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721 Luxury Cruise Reviews

Having taken numerous cruises on several cruise lines, we were very excited by the prospect of sailing on the QM2. Before the cruise we spent a great deal of time researching the dress code and other aspect of the much anticipated ... Read More
Having taken numerous cruises on several cruise lines, we were very excited by the prospect of sailing on the QM2. Before the cruise we spent a great deal of time researching the dress code and other aspect of the much anticipated 'White Star Service'. We duly traveled to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the departure process was well organised and efficient. At this point, any thoughts we had on the fabled Cunard 'Country Club Casual' dress code were fading fast. Jeans, trainers and fleece jackets were the order of the day. So, don't bother to get dressed up to board the ship, as we did, it's just like any other cruise departure. Our first impressions of the ship were very good, the public rooms, bars etc are very impressive and as we settled into our cabin, we were looking forward to the experience. However, we then proceeded to the 'Kings Court' buffet for lunch..... Having sailed on several cruise lines the 'buffet' is a mixed experience. On the QM2 it's a very poor experience to say the least. The 'Kings Court' is a confusing array of serving stations, long lines and when you get to the food - the selection and quality are poor. No salad bar, no bread, no fruit, poor selection of desserts and most surprisingly - dirty cutlery, plates, cups and uncleared tables. In fact when returning to the ship in the afternoon after a day ashore, there was quite literally nothing to eat! Thank goodness for the 'Boardwalk Cafe' which provided burgers and hot dogs, a life saver! The first time we've gone hungry on a cruise before! Equally, throughout the cruise the number of people filling previously used water bottles from the drinks dispensers was shocking - despite signs to the contrary. I have never seen this activity on other ships and it presents a serious health hazard, which we duly reported to no avail. In fact I saw members of staff helping passengers to fill their water bottles! We would also regularly see passengers and crew - entertainment staff - carrying Ziploc bags of food out of the 'Kings Court' for consumption ashore. Each evening we ate in the Britannia Restaurant. The food varied from poor to average - it didn't actually taste of anything!? We recently took a Carnival Cruise, the food on that cruise (Carnival Glory) was far superior to that served on the QM2 - and that includes the Restaurant and the Buffet! The QM2 food is bland, uninspiring and on occasions, just plain poor... sounds good on paper but fails to deliver..... The 'Chart Room' was our usual spot for a pre-Dinner cocktails, this area is very impressive and the staff are good and friendly, a great place to see your fellow passengers. The formal evenings were very good with the vast majority of guests adhering to the dress code. Generally, I formed the impression that the staff on board the QM2 have a morale problem, they just seemed to go 'through the motions', they have no pride in the ship or the Cunard Line. Very lack lustre and unenthusiastic. There appears to be a problem with the management that needs urgently addressing. The nightly entertainment was very average. The 'shows' were old fashioned, lacked theme and were generally boring - they seemed talented but failed to make full use of the talent available. However, one comedian was particularly good but he was the exception. Again, other cruise lines do it so much better. In conclusion, had we paid anything like full price for this cruise we would have been very disappointed. As it was, it was 'kind of value for money'. Would I recommend a Cunard cruise - no. Would I return to the QM2 - no. Curnard are living on their past reputation and tradition - it will not last unless things change! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
What a disappointment. I had been looking forward to this cruise for over 10 months and I cannot tell you how many times I visited the MSC USA web site to view all of the amenities of their Yacht Club. It's mostly all lies. ... Read More
What a disappointment. I had been looking forward to this cruise for over 10 months and I cannot tell you how many times I visited the MSC USA web site to view all of the amenities of their Yacht Club. It's mostly all lies. First, you are not shown your cabin by your white gloved butler but by someone who has no stake in the game and pretty much opens the door to your suite for you and then leaves. It took us five minutes to figure out the lighting and power scheme on our own. This is service? Turns out our butler was on break for the first two hours that we were on board. On the MSC website they tell you that your butler will arrange for front row seats for the evening's show in the theater. I made my way to our "exclusive" MSC Yacht Club concierge's desk and inquired how one goes about asking for those front row seats. The brusque reply was "Ask your butler". I then asked, not having yet met our butler, "And how does one do that". This time, with a bit of annoyance in his voice the concierge lifted his head and said to me in the most demeaning manner "YOU ASK YOUR BUTLER".  When I finally did meet our butler he told me that they no longer seat guests in the front row. He would find us seats elsewhere if we wished. No thanks, I am quite capable of doing that myself. The inclusive drinks were extremely limited and the only American brand was Budweiser beer. You could order Absolut vodka, Johnny Walker Red, a cognac or Beefeater's gin. If you wanted a whisky drink or bourbon you had to pay for it; 6 Euros plus a 15% gratuity. No auto gratuities on included drinks but somehow MSC can justify charging you a 15% surcharge for a bourbon drink. The MSC web site also tells you of the exclusive area in the Main Dining Room for Yacht Club guests. This is simply not true. We could only have dinner in the L'Etoile restaurant 330 meters from our cabin - one way. You will walk the length of over 6 football fields - there and back - for dinner. The food in the Top Sail lounge was uninspired and boring. The same little bites day after day - the selection never varied. You will also read on the MSC web site about the private shopping opportunities that Yacht Club guest receive. My wife saw a blouse in the Yacht Club reception area and asked the concierge about buying it. He sent her down to deck 7 to find the 1 of 7 shops that carried that particular item. My wife asked for help in the shops and was told by the clerks to ask our concierge. At one point, my wife was in the shop on deck 7 and I was standing in the Yacht Club reception area on deck 15 both of us desperate to get someone - anyone - to help us. One nice touch - if it worked - was the elevators had a card reader and Yacht Club members were to get exclusive and direct service to Yacht Club floors. Even our butler could not get the thing to work. Just one of many head shaking experiences awaiting Yacht Club guests. And then there are the famous MSC Ice Queens at the main reception. Seven or eight smartly dressed gals that could not care less about anybody but themselves. They stand about chatting with one another or staring at a computer screen. They will not look up. They will ignore you. When you dare approach the counter - their Ice Palace - un-invited they scatter like rats. Their main job seems to be to say "NO". Their secondary job seems to be to send you over to the accounting desk where the two people working it will again repeat the rude treatment of ignoring you. EVERYTHING THAT YOU READ ON THESE BOARDS ABOUT THE RUDE - CARE-LESS - TREATMENT ON MSC IS TRUE. Now a word about a strange man, who liked to spend time in the YC's Top Sail lounge talking loudly on his mobile phone. He made sure that everyone knew that he worked for MSC but when you talked to him he loved to say that he was only the "Director of Sanitation".  Anyway, I tried to tell him about the rude and disinterested service on board. He told me he would handle it and then he proceeded to ignore me for the rest of the cruise. You'll recognize him as the wall eyed red head wearing an MSC fleece vest. Curious. MSC Fantasia has 99 suites in Yacht Club. We were told that there were only 40 passengers in YC on our cruise, that there would be 50 the next week and then 20 the week after that. MSC is trying to mix mass market cruising with luxury cruising and it simply is not working. If you are looking for luxury cruising I urge you to look elsewhere. We paid $10,000 for lousy, un-caring treatment in their top of the line suite. The crew simply does not like Americans and they show it at every turn. No wonder we were the only Americans on this ship. I will never cruise with MSC again which is a shame because I was one of their biggest fans in America. We sailed MSC Poesia from Venice to Ft Lauderdale only a year ago. You will find my glowing review of that cruise and of MSC elsewhere on this site. But I'm sure that I could get a lot more bang for my $10,000 on Cunard, NCL, Seaborne, etc. One last thought; somewhere in the Med sea we passed a giant MSC container ship and it dawned on me that MSC is a shipping company first and foremost. I believe they treat passengers as cargo and that job one for MSC is to get cargo from one point to another in the most efficient, money making manner. Your comfort is not of their concern. Like so many containers stacked on top of each other, MSC passengers are no different than the boxes of stuff inside those containers. As far as MSC is concerned you are nothing more than a box of bananas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We were first time cruisers on Cunard but are platinum members because of cruising Royal Viking several years ago. We were in a Q6 category cabin. We met many great people on this cruise including JimsGirl, Keith and Richard. ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on Cunard but are platinum members because of cruising Royal Viking several years ago. We were in a Q6 category cabin. We met many great people on this cruise including JimsGirl, Keith and Richard. Our room was large and clean. The furnishings in the room are worn and tired with the bedspread looking like it was taken from a homeless man on a New York street. The food and service in the Queens Grille was for the most part very good. I found nothing that would distinguish Cunard from any other cruise line or the ship from any other cruise ship. The deeply discounted price we paid for this cruise was still not worth the price. I do have to wonder what the fashion police thought when they saw the couple in the lobby on the first formal night in jeans and NASCAR T shirts. Have to agree with a previous poster on the bumps and holes in the deck. We have sailed all the mass market lines many times. This line is extremely over hyped. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I have a motto "If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything" I will make an exception with Silver Cloud. Upon arrival we were rushed aboard, quick but small glass of champagne then left to our own devices ... Read More
I have a motto "If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything" I will make an exception with Silver Cloud. Upon arrival we were rushed aboard, quick but small glass of champagne then left to our own devices to find our cabins, there was no meet and greet, into our cabins, where was the butler who unpacks your bags and shows you around? I only saw him twice, even then I had to get my son to track him down!!! The ship is tired and in desperate need of a major face lift, the food, AWFUL, anyone else found the New Years Eve dinner the WORST MEAL EVER? breakfast and dinner, the food was diabolical, I ended up eating a chicken burger and salad by the pool everyday as it was the only decent thing to eat. Where was the luxury? toiletries were never replaced, I asked on 4 occasions to replenish my shower gel to be told they had run out, 1 tiny bottle for 2 people for one week, Easy Jet could teach Silver Cloud about luxury and pampering. Now don't get me started on the entertainment, no music by the pool (it is not that kind of ship)if it had not been for the lovely Lisa and her crowd, I would have died of boredom, beach party cancelled,OK give us a New Years Day pool party then, noooooooo "it's not that kind of ship" Overall the general staff were brilliant, especially by the pool, as for the management, GET IN THE 21st CENTUARY, and do not look down your noses or speak down to your passengers, it is not the way to carry on. Having raved about this very poorly run ship my group had a fantastic holiday but that was all down to the wonderful fellow passengers we met, Silverseas again, NEVER, I will stick to Celebrity, now they do know how to run a ship. In all honesty, if you love life and like to enjoy yourselves stay away from Silver Cloud, however if you are of a miserable disposition, hate to see people have fun or have basically "gone to die" you will love it Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Just where do I start. All the hype about this wonderful ship and the pure privilege to sail on her was lost when we found our own way to our cabin. The greeting when we arrived at the port gate, the greeting from the car parkers & the ... Read More
