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1,816 Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was our first visit to Hawaii and sixth cruise, our previous cruises being in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, on Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean lines. Booking: We booked directly with NCL through their website, and ... Read More
This was our first visit to Hawaii and sixth cruise, our previous cruises being in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, on Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean lines. Booking: We booked directly with NCL through their website, and reserved an aft balcony category BA cabin 10180. Approximately 4 weeks before sailing, the "UpSell Fairy" called with an outstanding offer to take a category AA owner's suite, cabin 10002, at a reasonable increase in price. Travel: It is six time zones and a 10 hour flight from the east coast. We used One Pass miles to fly Continental non-stop, first class, and it was very comfortable with decent food and wine. Honolulu / Waikiki: Arrived Wednesday evening; had booked Halekulani via their website. Outstanding hotel with reputation for services and dining. We were not disappointed. Centrally located in Waikiki. Lots of shopping. Enjoyed the La Mer, Orchids, and House Without a Key restaurants. Great, elegant hula. A small beach but smooth sand; large beautiful pool and excellent pool staff and drinks. Quiet clientele with many wedding ceremonies. Extensive privacy and security; security staff wore suits and carried covert communications devices. Kicked back quite a bit Thursday / Friday and tried to adjust to the time change. Saturday Boarding: VIP boarding privileges with the suite; we were speeded through in 5 minutes. Our baggage arrived within the hour. NCL Concierge met all suite guests in the Lanai Lounge, and helped with reservations for tours and dining at the specialty restaurants. Cabin: I can't say enough about the Owner's Suite. It is a floating apartment; 1 1/2 baths; a Jacuzzi; dual sinks; stall shower with spray guns; 3 televisions; a huge lanai with chaise lounges, table / chairs, and 60" hot tub completes the picture. The room includes choice of 3 liters of liquor, very decent brands including Beefeater, Stolichnaya and Kahlua. There is also a large espresso / cappuccino machine. Butler service, which we did not make full use of, is included. Only complaint was ice, ice, and more ice. I needed to call every day for ice. Breakfast / Lunch: Suite guests can enjoy private sitting in the Lazy J. Food was good but menu never changed. I did get one bad meal, a "grouper filet" which obviously had just come from the freezer via the deep fat fryer. I was afraid to bite it, expecting to get the hook. Dinner: Dined twice in Jefferson Bistro; twice in Liberty; once in Little Italy; once in East Meets West; and one dinner was the Luau field trip. Portions were small in Liberty, although seating and service was speedy (table for 2) and food was tasty. Little Italy was nothing special. Bistro and East Meets West were excellent. Avoid the Aloha Cafe: we walked through by mistake during the "All You Can Eat Prime Rib" dinner; it was a scene from a freak movie, with heavyweight guests in motorized chariots whizzing by with multiple slabs of beef hanging off their trays. I Told You So: The day after the prime rib dinner, the ship was locked down for a norovirus protection protocol. All the buffets were covered in Saran wrap, with ship personnel doing the serving with latex gloves. The sprayers were out in force, with fire extinguisher-sized bottles of alcohol disinfectant. We later saw a report on Honolulu TV that over 100 PoA guests and staff were ill. Entertainment: The singer / guitarist in Napa Wine lounge was excellent and we enjoyed happy hour there most days. To be kind, the other onboard entertainers were not special and not up to the level we experienced on our other cruises. There were no late night party scenes nor midnight buffets that we were aware of. Day Trips: With the exception of the Kauai Luau, we did our own tours each day. All car rentals were handled by Thrifty; it speeds things greatly by being a Blue Chip member and reserving via the Thrifty website. Maui Day 1: Drove to Lahaina; toured historic sites; clunked my head on the largest banyan tree ever; and shop, shop, and shop. Drove north to DT Fleming beach; lunch at the Ritz-Carlton Beach House (!) which overlooks the action from a serene, cool setting. Note fairly heavy traffic (Sunday) so we made sure to be back on the ship by nightfall. Maui Day 2: Took the Hana Highway a few miles to Paia, which was advertised as the last stronghold of 1960's hippiedom on the Island. Didn't see hippies, but did tour a Buddhist temple (the Maui Dharma Center) and an ancient Japanese cemetery which was crumbling into the ocean. Some light shopping, but really this town can be safely avoided and it looks like most people do. We drove south to Makena Beach State Park. Note, Big Beach and Little Beach; each has different clientele so be cool and don't act surprised. I lost my prescription sunglasses when a rogue wave broke over me. Thanks to the Aussies who helped me comb the surf for the glasses; it's a big ocean. Hot; bring water, sunblock and an umbrella if you can find one to rent. Hilo: Drove to Volcano National Park; did the obligatory viewing of the steaming volcano; I was ready to throw my pocket change into the crater. Walked through the 1st part (artificial lighting) of the Thurston Lava Tube; this is no big deal as I used to exit the NYC Subway at Whitehall Street, and frankly Whitehall St. looked older. We drove back to Hilo and then north to Akaka Falls; nice photos. Ate lunch at "What's Shakin'", which has to be the best smoothie place on the island. We took the 4-mile scenic route back to ship, which passes the botanical gardens. Note many tour buses. We looked forward to the hot lava from our hot tub at 9:45pm; the ship stays about 1/4 mile offshore so needless to say photos are not easy unless you bring great equipment. Kona: Anchor and tenders. Suite guests given priority, thanks NCL. Thrifty does not pick up at the dock, so we cancelled the car and opted for a shuttle to Kahaluu Beach park. The Beach Shack, right across the street from the pier, offers a $20 per person deal for round-trip shuttle including snorkel gear. We saw plenty of nice, green sea turtles: I told a lady near me that they were man-eaters. She really lost it; sorry the devil made me do it. All in all, a very nice experience. Later that afternoon was shop, shop, and shop for coffee, coffee, and coffee. Kauai Day 1: Drove north to Kee Beach, which is the end of the roadway. Nice beach, crowded, parked up the road on the shoulder. Huge banyan tree roots approach the water. Shop, shop, shop at Princeville and more swimming at Hanalei Bay. Some of the characters around Hanalei looked like they'd been puffing the magic dragon for quite some time. Kalamaku Luau: Imagine a wedding with 900 guests, none of whom you know but all of whom seem vaguely familiar. In the center, a stage with scantily clad performers of various genders gyrating to the rhythms of sensual drum beats and studiously avoiding each other's flaming torches. Then, the mighty Pig appears, seemingly rising from its grave, fully roasted and ready to feed one and all. There was also potato salad and coleslaw. Kauai Day 2: Early start; drove south to Poipu Beach. Passed through the exciting Tunnel of Trees. Shop, shop, shop. Note huge developments going on; assume hotels, condos, golf courses are in Poipu's future. Too bad. Breakfast at Brennecke's, then swimming. There is a neat little "island" that you can wade to; makes great pictures. Back to ship early for the 2:00pm sail past the Napali coast. Great photos, just like postcards. Debarkation: Easy. Woke up late, had breakfast in Lazy J and walked off at 9:30am. Thrifty shuttle picked us up right away. Waikiki, Round-2: Three more nights at the Halekulani, this time with a rental car. Saturday - Check in not until 3:00pm. Used hospitality suite to change into swimsuits; slept soundly at pool. Evening walk through Waikiki Beach shopping; viewed penguins and giant goldfish at Hilton Hawaiian Village; couldn't get into Duke's and opted for a quick meal upstairs at the Hula Grill. Note massive street festival going on. Sunday - nice drive up to North shore. We napped on the Banzai Pipeline beach as waves were rough. Found nice lunch at Ola's at Turtle Bay. Excellent swimming at the public beach, which is adjacent to Ola's. The well-advertised north shore shrimp trucks were very, very crowded on Sunday, and we did not wait. Back to Waikiki and casual dining at Jimmy Buffett's at the Beachcomber; avoid Jimmy's Mai Tai's as DW said they were a disappointment, and she is a big drinker (just kidding !!!!). Monday - Early start with take-away fruit from the ABC Store. Drove south, entered the Diamond Head park, but opted out of the 1 ½ hour hike to the summit. Drove through the beautiful Kahala area, skipped Hanuma Bay (DW said too much snorkeling was as dumb as buying an aquarium DVD) and wound up swimming at Sandy Beach. Continued winding around Oahu; got to Kailua Beach Park, very very nice but we were hungry and thirsty (mostly thirsty). Found Buzz's, which has got to be on everybody's list of the best lunch places anytime, anywhere. Truly inspired Asian Seafood Over Linguine Monday special. Note cash only but lunch prices reasonable. DW says Mai Tai's much better here. Tour books suggested a more private beach experience could be had just south of Kailua at Lanikai beach, so sure that's where we went, but everyone reads the same guides and the beach was hardly deserted. Swimming was nice and we had our trusty rubber tubes to float around in the surf and digest Buzz's good food. Note that the return drive to Waikiki from Kailua is spectacular on the Pali Highway (Route 61). Tuesday - Check out day !!! But the Halekulani came through for us. I explained to the lady at the front desk that our flight wasn't until 7:50pm. She offered that we could stay in our room until 3:00pm, and afterward use their hospitality suite to shower and change clothes. Great! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast buffet at HWAK and enjoyed the pool and ocean for the remainder of the day. Wednesday - We woke up in Newark, New Jersey. I must have been dreaming. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third ... Read More
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third cruise on Navigator. I do not understand previous complaints. Navigator is a wonderful ship, and I will return in a heartbeat. Yes, the ship is a tad thread-worn: Chairs in some lounges are a bit threadbare. Areas of carpet have been replaced. The bed was a bit lumpy. But I know that the ship will be going into dry dock in a couple of months, and I understand that these minor deficiencies will be corrected. The service was fine (not overwhelming or suffocating, but as needed above and beyond the call.) I had a minor accident (fall) on a tour: The attendant was ready with disinfectant, bandage, etc. A couple of days later he inquired as to how I was doing. The food was generally quite good -- occasionally exceptionally good. Service was prompt in Compass Rose. Wi-Fi worked well, and the RSSC Seven Seas Society benefits (e.g. free internet at Silver) are very nice. I did notice one area of cut-back from my previous experience. It's a detail. But it grated. Previously, menus for the following day were distributed the previous night along with Passages. I understand why this practice was abandoned: It was costly in paper and toner, and it was definitely not "green." My understanding was that menus were available on interactive TV. That seemed a fair work-around. However, menus were not on the TV. If one wanted to see the menu one had to go to a bar or the restaurant itself. This is really not very satisfactory if one is back from a tour, has showered, is in a bathrobe, and wants dinner served in the suite, and doesn't know what's on offer. Is Room Service to read the entire menu on the phone? This was my major disappointment with my Navigator cruise. If that's the greatest disappointment, the conclusion must be that it was a fine cruise. It was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was my 12th cruise. I chose it as it was advertised as a Transpacific to Japan cruise. Originally it was to cruise the Aleutians and a stop in Russia, but neither happened. Many passengers did not hear of the changes and were ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise. I chose it as it was advertised as a Transpacific to Japan cruise. Originally it was to cruise the Aleutians and a stop in Russia, but neither happened. Many passengers did not hear of the changes and were disappointed. Cabin: the cabin was very attractive and had enough room for a sofa for two. Though we had an inside cabin we did not feel claustrophobic. Food: Variable, from bad to mostly good. The pastry choices were excellent. I would rate the food as cruise fare. The average person will love it, but foodies will be disappointed. The wine steward was aggressive, trying to sell wine by the bottle rather than by the glass. Entertainment: Standard for cruises. The dancers were very good and some of them were obviously very enthusiastic. The person in the light booth could not keep his hands off of the lighting which at time was distracting. More than once spot lights were shone in the audiences faces. At times it distracted from the dancers and singers. Shore Excursions: were very expensive, a big complaint with many passengers. The cities visited had a lot to offer for those who wanted to do their own tour. Ports: We stopped at Hakodate, Otaru, Kobe and Aomori Japan. These are not ports usually visited and are good stops for a day. Season: We were traveling in typhoon season, and were lucky enough to be able to go around one. Because of the typhoon diversion we missed the port of Yokohama and arrived in Kobe one day early. Water: rough 7 out of 8 days on the trans Pacific portion. Embarkation: Vancouver, BC, Canada was the embarkation port and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A couple of days before the cruise would not be time wasted there. It took 30 minutes for embarkation. A very large ship was accepting passengers at the same time at the terminal which may have made the process slower for us. Passengers: This was the oldest and most physically challenged group I have ever seen on a cruise. For our group of 60 we had a need for 8 wheelchairs. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
First, there is a constant hum and vibration from the generators/engines that goes on 24/7. It is ever-present and if you like quiet, you will not find it aboard ship, not anywhere. We have a silver suite, compact and pleasant at ... Read More
