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2,263 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

The ship is large but easy to get around. We had a mini suite on deck 10. Good location. The Stewart gave us excellent service. The stabilizer on the ship worked very good through one day of high seas. The port Ponta Delgada was a misty ... Read More
The ship is large but easy to get around. We had a mini suite on deck 10. Good location. The Stewart gave us excellent service. The stabilizer on the ship worked very good through one day of high seas. The port Ponta Delgada was a misty day. We had taken that tour (Adventure Azores) 4 years ago and of course it was better because we had the sun. In Belgium we did Ghent Canal Cruise. It was ok. The best tour was the walking tour of Gouda. Enjoyed tasting the cheese and wine. Also had time on our own. The tour we did not like was in Aarhus. It was a popular tour. 9 buses went on Ebeltoft & scenic drive. Shops were closed because of being Sunday. Also it was a cloudy day. Getting of the ship was a breeze. The buses were ready to go to Copenhagen airport. Took 35 minutes. Our luggage was waiting for us and was easy to find. Checking in at the airport is another story. Just plan on doing a lot of walking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first time on this class of ship. We had a balcony and the weather was great for its use. The balcony is a little small but we enjoyed the 2 chairs and table. The service was great as was the condition of the ship. We loaded ... Read More
This was our first time on this class of ship. We had a balcony and the weather was great for its use. The balcony is a little small but we enjoyed the 2 chairs and table. The service was great as was the condition of the ship. We loaded the medallion at home and it was ready for us when we went to port. Boarding was slightly delayed but once started went very smoothly. We had early dining and enjoyed the food and service. The food was served hot and service was prompt. We enjoy dining and leaving for our next activity and this was done as we like it. The crossing was a transatlantic and the sea days had trivia and movies. I enjoy that we can now watch the port briefing in the room that have been recorded as well as movies that are current releases. The cabin was clean and the room steward was great. I thought it was one of the best cruises that I have done with Princess and will do more as I enjoy the line. We had fixed early dining and had a table for 2 per our request. I found using the medallion to be helpful and easy and am glad it is being used by Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave ... Read More
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave a small carbon footprint when travelling. I enjoy travelling with older people or retired people. They make for better conversation. The group on this trip was smaller and it made the ship less crowded. The shore activities were great but quite costly. Dining was good with a good buffet and menu in the evenings. The ship does not include wifi and I did not know this beforehand. It cost NOK 1600 for wifi throughout the cruise. It was an unforeseen cost. There should be more clarity on that . I also prefer an all inclusive full board which should include tips etc. No surprises. I loved the entertainment. It was heartfelt and interesting Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The new medallion class added to this ship is super. You can find where other people in your group are on ship without having to call. You could also look at activities happening on the ship that day. You could use your cell without using ... Read More
The new medallion class added to this ship is super. You can find where other people in your group are on ship without having to call. You could also look at activities happening on the ship that day. You could use your cell without using cell minutes but also had boards on each floor and crew that could help too. It was awesome! The transatlantic was our first time but we really enjoyed it. We will probably do that again. The days at sea were wonderful and the staff was very friendly, helpful and accommodating. Rotterdam, Netherlands was a wonderful port and a great surprise for us . The Baltic is one of our favorite places to go cruising. The Russian local show brought on board was fabulous. The other ships night entertainment was excellent and great variety. The ship is beautiful and food was wonderful but medallion class is a game changer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because we'd always wanted to see the Baltic. This also allowed us to experience a trans-Atlantic cruise which we loved. It was our first experience with Ocean Medallion and it worked well. The Medallions were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we'd always wanted to see the Baltic. This also allowed us to experience a trans-Atlantic cruise which we loved. It was our first experience with Ocean Medallion and it worked well. The Medallions were delivered before the cruise and the embarkation went quicker than ever. The Medallions worked well on the ship for the most part as charges, getting on and off the ship, and door unlocking were great. They do not always enable you to order drinks from anywhere. You need to be in certain spots. Internet was excellent; best ever internet access we've ever had on board a ship. Loved the trans-Atlantic part of the cruise. We encountered 36 hours where we were in sustained winds of Force 11 with gusts to 12. While many people did not feel well the ship handled very well in rough seas. Loved all the sea days on this part of the cruise. The Baltic portion of the cruise was good as well although port intensive so you can get a bit burned out by having excursions several days in a row. Well worth it though. We thought Tallinn, Estonia was a hidden gem and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We did a trans Atlantic crossing before starting the Baltic cruise. It was very restful and a great way to just unwind before the sightseeing and shore excursions started. We went this time of the year to view the gardens of the area in ... Read More
We did a trans Atlantic crossing before starting the Baltic cruise. It was very restful and a great way to just unwind before the sightseeing and shore excursions started. We went this time of the year to view the gardens of the area in spring. It was wonderful. Chilly, some rain and even a bad snow storm in St. Petersburg, but over all well worth the time and money. The tulip festival in Amsterdam, and the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen were fabulous. On board the Regal Princess, the captain and crew were great and our sea days were filled with entertainment and lots of food. Alfredos Pizza was out of this world good and save room for dessert. All wonderful. The entertainment was great all over the ship and exceptional in the Princess Theater every night. We always enjoy the shows and Princess always has great entertainers. The Beatle Maniacs were great as were the folk dancers in Russia. Shows that are not to be missed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
April 14 – 29, 2019 in mid-ship balcony cabin D421. We have cruised with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland America. This was our fourth Princess Cruise and first transatlantic cruise. Advantages: great ... Read More
April 14 – 29, 2019 in mid-ship balcony cabin D421. We have cruised with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland America. This was our fourth Princess Cruise and first transatlantic cruise. Advantages: great value, hot shower, very comfy beds, refrigerator, quiet room, excellent selection of movies on the TV and outside for movies under the stars. The thermostat was easy to work. The balcony was pleasant. With the new Medallion class upgrade, the TV has on demand movies and we were able to buy unlimited wi-fi for $130 before departure, a 50% discount. Unlike the Crown Princess which we took in December 2018, the wifi was fast in the cabin. We ate most meals in the buffet. Buffet and dining room were both good; on certain nights the buffet featured foods from Germany, England, Asia, Italy, etc. We ate many breakfasts in the dining room. The food was tasty and the service was prompt. The almond croissants in the coffee shop were great. All the musicians were excellent. Our package included a free dinner at a specialty restaurant which was good, but if we had to pay we would not have gone to a specialty restaurant. Unlike the Crown Princess, the gym was open at 6 am and was not built over any cabins, so all treadmills could be used. On Easter, they had giants decorated eggs in the atrium and in the buffet. The lectures about the ports of call and the Titanic were informative. We took a Princess excursion in the Azores which was worthwhile. Disadvantages: not enough gluten free items in buffet. The show with the pianist playing songs from different countries was lame. We did not attend any other shows. As the weather got colder, it was silly of them to show movies outside. The balcony door was not airtight when closed so cold air did leak into the cabin. Ship did not stop in Le Havre so that we could visit Normandy. We will travel with Princess again and will travel on repositioning cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had never done a crossing and looked forward to seeing a part of the world we had never been to. Being early in the season, the weather wasn’t the best but we planned for this. When we hit a storm that caused very high waves the ... Read More
