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Sail Date: April 2013
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was ... Read More
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was delightful. The day we arrived in Southampton we transferred to the Breakaway for the 7 day T/A to NYC. This ship is amazing. The entertainment is outstanding. We booked directly through NCL as we always do. The agent told us 2 things up front: This is not a normal port for NCL (which explains any boarding confusion in Southampton) and this was the T/A to get the ship to NYC. The hoopla would commence there and not before. Those complaining about this & that should be ashamed given what was paid for this trip no matter what category cabin you paid for. Yes, there are design flaws and the cabins are teeny tiny but the showers are to die for. The ship has so much to offer for all ages. Since the weather was a factor only indoor activities could be appreciated. We are 65+ yrs old and found all the entertainment to be great. Rock of Ages was fun, Burn the Floor was incredible. Slam Allen was great. Second City was very good as usual and Graffiti Classics was a hoot. The food was just ok but then all cruse food is only ok unless you are willing to pay for the extra tariff restaurants. There is no perfect ship or cruise line. If there were we would all be on the same ship. We met the CEO Mr.Sheehan on 2 occasions. In the 5 years he has been at the helm he has done his best and has our vote of confidence. The lights in the cabin are controlled by inserting your key card. After locking myself out only once I realized all you had to do was put something like a piece of cardboard in the slot. We used our Princess key card from the week before. Since we live in Florida it is not likely that we will be on the Breakaway again but the Getaway will be home ported out of Miami and we will we booking a cruise on that ship in the future. -- Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We had a great t/a cruise on the Reflection. It is a beautiful ship, it has a great art collection, the public rooms are also comfortable & cheerful. There are also great little "hideaways" on the ship as well. The food in ... Read More
We had a great t/a cruise on the Reflection. It is a beautiful ship, it has a great art collection, the public rooms are also comfortable & cheerful. There are also great little "hideaways" on the ship as well. The food in the main dining room kept up the standard of excellence, with great variety and wonderful staff. We chose select dining, those waiters were outstanding! The ports were very interesting, with a good selection of excursions, & in Liverno a ship sponsored bus to Florence on your own. When we disembarked the ship in Rome, we flew to Berlin. Spent 3 nights in Berlin, then flew from Berlin to Frankfort. From Frankfurt we were flying direct to the USA, our "home" airport. At the Frankfurt airport the passport police gave us a hard time because we had no stamp showing where we entered Europe. They wanted proof of sailing, & we had noting in our carry on. One of the policemen knew that Italy does not stamp passports when you enter via cruise ship. So he talked the other policeman into letting us proceed to our flight. So if you are planning to visit Germany, be sure you have proof of sailing as you leave the country! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Wow! We had a fabulous time aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. It certainly lived up to our hopes and dreams. Thought cabin was nice and roomy (although reading on here it was ... Read More
Wow! We had a fabulous time aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. It certainly lived up to our hopes and dreams. Thought cabin was nice and roomy (although reading on here it was smaller than other cruise lines). We did have a balcony and did think balcony was small (not cruised before so maybe same on other ships). Restaurants again found good most of the time. Service seemed to deteriorate by the 6th day. Ate in Cagney's Steak House and thought this was amazing (although had to pay $30 per person extra). Entertainment was good - although very disappointed with Rock of Ages. Burn the floor was exceptional. Disappointed with the Ice Bar too - and having to pay to go in it. Being a transatlantic cruise and being on the ship 7 days by day 5 was looking forward to getting off - so will try a stopping cruise next time, Again found service charges confusing and bit expensive $12 per person per day, then extra service charges on every drink. We did find out (when it was too late for us) that we could pay less if we asked! After reading other reviews on here we are definitely going to try other cruise companies. Overall for our first (of many) cruises it was good! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
While I would agree with several other reviewers on the beauty of the ship, my food poisoning and ensuing quarantine ruined what might have been a more favorable review. And, I think the lack of customer service, coupled with food ... Read More
