Due to the delay we only embarked on 26Jan 2019 sadly missing two days of fun we were looking forward to..nevertheless once on board we were in awe of the beauty & magnitude of the ship & then the fun started. We loved the various ... Read More
Due to the delay we only embarked on 26Jan 2019 sadly missing two days of fun we were looking forward to..nevertheless once on board we were in awe of the beauty & magnitude of the ship & then the fun started. We loved the various lounges & bar areas for relaxation & good music. The dining sittings in the restaurant caters for everyones needs & the staff serving guests with a smile & then having the opportunity to meet wonderful people at the table we share with.Our highlight the sushi restaurant (my favourite). Our balcony cabin for two very spacious & clean..the staff (& that includes everyone) very friendly & helpful at all times & they work long hours daily. Its also fantastic on the pool deck soaking up the sun & having fun with activities organised by the entertainment team.Its your lucky day if you win something.The shows in the theatre outstanding!!!Professionalism beyond words! The cruise overall is too much to see & do & theres too little time..definitely another cruise planned for the future.. Read Less
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours ... Read More
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours by Locals. Overall service was very good. The butler was excellent and the cabin service was very good. Prices in the shops was way out of line. No general sundry shop to purchase small items. Did not like the idea that they would not let you on the ship until noon. Other cruise lines will allow you to board early and wait in a common area until cabins are ready. Disembarkation was not satisfactory. Since we had a late flight we purchased a transfer package that included wait time in a hotel. The hotel day room supplied a minimum of snaks and drinks along with broken chairs. Probably not Crystals fault. Read Less
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba.
Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days.
We got cabins on 5th floor near the free ... Read More
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba.
Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days.
We got cabins on 5th floor near the free laundry (including soap) as no noise and convenient to wash clothes . I think a laundry room on all cabin floors. Needed as Hot and at itmes muggy and hit the beach several times. Cabins seem like they have little storage but ask for more hangers and you will have plenty of storage. Bathroom floor is heated so if bathroom too hot ask your steward to turn the heat off. We asked for 4 towels a day as needed to wash off after beach and in AM. AC works beautifully. Verandas big enough and if want to lounge in sun, lots of lounge chairs and towels near the aft infinity pool and central pool.
Infinity pool bromine I think and the central pool a salt water pool (notice how much more boyant you are.)One end of the pool is shallower than the other so you can stand up (if not too short). Both nicely warm. No fighting over lounge chairs so no need to come early and “stake your property” Neither pool ever have many people in it and usually then only to get wet and back to their lounge chair.
We only took the included tours or got a private taxi-van. Most taxis are vans. On some included tours transport was packed tight and others lots of room to spread out. Usually morning tours more packed than afternoon. AC on all except Tortola with was an open tram (nice breeze and cool enough).
San Juan: nice walking tour and covers all but the Morro fortress. We were there during the San Sebastian festival so the free tram from fort to fort not running.
Tortola: incl tour: open air tram with spacious seating and great views. Pro and Con: 1.5 hr at Cane Beach and no way to bail and go back. Lovely white sugar white sand beach with tourqoiuse gentle water. There are umbrellas and lounge chairs you can rent or sit on some picnic tables in the shade or up in the shaded open deck restaurant for the cost of a drink. Tour gives a free rum punch or punch drink near the picnic tables. Nice restrooms, showers and changing rooms free there.
Basseterre: We walked ato the end of the pier and got a $100USD total for van private tour of the island. (Lasted 4 hrs but no time limit) .Just keep walking off pier and prices get cheaper. Romney manor and batik making, black rocks, fort and many scenic view points.
