Princess has it right on Embarkation and Disembarkation. Smooth process proved to be one of the best. The ship is older and void of all the exciting pastimes of newer ships but full of traditional pastimes for older passengers. Cabin ... Read More
Princess has it right on Embarkation and Disembarkation. Smooth process proved to be one of the best. The ship is older and void of all the exciting pastimes of newer ships but full of traditional pastimes for older passengers. Cabin service was so exceptional that any flaws in furnishings was not noticed. Wow service for sure there! Food was exceptional in all aspects..better than any other cruise line I have experienced. Dining service was exceptional as well. Entertainment left a little to be desired. Needed more productions, more seating and better entertainers...something more breathtaking like "arial" acts, and such. Found myself bored at certain times, but mainly because of the weather and lack of other exciting activities. Not just gambling. Service everywhere was exceptional and I loved the staff. Only a couple of issues there, not worth mentioning. The Islands were awesome, economical and interesting. Less expensive than Ensenada, Mexico (who had ridiculously high prices) and no bargaining. One fan for $7.....really!!!! Don't even get off at that port. The cruise was rough sailing but we never got sick so hats off to Prncess! We would recommend but would not go again. Read Less
QM2 – NY to Southampton 11th to 18th November 2018
My wife and I are in our mid-60’s and have sailed with Cunard now for 125 days or so since 2011 on all their ships. QM2 is not our favourite ship, but we took advantage of ... Read More
QM2 – NY to Southampton 11th to 18th November 2018
My wife and I are in our mid-60’s and have sailed with Cunard now for 125 days or so since 2011 on all their ships. QM2 is not our favourite ship, but we took advantage of their offer this last summer to, effectively for free, include two nights at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square (room only – normally c300$ per night), plus transfers from JFK to the hotel and from the hotel on the 11th to the cruise terminal. You had to book by telephone or via a travel agent and not online. I insisted on an early morning flight for Friday 9th, this meaning we would have at least 50% of Friday in NY + all-day Saturday, rather than arriving late-pm US time as most did. We booked the cheapest inside cabin for this voyage as there is not much to see from a balcony but sea, mist, waves and rain at this time of the year.
How did it all go?
The flight was with BA leaving at 0830hrs UK time arriving in JFK c1100hrs US eastern time. BA actually supplied a decent breakfast and service was fine and flight ok. We pre-booked our seats and checked-in online before the flight.
On exiting JFK Arrivals, we were met by two very nice Cunard reps’ who greeted us by our first names. It turned out we were the first two on the day of a 100+ total, but the only Cunard passengers on that flight. As a result, they had provided a taxi just for us and we were in our hotel room by 1pm – fantastic. Cunard have a desk in the hotel foyer, manned at certain times and later in the day we were able to confirm transfer times for the Sunday to the ship.
Transfer to the ship? This was 100% fine at 1100hrs on the Sunday. Luggage was collected from rooms by porterage before departure, but we had to eyeball it before boarding the coach and likewise at the cruise terminal. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is basically a large shed with not much to commend it, but as Platinum Cunard World Club Members we bypassed the already mounting huge queues and were onboard by 1300hrs and the large cases arrived shortly afterwards.
The cabin? We had 6209, which is an Inside on Deck 6 and as it so happens is directly under the so called ‘Chef’s Galley’ at the after end of the Kings Court Buffet on Deck 7. It is a smallish cabin, albeit with the usual shower and w/c etc., large double bed and sufficient storage space. Unfortunately, during the day one could hear from time to time, food trolleys being moved overhead and at night the distant sound of vacuuming. This was not a terminal problem, but might really irritate some people. If you have a choice, do not choose any cabin anywhere on Deck 6, as Deck 7 is the main self -service buffet, Grills Restaurants + promenade/lifeboat deck are all immediately above.
Food? Super meals in Britannia Restaurant (we were second dining) but the buffet was so-so for lunch. Breakfast in the same ‘served’ restaurant or the buffet was 100% fine – decent choices, but probably hotter in the ‘served’ restaurant.
