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6,186 Luxury Cruise Reviews

Before you read any further, I am sorry this is such a lengthy report. I hadn't intended that it would be, but by the time I’d finished..... well you decide. Whilst we are not new to cruising, just new to Regent Seven Seas, and are ... Read More
Before you read any further, I am sorry this is such a lengthy report. I hadn't intended that it would be, but by the time I’d finished..... well you decide. Whilst we are not new to cruising, just new to Regent Seven Seas, and are just one of the growing number of UK residents who are now enjoying this cruise line. It was the Itinerary that first attracted us to this particular cruise. Generally speaking, Alaska cruises last just 7 nights and either go North from Vancouver/Seattle or return South from Anchorage/Seward with full on port intensive itineraries. Our Regent Seven Seas cruise on "Navigator' was 12 nights, starting in San Francisco and finishing in Vancouver and had a couple of sea days in which to truly relax and restore your energy. Whilst Regent are a Luxury cruise line, I can genuinely say that we experienced the most 'classless' cruise to date. We loved that once outside your Suite, everyone was equal. There were no Lounges on the ship we weren’t able to access, and our multi national fellow cruisers were all friendly and welcoming. The dress code for the whole voyage was Smart Casual (no Jacket required) which in this day and age of Air Travel Baggage costs, was a major plus to us. The following is more a report of our journey rather than a review of the ship, although I have gone into some detail in places !!! I hope it inspires those who have never been to Alaska to give it a try, and if you can afford to do it with Regent, then do so - you most definitely won’t be disappointed. With only 470 passengers, embarkation in San Francisco was an organised and quick process. We were onboard and sipping our first glass of Champagne within minutes and made our way up to Deck 10 where a Buffet Lunch was being served in La Veranda. Regent are an "All Inclusive" luxury cruise line and we were soon enjoying a selection of wines to accompany our superb lunch. Service was excellent and the staff friendly and helpful. Our cabin was ready just after 2.00 p.m. We had a Concierge suite on Deck 7 which was extremely spacious. The bathroom had loads of storage space, a full bath and large walk-in shower - toiletries were L'Occitane. The walk-in dressing room was roomy and had ample hangers & double height hanging rails. Three open shelves, six drawers and a line of coat hooks - even I hadn't packed enough to fill this room !!! Oh, and they also provided an umbrella, blankets & binoculars ! The remainder of the cabin contained a Queen size bed, extra long settee, easy chair and coffee table which could be adapted to a full size dining table for in-room dining. Along the side wall opposite the settee was a beautiful built-in unit which provided a desk with drawers, plugs, mini-bar fridge, Illy Coffee maker, interactive TV and DVD player, glass cabinets with glasses, ice bucket & anything else you might need to entertain guests in your suite. There was a separate dressing table & stool by the bed with sufficient plugs for hair dryers etc. By comparison, the teak floored Balcony was a bit bland, but perfectly functional with two chairs and a small table. You can order two bottles of your favourite 'tipple' to be placed in your cabin along with your choice of mixers, soft drinks, slices of lemon etc. Your Steward keeps everything replenished on a daily basis. The requisite safety drill took place in the Seven Seas Lounge, and everyone appeared to take notice of what was being said - unlike some other cruises we have been on where some folk feel the need to talk and make fun of this procedure !! We sailed out of San Francisco Bay, and under the Golden Gate bridge in the late afternoon, to the sound of Tony Bennett's "I left my heart, in San Francisco" - just magical, what a wonderful way to start our adventure. Navigator is a small ship compared to many, and consequently there is not a wealth of choice of dining on board. Having said that, it was sufficient for our needs, and I didn't hear anyone else complain. The main dining room is Compass Rose which is silver service and has an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose the Buffet Restaurant (La Veranda) for Breakfast or Lunch, but in the evening this area becomes two separate 'speciality' restaurants. 'Sette Mari' which has a wonderful selection of Italian & Mediterranean dishes, and 'Prime 7' which is Regents signature restaurant with the most wonderful steak's and seafood dishes. You have to make reservations at the latter, and it is so popular that if you want a specific day and time, this is best reserved on the internet prior to your cruise. We ate once at Prime 7 and 4 times at Sette Mari, and it was nice to be able to experience these two 'speciality' restaurants without being charged an entrance fee! Unless you like to dine very early (6.30 isn), you might end up having to wait for a table in Sette Mari, but this is no hardship when you can relax and enjoy an aperitif in the Lounge Bar above. We were never kept waiting longer than 15 minutes. I have touched on the fact that you are not charged any extra for 'speciality' dining, I probably should give my thoughts on Regent's "All Inclusive” experience. Apart from the Spa, Shops, Casino, Internet plans & ultra premium drinks - absolutely everything else on board is FREE. Well, not exactly free because you have paid a high price for your cruise up front, but the knowledge that each day your cruise line is not out to take your money at every opportunity is absolute heaven. No photo's, no gratuities, no shore excursion charges - just step on board and RELAX AND ENJOY. How many times have you sat and argued with yourself after dinner whether or not to have a Brandy or nightcap, and then thought about the extortionate price which would be added to your onboard account, and then decided not to bother? No such worries on a Regent cruise, have what you want when you want - its all included. No worries about your final onboard account. For the 12 nights we were onboard, our Final Account totalled $69 for laundry !!!! Other points worth mentioning are:- FOOD - Very subjective, but we found it to be extremely good, and cooked to our liking every time it was requested. The wines offered at each meal were of a good quality, but if not to you liking, there was never any problem finding one that you were happy with. SERVICE - Absolutely the best service we have ever encountered without being over the top. ENTERTAINMENT - The whole entertainment team were professional and provided a good level of entertainment each evening. We felt there was something for everyone. We especially enjoyed the "Broadway Tonight", "Dawning of Aquarius" & "Piano Men" which was a celebration of the music of Elton John and Billy Joel. That doesn't mean to say that the other shows weren't fabulous, just not as appealing, musically to us. We also enjoyed the "Big Screen Popcorn Movies" - Saw four superb films either during the day or in the evening. ENRICHMENT LECTURES - Eric Ball was our "Alaska" expert and he did a sterling job of keeping us informed throughout the cruise. His enthusiasm for his subject was clear to see. Now for our ports of call: ASTORIA, Oregon - We did the "Astoria Ale Trail" which was great fun. Our tour guide was very friendly and informative. Our mode of transport was a local School Bus so a bit cramped. We visited three local breweries and tasted three beers in each one. Tasty little snacks were provided throughout our journey to soak up the alcohol. The town is set in a very picturesque harbour, and is famous for being the location used in filming some of the scenes in the Goonies and Kindergaten Cop. Our guide perfectly described this town as "A lovely little drinking village with a fishing problem". This was a lovely trip, and the small amounts of alcohol helped in making new onboard friendships! SITKA, Alaska - Our tour was the "Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest". The weather was a bit drizzly, but it didn't detract from the absolutely fantastic scenery all around us. What a beautiful place. Our tour Catamaran was waiting on the docks. Dress warmly on this tour as the wind chill when you get going can take your breath away. The Catamaran is well designed and provides ample places on different levels for the camera enthusiasts. It is a bit early in the Alaska season for there to be a glut of wildlife to see, but we weren't disappointed by the sea otters, sea lions & porpoises that came out to greet us. The Captain & crew of our boat became very excited when we spotted the first grisly bear of the season strolling along the shore, and eventually we lucked out and saw a couple of whales. I have to say though, that even if we'd not seen any wild life, the beautiful scenery all around us would have been enough for me. We decided to have a quick walk round the town before heading back to the Ship, but to be honest, there didn't seem to be much to see, and it was raining, so maybe we weren't open to seeing the best of Sitka town. SKAGWAY, Alaska - Today's tour is "White Pass & Yukon Scenic Railroad". We didn't dock in Skagway until 11.00 a.m. and our tour wasn't due to start until 12.30 p.m. In hindsight, we should have stayed onboard for an early lunch before joining our tour, but we were eager to get off and see Skagway. In reality, Skagway town is an 8 minute walk down the dock to the shuttle bus, and then a 6 min ride into town. By the time we decided it was a bit dicey to take the shuttle before our tour, it was pretty much too late to get back on the ship and have lunch. It soon became obvious that those who had been to Alaska before, had already learned this lesson!! We'll know next time !! The train station is directly opposite where the ship docks. Navigator had reserved the whole train, and we made our way to one of the rear coaches. I had been told that the best views were had from the left hand side going up, and they were right. The train climbs almost 3,000 ft in just 20 miles of ever changing, but ruggedly beautiful scenery. There is a commentary as you pass various places of interest. At the top, the views were fantastic. Thick snow is still lying in places, and the vivid greens and blue's of the water as it slowly melts is fabulous. You don't get off at the top, the train just stops, the engine turns round, and you do the reverse journey back down the mountains. Once back down, we took the option of being dropped off in town rather than taken straight back to the ship. The town is pretty touristy, but lovely to walk round and great photo opportunities all around. Plenty of places to eat and drink, and it goes without saying that the backdrop of the snow capped mountains made the whole day an unforgettable experience. ICY STRAIT (Hoonah), Alaska - We did the "Whale & Marine Mammals Cruise". Once again, the scenery is jaw dropping, and the fact that we had beautiful sunshine was a bonus so early in the season. Icy Strait is known for its wealth of wildlife and it didn't disappoint. We saw hump back whales, a family of Orca's, sea lions and most exciting of all - 2 killer whales which made the whole boat erupt - the commentator kissed the Captain, the Captain hugged a crew member and everyone jumped up and down !!!!! Apparently killer whales are rare in this area, and here we had two !!! Such a beautiful and memorable experience. After the cruise, we set off on our second tour of the day - "Forest & Nature Tram". We boarded our little tram for our journey into a small part of the Tongass National Forest. Apart from the odd sighting of the world's longest 'zip-line' above our heads, we enjoyed a wonderful journey through the peaceful forest, and along the pebble beach coastline. We were given time to beachcombe or just sit and enjoy the silence. We saw a bald eagle catch a fish out in the bay which was too heavy for it to fly with. Instead the eagle swam, flapping its wings to shore - just an amazing sight. Eventually, it flew up into the trees above our heads to its nest with two hungry mouths to feed. I just love Alaska. HUBBARD GLACIER, Alaska - Up early this morning to see the sail up the Fjord towards Hubbard Glacier. I had thought that I'd seen some magnificent scenery already in Alaska, but this just blows your mind. It was cold and windy