We had never done a crossing and looked forward to seeing a part of the world we had never been to. Being early in the season, the weather wasn’t the best but we planned for this. When we hit a storm that caused very high waves the captain was very reassuring and we knew we were in good hands. Our only disappointment on the Regal is that it didn’t have the indoor pool area like other Princes ships we had been on. Don’t know why they don’t change ships. Our cabin was a balcony with obstruction However the obstruction was just a little runabout so no problem. We loved going back to our cabin and watching a movie from their great selection. The room was maintained by a great steward. We were on the ship for 27 days so the laundry on every floor was greatly appreciated. Everyone asked how we could stand that many sea days and we told them how much fun we had with all the activities planned every day. My husband played pickleball and was in the putting tournament while I walked on the track and went to the gym, then change and go to dance lessons with our cruise director. Then watched other games such as man vs women. Change again and go to dinner in the anytime dining room. The buffet has too many wonderful choices o by going to the dining room we outdoor have salad and main dish. The service where ever we ate was great. We enjoyed talking to the servers And finding out about their countries. We don’t drink but had the soda package so we could get a pop where ever. The shows were wonderful. So much better than on other ships. The music around the ship was great. There was only one we didn’t care for. We haven’t danced this much in a long time. We took a shore excursion at every stop except Tallin. Usually we took the our around town. Next time we may use hop on hop off more as the excursion add up. The embarkation was so easy as we walked straight on with our new medallion. To leave the ship we took the princess shuttle so we walked off . We had a wonderful trip and as I read some of these other reviews I wonder if they were on the same cruise. Maybe they should have stayed home if they are so hard to please. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our first cruise with Holland America was to South America and Antarctica on Zaandam in January 2017. We were very happy with life on board and were particularly impressed by the Lido Market, the informal food outlet, where food is often ... Read More
Our first cruise with Holland America was to South America and Antarctica on Zaandam in January 2017. We were very happy with life on board and were particularly impressed by the Lido Market, the informal food outlet, where food is often cooked to order. Therefore, we were pleased to come across back-to-back cruises, including a Pacific crossing, on Westerdam in April and May this year. The first cruise took us around the Japanese Islands, a location we would not normally have considered, while the second, repositioning, cruise completed the Japanese itinerary before crossing the sea to Alaska, a place we have visited on two previous occasions and were very happy to revisit. We flew into Narita Airport directly from Manchester and stayed overnight in the Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport hotel before a private taxi took us into Yokohama the next day to commence our cruise. Embarkation was swift and easy. Lunch was first on the agenda because our room was not ready until early afternoon. As before, we only used the Lido Market for our meals and we were very impressed by the friendliness of the staff there and throughout the ship. Our individual preferences were remembered from the start, which was remarkable. One point of concern was that the use of hand sanitizers was not promoted as on other ships, which we did discuss with the Hotel Manager. There is less self service on HAL than on other cruise lines, but there are common utensils and other opportunities for contamination. We had chosen a Signature Suite, a larger room than normal because of the length of the cruise and it certainly offered all the space we could wish for. We had selected the Starboard side and we were amused that at almost every port we were against the dock and our views ranged from enormous scrap heaps to piles of sand or coal, covered by flapping tarpaulin and old tyres! The ship docked in rather industrial areas because of its size, requiring the use of shuttle buses at several ports. However, public transport was easy to use and allowed us to venture further afield, as the places of interest were not all conveniently within walking distance. We don't attend the evening entertainment (or use the fitness facilities, so I have scored both as average below) because we prefer to look outside as much as possible, from the open deck or the shelter and convenience of our balcony. We had managed a very hazy glimpse of Mount Fuji in Yokohama, but Shimizu on Day 2 allowed us to watch her unveil from behind cloud as the sky cleared in the afternoon. Osaka on Day 3 and Kochi on Day 4 had castles and their gardens to explore. Osaka Castle has a lift, but also extremely long queues to use it, so we climbed the stairs, but Kochi Castle had no lift and we were unfortunate to visit at the same time as a large group, meaning that we shuffled slowly from floor to floor, negotiating extremely steep, narrow stairs with two-way traffic, which was dangerous. Coming down backwards or sideways was safest! This rather spoiled our visit but the gardens, with their emerging Cherry blossom, made up for it. Being over 65, we had free entry into some places we visited. On Day 5, we cruised the Kanmon Strait, perhaps not exactly scenic, but interesting nevertheless.The next day, Good Friday, was spent in Sakaiminato. We had expected there to be little to see independently, as the Yuushien Garden we wanted to visit appeared to be a complicated bus journey away, confirmed by information from the ship, but fortunately we called into the local Tourist Office before leaving, after enjoying the many fascinating bronze statues of cartoon characters created by a resident of the town. There we were told about a free shuttle bus to and from the Gardens, including a ride over the famous “Wonky” Bridge, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge. The Garden is very small but is what we think of as a typical Japanese garden, with raked gravel and moss gardens. The two other, much larger, gardens we visited were, to us, far less typical. Kenrokuen Garden, in Kanazawa on Day 7, is considered to be one of the top three gardens in Japan and the darker Cherry blossom was in flower. There is also another castle to visit, with views of snow-capped hills. Day 8, Easter Sunday, was spent at sea, before an obligatory non-Japanese port, Vladivostok, on Day 9. To avoid the need for independent Visas, we booked a walking tour with the ship, which was enjoyable, with the advantage of a sunny day as we were shown the town. Unfortunately, the result of this visit caused considerable delays on our return to Japan after another sea day, on Day 11, because we had to go through Immigration before disembarking, which took several hours. We did no more than visit the town on foot, involving a longer walk than expected, so a shuttle bus might have been useful. The best part for us was a Steam Clock, similar to the one in Vancouver, but otherwise there was little of interest. Hakodate, on Day 12, was another matter, with a viewing tower and a star-shaped fort and garden with hundreds of the paler Cherry blossom trees just about coming into flower. We had intended to take the Rope Way, or cable car, to the top of Mount Hakodate, but it was closed because of strong winds. Instead, we walked part of the way through the woodland, until we found a viewpoint over the town. We could see that the Ropeway had reopened after we returned to the ship, but our alternative walk was very enjoyable. Day 13, in Aomori, offered little to do before another sea day on the way back to Yokohama. We like to look out for wildlife while at sea, but there was remarkably little on this cruise, other than welcome Leysan Albatross and the smaller Short Legged Shearwaters, which were migrating. Oriental Turtle Doves heading for Alaska were also seen circling the ship occasionally and once perched for a while on wires in front of the large windows in the Crow’s Nest lounge. Black Kites were common in the ports and were interesting to watch and attempt to photograph. Day 15, the change-over day in Yokohama, was spent visiting the Sankeien Gardens, where we found another good view of Mount Fuji. The garden is obviously a popular place for wedding photographs and we enjoyed the beautiful traditional dress of brides and grooms. The Garden contains many ancient buildings, removed from their original locations and preserved in the Gardens by the founder. Another sea day took us to Muroran on Day 17. We took a tour of the town on a Hop On, Hop Off bus, with an interesting view point at Cape Chikyu, but not much else. Day 18, our last Japanese port, was spent at Kushiro, the only wet day of the cruise. A bus took us to the amusingly named MOO (Marine Our Ocean) and EGG (Ever Green Garden) buildings, where at last we found local craft for souvenirs, including that of the local Ainu people. The EGG building held craft sessions and an archery demonstration involving local school students, although the day was part of an extended public holiday for the start of a New Era in Japan. The Nusamai Bridge is famous for its statues of the Seasons, the first bridge to be so decorated in Japan. However, they all look as though they should represent Summer! The next six days were spent at sea, as we crossed the Pacific Ocean. Stormy weather at the beginning meant that the Promenade Deck was closed, during which time an Albatross took refuge in a corner of the deck for several days. Its presence and the reopening of the deck were not publicized and we did not see it. We also missed a pod of Orca which passed the ship, observed by people sitting in the bar in the warm. We were told about them several times, after the event, as we braved the