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1,779 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for a break after the Christmas festivities. Fewer crowds. Took the included tours. While informative, somewhat boring. Will consider “pay “ tours in the future. I strongly DO NOT recommend included tour in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a break after the Christmas festivities. Fewer crowds. Took the included tours. While informative, somewhat boring. Will consider “pay “ tours in the future. I strongly DO NOT recommend included tour in Cartegena. On the bus looking at the poverty of the area then to a less than photographic lighthouse. Then back on the bus. No time to explore/ shop in the city prior to boarding. We had the ES1 suite. Nice amenities. However, water leak from toilet 2 days in a row. Crew was prompt to fix it on day 2. Few activities on board so LOTS of downtime and looking for things to do on sea days. This is our first “small ship “ cruise. Good staff/customer ratio. Staff willing to chat and share their stories. Able to see many of the same customers and get to know each other more easily than the larger ships. Overall, good cruise. Excellent staff. Food OK. Evening shows good. Cabin staff 5stars! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Previous river cruises with Viking was the main incentive to try and ocean cruise. The accommodation and cabin facilities were very good including services of our steward in the cabin. She was very attentive to our requirements and kept ... Read More
Previous river cruises with Viking was the main incentive to try and ocean cruise. The accommodation and cabin facilities were very good including services of our steward in the cabin. She was very attentive to our requirements and kept the cabin well appointed throughout. The food on bard was very good including the specialty dining. Enjoyed use of the spa and facilities. Entertainment shows were very good and well worth attending. Not overely impressed with some of the shore excursions particularly when I felt that they were just occupying time without too much purpose. Overall the cruise was very good value. Travel to and from uk was okay but would prefer a single flight to arrive at the ship. Less hassle involved with transfers. We enjoyed the space on board Viking Star and the layout appeared very good. Would have appreciated better evening snacks to eat made available. Staff were very friendly and tried to assist with our requirements. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We embarked from Lisbon on Dec.16th at 11:00 PM. On Dec.17th at 12:00PM the Captain made announcement we are unable to sail to the Azores due to stormy seas and for our passengers safety. We are sailing to Mederia and will be there ... Read More
We embarked from Lisbon on Dec.16th at 11:00 PM. On Dec.17th at 12:00PM the Captain made announcement we are unable to sail to the Azores due to stormy seas and for our passengers safety. We are sailing to Mederia and will be there tomorrow. The ship was rolling sideways all day long and into the night. I have been on 60+ cruises and I know when the stabilizers are not on, the ship doesn't roll side to side, up and down yes. Many passengers where sea sick and one female passenger was injured due to a fall. Why are the passengers safety at risk? Who is responsible? The Captain or Viking or both. On Dec. 19th the Captain states we are not sailing to Bermuda due to rough seas. Our friends on board the ship where supposed to meet relatives in Bermuda. They called their relatives and gave them the bad news. They stated the water around Bermuda was like a lake. Someone is not telling the truth. Why was our cruise ship traveling at 16 knots when cruising speed is 20 knots? The stabilizers were activated the day we left Mederia causing a drag on the ship and consuming more fuel. Viking made a decision to cancel Bermuda due to fuel consumption and to conserve fuel by traveling 16 knots or didn't have enough time for Bermuda and get back in time to Miami. The service was excellent. The food at breakfast and lunch was excellent. The food at diner was average. The Chef's Table should be closed, the food was terrible. The ship itself was beautiful and tastefully furnished with a lot of space to relax. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
One of the reasons we chose this particular cruise was because of the stop in Bermuda. Well, on embarkation, we found out we couldn’t go to The Azores because of weather. We went south to Madeira instead. But, since we went south and ... Read More
One of the reasons we chose this particular cruise was because of the stop in Bermuda. Well, on embarkation, we found out we couldn’t go to The Azores because of weather. We went south to Madeira instead. But, since we went south and then across the Atlantic from that point, we were too far south to go to Bermuda. We had hoped to see Bermuda to figure out where we wanted to go back and stay. Very disappointing. The wait staff knew much earlier than we did that we were not going. The Restaurant was very lovely. I don’t remember being asked ‘to share’ a table on the Sun. We were asked every night on this cruise if we’d share. The World Cafe was the same quality as the Sun. We enjoyed the ability to have wine or beer with our meals. Manfredis didn’t seem as good as on the Sun. And, the only way we could get a table was to share! We loved room service and had coffee in the room every morning. Predictable and good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
If you want blaring cruise directors, endless trivia games, quirky open plan cabins, tiny balconys, line ups for everything and eat-with-your-fingers fast food dining, LUMINOSA IS NOT FOR YOU. Look at something else. If you want a more ... Read More
If you want blaring cruise directors, endless trivia games, quirky open plan cabins, tiny balconys, line ups for everything and eat-with-your-fingers fast food dining, LUMINOSA IS NOT FOR YOU. Look at something else. If you want a more traditional, non-intrusive experience with a varied and entertaining stay, quality continental dining with well managed hotel services that reflect the days when quality and value were more important than size and economies of scale, then LUMINOSA IS FOR YOU. It might not last, so enjoy it soon! Main dining room experience is as good as it gets these days.Table staff went the extra mile to make it work. Six course meals with Italian flair and a bit of style have optional selections. Full credit to the dining room manager who was visible. Sailing and ships crew were obviously competent, without being intrusive. Safety is plainly a high priority. I saw a lifebout drill supervisor firmly correct a man who was late and more interested in his cell phone than the drill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise to get away from the Winter and have Christmas at sea Our Costa organised bus trip from our home town in Austria to Savona was smooth and punctual. Savona is a pleasant port, but as it was a bit chilly and windy, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get away from the Winter and have Christmas at sea Our Costa organised bus trip from our home town in Austria to Savona was smooth and punctual. Savona is a pleasant port, but as it was a bit chilly and windy, we elected to stay in the departure area Boarding was a little slow and Costa could improve communication to keep people informed Our cabin was ready and the luggage arrived quickly except for i case that was detained .This was due to a small hand steamer - this deice has been on about 10 cruises ,but this time was classified as an Iron. HERE I MUST CRITICIZE COSTA - they know who the detained cases belong to but allow a queue of about 40 or more people to wait like idiots to reclaim their baggage, instead of telling them where where to go. The enquiries desk is a bunfight and the reception staff and passengers are put under unnecessary pressure when a simple collection system would alleviate the problem The ship was clean and everything worked although some of the external steel is showing its age. Navigating the ship with the restaurants in the middle can be a little confusing The dining was really good in the MDR and the buffet was more than adequate. On sea days after the crossing it was a bit hectic The theatre entertainment was generally good and the theatre was always full. The daily activities were always well attended and the passengers enjoyed themselves.The design of the ship does not lend itself to undercover relaxing areas on hot sea days as the solarium is inadequate. It is a pity that use of the sauna is not free or a package separate from the SPA packages The service was good and the ship was kept clean and tidy The ports are all typically Caribbean with enough Tours available from Costa or ashore For us the best ports were Santa Cruz Tenneriffe, Roadtown and Martinique A message to all the unhappy passengers - Costa is an Italian cruiseline so why were you surprised the were so many Italians on board. And likewise most food menus on an Italian ship will be Italian Costa could cut down on the multilingual promotional announcements and fix the water issue that annoy so many people All in all a good time was had by most people Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The Panama canal has been a bucket list trip for me for years and this one was priced right so I took it. Overall I had a great time. Going through the Panama canal was very well done with Panamanian official on board giving timely ... Read More