First, there is a constant hum and vibration from the generators/engines that goes on 24/7. It is ever-present and if you like quiet, you will not find it aboard ship, not anywhere. We have a silver suite, compact and pleasant at about 700 sq. ft including the bedroom, sitting area, bathroom and narrow deck that holds 2 lounge chairs and 2 small tables. While the insulation between the suite and the hallways - and within the suite itself (meaning you don't hear noise from the bathroom if you are in the bedroom with the connecting doors shut) is quite good, still simply being on the ship is noisy. The rooms - and indeed the ship itself - while having pr as being incredibly luxurious - really is only akin to a new upscale Marriott or Hyatt hotel. While immaculate, it is just not real luxury across the board. Yes, there is a live orchid plant in the sitting area. Yes, there are flat screen tv's, a small refrigerator, and a gift box of godiva chocolates and nice amenities in the bathroom. However, we only have a queen sized bed, not a large California King, which is what you would expect for two people, especially in a suite. The mattress is somewhat soft/not the best - and there are only 2 small, flat standard sized sleeping pillows. The shower in the bathroom is unbelievably tiny. The tub is decent, but again, not really suitable for two. The closet, however, is a nice size and has plenty of drawers and hanging space. Now the food - mediocre at best. Slightly better than an Olive Garden in quality - and slightly less than a Cheesecake Factory, even at their best restaurant La Terraza. There is plenty of food and room service is available 24 hours (only takes maybe 20 minutes to get it delivered) but frankly, it is simply not great. While people rave about how fabulous the food is, it is more like a Zagat rating of 20 out of a possible 30 - and most certainly not a Zagat rating of 27-30. You would never award even one Michelin Star to this food. My guess is, the people who have given it such rave reviews are happier with the free flow of alcohol and not gourmet diners on a regular basis. Service is pleasant on board ship, but again, not to the standard of a truly upscale hotel or restaurant. The waiters and staff are all smiling, but many speak very little English. I had to ask four separate times at dinner to get butter with our breadsticks, and to have my iced tea glass refilled. My pasta was undercooked and could have been served in a hospital cafeteria, and my companion's fish entree was ordinary. Breakfast souffle of artichoke could have been served on an airplane as far as tastelessness went. Croissants were small and somewhat tough. Tea was lukewarm. We have been lucky and been on very calm seas. I took bonine prior to departing, just in case, and it made me quite sleepy. I have been chewing some ginger candy, and all seems to be well. Silverseas MAY indeed be the premier cruise line (as well as Seabourne) yet they cannot compare to on-land accommodations or dining, such as Andrew Harper awards boutique hotels, Relais & Chateaux properties or Rosewood Resorts. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was our second time to Alaska. We went with the Regent Navigator before. Ship: The ship needs a major refirb., cheap look tiles in the public bathrooms, old carpets in many places, 2 star look spa entrance and 1 star quality gym, ... Read More
This was our second time to Alaska. We went with the Regent Navigator before. Ship: The ship needs a major refirb., cheap look tiles in the public bathrooms, old carpets in many places, 2 star look spa entrance and 1 star quality gym, stairways are not wide enought to pass each other even my size (5.9", 155#), laudry room in the deck 4 was removed but still showing in the floor map. Arts and decor are superb. Cabin: Overall very nice, Bulgary toiletties shines (compared to Regent's cheap toilettries), 2 vanities, spacious enought walk-in closet with plenty of hangers, choice of pillows, crisp linens, but towels are not 6 star quality, they are too thin and not soft, the shower door in the bathroom have too much space from the wall to block water splashes when taking a shower, no onscreen account check from your tv screen and need more tv channels. Food: Menu selections were poor compared to Regent and Crystal, pretty good quality but not a real high quality, best bakeries (compared to Regent and Crystal), coffee is not hot, and the inclusive wines were very cheap quality overall. Dining flexiblity is very bad, we wanted to eat at their specialty restaurant La Terraza more than once but we couldn't eat there again even if there are many empty tables every night. I asked to the head waiter in the main dining room whether I can order from the La Terraza menu since I don't like any of them from their dining room menu but he said I can't. I ended up with their everyday flexible menu "Spagetti with pasta sauce" for a couple of times. Service: I was frustrated to ask more coffee or more soft drink to refill all the time (it seems like nobody is checking your emply coffee cup or a beverage glass) but overall very good. They are willing to serve and pleasant (except one head waiter with shaved head who was extremly curt and unfriendly). Cabin stewardess and her assistant were very efficient and nice. Silver Shadow didn't meet our expectations. We have sailed with Regent (Voyager, Navigator and Paul Gauguin) and Crystal (Serenity and Symphony) before and we will sail with them again especially with Crystal. We may give it a try with their new ship the Silver Spirit but not with the Silver Shadow again unless they have a major refurbishment and improve overall quality. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; ... Read More
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Istanbul - Venice   First I wish to make clear that Regent staff on board the ship are one of the best. However, I also wish to be very very clear that Regent corporate staff are simply one of the worst.   For this cruise I selected an F category cabin. For whatever reason Regent corporate thinks that Handicapped rooms are equivalent - trust me - they are not. The cabin assigned to us was poorly maintained (woodwork bashed, mattress was equivalent to a third rate country flop house, shower head damaged) and did not contain either a bathtub or a sofa. Other non-handicapped cabins were nicer in all aspects. Therefore any relationship to this handicap cabin being equivalent is absurd. I would however be completely upset if I had been truly handicapped. This room was completely substandard in relation to other cabins of the same or even lower class that were non-handicapped. In my mind it is only a matter of time before the "disabled" community goes after Regent corporate on their total lack of equal standards.   A note to remember - when talking with Regent corporate prior to your cruise - simply understand - they do not know what they are talking about and will tell you anything to get you off the phone. I was told that handicapped rooms all have couches and glass showers - no, they don't (so why  do they lie or guess?). Also, I made reservations online for the Portofino Grill only to find out that no reservation existed. Again corporate staff dropped the ball.   On a happier note we were transferred to a different cabin at the beginning of the cruise to the last cabin on the stern of the ship. (only cabin available) Yes, there is massive vibration but that was preferable to no bathtub or couch. If you cannot handle loud noise and "massive" vibration - do not even consider anything other than the middle of the ship. I did find that ample digestion of alcohol does reduce the vibration to the point of total bliss.   As I touch on random topics I did wish to speak on the subject of smoking. Yes it does occur on board. Yes, it does occur in cabins and balconies (much to the chagrin of the  smoke police on board) and yes non-smokers are still offended by non-smokers in the smoking areas. Such is life. Personally I am offended by women who think they must take a bath in nauseous perfume. Perhaps we can outlaw that next. BTW, I am a non-smoker.   Status of the ship is simply - worn out. The overdue retrofit of the ship is much needed. Carpet are shot, tables worn, couches bad shape, chairs scuffed - you know the typical wear and tear of years of abuse. Personally if I had known how bad a condition the ship was in - I would have demanded a reduced rate.   "Free Shore Excursions" - First, nothing is free. Second - we went on two of these excursions and both were planned by Regent on maximizing structured sales pitches by vendors on shore. A sad commentary but true. Not only that but on the Venice excursion we coughed up an additional $100 bucks to have a private gondola ride - with the excursion lasting 2 and a half hours. Trouble was that for an for the first hour and 55 minutes we were turned loose in St. Marco square to "shop". Therefore the actual gondola ride lasted only 35 minutes. Consider this excursion a - Ripoff.   I would recommend private excursions - better value for your money.   Ports - We did make one change on the itinerary with was substituting Corfu for Albania - a good decision.   Food - without doubt this was the best aspect of the total cruise. I have cruised on several cruise lines and Regent is one of the best with regard to food. Prepare to feast.   Again, I wish to reiterate that shipboard staff were helpful and professional. I wish I could say the same for Regent corporate. It amazes me that answers to passenger questions were simply so wrong. If you don't know the answer - then Regent staff should either not answer or find the correct answer. Making answers up simply leaves one with a bad taste.For this reason alone I will never cruise with Regent again.   So, on a scale of 1 - 10 I would rate Regent cruise line a 6.2.   For comparative purposes I would rate Celebrity at 8.8 and Holland America at 7.9 with Royal Caribbean at 5.9.   Regent in my mind simply does not live up to its hype. My experience is that Regent falls behind Holland America and Celebrity in terms of quality.   Overall not a bad cruise experience - but one that could have been much better.     Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Background Information We are a couple in our mid-fifties. We have been on 15 cruises, but only the last three have been without the kids. This was our first luxury cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew SAS business ... Read More
Background Information We are a couple in our mid-fifties. We have been on 15 cruises, but only the last three have been without the kids. This was our first luxury cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew SAS business class to Stockholm. Crystal had a good deal on an upgrade and it was well worth the extra money to fly business class. The flight and taxi ride to the hotel went very smoothly. In Stockholm, make sure you take a taxi that says Taxi Stockholm and has a large green leaf painted on the side. There are many other taxis with similar names and they will overcharge you. Hotel and Embarkation We got to Stockholm a day before we could board the Symphony and stayed at the Sheraton. We arrived at the Sheraton at 9:30am and were very pleased that they had a room ready for us. The Sheraton is in an excellent location, walking distance from many interesting places. We had a wonderful day sightseeing and sampling great foods and pastries and managed to stay up until 10:00 pm. The next day, we checked out of the hotel around noon and took a cab to the Crystal Symphony, since I had read on Cruise Critic that you could usually check in at noon and have a champagne lunch. Check-in and boarding were quick and efficient. We checked our hand luggage and had a lovely champagne lunch. The many staff were efficient and gracious. Several people welcomed us back, which was odd, since this was our first Crystal cruise. Maybe they thought since we knew you could board early, we had cruised Crystal before. Stateroom Our cabin was small, but adequate. There was very good storage space and the bed was comfortable. Dining The food in the main dining room was very good. The appetizers were excellent. We really enjoyed Silk Road and Prego. We had no trouble getting all the reservations we wanted in either restaurant and the food and service were superb. We enjoyed the breakfasts in the Lido. There was a nice selection and everything was fresh and well prepared, and this was definitely the best buffet breakfast we've had on a ship. The Bistro was one of my favorite places on the ship. They have excellent coffees, teas, beer and wine. There is a good selection of snacks, both savory and sweet. The service was excellent and the snacks were constantly replenished. I wished that The Bistro had longer hours. We enjoyed The Mozart tea. The waiters were dressed up in costume and there were musicians playing Mozart as well as other classical pieces. They served small sandwiches and pastries, which were quite good. Activities There were only two sea days, so we didn't have enough time to attend many of the activities on board. We really enjoyed the enrichment lectures by Marc Ginsburg and the wonderful historical storyteller, Dr. Jay Wolff. Service The service in the Lido for breakfast was outstanding. There were many staff to help carry our trays and refill our coffee. They went out of their way to remember our names and what we liked to eat. The waiters even ordered my husband's waffle for him and brought it to the table when ready. The service at Silk Road and Prego was also outstanding. However, our regular waiter and assistant waiter were good, but did nothing to make them stand out from good waiters on other cruises. Our room stewardess also did a good job, but nothing special. We had to ask to get our robes since by the second day, there were only empty robe hangers in the closet. We certainly got anything we asked for promptly, and it was nice that crystal didn't keep trying to sell us things. In fact, the stores on the ship closed for good before we had a chance to buy everything we wanted. They didn't open after the 10:00 pm sailaway from Rostock. The next morning we were docked in Copenhagen for an overnight stay before we had to disembark the following morning. Entertainment The ship's singers, dancers and band were excellent. There were a lot of songs from musicals, which I enjoyed very much. My husband didn't enjoy them as much but that was because of the type of music, not the caliber of the performers. The dance couple on board, Beverly Durrant and Chris Curtis, were excellent and really fun to watch. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to take any of their dance lessons. There was a British singer, Robert Meadmore, who sang songs from musicals and had an excellent voice. Comedian/Singer Kenny Smiles was very funny. There was a pianist, Naki Ataman, who performed this hour-long piece that included music from 19 different countries around the world, and used "Around the World in 80 Days" as a transition piece. He was accompanied by the bass player and drummer from the band. A London musical show singer Jacqueline Scott was good. She could play piano as well as sing. She sang show tunes, the Minute Waltz, a medley of Beatles songs. The Liars' Club was fun. The panel included the ship's rabbi, monsignor, Dr. Jay Wolff, and comedian, Kenny Smiles. The audience formed teams. Each panelist gave a different definition for each of 4 words. Each panelist also elaborated with stories and jokes. It was funny and entertaining. Port & Shore Excursions The cruise had a wonderful itinerary. It began with an overnight stay in Stockholm, followed by a day at sea, then a two-night stay in St. Petersburg, a day in Helsinki, a day at sea, a day in Gdansk, a day in Rostock and an overnight stay in Copenhagen. Free shuttle buses: Crystal provided free shuttle buses from the ship to Stockholm, Helsinki, Gydnia, and Copenhagen. In Germany, Crystal provided free shuttle buses to both Warnemunde and Rostock, since our ship docked in Rostock, rather than the more commonly used port, Warnemunde. We enjoyed seeing Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen on our own. We had good guidebooks and maps and it was nice to see what we wanted to see at our own pace. The highlight of the cruise was St. Petersburg. We had booked a private tour with Anastasia Tours for just my husband and me. (FYI, When we boarded the ship for the last time before sailaway to St. Petersburg, Crystal took our passports. They returned them the next day with one copy of the main page.) We were scheduled to meet our guide from Anastasia Tours at 9:30. We left the ship around 9:00 and had no trouble with passport control. There was a short line. They needed our passport, a copy of the main page of the passport, and our ticket from Anastasia Tours. They gave us a small, red laminated card that we had to turn back in before we got on the ship at the end of the day. I had made copies of our passport pictures for all three days, but they only asked for them on the first day. They did look at our passports and our Anastasia tickets all three days. The next two days, we got off the ship about 8:30 am, and there was no line and there were no problems. I don't know if the ships tours had already left, but there were no issues. Our guide, Natalya and driver Dimitri were excellent. Natalya spoke excellent English. She had an advanced degree in English from St.Petersburg University and taught there, as well as being a tour guide. She also loved St.Petersburg and knew the history in great detail. Her grandmother, who was still living in St. Petersburg, had been there during the siege and Natalya had many interesting stories to tell. Since it was just the three of us, we never had to wait in line. Natalya always moved us to the front of the line and we got in right away. Anastasia told me that this is perfectly acceptable procedure for groups of five and under. We even had priority embarkation to get on the hydrofoil and we were the only three passengers on our canal cruise. We got to see a lot in three days, and had two wonderful Russian meals and (at my request) a trip to a supermarket. It was like a very nice Walmart, huge with everything you could think of. There was a lot of fresh fish and more Vodka than I had ever seen in one place. I highly recommend Anastasia Tours. The price was very reasonable for such a great, three-day private tour. We took a ship's tour in Gdansk that basically provided bus transportation to Gdansk with a guide explaining things as we drove. We had two hours on our own in Gdansk. We asked the tour guide if we could be dropped off in Gdynia, spent about an hour in Gdynia and took the Crystal Shuttle bus back to the ship. We had done a lot of sightseeing by this point and wanted an easy day. Our ship docked in Rostock, not Warnemunde. I knew this ahead of time and it is much more difficult to take the train from the Port of Rostock than from Warnemunde. None of the ship's tours sounded that good go me. We had decided not to go to Berlin. We've never been there and we didn't want to spend 3 hours each way getting to Berlin and back to spend only 6 or 7 hours in such a great city. I was very happy when I discovered Friends of Dave Tours on Cruise Critic. Dave is American who has lived in Germany the past ten years. He is extremely knowledgeable about the area and was extremely helpful. He even went to the Port of Rostock to check it out ahead of time and contacted Crystal Cruises to find out their plan for shuttle buses. Dave arranged a wonderful tour to Wismar for us and another family. We took the Crystal shuttle bus to Rostock and Dave was waiting for us at the bus stop. We then embarked on a very interesting day in Germany. After a short walk around Rostock, we took the tram and then the train to Wismar. We were extremely glad to have Dave as our guide. It was by no means obvious what to do and where to go at the train station and Dave already had our tickets and was leading the way. After an hour's train ride to Wismar, he took us all around this wonderful city and told us all about the culture and history. He also took us to a 500 year old Brewery for an absolutely wonderful lunch. His rates are per person and are very reasonable. The price included the train tickets, lunch and drinks at an outdoor restaurant. His website is friendsofdavetours.com Disembarkation Crystal really excelled here. Our flight wasn't until 3:30 pm. We got off the ship about 9:45 am and Crystal bussed passengers with later flights to a very nice hotel with a hospitality lounge with pastries and drinks. The hotel, The Imperial, was right in the middle of downtown Copenhagen, so we could leave our luggage there and sightsee for a few hours. Depending on the time of your flight, Crystal either provided taxi vouchers for passengers to get to the airport or they provided a bus at 12:30 pm. I thought this was handled very well. Overall impressions Our first two days on the ship, several waiters welcomed us back or otherwise recognized us from previous cruises. It was pretty odd at first, since we had not been on a Crystal cruise before. We guessed that we looked a lot like another couple that had cruised with Crystal before or the staff were trained to "remember" passengers in order to make them feel special. The ship is beautiful and very clean. It was only about half full, so there was never a line and there were lots of helpful crew members. This was the best cruise we have taken although Crystal didn't meet quite meet my expectations. This may be because I have read for years about how wonderful Crystal is and perhaps my expectations were unrealistically high. We will most likely cruise with Crystal for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We are a family of three (late 30's, DD age 7) who had previously sailed HAL to Alaska and Island Princess to Hawaii. No other luxury line experience to compare it to. Our overall experience was very positive in regards to itinerary, ... Read More
We are a family of three (late 30's, DD age 7) who had previously sailed HAL to Alaska and Island Princess to Hawaii. No other luxury line experience to compare it to. Our overall experience was very positive in regards to itinerary, ship, service, and food.Our 11-day itinerary on the PG July 7 cruise differed somewhat from the typical 7-day one. We sailed from Papeete to Rangiroa, then had 2 sea days en route to the Marquesas. There we stopped in Hiva Oa and Nuka Hiva, before sailing the return trip to the Societies (Bora Bora, Taha'a motu, and Moorea, before docking again in Papeete). EMBARKATION: We had booked our own air from DC to LAX, where we did an overnight near the airport. The airport hotels have set up a trolley service that runs to Manhattan Beach for a cost of $2/ea. If you're looking for a way to kill some time before you fly out. In theory it's great, but we experienced bus breakdowns on the outbound and an hour wait for the bus on the return. Still cheaper than renting a cab. Alternately, you can take the Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica for 75 cents; longer route and somewhat rundown neighborhoods. Our flight to Papeete was using Regent air - ATN 1pm flight out of LAX, which got us in around 6:30pm the day of departure. We were met at the ATN desk in LAX by a Regent rep who checked off our names. There is very little in the terminal after security in terms of food, so be forewarned. Most of the people on the plane were fellow cruise passengers. We were in coach and the seats got mighty uncomfortable after about 2-3 hours—very cramped, not good cushioning. Be prepared. Food was ok and wine was provided, plus people were in pretty good spirits which helped the flight! The movie system is very weird. You have to wait until the longest movie has finished playing until you can watch another one, and they are not on demand. There were no TV channels but there are games and music. Between that and a good book, you should be covered on the outbound. The return trip is another matter.... At the airport, we experienced a long, sweltering wait to get through Immigration. No AC, just fans. If there is any way you can maneuver yourself to be toward the front of this line, suggest doing so. They are very concerned about preventing H1N1 from entering the country. They give you a health questionnaire and use remote thermal scanning in the airport terminal to detect anyone with a fever. Bags were put out promptly and then we breezed through Customs (nothing to declare) and outside. There, RSSC was handing our flower leis and directing people to the buses. At that point our luggage was taken and we did not see it again until in our cabin. The ship was beautiful in the Papeete harbor, all lit up. They directed us up to the Grand Salon where we completed a health questionnaire and had our pictures taken, and were issued our key cards. And given a glass of champagne. Then we were escorted to our rooms. Overall, the process was quick (5 minutes) and painless. CABIN: We were in 738, a C category balcony room close to midship. The room, while not large, was clean and well laid out. For two people, it would have been considerably more comfortable. Three people created some logistical issues. First, there is good closet space for 2 people so we ended up storing DD's clothes in the hallway drawers. Bit tight but still doable. When the sofa bed is folded out, this blocks the balcony door—so if you're an early riser who likes to watch the sunrise, you will have to clamber over the sofa bed. The sofa bed itself, while narrow, was extremely comfortable. I found the main bed to be a bit too firm from what I'm used to, but linens were good, with feather comforter. The in-room bar is stocked with beer, bottled water, and sodas. DH asked for Hinano beer instead of Heineken or Bud and the stewardess was happy to oblige. Despite knowing we could ask for bottles of spirits for the cabin, we found we really didn't want or need them since there are plenty of bars within easy reach and they were always generous with the wine at dinner. Other useful things to know: There is a laundry line in the bathroom if you want to bring your own laundry soap. They also provide a sewing kit. The TV has limited channels; we mostly looked at the daily program and port summaries. The daily program includes the drink of the day, in case you want to try something different. (My favorite - Bora Bora Lagoon1) We made use of the DVD player in the evenings and on sea days. They have a pretty decent DVD library by Reception or you can bring your own. The furniture on the balcony appeared to be new and was in good condition. SHIP: The ship has 3 restaurants, 3 bars, saltwater pool, spa, gift shop, and small casino. La Pallette reportedly gets hopping late at night! We did not make use of the spa or casino facilities. Check out snorkel equipment from the dive center early in the cruise; you will keep it for the duration of the trip and turn it back in before you leave. We did not notice any issues with mustiness of carpets or condition of furniture as has been previously reported. This was likely resolved this past December during drydock. Pet peeve: Despite the standing notice in the daily schedule telling people that anything left on chairs for more than 20 minutes would be picked up by the pool staff, there was a LOT of "chair saving" going on. Either that, or people would leave and not dispose of their used towel, so when other people came looking for a seat it was difficult to tell what was in use or not. Very tough to get a chair. This is something that needs more enforcement by pool staff so that everyone can enjoy. In hindsight, I wish I had commented about this on the comment card left early on, but it was early enough in that I had not really noticed it yet. PASSENGERS: There was an interesting mix of people—different nationalities and ages. There were some Aussies, French, and Americans. A crew member told me there were fewer French passengers than on past sailings to Hiva Oa, as many people like to make a pilgrimage of sorts to Paul Gauguin's resting place. There were retirees and honeymooners, and people in between. There were only a handful of children on the ship (10) even though they had a kid's program and there was a 3rd person sails free promo, which surprised me. But it's a long trip out and back, so understandable. More on the kid's program follows in a minute. FOOD: Overall, we found the quality and variety of the food to be excellent. Breakfast always has the usual suspects of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, fresh fruit, pastries, smoked fish, cereal, oatmeal, and the like. You can order pancakes (plain, blueberry, or banana), waffles, or a made-to-order omelet. The fresh-squeezed orange juice was definitely so. They make all their pastries and bread in-house, fresh. Very good. Coffee was the only thing a bit bleh; I did ok with it anyway, and you can order an espresso or cappuchino in la Pallette. In La Veranda, you can order eggs benedict or lamb chops; however, we usually ate in Le Grill since we found the service to be better and enjoyed the views. Lunch is a buffet arrangement, with standard items available (salad bar, cheese display, pasta station, fruits, desserts) and themed hot items that change daily. For example, one day we had an excellent seafood paella in Le Grill. They also had themes of Italian, Asian, Polynesian, and International. I loved the curries and stews. In L'Etoile, a good tip is that you can also order grilled fish each day. A note on the fish: when we did a tour of the galley, they told us they buy the fish fresh