Ref. NCL Jade 03 Jan 2010
During reservation I was told that by taken a certain category of cabins that I would automatically be upgraded to a better cabin, so instead of choosing interior cabin I chose a better cabin, with a granted ... Read More
Ref. NCL Jade 03 Jan 2010
During reservation I was told that by taken a certain category of cabins that I would automatically be upgraded to a better cabin, so instead of choosing interior cabin I chose a better cabin, with a granted upgrade, don't worry I did not receive it they told me that the ship is full, what a pile of crape. Also I reserved over 4 month ago when there was a special that if you reserve in advance you would receive a coupon book for discounts aboard (tell you the truth you need it because this has to be the most expensive ship I have ever travel on) so when I arrived in my cabin there were no coupon book in my cabin so I ask at the purser office and because I was not on the list of those that were entitle to receive this coupon book I will not receive it so twice reservation scrude me over.
Other comments, there are over 6 paying restaurants aboard this ship so meals that are included are not of a great standard, that we find on other ship, that is to insight you to go and spend additional money, in the other restaurants, witch so far they have been very good as good as other ship with out having to pay for. Just to give you a example in the main dining room a shrimp cocktail consists on mini shrimps no more than a soup spoon in the Cagney dinning room they are over 3 to 4 inches long what a difference.
Drinks aboard are quite expensive most martini are 8 or 9 dollars and even a fountain of Pepsi is 2 dollars not a bottle a fountain witch consist of maybe 5 oz of ice and 5 oz of Pepsi.
After 8 days on ship.
Well we are back from Cairo so far the only good thing I can say about this cruise is that the excursion are great probable it is because they are not done by NCL.
The service is very bad, smiles are hard to get, and the ship is going through a diarrehea epidemic they are always disinfection the ship and our hand you can not go any were with out having to disinfect your hands, may be this is good but a minimum of 15 times a day get annoying.
Well it going home day finally, all suites cases in the hallway and my final bill arrive but yes you guest it a surprise, my internet bill had a 24 dollars charge so I call the internet cafe and ask why this charge, they told me that I went over in my time so I ask how, when you open the internet service it ask you if you want additional minutes and I answered no I was going to run my time out and close my service automaticly, but no there was a fine print even if you say you do not want additional minutes you will be charged to you if you go over, good thing i closed my computer a haft hour later if not I would have been charged for the inter night even if I had not used it. But wait I thought no meant no, not no NCL I means more money.
This is my cruise in conclusion bad service hard to get a smile very costly and they are always right, they should change freestyle for expensivestyle highwayroberystyle any thing but free. For the excursion most are very good it always depend on the Guides but they were mostly very good. Ncl Jade 03 Jan 2010 Read Less
Have just returned from asia with Quest. When we booked it was then advertised as 'Deluxe' cruising, how or why they think this is deluxe I do not know. I think from comments from others who had sailed with Azamara before the ... Read More
Have just returned from asia with Quest. When we booked it was then advertised as 'Deluxe' cruising, how or why they think this is deluxe I do not know. I think from comments from others who had sailed with Azamara before the standard had 'slipped' and we were paying the price of their changes to 'club cruises'.The itinerary was good, the embarkation and disembarkation was the best we have ever had, the coffee machines that made latte, espresso, etc were great.....and the rest, well not 4 or 5* cruising. As a vegetarian I have to say the food was boring, repetitive and the choice, non existent. Beware if you are vegetarian as even the veggie sounding soups have meat stock in them, during the whole cruise, apart from the chilled soups on the menu and 1other hot soup non of the them were suitable, including the tomato, green lentil, mushroom, vegetable, need I go on?!!! I was told if I ordered a meal 1 or two days in advance they could make a bowl of soup, or special meal, had one or two nice curries this way, the lunchtime menu in the Discovery Dining room has no veggie choice at all, twice I was offered mash potato and steamed broccoli as a main course...come on Azamara Cunard have over 20 dishes to choose from. Even the meat eater menu especially at lunchtimes was not very exciting. Our waiters Edward and Chris were brilliant, but the night we were on a different table the service was awful and took 3 hours, I ended up with cheese and biscuits as a main meal.The staff were OK but not that friendly, the entertainment apart from Mary Amanda the harpist and Jeff the comedian were average to awful. Only once after a trip were we greeted with cold towels and a drink, all the other times they were packing up. We left Singapore early, and Thailand, without notice, although some people knew, we were told our agents should have told us...interesting as we booked direct!! I could go on but needless to say would not go again with Azamara all our party agreed, Celebrity are far better, Cruise West miles better and Cunard way above what Azamara are offering. The ship seemed 'old and crowded' especially in the lounges and dining room. Read Less
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale.
The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of ... Read More
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale.
