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3,144 Fitness Cruise Reviews

We are fairly recent cruisers and wanted a winter sun break and booked this cruise in January on line. The weather was superb and we were told by the crew the best they have had for several years. We flew from East Midlands to Tenerife and ... Read More
We are fairly recent cruisers and wanted a winter sun break and booked this cruise in January on line. The weather was superb and we were told by the crew the best they have had for several years. We flew from East Midlands to Tenerife and arrangements at departure, on arrival, coaching to Santa Cruz and boarding Marella Dream went like clockwork. The ship is old but is modern in appearance with good quality furnishings and the staff very friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble from our room steward to the bar and restaurant staff. Corridors and lift space are a little narrow and not as spacious as more modern ships. The variety of lounges and drinking and dining options were first class as was the food and drinks. We like to be on our own for dinner and for six nights we were served by Jennifer and April who looked after us very well. The Marella Dream Show team and their shows in the Broadway Show Lounge were excellent. Some very good singers and dancers however the comedian Alan Wilkins material was older than us and we are in our 70's. The resident band were again very good with such a wide range of music on offer. Our only disappointment was the lack of space for sunbathing when we had such good weather. We were birthed in walking distance of six of the places we visited which is brilliant. There were lots of excursions and trips arranged which people we spoke to enjoyed. Leaving the cruise was also faultless, colour coded luggage and well organised. Our only disappointment was East Midlands Border Control on the return. It took about 30 minutes to process us which is not acceptable. A superb restful and enjoyable cruise. Thank you TUI. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from ... Read More
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from Sydney, Australia to Melbourne and Hobart and then went to New Zealand getting stops at Port Chalmers, Akaroa, Tauranga and Auckland. There was a large variety of activities that suited the seniors in our group as well as the younger cousins, too. From Zumba to Bingo to jaw-dropping production shows, we were thoroughly entertained onboard. Food was easy to acquire and change to our tastes as necessary for those with food allergies. I am pleased to note that there were accessible shore excursions and the entire ship was accessible for people with mobility issues. The outside and inside of the ship were truly majestic, with details everywhere to enhance the experience for guests of any culture. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Overall this 7 day Western Caribbean cruise was fine. I love the free style dining. Most of the food was above average. The exception to that was the buffet and the 2 prime ribs I had in the dining rooms. The buffet was typical of a ... Read More
Overall this 7 day Western Caribbean cruise was fine. I love the free style dining. Most of the food was above average. The exception to that was the buffet and the 2 prime ribs I had in the dining rooms. The buffet was typical of a lot of buffets...….some food dried out, some food unidentifiable if not for the labeling and nasty people putting food in their mouths in line and then grabbing the ladle to put the next item on their plate. Also, I had prime rib in Alizar and at Cagney's and both were just not good. Oh well. The only other complaint, and this is a big one, was the ports of call. Please know that you are really not going to Belize, Mexico or the Bahamas. You are going to small islands owned (as far as I can tell) by the cruise lines. No one lives on these islands. They exist only to sell you tourist type stuff at hugely inflated prices. They are also jumping off places for your shore excursions. We booked snorkeling excursions at Harvest Caye and Costa Maya. The snorkeling at Harvest Caye was a big disappointment. Believe me, this snorkeling is not worth booking. The boat they take you out on is so crowded you are sitting hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder to the people you are sitting next to. The snorkeling itself is not good. You're not really on a reef. All you see is a lot of brown stuff and very few fish. That is the normal condition. Don't say I didn't warn you. O.K. .... a few positives ..... No mater where we dined, the dress code is casual. I loved that we didn't have to get all gussied up to eat. The crew for the most part were friendly or just indifferent (which is fine with me). I really can't recall coming in contact with a surly or rude employee. Also, the ship was kept pretty clean. I don't recall getting grossed out by any unsanitary conditions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise to leave from NY and not have to deal with airports. The ship was beautiful and clean. The food at every restaurant was excelllent. My luggage was broken in transport to my room. I filed a report and hoped they ... Read More
We chose this cruise to leave from NY and not have to deal with airports. The ship was beautiful and clean. The food at every restaurant was excelllent. My luggage was broken in transport to my room. I filed a report and hoped they would replace on the ship so I could transport my personal belongings back home. I contacted Customer Service twice after and received no response. We were supposed to have 3 beach days. The 2nd day was the private Island in the Bahamas. The weather was perfect but they said the tender couldn't go to the island due to wind. We were stuck on an overcrowded ship with over 1,500 kids who were allowed in the adult only pool and hot tub. Everyone complained about people reserving chairs that they didn't even use. On the last day, finally, the staff put stickers on the chair with times so if people didn't come to their chair, they would take the towels off. When you leave from NY, you expect 3 out of the 8 days to be at a beach. We got shortchanged without any compensation. the spa on the ship is beautiful, but very expensive. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My partner and booked this cruise as we felt like we needed a winter getaway. We also had a fantastic time on a January cruise in 2017 and wanted to explore more of the world using this excellent mode of transport. We are both in our mid ... Read More
My partner and booked this cruise as we felt like we needed a winter getaway. We also had a fantastic time on a January cruise in 2017 and wanted to explore more of the world using this excellent mode of transport. We are both in our mid 20’s and really enjoy hiking, exploring and just generally being active. The aim was to come back feeling relaxed but also like we gained new knowledge and experience. This would be our third cruise and first time with P&O. Embarkation and disembarkation I cannot fault, it is seamless from start to finish. We were on a charter flight and on arrival at Barbados we were whisked straight off the plane to the ship. We had no queue to check in and get our cruise cards created. On departure day everything is digitally signposted to make sure you know where you need to be and at what time. Our cases were taken the night before and immigration came onto the ship to handle our paperwork the day before we left. We were given our flight tickets around 4 days before departure along with our luggage labels and explanation of the process. The dedicated lane at the airport for cruise passengers was also super speedy, definitely the best we have encountered. Exercise & Leisure: There is a well equipped gym and running track on the upper deck, we used these everyday and found there was enough equipment for everyone without having to wait around (obviously there are peak times e.g. around 9am). There are free sessions such as the ‘morning stretch’ that you can sign up to along with classes such as spinning which come at a small fee. There is also a basketball court and golf area (no mini golf though which would be an excellent addition). Beside the gym is also the cookery school kitchen which looks fantastic, we did not get to experience this but there was always a variety of different classes advertised for a fee. The spa we did not use, on our first day at sea we went to have a look around at the thermal suite which appeared quite small plus it felt like a really hard selling approach to get us to purchase day passes. We did not receive our requested call back for availability and so we did not visit. There is also the ‘retreat’ open air spa terrace available for booking in conjunction with the thermal suite. Entertainment & Activities: Everyday you will find a full program of things you can get involved in within the cruise personaliser which is dropped off outside your cabin each night along with port information. We played bingo in Brodie’s bar purchasing a pack for £15 which included 5 games and a bonus 3 tickets for one game. We also really enjoyed the aqua fit classes which