Promenade deck on a wildlife watch. A significant part of the voyage for me was crossing the IDL. To see the beginning of a day in the far East, among the first to do so, then see its ending two days later in the far West, among the last to witness it, is special. The International Date Line diverts from the 180° line of longitude, the Antimeridian, to avoid dividing the Aleutian Island from the rest of Alaska, so knowing when we would cross it was not easy. The itinerary initially named it as our first day at sea, then our second, but both were clearly wrong. Even so, Day 21, the second after leaving Japan, was indeed selected as the day to be repeated and this is probably explained by the fact that the correct day, Day 22, was May 4th and Holland’s Remembrance Day. We decided to go by the ship’s position instead. We were advised that we would cross the IDL at around 04.00 on Sunday morning by our calendar and, by following the ship on a tracking web site, we could see it approach the Antimeridian. We did wake at 04.00 to photograph the changing morning light, but there was no sunrise, unfortunately. We crossed the 180° line of longitude at approximately 10.00 and took photographs of the view in front of us as we approached, which was for us, still in the East, yesterday in the West, Saturday; the view to the side which was briefly today, Sunday and the view behind, the East, which would soon become for us as we reached the West, a day in the past, Sunday. One of my favourite hymns sums it up beautifully as it describes the day passing from evening in the West to morning in the East, “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord is Ended.” https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Day_Thou_Gavest_Lord_Is_Ended/ So, Sunday became Saturday once again and we agreed with the ship’s calendar as we crossed into the Western Hemisphere. We had been given a certificate to mark the incorrect crossing, but we returned it and asked for a correct one, which we received. We marked our second Sunday evening the next day with photographs as the light faded and the day was finally complete around the globe. Our days at sea provided the occasional evidence of a whale from its blow, but little else. Each day had included losing an hour as we worked towards Alaskan time, with a second hour being necessary on the last day. Japan does not have Daylight Saving Time, so it was dark very early there and it was pleasant to have longer light evenings as we moved further towards Alaska. We arrived at Kodiak, a new port for us, on Day 25. We were delayed getting into the port, through a narrow channel because of the rocky coastline, by strong winds, but we were able to dock about two hours later. The Captain added two hours to the departure time in compensation. We spent the day walking around the small town, visiting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Centre and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Although the famous bears are usually not in the town, we did have a welcome opportunity to watch a Sea Otter having a wash-and-brush-up in the harbour, close enough to see clearly and Bald Eagles on a slope directly opposite our balcony. One more sea day took us to Icy Strait Point on Day 27, another new port. We had booked a whale watching trip, which was good but very misty and chilly. After exploring the Visitor Centre, we returned to the ship and enjoyed several whales which were using the bay, from the comfort and warmth of the now sunny, outside deck. As we sailed away from Icy Strait Point, on a beautiful evening, an NCL ship was about an hour ahead of us and her exhaust seemed to hang on one side of the valley as ours filled the other side. Legal, but unpleasant and also a matter of concern. Day 28 was spent at Ketchikan, which we have visited several times before, so we used the time to shop for family souvenirs. There were three other ships in port in the morning, but two left surprisingly early and the town was much quieter in the afternoon. Our departure was delayed because the Captain had to go to hospital with appendicitis; luckily for him it had not happened in the middle of the Pacific. Day 29 saw us cruising through the Inside Passage, on a beautiful day to enjoy the scenery, logs being hauled on the water and fishing lodges being towed to their Summer location, before arriving at our final destination, Vancouver. We had chosen to spend a night there before flying home, so disembarkation was not rushed and we could enjoy a final breakfast in the Lido Market before leaving the ship after a long and interesting journey. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I took a Transatlantic cruise with Celebrity Silhouette in April 2019, stopping in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Lisbon on the way. It was my first cruise on Celebrity and my first Transatlantic crossing and I loved it. Celebrity Silhouette ... Read More
I took a Transatlantic cruise with Celebrity Silhouette in April 2019, stopping in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Lisbon on the way. It was my first cruise on Celebrity and my first Transatlantic crossing and I loved it. Celebrity Silhouette was beautiful, elegant and very well-designed. I was impressed with the cleanliness throughout the ship. The service was also great and consistent. My balcony stateroom on the 8th deck was spacious and comfortable, with unobstructed views to the sea although I had reserved 'guaranteed balcony' only. Most of the clientele were older, well-travelled, people, with very few children onboard. I loved that! It never felt crowded anywhere and disembarkation at ports was reasonably well-organised as well. I took the cruise as I needed transportation, rather than a holiday, so I participated in only a fraction of the entertainment, dining and drinking opportunities on offer, but I felt like I got my money’s worth. I purchased an unlimited Wi-Fi package before the cruise which worked beautifully, even in the middle of the Atlantic. The weather was fine for most of the trip. I was seasick for half a day (out of 13) so not too bad. The highest waves (16 feet) were encountered in the Bay of Biscay in Europe. I did not try any of the speciality restaurants but, as a vegetarian, loved the food at the Oceanview Cafe buffet. It was varied, fresh and tasty. The Indian food, in particular, was excellent. There was also a separate vegetarian menu in the Grand Cuvee Dining Room and I enjoyed all the meals I had there. I also used room service every day and loved the convenience of it. I went to see a couple shows which were fine but I am not an expert on onboard entertainment as it is not a priority for me. My only negative remark would be about the constant upselling onboard which was a bit of an annoyance. There is absolutely no need to spend extra cash on the cruise to be able to enjoy it. I certainly didn't. The port calls were fine although quite short, with half a day only in Nassau and Lisbon. I cannot comment on Celebrity’s shore excursions as I didn’t go on any, preferring to organise my own programs instead. All in all, I very much enjoyed the cruise and have already booked another Transatlantic journey, this time with more port calls along the way. I have published a detailed cruise diary, with plenty of photos, on my blog ´Hopping Around the Globe in Style´ with lots of details and additional information. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This ship is beautiful. It’s like being on a private yacht, especially when it is nowhere near full. It’s so easy to get everywhere and the decor is very soft aqua with neutrals. Our cabin was lovely and beautifully kept by our steward ... Read More
This ship is beautiful. It’s like being on a private yacht, especially when it is nowhere near full. It’s so easy to get everywhere and the decor is very soft aqua with neutrals. Our cabin was lovely and beautifully kept by our steward Manshuri. It’s really nice to have coffee capsules and different teas available and the mini bar has spirits, soft drinks and water. We were greeted by the Captain who was always around and gave an in depth weather forecast in the lounge daily. All the crew were wonderful and quickly remembered drinks etc (thanks Jay Jay, Richie and Berenice in the lounge) The whole dining process was wonderful all the way through. The staff again were great but special mention must be made for the chef Michenon Ludovic. The food he produced was Michelin star status although, we believe from other passengers, not the normal Ponant food. We looked forward to every meal and we’re not disappointed. From beef Wellington to Halibut with sesame and Asian sauce, to Chateaubriand spectacularly served at our table either by the chef or one of the restaurant managers. We had a gorgeous seafood tagliatelle with lobster, huge prawn and tiny mussels - the list goes on. It made it truly a gourmet cruise. Because it was a transatlantic cruise we were led to believe there would be no entertainment. However we had a great duo( her voice was great), a concert pianist and a singer with 3 dancers - how they dance when the ship is moving I don’t know. The cruise director, María (who was lovely) was very inventive and used the crew for talks or demonstrations and meet and greet sessions We even had a few hours in Funchal, not on the itinerary, which was unexpected but lovely Embarkation was a bit basic but we were in Cayenne which is not a cruise port!! All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would definitely like to repeat it Thank you to all on board (crew and Passengers)for making it so good Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 8 cruise and the second with Msc. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are a couple in our late fifties. Embarking in Venice took several houres and here they can do a better job. Stateroom. ... Read More
