Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways.
Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste.
Thomas Keller Grill is just ... Read More
Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways.
Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste.
Thomas Keller Grill is just o.k., nothing exceptionnal.
For lunch at the Collonade, there is not much variety for the cold dishes and salads: allways the shame shrimps and salmon and salads.
The breakfast on the terrace outside the Collonade is a magic moment and very well served.
The tea time at the Observaton Bar is also a delicious experience.
And after dinner, the same observation bar is a cozy place to enjoy a night cap with Jacqui's singing at the piano.
We did not like the noisy entertainment games at the pool deck (Costa style), but they took place just 2 or 3 times.
Entertainment and activities were not very interesting, we expected more lectures and classical music performances (piano 1 time, violin 1 time).
But all by all, it was a marvelous experience, the weather in november on the south atlantic was sunny and warm, but above all, the way the staff makes you feel as a king all the time is the best reason to come back! Read Less
From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really ... Read More
From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really touched on the life and history in Vietnam and Cambodia. Loved the all inclusive nature. They took care of everything. It was nice having on board washing machines and dryers where we could do our own laundry, if we choose, as we had been traveling on our own for 9 days prior and were continuing on for another week after cruise ended. This was free including laundry soap. We loved the pool deck, great for cooling down after excursions. It was very hot during our trip, but we did have rain for 1 1/2 days so we actually had them fire up the sauna and steam room after one extremely wet excursion. That felt so good. Food was delicious, varied and abundant. Great choice of wines and cocktails. This was our first Scenic Cruise and won’t be the last! Read Less
My wife and I booked cabin 5083 originally, a penthouse veranda, as she was worried about motion sickness. A few days before the cruise was to depart, Our travel agent said that Viking had upgraded us to cabin 8007, a jr. penthouse suite. ... Read More
My wife and I booked cabin 5083 originally, a penthouse veranda, as she was worried about motion sickness. A few days before the cruise was to depart, Our travel agent said that Viking had upgraded us to cabin 8007, a jr. penthouse suite. After reading several reviews of the 8000 series cabins, all but one cruiser stated that they felt no or minimal motion on that deck. Apparently my wife is a little more susceptible to motion as we left Rome at 10pm to cruise to Livorno and my wife slept poorly. We spent two days in port and she was better, but as we left Livorno at 6pm for Monaco, the motion sickness became so bad she didn't sleep and we had to see the ship's doctor(an $85 fee) to get motion sickness pills. We missed the Monaco excursion, but Viking refunded the cost. We asked if we could move to a lower deck and since the ship was almost full, we took cabin 3031, a veranda stateroom. Viking stated that they would not refund the difference for what we paid for the original room and the lower grade room since it was a motion sickness issue. Between the pills and the lower cabin, we were able to finish the cruise in relative comfort.
As many others have stated, the ship is beautiful, clean, and well maintained.Cabins were cleaned twice a day, no one asked us to but anything, and all staff members were friendly and courteous.
Food was excellent and, plentiful, and varied. My only complaint with dining was that after my wife had a glass of coke with lunch or dinner, she was not offered a refill.
The included shore excursions we took were rather dull and short; we took a few long optional excursions and enjoyed them.
We enjoyed the Beatles and ABBA shows, but outside of those, there was not a lot of entertainment unless you like classical pieces or acoustic guitar solos. Singers in Torshaven, the night lounge, did a nice enough job though.
I did spend a lot of time in the spa which is extremely well kept and is probably one of the best at sea. Read Less
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed.
And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai.
It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph..
Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way?
The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings.
Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed.
The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again.
The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe.
Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired.
The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable.
Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra.
We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself.
