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105 World Cruise Reviews

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
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
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date June 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
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
Sail Date May 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
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 2019
The crew were for the most part pleasant and accommodating. Food was above average and the pastry chef was particularly good. Themed dinners were okay but too much Thai. Food not always available but 24 room service was pretty good. The ... Read More
The crew were for the most part pleasant and accommodating. Food was above average and the pastry chef was particularly good. Themed dinners were okay but too much Thai. Food not always available but 24 room service was pretty good. The tours were conducted by good English speaking instructors (Dalian to Lushun prison and Beijing to Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square). Internet was spotty. Room 6004 was a good size, beds comfortable with lovely sheets but the whole ship needs renovation. Do not reserve this cabin if you have any issue with motion sickness. It is in the forward part of the ship and it was awful in rough seas. It was also very noisy when the entertainment in the lounge was going on. Overall a good trip. The port agent in Kobe did a good job helping us to get back to the ship on time on one precarious occasion. The age range though really is 65-80. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the other guests that were new to the ship. There are a lot of seniors on this trip (who else could take off for 113 days) so don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere as that won’t happen. We had an Oceanview room on the second deck right in the middle. We would not choose this again for two reasons. The pilots that board to help the ship dock usually come in very early in the morning right below your window and then there is the cleaning of the deck (deck three is the walking deck) also very early in the morning. However if noise doesn’t bother you, the cabin was nice. It had a large picture window, plenty of drawers and closet space and ours had a renovated bathroom that had a large glass shower and a marble counter. Unfortunately the rest of the décor was aged and some of the wood on the dressers had chips out of it. The rooms on deck 6 and 7 were fully refurbished during the last dry dock, hopefully they do the same with deck two. The itinerary was the best. Top ports to us were: Easter Island, Komodo Island, all of New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Cadiz (Seville), Copenhagen, Oslo and Dublin. We learned a few things to pass on to others regarding ports. If you are going into a tender port and really, really want to explore that port book a shore excursion. Even though the price is double what a port excursion is, you are first off the ship. We had rough seas when visiting Easter Island and some people did not get on the tender to view this impressive place. However, we were lucky to get a couple of hours on the Island and were very disappointed in Holland America when we saw an awful lot of staff on the island before we got there. Some were helping out with the tours but most were either from the shops or officers, we assumed that guests would have first dibs on the tenders. Pros: - Itinerary was absolutely amazing. - The Microsoft Digital Workshop was a free service that had classes on how best to use Windows 10. We learned a lot - Gloeta was a biology lecturer we had on board that was fabulous. It was standing room only for her lectures on the Pacific Ocean and what was lurking below the water. - The staff was second-to-none. Big shout out to Captain Johnathan Mercer. He kept us informed about all that was going on and always had time to say hello or answer a question. Henk Mensink is the hotel director but you see him everywhere. Wishing you a pleasant day in port, helping you on to the tender, picking up after guest. Holland America is lucky to have him. The wait staff and kitchen help were happy and helpful. - The ship was amazing clean, down to staff polishing the hand rails everyday on every stairwell and even brushing the carpet. Rooms were also exceptionally clean. - The food was all you could hope for. No need to dress up for formal nights in the dining room as the same food is served at the Lido (sure saves on what you have to pack). No need to get to the speciality restaurants either as the food is just that good. I liked the fact that almost all the food is served to you from behind the sneeze guards. We assume that there would be a lot less waste and much more cleanly that way. Cons - The internet is stupid expensive and so unreliable. We paid $700 US for a plan for the whole cruise and had better luck at the ports and in McDonalds on land, than trying to get the internet either to work at all or was so slow you couldn’t connect with what sites you wanted. - Staff – the cruise director was invisible except when the captain was at an activity, otherwise you never saw him or he quickly passed you without even a nod. The shore specialist was more interested in telling you all about the history of the place or what his favourite items were (sailing and pubs) than giving you hints on what to buy, where to buy, how much to pay, etc. Very disappointing for both of these. - Library needs to either get updated books or become a digital library. Some of the books had been there an extended period of time and anything new was few and far between. - The entertainers on board were average at best. Some good, some bad. The average age looked to be around 75 so the entertainment was geared to that era. - There were two big back windows in the dining room that you could not see out of because they were shattered but were never changed out the whole trip. Also couldn’t see out of most of the windows by the end of the cruise as they were not cleaned. We had to complain in order to get our window in our cabin cleaned. Even though there were some cons (as I assume all ships have), this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and what was saw of the world was fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We selected this cruise initially because of the advertised stop at Papua New Guinea. Otherwise, we had previously visited almost all the other ports. The day before we boarded, we were advised by our travel agent that Regent had ... Read More
We selected this cruise initially because of the advertised stop at Papua New Guinea. Otherwise, we had previously visited almost all the other ports. The day before we boarded, we were advised by our travel agent that Regent had canceled the stop at Papua New Guinea. There were 3 or 4 different reasons going around among passengers as to why, although we never learned. The ship was very nice, the service generally excellent. The staterooms (they called them "suites") were a bit small when compared with other ships or cruise lines in this category. We were on for 36 days, and storage was a bit tight. There was no chair in the stateroom, but there was a somewhat uncomfortable two person couch, with a large high table in front. It just made things even tighter. The bed was moderately comfortable. We were offered a choice of either a firm mattress, which was like a board, or a too soft mattress with no edge support. If you sat at the edge of the bed while getting dressed or putting on shoes, you would slide right off. The cabin decor was pleasant, but neutral. The bathrooms were somewhat small, with a large walk-in shower with good water pressure, and a single sink, not a double as one might expect on a ship of this category. Re food, breakfast was most often on the Verandah deck with a large selection buffet and table service offering most anything you might want. The French restaurant had spotty food, excellent foie gras appetizer. Most of the dishes were French in name only. The service was excellent. Prime Seven was the steak restaurant, with lots of steak and non-steak choices. We thought it consistently had the best food on the ship. The main dining room, the Compass Rose had a relatively large rotating selection, changing every night, plus a large choice of "standards", always available. The service there was spotty, some waiters very attentive and quick, others not so. The food here was good to average. We felt the food of Oceania, owned by the same company, NCL, was quite a bit better. Overall, the food ranged from bland to the point of tasteless to very salty. I recall that the veal