This was our 8 cruise and the second with Msc. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are a couple in our late fifties. Embarking in Venice took several houres and here they can do a better job. Stateroom. We had a suite om deck 10 and it was very nice with a good bed, lots of space, å nice bathroom and a good balcony. Everything was kept nice and clean by our cleaner. Food. We had breakfest at the buffet, lunsj mostly in the buffet and one day in the restaurant and dinner every night at the restaurant at deck 6. All the food we had was wonderful and the service by the waiters was excellent. Drinking package. We had the non alkoholic package with water, coffedrinks, soda, none alkoholic softdrinks etc. and they were all very enjoyable. Smoking. We dont smoke. There are no smoking at the balcony any more . Only place inside were people could smoke was in one bar. We were not there and had no problem with smoking people. I never smelled any sigarette smoke at all. Entertainment. This entertainment ensemble is one of the best I have seen. They have wonderful singers and dancers. We saw every show. They were brilliant. Every day we were out on a organized tour and they were all good. We did Sibenik and Trogir in Croatia, Kotor and Perast in Montenegro, Ljublijana in Slovenia and San Marino in Ravenna. Every tour well organized. There were a lot of different activities day and evening on the boat to choose from . As we were out most of the day the evenings went to dinner, show and dancing. Would I cruise on this ship again. Yes with no doubt. Thank you for a wonderful week MSC Lirica. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The itinerary caught my eye, embark Tampa , visit 6 Caribbean ports, disembark NYC.We arrived the evening before the cruise, ate locally and got a good night's sleep at the Quality Inn. Arrived on Sunday at the port with everyone else ... Read More
The itinerary caught my eye, embark Tampa , visit 6 Caribbean ports, disembark NYC.We arrived the evening before the cruise, ate locally and got a good night's sleep at the Quality Inn. Arrived on Sunday at the port with everyone else going on the cruise ( or so it seemed) ,boarded about 1 hour 15 minutes after arriving. The Pearl is an older, smaller ship but in my opinion a nice ship to spend 11 days aboard. An adult pool as well as a children's pool is always a nice touch. The chair hogs were out in force & policing was near non existent which takes away from those fun in the sun sea days by the pool. We found ourselves hiking up to the sun deck to find chairs,ok but not easy to take a dip in the pool. The bars ,restaurants and public areas were all enjoyable.Getting reservations in the specialty restaurants was a challenge. We were forced to take an early evening dinner reservation toward the end of our cruise, either hat or a 9-10PM seating,no thanks. Indigo & Summer Palace were excellent food & service ,only one night were we made to wait for a table. The cabin was on deck 5,outside window, noise level, very quiet ( restaurant above so no noise at night).We saw several shows, all good, Stardust Theater seats were not comfortable for any length of time. The lounge entertainment was good. Casino , only one roulette table & it was always crowded.The service throughout the ship was exceptional, thank you to the crew for a great time aboard The Pearl.Loved the ports with the exception of St. Lucia ,nice Island but the excursion detoured us to a beach that was over run with locals in your face selling booze & trinkets,sometimes uncomfortably, almost threatening. Don't do the St,Lucia Beach break. We loved the other ports and the excursions chosen, all professionally run, We will sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First Med cruise and first cruise with Princess. It exceeded our expectations. Everything was perfect. Staff were so nice. Food was fantastic. The activities and shows were all very good. Such nice treatment from all the crew. We met ... Read More
First Med cruise and first cruise with Princess. It exceeded our expectations. Everything was perfect. Staff were so nice. Food was fantastic. The activities and shows were all very good. Such nice treatment from all the crew. We met people from all over the world. This cruise had started in Singapore, picked up some more people in Dubai and then Rome, where we got on. 10 days of spoiling from all the crew on Sapphire Princess. The excursions were very good, we took the one to Juno beach. It was fantastic, and they had a speaker on the D-day landings, aboard the ship. The excursion in Portugal to Sintra and Cascais was excellent. It was so beautiful, both places. We really enjoyed Gibraltar and Monaco. The International cafe in the piazza was fantastic. All the restaurants, provided excellent service, everyday. The food was hot, and very good. We ordered Room service every morning and it always arrived promptly. The entertainment was great, and varied. We also tried the two speciality restaurants, the Steak house and Sabatinis. Both were very good. The pizza restaurant was good as well. So many bars, but lots of quiet spaces to find some space. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first time on a Carnival cruise ship. We had the opportunity of a great fare that was too hard to turn down. Despite the initial shock of the dowdy dark mixed themes interior, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise mostly due ... Read More
This was our first time on a Carnival cruise ship. We had the opportunity of a great fare that was too hard to turn down. Despite the initial shock of the dowdy dark mixed themes interior, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise mostly due to the happy staff and crew. We additionally loved the fact that Carnival generously provides FREE FRESH bean coffee which none of the other cruise lines we've travelled on have done. There was a happy vibe from all staff and crew. We particularly loved the crew being involved in the fun dancing during our dining. The Carnival Legend band - CIA were a knock-out highly talented band that were very interactive with the audience and provided a lineup of great songs. They were very down to earth and blew us all away with their professional talent. This band could fill venues outside of a Carnival ship. The buffet had lots of variety. The icecream and pizza was available 24 hours and we were very thankful at times when we had been dancing for hours and wanted something late after the buffet had closed. We loved our Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The entire staff was the best, always available if we had any questions, and able to help with anything. The food and wine were excellent, and we had great local guides on our outings. My adult daughter and I had a terrific time, and ... Read More
The entire staff was the best, always available if we had any questions, and able to help with anything. The food and wine were excellent, and we had great local guides on our outings. My adult daughter and I had a terrific time, and enjoyed every minute. We met some lovely people on board, and we both loved the smaller sized ship. Our cabin was perfect for us - but we really didn't spend much time there. We didn't partake of the entertainment, as after a leisurely dinner, we were ready to relax and get ready for the next day's adventure. Shore excursions were diverse and very interesting. We particularly loved the hike through the vineyard (with a wine tasting afterward, of course!), and our cooking class. We loved learning some of the history and sampling food and wine in the smaller towns along our route on the Rhone River. We are ready to go again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made ... Read More
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made every effort to ensure that the transit and the whole experience was exhilarating - and it was! The entire fifth day of the cruise was spent going through the canal - which took from about 7:00 A.M till close to 9:00 P.M. ; the weather was perfect and the excitement was shared by many of my fellow cruisers (most of which were transiting the new canal for the first time). There was even a guest lecturer on board who gave two lectures; one on the history of the canal and another on the conquering of yellow fever in Panama. This guest expert also narrated the crossing throughout the day. His anecdotes and color commentary greatly added to my enjoyment of the experience and appreciation of the new Panama Canal (opened in 2016). To commemorate the canal transit, the officers of the Bliss issued every guest a beautiful color certificate memorializing the trip, signed by the captain and included a glossy color certificate documenting the cruise and ports of call. These are genuine souvenirs worth framing and a very fitting commemoration of the adventure. One thing worth noting: during the time spent on the crossing, NCL facilitated guest access to the bow area (not usually accessible to guests) for viewing the canal locks and the tug. They also furnished refreshments and set up canopies to protect guests from the intense sun. A very nice touch. This viewing area at the bow on deck 8 allowed a great up close view of the tug guiding the ship and the operation of the locks that we could not have gotten from the observation area on deck 15 (a great area to view but deck 8`s observation area was much closer to “the action”). This special access was greatly appreciated and allowed me to get some great photos and video of the entire canal crossing Oh, I speculate that NCL booked this time slot so as to facilitate the best viewing (daylight) of the Panama Canal - again, my heartfelt thanks, NCL! You made the trip truly memorable !!! While the crossing was the highlight of my cruise, the rest of the trip was also magnificent. Sea days with first class entertainment and shore excursions that offered a sampling of the best that the port had to offer. Fandamtastic experience! Thanks to all on NCL Bliss! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked this trip well over a year ago, and had six friends join us which was great. We were all very excited and had pre-booked and pre-planned everything possible. To start with, the embarkation at Sydney was fairly quick and our ... Read More
