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Sail Date: August 2019
I've done three cruises with Oceania before this one and had pretty good times - in those instances there seemed to be some fun folks interested in mingling with the solo travelers and the smaller ships were more cozy and open to ... Read More
I've done three cruises with Oceania before this one and had pretty good times - in those instances there seemed to be some fun folks interested in mingling with the solo travelers and the smaller ships were more cozy and open to mixing people - there were always plenty of shared tables and lots of inclusion. For some reason, this cruise had a different vibe - perhaps because it was the time and place if nothing else. Most of the people were elderly and coupled. You had to be careful of your remarks so as not to start a row over the situation in England or the US or elsewhere. The ship's crew was OK but not as friendly as on the past few trips where I'd been - they seemed to get friendly with a few folks from previous segments and ignored the newer passengers other than to say hello. I felt that they could have done more to facilitate mixing at night by having a standing shared table with a couple of crew members or entertainers on hand to encourage participation. Instead, you had to be in with the crew to get an invite to a fun table other than two scheduled events that were pretty dull. Other cruise lines are doing a more sophisticated job of courting the next generation of traveler - but I didn't see that here. We were an afterthought. On Silversea, they have cocktails scheduled nightly for solo travelers with a couple of crew members who then offer to take them to dinner; on Seabourn they put an invitation in your door ever single night if you ask for that service and you are always at an interesting and eclectic table. The layout of my room was wasted space. The huge tub was ridiculous and while I was fine as a solo, I kept thinking this would be way better if the space was used for a walk in closet. I found the concierge staff to be well below par of the staff I'd dealt with previously - normally when they know you are solo, they work to get you in at night at a shared table - that only happened after I raised a complaint - which I hate to do. I paid twice what other folks paid and got about half the service. I've always tipped on top of the scheduled gratuities but not this time - I never had any sort of personal interaction with the crew to make it worthwhile. The atmosphere was more sterile - the upstairs coffee area is almost too big and impersonal. Also, the timing for the Internet cafe is off - if I grabbed a coffee and sat at a screen, inevitably an elderly person would approach me for help because the guy staffing it had bass akwards hours to assist people. There were a few of us who spent plenty of time assisting other passengers. I will say this - the entertainers with the ship's crew were very outstanding. Much better than any other ship and that young woman from the Netherlands was astoundingly good - but then they were focused just on entertaining at the shows - where on the smaller ships the entertainers did a lot more to intermingle with the passengers - maybe they didn't sing as well but they were more fun to be around.. So here, better entertainers but not as much fun. Here's a hint - don't just dance on the dance floor at night - look for people who need a dance partner and ask them to dance with you. Every single night. Also, I had a bizarre and nasty fitness room experience - mostly because for some reason this ship has but two regular eliptical trainers and pretty much every single person wants to use them. I had started an hour long workout in the middle of the afternoon when most people were off the ship and another gentleman was next to me doing the same thing. We were two of five people in the whole place. A woman walked up and demanded that we get off and give her our machines. She relentlessly harassed us for the next 40 minutes and then returned with a rough looking attendant who had taken her at her word that we were the wrong-doers. When I let the attendant know that I wasn't happy with the situation, she accused me of being unpleasant. The man got off his machine and the lady insisted that it was too dirty for her to use. Did the attendant step in and get someone to clean the machine? Nope - stood by hands on hips whilst the mathematics professor cleaned up the machine top to bottom. Hey - he was on vacation and paying. Finally here's a hint with outside entertainers - please ask them not to use the solo women travelers as the butt of their comedy routines - just saying. It was a bit unnerving having to sink down in my chair for fear that I would be called out. Don't get me wrong - I managed to have a good time, met some folks I'm still in touch with, and there were some good people and plenty of fun - but when I'm on vacation, I don't want to have to work for my fun. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Just returned from our second cruise this year and once again we had a fantastic trip. The ship is beautiful , the crew and serving staff are all positive and helpful and eager to make your cruise special. Any issue is quickly resolved as ... Read More
Just returned from our second cruise this year and once again we had a fantastic trip. The ship is beautiful , the crew and serving staff are all positive and helpful and eager to make your cruise special. Any issue is quickly resolved as was the case in Bordeaux when we were unable to get to the city centre due to protesters on a bridge. Dining is always a highlight and again all the venues hit the mark, our only poor experience being in the Polo Grill where our fillet steaks were really poorly cooked. One of the best things about Riviera in my opinion are the fellow guests who always make a big difference in the cruising experience, the American and Australian guests were a delight to engage with. The "Grey Matter" quiz team were fantastic, thanks for your company and for providing great banter every afternoon. Two weeks of great ports, great new friends and of course great food are now a memory but we will make next years booking a priority. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We selected this vessel due to cross over Russian Arctic on 25 day Voyage. The Expedition program ( under contract ) was good with most Arctic Ocean stops accomplished. However the vessel is an old ( 30+ years in service ) with poor ... Read More
We selected this vessel due to cross over Russian Arctic on 25 day Voyage. The Expedition program ( under contract ) was good with most Arctic Ocean stops accomplished. However the vessel is an old ( 30+ years in service ) with poor public spaces and mediocre staff service. For two pax price ( $100,000) no real value here. SILVERSEA has taken older vessel and placed in “ expedition service” without any discernible improvement in boat safety facilities. Older gangway and Zodiac loading stations are hazardous - should have been replaced before vessel was placed in ocean service. The food was poor - kitchen ran out of basic ( fruits, vegetables ) half way into voyage. Officers are foreign nationals - Russians - with little interaction with passengers. In summary, poor quality for the price. We have been on better trips for a quarter of the price of this voyage. SILVERSEA appears to be solely interested in sales, marketing and promotion at the expense of passenger experience ! Member, Circumnavigators Club Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
The Star Legend will be in dry dock soon to completely refurbish it and add 100 staterooms. And it need it. Everything was from gently to quite worn. Seals were broken on three large windows in the Yacht Club lounge, obscuring the view. ... Read More
The Star Legend will be in dry dock soon to completely refurbish it and add 100 staterooms. And it need it. Everything was from gently to quite worn. Seals were broken on three large windows in the Yacht Club lounge, obscuring the view. That said, the staterooms were quite comfortable and the house staff attentive. Excursions are extremely expensive. Choose wisely. It’s much more fun to explore charming towns like Wrangell and Sitka on The zodiac tour of Tracey’s Arm glacier was worth it in every way. Food was hit and miss. The hits were lunch and breakfast, and dinner had some poor choices, like a seafood bisque with uncooked seafood in it. The Indian dishes, including a curry bar, were beautifully seasoned. Candles featured fresh salads and fish and meats grilled to order. Overall, for a luxury cruise, we thought Windstar could have done better with the condition of the ship furnishings, and attention to detail at Amphora Restaurant. The staff was gracious and the naturalists knowledgeable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This is our 6th cruise with Oceania and 2nd time on the Marina and loved every moment. Embarkation in Southampton was efficient and we were quickly onboard. Our Concierge room was immaculate and as in past cruises the cabin staff were ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise with Oceania and 2nd time on the Marina and loved every moment. Embarkation in Southampton was efficient and we were quickly onboard. Our Concierge room was immaculate and as in past cruises the cabin staff were excellent and always greeted us by name. There has been discussion on some boards about the decline in Oceania food however, our personal experience was that we found in to be excellent (other than the Jacques Salmon in the GDR which was as before not great). All Speciality restaurants were fabulous and we managed a 2nd dinner at our favourite, Red Ginger. Enjoyed the Afternoon Tea and Baristas. We took O excursions and were excellent and then other days, did our DIY (Dublin and Portland). The only disappointment was that due to high winds we missed out on Glasgow so had another sea day (we love the library so found a good book or two). As expected, the weather at times was cool and moist so didn't use our veranda very much nor, pool area but, did manage lunch at Waves a few times and reading in the Balinese chair area which is somewhat protected. The ports were great and loved the Scottish HIghlands, St. Andrews and the Blarney area as well as seaside villages of Portland and Weymouth. Disembarking in Southampton was smooth no doubt due to the fact that we did not require a face-to-face immigration check as we had arrived back in England the day prior at Portland. We went directly to Heathrow and took our own luggage straight off at 7 AM. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed for 10 days in the Greek Isles this year. This was our second time on the Wind Surf having gone 15 days from Venice to Barcelona in October 2018. With one exception the entire officer crew had changed from the previous cruise. ... Read More