in Papeete each week, then freeze and use as they go. Varieties included moonfish, wahoo, and tuna. For dinner, you have an option of L'Etoile, Le Grill, or La Veranda, with dining starting at 7pm. Canapes are served in Ls Pallette and the Piano Bar at 6:30pm. Fresh local fish is always on the menu, particularly wahoo and moonfish; they also serve tuna and occasionally marlin, and as a special menu item once served lobster tails (these are spiny Tahitian lobsters so be prepared for them to be small). Le Grill and La Veranda are reservations-only; however, our experience was that we could always get a table in Le Grill (particularly if we went when they opened); we ate there 4-5 times and La Veranda twice during our 12-night cruise. While the food in L'Etoile was good, we found it a bit loud and it takes about 90 minutes to get through dinner. Not an issue for most travelers, but we were with a 7-year-old (very patient, but tough to last after a long day—she actually fell asleep on the table waiting for dessert one night!). Much faster in Le Grill. You can also get a great steak there. Service was always excellent for us in Le Grill. They remembered our drink and lunch preferences and always were there to carry a plate, push in a chair, see if everything was ok. Great staff. In L'Etoille, wine poured liberally and water glasses refilled promptly. There were very long pauses between courses. We witnessed the table of 6 next to us wait, wait, wait for someone just to take their order; they had been seated at the same time and we were getting our entrees when they could finally flag down a waiter. Polynesian night was very lovely; special menu, room decorated in special linens. We ate twice for dinner in La Veranda, once on the 3rd night of the cruise with no complaints, then again on the last night. I do not know if the waiter was spread across too many tables or what, but we did not have a great experience and it was a bit of a disappointing way to end the cruise. Specifically, our water glasses were not refilled (we had to ask), plates were not cleared (the maitre 'd finally stepped in and cleared them himself), the waiter did not check in on us, and when DH asked for the cheese tray he had a plate plopped in front of him with no explanation whereas the table next to us had the selection wheeled out, explained, and served. We actually felt ignored, not something I would expect on any cruise line let along a luxury one. I wondered if they were short staffed or burnt out at the end of the cruise. The only other problem we had was also in La Veranda at breakfast with a problem getting an eggs benedict order, not sure it was a coincidence. However, this experience was the exception to the norm for us. That said, I had similar (positive) service on Island Princess. KIDS PROGRAM: This is not your typical cruise ship kids program, where you drop your kid off for babysitting. The kid's program on PG is one of the things we liked the most about our experience. Run by the Ocean Futures Society, it's led by two naturalists who encourage families to participate in the activities together. Some things are just for the kids. There were a half dozen kids who participated; some teenagers were onboard but were doing their own thing. They taught kids about ecology and biodiversity, who different types of marine life are important for the health of the ocean. They taught about coral structure and used microscopes to look at how coral and algae interrelate. The kids learned about types of fish and taxonomy. They also learned about cultural importance of tattooing, made their own seed bracelets and died pareos, got a tour of the galley winding up with milk and cookies, and toured the bridge as we came into port at Bora Bora at sunset. There were also port activities, such as a bike ride on Rangiroa, hikes on Nuka Hiva and Hiva Oa, bodysurfing at Nuka Hiva's black sand beach (which didn't materialize due to high tide, but we still had fun), the sting ray safari in Bora Bora, and snorkeling in Moorea. The latter included another sting ray encounter and "diving for sunken tikis" - done off the "beacher boat" so be prepared to be hoisted back on! The water is much deeper here than in Bora Bora and they mostly circle underneath you, so if you want a really close encounter make sure to do the Bora Bora trip (the cost of which—for kids—is part of the cost of the kids' program so that's half the expense right there!). At the conclusion of the program, they give you a CD with pictures. The counselors, Bobbie and Jenn, were fabulous and great with the kids. They also led the shipwide enrichment lectures (topics included reefs, sharks, fishes, corals). Rangiroa: We arrived at noon on Day 2, departing at noon on Day 3. Be up on deck 9 for the entry through the pass, as this is a good time to look for dolphins, This huge atoll is jam packed with marine life. We took the glass-bottom boat ride our first afternoon. They throw chunks of bread to attract fish, which swarm like piranhas. We saw all kinds of fish, a white tipped reef shark, and a free-swimming moray eel. The next day, we decided to go exploring and take the tender to the beach. Be forewarned, the beach is not right there as you get off the boat. You will have to walk about a mile or so to get there. We had no idea where we were going and ended up following others for part of the way, then cut over to the shoreline (some nice guy let us cut through his yard, we obviously looked pitiful and lost!) and followed it until we got to something that looked like public beach. Wonderful water, warm and clear. If you don't want to do this, if you go into town, there is not much there either. The attractions here are in the water. Hiva Oa: After a 2-day sail, we arrived at Hiva Oa, a beautiful mountainous island rising out of the Pacific. This is most famous as resting place of Paul Gauguin. We took the ship's 4WD tour in the morning, which took us up to a huge, ancient marae and tiki. This required a bit of a climb through slippery rocks, but the guides were right there to assist people and there were no falls, amazingly. Bring mosquito repellent, they are not kidding about this! Lots of wild chickens, stray dogs everywhere. Check out the fern-like plants that grow by the roadside that curl up when you touch them! In the afternoon, we met up with the kids and parents for body surfing at the black sand beach. Unfortunately, the tides were not cooperating and there was no beach, only rocks and surf, but the kids (being kids) still managed to have fun looking at fish in the tide pools and getting splashed by the surf spray. Nuka Hiva: We were given a warm greeting at the dock by drummers and given flower leis. Shortly after the pier, there are several buildings housing local crafts including jewelry, carvings, and tapa cloth. It may seem expensive but after comparing quality and value to what we saw in the market in Papeete, I highly recommend doing your purchases here. It still requires some careful shopping but we wound up with some high quality carvings for a decent price. We took a 4WD tour to Taipavai Valley—the place where Melville deserted his ship for several weeks and was the setting for Typee. Very dramatic, mountainous (and treacherous) road. You look off to one side of the valley and see the site of the ancient village along the river where houses still stand; to the other side is one of the "Survivor" camps! This valley is full of site after site of old ruins of marae, it's quite overwhelming to see one after another after another. That evening, we had a special treat—they brought on a fantastic troupe of drummers and dancers. Marquesan dancing is unique and very aggressive and passionate. They gave a long performance including dancing of the famous "pig dance"—seeing this was one of the highlights of our trip. DO NOT MISS THIS if you have the same opportunity! Bora Bora: The captain "gunned it" to do the crossing to Bora Bora. We were due in 2 days after leaving Nuka Hiva, but we did the trip in a day and a half—the fastest they'd ever done it. This got us in around 4:30pm the evening before. BONUS: The kids and parents had their bridge tour scheduled originally for 3pm, but the captain moved it up to coincide with arrival into port. Nothing better than seeing the view of Bora Bora at sunset from the bridge of the PG as we head into port! The early arrival allowed passengers to tender ashore for the evening to watch the singing and dancing at the Heiva festival which runs in July each year. The next day, we did the Sting Ray Ballet and Snorkel Safari. The stingray feeding takes place in waist-high water; we did not actually feed them ourselves, the naturalist did so, since if you do it the wrong way you can get your fingers pinched. The sound of the boat is like a dinner bell to them, and they swarm around and "climb" you looking for fish. Everyone had a great time. Following the stingray feeding, they take you to the coral gardens for snorkeling. Lots of fish and colorful corals, but currents and waves were a bit strong while we were there. In the afternoon, we took the tender to the Bora Bora motu for a few hours. The tender for this runs every hour, as opposed to every half-hour, so make sure to check the schedule and be down there a few minutes early. This is a lovely beach, lots of big palms. No chairs, so bring the beach towel provided in your cabin. They have a bar with limited supplies—beers, sodas, water, rum punch—and snacks (peanuts and chips). It's very relaxing to spend a few hours here with a book or just enjoying the view and water. Taha'a Motu: Great day! There is a really good reason to be on the first tender out. There are lots of chairs but not many LOUNGE chairs. A waiter warned us about this and he was right. We were first on the tender but last ones off (the load off the steps, not the water landing ramp as on Bora Bora) so it's actually ok to be toward the back on the boat. We had to scramble to find loungers as it was. Another good tip from someone else in line: As you face the island, the right side of the island is the windward side and is subsequently cooler. The left side, while by the beach, is more crowded and hotter with less breeze. The motu day is well organized, and it's a bit of a feat considering what they need to organize. There is a full bar, serving a range of drinks (option to have in a coconut!) or you can have a fresh-split coconut and drink the coconut water. The buffet included poisson cru, salads, burgers, hot dogs, grilled fish, fish kabobs, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, fruit, and desserts. There are kayaks available, volleyball, and snorkeling. Activities included crown-weaving, pareo dying, and a talk about vanilla farming and uses by the vanilla vendor. There are also crafts for sale, including the aforementioned vanilla and related products, I bought some nice pareos here, unlike the pareo I bought in Bora Bora that was beautiful but turned me blue! Suggest you check for colorfastness when you buy things before turning into a smurf like me. It was pretty funny, though. Moorea: This island has absolutely beautiful scenery—gorgeous! We took part in the morning Dolphin & Whale Watch excursion with Dr. Poole. Though the tickets say this is not a swim-with-the-dolphins excursion, be sure to bring your swimsuit and snorkel gear. Fortunately we wore our swimsuits; others did not and regretted it. After much searching, we did not see a single dolphin. Disappointment but it happens, though rarely. Then suddenly he brought the boat to a halt—we had found the first whale of the season! It was a young humpback, who was quite curious about us and the boat. He circled the boat and dove right under it the boat. Dr. Poole instructed several of us how to enter the water quietly and he collected floating skin samples from the whale, which he uses in his research. The group was awed by this magnificent creature, which approached us repeatedly, lay on its side right next to the boat—just several feet away. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than watching a whale dive directly underneath you, becoming smaller smaller smaller in the depths. It was truly a lifetime experience we felt privileged to share. Through the kids' program, in the afternoon we did the afternoon stingray & tiki snorkel safari, then checked out the vendor booths just off the dock that had a nice variety of crafts. After departing Moorea, we had a brief sail along the coast, enjoying a beautiful sunset while a selection of tapas were served on the pool deck, before arriving back into Papeete. DISEMBARKATION: In sum, everything is great until you get to the airport. But if you want details, here's what I suggest you do. Have a light breakfast and get off the boat for a while—walk over to the Papeete market and check out the produce and crafts. I was reassured our woodcarving purchases from the Marquesas were MUCH better quality than anything sold here, and did not buy anything, but we did pick up some vanilla. If you have time before the cruise, there are some wonderful flower arrangements for minimal cost here. The market is very hot, so we ended up cutting it a bit short. After the market, you can return to the ship for a nice brunch before disembarking when your group is called. We had opted for the 2 ½ hour bus and museum tour. It was fine, but I ended up regretting it. Should have gone straight to the hotel (Radisson) to relax before what was ahead. The hotel itself is wonderful, set on a black sand beach. Our dayroom was HUGE. Really wonderful, as was the pool. Unfortunately, we were so hot and tired after the tour that we just had energy to cool down and rest before dinner, so we did not get to enjoy either the beach or pool, a major shame. The restaurant has a nice view of the beach and is open-air with a large domed ceiling. But both the service and the price tags were a shock (the latter I expected, especially after being on the PG, but we had to wait nearly an hour for burgers). There was a huge crowd waiting for the buses. We ended up on the last one, with plenty of seats, but then of course were last in line at the airport. And what a line! Make sure to get a cart for your bags, otherwise it's an extra excruciating crawl. When we finally did get on the plane, someone passed out several rows back from us (probably from the heat) but we did eventually take off. Here's something else to be prepared for. The plane takes off at 11:30pm. They then keep all the main cabin lights on until they serve dinner several hours later. By the time you land—-even assuming you are able to sleep at all—-you will most likely feel like death warmed over. In sum, everything is great until the airport! Our family had a great trip, and I would love to make the trek again eventually someday. For the price, however, I am not convinced we could not have an equivalent experience for slightly less money, even with extra expenses, on another cruise line—although the kids' club experience couldn't be replicated, which for us (at this point in our lives) was a major part of this trip. The small size of PG is terrific, however, so that's a tough trade off I might not want to make. We hope others who plan to sail PG will find information provided here useful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