I booked this trip well over a year ago, and had six friends join us which was great. We were all very excited and had pre-booked and pre-planned everything possible. To start with, the embarkation at Sydney was fairly quick and our room was available straightaway, and this was probably around 1 pm. We were immensely happy with our particular room up on level 12 but I will go into that in more details later. We had lunch up in the windjammer cafe which was very nice with plenty of variety and it didn’t take too long until we found seats for all of us. By the time we got back ,our bags had arrived so it was a very efficient service. We had pre-booked the chefs dinner, The gallery tour and lunch, and also the wine around the world talk and tasting. All the information for these were waiting in our cabin for us which again is great service. We met our cabin Steward KOLI..He turned out to be a lovely young gentleman, very personable and very very efficient. So we all just wandered around the ship and checked everything out and eventually met for dinner in the main dining room, where on that night, and every other night following, we had really really nice food. We had Billy and Inyomen, looking after us every night, and they also were extremely friendly, extremely efficient, with a great sense of humour. We had some people with food allergies and one vegetarian, and they went out of their way to ensure everything was okay for them. My husband and I are not great socialisers , as we don’t drink a real lot, and generally don’t bother with the shows, we just like to relax, read a book, have a nap, and do very little. And many times we did do this. But my friends are more outgoing and like to do all the activities and see the shows, so we went along to a few of these things, like trivia, karaoke, and all sorts of other shows, and I have to say, that despite myself, I had a really good time at these activities. We saw ice shows , Movies, parades, art shows, and I watched the wave Rider and golf activities. And generally kept myself entertained, together with long long periods in the Jacuzzi that was in the spa , Very near our room. We thoroughly enjoyed our gallery tour and huge lunch and bottomless champagne..wow Same with the wine tasting.. I’ve been to Champagne in France, and many wineries in Australia, but still learnt things from the sommelier on this cruise.. The best of course was the chefs dinner. Wow wow wow..worth every cent.. way too much food and wine, but a fantastic experience.. So, we also had some other stuff go on...Two medical airlifts early on in the cruise.. not that great for the patients ( who I believe are ok now) but quite exciting for those watching the skill of the pilots and medical staff. Our cabin afforded us the best view ...so many photos and videos taken.. Apparently another medical problem which meant we departed Darwin abit late.. Two missed ports of call. Airlie and Yorkies Knob.. which meant we only stopped at Brisbane and Darwin... Quite a few people disappointed, but really didn’t bother me, as I’m aware that these stops are often missed due to the weather.. those people who set their hearts on seeing the Great Barrier Reef, would have been better just going up there for a few days , as cruising and using tenders is a 50/50% chance.. I had prebooked private excursions at both places and was SUPER surprised to get my money back immediately...no questions asked. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a ... Read More
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a blast, the weather was good (60s and 70s), excursions were terrific. The staff is amazing - open and friendly, always engaging & remembering our names, taking care of any requests. Just terrific. Here’s an example of great service; we would read on the top deck most days in the late afternoon, where comfortable couches are located outside. One day there had been early rain, and the furniture had been secured. We asked a senior crew member if they could set up the furniture and within 5 minutes, it was set. Very impressive. The food was very good, entertainment was great. The Viking singers get a huge high-five. We used Viking Air Plus, which I recommend- all transfers were seamless. You can’t go wrong with Viking, and I have already signed on to a 2020 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
MAJESTIC PRINCESS MARCH 26-APRIL 14, 2019 SYDNEY TO HONGKONG I am an Elite cruiser, and this is my 13th voyage on Princess, 1st time on Majestic Princess. Majestic Princess was launched in 2017, the largest ship in the Princess feet. ... Read More
MAJESTIC PRINCESS MARCH 26-APRIL 14, 2019 SYDNEY TO HONGKONG I am an Elite cruiser, and this is my 13th voyage on Princess, 1st time on Majestic Princess. Majestic Princess was launched in 2017, the largest ship in the Princess feet. Overall in solid business class condition, the food and entertainment consistent and of a very good standard. Firm and favorable recommendation to anyone wanting a good quality, big ship cruise experience. My critique, is based on my many cruises and any criticism is aimed only at seeking improvement Embarkation Ship boarded at Sydney. Large queue on arrival, but with my wife’s left knee requiring management, she was wheel chaired aboard, prompt, quick and efficient service. The ship in general The Majestic Princess is a large ship, 143,000 tons. Some people aboard found the size of the ship a little overwhelming and they thought a smaller ship would be more to their liking. We can understand that but we like the larger ships with more people and facilities and choices on board. Although there were approximately 3500 passengers on board, it did not feel crowded. So many choices, which are the great delight of cruising, one does as little or as much to do as you like. Some passengers take that for granted, mumbles here and there, but we value the great choices available! I often strolled through the ship at 6.30am in the morning, hardly a person to be seen! Used the Gym fitness machines each day, excellent facility, but the background music is too loud. There is no need for such sound, if you want to listen to music or television etc., a range of personal devices are available. Silence is Golden, great views from the Gym, why a heavy soundtrack. Pools and spa facilities as you expect, available, and nice, off peak the time to go, pools can be cluttered during the day. The Adults only Hollywood Conservatory is an excellent new addition, with great views and seating options, and being a covered pool, no weather problems. Princess cruises add a USD 12.50 a day per person amount to your bill and that covers your tipping for the total cruise. This is done so that people employed on the ship who are not in direct contact with the ship can also receive something. If you don’t like this idea you can arrange with the Pursers office to have the amount reduced if you wish, and envelopes for tips are available. Library facilities were disappointing, combined with the Computer room, and we personally missed the huge observation lounge facility on earlier class ships(Sky walker), and the limited walk around the ship facility for the walkers, it’s there but this time 6.5 times area around equals 1 mile and the area is contained. The other bars and public seating areas of the Majestic Princess were excellent, roomy and stylish. Spot entertainment e.g. pianist, vocalist, violin trio etc. were visible and pleasant. Listening to these spot artists, can make a cruise very pleasant. The shopping available on the ship is the biggest at sea 1000 sq. feet, mostly high end. Watch and clothing sales abounded, and the 3 hour clearance scrambles, always available. Another variety style shop would be useful, not really convinced, about diamond and jeweler shops, obviously enough people are buying product to keep open. Princess has done away with the on ship news sheets for USA, Britain, and Aussie etc. This is short sighted, many commenting on the lack of daily international news. Yes it might be available on the web, but the web at sea is costly, and soaks up time, hopefully these sorts of publications will return, when the world realizes technology is just another tool, and many people like something to hold and reflect on in their own time. Floor shows in the evening, and specifically the Princess Theatre Dance Company and singers were excellent. They did 4 presentations, equal to Broadway show standard, and the standard of these productions continue to improve and creativity very much in vogue. Excellent recording stars on each night, standard excellent. Overall the formal and stage entertainment was of good quality, all part of your travel package Solid range of late release movies shown on upper deck, available in room, or at advertised locations. Good work here Princess, my wife watched more than a few while reclining in the cabin. The more movies the better, it’s an ageless form of entertainment, and Princess Cruise deserves a bow for their up to date movie selection A number of presentations or lectures on this cruise, none of which jumped out as great Excellent range of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, excellent range of choices every day, including the usual bingo, table tennis, bridge games. Art pictures shows were very visual. Soft freeze cone ice-cream available at no cost throughout the day, a nice treat, but real ice-cream limited on the voyage The weather conditions