Just where do I start. All the hype about this wonderful ship and the pure privilege to sail on her was lost when we found our own way to our cabin. The greeting when we arrived at the port gate, the greeting from the car parkers & the luggage porters was a great start but that did not continue. On arrival in our cabin it was good to see our luggage but on closer inspection 2 pieces was missing. Advised the Pursers Office who advised it was too early to notify about missing luggage. Well I suppose so as it was only 3pm! We went for a wander to see whats what on board & get a cuppa. Back to the cabin, still missing the luggage so we stopped for a drink from the half bottle of bubbly supplied in the cabin. On disembarkation it was noticed cruise 3 had full size bottles on Deck 1! Went on Deck 3 for Him InDoors to have a smoke & a bar steward Melvin was offering half bottles of champagne ready for the sailaway. $23, good mark up! All the supplies were loaded & sailaway was under way... We slunk out of Southampton like a car ferry!! No Razzamatazz, No band on the dock, No fairy lights or bunting. Just a stevedore shouting " you lucky people " & a few friend on a new Bride & Groom on board. THIS WAS HER 2nd MAIDEN SAILING ! The sailaway band was playing on the Lido Deck 9 & that was the sailaway party. Back to the cabin & found that 1 piece of luggage had been found & delivered. Off for lifeboat practice. 6pm early sitting so off for dinner & meet our our dinner cruisers. Everything was great so after dinner off to the theatre for the " Welcome Aboard Show ". Show was interesting but did not match the theatre & then for another wander & so to bed. The missing last piece of luggage finally arrived but guess what.. yes the suit bag was ripped to smitherens. Formal Tuesday at sea. Starting with Alastair's " Morning Show " & off to various talks / lectures. The speaker on Barcelona was unable to hold the interest as most of the audience went to sleep. He didn't know the slides or the order claiming they were not his slides so didn't know where they were from. He was also very critical of Wayne Rooney & his new salary settlement! " Secrets to a Flatter Stomach " was very interesting but as it was repeated 4 / 5 during the cruise with different speakers it was a waste of time. Complimentary Gaming Lessons & Texas Hold'em Lessons were interesting but if the experienced gamers we not sitting in to help Jenny, who had not prepared then we would have learnt less. DJ's for dinner & posh frocks then off to the theatre & then the ball. Another wander & off to bed. Advised the Pursers Office about the suit bag & they advised they will get back to me. Formal Wednesday at sea with lots to do Alastair's show to start then Beginners Bridge, Livorno for Florence, another bad talk with Alan Crisp, Mr Cruise Liner Bill Miller talk on Cruise liners, Art Talk - Rolf Harris, lunch then Classical Concert, very good then off for the Martini mixing. Still didn't get to meet " Dorothy " DJ's & Posh frocks & off to dinner. Theatre, the London Ball wander & bed. Such a busy cruise. Semi Formal Thursday at sea. Morning Show with Alastair they rush rush rush around the boat to get to the 6 earmarked interesting talks today. Giancarlo Impiglia was excellent with the talk on Michelangelo, not many fell asleep ! Dixiland at the Golden Lion was superb & so was Twelfth Night. Gave the wine tasting, at $41 each a miss. Dinner, theatre to hear Nicola Loud, very good. A wander & then the Latin dance in the Queens & off to bed. Semi Formal Friday in Port. Off to Monserrat by Rail to see the Black Madonna. Back on board after a jaunt into Barcelona to stock up on " Duty Paids " Up to the Lido for refreshments & the sailaway. Dinner, theatre to see Phillip Hitchcock the magician. Again very good. Off to the Elizabethan Ball, a wander, then bed. Elegant Casual Saturday in Port. Off to do the F1 circuit & see the Princes car collection. Harbour is full of very expensive yachts with the Queen Elizabeth towering over them all. Captain Wells was able to moor up in the harbour rather than tendering us to the dock. A few expensive cars about with a very psychedelic Porsche Cayenne. It was a lovely morning walking around but the wind was gradually gaining strength & the harbour waves were beginning to batter the quays. We had docked in Bow first, wonder why, most people I know usually park up in reverse? The winds get even stronger so we are delayed from sailing for several hours. We all got on with our cruise so it was dinner & off to the theatre for more of Nicola with Robert Meadmore accompanying. A wander around the decks then off to bed. The Beatles tribute as too late. Whilst waiting to be called for our tour in the "Royal Court Theatre" we were " entertained " with the latest news about the failed bombing in the cargo holds. Why not something about Monaco?? We did not need to be wound up about something we have no control over. Very insensitive Cunard. Elegant Casual Sunday in Port. We must have been released from Monaco as we have now arrive in Livorno with the rain & wind. Some gathered in the theatre for the tours. The stewardess failed to notice that when the ship board announcements were being broadcast no one could hear her announcements. Dried out & trying to warm up after the days soaking we went up to the Lido for a snack. Meals generally boring & most were unlabelled. Standard cold meat salads & lumpy soup & soggy cold chips. Found the Ovaltine Hot water & a dash of cream lovely. Tea in the Lido was always good if you ran off the hot water first to get the freshly boiled water. Generally to tired to stay up but had a quick wander. Found out who "Dorothy" & friends are. Elegant Casual Monday in Port. Shame it is what we know as a "Bank Holiday" but we were off to Vesuvius & Herculaneum & the weather was lovely. No real time to wander around the port. Dinner, more a snack in the Lido then off to the theatre for "Benny Goodman" by Kenny Martin. Another excellent show. The tribute Rolling Stones was again on late. No chocolate sauce for the profiteroles... needed for breakfast was the reason..?? Saw the Captain on deck & asked why no band to play us out in Southampton & said about the stevedore. His reply was " well someone saw you off then " He was not interested unlike Lord & Lady Howard who were very pleased to stop & chat when spotted in the Lido. Elegant Casual Tuesday in Port. Up early to meet our booked Limo at the port for a private tour of Rome. Breakfast in the "Stateroom" Very good but forgot to order the butter but it was delivered very quickly when I foned Room Service. Out all day & back at about 6pm having had a very enjoyable day & totally tired out. The bottle of wine given to us by our guide Roberto Brunetti (find him via Facebook , well worth every euro) was a very welcome refresher. Another snack in the Lido with an Ovaltine & back to our cabin to recover. Formal Wednesday at Sea. Lots to do & see from fencing to watercolour art with the high light being Lord Howard's talk in the Royal Court Theatre on Churchill. It was very popular so seats were scarce unless you got there early. DJ's & Posh frocks for dinner & then to the theatre for Lorraine Brown & Kenny Martyn. The whole show complete with the Royal Court Theatre Orchestra was wonderful but was only on once during the cruise, apart from the 2nd sitting repeat. Again no free seats unless you got there early. The Venetian Ball was a but flat but hey maybe we have had a few too many good times & expected too much. Elegant Casual Thursday in Port. Lord & Lady Howard disembarked & we went for a wander to get some more " duty paid " Lovely weather so sitting around the dock area watching the world go by was great. Back on board for dinner & off to the theatre to see John Martin for an hour of comedy. John advised the orchestra they were not required & they didn't need a 2nd telling. The show was good with the usual picking on the front row & new jokes. Semi Formal Friday in Port. Our tour was the Dolphin Watch in the morning & then back to the boat for an early departure back to "Blighty". No time for a wander. All aboard for 2pm sailaway. Lots to see & do until dinner & then the theatre to watch the Flautist Suzanne Godfrey who was very good. We actually had a "sailaway" Pipe Band to play us away this time. Formal Saturday at sea. Programme today is very busy with the cooking demo in the Royal Court Theatre for the "Aztec" restaurant another talk by Bill Miller, the chart auction & the guest talent show & then off to the Vodka tasting. Dress for our last formal dinner in DJ's & Posh frocks but we booked the Aztec for a first class dinner then off to the Starlight Ball. Casual Sunday at Sea. Our last full day so running around to get best offers for next cruise on board Cunard. Another great talk from Bill Miller & bits & pieces to see & do then back to do the packing ready to leave outside the cabin for disembarking collection. Off to dinner & say farewell to our dinning cruisers & then to the theatre for the "Farewell Variety Show" a final wander around the entertainment haunts & off to bed for an early breakfast start to the day. Disembarkation was smooth but delayed. Glad it was not raining as had to join a long slow queue to find our car in the car park. Home at 12.30 & a bath !! Whilst the cruise was enjoyable it was not the " special " cruise it was hyped up to be via all the Cunard bloggs & Facebook. Reading the bloggs it came to feel we would be spending 2 weeks at "The Dorchester or Ritz" but it was not so. The ship is very beautiful in its grandiose style & the carpets were deep & soft but the cruise did not live up to the bloggs. Everything was in US Dollars with no acknowledgement to sterling. Every purchase has an "add on" of 5 or 15%. The service in the Britannia Restaurant was good & the stewards were very helpful as expected although they did not understand, that when asked for crispy bacon I did not want jaw breaker crisp which they labelled "American". English bacon appeared steamed & soggy. The cabin steward kept the cabin tidy as required but cleaned around rather than under. Cabin service was very good if not delivered earlier than requested. The hot water was off the boil for the tea so tried coffee which I found too strong so I opted for Ovaltine. This worked a few morning but then fone calls at 6am to advise they did not have any Ovaltine would I like a full English breakfast instead? Ovaltine was plentiful in the Lido. The TV listing was not very helpful as programmes listed were not always shown but sometimes those shown were good. Was unable to scroll up to channel 38 as it didn't exist but well into the cruise, I found that if 38 was input it came up. A bit of a waste of time as this channel was supposed to repeat, on a loop the talks from the Theatre which froze or dropped out regularly. The pursers desk was not impressed or helpful when advised it was not working correctly. Alastair's morning chats were interesting if you caught them live but suffered the same drop out problems. On the last morning show Alastair introduced his main cameraman but nobody adjusted the camera height so we only were introduced to the man's chest! Very disappointed that there was no Pre Release film shown onboard as with other cruise lines. Was hoping it would be the new Harry Potter film. Fotos taken on board were for sale at $24.95 but the foto of the Queen taking up most of Monaco harbour was only $12.50 why? Disappointed by the timings at Monserrat meant we were unable to see the Basilica or the Black Madonna. No-one must be checking the "Daily Programme" as the spelling & grammar was awful throughout the cruise & do not blame the American language. The meal in the Aztec was excellent with the service as expected on booking this cruise. The advertised pricing was misleading as it looked that there was a $10 service charge before the cost of the meal but that was not so. The whole meal cost $10 including $2.50 service charge per person. The wine bill was something else. $25 plus 15% for 2 glasses of red wine, but they did happily change my wine when I advised it was too dry for my taste. It was a lovely evenings service. We booked deck 4 & our cabin was listed as "obstructed view" Not really Try totally blocked by a lifeboat. Only glimpses of the sky was visible. I had to chase up about the damaged suit bag & was told they had tried to fone us but there was no reply. A very good excuse. We were out & about so why no note to advise progress? Another visit introduced me to a very rude receptionist who made sure her name was not easily read. The little dumpy one, other cruisers will recognise her as she crossed many cruisers with her rudeness The re-booking service was not very persuasive to get our next booking. She offered 5% off but on returning home I have a letter from Cunard offering 15% off. Right & Left hand syndrome? The IT & technical team really need to brush up their act with what they are filming & transmitting even the Bridge Cam is fixed without advice as to where the shop is. As already said the cruise as a cruise was good but not as was blogged to be so I do not expect to be booking again on Cunard if this is their standard. Fred Olsen's Balmoral was far superior. The stewards in the Queens Room did not pay attention to what was around any drinks left & just cleared them away, even full glasses. The hyped up "tea in the Queens Room" was a let down as none of the stewards understood that the English love their tea & it must be made correctly with FRESHLY boiled water. Such a shame as the scones & petite sandwiches were lovely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