The Panama canal has been a bucket list trip for me for years and this one was priced right so I took it. Overall I had a great time. Going through the Panama canal was very well done with Panamanian official on board giving timely reports over the intercom as to what we were seeing. Just keep in mind that the Star is an older ship and will not compare to the newer ones in the fleet. If you have that in mind your expectations should be in line. I am not overly picky about food so the 3 star food on this ship was just fine for me. I never had any problems with the food just keep in mind it is not 5 star. The disappointment came in when NCL changed two of our ports of call the last minute which completely changed my plans for those ports. No time to switch gears...had to wing it and those days were minimal at best. The layout of the Star is odd where not all elevators go to all floors....not all hallways go through...etc. You have to memorize some shortcuts to get around. Some of my areas of focus: The gym was great... I enjoyed the thermal suite as I bought the pass...a very quiet area...almost sanctuary. The Oasis pool was the ship's focal point most of the day. They provided music much of the day there which was nice. The H2O spice area was nice...very quiet back there. Hot tubs were always fun with people in and out most of the day. At night the Bliss club was the happening place...main entertainment was also good. Food: The buffet was average at best. OSheehans was a good lunch option. Gina was a good dinner change...the main dining rooms were pretty good...but varied day to day. I did not try the premium dining. I had a mini suite on deck 11 and loved the room. Finally getting on and off the ship was pretty bad. Just be mentally ready for that. I will say the service from the staff on the ship was excellent. Very hard working people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that the delay was caused by an unannounced ship inspection which NCL STAR passed with ease. An explanation of the unavoidable delays should have been communicated to all passengers as soon as possible (e.g., in the newsletter) so that those unfamiliar with NCL would know that NCL check in is usually efficient. By not communicating it to passengers, NCL missed an opportunity to reduce passenger displeasure with NCL even before boarding the ship. Even as a PLATINUM level NCL Cruiser, our check in took one and a half hours. It was the slowest and most inefficient check in I have ever experienced. Even the photograph taken at check in did not process which required that we line up again at customer service desk to re-take the photo. NCL security would not allow anyone to disembark without a photo registered. Dining People go on cruises to EAT and my experience with the food on the NCL Star is hit & miss; mostly a miss. Some dishes were good, others were less so. Here are more examples re my disappointment with dining in the NCL Star: the scallops were minuscule and overly salted; the pork loin seemed overcooked which made it unnecessarily tough, the sliced sirloin was so tough it was inedible, the french toast, scrambled eggs and cinnamon buns and every fish dish I tried (except for the salmon poached in broth) were overcooked, i.e. dry. Maybe others had better luck, The sliced fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries and honeydew) were NEVER ripe. This made the fruit hard and not flavorful. This was especially true for the morning fruit plate that could be ordered for breakfast room service. I stopped eating fruit. BUFFET Overall, the food at the Garden Buffet is below average with dishes reappearing in other forms on consecutive days and a very monotonous breakfast selection. For example, if one day you had a pork roast, the following day you may likely see sliced breaded & fried pork steaks with some overcooked sauce. Unlike on prior NCL ships where you could find a daily roast (e.g. turkey, pig, prime rib, roast beef) the NCL Star often just offered roasted chicken. Bottom line: there is plenty to eat in the complimentary restaurants; it’s just that the food preparation and presentation is below average. Maybe the NCL STAR needs a new more creative chef or a higher food budget. Not once did we see roast turkey, prime rib or sucking pig. I usually only go to the buffet for breakfast for an omelette. I’ll also admit I enjoy passing by the buffet late in the evening for a light snack. The fresh cookies that used to appear on every other NCL ship are GONE. The cookies now served seem to be made from a frozen dough roll and are not edible. There is also no real ice cream station. The soft serve ice cream machine is not good. I was also disappointed with the juices offered in that they are overly sweet and not good. Even their coffee is just OK. THE BEST COFFEE is what you can make in your room if you can get a coffee machine. Most of the cakes offered at the Buffet that I tried lacked moisture and flavor, and were not as aesthetically pleasing as on prior NCL cruises. A cake must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, moist and flavorful; never dry. I often stopped after the first bite because the cakes failed. On the positive side: I often did not finish one entire piece of cake. The bottom line is that it’s not about serving lobster or fillet mignon; it’s about doing right what is served. The most edible daily cake was the pound cake that was consistently fresh and moist. COMPLIMENTARY RESTAURANTS The complimentary Versailles & Aqua restaurants provide a sit down served meal in a relaxed, elegant, yet casual environment with table cloths, a menu, and waiter service. You can even have dinner wearing nice shorts and sandals at Aqua. I go on cruises to relax and even having to dress up for dinner is sometimes stressful; so at Versailles & Aqua you can dress down and still have a wonderful unhurried served meal where you order from a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Loved them both, but especially Versailles with its high ceilings. Aqua, on the other hand, tends to be a bit too loud for my taste because of its low ceiling. The larger more formal Versailles does not permit men to wear shorts at dinnertime. I was also able to dine at Cagney’s Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaría (Brazilian steakhouse), Le Bistro and La Cuccina. All specialty restaurants are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the offerings at the Versailles or Aqua. There is a fee to dine in these specialty restaurants but it is the onky way to ensure you enjoy an excellent meal. It is disappointing to say that in this NCL ship, my favorite dish were the fajitas served at the 24 hour O’sheehans Pub. In all 16 days, the best meals were at the specialty restaurants. I do not remember one memorable meal at either the complimentary Aqua or Versailles restaurants. As a Platinum NCL cruiser, this is the first ship where I have uniformly been disappointed with the complimentary restaurants as well as the buffet. Not sure if it is just a substandard head chef or an attempt to cut costs. The dinner at Moderno includes unlimited served steak, chicken, lamb, pork, lamb chops and chorizo as well as a salad bar with hearts of palm, marinated grilled peppers, cold shrimp, cheeses, in addition to the usual salad bar fare. If you have a special event to celebrate Moderno could be a more exclusive quieter space with good quality meats. Even vegetarians would enjoy Moderno because of the salad bar. The Brazilian cheese rolls at Moderno are soft flavorful and delicious. Service Service is where the NCL STAR excels. The service throughout the NCL STAR is simply put: Excellent; period. I would attribute that to a committed hardworking well-trained young staff. I was extremely impressed with the commitment of the mostly young and foreign staff throughout the ship, from housekeeping to food service. Housekeeping staff was uniformly excellent. Whatever you need, they try to accommodate you. For example, I always like having iced water; my rook steward brought me a small ice bucket and made certain it was regularly refilled. Towels were fluffy, thick and absorbent, the bed was always beautifully made and the stateroom was kept impeccably clean and tidy. The restaurant staff was equally excellent: they were professional, efficient, attentive, respectful and always had a welcoming smile. Now, if the chef and food preparers could be reminded of what makes for a good cinnamon bun, soft scrambled eggs, moist French toast, tender and juicy pork or beef roast, tender ribs, edible scallops and what should be a very basic baked fish dish, I would have rated the food on the NCL Star as excellent; however, it wasn’t. Remember NCL, it’s not about seeing lobster or prime rib: just do well what you do well and passengers will reward with excellent evaluations and praise. The heroes of every cruise, are the cabin attendants that ensure your cabin is kept clean, tidy, stocked, functional and smelling nice. Even if you included the service charge when you paid for your cruise, tip them a little extra before you disembark. They should never be taken for granted and should be rewarded for having to work with those cleaning chemicals all day. Enrichment Activities Enrichment activities need to be reworked and improved, especially in the longer cruises with more sea days and with an older passenger composition. I have suggested that NCL add real enrichment opportunities more appropriate for older frequent cruisers who may not be as enthusiastic about drinking games, sexy man contest, newlywed game, etc. For example, I’d like to use my time onboard to learn how to learn how to cook new dishes, how to bake the perfect cookies or rolls or create a travel blog, something that would be of benefit to NCL itself. Imagine if NCL CRUISERS wrote excellent blogs about their NCL experience. Being able to use one’s time to learn something useful would be well received. Other cruise lines are already providing computer and cooking lessons for cruisers; NCL should too. Learning to play bridge is OK but improving one’s computer or specialty cooking skills is undeniably more desirable and better use of our time, especially for older passengers who want to improve tech skills or learn how to prepare dishes from some of the ports visited. The cake decorating session was more of a fun comedy exercise than a serious baking or cake decorating learning session. For the longer cruises, lectures about the recent history or current political realities of each country visited would add so much to the overall experience. The lecturer on this ship was more of an entertainer than a serious lecturer. His talks seemed to be aimed at middle school children that needed to be entertained. Am sure there are even some cruisers who would be willing to host talks and share their own knowledge of each port. The content of the lectures offered on this cruise were substandard and never covered the