1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Luxury Cruises Cruise Reviews

10,812 Luxury Cruise Reviews

First time I took this ship was last year and was so impressed with the service decided to book again! Called in to my contact at Silver Seas Ray Sobel and he helped me find this. Raise and he is outstanding and provides excellent service ... Read More
First time I took this ship was last year and was so impressed with the service decided to book again! Called in to my contact at Silver Seas Ray Sobel and he helped me find this. Raise and he is outstanding and provides excellent service a big plus for me wanting to ask about ships etc! First they have two ambassadors /translators who take photos and greet people always there to assist..if lucky you will have Sophia on your cruise..you walk on and if like me you go to lunch if you don’t like their lunches then you don’t like good food..the staff knows you day two! La Dame..don’t know of a place as good..has the caviar they place on top of the lobster medallion salad..then had for the main course chilean sea bass with more caviar on top! The lobster bisque people had to cut the lobster! Service was incredible and the food matched it. Each room comes with a butler in mine was outstanding. He came in as I was hanging up my clothes noticed one of my jackets had wrinkles took it and asked me if I would like to wear it for dinner three hours later. I said yes and within an hour it was back in my room.he truly wanted the experience to be outstanding and Jerry delivered. The cruise Director was Colin and he was just excellent..large groups came to play trivia and he stayed to interact with us..and he too is an excellent classical pianist. The entertainment On hr ship was fun. As a low carb eater only the Italian dining venue at night I stayed away from as the others were just right up my alley..loved cooking a steak under the stars on the pool deck on hot lava stones drinking some fine wine! One I was with geared up with me as we went into the last night as we said goodby to the crew even the Boutique people were special. Felt sad that I would not see them again so in the process to soon take another to be with them..that’s how good they were and it starts with the Captain..he was visible and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have been on over 80 cruises.None of them on a luxury line. This was special for my 60th birthday.Also being single, had to find one that did not break the bank.I didnt want to regret never doing a high end cruise.So booked this one.Big ... Read More
I have been on over 80 cruises.None of them on a luxury line. This was special for my 60th birthday.Also being single, had to find one that did not break the bank.I didnt want to regret never doing a high end cruise.So booked this one.Big mistake.Definitely would have enjoyed 3 regular cruises so much more. It was a very small ship. There was so much rocking and swaying. I spent 1 day completely in bed. This was a first for me.There was mostly nothing to do all day. I was on a trivia team and met some nice people.I really have no need to be pampered or have things done for me. Most of the crowd was used to that. You could tell they were high brow and demanding. My butler was very good. He was also helpful.The ship is very outdated. I had a meal comped at La Dame. Glad didnt pay the extra 60.00. I am not a big drinker, so the ship made money off of me. Most of the others liked their liquor.The food was good, but nothing memorable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Just returned from a 5-day cruise on the Infinity and wanted to share some of my thoughts on the experience. I was bit hesitant in booking this since the ship will be going into dry dock for a complete make over later this year and many ... Read More
Just returned from a 5-day cruise on the Infinity and wanted to share some of my thoughts on the experience. I was bit hesitant in booking this since the ship will be going into dry dock for a complete make over later this year and many have commented on the ship looking a bit tired. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that all the public spaces were very well kept and I really liked the more traditional style layout and the “Solstice” like décor. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and absolutely loved the location. It was very quiet, and I rarely heard any noise from the movie screen above or the pool deck. I am so glad I chose this deck over the Aqua Class cabins on deck 9 with the dramatic overhang from the deck above. One thing I want to confirm is that the balconies actually get slightly larger in depth from aft to forward on deck 11. We were in cabin #1104 and It looks like cabin #1103 & #1102 have the largest balconies, but only by about a foot or so. Since there was much discussion on this topic I am posting a photo to try and show this. My biggest gripe about the cabin was the size of the bathroom and shower. It was definitely one of the smallest I have ever experienced, and I don’t think the upcoming makeover will be able to address this. I loved the fact that there was a traditional wide promenade deck that did have some deck chairs to enjoy the ocean from, which is a rarity now on any of the newer ships. I sailed on the Solstice and did like the style and décor of the ship, but I am not a fan of the Edge from everything I have read and the photos and videos I have viewed. The design seems a bit extreme for Celebrity in my opinion. I thought the staff was excellent on this ship and will say the customer service provided was probably the best on any cruise we have taken. I thought the entertainment in the main showroom was quite good, but did not like the very loud and obnoxious d-jays at the pool. The hip-hop music vibe was not fitting for the demographic on this cruise. They also turn the very classy atrium and stairway area into a club each night with the same d-jay and style of music. Sitting and trying to enjoy a coffee in the classy Café Boccio and martini bar in the evening and having to listen to this loud music was not very pleasant. I get they are trying to create a party vibe with the lack of a true disco on this ship, but this was not the place to do it or at least they could try to mix up the style of music to cater to a more diverse crowd and lower the volume a bit. The average age were people in their 50’s and 60’s, not teens and 20’s. As far as the food goes, I loved Blu and think it is worth every penny if possible to upgrade to Aqua class just to dine there. I did not like the buffet at all. It is always crowded and the food quality was not that great. I stuck with the fresh made pasta bar and salads. Pizza and burgers were OK, but the entries were mostly unidentifiable and awful. I did like the pastries and desserts in both the buffet and at Blu. We did try the Petite Chef at Quisine and the Tuscan Grill. Both were excellent and the food was very good. If I had to chose one over the other it would definitely be the Tuscan Grill. I liked the show at Quisine, but once would be enough. We had the full 4 perks which included the premium drink package which was great, but you need to do the math and make sure it is worth springing for the extra cost. We also had the premium internet which was surprisingly fast for being on a ship. I posted previously regarding the lack of free movies on board. It was reported here that Celebrity had lifted the pay per view policy and was offering free movies in the cabin, but that was not the case on the Infinity. Only 1 free movie per day on the TV! All in all it was a great cruise and wanted to share some thoughts. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Husbands special birthday and cunard was always on his bucket list. First 5 days food was rubbish, dry and not as described on menu. The Lido was no better Bar prices out of this world. Buy a drinks package, coffees, soft drinks or ... Read More
Husbands special birthday and cunard was always on his bucket list. First 5 days food was rubbish, dry and not as described on menu. The Lido was no better Bar prices out of this world. Buy a drinks package, coffees, soft drinks or alcohol, they don't tell you in the book that you have to buy one for every one in your cabin ! What to wear in dining room, non gala evenings. Book says collared shirt, long trousers. My husband was Refused Entry, in front of other passengers ! Lucky I was already at the table...as he was wearing a polo 3 button shirt a very expensive one at that. Why couldn't they just explain themselves, so that next time he would understand what they mean. There were other men at the tables in similar and 2 nights later we witnessed the same thing on another passenger. Well trained staff, I don't think. Very very embarrassing Free sauna and gym, according to a lot of the stafr, it is not free. But it is, depends who you talk to. The last four days the food improved, but too late. Staff seem to be on board under sufferance. Top Mark's to cabin steward. Top Mark's to shows and nightly dancing by passengers. Beautiful ship, shame about the captain - the buck stops here. Where were you and your highly trained senior staff. The passengers - your customers - older generation, paid a lot of money to sail with you, you do realize that the majority would have held very senior positions in their lifetime and know the meaning value for money and how to treat customers. Some were incredulous. A bit of a rip off. Never again cunard. Back to Holland America, value for money, friendly staff and make it clear what you are up for before you go . Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I chose this cruise for the ports of call. Specifically for Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda BVI. Two places I had never visited on the 12 previous cruises I had taken. I always wave the Royal Caribbean flag and tried Carnival ONCE and went ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the ports of call. Specifically for Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda BVI. Two places I had never visited on the 12 previous cruises I had taken. I always wave the Royal Caribbean flag and tried Carnival ONCE and went back to Royal for all future cruises but this cruise was only HALF my dollar value. I get that weather can't be predicted BUT Royal KNEW that the weather was bad in the areas we were heading BEFORE we sailed because the moment we arrived, they had changed our ports of call due to "weather". So BVI was out. Weather was horrific. People were sick all over the ship and we never had access to the upper deck of the ship until the last 4 days (of an 8 day cruise). For two days we didn't have access to the pool. At one point the pool was completely empty. Then we arrived at Puerto Rico 3 hours late which meant it was now NIGHT. No chance we are roaming around Puerto Rico at night with only two women. St Thomas was ok but my excursion which was a Snorkel and Beach excursion turned into snorkel only and the cruise line only gave me a 10% discount even though I only received HALF of the excursion experience. Called Royal Caribbean customer service to inquire about compensation. Even a credit towards my next cruise. The answer was basically "go away". Wow. I did not get my money's worth and they won't even give me a credit towards another cruise to keep my loyalty. Airlines now have to compensate travellers that experience more that 4 hour delay or if they are stranded. The same thing should apply to cruises. So disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have been on other cruises but since we went on our first cruise with Viking we have been on 3 others and have booked 2 more with Viking. The service on the ship is wonderful especially the people who took care of our rooms. The rooms ... Read More