We sailed for 10 days in the Greek Isles this year. This was our second time on the Wind Surf having gone 15 days from Venice to Barcelona in October 2018. With one exception the entire officer crew had changed from the previous cruise. This seems very unusual so not sure what is happening. A few of the service staff remained and remembered us. They were great. Embarkation: This was a bit chaotic in Athens Port and there were lines to register on the ship and to make dinner reservations. If you are not taking the pre/post cruise transportation through Windstar they are not able to provide any helpful information. We took the metro to the port and walked like 2 miles to get to the ship. The metro in Athens is the easiest to use of any city we have visited. They actually have humans to sell tickets and offered senior discounts without us asking. Drinks: My wife did not get the drink package while I did as part of the $89 deal that included wifi, laundry and tips. The laundry service was excellent. This year the drink package wines et al were not nearly as clear as they were last year so you are really asked to buy a drink package on faith. (Last year I simply carried the included list in my key card so there were no questions. This year there was no list) A couple of times they ran out of things in one bar and had to be asked to go to another bar to get specific things which they did reluctantly. Also not all the wines by the glass on the bar menu are included in the "Captain's Package", which is very confusing and disappointing given the high price. Restaurants: Breakfast at Veranda is good, but pretty much the same each day. Lunch at Veranda has a different cooking station set up with a special each day so that is very nice. Amphora the main dinner restaurant where you do not need reservations is noisy and rushed although the food is fine. Hint - ask for a table near the front and it is much quieter. The game on board is to try for extra reservations at Stella and Candles to avoid Amphora. One trick many people used is to hook up with a couple that already has a reservation. Stella Bistro is Stellar. The food and service are superb. Candles was also nice. On 3 nights they offered a sunset dinner on the stern, however it is only a note on the daily schedule put on your bed at dinner time the day before. We called each time for a reservation around 8:30 AM and they were always full. We were able to get in with another couple who heard our plight while we were discussing it at reception and invited us to their table. The restaurant manager reluctantly gave his approval. By the way this guy always seemed very stern but meticulous moving plates at the buffet in the Veranda restaurant if they were off by 1/8th inch. He should be assigned to walk the ship - the trash cans that were overflowing each morning and the elevator that was broken for several days (yes I got stuck in it) would not be permitted on his watch. On the previous trip you were at times offered an opportunity to go with the chef to buy fresh fish and produce. This was not offered this trip and we are not sure if they got fresh things locally or not. One passenger told us that he asked the waiter if the fish was fresh and the waiter told him it was "Frozen fresh". The ship had a special dinner included in the fare at the 1000 BC Ephesus Theater in Turkey. This was the highlight of the trip. (Wow) Entertainment: We enjoyed the duo's in Compass Rose on both trips but neither of the bands in the main lounge measured up. On the first trip for example on Beatles night the band was so bad there were probably only 3 guests there. Tours: We took only one tour on this cruise since they seem way overpriced. In Kusadasi Turkey and on Patmos we simply took local taxis and paid them a very small amount to act as our tour guides. This permitted us to see what we wanted at our pace and schedule. Ports: In several ports we were the only ship there which was great. We liked Mykonos where you could lose yourself in the small streets with all the white buildings. Santorini provided a great view of the huge Caldera (Scary to think a volcano can be so big). You really need to take a bus (very easy) or taxi to the city of Oia, We also loved the ports on Crete, Syros and Patmos since they were small and uncrowded. We know it was a busy time of year, but Rhodes while worth seeing was absolutely crazy busy. Groups: This cruise had a big Purdue donor contingent. Nothing against them, but they got preferential seating at the BBQ night and tended to stay with their own so one of the fun things about a cruise of meeting other people was somewhat curtailed. Windstar Reservations: This area really needs help. We had attempted to take advantage of an offer for a cruise to Alaska that Windstar emailed to us, but the reservations department had no clue about it even after forwarding the email and numerous phone calls. On this trip the reservations people gave us conflicting answers on the need for a Visa when visiting Turkey. For example one said we needed to do a Windstar Tour in order to go ashore. Even though we requested an email to clarify none came and calling back were were told that no Visa was needed for a cruise ship visit. Accounting: Be sure to check your bills. We had to dispute a couple of erroneous drink charges on board which were corrected When we got home the total billed to our credit card was $18 more than our final bill on the ship. I'm sure many people taking a Windstar cruise would never notice this. After a couple of phone calls etc they emailed us that it was for a laundry bag they say we took. After informing them that we did not take it and could not imagine anyone doing so they credited it, but to do this without even informing us was very tacky. Overall we enjoyed the trip despite very hot weather and a few things that could be improved with the Windstar line and with Wind Surf. The server staff of mostly Indonesians is superb. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this Baltic cruise for our Golden Wedding treat principally because it spent 3 days in St Petersburg, which I've never visited, and was a small ship. We flew to Copenhagen, a city we've both visited before, and spent the ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise for our Golden Wedding treat principally because it spent 3 days in St Petersburg, which I've never visited, and was a small ship. We flew to Copenhagen, a city we've both visited before, and spent the night there, giving us time to see several sights before our taxi arrived to take us to the port (via a delightful unscheduled whistle-stop tour of Copenhagen!) Embarkation was perfectly smooth, and we had a penthouse suite, on the 8th floor, which, though very expensive, was gorgeous - spacious, tasteful, soothing colours blending with the sea and sky outside, a lovely verandah, and extremely comfortable. The food throughout the trip was quite outstanding - we dined most evenings in the Grand Dining Room, where the menu (including at least 2 vegetarian options per course) changed each day, and every dish was beautifully cooked and prepared. We had breakfast on most days at the Terrace Cafe, which had a huge variety of delicious food, including masses of fresh fruit. Occasionally we had a meal in our room, elegantly served by our butler. Everything was kept spotlessly clean, and all the staff were unfailingly pleasant and polite. I was impressed with the attention to safety, and the fact that we had well-organised and thorough evacuation drill before we left Copenhagen. This also gave the comforting impression that other important and unseen matters were treated with similar care. I read comments about the Nautica being 'tired' and 'dated'. Perhaps. But it's like a grand hotel which has been very luxuriously fitted out in the first instance to high standards of craftsmanship and old-fashioned comfort, and scrupulously maintained thereafter. (OK - we're British. Perhaps we view things differently!) The public rooms were lovely - I particularly liked the sumptuously-furnished, panelled library with its splendid selection of interesting books; and we loved sitting in the lounge at the top of the grand staircase to listen to the brilliant string quartet each evening - their enormous repertoire wasn't repeated once during all the time we were on board, and they were stunningly good. In fairness, one disadvantage of a small ship is the pathetic size of the swimming pool! But there was plenty of room for sunbathers, even if enthusiastic swimmers might be disappointed. (I was, a little bit. But I coped ... ) As first-time cruisers we were very pleasantly surprised at the lack of queues. We never had to wait for more than a few moments for anything (apart from final disembarkation, where the ship was at the mercy of the customs authorities) and, amazingly, you could sometimes go on deck for a spot of sunset-viewing and find no-one else there - just like in the advertisements of cruises! This uncluttered ambiance was very unexpected - and that, despite the fact that the ship was absolutely booked up. The only real criticism I have is of the excursions, which were very, very expensive. In St Petersburg we took instead a 3-day independent Russian excursion for a small group, which was absolutely outstanding, and far better than anything Oceania had to offer, at half the price. We did in fact take some Oceania excursions because we had a deal that included free ones. Most were rather good, and included interesting insights into local life, but the Stockholm one was pretty pathetic (frankly I am NOT interested in having American-owned hotels pointed out to me at the expense of learning more about life in Sweden, and I'm not sure how thrilling even the Americans on the trip found it!). The onboard enrichment lectures were also variable in quality - we had a wonderful and fascinating one on amber, would you believe, and a couple of rather muddled ones on Stockholm and St Petersburg (historic dates, please, people, and clearer royal genealogies - it does so help to put things in context), so we stopped going to them after that, and relied on our guide books. My husband looked in on a couple of the evening entertainments, but reported raucous, rather flat singing, so we left this to those who enjoy that sort of thing (of which, I think, there were quite a few, so fair do's.) We didn't patronise the casino or card rooms; and deck shuffleboard didn't speak as an activity, but hey, that's fine. The few children on board seemed perfectly happy, but this is certainly not an ideal cruise for the average teenager (tho' the non-average one might like it!) It was, however, perfect for a well-travelled couple in their 70s who like comfort, good food, cleanliness, quiet, elegant surroundings - and meeting others who are similarly appreciative. Yes, it's very expensive; and I have nothing to compare it with in my experience. But as a treat it was really fabulous, even given the small caveats above, and it's a memory I shall treasure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Loved itinerary especially grateful for several sea days, which is a bit unusual for port-intensive Oceania. Wanted to escape the heat of the Mid-Atlantic and try a longer cruise. The service was stellar and loved having four specialty ... Read More
Loved itinerary especially grateful for several sea days, which is a bit unusual for port-intensive Oceania. Wanted to escape the heat of the Mid-Atlantic and try a longer cruise. The service was stellar and loved having four specialty restaurants available -- all were excellent and Red Ginger was our favorite. And those views from Polo and Toscana were amazing, especially when traveling through the fjords and coastline because it didn't get dark until 11pm. The staff and Martinis knew our names and orders right away and we became happy hour regulars. The staff at the Terrace does a great job managing the crowds and helping people find tables, bringing coffee, etc. However, we felt the food there wasn't the best -- not many light options and just wasn't very appealing for the "Finest Cuisine at Sea." Speaking of that, we loved the food but didn't feel it was that much better than other cruise lines on which we've sailed. Oceania sets the bar high and we didn't feel it matched their promises and higher price. Very good, just not better. We took 10 ship's excursions and were pleased -- the staff was excellent -- calm, organized and accommodating. Overall pros: excellent service, very well maintained and attractive ship. Overall cons: Entertainment wasn't great (Staff "Broadway-style" shows were good, guest acts were okay, non-hosted shuffleboard was listed daily -- really?) and not sure Oceania is worth the premium they charge. But overall, we had an excellent cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
GOOD - Nice Room with Butler/Concierge service, large bathroom and balcony, 24-hour room service. Main dining room and Toscana had excellent service staff and food was fantastic. Ship was nicely equipped and comfortable, albeit not very ... Read More
GOOD - Nice Room with Butler/Concierge service, large bathroom and balcony, 24-hour room service. Main dining room and Toscana had excellent service staff and food was fantastic. Ship was nicely equipped and comfortable, albeit not very large comparatively. BAD - Captain and officers were completely self-righteous and arrogant, to the point of being rude. The dining personnel in the "Polo Club" were incompetent and utterly unskilled in premier food service. We are not snobs and expect minor glitches in services, etc. However, the Polo Club is a "reservations only" establishment and one cannot simply enter at their leisure. The cruise was labeled "Gaelic Glory", but there was no glory about it. The theme was advertised as "Irish", but there wasn't an inkling of Irish theme aboard ship...no Irish food, music, or adornments...??? The entertainment was reminiscent of a theme park, with less than stellar performances. Shore excursions were offered by the cruise line at exorbitant prices, usually 3-4 times the amount charged by local companies at each port-of-call. If you did not book an excursion through the cruise line, you were not allowed to disembark the ship until all of those who purchased cruise line excursion packages had departed. This usually meant waiting 1-2 hours after arriving in port. The crew was extremely vigilant in enforcing this measure, to point of acting "Gestapo" like...very discourteous and unnecessary. I could list many more negative aspects about the cruise, but I think you get the picture. Overall...VERY DISAPPOINTED...!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The food in the main dining room was never hot and disappointing. Definitely not up to the standards we expected from a cruise line that is supposedly known for its food. Salmon which is a Pepin specialty was cool and tasteless. Paying ... Read More