medallions were actually thick chunks of veal. The tours were average, no better than the standard tours offered by most other cruise lines. The few that were more interesting, were available at an extra charge. The entertainment was typical of mid-size ships. There was the standard group of shipboard singers and dancers, although there were more of them than on other ships. The "stars" which were brought on in various ports, performing twice in their visit, were not any better than other lesser-rated cruise lines. The cruise director was very good and an excellent entertainer in his own right. The enrichment lectures were topical and generally very good. One lecturer, who was only on the ship for the earlier segment, was the best I have ever heard, and could even make a laundry-list sound exciting. The ship's common areas where typical of ships in this category, with the usual number of cocktail lounges, a coffee-shop, and a nice theater was evening shows. Overall, it was nice, but not exceptional. Other than the few extra cost port excursions, and better grade wines, everything is included. It is very nice not to be nickel-dimed as on many other lines. Our big complaint was the price. It was considerably more than other cruises lines, but the product which was delivered was no better than many other less expensive lines, even if you include the cost of alcohol and tours. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We usually travel with P&O during the January - March period to escape the British winter but they had nothing new this year so we thought a return to Fred Olsen with a different itinerary would be different. We travelled on ... Read More
We usually travel with P&O during the January - March period to escape the British winter but they had nothing new this year so we thought a return to Fred Olsen with a different itinerary would be different. We travelled on Balmoral 10 years ago and she has been sympathetically updated since and is very well maintained. The problem we had last time still exists unfortunately - she is just not up to maintaining her itinerary in heavy weather. Whereas P&O ships maintain 18 - 20 knots, we were down to 11-15 most of the time. This adds to the length of any passage; 6 days on the Atlantic rather than five for example. We missed 2 ports owing to this and our time in many ports was often reduced to little more than a half day. As we actually visited 13 ports in 62 nights, it was lucky that we enjoyed sea days! Fortunately the Atlantic was kind to us both ways so we lost no time there. Unfortunately the ship picked up a fishing net in the Pacific (not anyone's fault despite popular opinion) and we were reduced to 10/11 knots maximum. Fortunately we were able to fix the problem in San Diego. All credit to the captain (and the excellent Cruise Director Elliot Taylor) who ran two forums for the passengers to explain the issue and its implications. He didn't have to do it and it was much appreciated. As a result, tours to Los Angeles had to run by coach from San Diego which was not viable for many. An unexpected side effect of the change to the itinerary was that in retrospect our days in the US ports co-incided with the few days of good weather during a cold wet period there. The original itinerary would have meant our visits would have quite bad weather. So it wasn't all bad luck! The crew, as always on Fred, were terrific. The Filipinos particularly appear to be a joyous and optimistic people and are so friendly and accommodating. On 'special' nights, the bar girls were often allowed to dress up in all their finery which made some of the passengers feel very old indeed! The crew shows are always a 'Must Do' on a Fred ship. The entertainment, particularly the Show Company was pretty good, as was the lecture programme (which included two submarine historians strangely). Violinist Michael Bacala was the star of the cruise for us - and it was good to see Captain Henrik Mattson keeping up the Fred tradition of getting involved by being thrown in the pool on one 'Pirate' event! One thing that did disappoint a little was the quality of the meals; the dinners in particular. They were often unimaginative and not very well done which was not usual in our Fred experience. On P&O the same meals are served up in different combinations to add a bit of variety but on Balmoral the menus were fixed - and appear to have been so for several years in some cases. The two Canal transits were well commentated, in good weather and full of interest. We actually did the transit four times - twice by ship, once by coach and once on the Panama Railway heritage train which is 'must do' tour. The ship had around 900 fellow passengers aboard - well below the ship's capacity. This was probably because we had many singles (who were well catered for) and nearly always good mixers. Inevitably the age profile was older but we found most people to be pretty friendly and they were nearly all frequent Fred travellers ; we were surprised by the loyalty everyone expressed. Fred really is a family concern. Whenever we encountered a big cruise ship in port, universal revulsion was expressed! Interesting since so few of our fellow passengers had ever sailed on a bigger ship! Fred does deservedly well to keep such a loyal following - hopefully they have a business strategy to cater for when we all die of old age! It was a good cruise that rolled happily along with lots to entertain us on the may sea days. Maybe people who are more interested in destinations would have been disappointed by our progress but we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We flew to London via Hong Kong, had New Years with a family member before spending two nights in Southampton. We had booked a balcony cabin on C deck near the aft, it was very comfortable although was showing some signs of wear, the ... Read More
We flew to London via Hong Kong, had New Years with a family member before spending two nights in Southampton. We had booked a balcony cabin on C deck near the aft, it was very comfortable although was showing some signs of wear, the bathrooms definitely need updating. However we had a great Cabin Steward who went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed our cruise. The cabin was kept spotless and as I say it was very comfortable. The location does tend to allow for more movement during rougher seas, but it did not bother us. Overall the service we received on board was excellent throughout form food and drink servers to other personnel at reception etc. We dined in both specialty restaurants and enjoyed most meals, although on occasion service was a little stressed, yes there were times food did disappoint but once again overall it was a pleasant experience for the duration of 45 days. We found Captain Cook a delight, always friendly and ready for a chat, he had a great deal to deal with on this cruise with deaths, illness and storms, but he handled it all extremely well. Most fellow passengers were friendly and yes there were the habitual complainers, thank goodness we tend to keep to ourselves and the lovely group of fellow passengers we shared drinks and dinner with sometimes. The ship is older and the outside looks quite beaten up, salty seas take their toll for sure, but interior wise she is kept immaculately clean. On occasion we did see the odd bucket to collect a drip, but hardly anything to worry about. Dining in the Buffet was very good and a good variety for all meals served, the dining room was also very good and service did vary from time to time. Is the food very English, one could say yes, but there were plenty of options, besides it was great to try different things. Drinks can be pricey along with laundry, we gave up on the self service laundry, very cramped and always busy...We did not have prepaid gratuities on the ship, so we tipped our individuals accordingly and they were happy with that. We don't mind tipping for good service and it goes in the right pockets... Disembarkation in Sydney was a bit shambolic as we were supposed to disembark in Brisbane, but a cyclone ended that. we opted to drive ourselves back to Queensland as flights offered by Carnival were not appealing and no excess baggage allowance! They put us up overnight in Sydney, sadly we had a disgraceful hotel allocated, old, tired and dirty, cockroaches in the room! Would we chose to cruise on Arcadia again, yes but we did find 45 days a little long, I am sure some shorter sectors may appeal in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Once in a lifetime Expedition itinerary. Aldabra ... Zodiacs to fabulous beaches ... Drift Snorkeling from the ocean into the Aldabra Lagoon ... Expedition crew is the only thing that kept this from becoming a very bad cruise. ... Read More