The only comment on the dinners is: Why cannot they simply do as any of their eight choices a meat or fish dish without it being covered in fancy sauces. Even roasted Haddock had to come with a weird coconut sprinkling over it all, making it look like a cheap pullover.
Tasty it was, but bog-standard fried cod and chips would have been nice as an offering. You can get this in the Golden Lion ‘pub bar’ as one of their lunch menu items, but this was always jam-packed from c1130hrs every day. We had to pretend to be interested in ‘Killer Darts’ between 10.45hrs and 1130hrs to get a table for two for a somewhat early lunch.
Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room? Nice, but join the queue early!
Speakers and Entertainment?
John McCarthy was the headline speaker (Beirut hostage crisis) + a variety of other speakers including a retired RN officer talking about submarine warfare in three sessions + Commodore Connell talking about ‘defence matters’ – he is/was UK Naval Attaché in Washington at the time of the voyage.
In the evenings it was the usual diet of song and dance, comedians you haven’t heard of, specialist musicians (finalists but not winners in Britain’s got Talent etc.). On the last night the entire Cunard team did Broadway Rocks, which was very good.
Service? Always good and friendly.
The downside of the voyage.
We will never have an inside cabin again unless it is a cruise with numerous ports of call – 7 days was, for us, claustrophobic. It is nice to have some natural light though a window, or door.
Drinks are massively overpriced in comparison to P&O and there is a 15% auto gratuity on every one purchased. For example, the Californian Rose wine we like at dinner was a total of 41.40$ a bottle (say 4 glasses) compared to the same on P&O for a flat £17.50.
Cunard are now offering a drinks package for, wait for it, 69$ per day per person when all in the same cabin. That would mean you would spend 966$ for the seven days for the two of you for a half-decent reduced selection of drinks from the menu and some of, but not all, the speciality coffees/teas and water.
We did not choose that option – did anyone?
Auto gratuities? I joined the long queue on the first day at reception having them removed or reduced. P&O are removing them entirely in May 2019.
Champagne Bar? – rarely saw anyone in it in the evenings.
A few young people onboard including one or two babies, but by far the average age of passenger must be 60+.
Cunard must advertise heavily amongst the LBGT community because there was a significant and noticeable presence onboard – some going out of their way to dress and appear radically different from everyone else. Cunard have dedicated meetings for LBGT, Friends of Dorothy as well as Friends of Bill W on all their ships. This is fine by us, but might be offensive to some. On the other hand, Mrs Essex Man noticed that many of our older ladies seemed to feel that ‘glitter’ in its various forms was the in-thing this year.
Evenings can be boring – you either have the bars, usually with some form of musical accompaniment, the theatre, G32 which is a small dance floor with a group or DJ who seems to like ABBA, or the Queens Court huge dance floor and seating area. This is predominantly for ballroom dancing which is not everyone’s cup of tea nowadays in-spite of Strictlys’ success.
Films – poor choice and always at wrong times.
Dinner in Britannia – Cunard must introduce Freedom Dining like P&O and other cruise lines ASAP. 8.30pm is too late to dine for many of us, but 6pm is also too early for some and why go to the buffet when you are paying a lot of money for proper service? We have never had a problem getting a table in Freedom Dining on P&O, particularly if one is prepared to share a table for 6 or 8. It is nice to meet other people – and you will probably never see them again on the same voyage if they are boring.
In summary, the whole thing was okay, but Cunard are now living in a bygone era and having trouble filling QM2 (at least trans-Atlantic). Captain Wells (a great guy) admitted as much when he mentioned that QM2 will be trialling voyages going via Dublin, Liverpool. Iceland and Canada before arriving at NY – in other words, more of a cruise than a straight seven-day voyage A to B.