current political and economic situation in the countries visited or any discussion of their history and culture. Entertainment Enjoyed most shows. The production shows with the ship’s singers and dancers were consistently the best. The comedian was OK but a couple of young Ukrainians who did some aerial maneuvers was repetitive, amateurish and embarrassingly bad. The magician was extremely funny and performed basic but entertaining tricks. The music throughout the ship was varied and uniformly good. Everyone could find enjoyable live music. The music by the pool and in other public spaces was significantly more mellow and less loud than what one would hear on 7-day Caribbean cruises with a younger passenger composition that may prefer blaring music by Pitbull, Cardi B, rappers and top 40 artists. Fitness & Recreation The Spa Thermal Suite on the NCL STAR is not as large and impressive as the thermal suite on the larger ships. On this trip, I found the $159 price charge for the 16 day cruise VERY reasonable. In my opinion, it is worth the added expense just to have a quiet less crowded child-free area to relax in. My only observation is that the chairs in each of the relaxing areas should be replaced with cushioned lounges. The staff in the Spa should also ensure that the area is kept clean, dry and tidy. A number of times I saw plates & glass cups brought from the buffet uncollected for hours. I also never saw the Spa maintenance remove sitting water from the areas around the lap or thermal pools or the jacuzzi or from the area outside the men’s sauna, steam room & cold plunge pool. Those area were consistently wet and dangerously slippery. The iced water containers in the Spa were often empty; they should be regularly refilled. The Spa treatments offered are expensive and superficial; avoid them. Even with a $75 coupon, the facial I tried was significantly below average compared to any facial you would have at home. It was mostly pizzaz but hardly any real cleaning and definitely no extractions. For example, although I intentionally pointed out one blackhead by the nose before beginning the facial, that one blackhead was still there when the treatment ended despite mentioning it twice during the actual treatment. It was a nice face massage with a number of ointments applied, pretty background music, nice smells, but not a real professional facial cleaning. At the end of the treatment, although a 20% tip is already included on your bill, the nice young lady who just did your face massage will hand you the bill with an open space for an ADDITIONAL TIP. Beware: a 20% “service charge” already added to your bill included, IS the tip; remind her. This is how I felt at the end of the very expensive Spa treatment: I felt like one feels after one goes on one of those time-share tours. The difference, however, is that in addition to being subjected to pressure to purchase products you don’t need and to give a tip in excess of 20%, you are paying a price that is significantly higher than what you pay at home. Avoid the temptation to sign up for any Spa treatment. Beware. Shore Excursions The NCL excursions are expensive, impersonal and just too large. On this cruise, I identified tour operators through Trip Advisor reviews and searching sites such as Viator. I then contacted a number of tour operators at each port and proposed an itinerary combining the highlights of some of the excursions available through NCL, Trip Advisor or Viator. I requested a proposal from each tour operator for a group from a Cruise Critic, at a significantly reduced price, of course. Whomever hasn’t joined Cruise Critic, should. It’s a great way to learn of lower priced and more comprehensive excursions for 20-30 cruisers organized by members themselves. I was able to design an excursion at each port and filled every space with little effort; the excursions were comprehensive and cheap. If you do this, I suggest asking members for a 20% deposit a month before the cruise and requiring full payment on or before the Meet & Greet. You must ensure that when you commit to a final number, you will be able to deliver for the tour operator. Without deposits and advance full payment, you may find that some cruisers just don’t show up on the day of the excursion. That could affect everyone else because often the low price negotiated is based on a minimum number of paying participants. I was able to negotiate prices that were at most a 1/3 of a comparable NCL excursion. The key to success in organizing a private excursion for Cruise Critic members is: (1) identifying a tour operator with excellent Trip Advisor reviews, (2) not being overly ambitious in designing an itinerary (to ensure your group returns in time for departure) and (3) having all participants make payment before departure. It’s a lot of work but the benefits are significant and these smaller excursions with other Cruise Critic members are a lot of fun. Passenger Composition Longer cruises attract a calmer, older, educated, and cordial passenger load. I found fellow passengers to be extremely polite, friendly, kind, and easy going. Compared to other NCL CRUISES I also found the music selection throughout the ship to be much more relaxed; more mellow rock and vocals and less Pit Bull, rap or hip hop. It was relaxingly delicious for a cruise. There was also a time where the promenade of deck 7 was pleasantly busy with walkers, some a little slower than others but the slow ones kindly staying on the right to allow the faster walker to maintain their pace. Many of these walkers had headphones and some elderly couples walked hand-in-hand which was lovely to see as the average age of the couples was on the high side. Everyone got along well. Mi also noticed that some walkers preferred to walk also in deck 7 but walked inside on the more cushioned carpet. Another wonderful observation of the longer cruise is that the pool area is never full or loud. I also noticed that unlike in other cruises, passengers are very cordial with each other and there is not the morning rush to reserve lounge chairs. When a chair is being used there was usually a body on the chair. It was also nice to see the two pools hardly ever used or full and the four whirlpools always had plenty of space, and usually by 5 or 5:30 pm, one or more of the whirlpools were vacant. And although the pool slide was opened on every nice day at sea, there was hardly ever a line. NCL STAR Ports I booked the NCL STAR’s South America 16 day cruise primarily because of the scheduled visits to historically-relevant Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia. Those stops were cancelled only a week before the cruise without much of an explanation from NCL headquarters. The reason given was “mechanical reasons,” a term which caused widespread concern among Cruise Critic Roll Call participants who imagined the worse, i.e., safety issues. Those port visits were replaced by Grand Cayman and Puerto Limon. Grand Cayman is nothing more than an uneventful beach stop. Beach stops on longer cruises (with predominantly older passenger composition) are neither appealing nor desirable. Passengers would have preferred Panama City, for example, or any other more historically-interesting port. More attention should be given by NCL in how it communicates schedule changes to passengers and how it identifies replacement ports. Final Disembarkation: Be sure to pick up your preferred color luggage tags early if you have a preferred time to disembark. If someone in your party requires wheel chair assistance, the party should go to the announced meeting spot to wait for assistance disembarking. Tip your wheelchair steward. The Port of San Antonio is significantly better prepared to receive disembarking passengers than the Port of Valparaiso. When I disembarked in Valparaiso, it was chaos and I speak perfect SPANISH. There were taxis waiting to rip-off cruisers who simply wanted to get to the bus terminal less than 5 minutes away and the bus terminal was unprepared for English speaking customers. I am certain that a number of cruisers disembarking in Valparaiso were subjected to scams or even victims of pickpockets or worse. The Port of San Antonio, on the other hand, was prepared. There was English-speaking young persons providing information to disembarking cruisers, young persons serving as volunteer porters helping passengers with their luggage, the luggage was placed in a well organized, large, clean, covered holding area, Chilean customs was efficient, there were sitting areas for passengers, clean bathrooms and personnel everywhere providing information and assistance in English. The best part, however, was that disembarking passengers did NOT have to make their way to the city’s bus terminal to catch a regular Chilean $7 bus ride to Santiago. There was a bus actually inside the Port where English speaking employees from the Chilean Pullman Bus Company would sell you a bus ticket with a credit card, help place your luggage in the luggage hold under the bus and even assign you a seat in the bus. It was amazing service. Cruisers did not need to exit the protected Cruise Terminal area to hop on a regular Chilean bus to Santiago. REALLY...AMAZING! Kudos to the City of San Antonio! Why would any cruise line disembark in Valparaiso when they can disembark their passengers safely and efficiently in San Antonio. San Antońio has been the most organized port where I have disembarked on any NCL cruise, Miami included. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation - for us was very smooth as our private transfer from the Empire Palace Hotel in Rome was booked for 12 midday meaning we arrived after the boarding rush and were dropped off right beside the ship. The port is very large and we ... Read More