Once in a lifetime Expedition itinerary. Aldabra ... Zodiacs to fabulous beaches ... Drift Snorkeling from the ocean into the Aldabra Lagoon ... Expedition crew is the only thing that kept this from becoming a very bad cruise. Stateroom was a bit small but thoughtfully designed and we found ample space for our 4 very big bags with drone equipment and lots of camera gear. Personal Butler from Bangladesh is a joke. He can never be reached and has at least 10 to 15 suites to attend to. He is really just part of Room Service ... or a Stateroom Attendant that is marketed as a butler. We never could reach him directly ... Only way was to go through the front desk. Could not get a haircut or shave on board at the spa. Ship did not have bottled water on board. You were forced to drink the on board water, which had a mineral or odd taste as it is produced using Reverse Osmosis. I complained so they made an exception to me and got bottled water at the next port of call. Dining room attendants would cover up the "Evian" Label for me to make sure that other guests were less likely to notice that I was served bottled water. Executive Chef and staff in the main dining room are TOP CLASS. Silversea Shined here. Food prep was fantastic. People on Deck 7, which was one of the only places to sun bathe (as near the pool on Deck 5 only 5 chairs and people eating around you) .... NO SERVICE ON DECK 7 ... No one to take your drink order ... Have to go yourself to set up a sun lounge chair ... or go down to Deck 5 to get someone to help ... No towels available without going down. Some of the Fillipina Staff on Deck 5 were rude and very resistant to help ... Some were attentive and conscientious. Me: "Would like a cocktail.. what do you like to make?" Them: "Anything you like" ... Me: "What do you suggest?" Bartender: "Tell me what you want I will make it." .. on and on .. and on .. it goes ... Some of the Dumbest bartenders EVER. Certainly this is about 2 stars for service ... Never (except on a formal night) did I see anyone wearing white gloves and coming to offer something to guests on Deck 7. Misleading marketing. Risk of becoming unhygenic ship, in my mind. No plastic liners in trash bags in the staterooms. Toilets need to be flushed multiple times because of the poor quality of the toilet. Showers are good and crew was responsive to requests so this mitigated the risks. Many lectures on plastic use ... ridiculous ... we come to vacation to get away from radical plastic nazis and here they are on a SilverSea cruise with their propaganda and stupidity. I enjoyed nature hikes, but don't enjoy the hysteria about a bird or a leemar or a turtle. Much prefer to listen to the sounds of nature rather than the chatter of a tour guide or a bunch of guests talking about "snowfall" in Boston. The lectures are a good place to listen to the professional naturalists who truly were TOP CLASS. If you see Scotti or Roddy in your SilverSea Travels, you will know how extraordinary some of their staff are. Ships Doc is #1. Brazil food attendent is #1! We had fantastic Main Dining Room table waiter and attendent from Phillipines. This ship is great for expeditions but, in my opinion, the service truly is far from achieving a standard consistent with the Brand SilverSea. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Embarkation was great & smooth (vs. disembarkation which was a rotten experience; later). Rio de Janeiro was interesting to see with beaches, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. The city is a typical Latin city that is overcrowded ... Read More
Embarkation was great & smooth (vs. disembarkation which was a rotten experience; later). Rio de Janeiro was interesting to see with beaches, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. The city is a typical Latin city that is overcrowded and dirty. Spent a lot of time in traffic. Food however was excellent; fast, tasty & uniquely served. The next port was a non+, pretty much a repeat of Rio without the great attraction. Two cities in Uruguay were like the Riviera, clean very safe. Buenos Aires was more of Rio. Walk with the penguins was good but a long drive from port & a lot more walking to the ocean. Great welcome center but the bathrooms at the park were HORRIBLE; 3 of 5 toilets were broken, stalls had no paper and toilets were barely usable with no flush water (TP was on ONE roll outside the stalls). For the money that goes into that park, they need to do a better job! Rode a great train in Ushuaia, a new, replica of a 0*1*1*0 Garratt. The first port in Chile was a nice walk in the Antarctic rain forest, along a river to a great water fall, + a wine tasting at the end. Disembarked in Chile at San Antonio and traveled to Santiago. We had to CLEAR the ship by 0900. There was one gang-way for entrance of new crew and departing passenger. There was no order and no one controlling exiting passenger; it was a group, screwed-up mess (Viet Nam vets have an expression that I cannot use here - like cluster...). Groups were called before there was room to accommodate them for disembarkation. Long walk to buses (& I mean long). We took a shore excursion since our flight did not leave until 950 PM. Drive into Santiago was nice, stopped for snack on the way a cute little restaurant. In the city, typical traffic & inability to stop to & see points of interest. One local craft market that was overpriced and then a fancy mall for lunch (on our own). We at seafood of Abalone, potato salad and greens; delicious! Then on to the airport. WE STOOD for two hours before we could even check in, THOUSANDS of disembarked ship's passengers. This was INEXCUSABLE! I will never depart from Santiago, Chile again!!! Worse than De Gaul in Paris. Overall life on ship was great, great staff, great food & VERY comfortable accommodations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
So far we have always cruised on Oceania’s Riviera but decided to “pay a visit” to her older sister, the M/S Marina. The Transatlantic Passage from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro began on November 28th and ended on December 14th. We flew ... Read More
So far we have always cruised on Oceania’s Riviera but decided to “pay a visit” to her older sister, the M/S Marina. The Transatlantic Passage from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro began on November 28th and ended on December 14th. We flew into Lisbon a day early and stayed over at a hotel close to the port. On the embarkation day the departure from the cruise terminal was very disorganized and chaotic; no special area for suites guests to wait, in fact Regent was embarking their guests in the same hall at the same time with no clear separation. As we arrived without luggage tags (not our fault), we worried for a while that our luggage may end up on the wrong ship. Eventually, we were sent off to do the registration on board but it was not clear how to get there. All of a sudden an agent showed up and indicated which door to exit to board the ship. We had to follow others hoping it was the right way. It turned out that the ship was located at about ¼ of a mile away and we all walked off into strong, cold winds. All the usual procedures (info, Credit Cards, photos, etc.) were done at the Marina’s reception desk. It was indeed, a very unusual and surprising way to embark. It is impossible not to compare the two ships; the layouts are the same, locations of restaurants, lounges, spa, exercise room, etc. are located exactly on the same decks and area. The clearest differences (for our taste) were in general, the art work; by far Riviera is much superior and Marina looks/feels older though it’s quite well maintained. The staff were as usual, excellent, coming from different parts of the world: many from Ukraine, quite a number from Honduras, Serbia, a surprisingly good number of Italians and French, from India (mainly being Butlers), etc. The food…..well, there are some issues here. I will start where we had our first meal. *The Terrace (Lunch on day of embarkation) - Choices were very good in all the categories and the servers, excellent as usual. The difference and number in choices were starting to be felt, day after day of sailing, so imagine after 16 days; happy to say that the staff kept being as friendly and helpful as from day one. A note on breads and bread sticks. All are fantastic and always fresh. Especially good were the sliced baguettes and a new bread for me called ‘Normandy’ which was perfect in sandwiches and it toasted extremely well. It can be recognized as a wider than tall domed loaf with three slots or grooves on the top border of each slice. Normandy bread was only available in The Terrace