We have been on other cruises but since we went on our first cruise with Viking we have been on 3 others and have booked 2 more with Viking. The service on the ship is wonderful especially the people who took care of our rooms. The rooms were always kept clean. They made sure we always have clean towels. They always supplied us with limes and ice for our drinks at the time we requested. We enjoyed that we do not have certain times for any meals except the specialty dinners. We could choose a table for 2, 4, or six people for each meal. This way we were able to meet new people but enjoy sometime just enjoy ourselves when we wanted to. Service on the Caribbean Cruises could use some organization. Service can be a little slow sometimes. On our travels we have done 2 Caribbean cruises with Viking and this has been an issue that we do not have on their European Ocean cruises. We love that there is no photographer constantly taking pictures and then try selling to you. My husband and I enjoy history we love how Viking has historians on the area. We always something new on the cruise along with the excursions we take. I like that Viking offers one free excursion at each stop that gives you a general knowledge of what the stops have to offers. This gives you the ability to go off on your own to view your own interests you may have like taking a look at a museum instead of just one spot. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We'd done it before - take a sisters' cruise with Viking, and it was one of the most remarkable experiences we've ever enjoyed. We were nearly blinded with joy by the simple elegance of the ship, the beauty of the ... Read More
We'd done it before - take a sisters' cruise with Viking, and it was one of the most remarkable experiences we've ever enjoyed. We were nearly blinded with joy by the simple elegance of the ship, the beauty of the Mediterranean, and the lavish attention of the staff entire. We loved the Lanai, delighted in the choices at The World Cafe, and tramped our way around ancient ruins and cobblestone streets. It was our first ever cruise, and we doubted we'd ever have the chance to do it again. But we did, this past December. We escaped the Christmas crazy on the 11th and set out for the West Indies. But this time we would do it differently. So we headed off with our red luggage tags, swim suits, sun screen, and a mental check list of the things we'd missed on our first cruise. Our first was at The Chef's Table, where the night's theme was La Route Des Indes featuring the unique flavors of the Carribean. Then one by one through our trip we hit all the food venues like Mamsen's, The Restaurant, the Aquavit Terrace, the Pool Grille, and The Wintergarden. Our checklist included the Spa in the evening, the Snow Grotto, the Explorer's Lounge at sunset, room service at dawn on our veranda, and more. We even picked up a few unexplored options in case we manage a next time. And we...relaxed. Sure, we took in the beaches, the yachts, the cliff top views, and tropical rain forests, but we took it in with time to enjoy life together. We talked with others who agreed that ship life with Viking is one of its most outstanding features. And when we returned, we were full of beautiful memories of exceptional food, magnificent islands, luxurious attention to detail, and so very many varieties of rum punch. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I had such an incredible experience when I was on the Baltic Sea cruise in July 2019. It was my first experience of a cruise ship, and I decided that I would only travel on Viking. Unfortunately, the Caribbean cruise was a great ... Read More
I had such an incredible experience when I was on the Baltic Sea cruise in July 2019. It was my first experience of a cruise ship, and I decided that I would only travel on Viking. Unfortunately, the Caribbean cruise was a great disappointment. I chose this particular cruise so I could visit the Chicken Itza Mayan Ruins. Unfortunately, because the ship had "technical difficulties" the ship did not go to Merida. The excursions, for which we signed on, were lacking. The glass bottom boat tour was a waste of time - a visit to the local aquarium would have been much more exciting. The Cave Tubing experience was dreadful - Viking did not provide specifics re the attire needed, nor the danger of wading across the river on slippery rocks with water up to one's waste. Embarkation was a disaster. In our documents, we were told that we could access our room any time from 11 a.m. on. The reception staff could not answer my questions and we were told just to sit down, and there would be an announcement! With no response by 12:30, I decided to access our room. Obviously, the room had been prepared well ahead of time. Afternoon tea was chaotic. I waited 20 minutes to be served. I asked for English Breakfast tea with sugar and milk—I was served with Jasmine tea. When I fetched the milk and sugar, I asked if I could have a scone. Eventually an officer, who was passing, brought me a plate of sandwiches. The cabin was excellent (I love the Explorer Suite), and Try and Riva were incredible housekeepers; the ship was sparkling clean, and the dining was superb. Before this past cruise, I signed up for the Grand European Tour cruise; now I'm debating whether to go, or look at other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Overrated., oversold..dated ship.. staff unprofessional... unorganized.. not a luxury ship at all. From the moment we boarded the ship( had to carry our carryon ourselves) we sensed something was not right. Although the weather ... Read More
Overrated., oversold..dated ship.. staff unprofessional... unorganized.. not a luxury ship at all. From the moment we boarded the ship( had to carry our carryon ourselves) we sensed something was not right. Although the weather stopped us from going to most of our ports, the crew certainly did not make up for what was lost. Finally got us to Dominican Republic( not planned) and they planned excursion only for 40 people ( ship held (295). So many of us wanted to finally get off the ship as we could not because if the weather. We asked the director to help us find another excursion and they simply would not help us. We had to find our own and transportation too Excuse was they could not get connect with any hotels or taxi service. In a manner of minutes we set everything up! It was bizarre. They just did not care. It just lacked in luxury as was advertised and sold. Compared to other ship lines we have been on Silverseas is really not top notch at all. The food was average. Service in the restaurants was very poor and communication with the staff was difficult. We had one server out of all, Jerry who was a professional and we tried to find him throughout the ship when we dined.. A wine tasting was planned one day at 11:15am? Why? Makes no sense. We even paid extra for La Dame restaurant which is highly overrated. No future trips will be planned with Silverseas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose the Explorer based on the size and reviews we had read. We were absolutely impressed by many features of this ship. My wife has numerous severe food allergies, and the kitchen team in every venue took them seriously. A big ... Read More
We chose the Explorer based on the size and reviews we had read. We were absolutely impressed by many features of this ship. My wife has numerous severe food allergies, and the kitchen team in every venue took them seriously. A big THANK YOU to Food and Beverage Manager Natasha. We saw her all over the ship, and she made it a point to check in with us to confirm that we were enjoying the dining experiences. Our Explorer suite was outstanding, including Ravi, our Butler. The layout, size and finish out were perfect for our needs. The bath tub is amazing, with both air jets and Jacuzzi jets. Towels were very plush as well. We enjoyed every show as well as movie screenings in the theater. Cocktails were well prepared and readily available. My only beef was that on Silversea, the pool bar opens at 8:00, vs. 10:00 on Regent. Also, there are no other bars until the afternoon that are open, which is very limiting. That being said, the staff was super friendly and remembered our names right away and throughout the trip. The biggest disappointment came with the excursions. We had booked 3 excursions based upon them being described as wheelchair accessible. Once onboard, we were told that none of the vehicles (buses, vans, boats) would hold a wheelchair. They then presented some very expensive ($1,100-$1,500 per person) options. This NEVER happened on Silversea, as their tours were set up to accommodate the needs of the handicapped passengers. Likes it so much that we cancelled our July Silver Spirit trip and booked with Regent again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