While I would agree with several other reviewers on the beauty of the ship, my food poisoning and ensuing quarantine ruined what might have been a more favorable review. And, I think the lack of customer service, coupled with food poisoning, is something others should consider. At the dining room, early seating, I was served seafood newburg, with three mussels (presumably as decoration)that had their shells closed. Of course I did not eat those mussels. However, the mixed seafood had lots of already shelled mussels in the sauce. Four and a half hours later, I became drastically ill, vomiting with severe cramps. I called the medical center, thinking they should know about the food poisoning. They asked me to come right over, saying they could help. Instead of wanting to help, their goal was to enforce a legal quarantine based on their preferred diagnosis that I "gastrointestinal" illness that would be contagious. When we attempted to argue that I only had food poisoning (I had none of the other symptoms of gastrointestinal illnness), the nurse would not budge, but said if I felt fine in the morning, I could see the doctor, and if I was well, he could release me. Of course, the Breeze management would rather confine me with a wrongful diagnosis than admit to food poisoning. The next morning I was fine and went to the medical center. After waiting 45 minutes, the doctor refused to see me, I was told to return to my room, and could return 24 hours later to be released from the quarantine. FYI the quarantine was notified to everyone, the cabin steward, the dinner waiter, any deboarding use of the card, etc. all were informed I could not leave my room. When I attempted to order food by room service, my choices were limited to jello, clear broth and saltines. Needless to say, the next 24 hours were awful, both for me and my partner. Before we left the ship, we left a written letter at customer service asking for at least some recourse and/or an apology. We received no response on the ship, nor have we heard anything since. We took the cruise with another couple, and all in all, had a great time ... but this was less because of facilities offered by Carnival. On the 5 day crossing, we played bridge everyday ... but this was organized by other passengers, not Carnival. We used the Spa center for massage and facials, and this was outstanding. The entertainment the first night of the cruise was excellent, the second night good, but the remainder wee not up to the typical Carnival standard ... mediocre at best. Although the tickets were of course cheap, we expected something nice for the Breeze's maiden voyage across the Atlantic. In terms of food, the burgers and burritos were both fantastic. The rest of the food was good (ignoring the food poisoning) at pretty much what we would call standard Carnival. In conclusion, the food poisoning and wrongful quarantine put a cloud on the whole trip and I think it is unlikely I will take a Carnival trip again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
I should start by saying I wanted to love Reflection. After all, it's a bigger version of my favourite ship, Celebrity Eclipse. But bigger negatively impacted the experience in a few critical ways. See below for more. Embarkation: ... Read More
I should start by saying I wanted to love Reflection. After all, it's a bigger version of my favourite ship, Celebrity Eclipse. But bigger negatively impacted the experience in a few critical ways. See below for more. Embarkation: When I say WORST EVER, I really mean it. And that includes the spring break-time Carnival cruise I took a long time ago with a ton of very drunk people in line for an hour. This was an hour and a half in a hot, airless line, with no information and no Celebrity staff there to help sort the lines out. Lines were not logically placed and as a result, people were quite confused and embarkation took an hour and a half from the time we got inside the hall. CRAZY. And not a good way to start a cruise. Cabin: AQ is same as the Eclipse/Equinox, just with different artwork on the walls. A few changes - they've changed the drawers, so there are 3 instead of 5 (making two much deeper, but not as useful for two people sharing). They've changed the bedside tables and those are much more useful now as they're closed cubes (my stuff forever fell off the old gray ones). And in the bathroom, there is no glass door on the chest anymore - it's now open. They've replaced the hairdryer model, making it easier to use. Otherwise, amenities are similar to other AQ rooms on the fleet. Room Steward was Ozy and was the best we've had to date. Social areas: The biggest impact to social areas has been in the Sky Lounge, which was made much smaller to accommodate the Reflection suites. IMHO, this was a poor decision. It makes the Sky Lounge much, much smaller and rather than all those lovely windows, it's only got windows on two sides - and feels claustrophobic. On the plus side, there seems to be no more smoking in Sky, which is