as we sailed slowly towards the Glacier, but the sun was out in full force which gave us a bright blue sky backdrop to the never-ending white glacier. We stood at the Bow of the ship and were in awe of what was in front of us. Suddenly the wind dropped and it went silent. The captain had managed to get us up close to the glacier despite the floating ice all around us, and - well there are actually no words to describe what we felt. Everyone on god's earth should be given the opportunity of seeing this. Every now and then, the silence was broken by the sound of thunder and a loud cracking noise which heralded the calving. Just a wonderful experience. JUNEAU, Alaska - The ship docks right in the centre of town, and right next to the Mt Roberts Aerial Tramway station. We had an early breakfast and bought tickets for the ride up to the top. Tickets are $32 for a day's pass, so it was a bit expensive for us who only had an hour and a half to spend up there before our organised tour. It was worth it - on the way up, we saw two small bears playing on one of the trails, we passed a bald eagle sat in its nest, and were treated to fantastic views from all directions at the top, including the sight of our ship way below us looking like a 'dinky toy'. We had time to visit the Nature Centre and also see a very interesting 15 minute video in the Theatre about the Tingit's. We also did our first every floatplane trip here - "TAKU Glacier Lodge Flight & Feast". We paid extra for this tour, but it was worth every penny. A minibus transferred us from the ship to the floatplanes. We took off over the water and flew right over our ship before heading out over the surrounding mountains. We had earphones that cut out the noise of the plane, and provided a running commentary throughout the flight. The experience was jaw dropping, and there were a few "wow's" and "ooo's" to be heard. There were 10 of us aboard our little plane, and there were 4 planes. We each landed on the lake at the foot of TAKU Glacier, and made our way to the rustic Lodge where they were preparing a Wild Alaskan Salmon BBQ - delicious. Even the local bears came out to eat the left overs from the BBQ. You have time to take a 20 minute trail through the forest behind the lodge, or you can just sit on one of the many benches or swings and just enjoy the fantastic view of the Glacier. I would vote this the best trip of the whole cruise. The smiles never left our faces. KETCHIKAN, Alaska - We had to tender at this port as there were four other cruise ships in town. Two tours booked today:- "Misty Fjords Seaplane Adventure" - another floatplane which we paid extra for. We actually booked this one as a fallback position in case the TAKU Glacier flight had to be cancelled. We didn't want to come home from Alaska and not have experienced one of these flights. So we've ended up with two flights. This one was so different from the other - instead of snowy mountains, we flew over lush rain forests, fast flowing rivers, and dramatic valleys. Every now and then, our pilot spotted bears and he'd drop down so that we might be able to get a better sight of them - this without fail frightened them away, so no bear photo's today!!! We landed for about 15 minutes on one of the Fjords before taking off and returning to Ketchikan. The whole journey was just 2 hours and left us enough time to enjoy the town and go to the "Alaskan Lumberjack Show" in the afternoon. This latter show was ok, but I would only do it again as a 'filler'. It was fun, but very touristy. We had enough time to walk round Creek Street which was interesting as well as being touristy. Later in the summer one of the main sights in this area is the salmon run, but we are too early in the season for that. INSIDE PASSAGE - A full day of scenic cruising - glorious weather and fantastic scenery. Not as dramatic as the rugged mountains we had seen further North, but beautiful in their own way. VICTORIA, BC, Canada - This is a beautiful city, and feels very 'British'. We had originally booked the "High Tea at The Empress" tour, but changed our mind whilst onboard and moved our booking over to the "City Tour and Butchart Gardens". I'm so glad we didn't miss out on the Gardens. I'm not usually that interested in such things, but I wouldn't have missed this trip for the world. Absolutely stunning design features and colours - even though its only spring and the full colour of summer has yet to be planted. We spent three hours wandering around before continuing on the coach tour round Victoria. VANCOUVER, Canada - We disembarked here. There was a bit of a delay and we had to wait in the Seven Seas Lounge for our number to be called, but we were off by 9.30 a.m. and in the Taxi queue by 9.40 a.m. We stayed in Vancouver for 2 days before flying home to the UK. So much to see here. We'd pre-booked the HOHO Trolley 2 days pass which provided transport all round Vancouver. We also enjoyed the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain at Sunset, Vancouver Lookout, Fly Over Canada - a not to be missed 'ride'/'attraction' at Canada Place, and a lunch at ‘The Teahouse’ in Stanley Park. AND FINALLY: As you've probably realised by now, we loved our "Regent Experience", and you may not be surprised to learn that we have already booked a further adventure with them next year. Having said that, we are unlikely to join the vast group of cruisers who sail exclusively and pretty regularly with Regent. Unfortunately, our finances won't allow for that. But every now and then, Regent produces an Itinerary that makes their "All Inclusive" a more reasonable value for money. This first of the season cruise to Alaska is one of them, and I think we have found another next year. How many more there are is something I am going to enjoy looking for.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation in Piraeus, the port for Athens, on 10 May was extremely smooth and easy. In a change from our typical “do-it-yourself” approach we actually stayed at a Silversea hotel and took their transfer ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation in Piraeus, the port for Athens, on 10 May was extremely smooth and easy. In a change from our typical “do-it-yourself” approach we actually stayed at a Silversea hotel and took their transfer from the hotel to the port. Yes, it was a large bus but only 24 or so passengers so it was a quick and easy 45 or so minute trip. Our luggage was whisked away by waiting porters and we went into the terminal to go through security and check-in. Other than the Greek officials checking passports the rest of our processing was done by ship's staff in the terminal. The check-in entailed surrendering our passports, verifying the credit card we'd be using for ship board purchases, and getting our room key cards. No waiting for group numbers or colors to be called, we were immediately escorted to the ship where staff took our carry-on luggage from us and assisted us in boarding the ship. We were greeted by Colin Brown, the ship’s cruise director, and he recognized us from our previous cruise on the Wind. The staff with our carry-on bags waited patiently while we exchanged pleasantries and then escorted us to our cabins. Amazingly, though probably not surprising considering the size of the ship, our luggage was very quickly delivered to our cabins. Disembarkation on 28 May in Civitavecchia, the distant port for Rome, was amazingly rapid and easy. One thing we didn't like about disembarkation, and it's more of an observation than a complaint, is that Silversea asked us to leave our cabins not later than 8:30 AM so they could prepare for the on-coming passengers though our butler and cabin attendant were very patient and really didn’t pressure us. We’d had eighteen days with them and had gotten to know both of them very well. An outstanding team. As it turned out we went to one of the restaurants for a full breakfast and we were off the ship by 8:45 AM. Passing through Italian Customs and Immigration was quick and really very easy. The ship's staff, many of whom we'd gotten to know during the cruise, quickly greeted us in the terminal, helped us locate our luggage, and make connection with our transportation. Once again we used a Silversea hotel for our post-cruise stay in Rome so we were again on a partially full bus. Sadly, but efficiently, we were driven away from the terminal within 15 or 20 minutes and arrived at our hotel some hour and 45 minutes later. Itinerary: The highlight, and main reason for booking this cruise, was the itinerary. Actually it was a combined itinerary of two 9-day cruises and our first back-to-back cruise. Fourteen ports in eighteen days, and actually three of those were overnights, was intense and exciting. We started in Athens then on to Kusadasi, Santorini, Nafplion, Katakolon, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Venice, Koper, Split, Sorrento, and finally Civitavecchia. At least for us this was a second cruise of a lifetime following our previous Mediterranean cruise that had focused more on the eastern Med. We'd be hard pressed to say we like one better than another as each had its own attraction, flavor, and interest. Excurions: Quite frankly we were on the move on this cruise. The first sixteen days were port after port, city after city, and site after site. In fact, out of eighteen days we only had one sea day and that was during the second cruise on the next to last full day. We took a mix of self-guided, ship's, and private tours. I think we did just about as well as we could have done and in retrospect I can't think of any tour we would have done any differently. It's almost impossible to list where we went and what we saw on this cruise. Overall highlights have to include a second and unrushed visit to the Acropolis in Athens, Ephesus and the terrace houses , Olympia, Venice, many sites in Rome that we didn’t get to two years ago including a private tour of the Vatican, and that's just to name a few off the top of my head. Let's just say the list of "oh my gosh's" is long and extensive and I'd ventured to say my wife's list is probably different than mine. She's building our website report, day by day, right now and eventually the whole cruise will be captured at www.klugsplace.com . Service: The service on the Wind was almost impeccable without being intrusive or overbearing, certainly the best we've had in all of our cruises. Regular or loyal Silversea cruisers are probably thinking "And you expected what?" about this time and admittedly stepping up to a luxury cruise was everything we thought it might be and maybe a bit more. Maybe it's all about expectations and I like to think we're not demanding people so it's not like we set out to come up with requests or challenges to see how well the staff performed. It is just little things like thinking we might want to eat outside the night we transitioned through the Straights of Messina. We’d failed to make reservation and were pretty much resigned to eating in the main restaurant. At lunch that day one of the head waiters came by and asked how we were doing and where were we going to eat that night. We told him the main restaurant as we’d failed to make other arrangements. He immediately said “Let me check on that”. Within an hour we had a wonderful table on the aft deck outside of the La Terrazza restaurant. Food: I feel like I'm sounding like a broken record, or sound loop for those of you who don't remember records, but the food on the Wind was excellent. Even on this small ship there are basically four dining venues. There is the main restaurant aptly named The Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is the La Terrazza that is semi-buffet for breakfast and lunch but transforms into a full service Italian restaurant at night. There is the Pool Grill that serves a continental "wellness" breakfast, has menu lunch, and transforms into the Black Rock Grill at night. Should say here that the Black Rock Grill is actually a fun, interactive dining option where you get to cook your own dinner on this extremely hot eight or so inch square flat lava rock. Hard to explain but it's actually easy and the staff is right there to help you through the process. The final option is the Le Champagne which is the Wind's only additional charge specialty restaurant that serves only dinner in a very small and intimate setting. We ate in all the venues on the cruise with the exception of the Le Champagne this cruise. The Restaurant and Hot Rocks were fantastic but I will have to say the La Terrazza was