The food in the main dining room was never hot and disappointing. Definitely not up to the standards we expected from a cruise line that is supposedly known for its food. Salmon which is a Pepin specialty was cool and tasteless. Paying $800 for concierge compared to a B2 was a rip off. There is no concierge lounge so therefore we paid $800 for a bottle of champagne and free laundry which took 4 days to return The room is the same size as a B1 B2 with only two feet between the bed and the wall. Seville was cancelled as Oceania shortened the stay in Cadiz and therefore there was not sufficient time to to Seville Oceania started three months before departure changing times in ports and also cancelled Porto Veecho to Propriano where only Costa goes and there is nothing to do or see. The cruise is definitely not worth the money Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from our inaugural, “all inclusive,”11-night cruise with Regent Seven Seas. There were six travelers in our party. Our journey was to the British Isles on the Navigator. The trip met but did not exceed our ... Read More
We just returned from our inaugural, “all inclusive,”11-night cruise with Regent Seven Seas. There were six travelers in our party. Our journey was to the British Isles on the Navigator. The trip met but did not exceed our expectations, with a few minor and two major disappointments. Despite the few problems, we found this cruise to be enjoyable and close to a luxury experience. This was our 13th cruise overall. Regent is known for including Business Class international air travel as a part of its packages. Their booking for us went well. The chosen air itinerary was efficient and our British Air flights were comfortable and well-serviced. The Pre-Cruise in London, purchased by two of us, was fair. We were housed in a very nice hotel with a good room, included and good breakfasts, and an incredible, central location (we could walk in 10 minutes to Buckingham Palace and to many of the major sites). The two tours we took were mixed. The London tour was fantastic while the second tour to the English countryside including Bath and the Cotswolds was disappointing and a waste of time (with way too much bus time). A second day in London seeing the sites we missed and perhaps visiting some museums would have been much more desirable. Our transfers to the hotel and to the ship on the third Pre-Cruise day went flawlessly. The Navigator is an old ship and it shows. But it is clean and extremely well-serviced. It met our expectations. The smaller ship, with under 500 passengers, was quiet and a nice change from the frenzy of larger ships. We never waited in line (even for the buffet; by the way, the buffet was the best ever in our travels). At the pool, the well-appointed chairs and lounges always had availability. From our perspective, smaller is definitely better than larger, though you sacrifice a larger diversity of amenities and entertainment options, aspects we did not miss. Service largely met expectations and was excellent. We felt pampered! In our cabin, the only disappointment was consistently low water pressure. However, the service provided by our cabin attendant and her assistant was superb. The room had a walk-in closet, large bathroom with a small shower and conventional tub. There was a sleeping area and a “living” area with a new large TV. The food was very good—not excellent though. Service in the main dining room (Compass Rose) and the Buffet was great. The two specialty restaurants, though, were disappointing. The Italian restaurant (where the buffet is converted into an evening venue) had marginal food and poor service. Our waiter ignored us, did not respond to requests and had an “attitude,” the only truly bad service while on board. The Prime 7 restaurant had adequate service, but food taste and quality were not up to par. We’ve had better specialty restaurant experiences on “main stream” carriers like Holland America, Celebrity, and, even (at times) Royal Caribbean. The 12-person entertainment troupe and band were excellent—as good as or better than on much larger ships. Bar service was truly excellent, with great offerings, superb bar attendants and bar tenders. Other entertainment offerings were okay. We found all to our liking, but the music at the piano bar and elsewhere was “outdated,” with a lot from the 1950s to 1970s, perhaps in keeping with an older clientele (we are in our 60s and thought we were on the younger side!). Our two major disappointments involved disembarkation and the included excursions. Disembarkation was completely botched. Regent arranged a 4 am departure from the ship to enable us to make a 7 am Aer Lingus connecting flight from Dublin to London. This was unavoidable. However, the roughly 30 people leaving at that time were taken to a bus and our luggage was already in the dark cargo hold below the bus. We were asked to identify our bags to ensure they were on the bus. It was still nighttime. It was 4 am! There was no light other than from the bus. Bags sat randomly all across the hold (maybe 100 to 125 bags). It was impossible to see all the bags (many of us used our cell phone flashlights). You had to contort yourself to get even a fair view. A few of us had difficulty finding our bags and asked that some of the “first row” bags be removed. Grunting, the few personal resisted (there was one young woman from Regent without any authority or real understanding of what was happening, two ship's crew or port stevedores—and the bus driver). I could not locate one of our large bags. I was told staff would find it and send it on. I refused saying they should find it now. The staff insisted that I had overlooked the bag. I had not. They began unloading all of the loaded bags. Mine was not there. One crew member was dispatched to look for it and, lo and behold, he came back with it a few minutes later. At 4 am time was wasted (my apologies for holding up other passengers) and, more importantly, no thought was given to this process. A more traditional approach of identifying bags in a lit area and having cruise personal take them to the bus would have solved this problem. We guessed that Regent decided that its very hard working staff (I mean this sincerely) needed their sleep and that the few passengers leaving at 4 am (based on flights chosen BY Regent) could fetch for themselves, including looking in the dark for their bags under a bus in a parking lot without lights. If 4 am is a reasonable departure time, as selected by Regent (after all, they booked our flights), it should be a reasonable time to have the process fully staffed. Foolishness and enough to make us think twice about booking again with Regent...but the saga continues... We were driven to the Dublin Airport. We passed the terminals and were let off the bus in a dark parking lot exclusively reserved for tour buses, some distance away from the terminals. The young lady from Regent, instructed us to find our bags, which were taken off the bus by the driver working alone (with our assistance). We asked, “what now?” and were told we needed to walk to the terminal—no less than a 15-minute hike with each group of passengers having roughly four large bags. No one knew which terminal was “right” for them, there were no signs showing arrivals and departures (why have signs in a bus parking lot?), and we were set on our way. There were airport carts nearby and our group, feeling a bit like refugees, began a slow caravan to the terminals. We passed by Terminal One because it looked old and empty (later we learned that many of us could have completed our arrangements in Terminal One, but no one—especially Regent—informed us of this). We arrived at Terminal Two, seemingly the major Aer Lingus terminal. It looked like a New York Subway at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon—people everywhere with lines of hundreds of people. Even though there is no business class for Aer Lingus on our flight, we were fortunate enough to find their “club” line, which was fairly short, and we were able to check in and avoid the very long lines (we were elated but a bit guilty-feeling after we passed large families who had to endure the long lines). Regent failed us. They could have made arrangements to get us to the correct terminals with our baggage. Instead, it was like being released from prison, “take this bus and your belongings to the city and we hope someone will be there to pick you up” (and this is a purported luxury carrier?). Much of the good from our vacation was undone by this poorly planned disembarkation. We were already tired waking up after a few hours sleep and our moods and physical selves were depleted by Regent’s extremely poor handling of this situation. This most definitely was NOT a luxury experience. The second negative involved many of our included, self-picked excursions. Way too much time was spent on buses and not enough time in towns seeing the sites. A good example: In Holyhead, Wales we elected to take a tour to one of England’s premier national parks—Snowdonia. The weather was poor, but so be it. Our first stop was a restroom break in a nice town, Caernarfon. There was a fabled castle (which we'd have liked to tour) and nice shops in the town. We were there for 20 minutes to urinate! We then drove through Snowdonia—beautiful. We finally went to another town, bordering Snowdonia, and spent more than an hour looking at stores and bathrooms. The second town was not nearly as intriguing or as nice as the first. This was a recurring theme of our trip. We began calling it “the teasing.” We’d stop for a restroom break in a seemingly great venue, only to drive much farther to find a not as interesting venue. Why? Guides were not to blame—most were wonderful. Much more thought should be given by Regent to excursion venues and routes (and by us, acknowledging that we chose our own excursions from among the “included” list). A guiding precept should be to minimize bus time. If there is a great venue enroute, don’t just stop for the bathroom; allow some time there, perhaps eliminating the second town from the tour. This recurrent theme also affected the pre-cruise and it is, in our view, a significant problem. Regent staff should go on all considered excursions before they are chosen by the line. Tweaking should occur so that the trips are improved. The bottom line, from this long-winded review, is that Regent generally has great service and staff, nice ships, but has wrinkles that need to be addressed. We had high expectations based on Regent’s claim to be “luxury.” We were committed to trying an all-inclusive cruise and Regent could have had us as a future customer without much more effort had they not botched the disembarkation and had given more thought to excursions. Now, we will continue to search for the “best” cruise line--the one we hope to use for the balance of our travels. They had us hooked, then lost us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed Silversea before but chose this cruise for the itinerary and also to experience expedition cruising and find out the difference. Staff on board incl butler were great, cannot fault them , dining was also impressive , so ... Read More
