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Cruise Ratings
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The itinerary appealed to me and the time of year was perfect. I was led to believe that Cunard were an upmarket company but several things were not up to standard. Having sailed on several ships with companies as diverse as Thompson, ... Read More
The itinerary appealed to me and the time of year was perfect. I was led to believe that Cunard were an upmarket company but several things were not up to standard. Having sailed on several ships with companies as diverse as Thompson, Fred Olsen, MSC, Royal Caribbean, P and O, Princess,Holland America and Azamara I would place Cunard somewhere in the middle. My cabin was fine with an amazing cabin stewardess ( the best I have ever encountered) but the food in the main dining room was very poor. The descriptions on the menu bore no resemblance to the food presented which was barely enough to feed a sparrow and usually tasteless and sometimes actually inedible. The food in the buffet was marginally better but we could always fill up on salad and fruit. The waiters were at times rude and at best indifferent. The daily schedule was often inaccurate and on the evening before we were due to arrive in Sydney we were advised that tomorrow on our arrival in Papeete we would not need to carry our passports. This caused a lot of confusion. On one day the date was wrong. Would I sail with Cunard again? Only if they offered an itinerary not available elsewhere, the price was very low and I would only eat salad and fruit in the buffet and not bother packing formal wear. Read Less
54 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Am a past Princess passenger with 3 decades of wonderful experiences with the line, until recently. I have found a sad downturn in the products service levels over the past 5 years or so, which includes, staffing, catering and general ... Read More
Am a past Princess passenger with 3 decades of wonderful experiences with the line, until recently. I have found a sad downturn in the products service levels over the past 5 years or so, which includes, staffing, catering and general value for money, which I believe has unfortunately taken Princess from a 4 star offering to a 3 star basic cruising experience. The Princess cruise line of old no longer exists but in name only - or so I believed. I decided to take this 18 day segment of the Pacific Princess's world cruise rather than the general round trip cruises offered for a change of scenery. I was pleasantly surprised. Though the ship is small compared to the regular tonnage the line offers, she was a boutique offering with an old world atmosphere. The cruise was only 18 days - being part of the 101 day world cruise offering. Many of the small touches which Princess was known for and are now lost forever on all its larger ships, this ship manages to retain the values of Princess brand prior to Carnival's take over. On board, the catering was expansive and well presented and I found more meal and menu options on this tiny ship than that on the larger ships. The old fashioned menu items, like escargot, variety of soufflés, proper surf and turf with lobster, along with the evening dinner menus showing more options than that on the other ships in the fleet a refreshing change. The ship also able to retain alternative dining options like Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini's given her smaller size. Whether this improved catering was in line with the World Cruise experience, I cannot confirm, but was good to see it was provided. Sunday brunch in the main restaurant was another nice touch where it is transformed into a hall of culinary delights with food stations, chef carver's, and international flavours dotted around the restaurant in a semi buffet presentation, another great feature and a pleasure to enjoy. In the evening she offers the traditional 2 settings in her main dining room which may not be everyone's choice, but the system worked well with options to make table or sitting changes if required simple and efficient. the buffet also transforms into an evening al arcarte bistro for a 4th alternative dining choice. The cabins, though the ship is originally from a different cruise line, are very comfortable and functional with a beautiful wooden panelled and old world feel which Princess has kept. Even the smallest and economical cabins have a sofa and other small touches only now provided in the larger and more expensive cabins on Princess's larger ships. The best thing - no queues anywhere at any time, and only having a max of 600 passengers also assists with this. No need for a black card to see the front desk, you will be the only one in the queue at anytime. The same goes for the buffet, the pool, the lectures, the shows etc. The cruise was a pleasure, and a delightful change to the mega ships in the fleet. Her size of 30,000 tons may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you are tired of the inch of gold sales along with the hyper marketing and art auctions of the bigger ships challenging your senses everyday, then this one will be a definite surprise and refreshing experience. She also has a beautiful old world full promenade deck with space and multiple lounges for those who enjoy this feature of a cruise ship which is now sadly becoming something no longer supported in future ship designs. Another feature this ship has is her size allows her to dock nice and close to her ports of call, not like her larger cousins who sometimes need to dock 1 or 2 hrs drive from the centre of town. I would not hesitate in cruising on her again and bypassing the other ships in the fleet. If however your cruise focus is on having pool side pizza bars, waterslides, outdoor movie screens, and queue for everything while fighting to find a vacant deck chair, then this ship may not be for you. She does not cater for children so family cruising would not be for her either, but if you are looking for a quiet old world style of cruise she may be the vessel within Princess's fleet for you. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Dont expect Mega Liner inside, its clean and mostly comfortable in most areas, but Hans Bar could do with new more comfortable cushions on lounge chairs, there is no Casino on this ship only Deck Games pool and bars, there is a indoor ... Read More
Dont expect Mega Liner inside, its clean and mostly comfortable in most areas, but Hans Bar could do with new more comfortable cushions on lounge chairs, there is no Casino on this ship only Deck Games pool and bars, there is a indoor pool for if you are in cold weather. it has a small entertainment lounge that requires two sittings to see the show. There is no laundry but there is a Ironing room if you can wash you clothes in your Cabin Sink or Shower. It has a payed Laundry if you can afford it.This is the second half would Cruise we have done on this Ship, this time Westward Bound. Food was much better this time thanks to a Indian Head Chef, it was a very good selection of dishes on offer, but one small point was, Two many stew type dishes but his pork Belly was to die for, i give him a 3 star.I am sorry to say the entertainment was below average, they had three very good girl singers and three guys with with very soft voices all except two of the girls were frequently drowned out by a over enthusiastic Clarinet playing band leader who always had a microphone up the end of ever instrument he played, he did not need this in a small lounge,The Assistant Cruise Director would have been better as Director as he was only seen introducing the acts apart from small appearance in Sail A ways. he never tried to find out what peoples thoughts were about anything going on board, I.E. Dancers or entertainment. The main problem we had was in Hans Bar