My family, along with the other fortunate people, on that early April 2009 morning, when in the first 26 minutes of the booking opening, were able to book the October 12, 2010 QE maiden cruise, and were very excited. Then about 6 months ... Read More
My family, along with the other fortunate people, on that early April 2009 morning, when in the first 26 minutes of the booking opening, were able to book the October 12, 2010 QE maiden cruise, and were very excited. Then about 6 months prior to sailing, Alastair Greener, QE cruise director, initiated a series of emails that continued to present a very special opportunity.To add to this, we had also recently cruised on other Cunard ships and were told that there were extra personnel on board training for their QE assignment. The maiden QE was going to be very special, to the extent, Queen Elizabeth would be at the Southampton ceremony. Little did we know that this did not include the paying passengers, we got to watch on a video screen set up in a Southampton park. Upon questioning this at Cunard's Southampton office we were told that we booked through Cunard NA and we really needed to discuss the matter with Cunard NA not Cunard UK. Once on board the QE we quickly found out our expectations were quite wrong. Our cabin steward had little if any training. For example, she did not know that beds required mattress pads or simply how to set up a bed. We requested a table for 8 and were assigned a table with just one other couple. Our table steward work alone and was responsible for at least 3 tables. His focus was only to get through the evening as fast as possible. He took orders early and served courses at different times. Often our table mates were finished their entire serving long before we our first course was served. The deck crew for the most part had very little training. They could not perform simple functions such as turning on the swimming pool water current motor, or regulating the hot tub temperatures. They had no idea what the temperature settings were or fit of the hot tubs drainage covers. Daily ship activity communications of were poor. The office personnel were not willing to resolve issues and most often tried to turn the issues around as if the passenger was at fault. Indicative of the way the QE operates, we still receive weekly Alastair Greener emails and can not stop getting them as there is no unsubscribe link. Cunard lost a wonderful opportunity to develop a loyal customer base to the extent that we cancelled further bookings and have shifted to other cruise lined. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We chose this cruise as it was leaving from Venice and I had a wish to see Venice again, so we thought we would combine the trip with the cruise, even though we had been disappointed with various aspects of Costa before we hoped with the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was leaving from Venice and I had a wish to see Venice again, so we thought we would combine the trip with the cruise, even though we had been disappointed with various aspects of Costa before we hoped with the Serena being a fairly new ship things might be better, how wrong can you be? We were 2 couples travelling together FOOD. Very poor quality! I enjoy my food as do all our party but really struggled to find something to eat let alone enjoy. As mentioned in other reviews the Italians are very pushy and don't believe in forming an orderly queue so beware if there is a gap in front of you, also at the buffet at all meal times they were very slow at replacing food as it run out, we had to ask the staff behind the counter more than once to replace the missing food. These staff seemed to be trainee waiting staff as they seemed unsure how to lay out and arrange the food. The meals in the Vesta Restuarant for a so called luxury ship and considering the amount we paid for the trip was absolutly dreadful, from the time it took to serve it (2.5 hours) we were leaving the the restuarant after 11pm still hungry. On the Gala night! we went to a lot of trouble to dress for the occasion at dinner we were offered the gala menu my sister in law and I could not find anything suitable to order, I asked the waiter to bring the (always available) alternative menu she informed me it was not available on Gala night, so I asked if we could just have grilled steaks with some veg she said she would have to ask the mai'trde to come over to speak to me, next thing I was presented with a menu 'he says you can choose from that' said the waiter it was the very obvi children menu anyway I ordered the chicken malelese with french fries when it arrived it was just an insult the dry chicken was very rubbery, inedible as if it had been reheated in a microwave and the frozen chips were undercooked, needless to say I told the waiter to take it away and asked to see the mai'trde the waiter returned to say we could have the grilled steaks this was such a poor show just not worth dressing up for. After this debacle we decided to use the buffet for dinner, even though we were there in plenty of time there was were little food left to choose from. Tea was always luke warm and the coffee was like dish water my sister in law drinks coffee and she had to buy it from the bars at a very inflated price. Another reviewer mentioned the rule about not bringing drinks on board they say something about health and safety, rubbish it is just so you are trapped into paying Costas riduculous prices for drinks soft and alcohol ones, there is a way round this but if Costa read this review they would soon put a stop to it! Another review talks about the adults only pool that children were allowed to use uncorrected we don't have a problem with children on holiday we all have kids and grandchildren ourselves, but considering there was 4 pools on board we don't think it's asking to much to enforce the adults only rule. The children were very boisterous around the pools just as you would expect,so it would have been nice to relax around a pool and have a swim to cool off instead of being banished to the dry decks. To Finish The other trips we had on Costa had very similer problems the first one we booked was at short notice my daughter and I took my Mother for her first and only cruise.The second one it was the only cruise line going to Dubai and the Emerites and as I said earlier I hoped things might have been better on the Serena. It was awful from the surly waiters to the dreadful food and vastly overpriced drinks, also if you were not Italian you were not quoted even at the muster when English was the last language to give instructions the Italians started to break rank and chatter loudly we could not hear the announcement. As we have found on other cruises the cabin attendents do the best job our room was always spotless and we received everything we requested. Finally we think the problem with poor service is the practice of compulsary paying gratuities which means staff do not have to work for tips. We will never be on a Costa ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
As an experienced cruisers of 35 voyages in the last 10 years, we thought we had seen just about everything. We have been in a collision in Montevideo, taken 3 star ships with great itineraries to luxury 5+ stars where one is pampered. We ... Read More
As an experienced cruisers of 35 voyages in the last 10 years, we thought we had seen just about everything. We have been in a collision in Montevideo, taken 3 star ships with great itineraries to luxury 5+ stars where one is pampered. We expected a special trip to Norway on the QM2. Embarkation was a breeze even though they had to change docks to accommodate the Queen Victoria. The British agents are always more cordial than others. Our cabin was a sheltered balcony on the 6th deck just below the promenade. It was spacious with a nice sized balcony protecting us from the cold northerly winds. The pillows were only tiny little things and the bed was not very comfortable. However, the washroom was small but modern and the amount of storage space a little small for trips over one week. The Queen Mary 2 is a massive ship with huge interior spaces but very disappointing outside space. I guess Cunarders don't often venture outside. It has the very finest library at sea but the main theater has many very poor sight lines and is absolutely the most uncomfortable seating of any ship we have been aboard. Many of the public areas like the pub, cigar lounge and casino had uncomfortable seating. Dining on this ship was a paradox. Not what you want on a voyager costing this kind of money. Although better than Carnival it doesn't match Princess let alone Azamara which I had hoped it would rival. Breakfast in the dining room had great French Toast but the eggs were never warm and the service was dreadful. Waiters were SO SLOW and things would often come out of order even if you asked. Room service was the better choice especially if you wanted to go on shore before lunch. In the evening, inconsistency ruled in the dining room. I was surprised at the few choices one had on the menu. The 3 meals of lamb were fabulous but the lobster was the worst ever-sent back and the beef was always less than tender. Fantastic sole one night, half cooked salmon the next. We were at a table of 8 and I was shocked at the numbers of meals sent back. Bones in boneless chicken followed by a great creme brule. Appetizers are minuscule. Unfortunately our waiter was not attentive to the point of rudeness and if you have to question why 45 minutes between courses more than once when your trying to make a show, you have a problem. The 8 of us at the table got along well so we didn't move but others we talked to didn't have service problems like ours. The buffet had unique tables by bay windows that offered a nice view but their food was the same a most buffets on modern ships today. Diabetics take note. The sugar free stuff was sometimes mislabeled or hidden under stainless steel cupboards, so ask. The food in the Golden Lion Pub was poor. The Wine was about 50% more on this ship than others but beer and other drinks are similar. The bar staff were very friendly and attentive. The rest of the staff on the ship were excellent. Our room steward was efficient and the casino staff were great. Too bad for them the casino was virtually empty every evening. We found the people at the pursers desk and in the shops very kind. If you see some lecture you are interested in, get there early. I attended two of Prof. Bapstone's and they were excellent but was shut out of his last even though I was 10 minutes early. There is many events on the ship to suit every taste. Unfortunately the other entertainment didn't fare as well. The headliners were average but the ship's bands, singers and dancers and their costumes were mediocre and the productions were boring. It is difficult to rate the two shore excursions because of the windy damp weather but their was no excuse for Cunard to cancel the visit to the Geiranger Fjord. This was one of the highlights of the trip, a World Heritage sight and we're sent to some fishing village instead? We could have paid half as much to get the itinerary we paid for on another line and I doubt the service or the food would be any worse. I will not be booking another cruise on Cunard. I'm am definitely not a "Cunarder". Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