It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
Princess has it right on Embarkation and Disembarkation. Smooth process proved to be one of the best. The ship is older and void of all the exciting pastimes of newer ships but full of traditional pastimes for older passengers. Cabin ... Read More
Princess has it right on Embarkation and Disembarkation. Smooth process proved to be one of the best. The ship is older and void of all the exciting pastimes of newer ships but full of traditional pastimes for older passengers. Cabin service was so exceptional that any flaws in furnishings was not noticed. Wow service for sure there! Food was exceptional in all aspects..better than any other cruise line I have experienced. Dining service was exceptional as well. Entertainment left a little to be desired. Needed more productions, more seating and better entertainers...something more breathtaking like "arial" acts, and such. Found myself bored at certain times, but mainly because of the weather and lack of other exciting activities. Not just gambling. Service everywhere was exceptional and I loved the staff. Only a couple of issues there, not worth mentioning. The Islands were awesome, economical and interesting. Less expensive than Ensenada, Mexico (who had ridiculously high prices) and no bargaining. One fan for $7.....really!!!! Don't even get off at that port. The cruise was rough sailing but we never got sick so hats off to Prncess! We would recommend but would not go again. Read Less
This was our third sailing on the Viking Sea, and my wife and I have become very fond of this spectacularly beautiful, well-designed, and immaculately-maintained ship! The staterooms are setup just right to accommodate our needs, the ... Read More
This was our third sailing on the Viking Sea, and my wife and I have become very fond of this spectacularly beautiful, well-designed, and immaculately-maintained ship! The staterooms are setup just right to accommodate our needs, the public spaces are excellent and abundant, and the crew seem uniformly happy and eager to please. The food and entertainment are very good, and the other amenities (wifi, pool, spa, fitness center, sports deck, lounges, laudromat, and shops) are very good. We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary (Caribbean and South America) included some ports that we hadn't visited previously (Santo Domingo, Cartagena, and Santa Marta), two ports that I hadn't visited for more than 60 years and was eager to enjoy again (Aruba and Curacao), two places that we are very familiar with (San Juan and St. Kitts), as well as opportunities to enjoy two At-Sea days.
Viking Cruises handled the arrangements for our air transportation, our transfers between the airport and cruise terminal prior to our embarkation, and also after debarkation. When we arrived at the airport in San Juan, it took a while for all of the expected passengers to obtain their baggage and to check-in with the Viking representatives.. The bus that was brought us to the ship had a door malfunction, and it took a long time for us to get through the San Juan rush hour traffic.. But everything fell into place as soon as we arrived at the cruise terminal -- welcome, check-in, champagne, dinner, meeting our stateroom attendant, and having our baggage delivered to our cabin.
This was our 23rd ocean cruise, and we have observed the cruise industry's trend toward increasing large cruiseships, and increasingly large numbers of passengers onboard those ships. On the mega-ships, it seems that one must spend a large amount of time waiting for elevators,.and searching for a quiet place in public areas to read or talk. But this is NOT the way things are on Viking Oceans cruises! We are impressed at the variety, beauty, and comfort of public spaces on Viking Oceans ships! The Atrium, Wintergarden, Explorer Lounge, Pool Area, and decks are superb!
Viking Oceans ships offer several dining alternatives, including The Restaurant (the ship's elegant main dining room), the World Cafe (buffet), Manfredi's (Italian food), The Chef's Table (gourmet food & drink), Mamsen;s (Scandinavian deli), and the Pool Grill (hamburgers, etc.). My wife has certain food sensitivities, and the ship's wait staff were quite knowledgeable about those issues, and very accommodating to her needs. The food was sometimes excellent, and always at least very good.
My wife and I enjoyed walking the outside decks every day, and I also worked-out in the ship's excellent Fitness Center every day! We enjoyed the musicians and singers that entertained us onboard the ship. As musicians ourselves, we appreciated the variety of musical styles that were presented, as well as the musicianship of the performers. Read Less
We have wanted to try a luxury cruise for sometime. We have cruised about 15x on various lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC and Royal Caribbean. Here are some things to consider if you are used to standard cruise lines and ... Read More
We have wanted to try a luxury cruise for sometime. We have cruised about 15x on various lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC and Royal Caribbean. Here are some things to consider if you are used to standard cruise lines and debating on higher cost of luxury. Pros for us are fewer people, no crowds, food is amazing! There are 4 different dining venues and 2 specialty ($40 & $60pp). Regular dining room, Asian style, tapas style and our favorite cooking on a hot lava stone. Food was so good we did not do specialty restaurants. Room service has an extensive menu, available any time and Butler sets up linen table setting. You can get “room service” any where on ship when other venues are not open, like between breakfast and lunch. All inclusive is a plus. We have added drink packages on to previous cruises but it is very nice not having to sign every time you get a drink. Room is stocked with what ever you want, wine, beer and liquor. We asked for vodka and they brought a full size bottle! When we drink our bottle of wine it was replaced with another one.
