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6,205 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

I read a lot of reviews with pros and cons about big ships, and then appeared the Harmony with a TA by Nov 2016, but when a couple of weeks later decided to take it, no insides were left, so the bottom price was about $ 2,000. Too much ... Read More
I read a lot of reviews with pros and cons about big ships, and then appeared the Harmony with a TA by Nov 2016, but when a couple of weeks later decided to take it, no insides were left, so the bottom price was about $ 2,000. Too much money for me. Looking for other options, Norwegian Epic was in my budget, and was the chance for first time to try a big ship and a balcony for just $ 2,500 the couple including UBP and gratuities. Actually, I would give a 5 rating, but there are some details not well managed, that made me to give just a 4. Some examples: poor communication on entertainment schedule, disembarking, daily menus, etc. You have to check every morning what show is running where and when, the highly promoted booking on your tv is not true. Also, I would not recommend to use the paid restaurants, there is not a major difference with the included ones, in the japanese place, the cook and the server expect additional tip beside the 18% already charged. So, why the 4 points review ? The ship is fun, there is a lot of activities, you can go to bed at midnight, every night, the UBP makes it easy, and I did not have any problem to get drinks, and the drinks were good. Food is OK, my only disappointment was the chinese restaurant, meal there was sub-par. Entertainment was good, with a drink on your hand, every show looks good, and they were really good, the hipnotician lady had the audience laughing more than an hour. Finally, the ship was cruising at full capacity, and maybe the buffet in the morning was crowded, but always could find a seat within a few minutes. Contrary to the common said, people is kind, tables for six were shared by two couples with a smile. In conclusion, I would repeat a big ship if the price is attractive like this was. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Overall was a very pleasant Transatlantic crossing. Although there are some negatives to the Epic, the overall ship experience was positive. The weather was good during the cruise and port visits. The selection of ports was excellent. ... Read More
Overall was a very pleasant Transatlantic crossing. Although there are some negatives to the Epic, the overall ship experience was positive. The weather was good during the cruise and port visits. The selection of ports was excellent. Negatives for the ship were the location of the smoking in the casino which is difficult to avoid and the arrangement of the cabin which reduces privacy with sink in the walkway between entry door and bed/couch areas. Most staff, especially our room steward, were very pleasant and provided excellent service. The specialty restaurant service was a step above what is available from the "free" restaurants. Most staff were attentive and seemed to understand the needed steps to cater to the customer. The aft facing balcony provides an improved view, otherwise is identical to other balconies, trading off increased noise from the engines for reduced wind. There was a mix of types of entertainment all of which did not cater to my personal tastes. Most specialty restaurants apply individual pricing, thus a person can eat at the buffet or other restaurant and visit the specialty restaurant for coffee (free maybe?) and desert. Several of their deserts, though not all, are far better than those available at the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I enjoyed my first TA cruise a great deal. The service was exceptional, there were plenty of activities to keep you busy on the days at sea - and the price was fabulous. We booked 10 days before sailing. While the pizza on the lido was ... Read More
I enjoyed my first TA cruise a great deal. The service was exceptional, there were plenty of activities to keep you busy on the days at sea - and the price was fabulous. We booked 10 days before sailing. While the pizza on the lido was horrendous, the dining room cuisine was terrific, as was the lido's bread pudding. Anthony Cooke was a particularly good speaker and I went to as many of his lectures as I could. The Indonesian Crew Show should not be missed! The decor of the Westerdam is sadly incohesive (I had loved the Nieuw Amsterdam) but perhaps that will be fixed in dry dock? It's hard to say much about a ship that was going to have an overhaul at the end of my trip. While the Westerdam had some wear and tear it may very well be all fixed when it resumes sailing. The decor while I was on it didn't know if it wanted to be deco, quirky, tropical, Las Vegas or "pictures of old New Amsterdam". However, it was clean. I wish they hadn't started work before the cruise was over. The observation deck was closed early, there were construction noises at times, and even the bartender for the martini tasting had to contend with his water and electricity turned off. The ports were enjoyable - especially Funchal. Going on the cable car and toboggan ride was FAR cheaper by ourselves than taking the excursion. In fact, we skipped HAL excursions completely this trip and saved a bundle while still enjoying the ports. Using HAL for the airport transportation in Italy is to be recommended - especially if you're heading right home. They also got us a better airfare than we could find on the internet ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
As a single, the price was great. Three of four ship's excursions were outstanding. Cadiz tour was a real disappointment. Guide directed us to museum which was closed (later, onboard other passengers said most of Europe's ... Read More
As a single, the price was great. Three of four ship's excursions were outstanding. Cadiz tour was a real disappointment. Guide directed us to museum which was closed (later, onboard other passengers said most of Europe's museums are closed on Monday. Why didn't the guide know this? The Best of Medeira all day tour was wonderful. The restaurant for lunch had fantastic views. Food was excellent. Had the local black fish (beef was also a choice). Malaga tour was great but fort visit was taxing with all the stairs and cobblestones. Museum visit was informative. Next was the Bullring and its museum. Finished with Flamenco dance museum and performance. Complimentary snacks and Sherry wine. Cartagena Horse ranch tour was great. So many varied aspects of ranch provided close encounters with the stock as well as performances with three Stallions. Was able to enter the paddock with 6 and 8 day old foals with the mares. So much food and beverages were offered. Gave us 3 oranges in a sack from their orchard. Prior cruise had Norovirus. So had to live with wet varnish and odor as they refinished the stair railings. Had a lot of water issues. Smell from mildewed carpet in hallway was overpowering. Entertainment in the show lounge was varied and for the most part good. Comedian was probably my least favorite. Magician was lackluster. Depended on audience participation rather than doing tricks. Instrumentalist played many instruments and very energetic. The Rottedam Singers and Dancers were very good and enjoyed all three shows. Trivia was scheduled twice a day. Library had older release books. Made use of the book swap. Afternoon tea was nice. Pizza place was good. Dive In had really good French Fries. The buffet there had Mexican cuisine. Dining Room offered many selections. Main complaint was food and soups were lukewarm. Took open seating. First waiter was poor in getting orders right. Moved to the other side of DR and Rai was wonderful. Gave up on Room Service as food delivered was never as described on the menu. Ship is old. Not going into dry dock until October. Lifeboat drill was poorly executed. The guys for lifeboat 12 repeatedly called cabin numbers even though we had already replied. HAL made us go out on deck whereas other cruislines direct you to a lounge or pub. It was my birthday onboard. Waiters brought me a cake and sang in Indonesian. Captain sent me a signed card. Shops say duty free and tax free. Guaranteed low prices. Clinique was much higher onboard than Macy's. Sales every sea day. Wait until end and get better prices. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We are a married couple, who has sailed with several different cruise lines the last 17 years, also on many Transatlantic cruises. But, this was only our second cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed two nights before the cruise at the ... Read More
