This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us ... Read More
This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us if we wanted water, juice or anything else except cocktails. At dinner in the dining room the opposite, cant find a drink waiter and have to ask. It seems there is a staff shortage. The other annoying thing is the berths, there was a German ship “AIDA’ shadowing us and in every common port it had the in town berth when one was available and we got the container terminal. This happened even when the advertised Oceania berth was in town. Is all this Norwegian cost cutting a little at a time? I also note that the level benefits are being downgraded next year. In a way that is good news for me because the loyalty program did have me captive to an extent so I now feel less trapped. About to try Viking for the first time and maybe not the last. Have already tried Ponant and although it is a very different product being “expedition” yachts of 200 pax it has overcome finding new places to cruise given i have exhausted the Oceania network. Read Less
We have never been on a cruise prior to this trip, we chose this PG because the boat was comparatively small and it was in Tahiti. Tahiti is a very expensive holiday destination and the cruise seemed fairly priced. We had a balcony cabin ... Read More
We have never been on a cruise prior to this trip, we chose this PG because the boat was comparatively small and it was in Tahiti. Tahiti is a very expensive holiday destination and the cruise seemed fairly priced. We had a balcony cabin on level 8, it was very quiet and came with a butler. Our butler was Harry and he was fantastic, nothing was a problem. Harry organised dining, drinks anything we wanted really. The ladies cleaning our room were really great also, very helpful.
The ship isn't new but we thought it was a lot better than some reviews were stating it was. We had many meals at the Le Grill restaurant that was very well run by Randy with great support from Joey and Roland, all the food was great. A special mention of Jobert a wine waiter, he was an amazing young man, he found out our favourite wine and next day we notice a bottle in our room - what a great touch. He was far more than a wine waiter and in a lot of ways this is how we found most of the staff on-board, this made for a great cruise. The other 2 restaurants were not as good but still very good food and service.
We loved the Gauguin performers, great fun.
The PG organised shore excursions were expensive, we found it was better simply to get off the boat and organise our own excursions. The only negative was in November it is starting to rain a lot in Tahiti. Read Less
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as being ... Read More
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as being more upscale and luxurious than the typical mega-ships. We have been wanting to visit Cuba since they opened it up to Americans and thought a cruise would be a great way to see more than just Havana.
After some initial snafus with our reservation that was graciously resolved by Bonnie over on the CruiseCritic discussion boards, we boarded in Miami for our 10 circle trip around the Cuban island with stops in Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana. The most appealing part of the itinerary was the promise of multi-day stays in port rather than the usual arrive-at-8am-leave-at-5pm schedules of other cruise lines.
Which leads me to our first big gripe with Azamara: it was only after plotting the arrival/departure times on the calendar that we realized that the "extended" time in port was very misleading. On the itinerary, it listed only 1 day at sea but in actuality we ended up with almost 4 full sea days. For example, days 3 & 4 were listed as in port in Santiago, however, we arrived at 8am on Tuesday and left at 6am Wednesday. That's not 2 days - that's one day + one night. Wednesday turned out to be really a sea day but that's not how it was shown on the schedule.
Same for Cienfuegos on Friday/Saturday. We arrived Friday morning but left the dock 8am on Sat and didn't arrive Havana until Sunday evening. That's almost a day and half at sea. We really only got 1 full day at each of these ports and just 2 days in Havana instead of 3. We talked to several others who felt that Azamara was very misleading in the marketing about the time in port. I know that ships can't magically teleport from one location to the next but it would have been less confusing if the itinerary matched reality so we knew what to expect and plan our excursions accordingly. Azamara highlights that they have more immersive itineraries by allowing more time in port but I don't think it counts when that time is spent sleeping.
Second major disappointment was the overall lack of service throughout the ship. While the crew and waitstaff were generally good and always very courteous, it was decidedly less than what you'd expect from a "luxury" cruise line. Water glasses frequently went unfilled and you had to hunt around for someone to take your order or answer a question. The exception to that was for some reason the waitstaff was always there in a flash to whisk away your empty plate or glass - like there was a reprimand waiting for them if they left dirty dishes about but initial orders or refills were often slow to arrive. Other couples we met onboard talked about their past cruises on Regent or SilverSea and how the staff fell over themselves trying to serve you and worked hard to anticipate your needs rather than wait to be called upon. While service was not bad, per se...it just wasn't on par with other luxury brands or even some mainstream brands like Celebrity.