a plus. Captain's Club: On our cruise, we had nearly 2000 captains club members (inclusive of high-level RCCL). Because of the huge numbers of cruisers combined with the tinyness of Sky, the usual Elite drinks hour was modified significantly. Now, we could go to most any bar, using a ticket/voucher system, 3 per person per day. That seemed like a good idea at first, but quickly we realised that we missed the opportunity to socialise with other Elite members - and every bar was packed beyond belief as a result of all these people with free vouchers. I heard non-Elite members complaining about it as well. The morning Elite breakfast was as always fantastic - they have sorted out previous issues with not enough wait staff present and got some tremendously personable staffers to handle those activities. Evica was a particular standout - cheery smile and attitude every single day. Kudos to Chandru, who dealt with all of this crazyness - and the sheer volume presented - with aplomb and grace. He worked hard to make everyone feel welcome and special - which was no mean feat given the restrictions imposed on this cruise with space and the number of cruisers he needed to touch. Restaurants: We usually eat in Blu, but the additional influx due to the AQ suites meant the restaurant was PACKED every night. Even with an early eating time, it was almost impossible to get a good table unless you showed up at 5:30p. The waitstaff was impeccable - kudos to Marina and to Jose in particular, and Johnnie is as debonair a maitre d' as you could ask for. Murano: as always, my favourite experience. Fantastic food, and Mariyana was easily the best server I've had anywhere in any restaurant in the world. She made it an outstanding experience. Tuscan Grille: We'd given up on this after the past few cruises of mediocre food. Exec Chef Alana has changed things on this ship and really taken the level of food up a notch and Tuscan was no different. The Porch: Would benefit from some additional "meal" salads such as cobb or nicoise - that said, it was the ONLY place to get potato chips on the entire ship and a relatively sane haven during lunchtimes, and the food was good. Try the carrot cake cupcake. Mast Grill: Menu continues to shrink here. This cruise saw the removal of onion rings. BOOOO. But awesome cheeseburgers, and I still wish they'd bring back the nachos. Bacio: Always good staff here and lovely coffees. The pastries are nice but don't taste as good as they look. :) Oceanview: Same as the other ships - but very ugly colour scheme. Artwork: More photography on this ship than previous cruises. HIDEOUS, AWFUL, DISTURBING video art outside of Blu. I had nightmares after I watched it all the way through. If you have kids, strongly suggest you not let them watch. Other artwork more pleasing, including the Roberto Cavalli-esque foyer on the way to the specialty restaurants. Celebrity Life: Great Zumba instructor for this cruise. Pool aerobics were a bit laughable - the sweet girl who led them obviously had no idea her land-based moves would never work in an aqua environment. Entertainment: I wish Celebrity would offer a better selection of TV channels and free-to-view movies. Even airplanes offer better?! Aqua Spa: Great improvement to numbers of beds in Persian Gardens. Good hair technicians (I got a colour and a keratin treatment). Disembarkation: Swift, but we were one of the first groups to go. Not sure how later groups fared as they for some reason unloaded ALL THE BAGS from all the groups onto the conveyor at 7:30 a so it was hard to find bags, to put it mildly, then - I can't imagine what it was like an hour later. Overall: Communication tends to be Celebrity's greatest flaw. Some more detailed conversation with us regarding the engine issue that caused us to miss a port (tenerife) would have been welcome - though they did the right thing and returned our port taxes. And the embarkation debacle should have been addressed.I do want to say that for the first time ever, we had a decent experience in Guest Relations with Jole - she was friendly, approachable and got things done. Great experience, staff even more friendly and lovely than previous ships - but I'll go back to my beloved Eclipse for my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
A good cruise experience, we love Atlantic crossings and we loved Venice, Italy. The worst stop was Casablanca; we are too Western in our taste and do not have the adventure spirit to enjoy the stop; Casablanca was dirty, disorganized and ... Read More