Deck was the German minority of people who smoked, there is a smoking area to the left of the bar having ashtrays on the tables, they insisted,( some of them but not all,) picking up the ashtrays and sitting in the middle of the Deck, We had to on several occasions get the Management to move them, they had great Bar staff and Hotel Staff, Just a pity about Entertainment, not like Last Cruise East Bound witch had Great Entertainment. We were in a suite, it was very good but bed was very hard, very good Cabin Staff. Will not be back on this ship as it is based in Perth Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Station Pier Port Melbourne on 24th May 2015, and dragged our suitcases to the upper level where 300 or so passengers were boarding the Sea Princess in Melbourne for a 102 day World ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Station Pier Port Melbourne on 24th May 2015, and dragged our suitcases to the upper level where 300 or so passengers were boarding the Sea Princess in Melbourne for a 102 day World cruise. There were no directions at to where to leave our suitcases, so we had to manipulate them up an escalator to the embarkation area, where they were quickly whisked away from us and taken onboard. Only had to wait a short time before the documentation was processed and Cruise Cards issued. Review of the Sea Princess: In writing this critique, it has to be noted that this cruise was full, with around 2000 passengers and over 1000 crew. The ship itself is getting older, and experiencing spasmodic maintenance problems that caused engine issues, and numerous episodes of leaking pipes which flooded staterooms, hallways, and the Princess Theatre. Staff were always quick to work on reported problems, & despite the age of the ship & all its fittings, everything looked clean, polished & well cared for. Dining: Despite having a pre boarding guarantee of “early seating” allocation for dining in the Traviata Dining Room, on embarkation that had somehow changed to late seating. When we questioned the “Maitre D” about the change, we were told that our guaranteed seating was only a “guaranteed request”. Following an elongated discussion, we were finally changed to our requested early seating by the 2nd day. It seems pointless in filling out the Cruise Personaliser on the Princess website, when Princess themselves have no interest in reading what we request. The information we provide appears to get stuck in Princess’s Head Office, and not passed on to the ships we travel on. The meals in the dining room remain spectacular, however a noted change was that the menu was repeated on a 10 – 14 day rotation with monotonous regularity. For long cruises like the 104 Day World Cruise, this became rather boring after a few weeks. For the first two weeks, there were only six people on our table, with another 2 joining in Freemantle. Our table of 8 became the best of friends, and apart from a few sick days, everyone fronted up each evening to enjoy the wonderful company and delicious food. Our waiters on table 184 were Mario and Alfie, who, between them, tendered to our every culinary need. Mario was a bit temperamental, depending on his mood, but Alfie being the junior waiter excelled at his job. Drink prices were expensive but wine left over was always named, recorked and available for the next evening meal. I renamed the Horizon Court buffet “The horror-zone” for obvious reasons, for it was terrible lining up for food, arguing with combative passengers, and searching for a vacant seat. The manners of many people left a lot to be desired, and you would think some people had never been fed before, the way they carried on around the buffet food. The Sterling Steakhouse was a joke, situated in a partitioned off area of the Horizon Buffet each evening. While it was busy most nights, and the food reportedly great, it could not be seen as a special dining environment. The Ice-cream Parlor outside on deck 12 under the movie screen was usually quite busy, however the quality of the soft serve ice-cream varied considerably, from very creamy to well watered down. All diners were looked after for Special occasions with a cake and a throng of caroling waiters and bar staff, which just made that special occasion even more memorable. Lounges & Restrooms: We always found the restrooms clean, tidy and well stocked. An interesting & well accepted change was that the toilets had disposable paper seat covers. Both the Vista Lounge and the Princess Theatre seat approx. 500 passengers each. With the decline in the number of evening entertainment options, seating for both ends of the ship could only seat 1000 passengers. For a ship holding 2000 passengers, a person would have to get to the main entertainment area (either Vista of Princess Theatre) at least an hour before the event started in order to get a seat. This created a lot of angst and friction among passengers, especially finding the entertainment areas completely filled 45 minutes before the start of each show. Several times over the course of the 104 days there was a leak from the ceiling of the Princess Theatre, and several seats had to be partitioned off as they were soaked. This intermittent leaking continued on for most of the cruise, despite numerous attempts by staff to try and fix the problem. The Wheelhouse Bar was used many days for trivia sessions, and trying to fit upwards of 400 passengers into an area that could only house 200 at best, was nothing short of nauseating. To get a seat, most people had to arrive for trivia almost an hour early, and this caused fights amongst passengers who tried to reserve seats for other members of their trivia team. Whilst reserving seats is a known “No-No” what else could people do. Many disagreements ensued because of this. Princess continually advocates that passengers must not save seats in the public lounges and theatres, however, despite this, seat saving continues at an alarming rate. On very popular entertainment nights, a passenger would take their life into their own hands if they needed to visit the rest room before a show started, because their seat then became fair game for whoever was waiting. The Laundry: The public Laundry was a nightmare, with only 2 machines and dryers on 3 of the passenger decks. Queuing was long and tedious, and those passengers who put washing in the machines and went away for hours continually aggravated fellow passengers waiting for vacant machines. Woe and behold anyone who touched anyone else’s laundry, and only remove someone else’s laundry at your own peril. The laundry proved to be a very entertaining area, with many altercations occurring daily. We found it easier to hand wash in the cabin, and hang it on coat hangers around the room to dry. Always take a small hanging peg line to hang in the shower, and this is great to hang smalls on, which dry pretty much within a day or do in the air-conditioned atmosphere. Staterooms: Surviving 102 nights in an inside stateroom was not a problem, given that this was our 4th time cruising for this length of time, but organization is a must. Having a place for everything, and keeping everything in its place, is a definite necessity. On this cruise we were assigned Stateroom B224, towards the front of the ship on Baha deck level 10. Our Stateroom steward was “Homer” until Dubai, then “June” from Dubai onwards. Both Stewards looked after us well. On embarkation and meeting our steward for the first time, we set out requests for dressing gowns; an ice bucket every night; extra coat hangers, and an extra chair as the stateroom only has one. This cruise we purchased a foam mattress overlay that we packed and took with us, as the mattresses on the ship are either rock hard, or very worn and dip in the middle. We also take our own pillows for much the same reason, and we were very glad we did, because the pillows in our stateroom were sadly lacking in substance. The room was always left clean and tidy, towels always changed each morning, and beach towels were replaced whenever they were used, sometimes several times during the day. Shampoo, soap, skin lotion & body wash (excellent for hand washing clothes) were replaced daily. Laundry bags for sending dirty clothes to go to the ships laundry service were sadly lacking, many times we were having to chase the room steward to get new bags. It’s not rocket science for a room steward to replace a laundry bag when they take a full one away. Entertainment: Having cruised for 104 nights with Princess previously, we had a reasonable idea what to expect as far as entertainment was concerned. In comparing the last 4 cruises we have done of 104 days, it is easy to see that cutbacks on entertainment for this cruise were very noticeable. As a comparison....... 