And price? It was £1240 each including the cabin for 7 nights, flights, hotel and all transfers for the total of 9 days, so it was a bargain. We spent a grand total of 419$ on drinks, a photo + a reduced gratuity of 50$ each for the 7 days. To be honest though, we had more fun on MSC Magnifica in early-October for £700 each INCLUDING their standard Classic drinks package and all in a Balcony Cabin for 7 days around Northern-Europe, and we did not starve either! Read Less
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally ... Read More
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different venue....the makeup of the Seine vs the Douro but a lot of it was just a poorly orchestrated itinerary.
As I’m sure you’re aware, unlike the Seine, the river boats can’t cruise the Douro at night which probably presents some logistical issues. That said, as a more upscale provider, I would have expected UniWorld to have figured out how to compensate and address this. The other issue is that while the Douro is lovely and the scenery beautiful, there isn’t tons to do. Unlike the Seine, there are few cute little villages (except Porto) to explore along its banks so understandably, every sight or at least most, we were bused to. However, they did these bus rides/tours in the morning which meant rising at 6/6:30 to dress and get breakfast so we could be on the bus usually by 8:30 (one morning may have been 9). Then they’d get us back on the bus and back on the boat midday for lunch and an afternoon of sailing. Nothing of real substance to do except drink (btw the wine is delicious!). I should note that one day was a full day trip to Salamanca so of course we had to be up and out early but the others were half day excursions. If memory serves me, 3 of those morning / half day excursions involved wine tastings! Really....at 10am!!!!! Had they flipped the schedule and allowed for more leisurely mornings to eat breakfast and watch the countryside go by, the whole experience would have been more enjoyable and relaxing. We finished the cruise depleted and exhausted!
Two other points. Lisbon. They put us up at the Corinthia Hotel on the outskirts of the city. The hotel was fine but the location made it difficult to get out and easily enjoy the city. On the return we stayed in the heart of the city (unfortunately it was only for one night). How much more delightful our Lisbon experience would have been had we been there for 3 days at the front end! I’m not sure if other tour companies offer a more centrally located hotel. If this is typical then I would urge you to suggest that people make their own hotel arrangements in Lisbon so they can take advantage of the city. There are plenty of local guides and a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city and then people can get out on their own and explore.
The Douro is very dependent on the weather. Our week was cloudy, cold and rainy. The week before was lovely. But since there is so little to do, it’s extra important to have good weather. I wouldn't book beyond mid October.
The food was inconsistent so disappointing. The buffet food at lunch was not always hot. Ama had a few things you could order from the kitchen, such as pasta, that came out hot. Uniworld was only buffet and carving station. Seafood was usually over cooked. They didn’t have some Portuguese specialties like shrimp in garlic or large prawns. Or even lobster. I expected this on a luxury line. It did seem like they were serving less expensive foods. The pork tenderloin the first night was excellent. The rest of the dinners were not memorable. Red Wines were excellent even though they were pretty inexpensive (we looked In stores). Our waiter, we had the same table all week, was outstanding.
The Sandeman trip was a highlight - beautiful ride up.
Would recommend the duo the last night in Porto be put on the first night in Porto - they we’re outstanding.
Kirsten, the cruise director, was ok but a little misleading on what a disabled person could do. Also, the wine guy who explained the wine was worthless. It didn’t really tell us anything so I’d just eliminate that part. I would also recommend that Uniworld send more information in advance of the cruise.
We skipped the dinner at the local winery, because we didn’t want the bus ride in the dark, or more cabbage soup. The dinner on the ship that night was mediocre. People said the winery dinner was not very good but the evening was fun.
Coimbra was lovely, even though it poured. Read Less
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there.
--Small ship with sails: we don’t enjoy large ships anymore and the sails were beautiful
--Excellent service: from the Captain on down, everyone was charming with just a very few exceptions (see cons)
—Good food: Mostly excellent. No fails!
--Nice fitness room
—Aging ship that needs total re-furbishing: Formica EVERYWHERE, stained carpets, lots of thick, painted-over rust. Small porthole windows and no balconies.