We have sailed Silversea before but chose this cruise for the itinerary and also to experience expedition cruising and find out the difference. Staff on board incl butler were great, cannot fault them , dining was also impressive , so was the quality and variety of the food and wines offered. The shore excursions were not too different from a standard cruise. Only one shore activity during the 14 day expedition cruise involved some expedition like feature when we had a wonderful afternoon going ashore on the zodiacs watching a variety of seabirds nesting on the Scottish Island of Lunga. There were a lot of shore landings cancelled due to stormy weather. Enrichment lectures were generally good, although some were repetitive due to the increased requirement of additional lectures after many cancelled shore landings. Expedition staff seemed to display a lack of interest at times. Our Vista Cabin had a sewage issue on day 2. We were moved to another cabin after that. It became obvious after talking to other guests that Silver Cloud has had ongoing sewage issues. We feel that it shows that the ship is 25 years old and has had a refit to comply with expedition ship/ice class regulations, mainly the strengthening of the hull. Apart from that there were a few serious problems visible like huge cracks in the cabin doors and also cracks in the fire doors of the ship. And the sewage issue. In our opinion this ship is past its use-by-date and should not sail Arctic or Antarctic regions . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have enjoyed Silversea Expedition cruising in the past. The small number of passengers, terrific Expedition Team combined with luxury that Silversea excel at make for a wonderful cruise. We boarded via the clipper boat for Tower Pier ... Read More
We have enjoyed Silversea Expedition cruising in the past. The small number of passengers, terrific Expedition Team combined with luxury that Silversea excel at make for a wonderful cruise. We boarded via the clipper boat for Tower Pier next to the Tower of London. We were checked in efficiently and went straight to Terrazza for a buffet lunch. As the ship started to fill with other passengers, we went to our suite and the suitcases arrived soon after. The butler and room attendant combination suits us well. Available but not intrusive. The laundry service is very efficient and good. We enjoyed all our meals on board. We ate in the main dining room, La Terrazza and at the Hot Rocks on the pool deck. The crew are fantastic. Friendly and efficient. Unfortunately we missed many of our stops due to choppy seas being to unsafe for the zodiac landings. The Expedition Team laid on extra lectures and games such as ‘Name that tune’ to substitute. Moss Hills is an outstanding Social Director. After 10 days travelling up the west side of the UK, we sailed to Orkney and the Faroes and the final 4 days were spent circumnavigating Iceland. The disembarkation went smoothly apart from our non Silversea taxi going to the wrong port! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to several of the the port stops before. We were disappointed in the food. We live in Houston, dine out frequently, and expected the food to be better. My steak in the Polo was over cooked, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to several of the the port stops before. We were disappointed in the food. We live in Houston, dine out frequently, and expected the food to be better. My steak in the Polo was over cooked, not impressed at all. The Red Ginger was a real disappointment. Did not care for it at all. Much better Asian in Houston. We really liked Jacques and Toscana. As for the main dining room, it just wasn’t as good as we expected. We stayed in a concierge level cabin. We were impressed with the room, bathroom and the cabin steward. Probably the best in our 20 cruises. Loved the linens, towels, toiletries and room layout. We did not take the ships excursions. I thought they were really expensive. Our group of 4 hired a private guide in ports for the same per person price as the least expensive tour offered by the boat. We also heard several people say they were disappointed in the tours. We loved every excursion but we arranged it ourselves. The staff was excellent. The Gym was great. Did not use the spa. We only had one sea day. We bought the drink package and the bar service was very good. Venice. We took the large water taxi to Piazza San Marco. Bought ticket for round trip right outside the cruise ship. Venice was very crowded. We walked around and took a gondola ride through canals and rode by the Rialto bridge. Back to ship. Watched as we sailed away from Venice listening to Andrea Bocelli. Dinner at Polo Restaurant. - Dubrovnik, Croatia. Arrived at 1:30 pm. Found taxi driver outside the port who drove us around the outskirts of town and up the mountain for a panoramic view of Dubrovnik. Then to visit Fort Imperial which houses a museum of the Croatian war of Independence in and a short film about the war. I hope hunk it was 50 euros. Then he dropped us at the town of Dubrovnik where many scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed. Walked around town and took a taxi Back to the ship. Drinks in the piano bar and dinner in Grande dining room. - Kotor, Montenegro. Met at the port by Nikolai with Mont Travelers at 8:30. He drove us for an overview of Boka Bay where our ship was docked and took a boat ride to see the Our Lady of the Rocks. Then we went to see the town of Perast which is on the water with beautiful sea views. We drove back to Kotor and visited a fish market to see all the different seafood from Kotor. Followed by a drive to view Jaz Beach and a walking tour of the old town of Budva. Drove back to Kotor for a walking tour. The tour was awesome. 280 euros for 4 people. Nikolai was fabulous and a very safe driver. Dinner in Grande dining room. cruised around Italy - Malta. Did a Small group tour Simply Malta with 12 people from the ship we arranged through cruise critic roll call. A drive to the south of the island of Malta to see the Blue Grotto. The grotto and neighboring system of sea caves are home to brilliant phosphorescent marine life. The boat ride showed us the incredible beauty of this natural wonder. It was wonderful. Then we traveled through the Girgenti valley and on to the west coast seeing the Dingli cliffs. We drove to Rabat for a walking tour of Rabat and the old town Mdina, once the capital of Malta until Valleta was built. Mdina was where scenes from season one of Game of Thrones was filmed. Back to Valletta, Malta. We got back on board and Dinner in Toscana - Italian. - Sicily where we could see Mt Etna in distance. We got a taxi at the port to drive us to Taormina. I think it was 25 euros. Our driver told us it looked like fireworks coming out of it at night. We walked around town. Then we found a taxi driver in town named Vincenzo Franco (+39 338 850 1413) who drove us to scenic view points around the outskirts of Taormina and back to the ship. He was awesome and I would call him and arrange for him to drive me if I go again. Dinner in Grande dining room. - Amalfi. Picked up at the port by for a full day tour of the Amalfi coast by Sorrento Top Driver, Di Coppola Antonino +39 3392207065. He drove us along the Amalfi Coast stopping for pictures and on to Positano. Parked while we shopped and walked around the town. Then drove us back to Amalfi and on to Ravello for lunch overlooking the sea. Back to ship. Really great day with Tonino. Dinner in Jacques - French. -Rome. Picked up at the dock at by Enrico with Rome in limo. A full day of seeing the sights of Rome. First stop for coffee and pastries then to a hill with a great view overlooking Rome. Next a walk through Trastevere where we went into a church during a Sunday service. On to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona (where the Italian Air Force flew over leaving a trail of red, white and green smoke because it was a national holiday, saw the Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, Pantheon. Enrico stopped to let us out, wait for us and drive to the next stop. Giving us lots of info as we went. Dropped us off at a small restaurant for great lunch. Toured the Catacombe Di San Callisto of and dropped us back at ship about 5. We had spent a few days in Rome on another trip so we didn’t plan on going to the Vatican. Seafood extravaganza in the Waves. -Tuscany. Picked up at the port of Livorno by Alessandro Cammilli. www.alessandrocammilli.com Drove for about an hour to San Gimignano where we toured the town and had gelato and coffee at outside cafe. Drove to Castelllina in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and the Chianti countryside of Tuscany. Stopped for lunch in Lamole at a restaurant on an outdoor terrace on the top of a hill with wonderful views of wine country. We stopped by a WWII memorial and cemetery where 4400 American soldiers were buried. Then drove to see the leaning tower of Pisa and back to the ship about 5. Dinner in Toscana - Italian. - Monte Carlo. Took a small train around town to see the sights. Then took the bus along the Mediterranean Sea to Nice and back by train to Monaco. This was the only thing we wish we had done differently. We would get off the bus at the stop BEFORE Nice it was too big and not very appealing. The town before nice looked beautiful and easy to navigate. Can’t remember the name. Dinner in Grande dining room. -Toulon, France. Took a small train from the port around Toulon. Got off in town. Took the bus to Mt Faron and a cable car to the top of the mountain. Dinner in Red Ginger - Asian. Stayed three nights in Barcelona. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We initially chose this Cruise and ship because of the itinerary. I have always wanted to see these Mediterranean cities, towns and historic sites we have read so much about. We chose Oceania's Promenades and Palaces on the Riviera ... Read More
We initially chose this Cruise and ship because of the itinerary. I have always wanted to see these Mediterranean cities, towns and historic sites we have read so much about. We chose Oceania's Promenades and Palaces on the Riviera because it included a visit to Valletta in Malta, which had a family connection. Also it was at a great time of year and the weather certainly justified our choice. Well we had a marvellous time, the experience of a life time.The excursions ashore were great because they were so well-organised. But the life on-board the Riviera was just as enjoyable. The Riviera is a beautiful ship with all the facilities one could need, but a highlight for us was the amazing service everyone received from every single staff member who simply couldn't do enough for you. The ship's reputation as having the best cuisine on the seas is undisputed after our trip. The atmosphere on the ship allowed us to make many new friends from a range of countries. I would recommend the Riviera to anyone. Peter McCudden (Australia) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first Oceania cruise after having travelled with Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean previously. We had been to a couple of Oceania events where they spoke highly about their food and said it was the best at sea. The ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise after having travelled with Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean previously. We had been to a couple of Oceania events where they spoke highly about their food and said it was the best at sea. The food on our cruise was not as good as they claimed. Some cuts of meat were very fatty, almost inedible (even at Jaques and the Polo grill) . A pad-thai in the main dining room was horrible and some ice creams had so little flavour, we couldn't tell what they were supposed to be. On the other hand, some food was really good and we loved the Illy Crema at Baristas. There is a well equipped gym, a free sauna and steam room and a jogging track. Art classes and craft sessions were very enjoyable. There is a well stocked library and there are free self-serve laundries with washing, drying and ironing facilities. As we found with other first time Oceania cruisers, we all overpacked formal clothing and didn't bring enough casual clothes. Except for dining rooms at dinner time, t-shirts (or polo shirts) and shorts or jeans were all that were required. Some entertainment was really good. The ships' singers and dancers were good and the magician was very entertaining. The service on the ship was great, there were staff everywhere and they were very helpful and friendly. Most of our shore excursions were fine. They were all Oceania tours. The only problem was that not enough time was allocated to look around museums or visit other attractions. We may go on another Oceania cruise in the future. Maybe we will wait to see what their new Allura class ships will be like. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
April 2019 - My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the Northeastern Seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba, India, ... Read More