I am not the most seasoned cruiser (this was only my third cruise), but I have been fortunate in that I have experienced many highly rated hotels and restaurants. Therefore, I do know a thing or two about good service which I was totally ... Read More
I am not the most seasoned cruiser (this was only my third cruise), but I have been fortunate in that I have experienced many highly rated hotels and restaurants. Therefore, I do know a thing or two about good service which I was totally expecting from all of the research I had done on the Seabourn cruise line. I was extremely disappointed to find that good service was in very short supply throughout my cruise. And in comparison to the service received on my previous two cruises, the service I received on Seabourn paled in comparison. I sailed with two of my former co-workers and we each do a great deal of research before we decide on our trips. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinerary, date of sail and Seabourn's reputation. It took until Wednesday for room service to snap to the fact that there were 3 people in our room even though we always clearly stated 'service for 3' on the room service slip. Our shower was clogged from day one and it took 3 calls over 3 days to get that problem fixed. Our room steward did not possess the 'willingness to serve' attitude but rather acted like her duties were beneath her. Service in the restaurants was severely lacking. The first evening, I ordered prime rib which was delivered to me without any horseradish sauce. One of my friends had also asked for tea when the drink orders were initially taken. We were unable to get anyone's attention until finally (when I had about two bites of prime rib left), a supervisor happened by and arranged for the tea and horseradish. The lack of good service prevailed throughout the week with the exception of the Patio Grill on Thursday night. Wednesday the port of call was Santorini and since the ship was not sailing until 11 pm, we stayed on the island to watch the sunset. We got back to our room and had an invitation to join the guest speaker earlier THAT same evening for dinner with an RSVP request. I called to let them know they should be more timely in delivering their invitations. Basically across the board, the staff seemed to be novices with an apparent lack of supervision. (The room service order was NEVER correct for the entire week.) If there was some quality control, some of these issues could have been avoided. Oh, and don't even get me started on the vibration issue. It was so bad in our cabin that I seriously considered flying back to the States on the third day of the cruise. While I was lying in bed, it was very similar to being in a vibrating chair like they have in the nail salon but there was not an OFF switch. However, it must have been a speed triggered problem because once we were just traveling among the Greek isles, it wasn't as noticeable. One employee mentioned the problem was especially prevalent at 19 knots and the bar out on deck would noticeably be shaking. We met some delightful fellow passengers and the ports were beautiful which helped to make the ship experience less upsetting. On the positive side, our penthouse suite was ideally suited for three guests - three sinks, the closet/changing area was great, the twin beds and sleeper sofa were very comfortable; the food was always excellent; and the service and entertainment in the Observation Bar was top notch! There wasn't much else to do in the evenings besides going to the Observation Bar to visit with fellow passengers. The entertainment in the showroom didn't start until 10 pm which is kind of late for early morning shore excursions. By the way, our privately arranged tours at the ports of call were hands down better than the ship excursions. We tried both. I do want to let you know that twice I was given the opportunity to give my opinions on questionnaires that were brought to our cabin. One was given out very early in the week. I expressed these same views but never have heard a word from management. When you have such high expectations for a trip of a lifetime, it is very disappointing to find your choice fall so short. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The MSC Opera - a beautiful, well appointed and maintained ship! The service staff was superb - both attentive and friendly. Each port-of-call and tour was outstanding - great sights and tours that were not overly rushed while being ... Read More
The MSC Opera - a beautiful, well appointed and maintained ship! The service staff was superb - both attentive and friendly. Each port-of-call and tour was outstanding - great sights and tours that were not overly rushed while being informative. Unfortunately, the same level of excellence does not pervade the ship. Activities involving process and procedure usually result in organized mayhem. By way of example, I arrived at the embarkation terminal in Amsterdam and was greeted by an MSC Cruises staff member at the main entrance. He directed me to fill out tags for my luggage, to place my luggage in a collection bin and to board the ship directly upon reviewing my Express Check-In paperwork. Taking the escalator to the second floor and following the signage indicating where to go, I was immediately attacked by Attila the Hen for entering the passenger processing area while it was closed. Note I arrived at the terminal at the time specified by the cruise line and no barrier was in place to prevent my entry. Attila, however, quickly located and strung a barrier across the entry way. After waiting for an hour, my wife and I were processed and permitted access to the ship and our cabin. Time passed and I became concerned as every other cabin on my deck had their luggage by their cabin door while mine was nowhere in sight. Despite being assured by the Reception Office that everyone was "working hard" on two occasions, the ship pulled away from the pier and I was still without luggage despite the passage of five hours. Making my third trip to Reception I was asked if I could identify my luggage from a collection of suitcases that all bore the same hand-completed luggage tags. I found my bags; they were eventually delivered to my cabin. Three days later, however, I returned to my cabin to discover a complete ticket package that contained printed luggage tags. I still wonder why I wasn't linked to the ticket package at the terminal, or why the representative was telling passengers to hand-complete luggage tags. I also wonder how long the ship's staff would have left the luggage in the holding area rather than matching a name to the passenger manifest. To be completely candid there are serious security implications within this tale - the ship had departed the pier without verification that corresponding luggage owners were on-board. My next disappointment, unless you cruise with the express intention of loosing weight, was the food. Actually, it was an enormous disappointment. Overall, the food was bland and the portions miniscule. For example, one evening I ordered Chicken Cacciatore. What I got was a baked chicken thigh - no sauce, no flavor - just a baked thigh on a plate. To add insult, the thigh had to have been purchased from a preserve for pygmy chickens. How about the Duck a l'Orange? What I received was a slice of duck skin, but this time with sauce. The Risotto was a pile of starch - being served at every multiple course dinner. Deciding to try the top deck buffet as a means of avoiding the main dining room for breakfast and lunch, I was again disappointed to find similar conditions. The breakfast juices were nothing more than highly sugared powdered drinks. To label them as juice is outright fabrication. The toast could have doubled as roofing tile. Any meats were dry and typically tough as an old buffalo. The lettuce for salads was always deeply submerged in water. The salad dressing was watery and had no flavor. I will stop with the culinary disappointments list to keep this critique from becoming voluminous. Suffice to say I made it a point to find a snack while ashore especially enjoying the tours which crossed meal times without food being provided by the ship. After numerous days of being held prisoner, my last experience aboard was not surprising. According to the ship's bulletin, the breakfast buffet was to start at 6:00 am on the day of disembarkation. Arriving in the hallway to the buffet at approximately 6:15 am, my ears were greeted with loud and very angry voices. A ship's officer was preventing passengers from entering the buffet as, according to him, it was not to open until 6:30 am. Ultimately, the crowd surged past him into the buffet. When I finally turned the corner and entered the buffet - I had absolutely no desire to impede the progress of the crowd which had formed behind me - there stood the same officer with his fists and eyes raised to the ceiling sobbing, "It's not my fault." One would rightly conclude it was highly fortunate that we never encountered a true emergency while at sea. Although I do wonder why anyone was in a hurry to get anything other than some coffee and perhaps some yogurt - the yogurt was terrible even though I digress. I have to suspect that whoever was responsible for buying the ship's food loved cheap without giving any regard to quality. Overall, I would recommend a Northern European/Baltic cruise to anyone interested in experiencing the ports-of- call offered on this cruise. It would be wonderful experience, just do not do it aboard the MSC Opera, otherwise your experience will be tarnished. There are simply too many other ships and cruise lines available Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We boarded the brand new mega yacht Le Boreal in May for her Monaco Grand Prix cruise, with high expectations for an ultra luxury cruise experience. I will initially explain that I have now cruised with quite a few of the luxury lines ... Read More
We boarded the brand new mega yacht Le Boreal in May for her Monaco Grand Prix cruise, with high expectations for an ultra luxury cruise experience. I will initially explain that I have now cruised with quite a few of the luxury lines including Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. I have therefore come to expect a distinct level of service provided by these superior lines. Upon booking for Le Boreal it was explained to me that Compagnie du Ponant were putting this yacht in service to try to compete with the high end lines, the prices for the cruise were also very high over £4000 each for a week's cruise with only wine and tea coffee with meals included, for a small suite. We quickly embarked the ship and were promptly recieved and shown our suite, there was no welcome drink or pleasantries, just straight to our suite. The suite one down from the owners suite was compact, dread to think of the size of the other rooms! The balcony was solid and the room was quite dark because of this. This was not explained to us at the time of booking so visibility from the balcony was quite a problem, which we thought was very poor for a room of this magnitude. We complained to the hotel manager, but he showed little interest, and was more keen on taking every phone call he had whilst talking to us, extremely rude to say the least! We had a TV that did not work for 4 days of a 8 day cruise, but champagne was sent to the room as an apology. The public areas of the ship were very modern and sophisticated and the vessel with the right management could proove a successful enterprise. The restaurant was lovely, but we were told that we could not reserve tables and every time we went to a table it had a reserved sticker on it??? It seemed WE could not, but others could, and this pattern unfortunately continued for the whole of the cruise. I am used to hearing YES on a cruise, with our party on this cruise it became NO all of the time! The restaurant opened at not a set time, and the same wines were served EVERY DAY AND NIGHT for a week, to make you buy additional wines of course!! A cheap ploy for such an expensive cruise. The food ranged form the sublime to the plain awful and there seemed no in between. At lunch there was just a buffet available no grill menu, we saw a man special order a burger,so I called over the maitre'd to ask if I could pre order for the next day 2 burgers for our friends, the reply ......... The chef won't be very happy....my reply with a face of thunder,and I wont be very happy if you dont sort it out!! Unfortunately, this behaviour was typical of the whole experience one rule for one and one for the others. It really depended on which nationality you were as to the level of service you recieved, and I was shocked this kind of thing was happening. The rooms were small and although imaculate, they were brand new, they were furnished well and featured L'occitane amenities, these however were never replenished, which was just terrible, service like this you wouldnt receive in a cheap hotel. There was little to do and next to no entertainment in the day,apart from a singer or two, not even a game of bridge, trivia, cooking demonsration or wine tasting, nothing and with 3 days at sea it became pretty boring. I will summarise by saying that if the company do not adjust their business model I think it will quickly run out of staem, if clientele are paying premium money they expect good service,food,QUALITY wine, and ambience. LeBoreal is seriously lacking al of the above,which is a real shame as the vessel is stunning. Some fellow cruisers enjoyed themselves, but when I asked them if they had cruised before, I kinda knew the answer would be NO. If they had, they would have been seriously unhappy with this shower!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Ref. NCL Jade 03 Jan 2010 During reservation I was told that by taken a certain category of cabins that I would automatically be upgraded to a better cabin, so instead of choosing interior cabin I chose a better cabin, with a granted ... Read More