This brings me to the third major criticism and that was the food. The buffet was really disappointing as was the grill out by the pool. The food looked very nice and there was always good selection but it was also exceptionally bland and lacking flavor. Almost like salt and spices are forbidden in the kitchen. Several times we were let down by something that looked amazing only to be utterly tasteless. For example, the prime rib was very drab. How a kitchen can make a staple dish like prime rib boring and totally lacking in flavor is beyond me.
The main dining room was a bit better and we ate there most nights. Eventually we learned what things to avoid and how to ask for specific items we had had before. Most nights the menu followed a theme chosen by the chef. There were some rather odd choices some nights that really wasn't all that exciting, however you could always order a selection from the a la cart menu.
The daily wine selections were usually pretty good and we never felt the need to buy the special bottles listed at considerable upsell prices. We had the Premium beverage package which was adequate for our needs but you could see there are some shennanigans going on with the way liquor selections are structured. It's all intended to get you to go with the Ultimate package instead at $22/day. For us it wasn't worth it and we just paid for the few top shelf drinks individually. The premium package includes all beers and most lower tier "well" spirits and mixed drinks which is fine for most people unless you have a specific liquor preference. Many specialty drinks like caipirinas, desert wines and top shelf liquors are excluded and require separate purchase at full price. It's a little confusing as to what drinks are part of which package and I believe this is intentional.
We only got to try the specialty restaurant once and we really liked it in spite of the $30 per person cover. Had we known before that the buffet and main dining would be so lacking we would have made reservations at Prime C or Agualina every night. Reservations filled up quickly however - especially for the last night at sea. Another intentional method to get you to upsell over and above what's included.
I booked a massage at the spa for the first sea day and it was very good. I was not expecting the sales pitch for their high priced lotions so just be aware that they'll try to sell you at the end. Also, spa services automatically include an 18% gratuity so don't feel pressured to add extra tip. Otherwise the spa is rather underwhelming and not worth the high prices. There's a special sun deck and hot tub just for spa patrons but I don't see how it's worth the extra price. The exercise room is just off the spa and while adequate for getting a workout in, there isn't much in the way of equipment. The usual treadmills, stationary bikes and nautilus-type weights.
We booked a guaranteed outside cabin and the room was fine. A little small of course but perfectly adequate. I should have splurged for a veranda instead but ultimately it was fine for our needs. With the extra time at sea and most of our time in port dedicated to excursions, we didn't spend a huge amount of time in the cabin anyway. Our stewards were fantastic and were like ninjas - always slipping in to replace towels and straighten up while we were out. They greeted us by name each morning.
We were assigned cabin 6004 which is an oversized outside stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 6 port side. It is extra long which allows it much more space than usual - about the size of a typical hotel room. This is due to the space where the balcony is in the veranda staterooms is replaced with a large round picture window approx 4 feet in diameter. It creates a bit of a "fishbowl" experience but it was perfectly fine as we spent most of our time outside anyway. There is a small loveseat and coffee table in addition to the desk & chair. Plenty of room to move around and we were not bumping into each other except for in/out of the bathroom and around the bottom of the bed (which is the same layout for all other non-suite cabins).
Being at the front of the ship you definitely feet the movement - both up & down and side to side rocking. Might be worse on really rough seas. We could hear/feel rumblings down below when the boat pitched upward that I suspect were the stabilizers kicking in. It's a smaller ship so this was very common throughout the boat even in the aft dining room. My wife is prone to seasickness and was initially worried about the location, however she did not have any problems.
Other issue with the location was the noise from the anchor chains and vibration from the front thrusters when entering and leaving port. This was temporary however and we did not find it too bothersome except for it waking us up at 5am on the last day.
As our cabin was directly above the Cabaret Lounge on deck 5, we could hear the bass and drums during band practice and evening performances. This might annoy some people but we didn't really have any problem with it as the shows are rather short anyway.
There is a connecting door to the suite next door and we occasionally heard muffled voices thru the walls and from the hallway but somebody suggested putting a towel or bathrobe against the floor and this worked to block out both noise and light. Otherwise the cabin is very quiet, secluded and dark.
Bathroom is tiny and takes some getting used to with regards to maneuvering - especially the shower. The shower curtain clings to you but we found if you put the bottom edge of the curtain outside the stall (there is a groove in the floor leading to a drain outside the shower) then it helps to create some additional space. Not a lot of space to spread out so you have to be creative with storage. This is true on any cruise ship however.