—We felt nickeled and dimed: expensive beer and wine prices made us buy the package. Then they tried to up-sell us to the fine wines and mixed drinks. WIFI package was $60 and data ran out in just one day of checking email. So slow! Shore excursions are very pricey—none are included.
—Itinerary should have been tweaked for this late-in-the-season cruise. Ibiza was a ghost town—should have been replaced. We did not get Windstar’s usual on-shore special event. Why not?
—Docking: the line advertises its ability to dock in small towns and ports, however, we were always docked in a large, industrial port.
—Staffing: the front desk staff was cold and dismissive. Everyone else was warm and tried very hard. However, the lounge is terribly understaffed at cocktail hour. Table service was almost non-exisistent! You had to fight your way to the bar and wait.
I guess we were hoping for more of a river cruise experience, but perhaps that was unreasonable. I doubt that we will try Windstar again. We will try other small, high-end lines and hope for a better value. Read Less
We just returned from a ten day trip on the Silver Spirit, Montreal to New York City. Out of 25+ cruises this was hands down the worst because of the weather. It was 29 degrees F in Montreal, we got stuck in Quebec City because of a ... Read More
We just returned from a ten day trip on the Silver Spirit, Montreal to New York City. Out of 25+ cruises this was hands down the worst because of the weather. It was 29 degrees F in Montreal, we got stuck in Quebec City because of a blizzard, Saguenay port was closed because of the weather, Baie-Comeau was closed because the dock was wrecked by the storm and it was rain, snow, sleet and fog in all but Newport RI. So I must give this trip two marks, overall trip a 2 while just the Silver Spirit a 8. I blame the weather 50%, myself 25% for booking a trip to Canada this late in the season and Silver Sea 25% for selling a trip this late. The attitude aboard the ship from Captain on down was it was too late in the season.
The Ship: The Spirit looks like a new ship and just like the Muse in many places. She was very clean and organized with no problems that I encounter. The crew was great, service top notch. The unlimited internet and the interactive TV worked great. We were in cabin 1117, a new Silver Suite added when she was stretched. Great cabin in a great location. Very quite and right by the elevator and midships enough motion wasn’t a issue.
Food: The Spirit now has the same restaurant arraignment as the Muse and the same room service. I really do not like the fact that the menus do not change at all in the evening in any restaurant, it gets very boring. Some will say they do change however after 23 days on both ships I have never seen a change, I also find the room service menu boring, almost like a Diner. I tried to get a lobster dinner, which is a special order, and just got the run around. I am really not impressed by the food. I never got a bad meal however there is no wow factor in any of it. I can not recommend SS to a foodie.
Accitivies: For a ship with a very small stage their group did a great job. There were six singers who put on various shows, all very good. There was a three piece band which was OK along with a male and female singer who worked the lounge, also OK. I was surprised they didn’t bring in any guest acts. There was a lecturer onboard also.
Overall I like SS but after trying them twice I just can’t get excited about their restaurant concept. I would sail them again however at their price point there are better options I believe. Read Less
Booked cruise to Galapagos, always on my bucket list, expecting in depth exploration of the islands. I did not investigate land geography, volcanic islands with little or no vegetation and very limited animal life. Hikes on the islands was ... Read More
Booked cruise to Galapagos, always on my bucket list, expecting in depth exploration of the islands. I did not investigate land geography, volcanic islands with little or no vegetation and very limited animal life. Hikes on the islands was treacherous at the best of times especially in our age bracket, over 70. Nowhere in cruise literature did I find that the tours are at least 50% water sports, snorkeling and kaiaking.
Naturalists on board, some very good others overage. Boarding and getting off zodiacs was well planned with lots of safety measures. Transportation to and from airports was very good, well planned.
The buffet breakfast, worst on any cruise ship, dinners, although tasty, at times, offered portions inadequate for adults, perhaps too small even for children. Wines included in the menu were mostly Chilean and Argentinian, lowest quality money can buy. Specialty wine list had prices above what is expected on a cruise ship.
Life on board was practically non existent, the bar had a limited supply of beverages.