There is a butler and he was great but besides making sure our fridge was stocked I am not sure this was a big difference than a cabin steward. Maybe we just did not ask for much. They will shine your shoes, make dinner reservations... The cabins are fantastic, major pro! We typically do balconies or mini suites. All cabins are suites. Bottom ones are window, then floor to ceiling window, next are balconies. We had a deluxe veranda, booked last minute so not much choice. Lots of room, bathrooms are the best we have had. Great shower with rain head and hand held.
The cons (for us) are the ship is reallly quiet, very few activities or entertainment. We do not go to shows in the theater but if you do know you will not find that here. We do enjoy a band playing in a lounge and music pool side. There are limited bars and they are not really set up for socializing around the bar. The main lounge has a small bar off to the side and the couches and chairs. There was a solo guitar player, really not much in terms of lively entertaininment. We would have loved an upscale bar with views to relax at in the evening and chat with other guests, A nice martini bar with mixologists would fit well on this ship.
There is not main/grand staircase or center bar/entertainment area like you find on other ships. MSC has very attractive boats and I am fond of the rich wood look in lounges on Princess. Celebrity has some attractive areas as well. I am not a fan of goudi look of Carnival. The decks and public areas are very nice on SilverSpirit but could use a bit more elegance in lounges. Rich woods or maybe crystal lights, just something. The carpeting in hallways needs to be replaced, many stains and dirty looking, the walls are tile and I found them unattractive for a luxury ship. This may seem picky but when paying a much higher price your expectations do go up. The gym is super small, so if you work out you may be disappointed. I did a yoga class that was on a small out door deck, 6 of us barely fit. One day it rained so another fitness class was done inside in weight room area. There were 7 of us and barely had space to move, not to mention how warm it got in that little room. The instructor mentioned the week prior no one showed for a single class so I think 7 was a mass crowd.
We were in port until 10pm or later but most shops close early so not a lot of things to do after dark. The casino can only open when at sea so it was open very late and the size was like an arcade. We are not big gamblers so this did not matter to us.
You just have to think about what matters to you most. Overall the service, cabin, food and small number of passengers were a major plus! We had a very good vacation but most likely will not book again with SilverSeas. It was too quiet for us and not sure the high price tag was worth it. We would love to find a higher end option with more areas of entertainment and mingling. Read Less
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice.
We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show!
The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city.
We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem.
The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful.
Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment.
Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime ... Read More
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime celebration and memories.
We chose this trip because we vowed to return after 20 years to the places where we honeymooned. I mentioned to Sunil, our butler how my husband John was my hero and superman for when he married me, a widow, he took on the responsibilites of two greiving teenagers and ill and declining parents. I wanted to thank him with a surprise German themed evening of food and music. It brings back his happy memories of his parents of German descent. I thought we might have dinner in our suite and perhaps hear a couple German tunes where the musicians were playing that evening.
Here's the amazing evening that Sunil flawlessly executed with the help of Marius, Chef Wesley, Kasha, Anyje, Boogie, Zach and their fellow performers.
When we returned from our shore excursion, Gretchen and Deborah who kept our room always tidy, had beautifully decorated our suite. Towels were creatively transformed into swans forming a heart messaging I ♡ YOU on the confetti strewn bed. Red and white ballons with ribbon streamers were everywhere.
We were then invited to the Mariner Lounge where Kasia and Antje greeted us in their German durndl dresses. They had planned a unique and upbeat show of beer toasting, music, song and dance. The girls wisked my joyful husband to the dance floor where he joined the dance and returned misty eyed. I am amazed how they came up with such a professional costumed show with such short notice. Brendon and Nathan said they had just finished learning their parts that afternoon. You would never suspect as it was executed with perfection and all in attendance throughly enjoyed the upbeat energy of their performance.
We then returned to our suite for dinner where Marius and Chef Wesley wished us a happy anniversary and presented all of John's favorite German dishes: his mother's Sauerbraten, schnitzel, spaetzley, pretzels and Asparagus soup served with a nice Reisling wine.