April 2019 - My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the Northeastern Seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba, India, the Middle East and Europe and Southern Africa cruises. The 17-day Rio to Barcelona Cruise started on April 18, 2019. Our trip actually started on April 14, with our flight landing in Rio on April 15. Our pre cruise Rio de Janeiro tour included a few days at the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort, which is located on the beach just west of Ipanema Beach; a great location. The hotel had great food and a very nice HUGE pool. It also had free car service to the city. We toured the HStern manufacturing offices and store (free tour from the hotel and back … worth the time to see how they manufacture jewels), Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf. The Oceania pre tour provided a lot of time to visit the local area on our own and also, the hotel pool area (nice pool). The hotel arranged for us to enjoy a Samba Dinner Show. The dinner was at a local restaurant and the show was near by. Both were wonderful. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location as we were near the entertainment areas and the Spa, Game and Computer Rooms. The primary sources of food are in the rear; decks 5 and 9. Most points of interest are on 5, dining room at the rear and the Sirena Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship is a few years old but was very nice; very clean. It will be remodeled after our cruise. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, was available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director provided information about basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The ship had a cast of great entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics on the locations we visited and also, sea life. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages; they are a little pricey. I signed up for the Scotch Tasting (around $20). They provided 11 bottles of Scotch to taste but only allowed 3 tastings. Three very small tastings. The bottom line … Don't do it. Take your $20 and go to the bar for your own glass of one or two Scotches. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned over 400 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. First, While in Brazil, the ship charges a 25% tax on purchases. RECIFE, BRAZIL – Our first port was located north of Rio, just south of the Equator. Recife is a quiet little city. The tour included a nice view of the city from the high point in the area, a pretty little chapel, a free coconut drink in the market and generally, a nice tour of the city with nothing spectacular to offer. It was a good introduction to life in Brazil outside of a big city. NATAL, BRAZIL – We took the Highlights of Natal tour. The drive out into the countryside was very nice and the world's largest cashew tree interesting (the tree is huge, covering more than a soccer field in area but only maybe 20 feet high). We stopped at an old prison that now is a market. The tour included a lot of time on the bus. Again, it was a nice tour of the area with nothing spectacular to offer …. oh, the cashew tree was interesting …. the highlight of the tour. Crossing the Equator was fun. Those of us who had not crossed the line before on a ship were transformed from a Polliwog into the Ancient Order of the Deep through a Special Ceremony not to be discussed further. The Atlantic Ocean was relatively came the entire cruise. MINDELO, CAPE VERDE – Cape Verde is sort of the middle of the North Atlantic, west of the African coast. The Mindelo – The Cultural Capital tour included a tour of several markets and the a liqueur tasting. The rum was great. This tour included a lot of walking through parts of Mindelo. SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS – We took the Canada Del Teide tour. This was a wonderful tour that included a great lunch in a beautiful old monastery. This is a beautiful island with many interesting buildings and natural wonders. This was a very nice tour of the island. ARRECIFE, CANARY ISLANDS – The Southern Lanzarote & Wine Tasting tour presented a completely different perspective on the Canary Islands. This island is volcanic! The tour included an extensive tour of volcanic areas of the island, a ride on a camel and a meaningless wine tasting, although the vineyards were interesting. The high point of the island is the treeless volcanic areas. It's like being on Mars. This was an interesting tour. TANGIER, MOROCCO – The Highlights of Tangier tour was a fun time in a beautiful city. We visited a mountain top vista that overlooked the city and then drove down to the coast to walk into the Hercules Cave. This was interesting. We then toured the narrow streets of the city stopping in a market and a spice demonstration. The spice demonstration was very well done and worth the time. Tangier is a very interesting city with many different ethnic areas. Again, while in Spain, the ship charges a 10% tax on purchases. ALMERIA, SPAIN – We toured the area on the Mojacar & Cabo De Gata tour. The bus ride to Mojacar was very long but worth it: Mojacar is very similar to Santorini with white buildings (no blue roofs) built up on a hill top. The views are fantastic. The tour included a nice walk around the hill top city with some free time to walk around or purchase a beer, wine or whatever. The drive through Cabo De Gata reminded me of the hillsides of Southern California; dry. The tour is generally on the bus and the views are beautiful. ALICANTE, SPAIN – We took the Alicante, Novelda and Wine Tasting tour. Alicante is a beautiful city. The tour took us to a beautiful hill top church with a organ being constructed of stone; stone is abundant in the area. We then visited the Bodega Heretat de Cesilia winery. The tour of the winery was very nice and the wine tasting … worth the wait! The wines were very nice and free flowing. Most of us purchased a bottle or two to take home. The winery is small but the grounds are large. A beautiful place to drink a few glasses. This was one of the better tours on the cruise. BARCELONA, SPAIN – We left Barcelona immediately on a bus for Madrid. Getting off the ship was easy … you just had to wait your turn. Our tour guide was standing next to our baggage and when we all were accounted for, we left on a small bus. There were only 10 of us on the port cruise tour. Our first stop was at the Poblet Monastery where most of us generally froze. We were not dressed for a tour of a cold stone fortress. The tour was very nice and worth the stop though. From there, we continued to Montblanc for a FANTASIC lunch and city tour. Then we continued to Zaragoza for the night. Our guide took us out for a beer and snack. We were then left on our own to walked around. This is a very interesting place … beautiful by night. The next morning, were toured the city including the El Pilar Cathedral …. unbelievable!!! On the road again, we stopped at Madinaceli for a quick tour and another FANTASIC lunch. That night, we were at the Melia Madrid Princess hotel. The hotel was in a great location and was very nice. The next day we took a tour of the city with the afternoon on our own. We arranged to go to a Flamenco Dinner Show. We walked there and back with several other couples. Great dinner and show. The next morning we were picked up and driven to the airport. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. Overall, the cruise was educational and enlightening … no security concerns anywhere. Overall, the cruise was great and the pre and post trips fantastic. You will see many different types of architecture, topography, and vegetation. You will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the cruise and also, during the pre and post trips. They really seemed to care. A great trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We just returned from "Along Africa's Western Shore" where we found ourselves joining (unwittingly!!) the last 4 weeks of a World Cruise, with a major impact on our experience! I have looked at many negative reviews of ... Read More
We just returned from "Along Africa's Western Shore" where we found ourselves joining (unwittingly!!) the last 4 weeks of a World Cruise, with a major impact on our experience! I have looked at many negative reviews of this cruise on cruise critic and I can assure everyone that they are all true!! This is a lengthy review but it's only a summary of the key issues we faced.: there is much more I could say! Although elements of our experience were first class, there were issues with the management of the cruise that fell very short of our expectations. The ship we sailed on, Viking Sun, is beautiful and the crew are excellent. The service experience on board is first class. Our issues mainly relate to the arrangement and subsequent management of the cruise itself. The cruise was not marketed to us as the final leg of a world cruise, which is very significant. We did not appreciate this at all until late in the booking process. Initially this meant that we were unable to book the excursions we would have liked, as all the really exciting ones were long since fully booked when we were allowed access!! It also meant that we found ourselves joining a cruise where most passengers were already starting to look forward to leaving when we got on board; where aspects of the passenger experience had become a bit stale; and where many passengers were very set in their routines and relationships (with other passengers, with the crew and with the cruise director, who barely acknowledged guests who were not ‘world cruisers’). A further issue in relation to the marketing of the cruise was the number of sea days, which was hidden in the correspondence. To exacerbate this, we then experienced additional sea days due to missing calls into Luderitz and Casablanca (see later) making a total of 16 sea days out of 28 days on the cruise - that's 60% of the time and nearly twice what we expected. Whilst it’s very nice to be on the ship, we did not expect to be sat around it quite as much as this! I laugh at the current Viking radio ads talking about how they spend ‘more time in port and less on the ship’! To expand on the on-board experience, many passengers exhibited a 'sense of entitlement' above those passengers joining in Durban for the final leg. Additionally the daily activities were really focused on an elderly American world cruise audience and we expected a far better on-board schedule. The daily schedule always included 3 sessions of bridge, 3 sessions with knitting or crafting, and several other 'non-events' that were all for the world cruisers. This is very poor: well below our expectations, and what we have experienced elsewhere. The cruise itinerary looked good when we booked, but it was only really the time in South Africa that met our expectations. There were issues all along after leaving S Africa: we were unable to land in Luderitz due to slightly rough seas; Walvis Bay was OK but there really isn't much to see there at all; in Dakar, Senegal we were told it was perfectly OK to take the shuttle bus into town, so that's what we chose to do. This could not have been further from the truth. A frightening experience!; Santa Cruz, Tenerife is a nice place but we managed to dock there on a holiday when 99% of shops were closed; Casablanca. Well what can I say! The Captain chose not to travel here due to a potential storm in the Bay of Biscay a few days later and he wanted to travel through the bay ahead of the storm. Whilst I understand this, in fact the risk appeared quite low and, as far as I could ascertain, the storm moved far to the north west by the time we would have travelled through the bay. This seemed to be an extraordinary and extremely ‘risk averse’ decision. In place of Casablanca the on-board team added Portsmouth into the itinerary!!! This caused ructions on board and I am not surprised. I truly suspect this decision was a 'lazy' one based around the fact that Viking Sun uses this port of call anyway, so it was easy to arrange a tour schedule, and because it was no doubt easy to find a berth in such a large port. Further, when we challenged this decision on board, there was a sense that the entertainment staff felt it would appeal to the largely US passenger base. But for the British passengers on board this was a poor decision again. We live around 90 minutes from Portsmouth and have been there many times: why would we go there on a cruise? We almost decided to