We are a married couple, who has sailed with several different cruise lines the last 17 years, also on many Transatlantic cruises. But, this was only our second cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed two nights before the cruise at the InterContinental Hotel, near Bayfront Park, in Miami. A really excellent hotel! The hotel’s Concerige booked a private shuttle for us to a favourable price - which took us to the cruise port, Port Everglades, in about 50 minutes. Embarkation: Went smoothly. The Ship. Like her sister ship, Oosterdam, which we sailed with last year, we found MS Westerdam to be a nice ship too. Although she was going to be refurbished in Europe after this cruise, in our opinion Westerdam was in a good condition. Stateroom info: We had a veranda stateroom, which we found a bit small, but the stateroom worked yet satisfying. We really like the Elemis products in the bathroom. However, we are no fan of having a bathtub instead of a shower cabinet. Crew: We found most of the Indonesian and Filipino staff to be great and friendly – our stateroom attendants, most waiters in the bars, the wait staff in the Upper Vista Dining Room, the sommeliers, and the staff in the Lido Market. Dining: We had set seating in the MDR. We were pleased with our dining service throughout the cruise. However, one comment – we noticed that the number of assistant waiters had unfortunately been reduced, compared to what we have experienced on most of our many previous cruises. After what we could see, this again led to a high work pressure for both waiters and assistant waiters. Food: Unfortunately, the food in the MDR seems to have slipped. We were a bit disappointed with the quality of a number of the main courses, and also with the cold soups for dinner. We think many of the fish and meat main courses was to dry, and they were often served with too much rice - instead of for instance potatoes of different kind. We will also mention that we never before on a cruise, only have been served two small pieces of lamb chops as a main course. We have to say that we had expected better from a Premium Line, like Holland. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido Market. The range of juice for free at breakfast was very good. The food selection in the Lido Market was okay, but we disliked that most of the fish courses offered for lunch, were deep-fried. We were impressed by the good service from the staff in the Lido Market. The staff was good at clearing tables, and there were knives and forks together with napkins on the tables. In many cases, the staff offered to bring us coffee, tea and water. We ate one dinner in Pinnacle Grill. The food was good, and the service excellent. Also on our second cruise with Holland, we had the Signature Beverage Package. But, unfortunately – this time we were wrongly charged four times for brands of beverages that we had not ordered, and which were not included in the Package. We had to see the Front Desk several times to demand that our account should be corrected. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to get it sorted out right, even though we were promised it all the time. One item was not fixed at all. We have a very few times on earlier cruises also experienced wrongly charging, but this is the first time an account mistake have not been sorted out, before the cruise was over. This is very disappointing! Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship was mostly okay. In particular, we enjoyed the two performances with "The Three Not Tenors". However, we were again quite tired to watch production shows, were most of the music/songs presented are not original, but only "look a like" music/songs. The reason for this is probably copyright issues/costs for HAL. Destination ports: The four destinations ports was good, especially Madeira, and Cadiz. Finally comments: Westerdam has great space per passenger, and we really appreciated that we never had trouble finding available sun loungers at Sea View Pool Deck – relaxing! Unfortunately, we were very disappointed that also on this cruise with Holland, there were no pool attendants or pool guards, who looked after that the pool rules was enforced. As with Oosterdam last year, the nice wind protective deck space outside Crow’s Nest on deck 10, will now be gone after the refurbishment, because it will be built new staterooms there. Disembarkation: OK Overall: We mainly had a very comfortable and pleasant cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had a great Butler. Specialty restaurants were excellent. Buffet dinners were excellent. Main dining room a step below but good. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Suite was excellent. Would like to have seen 2 ... Read More
We had a great Butler. Specialty restaurants were excellent. Buffet dinners were excellent. Main dining room a step below but good. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Suite was excellent. Would like to have seen 2 sinks in bathroom. Shower tough for me to use but I'm 6'5". Very well furnished. Bed very comfortable. Walk in closet well done. Entertainment was very good. Enjoyed in house dancers and singers. Thought band was excellent. Comedian very funny. Enjoyed Cruise director and staff. We do not use ships port and shore excursion. Do them on our own through Cruise Critic roll call. Very overpriced and do not enjoy being bused with 20 to 40 people. Not a ship that caters to children. Atlantic was rough most of the trip. Had to avoid Azores because of weather. Went to Madeira instead. Excellent cruise, Excellent ship. Excellent service. Would certainly sail with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
OVERALL - Very good value, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would consider MSC in future. We heard some comments from more experienced MSC cruisers suggesting that the ship was not as good as others in their fleet, but from our ... Read More
OVERALL - Very good value, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would consider MSC in future. We heard some comments from more experienced MSC cruisers suggesting that the ship was not as good as others in their fleet, but from our viewpoint (with experience of numerous other lines) we found little to be unhappy about. MAIN DINING ROOM – meals were mostly good, sometimes excellent and sometimes less so. Food was plentiful, with up to 6 courses plus extra vegetables available. Overall not as good as more expensive lines, which is only to be expected. Very pleasant tablemates added to the enjoyment. BUFFET – Much like other ships; peak times were a bit of a scrum, otherwise no problem getting or sharing a table. Some of the hot lunchtime dishes were the best we have had on any ship. STAFF – Mostly very pleasant and attentive. They responded well to being treated in a friendly way; it seemed that was not their most frequent experience. A very small number were grumpy and would rather have been anywhere else. They all seemed to work very long hours, even by cruise ship standards. Public announcements were handled well in six languages, usually English first. ENTERTAINMENT – The Cruise Director (Jimmy) was excellent. Shows varied from very good (Michael Jackson tribute, and the crew show) to not so good. On several nights there were no theatre shows. STATEROOM – We had an aft balcony room, which was excellent in the Suez Canal, but shuddered and rattled when the ship was at full speed. The balcony itself (deck 10) was enormous. PUBLIC AREAS – Very elegant, generally uncrowded except when the sun deck was unusable in bad weather. There is very little forward viewing space, unless you are in Yacht Club – that could be a disappointment for anyone without a balcony. Sun deck was usually crowded, and the only way to be sure of a sunbed was to bring your own. DRINKS PACKAGE – very convenient and well worthwhile, though as moderate drinkers the cost was not much less than buying drinks individually. OTHER PASSENGERS – a wide mix of mostly European nationals, plus a few Australian and Canadian. Individually, all were pleasant, though in groups some could be loud and volatile. If that is not tolerable, then a British line may be a better choice (though our worst experience of inconsiderate passengers was on Reading railway station on the way home). A FEW GLITCHES – The ship was unable to sail to Abu Dhabi on the first night, which caused problems for some passengers who were due to embark there. Boarding at Iraklion was chaos for passengers not on ship’s tours, because of inadequate staffing at the port entrance; frayed tempers resulted. These issues did not affect us but coloured the views of those involved. The stop at Sir Bani Yas island was missed due to bad weather, which was a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Hi. I thought I'd write a review of our recent voyage as it would appear at times that only negative reviews seem to to be posted. So here goes: My Wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. Neither of us had ... Read More
