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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013

We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea.

Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed ... Read More

We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea.

Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to restaurant to get food and drink whilst waiting for an announcement about availability. This came relatively quickly and we entered a clean reasonably spacious balcony cabin on Barbados Deck Starboard side,

The first thing that hit us about Azura was that you could not walk all around the Promenade deck because the bow end was blocked off by superstructure. Secondly that no matter where you went on the ship it seemed very busy - with great difficulty finding seats in other than the Planet Bar or the Glass House.

The Theatre was always completely full for first show at least 30 minuted before curtain up and started to emply 5 mintes before the end of an act so that Wacky Races could be performed by a combination of Walker aids, zimmer frames, wheelchairs, and disabled scooters as people zoomed off to claim seats for another show lounge.

We felt that Manhatten lounge was dangerous when full because isles were frequently blocked and the lounge vista was not helped by huge pillars keeping the roof up.

We dined on first sitting in the Oriental restaurant. The food was OK as was service but it was nothing to get excited about, especially the puddings.

The show lounges were in my opinion quite poorly laid out and Brodie's Bar which we frequented for Quizzes was quite the most unwelcoming and uncomfortable bar I have ever encountered on any ship. It was in the same room as the casino and with regular clientelle on the noisy fruit machines it made for interesting quizzes with questions often having to be repeated

The cruise itinerary was we has hoped going to be exciting especially cruising the Dardonelles and the Bosphorous, however both transients of the Dardonnelles were late at night and one of the Bosphorous was very early in the morning. This left us feeling distinctly short changed.

We were unable to call in at Myteleene owing to rough seas, however I have been tendered by other cruise lines in much worse conditions.

whoever planned the itinerary at Carnival want to be given a talking to. To dock on a Sunday morning in Vigo - when they must have know the port was virtually closed was disgraceful. Especially as we had been as sea for 5 days. Why could we not have called at Gibraltar or Cadiz on a Saturday? Passengers were not happy to discover a virtual lock down of Vigo.

Tours we booked were for the most part OK although the Odessa guide was a joke. Taking us on a half hour stop to a Ukrainian bank to get local currency to use in local toilets and then telling the us the bank required to see our Ukrainian passports. What an idiot..

However the most disappointing aspect of the whole cruise was the attitude of more mature passengers. They were often very rude and intolerant. One example being to start booing and slow hand clapping in the theatre because the show was 7 minuted late in starting.

DSS investigators need to get on one of these ships - the benefits bill would drop alarmingly. People was supposedly could hardly walk could suddenly sprint when a lift became free

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Sail Date: September 2013

We joined the Ocean princess after being asked by Princess to consider swapping cruises,(overbooking??) we had been booked on the Dawn from Sydney to Rome .Maybe it wasn't such a good deal? 48days instead of 32 on a smaller ship, I ... Read More

We joined the Ocean princess after being asked by Princess to consider swapping cruises,(overbooking??) we had been booked on the Dawn from Sydney to Rome .Maybe it wasn't such a good deal? 48days instead of 32 on a smaller ship, I would not do it again.

While the Ocean Princess is still a lovely ship, in spite of her age, I felt that it was too small for this cruise. Only 1 MDR and the Buffet ;the Steakhouse and Sabatini's were only open on alternate days, and not always then, which made dining choices limited. Only one Show lounge meant that on the 2nd half we had the same shows repeated, and there was no alternative .The daytime entertainment program was boring, too many repeated activities, films and lectures. The Ent. Director was a waste of space, no personality and we felt a definite sense of strain between the Director and the rest of the cruise staff. The shows were ok but improved at the end, possibly due to being one dancer short until a replacement arrived during the 2nd half of the cruise. It was obvious that some of the entertainers were not happy.

The Library was excellent, good selection and great place for peace and quiet. Tahitian room had great views, we enjoyed the Trivia and dance classes. It should be NON Smoking!! Front desk not up to standard, some of the employees had a "not interested "attitude, we found only one who seemed to know what he was doing and wanted to help. We were not impressed by the Shore tours lecturer, her information seemed to come straight off Google and she had a boring voice.