leave the ship in Portsmouth and I believe some Brits did so. The outcome of the above change is that, as well as missing out a key port on the cruise, we then ended up with nearly 2 full days of excess time to 'lose' in the English Channel before the ship was due into Greenwich. At times we were barely moving. There are so many ports we could have called at along the French coast - in fact we could have easily managed 2 ports of call north of the Bay of Biscay in the time we had available. This would have taken a lot more work to arrange of course, but vastly improved the cruise experience! So, we spent the last 5 days of our cruise travelling only a few hundred miles, very close to the UK! Summarising the itinerary overall, the time in South Africa was great, but the rest of the Western Africa experience was a big let-down and for about the last 10 days of our cruise it felt like the ship was operating a ‘close down’ routine. We loved the ship and the core Viking experience, but we did not receive what we expected. As a British passenger on this cruise we were definitely second-class citizens overall, which is not what you expect at this huge cost! I am a few weeks from our return home when posting this note. That’s because I took the trouble to write directly to Mr Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises, because I felt there were a large number of issues that the company should be aware of in planning future cruises. Having taken the time to write personally to an executive of the company (at the US head-quarters) I did not expect to receive a letter from a customer services agent a full month later. The response made light of the very serious concerns that we raised, IGNORED the key issues, and had the audacity at one point to refer to ‘force majeure’. I wrote again the chairman and, a few weeks later, received a further letter from customer services basically telling me to go away! Viking cruises have an astounding inability to listen and respond the like I have not come across with any other company. They are not listening to their customers and will thus not achieve their very high ambitions for the business! Responding to concerns should not be an exercise in ‘customer relations speak’: it’s an opportunity to turn a concerned customer into a real advocate, but right now they have succeeded in creating a significant detractor. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We picked this cruise line based on reviews and reputation. We picked this cruise for the its itinerary and excursions. Viking missed the mark all too often, then when they had the opportunity to offer some accommodation for their error - ... Read More
We picked this cruise line based on reviews and reputation. We picked this cruise for the its itinerary and excursions. Viking missed the mark all too often, then when they had the opportunity to offer some accommodation for their error - chose to pour gasoline on the fire. Save your money and your sanity - sail another cruise line. I will acknowledge that the ship is lovely, but that is where the good news both starts and end. Our bed was like concrete and the towels were worn. The sheets were heavenly. Finally after a week, they had added enough mattress toppers and foam that we could sleep with waking up with aches and pains everywhere. Our pre-cruise extension to Victoria Falls, advertised as 4 days/3 nights was really 2 days as 2 days were spent in airports and on planes. The specifics of the travel arrangements were not disclosed until we arrived at our Johannesburg hotel. The transfers were to include all portage, yet we had to manhandle our luggage from the airport carousel to the bus for transfer to the ship. Daily activities: This cruise was 50% sea days. Normally, I am fine with that. But, this ship had very little to do day-to-day. There was one 30 minute exercise class at 8AM - go figure. Or you could sit with the knitting instructor for 2 hours in the morning, then repeat in the afternoon. Or you could make dolls from wood spools. If you played bridge - have at it for 3 or 4 hours a day, Repeat on every sea day! The food: Well, the starting ingredients are high quality. But the preparation is bland, tasteless and insanely inconsistent. The Chef's Table served tasty, hot food. But the main dining room, Manfredi's and World Café all failed on both those counts. We ordered the gnocchi at Manfredi's 4 time and it was different every time, proving that the kitchen didn't care about consistency or quality. And what should have been light, fluffy potato-based pillows where instead dense, lead pellets - they went back. Hot food was almost never served hot and we eventually gave up and simply ate from the cold tables. We spoke to all levels of kitchen and restaurant staff, each listened intently and empathetically and yet over 28 days - NOTHING CHANGED. If you have dietary restrictions, specifically Celiac disease, you will be hard pressed to stay healthy. We travelled with several people afflicted with this disease and can testify to the facts that wait staff and sometimes kitchen staff could not accurately provide ingredient information and no one took care to prevent cross contamination of gluten-free items as serving utensils were moved from platter to platter by uninformed passengers and crew. Excursions: This is where Viking really blew it. There was a nice selection of optional excursions including many opportunities to see the native animals of Africa, which frankly is the only reason we picked this itinerary. I spoke at length to the Viking representative about the tours and pricing prior to booking the trip. Unfortunately, every one of those excursions was sold out long before we were able to book any excursions, getting a waiting list was a challenge for us and Viking told my travel agent that there were no wait lists - which turned out to be a lie. Our segment was the last one of World Cruise and even all of them didn't get the excursions they wanted. Viking's response - a sharp stick in the eye and a terse "take the included excursion". Well, excuse me, but no one flies half way around the world and spends their hard earned money to sit on dirty buses, ride around filthy cities and look at buildings whose better days were decades ago. That Viking responded in that way illustrates a basic lack of customer service skills and no understanding of their customer base. In talking to on ship personnel who bore the brunt of wide spread discontent, there were approximately110 slots for safari and safari-like excursions across all African ports for 950 passengers. Really, Viking thought it reasonable to have capacity for just over 10% of passengers?? On cruises with Crystal, Regent and Oceania, we were rarely locked out of an excursion or suffered through a bad meal. For Viking this was the norm and at this class of service it is simply unacceptable. IN SUMMARY, SPEND YOUR MONEY WITH A CRUISE LINE THAT UNDERSTANDS AND VALUES YOU AS A CLIENT. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The Ship: Well maintained and operated. The crew was very helpful and pleasant. After dealing with a nasty private porter in New York (we ignored him, not sure why Oceania allows this) once we got to deal with the Oceania we had nothing ... Read More
The Ship: Well maintained and operated. The crew was very helpful and pleasant. After dealing with a nasty private porter in New York (we ignored him, not sure why Oceania allows this) once we got to deal with the Oceania we had nothing but positive experiences for the rest of our trip. Embarkation was easy. Crossing the Atlantic in the spring can be a little rough. I give great credit to the captain for his wisdom and experience. We bypassed two stops due to bad weather. I appreciated that he put the comfort and the safety of all those on his ship above that of any schedule. Food: The best I have had on any cruise line. One of our party was celiac and gluten free. They handled this very well and they prepared excellent gluten free food that looked and tasted like what everyone else was eating. The bread in particular was great. We tried all of the restaurants – the Italian one stood out with the best food and the best service. I highly recommend the Baristas on the 14th deck. Great coffee (better than most expensive coffee bars), quick and pleasant service and you are right next to the library and computer center. Laundry: A small free laundromat on each floor made laundry a breeze. Everything was clean and worked and there was an ironing board there as well. Being able to have clean clothes was a treat. Entertainment: The ship’s singers and dancers stood out for their enthusiasm and energy. They were also used to help out on the ships functions giving them much more exposure to the passengers than most of the crew. Internet: Satellite sourced, I do not think any ship internet is very good. Oceania Marina was no exception. Getting on the system in the middle of the day is almost impossible. Only at night or very early in the morning is the speed good enough to check emails. Library: I love libraries, lots of books and good comfortable chairs to while away a few hours of reading. Wood trimmed, and located next to the coffee bar, this library was very good. The only problem I had was that a number of passengers seem to feel that it was ok to take over a chair and ottoman and have a long winter’s nap, not the purpose for a small ship board library where room can be tight. The Passengers: The average age of the passengers on this trip seemed to be somewhat older than I would have expected, in their mid 70s and many had mobility and medical issues. There were a few younger passengers but very few. Most of the passengers were professionals – doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. I did hear that the subsequent trip had a younger crowd. Gym and Exercise: Great running/walking track on top of the ship. The gym had good equipment for a smaller ship and it was much appreciated. There is a separate room where there were classes, particularly yoga Medical: There is a full medical center on board with a doctor, nurse and a two bed ward. All seemed very competent. This ship had just experienced an outbreak of Norovirus. They were extremely good at washing everything down and constantly disinfecting. At the buffets, you are served – you do not serve yourself. This really reduces the chance of contamination. Despite this, I picked up a respiratory infection and pink eye which required a hospital visit after the cruise and a course of antibiotics to get me back healthy again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We choose this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately due to the seas we missed St. John’s and Dublin. Weather cannot be helped and everyone’s safety is most important. That is the risk whenever you cruise, you may not get to all the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately due to the seas we missed St. John’s and Dublin. Weather cannot be helped and everyone’s safety is most important. That is the risk whenever you cruise, you may not get to all the ports. I had cruised Oceania before years ago. The difference today, entertainment was horrible, especially doing a transatlantic you are waiting for it. You can also feel a change in the level of food in the terrace cafe. The cooking classes are probably the best on those cruises. Art classes were enjoyable too. But really not much more to do on board. The ships also need an indoor whirlpool. The spa was very nice and Florence gave excellent massages. Very professional! Overall, when doing transatlantic cruises be weary of weather and lots of sea action that is not fun. The onboard specialty restaurants were enjoyable and gave options. Know that you need to book early! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
A very interesting, rejuvenating and memorable 24-day last segment of 2019 World Cruise Pacific Princess Cruise Review by romyfernandez My wife and I did not take the complete 111 days 2019 World Cruise with Pacific Princess (PP), ... Read More