The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of large public rooms and lots of space to lounge around. The airiness and many large windows gives the light and view a chance to be admired by all passengers from every direction. The down size to this large vessel, is that you see all the major container ports of the world; the ship is so large (155 thousand tons) that it does not accommodate the ports well, and one docks miles from the center of passenger interest. The shuttle service takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to transport the passengers to town and the lines are long; and in some ports, no cover was available to shade the passengers from the heat, and a few passengers fainted while waiting to board the ship..The lack of water at the port stations were very obvious to all. If the ship is your "destination", this ship has what you want. If you are concerned about seeing the ports in detail, and with maximum time, you will need to go on a "cruise" ship, not an ocean liner; the QM2 is a great venue for quiet elegance an the enjoyment of serenity, but you can also be busy all day long if you choose.
The food quality ranges from 5 star cafeteria to excellent; the quality was not consistent from day to day. The Kings Court venue with its four no charge alternate dining restaurants are a nice touch from the main dining room. The service in the Kings Court was always above par. The food was excellent; but you were limited to two reservation per cruise segment, and when making the reservations, one had to call many days in advance as the space is extremely limited.
The decor is a bit "dowdy" and needs help; the ship, built in 2004, is in desperate need of upgrading; the TV's are the old box type, not the new flat screen; there were no DVD players available; the Internet service was very slow and expensive, and was down many hours during this voyage. We also were told that it is coming back on, but it sometime did not for 24 to 36 hours. The Internet manager was helpful to a point, then he would walk away as he had no authority over the web service. In the meantime, one is paying 75 cents/minute to wait it out.
The entertainment was broad in nature; the lectures covered a wide variety of subjects, some very stodgy, some down to earth; the port lectures were low in content and were more travel logs to brag about their own experience in the ports. The computer instructor ( different from the computer manager) was excellent, and was very friendly and helpful. Computer class were given several times a week and were at no charge.
The movies in the theater were a mix bag; from gory murders to comedy, not all were current. The Broadway style shows were high school in quality and very repetitive. The headline acts were mostly violinist, piano players, and singers; very few comedy or other lite entertainment.
Service was no winner. The dining room waiter had to be asked several times to refill the water, coffee, bread etc. This should have been routine training; we finally got the section head to monitor this function for our table as the waiter could not be bothered.
The cabin was inside - 6103 - great location and very quiet. Our cabin steward was okay, not outstanding, but the cabin was always clean, and she did her best.
On the subject of service, my main complaint with Cunard is the lack of caring from the management. This ship, and it may have a Cunard label, is very arrogant in the dealings with the passengers, and they act as though they know what is best for you. From the World Cruise concierge, to the social hostess, to pursers office, your needs are not met, phone calls not returned, and general destine is apparent. I could write volumes about the misinformation given at the pursers office, and the double talk from the staff, but you get the drift.
So it comes down to this; I can not recommend the QM2 for a long cruise; a better choice would be the New York to Southampton crossing. Would I go again on this ship: NO ! We have taken 169 cruises, on several different branded lines and the QM2 does not hold a candle in quality and service to the other ships - what the Queen does have is a name and past glory. Its reputation is slowly being tarnished by the current management. Read Less
We knew that Cunard appealed to older clientele but surprised at just how old the vast majority of passengers were. Not many of the activities on board would appeal to anyone below their seventies - enrichment lectures very dull and ... Read More
We knew that Cunard appealed to older clientele but surprised at just how old the vast majority of passengers were. Not many of the activities on board would appeal to anyone below their seventies - enrichment lectures very dull and unimaginative. Theatre really beautiful but shows very poor - a bit end of the pier. Shopping on board not good, quite tacky in fact.
Excellent embarkation and disembarkation at all times. The ship new and very tidy but lacking in any real atmosphere or wow factor.
Food and services in restaurants OK but not outstanding. Food quite similar every night in Queens grill quite hard to find something really wanted to eat by the end of the cruise. Lido restaurant was good and staff very efficient.
Cabin supposedly 3rd best on ship and although comfortable and not cramped by any means did not have the wow factor we were expecting.
Would not book with Cunard again but would choose Crystal or Oceania much less stuffy, much more mixed clientele and real luxury.. Read Less
We can sum up our Silversea experience in two words: totally disappointing. Silversea started us off on the wrong foot at the start when they stated early boarding carried a $100 each "fee". As we had shelled out $19,000USD for ... Read More
We can sum up our Silversea experience in two words: totally disappointing. Silversea started us off on the wrong foot at the start when they stated early boarding carried a $100 each "fee". As we had shelled out $19,000USD for a "Grand Suite" accomodation, we felt this additional charge was way over the top. Having had a stroke and not looking forward to a further delay in boarding, we complained to their Fort Lauderdale HQ. After a few calls, their office waived this "fee", adding that if we were members of their "Venetian Society" this waving was one of their "perks". So much for an "even playing field". We learned later that this fee was to discourage an "early luncheon" with accompanying wine and/or spirits.
Our stateroom 701 was incredibly large and comfortable; Silversea was going on a roll! The closet was very large, with ample space for shoes, slippers etc. The bedroom was bright and roomy with a well lit vanity. It sported large screen TV. An ample, but not large balcony with two tables and four chairs completed the area. Two bathrooms, the main with double basins (one with a crack) a fully jetted tub and a smallish shower completed the room. The stateroom was the largest I have ever seen on a cruse ship. We have always chosen S class, and Owners suites, not to brag but due to my limited mobility. Comfortable arm chairs and a chaise-lounge along with a well equipped stand up bar completed the suite.