Food. We mainly ate in the MDR at night and the buffet at breakfast and lunch. Food was good and plentiful, but repetitious, our wait staff (ALL of them) were wonderful. Professional, helpful, friendly...not enough good things to say about them. They helped MAKE the cruise for us.

I am having ongoing communication with Princess about the medical care so will not say anymore.

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Sail Date: September 2013

We joined the Diamond on a wet day after a comfortable bus trip from Anchorage to Whittier.

Embarkation services were excellent with time from bus drop off to cabin being 25 minutes. We are Platinum Princess members, but the ... Read More

We joined the Diamond on a wet day after a comfortable bus trip from Anchorage to Whittier.

Embarkation services were excellent with time from bus drop off to cabin being 25 minutes. We are Platinum Princess members, but the service was excellent. We checked in at 2.10PM , probably after the initial rush.

Cabin 422 ( a suite) was spotless on arrival and we were greeted by our Steward and offered Champagne. It is a large lounge area with a separate large bedroom with King bed, separate bathroom and robe area.

We booked the Sterling Steakhouse for the first evening dinner, to overcome what can be difficult dining arrangements as people turn up on the first night. A good decision with a good meal , superb steak , excellent service.

We dined most evenings in the Santa Fe dining room and as on previous cruises on the Diamond, experienced excellent service and good quality meals.

Entertainment was excellent and production shows very good , although we do notice that the production shows are now of 28-35 minutes duration. Cruise director and his team do a very good job with activities.

We ran into 3 days of very heavy weather across the Aleutian islands areas with 2 massive storms, the ship and staff coped well with having all decks and outside activities closed for 3 days. We never really felt crowded, apart from the first show in the theatre. Also the Education lectures were terrific.

As experienced cruisers, we have enjoyed several cruises on the Diamond. Yes it is a large ship , but everything works to our satisfaction. This was a repositioning cruise and a means of us travelling from USA to China before flying home from Shanghai to Melbourne , australia.

We enjoyed the cruise, met some lovely people, were fed well and entertained. We were very well served.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013

After 20 years of cruising we discovered Regent in 2010. We are going on 100 days of voyaging with them now. This Baltic and circumnavigation of the British Isle cruise we just completed was outstanding. We had been cruising exclusively ... Read More

After 20 years of cruising we discovered Regent in 2010. We are going on 100 days of voyaging with them now. This Baltic and circumnavigation of the British Isle cruise we just completed was outstanding. We had been cruising exclusively with Princess and HAL prior to that. We toyed with the idea of giving Silver Seas a shot but received a hint that their quality was on the ebb, the debacle on the Silver Shadow in Southeast Alaska this summer confirmed that. Of Regent's three ships, we like the Voyager the best.

We have never had a cruise that we didn't enjoy, although, as with anything in life, there was an occasional blemish. We prefer the longer excursion type voyages, three weeks or more. The longest was on the Prinsendam for almost three months. In May 2010 we happened upon Regent. Haven't really looked back since, I hardly even gloss others brochures and offers anymore. My wife discovered the first one, on the Navigator. She really likes the absence of nickel and dimeing.

For me Regent stands out in these areas:

Quality of shore excursions. (They go to lengths to arrange numerous and detailed itineraries while assuring knowledgeable guides who one can understand and most of the time keep the coaches to about 55% capacity).---Quality and size of suites. The size of their D thru H suites are almost unsurpassed. They have walk in closets that serve as dressing rooms, the bathrooms have walk in showers in addition to a separate large bathtub, on this recent cruise we had four large suitcases but only used about 35% of the drawers, hangars and cupboards, although these suite categories are smaller on the Mariner than on the Voyager and Navigator the Mariner does have extra large Penthouse suites.---Outstanding demeanor of all the crew, i.e. room stewards, bar tenders, waiters, wine stewards, officers, etc.--Staff to guest ratio.