A good cruise experience, we love Atlantic crossings and we loved Venice, Italy. The worst stop was Casablanca; we are too Western in our taste and do not have the adventure spirit to enjoy the stop; Casablanca was dirty, disorganized and traffic seemed dangerous. Recent labor actions left buses abandoned in the streets with broken windows. Tour staff on the ship want to sell tours; do not look for much help if going independent-do your research before traveling if going independent (on your own when touring). Naples Taxi drivers represented a disheartening gauntlet; especially in Naples, make your arrangements prior to arriving in Naples. Venice is very easy to do while on the independent self directed tour mode (don't miss Burano and Murano), Vaporetto are excellent and economical, water taxis are for the wealthy among us. Barcelona was excellent for going it alone; easy to use public transportation; Los Ramblas and market should not be missed. Funchal, the tour bus was a economical and efficient way to get a quick tour of the Island; we stayed aboard and took both routes in the same half day. Anytime dining, service levels below regular dining; however, great opportunity to meet different people. Sick Bay: out of pocket, you file your own insurance, two routine visits about $300; that included meds for a cold that was turning into a upper respiratory problem. Kudos to the Captain for avoiding rough waters from Sandy as long as he could, the ship altered course several times and changed the itinerary from Azores to Funchal, nice surprise, to avoid rough waters. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I have only been cruising for about 9 years but I have over 200 cruise days so far. Most of those have been with Holland America. Although some things have gone wrong on some cruises, I have generally been very happy with Holland America ... Read More
I have only been cruising for about 9 years but I have over 200 cruise days so far. Most of those have been with Holland America. Although some things have gone wrong on some cruises, I have generally been very happy with Holland America until this cruise. I embarked on a 42 day cruise on the Maasdam on October 19 and it turned out to be my worst cruise ever. We quit using the dining room as it would take up to three hours to finish a meal because of the lack of staff. The Lido staff became very overworked and some even quit during the cruise. They advised they usually serve about 200 guests in the Lido and because of the slow service in the dining room they were now serving up to 500 per meal. We were served with many chipped plates and bowls and lipstick was observed on some of the water glasses they gave us. To correct this they had the water server inspect the glasses and when he found a dirty glass they would not rewash it but would use a dry towel to wipe it off. The air conditioner in our room (and many others) didn't work properly, so they put a fan in our room, but all that did was move the hot air around. I see from past revues that the Maasdam has had air conditioning problems for years, but apparently Holland has chosen to ignore the problem. Our veranda light wouldn't turn on, so we could not use it to read in the evenings. I complained to the hotel manager and he gave me an unbelievable story about how it was against coast guard regulations to use my veranda light after 7:00p.m. He did say that at the next port, I could buy a lamp to put on the verandah and Holland would provide me with an extension cord. (Just what I wanted to do, spend over $16,000 for a verandah and then be told that I have to buy a lamp.) I spent a great deal of time and energy proving that the hotel manager didn't know what he was talking about and when I confronted him with the proof, he changed his story and said he thought our room was one of the rooms on the ship that had a posting on the door saying the veranda light could not be used. I then spent more time checking every door on the ship and there was no such sign on any door. I later contacted the front desk and they confirmed there were no signs like that on the ship. One of the biggest problems on the ship is the fact that my wife is a recovering alcoholic who very much values her 30 plus years of sobriety. Because of the understaffed dining room, we ate most of our meals in the Lido, and my wife usually had a dessert after dinner. After a few days of eating the dessert, my wife took one bite out of a piece of cake, gave the cake to me to try and with one bite, I knew the cake was loaded with rum. We brought this problem to a Lido officer, and he advised us that the vast majority of the desserts in the Lido have alcohol in them as do the fruit cups. We told the officer that Holland needs to put signs in front of anything that has alcohol in it so recovering alcoholics and young children aren't unknowingly given alcohol. The officer agreed with me and I know he took the problem to his superiors, but no signs ever appeared. Although they were nice enough after that to let my wife know which desserts contained alcohol and many times they all did. Upon completion of the cruise, I complained to Holland America about the problems with the cruise, and I got the feeling that once they got my money, they could care less about what happened on the ship. I especially complained about the actions of the hotel manager, saying that in my opinion, there were only two possible explanations to the manager's story about the coast guard not letting me use my verandah light. Either he was outright lying to me or he knew nothing about his ship. I advised Holland that in either case, he does not deserve to be the hotel manager. All Holland had to say about the matter was that their hotel manager was quite capable. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