The dining experience was just that.Unless you read the daily instructions, you could easily be too early or too late for lunch. The menu was out of the wild imagination of the chef. Example: Carpaccio served with fresh arugula, basil, celery walnuts and parmesan shavings (appetiser) sardinian clam soup with arugula and sun-dried tomatoes, grilled sea bass with smoked eel, celeriac cream infusion(entree) Five days into the cruise they offered salmon, chicken and a steak. My stomach had long started to act up by this time. We were told that several staterooms on our deck had the same problems with the richness of the food.
My partner, at breakfast, after mentioning to the maitre d' that our morning coffee did not arrive set the stage for a very embarrassing situation for us. We had no sooner started our meal when our butler was paraded to our table along with the Food and Beverage manager. He proceeded to demand an apology from the poor butler. I don't know who was more upset by this childish behavior by the manager, the butler or my table. Thank goodness the little room was nearly empty; we, the butler and I were totally embarrassed. The butler was on time after this. The first night out we were serenaded by two screaming children one deck below. The TV in the next stateroom was annoying. Silversea has a very loose attitude about smoking. They request there be no smoking on the balconies. The only time we didn't smell second hand smoke was when we were moving. Read Less
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity ... Read More
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity in the past, in either Europe or Asia. We found Regent to be "okay", but certainly not for the price and hype. We have three children, ages 7, 10, and 13, so we booked two cabins. The cost of the one-week cruise for the family was over $17,000 without air, but the port tours were largely free or at low-cost as part of Regent's current promotions. Our biggest complaint against Regent is the very poor way in which they handled a significant problem we had with our room. Basically, they took almost the entire cruise duration to deal with a plumbing problem (never completely solved), and in addition to other issues, they did not handle things in a way anyone in the luxury hospitality business should. When we boarded the ship in Monaco, we were greeted in our cabin by an acrid sewer/algae smell. The whole room smelled, but we were able to figure out that it was coming from the bathroom. The housekeeper agreed that it smelled horribly, and when we returned from dinner a few hours later the sewer smell was somewhat overcome by the smell of Drano/chlorine. Not exactly pleasant. The next day the sewer smell returned, so we contacted the front desk. To make a long story short, Reception was very nice but not very effective. They had a plumber come out on Day 1 (embarkation is Day 0), and he said that there was something wrong with the drain and fixed something, with maybe 50-70% improvement. But it still had that sickening smell. Anyway, by Day 5 the smell was mostly gone after one other plumber intervention. But the inconvenience of waiting around for the plumber and having him stomp around the bathroom in his boots also did not help our cruise experience. For most of the cruise, when we were on the ship we found ourselves all retreating to our sons' cabin, which happened to be a handicapped cabin without a sofa. The smell was the overriding problem with the cruise. Add to that a bath towel that had more than 10 holes and stains in it (I have photos), multiple unannounced water interruptions resulting in milky-white water emerging from our sink on several occasions including an interruption at midnight-3 am that left my 13 year old with shampoo on his head, and really terrible breakfasts (cheap quality ingredients) in the Portofino restaurant, and you have something that is FAR from what we consider luxury. In addition, the cruise line has handled our concerns very poorly. We actually emailed our complaints to RSSC Guest Relations on 8/12/09 (Day 5), and we have not heard anything from them and it has been almost 3 weeks. We cc'd our letter to our American Express Centurion travel agent, and she contacted their marketing manager. The Amex agent initially told us that RSSC "would have to respond within 48 hours", but their only response was that the complaint would be sent on to some other department in their company. As I said, it has now been over three weeks and still no reply. We travel a lot about 3 months a year. Over the years, we have had "issues" here and there, including new purchases stolen from my room at a Hong Kong hotel, or a cruise housekeeper who put our brand-new unreleased Sonicare toothbrushes brush-down in a half-glass of water left by the previous guest as soon as we boarded the ship! Each time, someone from management would come and apologize, send some tangible token like flowers or candy to let us know that they are sorry and value our patronage. Well, from Regent, nothing. No words from management, no candy (how hard is that on an all-inclusive cruise, we already had $1000 shipboard credit from Amex that we could hardly spend?), nothing but an offer to "clean our room" on day 5/7 of our cruise, the only day AT SEA! Anyway, my final word is that what Regent is offering is far from luxury and as we wait to hear from management, it becomes clear that they are undeserving of the Regent name. The Regent Hotel in Hong Kong (now Intercontinental) was one of the world's great hotels and we actually spent New Year's Eve there on the Millenium but this cruise line has nothing to do with the Regent we knew. Read Less
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very ... Read More
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very hungry.