I had mentioned to Sunil that John enjoyed a cigar and whiskey after dinner. He suggested that a taste of Louis XIII Cognac would make a nice gift from me. I agreed so we surprised John once again with a stroll to the cigar lounge were Sunil made a white gloved ceremonial presentation of this special indugence.
We then caught John, the cruise director's excellent show.
When we returned to our room there was yet one more surprise: a black forest cake topped with a fondant sculpture of Superman carrying me reminiscent of our original wedding cake. John's dad was a master baker and played trumpet in a German folk band and he would have been impressed.
We were never charged for any of this. Regent doesn't nickle and dime you. They just treat you special all the time. We love that you never put your hand in your pocket once on board. You just sit back enjoy and let them pamper you
So you see all of these wonderful individuals went over board to gift us an evening we will forever cherish. They make a Regent cruise special. Read Less
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, ... Read More
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, free mini-bar etc was nice.
The Port Talks were excellent, and gave a good idea of what to expect. The talk and slides on the antique cars was great. How do the Cubans maintain 60 year old cars, and get simple things like oil filters. All answered. Talks on politics, on the cities to be visited, etc.
Room 6031 was clean, and perfectly fine for a short cruise. The lack of drawer storage was notable,so we threw the hair dryer, shoe shine pack, etc into the closet to create more space.
Dining was fine. We had dinner in Manfredi's, and at the Chef's Table, as well as in the World Cafe. The wine selection was OK, the (free) base wines ranged from good down to swill. Beer was fine with a good range of European choices. Several special nights with pig roasts out on the aft deck, seafood spectacular, etc. All were done well. Full breakfasts were available, with alcohol for those who wanted it.
The excursions are a work in progress. Cuba doesn't have a lot of experience in tourism, and more remote places like Cienfuegos and Santiago are behind the curve. That's to be expected. On four excursions, we had two superb guides, one OK, and one awful. I'm not sure how much control Viking has over the tour operators (I only saw one provider in both places). In one case, we were expected to walk through knee high grass, down a washed out culvert to see a lake. And back up via another route. Older people had trouble other , people were concerned about ticks in the grass. Another guide engaged us in a forced march, so we could spend a whole half hour in yet another a rum / cigar shop. The third in four excursions. Several people had trouble with the pace. There was a lot of overlap, as we received the Cienfuegos city park talk twice, from two different guides. It was interesting what they chose to emphasize.
Some guides were great, and the excursions provided a great window into a lovely country. Hard working people, horse drawn carts, street musicians, vivid colors, wonderful sunsets. I had the opportunity to walk by myself through the mercado and beyond after one excursion ended. The guide had received 30 people, and delivered 30 people back to the dock. After that, I walked off on my own. About a two mile walk.
Friendly people selling wood carvings, hats, gourds, etc. Didn't feel the least bit threatened. The neighborhoods looked a little more worn than those traversed by the tour buses, but it seemed more real. Street musicians, very lively areas. I speak a little Spanish, and did fine.
The US government requires that the trip address certain people to people needs. So, we saw an honors arts school, with young children demonstrating high levels of musical proficiency. And visited the adjacent painting studio where the instructors displayed their work, most in support of the revolution. For sale, too. Other schools visible on our trip did not appear to have the same level of maintenance or exterior paint. But, all kids wear uniforms, and those we met were exceptionally polite.
I'd go back to either Cienfuegos or Santiago de Cuba in an instant, and I will. But, I know it will be different, just like it was different five years ago. A government patrol boat sat near our ship in both ports. In Santiago, the ship was required to anchor about 30 minutes outside the main harbor, making a long tender ride
Practical notes: I tipped guides, taxi drivers, etc in all of US dollars, Cuban convertible pesos, and Euro. They were grateful for the tips, it's a big part of their income. The government takes a cut off the conversion of all US$ to Cuban currency, so most preferred the Euro
We departed Santiago de Cuba in the late afternoon, bound for Miami. A day at sea, and a 6am arrival in Miami. Customs doesn't report for work until 7am, so it was 7.15 before the first people were processed. Everyone was required to be out of their cabins by 8am, and off the ship by 9am. I would have liked a few more hours in Santiago de Cuba, and an hour more sleep in Miami.
This is not a child friendly cruise. No kids activities, and most excursions were adult level. Not too much partying, the average age was probably mid-60s. Read Less