2009 there were 104 different evening events and 14 Production Show 2012 there were 71 different evening events and 15 Production Shows, 2013 there were 62 different evening events and 10 Production Shows. 2015 there were 57 evening events and 13 production shows The Production Shows for this cruise were changed, probably because most of the passengers were repeat World Cruisers, and had seen all the Production Shows Princess had to offer. For this cruise Princess, in their wisdom, decided to employ an outside company to produce the singers and dancers. While the quality was extremely high, and the entertainment good, all of the shows lacked all the glitz and glamour that Princess advertise for their cruises. There were no sets, & costumes were bland. However, the Sea Princess Orchestra always provided a sensational music backing for the production show team. Many nights on this last cruise we found there was nothing to do other than watch a movie, which I do not consider watching movies that are years old and repeated several times, as major forms of evening entertainment. The selection of movies available was antiquated, and despite many complaints, this problem did not change for the entire cruise. Several old & new movies were played on the in-house televisions, and under the stars, however, some of these were repeated with monotonous regularity. Overall, the Production Shows were good, but many of the comedians were aged, as were their jokes and stories. At various ports around the globe, artists got on and off, always ensuring a fresh supply of good and no-so-good entertainers. Pre & post dinner dancing was always available, & passenger theme parties were scheduled at sparse intervals. Morning & afternoon trivia sessions were a must for the brainiacs, who always played for sheep stations. We always tried to catch up on the Port lectures, especially for all the new ports we had not been to before, as there was always some interesting bits of info to take away. The port lecturer “Hutch” was sensational in his port presentations, always a wealth of information, and very approachable when questioned outside of lecture time. Other ways to keep occupied included scholarship @ sea lectures; library; church services; dancing lessons; sports tournaments; bingo; card playing; game shows; exercise classes; movies; choir practice; culinary demonstrations; & ice carving demo’s. Princess offered Service club meetings, which was relevant to us being Lions; but we did not avail ourselves of the Dr Bob & Bill W meetings, nor did we join in as GLBT groups, but it was entertaining to note that they cater for these groups as well. Gymnasium: We did manage to find the gymnasium several times, although not as much as we should have. The equipment was state of the art, and reasonably well utilized, but having someone available to help you to use the computerized equipment was not always available. The only scales on the ship was located inside the gym, and these came in handy to check out just how much weight we were putting on weekly. They probably explained why our clothes were shrinking at a great rate of knots, but on this score, I blamed the washing water for shrinking them!!! Shore Excursions: We researched all the shore excursions before boarding, so picked the eyes out of what was available, and made sure we selected all the important places of interest to us. While it has to be noted that all of the ships excursions were expensive, there was the guarantee of knowing that if an excursion got back late, the ship would not leave us behind, as did happen to several passengers who did their own thing and returned late. All of the good excursions booked out early, so if there is something special that you really want to see or do, then booking early is a must. On this cruise we booked about 50% of our tours with the Cruise Critic group. This is a great way to meet other cruisers, cuts down the cost of excursions, and in most cases, you get to see more places of interest on the tours because the groups are smaller than the big Princess ones. One thing that needs to be pointed out, is that Princess are not happy if tour soliciting occurs whilst onboard, so if you plan on doing Cruise Critic Tours (which I definitely recommend), make sure you have these arranged and paid for before you get onboard. Also note that if you are on a private tour, and you get back late, that Princess will not guarantee they will wait for you. The tender service remains a nightmare, however, I don’t know how else you could move 2500 people on and off a ship any other way. Queuing for tender tickets, then queuing again when your number was called, tended to take the excitement off getting off the ship at each port. If you fore went queuing for tender tickets, then you had to wait until everyone else was off before you could try and find the exit, and this definitely would cut down your time on shore. Possibly Princess need to use more tender boats when this arrangement has to be implemented, because the current arrangement is annoyingly frustrating. Queue jumping was a frequent occurrence, and many an argument was had while waiting in line. Service: Embarkation and disembarkation was handled extremely well. The Pursers Desk, Future Cruise Staff and Captains Circle staff handled most of our needs very efficiently. The Boutiques on board sell a large variety of merchandise, however, items that sold out very quick on our cruise were cough medicine and throat lozenges. Probably due to the air-conditioning, every time we cruise we get the dreaded sore throat and cough, which seems to do the rounds of the ship. A good suggestion would be to go prepared, and ensure you have an adequate supply of an appropriate cough syrup, and throat lozenges. Toiletry items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner & body lotion are supplied in every stateroom, and balconies and suite staterooms have access to other useful toiletry items. Tipping: For all Princess Ships based in Australia, tipping is included in the price of your cruise. We always choose to provide additional tipping to our Stateroom stewards and dining room waiters, depending on the quality of service provided. All drinks purchased from the bars have 15% tipping already added to the bill. It is always a bone of contention to tip or not to tip, but if I get exemplary service, it will be rewarded. The Cruise Staff: For this cruise of 102 nights we had 3 Cruise Directors: Dan Falconer, Peter Tredgett & Mat Thompson. Dan never quite had his finger on the pulse; Peter was patronizing; & Matt at least seemed to enjoy his job. Matt's wife Kim (who acted as Matt's deputy for part of the cruise) was always pleasant and helpful, and took over the Zumba classes whenever she could. The Assistant Cruise staff this cruise seemed to be the most disjointed group I have ever sailed with. They consisted of Sarah, Maddi, Kelly, Jill, Richy Rick, Sascha, Tina & Danielle. Most of them were disinterested in what they were doing, and many times they just huddled together, & avoided talking to passengers IN CONCLUSION: There will always be a few minor hiccups on long cruises, however, despite the few problems outlined earlier, we had a fantastic 102 nights, visiting many parts of the World we had only ever dreamed about seeing. With research and previous planning, we had the most enjoyable cruise ever, and have marked a lot of places off our bucket list. We were wined, dined and entertained in style, and will definitely sail with Princess Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