a big disappointment this cruise. It was one of the best venues on the same ship two years ago but throughout our cruise the food was sometimes marginal and the service painfully slow. Entertainment: In a break or a change from our previous cruise on the Wind we didn’t go to many of the shows on this cruise. We did go to see Colin Brown who is not only the Cruise Director but also a very accomplished concert pianist and he performed a couple of nights during the cruise. In addition the ship had a small 4-piece band who performed nightly in the Panorama Bar and a piano player/singer who performed in The Bar, yes another aptly named venue, every night. There is a casino, and I use the term a bit loosely here as it is small with only one blackjack table, one variation of poker table, one roulette table, and maybe a dozen slot machines. Unfortunately the casino was closed totally or until late many nights as we had the overnights and many late departures. We spent much less time there and dancing versus our previous cruise and really just enjoyed the company of fellow passengers and ourselves most evenings. Passengers: I'd say the average age on this cruise was in the mid-50's to early 60's, a bit younger than what we've become used to on Holland America but not significantly different. It certainly was an international group with the majority being English speakers, probably 90% of the passengers, from United States, England, Canada, Asia, India, and Australia. I did also hear German, French, Italian, and I think Russian from a few couples. There were a few children, maybe five or six, mostly babies and none over two or three years old but the families seemed to stay pretty much to themselves and you really didn't notice them around much. Of course with such a port intensive cruise folks were off the ship almost daily so there wasn’t a lot of time confined to the ship. One observation was the interesting difference in the two 9-day cruises. Only 18 or so of us stayed on the ship for the second leg so we had a significant turnover of passengers. The nature of the overall group on the first 9-day leg was a little more party-like. Interestingly it was driven in large part by one couple who were celebrating a birthday and them, in a good hearted way most of the time, wanted everybody to enjoy themselves and help them celebrate. It wasn’t distracting but it was certainly obvious. The second group was more reserved and had more returning Silversea Venetian Society members than the first. We met great people on both legs and made what we think will be two or three lasting friendships to the point we’re presently planning to cruise next year with one of the couples. Overall Impression: This was our second cruise on Silversea after several cruises on Holland America and one Celebrity cruise. In all fairness it probably isn't fair to compare those cruise lines to Silversea. Yes, it's a cruise and a ship but the scale of operations and the resulting level of service plus the all-inclusive aspect don't lend themselves to exact comparison. It's hard to say, mainly because it's so subjective, that one is better than the other or one is worth or not worth the money. This cruise set an extraordinarily high mark from the itinerary to the service to the food. Without a doubt it was a great cruise because of the unusual and exciting itinerary so many cruises would pale in comparison. We will cruise Silversea again without hesitation and are already planning a cruise for next year with new found friends from this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised many times before on various cruise lines and locations. We had a great time and met many, many nice people. We especially enjoyed the Trivia games, the Bridge lessons and the Mah ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised many times before on various cruise lines and locations. We had a great time and met many, many nice people. We especially enjoyed the Trivia games, the Bridge lessons and the Mah Jongg sessions! We made friends at all of these activities, and if you are reading this, you know who you are! We also enjoyed visiting the various ports of call. although it was disappointing that we have to cancel two ports of call, due to the bad weather/ice. But better safe than sorry. -- and we did see icebergs not very far away! The food was very good to delicious, and there was good variety. We liked the fact that we could get smaller meals/sandwiches at lunch, rather than more big, dinner-style meals. Thanks to all who posted advice/notices etc. on CC prior to the Cruise, as this was very helpful to first-time Oceania cruisers. I will definitely check out CC every time we cruise from now on. Thanks also to Mura and Ron and any others who organized the M&G. We took most of the ship's excursions, which were all quite good, but seemed more expensive than on other lines we have experienced. They were no better or worse, no more or less crowded than on the other lines. We met quite a number of fellow travelers who either arranged for outside tours or did not take any excursions at all. I think Oceania should look into the price of their excursions, as it appears that many fell that they are too expensive. Several similar cruise lines are now including excursions as part of their price. As for the enrichment activities--the talks by the outside lecturers were great, especially the music professor. The cooking classes were interesting and the Chef was very fun, with delicious recipes. We also liked the Bridge lessons and thought the teacher, Barbara, was very generous with her handouts and very knowledgeable and interesting in her presentations. All in all, it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We didn't know what to expect- this was our first ever cruise. It was practically perfect! Only negative was a day or two of rain, but you can't blame that on Viking! They thoughtfully had large umbrellas available for us to ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect- this was our first ever cruise. It was practically perfect! Only negative was a day or two of rain, but you can't blame that on Viking! They thoughtfully had large umbrellas available for us to borrow. We had plenty of storage available in our cabin-- very well designed, so the size didn't feel "small". We booked when the cruise was almost sold out, so we had just a standard cabin available. That worked out to be no problem. We were rarely in our cabin (sleep and shower), so we wouldn't have used the balcony much anyway. The food, wine and service: impeccable! The daily specials offered for lunch and dinner were representative of the area we were visiting. If you didn't want to try the local food, 3 other main courses were always available. The breakfast buffets were ourstanding- and if you wanted and omlette or eggs benedict, etc, they were cooked to order. The boat was perfectly clean. The staff, very attentive. The shore excursions-- we had headsets that allowed us to hear our local guide, and he/she could talk at a normal speaking level. In other words, we weren't listening to a canned, pre-recorded speech. The excursions were also very well planned. Onboard, the activities director provided entertainment each day (afternoon, evenings after dinner) that provided information about the local culture of the area we would be visiting the next day. European vacations in the past consisted of following the Rick Steves books. This time, we decided to let someone else (Viking) see through all of the details. It was wonderful to just unpack once, sit back, and enjoy the entire trip. When one considers the cost of travel from one city to the next, transportation within a city to see the sights, entrance fees for sights, meals in restaurants, hotels, etc., to say nothing of language barriers--we thought the Viking cruise was a very good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The Viking Rinda was a beautiful ship. We had sailed on Viking previously but not on their new longships. The new ships are truly much more luxurious. Really liked the top deck which permitted walking around the ship for exercise, a sun ... Read More
The Viking Rinda was a beautiful ship. We had sailed on Viking previously but not on their new longships. The new ships are truly much more luxurious. Really liked the top deck which permitted walking around the ship for exercise, a sun area and a covered area. It was also great for viewing as we went through the Iron Gate on the Danube and some locks. There was plenty of viewing room for all the passengers. The food was excellent and the alternate dining option for lunch and dinner was very nice. As we had good weather, we could sit out on deck and enjoy the lovely weather. The itinerary was excellent and the guides combined a lot of history with descriptions of the sites. They also had a lovely set of programs highlighting local music and dances. There was also a very informative lecture in Belgade on the area. Overall we were extremely pleased with the cruise and the staff who were attentive and gave us excellent ideas about things to do on our own time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We have travelled many places, but this was our very first cruise. We've had no desire to travel with 3,000 of "our closest friends". The advertisements of Viking long ships arriving in Budapest hooked us! We opted to add ... Read More
We have travelled many places, but this was our very first cruise. We've had no desire to travel with 3,000 of "our closest friends". The advertisements of Viking long ships arriving in Budapest hooked us! We opted to add Prague to our itinerary and are very glad that we did. If we had it to do over again, we would have also added three days in Budapest at the conclusion of our voyage. The hotel in Prague was the Hilton. The service was impeccable! The Idun was just beautiful and it was immaculately clean. On board there was always plenty to do that was very interesting: lectures about culture, history, cuisine of the countries were cruising through, music/dance presentations, and food tastings. Viking service, from the time we first spoke with a Viking representative about booking our trip to the wave good-bye as Viking guided us to the security line at the Budapest airport was FLAWLESS! Viking included a shore excursion at each of our ports of call. There were also other optional tours which you could choose to take. We took the included tour as well as an optional tour at each port and were not disappointed once. The transportation provided for those tours which needed it was new, clean and on time. All tour guides and drivers were pleasant, very well informed and spoke flawless English. At several stops, where the walking tour was a bit strenuous, an easier option was provided, which my knees and I appreciated! Our cabin was very clean, amazingly well designed and beautiful. The bathroom was roomy enough and beautifully designed (and it was sparklingly clean!). We opted for a veranda room, which was wonderful in the evening as we cruised along the river. The dining options were wonderful: light breakfast in your room, continental breakfast on the front deck, regular breakfast in the restaurant. Lunches were on the bow deck or in the lounge, and dinners were one seating, no reservations. Fantastic! The food and the service at all meals was wonderful. We also like the fact that between meals there was a coffee/tea/hot chocolate station stocked with delicious cookies and little pastries. Not so great for the waistline, but wonderful all the same....no dieting during the cruise! The disembarkation process was easy and seamless! I am still amazed at how well organized and well planned EVERYTHING is on a Viking cruise. Everybody from Viking with whom we interacted was a real professional at their job, not an amateur among them. I especially liked the following: being welcomed aboard for the first time with trays of scented damp towels to refresh us from our long journey to arrive at the ship, bright red Viking golf umbrellas which we could use if the weather required them, bottled water for our excursions off the ship, the little transmitters that we wore to listen to our guide's informative narrations during our tours, the elevator which made my knees very happy.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our first Viking River cruise and we were so impressed with absolutely everything. Our Veranda A room was so comfortable and we loved the views as we cruised the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff was outstanding! We ... Read More