Hi. I thought I'd write a review of our recent voyage as it would appear at times that only negative reviews seem to to be posted. So here goes: My Wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. Neither of us had sailed with MSC before, although for comparison we have sailed with Princess, P&O, NCL and Celebrity Nor had we visited the Middle-East. All reviews are subjective I know: One persons ying is someone elses yang. But I thought I'd offer a few observations about our trip which may perhaps answer some questions which I know I had before our trip. I hope it's useful :) First all the good stuff: MSC Fantasia is undeniably a beautiful ship. It is stylish and immaculately clean. Sometimes the style comes at the cost of function (watch your head on the funky light fixtures in the Manhattan bar for example!) but overall impressive. The atrium truly has the wow factor as it soars upwards and the theatre is better appointed than many commercial theatres on land. CREW: Contrary to many reviews I read before sailing we found all of the crew friendly, polite and professional, be they Officers, barstaff, servers, stewards. Really, with very few exceptions. After a couple of days many would greet you by name (no idea how they manage that!). Impressive. FOOD: A big bone of contention amongst many (no pun intended). We thought that the food, in most cases, was good. Both in terms of quality and in temperature. There were a couple of times in the buffet where we selected an item which was not 'piping hot' (whatever that is) but generally no issues with temperature. Do wander around the buffet as there are differing 'stations': mediterranean, vegetarian or ethnic for example. Selection of pizzas wonderful, as was the salad and fruit bars. The buffet does get busy at times (mainly in the central area) but we always found somewhere to sit relatively easily. At times it is noisy: let's just say some passengers are louder than others ;) Drinks are available either from the beverage stations or order drinks from any of the roaming servers who will bring to your table (charge) Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available in the Red Velvet Restaurant if that is your preference under waiter service. Our evening meal was early seating: On this cruise that meant 18.00. If I am honest that's a bit early for us, but then again the 2nd sitting at 21.00 would probably be too late. I think an 'Anytime' dining option would be our preference. Our two servers were always polite and friendly. As each of us on our 7 seater was on a drinks package (more on that next) we were poured bottled water upon sitting and our wine glasses were kept topped throughout (if required of course!). The food choices were good if not exceptional. Portions were good (you do need to order from about 4 of the menu sections. Soup and a main will not do it) and no issues with temperature. I only received 1 meal which I was unhappy with: duck á l'orange. Tough as old boots and overcooked. It was whisked away and a very nice roast beef dish appeared (my choice) in about 2 minutes. Never offered tea/coffee after dinner but heard that should occur (at charge) and talking of charges: DRINKS PACKAGE: Realistically, if you will drink more than 2 coffees, 2 beers, 2 bottles of water and 2 glasses of wine a day then the Allegrisimmo is very good value and I would recommend pre-ordering before joining the ship. Unless you must have xxxx brand and nothing else then I don't see the value in the premium package. The wines in allegrisimmo were not outstanding, but quaffable (and you can always have prosecco instead should you so wish). The package includes many cocktails, beer (heineken only for some strange reason), unlimited water and also some very nice Lavazza coffees at any bar on board, oh and some terrific gellato! 3 pools available to Joe Public and all were pleasant. Two that I used were salt water. Cabin was a balcony on deck 10 Sogno. Roomy, clean, stylish. Balcony sufficient but not massive (2 chairs 1 footstool). Shower powerful. Soap and shampoo provided (environmentally friendly) interactive tv, minibar (chargeable), safe. No tea/coffee (TIP: if on fantastica package, order room service on breakfast card even if just two teas, etc. it's free). One other thing about the balcony cabins: there is a large overhang from deck 14, so if you are up high and not on one of the 2 'bumps' you may be in shade. and the not so good: PHOTOS:There are photographers everywhere. The are pleasant and friendly and quite good at what they do. But a little intrusive: I don't really want my photo taken whilst eating my dinner. That said the quality of the shots was often good and we would probably have purchased a selection if they had been priced more sensibly (sml/lrg EUR20/30 each). SUNBEDS: There are many, many sunbeds, but on a sunny day the towel brigade does arise early. the pool attendants do try to adhere to the no bed-hogs policy but it's an almost impossible task for them. I always found a bed. But it may not be where you wanted it. DAYTIME ACTIVITIES: Ties in a bit with the above really. We had a lot of sea days (5 in a row at one time) and there seemed minimal daytime activity to absorb the passengers. Most were based around the pool area and involved the usual pool-party stuff: learning some strange cruise dance, playing bingo, throwing sponges at the animation team??? Not my bag really so disappointed with the daytime activity. Bring a good book. HAND SANITIZERS: they are around but nobody enforces. Worse still we found a couple out of action for at least 2 days in buffet area. I'm not a cleanliness freak but it's a Noro outbreak waiting to happen. STALLS: you know, where they set up somewhere selling tat that nobody wants but everyone buys. They had an area for this each evening. Worse still it was the same stuff each night! At least rotate your tat offerings! TOILET SIGNS: made me laugh, but thought I'd mention. The signs for the gents and ladies are the little stick-people signs. Problem is to a less-than-focused eye they look about the same! You have been warned lol I won't go into ports generally as there's plenty on them available elsewhere, plus I've wittered on too much anyway and even I'm bored by now! But a couple of things to finish: Khor al Fhakkan is a fuel stop for the ship and a supermarket. That's it. Don't bother. (terrible fuel stench in cabin whilst in KAF) Terrible fumes on approach to Oman which woke us (cabin 10189) at 06.45. Complained but it did not recur. Heraklion is lovely: queuing with 1,000+ other passengers to re-board for 1 hour 20 minutes without any port or MSC personnel to assist or supervise was ugly, dangerous and totally unacceptable. That's it! If you made it this far well done. Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes we did Was it perfect? No it wasn't Was it as bad as we had read on CC before sailing? Nowhere near as bad Is it our new 1st choice? No, still Celebrity Would we sail MSC again? Quite possibly. I find it difficult to get negative enough to count out, plus it was good value. Cheers Kernel x Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our ... Read More
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our flight from Vancouver to Buenos Aires through HAL's Flight Ease everything went smooth even the very tight connection in DFW. Sleepy eyed the next morning we arrived on time and made our way to the Baggage claim, where we were met with HAL greeters. Being disabled I was placed in a wheelchair and made it to the exit point of the terminal. Our guide unfortunately left my wife and I behind on the way to bus. When we found out where the bus was it was long gone. I was not impressed. Found another HAL guide outside the terminal to help out and had to wait 30 - 40 mins for the next one. Once on board the bus it didn't take long to get to cruise terminal, but is where the fun began. We were among the first persons here except for the previous bus and were told to sit towards the rear of the terminal away from the in route to ship processing. We were not given a process number but told to wait until we were notified to line up for pre process. Other groups after us we noticed were given number cards and seated adjacent to the processing gate. My wife went over and queried what was going on. She was told by staff that it was for 4 and 5 star priority guests but upon asking one of the people seated there this was their first cruise as well as others my wife