First i want to say "Thank you!' to everyone on the previous world cruise segment who cancelled this portion of the cruise, which allowed my wife and I the chance of a lifetime at a wonderful price! Seems Princess changed many of the ... Read More
First i want to say "Thank you!' to everyone on the previous world cruise segment who cancelled this portion of the cruise, which allowed my wife and I the chance of a lifetime at a wonderful price! Seems Princess changed many of the original ports of call due to the Ebola crisis. Since we didn't know of the original itinerary anyway, the trip and price were perfect for us. The Ocean Princess (nee Tahitian Princess) is on its last legs as a Princess cruise ship. It is being sold to MS Cruises in early 2016. Even still, the cabins and public areas were kept up and we very much enjoyed our time on this small ship. The staff and crew were marvelous, especially our cabin steward and the singers and dancers who doubled as the Cruise Director staff. Even with 16 sea days, we were never bored. Dining was excellent, but a little repetitive the last two weeks. The nitpicks are the nickle and diming that occurs now since Carnival took over. Many ports had shuttles that charged $8 or Euros to get from the port to the downtown area and another $8 to get back - ridiculous! These should be free or very minimal. Embarkation was difficult due the South African immigration checks that were needed, and some port stops (Namibia in particular) were ridiculous due to an inexperienced and overwhelmed immigration staff. The port stops were both interesting, adventurous and, in one case, down-right fascinating. Stops included Luderitz and Walvis Bay, Namibia. For my money, we could have skipped Luderitz and made Walvis Bay an overnight stop so we could have experienced the Namib desert dunes at Sunset and Sunrise. The dunes are the draw here and they were more, much more, than i expected them to be. Our choice of Sandwich Harbour 4x4 (off ship tour company) was perfect and we had a wonderful time. Luanda, Angola was an adventurous stop. This was a first for the Princess line and, despite all the hype and warnings from the port lecture, we found it a nice place to visit. It is a former communist-aligned country and they were devastated by a very long civil war. Now it is an Oil Oligarchy and the downtown area is booming, slowly pushing the slum areas out of the city and building high-rises everywhere. There are not many colonial (it was a Portuguese colony) buildings left due tot he war, but the old fort (now a war museum) was very nice. I wouldn't return, but I found it a very interesting stop and enjoyed it. Sao Tome/Principe is another former Portuguese colony of the coast of West Coast of the African Congo area. When the Portuguese pulled out in 1975, the economy took a tumble and it is just now regaining its footing as a tourist destination. Still riddled with poverty, many eco-resorts are being built and the Taiwanese Government is investing heavily. The US maintains a (secretive) communications area on the island. A nice day stop and the only tender port. Our crossing the Equator ceremony was postponed due to rain, but they held it a few days later and it was a lot of fun. Cape Verde is a misnomer of an island nation as they have been suffering a drought for the last decade and the main island (Mindelo) hasn't had a drop of rain in 18 months - even the palms are dying. However, we had a wonderful (off ship0 tour and, like Sao Tome, they, with Dutch and Eurozone help, are bringing the island up to tourist standards. Water will be a problem, though. Tenerife in the Canary Islands was a very nice stop. We just flagged a cab and went for a ride around the island. Madeira is absolutely gorgeous! I'd stay a week here the next visit. Casablanca and Rabat in Morocco were great stops. Very enjoyable tour as well. Ceuta, Spain was our first ship excursion - overpriced and crowded with a couple silly stops (a waterpark, really???) But the guide was nice and after the non-walkers left us, we had a good tour of the fortress. Malaga is excellent and we highly recommend the "free" walking tour offered from the square. Lisbon is always a great port (we have been many times as we have friends who live near there), but Princess really needs to plan a longer stay there. However it is one of the best sail-aways you will ever experience. Rouen France was a fantastic treat as we sailed up the Seine and actually ported right in the City not at Le Havre, so we had a bonus river cruise on the way out. We again took a ship tour to Giverny and Monet's gardens and home. A great guide, but again an overpriced, overcrowded group function. We made port in Dover and went our separate ways. There are a lot of things to like about a small (800 passenger) ship - more ports and less tenders, getting to know your fellow passengers and crew. There are some things that don't work - 24-hour service is nearly non-existent. Less choices for activities, bars, snacks etc. Overall, this small ship experience was excellent and we will miss having this option in the Princess fleet. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We have sailed on 30 Crystal cruises, the longest cruise prior to the World Cruise was 21 days. This was our first World Cruise. Transfers The included Carey Limo SUV transfers from home-airport-ship-airport-home were seamless. ... Read More
We have sailed on 30 Crystal cruises, the longest cruise prior to the World Cruise was 21 days. This was our first World Cruise. Transfers The included Carey Limo SUV transfers from home-airport-ship-airport-home were seamless. Drivers there to meet us on time, assistance at the luggage carousels in FL and back in Houston, and strong enough to hoist all the luggage into the SUV. So nice to see a friendly, smiling face in the midst of airport and port commotion. Ports We sailed to 44 ports (47 ports if we count the missed/sail-by ports of Rarotonga, Port Elizabeth and Alter do Chao). Best ports: Cape Town, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, Dunedin, Akaroa, Milford Sound. Ports we can say we’ve been to, and don’t need to return: Maputo, Manta Most unique and exotic ports: Easter Island and both ports in Madagascar Onboard Observations Dining: Main dinner sitting in the dining room was full capacity during all segments. We always opt for the late dinner sitting, and the dining room was never more than 2/3 full, often it was ½ full or less at the 8:30pm sitting. Service was unrushed, extraordinarily attentive, and the ambient noise level of the room very quiet. The menu choices, between the Modern Cuisine selections, the Crystal Classic selections, and our occasional off-menu special requests, were varied to suit everyone’s palate. Many appetizer and entrée selections did repeat during each segment, but we always found at least two courses (and often more) every evening. We were generally pleased with the all-inclusive wine selections; however, as we were sailing through some of the world’s best wine regions, we did purchase wines while ashore in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and thoroughly enjoyed them onboard during several dinners. (Whenever we chose to