My wife and I have been regular cruisers with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.  We typically like their ships, the itineraries, concierge class and the service.We recently took a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean which started in ... Read More
My wife and I have been regular cruisers with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.  We typically like their ships, the itineraries, concierge class and the service.We recently took a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean which started in Rome.  It was the outset of this trip that caused us the most grief and I hope we can save others from the same predicament.  We purchased the transfers from Celebrity to/from the pier in Civitavecchia, Italy.  Celebrity personnel met us at the airport and we were going to carry on small bags onto the bus when a Celebrity rep told us there was no storage for small bags on the bus.  Therefore, we had to put cabin tags on the small bags and Celebrity transported them directly to the ship and then to our cabin.  We checked our bags with Celebrity around 9:30AM.At 3PM all but one of our bags was delivered to our cabin.  The last bag ended up showing up 30 minutes later.  When my wife opened it she could tell it was ransacked.  Items were opened (but not stolen), but we found that our camera had been stolen.  They left the camera bag and instruction booklet.  My wife immediately went down to Guest Relations who made her fill out a "Personal Property Report".  When she was leaving the Guest Relations desk she ran into some people we met on the same bus from the Rome airport.  They were standing in line to also file a theft report.  Seems they had a laptop computer and other items stolen.In retrospect, I wish we would have arranged transportation to/from the pier other than what was offered by Celebrity.  Transportation where our bags would not have left our sight.  Looking back on it I have to say it was a little odd that the Celebrity rep at the airport told us there was no room on the bus for small carry on bags.  The buses had storage underneath and we could have very easily stored them there, but the rep did not tell us this.  Perhaps the Celebrity reps were in on the whole theft scheme?Our suggestion to you is to arrange your own transportation that is NOT through Celebrity.  Make sure you have control of your bags.  If you choose to take Celebrity transportation to/from the airport make sure you refuse for them to take your smaller carry on bags.  Tell them that you want it stored under the bus.  This might save you the same aggravation that we went through.  Consequently, we have no photos of this wonderful cruise. And, it seemed as if Guest Relations on the ship could give a shxt about the theft.  We had to ask for a signed copy of the Personal Property Report four times before we received one.  This whole situation caused my wife and I to decide that we will no longer sail Celebrity or Royal Caribbean Cruises.  We like the product, but we don't like the way they treated frequent customers, therefore, we'll take our business elsewhere.The Solstice was a very nice ship.  It was carrying more than 3000 passengers on our trip, but you could never tell it.  The only time you knew it was crowded was on "at sea" days and it was very difficult to get a lounge chair outside.I have to agree with other reviews that the food was not as good as previous Celebrity cruises that we've taken, but it was certainly acceptable.  The menus are the things that have become strange like serving meat loaf and spaghetti & meatballs.  But there are all kinds of other options if you don't want to eat in the dining room.  For example, you can have the same menu as the dining room delivered to your cabin if you want to eat there.  Just give them enough notice on what you want and the time you want it delivered.  You can eat in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 which offers a good variety of food choices.  Or, you can pay extra money to eat at one of the 4 "cover charge" restaurants that are onboard.  Trust me, you won't go hungry.Our concierge class cabin (2107) was on deck 12 and it was in a great location.  Our cabin attendant was outstanding as usual, we always had fresh fruit in our cabin and snacks prior to dinner each night.  I think they've upgraded the mattresses in concierge class along with the bath towels.  We had a very large veranda and the cabin was plenty large. They did a great job in sound proofing the cabins, too.We found the entertainment to be good, but realize that Celebrity was never known for outstanding entertainment.  I read some other reviews about the entertainment being poor, but we found it to be good.  There are lots of things going on throughout the day if you want to take advantage of it ... or ... you can just kick back and relax.The Lawn Club on the top deck was fascinating.  You're able to play Bocchi ball, ring toss or practice your putting skills.  The glass blowing show is up there, as well, and that proved to be one of the most popular things onboard.All in all, it's a gorgeous ship and lots of places for you to explore once you're onboard. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
I will try to be as complete, candid and unbiased as possible.  I will not tell you everything is perfect or that everything is terrible. All cruises have good points and bad points. Hopefully, the good far outweighs the bad.Pre-cruise, ... Read More
I will try to be as complete, candid and unbiased as possible.  I will not tell you everything is perfect or that everything is terrible. All cruises have good points and bad points. Hopefully, the good far outweighs the bad.Pre-cruise, Barcelona: We arrived after a relatively simple two flight legsLAX to Heathrow, Heathrow to Barcelona around 7:45 pm and took the VERY EASY "Aerobus" from the airport to Placa Catalunyasteps from our hotel, the Hotel Continental. A taxi could not have been much simpler or easier and the cost was minimal.The Hotel Continental is both incredible AND disappointing. The incredible: The location. There could not be a better location in all of Barcelona. We had a Las Ramblas View Balcony Room on the "Third Floor" literally looking straight down on all of the action on Las Ramblas. Right out the front door was a choice of restaurants, shops, bars and more. It was NOT noisy when the doors were shut and the drapes drawn. There were electric shades, operated by a switch near the door, which closed the room off from the outside light. The disappointing: My wife hated the bedthought the mattress was too hard. The room was rather small and the reports were correct about the "plastic furniture". I was fine with it.  It's not like we had to live there for more than three nights and, to me, the location was unbeatable. To my wife, she would have preferred a more upscale five-star hotel with a big soft bed.There was free internet and a public computer down in the main lobby area. The 24 hour buffet was well stocked including free 24 hour beer and wine.  Of course, it wasn't exactly Napa Valley Cabernet they were servingbut free is free.Embarkation: We checked out of the hotel around 11 am and took a taxi right to the ship. Embarkation was well run and easy and we were on the ship in minutes enjoying a nice lunch at the buffet. First, of course, we stopped by Polo and made our reservations for our nights in Polo and Toscana.The Nautica: This was our second cruise on the Nautica. We were on it in 2006, just after Oceania acquired it and refurbished it. Three years later I can tell you the ship is in great conditionlooks brand new. Hard to believe it is a 10 year old ship. There is not a single instance where I noticed any material wear. Our cabin (#7051midship deck 7, category A1 Concierge level) was exactly as I remembered from last timespacious, well appointed.  King sized bed, small love seat type sofa, desk, small table, balcony with two deck chairs. Public areas are limited, but appropriate for this size shipnever felt crowded, always able to find a seat in any venueincluding deck chairs on at-sea days and reasonably located seating for the shows even when arriving barely on time.Dining: This cruise confirmed for me that this is one of the really strong points for Oceania. The food was consistently excellent, menus were varied and offered many choices. Service was good (We'll get to the few issues later on). We generally ate in the Main Dining Room for all meals except our two nights in Polo and two in Toscana and the two occasions we had room service breakfasts delivered to our cabin. Toscana, in particular, was excellent. Some of our friends found Polo a little disappointingmostly in the quality of the steak.  Of course, I ordered lobster both nights so I wouldn't know.Entertainment: As much as Dining is a strong point, entertainment is Oceania's weak link. Of course, if entertainment doesn't matter much to you, it is no big deal. As there is never more than one show per night (at 9:45) and there could not be more than half the ship there, obviously, over half the passengers really didn't care. There were basically only three "headline" performers on the ship: Comedian Tom Drake, Guitarist Vincenzo Martinelli and Magician Harry Maurer. Being a small ship, I actually had the opportunity to meet, socialize with and have drinks with both Tom and Vincenzo as well as Piano Bar pianist and part-time headliner Jerry Blaineand these are all great guys and wonderful performers. Tom is quite funnyand a perfect match for a cruise shiprelates well to the audience and really seems to love this job. Vincenzo is an amazing guitarist. We have had the opportunity twice now to enjoy Jerry's work and he almost seems like family. So, when I question Oceania's entertainment, it really isn't an aspersion aimed at these guys. They are all quite good. What Oceania lacks is in quantity and variety. On a 14 night cruise, with only three individual headliners to draw from, you end up overexposing all of them. as good as Vincenzo is, hearing flamenco and classical guitar for four shows gets to be a bit much. Some nights, there was no real main showthe time slot was replaced with "Movie Night".  Three nights, the show was staged as a singing show spotlighting one of the female assistant cruise directors, Joanne and Lucy and one night by Jerry moving his act to the "big room". If one is accustomed to the entertainment one finds on the big ship cruise lines, this line-up can be quite disappointing. That said, we still enjoyed the showsthough we always felt a little let down to find only "movie night" on the program.Activities, night life and at-sea days: More noticeable to us than the entertainment deficiencies is the relative lack of activitiesas much a result of ship size and passenger demographic as it is any fault of Oceania's. With a small ship, you simply have limited venues and limited staff. And a majority of passengers seemed to be in bed by 9, so even where activities were scheduled, they were sparsely attended. I am a night person and, I guess, relatively young compared to the overall ship demographics. At night, after the aforementioned show, there was typically only one activity on the agendathe "disco". On a typical night, there were more crew members than passengers in the disco.  I guess that's one reason I found myself socializing with as much of the crew and entertainers as I did. There was Karaoke only two nights and very few volunteer performers.  I actually found myself singing four times (CCR's "Lodi" and "Looking Out My Back Door", the Beatles' "Back in the USSR" and the Boxtops' "the Letter") and those who know me well know well that I can't carry a tune.  Of course, that's what usually makes Karaoke fun.  But, on the Nautica, there was hardly anyone there to enjoy it.  Again, the passengers' fault, not Oceania's. What was Oceania's fault was the dreadful selection of Karaoke choices.  I wanted to do the Kinks' "Lola"and it was on the list, but wouldn't work.  Past that, NOTHING by Jimmy Buffett (and this is supposed to be a cruise ship??).  They had a few Rod Stewart tunes, but NO "Maggie May"!!!Trivia: Okay, for me, this is a BIG item. I love triviaand never miss a session on an at-sea day or when returning from port on time. We had a team comprised of members of our CruiseCritic.com Roll Call and won virtually every trivia session, even trouncing the competition, including a team made up of Cruise Director Dottie and the Crew the one day she turned the quiz over to one of our members to host (thus taking a valuable member off of our team). All lots of fun. But, here is the "downer": All cruise long, they were hyping the "Collect 'Big O' points".  On other cruise lines, there is "instant gratification" for winning a trivia sessiona key chain, a t-shirt, a water wallet, a hat, a luggage tag, a ball point pen or some other meaningless logo trinket.  I do have a drawer at home filled with these itemssouvenirs of a sort from many wonderful cruises.  Most sort of worthless, but occasionally a really nice prize like a t-shirt or a tote bag. Now, last time on Nautica, we had this "points" thing and, at the end of the cruise, they put out a table with a variety of items. We were sort of expecting the same this time.  I figured I'd walk away with maybe a hat and a t-shirt or something of the sort based on how many Big O points I had collected. Imagine our surprise at the end of the cruise when the ONLY items offered in exchange for all those Big O points (in my case, over a hundred) were Oceania Mouse Pads or plastic screwdriver/penlight combos.  Who even uses a mouse pad nowadays?Here's the thing, Oceania: DROP THE "BIG O" POINT THING.  It only infuriates people. If you are not going to give out some sort of meaningful prize, don't tell people to collect "points" for 14 nights. Other cruise lines give out better "prizes" for winning a single trivia game or other activity.  You look really cheap giving a mouse pad to someone who's won every activity for 14 nights. Rather than do what you are doing, it would be better to tell everyone in advance that the activities are for the fun of it only and no prizes will be awarded.  For me, I'd likely play anyway.  I enjoy the "sport" of trivia and other contests and no reward is necessary to gain my participation.  