Ref. NCL Jade 03 Jan 2010 During reservation I was told that by taken a certain category of cabins that I would automatically be upgraded to a better cabin, so instead of choosing interior cabin I chose a better cabin, with a granted upgrade, don't worry I did not receive it they told me that the ship is full, what a pile of crape. Also I reserved over 4 month ago when there was a special that if you reserve in advance you would receive a coupon book for discounts aboard (tell you the truth you need it because this has to be the most expensive ship I have ever travel on) so when I arrived in my cabin there were no coupon book in my cabin so I ask at the purser office and because I was not on the list of those that were entitle to receive this coupon book I will not receive it so twice reservation scrude me over. Other comments, there are over 6 paying restaurants aboard this ship so meals that are included are not of a great standard, that we find on other ship, that is to insight you to go and spend additional money, in the other restaurants, witch so far they have been very good as good as other ship with out having to pay for. Just to give you a example in the main dining room a shrimp cocktail consists on mini shrimps no more than a soup spoon in the Cagney dinning room they are over 3 to 4 inches long what a difference. Drinks aboard are quite expensive most martini are 8 or 9 dollars and even a fountain of Pepsi is 2 dollars not a bottle a fountain witch consist of maybe 5 oz of ice and 5 oz of Pepsi. After 8 days on ship. Well we are back from Cairo so far the only good thing I can say about this cruise is that the excursion are great probable it is because they are not done by NCL. The service is very bad, smiles are hard to get, and the ship is going through a diarrehea epidemic they are always disinfection the ship and our hand you can not go any were with out having to disinfect your hands, may be this is good but a minimum of 15 times a day get annoying. Well it going home day finally, all suites cases in the hallway and my final bill arrive but yes you guest it a surprise, my internet bill had a 24 dollars charge so I call the internet cafe and ask why this charge, they told me that I went over in my time so I ask how, when you open the internet service it ask you if you want additional minutes and I answered no I was going to run my time out and close my service automaticly, but no there was a fine print even if you say you do not want additional minutes you will be charged to you if you go over, good thing i closed my computer a haft hour later if not I would have been charged for the inter night even if I had not used it. But wait I thought no meant no, not no NCL I means more money. This is my cruise in conclusion bad service hard to get a smile very costly and they are always right, they should change freestyle for expensivestyle highwayroberystyle any thing but free. For the excursion most are very good it always depend on the Guides but they were mostly very good. Ncl Jade 03 Jan 2010 Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Have just returned from asia with Quest. When we booked it was then advertised as 'Deluxe' cruising, how or why they think this is deluxe I do not know. I think from comments from others who had sailed with Azamara before the ... Read More
Have just returned from asia with Quest. When we booked it was then advertised as 'Deluxe' cruising, how or why they think this is deluxe I do not know. I think from comments from others who had sailed with Azamara before the standard had 'slipped' and we were paying the price of their changes to 'club cruises'.The itinerary was good, the embarkation and disembarkation was the best we have ever had, the coffee machines that made latte, espresso, etc were great.....and the rest, well not 4 or 5* cruising. As a vegetarian I have to say the food was boring, repetitive and the choice, non existent. Beware if you are vegetarian as even the veggie sounding soups have meat stock in them, during the whole cruise, apart from the chilled soups on the menu and 1other hot soup non of the them were suitable, including the tomato, green lentil, mushroom, vegetable, need I go on?!!! I was told if I ordered a meal 1 or two days in advance they could make a bowl of soup, or special meal, had one or two nice curries this way, the lunchtime menu in the Discovery Dining room has no veggie choice at all, twice I was offered mash potato and steamed broccoli as a main course...come on Azamara Cunard have over 20 dishes to choose from. Even the meat eater menu especially at lunchtimes was not very exciting. Our waiters Edward and Chris were brilliant, but the night we were on a different table the service was awful and took 3 hours, I ended up with cheese and biscuits as a main meal.The staff were OK but not that friendly, the entertainment apart from Mary Amanda the harpist and Jeff the comedian were average to awful. Only once after a trip were we greeted with cold towels and a drink, all the other times they were packing up. We left Singapore early, and Thailand, without notice, although some people knew, we were told our agents should have told us...interesting as we booked direct!! I could go on but needless to say would not go again with Azamara all our party agreed, Celebrity are far better, Cruise West miles better and Cunard way above what Azamara are offering. The ship seemed 'old and crowded' especially in the lounges and dining room. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale. The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of ... Read More
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale. The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of large public rooms and lots of space to lounge around. The airiness and many large windows gives the light and view a chance to be admired by all passengers from every direction. The down size to this large vessel, is that you see all the major container ports of the world; the ship is so large (155 thousand tons) that it does not accommodate the ports well, and one docks miles from the center of passenger interest. The shuttle service takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to transport the passengers to town and the lines are long; and in some ports, no cover was available to shade the passengers from the heat, and a few passengers fainted while waiting to board the ship..The lack of water at the port stations were very obvious to all. If the ship is your "destination", this ship has what you want. If you are concerned about seeing the ports in detail, and with maximum time, you will need to go on a "cruise" ship, not an ocean liner; the QM2 is a great venue for quiet elegance an the enjoyment of serenity, but you can also be busy all day long if you choose. The food quality ranges from 5 star cafeteria to excellent; the quality was not consistent from day to day. The Kings Court venue with its four no charge alternate dining restaurants are a nice touch from the main dining room. The service in the Kings Court was always above par. The food was excellent; but you were limited to two reservation per cruise segment, and when making the reservations, one had to call many days in advance as the space is extremely limited. The decor is a bit "dowdy" and needs help; the ship, built in 2004, is in desperate need of upgrading; the TV's are the old box type, not the new flat screen; there were no DVD players available; the Internet service was very slow and expensive, and was down many hours during this voyage. We also were told that it is coming back on, but it sometime did not for 24 to 36 hours. The Internet manager was helpful to a point, then he would walk away as he had no authority over the web service. In the meantime, one is paying 75 cents/minute to wait it out. The entertainment was broad in nature; the lectures covered a wide variety of subjects, some very stodgy, some down to earth; the port lectures were low in content and were more travel logs to brag about their own experience in the ports. The computer instructor ( different from the computer manager) was excellent, and was very friendly and helpful. Computer class were given several times a week and were at no charge. The movies in the theater were a mix bag; from gory murders to comedy, not all were current. The Broadway style shows were high school in quality and very repetitive. The headline acts were mostly violinist, piano players, and singers; very few comedy or other lite entertainment. Service was no winner. The dining room waiter had to be asked several times to refill the water, coffee, bread etc. This should have been routine training; we finally got the section head to monitor this function for our table as the waiter could not be bothered. The cabin was inside - 6103 - great location and very quiet. Our cabin steward was okay, not outstanding, but the cabin was always clean, and she did her best. On the subject of service, my main complaint with Cunard is the lack of caring from the management. This ship, and it may have a Cunard label, is very arrogant in the dealings with the passengers, and they act as though they know what is best for you. From the World Cruise concierge, to the social hostess, to pursers office, your needs are not met, phone calls not returned, and general destine is apparent. I could write volumes about the misinformation given at the pursers office, and the double talk from the staff, but you get the drift. So it comes down to this; I can not recommend the QM2 for a long cruise; a better choice would be the New York to Southampton crossing. Would I go again on this ship: NO ! We have taken 169 cruises, on several different branded lines and the QM2 does not hold a candle in quality and service to the other ships - what the Queen does have is a name and past glory. Its reputation is slowly being tarnished by the current management. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We knew that Cunard appealed to older clientele but surprised at just how old the vast majority of passengers were. Not many of the activities on board would appeal to anyone below their seventies - enrichment lectures very dull and ... Read More
We knew that Cunard appealed to older clientele but surprised at just how old the vast majority of passengers were. Not many of the activities on board would appeal to anyone below their seventies - enrichment lectures very dull and unimaginative. Theatre really beautiful but shows very poor - a bit end of the pier. Shopping on board not good, quite tacky in fact. Excellent embarkation and disembarkation at all times. The ship new and very tidy but lacking in any real atmosphere or wow factor. Food and services in restaurants OK but not outstanding. Food quite similar every night in Queens grill quite hard to find something really wanted to eat by the end of the cruise. Lido restaurant was good and staff very efficient. Cabin supposedly 3rd best on ship and although comfortable and not cramped by any means did not have the wow factor we were expecting. Would not book with Cunard again but would choose Crystal or Oceania much less stuffy, much more mixed clientele and real luxury.. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We can sum up our Silversea experience in two words: totally disappointing. Silversea started us off on the wrong foot at the start when they stated early boarding carried a $100 each "fee". As we had shelled out $19,000USD for ... Read More