took place in the lido pool which was free. Throughout the day there are quizzes, talks from aviation experts, reflexology sessions, you can book your next cruise or just sunbathe out on deck. You will also find usually 2 different films showing throughout the day in the studio, there’s a great selection for all. We only attended one show in the theatre which was called ‘astonishing’, I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t seen it but we found it entertaining given its interactive nature. Shopping: Within the main atrium midship you will find a selection of stores selling jewellery, clothing and alcohol. They did a number of flash sales on products but we still found everything very pricey, however they do come in handy when you have an emergency such as not packing your tie (will set you back £12). Just opposite reception you will find another store selling biscuits, suncream, merchandise, playing cards (£3) and amongst other things the washing tabs you need for the washing machines (£1 each). Food and drink: I cannot tell you how many bars there are on this ship, they are everywhere! You can also get costa coffee at select places also. The market cafe on deck 5 also sells wonderful looking cakes and bakes designed by Eric Lanlard and also crepes and ice cream. We were allocated to second sitting dining (8:30pm) in the Oriental restaurant on a table for 2. I don’t eat food containing dairy and informed our travel agent when booking and I was looked after fantastically. I ordered my food the day before getting a sneak peak of the menu and everything was cooked for me with the same choice as everyone else minus the dairy. Our waiters were phenomenal and they really added to our meal times. We had 4 formal nights and the dress code is strict so don’t forget your tie or suit jacket! The horizon buffet is also always well stocked; if you need help with a dietary requirement you can ask the staff in the yellow ‘how can I help’ aprons. You have everything available at breakfast including cooked breakfast, fruit, pastries, pancakes, cereal, yoghurt, juice. Lunch is always something different but you can always have salad, fish and cold meats, soup along with a wide selection of hot dishes. Afternoon tea is served in here from 3pm and also in the oriental restaurant from 4-4:45pm. There are always numerous cakes, sandwiches, pies, scones, crumpets and unlimited tea. Outside either side of the lido pool you will find a grab and go section for quick sandwiches, fruit, salad etc at lunch and also pizza, burgers, hot dogs and chips served until around 6pm. There is also Jude’s ice cream and costa coffee here too. We also chose to pay extra to dine in Eric Lanlards restaurant ‘The Epicurean’ for afternoon tea. It was fantastic with a wonderful selection of food and experimental desserts along with a large choice of tea (including chocolate tea). The decor is also very light and airy, this is a must for any foodies and it was extremely reasonable price wise. You can also dine at other restaurants such as Sindhu and the Limelight Club (evenings entertainment by a known performer) for a fee. Ports & Excursions: We had a fantastic itinerary and loved each of the ports we visited. Our favourites were Grenada, Dominica & St Lucia. We booked the eco trek for Grenada which led us through a plantation, learning about all of the spices, plants and fruits the island holds. We then ended up at a waterfall in which you can take a refreshing dip. Our tour guide was fantastic however if you struggle walking up pretty steep hills on a continuous incline then this may not be for you as the way back is pretty much all uphill. We also had a to cross a river barefoot but this was all part of the fun! In Dominica we booked the hot springs trip. We swam through a gorge which was also one of the film areas for Pirates of the Caribbean, then onto the Bongo Baths which were wonderful. Naturally heated pools of water at different temperatures in a tranquil setting. You do have to take a dip in the cold before leaving to get your pores closed up (leaving open leaves you vulnerable). St Lucia we planned ourselves and already researched that we wanted to go pigeon island. I’m the port are there are always numerous people asking if you need a taxi, we paid $40 return for two with a pick up later in the afternoon. We had a fantastic time climbing up hills, taking in the scenery and relaxing on the beach; you must also visit Jambe de Bois for food and cocktails, it is fantastic! I would say don’t be afraid to do some pre trip research as shore excursions can be expensive. In Antigua we booked kayaking and snorkelling. Our guides/instructors were really superb and we had an awesome day, pretty arm intensive at the start but all worth it! We saw lots of beautiful sea creatures and enjoyed a few cups of rum punch in the sunshine. I would personally substitute Çuracao with Trinidad & Tobago as this port was the least active for us. We explored the local area and the Kura Hulanda museum but beyond this we would have needed to go further out to find some more activities. Cabin: We had an inside cabin which we found to be excellent value, we spent so much time out of our room we didn’t feel the need to book a balcony. The queen bed was great and very comfy plus we had numerous storage spaces and an adequate size bathroom. Our housekeeper cleaned at least twice a day, we could not fault how clean the cabin was. Overall we had a fantastic trip, we really did not want to come home! We want to travel with P&O again and cant wait for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I chose to do two back to back cruises to cover as much of the islands as possible. This was the best decision I could have made. I will not go into the wonders of these Islands, just my shipboard experience. Embarkation after the ... Read More
I chose to do two back to back cruises to cover as much of the islands as possible. This was the best decision I could have made. I will not go into the wonders of these Islands, just my shipboard experience. Embarkation after the flight over to the Galapagos was excellent and well organised from the wharf to registering on the ship. My balcony cabin was spotlessly clean and well appointed and the balcony well worth the extra cost even with the solo supplement. My butler and cabin cleaner were very good and helpful whenever necessary. Dining was a joy with Chef Carlo Bermudez catering to all diets with plenty of variety and his Yucca Bread was absolutely delicious. He did a tasting menu for the few doing the two cruises one night, oh my, how good was that as were the wines and how lucky were we. The Hot Rocks Restaurant was the usual Silverseas high standard and much fun was had at this venue whilst enjoying the great food. Lunch on the deck was very popular but as other people have commented, not enough room, however hopefully the new ship will have an extended area. The Chef was cooking local food here every day and was so good to be able to sample these foods. Service was exemplary, the occasional language difficulty in the restaurant but nothing that could not be solved easily. The Expedition Team were experienced and very knowledgeable, looking after us on land and sea and we were so lucky to have these people guiding us through this wonderland. The treks and snorkelling in particular, were fantastic. Another highlight was watching approximately 200 Galapagos Sharks hanging around the ship one night in the light, one of the most awesome sights I have seen anywhere in the world. Captain Karin Chacon was very obvious by his presence, interacting with the guests and such a lovely gentleman. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him and enjoy his wealth of knowledge of the area. All in all, much more than I expected with a crew that really tries to make sure you have the very best of experiences, and succeeded. Thanks to you all Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First the ship is beautiful. The cruise critic event was amazing might have been our best ever. During that event we were shown a presentation. That the msc seaside was designed especially for miami and that is was family owned and they ... Read More