Ship design, size and condition. (The Mariner and Voyager have pod propulsion which offers a noticeable absence of vibration and noise, particularly in the stern area where most conventional shaft ally powered ships have this negative)

I particularly appreciate the dining arrangements, no waiting, no assigned seating unless we ask to be with someone else and we almost always get a table for two.--Wine selection is above average.--- Prime 7 is pretty good. We weren't too enamored with the Signature. The reservation lash up for the Signature and Prime 7 needs some work and improving. However, on this trip, their regular dining room, the Compass Rose, was outstanding (better than the Signature even). What we have taken to doing is to determine right off which head waiter we want, then stick with him. Then, we "always" get the type table we want and the waiters know exactly our tastes, our names and how to set up the table. Beats the old traditional seating all to pieces, you know, the old way where you run the "luck of the draw" for tablemates and take a chance on getting stuck with nimrods for the entire voyage.

Free and fast internet (The Voyager has an excellent and large internet cafe which is the best we ever experienced)---Good selection of newspapers delivered every morning (I like the New York Times & USA Today) and their TV news channels offer an excellent ideological selection, from left progressive to hard core right wing.)

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Sail Date: July 2013

We just returned from a great trip on the Dawn to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin and food crews were very gracious throughout, the food was quite good overall (especially the NewYork strip steak at Cagney's), the entertainment by the ... Read More

We just returned from a great trip on the Dawn to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin and food crews were very gracious throughout, the food was quite good overall (especially the NewYork strip steak at Cagney's), the entertainment by the Production Cast was superb (we especially were awed by the performance of the husband/wife acrobatic dancers in "Ocean's Apart"), the other entertainers throughout the ship were also good, and the entire on-board experience was very good. We did miss an adults only pool or hot tub area as in the afternoons especially the one pool and the four hot tubs around it were very full. In the mornings and evening though I often had the pool to myself and could do laps.

In Bermuda, we went twice to Snorkel Park (where admission ranges from $10 to nothing depending on when you go!) which is a small beach but quite good for snorkeling as there are a lot of fish around the reefs and the old fort foundation. I also took the excursion on a catamaran for snorkeling which also was good but I didn't see anything different there in terms of species than I saw in Snorkel Park. It was nice to sail around though to a different part of the island. We also went to Horseshoe Beach which is very different from Snprkel Park in that it is open ocean so has a lot of wave action.

I'd certainly consider Norwegian for another cruise.


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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013


We arrived at Sydney Airport on the morning of 20th May 2013, and were met by a very efficient Princess Representative who escorted us to a passenger waiting area, before being taken to the bus and transported to ... Read More


We arrived at Sydney Airport on the morning of 20th May 2013, and were met by a very efficient Princess Representative who escorted us to a passenger waiting area, before being taken to the bus and transported to the new White Bay Cruise Terminal. Immediately upon arriving, we were able to complete our pre embarkation paperwork, hand over our credit card details, were given our Cruise Card, a numbered embarkation card, and joined the thousands of other passengers, families and friends in the waiting area. In less than an hour our embarkation number was called, and we were herded through the Customs & scanning area. With all that behind us, we followed the trail of eager passengers past the ships embarkation photographers and finally arrived at the gangway. For the 3rd time in our lives, it was so exciting just walking up the gangway on to the Sea Princess as the start of our next adventure was just about to unfold.

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 was nothing short of spectacular, to say the least. On our 1st evening, we were placed on a table for 4 in the Traviata dining Room, but only the 2 of us turned up, and we spent the first week having very romantic dinners on our own. Following this, we asked the Maitre D if we could be moved to a larger table, and this was executed with precision to table 108 Traviata 1st sitting. Here we met up with 6 other delightful passengers who over the course of the 104 days, made our cruise very memorable. Four of our new dining companions were Americans, and the other 2 were fellow Aussies. The mix was phenomenal, and Maitre D Neville should be commended for his work in orchestrating these seating arrangements. Our new waiters were ''" ''"Benjamin” and ''"Nandi”, who looked after our culinary experience every night to absolute perfection.

If you want to see most of the nightly entertainment, then 1st seating dining is a must. The food selection in the dining room was mind boggling, always arrived beautifully presented, in a timely fashion, and always hot. Drink prices were expensive, but wine left over was always named, recorked and available for the next evening meal. The variation of food over the 104 days would have been a mammoth planning exercise, but we never missed a night of restaurant dining in the whole time on board.