again asked what was going on and told the rep that what she her was not correct. After that she went away came back with another rep with processing numbers and started handing them out to our group but after the later arriving guests already had the lower numbers. once we got started it went pretty well. A staff member found me a wheelchair and assisted us through the process, up the elevator and onto the ship. Luckily our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck which was where the embark ramp was. Into our room and then off to the front desk by 1240 pm and then the Dining Room which didn't open until 1 pm. Was seated and recognized dining staff from previous cruises what a reunion. Had a great lunch and some catch up conversation. It didn't take long to find that the food quality has declined with our first dinner in the dining room (Deck 4 open seating). Our initial dining staff didn't seem very motivated to go back to the galley and make things better. The next evening we moved to another table with different waiter and assistant. Oh did we hit the jack pot. Sony and Yoga were absolutely incredible. They made every dining experience after that beyond reproach. Our wine steward was very good as we like our wine and made some great recommendations for wine selections within the wine packages of South America and the HAL wine list . Nelson, our Maitre' D and Syariff the Dining Room Manager treated us so well. Most breakfasts and lunches when applicable were taken in the Lido Market. I met two wonderful Omellet chefs Rona and Micheal(JR), made to order delicious. Varied fresh fruit was mostly available and if you didn't see it don't be afraid to ask. Great salad and sushi bars. Enjoyed the food quality and taste at the Dive In, great burgers and fries with curry ketchup. All the staff were so gracious and helpful. Our cabin seemed so small maybe it was my memory but our room sure seemed small. Didn't like the in cabin safe where you had to use only on shipboard card or credit card etc to operate the safe. Sure made it inconvenient at times. Why not have them same as other ships within a push button code set. Beds seem be have seen better days time for a replace as well as the sofa. TVs are antiquated, terrible resolution and immovable. It would be nice also that every time we are in port that they give the windows a scrub so you can see half ass clearly out of them. Ship's Captain, Chris Turner was excellent thank you for the Cape Horn and El Brujo Glacier experience. His senior staff were very good. All of our cruise directors Mark, Mario and Jordan were very personable and professional. Other persons of note were the Local Location Specialist, Ryan Baird was exceptional. What a wonderful asset to have on board. Also the wonderful lecturers we had on board Dr Stephen Sloan on World Affairs and how these affected the areas we were travelling through and Dr Christofferson on Marine biology of varied Marine species relative to areas we were visiting. Evening stage shows were OK but didn't "wow" us. We miss the HAL Cats, instead we get "The Band" but unfortunately they don't play that often and for a short period of time. Not too lively. As always the Ship's Shore excursions as usual over promise, over charge and under deliver. We did take two with the ship because we couldn't find english speaking guides on private tours. As a rule we check out our own with online help when we can get Wifi on shore for a private tour. If you can find another couple to join you all the better. Four in a group is the most economical. Overall the food could be better, the room as well, but the Staff was incredible especially our dining staff they are in a class of their own. Our cabin staff of Widodo and Bashari thanks guys for all you do, and who could forget the wonderful Front Office staff headed by Rencel Recto, Guest Relations Officer. Captain Turner you were great, hope to sail with you again, before you retire. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had previously cruised from Buenos Aires to Valpariso and were trying to complete the circle and cross the Equator by sea. Our cruises have mostly been with Celelbrity, RCL and Azamara but we have noticed a considerable drop in the ... Read More
We had previously cruised from Buenos Aires to Valpariso and were trying to complete the circle and cross the Equator by sea. Our cruises have mostly been with Celelbrity, RCL and Azamara but we have noticed a considerable drop in the quality of the food served. For example, on a cruise in hot climes one would not expect to have stewed meat on the menu every day in the Oceanview and they appear to be going for cheaper cuts than before. So far as the cabin was concerned, It was disappointng to have a duvet cover with an obvious tear in it and we were surprised the steward didn't notice it and change it. The cleanliness of our cabin was definitely not up to standard - I ran my finger over the top of the base of the bedside lamps and it was thick with dust and whilst I do not expect the carpets to be hoovered every day as I know these guys have a limited time to do everything but I think 3 dys without hoovering is bit too long and the reason I know this is because the bits I saw on the carpets did not disappear until after the 3rd day. Generally speaking I would say Celebrity are not the cruise company they used to be and are simply out to wring every penny out of its guests but I think they are probably not any different from any other cruise company. . . Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it started in one place and ended in a different place. We spent a week in Chile prior to embarkation, and had a wonderful experience there. We had never been to South America before and wanted to get to know ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in one place and ended in a different place. We spent a week in Chile prior to embarkation, and had a wonderful experience there. We had never been to South America before and wanted to get to know it, at least in a small way. In all, we were pleasantly surprised. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly... no lines of any significance. Timing is everything regarding embarkation. The ship was nice... well appointed and comfortable. The cabin was spacious... plenty of room for storage and living space.... the veranda was sufficiently large. Our cabin attendant was attentive and very efficient.... friendly as well. The food service people were also very attentive and helpful. However, the food itself left room for improvement. We did no specialty dining, only buffet and MDR. We only did the MDR twice.... it just wasn't up to what we had experienced on other cruises... RCL & NCL. We liked the rooftop terrace.... the movies were good. Entertainment was mixed.... better entertainment on other cruises. The "production" shows were very good, the individual entertainers were mixed. Luigi, the cruise director, was great. Gina was good with the trivia activities. We especially enjoyed various tastings given by Toby from Manchester in Cellar Masters.... his knowledge and presentations were great. The spa was good.... we got a subscription to the Persian Gardens and liked it very much! The shore excursions we took were well organized. The time we had in each port was too limited. We really enjoyed the Panama Canal.... crossing the equator... not so much. We had crossed it before.... but at 35,000 feet. The ship provided a lot of background on the Panama Canal, which made it more meaningful. A real positive was not being hounded by the ship's photography department... we really appreciated that! One last thing.... don't expect towel animals. And, this ship is not oriented for youngsters... no waterpark, no slide, etc. The average age for this cruise was in the 70's.... we felt young. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was a memorable cruise after completing our two week journey in Peru and Chile . My husband and I chose to discover Machu Picchu on our own prior to embarcation in Valparaiso. When we arrived at the port on embarkation day ... Read More
This was a memorable cruise after completing our two week journey in Peru and Chile . My husband and I chose to discover Machu Picchu on our own prior to embarcation in Valparaiso. When we arrived at the port on embarkation day prepared to receive our seapass with our stateroom information in aqua class we soon realized we were upgraded to a Ski Suite , we were overjoyed , surprised , elated and ready for our South American / Panama Canal crusing experience. We really enjoyed the Luminae restaurant . The portions were spot on perfect , delicious and many varieties to choose from at breakfast , lunch and dinner . We did not take advantage enough of Micheals Club , another great relaxing area to meet great people . The entertainment was very good as well . What we really enjoyed with our new friends were the Silent Disco nights . Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This trip was chosen because of its itinerary and starting point in Valparaiso, Chile. We upgraded to the highest balcony level but room 7112 was very tiny although the location was great. Really hard for two people to share the room, ... Read More