It is probably important for you to know my wife and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Azamara, Viking Ocean, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my wife and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Azamara, Viking Ocean, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Oceania. We picked this cruise largely because of the itinerary and the price, which was moderate for an upscale line at $523 a day for both of us, not including air. From my research it seemed Oceania’s closest competitor in size of ship, amenities, and on-board experience is Azamara. Both lines appeal to the same type of passenger who is looking for an all-inclusive, upscale cruising experience. Having sailed Azamara before, I was curious how Oceania compared with them. Overview The Oceania Nautica is one of the smaller ships on which we’ve sailed holding around 680 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences in sailing on a small ship is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were somewhat mitigated by the smaller ports the ship can dock at, flexibility, more personalized service, attention to detail, and inclusive amenities. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where we notice a difference from sailing on larger ships was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Also, the smaller ships are more nimble than their larger brethren allowing them to alter their itinerary or add a fresh local food to the menu. On this cruise, the chef added fresh Hake, which was amazingly delicious. They also featured an African night with a lot of local meats (crocodile being one) and produce. The public rooms are nicely done on the Nautica and have a feel of warmth and elegance. The ship was exceedingly clean and well maintained. There are four dining options aboard the Nautica making it equal to or a step above larger ships. While the state rooms are small, the appointments and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. We missed not having any status on Oceania (as we do on other lines) so we received no discounts usually granted to more frequent travelers. However, there wasn’t much need for the Elite status as all guests enjoy the same privileges as Elite travelers on other lines, which include fancy coffees, a few free happy hours, a daily 2:1 happy hour, use of the steam sauna, and the best one -- no charge in the specialty restaurants. It appeared to me that Azamara includes more inclusive perks like some free shore excursions, well drinks, house wine, spa memberships, and laundry. By my calculations the inclusions on Oceania amount to an added value over non-inclusionary ships of $60 a day ($10 spa, $5 soft and juice drinks, $15 specialty restaurant costs, $20 internet, $10 coffee). I estimate the value of Azamara’s slightly higher because of the inclusive laundry, shore excursions and alcohol at $90 a day. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of Celebrity’s Infinity). Evaluation This isn’t something I have ever included in a review, but the Nautica’s evaluation process was the strangest I’ve encountered at sea. The good news is that in an attempt to save trees and be up to date, it’s a digital evaluation. The bad news is that it’s very user unfriendly. It’s so unfriendly, the staff had to schedule a time to explain to passengers how to fill it out. There are three major issues with the form, all of which seem fairly easy to solve, but apparently the home office has turned a deaf ear to making improvements. I figured it out on my own, but not after some frustration. The Ship The ship has had minor refurbishing every three years, but no major refurbishing since it went into service in 2000. Even so, the public areas were well maintained, all the elevators worked continuously, and the décor was traditional with lots of wood. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. The Nautica is scheduled for a major two-week refurbishment in June 2020. The color scheme will go from traditional dark woods to modern cool gray and blue with a chandelier above the entry staircase. My art-loving wife is hoping they get rid of some of more dreadful modern art. The public decks were Decks 5, 9 and 10. Getting lost was not easily done! Deck 5 is the location of the show lounge, small casino, piano lounge, two small shops, coffee bar, and main dining room. Entrance on the ship was on Deck 4 and involved a gangway of very low steps making a bumpy ramp basically. This is easier than big steps on larger ships. There were many people on-board with mobility issues who seemed to be doing okay getting around. One benefit is that the elevators were usually available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be reasonably satisfied on the Nautica. The specialty restaurants offer passengers a specific cuisine apart from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above the main dining room. Tuscana features Italian fare while Polo is a steakhouse. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table for two. We tried to eat as much as possible in the specialty restaurants, Tuscana and Polo, but getting reservations was very difficult. I am guessing the huge demand is largely because there was no surcharge for them. It is very unusual for a specialty restaurant at sea not to charge a small fee, which is the good news. The bad news if since there is no charge, the demand is high and it’s difficult to get a table for two, or even sharing on sea days. Because of the demand, guests are only allowed to make one reservation in each ahead of time and then cue up daily for a cancellation. Personally, I would rather pay a surcharge and have more access to the specialty restaurants than to pay nothing and have limited access. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. We enjoyed the service in the main dining room as much as that in the specialty restaurants. However, finding a knowledgeable wine steward was difficult. Polo is set in the décor and menu of the 40’sand 50’s. The quality of this specialty restaurant wasn’t quite up to that of others we’ve dined in. The presentation of the food was excellent. The service was good. The item to eat here are the steaks. The two fillets I had were done to perfection. We were not as impressed with the starters, soups, or salads. We tried Polo twice and that was enough. Tuscano’s service and food seemed to be a bit better than Polo. The menu is extensive so it will take several visits to completely explore it. Everything we tried was very good. We tried to eat at Tuscano’s as much as possible, which meant dining there about four times in 14 days. Unlike most other cruise lines, Nautica didn’t offer any Chef’s dinners. With the talented chef’s aboard the Nautica, this was disappointing. I would have loved to have paid a significant surcharge for a unique dining experience. This is something that I hope Nautica will consider going forward. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso and soda drinks. One thing we appreciate about Oceania is the fact that juice, sodas, and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. There was a happy hour every day from 5pm to 6 pm that allowed guests to buy 2:1 drinks. However, their policy is rather ridged in what 2:1 means, which is the second drink must be exactly the same drink as the first, not just the same price, and it cannot be shared by another person. We felt this strict policy didn’t make a lot of sense when a person may have wanted two different drinks costing exactly the same. It also encourages over consumption of alcohol, especially when there are two people just wanting one drink each. Speaking about over-consumption of alcohol, the “all you can drink” beverage packages also encourage over-consumption. I realize that “over consumption” is a relative term. Still, we have always found we do far better buying alcohol, wine, and beer by the glass or bottle than getting a beverage package. Wine I am an oenophile, so I am admittedly more interested in the wine experience on a ship than the average passenger. That said, there are much better wine experiences at sea than with Oceania. Unlike the Azamara, Oceania is not as friendly to oenophiles. The most notable wine friendly lines are Azamara and Princess, which encourage you to bring on you own wine and don’t penalize you with high corkage fees for bringing wine on board. Oceania limits how much of your own wine you can bring onboard and charges a stiff corkage fee of $25 per bottle, making it among the highest of any line at $25 a bottle. The more wine friendly lines only charge $10 per bottle. Another perennial complaint of mine on most cruise lines is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s or more over retail. For example, a $15-$20 bottle of La Crema Chardonnay goes for $86. That’s simply unreasonable. They more wine friendly lines have mark ups of 2 ½ to 3 times. Because of the steep corkage and markups on the wine, we chose not to bring our bottles on board and limited our wine consumption to beer or wine “by the glass.” The Nautica had three wine tasting events during our 14 day cruise. The cost was $75 to $125 per person, which the highest charge of a wine tasting I’ve encountered at sea. We did attend two wine tastings and found them to be very informative. The bottles tasted were in the $80 to $200 range, but keep in mind of the significant mark up. While the presentation was certainly informative, I didn’t feel the cost of the tasting represented a good value. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Nautica is above average. They have a good selection of weight machines and free weights. There an adequate number of cardiovascular machines (stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and treadmills). They also had seven stationary bikes used for a spinning class on sea days. Be sure to sign up early for these as the classes fill quickly. I only had to wait for a machine once in 14 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another pleasant abnormality, the men’s lockers worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed. There was always a locker available, never forcing you to leave your belongings unprotected. The men’s locker room featured a steam sauna that was reasonably hot and in perfect working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Nautica. And an extra bonus was the steam room did not have a daily charge, which can cost around $10 to $20 a day on other lines. The locker rooms are incredibly maintained and cleaned. Every time that I used the locker room and sauna there was an attendant cleaning it up. The Nautica does not have a spa bar featuring a lighter, healthier fare or fresh fruit juices and smoothies. This would be a wonderful addition to their spa area. You can get fruit smoothies, however, at the grill by the pool. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was a step below larger ships. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than the talent of the entertainers. Generally speaking, the shows were not highly innovative and featured the normal array of comedians, singers, and instrumentalists. That said, we still found them worth attending and looked forward to most of them. The ships company featured some very good vocalists and dancers. It was refreshing that the Nautica had a a very good live orchestra rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is not a theater at all, but rather a large lounge which unfortunately makes viewing the show especially challenging. If viewing the show is important, you will want to be sure to snag a front row seat. The on-board entertainment found in the lounges was adequate. There was a string quartet that was very good, the ships band, and a piano player. Enrichment The enrichment and port talks were disappointing. First, there simply were no port talks, which we found highly unusual. There was a delightful South African lady who told personal stories about growing up in South Africa and her world adventures. The second lecture was a Hollywood writer who gave talks on Hollywood, and while they were interesting, we much rather would have learned more about the history, religion, and politics of the countries we were visiting since one of our goals for traveling is learning about the world. I expected much more in this area from a luxury cruise line catering to a more upscale and informed clientele. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. Signing up was incredibly easy. Included in the fare was one free, unlimited Wi-Fi access. Additional devices were $25 a day. Between us we had four devices, so since we were unwilling to pay an additional $75 per day, we had to coordinate and share our login, which often was a logistical challenge. The Internet connectivity and speed was acceptable, but not great. I got access 70% of the times I attempted to get online. When I did get online I had chronic issues getting emails and websites to down load. In addition, the Wi-Fi signal is not consistent around the ship and there are many spots where you can’t get the Wi-Fi signal. Unfortunately Verizon did not have a repeater on board (unlike other lines) so using my smartphone for data while at sea was not possible. I have previously learned to forgo the expensive Internet packages and just go with my smartphone when there is a repeater on the ship and when there are a lot of days in port. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here. Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our cruise started and ended in Cape Town, stopping at Walvis Bay, Namibia, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, East London, South Africa, Richard’s Bay, South Africa, Maputo, Mozambique, and Durban, South Africa, debarking at Cape Town, South Africa. There were no port talks given on the Nautica. While there was some prerecorded information covering the excursion packages on the television, there wasn’t any useful information about the port if you wanted to go it alone. It would have been so helpful to know about the safety of taxis, availability of Uber, if walking to town through the port area is even allowed, best sights to see, what areas to avoid, etc. They also did not provide maps of the harbor or surrounding area, which is a first in our cruising experience. We found the hourly shuttle service helpful, but not frequent enough. We would have preferred a departure or pick up every 30 minutes As a result, we were totally on our own to gather whatever information we could from guests and the Internet. Had we been visiting ports in developed countries this probably would be more forgivable than when the ports are in a third world country. The lack of a port talk is a significant flaw in the Oceania experience and would keep me from booking with them in the future if a competing line was offering the same itinerary. If the strategy behind limiting information on the ports was to drive passengers to book the ship’s shore excursions, it worked. We uncharacteristically opted for the ships excursions. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements. On this cruise, we didn’t have time prior to the cruise to do our normal research. We also found that the African tour companies were unusually unresponsive by email. We typically have good luck using tour companies that are highly rated by www.TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on www.CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. A new website to us is www.toursbylocals.com. We found this to be a very responsive and wonderful way to find independent guides. Walvis Bay is a difficult port to negotiate as the dock is a mile or more from the city center. The town can be easily done on your own. There isn’t a whole lot to see, so I suggest you book a tour to Sandwich Bay. The scenery of the dunes coming down to the ocean and the drive along the beach are unique. See if they will also take you out to Pelican Point to see the hundreds of thousands of seals. We overnighted here so we were also able to go visit Moon Valley, which is similar to the Badlands of South Dakota. We were able to climb Dune #7, which was the highlight of that outing. Port Elizabeth is a place with more touring options. There is a nice mall there if you want to stay in town. There are a number of day trips that can be taken to surrounding sites. We opted to visit Addo Elephant reserve. We found it to be a worthwhile excursion. If you are booking excursions off-ship, give yourself plenty of time to disembark. The local authorities insist on face-to-face immigration that can take up to an hour after docking to clear. East London is a pretty sleepy stop. We were warned about walking around much. There is a mall about 5 miles from the ship that is probably safe. We chose to visit a Xhosa village constructed for tourists. There they had women and children singing and dancing. They separated the men from the women and gave each group talks on the Xhosa culture and a taste of homemade beer, brandy, and a traditional meal. The food and drink were “interesting” and we were very grateful for getting back on the ship and having a meal and a beer more familiar to us. Durban is the third or second largest city in South Africa, depending on what source you reference. Getting around is very easy and secure as Uber operates there. We elected to go visit a replica Zulu village with some singing and dancing via a ship’s tour. While it was “ok”, the drive up to the village and the views from their coffee/tea shop were almost worth the trip alone. We had a very good guide who kept us entertained up and back with useful information on life in the city. The other point of entertainment is that the pilot which joins the ship to guide it in and out of port arrives and departs by helicopter. It was a show in itself. Richard’s Bay is a bit of a sleepy stop. I would recommend getting a guide and heading off to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park. It takes about 1:15 minutes each way, depending on traffic. We were able to spend about 4:30 hours in the park. Typically, going to game parks in the middle of the day is the absolute worst time to see the animals, but when you are on a cruise there are no other options. That said, we really were lucky. We saw several dozen elephants in the park, twice as many as we did at Addo and at closer range. We also saw seven grey rhinos, four water buffalo, four giraffes, and scores of impala and warthogs. It was certainly worth the $200 USD per person that we paid an off-ship tour company we booked through East Coast Safari (www.ecsafari@iafrica.com). Maputo About the only redeeming quality of visiting this port is that you get to say you’ve been to Mozambique. There is really nothing here. We took a city tour that could easily have been done individually at almost no expense. To support the local economy (which has a 50% unemployment rate), Oceania uses local people who are not trained tour guides. While we really applaud the company for their social concern, the quality of the tour is not surprisingly substandard. All the points worth seeing are within an easy walk of where the passenger ships dock. Those sights are the train station, the iron house, the botanical gardens, and the old fortress. Then if you want to shop for local crafts, the ship usually runs a shuttle out a market where there are several blocks of vendors. The local beer is 2M, which is worth a try. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. How does the Oceania experience compare with Azamara? All things being equal in price and itinerary, the nod would go to Azamara. On the positive side for Oceania, the wonderful service and friendliness of the crew, the lack of a charge for the specialty restaurants and free Wi-Fi for one device was a definite plus and unique in my cruising experience. The entertainment was also very good for a small ship. The weaknesses with Oceania as compared to Azamara are the lack of informative and relevant port talks, the weakness of the enrichment talks, the lack of any included beverages like wine, beer, or well drinks, the high markup on wine, no chef’s table events, and the lack of any included shore excursions. Certainly, the Oceania is one of the better cruising experiences. The dining is undoubtedly one of the better at sea. The ability of a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail the Oceania Nautica again when I find an itinerary at a cost equal to or slightly higher than that of a larger ship. I figure the inclusions are on Oceania are worth about $60 a day, which brings the cost down in comparison to larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Oceania admits they charge more because they offer SIZE, SERVICE, and PORTS. All we got on this cruise was Size. Our renovated cabin had a large depression in the floor next to the bed that was a major tripping hazard. Housekeeping said ... Read More
Oceania admits they charge more because they offer SIZE, SERVICE, and PORTS. All we got on this cruise was Size. Our renovated cabin had a large depression in the floor next to the bed that was a major tripping hazard. Housekeeping said it had been reported but management chose not to fix it. We asked for a different cabin and had to keep asking and eventually we were given a different cabin (same size, different floor) but had to pack ourselves. After 3 trips with keys that didn't work and 30 minutes of waiting for someone to open a door and several wasted hours, we dragged our carry on bags up the stairs while the ship did send someone with a trolley that could hold the 2 large suitcases. Shame on Oceania !! We should not have had to move ourselves because you gave us a room that should not have been in use. There was terrible service in the dining room almost every night and we were usually a party of 6 or 8. Exceptions were the days after we finally complained to the heads of dining. For example, they offered menu's and didn't return to take orders without us going to the maitre'd and asking for someone. They served a delicious sole with bone in, but failing to de-bone or tell us the bone was in. In the premium restaurant, the same entree was automatically de-boned prior to serving. For this we got an apology and strawberries in our room. Waiters rarely offered suggestions and often did not know about substitutions. In one case our waiter did not know the ship had romaine lettuce even though ceasar salad was a nightly offering. I reminded several that the ladies at the table should be asked for orders first and served first. To make matters worse, the head of dining services argued with our party one night