First the ship is beautiful. The cruise critic event was amazing might have been our best ever. During that event we were shown a presentation. That the msc seaside was designed especially for miami and that is was family owned and they wanted to treat you like family. We also matched from royal caribbean from diamond plus to gold. Which added not much value a drink package that was supposedly free however there was a surcharge on every drink. There was enough people from 6 different countries that each announcement had to be made in 6 different countries. The only time i have had that happen is in the mediterranean. So you felt like you were in europe. Dining staff took you order and brought no conversation. First night it took 45 minutes to get appetizers. We were giving the wrong food from someone several times. The dining room itself is a european open style which amplify the noise level so much so that you can hardly hear across the table.we wanted wine from our drink package however on the third night; we were told they had ran out and if we wanted wine it was an additional charge. But they had the wine in the specialty dining. We bought the specialty dining package which we told there was a savings. There was no savings at all. Plus if you wanted regular coffee with your dinner it was an additional cost. The bar service you had to request the bartender to come over to take your order. There was no bar service asking how can i help. We tried almost every bar on the ship and it was the same. Plus one bar had no coke zero or spirit zero and we were told there was none on the ship, yet you could walk to the next bar and they had. This include beers, wines and alcohols. We meet some several people that had wonderful time after the cruise. But they all had several things alike, yacht club, black card and max drink package. Msc has a special area and dining for yacht club and black card members. We asked and none of these people ate in the in dining room. Plus we only meet 2 other couples that spoke english on the whole cruise. Out of the 52 cruises i have been on this one ranked 51st.if you like to walk there is no walking track and the gym is tiny. Lines for the tread mills were long. Msc allows and it seems they encourage marking of lounge chairs by the pools. People were out at 5am marking chairs. We were looking for the walking track. I would not recommend msc seaside unless you can afford a suite for the yacht club and max drink package.last if you are disabled, we saw several that the doors are not wide enough to get there wheel chairs in. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise due to the ports of call. Flight out from Manchester smooth, excellent onboard service and check in at Montego Bay was efficient.I knew the ship having previously travelled on her when in Royal Caribbean brand,but ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to the ports of call. Flight out from Manchester smooth, excellent onboard service and check in at Montego Bay was efficient.I knew the ship having previously travelled on her when in Royal Caribbean brand,but transformation was great.We had an inside cabin and was suffucient for our needs as only in room to shower and change,room kept clean by excellent cabin steward. Dining-- we are early risers so we ate breakfast at the buffet in Islands restaurant, plenty of variety of food and very tasty, we also went to the same restaurant for buffet lunch, excellent choices and never had a problem finding something to eat.Had evening meals in 47 restaurant with waiter service, couldnt fault the menus, evening meals excellent choices and our waiters were superb, nothing too much trouble. Now the entertainment, this was our 20th cruise having been with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and P&O, the entertainment team onboard Marella Discovery 2 were by far the most professional group we have ever seen, so energetic, it made the cruise so special as we like the shows in the evening but this team were in a different league from previous cruises,Thanks for your hard work We visited Jamaica, Grand Cayman,Cuba,Belize,Costa Maya, Cozumel, Guatemala and Honduras. We only did 2 tours, Cuba in an old vintage car, pink Pontiac and was great fun,booked before we left with independent company at half the price. We also did the catamaran and snorkel in Roatan,Honduras, this was through ship and was excellent value. Cozumel lots of shops,Costa maya has a purpose built cruise area and this was fantastic as you could watch the dolphin show, free unless you wanted to swim with them, lots of shopping and even pool bars to swim in. Staff onboard Marella Discovery 2 were always smiling, service was excellent throughout the ship,nothing was too much trouble. I would have no hesitation in going on this cruise again, Marella excelled my expectations Just made extra special by all the shows in the evening,this for me was the highlight of our cruise, cant compliment the evening entertainment team enough. Return flight and check in once again smooth and efficient Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Highlights I chose MSC because ever since I have started every time i become more crazier to take a cruise. This was my third time because I love the atmosphere, I love the hospitality and I just love being part of this family because ... Read More
Highlights I chose MSC because ever since I have started every time i become more crazier to take a cruise. This was my third time because I love the atmosphere, I love the hospitality and I just love being part of this family because everything is being done on professionally and efficiently on board. I should really say Musica is indeed a beautiful baby. Spacious cabins and very attractive scenery. Embarkation was a little longer but there was a valid reason which was a a result of load shedding which was beyond anybody's control. Otherwise the excitement killed the thought and waiting was no problem. From my previous experience there is normally no problem as far as that is concerned. It was only when we came back that I noticed somebody not being happy about her luggage because she could not find it. It was a little odd as I never heard of that ever since i started boarding the ship. Maybe there should be a checking point where security checks that people do take the luggage that truly belongs to them. The lady was causing an unnecessary scene drawing attention. Thank you for serving food that makes one to yen for more. The food is being served with love. Thank your kitchen team for looking after us. It is by choice to eat unhealthy but you surely do cater for everybody to eat a healthy meal. The plays are always exquisite. Thank you very much entertainment team you were just wonderful. Your costumes are always out of the world and everything becomes real. One of my highlight is this that I got to dance with one of the officials and that made my cruise the most enjoyable. Chilling around the pool more especially when there are activities is also most enjoyable experience. I love being on the Portuguese island. I love the water as well as the atmosphere around the island. It is more accommodating. The setup as well as the moving around all the activities are people friendly. Please make some improvements at Pomene as well or rather bring back the excursion of going into Maputo and cancel Pomene. I personally did not find the place enjoyable. The hot sand is unbearable, the limited space makes it very unpleasant for the people who came later and did not have any shelter to be under. The footpath leading to the beach could be at least outlined properly with wood material or so. Please take this matter seriously as it really was a low light as far as the excursions are concerned. Thank you very much for the great time that we had on the ship. The service from the people cleaning the cabins as well as the the waiters, not forgetting the personnel you meet around the ship who always are willing to help. How can I forget the teachers who so wonderfully look after our children and make their time a memorable. That gives mummy and daddy ample time to enjoy being on the ship without any hassles. My grandson was always reminding us not to forget that it is time for him to be dropped off. This is a lifetime experience as it really awakens the child in me. I would never miss an opportunity to go on a cruise. I intend cruising at the end of December to Mauritius and will share that with my sister. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the ... Read More
We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the itinerary as well as the very good service by our cabin staff and butler as well as the food in the specialty restaurants. However, we found that the added costs were not compensated by our expectations for value. To begin, we were very disappointed by how we were received upon boarding as well as departing. Our experience with other cruise lines has been that we were greeted with a welcoming drink as well as food available. Likewise, upon departure, we have been provided with coffee and muffins/danish etc. None of this was available on the Marina. We arrived with 200+ people on our 8 hour overseas flight. There was no welcoming drink and by the time we checked in, all food services were shut down. One would think that a table of refreshments would have been provided by the ship. Similarly, upon departing at an early hour (5:40 am), that coffee and a muffin could also have been provided. This was neither a good first or last impression of the cruise. As part of our booking, we were provided with free unlimited internet access. This was a total joke since access was not available in most parts of the ship. Moreover, it was impossible to upload or download photos or documents. Finally, it was impossible to contact others via FaceTime or Skype. On all of our other cruises, this was never a problem, I then learned that for an added $15/day, I could upgrade to unlimited streaming. I did so. However, although I could sometimes (but not always) access FaceTime, I still could not upload photos or download documents. This was particularly concerning since I needed to be reached