The VOS is one of the older RCCL ships and is scheduled to be refurbished soon. It is quite attractive and its overall appearance is good. We enjoyed its smaller size, making it easier to negotiate than the mega ships. It is maintained ... Read More
The VOS is one of the older RCCL ships and is scheduled to be refurbished soon. It is quite attractive and its overall appearance is good. We enjoyed its smaller size, making it easier to negotiate than the mega ships. It is maintained impeccably clean in every public area and in the cabins, although it is somewhat shabby in places and clearly showing its age. Some of this is to be expected, such as the frayed edges of carpeting, and does not interfere with functionality or with our enjoyment. But other evidences of wear are unnecessary and result in discomfort, such as the lounge chairs on Deck 10. (Deck 10 is where passengers who do not wish to sit near the noise and crowds of the pool sit.) These chairs are old and worn with webbing that is ripped or stretched so that one finds all their weight resting on metal crossbars. It becomes necessary to "try" many, many chairs in order to find one that is comfortable, then move the usable chairs order to position several together. The chairs around the pool (Deck 9) have been replaced and are fine. There are sufficient chairs for all guests, but many of them are unusable. Ventilation throughout the ship was a problem. During the first five days the entire ship, public areas and cabins were excessively warm. I am usually cold, always needing a sweater and even I was too warm. Thereafter, we found most of the ship adequately air conditioned and comfortable, although some people in neighboring cabins still complained of the heat. Toward the end of the cruise, the theater and casino were, again, uncomfortably warm. Air conditioning workers were very active and visible in many cabins. Most of the crew was hard-working, conscientious, and eager to please. Despite their efforts, the quality of service was lacking due to severe understaffing and lack of supervision. When a request was made, "the buck was passed" to someone else. For example, when we received an erroneous charge, I went to Guest Services and was told to contact Housekeeping, who told me to contact Guest Services, who told me to again contact Housekeeping. Eventually the Deck Supervisor became involved and our bill was corrected. There were several such incidents, especially in Dining Services, and almost all problems were resolved, or somewhat resolved, but it did take much of our time and effort. It also required much time and effort on the part of already overworked staff. Being so under-staffed, one can understand why several of them tried to pass things off to someone else. Although we had read poor reviews about the VOS, the price of this particular cruise much lower than the other Transatlantics and sowe thought we'd try it. Early in the cruise, we made the decision not to allow the poor service to detract from our enjoyment, and it did not. We enjoyed the cruise and aren't at all sorry we took it. Overall, the VOS needs much improvement in order to come close to the standards of RCCL. I thought it important to write this review so that those who may be booked on a future VOS voyage have the option of adjusting their expectations so that they will not be disappointed. Following is a department by department description of our impressions. Dining Services This was by far the area most in need of improvement, as the following selected examples demonstrate. Having special dietary needs, we contacted RCCL prior to the cruise, as did our travel agent, and RCCL had assured us that there would be "no problem." As instructed via email by RCCL, immediately after boarding we went to see the dining room matre d' to confirm that these needs were being met. We were sent back and forth between the Head Waiter and a few others in the Dining Room and were continually told that there was nothing they could do for us, regardless of what we had been told by RCCL, a poor way to begin a cruise. Finally, in desperation, went to Guest Services and the matter was satisfactorily resolved in a matter of minutes. We were exceptionately fortunate for dinner. We had My Time dining, sat at the same table every evening, and our waiter and assistant were excellent! However, the kitchen was disorganized and unprepared to serve the number of guests on board, resulting in waiters often needing to wait for food on long lines in the kitchen. This created a domino effect with the assistant waiters needing to fill in by doing the waiters' work and, therefore, not being able to do their own. Everything then gets backed up. One evening we were in the dining room for two hours, waiting over an hour between our appetizer and main. At lunchtime guests have the option of