insisting we were in error and had misunderstood his invitation. He could and should have just apologized for the misunderstanding or said nothing at all, but he chose to argue he was right and we were wrong. I could hold it no longer and reminded him that the customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer. As to quality of the food, there were times that it was very good. They have chosen to make many of their dishes very low in taste so as not to offend guests who don't like spices. For people who have more adventurous taste buds, but menus are lacking. On our final night, when most cruises have a special dinner, when our waiter asked us what we wanted, 3 people at our table asked for a different menu - it was disgusting! We ordered from the "always available" section. How sad is that. This was our third cruise on Regatta and this was by far the lowest level of service we have seen. Only our house keeper regularly called us by name. One server called me by name and that was after our first terrible service in the dining room and I am sure we were the subject of a staff meeting. No more towel sculptures, no more personal touches. The renovations did nothing to address the terrible conditions in the Regatta Lounge where the "performances" are held. Only the first row of chairs can see what's happening on the stage. All that money spent and all they did was change some carpet and wallpaper and bring the staterooms close to what every other lower cost cruise line offers. And as for the 3 missed ports, including Milford Sound, which was something we were really looking forward to, there was NO EFFORT AT ALL TO OFFER SOMETHING TO THE GUESTS IN RETURN!!!! How about some kind of party or special dinner or dare I say credit? I didn't rate "shore excursions" below because we learned long ago that Oceania's excursions are NOT worth the money. They are expensive and crowded and we have arranged for private tours for many years and been very satisfied. You get to do and see exactly what YOU want and don't have to wait for your nearest and dearest 46 friends. I should never say never, but I can't foresee any reason why we would ever step foot on another Oceania ship again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise on the recommendation of friends. With only 200+ passengers, it was an exceptionally friendly/personal cruise among the passengers. Since there’s no elevators, there was no worry about being hit by electric ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the recommendation of friends. With only 200+ passengers, it was an exceptionally friendly/personal cruise among the passengers. Since there’s no elevators, there was no worry about being hit by electric wheelchairs or walkers. The food is outstanding and served 5 times each day Service by the waiters, cabin stewards, etc., was of highest quality The ports visited often required anchorage due to visiting less frequented places that offered excellent water sports, beaches and shopping opportunities in areas of shallow waters. It is a square rigged sailing ship with the majority of its passengers returning from previous experiences on the same Royal Clipper. The staff is available, personable, and very professional. The cabins are well decorated with mahogany and brass with more than adequate storage. The beds are comfortable and well dressed. The dress code is relaxed and only in the evening is “business casual” the standard. Snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, swimming are offered from a sports platform with equipment supplied ate no cost. Evening entertainment often provided by local performers, no faux broadway type. Selecting this cruise is reserved for able bodied adventurous passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Two years ago Windstar announced the plan to stretch the Star ships increasing the guest capacity from 210 guests to 310 guests. We love the small size and hope that the increase in size doesn’t change the friendly atmosphere on the ... Read More
Two years ago Windstar announced the plan to stretch the Star ships increasing the guest capacity from 210 guests to 310 guests. We love the small size and hope that the increase in size doesn’t change the friendly atmosphere on the ship. We looked forward to another small ship experience before the scheduled stretch. Ship is still beautiful. The gorgeous woodwork, marble bathrooms, and spacious suites are exquisite. There are some signs of wear. Most annoying was the missing sun umbrellas on decks 7 and 8. On previous cruises, there were lots of umbrellas to provide shade. This cruise had only one. We were told that the umbrellas blew away or broke. They are to be replaced. Certainly hope that there will be more shade areas on the stretched ship. Service was superb. Food was delicious. We chose to sit at same table each night for dinner. Our waiter, Melkih, remembered us from previous cruises on the Breeze. He was excellent. We enjoyed the BBQs, beach parties, music by the duos, excursions, etc. we enjoyed the yacht club. Still wish that the yacht club would serve coffee/tea after dinner. The ports were mostly small islands where the big ships don’t go. There wasn’t any big shows. The crew show was fun. Cruise was relaxing. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because we had been on a Viking River Cruise the previous year and really enjoyed it. Viking had the best ratings. Almost everything about the trip was wonderful. The ship was beautiful, staff was super friendly and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been on a Viking River Cruise the previous year and really enjoyed it. Viking had the best ratings. Almost everything about the trip was wonderful. The ship was beautiful, staff was super friendly and helpful. The stateroom was exceptionally comfortable and well designed so that there was plenty of closet and drawer space. The ship was also very clean and well maintained. The food at all the restaurants was also excellent. With the Chef's Table being the best. Even the buffet restaurant was the best we tasted anywhere, compared to other ships on which we have sailed. What was lacking was good entertainment. The cruise director, Brensley, did one excellent show. She had a beautiful voice. There were four other singers who did shows, and they were very amateurish. The resident historian was very knowledgeable, informative and interesting. The tours were interesting also, but we would have liked a little more time on our own in each port. All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The following are my opinions and observations: --LeLyria Chartered by A&K-- Overall, I thought the A&K tour was disorganized and communication was poor. I wasn’t impressed with the A&K staff in Buenos Aires, Ushuaia or ... Read More
The following are my opinions and observations: --LeLyria Chartered by A&K-- Overall, I thought the A&K tour was disorganized and communication was poor. I wasn’t impressed with the A&K staff in Buenos Aires, Ushuaia or on the ship—they appeared not to have much interest in the guests. In my opinion, on several occasions, they were rude and unprofessional (especially the A&K staff in Buenos Aires). On one instance, they told several individuals that they were holding up the bus because they didn’t pick up their charter flight boarding passes. However, there wasn’t any notice that we had to pick them up before boarding the bus. Customer service from the A&K office went downhill after they received your final payment. Often times, they didn’t answer calls or didn’t follow-up with requests for information. Surprisingly, the primary photo coach did respond via e-mail to questions I asked during the photography Webinar. The packing list was not useful. Fortunately, I realized it wasn’t going to be as cold as the list made it sound so didn’t carry numerous layers of cold-weather items like most did. I only wore gloves once on a windy zodiac trip. The sizing of the rental boots and parka was not accurate. Fortunately, you were able to exchange the boots on the ship. I even went and tried on the rental boots at REI at the recommendation of the Ship to Shore Traveler representative, however the boots were not the same. The provided walking poles were useful. You definitely needed more than the recommended 300mm lens. You didn’t need much camera storage or extra batteries (unless your batteries were old and didn’t hold a charge) because the times photographing the wildlife were so short and infrequent. I didn’t have to charge my camera batteries once and I took over 3500 (JPEG/RAW files) photos with a DSLR. A dry bag or professional camera backpack was definitely needed if you are carrying two cameras ashore. A camera with a 300mm or less lens easily fit underneath your parka for protection from splashes. If it didn’t fit underneath, you would need the dry bag or professional camera backpack (e.g., second camera or lens greater than 300mm). The backpack provided by A&K was not sufficient. The buses in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia used for tours and airport transfers did not have air conditioning. You were rushed through every stop on the tour in Buenos Aires. As an example, you had less than five seconds at Eva Peron’s grave. The included meals at the Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires were provided buffet style in a ballroom; certainly not what I expected on a tour at this price point. The Arakur resort in Ushuaia was a glorified banquet hall without A/C. Again, a buffet lunch was provided in a large room. The Ship: Le Lyrial (Ponant) Chartered by Abercrombie and Kent-- Jan 2020 The ship management and reception personnel on Le Lyrial (Ponant) ship were efficient and friendly. Whenever I reported a problem, a repair person was sent to my cabin immediately and they even followed up the next time they saw me asking if the repair was completed. However, I certainly didn’t expect to have repair personnel in my cabin over five times during a 15-night stay. My cabin had stains on the carpet. One vent appeared to have mold or a lot of debris inside it. Water leaked in the balcony door during a bad storm and the remaining three days afterwards. They placed duct tape, but that didn’t stop the water from entering. I had to put towels on the carpet and had a large industrial fan in my room one day. Overall, the décor was showing wear and tear in several public areas. They ran out of Diet Coke and ginger ale six days before the cruise ended. The food usually had to be sent back because it was undercooked. The presentations were not as detailed or informative as I expected. Only basic information was provided. The daily “re caps” were not helpful or interesting. Nothing was said about the next day’s schedule that couldn’t be read in the evening program. Helpful additional