Bed was super comfortable with nice linens and comforter. A/C was great and kept the temperature perfect. Closet organizer was efficient and adequate with plenty of storage. Mirrors and lighting was terrific.
Note to others...do NOT attempt to bring onboard any kind of travel iron or clothes steamer. Ours was confiscated from my wife's luggage upon embarkation. There was no mention of portable steamers being prohibited in the boarding documentation but they said they can set off the fire detectors. The self service laundry on deck 7 has ironing boards and irons as well as laundry supplies. The machines are free but limited so you have to be diligent and strategic about timing in order to get a load or two done ahead of others.
One other gripe...the onboard Internet was so slow it was almost completely useless. Thankfully we did not pay extra for this otherwise we would have been really upset.
Eric, our cruise director was fabulous and very funny. His "grandpa" jokes were groaners but perfectly pitched for the audience. He and the captain even formed a bit of a comedic duo on the daily announcements. You can tell Eric has a definite flair for Broadway showtunes as the music was decidedly tilted towards that genre. Overall the performances by the singers and dancers were very good and entertaining with a good mix of contemporary and traditional music. I'm sure some of the older crowds didn't fully appreciate the ABBA night show. The lounge pianist was charming and the trio band was pleasant. They played upstairs in the Living Room at night and by the pool during the day and at sail aways. It added to the overall pleasantness of the cruise. Nothing was offensive or too wild - nor was it just Perry Como elevator music either. It was a good balance of entertainment for the crowd which definitely skewed a little higher on the age scale than the brochures allude to.
The White Night party was held in port at Cienfuegos and it was the highlight of our trip. The food buffets were over the top and truly gluttonous. Lines were long - especially for the lobster tails but there was something for everyone. The music was fantastic and everyone's spirits were very high. Eric led an actual conga line around the pool area and had a very memorable duet with one of the passengers. It was really a great party and something to look forward to.
We ended up booking a couple of Azamara sponsored excursions and a couple independent trips on our own. In Santiago, we found a local taxi driver who took us to a couple of places like Castro's grave and the memorial to Jose Marti. We saw the changing of the guard at the national cemetery and had lunch in a local paladar with our taxi driver. We got to sit down and chat with him about the country and his life which was very interesting since his English was as limited as our Spanish.
In Cienfuegos, we opted for the excursion to the El Nicho waterfalls about an hour away. This involved a hike in the mountains over some pretty steep terrain although the views at the end were worth it. We also got to visit an artist commune and watched some interpretive dances which was strange to say the least.
Grand Cayman - we had been there before on a different cruise and there's really nothing else to do but go to the beach. We decided to walk which was a mistake in 90+ degree heat and humidity. We caught a bus back to the dock for $5 bucks.
We arrived in Havana Saturday night. We booked the show at the Cabaret Parisian rather than the Tropicana. From what we heard the Tropicana was probably a better choice but the shows are essentially the same. It was a late night however as the show didn't start until 10pm and we didn't get back to the ship until midnight.
Sunday we had arranged for a private tour guide through HavanaTourCompany.com. Our guide was awesome and even managed to deal with including a couple we met onboard at the last minute. We had a fabulous lunch in Old Havana then took a walking tour and convertible ride through the city and to Fusterlandia outside of the city where we bought some original artwork. We saw all the main sights and learned about the history, finishing up that night with dinner and a show at La Taberna. It's definitely worth it to use an independent tour guide in Havana and not go with the overpriced tours offered by the cruise line. You get better pricing, a customized itinerary and the guides are little more open to talking about their lives than the "official" government approved Havanatur.
Monday morning we did the coffee, rum and cigar factory tour. We visited the Partaga cigar factory (which makes 25 other brands like Cohiba and Montecristo). It was a literal sweat shop with 4 floors of un-air conditioned rooms and workers hand rolling cigars for pennies a day. We were then bussed around the city to several government shops to buy cigars and rum getting a bit of a guided tour along the way. Rum and cigars are the same price everywhere (state controlled) so don't feel pressured to buy them on the tours. We were warned not to buy cigars on the street however as there are no guarantees as to quality. It helps to know in advance what you're looking for in terms of brand, sizes and shape. Expect to pay approx 50% less than you can find authentic Cuban cigars elsewhere (Canada for example).