enjoy our own wines, I would bring the bottle to our sommelier in the dining room about 6:00pm, and it was then already decanted and on our table when we came to dinner at 8:30pm). Specialty Restaurants: Since so many guests chose to dine early, with the exception of the last segment, it was never a problem to eat at Silk Road, Prego or Tastes after 8:00pm. Especially for a table for 2. We often made reservations the same afternoon for dining that evening. And even during the last segment of the WC, Antonio and the specialty restaurants’ staff made every effort to accommodate everyone who wanted to dine. Again, reservations for smaller tables (i.e. 2-4 people) were much easier to reserve than tables for the larger 6+ groups. Cabin Comfort: We have sailed Crystal before, so we are very familiar with the amenities and idiosyncrasies of the standard verandah staterooms onboard. All of our luggage nested within each other and fit under the beds with no problem. We used the space under the sofa for storage of snorkeling gear and new purchases from ashore. We brought 25 extra hangers (the dry-cleaning type) which were very handy, supplemented the ship’s hangers and took up less space in the closet than the wood hangers. The cabinets under the bathroom sinks easily absorbed 4 months’ worth of toiletries. We brought a collapsible mesh clothes hamper from the Dollar Store, which was stored under the desk; we knew when it was time to do laundry when the mesh hamper was full! We raised the cocktail/dining table to its highest position and it stayed at that height for the entire cruise. Since most of the desk surface was occupied with electronics (PC, I-phones, Kindle, camera), the table became the only multi-purpose “flat space” in the room. We needed more magnets! The walls are metal and become a giant bulletin board. There are so many pieces of paper to keep track of! (Invitations, shore excursion tickets, restaurant reservations, WC newsletter, etc.). Entertainment and Special Events: We were wowed and our expectations exceeded the minute we arrived onboard. We were welcomed by name on the gangway by both Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez and Captain Giske. Our checked luggage was delivered to the stateroom within an hour. The onboard gala (dinner, bands, and entertainment) just blew us away. And it only got better during the next 108 days. We have sailed many Crystal repositioning transatlantic voyages because we enjoy the multiple sea days with all the activities. Well, the World Cruise was like a transatlantic crossing on steroids. With the exception of the Billy Joel “My Life” production show which was repeated on all segments (and we attended all 6 performances, btw), the variety of guest entertainers and large production shows were incredible. There were a few “misses”, but overall, the entertainment was truly world class. The lecture series offered so many options and so many differing views, there was something to suit most everyone’s interest. On some sea days there were 4 speakers scheduled: 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. The World Cruise special event in New Zealand at Hobbiton was jaw dropping. The laser light show, followed by the fireworks was an amazing production. And to be served and entertained by an entire village of costumed Hobbits, was something very special. The special event at the private estancia in Montevideo was a miracle of logistics. The weather more than cooperated, and it was like a massive, huge, gigantic picnic with about 550 of your best friends, with wine, beer, food and lots of entertainment. Lessons Learned: We brought about 1/3 too many toiletries; better to bring too much rather than too little, but we won’t haul as much the next time. We brought too many clothes, especially casualwear and underwear. The self-service laundries are so convenient, and the ship’s laundry & dry cleaning so efficient, we did laundry more often than we had anticipated and will cut down the amount for future long cruises. We will take an extra suitcase with us, even if it is under-filled on the outbound. Based on how much we bought during port calls, as well as the bulkiness on the special WC segment gifts, we could have used the extra space for the return home. We ate smart, exercised often, rarely used the ship’s elevators, and “only” gained 10 lbs. I got on the scale this morning and I’m “only” 4 lbs. heavier than when we left. We are so fortunate, lucky and blessed to be able to have experienced such a journey. So few people on the planet can even imagine an adventure such as this, especially after seeing places like Madagascar, Mozambique, and the less affluent areas of South America. Every day I look at the Crystal brochures and our upcoming booked adventures with a great sigh. I still tear up describing this adventure to people. This was not a cruise. It was a life changing experience. We are so glad we were there. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
This was our second World Cruise on HAL Amsterdam, but not our last. Our favorite cruise line is Crystal, but HAL is a better deal. 80% of the quality for 60% of the price. So when we can save up enough shekels we go on Crystal, when we ... Read More
This was our second World Cruise on HAL Amsterdam, but not our last. Our favorite cruise line is Crystal, but HAL is a better deal. 80% of the quality for 60% of the price. So when we can save up enough shekels we go on Crystal, when we get to antsy to wait, HAL here we come. Back to this cruise. Wonderful ship, great food, friendly people, fantastic itinerary. Our main activities on board include eating, playing bridge, reading, evening shows, and just generally relaxing. The food in both the main dining room and the Lido buffet is very good. Not always perfect, but the friendly and helpful serving staff will do everything humanly possible to satisfy us. Great variety. The staff is excellent, with a particular shout-out to Presty. Cooked to order breakfast items are the best on any ship we've been on. Bridge lessons and afternoon play were first rate with Karen and Dave. And almost all of the players are friendly, and tolerant of differing skill levels. There were no cut-throat players on this cruise. One of the best libraries at sea. We only brought one book for the flight down and another for the return, got the other 4 dozen books we read from the library. There's live music scattered all over the ship, and the evening shows are generally very good to excellent. We were unable to attend most of the lectures, as they conflicted with bridge classes in the morning. Shore excursions on HAL are a disappointment. The quality and selection is on par with other ships, but the prices seem to be outrageous. With the exception of Indonesia, where local traffic mandates a police escort if you want to get back to the ship on time, we hired a taxi, booked a local excursion in port, rented a car, or rode off on our own bicycles. And at most it cost us 1/2 of what the ShoreEx cost, for the same quality. Yes, we took our bikes with us. Great fun! Previously we've kept them in the cabin, but this time the wonderful Hotel Manager Henk volunteered a place to store them. With the exception of Sydney they're not much use in the big cities, but on the islands they can't be beat. One other person that deserves special mention is Cristal, the Guest Services Manager. No matter what the issue, she would step up and solve it, with a smile. Henk and Cristal are the best in their respective jobs of any cruise we've ever been on. One of the most memorable ports was in the Azores. I don't know if it's like this year around or just the day we were there, but it was the most verdant land we've ever seen. Car rental for $30/day right in the port made it even better. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015

Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with ... Read More

Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with The Glasshouse which was noticably deserted for most of our cruise. Her well stocked Library is now crammed into the Cyber Cafe (dont think of sitting there quietly with a good book). The Sindhu restaurant has replaced the Library - OK for those who want a particular style of Indian food. Clealy the new features are centered around profit generation, but I doubt they will realise significant revenue as they are not in keeping with the British style of cruising.

The change from the Pennant Grill to the Beach House does offer an alternative dining experience on the back of deck 12 which is recommended in the warmer climbs, possibly not so appealing on the Atlantic routes.

The newly installed bulkhead which now divides the Vanderbilt room to provide a kitchen for the Sindhu restaurant lacks the original build quality, evidenced by the creaking whenever the ship gets into a lively sea - something which both Aurora and Oriana have not suffered previously.

The multi million pound refit could have benifitted from removing the flaking paint and rust which is particularly evident around Deck 7 and elsewhere.

On a more positive note Aurora still rides very well in rough seas - Coming through the Tasmin Sea in a Force 11 she remained very stable - so if your sea legs are not the greatest, this is the ship to choose.

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16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Please note that we were on board for 162 days but the number of nights we could show in the summary has a maximum of 100 days. We sailed Crystal Cruises and remained on board the same ship for 162 consecutive days. We boarded ... Read More
Please note that we were on board for 162 days but the number of nights we could show in the summary has a maximum of 100 days. We sailed Crystal Cruises and remained on board the same ship for 162 consecutive days. We boarded Crystal Serenity on 12/21/14, remaining on board until 05/31/15, representing our longest cruise ever. Our first voyage began with a Holiday Cruise, continued with a Caribbean cruise, until the start of the 2015 World Cruise in mid-January of 2015. At the conclusion of the World Cruise, in Miami on May 4, we stayed on-board for two final voyages; Miami to Lisbon and Lisbon to Rome. Summary ======== We had an amazing time. Highlights included the places we visited and circumnavigating the Globe on World Cruise 2015, the cuisine, service, enrichment, entertainment and some very special shore excursions, most notably a Safari Overland in South Africa and attending the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. In the end, it was the people who made it most special for us including the extraordinary crew and so many nice people we sailed with. This was our seventh full and overall eighth World Cruise and for us it was wonderful. One of the main reasons we keep returning year after year is the people including the crew and the guests who in many ways have become our extended family. On this year’s World Cruise we not only sailed with friends from previous cruises but made many new ones several of whom were on their first World Cruise. The World Cruise on board events, which were created exclusively for the 2015 World Cruise, was the best yet in my opinion. To me this says a lot since the challenge was having 600+ full World Cruisers on board instead of an average year which is about half of that number, making logistics the more challenging and planning even more important. Some highlights included the on board World Cruise Gala which was the best yet and much nicer than what can be done at a Hotel, and then all of the on board shows created just for the World Cruise and the two themed on board dinners. I want to note that there were more on board shows created and performed on board Crystal Serenity just for the World Cruise than ever before on a World Cruise.. We also enjoyed a good deal of the other entertainment such as the Beatles Celebration Group. With very few exceptions, most of the events were for everyone whether on the full world cruise or one or more segments which we applaud. We appreciated the added diversity of food offerings in the Crystal Dining Room, which is a hallmark for the World Cruise given the overall duration and time spent on board by those taking the full World Cruise. The Modern Cuisine menus, which rolled out in May of 2014, added more choices than ever before. We were unable to attend the first of the two Shore-Side Events due to an illness, but heard that it was a lot of fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the second event held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The events were more challenging given that they were attended by close to 600 people. Crystal was very wise to make most of the on board events available for everyone even if they were not booked on the full world cruise including those who remained on for the start of the World Cruise from the previous voyage and attended the Gala, to the various themed dinners and on board shows created just for the World Cruise. I used a one to five * rating with five being the highest and one the lowest for my ratings and a plus sign (+) to go above the rating. Overall Experience ***** =============== Itinerary ****+ ======= The World Cruise itinerary was the first time a Crystal Cruises World Cruise has ever circumnavigated the globe, which we thought was extraordinary. We especially enjoyed visiting Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the diversity of ports on this World Cruise. The reason I didn’t give the itinerary five stars is because of the timing of some of the ports which had Noon or later arrival times for some ports that only had a one day visit as well as a few ports which had overnights, but the arrival time the first day was around noon. I thought this limited the time in port and the selection of shore excursions and think that even if it means skipping a few ports it is better to arrive in the early morning than midday. I realize that sometimes timing has to do with issues such as the tides and how to put an entire itinerary together but if it was possible to eliminate a few ports to have created more full days in ports to me that would have been desirable. Post World Cruise we enjoyed Bermuda and especially the Mediterranean. Cuisine ****** ====== Recognizing that two thirds of the passengers for the world cruise would be on board for at least 108 days, the Crystal Dining Room menu continually offered new items in addition to those that one would expect when coming on board for one voyage. The Modern Cuisine Menu introduced on Serenity last year coupled with the Traditional Menu offers more options than ever before. In addition, menus in Tastes and Prego were changed from time-to-time and the menu in Silk Road was changed once. Although we don’t eat at the Grand Gala and other Special Buffets, we were very impressed with their offerings and they were offered one time on each World Cruise segment and on a couple of other voyages. Entertainment ***** ============ We were very pleased with the diversity of the entertainment knowing that we all have different tastes when it comes to this area. There was a wide range of offerings and something for everyone. Show times were adjusted based on where we were sailing. On the World Cruise there were more special performances than ever before, which were created just for one night that were absolutely amazing. As was the case with last year’s World Cruise, the on board entertainment team was augmented with two vocalists who performed in all of the shows created on board the ship and performed from time to time in other venues. The talent of the Entertainment Team is amazing and I am reminded of all of the hard work that they must put into creating these special one-time shows for all of us to enjoy. The preparation is more challenging that people realize. Other items related to entertainment-included movies, the pre-dinner magician shows along with the Strings Quartet and the Pianists. We thought that the movies that were available this year for viewing in the Crystal Cinema were quite diversified and included many highly rated movies. On the two voyages we were on before the start of the World Cruise we had the opportunity to see Pianist Mark Farris perform. Mark is one of the pianists who regularly perform on the Crystal Symphony and we thought he was amazing. Our only disappointment was the departure of pianists John Mentis and Colin Salter during the World Cruise. I also wanted to note that the crossing had terrific entertainment with no only the evening shows but some performances held before main dining. Enrichment ***** ========= Crystal offers more enrichment than any cruise line we have ever sailed and on the World Cruise this is augmented several-fold. There are so many programs offered on sea days that each day represents several days of activities. My wife participated regularly in the Odyssey at Sea Knitting Class and the Gentle Yoga Class, and I participated regularly in the Indoor Cycling Classes. We enjoyed many of the lectures with three lectures or more available on each and every sea day. We wish we had time for Memoir Writing and the Apple Computer Classes and hope to do this on a future World Cruise. Fifty+ enrichment programs are offered each and every sea day. I would say that 50% of the lecturers were exceptional, 40% strong, and about 10% weak. The ones that I rated weak are ones that either essentially read word for word from slides or from a prepared speech sounding more like a college professor from one of those introduction courses or ones where I simply had no takeaways from the talk or left without learning anything new. Because on a World Cruise, Crystal makes an extra effort to bring on first time lecturers you will see some being weak but to me that is fine because by bringing on new people you often find outstanding lectures who are asked to return on future voyages with some becoming part of the Crystal Family. I especially enjoyed Ocean Views, which is a panel discussion, and was hosted by Ken Rees and allows audience participation via hand held electronic devices. There were actually more activities offered during the World Cruise than ever before with additional courses offered on devices such as the iPad, a Book Club and a Zumba class offered on many sea days in addition to so many activities that have become a hallmark of World Cruises such as the College Computer Class, Memoir Writing, Language, and Piano Classes just to name a few of the programs. Similar to the entertainment, there was a tremendous amount of entertainment on the themed Miami to Lisbon Cruise, which