and Waves Grill. On the first night of the cruise we were able to get a table in *Toscana and we were impressed not only with the food but the spaciousness of the place and the excellent Maître d’ and servers and being able to speak Italian with the staff was another big plus. So far so good. *The Grand Restaurant - Everything clicked perfectly: choices, food temperature, taste, service (Maître’d, brothers Julio Cesar & Geovanni/Honduras) ambience, etc. This excellence didn’t change at all being dinner, lunch or breakfast, during the whole cruise. *Waves Grill– I was looking forward to have lunch there but, unfortunately it was a big disappointment; the staff were great but the quality of the food was not so good; e.g. the surf and turf was a big flop though the Kobe Burger was quite good. It is possible that the weather, very strong cold winds, played a big part in making those visits not so enjoyable. Warning: the regular coffee that is served in all the restaurants is very weak so if you like stronger coffee, ask for a cappuccino or a double espresso or simply go to Barristers, one deck up from Waves, and have some great cookies with it! *Red Ginger – We went twice and both times we were satisfied with the food (not to be missed the Miso Sea Bass or the Tuna Tataki) and the great staff (Katerina and Khrystyna/Ukraine, Maria/Serbia) but I found the place a bit narrow, with tables too close to each other and the low chairs and lighting didn’t help. *Jacques – I think that this will be the last time in Jacques regardless it was possible to speak French with a few of them. The food in general is just okay but nothing to rave about it, what I found with every one of my visits was that everybody (diners and staff) behaved in a very pretentious, affected and arrogant manner. It doesn’t make you feel at ease nor able to enjoy the special food or elegant surroundings. *Polo – All the way, another winner! Roasted beet root and goat cheese as an entrée was excellent and the 7 oz. Filet Mignon was cooked to perfection with excellent side dishes. The mashed potatoes were excellent and the string beans superbly steamed. On the last day at sea, we went again to *Toscana and if the first time was very good this one was exceptional! And the night before arriving in Rio we had dinner at *The Terrace hoping to take advantage of such a hot night to dine al fresco while sampling the so much praised lobster. Both were a disappointment; for dinner the tables are set with table clothes but that is only done inside the restaurant. We did not like the al fresco ambiance of no lighting and no table clothes so we opted to eat inside. The “famous” lobster (1/2 a tail, grilled to order) was dry and almost meatless. Regardless and thanks to a beautiful Chardonnay white and the fantastic staff we had a great and tranquil evening much needed after packing at full speed for the three hours before dinner time. Our Ratings for the various specialty restaurants: 1) Toscana 2) Polo very close 3) Ginger 4) Jacques *Entertainment – Lackluster to say the least. Too much screaming (singing??!) and their dancing moves although quite sophisticated and well performed, were the same over and over again; that’s why we went only a couple of times and just for half of the show. The real star of the cruise shows was a singer and his name is Jamie Michael Stewart; his second show titled “Sinatra and friends” was superb!! If you have him on any of your future cruises do not miss going to hear him sing!!! And about the Cruise Director, the only thing I am allowed to say about him personally is that he tried to be funny but he only accomplished being completely pathetic. Oceania management needs to realize how important the Cruise Director’s role is. First and foremost he is a host for each and every guest and considering that Oceania is an upscale cruise line, he should have more in common with the guests. That means an older and more sophisticated person than is the industry norm, i.e. young comical entertainers. **Cooking demonstrations – They were given in the Marina Lounge (Theater) by the Senior Executive Chef Laurent Trias and they were all very instructive and many times very funny. Although considering the present “# Me Too era”, this top chef was quite a bully with his underlings. On Dec. 7th, at the second Captain’s cocktail Reception I met the very curt and polite Captain Leo Strazicic and his very friendly and welcoming GM Marck Warmenhoven. Both took the time for meaningful conversations. *Canyon Ranch Terrace an excellent place to enjoy the sun, soaking yourself in the hot tub, taking a shower or simply relaxing in peace with no hoopla around you. Excellent place. *Fitness Center located close by, is ample with a lot of machines with great views thru the surrounding floor to ceiling windows. Very busy especially on sea days. This was our second long (more than 10/12 days) cruise and for sure that will never happen again; after the first one (different Cruise Line) I swore that I would not do it again but the opportunity to cruise past the Equator on board Oceania Marina, took over but it won’t happen again! Simply what goes wrong is that after a while everything starts to get too repetitious and that leads to boredom with both food and staff. *Tours – We only took one of the ship’s tours and that was in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) the rest of the ports we were on our own. Unfortunately, Viator did not have anything to offer on any of the transatlantic ports on this passage so for all the other ports we had to do it on our own. The reason we do this, is because we find the way our fellow passengers behave is completely unacceptable; e.g. waiting in the Marina Lounge for your tour number to be called and when that happens there is an stampede of “grown-ups” rushing to the exit, bumping into everybody just to be first to the bus and get the seats they want; and the same happens at every stop, they are all rushing to be the first to get off. Sorry, but for me and in the way I was educated (and have taught my children) that is not civilized and shows a complete lack of respect for your fellow travellers. At any rate that’s how we generally feel about ship sponsored tours but I am sure you won’t mind if I give some pointers on what we found and how we approached the various ports visited on this cruise. *Cadiz – Although this was our second time there we visited a different and unknown area; from the pier you have quite a long but enjoyable walk to an area where we read you could find numerous tapas bars; the weather was not good (cold, windy and little sun) and all those bars were located on shady streets so we ended up in a bar in the sunny main plaza (under construction with lots of noise); the food wasn’t what we expected, the wine was so-so but we met a beautiful girl (Vanessa) with whom we talked and laughed a lot which made up for the lack of authentic tapas. You know, you go on your own so you take your chances. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Anyway it is a beautiful city that deserves to be visited and explored on a longer stay. *Arrecife – There is nothing worthwhile to see on your own so if you don’t mind to go thru the ‘tour hassle’ I mentioned above, better to take any of the ship’s guided tours. *Tenerife – Walked to the center of town (long walk and not as nice as it was in Cadiz). We got there on a Sunday, meaning that ALL the outdoor bars and restaurants were taken over by big families with a lot of kids (running and screaming around tables). We walked around trying to find some nice and tranquil place but this was not possible so we went right back to the ship. Advice: again take a ship tour, especially if you arrive on a Sunday! *Praia (Cape Verde) – We had a tour booked but after reading info given by the ship that the busses they use are not comfortable and without A/C we cancelled it. We took the offered shuttle that leaves you not far from the main square where you can visit a very nice and simple church, visited the Market extremely busy, cramped and strong fish smell etc., back to the main plaza/park where there is a modern building with a covered bar and had a couple of local beers (good) while watching the city crew install Christmas decorations around the park. For payment they accepted US$ (paper no coins) but the change returned was in their currency and only in coins. Walked back down the hill suffering the very hot and heavy weather to take the return shuttle to the ship. As we approached the dock we saw one of the returning tour busses and we got very upset because we could see that the tour bus was a regular van, quite ample and I am sure had A/C. So now you know and we strongly recommending the ship tour