due to an ill family member. Needless to say, this caused considerable stress. I enjoy working out. The fitness center was tiny and the room for classes was even tinier. On a positive note, the fitness instructor, Diana was superb. She knew her stuff, was inspirational and very nice. There was a sign up sheet for classes which was done to limit the number of passengers attending. However, the fitness staff let in whoever showed up. As a result, there was often 20 passengers in a class that was listed for 12. This made the experience challenging and at times, unsafe. The Terrace Cafe had a limited variety of food. At times, I would have loved to have a scoop of tuna or egg salad. This was never available. Although a crew member was immediately available to serve us water, coffee or juice, anything else was simply unavailable. On three occasions I asked for sparkling water and never received it. The dining room was very pleasing. The staff was great. But the food was hit or miss. Some was excellent while others, just awful. The speciality restaurants were excellent. We especially enjoyed the Red Ginger. We found the cruise offered excursions outrageously priced. We only took one excursion from the ship - a one hour glass bottom boat right for $129/person. We enjoyed it but it was very overpriced. Alcohol prices were similarly overpriced. I didn't order one drink the entire time I was onboard - simply out of principle. The most outrageous cost was the airport to port & return transfer. Since we our flight arrived at 9:40 pm and left at 8:40 am and because we were unfamiliar with the services in Papaeete, we decided to take the transfers. Each one way transfer was $129/person. The ride was under 10 minutes. Worth of all, there were delays at each end. This was utterly ridiculous. From now, we'll stay with Celebrity our preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We never have been on a sea cruise and had experienced a river cruise through Viking. Several things drew us to our decision to use Viking. The river cruise we took in the Danube was incredible and we wanted to do a sea cruise. The size ... Read More
We never have been on a sea cruise and had experienced a river cruise through Viking. Several things drew us to our decision to use Viking. The river cruise we took in the Danube was incredible and we wanted to do a sea cruise. The size of the Viking cruise ships was a big factor, as we experience the size of our river cruise. Having a small number of passengers allowed us to meet several individuals and couples, which we experienced in our river cruise, became lasting friends. The amenities on the Viking Sky were top notch. The staff service was over the top and the food and food and more food just added to the pleasures of the cruise. My spouse wanted to check off on her bucket list the Northern Lights and seeing the agenda for this cruise was another factor in taking the trip. We decided to take the Explorer Suite and this was one of the best decisions of many on this trip. The comfort, the relaxation and cleanliness of the ship also made for a very enjoyable trip. We were able to see all we wanted off shore, including pictures we took of the Northern Lights and visit with friends who lived in one of the ports of call. We are planning our next Viking cruise and we are sure we will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was a bucket list item for me and my friend. I wanted to see what Darwin saw in 1835, and he wanted to see the Galapagos tortoises, since he has two "normal size" tortoises as pets. Our wives had no interest in going, so we ... Read More
This was a bucket list item for me and my friend. I wanted to see what Darwin saw in 1835, and he wanted to see the Galapagos tortoises, since he has two "normal size" tortoises as pets. Our wives had no interest in going, so we shared a room together. We wanted to spend time in Quito, Ecuador, so opted for the time in Quito before and after the islands. We flew into Quito from our departure airport, and almost immediately I felt the altitude. I told my friend to slow down, as we walked off the plane, as I felt hot, and out of breath. This only lasted for a day, however he would react far worse than me on the return to Quito. Upon exiting Customs, were met by Anna, who corralled us all together. We then had about a 45 minute bus ride to the JW Marriott in Quito. As you will see, I cannot say anything negative at all about the hotel, as the hotel itself is impressive, the staff was responsive to our needs, and the food we ate there was quite good. The next day, we went on a city tour with Joanna, our very knowledgeable and pleasant tour guide. Lunch was at a very nice restaurant. All during the tour we were also accompanied by a security person. I was told by a policeman to mind my expensive camera, as motorcyclists were known to snatch and grab items from tourists. Our group was bused to a very nice restaurant for dinner that night, quite good. As the bus was waiting for the last few people, some kids came to the bus door and tried to sell us candy and other items. The next day, we all got up early for a breakfast buffet followed by the 45 minute bus ride back to the Quito airport for the about 2 plus hour flight to the Galapagos, about 868 air miles. We landed in at the Baltra Island Airport, and were assailed immediately by the heat and humidity. We took rigid inflatable Zodiacs to the ship, 16 people to a Zodiac, the only was on and off the ship. We would find out that there were wet landings (beach shoes), and dry ones (walking shoes). Our cabin was 316, on deck 3, third cabin from the bow. If I had it to do over, We would have gotten a cabin on decks 4 or 5. Our cabin was always warm, despite the efforts of the crew to make it cooler, plus we had to be close to the anchor locker, as every time we did anchor, it sounded like the chain was coming thru the wall. It was a small cabin, but did have plenty of storage for our clothes and gear. Each day, we went to a different island, under the knowledgeable care of a naturalist. Bettina was the Cruise Director, and her staff of naturalists (Martha, William, Diego, Manuel, David and Victoria) were quite good. They were all pleasant and answered every question thrown at them. We would have a hike in the morning and afternoon, with several days followed by snorkeling. My fitbit showed me walking anywhere from 5 to 8 miles per day. This was either on sandy beaches, rocky or volcanic trails. At the end of a day, when we returned in the Zodiacs, mostly everyone was quite tired. There were also cold drinks for everyone when we arrived back each day. Being tired did not stop us from talking amongst ourselves as to what we saw. It was quite distressing to see, even there, the amount of plastic washed up on the beaches. We also observed a sea lion with netting stuck around its body. The second day, I opted to not use a walking stick on a rocky trail, and ended up sustaining some deep cuts to mostly my left shin. Martha, our assigned naturalist, with the advice and assistance of several doctors on our hike, managed to apply a lot of gauze and bandages. I was checked out by the ships doctor upon arrival on the ship. Unfortunately, that curtailed my snorkeling. I used a walking stick after that! I have to say that all the activities were correctly characterized, as to difficult and distance by Bettina before dinner preceding each day. Pictures and maps during her talk explained the following day. We did see what we came to the Galapagos to see. There were plenty of Marine and Land Iguanas, Nazca, Blue and Red Boobies, plenty of Sea Lions and a handful of Penguins. Of course, we saw many of the two, distinctly different Galapagos Tortoises. The main difference is in the shells, to allow one sort to reach the high bushes. Those folks that snorkeled saw lots of sea turtles, and many kinds and sizes of fish. You did have to be careful, as on my cruise, I scraped my shin, a woman fell and hit her head, another landed on a cactus with her hand, and there were a number of wasp stings. I would be difficult to med-evac someone in a timely fashion if they were really sick/hurt. But, as I said above, the cruise staff took care of the guests quite well. Meals on the ship were not gourmet like on the big cruise ships, but they were good. I especially liked the lunches. They had four lunches in which they highlighted certain cultures. The four the head Chef Roger highlighted were: Chinese, Amazonian, Ecuadorian and Asian. I ate mostly fish for my dinner entree, and especially liked the red scorpion fish, native to the Galapagos waters. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a BBQ, very nice. And, as with the big ships, an exhibition of the musical talents of the crew. All of the guests were invited to a ships party on deck 6 to meet and talk with the senior staff. The Master, Captaincies Pacheco, and his hotel counterpart, Hotel Director John Flynn, were the hosts. I got to see the ships Doctor who asked me how my leg was doing. We also had a crossing-the-equator party. We also went to a private farm for a lunch after a reforestation effort by most of us. Native dances in costumes followed a good lunch. On the whole, except for my fall, it was a great trip. We had a good time on the ship, and saw what we came so far to see. I especially liked when we were leaving the ship, that the Captain and Hotel Director shook each person's hand as we left. They waved goodby as we left for our last Zodiac trip. As someone who has been on several Celebrity ships, this continued the classy aspects of the trips my wife and I have had on Celebrity. My friend also enjoyed himself on the ship. We then flew back to Quito and checked into the JW Marriott again. My friend then started having a very bad reaction to the altitude, and with a half hour of his request, there was an oxygen machine in our room. The next morning, were were supposed to go on a tour, but he was still hurting. The hotel arranged for us to go to a local pharmacy to get some medication, as well as providing for for us to eat on the excursion bus. We went to a number of location, all at lower altitudes, which helped my friend. During the excursion the concierge called our guide and arranged for us to go back in our same room upon return, to give him another 4 hors of oxygen until our ride back to the airport that night. That to me was a very nice thing to do, and shows that the Marriott staff there takes care of their guests. All in all, this was a great trip, with Celebrity and the Marriott doing an outstanding job. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Just got back from a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Epic out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Here are my thoughts on the vacation. -UBP. Got the Ultimate Beverage Package for the week. Was totally worth it. Great selection of ... Read More
Just got back from a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Epic out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Here are my thoughts on the vacation. -UBP. Got the Ultimate Beverage Package for the week. Was totally worth it. Great selection of spirits, beer, and wine. The standard wine was excellent and was my drink of choice during the day. Totally saved us money. It was also nice not worrying about a tab at the end. Plenty of bartenders and really didnt have to wait in line for a drink. Best perk is that drinks are included on the private island. Very nice touch and adds the feeling that you are at an all inclusive resort for the day. Bartenders even remembered my drinks. -Food. Excellent food. My favorite was the steak house, French restaurant, and the Chinese. Chinese is included and not a specialty restaurant, bonus. Buffet has everything and very tasteful. Also, did room service which was great and offered pizza. Yum. Staff was very attentive and kept the food always stocked and very happy to help in anyway. -Entertainment: Broadway quality on the shows, make sure you take advantage and attend. You wont be disappointed. Nightclub Bliss was great for dancing. Also, during the cruise we watched the Super Bowl at H20 on the massive screen. Very cool experience. Plus they had a tailgating buffet of all the football food that you expected. Really a great way to watch the big game. Spa is massive and totally worth the pass price. Great place to relax after a long day on shore. Staff: Best part of the boat. Great staff that are always in a good mode and friendly. The hotel director, Nelson is great guy and very approachable. You see him everywhere around the ship. Our room attendant did a great job and kept our cabin cleaned and stocked all the time. Bottom line, this is one of the best cruises I've been on and I have tried them all. Great cruise of just about anyone. Singles, Couples, Families, etc. Will be back for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The whole experience of this expedition voyage was absolutely wonderful. We chose the cruise mainly because we wanted to see the Northern Lights and we decided to go on the Astronomy tour, when there would be an astronomer on board. We ... Read More
The whole experience of this expedition voyage was absolutely wonderful. We chose the cruise mainly because we wanted to see the Northern Lights and we decided to go on the Astronomy tour, when there would be an astronomer on board. We have never travelled on a ship for so long, and for us this was a great voyage of adventure and not a run of the mill "cruise". It certainly surpassed our expectations. Hurtigruten organise everything superbly and the expedition team on board are very knowledgeable, helpful and add to the overall experience during the voyage. There is a schedule each day that also has important information on it and points of interest are highlighted on the way, often with a gathering about the sight. The astronomy talks were brilliant and added to the overall experience and we were so lucky to see so mainly northern light displays during our voyage, and with the astronomer , John, who shared his knowledge about this wonderful natural phenomena. The food on board was excellent. Lots of it and lots of choice too. Evening meal except 2 nights was 3 course a la carte, which was very nice. Tea and coffee is also available at certain places on the ship throughout the day and after evening meal for those on a package. All staff are really helpful and polite and will do anything to help. Drinks are expensive as is the case in Scandinavia. We opted for a house wine drinks package. All in all a glass of wine is around £10, so we thought the wine package would be more economical. There were about 6 different choices of wine on this package, either red or white and most were nice quality. There are also beer packages as well. We went on 2 trips which we highly recommend. North Cape on day 6 and snowmobiling on day 7. Very well organised. The only point to make is that we booked our excursions prior to the holiday, as we were told it would get booked up. We were told that one trip was fully booked so we opted for another instead. However, on board all the trips had places advertised by the expedition team and you could book with them very easily on board and the trip we originally wanted had lots of space. if we did it again we would probably wait to book excursions until on board. A great variety of hikes were on offer as well. Even though we did not venture on these we heard from others how great they were. There is plenty of opportunity, depending on the weather, to get off the ship. More so on the Northern voyage. There are plenty of great areas on the ship to view the wonderful scenery from inside and deck 9 has a large outside deck area that was the main place to view the northern lights. The cabins are clean and have plenty of storage space. We were on deck 6 which has the viewing areas and the muster station. We would definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was ... Read More
We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was plentiful, we were hesitant because people's reviews had made it seem like there was too much pasta on the menus, we found the opposite, the food was very tasty and the selections was great, they still need to work out a few kinks, in the black crab restaurant ( where we were assigned ) we had to wait for our coffee to accompany our desserts, but it seems like every cruise line is cutting staff and you don't get quite the prompt service that we expect. The itinerary was wonderful too, going to shore and coming back into the ship was painless and we loved the fact that the ship stayed longer in ports than most cruises we have taken, that was nice surprised. Another pleasant surprise was the entertainment in the theater, we enjoyed all of the shows, they did an amazing job and would certainly would do another MSC Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My first Marcella Cruise I found the ship and crew and staff very helpful it was also my 1st all inclusive and there was no shortage of drinks all over the ship you had just put your empty glass down and bar staff were rushing to give you ... Read More
My first Marcella Cruise I found the ship and crew and staff very helpful it was also my 1st all inclusive and there was no shortage of drinks all over the ship you had just put your empty glass down and bar staff were rushing to give you a refill cocktail of the day was always yummy the entertainment was first class and so professional that comment was heard all over the ship by passengers the only negative comment were the food though nice it was always very sameness in Buffet and Restaurants 47 also I fell I'll as I'm prone to Chest Inf with air-con I visited the Medical Center who issued me with just 3 antibiotics at £15 each 4 steroids at £1.50 each and a cough bottle £27 they were of course of no use really wasn't happy with treatment which totaled £127 but would I travel with Marcella again ? Yes but take your medication with you and stay healthy Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
badgered by relatives and friends to go.....would not have done it otherwise...no regrets. This was my first Ocean Cruise.....have done two other river cruises. By far a much bigger ship with much more available. Getting on and off ... Read More