We decided to try Silversea after it was recommended to us by my parents who, in all other things, are reliably excellent judges of quality. In their defense, my parents (like many we met aboard the Silver Cloud) have never tried any of the other high-end cruise lines and, if your standard of comparison is the Carnival Funships, Silversea probably seems like the gold standard of luxury cruising. And some aspects of Silversea ARE pretty swishy. The service is excellent, as good as we've had on Crystal and Seabourn, and very friendly. There were none of the delightful, above-the-call-of-duty surprises we'd come to expect from Seabourn-no constant stream on yummy treats on the pool deck, no canapEs on the dock after a long day of sightseeing, nothing but the standard chocolates on the pillow at night, no trademark complimentary excursion-but the wait staff had memorized our names and preferred cocktails by Day 2, and our cabin stewardesses were most meticulous women I have ever met. The cabins were spacious and luxurious. (The walk-in closet was fitted-out with cherry built-ins and padded hangers, by far the nicest closet I've seen on a cruise ship.) The gym was truly impressive given the size of the ship, and it's location (top deck, forward) provided great views from the elliptical trainer. The box of Godiva chocolates we were given upon embarkation was very much appreciated. Best of all, was the pool deck, the nicest I've seen on any ship, truly superlative in both quality and layout. It became our very favorite place to while away sea days, even in the blustery north. The pool-side grill provided the tastiest food on the ship, the pool itself was generously heated (and the hot tubs actually HOT!) and deck stewards were quick to supply coffee drinks, wool blankets or anything else we requested.
The real problem we had with Silversea is that we shouldn't have HAD any problems with Silversea—that's what luxury cruising is all about. And my husband and I are pretty good sports. We do our share of luxury travel, but we also do our share of "roughing-it," and aren't normally critical people. Enough was amiss with life aboard the Silver Cloud, though, that we started to Notice Things-and those things added up. We were able to see the humor in a lot of it (the free cocktails really helped with that) but there were definitely times we were Not Having Any Fun, and we were more that ready to get off when we at last disembarked in London.
Our biggest complaint was with the food. The pool deck grill served fairly well-prepared basics and, throughout the ship, the pastries and baked goods were very nice, but the dining room was a disaster. I recall only two good meals in the dining room: a lunch with a very nice soup course and a halibut cooked in truffle oil, and a dinner that featured some kind of smoked reindeer carpaccio. Beyond that, the Dining Room cuisine was complicated but badly executed, and sometimes not even hot. (Sometimes not even WARM.) Moreover, service in the dining room was almost comically disorganized and really, really slow. At breakfast, I often waited 15 minutes for my beloved caffeinated beverage and another 30 minutes for eggs. Lunches took two hours, and dinners nearly three. I mean, I can "dine" with the best of 'em, but we spent huge stretches of time seated at a table with nothing in front of us-no bread, no drinks, and no hope of a satisfying meal. Overall, the food ranged from almost good to downright bad. We discovered the best dishes were the wellness options, which featured delicately prepared shellfish, fish, soups and some nice desserts. The problem with sticking to this menu was the very real specter of starvation. After a 64 calorie appetizer, a 186 calorie main, and a 119 calorie dessert (the calorie counts for wellness dishes were helpfully listed on the menus) we would bolt back to our cabin, salivating at the thought of our turn-down chocolates. La Terrazza, the ship's alternative dining venue, served good-but-not-great Italian food at dinner, pizza at lunch, and offered hearty but unimpressive breakfast and lunch buffets. Still, food quality in La Terrazza beat the Dining Room hands down and, for this reason, it was very popular and usually very crowded. The crowds were a real problem in the snug, galley-style buffet area because, believe me, in those quarters you do NOT want to be trapped between the 95-year-old lady and the chaffing dish when she decides she wants some hash browns. Some things just aren't worth dying for.