Castries: awesome long beach nearby. We took tranport offered by pier. They load you up tight in vans (the drivers get one load a day and 300 vans waiting to take people). About a 5min drive (or 2-3 mi walk) to the beaches- really only one beach with mulitple names. Set fee all transport for $5USD/pp. Again sugar white beach. Multiple establishments with drinks, umbrellas etc. Umbrella and 2-3 chair rental $20. Water gentle, turquoise. Beach fills up so come early. Some of us snorkeled- some fish seen. Shipwreck put for snorkeling you can swim to but many tour boats and many many snorkelers there with glass bottom boat meandering among the snorklers. Showers, restrooms and changing room free. Get back by telling your driver when you want ot come back or just walk out and someones van will be waiting .
Bridgetown: inc tour: packed tight van/bus. Views of island
Roseau: got a private tour for 4 $45/pp Went to other side of island and saw multiple falls
St Johns: had a reservation to go out in a boat to a reef and get into the water and feed and stingrays for 9AM.Make reservation online-no money down and pay when you show up. Need to take a taxi out there. BUT was squalling and raining so cancelled the reservation. Took the incl tour to Shirely point old fort and magnificant views and then to the Nelso shipyards- 1700’s georgian working shipywards- neat old buildings,nice quick museum and awesome awesome yahts moored there. Free rum punch or punch drink. Spit rain on us once in a while but still a great day. Nice bus where we could spread out a bit
Philipsburg: I wanted to go out to Cul de Sac bay and kayak and snorkel or take a water taxi out to an island there but I got overruled by my “crew” We instead went on the included tour. Bus big enough we all could spread out. A couple got on our bus instead of an optional tour at the same time- so check carefully what you are getting on. Drove around island and stopped at some scenic sites, stopped a working carosel (adults can ride too- can buy icecream) then on to a bay and craft market. Free rum punch or punch.
Charlotte Amalie: My crew off to Coki beach to snorkel then maybe the included tour. I stayed and enjoyed hte salt water pool,only a few couples spread out on the lounge chairs.
Pros and cons of boat
-you see lots and lots of differnet islands- some rainforest and some very dry desert like, come with mangoose so no snakes or birds, some still exporting agriculture goods and some just tourist based.
-wonderful friendly crew
-great food. I was not impressed iwth Mandifredi’s on both of my cruises but the men love it for the rib eye steak. Chef’s reataurant-wanderful if you like the menu. We did not drink either included or optional wine pairing. World buffet great as food same as Restaurant (check the menu to see if any differences ) and usually has the same food. Hamburger I got at the pool once was just so so.
-drinks- only had water, hot and cold tea. My husband says the coke is the good real sugar type not the corn syrup variety.
-secret- success cake in Mamsons is our favorite
-Room and veranda pleasant.
-in public areas or tovrasons- Guitarist was great.
- Easy on and off boat even when tendering- well organized so no pushy people.
-Pools- wonderful. Loved especially the central saltwater pool
-record and play on entertainment system all shore talks and enrichment talks done on board
-Wifi good for email. I didn’t try streaming
-saltwater pool out of commission while painting for multiple days
-entertainment system pauses( I timed at every 3 min), loose audio when restarts. So unpleasant to watch the shows which were actually probably very good. BBC, Ted Talks, Movie selection good but hard to watch.
-entertainment limited. Music in public areas; Pianist (good), strings dueo-selections good but one of violinist strings seemed to need tuning, and acoustic guitarist- very good. Live shows in theater were only a few and even though the entertainers were cute my neices’s Boise ID high school productions had better singers.
Seems rain is in AM and gone by 11AM. Plan accordingly. But if going to the beaches go early if not raining.
Lots of lovely beaches on most islands. Do some internet searching and plan an early attack with a taxi.
Feeding the sting rays (www.stingraycity.com) not on tour options and sorry we couldn’t go because of rain. You can reserve on your own but reveiws say after 10AM full from cruise ships. Read Less
We have done many cruises on many different lines, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara, Celebrity, RCCL, Holland America, Paul Gauguin. We have done majority of our cruises on Silversea and wanted to see what Regent was all ... Read More
We have done many cruises on many different lines, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara, Celebrity, RCCL, Holland America, Paul Gauguin. We have done majority of our cruises on Silversea and wanted to see what Regent was all about since fellow Silversea cruisers spoke highly of Regent. You never know if a cruise line is for you unless you try it for yourself. We live in Florida so we didnt need a hotel or airfare for this cruise, we just drove to the port of Miami and parked across the street from the ship which was very convenient.