Embarkation - for us was very smooth as our private transfer from the Empire Palace Hotel in Rome was booked for 12 midday meaning we arrived after the boarding rush and were dropped off right beside the ship. The port is very large and we on our drive through we saw many passengers who were dropped off at the Port entrance toting luggage for at least 1km to board the ship. The trip to the Port at Civitavecchia was 79km, so glad our trip package included all private transfers as the distance from the airport to our hotel was 31km, but seemed longer. Cabin - our cabin was on deck 8 ocean view balcony, 1D. Furnishings were a bit tired however, it was clean & comfortable with ample drawer & hanging space. On arrival our fridge(which we were informed was really just a chiller) was not cold and our in-cupboard safe would not lock. We reported this to our cabin steward when she soon arrived for introductions and after we returned to the cabin a couple of hours later, both had been fixed with no further problems. The shower has dispenser for hair & body wash which was a nice touch, so I didn't need to use the items I packed. There was also a small extender clothes line in the shower recess. Dining - Didn't disappoint! We prebooked Tides on deck 5 for my time dining. The menu was extensive and the portions were the largest I have ever experienced on any other cruise. The service was excellent and although the staff were always super busy, they were always very friendly & made time for a chat & a joke. We also used the Windjammer (buffet) for breakfast, lunch & some dinners and we were very impressed with the quality and variety of the dishes every day. We were also pleasantly surprised by the layout of the buffet servery stations. They were arranged in such a way that we could walk right around the station, eliminating ques. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, so we had not seen this arrangement of servery stations before, but do hope other cruise lines adopt it as well. Also the Windjammer dining area was huge having the inside and outside areas, meaning there was no problem finding a seat. Service - Over all, we were impressed with the service we received around the ship. On day three (a sea day), although I was obsessive about the hand washing & sanitizing routine, I still managed to catch something that vigorously disagreed with me. After been bedridden all day, I eventually visited the on board medical center that evening. The doctor on duty was very thorough taking information of what and where I'd eaten prior to boarding and since boarding. I received appropriate medication and a bland diet leaflet and was asked not to leave my cabin until the nurse released. I was also informed that I would not be charged for the consultation or medication and, as I was seconded to my cabin, I would receive complimentary room service. The next morning, I received a phone call from the service desk offering a full refund for my excursion that day as well as complimentary access to the paid movies on the television. I was overwhelmed and appreciative of the exceptional service I received. I was released from my cabin at 6.30pm on day four. Entertainment - The theater was a let down for us. There seemed to be a lot of comedians & jugglers and not so many choreographed shows. However, the shows we did see were lively with colorful costumes accomplished performers. Absolutely loved the Celine Deon tribute show. The designated Cinema was a bit of a let down. We managed to see a couple of movies, however we just couldn't get seats in any of the allotted time slots for one particular movie even though we arrived 45 minutes prior to the allotted time, due to the small size of the cinema, and people holding seats of others despite regular notifications around the ship that the holding of seats IS NOT ALLOWED. Very disappointing! The cinema was also freezing cold, so we needed to take warm jackets. Excursions - We had pre booked all our excursions with the cruise line, and we would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. If I had not done this, I would not have received my excursion refund, also, we were delayed by at least one hour docking in Dubai, but all excursions booked were honored. The meeting place for most of the excursions was in the Coral Theater. We arrived at the allocated time on our ticket and were given numbered stickers for our respective tours and were directed to the corresponding numbered seats to wait for our tour call. This process was very well organised and with minimal waiting times whether the ship was docked or if we tendered in to shore. All of our excursions were well organised with very knowledgeable tour guides. We received detailed information and reliable transportation to and from the ship at all times. GYM - We didn't bother visiting the gym preferring to do the walking track and swim. The Ship - Although certain areas of the ship were looking tired and dated, overall it was very clean. Our only criticism is that the glass ( there is a lot of it around- the floor to ceiling windows in restaurants and balcony's) was very streaked and not pleasant to look through. We had little to no sea spray during our trip, it was very calm and glassed out a lot of the time. The window obviously were not cleaned after the last cruise. We have noticed on past cruises, that this is something that the crew are always on top of and if the weather is not so good, as soon as there is some calm weather they're right onto the window cleaning. Disembarkation - We were scheduled to dock in Dubai at 2pm however, due to another ship being docked in our space we were delayed by about 1.5 hour. Then delayed by a further hour receiving the return of our passports and the face to face with Dubai Customs. This resulted in our being and hour & a half late for our Dune Dinner Safari excursion. None of this was the fault of Royal Caribbean, and they worked tirelessly to move us off the ship as soon as possible. We still did our excursion, just a little disappointed that we lost daylight and it was dusk by the time we reached the dunes. The rest of the night went very well and back to the ship by 9pm. Hotels - In Rome we stayed 2 days at the Empire Palace Hotel before boarding our cruise. The hotel inside was typical of Rome's history with pillars, historical painted ceilings and dark timber. The reception staff were very helpful with maps & directions and we had complimentary breakfasts. The hotel was very central and walking distance for cafes & coffees etc and some major attractions such as the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria della Vittoria Cathedral & the Trevi Fountain. WE had pre booked a Big Red Bus Hop on Hop off tour and thoroughly recommend this tour. As well as a great way to see and learn about the history of Rome, & we were given English speaking headsets for the continuous commentary. Included in the tickets were complimentary entry to tours at certain places of interest The tour company has tour guides who can take bookings and hand out brochures stationed at all of their stops. Well work it!! We also had a 2 day stop over in Dubai at the Four Points by Sheraton Down Town Dubai before flying home. This hotel was ultra modern and very spacious. Being somewhat exhausted after our journey, we elected to eat at the hotel bistro, and breakfasts were also included. On arrival at 10am, we were able to store our luggage and decided to use the hotel tour agent to book a Hop on Hop off bus city tour. Again we were not disappointed with the tour or the commentary and we again received complimentary entry vouchers to the Preferring to just sight see from the bus, we only got off once at the Dubai Mall and visited the Dubai Aquarium using our complimentary voucher. The aquarium was AMAZING with so many marine species we have ever seen in one place & we almost got lost in there it is so big. The following day we took a pre booked Bus tour to Abu Dharbi. It was interesting to see the difference between the two cities. Dubai, with more fancy skyscrapers than the whole of Australia has, and Abu Dhabi, still with some impressive skyscrapers, but focusing more on Trees, shrubs & gardens. Returned home after a 12 hour day and didn't even bother eating. All in all would absolutely, with out a doubt, recommend this trip. To see the places we visited was an awesome adventure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise line due to the port it was scheduled to visit. South pacific has always being my main destination, and it was great to be on board a vessel which was well kept, clean, in places immaculate and very attractive. At ... Read More
Chose this cruise line due to the port it was scheduled to visit. South pacific has always being my main destination, and it was great to be on board a vessel which was well kept, clean, in places immaculate and very attractive. At Sydney harbour, the checking in was smooth, very friendly staff, directing to the various counters and directing very sensibly. Luggages taken quickly at the arrival point and deliverd to your cabin within time allocated, no pressure or delays in that!! Upon arrival in cabin, found it very spacious, clean and well lit. Bed very comfortable, enough drawers and surprisingly enough hangers. Bathroom spacious, well lit but shower head was awful, the jet was not appropriate. Went for afternoon tea and exploring the decks, which were all well clean, well lit, no obstructions and no debris. Buffet/cafe near pool, was well stocked for teas and cakes which we took it for granted and try some delicacy. Main restaurant very spacious, warm and very friendly staff all around, welcoming and trying to please you. Restaurant a great individual which flair, friendliness and good humours. Food was good, portion sizes appropriate and if you wanted more, it was not a problem, our waiter was great Indonesian individual with great manners and knowledge of what he was selling. Breakfast buffet on the 11th floor (windjammer) very spacious, lots of seating area and well organised. Buffet was a bit of let down, with food either cool or cold.It is expected to such an operation especially when its so open space as it was. Good selection of bread and cakes available at all time. Good selection of hot dishes from various country with rice and vegetable going hand in hand. The roast was well liked, either the beef or the gammon. Ports of calls were a bit mishy mashy, not enough to see or do in each port, unless you were a lover of snorkelling. Good tendering in two ports, very efficient and professionals. Expresso bar on the 5th floor was busy most of the time, because it was the only place you could get a nice and speciality coffee, the other one was hidden past few lounges which made a mission out of nothing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I wanted to try the new ship and join her to come to Sydney From Singapore, I stayed in cabin 7276 Interior, This was not a nice cabin, the bed shook all night long as it was next door to the electrical room,Hardly any sleep.The cabins are ... Read More