Okay, enough about the food. It was bad. Moving on...the bathrooms were small, with only one sink and they were looking a little worse for wear, but the real issue was the toilets, which must have been manufactured by N.A.S.A. because every time one of them was flushed it sounded like a FREAKING ROCKET BEING LAUNCHED. If anyone along our line of plumbing flushed in the middle of the night, it literally woke us from a dead sleep. Most passengers seemed to abide by an unvoiced pact not to flush between midnight and 7AM, but it happened occasionally. Napping was never an option. Even more disturbing, the hallways twice smelled strongly of sewage while maintenance men with shop-vacs bustled about. I thought riots might start in the laundry room, which was unwisely outfitted with 5 Miele washers and 5 Miele condensing dryers. The controls on the Mieles were so complicated, most older passengers needed help just turning them on, and the condensing dryers literally took several hours to dry a single load. One of the two receptionists at the front desk was consistently snippy to the point of rudeness. We spent an entire day in Szczecin, Poland, home to the captain's wife and children. Unfortunately for those of us not married to Szczecinians, there was NOTHING to do in Szczecin beyond posing for photos with the giant fiberglass shark outside the town's nicest pub. Like most of our fellow passengers, we were back on the ship within an hour and spent the rest of the day reading on our deck chairs and watching the captain's kiddies frolic in the pool. As for the captain, he didn't bother to attend either of the cocktail parties he "hosted," which resulted in rumors he a) spoke no English or, alternatively, b) hated us all. The piano player was so bad that the cruise director, Judy, referred to him as "Poor Henry" in her announcements and twice encouraged us to go listen to him as he was "up there all alone." Judy was charming and British but was absolutely addicted to the sound of her voice over the ship's PA system and, according to those who attended her lecture on the final evening, shared entirely too much about her tragic relationship history. Afternoon tea was interrupted by "fashion shows" from the ship's boutique and H. Stern jewelry store, and you basically had to tackle someone to get a scone. Disembarkation in London Bridge was interesting but very disorganized. The Silver Cloud rafted up alongside the HMS Belfast and, after milling around in the reception area while we ostensibly waited for our luggage to be unloaded, passengers disembarked by walking across the Belfast and boarding a Port Authority launch, which dropped us off on the Westminster pier. I have no idea how some of the less-ambulatory passengers managed this, as there were lots of slippery ramps and steps on and off of ferries involved, and we STILL waited in the rain for 40 minutes for our luggage to appear. Silversea had assured us there wouldn't be any taxis available and encouraged everyone to buy pricey ship transfers or hire private cars. We were not the least bit surprised to see the long line of waiting taxis, though, and as we hopped in one of them and headed for the train station, we felt nothing but relief. And hunger. Read Less
We did a 12 night Baltic Cruise on the Azamara Journey and would like to provide a review. Our travel agent told us she would like us to try Azamara as Celebrity was trying to target the Oceania and Silverseas crowd. She was incorrect on ... Read More
We did a 12 night Baltic Cruise on the Azamara Journey and would like to provide a review. Our travel agent told us she would like us to try Azamara as Celebrity was trying to target the Oceania and Silverseas crowd. She was incorrect on both counts. Azamara is for the crowd who have done Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian, Holland Americian,NCL,and others in that genre. Having said that, if you have done these lines you will probably like or love this line. It has a long way to catch up with Oceania and as for Silverseas there can be no comparison as it is like comparing apples with oranges. Azamara is a "poor man's Oceania." If you can get the same price on Oceania then go with Oceania as you will see the difference in every department e.g. maintenance, service, amenities, food,bedding and so on. One disturbing quality we observed on Azamara was the total absence of cleaning of public places e.g staircase railings, rest rooms, elevator panel and railings. On Oceania this is a constant and reassuring sight. We paid $11,000 US for our Sky Suite and met a lovely young man who paid $900.00 for his cabin. When there is this disparity in pricing the company has not defined its target customer and it shows!! Upon arrival there was no one at the bottom of the gangplank to assist us with our luggage we were expected to haul it up ourselves. When disembarking in ports of call there was a crew member dressed up as a rabbit or other infantile character to greet you as you disembarked. There were no children on the ship, this was the tone set for the cruise. The cruise director and crew spoke down to us and overall treated us in a very infantile way. It became old very quickly! The cruise director and staff constantly told the customers how wonderful the crew were in their capacity to provide outstanding service. They did this either in person, over the public address system or at gatherings. Approximately 2 days before the end of the cruise a questionaire was sent to each cabin to assess the cruise. From that point on we were beaten into submission to complete that questionaire. There were constant reminders over the TV, at any entertainment gathering, at dinner by your waitstaff. They were relentless, and finally offered a raffel of a free dinner at one of the speciality restaurants to get people to complete the form. The butler service was a joke. He was a cabin attendant dressed up in a tuxedo and we rarely saw him, and when we did ask for afternoon tea he told us we had to fill out a form the morning of or the day before and be physically present in our cabin when it arrived the next day...yes! he was serious! Breakfast in our room was cold so we didn't do it again after the second try.The beds were not exceedingly uncomfortable but by no means would I say luxury bedding or exceedingly comfortable. The food was good but there was no cuisine in sight. The staff were very friendly and did what was required for their positions, but there was no service on this ship. On our contract (which I had with me) it stated ,"gratuities included". When our final bill arrived, the gratuities had been added, so I spoke to a