A very interesting, rejuvenating and memorable 24-day last segment of 2019 World Cruise Pacific Princess Cruise Review by romyfernandez My wife and I did not take the complete 111 days 2019 World Cruise with Pacific Princess (PP), Jan 3-Apr 27, Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Lauderdale for two reasons. 1) We had been to almost 93% of the first 87 days, from Ft. Lauderdale to Cape Town in our earlier cruises. 2) We needed time to prepare our 2018 income tax returns in Canada due April 30. While we had been to Barbados, Guadeloupe and St. Martin several times in the past, we’ve not been to Cape Town, S.A., Luderitz, Namibia, Walvis Bay, Namibia, St. Helena (U.K. Territory, Natal, Brazil, Fortaleza, Brazil, and Devil’s Island, French Guiana, interesting and historical ports in this voyage. This had been in our bucket list for quite some time. Luck was in our side when due to a cancellation, Oceanview stateroom 4056 was available for our taking on January 28, 2019. Having cruised with this ship three times in the past, involving a total of 60 cruise days, we knew what to expect on this boat. Pacific Princess continues to live up with Cruise Critic’s assessment as the Best Small Cruise Ship. An intimate ambience with the amenities of a larger ship, this old but elegant beauty sails the world. With only 670 guest capacity, the 423 guests completing the 111 day world cruise, many had become intimate. We were a couple of 141 guests who joined the last segment of the cruise at Cape Town on April 3rd, disembarking at Ft. Lauderdale on April 27. What we didn’t expect was Oceanview cabin 4056 would become our home away from home for 24 days. It is one of only two staterooms with wheel chair access. As such, it has more floor space than our balcony staterooms we stayed in mega ships in the past – approximately 280 sq ft of total room space. The washroom and bathroom area was about 56 sq ft, of which the shower area was about 20 sq ft, the largest shower area we’ve had in our many years of cruising. There was a grab bar near the sink. There were two grab bars and an emergency call button near the toilet bowl. And there were four grab bars in the curtained shower area and a collapsible seat for physically-challenged guests. Immediately next right to our cabin was the Passenger Service Desk, the Shore Excursion Desk, the Destination Expert Desk, the Purser’s Foyer area with beautiful furniture and furnishings, which we considered as our living room where Arts & Crafts Classes, Carpet Bowls Challenge and other indoor sporting events were held. The impressive ala Titanic stair case joins Deck 4 and Deck 5 Atrium where big events were held, including Champagne Waterfall Night, and Easter Eggs Exhibits. A short walk on our hallway to the left was a small but reliable Medical Center. Pacific has only two lifts—FWD and AFT. Being on midship location, from our cabin just required a short walk to either lifts to reach public areas on Decks 4, 5, 9, 10 and 11. Being a small ship, we could easily walk from AFT to FWD or vice-versa with ease, and use the lifts or walk up the stairs from our deck to Deck 9, where the Panorama Buffet Restaurant, Pizzeria, BBQ Grill, ice cream parlor, the Bandstand, pool bar, the pool (only one and small), whirlpool, Internet Cafe, Card Room, Lotus Spa and Fitness Center are located. Gangway for going off and boarding the ship was often located on Deck 4 FWD, a short walk from our cabin. Gangway for tender was located one deck below, Deck 3 FWD. Having also cruised with other cruise lines, we always enjoy the food served in the buffet and main dining restaurants on Princess Cruises, especially on this voyage. Good and friendly service is the norm that can be expected from every cruise lines these days. But having our stateroom steward, our waiter at the main dining room, and many dining staff in the buffet restaurant coming from our native country was a bonus, who treated us royally and pampered us with their friendly and outstanding housekeeping and dining services, making our cruise pleasant, relaxing and memorable. The guest performers at showtime at Cabaret Lounge were all great and entertaining artists. Being a small ship, PP did not have a production show of its own as being shown in Princess bigger ships. As the norm with smaller ships with other cruise lines, PP has farmed out its production shows to Belinda King Creative Productions (based in Southampton) whose professional singers and dancers (former ballroom dancing winners with ballet and gymnastic training) always dazzled the audience with their every performance. On this voyage, we enjoyed the informative destination talks and slides shown about the ports we were about to visit and the various interesting and informative enrichment lectures, both held at Cabaret Lounge and replayed the following day on cabin TV. At this lounge, they also showed new movies with free popcorn every time the ship was at sea (the same movies replayed in Cabin’s TV the following day). The synopsis of all movies shown was available at the Library or at Passenger Services Desk. One of the unique services provided by Princess only on world cruises was the availability of five abridged newspapers available at Passenger Services daily to keep up with current events while away from home—USA Times, The Canadian, Britain Today, Australia Today ,and European News. At the end of the cruise, Princess also provides each stateroom informative “Log of the Cruise,” summarizing the ports covered, distance (Nautical Miles) sailed from embarkation to disembarkation and speed (Knots) between ports for every cruise that other cruise lines do not provide. On a cruise, one can be active or lazy. Many of the 423 guests completing the 111-day are ‘senior seniors’ who retired to their cabin after the first showtime at 8:00pm. Given our ‘junior senior’ age (79 and 73), we attended events that still gave us enjoyment, and did our own things to have the relaxation we needed after the last harsh and extremely cold winter we had in Canada. To enrich further our travel experience, we booked for shore excursions on places we’ve not visited yet, organized by Princess (which the ship will wait for any unexpected delay returning to the boat). It was worth every penny we paid for them. Cape Town, S.A.: We were disappointed our prepaid excursion to the summit of Table Mountain was cancelled on April 4 as it was raining hard that day. Instead it was replaced with a visit to South African Museum and driving tour of the seacoast which we did not see much because of the bad weather. Because the replacement tour was short by 1.5 hours of what we paid, as a good will Gesture, Princess offered us 75% discount! Our tour of the museum for one hour was not wasted. Apart from the floor having dinosaur exhibits we failed to cover (we’ve seen lots of them in Canada and USA), we covered three floors showing stuffed mammals and birds of South Africa, vicariously enjoying the experience of having taken African Safari excursion. Part of the museum was about Nelson Mandela, Tata Mandiba to the South Africans. Again, we saved time and money going to Johannesburg to visit Mandela’s Museum. Luderitz, Namibia, an isolated town built on a rocky promontory. Visited Felsenkirche (the Church on the Rocks): and Goerke Haus, a grand estate dating to the early 1900s that has been restored to its former glory and authentic period furniture and furnishings, a historical old mansion also sitting on a rock. Walvis Bay, Namibia (another German colony): Many in our group climbed Dune 7, the highest of the famous massive sand dunes that line the coast, an experience of a lifetime. Even attempting to climb part of the dune is a lifetime experience. Visited Mondesa Township, a village just a few kilometers from the resort of Swakopmund (where Angelina Jolie delivered one of her daughters), but a world away, less developed and less familiar to Westerners. Explored the real Africa-immersing ourselves in its people and authentic experiences. St. Helena, (UK Territory in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and Brazil where Napoleon Bonaparte was last exiled [he escaped on his first two exiles], died and buried, although his body was returned to France in 1840): Apart from climbing Jacob’s Ladder, built in 1829, with 699 steep steps connecting the lower Jamestown(Capital) to Ladder Hill Fort above, we also had the Napoleon Experience visiting Longwood House, his final residence during his 6 year exile on the island from 1815-1821. The house is now a museum (no photos allowed) maintained by France showing the bed he died, medals, handwritten manuscripts, and other memorabilia. Visited his well preserved tomb (1821) located on a beautiful, serene rain forest. Also visited The Plantation House, a handsome, Georgian-style house built in 1792, as the country residence for the Governor of the Honourable East India Company, now home to the Governor of St. Helana. The Plantation Grounds are home to Jonathan, a Sychelles Giant Tortoise, approximately 187 years old, considered to be the world’s eldest living reptile. Natal, Brazil, the 400-year old “City of the Sun”: Visited the largest cashew tree, close to the beautiful Pirangi Beach. Measuring 1,640 feet around, it’s earned a place in the “Guinness Book of Records.” It can be a misnomer though. It’s not a one-trunk tree, like the giant Sequoia trees. The main trunk is more than 125 years old, its roots underground, however, spreads and sprouts as new trunks covering the 1,640 feet enclosed mini-park for this phenomenal tree. Fortaleza, Brazil, Brazil’s 5th largest city, formerly a Dutch fortress built in 1654: Lovingly nicknamed the “city of light” for its sun-filled days, drove through its many, long stretch of beaches, where the locals and tourists flock all-year round. Drove through its historical buildings downtown. And a stop for almost 50 minutes in Central Market, a 4-storey building, where souvenir items abound for purchase at a discount after bargaining! It was the last stop where the women in our bus, including my wife, said they needed more time! Note: Local craft markets in Namibia and Brazil didn’t accept U.S. currency. To exchange US $ into local currency with Passenger Services on the ship, there was a commission of US$4.50 per transaction. As well, local craft vendors in these two countries we visited, hardly spoke English. Pacific Princess will still make the 2020 World Cruise for Princess Cruises. However, Island Princess with more guests (2,200) and balconies (700+) will make its debut making the 2021 World Cruise, covering 111 days, cross the equator 2 times, 50 destinations, 14 late night calls, 32 countries, 34,000 nautical miles and 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For business reasons, Island Princess is replacing Pacific Princess in sailing around the world. With more cabin rooms, the guests will also benefit in that compared with Pacific Princess with lesser guest capacity being a small ship, the cruise fare will be lesser sailing with Island Princess. To entice guests on this voyage, Princess had special but limited time offers – 2021 World Cruise Early Booking Benefits for guests still on board the PP and before disembarking at their final destination, Ft. Lauderdale or L.A.: Free Onboard Credit (by stateroom category), Free Gratuities (by stateroom category, Free Wi-Fi, Free Air (by stateroom category), Free Stateroom Location Upgrade, Free Specialty Dining (up to 4 dining), Free Wine: Up to four bottles worth $32 per bottle, and Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle Launch Savings up to $1,000 per person discount applicable to all stateroom categories for guests completing the 111-day voyage (FLL/FLL OR LAX/LAX), or 97-day voyage (LAX-FLL). Because of the above tempting early booking benefits, when we disembarked Pacific Princess at Ft. Lauderdale on April 27, 2019, the 2021 World Cruise with Island Princess was almost or practically sold out! As of April 27, 2019, contrary to circulating rumors, Princess Cruises does not have any plan of selling Pacific Princess after she completes its 2020 World Cruise. Whatever the fate of Pacific Princess after that voyage, my wife and I could cherish we’ve been part of her cruising legacy. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is my second cruise, aboard the same ship Riviera. However it was my first time as a solo traveler. The ship itself and everything included in it was wonderful! However, the service was very poor. As a solo traveler, I was virtually ... Read More