information should have included the weather forecast (e.g., temperature) and the type of camera lenses needed. Having the weather provided 15 minutes before boarding the zodiac didn’t help since you had to be dressed and in line almost 45 minutes before your boarding time to ensure the maximum amount of time ashore. The Zodiac excursions were too long. Even the A&K expedition staff member was checking their watch to see if it was time to bring us back to the ship. The wildlife at the landings was amazing; however I did expect to have the A&K staff point out more unique situations than they did. After all, there were over 19 A&K staff on our trip. Instead, as an example, you had to ask where a chick or penguins with an egg were located. With such limited times ashore, I felt this was essential. We did encounter a severe storm crossing the Scotia Sea and missed our stop in the Falkland Islands. According to the Captain, it was the worst in 17 years. (The Drake crossing was the calmest of the season.) No attempt was made to substitute for the missed day in the Falklands, a major stop on the trip and reason for choosing this itinerary. The A&K staff member was very rude when several people asked at the “daily recap” if there would be an additional stop or a tour added in Ushuaia. We also missed stopping at Gold Harbor in South Georgia. Otherwise we had 8 landings and 3 Zodiac tours. I never received a post-expedition log book as stated in the pre-travel documents and numerous times during the journey. Even without the weather complications, I would not travel with or recommend A&K again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
As always, the service staff was exceptional, from our arrival in Barcelona to our departure at Heathrow. The restaurant professionals were courteous, pleasant and friendly, unlike many of the guests. May I suggest hiring some ... Read More
As always, the service staff was exceptional, from our arrival in Barcelona to our departure at Heathrow. The restaurant professionals were courteous, pleasant and friendly, unlike many of the guests. May I suggest hiring some entertainers and staff from the destinations being traveled. That was a feature that made our Russian voyage so richly rewarding. Evidently, the Brits received a much better package at a bargain price. They behaved boorishly and dressed poorly, even in the dining rooms. When commenting on their complementary Silver Package, one couple actually said to me "We don't have to drink that garbage wine." There was little emphasis on Spanish or English foods and beverages and I was unable to schedule even one visit to the Chef's Table or Manfredi's at my preferred times. The included shore excursions seemed short and rushed which was accentuated by the number of sea days. Our visit to Portsmouth resembled a tour that might have been given by a real estate agent. Malaga was beautiful and our guide very pleasant. Our visit to Santiago de Compostela was the exception. Our guide was very articulate and knowledgable, and projected the Viking image very well. I understand that the Iberian Explorer may be an outlier, yet given our recent experience we are less likely to travel with Viking any time soon and not as enthusiastic in our recommendations to others. Please call me If you wish for additional comments. I really enjoy engaging with each of your employees. Best wishes Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Due to the delays this trip was a long time coming. We are to disembark in 4 days at the end of what will have been a fantastic 3 week trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica and wanted to share our experience as ... Read More
Due to the delays this trip was a long time coming. We are to disembark in 4 days at the end of what will have been a fantastic 3 week trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica and wanted to share our experience as there were very few reviews available for us, GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE SHIP AND TRIP The expedition staff could not have been more helpful or knowledgeable, the landings carefully chosen and executed extremely professionally. Lectures very good. The food everywhere was superb and often imaginative. Only buffet at lunch and sensible portions otherwise, The wine and drinks offerings excellent Lots of space onboard the ship. The staff in every area without exception were superb, friendly, courteous without being obsequious, and professional at all times. Cabin well equipped with every type of socket (adapters not required) Quality of furnishings, however......... NOT SUCH GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE SHIP AND TRIP No Parkas when we loaded - apparently stuck in customs! Many people did not have a warm jacket (myself included) we were issued with macs, no warmth then after a few days an assortment of different ski jackets arrived, - to be fair the staff had ‘bust a gut’ to get these but there were so many complaints and compromises on sizes etc. No Sub, not told until half way through voyage that a part or software was not working and sub grounded despite best efforts. This was a HUGE disappointment to a lot of people. Design, there are some aspects of the ship not easily rectifiable that do detract from the voyage enjoyment. These design aspects defy logic and have been mentioned in previous reviews. The observation lounge - kitted out with very comfortable furniture and coffee machine where you can observe nothing but the bow outside decking area! Despite being a library and quiet reading area there is dreadful piped music 24/7 that apparently cannot be switched off, this is true of music throughout the ship, hey guys expedition yacht with people, exploring nature please not jingly music everywhere. Also mentioned in previous posts but unless you have been onboard hard to Believe the swimming pool really is in the middle of the restaurant with 2 showers next to dining tables. It is the joke among all staff and guest and apparently nobody very uses is, as one guest said why would you walk between the tables in your sluggos. It isn’t however a joke as a guest as a swim and relax would have been very nice and cannot imagine if you were on a warm weather cruise, the pool and hot tub was emptied shortly after sailing for most of the voyage as apparently the water slops out too much! As the steam and saunas are segregated there is nowhere you could have a dip and then relax as a couple. The main lounge is vast and as such never has an intimate feel. All of the seating along the sides is fixed faces in and incredibly uncomfortable. Extremely deep seats so you either perch or sit back with legs off floor but whichever you cannot look out (of an expedition yacht) the tables are huge and fixed so no conversation across tables or flexibility, Sharp edges everywhere, glass edges at the head of every stairs, square chrome handrails, doors from loos open into corridors? No floor numbers as you walk up the stairs and despite the ‘millions’ spent on art no colour anywhere. The ship is grey and brown, all very high quality fittings but why not put some nice artwork up as you walk up and down the stairs or in the lounge instead of black and dark glass and chrome everywhere, or splashes of colour with some soft furnishings, it appears the ship is waiting to be dressed. OVERALL A great ship and staff (that in our experience that could not be improved upon) but a couple of the design decisions greatly detract from the experience- observation deck and (lack of) pool Easily rectified would be to ditch the music in certain areas and to select some more appropriate music when applicable, Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Unbelievably poor communication from start to finish. Even our travel agent got so terribly frustrated with either poor or wrong information. This was a discovery cruise to Antartica including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia ... Read More
Unbelievably poor communication from start to finish. Even our travel agent got so terribly frustrated with either poor or wrong information. This was a discovery cruise to Antartica including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island. No maps were provided to let us know where we were during the cruise; the TV info page map was illegible. Maps were provided at the end of the cruise if you asked for them. We were often given about 10 minutes notice when our excursion was to occur (very difficult b/c of having to put on so much clothing.) The submarine that was highly promoted could not be used because of software problems; one big reason many of us chose this very expensive cruise line. When completed this all inclusive cruise line cost us over $58,000. We expected so much more than we got. This was to be our last grand cruise. With the helicopters, once we were in the air we were told we could not go inland because of rescue concerns; seeing the typography of Antartica is something that was important to me. I was duped into going on another helicopter ride which covered the same area as before; we were told it would be a different locale-it wasn't. Total cost for my wife and me - $2780.00. The price was listed as $585 per person and we were charged $695.00/pp. There was no info on the price change onboard . I asked for a price adjustment on the helicopter rides to no avail. This was deceitful. Service personnel were fantastic, were personable, and worked so hard for passengers. Their problem was lack of proper training. The dining establishments provided meals which were of much less quality than other luxury cruise lines. The observation lounge only provided tea and coffee and the seating was uncomfortable. The main lounge also had very uncomfortable seating. The lounge piano and singer were terrific, but there was not much else provided of any professionalism for the entire 19 days. Michelle in the lounge bar was delightful, professional, and competent. The sites were amazing and the young Discovery team members were professional, educated and informed about their subjects. The penguins, seals, whales and birds were such a treat to see in their habitat. We are experienced cruisers on luxury cruise lines (over 13) with Scenic being the most expensive, by far. We expected so much more and did not receive it. We will certainly recommend to our travel agent and the country-wide association that she belongs to to not recommend Scenic to their clients. Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent are far better choices; they, at least, are able to communicate the issues you need to know. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is a difficult review to write, as some parts of the cruise were excellent and others extremely disappointing. My bottom line is that Scenic ultimately failed to deliver the “6-star” experience they promoted. I am limiting the ... Read More