It was a bit slower than usual for a smaller ship but I think that was because we arrived right when 2 buses pulled up filled with passengers from the local hotel. But considering the number of people arriving at the same time, we were process fairly quickly and easily.
We stepped on the ship and were immediately greeted with a glass of champagne and were informed that our suites were already available so we made our way to our suite to drop off our hand luggage.
We had a deluxe veranda, suite 816, slightly forward of mid ship. Room is good size..comparable to the type of room we get on Silversea and Seabourn. This ship was refurbished a couple years ago we were told but there were elements in the room that didnt seem to have been changed. The cabinetry in the bathroom looked kinda old. The room was decorated nicely, but didn’t have a luxurious wow factor. Just nice. The room did lack in storage. There is a nice walk in closet typical of most luxury ships but it lacked storage in the room. Normally in the living area, there are drawers or some type of wall storage , but there was none. No shelving on either side of tv. And below tv, was just a desk, with a fridge on one side and a big cabinet full of glasses which is wasted space. Only 2 tiny drawers in bedside tables. We did like the high and large coffee table in front of sofa as it was perfect both in size and height for room service. Bed was very comfortable, one of the most comfortable on a luxury ship. Water pressure was great and we had fantastic suite attendants who maintained the room. Everything was always perfect. We could hear our neighbors a bit through the walls, which was a first for us. Usually we hear nothing.
After unpacking we explored the ship. Its a nice ship and we could notice many of the public areas that had received refurbishment. But there seemed to be a disconnect in terms of style. In some places, it seemed kinda modern luxury, other places sort of French in style...didnt seem to flow well, but was still pretty and ship appeared to be in good condition. We loved the huge pool deck area with lots of chairs. Larger than what we expected but during the cruise we did find it difficult to find a couple chairs together. Pool was always packed and forget about trying to get a lounger in the shade along the sides....folks must get out there early to lay their claim. We also enjoyed that large walking track above the pool and the putting green, shuffleboard , croquet at front of ship.
Food is very subjective but we found the buffets at breakfast and lunch to be lacking in variety compared to Silversea and Seabourn’s buffets. After a couple days we avoided the buffet. Normally for breakfast we ate at Compass Rose which is the main dining room and for lunch we always ate at the pool grill, both were pretty good. Nothing to write home about, but good. They seemed to shine when it came to dinner. Everything we had was very good. I thought the variety on the main dining room menu was better than Silversea and SEabourn. They have one side of the menu of items always available (same every night) and the other side is chefs specials. Food was excellent. It did seem that perhaps they are short handed in the dining room. Service was good, but waiters always seemed worn out and rushed due to the number of tables they were responsible for. The specialty restaurants were Sette Mari, (Italian), Chartreuse ( French)and Prime 7 (steakhouse). We ate all of them and found them all to be excellent! Service was probably the best at Sette Mari. My only complaint is their reservation system for reserving specialty restaurants. You have 2 mos before cruise to reserve a table at Prime 7 and Chartreuse. Once on board the first day, I tried to get a 2nd res at Prime 7 but was told no , that I had to wait until day 3 to ask for a second one. They want to give everyone a chance to eat there at least once. But in my opinion,everyone has had 2 mos to reserve a table, if you fail to plan your cruise, res should open to anyone first come first served once on board. They also are lacking table for 2... mostly big tables and we dont like to share tables. I dont want to meet strangers at dinner. So this was a big negative for us.