Silver Sea must have a program where profits are maximized at the expense of customers while paying in excess of $1,400/day. My wife and I may never take another Silver Sea cruise. Read Less
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The ship stayed in Cuba for the entire cruise which was great. Absolutely loved Cuba. In Havana the city tour is a must in order to learn about life there. We also did a farm to table ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The ship stayed in Cuba for the entire cruise which was great. Absolutely loved Cuba. In Havana the city tour is a must in order to learn about life there. We also did a farm to table experience which was amazing. As far as the cruise experience we were so excited to take a “luxury”cruise! However, we found ourselves wondering when the luxury was going to start. An upgrade got us a bottle of champagne nothing more (most expensive champagne ever!). Average cruise meals, average cruise wines and to our surprise the “free” drink package was a total joke. It included wine at dinner only which was a shock!! What? The entertainment was average as were the specialty restaurants. Of course we had to pay another $160 to “upgrade”. There was absolutely no difference in that cruise than any other cruise I’ve been on. In fact I think Royal Caribbean is a much better cruise experience and the cost is half of an Oceania cruise. Also, FYI the ship is OLD and needs a refurbishment, and the pool was tiny. To sum it up, loved the destination but did not understand why Oceania claims to be a luxury cruise line. Lesson learned. Read Less
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were ... Read More
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were uncomfortable leaving our bags in the middle of the platform unattended.
After a beautiful transit through the Canal we anticipated a variety of interesting expeditions. The first day our rain forest tour at Parida Island was a 40 minute walk of which 20 minutes was spent waiting for members to catch up. The highlights were the two termite nests we saw. If we had seen any termites they would have been the only wildlife encountered. We did have to step over two muddy little streams. When we got back to the beach we found out that we had the best excursion as those who wanted to snorkel met their boat only to find out the boat had no snorkel gear. That expedition became a whale and dolphin watching ride without the whales and dolphins.
Because of bad weather our next two stops were changed and we spent two days at Puntarenas. While they handled the change of schedule well there was no effort to replace the expeditions with something similar. For each of the two days we spent over four hours on buses. The first destination was a horse demonstration which was mediocre. The next was "a walk in the clouds" which was a rain forest at 5000 feet. Very interesting, lots of birds and flora. Because there was construction en route and our bus broke down on the way up we were late getting back to the ship and in danger of not making it on time. Swiss Travel, the tour operator called the police. They closed an oncoming lane for over a mile and allowed us to pass stalled traffic and make the ship on time. Everyone on the bus cheered madly. Sadly this was one of the highlights of the cruise. Very surprised that Silversea was unable (or unwilling) to come up with expedition type of options while at Puntarenas.
After a nice day at sea our next stop at Isla de la Plata was a true expedition experience with zodiacs to shore and then an extensive walk on the island seeing thousands of birds including the lovable blue footed boobies. What was totally surprising was that both the Silversea expedition person and the local guide totally ignored the rules and regulations they had laid out which were similar to those in the Galapagos: don't leave the paths, no interacting with the fauna, keep a good distance between groups etc. One woman in our group approached boobies three different times with the birds responding aggressively twice and squirting excrement the third time with nothing said by the guide or expedition member. Our group of 8 spread out and ultimately we ended up with several other groups totaling about 40 people.
Machala was our next destination with one of the tours through a petrified forest with over a 130 different types of birds per the brochure. Again two hours in a bus each way. In our two hour walk we saw one bird eating a snail and one squirrel so high in a tree that the only way to verify he was there was to greatly enhance the resolution of the picture I took. We fully understand that fauna come and go but to only see two living things? Seems like either Silversea didn't do their homework or the Machala tourism bureau wrote the trip description. Very unsatisfying waste of a day.
Isla Lobos was another highlight of the trip as the expedition team spotted numerous whales and the Captain did a great job of positioning the ship and literally turning it in circles so that we could fully enjoy a spectacular display of humpbacks frolicking and two blue whales with their magnificent flukes.