This trip was chosen because of its itinerary and starting point in Valparaiso, Chile. We upgraded to the highest balcony level but room 7112 was very tiny although the location was great. Really hard for two people to share the room, barely space to pass by each other at the foot of the bed. Next time we'll go Concierge Class to a slightly bigger space. The public spaces on this ship have been remodeled at some recent point and are spacious and lovely. Lots of spots to sit and look out at the beautiful ocean and fun ports. We especially loved Cafe al Bacio because the baristas have been well-trained and they pull terrific espressos and cappuccino drinks. Not so for any of the ports we visited in places that supposedly have great coffee. Embarkation was smooth and easy, but it took a long time and disembarkation was not well-organized. The cruise line lost a bottle of Pisco we bought in Chile that they were keeping for us. We will get a refund but it's not the same to buy it here in the US! The cruise director on this ship was Luigi, a young guy from the Dominican Republic with huge amounts of energy and charm. Everyone was encountered was friendly and helpful, and we even interacted a couple of times with senior staff who were delightful. Entertainment all 14 nights was excellent, with great singers, an unusual ventriloquist who was not what one expected, and a fabulous show on the last night. The one group we didn't like was a Canadian couple who had performed with Cirque de Soleil and did physical comedy that fell flat with this group. As for the ports: Arica, Chile is very small and poor, but the tour we went on, Taste of Arica, was actually fun. However, since there were 40 people and one guide, we definitely should have had little headsets so we could hear what she had to say. The tasting part came all at the end and we enjoyed mango and passion fruit juice, olive paste, some different cheeses, and jams. I would have loved to try things in the market as there were so many unusual and different foods we do not have in the US. Manta, Ecuador was also small and the tour of the Panama Hats workshops (all in the basement of people's houses; you'd never know they are there) was very interesting. We were told the cruise line doesn't have many options in some of these countries - if they want to stop, they pay hefty amounts and the countries think some of the small cities should get the benefit of cruise ships and tours. In Manta with the exception of watching the demonstration of hats and the making of jute bags, there was nothing else to do or see as there really is no city center, per se. I would have preferred a different port. Lima, Peru, and Cartagena, Colombia were both fun places to visit: lively, great food, interesting sights and we enjoyed two private tours with Viator. Colon is rather unattractive and not a place to linger - so we were glad to be on a tour of the beautiful colonial part of the city, to see the ruins from Captain Henry Morgan, and even to drive around the new Panama with all its skyscrapers. It's amazing that all of these towns had lots of traffic at all hours! Wish we could have docked in Panama City rather than Colon. Going through the Panama Canal was awesome - we were in front of the helipad at 6:30am and stood there for a couple of hours, spellbound. It was also beautiful cruising on the lake between the locks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first celebrity cruise and we selected it for the itinerary as we were planning a short visit to Chile. We spent time in Santiago, Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar before embarkation. The boarding process in Valparaiso was a bit ... Read More
This was our first celebrity cruise and we selected it for the itinerary as we were planning a short visit to Chile. We spent time in Santiago, Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar before embarkation. The boarding process in Valparaiso was a bit confusing for our driver to find the correct gate. The main port and ship were much farther west than the port entrance. Once in the building we found a very short Aqua Class line and spend through checkin. We were very impressed by the cabin and our steward Noel. Daily canapes and iced tea were a nice afternoon touch. Infinity was in very nice shape. She is older and there is some rust, stains and worn areas. Throughout the cruise we saw staff repainting, cleaning and varnishing hand rails. They work hard to keep her in good shape. We enjoyed the common areas, theater and lounges. Again the staff is exceptional and makes you feel welcome, especially at the Oceanview bar. The buffet was fine for breakfast but dinner and lunch seemed too similar. We enjoyed the food but nothing was amazing. Blu was a wonderful dining experience. The setting and presentation of food were interesting and the meals were very good. We tried several enrichment lectures, games and trivia and found the staff eager to please and make sure we were having fun. There are also plenty of areas to relax and read or nap. With 7 sea days they had a lot of entertaining to do. Port visits were nice with some towns like Lima and Cartagena being excellent. We only took one Celebrity tour in Panama and it was fine. The Panama Canal was the highlight for me. I spent the whole day wandering and photographing. The narration provided by a guest speaker was ok but not available all through the ship. If you do the canal watch the first locks from your room or an aft area as the prime spots all fill up quickly. After the first set of locks many loose interest and the top deck, helo pad and other prime spots are wide open. We like this medium size ship and enjoyed our cruise with Celebrity. I can't speak for how it was better in the past but the staff makes everyone feel welcome and the ship is just fine. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I chose this cruise for it's itinerary, timing and value for money. It was also a way to get from Melbourne to London without jet lag and swollen ankles. It is an old ship and fairly small but I prefer the small ship atmosphere and ... Read More
I chose this cruise for it's itinerary, timing and value for money. It was also a way to get from Melbourne to London without jet lag and swollen ankles. It is an old ship and fairly small but I prefer the small ship atmosphere and friendliness. Overall the ship exceeded my expectations with a super friendly crew who went out of their way to make it an enjoyable voyage. Being small it moves around a bit in a swell and the stabilisers do not seem very effective but if you want a smoother ride you should stick to floating apartment blocks. The cabin was good for its type with the most comfortable beds I have had on my many cruises with various cruise lines. The in cabin entertainment was lacking with few movies that were repeated on a loop throughout each day. The show lounge entertainment was excellent with no shows repeated in the 6 weeks aboard. The dancers were great but the singers ranged from exceptional (Angelina) through to good with one who shall remain nameless who was painful. Pre dinner entertainment in the Captains Club was very good with a pianist and either a singer or violinist accompanying her. A nice way to start the evening. The cruise director Tony and assistant cruise director Katy ensured the entertainment flowed freely with a performance in the show lounge twice nightly and various sail away parties on the outside decks as we left ports. The second show was always less crowded and it was easy to find a good seat. The daytime entertainment was sparse but included 2 lectures each sea day which I found to be very interesting. The food was adequate but not great. Too much fish and chicken for my taste but the head waiter Tojo was fantastic in trying to accommodate me and would arrange extra steamed vegies or grilled meat and chips if all else failed. The bread rolls were excellent but the afternoon teas were not good as the cakes were dry, the scones like hard biscuits and the sandwiches boring ham and cheese every day. One big disappointment was the breakfast eggs. It is against Astor's policy to serve eggs either fried, poached or boiled, with a runny yolk. Every egg was hard in the