I wanted to try the new ship and join her to come to Sydney From Singapore, I stayed in cabin 7276 Interior, This was not a nice cabin, the bed shook all night long as it was next door to the electrical room,Hardly any sleep.The cabins are a good size, I went solo but this cabin would be for a triple. Food in the Bistro area, was very plain and same nearly every day which is a shame as variety would of been nice, sweet selection was poor same cakes each day with not much taste, only one with taste was the chocolate mud cake, Very rare were there any slices, the only day there were slices is the day they had the chocolate fondue. The food in the dining room usually came up cold or cool nothing was hot, our waiters were fantastic only too eager to help and always brought more food and placed in front of us to eat.. 2 pools only on the ship (if they were open) one in the adult only area and the other on deck 9. There are 2 children's area with water works and the slides which were not used or not operational. The staff were amazing so helpful and happy could not fault any of the staff they all deserve a medal with the abuse some passenger's were giving them. Cruise Director Lee Mason was fantastic he made the cruise without his smiling and cheerful face and personality the cruise would of been dull.. Activities were normal for a Carnival cruise. The shows I personally thought were not exciting the only 2 i really enjoyed was the illusionist and 2 guys with a comedy miming act, they were good, I went to 2 comedy acts first one with Steve ? was great and funny the second one was just foul and totally had no idea. The tender or water shuttle experience wow what can i say they really need to get there act together 3 hours waiting to go ashore in Bali and the 2 hours for Komodo Island. The Day we tendered into Moreton Island was another experience passengers getting sick flare went off with the water shuttle being hit. I hope they get the tendering process fixed quickly. The only decks you can get from one end to the other inside were 5 and 9, it was a bit confusing to start with but soon got used to how to navigate around the ship. I know with more time in Australian waters the Carnival Splendor will get better, Had it's teething problems but i would go back on and try her again. This is just my review of this ship everyone will have there own. Captain was great and always spoke when ever he was seen on ship.. The splendor can only get better and of course the Manilla Band heat up the Red Frog bar each night excellent band. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
went on this cruise as it was repositioning and bringing Splendor to Australia for it's inaugural season. I travelled with a group of friends who also love to cruise. We enjoyed it very much even with the teething problems which ... Read More
went on this cruise as it was repositioning and bringing Splendor to Australia for it's inaugural season. I travelled with a group of friends who also love to cruise. We enjoyed it very much even with the teething problems which were soon sorted. Cruise Director Lee was fabulous and worked so hard for the entire trip....always a pleasure to be around. Entertainment was great.....shows were energetic and entertaining. Enjoyed the piano Diva Natalie and Music Manilla most nights. Our cabin 7257 was roomy and the beds and pillows were wonderful. Ship was easy to get around and we were lucky that we had plenty of lifts and had no issues with them....aft had many lift problems My "roomie" did not like the decorations of the restaurants....but got used to them. Crew were amazing as always...especially room stewards and restaurant staff. Some guest services staff should maybe look at getting another job. Corners have definitely been cut though..throughout the whole cruise..you can see the difference from previous cruises I have been on. Wine was not good....very little choice ( and ran out quickly) and very expensive for cheap wine. Carnival should look at more South Australian wine....better quality. Food was mostly good although the Lido menu never changed.....same each day. Did not enjoy people using the the water taps in Lido to fill their own bottles and not one sign asking them not to.....I did ask a few people not to and got abused. Staff should be asking them mot to.....AND signs. Kids were mostly polite ....some adults were NOT. Embarkation was a nightmare especially the taking of passports....that system did not work. All in all a great cruise.....not my favourite cruise ever but I had fun and relaxed which was my main objective Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife has taught Kindergarten for 39 years. She only had only item on her bucket -- to take repositioning cruise just to experience doing something that isn't in the high seasons: summer, Christmas, Easter. Norwegian was ... Read More
My wife has taught Kindergarten for 39 years. She only had only item on her bucket -- to take repositioning cruise just to experience doing something that isn't in the high seasons: summer, Christmas, Easter. Norwegian was the obvious choice -- it puts more effort into adding some interesting ports of call at one end of a transatlantic crossing, and the price was the most competitive. So, this cruise had stops in Spain and Madeira. Because of rough seas in the Azores, we couldn't pull in there; we took a more southern route to Miami. Our only big disappointment was that Norwegian chose to substitute that port with a second last day stop at their own island in the Bahamas. We think they could have been more creative: how about an extra night in Madeira, a stop in the Canary Islands, or a "real" port in the Caribbean? We were really happy with the cruise. For us, food is number one on a cruise. Perhaps we were a little nervous knowing how much Norwegian promotes specialty dining. But, the main dining room Versailles was where we spent most of our time for meals since we enjoyed just about everything. The staff were incredible, and if we were patient, we could often get seated in a section with the same waiters -- something we enjoy in getting to know people better. Norwegian doesn't offer the most expensive choices -- prime rib and lobster and some other seafood -- in the "free" restaurants; yet the quality of food is great. It is served hot (even something like fish and chips). The recipes are tasty. I have yet to be on any cruise ship that can make a decent pastry or pie crust; therefore, I wasn't surprised that those kinds of food related items were not all that great. We have been on about 8 cruises with other cruise lines in the same price category -- and we can say Norwegian has the best entertainment in the main theatre. No corny musical reviews. The productions with singers and dancers were more sophisticated. And for the other nights with specialty acts, the comedians, acrobats, singers, violinist, magician were all top notch -- standing ovations each time. The show band, in whole or individually, played in other venues. They were really personable and allowed us to get to know them. The Star also featured other musical individuals or groups throughout the 14 days. We had heard that Norwegian was the "nickel and dime" cruise. Certainly, you get charged for more things than on other cruises. With the emphasis on specialty dining, we tried a three night package. In our view, they are not worth the $80 per couple per night upcharge; but it seemed as if they were popular. I think some people had them somehow included as part of their initial purchase for the cruise. Booze is expensive. No deals like a 5 or 7 bottle wine package. $9 for a draft beer seems steep. The specialty drinks at a minimum of $11 were not always prepared properly. And, it is a little annoying that in order to use the For us, the real pleasure of a cruise is getting to know the people who serve us. They are so hard working and dedicated, in spite of being so separated from their families for 8 months at a time. We wish Norwegian could give them more opportunity to somehow connect more regularly with their loved ones back home. If anyone gets an opportunity to be served by these people, you will feel special indeed: Room stewards Mohamed Rosidik, and Angel Ramirez, Dining room waiters Dora Xiao Joe Yang and Ericson Nasol; Wine Steward Roshan Mathias; Dining room attendant Johnson Miranda; Hostesses Ksenija and Maricris; Maitre D' Jasime; Spa attendant Jessica DeGraca. We will definitely cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise as a relaxing way to get home from South Africa. The ship gave a grand impression with wood paneling a feature. It appeared well maintained. For those who get sea sick, there was quite a bit of movement, even in ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a relaxing way to get home from South Africa. The ship gave a grand impression with wood paneling a feature. It appeared well maintained. For those who get sea sick, there was quite a bit of movement, even in relatively calm seas. We had a balcony cabin, we started in 5137- midship. This cabin had a tender boat directly underneath it , which obstructed our view down to the water. After a few days sailing we were able to move to 5159 , nil obstructions and a bigger balcony. The shower is tiny however hot water plentiful and towels fluffy. The staff were unobtrusive yet attentive. They seemed happy and were all polite. The food was enjoyable. They catered very well for food intolerance. My friend was given the following days menu to choose from and they made were able to adapt most choices to gluten free for her, with notice. The day spa's prices were exorbitant- eyebrow tinting $44 US plus tip , manicure $88 US plus tip etc- staff were stationed at the door trying to entice passengers in- if prices were reasonable people would have been lined up ! The demographic was 80+ with the activities and entertainment to match. The entertainment team lacked presence. There was an annual staff tug of war organised, which surprisingly drew a crowd, otherwise, unless there was a two for one trunk sale on, it was difficult to find other passengers ! I enjoyed the promenade deck, which enabled a full lap of the ship - 3 laps = .9 miles. The only down side was that there is a smoking area on the port side, so coped a lung full of smoke on each lap when exercising. There a two pools, the front one more sheltered, getting a deck lounge was nil issue. We only had 2 ports on the way home. As usual the excursions were pricey. On Re union island I opted for a visit to the turtle sanctuary, which was unguided and information written in French..... Mauritius we did a catamaran trip to snorkel , this was magical. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