senior person in the guest relations department. This is the "service" I received: I had to make multiple trips to that department and often the person was not there, even though we had made an appointment. Never once did the person say she would come to our suite! The friendly persona disappeared when they saw my contract, however, they would not honor it and said there "had been a mix-up," but were still charging my credit card. Our departing flight left early and we had booked the ship's transport to the airport. We were notified a few days before the end of the cruise they could not accomodate us due to our early flight and were cancelling our booking . No apologies, just a message in our suite. No offer to provide an alternative. When I did ask if they could order me a taxi when we arrived, they said no, but there would probably be taxi's at the port. There was no offer to assist or organize our luggage upon departure. I saw our "butler" in the hallway and told him to assist me, he did so reluctantly. I hope this review is helpful to you in choosing your cruise line. In a nutshell, if you can afford Oceania go with it as Azamara is not in the same league. If you can't afford Oceania and have cruised with the above stated lines you will probably enjoy this experience. If you have done Silverseas you will be totally dissatisfied with the Azamara experience. Read Less
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is ... Read More
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is a factor. The wilting economy might have something to do with it; there were 434 passengers on the cruise we took, while the ship is intended for 700. What we did not know while on the trip was that the company had just sustained a loss of nearly $20 million—all because the Voyager ran over a fishing line as it pulled out of Singapore harbor on March 18, embarking on what was intended to be a world cruise. That caused mechanical problems, reducing the ship's speed, resulting in canceling some of the scheduled dockingsthen being in drydock for a spell, with refunds being made to those who booked two cruises. Whatever the cause, my wife, Jo-Ann, and I felt the effect on our 2009 Norwegian cruise. Right from the first day, we realized that our on the Regent Voyager would not be of the quality commonly ascribed to the cruise line.When we arrived on board, the rooms weren't ready yet, but a buffet lunch was available on Deck 11.Danish sausage was being served, fresh off a grill at the poolside. I picked up a plate to hand to Jo-Ann. The plate was filthy. Well, OK, soot was probably being emitted from the grill; it was understandable. I put that plate to the side, and handed Jo-Ann the next one in the stack, which was clean. I picked up the next plate for myself. Filthy. The next one. Filthy. The next one was clean.We took our sausage inside and sat down. The sausage was good—but, of course, anyone, with no schooling in culinary arts, should be able to heat a sausage on a grill. What we were to soon learn is that the food is just fine on this cruise line if you have something that is taken from a package, tin, or jar, requiring no involvement of anyone purporting to be a chef. As we were finishing our sausage, a waiter asked if we wanted coffee. Jo-Ann said yes. I asked for hot chocolate. The waiter put down two cups. I looked inside mine. There was a dirty rim around the inside, about a third of the way down. I took a napkin, poured water on it, cleaned out the inside of the cup, the dark-brown sediment now transferred to the napkin. We drank our beverages and left. When we finally entered the cabin, we encountered sweltering heat. That was, we found out, not a matter of an oversight. Information in printed material in the cabin indicated that guests would need to adjust the thermostat upon entry and that it would take about 30 minutes for temperature to be altered. In the course of the housekeeping staff preparing the rooms, the preparation could have included rendering the rooms habitable by turning on the air conditioning. Apparently, Regent didn't want to waste the kilowatts on empty rooms, opting to economize even though guests would start their journeys, once they got to the cabins, in discomfort. Each guest gets to make a reservation on two nights during the cruise in the "Prime 7" restaurant, featuring what is supposedly prime meat. We made a reservation there for the first night. Lucky us. "With the chef's compliments," there was triumphantly presented a mini-hamburger with a brown sauce. It had the flavor—what flavor there was—of boiled beef. It was in the nature of a patty of chopped pot roast. If you come to the lunchroom at our office in downtown Los Angeles and insert a $1 bill in our food machine, you can often procure a patty on a bun with a brown sauce which, after being heated in the microwave, is adequate to qualify as a meal, though barely so. That packaged, quick-food dish is gourmet fare compared with the mini-hamburger which Regent mistakes for a treat, The waiter was taken aback that we hadn't devoured the offering. "Why?," he presumptuously inquired. Jo-Ann told him it was a weak imitation of a hamburger. Then came the salad Jo-Ann ordered. No problem. There also came the intriguing appetizer that caught my attention: three kinds of steak tartare: "classical," oriental, and veal. None was particularly good. There were three small blobs of raw ground meat, with differing seasonings. The "classical" rendition wasn't. That globule was missing anchovies, capers, onions, egg yolk—that is, the essentials. Also, no toast points were served; not even unpointed toast. Just the three small blobs. Next: the entrees. Jo-Ann had ordered an end cut of prime rib. What she got what a slab of meat that struck me from its appearance as quite unappetizing. Jo-Ann confirms that the taste was not that of prime rib. Perhaps it was a piece of inartfully prepared bull's rump. She thinks it might well have been baked in a pot. I had lamb chops. Yes, the meat was lamb. But was it prime meat? Either the meat was other than prime—meaning that the name of the restaurant, Prime Seven, was a sham and the cruise line's express representation of serving prime meats there a lie—or the cooks posing as chefs were so grossly inept that they turned good meat into cafeteria fare. We left. A young woman from the restaurant, discerning our disgruntlement, followed us out and evinced concern. She displayed graciousness and a desire to set things right. What was irresolvable was the woeful lack of talent on the part of the food-preparers. The second night, we ate at the French restaurant. It was much better, but