centre. Health and safety was the excuse but I haven't seen this on other cruise ships and six weeks of overcooked eggs was an irritation to most passengers I spoke to. They need to consider passenger tastes rather than covering their own backs. Liz, the shore excursion organiser was very good. She went out of her way to help even if you were enquiring about a non ship tour. We had major health concerns on board culminating in a shoreside hospital visit in Capetown and 2 subsequent ships hospital visits. The ships doctor (Dmitri) and his staff gave us confidence to continue our voyage and ensured we had the appropriate care till we arrived in London to the point of offering to arrange specialist care on shore when we docked. Ships medical assistance is not cheap so good travel insurance is vital. The internet costs were very cheap ($5 Australian per hour) but totally unreliable. On the occasions where I had to seek help from the reception staff for internet and other problems they were great. Service with a smile always. The ship displayed some meanness in small ways. Like no shampoo and conditioner in the cabin, just a body wash in the shower which could have been dishwashing liquid. They gave us a lovely tray of chocolate goodies for Easter but we only received a chocolate on the pillow on the formal nights. Room service was limited and not complimentary. Other reviewers have said the crew are surly but we found everyone from the Captain down to be cheerful and friendly. The one exception was our cabin steward. She was a miserable soul who obviously didn't like her job. She kept the cabin clean but whether it was a language problem or a personality trait, her face could not form a smile. Would I travel on Astor again, yes I would, the good far outweighed the bad, a sentiment widely felt by fellow passengers, many of which had cruised with her multiple times. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was the cruise of a lifetime, from Brisbane to Barcelona....stops were awesome...crew were fantastic, friendly and always there to help.....food was awesome(except for poached eggs that were floating in too much vinegar, so tasted ... Read More
This was the cruise of a lifetime, from Brisbane to Barcelona....stops were awesome...crew were fantastic, friendly and always there to help.....food was awesome(except for poached eggs that were floating in too much vinegar, so tasted awful, & toast was like concrete).... As usual the pool junkies hogged the chairs, so trying to find a chair just for an hour was impossible, even to watch the movies they screened on the outdoor screen.....would have been better to have more movies indoors or direct to room....shops sold the same junk as other cruise lines, must be bought in bulk.....the ship was a grand old lady, showing a little age in some places, but she is off to a complete revamp with a new company....I hope I get to sail on her again oneday....prefer this size ship to the new super huge things coming out now....felt more like a large family as you kept seeing the same faces.....staff knew you.....didi my booking through cruise1st, no problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Embarkation was smooth and seamless HAL has everything well coordinated. Our balcony cabin was the same as all signature class ships but our Room stewards were great. Matter of fact as we have come to expect with HAL the entire crew was ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and seamless HAL has everything well coordinated. Our balcony cabin was the same as all signature class ships but our Room stewards were great. Matter of fact as we have come to expect with HAL the entire crew was excellent. Friendly beyond belief and they work so hard. The ship is scheduled for dry dock so I am hoping that the public areas get a little TLC. You can sure tell that the sea salt was winning over maintenance. Entertainment was ok nothing special an area HAL is working to improve but haven't succeeded yet. Food. Excellent best thing on HAL cruises is the food. For my dollar no other cruise line comes close but again my opinion. The food and service in the Lido and MDR is excellent. I am amazed the after one sitting our MDR team knew our names and shortly after what we liked. Shore Excursions were all done through HAL and they were all well coordinated. We do know that doing excursions on our own may be cheaper but the peace of mind that the ship will wait if a problem arrises is reassuring. Disembarkation was a bit of an experience Customs had two officers on duty so it was a very long and slow process. Friends we met on the ship spent over two hours in line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight ... Read More
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight onto the usual coaches to the port. I had chosen seats at the rear of the aircraft hoping that there would be front and rear steps to leave the aircraft but there was only front steps which meant quite a long delay leaving the aircraft whist the dodderers and chatterers left huge gaps in the queue to leave. At the ship we had a 10 minute queue before receiving a cabin cards and then proceeding through security onto the Britannia. Our cabin was ready and after about 10 minutes I spotted that my case was outside the staff lifts. One of the crew passed it to me. My wife's case arrived at our cabin about 30 minutes later. I always look by the nearest staff lifts as the poor stewards are so busy it can often be hours before they have time to deliver your case. We were on the starboard side of the ship which is the sunny side on the crossing to Southampton. Sadly we were on A deck which had a large overhang which meant that after about 2 hours from sunrise you are shaded from the sun. Another problem with our cabin was that between 4am and 5am every morning there was a sound like a 747 taking off as the staff in the buffet above moved heavy trolleys around then dropped something heavy on the floor above. I would not recommend A deck for those who want a peaceful night. At Dominique we parked at the berth about a mile from the town. Apparently the week before the ship had berthed at the town. It is pleasant 30 minute walk along the front into town or there is a private shuttle bus for 2$. Our next stop was Tortilla were we had a nice walk along the beach to the small colourful craft village 15 minutes away. Next was St Maarten where, along with the majority of the guests on the other 2 ships in port with us, we took the 7$ day return 5 minute boat across the bay to the beautiful beach. From here and after a few beers we had our Great British Sailaway party as we set off on the 5 day sail to Ponta Delgada. For the first 4 days the temperature slowly dropped from 27° to 22°. There was lots of sun and most people were sunbathing on the top decks. We had there nights were we lost an hour so the when we arrived in the Azores we were 1 hour behind UK time. The day we left the Azores the weather took a turn for the worst. We soon got a heavy gale with wind at 80mph and gusts of over 100mph. Britannia rode the winds and massive waves splendidly, it's huge hulk being steadied by her stabilisers. We then had a final hour removed so that we arrived in Southampton with UK time. We had a free P&O coach to return us from Southampton to Manchester Airport. We assembled in the theatre until our Group were called to go down one flight of stairs and disembark on deck 5. You then go into the large warehouse where the cases are all lined up in deck order. Make sure you grab a free luggage trolley as you enter as it is a bit of a walk to the Manchester coaches. After a bit of a search we found our cases, went through Customs and left the building.. We were directed to the Manchester coaches which were being loaded in arrival at your coaches order. We were lucky went on the coach used as the Southampton FC team coach which left at 8.45am. We arrived at Manchester Airport at 2.30pm, despite a section of the M6 being closed. You get off the coach at a coach dropping off bay next to Terminal 1. Overall it was another great trip on Britannia. The towels have lost a lot of their fluff since our last 2 trips but you expect that after a few years of daily washing. The cabin stewards now have to service 18 cabins. The centre lift stairs only go up to deck 7. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my first cruise in the US. We paid 299 each for a balcony room. The room was huge compared to my cruise on Princess. There was a long bench built into the wall, and plenty of storage place. My one complaint about the room is that ... Read More