throughout were very good and no rough days at all, so the luck ran our way. However motion sickness can be an issue, and any cruise if you are susceptible, prepare in advance. Dining Traditional 1st or second sitting evening dining room sitting versus anytime dining are great options. We prefer anytime dining, and there were 2 choices plus the 24 hour buffet, plus the 24 hour International Café, and the open deck grill and Pizza bar options, also the Asian Noodle bar, produced good soups. We mixed breakfast venues. Dining formal on some days, buffet the next, sometimes dined for lunch in the traditional dining room (not available in the evening for anytime diners) and then at night, in one of the 2 anytime restaurants. Menu in each is the same as traditional dining restaurant, but we liked the change of waiters, décor and loved being able to eat anytime in the evening between 5.30pm and 10pm. If you had not booked, there was sometimes a small wait, but no great problem. A number of specialist restaurants are available. The Crown Grill (steak) restaurant, a French Restaurant Le Mer and the Cantonese Harmony restaurant all with A$ surcharge of $29-35 per person. The real issue is a specialist restaurant at $60 per couple good vale. In my view once only, plenty of choice for free elsewhere. The 24 Hour International Café was a real bonus. Great informal, pick your choice, from a salad to a cake, great alternative to the full meal service which abounds on the ship. The buffet at Market Place was good value, everything seemed fresh, lots of choice and we thought the food tasted fine. Open most hours was great. Service was good, and their breakfast buffet top class. You read some sharp comments about the cruise buffets; I think they offer excellent value, wide choice and sound presentation. You must be a very fussy eater, if you complain about sub-standard Princess cruise buffets. A nice touch each afternoon was the English afternoon tea served by waiters in white gloves 3.30-4.30pm, in one of the main dining rooms. Room Service Available 24 hours at no charge, limited menu but pleasant, nice to be relaxing in your room, and some refreshment arriving. Our cabin We had an interior Cabin, on the 12th floor. Pleasant. We made the decision not to have a balcony cabin, on cost differential and because many sea days, it was the right decision for us. The design of the cabin made good use of large mirrors to enhance the feeling of light and maximize space. The open space wardrobes without doors provided plenty of hanging and excellent storage space for our requirements. .Our main cases fitted side by side quite comfortably. Bedside lights have dimmer switches. Soaps and towels were changed twice a day. Bathroom shower was pressure excellent. Air conditioning was excellent. There is a safe in every room and our cabin had a fridge. Outside your door on the side is a paper holder with your cabin number on it so that the any newsletters or other information can be left for you. The Television was a good size. No noise transference issues on this trip, you need luck with who are your neighbors’, this time quiet. If you wish to drink bottled wines in your cabin Princess seem to have no problems with you purchasing wines or champagne and bringing them on board at embarkation (Small print says 2 bottles). You can take these wines into the dining room but you will be charged an USD15.00 corkage fee if you take them into the dining rooms PORTS OF CALL Big ships often mean you are located long distances from City. Ships are coy re detail on Port facilities, and access to City location. They want you to utilize on each occasion the formal ship tours, which are well organized, but costly. Independent travelers are tolerated, but they limit information as a means of keeping the formal tour numbers up. The internet is surprisingly limited re detailed information on Ports of Call (often very dated too), and guide books like Lonely Plant, virtually ignore it.  Brisbane is a poor port, industrial, and 25 K from City. Bus shuttle $25 each way. New Terminal required.  Darwin is the opposite, lovely port, great walkways, easy access to City.  Singapore, great Port, and many excursions.  Phu My, Vietnam: Gateway to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) one and a half hours each way. Ships excursions the way to go here A free shuttle with a 40 minute ride to local Ba Ria township was the alternative, a nice respite from the sea days  Kaohsiung Taiwan: 2nd largest city, 3 million people. Excursions or free shuttle to a Large City Store for shopping was available  Hong Kong. Disembark here. We spent 3 nights at the Hotel Vic, North Point, lovely hotel, and well up to our expectations. Disembarkation Getting off the ship at Hong Kong was easier than expected. We made the decision to be in first group off, a choice we have due to our past record with Princess and the long wait for Taxi-Princess warned up to 4 hours wait - did not eventuate. Hong Kong has a poor reputation for taxi service from the Port, surprising for one of the great Tourist destinations; they need to address such issues Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
You can see photos from this cruise and our other sailings by following the link on our Cruise Critic profile page: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/profile/35108-jgnova/ I had a “zero birthday” coming up and wanted to do ... Read More
You can see photos from this cruise and our other sailings by following the link on our Cruise Critic profile page: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/profile/35108-jgnova/ I had a “zero birthday” coming up and wanted to do something special to celebrate – which provided a great excuse for another cruise. But it had to be something special – new ports and/or a new ship or, even better, a whole new (to us) cruise line. We also had the additional requirement that, because of health issues, the embarkation and disembarkation ports had to be within five hours travel time from our Northern Virginia home. I put together a list of options, which were mostly sailings from Miami or Fort Lauderdale that included the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao). One option stood out because it also included two days in Havana, Cuba, and was on Azamara Club Cruises Journey. This was a 16-night repositioning sailing from Miami to Manhattan, with stops in Havana, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Barts, Sint Maarten, and Hamilton, Bermuda. With four new (to us) ports on a new (to us) ship and cruise line, this became the obvious choice. And we are very happy we made that choice. Ship: The ship is lovely and very well maintained, despite its age – they were even refinishing the corridor handrails near our cabin. Like other ships under the RCCL umbrella, Journey was filled with artwork – paintings, prints, and sculptures (many by Salvador Dali) all over. The ship felt very bright all over – even the staircases and elevator lobbies, despite not having windows, felt very bright and open. The only times the ship felt crowded were when everyone tried to be in one venue at the same time – like White Night by the pool or the last two nights’ shows in the cabaret – and the staff brought in chairs for those events so everyone could sit. Cabin: The cabin had plenty of room for all of our stuff – drawers in the desk and in the closet, lots of hangers. There was plenty of light in the cabin, including extra lights by the desk, the bed, and a working balcony light. The cabin thermostat even seemed to work properly! We discovered that the coffee table by the sofa had a lever that raised it from coffee table height to a height that worked for eating our room service breakfast when we couldn’t eat on the balcony. Food: The food selections and quality were outstanding. With the exception of the AzAmazing Evening, when we ate in Windows (buffet restaurant) because of time constraints, we ate all our dinners in Discoveries (main dining room). We usually arrived around 7 PM and never had to wait for a table, which we usually shared with others, allowing us to meet many new people. Besides the menu selections, each night’s choices also included a chef’s selection and something more international, typically linked to the international themed dinner in Windows that evening. We could choose wines (at no extra charge) from each night’s selection of two whites, two reds, and a rosé – and they would pour wines offered on previous nights as well. We ate most breakfasts on the balcony, which was a treat – the server would even spread the tablecloth for us! The food was hot and usually delivered on time. We could even add things to the menu if we wanted (like a smoked-salmon omelet!). I had a few breakfasts in Windows on mornings when we had an early excursion and the selection was excellent. As opposed to other cruises on which we’ve sailed, instead of placing the omelet order and waiting while it was cooked, I just took a table card with a number and the omelet was delivered when it was done. The servers also provided all of the beverages, including fresh-squeezed orange juice. The ship had a few options for lunch. On days when our excursion returned in early afternoon, we went to the Living Room, where they had small sandwiches and desserts available. (That venue also had tapas in the early evening.) Other days, I would grab a burger (delicious) from the Patio or a salad from Windows and eat by the pool. Service: Service on the ship was excellent. The staff and crew would always greet us – our cabin attendants would open our door for us if they were nearby when we were returning. The pool staff were constantly walking around to clear up towels from vacated chairs and to take drink orders and clear up empty glasses. Entertainment: The entertainment was excellent. The ship’s cruise director and assistant cruise