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVIITIES:
Typical of most luxury cruises, its a mix of the ship’s singer/dancers/performers and then random one man shows. We did all the ship’s performers nights but skipped all the other evenings. Their performers are good, but the productions are obviously not of the quality and wow factor of a bigger ship...so it was par for the course for a luxury cruise...entertaining but again nothing to write home about. The only show we skipped was one that was music from before our time. Same with the one man shows ...the content didnt sound interesting to us (46 and 51). The shows appeal to an older crowd, which is the majority of their clientele ...at least on our cruise, the average age was much older. We were definitely one of the youngest on board. We didnt participate in other activities such as trivia, bridge etc...all the usual ones...
Regent truly excels here. Service was excellent across the board. We met a lot of wonderful crew members who treated us like gold....felt like we were good friends right from the beginning ! We had dinner one night with one of the ship’s officers and he couldn’t have been nicer. Sometimes, those dinners can be awkward and tedious trying to find common ground to discuss, but it was super easy and fun with him.
Excursions are included in price of cruise. We did excursions at every stop except for Grand Cayman and Key West. Excursions were fine, some better than others. OUr favorite was ATVs in both Cozumel and Costa Maya. Our least favorite was Mayan ruins in Belize...that was mainly because of the terrible old school buses they use ...extremely bumpy ride and it was a lot of driving. Couldn’t wait to be done with it. Harvest Caye Belize’s is a private island owned by Norwegian and its fantastic!!! we would love to go back. This place is beautiful with lots to do fo everyone . There’s a huge beach with hundreds of chairs, restaurants, bars, shopping, zip line, water sports....aviary...its awesome!!!! A must do!!!!! Wish we had skipped our excursion here and spent more time on the private island. Read Less
We chose this cruise to give Regent a try. We do about 4-6 cruises a year on premium and luxury lines (Seabourn, SilverSea, Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, etc.). We have been watching for a Regent cruise to depart from our local ports ... Read More
We chose this cruise to give Regent a try. We do about 4-6 cruises a year on premium and luxury lines (Seabourn, SilverSea, Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, etc.). We have been watching for a Regent cruise to depart from our local ports in FL and this one popped in and worked with our schedule. Boarding the ship at Terminal J in Miami was easy as usual. Boarding the ship was like the rest, champagne and a warm welcome. Suites were ready right away. The public areas on the ship are nicely appointed with a modern update on the aging ship (completed 2003). You can clearly see where the original features exist and where it has been updated in 2016 in its last refurbishment. For example, old marble, brass railings, heavy hard to open sliding veranda doors, plywood painted cabinets in the bathrooms compared to the modern furniture, carpets, linens and serving items. Soft renovation versus a hard one. Walking through the main areas upon entering the ship gave me hope that the ship had a nice modern style throughout, but entering the corridors and staterooms quickly changed that vision. The staterooms felt like stepping back in time to an old French hotel. The carpet we peeling away from the walls, separating at seams and sofa had stains. The bathroom had the original fixtures which were clean, but the cabinets were simply painted plywood, would close and looked very cheap. The wood in the stateroom was high gloss look and has permanent fingerprints all over. I tried to wipe them off. The size and layout is common and decent for a long cruise. The only frustration with layout was the lack of storage in the room. Aside from the walk-in closet with about 6 drawers there is no other usable storage in the stateroom. Under the sink was filled with extra supplies. The desk area is a fridge on one side and glasses and various other items on the other. You have two small tables on either bedside, but the drawers are too small to be practically used. Restaurants were all decent food wise, but not as good as SilverSea or Seabourn. Steaks are all pre-cooked and just re-fired for warmth and sometimes barely warm. Sides and desserts were better than the main courses I tried. Wine and other beverage selections were quite good. The buffet areas at La Veranda and the Pool Grill are very narrow and get quite crowded. The salad area and cold fixings area food were warm, never kept cold and crisp. Other food in both areas were great. Bars were a lot of fun and most times get good crowds for socializing. Music options are all venues were quite good. Entertainment casts were good, but not like you'd find on a big ship. To me that isn't a bad thing per se. Large ships have bigger budgets and venues were smaller ships often have good talent who work within the smaller venues and theaters. No complaints on entertainment, just observational comparison. At the end of the day it was the amazing crew and passengers that made the cruise for us. Crew was very friendly, service attentive and professional. Passengers were a good mix of ages from 40's on up to still living and most were quite social. Ports of call and excursions were good for the places we visited and no complaints there. I would do Regent again, but I would prefer not to go back to Voyager unless the itinerary is unique and bucket list worthy. We did hear multiple staff say that since NCL bought Regent the focus has been primarily on money and not passenger experience. Miami based cruises get a lot of corporate guests from NCL and crew feel the pressure. Some worry that the few years under NCL has made a dent in Regent's luxury offerings and worry it won't make them better in the long run. Read Less
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, ... Read More
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, which includes a visit to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, and which also has extensive educational opportunities and onboard lectures given by knowledgeable Cuba experts was deeply important in our choice.