This was my first cruise in the US. We paid 299 each for a balcony room. The room was huge compared to my cruise on Princess. There was a long bench built into the wall, and plenty of storage place. My one complaint about the room is that there was only ONE electrical outlet in the entire stateroom! We had to schedule flat iron and phone charging use. When I say ONE outlet, I mean one plug was a 120, and the other, 220. Fortunately, I travel with a 220 adapter, so I was able to use that outlet. The hallways were very noisy until 2 or 3 in the morning. I opened the door and ran some people off on the second night. I found check in and out to be organized and smooth. The food was better than expected. Do yourself a favor, and pay the $20 up charge for surf and turf in the dining room. It was delicious, and served with homemade mashed potatoes. The staff was great, and we loved the Alchemy Bar. That was a fun experience. The pools are small, and the bars are crowded on at sea days. Another major issue we had was trying to get soda to go with our burgers. You have to stand in line in a crowded bar to get soda or bottled water. They need to have a reach in, or a vendor with a cart that sells soda and water. I was very frustrated trying to get a diet coke, and the last thing I want to do on a cruise is to become stressed. I highly recommend the Cheers plan, if you like to drink without worrying about what it's costing. You can get Patron, high end liquors, pretty much anything for 45.00 per day. The See and Sea excursion was kind of pricey, but entertaining. Before you digest any bad reviews, take them with a grain of salt, and decide for yourself. One last thing, the internet on board was non-existent. I purchased the 12.00 social media plan. It only worked for one day. I should have asked for a refund, my bad. I think mainly cruising is what you make it. The food in the BBQ place was a hidden gem, and the pizza is cooked in a fire oven, just like they make it in Italy. If you can't find food that you like on this cruise, stay home and open a can of spam. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The ship visited some great ports. This was the second leg of a 57 day cruise on the Norwegian Star. Embarkation off the ship as a transit passengdr was very badly managed. We had the Internet package and as we expected from reviews, it ... Read More
The ship visited some great ports. This was the second leg of a 57 day cruise on the Norwegian Star. Embarkation off the ship as a transit passengdr was very badly managed. We had the Internet package and as we expected from reviews, it was very slow and many minutes wasting logging on. We missed quiet spaces like the lovely observation lounge we had on the Sun. People were often taking up seats in the food areas to play cards. Norwegian still allow ppl to save seats/loungers at the poolside by leaving their towels and books despite their rule that seats cannot be reserved for more than an hour which in itself is a ridiculouslyrics long time. The meals were generally very good but I would not recommend O'sheehans except for a couple of their specials and a late night drink. Our cabin steward Emil was awesome. He had an eye for detail and had everything in our cabin topped up before we ever had to ask. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Round Australia itinerary was a perfect close to our touring of the more visited areas on land. We often do private tours, but the ships tours were very good, but a bit more expensive which is typical of cruise ship tours. Some port ... Read More
Round Australia itinerary was a perfect close to our touring of the more visited areas on land. We often do private tours, but the ships tours were very good, but a bit more expensive which is typical of cruise ship tours. Some port visits were quite short so the ships excursions were much more relaxing. Our cabin was C633. We had wanted a balcony but there were none available. We enjoyed this cabin as it was quite roomy. All cabins on board have large flat screen TVs which is amazing. The TV choices are amazing. From live TV to very recent movie choices on demand. The best we have seen on a ship. The Pop Choir was a terrific experience particularly for us as we have never sung in a choir ever! Good fun. I was a little disappointed in the food generally but there were many choices. Room service was very efficient and the staff delivering were friendly and happy. Although we were cruising in Australia, we tipped $2 each time that Room Service delivered and they were very appreciative. I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I wished to return home to the UK by sea and trains. The date and itinerary were perfect and half the price of the ferry. Having read some of the reviews I was a little apprehensive but was proved wrong. The cabin, staff and food were ... Read More
I wished to return home to the UK by sea and trains. The date and itinerary were perfect and half the price of the ferry. Having read some of the reviews I was a little apprehensive but was proved wrong. The cabin, staff and food were all excellent. I have used other cruise lines before as a means of getting from A to B rather than a cruise holiday, so my requirements are different from the usual passengers. However, I am very critical if necessary. The atmosphere was very friendly and casual compared with lines like Cunard and P&O for example, which I prefer. I ate in the main restaurant every evening and found the choice and quality excellent, including vegetarian. The wine in the inclusive drinks package was high quality and unlimited. Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and smooth. I will definitely use this ship again if possible and will look out for future itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Myself and two friends (also newbies) just finished a four day re-positioning cruise Melbourne to Auckland. EMBARKATION Embarkation went very smoothly and we were on board pretty quickly. The only issue we had was one Princess ... Read More
Myself and two friends (also newbies) just finished a four day re-positioning cruise Melbourne to Auckland. EMBARKATION Embarkation went very smoothly and we were on board pretty quickly. The only issue we had was one Princess Cruises staff member saw our blue cards (newbies) and told us to take a seat and wait to board. He failed to see we were staying in a suite and were entitled to priority boarding. However, we asked the lady sitting next to us if she had priority boarding and she said no, so we promptly got up and when through immigration and were on-board in no time. ACCOMMODATION: Stayed in Grenada suite on Sun Deck 15 S707 twin beds and fold-away couch. The suite was beautiful - with a lot of the finishes in elegant wood grain throughout and marble floors and counters in the bathroom. The beds were brand new but my two friends like soft beds and found them to be a little bit too hard, so they asked for a mattress topper to be put on and they found the beds super comfortable after that. I slept on the fold-away bed and I was sooooo comfortable. I prefer a firm mattress so this suited me well. It was probably the most comfortable fold-away bed I have ever slept on. The suite had everything we needed and it was nice to have space to move around. Our sailing experienced very bad weather throughout the entire journey so were virtually unable to use the balcony at all, which was disappointing as the balcony is a good size and it would have doubled our 'living' space. THE WEATHER I wanted to include comments about the weather and the effect it had on our overall cruise experience. The ship had to take a wide diversion from the planned route to avoid the worst of the storm (hence our very late arrival into Auckland) but even with that diversion we still experienced 5 metre swells and 130km/hour winds. The ship handled the high seas well given the severe conditions. Princess Cruises can't control the weather and I have to say, all of the crew were amazing and worked hard to ensure we still had a great experience. Many of them were suffering with sea sickness along with the passengers. The difference was they still had to work, and in spite of their own discomfort, they really pushed through to provide a high level of care, attention and service throughout the cruise. The high winds blowing right onto our side of the ship had a really bad effect on the balcony doors as the wind howled day and night and there was no way to dull the sound of it until evening when the curtains were drawn which helped just a little bit. As soon as the wind direction changed, the howling wind sounds dissipated quickly. The location of our suite on (aft on deck 15) also meant that the lurching and extreme bumping was more pronounced than if we had been on a lower deck. One of my friends felt quite under the weather for about 36 