This was our first Viking River cruise and we were so impressed with absolutely everything. Our Veranda A room was so comfortable and we loved the views as we cruised the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff was outstanding! We never wanted for anything! The tours and all of the local tour guides were wonderful. The daily pace was just perfect. The meals on the ship were delicious and we enjoyed our times off the ship when we visited several local restaurants (usually recommended by our tour guides). We were very pleased with the audio devices we had for our tours which meant we all could hear what the guide was saying without all being on top of each other. All of the UNESCO sites were amazing on this trip - loved all that we saw and learned. The entire staff of the Baldur were so wonderful. Our stateroom was always just perfect and we loved getting to know our young room steward Jeffsy. She took great care of us the entire voyage. The end of our cruise came two days early when I received word that my sister had suffered a major heart attack and was in critical condition in Louisville, KY. Our cruise director, Korana and concierge Victoria immediately went to work on getting my husband and I off the ship and onto a flight from Frankfurt back to the states. It was the middle of the night back in the U.S. where my travel agent was and so we were unable to get in touch with her. Korana and the Viking crew were so caring and made all of our arrangements for us and we did get back home the very next day. We had not used Viking to make our travel arrangements but that did not make any difference when it came to helping us get back to the states. I can never say enough about all of the Viking personnel and hope we can soon take another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our first river cruise. We extended our stay 2 nights in Amsterdam at the beginning to acclimate to the time change before the cruise started and we extended our stay 3 nights in Prague following the cruise. Would highly recommend ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We extended our stay 2 nights in Amsterdam at the beginning to acclimate to the time change before the cruise started and we extended our stay 3 nights in Prague following the cruise. Would highly recommend doing both of those things. We had varied weather so would suggest that you pack for layering. Viking did not disappoint; they were there for us every step of our trip. Our tour guides in every port were knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. They offered a surprise tour with the chef in Vienna that was so much fun. Sailing into Budapest after dinner was magical. The Nuremberg World War II side tour was overwhelming; would highly suggest doing that. We also did the evening concert in Vienna and would also recommend that, too. Our room on the third floor was small but there was room for everything and we did not feel crowded. This truly was the trip of a lifetime and we are so glad we opted for the long cruise with extra days before and after. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our fifth Crystal cruise and our third onboard the Crystal Serenity and, as it had recently undergone a multi-million pound refit, we were looking forward to seeing the changes. As our flight to Venice did not arrive until quite ... Read More
This was our fifth Crystal cruise and our third onboard the Crystal Serenity and, as it had recently undergone a multi-million pound refit, we were looking forward to seeing the changes. As our flight to Venice did not arrive until quite late in the evening ,we spent one night in a hotel near the airport prior to joining the ship the next morning. After a welcome night’s sleep and a good breakfast it was only a short private coach transfer, organised by our hotel, to the port. We would always recommend staying at least one night prior to the cruise either in, or near to, the embarkation port. Embarkation Day When we arrived at the port the embarkation desks were just about to open so we were soon processed and onboard the ship where the formal check in took place in the main lobby area and, as usual, this was done very quickly and efficiently. We were then free to have lunch in the Trident grill, which we washed down with a very welcome glass of champagne, and felt that our holiday had really begun. During lunch we were delighted to meet up again with some familiar and friendly faces, namely crew members whom we had met on previous cruises. This made us feel very welcome and as if we had come home again. By the time we had finished lunch, our stateroom was ready and we were able to unpack and relax in the sun by the pool. Our verandah stateroom was located on Deck 8, towards the bow of the ship. The Ship Thankfully the layout of the ship had not been changed as a result of the refit so we already were familiar with all the public areas. In view of the recent refit we had expected to find some dramatic changes , however, these seem to have been confined mostly to the refurbishment of the staterooms and the creation of the new ‘Tastes’ restaurant in the area around the former Trident pool. The staterooms looked very smart and well kept, however, the biggest improvement was the removal of the old Trident pool and the creation of the ‘Tastes’ restaurant. The old Trident pool was previously a bit of a dead space and the revamp (including screens, plants and new furniture) is a great innovation. As usual all the public areas throughout the ship were spotlessly clean and it never ceases to amaze us that this is all done without guests even being aware that it is happening. We did hear some negative comments about large rust marks at the bottom of the Seahorse pool which guests thought would have been addressed during the refit. Our Stateroom Stewardess looked after us very well and kept us well supplied with towels and ice. Food and drinks The standard of the food on board was excellent in all the eating venues as usual. We usually had breakfast outside at the excellent ‘Lido’ buffet where we could sit and view the port we were visiting that day. For lunch we varied between the ‘Lido’ buffet and the ‘Tastes’ restaurant and, when at the latter, always ensuring to get dessert from the extensive selection at the ‘Lido’. It is hard to single out any particular member of crew for praise, however, Bruno from Portugal was a delight with attentive service and always time for a chat. We had dinner every evening in the Main Dining Room, apart from three nights when we ate in the ‘Prego’ , ‘Silk Road’ and ‘Tastes’ restaurants. The menu choice and standard food in the main Dining Room was excellent and the experience was enhanced by our very efficient and jovial Head Waiter Zoltan – we loved his sense of humour. Our Spanish Sommelier was very attentive the standard of the wines served was first class. We went to ‘Prego’ once during the cruise in the company of two new- found friends and everyone thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the calm ambience. On another night we went to ‘Silk Road’ and were tempted to try dishes which we would not normally choose and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. We decided to try the less formal ‘Tastes’ restaurant on another evening, however, we found the menu a bit confusing and would not have rushed back again. We were told that the evening menu did not change from day to day and think that this may deter guests making a second visit. We indulged ourselves with afternoon tea in the Palm Court on a few occasions; however, our big vice was afternoon tea and cakes in ‘The Bistro’. We were aware that the Bistro was now open later in the evenings, however, by that stage we had usually eaten too much already so we did not make it there. It was clearly popular with guests who wanted to sit and relax with a cup of tea or coffee after dinner so the longer opening hours are definitely a welcome innovation. Our favourite bars were ‘Crystal Cove’ and ‘the Avenue Saloon’, mainly due to the great staff working there. We always had pre-dinner drinks in ‘Crystal Cove’ and had great craic with the bar staff, Afzal and Alex, who were not only very good at their job but they made us feel like old friends. We would invariably meet the same guests there every night as they also loved the relaxed, friendly atmosphere fostered by all the staff. We liked to go to the ‘Avenue Saloon’ after dinner as it was a very comfortable place to relax, chat with fellow guests and sing along to the piano. We also enjoyed a few late nights in the ‘Pulse’ nightclub, especially on the karaoke nights hosted by the lovely Hayley from the Reception desk. The Ports of Call All our previous Crystal cruises had been around the Mediterranean and we were looking forward to this particular cruise because it was visiting some ports new to us. Venice – We decided not to brave the crowds this time and just relax onboard, enjoying the peace and quiet while all the other guests went off sightseeing. A former Captain of the Crystal Serenity once said that ‘the ship can be your holiday destination in itself’ and we heartily agree with that sentiment. Kotor , Montenegro – We had been told that this was a very beautiful part of the world and they were correct. Sailing slowly between spectacular wooded landscapes was really magical and you could sense the excitement of the crew who hailed from the region. We docked just a stone’s throw from Kotor and it was a very picturesque place. Taormina, Sicily – We booked the Crystal transfer into the town and it was well worth the ride. A beautiful place with lots of character, cafes, bars and shops, including some very upmarket designer ones. Recommended viewing. Sorrento – We had been here several times before with Crystal, however, it was nice to get off the ship for a short while just to stretch the legs and have a little retail therapy. Civitavecchia, Italy- We did not want to visit Rome on this occasion so we opted for a post-breakfast stroll around Civitavecchia and a coffee before heading back to the ship for lunch. It is a much larger town than we had remembered but a few hours was enough time there. Monte Carlo/ Monaco – It was purely by accident that we found ourselves on this cruise which coincided with the Monte Carlo rally and there were lots of ‘petrol heads’ onboard who had booked this cruise especially to be there. Even though we were not race enthusiasts there was a growing sense of anticipation when we arrived in Monte Carlo on the day of the race. Unfortunately we were not moored in Monte Carlo bay, as on previous occasions, but just round the headland so we did not have the usual spectacular view of Monte Carlo, however, we were certainly made well aware of all the build up to the race. From early morning there was a constant shuttle of private helicopters overhead, undoubtedly carrying the rich and famous to their stretch limos and onto the race. It was fascinating to watch and the mind boggled at what it must all be costing! The following day we ventured into Monte Carlo hoping the place would have returned to normality and perhaps engage in a bit of star spotting, however, many areas were still sealed off and barriers were still being removed. Sorry to report no sightings of George Clooney or Nicole Scherzinger – maybe next time? Livorno – Unless you are heading to Florence, Livorno is not a pretty place to spend too much time in. Barcelona – Having visited the city many times before we used our last day of the cruise to have a wander around and enjoy some sangria and tapas with two fellow guests who had by now become firm friends. A lovely way to end to a very happy cruise. Entertainment It is a pity that the live band does not play every afternoon on the Lido deck at sail away, however, they did play on the ‘sea day’ and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it- even the crew working on deck got into the spirit and were dancing in the aisles! The Crew The crew, as ever, made the whole cruise special and, although we have mentioned by name those with whom we probably had the most contact, we must praise all crew for their efficiency, friendliness and patience. . They are Crystal’s biggest asset. Overall cruise experience This was a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise and we loved every minute. We met some great fellow passengers with whom we are still in contact and we look forward to planning our next Crystal cruise in 2015 when a certain someone will be celebrating a milestone birthday – and I do not mean a 21st. It is Crystal clear to see that this cruise line keeps up the excellent work!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Truly an exceptional experience in terms of being taken care of, feeling safe and completely content. The food is spectacular (not easily said since I am a gourmet home chef) . The staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome and ... Read More