badgered by relatives and friends to go.....would not have done it otherwise...no regrets. This was my first Ocean Cruise.....have done two other river cruises. By far a much bigger ship with much more available. Getting on and off the ship was a hassle but not unexpected for the number of people. The people on the ship were all polite and helpful. Our facilities were all clean however I did wash my Hands 2372 times....smile....We did appreciate the care of our cabin by the young lady. Very helpful person as well. The food was good, a great variety with healthy choices (only gained three pounds) and the waiters were helpful, polite and knowledgable about the menu. Liked the balcony, used it quite a bit. Having the info available on the TV about the position of the ship enroute , the weather and the bridge cam was interesting for me. I did note that the two main news channels available were only the extreme left and right politically. CNBC was good to have. BBC was good for world news. I would certainly give your cruise line a positive review and tell others it was a good experience. May go again , age and health permitting. Thank you for the experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire ... Read More
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire range of drinks they had made were terrific. Get the drinking package, it is a great investment. Made every port on-time, except one slight delay. With cooperating weather, we were able to do all of our excursion pre-purchased on the NCL website. The excursion staff on shore were friendly, knowledgeable, entertaining, and accommodating. The food at Ocean Blue was amazing and still quite memorable. The Teppanyaki had us laughing the entire duration with good food to follow. "Burn the Floor," has some amazing dancers, period. After a great day on shore with an excursion, the adequate time alloted for shopping, and then a great dinner at the various restaurants on the Getaway, we were able to dance and drink the night away with themed music at "H2O" every night, followed by more clubbing at "Bliss." To us, that felt like such a great bonus, a gift from the ship we had not anticipated. Compared to the previous cruise we were just on a month prior with Holland America Line, it was night and day. Wish I had a chance to review the Veendam on here with you. Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line Getaway has a much happier staff. We had felt that ship vibe from the get-go. A happier staff equals a happier trip for all of the customers on board (and returning customers). It is also a great reflection of a successful business. In the end, we had met great people who are now friends. Great photos were taken. Great memories were created. I'll forever miss the "washi-washi" hand-sanitizing girls on deck. Thanks to them we didn't get sick this time. Thank you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
NCL always treat us well and are so nice. On this cruise, for us, it was all about the best band on this ship...4-Blue!! We never missed a night listening to them!! We watch them on YouTube at home since we miss them!! One downfall was ... Read More
NCL always treat us well and are so nice. On this cruise, for us, it was all about the best band on this ship...4-Blue!! We never missed a night listening to them!! We watch them on YouTube at home since we miss them!! One downfall was when they got to play on deck one night but they only played for 1 hour! We, the great crowd of an audience wanted MORE of them, but they weren’t given permission to play longer.....the biggest mistake of the night! THE ONLY other thing we are not fond of are the design of the rooms. But we both agree this was one of our BEST trips ever! Big ship with lots to do! Stage shows were great also!! We are not a fan of having to make a reservation for some of them, but that’s how it is on this ship! The water slides are AWESOME....especially the toilet bowl one!!! Highly recommend Teppanyaki for dinner... it’s a WOW!!!!!! It’s a must!!! Bliss the nightclub was unpleasant the night we went....6 of us. We didn’t stay long. I pray they aren’t all like that on other ships. We enjoyed the pool areas a lot, and we enjoyed the couple, man and woman who sang onboard deck, but the raggae band wasn’t that great. In fact, I wanted to go elsewhere when they played. All other bands were really good!!!! We relaxed at the Martini bar at times....and the Beatles Band was VERY GOOD also!!! We’d take this same cruise on this same ship again anytime!!! Loved it!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My sister from Canada invited me to go on this Cruise with her friends. The ship was extremely clean. The Shows were awesome. There were many other activities including golf and rock climbing. Every night we enjoyed the entertainment. The ... Read More
My sister from Canada invited me to go on this Cruise with her friends. The ship was extremely clean. The Shows were awesome. There were many other activities including golf and rock climbing. Every night we enjoyed the entertainment. The stage performances were great. The actors did a wonderful job. I felt as if I was in New York without paying the price for the Broadway show tickets. The crews were outstanding. Food and drinks were delicious and non-stop. I still keep hearing the bell and Mr Spread the love. I met many interesting people. We had great times at Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. I highly recommend this cruise for the perfect sized ship and outstanding crew. It was a peaceful and very enjoyable experience. I definitely will take another trip on the Marella Discovery 2 Ship. I thank the captain for a safe trip and the crew for their hard work and outstanding services. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My mum booked this cruise for us to celebrate her 60th birthday she did it through cruise club I believe which included a chartered flight from gatwick. From check in to embrakation everything was done and arranged for us. We just showed ... Read More
My mum booked this cruise for us to celebrate her 60th birthday she did it through cruise club I believe which included a chartered flight from gatwick. From check in to embrakation everything was done and arranged for us. We just showed up and followed the crowd and first first time cruisers I would highly recommend this. It took the stress out of everything; all transport was ready and waiting for us when we go off the flight and our luggage was delivered to our rooms. I'm 25 and mum is 60 this year and I can say the Preziosa does caters for all ages. From a baby care centre to a toddlers water park; a teenagers gaming room and entertainment for young to old adults there is something for everyone. The ship is huge and there is plenty to do and differently environments to explore. From the calm and relaxing garden pool to the fun and interactive main pool. The massive and varied buffet to the more up scale dining experince of the golden lobster. From the relaxing spa to the modern gym. And then there is the night life there is so much to do and not enough time to do it all!!! The ships facilities are just fanatic and that was the general consensus from old and new cruisers was that th ship was beautiful and expansive. The bars and lounges are stunning and have so much entertainment included from performances, tributes and dancing!! There was also the Casiono to play at or the Galaxy disco to party at into the early hours of the night. There was also a selection of shows to watch which were amazing however mostly dancing and singing due to the fact any spoken act may be lost due to the language barrier. I loved that there were many languages and nationalities aboard however some of the other English guests didn't like it so much especially if they had been aboard other English or a arrival owner ships. I have to give a special mention of the animation team and dance instructors; they were just fantastic I felt so welcomed and included even if mother had gone to bed early and I wanted to dance the night away! There was always someone to talk to or to dance with in the Green Sax or performance and dancing to enjoy in the safari lounge. The entertainment team also provided afternoon activities and trivia by the pool from 3/4pm everyday as well as free fitness and dance classes. All of the staff aboard the Preziosa were so poliet, helpful and always had a friendly smile to offer. The dress code was pretty casual though I did dress in going out dresses every night for diner and dancing because I don't get to do that very often at home as I work in the evening. And though there were many causally dressed people I did not feel out of place or too dressed up at all. There are also a few themed nights including a tropical party and gala night where the entertainment teams are dressed accordingly and host different events around the ship including on the deck in the warm evening air and under the stairs. Other facilities that we used were the Spa where my mother and I both got candle massage; which was just wonderful. One of the best massages I've ever had and was persuaded to have another one. They were done by a Indonesian woman who had amazing skills. We also bought the digital