The Viking Star is considered a small ship at a maximum 900 passenger capacity. This was immediately appreciated upon embarkation, which went flawlessly and we were processed and onboard ship within 15 minutes. We took the Viking two-day extension in Miami, which included a five hour panoramic drive through the city, including a stop at Calle Ocho and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on the day of embarkation. Arriving onboard ship, we were delighted to find our cabin ready and our steward available to deliver our luggage and address any of our concerns. The in-cabin experience was enhanced by our Steward, "K," and he went the extra mile to ensure our comfort. Unfortunately, the ship's digital system, including interactive in-cabin monitor, live TV, movies and recorded lectures and entertainment given in the theater crashed during the last three days of the cruise, which we found regrettable, since we couldn't catch up with any of the events we missed during the cruise.
We found the dining aboard the Star to be excellent, with an ample variety of dishes and wines that changed daily, both in the Restaurant and up in the World Cafe, the casual buffet venue. We also had dinner in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, which is included in the cruise. The food at Manfredi's is fresh and abundant, and we ended up ordering half portions because the regular size is astronomical. The complementary wine or beer at lunch and dinner is a fantastic feature, as the house wines change each day, giving us a wonderful tasting experience. The servers at all the dining venues were eager to please, and took time to get to know our preferences. Not having children onboard Viking cruises also makes the voyage more enjoyable.
On land in both Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, we took the complementary city tours, which we found to be average and not really worth the three hours. Sitting in a bus, that travels at high speed through the city, doesn't really give one the smells, taste and feel for the people of Cuba. The mandatory stops at cigar and rum shops ate up whatever free time we had. In Cienfuegos, my wife and I went off the grid and hired a private pedicab with driver to give us a personal tour of the city. This three hour tour included many places not covered by the complementary tour, and we stopped numerous times to meet and greet the REAL people of the city. My fluency in the Spanish language helped us to take full advantage of the driver's personal knowledge of his hometown, and we were able to meet many of his associates at local haunts. This direct contact with the Cuban people was what we were after when we chose the cruise. My only advice is to settle on a price BEFORE hiring a private tour guide. This is hard to do, as many of the private tours don't have posted prices or tour descriptions. However, Jordan, our pedicab driver gave us a private tour of a lifetime, and we gladly paid him $60 for the personal service he provided. In Santiago de Cuba, we only had a few hours, but the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, was truly amazing.and well worth the time spent there.