Truly an exceptional experience in terms of being taken care of, feeling safe and completely content. The food is spectacular (not easily said since I am a gourmet home chef) . The staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome and at-home. The toughest part of a Crystal Cruise is the depressed feeling you get when you return to normal living and suddenly discover all that exceptional service has disappeared in Crystal's wake! We were very impressed with the way that Crystal seems to approach virtually any task. Whatever they do, they do it with class, excellent organization and customer safety in mind. If it is a Crystal event or excursion, you can be certain it is worth the price. We also greatly enjoyed having all gratuities and alcohol included in the booking fare. One other thing to mention: all of the people we met onboard were affable, well-mannered and educated. This is not the cruise line for frat parties, spoiled kids or noisy drunks.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
How can you not love Azamara? If you can afford it, just do it.  Sure it's not cheap, but (for us at least) even the MDR (I'm picking up cruise terminology!) was excellent, and a very good quality. The size of the ship meant we ... Read More
How can you not love Azamara? If you can afford it, just do it.  Sure it's not cheap, but (for us at least) even the MDR (I'm picking up cruise terminology!) was excellent, and a very good quality. The size of the ship meant we would see the same passengers, and crew, quite often, which was nice, but we could still get away and do our own thing if we wanted. The service was fabulous, and the crew went out of their way to please. As tips are already in the fare, that was a pleasant surprise. Captain Johannes was everywhere, we thought at one point he must be triplets, always with a smile and a fist-pump; Eric de Gray was often with him, (twins stick together), even early morning despite entertaining everyone until late each night. The cabins weren't big but perfectly fine, and well looked after, as were we. The shore visits, many by tender, were operated efficiently and we hardly ever had a wait. Being all inclusive, we weren't given the airport security ritual every time we returned to ship, just a smile, a "welcome home", and a cold bottle of water. As the title says, we've already booked a longer trip on Journey, Istanbul to Venice, a couple of years hence, and hope the same people are in charge when we go - can't wait to find out which is the "Azamazing evening". I'm going to guess Dubrovnik.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My partner and I had a great time on an all too short 7 days Caribbean cruise. this was our second SilverSea and certainly the better of the two we have been on. There had apparently been turnover of staff and many of the staff on-board ... Read More
My partner and I had a great time on an all too short 7 days Caribbean cruise. this was our second SilverSea and certainly the better of the two we have been on. There had apparently been turnover of staff and many of the staff on-board came onto the ship the same day that we boarded. That created a few dips in the service, especially around the pool where we watched a number of tables waiting for service. Did we mind waiting, not at all. The drinks were flowing, the music was playing. All was good! The only day of the cruise that it rained, was the night of the deck party so it was cancelled. (Couldn't they have tried that again another night...maybe not?) So no deck party this cruise. The Cruise Critic meet and mingle was fun and Duct Tape- We love you! The Ports were nothing to write home about except for St. Baarts which was fantastic. The shows were ok, nothing great but the supper club singer was amazing! We'd go in after dinner and just listen to her. Crazy good! Food, ok, the breakfast buffet could use a little work but overall was impressed with the experience. Why why why Silversea do you have formal nights (2) in the Caribbean?? Take a page from others and drop the tuxes and go casual! Cabin stewardess and Butler were just Beyond- huge kudos to those folks! Overall- We liked it and felt it was a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The public rooms are impressive with a large atria, attractive furnishings and the areas well laid out, The Avenue Saloon with nightly piano music was especially delightful. As for dining, we enjoyed the late seating with a delightful ... Read More
The public rooms are impressive with a large atria, attractive furnishings and the areas well laid out, The Avenue Saloon with nightly piano music was especially delightful. As for dining, we enjoyed the late seating with a delightful table and superb service. The cuisine was well prepared and presented and is definitely a cut above that on Regent Seven Seas. The shows aere good and well presented and the other entertainers as well. The theme was Movies with a special tribute to Doris Day and we found all of the speakers and topics truly delightful and entertaining. The staff was helpful, friendly and alert to all requests. The excursions were wothwhile wi the best being the lovely luncheon in San Jose,Costa Rica, the Panama Canal crossing and the totally delightful surrey tour through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our third time sailing aboard the Disney Dream and our first cruise as Gold Castaway Club Members. We chose a Concierge-level stateroom as we were also celebrating our wedding during our stop in Nassau! If I could afford to ... Read More
This was our third time sailing aboard the Disney Dream and our first cruise as Gold Castaway Club Members. We chose a Concierge-level stateroom as we were also celebrating our wedding during our stop in Nassau! If I could afford to sail Concierge-level on every sailing (we're embarking on number 9 in three months), I absolutely would. The Dream-class ships with Disney (the Dream and her sister ship, the Fantasy) not only have regular concierge services, but also an exclusive lounge and sundeck. We spent a lot of time in the lounge, and of the 30 passengers that sailed with us to celebrate our wedding, 12 of us sailed Concierge-level. The one thing I love about the Bahamian 3-night sailing is the fact that you absolutely do not have to leave the ship when it's in port in Nassau. That was my wedding day and while my husband and his friends took a snorkel excursion, my mom and I and some of my friends spent the day at a very not-crowded-at-all spa and rainforest room. Since we'd seen Nassau on two previous sailings, I didn't feel like I was missing a thing by not setting foot onshore. We knew that we could book a less expensive sailing on one of the classic ships (Magic or Wonder), but we really wanted to WOW our guests with the onboard activities and the massive size of the Dream. We had some nervous cruisers, so we chose the Dream because of her state-of-the-art high-tech stabilization system and, honestly, I believe the massive size of the ship absorbs some rockiness on the seas. We also fell in love with the Outlook Lounge and were so happy when we were able to book the space for our ceremony. The event coordination of our cruise was flawless and I highly recommend using Disney's Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons to plan your ceremony or vow renewal. It was way less expensive than a ceremony at the land-based parks and everyone in our party, including me and my husband, appreciated the all-inclusive feel to a cruise vacation. We even booked a few repeat cruises with some of our guests! Our cruise included just one minor and he very much enjoyed himself in the kids clubs. All the adults found something to love about the ship -- from the adult-only sundecks and pool to the clubs and lounges. And everyone loved the food. No one ever went to bed hungry -- and if they did, they ordered burger after burger from room service. After three similar itineraries, my husband and I have outgrown the basic Bahamian cruise, but were so happy to hear that DCL is reimagining some areas of the ship to include updated kids clubs (my husband is jealous about the new Star Wars-themed area just for kids) and, our absolute favorite, Satellite Falls, a water feature for adults-only that was borrowed from the Fantasy. I hope that DCL gives the Dream some new itineraries so we can sail on her again!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We have cruised with Azamara once before and thoroughly enjoyed it, not that their system credits us with having done so. When we saw the inventory for the Spice Route Voyage, plus a very good deal for the cruise including air fares and ... Read More
We have cruised with Azamara once before and thoroughly enjoyed it, not that their system credits us with having done so. When we saw the inventory for the Spice Route Voyage, plus a very good deal for the cruise including air fares and pre-cruise hotel, we booked up 11 months in advance. GOOD HOTEL - A pre-cruise hotel was included in Singapore and the one provided, the Conrad Centennial, was excellent. Large very well equipped room. Comfortable bed. Huge TV. Bath and separate shower. Truly amazing breakfast buffet selection. Very well trained staff. While not near the main shops in Orchard Road it was in the Marina Bay area with access to the huge Suntec City shopping complex. CREW - The overwhelming factor which makes Azamara superior to other cruise lines (we have tried many) is the staff training. All are incredibly friendly and helpful and the more experienced members of the crew truly excel. They quickly remember your name and greet you with a cheery smile wherever they see you around the ship. On how many other ships do the Captains and/or the Cruise Directors personally see you off the ship at each port and on many occasions welcome you on board again. This is in addition to all their other duties. On this particular ship there is a running joke about Captain Johannes’ “twin brother”, the Cruise Director Eric. Eric is around 6’ 4” tall and the Captain appears to be about a foot shorter, making a striking contrast when they stand together. Even more striking when Eric is in his drag outfit , with high heeled shoes! FOOD AND DRINK - The food in the evening was generally good or very good in the main Discoveries Restaurant, but it was sometimes difficult to make the right choice from the descriptions on the menus. At breakfast and lunch there was a limited menu available (see “Bad” below). Breakfast in the Windows cafe offered a very good and varied hot and cold selection. Although self-service, Windows Cafe has waiter service to provide drinks, carry your food and generally assist you. A very pleasant addition to the normal self-service restaurants on ships. During the day food is also available from the grill next to the pool, where burgers etc. and chips are provided. The two speciality restaurants Aqualina and Prime C, provide a real “Fine dining” experience, but at $25 per person, perhaps only for a special treat. Those in Suites can eat there without the extra charge. A white and a red wine were available each day in the restaurants and the bars. If you preferred one of the other complimentary wines which was not featured that day, it was always available if you asked. There was just one French rose throughout the cruise. The selection of wines was very good, very drinkable and certainly not cheap plonk. In addition to the complimentary wine, tea, coffee, spirits and cocktails were available free of charge throughout the ship. A full list of these can be seen on the Azamara website. Afternoon tea, with cakes and sandwiches were available from Windows Cafe or the Mosaic Cafe, although there was little daily change in the selection available. CABIN, SORRY, STATEROOM – Looking a bit dated, but clean, with comfortable beds and a sofa. The balcony had modern, comfortable chairs and a large table, ideal for breakfast chosen from the extensive menu. A decent sized television is provided, having a range of news and other channels, plus a long list