not excellent. The food in the main dining room was, we found, adequate. Jo-Ann had some cod one night which, she remarked, was not as good as that we had on the SAS flight between London and Copenhagen. When cruise food does not match that an airline serves, something is wrong. One night a menu item which I chose was sea scallops with oyster sauce and oriental seasonings. What came was a small bowl of spaghetti with a few tiny bay scallops tossed in. However, it is possible to get really food onboard. There was, at buffets, herring in mustard sauce and herring marinated in vinegar at buffets. It's just like that we get in the U.S. in jars, imported from Sweden. (On the next-to-last day, they apparently had excess mustard sauce at the bottom of a jar and added vinegar-marinated herring to the sauce, thus devising an innovative and unpalatable dish.) Some of the cheeses, both in the French restaurant and the buffets, were superb. In other words, they do have the competence to serve packaged foods. It's just that cooking is not their forte. At one lunch buffet, I made the mistake of having some suckling pig carved. It was so overcooked that, if served to prison inmates, the ACLU would bring a lawsuit based on cruel treatment. But the graved lachs at that buffet was quite good...which shows, again, they need to stick to packaged foods. On the Fourth of July, Jo-Ann and I wanted a traditional hot dog for lunch. At a lavish buffet, they did, indeed, have hot dogs. When we sat down, we realized they were cold. An accommodating waiter offered to heat them. The problem is that when you microwave hot dogs, the frankfurter gets dried out and the bun becomes hard. One day they offered "Scandinavian delicacies" at a lunch buffet. They had "Swedish potato dumplings." The authentic ones are like Norwegian potato balls ("raspeballer" or "kumle") except that the Swedes sometimes stick a piece of ham inside. My grandfather made kumle, my mother did, and Jo-Ann and I have eaten it in Seattle and in Bergen. This was not raspeballer; this was a wad of glue. On our last night on the ship, we had a superb meal of Norwegian smoked salmon, smoked whale, peppered mackerel, and a Norwegian brown goat cheese called gjetost. It was all food we had brought on board from ports. When we paid the charge for the cruise, we didn't know we would be brown-bagging. And then there's the matter of "Lars." That's the moniker Jo-Ann ascribed to a crumb...a large one that resembled a corn flake. Lars was there on the floor of the bathroom when we boarded in Copenhagen and Lars was still there when we left the ship 14 days later in Copenhagen. It must be said that the Regent staff is, in general, well-trained and attentive. We brought two seagull eggs on board with us from Tromsø, and they were kind enough to scramble them for us. There are some language difficulties, however. I wanted to get a peanut butter malt for Jo-Ann. They had peanut butter ice cream. They had a malted milk machine. But the attendant didn't know what a "malt" is. I substituted the term "malted milk." I was told: "We have two kinds of milk: regular and no-fat." Jo-Ann did not get a malt. There is no separate charge for drinks, and tips are built into the price. Overall, the quality is far beneath what we had expected based on the cruise line's reputation. Aside from the cuisine here being second-rate, the dEcor lacks elegance, the stage productions are unimpressive, and if you ask for a gin fizz, you get sparkling lemonade with a bit of froth on top. This was our fourth trip to Norway, and we intend to go there again. But not on a Regent cruise. Read Less
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009
Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara. I heard from many fellow passengers on ... Read More
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009
Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara. I heard from many fellow passengers on the Quest that they'd had excellent experiences on the Azamara Journey. I have personally been on all four M-class Celebrity ships and several RCCL ships, and will continue to cruise with them, based on good to great experiences on all of them. I am soured on the ship, not on the brand.
Air-sea arrangements (roundtrip air and an included night in Beijing) were included in my cruise fare.
Things went wrong from the very beginning. My first flight was cancelled (mechanical failure before boarding), and I confirmed new arrangements with the emergency number provided in my cruise documents. Even though I would arrive a day late, I was assured by their staff that I would get there in time to join the ship and that I would be met and escorted in plenty of time.
When I arrived in Beijing, there was no one to meet me. I started to look through and call the emergency numbers in my cruise documents. Out of five "emergency" numbers provided in my cruise documents, I found that two were closed until the next business day (Monday - 48 hours away). Two didn't work at all. One worked, and (calling from the airport on my AmEx card) cost me $17 each.
For the one number that worked, the first call said they'd be there; the second call said that I was on my own. After the third call, they picked me up, put me up overnight at the Shangri-La hotel, and put me on the flight the next morning to the ship's next stop, Dalian.
The young lady handled ticketing, luggage and escorted me all the way to security to be sure I got to the next stop without incident. I felt well taken care of on my way out of Beijing.
However, on arrival in Dalian, there was, AGAIN, no one there to meet me. (Did I mention how inadequate shoreside support was?)
After getting some attention from Chinese security officers, and help from my Beijing contact, I arranged (and paid for) a taxi to a local hotel where the ship's local agent took care of getting me to the ship.
On arrival at the ship, I was told the key-making machine was down, and I'd need to wait in the lobby until they could let me in my room. So, after more than 3 days in transit, my welcome on the Quest was a young women at the guest services desk who offered no sympathy, no key, and made clear I was a hassle.
After a half hour, I insisted on being let into my room by whoever else on board might have a key.
While freshening up, the toilet seat split into two pieces. At that point I realized it was going to be a long couple of weeks.
There's nothing special about the cabin. It's attractive, but every M-class ship has a similar layout and a bigger bathroom. The dark wood is nice, there is lots of storage, and the bed is comfortable. But, really, nothing special.