We can sum up our Silversea experience in two words: totally disappointing. Silversea started us off on the wrong foot at the start when they stated early boarding carried a $100 each "fee". As we had shelled out $19,000USD for a "Grand Suite" accomodation, we felt this additional charge was way over the top. Having had a stroke and not looking forward to a further delay in boarding, we complained to their Fort Lauderdale HQ. After a few calls, their office waived this "fee", adding that if we were members of their "Venetian Society" this waving was one of their "perks". So much for an "even playing field". We learned later that this fee was to discourage an "early luncheon" with accompanying wine and/or spirits. Our stateroom 701 was incredibly large and comfortable; Silversea was going on a roll! The closet was very large, with ample space for shoes, slippers etc. The bedroom was bright and roomy with a well lit vanity. It sported large screen TV. An ample, but not large balcony with two tables and four chairs completed the area. Two bathrooms, the main with double basins (one with a crack) a fully jetted tub and a smallish shower completed the room. The stateroom was the largest I have ever seen on a cruse ship. We have always chosen S class, and Owners suites, not to brag but due to my limited mobility. Comfortable arm chairs and a chaise-lounge along with a well equipped stand up bar completed the suite. The dining experience was just that.Unless you read the daily instructions, you could easily be too early or too late for lunch. The menu was out of the wild imagination of the chef. Example: Carpaccio served with fresh arugula, basil, celery walnuts and parmesan shavings (appetiser) sardinian clam soup with arugula and sun-dried tomatoes, grilled sea bass with smoked eel, celeriac cream infusion(entree) Five days into the cruise they offered salmon, chicken and a steak. My stomach had long started to act up by this time. We were told that several staterooms on our deck had the same problems with the richness of the food. My partner, at breakfast, after mentioning to the maitre d' that our morning coffee did not arrive set the stage for a very embarrassing situation for us. We had no sooner started our meal when our butler was paraded to our table along with the Food and Beverage manager. He proceeded to demand an apology from the poor butler. I don't know who was more upset by this childish behavior by the manager, the butler or my table. Thank goodness the little room was nearly empty; we, the butler and I were totally embarrassed. The butler was on time after this. The first night out we were serenaded by two screaming children one deck below. The TV in the next stateroom was annoying. Silversea has a very loose attitude about smoking. They request there be no smoking on the balconies. The only time we didn't smell second hand smoke was when we were moving. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity ... Read More
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity in the past, in either Europe or Asia. We found Regent to be "okay", but certainly not for the price and hype. We have three children, ages 7, 10, and 13, so we booked two cabins. The cost of the one-week cruise for the family was over $17,000 without air, but the port tours were largely free or at low-cost as part of Regent's current promotions. Our biggest complaint against Regent is the very poor way in which they handled a significant problem we had with our room. Basically, they took almost the entire cruise duration to deal with a plumbing problem (never completely solved), and in addition to other issues, they did not handle things in a way anyone in the luxury hospitality business should. When we boarded the ship in Monaco, we were greeted in our cabin by an acrid sewer/algae smell. The whole room smelled, but we were able to figure out that it was coming from the bathroom. The housekeeper agreed that it smelled horribly, and when we returned from dinner a few hours later the sewer smell was somewhat overcome by the smell of Drano/chlorine. Not exactly pleasant. The next day the sewer smell returned, so we contacted the front desk. To make a long story short, Reception was very nice but not very effective. They had a plumber come out on Day 1 (embarkation is Day 0), and he said that there was something wrong with the drain and fixed something, with maybe 50-70% improvement. But it still had that sickening smell. Anyway, by Day 5 the smell was mostly gone after one other plumber intervention. But the inconvenience of waiting around for the plumber and having him stomp around the bathroom in his boots also did not help our cruise experience. For most of the cruise, when we were on the ship we found ourselves all retreating to our sons' cabin, which happened to be a handicapped cabin without a sofa. The smell was the overriding problem with the cruise. Add to that a bath towel that had more than 10 holes and stains in it (I have photos), multiple unannounced water interruptions resulting in milky-white water emerging from our sink on several occasions including an interruption at midnight-3 am that left my 13 year old with shampoo on his head, and really terrible breakfasts (cheap quality ingredients) in the Portofino restaurant, and you have something that is FAR from what we consider luxury. In addition, the cruise line has handled our concerns very poorly. We actually emailed our complaints to RSSC Guest Relations on 8/12/09 (Day 5), and we have not heard anything from them and it has been almost 3 weeks. We cc'd our letter to our American Express Centurion travel agent, and she contacted their marketing manager. The Amex agent initially told us that RSSC "would have to respond within 48 hours", but their only response was that the complaint would be sent on to some other department in their company. As I said, it has now been over three weeks and still no reply. We travel a lot about 3 months a year. Over the years, we have had "issues" here and there, including new purchases stolen from my room at a Hong Kong hotel, or a cruise housekeeper who put our brand-new unreleased Sonicare toothbrushes brush-down in a half-glass of water left by the previous guest as soon as we boarded the ship! Each time, someone from management would come and apologize, send some tangible token like flowers or candy to let us know that they are sorry and value our patronage. Well, from Regent, nothing. No words from management, no candy (how hard is that on an all-inclusive cruise, we already had $1000 shipboard credit from Amex that we could hardly spend?), nothing but an offer to "clean our room" on day 5/7 of our cruise, the only day AT SEA! Anyway, my final word is that what Regent is offering is far from luxury and as we wait to hear from management, it becomes clear that they are undeserving of the Regent name. The Regent Hotel in Hong Kong (now Intercontinental) was one of the world's great hotels and we actually spent New Year's Eve there on the Millenium but this cruise line has nothing to do with the Regent we knew. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very ... Read More
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very hungry. We decided to try Silversea after it was recommended to us by my parents who, in all other things, are reliably excellent judges of quality. In their defense, my parents (like many we met aboard the Silver Cloud) have never tried any of the other high-end cruise lines and, if your standard of comparison is the Carnival Funships, Silversea probably seems like the gold standard of luxury cruising. And some aspects of Silversea ARE pretty swishy. The service is excellent, as good as we've had on Crystal and Seabourn, and very friendly. There were none of the delightful, above-the-call-of-duty surprises we'd come to expect from Seabourn-no constant stream on yummy treats on the pool deck, no canapEs on the dock after a long day of sightseeing, nothing but the standard chocolates on the pillow at night, no trademark complimentary excursion-but the wait staff had memorized our names and preferred cocktails by Day 2, and our cabin stewardesses were most meticulous women I have ever met. The cabins were spacious and luxurious. (The walk-in closet was fitted-out with cherry built-ins and padded hangers, by far the nicest closet I've seen on a cruise ship.) The gym was truly impressive given the size of the ship, and it's location (top deck, forward) provided great views from the elliptical trainer. The box of Godiva chocolates we were given upon embarkation was very much appreciated. Best of all, was the pool deck, the nicest I've seen on any ship, truly superlative in both quality and layout. It became our very favorite place to while away sea days, even in the blustery north. The pool-side grill provided the tastiest food on the ship, the pool itself was generously heated (and the hot tubs actually HOT!) and deck stewards were quick to supply coffee drinks, wool blankets or anything else we requested. The real problem we had with Silversea is that we shouldn't have HAD any problems with Silversea—that's what luxury cruising is all about. And my husband and I are pretty good sports. We do our share of luxury travel, but we also do our share of "roughing-it," and aren't normally critical people. Enough was amiss with life aboard the Silver Cloud, though, that we started to Notice Things-and those things added up. We were able to see the humor in a lot of it (the free cocktails really helped with that) but there were definitely times we were Not Having Any Fun, and we were more that ready to get off when we at last disembarked in London. Our biggest complaint was with the food. The pool deck grill served fairly well-prepared basics and, throughout the ship, the pastries and baked goods were very nice, but the dining room was a disaster. I recall only two good meals in the dining room: a lunch with a very nice soup course and a halibut cooked in truffle oil, and a dinner that featured some kind of smoked reindeer carpaccio. Beyond that, the Dining Room cuisine was complicated but badly executed, and sometimes not even hot. (Sometimes not even WARM.) Moreover, service in the dining room was almost comically disorganized and really, really slow. At breakfast, I often waited 15 minutes for my beloved caffeinated beverage and another 30 minutes for eggs. Lunches took two hours, and dinners nearly three. I mean, I can "dine" with the best of 'em, but we spent huge stretches of time seated at a table with nothing in front of us-no bread, no drinks, and no hope of a satisfying meal. Overall, the food ranged from almost good to downright bad. We discovered the best dishes were the wellness options, which featured delicately prepared shellfish, fish, soups and some nice desserts. The problem with sticking to this menu was the very real specter of starvation. After a 64 calorie appetizer, a 186 calorie main, and a 119 calorie dessert (the calorie counts for wellness dishes were helpfully listed on the menus) we would bolt back to our cabin, salivating at the thought of our turn-down chocolates. La Terrazza, the ship's alternative dining venue, served good-but-not-great Italian food at dinner, pizza at lunch, and offered hearty but unimpressive breakfast and lunch buffets. Still, food quality in La Terrazza beat the Dining Room hands down and, for this reason, it was very popular and usually very crowded. The crowds were a real problem in the snug, galley-style buffet area because, believe me, in those quarters you do NOT want to be trapped between the 95-year-old lady and the chaffing dish when she decides she wants some hash browns. Some things just aren't worth dying for. Okay, enough about the food. It was bad. Moving on...the bathrooms were small, with only one sink and they were looking a little worse for wear, but the real issue was the toilets, which must have been manufactured by N.A.S.A. because every time one of them was flushed it sounded like a FREAKING ROCKET BEING LAUNCHED. If anyone along our line of plumbing flushed in the middle of the night, it literally woke us from a dead sleep. Most passengers seemed to abide by an unvoiced pact not to flush between midnight and 7AM, but it happened occasionally. Napping was never an option. Even more disturbing, the hallways twice smelled strongly of sewage while maintenance men with shop-vacs bustled about. I thought riots might start in the laundry room, which was unwisely outfitted with 5 Miele