Beautifully designed and well maintained ship...the very best we have ever sailed on, our suite on deck 5 was big, well laid out and again in good condition.
The Seabourn sq area is another best ever, to incorporate all what are usually ... Read More
Beautifully designed and well maintained ship...the very best we have ever sailed on, our suite on deck 5 was big, well laid out and again in good condition.
The Seabourn sq area is another best ever, to incorporate all what are usually titchy rooms into one open plan location is a brilliant idea. Good shop too. Great coffee.
Service onboard is first rate , well rehearsed crew members are always cheerful and chatty, the Hotel Officers were really visible and actively supervising especially at meal times.
Entertainment organised by the Cruise Director and her Deputy were again seriously consistently good. We don't usually do cruise shows, this time we didn't miss one.
The downsides... embarkation for us was awful...we arrived as scheduled by Seabourn at 5pm...no meet and greet, vaguely pointed to our suite, and then we had to find our own much delayed baggage....knackered after overnight long haul, and infomed boat drill will be held at 9pm. we felt like uninvited wedding party guests. The Hotel Director said sorry and we moved on.........
Ports...our segment ie Java was poor but staying onboard as the ship is that good it was a delight.
The Thomas Keller Grill, over promises under delivers, main courses are all protein and nothing much else, the menu lacks excitement and compared say with the Polo Grill on Riviera it really is 2nd rate. Food overall does not compare well to Oceania. Read Less
My husband and I had an excellent time on our 14 day southern Caribbean cruise. We spent one night pre-cruise in San Juan. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. The ports of call were fun and new places to explore. We especially ... Read More
My husband and I had an excellent time on our 14 day southern Caribbean cruise. We spent one night pre-cruise in San Juan. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. The ports of call were fun and new places to explore. We especially enjoyed our time at Maho beach in Saint Martin, Princess Margaret beach in Bequia and Grand Anse Beach in Grenada. The weather was great but the highlight of the ship was the service and the food. The staff are so well-trained to provide very personalized service without being in your space. The food was by far the best food I’ve had in 80 cruises. We loved the sailaway ceremony in each port. Swimming off the back water sport deck is a fun way to end the day’s activities. WindStar has become our new top cruise line after having sailed many mainline larger cruise ships. The decor and the flexibility of being on a smaller ship fit our cruising lifestyle perfectly. Read Less
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), ... Read More
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), sophisticated but not stuffy, great food, cabins are spacious and comfortable, super clean, enjoyable entertainment, included shore excursions and so much more. Ultimately though my love of this cruise was because of their staff. From the top down, ALL are committed to making this the best cruise you have ever been on. During the 3 week cruise we always met staff asking how we were doing, did we need anything, were we enjoying our cruise and what could they do for us. It appears the crew are treated well and love their jobs. The smiles are amazing. On board surveys were acknowledged with a phone call and a promise to review something, make a change or take immediately correction.
The general manager and all department heads were available and approachable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals in The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, Chef’s Table, Mamsens and the World Cafe. Room service was always available. Complimentary beer and wine at both lunch and dinner was a nice perk. Complimentary adult beverages at sail away’s, parties, receptions, etc. The food was plentiful, varied and beautifully presented. Loved Mamsens yummy light snacks with their Norwegian influence. Manfredi’s had an Italian styled menu and was always fantastic. Please note that there are no up charges for the specialty restaurants either!
Our penthouse veranda cabin was spacious and very well organized. The bathroom and shower were roomy. Plenty of electric plugs and charging ports for your electronic devices. Tired of paying for wifi on other cruises? Well Viking’s wifi is FREE and generally worked very well ( even in the Pacific Ocean).
Entertainment was appropriate for the passengers sailing with a classic and contemporary mix. The very talented Cruise and Assistant Cruise Director were fully engaged with the passengers. The ship’s band and small troup of singers were very good. Some special performers ( magician, violinist, local culture group,etc.) were also good. There were enrichment programs with guest speakers as well. Each port had a complimentary excursion provided plus other interesting choices.
A lovely spa was also available plus 2 small ( but adequate) swimming pools.