dining in the main dining room or in the Windjammer buffet. We tried the Dining Room once and never saw our waiter; the assistant waiter had taken our order and, after waiting more than 75 minutes without being served, we left and ate in the Windjammer buffet. One evening the kitchen ran out of both the "chef's selection" appetizer and main courses at 6:15 PM, resulting in backups from the needs of many to reorder, several guests becoming angry, and, again, a 2-hour dinner. Extra tables are placed in the Dining Room in order to accommodate more guests for which the dining room was designed. One breakfast I was seated on a ramp and concerned that my chair would tilt backwards! There are tables blocking aisles and at the base of staircases, resulting in difficulty passing and in those seated in such places being jostled by those passing by. There were far fewer waiters and assistant waiters than we have seen on other cruises. Although they worked very hard and literally ran back and forth to the kitchen, their number was insufficient to adequately serve all the guests. Moreover, we never saw any senior officer supervising in any dining room, and those who were supervising missed many problems, mistakes, and omissions in service. On several days, there were additional specialty buffets poolside. These were not announced in the daily Compass, the newsletter listing all on-board activities. One day I overheard talk of one of these buffets and called Guest Services to inquire about it. I was told that, since it was not in the Compass, they were unaware of it. It seems that the only announcement of these "surprise" poolside buffets was the Cruise Director's regular 10 AM announcement. Unfortunately, ship-wide announcements cannot be heard in cabins or on balconies, so guests spending this time in cabins or on their balconies are unaware of these activities. It seems that even Guest Services is unaware of them, as well. One day we went to the Windjammer buffet for lunch at 12:30, the height of lunch time. One entire side was closed and the buffet line on the open side extended into the foyer. I asked one of the Windjammer "leaders" why half the buffet was closed at this busy time when the line was long. He looked surprised when I brought this to his attention and apologized. The full buffet was opened within 10 minutes. Although no staff noticed this, and they should have, they were responsive and quick to rectify the problem. During the last three days several food items were missing from the breakfast buffet in the Dining Room. When we requested one of these items, we were told that it was toward "the end of the cruise" and so they had "run out." When we questioned one of the supervisors about it, we were told that it is normal to run out of many of the food items at the end of the cruise. We never before have been on a cruise where several food items had been exhausted three days before the end. Thank goodness for the My Time dinner staff because their professionalism, hard work, and desire to serve helped to soften our breakfast and lunch experiences. The quality of the food was adequate. Cabins We had a junior suite and were fortunate enough to have an aft cabin on the end with a large balcony that wrapped around the side. Because our room and our balcony were so comfortable and delightful, we found that we spent much more time there. The lounge and deck chairs (4) on the balcony were mesh and extremely comfortable. The room had plenty of storage space and, best of all, a real soaking tub in the bathroom. The cabin attendant was attentive and eager to please; we never had to request anything more than once. However (and this was no fault of his), he had so many cabins assigned to him and he was new to the position, being required to attend many morning "meetings." This combination of newness, meetings and a large number of cabins resulted in our cabin being cleaned between 1 and 2 PM every day. Laundry The first day that we sent laundry, we received back someone else's. The following day we did receive our own. However what was promoted as "Wash and Fold" service was really "Wash and Stuff into Bag" service. Our clothes were creased beyond imagination and unwearable. Our cabin attendant took the clothes back and had them redone for us, returning them the next day (most of the staff really tried their best), more than 3 days after we sent our laundry. The next time we sent a bag of laundry in, it was again returned creased beyond wearability. At that point, we just gave up. But we received our own laundry back! Hooray! Spa and Fitness Center The spa staff always was professional, polite, pleasant, and extremely helpful. I had one "signature"spa treatment which were excellent. The steam-room and sauna were fine. The locker room area was stuffy, hot, and poorly ventilated, making it unconducive to use the steam-room or sauna. My husband observed that the restroom in the men's locker room was always wet and dirty. The fitness center was much too small for the number of passengers. There was a total of 8 