instead of wandering around a quiet town with but one spot to enjoy a drink and people watching. Here is the best time to point out that the first part of the cruise the weather wasn’t good (cold, strong winds, etc.) but starting in Praia the whole thing changed completely and in a way, for the worse! Having high temperatures and exceedingly high humidity is not much fun, especially if walking around on your own! *Cruising the Equator – This was quite an experience! It happened on the third sea day’ December 8th prior to arriving in Recife. The day was perfect; very hot and humid with a soft breeze. So it was a lot of fun seeing how all the participants and onlookers were enjoying the colourful ceremony. We enjoyed all this with our ever present topped up white wine glasses in hand. Thus expectations were fully met. *Recife (Brazil) – On our own again (after yesterday’s revelation about better busses etc. we tried to book a tour but all were filled up) and taking the shuttle into town; they left us in a big building not getting any idea were to go next or what to do. Decided to take a taxi to Mercado Central located in the old part of the city. Warnings! Unless you are fluent in Portuguese DO NOT take a taxi because they will fool you as much as they can/want and second warning, DO NOT go around the Old City because it is quite depressing to see so much poverty, chaos and dirt besides trying to walk along very crowded, boisterous, treacherous streets where if you missed one step you would end up on the ground or in a gutter. Take a tour and go to the modern Recife that for the skyline we saw from the ship, at least it looks more orderly and is very expansive. In fact, on leaving Recife, the skyline continued for what seemed like 5 or ten miles, so this place is much more developed that was apparent in the old downtown quarter. *San Salvador da Bahia – Had an overnight there so the first day we left the ship early (remembering the h&h!) and walked to the two story Mercado Central that was full of souvenir shops on the ground level and a very nice restaurant with an encircling terrace on the second floor. After eating and drinking lightly, we went to the Lacerda Elevator that quickly brings you up about 200 feet to the upper part of the city were unfortunately large areas were boarded up due to repairs in progress. Advice: The price of the Elevator was 15 real p/p (coins only) each way, that’s only 3 cents US but they won’t accept any other currencies. A local food cart operator gave us the change and would not take even one US dollar, so if it had not been up to his generosity/kindness we would have missed the top of the town visit. Afterwards, we learnt that the trip was free for all over 65 years (Brazil offers many such seniors benefits). The following day we took a ship’s tour (all the same hassle as previously described); the tour guide was very knowledgeable and the highlight was walking the steep hill to the Bon Fin Church. Quite a trek but it was worth it. Great views from up there and lots of photos of the thousands and thousands of coloured ribbons tied to the metal fencing/gates all around the church. The relics/photos of all whose prayers were answered was interesting and reminded us of another such chamber at St. Joseph’s Oratory atop Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada. The Carnival in Salvador is as famous as the Rio one and our tour bus covered much of the seaside route that the procession follows every February. Also along the route are an amazing number of architectural splendors. The facades are multi-coloured and with a wide variety of design and materials. They seem to have captured the market for needle condo’s that have but one or two apartments per floor, quite amazing. *Cabo Frio – After one day at sea, we arrived at this beautiful place and after all we’ve seen so far in Brazil this is the one place I would love to come back to and spent days visiting the so many beautiful beaches full of beautiful youth. We made the effort as it was at least 1 kilometer to the main beach! But we left longing for more. Here is an opportunity for Oceania or the city of Cabo Frio to set up a shuttle service. With more time at or near the beach rather than walking, more passengers would spend on drinks, food or shopping. Arrival and Disembarkation Day Disembarkation in Rio went smoothly (amazingly no passport nor customs check nor personnel were around). And once again another very long walk from the ship to where the luggage was; once inside that area things went well. Happy to say that all this happened in the early morning before the heat and humidity took over Rio. Rio is a city that we’ve been to many times (including the crazy and amazing “Carnaval”) so we skipped and sightseeing and headed straight to the airport to catch our flight back home!! At that moment, I/we were very much looking forward to being back in our beautiful and cold Canada! All in all, it was a great trip with a lot of new experiences (one of the reasons you travel, eh?) and although this will be our last long cruise it won’t be our last; we are still in love with Oceania! We already booked our next one on Insignia, it will be the first time on the smaller ships. We are very curious to see what Insignia’s new look will be after the upcoming and soon to be finished major refurbishment. We know that the suites are much smaller than on Marina and Riviera, with 500 or so fewer passengers (and lower ceilings!) That’s a personal concern of mine as I’m 6+ feet tall so we’ll see if it fits me. I will be sure to let all of you know, okay? Till my next one and have all of you a very Happy New Year!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us if we ... Read More
This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us if we wanted water, juice or anything else except cocktails. At dinner in the dining room the opposite, cant find a drink waiter and have to ask. It seems there is a staff shortage. The other annoying thing is the berths, there was a German ship “AIDA’ shadowing us and in every common port it had the in town berth when one was available and we got the container terminal. This happened even when the advertised Oceania berth was in town. Is all this Norwegian cost cutting a little at a time? I also note that the level benefits are being downgraded next year. In a way that is good news for me because the loyalty program did have me captive to an extent so I now feel less trapped. About to try Viking for the first time and maybe not the last. Have already tried Ponant and although it is a very different product being “expedition” yachts of 200 pax it has overcome finding new places to cruise given i have exhausted the Oceania network. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In late October 2018 my wife and I embarked on a 38-day Princess cruise from Southampton to Singapore via the Suez Canal, the choice of cruise was largely influenced by three of the ports of call. Highlight number one was Malta and ... Read More
In late October 2018 my wife and I embarked on a 38-day Princess cruise from Southampton to Singapore via the Suez Canal, the choice of cruise was largely influenced by three of the ports of call. Highlight number one was Malta and Valletta the capital, steeped in history and grand historic buildings this was a truly magnificent location and I would certainly like to return there one day. Highlight number two was the Suez Canal transit, while strictly not a port of call this amazing feat of engineering continually amazed with its everchanging vistas and was so unexpectedly different from what I had envisaged. Alas due to flash flooding and unfortunate death of a dozen lives we were unable to visit Petra in Jordan and the third highlight on our list, but at least we were safe and able to continue with our holiday. Sapphire Princess lived up to the usual excellent Princess standards of food and service, but it was the steam room and sauna that stood out as being properly hot with the facilities designated their own proper area and not out in the public arena, much better than on many other ships. One down side (my hair grows fast) being that I was starting to look scruffy and needing a haircut. I decided I couldn’t wait and would have to check out the salon and see if they do men’s haircuts. No problem and I was soon looking much neater and was pleasantly surprised at the price I was charged. Another great feature we have found on Princess ships is the self-service laundrettes (necessary on cruises of seven or more days) as we like to do our own laundry, maybe this is an Australasian thing? only trust this is a feature that is still being designed for and included on all new ships. Ps I have plenty of photos. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. Fed up of travelling from the north to Southampton. Food was generally good and as a vegetarian I had a good choice. Cabins were fresh and clean. beds and bedding were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Liverpool. Fed up of travelling from the north to Southampton. Food was generally good and as a vegetarian I had a good choice. Cabins were fresh and clean. beds and bedding were very good. Entertainment was mediocre and so we didn’t go to the Neptune each night. Some of the entertainers had been on previous cruises. Ports of call In Canada were interesting but tours expensive. One walking tour cost £80. We had to be in The Neptune st 11.15 so we missed lunch. We were told we would be given a snack. This turned out to be a cereal bar and a bottle of water. There was nowhere on the walk to buy a sandwich. We returned to the ship around 5.30. Most people on the 11km walk were not pleased. After so many complaints we were given a 50% refund. Well done Fred. Unfortunately half way round our trip (26 days) we had a serious outbreak of Noro virus. This lasted until our return to Liverpool. We couldn’t use the pools, jacuzzis. Launderette etc. Salt and pepper was taken off the tables and food in the buffet had to be served by staff. We were constantly having our hands sanitized. The black watch is an old ship and there is constant noise of chip chip, grind grind, bang bang, drill drill. This reverberates into the cabin and is very annoying. Major rewiring was taking place during our cruise so ceiling panels were removed. The cabins are very creaky and I would advise taking ear plugs if you want a good nights sleep. Staff were very pleasant and friendly but I wouldn’t go on this ship again due to its age and the need for constant serious maintenance. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time ... Read More
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time at each port to explore. My only complaint is that we tendered twice, and the tender boats were very uncomfortable with no fans and very hot. We have been on four cruises, twice with the Princess, once with the Azamara and now the Oceania. In comparing the cruise lines, we found the rooms very similar. We did not have a balcony on the Oceania since the additional cost seemed very high but the porthole was a very nice size. The Princess does not charge nearly as much for a balcony. I think the bathroom/shower was best planned on the Oceania and the staff cleaned the room promptly. The Oceania advertises that they are famous for their food. I actually found the food disappointing. Buffet breakfast was fine although I did not like their orange juice. We did not have lunch since we were touring. However, based upon our room status we were only entitled to make reservations for two nights at the specialty restaurants. Red Ginger is indeed special. From the moment we were seated, we were treated royally. The menu was quite interesting, and it was truly a delightful dinner. We also enjoyed the Tuscan Grill but the overall experience was just not as special as Red Ginger. We were lucky to be seated at the front of the ship in that restaurant and had a stunning view as we left the port. My disappointment was with the main dining room. I found the portions very small, and I did not find the overall quality exceptional. Once I ordered sea bass and it was not very good. Another night I ordered steak which was not a good cut. You could order as many sides as you wanted but I would have preferred a better overall meal. On the Azamara they would serve free interesting wines with dinner and that certainly helped the overall atmosphere. I just did not find the staff all that engaging on the Oceania. The Sirena offered less entertainment than the other cruise lines. There was an evening show but the problem was it was a small stage without any slope in the theater so unless you were up front viewing was difficult. We had a singer twice(he was fine), a comedian twice(better the first night) and a mime /magician (poor). The troupe of eight also performed and they were enjoyable. The Princess being a larger boat had a much more professional theater and show. The only sports offered was one outdoor ping pong table, a shuffleboard court on a rubber surface making it unplayable, and a small putting green. There was also a small running/walking track. The pool was tiny but there were two Jacuzzis. Since every day was sunny and over 90 degrees the pool was used. The card room was very small and there were no organized games. The Sirena did have an excellent lending library. I found the gym to up to date modern equipment. Children are not encouraged on the Oceania and there were no organized activities for them. Some of the other cruise lines hire guest lecturers to talk about the upcoming ports. I think the Sirena was very weak in this area. There was trivia every afternoon and this was popular. I probably would not go on the Oceania again unless the itinerary was one I could not find elsewhere. I think other lines give you more value for less money. Finally, since I prefer modern , I found the décor of the Sirena not that attractive and tired looking. However, since I picked this line for the itinerary of the cruise I was not disappointed by the cruise since I enjoyed our ports of call. I find that part of the fun of travelling is planning the trip so I do a lot of research. I never sign up for excursions provided by the cruise line since they are over-priced. My travel agent suggested using Shore excursions but I also found this company to be too expensive. A third alternative is to use Viator which partners with local tour companies and offers more value for your dollar and more variety of tours. However, we made the decision to find private tour guides where possible. This can be expensive if it is just one couple because usually the cost of adding two more people is nominal. We mentioned our planned tours on our cruise line blog and were lucky to find another couple to join us and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed the tours. Day 1 Amalfi- I had always wanted to visit Pompeii. Unfortunately, I did not find any tours leaving from Amalfi going there. I found a company called Benvenutolimos.com that would arrange to give us a driver for eight hours who would take us to Pompeii and Positano and tour the Amalfi Coast. They arranged for a private tour guide inside Pompeii. Giovanni was an excellent driver. He first took us to the scenic town of Rafello for a short stop. His English was excellent and we learned about the Amalfi Coast and its history and culture as he made hairpin turns through breathtaking terrain. He then took us to Pompeii where we met our tour guide Salvatore. As we strolled along ancient Roman streets, Salvatore described what is was like to live in Pompeii 2000 years ago. Pompeii is amazingly preserved. After this tour, we drove to Positano to get a brief glimpse of this upscale beach town. It was a full 8 hours of touring, and I compliment Benvenuto tours for planning a very enjoyable day. Day 2-Sicily- we docked in Taormina for our tour of Sicily. We arranged to be met by Luca from info@sicilylife.com. and again our driver was very professional. We first stopped at a local honey farm, and then we drove to Mt. Etna. Cars are limited to about 7000 feet and from there you can plan hiking excursions. We took a small hike and admired the incredible landscape where gorges were cut into the mountain from lava flows. After Etna, Luca took us to a local winery where we spent a very pleasant afternoon tasting local dishes and sampling wine. We enjoyed our day with Luca and would recommend his company. Day 3-Malta- we docked in Valletta, Malta and were met by Karl from Karlito's Way, and by the end of the day we felt we had a great understanding of Malta. Karl wanted to show us traditional Malta whether it was taking us to traditional neighborhoods, restaurants, or vistas. During the course of the day we circled the entire island seeing all of its most beautiful areas while we talked politics and philosophy. By the end of the day we felt Karl had become a friend as well as a tour guide. We consider our time in Malta very special and would highly recommend using Karl. Day 4-at sea. Day 5 Argostoli-Greece-we could not find a private tour guide so opted to use Viator. Although we were in a bus and the tour was not nearly as personal, the tour was a successful. We visited a monastery, a cave which was actually used for concerts, a fishing village, and the most impressive stop was a rowboat ride in an underground lake/cave. The island was quite picturesque so this port was well worth a visit. Day 6 