The educational lectures and round tables are exceptional. The topics covered were truly current and topical on Cuban history, culture and arts. This is a hallmark of Viking Cruises, and a good reason why Viking remains as one of the best ways to the immersion into the local ports visited. Being on a small ship makes the voyage comfortable and uncrowded all onboard venues. Even though we didn't dock at the two ports, the four tenders got us off the ship and back on very efficiently. The digital glitches were unfortunate, but, in contrast to other cruise lines, Viking delivers a good cruise value. Read Less
Ship. Words that come to mind about the ship: refined, tasteful, understated, quiet, slow-paced. This description could also be about fellow passengers, with the addition of "very friendly" and "good company." At age ... Read More
Ship. Words that come to mind about the ship: refined, tasteful, understated, quiet, slow-paced. This description could also be about fellow passengers, with the addition of "very friendly" and "good company." At age 77 I'd guess (and it's only that) that I was younger than the median age of fellow cruisers. This is definitely not a cruise for the middle-aged or younger. By way of contrast, the Viking Sea itself is only a couple of years old, and in almost-like-new condition. Our cabin (see separate section) was excellent and Wi-Fi worked fine, as did the TV (though no CNN).
One nice touch the ship has is original art hanging throughout. We used a book in our room to go around an look at all or most of it. (Unfortunately this is not a book you can buy or take with you, we were told.) A lot of the artists are Scandinavians, but not all. There's also an app you can use for your art tour, but I could not get it to work satisfactorily. Only negative was one picture in the back of The Restaurant that was hung upside down, and which I suggested they correct.
For me the dining experience was top drawer. I had only one entree that was just average, though my wife had a couple in that category. We ate in the main dining room, called "The Restaurant," except for one night at the Chef's Table and two nights at Manfredi's Italian restaurant. We also ate some lunches at the Pool Grill, very good, and twice, once for lunch and once for breakfast, at Mamsen's, which I'd say was the weakest dining venue. The World Cafe was great for lunch and breakfast, and offered some theme buffets in the evening (e.g., Caribbean, Indian) that we did not visit. Overall, excellent dining -- the best cruise ship food we've ever had. The service was adequate, though sometimes harried in The Restaurant. I should add that we used room service for breakfast five or six days. The deliveries were on time, and the hot food arrived hot. Excellent service.
Beverages. House wines are included at lunch and dinner. We tried them a time or two and they were fine for us. However, we'd ordered the "Silver Spirits" beverage package for about $20 per day per person. This gives you access to a greater variety of wines, and also all the spirits and wine you want to drink at other times (except for higher priced wines and spirits). If between the two of you (assuming a couple travelling together), you are going to drink more than six drinks a day, outside of lunch and dinner, or just want more choices at lunch and dinner, I think the package would be a good deal. It definitely was for us.
Enrichment. A "historian" made some presentations, and the ones we attended I give a grade C. We went to the first "port talk," but didn't think it was worth it so never went to another. They also had a "former ambassador" as a lecturer, but we did not attend any of his talks. They also had a number of "educational seminars," which were obviously designed to sell you stuff, like jewelry, facial treatments, etc. We skipped those "opportunities." (Thankfully, there were no art auctions, no photos, and no gambling casino.)
Entertainment. Weak. They had a small house band and four house singers, along with some musicians who played classical (or like) in the lounges in 45 minute sets from time to time. The performers were all very good, but variety was definitely lacking. Don't take this cruise for entertainment. However, I want to add that Cruise Director Jenna was outstanding, with a beautiful singing voice, the life of the party (so to speak), and very friendly all the time.
Pool areas were fine. We did not visit the Spa.
Guest Services Desk. Unhelpful and not particularly friendly. Questions normally answered "yes" or "no", with no attempt get into any details for you or go out of the way to help out.
Shore Excursions. This cruise was in the Caribbean, which limits what you can do. Water activities, such as sailing and snorkeling are probably the best bet, but we did only land tours. Our expectations were low (we've spent a lot of time in the Virgin Islands), so we were not particularly disappointed. However, we did have a couple of bad experiences, once being abandoned by our bus driver (Toppers Rum and Beach Getaway excursion, which included a mediocre "lunch" at the Blue Bitch Bar) and another that ran way over time that my wife was on by herself and caused me some worry when no one could tell me why she was not back on the ship when she should have been. (Viking did give us a 50 percent refund for the former tour, but we had politely complained and I am not sure if others on the tour received the same refund.) In both cases good communications between the ships excursion desk and the tours would have made a huge difference.