Quality and value through and through. No nickle and diming you as the passenger. I loved this cruise and have already booked another Viking adventure. Read Less
From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really ... Read More
From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really touched on the life and history in Vietnam and Cambodia. Loved the all inclusive nature. They took care of everything. It was nice having on board washing machines and dryers where we could do our own laundry, if we choose, as we had been traveling on our own for 9 days prior and were continuing on for another week after cruise ended. This was free including laundry soap. We loved the pool deck, great for cooling down after excursions. It was very hot during our trip, but we did have rain for 1 1/2 days so we actually had them fire up the sauna and steam room after one extremely wet excursion. That felt so good. Food was delicious, varied and abundant. Great choice of wines and cocktails. This was our first Scenic Cruise and won’t be the last! Read Less
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed.
And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai.
It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph..
Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way?
The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings.
Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed.
The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again.
The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe.
Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired.
The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable.
Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra.
We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself.
It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice.
We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show!
The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city.
We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem.
The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful.
Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment.
Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime ... Read More
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime celebration and memories.
We chose this trip because we vowed to return after 20 years to the places where we honeymooned. I mentioned to Sunil, our butler how my husband John was my hero and superman for when he married me, a widow, he took on the responsibilites of two greiving teenagers and ill and declining parents. I wanted to thank him with a surprise German themed evening of food and music. It brings back his happy memories of his parents of German descent. I thought we might have dinner in our suite and perhaps hear a couple German tunes where the musicians were playing that evening.
Here's the amazing evening that Sunil flawlessly executed with the help of Marius, Chef Wesley, Kasha, Anyje, Boogie, Zach and their fellow performers.
When we returned from our shore excursion, Gretchen and Deborah who kept our room always tidy, had beautifully decorated our suite. Towels were creatively transformed into swans forming a heart messaging I ♡ YOU on the confetti strewn bed. Red and white ballons with ribbon streamers were everywhere.
We were then invited to the Mariner Lounge where Kasia and Antje greeted us in their German durndl dresses. They had planned a unique and upbeat show of beer toasting, music, song and dance. The girls wisked my joyful husband to the dance floor where he joined the dance and returned misty eyed. I am amazed how they came up with such a professional costumed show with such short notice. Brendon and Nathan said they had just finished learning their parts that afternoon. You would never suspect as it was executed with perfection and all in attendance throughly enjoyed the upbeat energy of their performance.
We then returned to our suite for dinner where Marius and Chef Wesley wished us a happy anniversary and presented all of John's favorite German dishes: his mother's Sauerbraten, schnitzel, spaetzley, pretzels and Asparagus soup served with a nice Reisling wine.
I had mentioned to Sunil that John enjoyed a cigar and whiskey after dinner. He suggested that a taste of Louis XIII Cognac would make a nice gift from me. I agreed so we surprised John once again with a stroll to the cigar lounge were Sunil made a white gloved ceremonial presentation of this special indugence.
We then caught John, the cruise director's excellent show.
When we returned to our room there was yet one more surprise: a black forest cake topped with a fondant sculpture of Superman carrying me reminiscent of our original wedding cake. John's dad was a master baker and played trumpet in a German folk band and he would have been impressed.
We were never charged for any of this. Regent doesn't nickle and dime you. They just treat you special all the time. We love that you never put your hand in your pocket once on board. You just sit back enjoy and let them pamper you
So you see all of these wonderful individuals went over board to gift us an evening we will forever cherish. They make a Regent cruise special. Read Less
It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the ... Read More