To experience the Panama Canal. The dining Maitre"D was delightful, visited each night during the meal. The desert nightly were disappointing. The buffet was very good, much better than the dining room. The quality of the food ... Read More
To experience the Panama Canal. The dining Maitre"D was delightful, visited each night during the meal. The desert nightly were disappointing. The buffet was very good, much better than the dining room. The quality of the food was even better. The Touch of Class in the Wheelhouse Bar was great. They got the guests involved. On breaks would come out and talk to the guests. Took requests when they know the song. Went out of the way to make sure you enjoyed the evening. Wife liked the retail stores, especially Effy. Craig, Roger, Megan and Stefan were so accomodationg and friendly. Thus so was she with our card. Thanks Effy. The ports of call were all new except for Puerto Vallarta, the weather cooperated and enjoyed seeing new places. The trp thru the Canal was the reason for the cruise, what a day that was, gladi always get a balcony, really was used on this trip Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
For the Suez Canal passage and other tour stops. The price was a great value as well. The tours really varied, it was either a great experience with the tour guide or not. The guides for the Celebrity arranged tours in Athens and ... Read More
For the Suez Canal passage and other tour stops. The price was a great value as well. The tours really varied, it was either a great experience with the tour guide or not. The guides for the Celebrity arranged tours in Athens and Petra were great. In Abu Dhabi, the guide was so scattered going through the mosque, the group basically took matters into our own hands to make the most of the outing. We knew where the bus was and what time to meet , so we just ventured on our own. I understand Celebrity isn't doing the Suez anymore but RCCL still is, so please be aware of the rip-off gift shop stop all the buses do on the way to Petra. While there I found a lacquered box and negotiated a fair price. While at the counter the sales person quickly bubble wrapped my purchase knowing it would travel by plane back home, so I likely would not unwrap it. Boy, did I learn my lesson. When I got back to the U.S. and AFTER I submitted my Celebrity review, I unwrapped the box and found my choice had been switched out for an inferior version that hadn't been fully lacquered. How am I so sure? Because I saw it, noticed the poor quality and looked for a better version of the same design, and took that one instead to the the register. I was approached by a staff member, who after some negotiation, took it from me, had a chat with I guess a manager, and then came back to the counter and very quickly wrapped it. I naively assumed it was because our bus needed to leave before the next wave of Celebrity guests on the next buses arrived. Supposedly it's repairable but what a downer. Celebrity should do a better job of what they recommend to its customers. Everything on board was as it should be except the buffet was below usual standards,but with so many days at sea it would be a challenge to execute the normal menus for a repositioning cruise. So perhaps Celebrity should alter its supplies amd menus accordingly. My cabin steward was very thoughtful. Many of the entertainers were on board for multiple days due to the number of sea days and they were so gracious and interactive with passengers away from the theater. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having read some of the previous reviews, we were a bit worried about taking this cruise. However, overall it warrants the four stars I have given it. The service throughout the ship was mostly very good, which was good as you cannot ... Read More
Having read some of the previous reviews, we were a bit worried about taking this cruise. However, overall it warrants the four stars I have given it. The service throughout the ship was mostly very good, which was good as you cannot remove the service charge of 10 Euros per person a day on any Costa ship. The ship was in a pretty good condition, but it is starting to show a few signs of needing a dry dock. The entertainment was varied but we enjoyed most of it, obviously it is down to your taste. It is definitely a party ship, with lots of music and dancing. There was a good choice of food in the main dining room, and it usually was hot enough. In the buffet the choice was also good, but it was often only luke warm. A tip would-be to have breakfast in the main dining room, it means you can always get a seat and much of it is buffet service, but you can order things such as omelettes from a menu. You can only get tea and coffee in the buffet when breakfast and afternoon tea is on, otherwise you have to get it from a bar and pay. This was not a problem for us as we had the drinks package. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship ... Read More
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship didn’t change too much. This itinerary was much more balanced than the first leg with no more than 2 concurrent sea days. The CD also settled more on this leg and got in the moment and did a much better job of creating a positive mood and hosted some talks and also got on the microphone when we were sailing thru Fiji. Tahani the assistant cruise director hosted a great progressive trivia and has a great ability to chat and remember the passengers. This cruise had a fantastic tap group from Australia who were highly entertaining. Candace (idol winner) was again superb as was Igor the band leader saxophonist. The other guest entertainers were ok without being great. As previously mentioned the activities lacked diversity and the activities staff seemed nervous and inexperienced. One new thing was the concert on the final night of the cruise in the Spinnakers lounge which featured all the musicians from around the ship it was a great event they should continue in the future. We did have cabin problems on this leg, strangely NCL gave very few back to backers the same cabin despite booking the same category, this caused unnecessary workload and unsettled the flow. This is the 2nd time we have done b2b on NCL and both times it has been handled poorly. We were never notified of the meeting. The queues to get new key cards took more than 2 hours! At least time they rolled the accounts smoothly. We were assigned a new inside cabin (11085) which was considered an upgrade to an IA from an IC and it was slightly better and in good condition but our previously voiced concerns (didn’t want to move) over potential noise problems were valid as on the first night we could hear everything from the buffet (particularly the late night cleaning), we had a downgrade move to an inside on 9 which was a much smaller room but also suffered from noise from the plumbing pipes behind the back wall. Thankfully one of the senior guest relations officers found us an oceanview on 4 to make up for some of the poor problems we suffered in the first leg. This cabin was an OF and was much larger than the previous inside cabins so we were much happier. It did suffer from noise as well as it was opposite the electrical station so a lot of buzzing was off putting and it was very noisy when entering port but at least it was much more comfortable. Our cabin attendant on this leg was first class. As on the last leg the hotel director was very visible and hands on and once again the loading and offloading of passengers in the ports was first rate. Food and service remained a high standard but again we were treated very poorly in specialist restaurants (we almost walked out of the Italian due to the incredibly rude hostess - thankfully the Maître D rescued the night but still a sour experience after an unbelievable port day) when using our platinum dining vouchers. Having said that my steak in Cagneys was first class. It was noticeable that less drinks are in the premium package than previously. Overall a great itinerary at a very good price. The onboard experience improved from the first leg but activities still need improving. Would recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered was just perfect and it was a pleasure to sail her. However her maiden ... Read More
Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered was just perfect and it was a pleasure to sail her. However her maiden voyage was not plain sailing and we were stuck in Southampton due to bad weather in the Atlantic, thus missing the port of Lisbon and overnight stay.   Yes this was very disappointing but when you saw the forecast you could understand why the captain chose to delay departure.. why take a brand new ship through a huge storm!? The ship itself is simply beautiful.  As soon as you board you are greeted by the stunning Galleria and it took us the whole first day to walk around and discover the ship.   Although I know its big it was bigger than expected  The ship was kept spotless throughout the cruise and it the design throughout is stunning.  From the signature crystal staircase to the impressive Galleria with the LED roof and the lovely pool deck, everything is beautiful.    Food and Drink - Expectations were low as MSC does not get a good rap for food, however the MDR food was well above par.   Food in the Buffet restaurant was also very good.   We found the speciality restaurants a little overpriced and also you could not use your drinks package in any of them (unless you are on premium deluxe package) so adding drinks to the cost would mean around €50-€60 per head which is not worth it given the MDR was very good anyway.   Bars were all very nice.  We loved the British Pub which was very authentic and also the Sky Lounge which was the most relaxing bar on the ship with the best service.   Entertainment seemed always be shoved in the Grandiosa lounge and never anywhere else.   Drinks package was a bit confusing..  so we took the easy package which allows you to have any drink up to €6 value..  easy right?  Wrong..  So in the British Bar you can have a pint of Heineken for €6 but if you want a pint of Heineken Lite for €6 you can't because this is one of many exceptions.   OK so if I want a drink that's €6.50 (like most are) then I just pay the difference, right?  Wrong, you pay the full amount! Fancy a tea in L'Atelier Bistrot lounge, watching the world go by on the Galleria..  this will cost you, even though the very same tea is available for FREE in the buffet area or the same coffee included in your drinks package..  MSC just don't do easy!  Facilities - It was a shame this is a winter cruise as the facilities outside are fantastic.   Thankfully we had great weather when we were in off the coast of Portugal and the ships outside space came alive.  The rope walk is fantastic!!  Very scary at first and a lot harder than I thought but once I conquered it I did it again and again.. and the views are breathtaking!   The aquapark is also really good fun with 3 slides which would wow both adults and kids.   The indoor facilities such as bowling and the virtual race car all acquire an extra fee and a large one at that.   If you want to do them all you need to pay well over €100pp.  Bowling for a family of four is over €60 for one hour with show hire!!    Keeping a family happy on this ship will cost you! In the safari pool there are fusball and ping pong tables which are free however you need to go to the other side of the ship to ask for the equipment..  like a lot of things on MSC this did not make sense! Entertainment - This is a mix of amazing, good and VERY bad.Firstly the amazing -  We went to the Cirque de Soleil show 'Eccentrics' and loved it.   My only complaint is it was too short, under an hour.   However well worth it. All the theatre shows were very good but short (35 mins), from an amazing pianist to the general shows put on by the dancers and singers.    Theatre is a little small though so on busy cruises make sure you book.  (easy to do on the screens around the ship) Now the bad - the entertainment crew were AWFUL!!   They all congregate in the Grandiosa lounge and either shout and dance like drug fuelled teenagers or drag you up to dance and then instantly look uncomfortable and uninterested.  The whole thing was just cringy and uncomfortable to watch.   Activities during the day were either dance classes, which were actually done quite well by two dance teachers, or games put on by the awful entertainment crew.   Quizzes were terrible with the crew (around 10 of them)  screaming down a mic and yelling and dancing at any given moment.  They actually turned an art quiz into a rave!!  This was cruise number 16 for me and by far the worst, most immature and unprofessional entertainment crew experienced.    Cabins  - We were originally in a cabin on the 8th deck with obstructed view.   The view itself was not an issue and its compensated by bigger balconies, however we were above the British pub and my parents were above the TV studio bar and sadly there is NO sound insulation so the music thumos through til 1am.   AVOID these at all cost!!!    Another negative about the cabins (all cabins) is the lack of sotrage.   Cabins seem slightly smaller than the most ships and the storage is tiny!   12 hangers for 2 people on a 7 night cruise!!!   Pack some from home if you don't want to double up.  Beds are very comfy though.  Lastly I cannot write a review without mentioning ZOE, the in room virtual assistant!   MSC, what a huge waste of money!!   Unless they use it to listen in on you I cannot see why they thought this was a good idea.. it was so pathetically bad it was entertaining.   The only thing ZOE can say is ask customer relations or turn on the info on your tv!!    So overall, and despite the delay, we had a fantastic cruise on a beautiful ship.  I loved the ship but am not a fan of MSC.. if this ship was Celebrity or even RCCL it would be the best.  Our sailing was just over 2000 passengers so my experience was quite unique.  I don't think it would be the same at full capacity and I fear it would be awful when full.   Even with 2000 it felt busy at certain times.  Due to lack of entertainment I would say this is more a summer ship than winter ship but that all depends on what you want out of the cruise.    Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I spent two nights in Marseille, France, before the cruise began. Because of weather conditions we were taken by coach to Cannes where we boarded. I was in an inside cabin on deck 11, which was quiet adequate for my needs. The ... Read More
I spent two nights in Marseille, France, before the cruise began. Because of weather conditions we were taken by coach to Cannes where we boarded. I was in an inside cabin on deck 11, which was quiet adequate for my needs. The stewards, Donald and Mariavan, were very helpful and caring. I was very satisfied with the food on board, both buffet and dining room. I did not find the entertainment in the theatre to my liking but that was not a problem. There was music in some of the lounges which I enjoyed. I found the lectures given by Susan about the ports we were to visit very informative. For me service overall was very good. I enjoyed the ports that we visited. In Europe I did not take the excursions but I took those offered in Brazil. Some guides' command of English was not great but otherwise I enjoyed them. I would go again but it will take a lot of saving to be able to afford another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was my first MSC cruise. The Meraviglia is huge - but it never felt crowded. It has a good layout, centered by an atrium featuring the (to date) largest LED ceiling at sea. My balcony cabin was comfortable (especially the pillows!). ... Read More
This was my first MSC cruise. The Meraviglia is huge - but it never felt crowded. It has a good layout, centered by an atrium featuring the (to date) largest LED ceiling at sea. My balcony cabin was comfortable (especially the pillows!). Not much storage space for two on a longer cruise, but you can make it work. The staff is friendly and works hard, although I sense an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with management - one which I share. Often, managerial decisions caused inconvenience and traveler frustration. MSC's multi-language communication (in print and verbal) leaves something to be desired. The biggest drawback of the cruise was the food. The line still does early / late dinner sittings and flex dining is only for those in premium class. Not one meal went by without something returned to the dining room. Menu items were not hot, bland, unseasoned, and sometimes not even what they were listed as when they showed up at the table! The specialty restaurants were no exception. Do not be lured in by their "experiences" - where you must chose from a restricted menu. Ocean Cay (the seafood restaurant) only offered five choices, three of which were pasta dishes! The Butcher's Cut (steak house), served chopped and formed previously frozen onion rings like the type sold at Burger King. The Kaito Sushi Bar requires you to sit "outside" (in the atrium) where gawkers watch you eat and lurch into your table when the ship rocks. The good news is that the room service is free if you don't order hot food (continental breakfast and lunch of sandwiches and salads). They brag that they make all their pasta onboard, but this is not always true. Most, but not all! The Market Buffet often is the best choice because of their delicious pizza, fresh mozzarella, and fresh-baked breads. Also, when something comes right off the buffet grill or is carved in front of you, at least it is hot! The buffet, however, is basically the same night after night with no themed nights. This cruise packed six ports in six days. Martinique, Sin Maarten, Curacao, Barbados, Grenada, and Aruba. I only wish MSC would stop patronizing ports that imprison LGBTQ people. Barbados is particularly egregious - life in jail. Disgraceful. We were scheduled to be the first to visit MSC's private island Ocean Cay - but it was announced mid-cruise we would be going to Jamaica instead (another island unfriendly to the LGBTQ community). The line offers a nightly gay and lesbian meeting, so it is a big of a contradiction. I took two MSC-sponsored shore excursions, both of which were well managed and pleasant. I would definitely travel MSC again - provided they get their act together in the dining room! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
16 day Panama Canal Cruise from Florida to Calif. Iincredibly beautiful ship, and our 1st experience w/ Haven. Embark/Disembark was a DISASTER w/ no communication re WHY we were standing 1.5 hrs. IN the Haven 'room'. Thousands ... Read More