package and so took full advantage of the photographers on board every night. It felt a bit posey and if your shy is maybe not for you but your see plenty of other people getting them done and I have some wonderful and beautiful shots that I love. As for the food and drinks I was amazed at the options and variety; in the buffet there was everything from pizza, chips and burgers to oriental. There are also always heathly options available which were very tasty. The other bit I loved was the dessert section which always had something delicious on! The food in the golden lobster was also lovely there was plenty of options every night and didn't have the same menu twice whilst on board. There was only one night that the whole table wasn't fussed with limited options but most nights we struggled to choose. A few of the nights we ended up being served the one we ordered and the one we didn't chose by the waiting staff just to try them. Fantastic service as well as great food. When talking to other guests the reviews about the food were mixed. Apparently it's not as good as else where but I live off microwave meals and packaged food (whilst I do hate and must change!!) so having so much choice that was cooked for me that was tasty was amazing!! Now onto drinks...we had the all inslusive package which included all non premium spirits, wines, draught beer and soooooo many delicious cocktails avavlible all over the ship in majority of the bars! The package ended up paying for itself and then some once we totalled it up. So it's worth getting if you like a couple of drinks a day and a drink with dinner. It's even more worth it if you want to drink all day! Whilst talking to other guests it was the itinary that encouraged them to book this cruise; and i must say it did not disappoint. We visited 12 different island in 14 days and sailed through the night so no days were wasted. We went off the ship almost everyday and booked on to excursions via the ship before we left. As it was our first cruise and first time to the Caribbean we went a bit over board with the excursions. Most of the tours started around 9/10am and we're back between 2-4pm so we still got some time on the ship on the in the afternoon. There was only one every early one and one afternoon one so we had a good variety and were able to still enjoy the ships facilities and activities. The excursions were quiet expensive starting at £38 and going up to £127 however with the excursions booked through the cruise you have the guarantee if something goes wrong the cruise has to wait and make arrangements for you where as if you do it on your own you don't have the same peice of mind. So the best excursions that I would recommend to do is: All exclusive beach day - Gaudaloupe Hot springs and falls - Dominica Dolphins - St Kitts & Nives Stingrays - Antigua & Barbuda These ones are good: Norman island snorkelling - British virgin isles Beach and turtles - Martinique Nutmeg and falls - Geneda Rum distillery - St Vicent & grenadines These excursions were okay but wouldn't recommend or do again; Maracas beach - Trinidad & Tobago - pretty beach but rather expensive for what you get St Martins tour and beach - St Martins - didn't go but mum said I didn't miss anything Beach tour - St Lucia - quiet commercialised and locals bit pushy As it was our first time to each of these places we are both glade we did what we did however if we're were to go back we would either stay on our favourite islands and explore more or if we cruised here again we could do a bit more on our own and maybe save some money. One other thing is that I left my phone on one of the excursions (Tortala - British Virgin Isles - Norman island snorkelling trip) and though it was not initially found and I thought I lost it forever it was found and though I have not been reunited with it yet they shall hopefully be picking it up tomorrow and sending it back to me. This gave me great faith in the companies that MSC had chosen to do excursions with and also MSC themselfs and how they dealt with the issue quickly and kept me informed. So Yes I would recommend this cruise liner and tour to everyone. If you have cruised before don't expect the same experince keep your expectations relative and if you never had you won't be disspointed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Regardless of poor reviews that we read, we embarked on the Costa Deliziosa due to provided price discounts (~70%) for 2 x 10 consecutive days. And, the following is our personal opinion: 1. Food and its variety was very good in taste ... Read More
Regardless of poor reviews that we read, we embarked on the Costa Deliziosa due to provided price discounts (~70%) for 2 x 10 consecutive days. And, the following is our personal opinion: 1. Food and its variety was very good in taste and the quality terms. Except: a) there was very poor choice of tropical & exotic fruits like Papaya (popular in Central America), Dragon, Pepino,.....etc. Kiwi were to hard and not well matured. b) often we encountered a shortage of water melons. c) often there was an annoying line-up for the food at pick hours d) service over the supper lasted too long (~ 2 hrs). e) free coffee was of poor quality 2.There was too many outdoor cigarette smoking places. The smoke from outside was entering main corridors through the door openings into the Buffet area making difficult to find a smoke-free place. Smoke was even evaporating on walking / jogging path on the top deck. Also, the walking path was blocked by people laying on chairs. Cigarette's smoke from the balcony was penetrating over the day and some night hrs inside of our balcony, hence we were very limited to have the benefits of balcony. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try ... Read More
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try to book mainline cruise trips for $100 or less per person per day. Needless to say, there is no such option in the Galapagos. The best “deal” we could find in relative comfort was on Celebrity’s 100 passenger Xpedition. In an effort to save some money, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find at the least expensive time of the year. And we avoided the expensive mainland add-ons (to Quito and elsewhere) that Celebrity sells, booking only the seven day cruise and making all of our flight arrangements to and from the Galapagos ourselves. OK, after all of that, our cruise price per person (including taxes and fees) was still about $560 per person per day, making this the most expensive cruise we have ever done. Was it worth it? Absolutely! One thing that mitigates the cost is that this cruise is truly all inclusive. For example, no tipping is expected, and all types of alcohol are included. The only additional things my wife and I paid for on board was a $30 bag of laundry and a $23 bottle of sunblock. Yeah, not a typo, bring a lot of sunblock so you don’t have to buy any on board. We arrived two nights early and stayed in the small town of Puerto Ayora. There is a $20 visa fee tourists have to pay, and a $100 national park fee at the airport. Now Celebrity pays this as part of your cruise package, but when we arrived the officials at the airport did not yet have the “list” of Celebrity passengers, so we had to pay the fee. On the day our cruise began, however, Celebrity immediately refunded our payment, so that was no problem. OK, some details about the cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. We made our way back to the airport on the morning of the cruise and met with a Celebrity rep there. After a pleasant one-hour wait in the terminal, they put us on a short bus ride to the Baltra marina, and an Xpedition zodiac met us at the marina and took us out to the Xpedition. We were then shown immediately to our cabin. Our oceanview cabin was not particularly remarkable. In terms of size and layout it was very similar to oceanview cabins we have had on larger cruise ships. The shower was a bit bigger, and nicer, than some we have had on other ships. There was plenty of hot water, good water pressure, and the in room hair dryer worked well. The water that comes out of the taps in your cabin is, of course, potable, but it also tastes of chlorine, so the ship also has drinking water dispensers on each deck that have no chlorine taste. The food served in the main dining room was also similar in quality to what we have had on other cruise ships, but was more limited in variety and, not surprisingly, heavy on fish and seafood dishes. The food was not the best we have had, but it easily met our expectations, given the difficulty of resupply that the Xpedition faces. We were told that about 50% of the food is sourced locally, but many products that we westerners are used to (like beef) have to be flown in by Celebrity or otherwise sourced over long distances. And some of the food has to be specially treated before being allowed in the Galapagos. Ok, and now the superlatives. The ratio of crew to passengers on the Xpedition is very high, with 62 crew members vs 100 passengers. And that meant a level of service we have not experienced on any cruise. For example, our room was serviced multiple times a day, seemingly every time we