Originally the AzAmazing Evening was scheduled for our evening in Santiago but was changed at the last minute to our arrival night in Havana. Since we had already booked a show we ended up passing on this event. We heard it was rather interesting - a special ballet performance at the Grand Theater.
Overall, we were pleased with our first Azamara cruise and we even booked a second one to Alaska next July - this time with a balcony. We enjoyed our trip and would recommend it to others with the caveat that it all depends on your expectations going in. Some things were great compared to a typical cruise - most standard drinks are included as are tips. There are some areas where you still get nickle & dimed but it's not nearly as bad as the major lines. The smaller ship is a double edged sword - it's more intimate with much fewer passengers but it's also a rather boring ship with not a whole lot to do if you're the type that requires constant excitement. The demographics skew older with not a single child onboard. Most were in their 60's, 70's or 80's although there were a few younger gay couples as well.
The marketing material would have you believe that Azamara is a luxury cruise line - on par with other luxury brands like Regent, SilverSea or Paul Gaugin. In the end, it's a bit like first class on Delta or United Airlines...yes, it is a much better experience than flying coach but it's also no comparison to foreign carriers like Singapore or Emirates. Go in with the proper expectations and you'll have a great time. Read Less
This is our 6th Silversea cruise, we have sailed on several other cruise lines but SS for the most part. When the Muse was launched, we knew we had to go on it! Something new and hopefully fresh and different from previous cruises. Now ... Read More
This is our 6th Silversea cruise, we have sailed on several other cruise lines but SS for the most part. When the Muse was launched, we knew we had to go on it! Something new and hopefully fresh and different from previous cruises. Now that may seem like a negative about previous cruises, but not exactly. Silversea was my first cruise ever and has always held a special place in my heart but after a few cruises, we felt like maybe we didn’t exactly fit in with their usual clientele. Hence, we started exploring other cruise lines to see what else is out there. We are American 46 and 51...a bit on the young side for Silversea. In the past, the cruise demographic never seemed very varied. Primarily Brits , over the age of 70. We had felt that the social life on board was pretty quiet and reserved. Not as friendly as we would like. Well, the Muse blew that out of the water. I dont know if its because of the new ship, bigger size, the itinerary, different marketing?? I dont know, but it was a vast improvement. Super friendly, outgoing, social folks everywhere. There was definitely a livelier vibe on the ship , really good energy that I hadn’t felt on SS before.
So we flew from Florida to Singapore to board the ship. We spent 3 nights at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore first. We love SIN and were happy to spend a few days there. We couldn’t find any info from Silversea on which port they use in Singapore. It was pretty frustrating not knowing where to go. We finally looked at cruisemapper to locate the ship. If the info was printed somewhere, we sure couldn’t find it. Otherwise, embarkation was quick and easy like always.
We LOVE this new ship and hopefully this new design is reflected in future ships and refurbishments of the old ships. The other ships we had done were classy, elegant, but the kind you find at a wealthy grandmas house . It was fine, but a bit dark and not our cup of tea. This new design is gorgeous. Loved the colors, textures, materials. Loved the use of wood looking tile for bathrooms, and many public spaces. The ship is bright, the lighting is great . Very well done! We were getting pretty excited about this trip! Cabins werent ready, so our routine is to eat lunch at the pool grill. Menu had finally been changed and expanded. I ordered the BBQ chicken wrap but didnt care for it at all ,although my partner loved his?? So....? After lunch, we explored the ship and shortly thereafter we went to our cabin. The ship is just gorgeous!
Typical veranda stateroom size which suits us just fine. Again, it echos the rest of the ship, just beautiful. Lots of storage space, big deep drawers. Lots of counter space in living room area. I don’t like the 2 TVs in the mirror in the living area and the other in front of the bedroom. They are too difficult to see unless the lights are off and curtains pulled. Our other complaint and really biggest complaint is the mattress...so hard! Like really hard! My back was killing me so bad. We requested the egg shell foam thing they can put under the sheets, but apparently there were no more available. Obviously we werent the only ones that thought the beds were hard. The awesome suite attendant put 2 duvets under the sheets and it was more comfortable for the rest of the trip.
I was stressing over this honesty. Food had been hit or miss on past cruises. And not having a main dining room per se, I wasnt sure how all these individual restaurants would work out for us.