Salaverry Peru was our last stop with a short bus ride to the temples of the Moon and Sun. The latter wasn't open but the former was fascinating and an enjoyable half day but not what I'd consider an expedition experience.
This turned out to be a classic cruise on a small ship. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. However, on Regent, Seabourn and Oceania their service has also been excellent so it was not a differentiator.
The cabin was very cluttered and would have been far more usable if one of the chairs was removed. Everything was in very good shape and kept immaculate by our service team. The wifi was better than on any other cruise we've been on.
As you can tell this cruise wasn't what we thought we were getting. The crew and senior officers were all outstanding. Silversea should not have marketed this as an expedition cruise even though Silver Cloud is an expedition ship. There was a Finnish travel agent on board with 14 of his clients who said this was the worst Silversea cruise (out of 10) that he had been on. Numerous other passengers who were more experienced than we concurred. Another passenger said Silversea is really good at the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions but hasn't figured the rest out. We'd consider sailing on Silversea again with the right itinerary but not on an expedition ship.
It will be interesting to see how Silversea handles our complaint. The expedition team acknowledged the shortcomings as did the senior officers with both saying they reported this to Silversea corporate.. When we went on Seabourn sponsored tours that were awful they promptly refunded the costs. All-inclusive doesn't remove the obligation to provide the service advertised. Read Less
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary from Montreal to New York. We chose Oceania because of it's food and luxury.
The itinerary was great even though the weather has not been too good. The cabin was comfortable enough but too ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary from Montreal to New York. We chose Oceania because of it's food and luxury.
The itinerary was great even though the weather has not been too good. The cabin was comfortable enough but too small compared to equivalent luxury small ships. It was also dated, main problem was the old, small plastic shower room, and the storage was about enough for 2 weeks, any longer and there's not enough storage. Other reviews say the same thing.
We are in cabin 7088 which suffers a lot from engine noise, again a sign of poor design and age. The noise was very disappointing so keep away from 7088 if you can.
Because the weather wasn't great and fairly cold the outside spaces and dining was not being used. This made the ship seem absolutely packed. I think this is because the cabins are small so there are too many passengers for the ship facilities if the outside spaces can't be used. Getting a seat for afternoon tea is impossible if you're late.
We had a problem on the first night where we had to wait for 50 minutes for a table for the grand dining room, we were eventually the last in. We found that when we got in there were plenty of empty tables which hadn't been reset. We were told it was because people weren't using the other facilities. We did get a good outcome as we got extra bookings in the speciality restaurants as a result and everyone was apologetic.
I just think there are not enough indoor facilities if people can't go outside. This is possibly caused by the small cabins allowing more passengers than the facilities can really support on a small ship.
Having said all that we are enjoying ourselves, the food is generally very good and the staff and friendly and helpful.
If you drink I would strongly suggest you get the drinks package.as drinks are expensive on board. Read Less
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, ... Read More
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, the itinerary lived up to its expectations, although we had to miss Portomao because of Tropical Storm Leslie so we remained in Lisbon for the second day.
The only hitch we had for our own itinerary ashore as with the Alhambra. We had been wait-listed for a ticket package that included the Nesrud Palaces, a highlight of the Alhambra and, according to those who have been there, not to be missed. When it become apparent that we would not be getting tickets through Seaborn (they are extremely difficult to come by), even though we had been on the wait list over four months prior to leaving. A few people were lucky enough to get the Seabourn tickets, but more on that later.
We told the guest services agent on board that we planned on using the ship's tour bus to the Alhambra (which did not include the Nesrud Palaces), as we had purchased our own tickets and would join up with the bus prior to the group leaving the Alhambra. Our tickets were from 11am to 2pm, meeting at 10:45pm exactly where the tour bus would be pulling into the bus parking lot. We informed the Seabourn rep of our plan prior to boarding the bus and she cleared it with the tour guide. We arranged with him to meet up with the group at a restaurant should we not be ready to rejoin the bus when the Seabourn group was ready to leave. All was going smoothly as we left the port around 8:35am. Unfortunately, the guide decided to announce that we would be pulling into a rest stop for bathroom use and also for buying merchandise. Had the stop been for ten minutes all would still have been fine, but it was closer to 25 minutes and we then had no chance to make our tour. The Alhambra was outstanding, but we will now never have the opportunity to see the Nesrud Palaces.