We did both "included" and pay-extra tours. If you take the included three hour "Tortola Scenic Tour & Beach" excursion, be prepared for an hour's rough ride in the back of a large pick-up truck on bench seats, an hour at a mediocre beach, and an hours ride back, with a brief stop at an old rum distillery.
The most interesting experience we had was the "Dominican Herb & Vegetable Garden" excursion on Dominica. It was not exactly as described in the brochure, but did get us to boyhood home of the tour guide, whose mother fixed us a variety of food from their garden, and who (the tour guide) gave us a good feel for local life.
Cruise Summary. This is not a cruise for those who like lots going on. On the other hand, if quiet, good food, an excellent ship, and a very laid back atmosphere are for you, I can recommend. Unlikely we'd take Viking again any time soon, but you never want to say "never". Read Less
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was ... Read More
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was exceptionally well laid out and the crew was very very friendly. It was obvious that Silver Seas has put their best onboard. For example, I normally have a night cap of Baileys Irish Cream and coffee in our cabin every night but the coffee maker was for espresso and not American coffee. But I found a bartender just down the hall that listened to me and prepared my night cap exactly the way I like it every night. Each crew member we passed smiled and said hello.
Embarkation was somewhat disorganized. Check in on the dock was quick but we did arrive at a time where there were not very many people. But it was not complete. We had to do some further check in on the ship and this was a bottleneck. There were only four lines to service guests and they were backed up. Disembarkation was very easy. But again we were staying at a hotel in Auckland and did not have to leave with a lot of people.
We tend to eat in our cabin but there are lots of dining venues. I was able to get sushi for lunch one day by just walking in and sitting down. Unfortunately the sushi rice was like the kind you get in a supermarket, not very good. We did not do any of the speciality dining but the main dining room was beautiful and all the food on board was very good. Except maybe for the hamburgers, in this day of gourmet burgers these were pretty bland. But then there were the pizzas, best we have had. Also, the lobster was just OK. Kind of hard to describe but while not badly prepared it was a little tough. One big problem for me. I have a gluten allergy that causes me to break out if it eat it. I spent most of the cruise broken out, meaning I was getting gluten, so if you are celiac i would not cruise on this ship.
We did not do any of the silver Seas tours but heard complaints from other passengers. We also heard from one couple in a Silver Suite like us but on deck 9 that were kept up till midnight because they were under the kitchen for the Grill. They could not get another Silver Suite but had to sleep in a smaller cabin and spend the day in their suite. I would not stay on deck 9 under the area around the pool and kitchen because of all the activity.
The biggest negative on the ship was the entertainment system. Watching involved a lot of buffering. In other words having what you are watching pause while the system caught up. I mean a lot, at times every few minutes. This happened for onboard movies, “live” feeds, and even the bridge camera. We even had the system get in a mode where it took over a minute to respond to a click on the remote. A reset took care of that but no amount of resets took care of the buffering problem. In addition, the system was hard to use. There was no easy way to navigate a movie and the home button on the remote did not take you home on the system.
Overall we enjoyed our cruise. Having such a nice cabin and crew more than made up for the other issues we ran into. Read Less
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed ... Read More
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed twice before (as the Royal Princess!) and had loved! The ship is a perfect size for those of us who like a smaller number of passengers. I thought the redo of the interior was fine. The "living room" is a very popular spot to hang out during the sea days with the loungers always in demand. Passengers "save" seats so I was not able to try them. The following are my impressions of the cruise:
.Cabin 7100---awkward furniture, was always moving the coffee table to get to veranda or loveseat, plastic shower curtain made shower dark and liked to wrap around the body.. Ship shore excursions---too expensive. arranged tours online with private vendors for all ports.