This is a difficult review to write, as some parts of the cruise were excellent and others extremely disappointing. My bottom line is that Scenic ultimately failed to deliver the “6-star” experience they promoted. I am limiting the review to those aspects of the trip specific to Scenic and the Scenic Eclipse. The destinations themselves, the Falklands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula, will be enjoyed by anyone who likes wildlife or unique scenery, but there are many ships that offer this itinerary. On the positive side, the ship’s staff was excellent. Everyone in housekeeping, food and beverage, customer relations, and the expedition team (called the Discovery team by Scenic) was friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. This was consistent with our previous river cruise on Scenic and one of the reasons we chose Scenic for this voyage. On our cruise, there were actually more staff members than passengers. The expedition team deserves special commendation. Its members were knowledgeable in oceanography, marine biology, glaciology, geology, and ornithology. They were careful to protect passenger safety and the safety of the environment. Another positive feature was the open bridge, where the ship’s officers were willing to talk about the ship or simply let you stay there to observe the surroundings. The cabins were a mixture of good and bad. Shortly before our voyage we received word through our travel agent that the cabin we had booked (along with a number of others) was not as big as advertised. While Scenic offered to reimburse the premium paid for a larger cabin, we had deliberately chosen a large cabin for a cruise of this length and were quite disappointed. A better solution would have been to move us to a cabin of the size we had booked, but they did not offer this. It is also disturbing that we were told of this only shortly before the cruise, after final payment had been made. They claimed that they had only learned of the size discrepancy recently and, in fact, the next season catalog we had just received showed the cabin as larger than it is. But the failure to meet the cabin specifications should have been noted during quality inspections when the ship was built and probably reflects on all of the construction issues faced by the Scenic Eclipse. Our cabin was very noisy with loud creaking whenever the ship moved. Maintenance tried to fix this but couldn’t, and we were led to understand that the problem related to the various ceiling and wall panels not being properly joined or separated, when necessary, by gaskets, again reflecting on ship construction. On the good side, the bed was very comfortable. Negatives, many mentioned in other reviews, were minimal storage space for clothing, absence of shelf space in the bathroom with a sink that looked great but was not very functional, and a TV behind a reflective surface so it was difficult to see. Food service ranged from just okay to very good. Lumiere was most consistently good, but we also had some enjoyable meals at Elements and at the sushi bar. There was lack of coordination between the expedition team and food service, so if you had an early zodiac departure the main restaurants were not open early enough and you were limited to a continental breakfast, where there was limited seating and often a line for service. The wines offered at meals were generally good but not exceptional, with limited choices so good pairing was not always possible. The most unique features of the Scenic Eclipse are undoubtedly the onboard helicopters and submarine, and these were the main reasons we waited an extra year for the Eclipse after our initial voyage was cancelled because the ship was not ready. It turned out that the submarine was not functional and not used during our trip, allegedly because of a software incompatibility with some of the parts. I find it disturbing that, knowing they were operating in isolated areas without ready service facilities, they did not carry spare parts that had already been tested. The helicopters worked well and, due to good weather, everyone had a chance to get a helicopter trip and more than one if they wanted. It is important to know that helicopter and submarine rides are not guaranteed, so you should know this in advance if this is your reason for choosing the Eclipse. Although it was never explicitly stated, it appeared that your best chance of getting these excursions was to book one of the most expensive suites or have top standing in the Scenic loyalty program. Entertainment was minimal. A very good singer-piano duo entertained during the pre-dinner cocktail hour, where hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were provided. The theater was not designed with good sight lines, due to not all rows being tiered. Seating was quite comfortable, however. The theater was not big enough to hold all passengers at once. The ship itself appeared quite seaworthy. We were fortunate in that we never had extreme weather. There was a slight roll in moderate waves, but it was never necessary to curtail activities. The ship’s ice hull and maneuverability allowed us to get well into fjords and bays. The interior design was striking but failed to follow the principle of “form follows function.” The lobby bench seating had overly deep couches, so you were unable to lean back or, if you were not tall, sit with your feet on the floor. Restaurant seating was also on the uncomfortable side. Finally, Scenic did not seem to have their logistics under control. The polar parkas that were promised had not arrived when we departed, and they eventually had to make do by getting a variety of jackets resembling ski parkas We like to arrive a day early just in case of travel issues and so booked the “optional” extra night in the beginning, which turned out not to be so optional as we were asked to depart the Buenos Aires hotel at 4:00 AM so there was really no way to make this if you arrived on the day of departure. On the way home we were told not to book flights before 8:00 PM, but they had us back to the Buenos Aires airport around noon, well before you could check in for flights. By way of apology for this they did offer a local city tour, but most of us had already seen Buenos Aires so this was just a time filler. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had previously sailed on the sister ship Silver Whisper during a world cruise in 2017. Perhaps we were spoilt for the 15 days we were on that trip but by comparison the service levels, courtesy, warmth and welcome from the Silver ... Read More
We had previously sailed on the sister ship Silver Whisper during a world cruise in 2017. Perhaps we were spoilt for the 15 days we were on that trip but by comparison the service levels, courtesy, warmth and welcome from the Silver Shadow team come a poor third. For two days the pool was an ugly yellow green, possibly algy which of course can happen, but the indifference of the staff who just laugh it off without explaining when it would be dealt with seemed curious. Meanwhile both restaurants at breakfast suffer from what seems to be a lack of attention to detail or even enthusiasm to accommodate simple requests be it for the food or the choice of seating. Try ordering simple smoked salmon and eggs ...any variation to the set menu seemed impossible to deliver. The restaurant on deck 7 for breakfast can’t cope when it’s busy - simple as that. The promise of luxury service and luxury facilities is not met. It’s interesting that this was a Caribbean cruise and we expected it to be more of a party ship which it was, and lots of sun worshippers understandably, but as ever Silverseas do not enforce the “no reservation” of sun chairs so unless you get up early being around the pool is not a choice. I expect this on cheaper cruise lines not Silverseas. Strikingly a large number of young adults on the trip which is not characteristic of the usual passenger profile on Silverseas but that’s no bad thing!. In contrast to our previous excellent cruise with Silverseas I noticed that the Cruise Director on this trip was far less visible. I lost count of the time’s the cruise director on Silver Whisper stopped to talk To passengers and gain first hand feedback. He was ever present in a non intrusive fashion. That was not the case on this trip. Trips were included in our price this time but of those that we did they were fine but not outstandingly memorable, more on that in this review later. The show Dancers and entertainers are again fine. To give context, if you have not tried Silverseas you will almost certainly find it a cut above other mainstream cruise lines, but I think we will give Seaborne a go next time and see if they deliver on the promise of 6 star which, on this cruise, Silverseas are falling very short on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My TA had been suggesting that I try Oceania as I liked Celebrity. The stars aligned just right and my oldest son and his girl friend got the nod for this trip. So glad I did. Did not want to get off. Just love the smaller ship. We ... Read More
My TA had been suggesting that I try Oceania as I liked Celebrity. The stars aligned just right and my oldest son and his girl friend got the nod for this trip. So glad I did. Did not want to get off. Just love the smaller ship. We have had good service on other ships, but this was as good or better than any others. So nice to not have to pay for fancy coffee, or ice cream, or soft drinks. Our room included a complimentary bottle of champagne which I easily exchanged for a bottle of house red which I preferred. No problem in restocking my room supply on my own at the various ports, They then kept the mini-refrig full of mixers. Everything is so relaxed. I am generally pretty hyper and I was chill for this trip. I did one ship excursion, a regatta on the 12-Meter Stars And Strips while in St Marteen. Wind sucked on our race, but do recommend this excursion for anyone interested in sailing as we were on the actual boat that won back the America's Cup. When we got to Martinique, it was New Years day and everything was shut down. However, we just took the water taxi to Trois Islets. For $20 we got an umbrella and beach chairs. This is a European beach and not like Florida, but was a very nice way to spend a day. Do be prepared as the local language is French, but this really was no an issue. At St Lucia, I snagged a Kayak trip to the Marigot bay area. Highly recommend this trip. Went with DFH kayaking. We went back into the mangroves which was truly a trip to a jungle. Surprisingly, there were no bugs. This was an adventure. St Kitts was nice. We went on one of the open air buses for a trip to the rain forrest. Wanted to go to the beach but the rain nixed that. Local driver made the trip very pleasant. Antigua was the prettiest beach we saw. Take a taxi to the nearest beach for $15. He drops you off where a guide takes you to a beautiful beach with beach chairs and umbrellas for $20. Then at the agreed upon time our guide returned to take us back to the taxi to return to the ship in perfect time. Made for another relaxing beach day, and a lot cheaper than the ship cruises. We hit San Juan the day before a bunch of earthquakes hit. Hope they did not hurt the town. It was a lot nicer than when we were there two years ago after two hurricanes. This was our third trip to San Juan. I do not understand why cruise ships seem want to just stop for just a few hours. Too much time to just shop the local stores, but not long enough to really see Puerto Rico. Last stop was Great Stirrup Cay. My only comment is why stop there. Beach is OK, but this is a basic company island. All in all am trying to figure out when I can do this again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