treadmills, 7 ellipticals, 3 stationary bikes, approximately 8 machines (no 2 of any kind), 3 benches, positioned directly in front of the weights making it difficult to obtain weights when someone was using a bench, and a tiny area for classes. More often than not, it was necessary to wait to use equipment. The area was so small that the equipment was crowded together and there was a claustrophobic feeling. Because of the overcrowding in such a limited space, the entire area was usually stuffy and smelled of sweat. Moreover, in addition to the 2,000 passengers, several crew members used the fitness center as the crew gym, I was told, was the size of a closet and even more poorly ventilated. Future Cruise Sales The staff was polite and very helpful. We were interested in looking at some future itineraries, but there was no available literature that we could take and browse at our leisure. There were only two hard-cover notebooks with the RCCL itineraries in plastic sleeves and for use only in the department, and one similar notebook for Celebrity, for which we has to ask. This was within a day or two of embarkation and we were told that they "ran out of brochures." Guest Services Overall, the Guest Services staff was amazingly professional and polite, even in the face of angry guests shouting at them. For the most part, I found them to be helpful, if not consistently efficient. During the last day of the cruise, a day when people have multiple questions, at 9 AM there was a line of 14 people and only two Guest Services staff at the counter. They did not send questionnaires requesting preferred disembarkation times and we were arbitrarily assigned a time of approximately 8:55 AM even though we had a 10:45 AM flight out of Miami (we were docking in Ft. Lauderdale)! This information was provided in our on-line check-in. We could have been assigned a disembarkation time of 7 AM. Clearly, departing at 8:55 would result in our missing our flight. At that point, the lines at Guest Services were so long that we opted for Express Departure, enabling us to leave the ship at 6:30 AM, but carrying our own luggage (despite the fact that my husband has a leg in a cast). Other Departments The Casino staff was professional, very friendly, and helpful. This certainly encouraged spending time there, which we enjoyed. We appreciated that the Cruise Director was low key, not trying to convince us that we were having a great time and not intruding by making frequent loud announcements. The music around the ship was fine, but. we would have appreciated the opportunity to listen to classical music, especially before dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed the production shows and several of the other entertainers. A few of the evening shows were quite bland, but others were really excellent and varied. The Photographers were professional, non-intrusive, and produced great results. Unfortunately, a batch of photos was "lost" and ours was among them. In the future, we will shy away from the VOS in favor of other ships. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We had always wanted to cross the Atlantic on the QM2 and planning started for our transatlantic crossing and side trips to the UK, US and Canada about a year before. We arrived at the cruise terminal (QEII) in Southampton around ... Read More
We had always wanted to cross the Atlantic on the QM2 and planning started for our transatlantic crossing and side trips to the UK, US and Canada about a year before. We arrived at the cruise terminal (QEII) in Southampton around 11.30 and as we had priority as Queens Grill passengers we were quickly checked in. We were then shown into a large embarkation hall and told to wait for our number to be called. The Cunard representative in fact missed the fact that we were priority boarders and when we questioned it, we were shown to another area. In the end total embarkation time was just over half an hour and we were in our stateroom just after 12pm. Our stateroom was very impressive and in fact the best accommodation we have ever had on any passenger vessel. It was incredibly spacious and the separate area for luggage was most welcome so that we could hide away all the luggage and associated clutter. We also used our balcony quite often as the weather was generally good. The Butler service was brilliant and Edwin could not do enough for us. We had breakfast in our room for all but two mornings and were able to order tea, coffee and snacks at anytime. Food overall in all the restaurant locations we tried was excellent. Most times we ate in the Queens Grill for dinner and had lunch in the Golden Lion Pub or the food court. We also had dinner in our room one evening and also tried high tea in the Queens Lounge a couple of times which is highly recommended. The only downside was trying to get an acceptable quiet table in the Queens Grill. Initially we had tables close to a waiter station or next to a squeaking door. I cannot say the Maitre d" was particularly helpful, but in the end we found somewhere reasonable. I