.Service--room steward great, staff friendly, buffet staff attentive, Discoveries staff needs more training (multiple use of seating charts, we were "forgotten" about during our meal several times and sat for 20+ minutes waiting to be checked on
.Dinning/food---BUFFET food greatly improved, theme of buffet advertised daily in program, DISCOVERIES menu posted outside restaurant only so had to make trip to check its menu before deciding where to eat daily, menu lacking in variety and food was not outstanding, no soufflé/bananas foster/prime cuts of meat/lobster. Main dinning room has suffered from having specialty restaurants as only place to enjoy those foods.
AQUALINA specialty (ate X2) no change in menu from one week to the next, soufflé outstanding but majority of food did not stand out. Two brunch meals in Discoveries were outstanding events! Chocolate buffet was crowded due to small venue area.
.Activities--daily activities have not changed in 15 years. I spoke to Tony the cruise director two times about this and he was very receptive to my criticism. Enjoyed: ABBA dance night, photo contest/lectures from professional staff photographer, enrichment lectures (including NASA lecturer who hosted eclipse viewing) , movie nights, Polar club. HIGHLIGHTS Azamazing event & White night party!
All in all this was an exciting itinerary! Was happy with the change of dress to "country club casual". The ship captain was very interactive with guests and went out of his way to maneuver ship for exceptional scenery viewing. Would recommend this itinerary/ship with the knowledge that dinning in Discoveries is not a highlight. I hope this review helps other cruise lovers pick their next adventure! Read Less
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Thank you birdyrobin for the review! We appreciate it.
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding ... Read More
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding but selection was pretty much exactly the same each day. Occasionally an extra different main dish was offered in most restaurants. We would have liked to have some local food recipes offered but this was not the case. We could have been sailing anywhere in the world and have the same menus. For example, none of the restaurants offered any spicy food , jerk recipes, etc,
EACH OF THE Caribbean ports had beaches. Seabourn did not offer excursions on many of the ports. We did book a third party 7 hour snorkel, hike, swim option with Adventure Antigua which was terrific and less expensive than what was offered by the ship.
We were in a V4 room near the bow of the ship. Rm 702. It was a lock off from a large suite at the bow, but we never heard any noise from them. The only noise issue we had was a couple of nights/early morning from raising or lowering the anchor. Obviously that didn’t last long. Even though the ship was fully booked we never felt crowded. There were lots of nooks and places to hang out where we were virtually alone. The only issue around this is that there’s is only one small pool and most of the time it was full of people standing in it with cocktails. Impossible for a swim. One thing that we liked was several hot tubs on different decks. We didn’t see any children on the ship except babes in arms and that would make sense as there was little for young children to do.
Entertainment was adequate. The singer and dancers were surprisngly talented but the shows weren’t very well staged and didn’t take advantage of it. Ship staff and management were always available and frequently took the time to stop and chat. The first night we had issues wth getting waited on in a timely manner but on the second day when we were asked for our feedback, mentioned that, and never had a problem again.
WiFi was quite good every day. We were offered free WiFi with our cruise price and we were happy to have it. There were also several computers on board in the library/ coffee shop area which were rarely in use but a great option. My husband was always able to get live football games that he didn’t want to miss. We would choose deck 7 again as it was convenient to everything. We would probably choose mid ship or the aft, given a choice again ,as it is closer to access to coffee bar, elevators to other restaurants, library and guest services.. but the ship is so small that the bow of the boat was fine. Room service is available all day and always arrived promptly and the food was hot.
On our final day we were planning to stay at the last port. Since we had to,leave the ship early and couldn’t check in until late, we took a Seabourn excursión that ended at the airport that day because they carried our luggage. At the end of the excursion, we simply collected our luggage and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. This worked really well as we were able to see the island that we were disembarking on during the gap and could just enjoy the beach on our last couple of days of vacation.
We felt that there was good value for the money, especially after staying before and after in hotels in the Caribbean. We would take Seaborn again, but would probably stick to their shortest trips due to lack of variety in food and entertainment. Read Less