It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the staff and fellow guests get to know you and vice versa in a short period of time. This makes for a more congenial and friendly family type atmosphere. Since my last review, it seems that the service on board still remains a challenge in some areas of the main restaurant and for a couple of waiters in the various bars. But in general I am much happier with the Seabourn Ovation now. The Cruise Director, Handré is perhaps the best that I have come across in my 40 or so cruises. He is extremely hard working and can be heard making the safety and shore announcements from the bridge, overseeing the trivia, announcing the entertainment and generally coordinating all the various events. He then still has time to perform (he is a gifted pianist and composer) and conduct personalised small group enrichment programs such as “how to tie bowties” and “how to fold a pocket square correctly”. Another shipboard star is the Executive Chef, Jes Paskins, who is a true talent both as a chef and as a fun loving foodie. His caviar in the surf (and pool) as well as his many theme nights are delightful fun. For a small ship, the Seabourn Ovation makes use of all of its spaces. The deck parties are amazing and the shows are very well done by the resident entertainment team and the guest artists. Of course, once in a while, there are some duds such as the quartet of ladies known as “Ida” who perform in the style of the Three Tenors or El Divo. Sadly they miss the mark. Did I mention the trivia? Handré and his team bring this iconic cruise staple event to a new level of entertainment with fun twists and prizes galore (sometimes for every participant and not just the winners). The cabins are amazing and the housekeeping staff a pleasure. In the “old days” Seabourn only hired pretty young Scandinavian room stewardesses but today they hire from around the world and I am pleased to confirm that they are still pretty, young and charming. But, lest you get the wrong impression, nobody is flirtatious, just pleasant and friendly. This is definitely not a Frat ship. It is a 5 star floating luxury hotel. Keep this ship in mind and on your short list if its itinerary suits. Read Less
We travelled Eastbound on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in November, so expected possible rough seas, which did not really materialise, which was good! The QM2 is a beautiful ship, one of the last "Liners" - as opposed to cruise ships - ... Read More
We travelled Eastbound on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in November, so expected possible rough seas, which did not really materialise, which was good! The QM2 is a beautiful ship, one of the last "Liners" - as opposed to cruise ships - and the food (Princess Grill) and the service both in the restaurant and cabin, was immaculate. There is something to do from 6.30 am - 2.00 am if you wished to be constantly occupied, and what is offered is very varied and interesting. Our cabin was lovely with comfortable beds and a decent sized shower room. Only quibble is that it would be nice to have a shelf or two on which to put personal toiletries. However, the wine is horrendously expensive. Just two glasses of very ordinary NZ Sauvignon Blanc (currently selling in Tescos at £7.00 a bottle) was $51 and a bottle of NZ Cloudy Bay SB was $65.00. And two gin and tonics in the Carinthia Lounge were $21.00 which, seeing as they are mostly tonic water, seems really excessive.
But the main rip-off on board is the photographic department. Their prices are very high, but they know they have a "captive audience", and everybody is going to want to purchase their photo with the Captain, if available, so they can charge $35.00 for an 8 x 10 inch photo. They sent round a card which said: "Spend over $90.00 in the Photo Gallery tomorrow and get a free photo". This implies that if you spend, say, $92.00 you are entitled to a free photo. We ordered $119.00 worth of photos and asked how to get the free photo but were informed that we had not spent enough to entitle us to the freebie because, if they deducted $35.00 from $119.00 we were under the $90.00 limit. This seemed to contravene the terms of the offer, but in order to get the free photo we had to order another photo which brought our total to approx. $150.00. They then deducted the cost of the "free" photo, which brought our final total to $129.80. The offer stated unequivocally that you are entitled to a free photo if you spend "over $90": we spent well over that but still had to spend more to get the free photo. We should have just stayed with our order and forgotten about the so-called "free" photo. We think this is downright dishonesty, and sadly, because of this bad experience, I shall downgrade the "Onboard Experience" to two stars. It would have been five stars otherwise. The photographic department is run by a company in Southampton, to whom we have written, but they have not bothered to reply.
Apart from the sour taste left by the photo department , we really enjoyed our journey on the QM2. It is a wonderful experience, the staff cannot do enough for you and we had a truly good time. Read Less
We were originally scheduled to be on the Crystal Bach for a Rhine excursion from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. However, we were alerted a week beforehand that the cruise was being switched to another ship. We discovered a bit later in the ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to be on the Crystal Bach for a Rhine excursion from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. However, we were alerted a week beforehand that the cruise was being switched to another ship. We discovered a bit later in the cruise that the Bach had been hit by a barge and needed to be repaired.
We were offered to switch to the Bach's sister ship, the Mahler. Also, the itinerary was drastically changed due to low water levels in the Rhine. Our point of embarkation was also changed from Frankfurt to Cologne. Crystal took care of transfer from Frankfurt Airport to Cologne.
Although it wasn't the ship, nor the cruise for which we'd signed up, we had a wonderful time. The food was wonderful both in the Bistro and in the Waterside. The staff and crew were incredibly cordial and helpful. The excursions were great, especially considering that Crystal had to do some fast thinking to schedule them. Entertainer Neal Fullerton was a treat. He's incredibly talented and also knows how to get the passengers involved.
Our cabin/suite was a luxurious, comfortable haven. As always, it was stocked with wonderful wines and the nightly turn-down chocolates.
This cruise was relaxing and lovely. Regardless of the need to go to "Plan B," we decided to do an open booking for a future cruise. Read Less