washers and 5 Miele condensing dryers. The controls on the Mieles were so complicated, most older passengers needed help just turning them on, and the condensing dryers literally took several hours to dry a single load. One of the two receptionists at the front desk was consistently snippy to the point of rudeness. We spent an entire day in Szczecin, Poland, home to the captain's wife and children. Unfortunately for those of us not married to Szczecinians, there was NOTHING to do in Szczecin beyond posing for photos with the giant fiberglass shark outside the town's nicest pub. Like most of our fellow passengers, we were back on the ship within an hour and spent the rest of the day reading on our deck chairs and watching the captain's kiddies frolic in the pool. As for the captain, he didn't bother to attend either of the cocktail parties he "hosted," which resulted in rumors he a) spoke no English or, alternatively, b) hated us all. The piano player was so bad that the cruise director, Judy, referred to him as "Poor Henry" in her announcements and twice encouraged us to go listen to him as he was "up there all alone." Judy was charming and British but was absolutely addicted to the sound of her voice over the ship's PA system and, according to those who attended her lecture on the final evening, shared entirely too much about her tragic relationship history. Afternoon tea was interrupted by "fashion shows" from the ship's boutique and H. Stern jewelry store, and you basically had to tackle someone to get a scone. Disembarkation in London Bridge was interesting but very disorganized. The Silver Cloud rafted up alongside the HMS Belfast and, after milling around in the reception area while we ostensibly waited for our luggage to be unloaded, passengers disembarked by walking across the Belfast and boarding a Port Authority launch, which dropped us off on the Westminster pier. I have no idea how some of the less-ambulatory passengers managed this, as there were lots of slippery ramps and steps on and off of ferries involved, and we STILL waited in the rain for 40 minutes for our luggage to appear. Silversea had assured us there wouldn't be any taxis available and encouraged everyone to buy pricey ship transfers or hire private cars. We were not the least bit surprised to see the long line of waiting taxis, though, and as we hopped in one of them and headed for the train station, we felt nothing but relief. And hunger. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We did a 12 night Baltic Cruise on the Azamara Journey and would like to provide a review. Our travel agent told us she would like us to try Azamara as Celebrity was trying to target the Oceania and Silverseas crowd. She was incorrect on ... Read More
We did a 12 night Baltic Cruise on the Azamara Journey and would like to provide a review. Our travel agent told us she would like us to try Azamara as Celebrity was trying to target the Oceania and Silverseas crowd. She was incorrect on both counts. Azamara is for the crowd who have done Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian, Holland Americian,NCL,and others in that genre. Having said that, if you have done these lines you will probably like or love this line. It has a long way to catch up with Oceania and as for Silverseas there can be no comparison as it is like comparing apples with oranges. Azamara is a "poor man's Oceania." If you can get the same price on Oceania then go with Oceania as you will see the difference in every department e.g. maintenance, service, amenities, food,bedding and so on. One disturbing quality we observed on Azamara was the total absence of cleaning of public places e.g staircase railings, rest rooms, elevator panel and railings. On Oceania this is a constant and reassuring sight. We paid $11,000 US for our Sky Suite and met a lovely young man who paid $900.00 for his cabin. When there is this disparity in pricing the company has not defined its target customer and it shows!! Upon arrival there was no one at the bottom of the gangplank to assist us with our luggage we were expected to haul it up ourselves. When disembarking in ports of call there was a crew member dressed up as a rabbit or other infantile character to greet you as you disembarked. There were no children on the ship, this was the tone set for the cruise. The cruise director and crew spoke down to us and overall treated us in a very infantile way. It became old very quickly! The cruise director and staff constantly told the customers how wonderful the crew were in their capacity to provide outstanding service. They did this either in person, over the public address system or at gatherings. Approximately 2 days before the end of the cruise a questionaire was sent to each cabin to assess the cruise. From that point on we were beaten into submission to complete that questionaire. There were constant reminders over the TV, at any entertainment gathering, at dinner by your waitstaff. They were relentless, and finally offered a raffel of a free dinner at one of the speciality restaurants to get people to complete the form. The butler service was a joke.  He was a cabin attendant dressed up in a tuxedo and we rarely saw him, and when we did ask for afternoon tea he told us we had to fill out a form the morning of or the day before and be physically present in our cabin when it arrived the next day...yes! he was serious! Breakfast in our room was cold so we didn't do it again after the second try.The beds were not exceedingly uncomfortable but by no means would I say luxury bedding or exceedingly comfortable.  The food was good but there was no cuisine in sight. The staff were very friendly and did  what was required for their positions,  but there was no service on this ship.  On our contract (which I had with me) it stated ,"gratuities included". When our final bill arrived, the gratuities had been added, so I spoke to a senior person in the guest relations department.  This is the "service" I received:  I had to make multiple trips to that department and often the person was not there, even though we had made an appointment.  Never once did the person say she would come to our suite! The friendly persona disappeared when they saw my contract, however, they would not honor it and said there "had been a mix-up," but were still charging my credit card. Our departing flight left early and we had booked the ship's transport to the airport.  We were notified a few days before the end of the cruise they could not accomodate us due to our early flight and were cancelling our booking . No apologies, just a message in our suite.  No offer to provide an alternative.  When I did ask if they could order me a taxi when we arrived, they said no, but there would probably be taxi's at the port. There was no offer to assist or organize our luggage upon departure. I saw our "butler" in the hallway and told him to assist me, he did so reluctantly. I hope this review is helpful to you in choosing your cruise line. In a nutshell, if you can afford Oceania go with it as Azamara is not in the same league. If you can't afford Oceania and have cruised with the above stated lines you will probably enjoy this experience. If you have done Silverseas you will be totally dissatisfied with the Azamara experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is ... Read More
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is a factor. The wilting economy might have something to do with it; there were 434 passengers on the cruise we took, while the ship is intended for 700. What we did not know while on the trip was that the company had just sustained a loss of nearly $20 million—all because the Voyager ran over a fishing line as it pulled out of Singapore harbor on March 18, embarking on what was intended to be a world cruise. That caused mechanical problems, reducing the ship's speed, resulting in canceling some of the scheduled dockingsthen being in drydock for a spell, with refunds being made to those who booked two cruises. Whatever the cause, my wife, Jo-Ann, and I felt the effect on our 2009 Norwegian cruise. Right from the first day, we realized that our on the Regent Voyager would not be of the quality commonly ascribed to the cruise line.When we arrived on board, the rooms weren't ready yet, but a buffet lunch was available on Deck 11.Danish sausage was being served, fresh off a grill at the poolside. I picked up a plate to hand to  Jo-Ann. The plate was filthy. Well, OK, soot was probably being emitted from the grill; it was understandable. I put that plate to the side, and handed Jo-Ann the next one in the stack, which was clean. I picked up the next plate for myself. Filthy. The next one. Filthy. The next one was clean.We took our sausage inside and sat down. The sausage was good—but, of course, anyone, with no schooling in culinary arts, should be able to heat a sausage on a grill. What we were to soon learn is that the food is just fine on this cruise line if you have something that is taken from a package, tin, or jar, requiring no involvement of anyone purporting to be a chef. As we were finishing our sausage, a waiter asked if we wanted coffee. Jo-Ann said yes. I asked for hot chocolate. The waiter put down two cups. I looked inside mine. There was a dirty rim around the inside, about a third of the way down. I took a napkin, poured water on it, cleaned out the inside of the cup, the dark-brown sediment now transferred to the napkin. We drank our beverages and left. When we finally entered the cabin, we encountered sweltering heat. That was, we found out, not a matter of an oversight. Information in printed material in the cabin indicated that guests would need to adjust the thermostat upon entry and that it would take about 30 minutes for temperature to be altered. In the course of the housekeeping staff preparing the rooms, the preparation could have included rendering the rooms habitable by turning on the air conditioning. Apparently, Regent didn't want to waste the kilowatts on empty rooms, opting to economize even though guests would start their journeys, once they got to the cabins, in discomfort. Each guest gets to make a reservation on two nights during the cruise in the "Prime 7" restaurant, featuring what is supposedly prime meat. We made a reservation there for the first night. Lucky us. "With the chef's compliments," there was triumphantly presented a mini-hamburger with a brown sauce. It had the flavor—what flavor there was—of boiled beef. It was in the nature of a patty of chopped pot roast. If you come to the lunchroom at our office in downtown Los Angeles and insert a $1 bill in our food machine, you can often procure a patty on a bun with a brown sauce which, after being heated in the microwave, is adequate to qualify as a meal, though barely so. That packaged, quick-food dish is gourmet fare compared with the mini-hamburger which Regent mistakes for a treat, The waiter was taken aback that we hadn't devoured the offering. "Why?," he presumptuously inquired. Jo-Ann told him it was a weak imitation of a hamburger. Then came the salad Jo-Ann ordered. No problem. There also came the intriguing appetizer that caught my attention: three kinds of steak tartare: "classical," oriental, and veal. None was particularly good. There were three small blobs of raw ground meat, with differing seasonings. The "classical" rendition wasn't. That globule was missing anchovies, capers, onions, egg yolk—that is, the essentials. Also, no toast points were served; not even unpointed toast. Just the three small blobs. Next: the entrees. Jo-Ann had ordered an end cut of prime rib. What she got what a slab of meat that struck me from its appearance as quite unappetizing. Jo-Ann confirms that the taste was not that of prime rib. Perhaps it was a piece of inartfully prepared bull's rump. She thinks it might well have been baked in a pot. I had lamb chops. Yes, the meat was lamb. But was it prime meat? Either the meat was other than prime—meaning that the name of the restaurant, Prime Seven, was a sham and the cruise line's express representation of serving prime meats there a lie—or the cooks posing as chefs were so grossly inept that they turned good meat into cafeteria fare. We left. A young woman from the restaurant, discerning our disgruntlement, followed us out and evinced concern. She displayed graciousness and a desire to set things right. What was irresolvable was the woeful lack of talent on the part of the food-preparers. The second night, we ate at the French restaurant. It was much better, but not excellent. The food in the main dining room was, we found, adequate. Jo-Ann had some cod one night which, she remarked, was not as good as that we had on the SAS flight between London and Copenhagen. When cruise food does