hours but gradually recovered. I'm one of those fortunate people who doesn't experience sea sickness so that was probably a good thing. When venturing down to lower levels where most of the activities were happening the movement of the ship was much less noticeable and being closer to water level, it was quite amazing to see how big the swells were and just how well the Golden Princess handled the rough weather....incredible! ENTERTAINMENT There was a vast array of entertainment available onboard and we were never bored even though we couldn't do any of the outside activities due to the extremely bad weather. SERVICE The service from all levels of staff was excellent throughout the ship. Smiling, friendly and helpful. Their ability to manage and anticipate the expectations of their guests is pretty awesome. One can have the best of accommodations, best of foods, best of entertainment, but if the staff aren't amazing, then it doesn't matter how great the rest of it is. People are the key, and it is evident Princess Cruises understand that and also ensure that their staff have ongoing training so they can deliver their best. Our room steward Jalena and her assistant Windy were just lovely people and really looked after us supremely. It is the little things that count isn't it? For example, I like to have the mattress slightly raised up under my head and so I had put small cushions under the mattress. The next evening when I returned to the suite to go to bed, I found that they had put the small cushions back under the mattress for me, how cool is that? In particular, we found the staff at Sabatini's (specialty restaurant) to be pretty amazing. Led by Kim, with his team - Marko, Bobby, Pravin and others, sorry I couldn't remember all of your names guys! They all worked hard to make a visit to their restaurant a special and memorable event - their quick wit and unobtrusive service was great! We dined there on our first night on-board, and as we were suite guests, we were able to have a very special breakfast there each morning. I had read in other reviews that this was a favourite perk of suite guests and now I understand why. Actually it would be fair to say that the most enjoyable mealtimes for us were the breakfasts at Sabatinis as the guys were just so friendly and funny whilst remaining professional at all times - not an easy thing to balance in the service industry:) FOOD I had heard that the food was really great on Princess Cruise ships and that's exactly what we found on the Golden Princess. Freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries, sauces cooked from 'scratch'. That is what you expect to experience in a restaurant right? But when you think about the sheer volume of food required for 2,600 people for just one meal in multiple venues on-board the ship, then extrapolate that into three meals a day; the fact that they can still do it all from 'scratch' is pretty amazing. The temptation would be (I'm sure) to use pre-prepared sauces, par-baked breads etc when catering to those numbers but it's clear that Princess doesn't approach their food from a 'catering' stance, but rather from a 'restaurant' stance and that's what makes the difference. I have read other comments here on this forum that the quality of food has dropped, but IMHO it's still pretty good! We dined in both specialty restaurants - Sabatinis and Crown Grill. Simply beautiful food presented well and full of complex flavours. Very tender meats, full flavoured sauces - yum! There were comments around the table at the Crown Grill that it was the best steak they had ever eaten. DEBARKATION This was a disappointment. Primarily because there were only around 274 people getting off the ship in Auckland and 274 getting on - it was a shambles. I shudder to think what it would have been like if all 2600 passengers were getting off the ship. We were informed that we would be debarking at 6.30pm. We eventually got off the ship at about 7.20pm, once outside the arrival terminal, we boarded the princess transfer coach to go to the airport. However, because of the messy debarkation, two of the booked passengers for the transfer were missing. We had to wait another 30 minutes before they finally showed up. Not their fault, but very frustrating anyway. WOULD I CRUISE AGAIN? Absolutely. I probably won't do a trans-tasman cruise again though, it's a bit of a gamble - that stretch of water is notorious; it can be calm as glass or stormy and wild and you never know what you're going to get. WOULD I CHOOSE PRINCESS CRUISES AGAIN? In a heartbeat. In fact, I've already booked a cruise with a friend for January 2018 on Golden Princess, in a suite again - I'm spoilt now, can't even imagine cruising any other way. And.....I've also purchased a $100 future cruise deposit for a Princess cruise in 2019 with an aunty (just waiting for itineraries to come out for 2019) And.....my two friends I cruised with this time, are up for another cruise with me in 2020. As you may have guessed, I'm a planner:) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My husband is a diver and he has always wanted to dive Belize and Cozumel. Royal Caribbean did not offer a diving excursion in Belize (Even though it is one of the top diving destinations ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My husband is a diver and he has always wanted to dive Belize and Cozumel. Royal Caribbean did not offer a diving excursion in Belize (Even though it is one of the top diving destinations worldwide.) He had to book it outside of the cruiseline. Getting on the ship at Tampa port was very well organized. We did not have our Sail Away documents printed out, but we were still able to board very quickly. The security and lines look very daunting, but move very quickly. I was quickly frustrated on board. it was crowded and we were hungry. There were many crew members about as we came on board, but none of them directed us until we started downstairs which was not yet allowed. We finally found our way to the Windjammer, but there was NOWHERE to sit. After wandering for several minutes, we finally found a table and took turns getting our plates. We ate quickly so as to free up the table for others. Once we were able to get to our cabin, we met our cabin steward, he was fabulous. We had dinner reservations at Chops at 6:30 and he was able to get my husbands suit pressed in plenty of time. Paulino was one highlight of our week. Chops was fantastic. We went back a second time. Our first day at sea was quite rough. Lots of people were seasick. We met our table mates and diningroom server that night. Martin was absolutely our favorite part of the trip. If I could request him on future sailings, I would. We stopped in Roatan, Honduras and Belize City with no trouble. Our excursions were as we expected and our on board experience was great. The water in Belize was rough and my husband's dive experience was not as great as he hoped...reasons to return. Our next stop should have been in Costa Maya. The captain tried, but was unable to dock. We were to have another day at sea. There wasn't much to do. We had a massage. It was fine, but not amazing. Cozumel was wonderful. Our last day at sea was quite relaxing. Saying good bye to Paulino and Martin was sad. Disembarkation was very smooth. The line at customs was very long,but if one uses a porter one uses a different line that is quite short. (Why doesn't everyone use a porter?) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
First time with P&O as we wished to experience this cruise company for ourselves. The ship was delayed after the refurbish by a day and a half. P&O put up at their expense in a quality hotel. They also provided inconvenience and ... Read More
First time with P&O as we wished to experience this cruise company for ourselves. The ship was delayed after the refurbish by a day and a half. P&O put up at their expense in a quality hotel. They also provided inconvenience and out of pocket compensation with on board credits which were generous. The mini suite was roomy, clean and tidy, thanks to the very busy housekeeping staff. The Waterfront Restaurant was the only letdown. Served meals on bowls, including steak, while the presentation and food substandard and definitely restaurant quality. The restaurant service staff were brilliant. The Pantry was refurbished into a number of micro food service areas with various cosines. This was an terrific change which went away from the smorgasbord. The food was good quality with lots of choices. The water-slide and edge activities were another great improvement. Overall the experience with P&O Pacific Dawn was positive. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017

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