followed the World Cruise. Shore Excursions/Land Programs ***** ========================== The Shore Excursion and Overland Programs offered not only increase in volume each and every year but also with the addition of many unique program offerings. Some of the start times were adjusted to later in the morning for those who are late risers. For us the highlights were private cars arranged through the land program department for some selected places including Bermuda, Colombia and Peru and attending the Grand Prix and also the three-night four-day overland program at the Phinda Private Reserve in South Africa. I also wanted to note that to me each year the on-board Shore Excursion Department gets stronger and stronger in terms of the personnel. We find them to be very knowledgeable and helpful and they do their utmost best to deal with any problems that come up and they were terrific in adjusting shore excursions when we missed a couple of ports and when our arrival was delayed to a couple of ports. Internet *** ======= Overall, the Internet was more reliable and faster than in 2014, which is positive given that overall occupancy was quite high with some voyages sold out and the one-hour per day of complimentary Internet for all guests who have previously sailed with Crystal Cruises. There were a couple of issues. One occurred on one of the World Cruise Segments when there was an equipment failure while we were sailing several days at sea which could not be rectified until we were in port. The other one happened on a couple of other crossings when there were times when we were moving from one satellite to another and encountered very slow connections or dropped connections and some outages. The latter is part of the challenge when sailing on a World Cruise or on a crossing. The bottom line is that there were days when the internet was very reliable and rather fast given the limitations of satellite technology, other days when speed was average, and other days when the internet was either down or very slow. As I mentioned, one of the challenges of the Internet this time around unlike in prior years that we sailed was that one hour of complimentary internet per day is now offered to each guest who has previously sailed with Crystal Cruises. This was even more challenging given that most of the voyages we were on were at full occupancy and the fact that more people come on board with more devices than ever before. Overall, the internet was the best we have ever experienced on board either Crystal Ship. The enhancements made not only in infrastructure, and augmented Satellite bandwidth but in the area of monitoring and control has really added to improved service. With that said, the speed and reliability of the Internet will never be the same as at home. The challenges include a sailing like the World Cruise where you are sailing in areas where access to a satellite is difficult and where you go from one satellite to another requiring manual intervention. On top of this there is the potential for equipment failures, interference caused in port or when sailing near land and the fact that Satellite technology in no way compares to fiber optics. There were a few times with durations lasting a few days at a time when the Internet was very slow or even not available. Because the Internet experience is just not going to always be the same depending on where one is sailing or if there is an equipment or some other issues, this is why depending on where or when you are sailing that you may have different experiences with one person saying how wonderful the internet is and another person saying it was not good. We also appreciated that FaceTime was often available which was not our experience in 2014. The investments made in 2013 to upgrade the internet infrastructure, the fine tuning that was made in 2014 before the rollout of the complimentary 1 hour per day of Internet for Crystal Society Members along with some other changes that were made did pay off in my opinion. Finally, the device one uses can make a big difference. For example, I find that the MacBook will provide a better experience than say an iPad. Even the type of Internet Browser that one might use can make a difference Finally, other techniques that one might use such as reducing the number of pixels in a photo before attaching it to an e-mail or including it in a blog will make a world of a difference in speed. Planning *****+ =========== I touched on this earlier but wanted to give the Crystal Cruises Senior Executives and the Senior Officers of Crystal Serenity excellent marks for all of the effort that went into planning the 2015 World Cruise. Changes were required based on the record number of full World Cruisers on board and the overall occupancy rate when most segments were 100 full. A wide range of items had to be addressed including: WORLD CRUISE GALA. Unlike in previous years when the kickoff to the World Cruise was held at a hotel on land, this was not possible given the significant number of World Cruisers. As a result the voyage began one day in advance and the Gala was held on Serenity. The Serenity was transformed for this as the Crystal Plaza was made over with lots of cocktail like tables with table cloths and lights providing a wonderful spot for the kickoff and the welcome by President and COO of Crystal Cruises Edie Rodriquez, a cocktail party and a balloon drop all in one. Following this, we enjoyed a sit down dinner in one of three dining venues with an assigned table and seating. There was lots of entertainment and by far this was the best World Cruise Gala we ever attended. All of the planning and coordination of this event was truly amazing. MEDICAL NEEDS. With so many full World Cruisers a very wise decision was made to have more than one physician on board for the World Cruise. As it turned out there were three Physicians as when the second person was hired he asked if his spouse who is also a Physician could share his contract and that is exactly what happened. All of this was a very wise decision because in addition to a couple of months of various upper respiratory viruses going around the ship, there were more major medical issues given the number of World Cruisers on board Serenity and the ages of some of the guests. DIVERSITY AND QUANITY OF ENTERTAINERS. Getting entertainers on and off the ship to make way for other entertainers and towards the end of the cruise getting additional land based musicians onto the ship when sailing full for the Crystal Serenity Pops Concert was amazing. SAFETY DEMONSTRATIONS. With two-thirds of the guests on board for the entire World Cruise Captain Giske thought it would be a great idea to offer a safety demonstration that gave passengers an opportunity to gain a more detailed insight into safety on board Crystal Serenity. This program was repeated twice during the World Cruise and provided us with a lot of information relate to safety. This included seeing a safety movie that was developed for each crew member, seeing one of the crew rafts which was deployed in the outdoor pool, seeing a life boat with all of the equipment that is on the life boat, seeing one of the fire fighter teams and also walking up a smoke filled corridor (smoke was simulated) when the safety lights were on. We thought it was superb and provided us with a wealth of information related to safety. The crew was on hand at each location to answer questions. WORLD CRIUSE SHORE SIDE EVENTS. Creating shore-side events that would work for 600 World Cruisers plus the Crystal escorts. This is no easy task and congratulations to the vice President of Crystal Land Programs and Port Operations, the on board team and the respective tour operators from the two ports of call for all of the efforts that went into these events. Service *****++ ====== I’ve listed service last so that we could save the best for last. For us service is one of the main reasons that we sail on Crystal Cruises. We find that the Service is the finest of any other cruise line we have sailed and any place we have dined or stayed at on land. The on-board crew is absolutely amazing. They have become our extended Crystal Family. There are many members of the crew that we have known since we first started sailing with Crystal Cruises as well as other members of the crew whom we have known for one or more years who just make each of our voyages the best it can be. On top of this even members of the crew who are on their first contracts quickly learned the Crystal Culture which stresses a high service level. The key for us is that the high level of service can be provided in not only a professional manner but in a manner that is highly personal. Rather than walking around like robots if you will, as they do on some cruise lines, the crew performs their responsibilities with caring and warmth for the guests they take care of. This culture is evident at all levels both on board each ship but also at the Crystal Headquarters. In the end, it is my belief that any successful enterprise is successful because of the people. You could take the most modern ship afloat and with the wrong people it will be a disaster. Crystal has mastered this area and it continued to be evident throughout the time we were sailing on board Serenity. There were certainly different ways to provide feedback on issues and that included comment cards that were provided to the full World Cruisers on two different occasions which could be filled out and submitted to the Hotel Director, and/or using the on-line form to submit comments to President of Crystal Cruises President, Edie Rodriquez, a conversation with a Senior Officer, or a conversation when Edie Rodriquez and Senior Vice President, Thomas Mazloum were on board. At the same time on the other voyages, there was a letter sent to the room from the Hotel Director providing his phone number in the event that there was some issue that needed to be resolved. While resolution cannot be realized for each and every comment I can point to numerous examples of items that were identified by people we know that were resolved expeditiously. In the end, this is my experience. At times I have used the word “we” rather than "I" as my wife also felt the same way that I did. I realize that we all have different opinions and see things in different ways. What one person enjoys another person might not and what one person does not care for, someone else might like. If we all saw things in the same manner, this would be a boring world. As I have said often, the only experience that matters the most is our very own. I am grateful that my wife and I had the opportunity to sail on Serenity for this extended period of time and have been humbled by all that we experienced on and off the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan ... Read More