director each did a couple of shows and they were great performers. The ship also had an onboard troupe of six performers (four dancers and two singers/dancers) who did three different shows during our sailing. We were also entertained by a violinist, a magician/comic, and a pianist/singer, who joined the ship at different ports during the sailing. The violinist was a special treat for this voyage because of his work with Cuban musicians and students – and because he was joined for one piece by his young son, an incipient star. This was in addition to the pianist in the lounge and the ship orchestra and instrumental trio playing at different times throughout the ship. Our only complaint was about the volume – the cabaret shows would have been much nicer several dB lower. Ports: With the exception of Sint Maarten, we used the ship excursions in all of the ports. Cuba: The tour guides both days were very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. The bus was quite comfortable as well. Cuba is a very interesting place to visit for many obvious reasons. There are very few private cars and most people use buses or shared vans for transportation. The six-lane highway leading to Havana was almost empty and there was little traffic in Havana itself, something unimaginable in most other national capitals. Most of the urban-area buildings are in various stages of disrepair, which is a shame because they looked as if they had been beautiful before the revolution. Houses in the outlying areas looked better-maintained. We did the Jewish Heritage tour our first day in Havana and visited a Jewish Cemetery, two synagogues, and a Jewish-owned boutique hotel. We got to meet with a community leader at one of the synagogues and he answered our questions about the Jewish community’s history and current life. Our second day in Havana, we went to Ernest Hemingway’s house in San Francisco de Paula (about 9 miles from Havana), and were able to see how he lived and the tower next to the house in which he did his writing. We then went to one of his favorite bars in Cojimar, where we saw “his table” and enjoyed a daiquiri made the way he drank them. We then went into Havana to another of his favorite bars (how many did he have?) and braved the crowds to have a mojito. We then had time to walk around the cathedral and other historical sections before returning to the ship. Aruba: As we had never been to Aruba before, we took a ship excursion tour of the island. This tour included a visit to an aloe processing plant, a lighthouse, a natural bridge, and the fascinating Casibari Rock Formations, which I’d like to visit again to see the petroglyphs. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and the bus was fairly new and very comfortable. Curaçao: Again, this was our first visit so we took the ship excursion for an island tour. We got to see a coastal national park to see the cliffs and rock formations along the coast and watch the strong surf. We also visited a lovely beach, the old salt flats in an unrealized hope to see the flamingos, and a former estate house most recently occupied by a famous local artist. As was the case in Aruba, the tour guide was quite knowledgeable and bus very comfortable. After a quick lunch in the Living Room, I hiked from the port into town to see the old synagogue, which we couldn’t tour because it was closed on Sunday. This also gave me an opportunity to walk across the Queen Emma Bridge, a pontoon bridge that floats on the water and swings off to the side to let ships through. I also was able to get a closer view of the Queen Wilhelmina Bridge, the tallest bridge in the world, and two other small lift bridges in Willemstad. Bonaire: Another new island and another ship excursion tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable, but the tour company used a smaller bus that was not as comfortable, especially for those stuck in the seats over the wheels. We got to see Bonaire’s lovely coastline, old salt flats with many flamingos raising their young, an old house showing how the early island residents lived, some slave huts right on the coast by the salt flats, and a modern salt processing operation. The tour guide was very good, but she had to keep telling the driver to slow down so we could take photographs. St. Barts: Although we had been to St. Barts five years earlier, we had seen only the port area in the capital so we took another island tour. This tour was in a mini-van and the tour guide was not very effective at discussing much about the island characteristics. We did get to see several beaches and the beautiful island geography. The company arranging the tours should have done a better job preparing a guide for the driver to use. Sint Maarten: We’ve been there several times and I decided to have a beach day. I had searched the web before the trip and found that two bars with beach chair/umbrella rental facilities had reopened at Orient Beach so I decided to go there for the day. There is a taxi rank right off the pier complex and the people there will assemble groups to various destinations. I was able to share a taxi with few other visitors (from another ship) and paid only $9 for the trip instead of the $25 the trip would have cost for just me. The taxi dropped us off mid-beach near the Bikini Beach bar, which looked nice. However, someone at the port had told me that Kon Tiki, a short walk down the beach, had better food. I paid $15 for an umbrella and comfortable chaise (including a cushion) for the day. There were attendants patrolling the beach to take food and drink orders, and the bar and restaurant looked great and had brand new facilities. So I had a lovely day on the beach watching people windsurfing and doing other watersports. Bermuda: We’ve been to Bermuda twice before, but we were docked at the Royal Dockyards at the far end of the island. We took ferry trips to Hamilton and to St. Georges, but had never seen the Bermuda countryside. This itinerary had us docked right in downtown Hamilton so we were able to walk around to see the shops and restaurants. We also took a ship excursion that drove along the south coast of the island to the Royal Dockyards, giving us a chance to see the lovely beaches for which Bermuda is famous and some historical areas. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation was fairly smooth with priority processing only for suite guests. While we had completed the forms for the Cuban visas, we forgot to bring copies with us, so we had to take time to write out second copies, which the port people insisted we needed even though we had copies at home. Disembarkation was slower than normal, probably because the immigration people had not planned on the high percentage of non-U.S. citizens, who took longer to process. Once through immigration, we located our luggage and found a porter quickly, who then took us out to the drop-off area. We were picking up a rental car and driving home, so I walked about 2 ½ blocks to the car rental office, picked up the car, drove back to the pier, picked up DW and our luggage, and headed through the Lincoln Tunnel. I think I spent more time in line at the car rental office than it took to get to the office and drive back and get to the tunnel. Overall experience: This itinerary was an excellent balance of port and sea days, with 8 ½ days in port and 6 ½ days at sea. The majority of the passengers were from the United Kingdom, which was a new experience for us, and we got to chat with a lot of people from places we had only read about. With fewer than 700 passengers on a smaller ship, we were more likely to bump into the same people repeatedly and get to know them. Even with open seating at dinner, we wound up having the same tablemates a few times and would greet each other by name when we were walking around the ship or sitting in the cabaret. Another pleasurable aspect of the cruise was that we didn’t feel hassled to spend money. Drinks and wine were included if we didn’t request premium brands, as were coffees. And there was no constant sales pressure to eat in the specialty restaurants, as we’ve experienced on other lines. The senior ship staff were always present and visible – the hotel director would frequently assist seating passengers in Discoveries and we saw the Captain walking around the tables at least once. The captain and hotel director were at the gangplank every morning when we left the ship for our excursions, wishing us a good visit. Captain Johannes and Cruise Director Eric had a constant repartee during the noon announcements, with the captain teasing the CD about his shirt every day and the CD finding something funny to say in response. They obviously have a great relationship and that enhanced the voyage. This was the best cruise we have ever taken, thanks to the ship staff and crew, ship size, passenger friendliness, food quality, and itinerary. We are looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. This is a beautiful ship with a musical theme. We liked the baroque organ. We ran into two storms on the Pacific Ocean with 6.5 meter waves and the Captain changed our port of call from Ushuaia to Castro and also gave us the beautiful Brujo glacier. We were good with the decision since it was a bit of a rough ride that day. We had booked mostly private excursions since we like the smaller groups. Except for the tendering ports, all the ports of call on our cruise were well managed. We have travelled with at least 4 other cruise lines and we found the food selection to be good better than some of the others. We liked having less choices but better quality. Cabin crew were good. Enrichment activities were good. Entertainment were okay. Embarkation and Disembarkation were spot on. All in all, we liked Holland America and have already booked another cruise with them on the Westerdam. Hoping to be able to have the same level of service or better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We wanted to experience South America and visit the above two places. The ports of call did not disappoint. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not ... Read More