believe this issue was exacerbated by the ship initially coming from Hamburg where 1000 German passengers embarked - good tables were therefore at a premium. The formal nights were enjoyable and we made the most of the opportunity of dressing up. The entertainment was varied and we particularly enjoyed the talks by the various experts in their field and the RADA shows. The crossing itself was very calm and for most of the time the Atlantic was like a mill-pond. The weather was also very warm and the various swimming pools were in use for at least half of the crossing. Coming into New York and the Brooklyn cruise terminal at around 5.30am was very special and a fitting end to our journey. Our balcony was on the port side of the ship and so we had a wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Disembarkation at the Brooklyn terminal was painless and we were away around 9am by utilising priority disembarkation. Taxi's seemed in short supply and there were a number of limo drivers touting for business. We eventually got a cab to the Times Square area for a fare half of what the limo drivers were quoting. Our back-up plan would have been to call Northside Cars Brooklyn 7183877520 or 7183872222, who I understand offer a fast reasonable service for pretty much the price of a yellow cab. Finally it is worth noting that our booking in Queens Grill was made through a US based travel agent and we saved around $2000 in relation to the fares quoted in Australia for the same crossing. The regional pricing policy employed by Cunard/Carnival is in my view absolutely disgraceful and pressure should be brought to bear to encourage them to stop it. If the Australian fares had been only available to us we would just not have booked and instead arranged a business class fare from London to New York and some extra days in New York City. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
My husband and I returned to the USA, on the Queen Mary II,after a visit to the UK. We had travelled to the UK on a repostitioning cruise and the Queen Mary was our only choice for returning by sea. We cannot say we were disappointed. ... Read More
My husband and I returned to the USA, on the Queen Mary II,after a visit to the UK. We had travelled to the UK on a repostitioning cruise and the Queen Mary was our only choice for returning by sea. We cannot say we were disappointed. That would not be fair. However, we were not overly impressed, either. We are very seasoned cruisers and feel that we are well qualified to make a judgement of the ship. The entertainment we cannot fault. We both enjoyed the RADA troup and their story telling workshop along with the various productions that they did. They were a very talented group of young people and the whole experience with them was one of the two highlights of the crossing. The other highlight was the talk given by P.D. James who was most entertaining, and amazing, given her age. We attended several of the shows, namely the concert pianist, the two production shows, comedian, and the trumpet player. All were very entertaining. Our cabin was pleasant with nice bedding and a inconspicuous cabin steward was kept everything immaculate. The balcony was redundant as the weather was not for sitting out in. As it was the type of balcony we had made it impossible to see out when seated on the chairs provided. It was really a "standing only" balcony. The down side of the crossing for us was the food. We only ate two nights in the Britannia restaurant and we were amazed on the first night that the waiter did not introduce himself nor even say "Hello." Our water glasses were never re-filled. As we are British by birth we know that water with a meal is not usual, but it is very usual for Americans and a large percentage of the passenger base was American. Two nights we ate in the King's Court and the food was exceptionally mediocre and service non-existent. On Royal Caribbean ,if you eat in the casual restaurant for dinner, some effort is made to make the experience a little special with the wait staff bringing drinks to your table. On Princess they set the table with mats and cutlery. No extra effort was made on Queen Mary II. In fact, the wait staff were conspicuous by their absence and many tables were left uncleared. The meats were overcooked and the potatoes undercooked. (Should it not be the other way around?) We did, however, eat in two of the $10.00 per person eateries and the food was very good in both of them. The Carvery, however, suffered from inexperienced service and, again, no water refills. However, the Lotus restaurant could not be faulted. The food was excellent(we ate there twice), and the service was charming and very efficient. Hats off to that area!. Would we travel on the Queen Mary again? Probably not, if there is another choice i.e. a repositioning cruise. Failing that we would certainly plan our trip around the pricing as currently the service and food do not justify the price that we paid for the experience. Read Less

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