Atlantide: we ate here twice, first time the filet mignon was cooked to perfection, so delicious and tender, the 2nd time it was over cooked and I didnt care for it. Otherwise both dinners were very good. We also started eating here for breakfast rather than the buffet at La Terraza. It was quieter, more civilized , I dont care for buffets much anyway, food was hotter and service excellent. I highly recommend it, not many folks ate here each morning.
Indochine: we ate here twice as well. Restaurant is gorgeous ! Loved the decor. Was never crowded. Food was so good. This is the only restaurant that we heard from a few other passengers that felt like the food was so so....but we didnt find that at all and really enjoyed it !
La Terrazza: we ate here twice for dinner as well. Much lighter and brighter than on other ships. Felt like food was much better and so was service. They had an amazing gnocchi and ossobucco that was to die for! We did breakfast here a couple times until we found Atlantide ...much prefer blast there. We were happy to see that SS could finally get us a cup of coffee before we finished our breakfast! This was something that happened a lot on other ships, very slow coffee service. We had lunch here a couple times, buffet is fine...nothing too exciting. Seabourn does it better.
Ate here once as its $60 per person. It was way too much food for us. It was all very good, but the service takes too long for us and we couldn’t finish most things. As much we enjoyed the food, we wouldn’t do it again at $60/person.
Did this once...also $60 person. We had eaten at La Champagne on our first cruise years ago, but now it s called La Dame. There was much better selection of items than previous La Champagne restaurant . We really enjoyed it, food wasn’t too much, didnt feel overly stuffed. We really loved it and had wonderful folks sitting next to us that entertained us..again, everyone was so friendly and like to strike up conversations with us at nearly every meal.
Silver Note; didnt try it this cruise .
Spaccanapoli: we were super tired after a 12 hour excursion to Hanoi, so we got back late and just went for casual pizza night. It was sooo good! And we were the only ones there that night. Its super popular and packed during the day for lunch but for some reason people avoid it at night?
Did this once. We have cooked our steaks many times on the hot rocks, so we dont do it anymore. I prefer someone else cook my dinner. Steak was excellent as were the sides. It was pretty chilly and we had to move our table as it got drizzly , but still a nice night.
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES:
We dont play shuffle board or bridge or trivia or any of that. We did go to a couple lectures by an amazing guy who did lectures on Vietnam...he was one of the best lecturers I have ever heard. Guests talked about him all the time every day on the ship. Everyone thought he was fascinating, and his material moved at a good pace. He was phenomenal!
We usually try to hit the casino but didnt make it in . We peeked in one night, it was very quiet and notthat big.
Well unless you are in the market for jewelry or a lady, not much there for men . A handful of things, terrible marketing for Silversea. Just lousy for men or people that even want a few souvenirs or snacks or something. Lame.
Was very good. We were fortunate to recognize some staff that we have sailed with before on other SS ships. It s like seeing family you haven’t seen in a long time. Always made us feel welcome..so warm and gracious. Really couldn’t fault anyone . Staff seems to really be happy on this ship and they will tell you how much they love it. I imagine a new ship is more user friendly, things dont break etc. Plus they have bars in every restaurant now..so smart. Before they would have to run front the restaurants to the main bar to get a cocktail for you if you didn’t want wine.
PORTS AND EXCURSIONS:
Well, I could write tons on this but I will just say please book a trip to Vietnam ! It was fantastic! We got our own guilds for Saigon, but did ship excursions for others ports. Such a fascinating country!
This cruise renewed our excitement and interest in Silversea again! We loved the ship and will look for future cruiees primarily on the Muse or any of the newer ones. This ship really suited our style. The passenger demographic was much more diverse. There were people from all over , not one nationality seemed to prevail. There was also a better age mix than previous SS cruises. The vibe and energy on the ship was great and seemed a bit more relaxed than previous stuffy cruises we have done in the past. Hopefully this trend will continue. Read Less
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all ... Read More
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all deluxe-Sliver sea-seabourn etc. and I must admit Viking Ocean is right up there and maybe surpassing them. I was in a Penthoust veranda suite 6019, comfortable plenty of draw space and closet.One complain I do have is the difficult maneuvering one has to do to use the TV. If the remote is not aimed just right it wont work. The two or three shows they have were very good. I also think they should go to a truly all inclusive , as the other deluxe lines . On the Cuba itinerary being in Cienfuegos for 3 nights is quite inconvenient for visiting Havana. It is almost a 3 hour drive
And you really need to stay overnight in Havana to get to see anything, and that is not really enough. Read Less
We had heard of regent cruise thought we should check it out. The ship was in great shape having been recently remodeled. We had a large room, probably too large but it was nice
We had a butler who was very attentive and met all of our ... Read More
We had heard of regent cruise thought we should check it out. The ship was in great shape having been recently remodeled. We had a large room, probably too large but it was nice
We had a butler who was very attentive and met all of our needs. While we are not foodies per se the food was more than acceptable. The options for the food were extensive. We had canapés brought to our suite nightly. Our suite was stocked with favorite adult beverages ranging from beer to out desired alcohol.