left it (OK, maybe not quite that often). When we were in the bar or restaurant the waiters were constantly circulating and asking if they could get you something. And when we would return from a shore excursion the staff was always right there waiting with cold beverages and snacks. One thing that surprised me, but I guess shouldn’t have, is that the crew was almost entirely Ecuadoran. In fact, 61 out of 62, including the Captain, were Ecuadoran. What a competent, energetic, and pleasant group of people. Hey, but accommodations, food, and ship board service are not really why you come to the Galapagos. It is for the wildlife! And Celebrity shines in getting you to the action. Each day of the cruise you have at least two activities, morning and afternoon. There were three basic types of activities: a walk ashore, a snorkel, or a lengthy zodiac ride (without landing or snorkeling). With regard to the walks, there was always the option of a longer or shorter walk. The snorkel trips were sometimes shore snorkels (right off the beach) or deepwater snorkels. My advice: always do the deepwater snorkels when offered because the water clarity and sea life variety is better than the shore snorkels. And Celebrity plans the deepwater snorkels very well. There was virtually no current on any of our snorkels, and what current there was was always pushing the way we wanted to go. On one snorkel we went three quarters of the way around a small island, for a total distance of 1.5 miles, and it was so easy that we virtually never used our arms, only our flippers, with the wetsuits providing plenty of buoyancy. As for signing up for what you wanted to do on a given day, you got a briefing the night before and right after that briefing chose what you wanted to do. There was no rush or pressure to be “first in line” to sign up for anything, as the Xpedition can accommodate everyone on every desired option. Group size ashore was usually 14 to 16 persons with one naturalist, which was about as many folks as one zodiac could comfortably carry. The naturalists were great -- well informed with a pretty good command of English. As for the wildlife, we saw pretty much all the biggies: Tortoises, boobies (Blue Foot and Nazca), land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, flamingos, crabs, rays, and sharks. We even saw three albatrosses very close up, although we were well past the season when the albatrosses have normally departed the islands. And we saw many other species of birds, including, of course, multiple species of Darwin finches. Many of these animals have incredible coloration. And since there are no large land-based predators in the Galapagos almost all of these animals are completely unafraid of humans and you could get very close to them. A true photographer’s dream. Some offbeat highlights: (1) One day we were momentarily stuck on some rough rocks in a zodiac because of an extremely low tide, and the crews of two other zodiacs worked quickly to free us. A bit much excitement that. (2) One morning a lava gull landed next to me on the ship, and I remarked what a beautiful bird it was to a naturalist sitting nearby. She then told me the lava gull was the rarest gull in the world, and there it was five feet away eyeing my croissant!! I asked if I could feed it (just joking). (3) There were an incredible number of baby sea lions. OMG, so cute. And so curious. The naturalists warned us that for the protection of the babies we should not touch them. But sometimes it was difficult, as they would come right up to you in their curiosity. (4) Probably the highlight of the trip for me was watching sea lions while snorkeling. They would swim like torpedos all around you, and then groups of them would play with each other, and then one might come up and eyeball you before swimming away. Wow. Debarkation was also a breeze. Settle up you bill, if you have one. Put your suitcases outside your room by 5:30 AM, and they are then delivered directly to the airport. Exit your room by 8:30 AM, wait in the lounge, and they call your cabin number for boarding a zodiac back to the short bus ride from dock to airport. Let me close with two more tips. When going ashore for a walk, the footing varied wildly from place to place. Sometimes the landing would be wet (meaning you had to wade a few feet up onto a beach) or dry (directly on to a dock, or jetty, or on some rocks). Then your hike could be on sand, or compact dirt, or broken rocks, or slippery rocks (algae and/or guano), or broken lava, or even some small boulder scrambling. My wife and I brought Tevas (for the wet landings) and lightweight hiking shoes, but on some hikes it would have been nice to have had actual hiking boots for more ankle support. Several times some of the older folks fell -- even on the short, so-called “easier” walks. Another clothing tip is to bring a very broad brimmed hat of some sort, and perhaps some neck covering like a scarf or other neck protector. The sun is brutal on the equator, and unexposed skin burns fast even in cloudy weather. One thing you don’t really need is your own snorkeling equipment. Celebrity provides all that, including wetsuits. As a final note, they told us that the composition of the Celebrity Galapagos fleet will change soon. Currently there are three Celebrity ships, the Xpedition (100 passengers), the Xperience (48 passengers), and the Xploration (16 passengers). The Celebrity Flora, a new, hyper-modern 100 passenger ship, joins the Galapagos fleet later in May. And sometime after that the Xpedition will be refurbished, with its capacity reduced to 64 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first cruise in 15 years, and all of our expectations were exceeded. We derive happiness with drinking, eating and being entertained on vacations. The food was excellent (some friends we were with said the buffet was just OK, ... Read More
This was our first cruise in 15 years, and all of our expectations were exceeded. We derive happiness with drinking, eating and being entertained on vacations. The food was excellent (some friends we were with said the buffet was just OK, but I thought it was great for what it was). The free restaurants are all you really need too. Great food options that taste delicious. We did Cagney's one night, and it was good, but not so much better than what we got at the free restaurants. The drink package was probably my favorite part. I expected them to have a red, white and sparkling wine, but they actually had multiple types of each wine with legit brand names to boot (Chateau St Michelle, Hogue, etc). The liquor was also decent. Our entire group of 8 (drinkers) were all extremely satisfied with the options. We went to "burn the floor" and "million dollar quartet" which were free, and excellent shows. We paid for the wine lovers show, and enjoyed it, but overall it was not as much fun as the other two free shows. The customer service was probably my favorite thing of all. Every staff member I spoke to seemed to genuinely want to help (some quieter than others, but we never received slow or negative service). The stops were OK. All of the stops featured a ton of vendors trying to sell you on the same thing. I enjoyed Costa Maya the most because of our excursion (Chachoben ruin tour). It lasted many hours, and was interesting. I recommend booking this excursion online by googling the title of the excursion from the NCL site. We got our tour for half the price NCL was charging. The only draw back was that the bed was not very comfortable, but it was not bad by any means. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our family had very wonderful experience with Symphony of the Seas to trip Caribbean for vacation 1/19-1/26/2019. one week on the ship travel, we feel excellent service, amazing shows and activity on the board, awesome food. On the ship ... Read More
Our family had very wonderful experience with Symphony of the Seas to trip Caribbean for vacation 1/19-1/26/2019. one week on the ship travel, we feel excellent service, amazing shows and activity on the board, awesome food. On the ship trip also you can enjoy beautiful view of Caribbean and islands. The waiters, Prabhu, and Junny did wonderful jobs for each customer. They gave us detail good information and services, also they provide very useful information for ship trip, such shows, activities etc. when they knew my wife birthday, they held service members to celebrate birthday for my wife. My wife enjoy a special birthday dinner on the ship. Our family will remember this wonderful birthday. Another amazing thing will be never forgotten for this trip. Our family visited ST. Tomas island. When we returned to the board, my wife lost ruby ring. After about 2 hours, my wife was aware of her ring lost. We asked cabin crews to help. The crews asked derail information about ring and quick found the ring in board entrance security area. Crews gave us a great helps and also let us have very happy vacation trip. We want to thank very much for the crews' helps. The crews of Symphony of the seas did excellent job for customers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019

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