No Amazing evening - all cancelled, no white night all abandoned, missed ports and very poor decision making by the Cruise directors. Cuts in included drinks and cuts in quality food, very poor cooking. Good on board orchestra but that s ... Read More
No Amazing evening - all cancelled, no white night all abandoned, missed ports and very poor decision making by the Cruise directors. Cuts in included drinks and cuts in quality food, very poor cooking. Good on board orchestra but that s all. The Guest relations dealt withy the visas very well so that was good. Not memorable and really quiet naive and badly lacking in research as this is AFRICA foe goodness sake - not Miami_ Duh. Exasperated! I suggest that Azamara need to research the destination before sending passengers out into the unknown! We took this cruise in reverse order with Oceania 6 years ago and it was perfect! Well organised and we went to Mombasa without a hitch. To call off this port with a week before boarding is inexcusable as it always been a problem area. All the difficulties were a 1000 miles away. This is poor planning by Azamara so please BEARE before booking!!!! Food quality has definitely gone downhill and cutbacks are obvious. Staff are courteous as always but the chefs are not as good as they used to be. Lack of variety in food was a problem apart from the “special” buffets where choice was more plentiful. Fruit was always the same and the all the berries ran out after a few days at sea. Cabins are small and adequately maintained but nothing better than the mainstream cruises. Lack of attention to the balconies was apparent and need a good clean up. Entertainment as above but unfortunately just no personality whatsoever. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on a cruise 30 years ago and swore we would NEVER cruise again. We heard wonderful things about Viking and decided to give it a try. We are so happy we did. From the time we boarded the ship to the last step off, everyone was ... Read More
We went on a cruise 30 years ago and swore we would NEVER cruise again. We heard wonderful things about Viking and decided to give it a try. We are so happy we did. From the time we boarded the ship to the last step off, everyone was wonderful. Our cabin steward, James could not have been more attentive. We dined in all the restaurants and enjoyed each one. We did select the Silver beverage package and received special wine parings with all our meals. It was well worth it. The included excursions are good as a survey of the area. We ended up doing quite a few purchased tours such as making pasta in Florence. We did the Gaudi special access tour in Barcelona. The first of the tour was very nice being able to access his first work before it opened to the public. However, later when touring one of the later works after it opened to the public was not so nice. We only made it to the 2nd of 4 floors and didn't feel safe. The hallways and stairs were very narrow most of the way and were packed wall to wall with people. It did not feel safe at all. We ended up leaving the group and going on our own to explore the city. Keep in mind, crowds do not bother me at all. I am not claustrophobic at all. We have been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, times square in New York, and many other places with high populations in small areas, so for this to bother me tells you it was very bad. I would not recommend this for anyone who has trouble walking or standing for extended periods of time. Back to the good stuff. The cabin was very spacious. We were not lacking for storage at all. Each night, we would receive a brochure of the next days itinerary. Disembarking was very smooth. Buses were waiting for us at each port and the transition was went very quick. Again, we had the most amazing trip and would recommend Viking to everyone. We plan to try a river cruise with Viking next year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Choose this cruise because it is Regent. Also the itinerary matched what we were looking for and the timing was great. Great itinerary. The service on the ship was great. The food was great. The people were great. We will probably not ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it is Regent. Also the itinerary matched what we were looking for and the timing was great. Great itinerary. The service on the ship was great. The food was great. The people were great. We will probably not cruise on the Navigator again unless the itinerary overcomes the lack of a forward observation lounge and the vibration and engine noise. I should mention that in our cabin there was no noticeable noise or vibration worth mentioning. The ship was clean and the cabin every bit as nice as those on the Mariner and Sojourn. The biggest criticisms that we have is that there is no forward observation lounge, the ships engines created a lot of vibration (and some noise) in the stern of the ship and the ship rocked and rolled more that the other ships we were on. The lack of the forward observation lounge is probably the biggest issue. On our other 2 cruises we were in the lounge to see sail-away and arrivals everyday. This was the go to location for us to have an evening cocktail. We really did not visit the bars on the Navigator. The pool was adequate. Never had problems finding a chaise lounge. Plenty of service from the bar. We both participated in needlepoint during tea on the sea days. Almost finished a project. Mallory, the support/costume lady for the entertainment troupe led the activity and was a great host and fun to talk with. The stage shows were good solid performances. We went to several. One of the dancers, Kevin, in particular was a standout. Incredibly athletic and danced beautifully. The staff and crew are all very service oriented. Would have been 5 stars except that on our last Regent and Seabourn an incredible portion of the personnel knew us by name and knew our preferences. Only a small handful did on this cruise. The food in the Compass Rose was all well prepared and served attractively. The menu was varied with a combination of choices available every night and a great a selection of daily "specials." There was only one day when we had a hard time finding something we wanted to order. Most days it was hard to select from among several selections all of which we wanted to try. The experience in Prime 7 was also great. We ate in Prime 7 twice. We both had Alaskan King Crab Legs (2 pounds!) on the first night and I had them again while my wife had the Maine Lobster. For both you had the choice of in shell or out. Where's the fun if you do not have to disassemble them your self. If all you are looking for is steak those who had it said that it was equally good in both Compass Rose and Prime 7. The breakfast buffet in La Veranda was good. There were adequate choices on the buffet plus cooked to order eggs and a daily special. We ate lunch at the pool grill several times. The burgers and sandwiches were good. There were 2 theme lunches Greek and Satay. The Greek food was tasty but not authentic. The Greek Captain should have helped them deliver an authentic experience. The Satay was great with meat and fish choices and all the correct sauces. The deserts in all the venues were great. Embarkation 5 out of 5 Embarkation was simple and fast. The only delay was that there was only a single security station to check ID to board. The check in was on the ship and was simple and rapid. The cabins were available early and our luggage was waiting Moorea, French Polynesia 4 out of 5 Had a great excursion for dolphin watching with a PhD who worked at UC Berkley labs on the island. Fakarava, Tuamotu Archipelago 2 out of 5 We arrived at Fakarava and anchored. The Captain waited about and hour and decided conditions were too bad to allow tender operations so this stop turned into a sea day. The Cruise Director and his team worked hard to get a new schedule of activities prepared and had it ready shortly after we departed the lagoon. Nuku Hiva, Marquesas 4 out of 5 Had a great tour with locals round the island. The tour was in 4WD pickups. The information shared was interesting. Only real complaint is that the leader do not speak English too well. It did make fun for the those of us who know a bit of French to get the ideas across to all the group. Rangiroa, French Polynesia 4 out of 5 Great snorkel tour Bora Bora, French Polynesia 5 out of 5 Fantastic "all" day tour. Polynesian day and Motu lunch. We circumnavigated the island in a outrigger motor boat. Stopped at 2 places to snorkel. We say lots of colorful corals, a large moray eel and at the second stop snorkeled with black tips sharks and sting rays. The day ended with a Polynesia feast on a small private motu (island.) Food was great and it was fun sitting at picnic tables in the shallow water. Based on recommendations we will likely return here and stay for a few days at the Le Meridien or St. Regis. Raiatea, French Polynesia 3 out of 5 Raiatea was beautiful. We would like to go back for a couple of days. We did a snorkel tour to Taha'a Coral Gardens. It was a drift snorkel. Having to go in a line with inexperienced snorkelers was a disaster. Many people ended up being forced into the coral and were scrapped up. Huahine, French Polynesia 5 out of 5 Fantastic island tour in a pickup with room for 8 on benches in the truck bed. Ride was comfortable. The driver/tour guide was knowledgeable, interesting and engaging. This is another island that we would like to visit again. Disembarkation 5 out of 5 Extremely easy. We were traveling independently after the cruise and taking the ferry to Moorea. We were invited to debark anytime after 8 but before 9. Luggage was waiting with helpful guys to dig it out for you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click