressive steaks which are delicious and tender. As the name suggests they do a surf and turf option on the menu which, surprisingly, includes a steak and some lobster. Again, three courses and a fantastic wine selection which compliments all the different flavours and choices on the menu. One other thing is that all the waiters know which wines go well with which dishes so just ask if you're not sure. And also, again, it is fully waiter serviced where everything is done for you apart from actually eating the food. Kora La - Wow! Pan Asian in this restaurant. Again there is a supplement for this one but BOY is it worth it in here! In case you're wondering from the previous sentence, this was by far our favourite restaurant. The flavour combinations and taste sensations were far better than we ever expected them to be. We actually ate in here four times on our two week cruise in the end. Only planned to eat a couple of times in the supplement restaurants but this one was sooooo good we couldn't help ourselves. Right, on to the most important areas on the ship, the bars. Only joking we don't drink that much... at least not normally. The Atrium bar is a great focal point of the ship with the six floor high, sorry meant deck high, ceiling, an amazing sight and also with the singers, guitarists, saxophonists, pianists, etc there to entertain you while you relax and have a drink, it's great place to sit and chill out after a hard days sunbathing. Then there is the live Room where, as it says on the tin, there is live music played by the resident band, the pianist, or whoever the entertainment is at the time, while you order your drinks and relax. Next up is the Venue where again, surprisingly there is live music at various times and even, once weekly a karaoke evening. Even in the Broadway Theatre during the shows in the evening there are waiters coming round constantly taking your orders for drinks and bringing them right to your seats while you are watching the amazing West End standard shows on every night. In the day time there is a pool deck bar for drinks while you are lounging around the pool, you have a choice of either going to the bar yourself or just sitting or lying on your sunbed and order your drink from the waiting staff who are constantly walking around serving you. Even on the upper decks, the Veranda at the back of the boat, sorry, I mean ship, on the sunbeds around the mini golf course, around the climbing wall or just about anywhere you can find a space to sit or lie there is a crew member coming around taking your drinks order. Amazing! Then there is the Coffee Ports dotted around the ship where surprisingly they serve coffee and cakes and other bits. Every single person we came across who is there to serve you always has a smile on their face and is forever ready to provide you with whatever your stomach requires at the time. Fantastic! Now the entertainment. All the entertainers on board are well seasoned and experienced performers who are only not on the West End stage or performing in arenas because either they are not bothered to, prefer to be travelling the world on a cruise ship seeing all the sights for free, oh, and getting paid at the same time or maybe they just haven't been in the right place at the right time... yet! The guitarist, saxophonist, pianist and singers around the ship are amazingly talented but, again, (sorry, keep saying this) I must be honest with you all, for me the stars of the entertainment are the Broadway Show Team. They perform a different show every night of the two week cruise, only having one night off a week, so that's 12 different shows they have to learn with precision and perfection, learning the songs, the dances and lines for each different show. At our amateur dramatic society we take about six months to learn and perform one show, let alone 12 shows. My hats off to you guys, and each of the shows are amazing. Well, there are other things I could have added to this but I think it is probably time I went to bed and, basically typing with one hand is taking it's toll on me so I need to rest now. I hope this review hasn't been too long and boring for you but then if it was too long and boring for you then you wouldn't have read that last line so that was probably pointless putting that in but, never mind! See you all on our next cruise! Who knows, someone from Marella might see this and employ me to review one of their other ships. We can but dream! Read Less

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