This is my second cruise, aboard the same ship Riviera. However it was my first time as a solo traveler. The ship itself and everything included in it was wonderful! However, the service was very poor. As a solo traveler, I was virtually ignored when it came to service. So badly so, that after the first two reservations in the specialty restaurants, I cancelled my future reservations since I did not want to go through such treatment again. If you are seated by yourself, you will be waited on, eventually. But only after you say something to the Manager. Even after that the service will be slow, the wine steward will not wait on you, and forget having your water refilled or even asking you if you would like dessert. They make it obvious that Oceania simply does not want you there as a solo. In the buffet it was not much better. You serve yourself and always have to get your own drinks. For several days I would get my own water and coffee and then a head waiter saw me doing this .and asked if he could help. I explained to him that I knew if I wanted anything I would have to get it myself. He was apologetic, but full of excuses as to why I was ignored. After that, I did notice a small improvement in the service. I can only assume he must have said something to the staff. This treatment was everywhere on the ship. Everywhere!! If you were seated by yourself, you were ignored. I did find a bartender that was the complete opposite and treated me like everyone else, so there were exceptions. But if you are a solo, do not travel on Oceania. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated ... Read More
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated pleasure trips since 1844, and the world's first dedicated cruise ship in 1881. It is the sister company of, and retains strong links with, P&O Cruises Australia. P&O Cruises was de-merged from the P&O group in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises plc, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003, to form Carnival Corporation & plc. P&O Cruises currently operate seven cruise ships and tailor their cruises to the British market. Why we chose P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of occasions as they sail from Southampton. They offer much more of a British feel and use pound Stirling for currency. Having 3 pin plugs in all cabins is always good as it saves carrying all those extra travel adapters for those essential electronics. We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary as it stopped in Israel, and the fact that Arcadia is an adult only ship. We boarded the ship in Dubai and sailed home via the Suez Canal to Southampton on the ship as part of her 2019 world cruise. The ship Arcadia was ordered by Holland America Line in 2000 as their fifth Vista class vessel. In 2003 she was allocated to the Cunard Line to become their Queen Victoria. Shortly before her launch the decision was made to transfer the ship to the P&O Cruises fleet. As a result, Arcadia has a Cunard style mast similar to those found on the RMS Queen Mary 2. She also sports a modified QE2 style funnel, with cowling removed instead of the traditional P&O style funnel found on the other purpose built ships. Arcadia has a gross tonnage of 84,000tones with a passenger capacity of just over 2000 and is an adult only ship. Arcadia’s biggest disappointment is her lack of a usable atrium in the centre of the ship, although P&O have tried to lighten the space with coloured lighting etc in her last refit in 2017. Arcadia has been plagued with problems with her cabin waste system with blockages and leaks again something P&O have been working to resolve all of her working life. Arcadia’s signature features are her midship glass lifts and the retracting roof over the main swimming pool both of which are features from her being built for Holland America Line. She also boasts over 3000 pieces of art through the ship creating a sophisticated feel on board. Dining Options on Board Dining on Arcadia is as you would expect very well taken care of, from buffet dinning to several specialty restaurants. The main dining room is on 2 levels at the rear of the ship, on the lower level it is set dining times 18:30 and 21:00. The upper level is freedom dining where you can turn up for a table any time fro 18:00 to 21:30. This option has to be pre booked when booking the cruise as there are only a certain amount of spaces. Even then at peak times you will have to wait for a table for 2 or get to the restaurant when it opens. We had freedom dining on our cruise and would certainly have this style of dining again. The buffet restaurant ( The Lido) is open from 06:00 to 01:00 serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon Tea, dinner and evening light meals. The food is of good quality, complementary fruit juices are only available at breakfast in the buffet area. The 2 specialty restaurants, Sindhu and Ocean Grill both have an additional cover charge. They are both very good and they change menus several times during the voyages. While we were on Arcadia P&O were trailing a glass house style menu in intermezzo outside of ocean grill, this worked well and we hope that it becomes a permanent feature on board Arcadia. Eric lanyards afternoon tea is another specialty offer, it is served in ocean grill on selected sea days and is worth trying. During the day by the midship pool (Neptune’s) there is a grill serving burgers, fish and chips ,jacket potatoes etc there is also a small sandwich bar just to the side of this grill. This area can get busy during the day, especially when the sliding roof is open in warm climates. The Cabins Arcadia’s cabins come is 5 basic categories with a number of sub categories. The categories are inside, ocean view, balcony, mini suite and suite. There are also a number of single occupancy cabins both inside and ocean view. Most of the mini suites are midships. All cabins are well appointed as you would expect with all the normal cabin features. All cabins have UK 3 pin plugs as standard, also tea/coffee making facilities replenished throughout your stay. The cabins have a mini bar(chargeable to your on board account ) and fridge. Most of the mini suites and suites have a bath and shower. A few of the Balcony and Ocean View cabins have combined showers and baths. All grades of cabins have complementary shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. There is plenty of wardrobe space in all cabins. This is a feature on all Vista Class ships that make them great for longer cruises or round the world trips. All of the cabins following the refit in 2017 now have flat screen TVs with pay for view films but as yet, like other ships in the P&O fleet, you can not view your cabin bill or order room service / interactive services via the tv. Things to do on Board As with any UK main stream cruise company the daily entertainment is varied from guest speakers to deck quoits. There is always something going, and the good thing about the ship is that you can always find a quiet spot to read the book you have taken from the library onboard. On this cruise because it was the last leg of the world cruise there was daily art classes in one of the meeting rooms. There is a small onboard cinema seating around 30 in leather recliner chairs, they show current films that are on at the cinema at home, due to space restrictions it’s always best to book a seat. The gym also has a full daily program of both free and chargeable fitness classes all of which are good quality and the instructors know what they’re doing Swimming pools, sun decks and Spa There are 3 pools on board, the main one being in the centre of the ship. It is known as Neptune’s pool, this is where the sliding roof covers the pool in less favourable conditions. There are sun loungers around the pool. The pool has a bar area and a take way food place serving burgers and chips etc The second pool is on the aft deck behind the lido buffet, again there is a lot of space for loungers and has a large bar, this area is fully open to the elements all the time The 3rd pool in located in the spa area and is a pay for use pool, it is always heated to around 34’ and has whirlpool jets that can be turned on and off. You can pay a one off fee for the entire cruise or choose to pay daily providing there is space available, they only have 30 spaces per cruise for this area The sun decks through the ship are spacious even at peak times so you are always able to get a bed with space round it. The large well appointed gym and spa are right at the top and front of the ship above the navigation bridge. It has it’s own sauna in each changing room . If you want to use the steam room hot bed or sensual sauna then again they are chargeable with the use of the thermal suite. The gym offer daily fitness classes and talks. The spa has a full list of wellbeing and wellness courses / treatments again all as additional costs. Would we Recommend P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of their ships, this is what lead us to book this cruise. If you are looking for a cruise that looks after the UK cruiser then P&O is definitely for you. Would we book another leg of a world cruise, definitely yes but there are a number of things to consider with this type of cruise. • Large amounts of sea days back to back, we had a 6 and 5 day run of sea days • Average age of the customers is generally higher than on normal cruises • Entertainment tailored to type of cruise and age of customers • Customer familiarity with the crew most noticeable in the buffet and main restaurants as they have been together for the last 3 months or so, it can make you feel left out. • Numerous special event for world cruisers only, so parts of the ship often restricted (bars and restaurants etc) This aside we did enjoy the trip home from Dubai especially sailing through the Suez canal and the trips in Israel ( the reason for booking the trip) We like the smaller ships ( around 2000 passengers) as they are usually more friendly. Our biggest dislike is P&Os Great British Sail Away, complete with Union Jack waving, but majority of the ship joins in so we go with the flow with it. So if you live in the UK and want a great British cruise with a main stream cruise line then P&O certainly deliver no matter what ship you travel on. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Booked cruise to come through the Suez which did not disappoint however on landing from flight from UK we were taken to a hotel for breakfast as we were told we cannot board ship til lunchtime. There were 1400 passengers boarding in ... Read More
Booked cruise to come through the Suez which did not disappoint however on landing from flight from UK we were taken to a hotel for breakfast as we were told we cannot board ship til lunchtime. There were 1400 passengers boarding in Dubai!! Approaching the ship is a fabulous sight but when you get on board it is evident it needs a refurb.Our balcony stateroom was ok but rusting pipes on balcony did not look nice,Found all staff to be efficient, helpful and understanding but had initial issue with Brittannia dining room getting a decent table for 2 but eventually got one.Used dining room for breakfast also and the maitre d’ had the annoying habit of giving us a table for 2 where we had to squeeze past another table to get to it when there other more suitable tables free.Food in dining room was excellent and all waiting staff were very helpful.For dinner you are allotted your table for the whole of the cruise which was fine.If you don’t like to be served food you can use the Kings Court self service restaurant but can be a bit of a bun fight trying to find a table and only the brits queue. Prices on board for drinks and speciality coffees horrendous with 15% surcharge.Evening entertainment was very good and the guest on board speakers had good attendance - particularly John McCarthy and the group called The Rewind Project.On board daytime activities very varied and found on deck 2 where there are games and puzzles for those who like a quieter place.Golden Lion pub too small for quizzes. We treated ourselves to a dinner in the specialist Verandah Restaurant at a cost of $39 each but what a rip off.We were told all about the type of steak on offer and had a choice of steak knives presented to us in a box- well what ever next.Food was fine but served on huge plates which made the quantity of food seem small and as the place was very underused we were constantly being asked is there anything else we needed and are we enjoying the food . It felt as though they needed the table for the next sitting.Needless to say we only went there once. Overall cruise was good with stop off points of interest but the cost of tours was high and when on board using their credit card system you seem to forget everything comes with a 15% surcharge and then the suggested tips . Be warned keep an eye on your daily spend. Read Less

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