The "Big O" points would be fun if they meant somethingbut, in this case, it was more insulting than anything. So, don't publish "Big O Points" multiple times in each day's "Currents" and stop announcing it on the ship.The funniest part was the night AFTER they had the Big O point redemption, they had the "Game Show" titled "Brain of the Nautica"sort of a 15 person trivia challenge where contestants were knocked out of the running after missing their third random question.  I won.  My prize??? Three more "Big O points"!!!The ports: Actually, the biggest attraction on this cruise was the itinerary. The ports were sensational.  Of course, some better than others.  If I were to tweak this itinerary, I'd actually do it by removing two portsCrete and Cyprusand trading them for more time in Egypt and Israel. In Crete, we visited the Palace at Knossos on a ship's shore excursionand, though an interesting archaeological site, it pales compared to what one finds in Egypt and Israel. My assumption is that by cutting out Crete, you could get into Alexandria sooner than noon, maybe even the night or afternoon before, allowing passengers to do a more complete two days in Cairo and Giza if they so wanted. Cyprus was pleasant, but really little worth seeing compared to the other ports. It would be great to replace it with a second day in Ashdod. Jerusalem was easily a full day's worth of touring and it would have been nice to also visit Masada and the Dead Seabut, not enough timeand we wouldn't have wanted to have given up our day in Northern Israel out of Haifa eitherwe hired a private guide and went to the incredible archaeological sites at Megiddo and Caesaria.We also really enjoyed Tunisia and Malta and Ephesus is always enchanting. This was our first opportunity to visit the Terrace Houses and I highly recommend them.   Ports:Barcelona: We have been here several times, so we didn't really need to see anything but we did tour some of our favorite placespretty much on our own. We visited the Picasso Museum, took the interior tour of the Sagrada Familia, then took the rear elevator up and walked down [Note: For those visiting the Sagrada Familia, there are two elevators. 2.5 euro per person. The one near the front usually has a line with waits up to half an hour or more. The one in the back typically has no line. The front elevator allows for a ride both up and down, the one in the rear, for some odd reason, up onlybut the walk down is pretty cool with great photo ops along the way.], Park Guellwhere we went inside Gaudi's house.  We also took in a tapas dinner and Flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in El Poble Espanyol on Montjuic-pretty good dinner and show.Tunisia: Arranged for a tour for sixwith fellow CruiseCritic Roll Call membersthrough Chris Sheridan at TouringMalta.com http://www.tourinmed.com/index.htm. Excellent tourcovered several sites including Ancient Carthage, Sidi Bou Said and the Medina.Malta: Same thing as for Tunesiaa private tour for six arranged with Chris Sheridan. We went to Valletta, Mdina, Hagar Qim and Marasxlokk. Hagar Qim was really incredible.  Sort of a several thousand year old Maltese Stonehenge. Best guide of the tripChristine Muscat kristinmuscat@hotmail.com She is the President of the Maltese Tour Guide Unionan Anthropologist by education.  Excellent.Crete: We took an Oceania Shorex to the Palace at Knossosnot our favoriteokay archaeological site.  But it's a short day in Crete and not much else to see there.Alexandria: We took the Oceania Shorex entitled "Roman Influence on Alexandria". It hits the basic three ancient sites really left in this townPompey's Pillar, the Catacombs and the Roman Theater. Another short day as we arrived only at noon. some from the cruise chose to do an overnight in Cairo, but we figured the first days was sort of a waste anyway as we wouldn't have much time to see Cairo that day.  The Shorex was fine.Port Said: We joined a group of six for the private van tour booked through Oceania. Went to Sakkara, Memphis and the Pyramid/Sphinx.  Yes, it is a long drive back and forth.  But the tour was pretty goodbetter than doing it with 30-40 people in a big bus. When you add the entrance fees and cost of lunch, it doesn't really come out to any more $ than the shorex.  Lunch was at Felfelavery good.Ashdod: We booked a private tour with Joel Berman of jtours.com. Very knowledgable. Retired Israeli army officer born in South Africa. Went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) in the morning, then a pretty exhausting tour of Jerusalem the rest of the day.Haifa: Joel met us again at the ship in Haifa and took us on a full day tour to Megiddo, Ein Shemer Kibbutz and Caesaria.  Megiddo and Caesaria are two incredible archaeological sites.  This was a pretty good choice of tours IMHO.Cyprus: We did another shorex to Paphos and Kourion. Paphos is pretty dull. Not really much there but some old mosaic floors. More of the same at Kourion.Kusadasi: We did a private tour for four of Ephesus including the Terrace Houses through Ekol Travel. Really good tour with a guide who stayed with us throughout. Terrace Houses should not be missed.Istanbul: We did a full day tour for four to the Cisterns, Spice Market and other sites along with another couple with Nejat Incedogan. [Note: Nejat does have some physical limitations, so if you want a fast paced tour, he may not be your guy.]. All four of us had been to Istanbul before, so this was really just to see some of the unusual sites we hadn't seen. Went to the Orient House at night for the Dinner/Showalways intriguing.Another day, we did a tour of the Dolambache Palace and visited the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaarthen vegged out the rest of the timewe were there four nights total including the overnight on the ship.  On the day of the overnight, we just hung out onboardnever left the shippretty quiet though. Post-cruise: By the end of the cruise, we were really exhausted.  So many full days of touringin hot weatherlots of walking and steps and dust and dirt. We were ready to just relax and wind down. Last time on Nautica, we stayed pre-cruise at the modern 5-star Conrad, so, this time, we wanted something completely different. We checked into the small 17-room Sari Konak. Room was very small, but nice. I walked out onto our balcony and realized we had the most incredible, completely unobstructed close-up view of the Blue Mosque. we stayed three additional nights post cruise and toured the Dolambache Palace, the Cisterns, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar and other sites at a very leisurely pacea really nice wind-down from the cruise.  Ate at the Orient House for the Dinner show one night, ate a lunch at the "Pudding Shop"as we had done three years ago (I like the place).  Otherwise, ate in small restaurants in the Sultanhamet.  One night, we ate with some of our cruisemates at the "Family Restaurant"Great misprint on their business cards says "She does the cook" (sic)!!Assorted comments re dining:1) Whenever we asked to sit with other people (We're sort of "social" and like to meet and talk to people), the Maitre d' would tell us it was "slow" and they'd seat us at a table for twoeven when it clearly wasn't "slow".  This was a big deal to my wife and at one point she suggested it might keep her from wanting to go back to Oceania in the future.2) They never ask if you might want some Iced Tea and even when you ask for it, it tends to take a LONG time to get it, then they rarely refill it.  I drink LOTS of Iced Tea and this one is a big deal with me.3) I am "Type 2" Diabetic and should not be eating sugar. So, I go out of my way to order "SUGAR FREE" jam for my toast and "SUGAR FREE" syrup for my pancakes. Somehow, Oceania doesn't quite catch onto the idea.  Yes, they stock and deliver the sugar free jams and syrup.  BUT, they deliver the pancakes with heaps of POWDERED SUGAR on them.  You'd think if someone had ordered "sugar free" pancake syrup that maybe they wouldn't want the sugar loaded right onto the pancake??? One time, my wife made it a point to specifically tell the waiter that the pancakes should NOT come with sugarliterally, pulling him aside and going on about it for 3 or 4 minutes.  You guessed it, they were delivered with sugar anyway.Crew: I used to think that Oceania's top assets were 1) Food, 2) Itinerariesbut, from this cruise, I am thinking maybe the best asset they have is the people.  We really had a great opportunity to spend a lot of time with a number of the crew membersspecifically Joanne, Lucy, Terese and Ian from the Cruise Director's staff, entertainers Tom, Vincenzo and Jerry, as I had mentioned before, Rocky from the jewelry shop and others and found them ALL to be genuine, friendly, good peoplemore fun and sociable than some of the passengers.  For 14 nights, I felt like part of the familyand that is a tribute to nothing but these individuals.  Tom (who, as we all learned, is married to Dottie, the Cruise Director), is much more than an entertainerhe is a "true believer"Oceania should put him to work selling the cruises.   And Oceania should consider themselves lucky to have Jerrythe guy puts in first class job night in and night out. Ian and the girls really go out of there way to get to know the passengersat least the ones who take part in games and activities.  After two weeks I feel like I've known these kids for years.  If there is one thing that will bring me back to Oceania, it's these guys (okay, and maybe the food and itineraries).Sickness: Though I never got sick on this cruise, we kept hearing from a lot of our fellow passengers that something was going around. There seemed to be a much higher incidence of this on this cruise than any other I've been on. We had tourmates who had to miss multiple ports. I can't really blame Oceania. I know that when so many people are confined to a limited area and there is a lot of personal interaction that, if someone catches something, it tends to spread.  And, I am not a medical doctor, so I really know little about the causes of this particular epidemic. I do know that Oceania had a number of disinfectant hand cleaner dispensers around the ship, though I didn't see enough people using them. I don't know what more Oceania could have done, so I will leave that to others to comment on.Overall: Despite my nitpicks (Don't get the wrong ideaI am not bringing up those negatives to put down the cruise line or the experienceonly to be thorough and honest), the cruise was and overall very positive experience. Oceania is a heck of a good product. There are some things that can be improved upon (as with everything) and there are some things that are merely beyond their reasonable control.  But, for the most part, it's pretty goodWell run, clean, high quality, luxurious, elegant. The ship is extremely pleasant, uncrowded, nicely and tastefully decorated and well-maintained.  The food is excellent, the itinerary sensational. We really enjoyed our 14 nights onboard and really hated to see them come to an end. We will very likely be back, especially with these tempting itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Embarkation was quick and easy. First, let me say that the ship was beautiful, clean, and the perfect size. Every employee was polite, kind, and always had a greeting as you walked by. Service in all areas was outstanding. We ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and easy. First, let me say that the ship was beautiful, clean, and the perfect size. Every employee was polite, kind, and always had a greeting as you walked by. Service in all areas was outstanding. We started by me being sick the first two days (not motion sickness) and stayed in bed not to give others my severe cold, then needing two more to recover. Good timing by me on that. Wednesday through Sunday was 5 straight days of bad weather and high seas. Although we do not get sea sick, the constant holding on and keeping balance was tiring. Try to take a shower in a rocking phone booth while you hold on with one hand. But that's a chance you take on a TA. The food was excellent overall, and the open dining was great. We enjoyed Toscana the most, and he kindly got us in several extra nights when I asked when the doors opened. The one downside was the coffee was terrible. It made Starbucks taste weak. Same coffee used on the whole ship. I never get a good iced tea on a cruise, so I order tea with a glass of ice, and make my own fresh. The entertainment was based on the average age of 70 of the passengers, but there could have been some more current soft music, and not so much 30's and 40's stuff. The band was very good, as well as the string quartet on deck 5 by the shops each day. The guest speaker, Dr. Roger Cartwright, was excellent. He gave a number of talks ranging from the history of cruising, battles at sea, and truths about the Titanic. They were interesting and he was a good speaker. The library was great, with a nice selection of books. Disembarkation was quick and easy, but we were the first off to get to the airport to begin our 23 straight hours of either being in the air, or in an airport. Arrghhhh! Oceania was a nice change from other cruise lines with the open seating, no kids, and relaxation. But 8 straight days at sea are a bit much. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I ... Read More
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I understand!) and her assistant Jose (whose wife just had twins!!) could not have done any better for us. As it is open seating in the dining rooms, we had many different servers. Roman and Daniel were superb. Hooray to the head Maitre 'de Marius. He kept me from any allergic reactions and his suggestions were spot on! Our hats off to Mags and her aunt Maria for their invaluable wine selection help. Victor and Bernard in the Looking Glass made the best drinks and took great care of us! Ron Hollywood, the DJ, was always open to our suggestions for dance music. Thank you for all the wonderful NEW music!!! Kudos to you all. The sea days intensive itinerary was just what we needed after a hectic holiday season. The pool was always a welcome diversion. We purchased the thalassotherapy pass for the trip ($175 per couple, $99 single), but had to have them refund us around day 10 due to the pool never being warm. It WAS warm once...at 6pm!!!!! Also there was no service there. It's not very relaxing to have to get up and go to the pool bar when you want something. Why there wasn't anyone coming by regularly is beyond me. The spa was nice tho. Steam room, two different showers, lockers, etc. All included and available to every passenger. Didn't use the gym, the stairs did me just fine. Ate all I wanted and didn't gain any weight!!! Might have lost a pound or two actually. Hmmmm. The shows were cheesy, but in a good way. Geared to an older crowd than we. Juggler, ventriloquist, magic show, group show (singers), etc. YES, this ship does tend towards an over 65 crowd. Not a problem for us tho. (I'm 46, my DH is 39) Sue Denning (cruise director)was a joy!!! Such a trouper, and always entertaining. Her "sidekick" Kelsie was a hoot. The orchestra was always great, and the ship's band entertained us many a day and night at the pool and Looking Glass. There was a pianist in Cova most nights that everyone loved, a wonderful harpist at the martini lounge in Discoveries that was just delightful, and a guitarist who was very entertaining. A great cruise on a lovely small ship. Perfect for those who like long voyages with an entertaining mix from the Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, and the USA. No children's facilities, and that's just fine by me! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, ... Read More
Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, while we perceive some (inevitable) paradoxes in the cruise experience, we enjoyed our voyage and look forward to more cruises in our future. Our boarding experience was swift and pleasant. Our first sight of the cabin banished our principal anxiety: it was surprisingly large and thoroughly welcoming. The verandaha ballyhooed 50 square feet was great for standing on to observe waves and port scenes, but too small for anything else. We both liked the smallish size of the ship, the inherent intimacy. But we also felt that on a longer cruise, the choice of only two restaurants might be too limiting. Food and service are critical to a satisfying cruise, and particularly on a self-described luxury cruise. We always ate late, never entering Compass Rose or Portofino, the optional Italian restaurant, earlier than 8:00pm. Thus we were always offered the chance to join other passengers already seated. We eagerly accepted these assignments, as we thought that meeting our fellow cruisers across a dining table would be the easiest way to make on-board friends. There is a powerful temptation to fall back on hyperbole when writing about personal travel experiences. One's hotel was "superb." The food at a restaurant in Dubrovnik was "extraordinary." The guide in Buenos Aires was "non pareil." To be clear, we enjoyed our Navigator experience, but the following ratings are, I think, mercilessly accurate. The food. Bountiful, always at least good, sometimes very good. You cannot prepare meals for 450 people, offering them a dozen or more choices, and rival the cuisine at any Michelin-starred restaurant. That said, a curry one night was excellent. Fish was always very good. Corned beef hash in the morning was perfect. Hot dogs (in particular) from the pool grill were excellent. A Mexican fiesta from the same source at lunch was great. (Though for my palate, Corona is the least singular of all of Mexico's cervesas.) We thought service was never less than good, with frequent rises to refreshingly concerned. One lapse should be noted. If you plan to bring a Waterpik or other personal dental equipment have a care. In advance of the cruise, the Regent service desk assured us that outlets were available in the bathroom for 110volt (U.S.) appliances as well as shavers. Not so. On board, we asked for an extension cord to plug into the dressing table outlet which normally serves the 110volt hair dryer. After some consternation, this was furnished. The Waterpik whirred into life momentarily, and then fried. Could I be the only Regent passenger to travel with a Waterpik? To reiterate, cabin stewardess, bartenders, waiters and dining room staff were uniformly agreeable, almost universally in a way that suggests attitude coming from the heart, as well as from training. The ports. Our surprises were Grand Turk and Princess Cays. Our first trip to GT, though we had been to Provo a half-dozen times over the years. The cruise terminal is Disneyesque, and (thankfully) most passengers stay there. An enormous P&O vessel that dwarfed our trim little vessel was tied up across the pier, and disgorged more than 3,000 Brits at the same time as we disembarked. We rented a golf cart and puttered about the island, which is still recovering from hurricane Ike and, it appears, from the fraudulent activities of recently displaced government. Princess Cays, which we visited as our last port of call because of weather, loomed as another re worse Grand Turk. After all, one could reasonably expect the marketing gurus at a cruise line to trade island ambiance for an American Idol image of the Bahamas. Not so. Our 400+ passengers were easily accepted among the carefully planted palms. We delighted in feeding the frenzied fish the stale bread that was provided. And the barbecue was low key and satisfying, though Corona was (alas) the only beer available. So, kudos to Regent (or whomever) for their restraint in keeping Princess Cay more or less akin to its natural character. Though note that the islet can accept as many as 3500 passengers at once, and what it feels like submerged beneath that wave of sun-burning humanity is anyone's guess. So, where next? We would like to try a bigger ship on a longer cruise. Perhaps Regent Voyager? I think we would like a London to London cruise that touched at the Orkneys, Skye and other places a bit difficult to reach. A question that more experienced cruisers virtually all of you might be able to answer. Why do per diem costs increase as the duration of a cruise increases? That seems counter intuitive to the way most things, travel included, tend to work. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on ... Read More
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and NCL. We had grown tired of the larger ships and wanted to try a sailing cruise for a change. After sailing on the Star Clipper and Royal Clipper, we have no desire to return to the mass market cruise ships. ARRIVAL We took a taxi from the airport and arrived at the pier in Barbados around 4:00, and the check-in process had already begun. Check-in consisted of receiving our ID cards (which doubled as our room keys), dropping off our passports and leaving an imprint of our credit card for purchases on the ship. We finished with the process and were taken to the ship via a very short shuttle ride. As we boarded the ship, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager and given complementary cold drinks and light snacks on deck. We then were escorted to our cabin and our luggage was delivered to our room shortly after our arrival. SHIP The Royal Clipper is a fabulous ship. It is a sailing vessel, not a cruise ship. The ship is very elegant and sophisticated with none of the pseudo-glitz of the large ships. There are no casinos, ship's photographers, show lounges or elevators. There are three bars on board: the outside Tropical Bar; the inside Piano Bar and a Pool Bar. All of the nightly entertainment occurs at the Tropical Bar. The ship has plenty of teak and mahogany wood, all varnished to a high gloss. Additionally, there is lots of brass, which is also kept polished. The crew was working every day doing routine maintenance around the ship. The ship's passenger capacity is 220, and this week it seemed filled. The breakdown of passengers was international - from the United States, Canada and Europe. About one-half of the passengers had previously sailed with Star Clippers. There were several passengers on board for two weeks, combining the Grenadine Islands itinerary of this sailing with the Windward Islands sailing the week immediately prior to or after our sailing. The crew members were from 25 different countries. The ship offers several features not found on cruise ships: passengers could climb the main mast to the first level crow's nest (with appropriate safety equipment) on two separate occasions during the week; we could relax on the widow's netting at the bow of the ship anytime the crew was not operating the sails; there was an open bridge policy throughout the week; the crew lowered tenders one day during the week to give the passengers the opportunity to photograph the Royal Clipper at sea under full sails; and passengers were given the opportunity to steer the ship while at sea. Each day as the sails were raised as we were leaving a port, the ship would play the Vangelis soundtrack, "1492: Conquest of Paradise" over the sound system. The passengers would congregate on deck to watch the crew raising the sails and to listen to the music. The sailing during certain periods throughout the week was rough. We heard that some passengers were ill at points during the week due to the ship's movement. However, we did not feel any discomfort during the week. CABIN We booked a Category 6 (Inside) room, cabin 228. In retrospect, we would have booked a higher category (Outside) room to give us a little more space. The room had a fixed double bed. The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a two-door medicine cabinet with plenty of shelving for storing toiletries. While most of the electrical outlets in the cabin are 220 volts, there are two outlets in the bathroom for 110 volts, which I used for charging our digital camera's battery. These outlets could also be used for electric razors or charging cell phones. There was a hair dryer attached to the wall in the bathroom. The cabin had just enough storage and closet space for the two of us. A safe with a programmable lock was located in one of the cabinets. There was a TV in the room, which received a few English speaking programs, including CNN International. A DVD player was also in the room, and video disks could be borrowed from the ship's collection. Our cabin attendant was excellent. Towels were exchanged each morning and evening. MEALS All meals were served in the main dining room. Like the rest of the ship, the main dining room was very elegant. It was very common for the ship's officers, including the captain, to join a group of diners at each meal. All dining is open seating, with service between 8:00 and 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 and 2:00 for lunch and 7:30 and 10:00 for dinner. There are no formal nights - dress for dinner is resort casual for men and women. Buffet meals were served for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there was an assortment of cereal, yogurts, pastries and fruits, along with scrambled eggs, French toast or pancakes, bacon, sausage or ham and potatoes. There was also a station for fresh omelets and eggs each morning. Lunchtime had a nice assortment of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and homemade soups, plus one or two hot entrEes. There was also a carving station each day with either fish or meat. The breakfasts and lunches were all very good. An afternoon snack would be served daily between 5:00 and 6:00 at the Tropical Bar. Like the breakfasts and lunches, the afternoon snack was very good. The snack would consist of items such as finger sandwiches, fruit, a hot dish and dessert. The dinners have improved since our last cruise on the Star Clipper. On our prior cruise, we were disappointed in the dinners served, both in the nightly selection and quality of food. We were much more pleased with the dinners on this cruise. Dinner would feature four choices for the main course: a seafood entree; a vegetarian entree; a meat entrEe and a Caribbean chef's special. Lobster Tail was served on Thursday night, which is the Captain's Dinner. One nice thing about the dinner food on this cruise (and on the prior Star Clipper cruise) was that each night, the various entrEes would be displayed in the piano bar for the passengers to get an idea of what would be served that evening. An early morning breakfast of croissants and pastries was also available in the Piano Bar from 6:00 to 8:00 in the mornings. Many mornings, we would be up early and grab a croissant and coffee and tea and sit on the deck as the ship sailed to the next stop. Coffee, tea and fresh fruit are available 24 hours a day in the Piano Bar. The coffee on the ship is barely drinkable. I think that they must let it brew too long and leave it on the heat after it has finished brewing. The best thing I found was to grab a fresh cup as soon as the brew cycle finished or to mix the coffee with hot water to dilute it somewhat. SERVICE The service in the main dining room and throughout the ship was good. However, with the ship filled to capacity, the service seemed slower than three years ago. We often had to ask for refills on water or coffee. Bar service was mainly at the bars, with no bar waiters hounding you to purchase drinks every few minutes. The guys (and one young lady) on the sports crew were excellent. As noted above, our cabin steward was excellent. The crew that worked the sails was also very good, showing great patience as the passengers were on deck as the crew was trying to raise or lower the sails. They were also very helpful with any information that the passengers asked them for. ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment on the clipper ships is very limited - this is one area that could use improvement by Star Clippers. There was one entertainer on board who sang and played the keyboard during the afternoon snack period. He also played the piano in the Piano Bar during the dinner hours and served as the deejay for nighttime dancing. The music selection for nighttime dancing seemed strange and hardly anyone danced after the organized entertainment ended each evening. It would have been much nicer to have a talented duo or trio providing the dancing music in the evenings. There were organized entertainment activities each night at 10:00 at the Tropical Bar. The first night was a Welcome Aboard party. Other nights featured crab races, a musical trivia quiz contest and a fashion show. A crew and passenger talent show was held on another night, which was very funny and enjoyable. While we were docked Monday night in Grenada, a very good steel drum band came aboard to play for us. Other forms of entertainment centered around the cruise director's daily talk on the upcoming port and the captain's story time. Every morning before we reached a port, the cruise director would hold a briefing on the bridge. He would explain the history of the island and places of interest to visit. He detailed what times the tenders would operate to the town or to the beach, and what time the last tender would return to the ship at the end of the day. The captain held two story times. The first session lasted about one hour and consisted of the captain narrating a slide show of sailing ships and then answering questions from the passengers regarding the ship and sailing in general. He also held another story time later in the week, demonstrating sailing maneuvers from the bridge area. ITINERARY This is not a typical cruise ship itinerary. Because of its small size, the ship can fit into ports that the larger ships cannot. The stops are in remote islands and harbors. The focus on the stops is on sailing and enjoying the natural beauty of the islands. There is not a lot of activity going on in most of the ports. At most stops, the ship would run two tenders, one to the town for limited shopping and to meet the shore excursions and the second one to a beach. For each beach stop, the sports crew would take water ski equipment, a wave board (similar to a snow board), a windsurf board, sea kayaks, and small sailboats. All of these beach activities were provided with no additional charge. Snorkeling gear was also issued at the beginning of the week for use throughout the cruise, again at no additional charge. After departing Barbados on Saturday, Sunday we stopped at uninhabited Young Island for a full beach day. On Monday the ship called at Grenada and spent all day docked at the pier in St. Georges. Several excursions were offered by the ship but we opted to walk into town in the morning and stopped at a public library to use the Internet connection. During the afternoon, we took a private taxi tour of the island, stopping at a spice plantation, Annandale Falls and a scenic point overlooking the harbor. On Tuesday the ship stopped at an uninhabited island in the Tobago Cays for a full day. This was probably the most beautiful beach we have ever been on. In addition to the beautiful beach, the natural harbor was filled with sailboats in the area for the day. You could take a short walk to the other side of the island where more sailboats were anchored offshore. There was good snorkeling right off of the beach. The ship's crew provided a full beach barbecue for lunch at this island stop. On Wednesday morning, we stopped in St. Vincent at the capital city of Kingstown. This was by far the worst stop of the week. No one could understand why the ship stops at this island. The pier area is crowded and dirty. Once you leave the protected area of the pier, you are hounded by taxi drivers. We did not feel comfortable walking through the city and headed back to the ship. Fortunately, we left St. Vincent around noon and sailed to Port Elizabeth, Bequia. As bad as St. Vincent was, Bequia was just as good. It is a beautiful island. The beach area is wide and sandy, without any rocks. There is a small town at the pier with many charming shops, restaurants and pubs. I know that many passengers made suggestions that St. Vincent should be dropped and the whole day should be spent in Bequia. There were two stops on Thursday on Martinique. During the morning, we stopped at the capital city, Fort de France. We spent the morning walking the city streets. During the afternoon, we anchored off of Grand Anse Beach. While on the beach, the sports crew led a snorkeling excursion to another part of the island on their Zodiac boats. Two excursions were offered, each with a capacity of eight persons. I was fortunate enough to go on the first excursion, and it was simply the best snorkeling I have ever done. Our excursion stopped at the same site as the local scuba dive tours. The water was incredibly clear, as we were able to see the ocean floor at least 70 feet below us. The coral formations living on the rocks were fabulous. During our time in the water, we saw two eels and an octopus, along with many other colorful fish. The best part of the snorkeling excursion was that it was free - no additional charge for the side trip. After snorkeling, we stayed on the beach until the last tender at 6:00 and witnessed a beautiful sunset on the tender ride back to the ship. The final stops on Friday were St. Lucia. In the morning, we stopped at Marigot Bay. A tender service was offered into a small marina, which turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. There was a coffee shop with nice patio seating along with several small specialty stores. There were several beautiful sailboats and yachts docked at the marina. A very nice resort hotel with beautiful grounds, Discovery at Marigot Bay, was located at the end of the marina. In the afternoon, we sailed to Soufriere Bay, where the sports team offered another snorkeling excursion - this time a one Euro fee was charged as we snorkeled at a St. Lucia national park, and the one Euro fee was the entrance fee to the park. During this snorkeling excursion, we saw and swam with a sea turtle for 10 or 15 minutes. The ship also offered shore excursions and a tender service to the town of La Soufriere. The passengers who went into the town were very disappointed, as they were harassed by local youths begging for money. SUMMARY This was another great week with Star Clippers, and we would definitely love to sail with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
It was a delightful trip and interesting to be away over Christmas. I flew down to Florida and stayed at the Hilton on the Beach in FLL; on the 18th we boarded the Voyager. I must add, that for a chain hotel, the Hilton was delightful ... Read More
It was a delightful trip and interesting to be away over Christmas. I flew down to Florida and stayed at the Hilton on the Beach in FLL; on the 18th we boarded the Voyager. I must add, that for a chain hotel, the Hilton was delightful and had not only a lovely dining area overlooking the ocean and pool, but great food. I was pleasantly surprised. Santa left us cookies and candies and a lovely passport folder. Many suite doors were decorated. One suite was apparently done to the hilt. Having never sailed on Regent, Voyager, just out of a major dry dock work was to be under my scrutiny. Because I am so 'wedded' to Seabourn, I couldn't imagine that it could be as nice. Different and good, but not as nice. Well it was. Embarkation was a breeze and I was given a wheelchair assist through the process. I did not need one once onboard. Disembarkation was a mess attributed to the slowness of the luggage handlers off-loading. We got off early, but later, I understand it was a zoo as all colors were called at once. The decor and layout of the ship was very good, lots of nooks and crannies for reading, napping, and card playing. We did all three a lot. The top deck with the pool, jacuzzis and Veranda Cafe and Pool Grill were very crowded on sea days and to be avoided. However, on the port days, I didn't get off (except for a brief trolley tour in Curacao and it was ok.) The 'show theater' had a balcony and i even watched 'Mama Mia' in it. Always cold, the best entertainment was the Crew Capers the last night. The crew is mostly from the Philippines and performed folk dances and singing. I found out my favorite crew member (Manny of Room Service) was the star and choreographer. Otherwise, the entertainment was pretty poor and to be avoided. Christmas Eve there was carol singing in the atrium and a holiday show that was ok, including the numerous children on board who sang carols. Actually the many children had onboard programs and were not annoying to me at all. I even found the team in the scavenger hunt trying to find 4 crew to pose for the YMCA logo quite amusing.The dumb parents who took toddlers in diapers in the hot tubs were just that, dumb. I did see cool towels being passed about in the afternoon. There were lots of activities, always a tea time with music and a 'quiet tea' in another spot. Nice idea. I played Trivia once. It was difficult and the first day, came in second with a score of 6. the winners got 7/15. I mean, who knew that Melanie of the Spice Girls was the first to put out a single record? Besides, the afternoon time, 4:00 was inconvenient to my nap times. I am looking to the blood sport of Trivia on the Legend Crossing in November. The library was very good and belatedly I found out I could have gotten the NY Times delivered daily (for a fee, of course). There was a huge computer room and a coffee nook as well. While there were DVDs available, there was a large on-demand selection of movies of which to avail. Loved the 'Bee Movie', great humor for adults. The TV channels left much to be desired. FNN, CNN, ESPN, and TNT. Never set foot in the spa, gym, casino, or boutiques. Listened to one of the enrichment lecturers on TV replay, interesting about Obama and the challenges he faces nationally; missed part II of the international dilemmas. Smokers seemed rare and there was a cigar room. Never went in there, either. The food was very good, varied with lovely presentations. The main dining venue is the Compass Rose, large and serving all 3 meals. Two specialty restaurants, Signatures which is to be 'cordon bleu' and Prime 7, a steak house. Both were smaller and more intimate. We ate at both twice and were pleased. On time we joined a table of 6 others and that was fun. Room service is always my favorite, breakfast with a great omelet was the treat. Bar service at the pool was fine, but they can't make a BBC like Nelson on Seabourn. I switched to the Blue Hawaii, a drink from my past, and a virgin Madras, which I learned was cranberry and grapefruit juice without the vodka. The weather was lovely, soft bouncing on some nights. People complained, but I had two balsa angels on a narrow shelf and they never moved, nor did the apple perched atop a narrow dresser top. Speaking of the dresser, the layout of the suite with a balcony was delightful. Bigger than Seabourn (not including the balcony) and with a huge walk-in closet and bathroom with both shower and tub. And, the sofa was large enough to stretch out and actually nap comfortably. It did, however, lack a comfy throw to ward off the a/c chill. The table was enlarged with a plastic top for dining. That was a bit wobbly, but we managed. The bed was great, with a comfy duvet and I actually had real 'Turkish' towels! The itinerary was ok, because I have been to most of the islands and to me they are all alike and with not much to buy. My partner wandered off in most ports and in Aruba found a grocery store and we had good Edam cheese on which to nibble. He found St Lucia grim and the others fair to poor. Many of the tours were more vigorous than I could do or care to. The one trip, deep sea fishing, was closed before the cruise started. Embarkation was a breeze as was disembarkation, after the hour wait because of slow teamsters unloading the luggage. We had a car waiting, and were charged some extra time, but it helped to make our early flights. From checking out of the ship (9:40) to my gate at FLL was 40 minutes. But we were off in the first crush. I did not book another cruise onboard, but with the right itinerary, would certainly go again. ABOVE ALL, WE FOUND THE COURTESY AND FRIENDLINESS OF THE STAFF TO BE 5***** Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was our second time sailing with Oceania (the other in 2005 Barcelona to Istanbul). We like the smaller ships (less than 700 passengers) and the port intensive itineraries of Oceania. The ships are very nicely appointed and have a ... Read More
This was our second time sailing with Oceania (the other in 2005 Barcelona to Istanbul). We like the smaller ships (less than 700 passengers) and the port intensive itineraries of Oceania. The ships are very nicely appointed and have a "country club casual" ambience. No need to pack all that formal wear. Although staterooms are known to be on the smallish side, they are very well laid out and comfortable. In 2005 we had Concierge Level balcony Stateroom which was very nice, however on this cruise opted for the somewhat larger penthouse suite which had a bathtub and came with butler service. Our butler was extremely pleasant and efficient but did not find having a butler significantly contributed to our enjoyment of the cruise. Although I was completely satisfied with the concierge level stateroom, my husband enjoyed the extra space of the penthouse suite especially as was 14 day cruise. Dining on Oceania was wonderful experience. Maybe not quite ***** but certainly much better than many of the larger cruise lines. We generally dined in the main Dining Room - no set seatings so could dine when you pleased. Had the option of dining alone, with group or to be placed at an open table. Many of the tables were for 2 but well positioned so could have a private meal but were at the same time conducive to meeting others. Particularly enjoyed the speciality Italian restaurant Toscana and dined there on a number of occasions. Polo Grill was also nice but menu limited to fairly standard steaks & chops. For breakfast we generally ordered room service & ate on our balcony or had croissants & coffee up in the Horizon Lounge (very quiet). We are not buffet type people and generally avoided the buffet except to pick up a few appies to enjoy in our stateroom. Unlike other cruise lines, Oceania do allow you bring your own liquor aboard to consume in your stateroom. Can also bring your own wine to dining room but charged a corkage charge so not worth extra cost. Normally we would order bottles of wine with dinner, and what was not finished was stored by the wine steward for the next day. Without set seating, you did not always have the same service staff. However being a smaller ship and longer cruise we did get to know a number of the staff. Service was exceptional and friendly. Where Oceania falls down is on entertainment and shore excursions. Entertainment - The house orchestras were OK but the headlined acts were so so bad. I generally would walk out but my husband would stay because they were not only bad but they were terrible! One of the entertainers on our Baltic cruise was the same as on our Mediterranean cruise in 2005. Oceania is adult oriented and do not have children's/teen programs. Not a "party boat". Shore excursions: Grossly overpriced and Oceania have the habit of canceling excursions at the last minute if they don't have enough people signed up. Excursion desk staff, although pleasant, were unable/unwilling to provide port information other than related to their tour. Generally a local tourist official would board when we got into port but a bit late for advance planning. For St. Petersburg , Oceania gave us the impression that it was very difficult to get a visitors Visa for Russia and it would not be possible to get off the boat without taking one of their excursions. Fortunately at the last minute we learnt this was not the case & booked 3 day tour with Alla Tours which was fabulous. Best advice is to try and pre-arrange own tours or get a good guide and do it on your own. With this last cruise, had a few problems pre-cruise with our flight deviations. Our itineraries were different as husband was returning a week later from UK. We received our flight confirmations from Oceania and all seemed OK as we had requested until we called the airlines to book our seat assignments. Evidently my husband's reservation had been changed & he was scheduled to fly out to Stockholm a day later than me. Took over a week to rectify. Would I sail again with Oceania - probably yes but am a bit hesitant because I enjoy going to the evening show as part of the cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008

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