On arrival I found that my stateroom hadn't been completely cleaned from the prior guest, even though the steward (oops = the butler) had an extra day. When unpacking I found small items from the previous occupant in three different places - bobby pins on the alarm clock, a map tucked in between the sofa cushions, and lotion on the shelf over the TV. If you have any illusions about a complete cleaning job, rid yourself of them now.
The balcony was nice for the extra daylight but this was a cold weather cruise. There was a table and chairs outside that I never used. The flooring looked like basic vinyl, with coloring to look like ship's decking, and glue colored footprints to remind you of the installation crew. It didn't extend under the small divider between balconies, so get used to the look of plain or painted concrete between your balconies. Not my idea of "attention to detail."
Temperature control is a problem. Reportedly, the ship got "chilled to the superstructure" from the luggage and provisions loading that happened in Beijing. It took three days for it to recover.
As for the shower, approach it cautiously. Sometimes it took more than a minute to get up to operating temperature. Then, it would vary tremendously, from hot spikes to cold freezes. The number on the dial is NOT related to the experience you'll have in the shower.
The towels are thick and thirsty, but about half of those delivered to my had obvious frayed edges, as though they had been around far too long and treated way too harshly Fraying towels are not my idea of luxury.
I really enjoyed the ship staff and officers.
The Captain is one of the most sociable, visible, and earnest officers I've met on any ship. This was my 24th cruise, and he's the first one I looked forward to hearing from at noon each day. He is so into ships, navigation and details of the ports. I found him charming and engaging.
He is also honest. At the debarkation talk, he said this was the "hardest cruise of" his entire life. That was true for many of the guests as well.
John, the cruise director, was great and really did everything he could to make sure we had a good time. There were lots of other folks - in the dining room, at the coffee shop, in the theater, who did everything they could to make the experience a good one.
The guest lecturers, especially Jon Fleming (the port lecturer), were excellent.
An exception to the "great staff" comment would be guest relations and whoever handles guest communications. There's a sense of sloppiness in the documents and timing that was a clear pattern on the ship. The daily program arrived - sometimes when the room was madeup for the night, sometimes later. Even on day two, some of the times were wrong, so I showed up at the spa for session that wasn't going on at the time, even though it was in writing.
Small forms - immigration papers for the next countries - arrived without clear instructions for what we should do with them, turn them in or hold onto them. Sometimes they arrived a day early, sometimes a day late.
The Guest Relations supervisor (Denise) and the International Host (Andre) were very nice and accommodating. But their commitments for compensation (i.e. an upgrade on my next cruise) were rejected by the home office. If you ever have someone offer you an upgrade or any compensation for a mess, be sure to get it in writing.
The quality of tour guides was uneven. We were running a couple hours behind in Seoul, so that felt rushed, and the guide in Kyoto didn't have sufficient mastery of English to do a really good job. However, the guides in Shanghai and Hong Kong were superb. Worth every penny.
This was my first Azamara trip, and I was concerned that such a small ship (30,000 tons) might not be as comfortable as the much-larger M-Class ships. (I've done 6 cruises on M-class ships, so they're familiar.)
The best surprise of the voyage was how stable the ship is. I don't know what the builders did, but in 8' seas and whitecaps, it was every bit as comfortable as 90,000 ton ships I've been on. Amazing.
The main dining room served terrific food. I think the quality of the food and service declined slightly over the two week trip, but it's far superior to almost every other ship I've been on.
It is a small ship, though. There aren't a lot of options for "where to go for drinks" or "where to meet before the show." To be honest, it's so small that each staircase holds one person at a time - no passing - and if you get four people standing in the elevator lobby chatting, you'll have to move them to get past.
It might be better for a warm weather itinerary, but for cold weather, there isn't enough space to feel uncrowded.
It's also the most "unfriendly to singles" ship I've been on. I signed up on the belief that it was "single seating." To me, that means single seating, like the grills on QM2, or Caronia class on the old QE2 - you have an assigned table and can show up whenever you like.
In fact, it's "open seating" - which is the same as Freestyle Dining. There are 370 seats in the dining room, and 700 guests. No seating assignments, so on days when tours run late, there is a line to get into the dining room. And, there is no arrangement for sharing tables with others, except the good will of the maitre d'.
Shortly after arrival, I heard the ship had an outbreak of G/I sickness (norovirus) on the prior trip, and that 70 passengers were affected. After getting home, I heard the numbers for our trip had gotten up to 170. I was one of them.
For the entire voyage, the smell of bleach was everywhere. To the point where we became cautious about letting our clothing touch handrails, door handles, etc.
Over the course of the two weeks, all the extras - that make a luxury trip a luxury - were removed from service. No Captain's club party, no flowers in the room, no canapEs, no afternoon tea in the cabins. Somehow, they managed to keep the casino open during the whole trip, in spite of the obvious infection risk.
High marks for food, high marks for comfort onboard, but lower marks for everything else I care about on a cruise. I was very glad that it wasn't my only cruise of the year.
Not recommended. Read Less