Durres, Albania. We used a Hong Kong company called tour HQ which has a lot of host tour guides throughout the world. Basically, HQ gives you a list of potential local guides and their biography and then you select one. Although I selected a guide months before and had the trip confirmed, he cancelled just prior to my trip. Luckily, HQ did assist in finding me a replacement guide. Durres was probably the only port we visited which was not scenic especially where we docked. Since I knew very little about Albania I was hoping to get a well planned itinerary from our guide. We went to Kruje which was an interesting medieval city. There, we visited an historical museum. We also visited a bazaar. Then, we had a terrible lunch. The countryside we saw was not that pretty and our guide Marjen was quiet so the touring was not as interesting as our other stops. After Kruja we went back to Durres to see some Roman ruins and a Venetian tower. This did not take too long to view. We ended the tour early, because there did not seem to be much to see or do. I would suggest that our guide should revise the tour to see more sights in the future. Day 7- Kotor, Montenegro. We used a company called M Tours which was highly rated on Trip Advisor. We had met another couple on the cruise who joined us so that Aleksander our tour guide led 6 of us through the enchanting countryside of Montenegro. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Montenegro history and culture. It was a full day of touring-we went to Budva, then drove to Cetinje, and then went to Njegusi village for lunch at an old, local and a tour of their smokehouse. All of these places had both religious and historical significance. I never realized what a beautiful country Montenegro is, and it certainly is a country I would love to see again. I would highly recommend using M Tours. Day 8-Split Croatia. We used Viator and were lucky because only the four of us signed up for the tour so we had a private tour. We were very happy to have Sandra as our tour guide. She was vivacious and loved showing us Trogir, a medieval city. After Trogir, Sandra led us on a walking tour of Split where we marveled at the ancient Roman Palace. Sandra made the day enjoyable and I would recommend her company Croatian Trails. Day 9 and 10-Venice. We decided to do Venice on our own. In the morning we walked the whole city until we reached St. Marks Square. We then took a water taxi to Murano to do shopping. We really enjoyed Murano since it was much less crowded and the shops had beautiful glass items perfect for gifts. We also found a terrific place for lunch called Cicchetteria Pizzeria with a large courtyard where we had a delicious pizza and prosecco. Afterwards, we returned to Venice to take a 45 minute gondola ride. If you do not mind sharing, the cost is reasonable since you are paying for the ride which seats up to six. Although touristy, we enjoyed it. All in all it was a great trip with many memories. One final note, we had arranged our transfers prior to the trip and they worked out and were much more reasonable than cruise rates. I recommend both venutoinside.com(Venice Port to airport) and civitavecchiatoroma@gmail.com(Rome airport to Port). Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I chose this cruise based on the destinations and more importantly on the recommendation of previous Oceania cruisers. The ship was fine although it seemed to be ready for refurbishing. The food was okay, but not as special as I had ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on the destinations and more importantly on the recommendation of previous Oceania cruisers. The ship was fine although it seemed to be ready for refurbishing. The food was okay, but not as special as I had anticipated. Desserts were the most disappointing aspect of the food train. They seemed bland and unimaginative. I heard several complaints about the lack of or taste of the "chocolate" desserts. The behind the counter servers in the buffet area were attentive and accommodating, but the wait staff (coffee and incidentals) in that area were somewhat less so. Service and accommodation in the main dinning room was first rate. Food and service in both of the specialty restaurants was first rate. The entertainment on board was very good. We greatly enjoyed the young performers. Interacting with the cruise director, Julie, was a treat. Room attendants and their service was excellent. The entire ship's company with exceptions noted were very responsive. Midway through the cruise we filled out a questionnaire critiquing our experience. Almost all issues we noted were addressed within 24 hours. Once the response was simply an explanation of why things were as they were, but they did get back to us on the issues. Largest single disappointment in the cruise was the inconsistency of the shore excursions. Some were good to excellent and others were not so much. This seemed to result from lack of proper planning on the tour operator's (management) part and perhaps not so much on the individual tour guides. Overall I considered the cruise a success and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My wife's sister lives and works in Dubai and the opportunity to see her and locations we had not been to before made this choice irresitable. We spent a few days in Dubai, we had been there ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My wife's sister lives and works in Dubai and the opportunity to see her and locations we had not been to before made this choice irresitable. We spent a few days in Dubai, we had been there before, but really enjoyed it as well as a day trip we took to Abu Dhabi. We chose an early boarding 1100 AM, which was a good idea. We were on board in no time and had a cocktail in hand immediately. We decided to check our cabin 1232 on the off chance it was ready, perfect, it was. We dropped our carry-on and proceeded to our usual tasks which include, specialty restaurant dinner reservations, hair appointments, and checking our dining room seating, We then went to Johnny Rockets for lunch which we enjoyed, just something about a greasy burger and french fries chased down by a cold beer. For us boarding was easy and uneventful, and we were able to get our primary objectives done and now it was all about enjoying the cruise. The cruise on the whole we enjoyed, we did feel however, that some crew members were not engaged. I think part of that could be the length of the cruise (it started in Singapore we picked it up in Dubai) as well as that the ship was going into dry-dock for refurbishment. These ladies and gentlemen work extremely hard with no days off and long hours, so a lot of it I get. We enjoy eating in the specialty restaurants, however the menus need some change. The Chops and Giovannis Table menu have not seen a change in many a cruise, we enjoy these venues but we will re-think the amount of times we patronize these establishments going forward. We usually get the five night dining package plus a couple of additional dinners, but being faced with the same menu all the time becomes boring. The dining room was okay, nothing really special on that front, we do however enjoy breakfast in the dining room. We enjoy going to the Schooner Bar after dinner each evening and this cruise was no exception. Yanus and Stanislav (bartenders) could not have been nicer and more efficient. They went above and beyond especially when they ran out of grapefruit juice. We enjoy vodka and grapefruit juice and for some reason when you travel to that part of the world they always seem to never have enough and mid-way through the cruise they run out. Yanus and Stanislav would actually run to another bar in an attempt to find us grapefruit juice. Hope you guys can get off the ship in Miami. Why is having enough grapefruit juice on a cruise an issue? Best RCCL bartenders!!!! Our stateroom attendant was Li, a nicer gentlemen I have never met. I enjoyed speaking with him at length will hopefully run into him again on another cruise. We booked our 2019 and 2020 cruise with Carinha Duarte. Bon Dia Carinha!!! See you in the north!!! She did a fabulous job working with us for our next cruises as well. very informative and helpful with the different ships and venues. We only took the tour of Petra with RCCL, we are finding their tours are over priced and you can usually do better with a private tour company or venture off on your own. We enjoyed Crete (Chania) very much and of course Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Barcelona. We did Jerusalem and the Dead Sea with a private tour operator because it afforded us to see both in the one day we were in port. RCCL offered one or the other. Barcelona is one of our favorite port cities we