16 day Panama Canal Cruise from Florida to Calif. Iincredibly beautiful ship, and our 1st experience w/ Haven. Embark/Disembark was a DISASTER w/ no communication re WHY we were standing 1.5 hrs. IN the Haven 'room'. Thousands of prior passengers clogging up entry curb area trying to get OFF the ship. Apparently NCL's Luggage and Passport scanners were broken, no updates given. Very confused port staff in Long Beach telling us contradictory directions. Paramedics took 2 passengers away that we saw standing in line foe almost 2 HOURS to get off. Only 2 (yes TWO) Customs officicals clearing US citizens, 4 for International, with empty desks next to them. Yes, Noroviurs was on the ship the last 4-5 days, NCL shared this w/ us, gave us phone #'s to call if exhibiting any symtoms, and they immediatly cleaned EVERYthing...pillows, ketchup bottles, all buffet lines became longer e/t staff (wearing gloves) had to HAND plates, napkins, and serve each dish. Kudos to NCL, they really tried, but it's a nasty bug ('m an RN), and they didn't share how MANY passengers had it, but we saw the Fire Trucks/Medics and TV Stations at the Long Beach Port, so it must have been bad. Our room in Haven on 17th floor w/ LARGE balcony (room for 2 chase lounges, plush blue pads, 2 brown wicker chairs & small table w/ room to spare. DIVINE! We were under the Haven Rest. so quiet 90% of the time, and kind of loud footsteps and furniture moving from 6 am ish-8 am? Great food there except the menu is the SAME every meal except for 1 'special'-(Beef Strogonoff was awesome!) Room Steward "Tito" was stellar, and courteous as is ALL staff. They dress very professionally, are ALWAYS kind, yet I didn't feel the Butler was really needed...he simply brought canapes each afternoon (too many, we finally said stop:), and did bring breakfast (w/ white table cloth) into our room which was great. Garden Buffet was wonderful; espec. Asian food, Pasta & Noodle 'Bar's, Indian food, and 8 different flavors of ice cream. It's hard to find a place to sit tho... The Navigation crew did GREAT...always great sailing, arriving in ports early or on time, updates on weather, and stellar job thru the Panama Canal. UNfortunatly the 'Narrator' spoke VERY little during our 8-9 hr. travels thru the enitre canal, and his accent made it hard to understand. What happened to the older gentleman who gave our 45 min. info. class in the Theatre the day prior? He said he's sailed 33 times, yet the next day HE didn't give the info. while going thru, but a Spanish gentleman who spoke RARELY. NCL did give us a very helpful guide (shiny, fold-up to put in pocket), but we had lots of ??'s. WE've never seen so many elderly folks (it is an expen$ive cruise tho),w/ walkers, canes, wheelchairs and scooters everywhere. NCL should have seperate lines as these special folks clogged up lines at EVERY port necessitating a crew member to help w/ their assistive device, and them trying to go up/down steep ramps/ladders. The rest of us w a i t t e d ...A LOT. We've crusied A lot w/ other lines, and hope NCL can work w/ the ports (espec. embark/disembark) as the ship/trip were wonderful; yet bookended w/ VERY poor communication/lines/delays. (We know several missed their flights.) We'll try NCL in the future and wish them the best as they did have a tough run w/ the Noro virus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Barcelona to Miami in 17 days. This was our first time on Oceania and our second cruise ever. This is considered a smaller ship with only ~600 passengers - we liked the smaller size. This ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Barcelona to Miami in 17 days. This was our first time on Oceania and our second cruise ever. This is considered a smaller ship with only ~600 passengers - we liked the smaller size. This ship was re-done in 2019 so everything was lovely, clean, and fresh and decorated in calming colors. We had great weather most of the trip with only one rain day - seas seem calm to us but other noted the movement. The ports were all convenient to the cities- it was an extra treat to go up the river to dock in Seville - only the smaller ships can do this. We booked our own smaller tours and were glad we did as we do not like the large bus tour experience. The best was an electric bike tour in Seville (used Viator). The ship could not pull into St. George, Bermuda and went to Kings Wharf instead, luckily we did not have a plan for that day so the change was fine and we spent the day at the Commissioners House/Fort/ Dolphin training center. Most people seemed to enjoy the food; I thought some of the food was done well but I would still say it is institutional food service. The chef seems to limit salt and sugar so food was never too salty or too sweet. The best food was what you could have prepared onsite - so the Waves Grill was the place to eat lunch. It had both meat and fish choices, as well as salads. There was steak or lobster on every menu on the ship at dinner - that seem important to many but if you were vegetarian, you would has almost as many options. A fellow passenger with diet restrictions had a special menu just for her each meal. The most impressive thing about this cruise was the service. The entire crew worked hard - you saw the same faces morning, noon, and at night smiling and getting/doing anything you asked! I was almost uncomfortable with how hard they worked to keep me satisfied. The free internet was terrible- like stone age internet. They offered a higher data rate for a high fee but we did not hear from anyone that it was any better - and only one person per room could use it at a time. The connection and speeds were better in port because we had cellular service so that's when we called family, texted photos, etc... The average age of people on this ship seemed 75+? A much older and less ambulatory crowd than I expected. The ship provided activities and entertainment catered to an older demographic. The crossing was quiet and peaceful. You did need to bring your own things to do but they had the "old-school" activities of board games, puzzles, cards, shuffle board, needlepoint kits and a good lending library for books and a historical medical lecture each day. The fitness classes were few and far between with room for only 6. But there are machines available to use on your own. They let you bring wine (and even spirits from the duty free shops) onboard at each port. The policy says there is a limit but I never really saw one mentioned or enforced. Alcoholic drinks are expensive, but there was a 2 for one each day if you needed to budget. There is a dress code, but barely - like no swimsuits in dining areas. People were dressed casually, no fancy evening clothes are needed for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This cruise was 3 back to back segments totalling 34 days covering East and West Mediterranean islands and ports some of which we had not previously visited and an Atlantic Crossing with a stop in Cape Verde Marina and Riviera are ... Read More
This cruise was 3 back to back segments totalling 34 days covering East and West Mediterranean islands and ports some of which we had not previously visited and an Atlantic Crossing with a stop in Cape Verde Marina and Riviera are comfortable stable ships and we choose them for that reason. On this trip there were challenges. Strong wind forecasts 2 days ahead of arrival in Monte Carlo made docking in that confined port risky. Oceania remained in Marseilles to accommodate a passenger change over. This was indeed a great inconvenience for embarking and disembarking passengers but any idea that somehow Oceania did this to inconvenience people given the cost and total disruption to them of making a safety decision is absurd. We had a private tour arranged for Livorno. On communication with that local provider they had no problem refunding our payment given the change in the ship schedule. Two days out of Marseilles Noro Virus cases began to appear and the crew began to take appropriate precautions. As cases increased appropriate appeals to all passengers to follow prescribed sanitation requirements were made. We followed the instructions, could not pass a hand sanitizer without using it, and washed hands frequently And used bathroom facilities in our own cabin. Oceania followed the required procedures, Oceania did not invite the virus aboard. We have experienced a similar problem on Cunard. All cruise lines encounter this problem. The entire ship was sanitized in Barcelona and that caused more discomfort and inconvenience to embarking passengers and the 48 of us who were staying aboard to Rio and beyond. During this virus event, buffet food services reverted to being served and this added a burden on the catering staff who handled it very well. Unlike some comment we found the staff to be polite and very helpful. It did not take any effort to understand why this change in service and react accordingly and appreciate the increased pressure the staff were encountering to give service. With a maximum of 1200 passengers and the size and number of ship function rooms, the scope of the entertainment is obviously very different from a 5000 passenger ship. So when selecting a cruise personal expectations have to match the ships ability to deliver. We do not use Oceania for its entertainment. We like Oceania for the ship and have made many voyages over 20 days. Their approach to dress as Country Club casual sets a good standard that some do not respect but is not as formal as say Cunard where there also were people who disregarded the set code. The service delivered is very good, the staff are well trained. We watched with great interest a new and young employee grow in confidence as every day passed. What an experience and opportunity she was experiencing but it is hard work. The virus was a reality, the ship did what it needed to do, we received our meals in the quantity and selection we wanted. We were only slightly inconvenienced but we had the time. Marina is due for a refit and it is beginning to be time for her to be freshened up. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is my second ocean crossing with Celebrity Reflection. We love ocean crossing and we love Celebrity cruises, so why not 5 stars,,,, No rock & roll live bands, it is a bit boaring evening time, Celebrity abandonned some thematic ... Read More
This is my second ocean crossing with Celebrity Reflection. We love ocean crossing and we love Celebrity cruises, so why not 5 stars,,,, No rock & roll live bands, it is a bit boaring evening time, Celebrity abandonned some thematic lunches at the buffet, they falsly charged us 2 glasses of wine at the Tuscan grill for 22$ even if we havnt ordered anything and it took 4-5 calls at the desks plus a talk with the wine manager to get it removed, more than half of the treadmill machines at the gym got the TV not working and some that works havnt any news channels,,, Finish for the bad sides now the good,,, Excellent food at the MDR, the Tuscan grill and the Murano, the buffet is very good also above competition Exceptional service staff Very clean, comfortable and beautiful ship I already booked another cruise on the Reflection for January Read Less
Sail Date November 2019

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