We wanted to experience South America and visit the above two places. The ports of call did not disappoint. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not match the daily program. There is a lot of paper that could be saved...... The food never disappoints and the staff go out of there way to please you. We never meet so many like minded people up to the last day! The entertainment was solid and there are plenty of activities. The specialty restaurants are also top notch in food and service as well. The bar staff in the Den were brilliant. The crossing was great and the captain diverted the ship for us to see Fernando de Noronha island, 200 miles off the coast of Brazil. On our last leg from Casablanca to Lisbon, the captain did a brilliant job of steering the vessel so that we would feel the least amount of effects of storm heading towards us. He succeed brilliantly. A master class of navigation and meteorology! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
First of all, on our many cruises we've never had such a warm and fuzzy crew, we felt like part of an extended family, and it was genuine. The crew actually bids to come back to the same ship because they like being around each other. ... Read More
First of all, on our many cruises we've never had such a warm and fuzzy crew, we felt like part of an extended family, and it was genuine. The crew actually bids to come back to the same ship because they like being around each other. We never witnessed grouchiness or tension among the staff, in definite contrast to the larger cruise ships we've been on in the past. The service was hence over the top. Perhaps it was just our L'Austral crew, but e.g. the front desk ladies were amazing, juggling all day in at least 2 languages, and manning the reception 24/7. Always friendly with a smile, and anything we asked for was done, taken care of or checked on with efficiency. We never felt 'second class' by not being French, and 99% of the French passengers were very friendly once you tried a few words in French.. I think sometimes people get insecure and appear standoffish until you get to know them a little. Due to the itinerary, we had a significant number of Aussies, Germans, Austrians, some Brits, someone from Iceland, and a handful of Americans. Several multilingual passengers, and an unusually high number of solo travelers. That being said, it does help to speak French, since the naturalists, cruise director etc are all native French people, and not every joke or comment can be translated properly into English. All announcements were always in both French and English. The captain was very involved and you seemed to run into him often. He was there, coming in another Zodiac when ours had engine problems, always ready to help out. He navigated that vessel safely and very smoothly. His background is commanding icebreakers, so a transatlantic is probably much easier work for him. Overall recommendations: Although there's 3 elevators, they don't reach everything, for example the marina. Not a good ship for wheelchair, crutches, or walker. Cane may be okay if you can negotiate 1-2 flights of stairs. Currency on board is Euro, but you can settle your account in USD, and if you book a future cruise on board, the quote can be done in either currency. The onboard boutique/store does NOT have sunscreen, nail clippers, antacids... so don't forget those. They have mostly clothing, a few gifts, small amount of jewelry and handbags. Most of the clothing is for use in Antarctica. All high quality (mostly made in France and Germany), and thus pricey. If you wish to leave tips, you have to have cash. Unlike on other cruise ships, where you can add a tip to your bill, you can't do that on Ponant. The services in the spa already include a service charge. Food/drink: Be prepared to gain weight - we felt like Thanksgiving turkeys.. especially the desserts are too delicious to pass up, plus they have daily varying homemade gelato.. ugh. The pastry chef is top notch, French of course. And then the cheeses...! Our ship wasn't full, so during the first 2 weeks, dinner was either buffet on 6, or sit down on 2, and lunch was only buffet. You can always get coffee drinks, croissants and fruit in the main lounge on 3 in the a.m., and coffee/tea with some type of goodie from 4pm-5pm, main lounge as well. Open bar using decent brands, top shelf is extra. Their champagne is pretty good, and on certain occasions, Veuve Cliquot comes out. House wines red/white/rosé are overall decent. If you like beer, you'll be probably disappointed. Mostly Heineken, and e.g. Corona amazingly has to be paid for. Main dishes range from okay to superb - it really depends who's cooking and what. The mostly Indonesian crew is of course best at fish etc, even room service fish was fantastic. The Peruvian carving chef was amazing. Lamb most of the time was awesome. Be aware most of their beef and pork meats (roast, loin etc) are cooked 'rare' and are quite fatty. Room service club sandwich was the best sandwich we've ever had, period. Now if you can't find anything to strike your fancy, just talk to the restaurant head guy or directly to the chefs, they will come up with something for you. Spa/fitness: actually got a haircut, Elsa was very good and took a whole hour, only 65Euro. The hammam looked nice, very hot in there and we were in the tropics, so didn't use. Fitness center looked nice, mostly deserted. The saltwater pool is a decent size for a small ship, due to internal ramp you can't swim laps but it's nice to hang out or tread water. As far as the itinerary - the Brazilian government has now banned all non-Brazilian vessels from anchoring off Fernando de Noronha. It was quite a bummer, but nothing could be done about it. We received 250Euro onboard credit each as a compensation. OB credit can't be used for future cruise deposit, certain visas they arrange for you, or tips as I mentioned above. Since basically everything is already included, we "had to" shop at the boutique, DH got a real Panama Hat and I bought an Icebreaker vest and 2 Breton sweaters, nice souvenirs! Brazil: Rio - loved it and will try to return Paraty - very quaint, difficult walking on cobblestones, not touristy, and no public RR Salvador - broke my heart to see how they let their city deteriorate in so many ways.. even in the public market prostitution was going on. Very sad. Recife/Olinda - Would love to return to see the Olinda Carnaval. We had dancers from Olinda come to the ship to present a show and they were spectacular. Olinda walking tours are quite the workout walking steep hills in high heat and humidity. Guinea-Bissau, Bijagos Islands There was a couple (he French, she Portuguese) who lives on Keré Island, who acted as cultural intermediaries. Our naturalists came from Antarctica and that's where their expertise lies, not Africa, so they did not have much information. Honestly, most of my information was from documentaries I had found online at home, prior to the voyage. The Islands are definitely not touristy (there's rarely a ferry from Bissau), most of the village inhabitants are very reserved and do not interact. It appears they asked a couple of women to put on their 'good dress' and sit by the walking trail, so people could get their selfies with a person from Bijagos. I felt we were being intrusive overall, although I understand they authorized the visit and Ponant helps finance e.g. a water well etc for the villages. If you're a snorkeler/diver, this is not your spot, water murky with very low visibility. Sadly, we saw almost no wildlife, wrong season, normally there are lot of birds, hippos etc. Senegal-Dakar Well, we spent the day at an African family's B&B in Dougar, 45 min E of Dakar, and about 20min from the new airport. We booked through airbnb.com and they reconciled us with Senegal. Before we arrived there, I couldn't get out of Dakar fast enough, between peddlers, noise, the smell of urine, Sahara dust, and traffic insanities... Considering you don't wait in line for anything except the Zodiac embarkations, and the whole ambiance, it's definitely a luxury line and we're glad we chose this trip. Regardless of the itinerary glitches, we enjoyed ourselves and were thoroughly relaxed, so we booked another/ future cruise onboard, which will be on one of the sister ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had never been to the ABC's and wanted to check them out. We had been to Grand Cayman twice before so we only did a walk about but we did bus tours on the ABC's which were well organized and paced just right. They were ... Read More
We had never been to the ABC's and wanted to check them out. We had been to Grand Cayman twice before so we only did a walk about but we did bus tours on the ABC's which were well organized and paced just right. They were colourful and we enjoyed seeing a wide area of the islands on the tours we took. Our dining room experience was enhanced by the Waiter and his assistant who worked as a team to ensure our meal time was pleasant and enjoyable. The sommelier was very knowledgeable in the wine she suggested. The only negative in the dining room was the person who was supposed to serve the pop and alcohol drinks they were non-existent and the sommelier took care of it for us. The entertainment was a 10 out of 10 with a good variety over the 9 days. The Silhouette dancers/singers were wonderful and top notch. We love the Silhouette and look forward to our next cruise. We have been on both the Equinox and the Silhouette but feel the Silhouette is our favourite. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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