have been there many times and so we go off on our own and seek out the obscure tapas and wine bars always the best. Going through the Suez Canal was an adventure, so glad we got to experience that. On the whole an excellent vacation with just the few thing we mentioned that hopefully RCCL can address Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise to sail among the small islands of the Sea of Cortez with abundance of marine, birds, and reptiles. Professional team with Kit Masters leading. She made every effort to insure that everyone needs were met. There were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to sail among the small islands of the Sea of Cortez with abundance of marine, birds, and reptiles. Professional team with Kit Masters leading. She made every effort to insure that everyone needs were met. There were many opportunities to snorkel, hike and view birds/landscapes from Zodiacs. Our cabin was very comfortable with Butler/attendant on call. The food could be better, Particularly the fish - not fresh. Lack of fresh vegetables, lots of salad greens instead. Lots of desserts. The wait staff were friendly and attentive. Travel to Copper Canyon was too long 16 hours there and back. The landscape was beautiful from our balcony view of the can tonight. Shipboard credit $1000 per person only if you ask.. other couples which we met told us so, you had to ask. As first timers, this is a ridiculous offer. To get with Silverseas again is questionable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We recently returned from half world QM2 cruise Singapore to Southampton. Many good things about this 35 day cruise which, overall, we greatly enjoyed and for which the basic price (excluding on-board extras) was excellent value . Unlike ... Read More
We recently returned from half world QM2 cruise Singapore to Southampton. Many good things about this 35 day cruise which, overall, we greatly enjoyed and for which the basic price (excluding on-board extras) was excellent value . Unlike some recent reviewers, we were very impressed with quality of food and staff attitudes in Kings Court buffet, which generally also catered well for vegetarians like me – better than the Britannia formal restaurant though food and service there were good too. We didn’t see any need to use the over-expensive specialist restaurants. Staff service and attitude very good apart from the odd misery-guts in the bars, the coffee bar and the tours office – interesting to note that these are particular venues for the perhaps excessively high prices that we found charged for on-board extras (our main moan on this cruise), so maybe they’re fed up with complaints! That didn’t seem to embitter the equally expensive but reliably cheerful photography staff though... Pool and games facilities are very good – though of course there’s always the danger that some selfish people will dominate them, as happened on this trip with the table tennis. As for venues, Kochi was a wash-out, due partly, apparently, to the Indian authorities’ cussedness regarding visas, but many of the others were brilliant – especially Langkawi island, Aqaba (where the Jordanian air force display team did a brilliant and moving display and fly-past) Sorrento (a late substitute for Naples) and Cadiz. We’d rather have had an overnight stay at any of these harbours rather than at flashy less impressive and very, very busy Dubai ( a series of traffic jams linking building sites and designer shopping malls...) Evening shows too dependent on musicals but some of the acts – Kev Orkian, the Barricade Boys, David Copperfield, the acrobats - were outstanding. House band too loud, though! The celebrity speakers were alright (despite a tendency to not show too much of the human being behind the celebrity), but the enrichment speakers – especially history and astronomy - were very good and, at times, quite stretching! Disappointed no drama workshops as on a previous QM2 trip, but very impressed that two of the Ents staff put on an enjoyable poetry show. Other extras – the ship choir, the summer fayre – were enjoyable and imaginative. Selection of movies patchy but again some were very good, even if the daily programme provided details for the wrong movie on a couple of nights! Nightclub facility and house band (Purple Haze) very good indeed, though see entry below re cabin. Afternoon Classical music concerts absolutely fantastic with a brilliant selection of artistes. The house string quartet also very good and fully deserved their award of an evening show in the main theatre. The library on QM2 remains a wonderful facility – excellent choice of reading matter and a lovely and restful place to sit and read or work even when not open on evenings and early mornings. We had occasion to use the medical service and were very impressed by its professionalism and efficiency. There seemed to be a lot of tension and conflict on board regarding use of the limited self-service laundry facilities on certain decks. Is this always the case on cruises, we wondered, or is it something about Cunard customers?! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was a short 4-sea day transit from Hong Kong to Singapore rather than a proper cruise, a short segment of the World Cruise. It falls on the Easter long weekend, and several hundred people embark from Hong Kong for the short ride without ... Read More
It was a short 4-sea day transit from Hong Kong to Singapore rather than a proper cruise, a short segment of the World Cruise. It falls on the Easter long weekend, and several hundred people embark from Hong Kong for the short ride without a shore day. Cunard operates the most formal type of cruise, of all cruise lines. Every dinner is dressy, one night formal and three nights informal (jacket required) without a casual night. This appeals to some cruisers, as the experience is akin to Titanic days. Cunard aims to provide the old 'white star' service and on Cunard if this is not perfectly achieved it does convey the good old time atmosphere. This is the first time I cruised on Queen Elizabeth (having cruise twice and 33 days on QM2 the last two years) and I like the ship almost as much. It is a beautiful ship in Art Deco style. The simple Britannia cabin was not bad, having tea making facility not found on most ships. The dinner service is formal and the food is good for a big ship (though Cunard price is higher than other big ships). Restaurant service is professional. The buffet is very good and there was a great display of Easter eggs on the Sunday night. The buffet lasts until 2am. If not luxury (if not on Grill) it is premium. Activities include the acclaimed Queens Room high tea in the traditional manner, and its ballroom dances...all these you do not find in other ships. It is a very civilized ship that even has a book shop on it. It was a good short transit, and while I took only a small segment, it gives me the impression that if I were to take a full world cruise Cunard would be my choice. The ship somewhat achieve a combination of big ship facility with an air of intimacy. Staff courtesy was good except my chamber maid evicted me from my cabin at exactly 8:30, and I note that she evicted everyone in my row of cabins while not working on the rooms...the next embarkation is the next day. Another hiccup was that it took 2 hours to embark a mere few hundred from Hong Kong, probably due to the land agent. Overall I was happy on this shortest cruise I have ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Wanted to try an Ocean crossing. Dates worked heard good things about Oceania. The ship was lovely and very manageable in size. Food top rate service top rate. Accommodations in s penthouse suite very nice but not a large suite Bathroom ... Read More
Wanted to try an Ocean crossing. Dates worked heard good things about Oceania. The ship was lovely and very manageable in size. Food top rate service top rate. Accommodations in s penthouse suite very nice but not a large suite Bathroom was nice but shower a bit on the small side I felt considering the amount of days at sea activities were limited i did enjoy the cooking classes but did have a per session charge. They could have been more creative in the activity schedule Many activities repeated themselves and there seemed to be days at sea where I just wandered. The crowd was on the elderly side and as a result Most were in bed by 10 pm. Not much more than 5% of the ship were up and out after 10pm People were very friendly and we made new friends which was the highlight of the cruise. I would recommend the Riviera but make sure it is offering the type of vacation you are looking for Read Less
Sail Date March 2018

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