of free and pay per view films. The picture quality was good. Much better than on some other larger, more modern ships. They also provide a DVD player, with a further list of films which can be borrowed. There was always a good strong supply of hot water in the shower room, although slightly discoloured at times (see below). Basic soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are provided. The towels were reasonably new and fluffy. We found our cabin stewards to be polite and very efficient. The cabin was always cleaned while we were at breakfast and dinner. BAD EMBARKATION – A complete shambles. We were collected from our hotel and dropped off at the Cruise terminal. We were given no directions. We were given forms to complete prior to embarkation, but the woman on the coach, who, when asked for help in completing them, said she had no idea what information was required. We eventually found our way to the check in area where a long queue formed because the lap top computers kept crashing. We were then told they had to photocopy our passports but the photocopier had run out of toner. They sent out for new toner. This arrived but it was the wrong type. Someone was sent out for the correct toner. Meanwhile a further hundred or so people joined the queue and after checking in we were told to wait in a lounge, with seating for about 20 people. I then spoke to an officer from the ship who was not aware of the problem. She managed to retrieve our passports without them being photocopied, which allowed us to board the ship. We had intended to have lunch on board, which we did, and then go ashore, as the ship did not leave until late that night. We were then informed that we had to attend a safety drill at 4:30pm. That ruined our plans for the afternoon. The next day it was announced that those who had been ashore the previous afternoon should attend the safety drill on that first day at sea. We were not impressed. Why were we not told of this arrangement? FOOD -There was only a limited selection on the breakfast menu in Discoveries restaurant. For instance English bacon, available in Windows Cafe was not offered, with only crispy bacon listed. No baked beans listed, but available in Windows, etc. The same was true at lunchtime. For us, the major failing was the lunch provided in Windows Cafe. Whereas at breakfast, the choices are spread across the full width of the serving areas, providing a very wide selection of food, at lunch it was duplicated on each side. There was usually overcooked very bland fish. Chicken with a different coating or sauce each day, although the different flavours were often indistinguishable. Pasta or other vegetarian offering. Overcooked pork or beef was offered. There was a different carved meat each day. There was a good selection of salads. Sushi was occasionally provided. Cold desserts changed little each day, but there was a different hot desert, albeit a similar pear/apple/banana etc . pudding . A range of flavours of ice cream was always available. LIGHTING – As on so many cruise ships, the lighting was very poor in the cabin, with no makeup/shaving mirror with a brighter light. SHUTTLE BUSES - In their advertising, Azamara make a feature of providing Shuttle Buses at the ports. They do add “Where available”. At each port on this cruise, except Mumbai, we were informed ”Due to a strong taxi union we are unable to provide a shuttle service.” In Sumatra this did not prevent the ship from offering a coach to the nearest town at a cost of $39. In other words, we will not offer the free shuttle advertised, we will charge you $39. In Mumbai they proudly offered a free shuttle service to the port’s Green Gate. This took you a distance of a few hundred yards, which could be covered on foot in the few minutes. Less than the time you waited for each coach to fill up. Had the shuttle taken you through the gates and into the centre of this fascinating city it would have been worthwhile. As it was, you still had to run the gauntlet of the aggressive taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers as you exited through the gate. AZAMAZING EVENING – On this cruise the venue was the garden of an hotel just along the waterfront from where the ship was docked in Cochin. Regrettably, but understandably, with around 700 guests it was split into 2 groups. We were in the first group in the late afternoon while the temperature was still around 90 degrees F. Not only was it unbearably hot, but we were not able to appreciate the atmosphere created by the lighting around the garden and in the trees. Instead of an AzAmazing evening we had a sizzling afternoon with nothing amazing about it. My advice is on future cruises, check the venue and if you are able to do so, ask to be moved to the later group in the evening. ENTERTAINMENT – not all bad, but more of a curates egg, good only in parts. Many seemed to enjoy it, so perhaps I am being over critical. UGLY WEAR AND TEAR - Ugly is perhaps a little unfair, but Azamara Journey is starting to show her age, despite some renovation after the fire and maintenance time a few weeks earlier when a propeller was damaged. Most of the furniture and upholstery is looking tired and worn and replacement is overdue. If you asked me if I would rather have this renewed and not have free drinks and gratuities, then the answer is no, but it does spoil the appearance. To be fair, the ship was kept very clean, with only small areas of rust and peeling paint visible. There were issues with the toilet plumbing where the vacuum system did not work. In addition to being told not to place anything except the toilet paper provided in the toilet, we were then told to limit the amount of paper used. They did not specify the number of sheets!! The water often had a yellowish brown colour, no doubt a result of the ageing plumbing. CASUAL CLOTHING - On the subject of ugly, we certainly like the absence of a need to dress up or have formal evenings. Nevertheless, some have difficulty in understanding the meaning of Resort Casual Wear. Shorts and jeans are specifically excluded in the evening, but some insisted on wearing jeans, or combat trousers with pockets on the legs, in the restaurant. We also saw a man of generous proportions in the front row in the Cabaret Lounge wearing a tight pair of shorts . Not a pretty sight. CONCLUSIONS I have tried to offer a balanced view of Azamara Journey and not say everything was faultless, or the ship is a complete disaster. The fact is that Azamara do offer something different and while not perfect, they provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere from which you come away refreshed. Surely this is what a holiday and cruising in particular, should be all about. Would I cruise with Azamara again? Certainly.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
For our second Moody Blues Cruise (the first was in 2013), we travelled again from Bahrain to board the ship in Miami - last years vessel was MSC Poesia which was a first class ship, but my goodness this year excelled with the 2 year old ... Read More
For our second Moody Blues Cruise (the first was in 2013), we travelled again from Bahrain to board the ship in Miami - last years vessel was MSC Poesia which was a first class ship, but my goodness this year excelled with the 2 year old MSC Divina. The Italians certainly know how to sail in style - the ship providing excellent facilities throughout and spotlessly clean. At around 2700 passengers on board, and not at full capacity, the ship was easily crowd free, except to say that this was a music cruise and of course all the artists appearances were well attended but never overly crowded. Our previous cruises include Crystal, Silversea, and Regent considered by many to be at the top of the game - our vote would be for the Divina over any of these lines. Modern, contemporary features provide a vibrant and bright environment and the vast expanses take some time to get your bearings. We were fortunate in obtaining a room in the Yacht Club which is at the forward end of the ship at the higher levels - we were on level 15. The Yacht Club is the "exclusive" section of the ship with seperate pool, lounge, bar, and deck areas - absolutely stunning!! The room, as expected, provided bathroom with basin, WC and shower over bath, together with small walk in wardrobe space. The double bed was of good size and the room had a small balcony equipped with 2 chairs. Room size the same as most current day "all suite" ships. With the exception of one particularly rude Italian crew member, all other crew members were very pleasant. The Yacht Club provides a shared butler but we had little need to call on his services. Not only would we not hesitate to book on to next years Moody Blues Cruise (details and reviews of which can be found on that website), but we will certainly sail on this ship again. With another new ship already launched and word of another coming in 2015, we will certainly be planning our future cruises with MSC. For this particular cruise, we would however question the policy of no refunds on drink pre-purchased drink vouchers with a policy of if not used, no refund - we have suggested that un-used pre-paid drink vouchers be deposited on disembarkation and a portion (or whole) of face value be given to a charity - this suggestion we posted on the Moody Blues Cruise facebook site but has now been removed! A final word on disembarkation - we left our room at 0715 and was ashore within 5 minutes!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We decided that a Crystal Getaway would make the perfect Easter break, especially as Serenity would be visiting a favourite city, Bordeaux. This newly renovated ship is a favourite, and the latest makeover is truly elegant and stylish. ... Read More
We decided that a Crystal Getaway would make the perfect Easter break, especially as Serenity would be visiting a favourite city, Bordeaux. This newly renovated ship is a favourite, and the latest makeover is truly elegant and stylish. We embarked in Southampton, an easy train ride from our Midlands home, and were speedily whisked through embarkation, our luggage all taken care of, and ambled to the Pool deck to enjoy a freshly cooked meal, and celebrate with nicely chilled champagne. Naturally the toast was " to the good life" Soon after we had enjoyed a leisurely lunch, our cabin was ready, a pleasant , comfortable Deck 8 balcony cabin, with delightful neutral furnishings, quality bedding and cosy robes . Luggage had already been delivered, and our friendly efficient stewardess appeared to ask for any pillow preferences or special requests. She made sure that our order for champagne and fruit basket would be delivered later.m The spacious teak decks were then perfect for strolling in the Southampton sunshine, and later we enjoyed a swim in the warm pool. Now that there are few smoking areas, we were able to enjoy sitting in Cove bar as a pianist played and pre dinner drinks can be sipped in a smoke free atmosphere. As the sun began to sink, we enjoyed sitting in the gorgeous Palm court, looking out to sea as the ship slipped quietly out of port to the strains of " Wonderful World" sung by Louis Armstrong, Crystal's sailaway signature tune, and again , raised our glasses in a toast to Crystal cruises. Dining is of course, a major event on any cruise ship, but Crystal elevate it to high levels, wherever one chooses to dine. The brand new Modern menu in the Crystal dining room provided the most amazing menus we have enjoyed anywhere. Light, delicious, innovative and prepared beautifully. The sauces were amazing, the dishes creative , utterly appetising and yet did not leave you feeling over full. Naturally, the sommeliers assisted in suggesting delightful, quality wines to accompany such delights. We dined once in the speciality Prego, with attentive service,offering tried and tested Italian favourites, beautifully presented and so delicious. Since we were in port overnight , in Bordeaux, we opted for the more casual Tastes one evening, enjoying the tapas style menus, sharing dishes whilst seated under a lovely olive tree. As always, Crystal excel in the quality of entertainment and enrichment, with daily programmes of superb lectures, lessons and activities, but it is equally pleasant to sit by the pool, or on a sofa in a quiet spot, enjoying a book for the superb , well stocked library. More active passengers participated in sports, Nordic walking and golf lessons, and a large group enjoyed the excellent dance lessons on board, many practising their newly learned steps as the band played each evening. The evening entertainment highlight for us this short cruise was a one- off show, Serenity Pops, with a big band assembled from every musician on board, the orchestra, a Philharmonic sextet, soloists, and the delightful violin quartet who usually play genteel melodies for afternoon tea. It was a wonderful show, with musicians clearly enjoying demonstrating their considerable talents. As we drew into Lisbon, we felt a real wrench that we had to leave after such a short cruise,but are fortunate in knowing that we would be back soon.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was the second time on the Eclipse and we were not disappointed. The ship, service, destinations and people we met were excellent. Checking in onto the ship was quick and smooth, there were long queues but we were relaxing on ship ... Read More