Off boat excursions were plentiful and for the most part included. We were somewhat disappointed that the ship left port at either 5 or 6 nightly. We would have liked to spend an evening in the casino at Monte Carlo or had some local food at say Sicily or Capri. The distances were such that they appeared to be close enough to depart a bit later.
We thought that the attentiveness and dedication of the staff was above most other cruises we have been on. They were very attentive and we anxious to make everyone happy.
The dining selections included steak .italian, salad bar,Asian and French. Poolside grill was always a good place to have a small dinner.
One observation which was rather curious. The ship was 40% Asian. Regent we were told, has changed focus and is now marketing their product to the chinese populous. Rather interesting we were sitting with a couple from Hong Kong. They were not pleased for they had talked to mainline chinese and had found out that these people had paid 40% less than they paid.
As a result of the concentration of the chineses it was felt that the food was more focused on their needs than on other cruises, unfortunately the mainline folks are more of a rush and don’t respect ques or lines. Funny the Hong Kong Chinese had a bigger problem with the mainline folks than the rest of us.
I will look into this new focus on the part of Regent to find out if this is in fact the case. If so this may influence our future choices.
Entertainment was more on the site of mediocre. After 2 shows we just decided to skip. Read Less
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise ... Read More
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise had several days of rough weather resulting in missing the first port which was changed to Naples. We did back to back cruises and the weather improved as we headed south. The food on this cruise was outstanding. The main dining room frequently produced meals the equal of the speciality restaurants. This included the lunch menu. Additional meals in the speciality restaurants could be booked at the desk in the terrace cafe every morning.The other outstanding feature was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff from general manager to cabin steward. This attitude more than made up for the weather.
We chose the excursions from the 3 choices of the "o" life choice before the cruise so we did not have to pay extra to the cruise fare. The excursions were standard and similar to what can be obtained on other cruise lines. If we had paid the prices extra we would have been overcharged by some margin. Similarly the prices for alcoholic beverages were very high.
The cabins on the "r" class ships have small bathrooms. When the forthcoming upgrade of Oceania's ships takes place it would be money well spent if the shower cubicle were extended as well as putting on a folding door. This would be preferable to to cosmetic changes.
We benefit from the excellent Oceania loyalty programme. We are disappointed that in November 2019 the higher grades may be penalised
If the food service and itinerary are priorities Nautica is a good choice. Read Less
Having cruised well over 15 times as a couple (and Cunard Carnival cruises) let's start by saying that the pursers office had a very negative attitude, both in person and on the phone. The cost of drinks is extortionate I.e. a bottle of ... Read More
Having cruised well over 15 times as a couple (and Cunard Carnival cruises) let's start by saying that the pursers office had a very negative attitude, both in person and on the phone. The cost of drinks is extortionate I.e. a bottle of wine £5-6 uk over £40 on the ship plus 15 percent. Cost to us well over £350. The food is adequate at best the fish clearly cooked in a toaster. The speciality restaurant - we ordered fruits de mer not frozen de mer. Tasteless and watery. Their disembarkation procedure is manic. Whatever time it states you can get off is irrelevant. Ours was priority one as they allow the corridors to get chock a block with people and do not control it. Very dangerous. When going through security they do not even check the time you are supposed to get off. A free for all. We shall never go with this so called British company again . There is another American cruise company who do it better.
Humbly disillusioned. Read Less
This is a very Beautiful Ship. If you like formalities this is the ship for you. There is a sense of traditional cruising about it. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. We ate in the Britannia Club Restaurant. The food was of a very ... Read More
This is a very Beautiful Ship. If you like formalities this is the ship for you. There is a sense of traditional cruising about it. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. We ate in the Britannia Club Restaurant. The food was of a very high standard and the service was impeccable. The only down side was the cost of drinks which were very high.