I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan 10th., finally disembarking in Auckland on Feb 27th.

Having enjoyed over 40 cruises to date, reaching Diamond Tier on both Seabourn and Cunard, I feel more than qualified to give a frank and fair review of my own experiences of the Queen Elizabeth

My first cruise on the ship was in April 2014 from Dubai to Southampton and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I did decide that April that my next trip would be in a Club Class cabin in order that I would dine in the splendid and comfortable surroundings of the elegant Club Restaurant.

There I recently enjoyed over 2 months of wonderful service. The Maitre'd Tetiana was first class. Elegant, attentive and charming. As were my server Lhea and Sommelier Miroslav. 3 top professionals who all went to great lengths to ensure that my every wish was catered for. On the first night, I requested bread sticks.These were brought immediately and presented on my table every night without further reminders. Miroslav's knowledge of wines, plus him charm and humour were exemplary and between us I explored a wonderful wine selection throughout my cruise.

Personally, I found the Eastern European staff to be mainly very good. Of course, some are better than others and this applies to ALL nationalities, but '' you'll never please.............''

Due to the high number of cruises I have enjoyed on Seabourn, one of the world's top lines I am aware that standards are higher on that line. However, cost for cost, I find Cunard better value £ for £

I am booked again on the Elizabeth for 7 weeks starting November 18th and very much looking forward to embarkation.

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