This was the second time on the Eclipse and we were not disappointed. The ship, service, destinations and people we met were excellent. Checking in onto the ship was quick and smooth, there were long queues but we were relaxing on ship with a cocktail within 3/4 hour of arriving at the port. We signed up to the reduced classic drinks package, even though my husband and i are not large drinkers we felt it was value for money if you we regularly went to the Cafe and ordered quality tea/coffee which is part of the packages, you can get smoothies from the health bar by the spa, and we would average 3 or 4 alcoholic drinks per day, along with 3 or 4 bottles of water which we took when we went ashore. The entertainment was varied the shows were excellent delivered by the ships dancers. The dress code seems to be more relaxed which is a disappointment, there were less men in dinner suits, and more in shirt and ties or just open necked shirts. Many of the women didn't wear evening dresses or cocktail dresses they were more casual which applied around the bar areas also. When venturing on land we did not book Celebrity trips we waited until we got off ship and took taxis or joined up with other cruisers for tours around the islands which worked out cheaper. We enjoyed afternoon tea in our room and when asked if we would like a snack were supplied with hot chicken sandwiches, chips and salad, we had to eat it even though we had only had lunch 2 hours earlier and evening meal was only 3 hours away. My only complaint is when tea was supplied in the restaurants the water was luke warm which did not enable the tea to brew properly, in the speciality cafe it was hot and if you didn't ask cream was supplied instead of milk. Other than that our trip was fantastic luxury all the way, we have booked for Australia /New Zealand cruise Feb 2016 for our Silver Wedding we cannot wait. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My husband & I along with 2 other couples went on our first Oceania cruise to the South Pacific, also for the first time. We LOVED it! It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet with vibrant colors & pristine waters. We ... Read More
My husband & I along with 2 other couples went on our first Oceania cruise to the South Pacific, also for the first time. We LOVED it! It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet with vibrant colors & pristine waters. We all enjoyed Marina's food & service but found the entertainment disappointing & the excursions outrageously overpriced. I booked all our activities online prior to leaving with the exception of Fakarava which was an itinerary change, but I booked that online from our cabin. We also declined their transfers from airport to port & return as that was also extremely expensive. We did appreciate being able to board as soon as we arrived at about 5:30am after a very long travelling day. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip but, when we are ready for another cruise in a few years, we will look at different cruise lines. **Note** We want to commend the crews of the tenders for the amazing job they did during very harrowing & dangerous disembarkations in Rarotonga due to heavy swells. They risked life & limb to ensure the safety of all the guests! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
You would think that after eleven cruises with Oceania, we would be unimpressed and complacent about our twelfth cruise. But you would be wrong! This was our first exposure to one of the larger ships or “O” class ships, as they are ... Read More
You would think that after eleven cruises with Oceania, we would be unimpressed and complacent about our twelfth cruise. But you would be wrong! This was our first exposure to one of the larger ships or “O” class ships, as they are often referred to, and we were blown away by the beauty and design of the Riviera. We have always loved the size and feel of the smaller “R” class ships, and had concerns that the double capacity of passengers would impact negatively on the cruise. This proved not to be the case. Actually, we felt that there were less passengers on board this ship as compared to that on the smaller “R” class ships. We attributed this to the design and abundance of open space on the ship. All in all, we had a wonderful cruise. This cruise was a repositioning cruise from Miami to Barcelona with three ports of call, and nine sea days. We flew to Miami on the day of departure, something we have never done before, as we usually arrive at least one day prior to departure. But we thought that it would be safe to travel to Miami on the day departure because of the number of flights from Atlanta to Miami. We had no trouble and our plane arrived at 8:00 a.m. on that morning. We took a taxi to the Intercontinental Hotel and had a lovely breakfast there, before taking a taxi to the ship terminal. Our embarkation time was 1:00 p.m., but we arrived at the terminal at 11:05 and were welcomed and processed on board immediately. We had a leisurely lunch in the Terrace Cafe, met some Cruise Critic friends, and enjoyed the sail-away. Initially, we had some concern about crossing the Atlantic in April, but were pleasantly surprised with smooth sailing the entire time. Our cabin was located on deck 7 aft, and it was quiet for the entire voyage. We liked being in the aft portion of the ship because it was a quick staircase down to the Grand Dining Room, and five staircases up to the Terrace Café. Of course, there are elevators for those who want them, but I was trying to minimize the weight gain by climbing the stairs. As one Cruise Critic friend said, “Fun in the front of the ship, food in the back”. And was there ever food!! We always enjoy the wonderful food on the Oceania ships, but we both agreed that the food on Riviera was beyond wonderful. I think I had the best meal I have ever had, ever in my life, at our second visit to Jacques. It was wonderful and the service was beyond reproach. We both enjoyed all the specialty restaurants (Red Ginger, Jacques, Toscana and Polo), but the food in the Grand Dining Room was wonderful, also. We loved the beauty of the Grand Dining Room and being waited upon by the staff. And the menu offered so many choices. I am embarrassed to say that we never made it to the Terrace Café for dinner because we had so many other choices of dinner locations. We were able to eat at the specialty restaurants a total of eight times. Many of our fellow cruisers couldn’t believe that we had not been to the Terrace Café for dinner, and stated that it was their favorite place to eat. It seemed like there just weren’t enough nights on the cruise to eat where we wanted. We loved our cabin. It was compact, efficiently designed, and very attractive. We had a place for everything, and even had empty drawers. We had the extra large balcony, which was nice, but we really didn’t use the balcony that much. The granite in the bathroom was beautiful and a great improvement over the “R” class ships’ bathrooms in general. Our steward, Andrii from the Ukraine, was on top of everything and took great care of us, all the while training a new employee. There was a lot of staff training of new employees on board our cruise, I believe in preparation for the return of Insignia. But this did not impact on us or the service on board. Generally, we do not go to the evening entertainment. However, with the addition of the Jean Ann Ryan Singers and Dancers, we enjoyed the entertainment. They presented four production shows that were very professional, well done, and most enjoyable. It was the best entertainment we have seen on an Oceania cruise and I hope they will continue to provide entertainment on all their ships.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Boarded ship in Piraeus, boarding was nice and quick, and soon we were seating in Restaurant2 having a nice lunch with some wine, after being told our bags had arrived in our suite, we then headed to check out our room, which I must say ... Read More
Boarded ship in Piraeus, boarding was nice and quick, and soon we were seating in Restaurant2 having a nice lunch with some wine, after being told our bags had arrived in our suite, we then headed to check out our room, which I must say was even better the we expected. Our lovely stewardess Tia arrived to introduce herself and show us around the suite and present our complimentary bottle of champagne. Soon we were sampling the delights of the Patio Bar and pool. Most nights we ate in the Restaurant, most mornings breakfasts were taken in the Colonade, and lunch was generally taken at the Patio Grill, on two occasions we ate at the Tasting Restaurant2, which was very good, but a couple of items were served almost raw, and were not appreciated. The food in all locations was delicious, however we ate twice in the Restaurant for breakfast and on both occasions the service was pretty slow, in particular the last day, when we were disembarking early. On the two at sea days we had room service for breakfast, and enjoyed that very much. The service we received in the main Restaurant was very good, and enjoyed every meal, along with the delicious wines. All staff were very attentive and worked very hard, keeping the ship pristine throughout. The Captain was very much hands on, and kept us up to date with news of events off and on the ship, he was prominent at certain times of the day and at events in the Grand Salon.. All the officers on the ship were very polite. We visited Ephesus during the day for our one excursion on the trip, and hoped to return at night for the complimentary concert, however due to the weather it was cancelled. We went ashore at all ports, although Valetta and Monte Carlo were the highlights, we enjoyed Cesme (Turkey), as was Mykonos and Rethymon (Crete). This was our first cruise with Seabourn and hopefully will not be our last. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Background: This was our first cruise with Celebrity and only our third cruise ever – all within the last 12 months…..so I guess we were bitten by the cruise bug. Us – two DINKS (duel-income-no-kids) who can work off-shore providing ... Read More