Those who were able to secure tickets for the Alhambra and the palaces thought they were all set. Unfortunately, for some of them, since showing your passport is required at different checkpoints randomly and then, for the palaces, for everyone, when the group was asked to present their passports the list of passengers did not match the names on the passports. Some names were of people not taking the tour. The mix up caused some passengers to have to miss the Alhambra and the palaces.
We had read on Cruise Critic that Seabourn's shore excursions are below average and had not encountered that when on a Quest voyage. This particular trip was excellent once in the Alhambra as the guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the buildings and the area. The guide on the bus, however, was constantly talking, was very redundant and seemed to be along for the ride. All of the other tours was above average, although the timing for a tour of Eze and the Rothschild Mansion in Cap Ferat gave too much time to the later and not nearly enough time to Eze. Also, this trip was extremely tiring because all tours, half day or full day, started early in the morning so you began to feel sleep deprived early into the trip. I think they should offer afternoon half day excursions to alleviate the fatigue factor when you are on a 10-day cruise with only one at-sea day. Others felt the same way.
The cabins on the ship are up to Seabourn's standards. They are among the most spacious in the industry and our ship stewardess was outstanding. The room is well-equipped and pretty much anything can be delivered to your room upon request, including unlimited amounts of champagne.
The food on the ship was excellent. No complaints at all. The service was another matter. The worst was the Observation Bar between 6 and 7:30pm. You had a tough time flagging down a waiter as there were often only one or two of them. Going to the bar yourself and carrying the drinks to the table was impossible on rough sea evenings. This problem with service in the Observation Bar continued throughout the cruise. Towards the end of the voyage, we went down to Bruno's lounge in the Thomas Keller grill and after a ten-minute wait, went up to the bar for a drink.
For afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, tea was offered, but they didn't mention that scones, sandwiches and cakes were available at the self-serve area where tapas are available every evening. On the Quest a waiter brought these items around which is the way afternoon tea should be presented.
Service in the Restaurant was fine, but not if you wanted to get to the 8:45pm show. Fortunately, my husband and I did not have that problem because we had caught two shows and didn't think they were very good so skipped them from that point on.
The service in the Colanade was excellent except for the final morning which was an absolute zoo. It was so bad that we ended up getting a bite to eat at Seabourn Square. We were heading for the Restaurant for a nice relaxing breakfast before disembarking because we had to be out of our room at 8pm, but could stay on board until 10pm. The Restaurant was closed, however, although we had no clue that it would be. On the Quest the Restaurant is open for the final breakfast before disembarking.
The Patio's food was excellent as well as the service, and there were an adequate number of waiters should you need a drink while relaxing by the pool.
Thomas Keller Grill was an interesting evening. We were told by the waiter to look forward to enjoying a romantic meal. To me, that's leisurely, but he did not seem to understand that. After ordering our drinks, he immediately asked if we were ready to order. We said that we needed some time. He came back in five minutes and asked again and we told him we weren't ready as we wanted to enjoy our drinks. After a few minutes, the supervisor went up to our waiter and talked to him. I assume it was about their need to get our order in. The supervisor then came up to our table and asked if we had any questions and we told him we didn't, we just wanted to slow the process down. The meal was very good, though, and there was a good vibe.
The best experience for us was Sushi. The food was excellent, there were nice tables for two and the service was what you expect from Japanese staff - respectful, courteous and timely.
All in all the management of the Ovation has a way to go to beat the service on the Quest. I think they need some time to work out the glitches as the ship only had its maiden voyage in May. Hopefully, things will improve soon. Read Less