Out cabin was well appointed and well looked after by our steward. The public areas were beautiful, with a lot of dark wood. At night there was plenty of room for sitting but not many people seemed to be drinking. Having commenting on the high cost of drinks it must be said that once we said we did not want one we were not bothered again. We bought drinks off the ship and drank them in our cabin (no corkage charge in your stateroom). There was no problem bringing your own drink onto the ship.
The entertainment was good. All in all a good relaxing cruise Read Less
This was our fourth crossing of the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. As on the previous trips we opted for a obstructed view cabin on deck 8. We like the location, close to the gym, Commodore Club and buffet and outdoor promenade on ... Read More
This was our fourth crossing of the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. As on the previous trips we opted for a obstructed view cabin on deck 8. We like the location, close to the gym, Commodore Club and buffet and outdoor promenade on deck 7. As it was a winter crossing we got some of the famous North Atlantic weather (motion of the ocean as the captain put it), two days of huge swells and waves and after that heavy wind. The ship pitched quite heavily but did not roll, it was a humbling experience to watch the sea wash by when enjoying a cocktail in one of the ships many comfortable bars.
We had breakfast in our cabin for six days out of seven. It was delivered promptly as ordered but lukewarm. Lunch in the Kings Court buffet was a positive surprice, with good selection, no queues and wonderful views from the bay windows overlooking the promenade deck. We especially liked the sushi assortment. Lunch and dinner in the graceful Britannia restaurant was ok, with some hits and some misses. Food was always delivered quickly, service was impeccable and portions of good size. Some of the fish was a bit overcooked, some dishes lacking in taste, but in general we were always well fed. This time we chose late dining at 20:30 which in our opinion is better than the early 18:00 sitting, especially if you can't decline the delicious afternoon tea at 15:30. Late night buffet in the Kings Court was a bit of a disappointment. But you will never feel hungry on the QM2.
As the outdoor promenade was closed for two days due to high winds we began our day on the treadmill in the gym. After that it was time for some tea, reading and wave watching in the Commore Club, followed by the nautical announcement at noon by the wonderfully entertaining captain Chris Wells. After lunch some more reading or attending lectures or simply having a nap before afternoon tea. Then a visit to the planetarium, some more reading perharps, enjoying the wonderful Ukrainian string trio in Carinthia Lounge with a glass of wine, before dressing for dinner. On day two everybody was invited to the Captain's Cocktail Party and on day four we attended Cunard World Club party, hosted again by the captain. After dinner it was time for the show, which we saw on four nights on this crossing. The performances consisted of some average singing and dancing, easy to watch for an hour but you weren't left hungry for more of the same. The music heard around in the ship in various locations by the harpist, pianist and the mentioned string trio was very good and fitting to the upscale surroundings. The lectures, pub trivia and planetarium shows seemed to be very popular as was ballroom dancing in the Queens Room and G32 disco for late night entertainment.
The best thing to do on the Queen Mary 2 is to enjoy the wonderful public spaces of the ship. As the ship is designed for the Atlantic crossing where there may be days on end when you can't enjoy the open decks there must be enough interior space to accomodate the whole population of the ship without feeling crowed. In this the QM2 excels and you always manage to find a nice spot for yourself. Commodore Club, Carinthia Lounge, Chart Room and the Champagne Bar are extremely comfortable and classy spots to look at the waves and people passing by with a nice drink in your hand. Luckily the drinks are of good quality and made of premium brands, as the prices are not cheap. Tea in the Commodore $4, Vesper martini $15. A bottle of perfectly drinkable white wine in the Britannia can be had for $35 which is not that bad. Service in the bars was impeccable, friendly and courteous without being intrusive.
Crossing on the QM2 is not for everyone, but if you feel even a little inspired go for it. Average age on this winter voyage was 60+, with just a handful of children and hardly any teens. It is the only ship in the world where you can relive some of the romance and thrill of the way how people travelled a hundred years ago in the first class of the grand ocean liners. It is a very well built quality ship and it's owners and officers are very proud of her. She was designed to feel classic and classy, not modern and she has aged well. With some attention to the cabins in the future she will an even more enjoyable experience. As this was our fourth crossing in five years I think it's now time for a brake but we will be back. Read Less