Background: This was our first cruise with Celebrity and only our third cruise ever – all within the last 12 months…..so I guess we were bitten by the cruise bug. Us – two DINKS (duel-income-no-kids) who can work off-shore providing there is an internet access and we are on the age 50 bump….which actually put us in the youngest 20% category on this particular sailing. Our two previous cruises was a west bound TA on the Queen Mary 2 last June and a Caribbean Wind Star cruise in March. We chose this particular cruise since we are over in Tuscany for five weeks in May and at first it was on par with a flight over and MUCH cheaper than Cunard. Ship / Cruise: Equinox, 13 nights from Ft Lauderdale to Malaga, Spain with stops in Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar. Booking – Absolutely no problem directly with Celebrity. We did a little research and selected a Sky Suite 2 Aft corner deck 12. We had heard about the noise from the Ocean View Deck / Bar, but decided the benefits of an aft looking deck outweighed the possible noise. Post – Booking: Evidently Celebrity is having some IT problems with their website, as it was difficult to further research on the cruise as “page not found” errors came up quite often. One time when I logged into the account, a pop-up window opened with a tease to upgrade to the next suite level (Celebrity Suite), I clicked on it to just see the cost, etc, and then logged out. The following week when I looked at our account, I noticed our fare was now $1500 more --- or the price of the upgrade to a Celebrity Suite. We called as we really wanted the aft sky suite….but were informed that the stateroom was already booked, there was nothing that we could do, and we owed Celebrity $1500 more. The Celebrity agent stated that there was nothing that we could since we “clicked” and upgraded. Funny how I never received any communication from Celebrity to confirm the upgrade. I sent an email to Celebrity stating that since the website is fraught with problems it was most likely a glitch that caused the mystery upgraded…..no response back from Celebrity. Embarkation – Well I guess one of the benefits of being in a Celebrity Suite is that you are whisked through embarkation, escorted to the Michael’s Club where you wait until the cabin is ready, while being offered a drink and snacks. Total time from cab to Michael’s Club 30 minutes. Time in Michael’s Club another 30 minutes for when the announcement was made that our rooms were ready. Stateroom – Located on deck 10 on the “hump” starboard side right across from the library and elevators. This was our first time in any suite on a cruise ship and our expectations were met. Large room broken into a day room with L shaped couch and coffee table. The bedroom was walled off and just big enough for the queen sized bed – BTW a very comfortable bed. Bathroom with two doors with one vanity, large tub with a rain down shower head and a shower wand. Phone next to toilet that I kept on hitting. The deck was huge to have a lounge and a table with two chairs. Little if any external noise. Alex – The suite came with a butler named Alex and he was fantastic. Any request was not problem. He even brought us cappuccinos one morning when he noticed we didn’t like the coffee from room service. He served us meals in our room, made us reservations, brought us bottled water for the fridge and even brought us two glasses of wine for our evening meal on the veranda since were on the drink plan – which is above and beyond. We didn’t take advantage of him by ordering drinks through him…but it was sure nice that one time. In speaking with another Celebrity Suite guests on the port side of our deck, they told us that when they ordered cappuccinos one morning, their butler refused citing that they need to order the night before and that he had eight other cabins to tend to….WOW thank god for Alex! Suite benefits – Along with the larger room, etc, as Celebrity Suite guests we were entitled to benefits and coupons that would normally be allotted to “Elite” members. Nice touch. We were also offered special tours etc. Another nice touch. Since this was our first time with celebrity, we didn’t really know what to expect. The MDR was just OK and out of 13 nights, we only dined their twice. We felt that service was rather sub-par. This trip was during our 20th anniversary and while we booked on-line a “special occasion” to celebrate during one of the formal nights – I guess the request never made it to the MDR. On the contrary, all of the specialty restaurants were fantastic – food, service, everything. We even dined at Muranos twice. Michael’s Club has been changed to the “suite lounge” – I’m afraid it will go under used. In speaking with the staff, out of the 44 eligible suite guests – 50% used the lounge. We found it nice, but dark and nothing really drawing us to their. Crew and staff – Repositioning cruises with many concurrent sea days is hard on a crew. We noticed this with the Queen Mary last June during our first TA. However, the staff and crew of the Equinox were wonderful. Entertainment – Great speakers and guest entertainers. I was the guy from Colorado at the late show that was brought on stage during Gareth Oliver’s, the ventriloquist, to be his human dummy. Yes it was totally ad-lib and un-rehearsed, not expected, and I was not a plant. Being on stage has always been a “fantasy” of mine. If by the way somebody has video of the performance and the 15 minutes of my fame, can you send it to me? Sea Days & Activities – One of the nice things about a Trans-Atlantic voyage are the sea days. You can choose to be as active or inactive as you desire. Some people might think “OMG 8 sea days – what am I ever going to do?” Try it – you might like it. Our only complaint – not enough sea days. Excursions – We did one at every port. Celebrity does a fantastic job at hearding cats!! One negative comment or “it would be nice to have” is it would have been nice to have a “sea day” after the last port-of-call before leaving the ship the next morning. To come back on board, and then change for dinner or pack, etc was rushed….it would have been nice to be at sea and “wind down”. Disembarkation – As flawless as getting on board. Conclusion – My wife and I had a wonderful time on the Celebrity Equinox.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our 5th Regent Cruise and second on the Mariner. We selected this cruse because of the interesting, mostly Adriatic itinerary, and the fact it started in Venice - giving us time to enjoy Venice for a few days prior to the cruise. ... Read More
This was our 5th Regent Cruise and second on the Mariner. We selected this cruse because of the interesting, mostly Adriatic itinerary, and the fact it started in Venice - giving us time to enjoy Venice for a few days prior to the cruise. The Mariner had been recently refurbished and the common areas, especially the lounges, were very nice. The color scheme is a bit more muted, but also more elegant. We were lucky enough to score an upgrade to Suite 1103 (Penthouse A) and we loved the layout and dacor. The Penthouse suites on the Mariner are much nicer than sister ship Voyager. The dinners and service were excellent in all the dining rooms. We noticed a particular improvement in the main dining room, Compass Rose, where previous cruises had mixed results. The wines poured were very good and if you weren't sure of the recommended wine, they were happy to offer you many alternatives. Mixed drinks were done well and the selections were also very good. We enjoyed the entertainment. The house band used good arrangements and high energy. There was an interesting trio of guitars and base that performed in some venues and were surprisingly good at most pop music. The singers and dancers were mostly new so they did not perform until half-way through the cruise, and while they can still use a little practice, the overall arrangements and performances were very good. Nightlife after 11 p.m. was pretty non-existent, mostly due to the port intensive itinerary. We enjoyed the services of our butler, Ryan, who was by far the most responsive and friendly butler we have had on Regent. On the second to last night we invited some friends to our suite for cocktails and appetizers and Ryan did an exceptional job of organizing this. We had the pleasure of dining with General Manager Davor, who we had met on our last Mariner cruise 2 1/2 years ago, and his attention to detail and great sense of humor have definitely filtered down to his staff. We went on four scheduled excursions, and our guides and itineraries were interesting. Our favorite ports were Kotor, Montenegro and Taormina, Sicily. We chose to use the stop in Albania as a sea day since it was nice and sunny and there didn't seem to be much to see or do there. Embarkation was a snap. From the time we got off our shared water taxi at the cruise terminal until we were on the ship getting our dining reservations re-made, it was only 45 minutes. The passenger mix was a bit younger and more international than we had previously experienced with Regent. Best guess would be about 40% Americans, 25% British, and 35% "other". We heard Russian, French, German, Swedish etc. and we thought it really helped the flavor of the cruise. Some of the interaction with the staff was entertaining to overhear (some of the staff spoke better English than some of the guests). Average age was 60-65, with at least three honeymoon couples, and a young family with infant in tow. As always with Regent we made some great new friends and have tons of marvelous memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our first cruise with Regent and hopefully the first of many more. We spent one night in Venice and stayed at the well placed Monaco Hotel. The food there was excellent. The art work is very unusual and the display they created ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Regent and hopefully the first of many more. We spent one night in Venice and stayed at the well placed Monaco Hotel. The food there was excellent. The art work is very unusual and the display they created for Holy Saturday was quite stunning. Check in on board was very quickly completed. We were served champagne immediately and after a light lunch we were able to go to our suite. There had been a refurbishment, so everywhere looked very smart. My main wish for the cruise was to visit Ravenna and we accomplished this. I use a wheelchair so the European cobbled roads and terrible pavements are a nightmare, so I had no intention of doing many trips. I had visited all the destinations several times before - with the exception of Durres - and I guessed that would not be wheelchair friendly. My husband went on a trip most days and said they were comprehensive and well organised. The food on board was excellent and met our expectations. We do not drink much, but there was an excellent choice of every type of alcohol and the wine served at meal times was uniformly good. The main difference for us was the quiet ambience. Minimum of announcements. We also enjoyed the latest films on demand in the suite. There is a small library and a DVD library. We enjoyed Coffee Connections for excellent coffee and light lunches. Service on board was unobtrusive, friendly and efficient. The Jean Ann Ryan cirque show was outstanding. We stayed two nights at the Westin Excelsior, Via Veneto in Rome. This hotel is very close to the Borghese gardens which was one area of Rome we did not know well, so it was perfect. The suite was superb and the food in the Doney restaurant was excellent. Our transfers to the airport were excellent. The airport was experiencing a bad day due to many returning visitors from the Papal canonisations on the Sunday. Anyway lovely flight home - rested and relaxed.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I was very happy with our recent Azamara cruise. I am a regular cruiser..usually two long cruises a year. I liked the size of the ship 680 pax...very easy to get around. The balcony cabin 6027 was well appointed, I particularly liked ... Read More
I was very happy with our recent Azamara cruise. I am a regular cruiser..usually two long cruises a year. I liked the size of the ship 680 pax...very easy to get around. The balcony cabin 6027 was well appointed, I particularly liked having a decent sized table out on the balcony...perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea. Service was excellent throughout the ship, no gratuities, free alcohol all very good. We bought a package for four nights in the speciality restaurants for $80 USD...excellent food but honestly the food in the dining was so good could hardly tell the difference. The entertainment was excellent..but get there early the sight lines in the small theatre lounge are not good. Cruise director Eric de Grey is a fantastic entertainer in his own right. I have never cruised with such an energetic captain he was everywhere, saying goodbye as we left on the tours, walking around the ship, eating in the restaurants. An outbreak of GI after our departure from Mumbai was handled very professionally, immediate steps were taken to make sure it did not spread. The long transit across the Gulf under pirate conditions was fine. The complimentary azamazing evening in Cyprus was a little underwhelming...Patmos was a tender port which made the evening very long for a half an hour program...we had to wait more than an hour in the cold to get back on board. Organisation for tours could be a little better managed, long transits for the tours could not be helped...but I found 12 hours just too long. The ship offered water as we left but none was available on the long bus rides..tours in 45degree heat really needs water to be available. No charge for shuttles was a pleasant surprise. Overall a very pleasant cruise...I have purchased an open passage..I'll be back..soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014

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