not match that an airline serves, something is wrong. One night a menu item which I chose was sea scallops with oyster sauce and oriental seasonings. What came was a small bowl of spaghetti with a few tiny bay scallops tossed in. However, it is possible to get really food onboard. There was, at buffets,  herring in mustard sauce and herring marinated in vinegar at buffets. It's just like that we get in the U.S. in jars, imported from Sweden. (On the next-to-last day, they apparently had excess mustard sauce at the bottom of a jar and added vinegar-marinated herring to the sauce, thus devising an innovative and unpalatable dish.) Some of the cheeses, both in the French restaurant and the buffets, were superb. In other words, they do have the competence to serve packaged foods. It's just that cooking is not their forte. At one lunch buffet, I made the mistake of having some suckling pig carved. It was so overcooked that, if served to prison inmates, the ACLU would bring a lawsuit based on cruel treatment. But the graved lachs at that buffet was quite good...which shows, again, they need to stick to packaged foods. On the Fourth of July, Jo-Ann and I wanted a traditional hot dog for lunch. At a lavish buffet, they did, indeed, have hot dogs. When we sat down, we realized they were cold. An accommodating waiter offered to heat them. The problem is that when you microwave hot dogs, the frankfurter gets dried out and the bun becomes hard. One day they offered "Scandinavian delicacies" at a lunch buffet. They had "Swedish potato dumplings." The authentic ones are like Norwegian potato balls ("raspeballer" or "kumle") except that the Swedes sometimes stick a piece of ham inside. My grandfather made kumle, my mother did, and Jo-Ann and I have eaten it in Seattle and in Bergen. This was not raspeballer; this was a wad of glue. On our last night on the ship, we had a superb meal of Norwegian smoked salmon, smoked whale, peppered mackerel, and a Norwegian brown goat cheese called gjetost. It was all food we had brought on board from ports. When we paid the charge for the cruise, we didn't know we would be brown-bagging. And then there's the matter of "Lars." That's the moniker Jo-Ann ascribed to a crumb...a large one that resembled a corn flake. Lars was there on the floor of the bathroom when we boarded in Copenhagen and Lars was still there when we left the ship 14 days later in Copenhagen. It must be said that the Regent staff is, in general, well-trained and attentive. We brought two seagull eggs on board with us from Tromsø, and they were kind enough to scramble them for us. There are some language difficulties, however. I wanted to get a peanut butter malt for Jo-Ann. They had peanut butter ice cream. They had a malted milk machine. But the attendant didn't know what a "malt" is. I substituted the term "malted milk." I was told: "We have two kinds of milk: regular and no-fat." Jo-Ann did not get a malt. There is no separate charge for drinks, and tips are built into the price. Overall, the quality is far beneath what we had expected based on the cruise line's reputation. Aside from the cuisine here being second-rate, the dEcor lacks elegance, the stage productions are unimpressive, and if you ask for a gin fizz, you get sparkling lemonade with a bit of froth on top.   This was our fourth trip to Norway, and we intend to go there again. But not on a Regent cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009 Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara.  I heard from many fellow passengers on ... Read More
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009 Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara.  I heard from many fellow passengers on the Quest that they'd had excellent experiences on the Azamara Journey. I have personally been on all four M-class Celebrity ships and several RCCL ships, and will continue to cruise with them, based on good to great experiences on all of them. I am soured on the ship, not on the brand. Air-Sea Arrangements: Air-sea arrangements (roundtrip air and an included night in Beijing) were included in my cruise fare. Things went wrong from the very beginning. My first flight was cancelled (mechanical failure before boarding), and I confirmed new arrangements with the emergency number provided in my cruise documents. Even though I would arrive a day late, I was assured by their staff that I would get there in time to join the ship and that I would be met and escorted in plenty of time. When I arrived in Beijing, there was no one to meet me.  I started to look through and call the emergency numbers in my cruise documents.  Out of five "emergency" numbers provided in my cruise documents, I found that two were closed until the next business day (Monday - 48 hours away). Two didn't work at all. One worked, and (calling from the airport on my AmEx card) cost me $17 each. For the one number that worked, the first call said they'd be there; the second call said that I was on my own. After the third call, they picked me up, put me up overnight at the Shangri-La hotel, and put me on the flight the next morning to the ship's next stop, Dalian. The young lady handled ticketing, luggage and escorted me all the way to security to be sure I got to the next stop without incident. I felt well taken care of on my way out of Beijing. However, on arrival in Dalian, there was, AGAIN, no one there to meet me. (Did I mention how inadequate shoreside support was?) After getting some attention from Chinese security officers, and help from my Beijing contact, I arranged (and paid for) a taxi to a local hotel where the ship's local agent took care of getting me to the ship. On arrival at the ship, I was told the key-making machine was down, and I'd need to wait in the lobby until they could let me in my room. So, after more than 3 days in transit, my welcome on the Quest was a young women at the guest services desk who offered no sympathy, no key, and made clear I was a hassle. After a half hour, I insisted on being let into my room by whoever else on board might have a key. While freshening up, the toilet seat split into two pieces. At that point I realized it was going to be a long couple of weeks. The Cabin: There's nothing special about the cabin. It's attractive, but every M-class ship has a similar layout and a bigger bathroom. The dark wood is nice, there is lots of storage, and the bed is comfortable. But, really, nothing special. On arrival I found that my stateroom hadn't been completely cleaned from the prior guest, even though the steward (oops = the butler) had an extra day. When unpacking I found small items from the previous occupant in three different places - bobby pins on the alarm clock, a map tucked in between the sofa cushions, and lotion on the shelf over the TV. If you have any illusions about a complete cleaning job, rid yourself of them now. The balcony was nice for the extra daylight but this was a cold weather cruise. There was a table and chairs outside that I never used. The flooring looked like basic vinyl, with coloring to look like ship's decking, and glue colored footprints to remind you of the installation crew. It didn't extend under the small divider between balconies, so get used to the look of plain or painted concrete between your balconies. Not my idea of "attention to detail." Temperature control is a problem. Reportedly, the ship got "chilled to the superstructure" from the luggage and provisions loading that happened in Beijing. It took three days for it to recover. As for the shower, approach it cautiously. Sometimes it took more than a minute to get up to operating temperature. Then, it would vary tremendously, from hot spikes to cold freezes. The number on the dial is NOT related to the experience you'll have in the shower. The towels are thick and thirsty, but about half of those delivered to my had obvious frayed edges, as though they had been around far too long and treated way too harshly  Fraying towels are not my idea of luxury. The Staff: I really enjoyed the ship staff and officers. The Captain is one of the most sociable, visible, and earnest officers I've met on any ship. This was my 24th cruise, and he's the first one I looked forward to hearing from at noon each day. He is so into ships, navigation and details of the ports. I found him charming and engaging. He is also honest. At the debarkation talk, he said this was the "hardest cruise of" his entire life. That was true for many of the guests as well. John, the cruise director, was great and really did everything he could to make sure we had a good time. There were lots of other folks - in the dining room, at the coffee shop, in the theater, who did everything they could to make the experience a good one. The guest lecturers, especially Jon Fleming (the port lecturer), were excellent. Guest Relations: An exception to the "great staff" comment would be guest relations and whoever handles guest communications. There's a sense of sloppiness in the documents and timing that was a clear pattern on the ship. The daily program arrived - sometimes when the room was madeup for the night, sometimes later. Even on day two, some of the times were wrong, so I showed up at the spa for session that wasn't going on at the time, even though it was in writing. Small forms - immigration papers for the next countries - arrived without clear instructions for what we should do with them, turn them in or hold onto them. Sometimes they arrived a day early, sometimes a day late. The Guest Relations supervisor (Denise) and the International Host (Andre) were very nice and accommodating. But their commitments for compensation (i.e. an upgrade on my next cruise) were rejected by the home office.  If you ever have someone offer you an upgrade or any compensation for a mess, be sure to get it in writing. Tours: The quality of tour guides was uneven. We were running a couple hours behind in Seoul, so that felt rushed, and the guide in Kyoto didn't have sufficient mastery of English to do a really good job. However, the guides in Shanghai and Hong Kong were superb. Worth every penny. The Ship: This was my first Azamara trip, and I was concerned that such a small ship (30,000 tons) might not be as comfortable as the much-larger M-Class ships. (I've done 6 cruises on M-class ships, so they're familiar.) The best surprise of the voyage was how stable the ship is. I don't know what the builders did, but in 8' seas and whitecaps, it was every bit as comfortable as 90,000 ton ships I've been on. Amazing. The main dining room served terrific food. I think the quality of the food and service declined slightly over the two week trip, but it's far superior to almost every other ship I've been on. It is a small ship, though. There aren't a lot of options for "where to go for drinks" or "where to meet before the show." To be honest, it's so small that each staircase holds one person at a time - no passing - and if you get four people standing in the elevator lobby chatting, you'll have to move them to get past.  It might be better for a warm weather itinerary, but for cold weather, there isn't enough space to feel uncrowded. It's also the most "unfriendly to singles" ship I've been on. I signed up on the belief that it was "single seating."  To me, that means single seating, like the grills on QM2, or Caronia class on the old QE2 - you have an assigned table and can show up whenever you like. In fact, it's "open seating" - which is the same as Freestyle Dining. There are 370 seats in the dining room, and 700 guests. No seating assignments, so on days when tours run late, there is a line to get into the dining room. And, there is no arrangement for sharing tables with others, except the good will of the maitre d'. Under Siege: Shortly after arrival, I heard the ship had an outbreak of G/I sickness (norovirus) on the prior trip, and that 70 passengers were affected. After getting home, I heard the numbers for our trip had gotten up to 170. I was one of them. For the entire voyage, the smell of bleach was everywhere. To the point where we became cautious about letting our clothing touch handrails, door handles, etc. Over the course of the two weeks, all the extras - that make a luxury trip a  luxury - were removed from service. No Captain's club party, no flowers in the room, no canapEs, no afternoon tea in the cabins. Somehow, they managed to keep the casino open during the whole trip, in spite of the obvious infection risk.  Overall: High marks for food, high marks for comfort onboard, but lower marks for everything else I care about on a cruise. I was very glad that it wasn't my only cruise of the year. Not recommended. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009

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