We did notice on this cruise that the ''"World Cruise Souvenir Menu’s” were very few and far between. In fact, I only collected 3 souvenir menu’s, one of which was an evening meal at the end of the cruise, and the other 2 applied to brunch meals.

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, but it’s a shame one of the staff positioned there left a bit to be desired. You would think the ice-cream was coming out of his allowance, the way he carried on about metering it out.

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. The Vista lounge area exhibited a strange seating arrangement with bench lounge seats interspersed with single tables and revolving chairs. Apart from taking up a huge amount of excess room, these tables and chairs were horrendous obstacles, and difficult for the elderly or mobility compromised passengers to move around, especially after they had been dislodged by previous users. Given the difficulty accommodating large numbers of passengers in the lounge areas, seating could have been much better worked out. The Princess Theatre is as good as any other theatre, chairs comfortable, but the idea of drink waiters trying to serve drinks to passengers in the middle of a full row is stupid, and needs immediate reviewing. Surely passengers can survive the 45 minutes for a show to go without a drink, but then Princess would not make as much money on drink sales, I suppose.

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 portioned 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.

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 as much as possible 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. It has to be noted that a passenger came up with a very innovative method of securing a washer and dryer, and while I would not personally do it, (or advocate that anyone else should do it either) I did chuckle at the effrontery of the action. Apparently, this person came on board with previously printed and laminated ''"OUT OF ORDER” signs; and when a machine was needed, these signs were posted on machines. Just goes to show the lengths people will go to in order to achieve their aims. As a postscript, I do believe this person was appropriately dealt with by Princess staff.


Surviving 104 nights in an inside stateroom was not a problem, given that this was our 3rd 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 B326, reasonably central on Baha deck level 10. Our Stateroom steward was ''"Froilan” who looked after us to perfection for the first 4 legs of the cruise. On embarkation and meeting him for the first time, we set out requests for a foam mattress overlay; dressing gowns; an ice bucket every night; extra coat hangers, and an extra chair as the stateroom only has one. After Froilan left in Los Angeles we were allocated ''"Melville” for the last leg of our cruise, but unfortunately he was not as efficient as Froilan.

Research prior to our cruise assisted us to make the decision to give the stateroom steward 50% of our tip up front, with the proviso that if he looked after us well, there would be same amount at the end of the cruise. This was one of the best decisions we were to make, because we were looked after extremely well. 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.


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 3 cruises we have done of 104 days, it is easy to see that cutbacks on entertainment for this cruise were very noticeable.

2009 there were 104 different evening events and 14 Production Show

2012 there were 71 different evening events and 15 Production Shows,

but in 2013 there were only 62 different evening events and only 10 Production Shows.

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 very 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. 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.

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.


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 just outside 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.

Photo Taking:

Unfortunately, on this cruise, I think I developed a syndrome aptly called IPAD RAGE, because almost every 2nd elderly passenger had an IPAD which they used as a camera. Understandably, because they are easy to use, can take multiple pictures quickly, and can be filed or deleted at a later time. However, most of these IPAD’s take up a large amount of viewing space when placed up against the window of a bus whilst on tour; or worse still, if someone sitting in front of you tries to take a picture while you are in the theatre trying to see between 2 heads. Most of these IPAD’s are attached to a cover, which is left hanging underneath, thereby taking up double the viewing area. This annoying practice needs to be governed somehow & offending passengers need to be aware of how this practice affects other people around them, and be more considerate. Gone are the days of the small hand held camera’s, it now seems that IPAD’s are taking over with the ageing population.


Embarkation and disembarkation was handled extremely well. The Pursers Desk, Future Cruise Staff and Captains Circle staff handled most of our needs very efficiently. We were very fortunate to have the same stateroom steward for the first 84 nights, and this worked very well in our favor. Even though we partially tipped in advance, our cabin steward was extremely attentive, clean and thorough, & consequently got a nice tip when he left Our evening dining waiter and bar staff were also very good, although we chose not to tip in advance here, leaving it to the last night on board to slip each of our staff an envelope.

The Cruise Staff:

The Cruise Director Tim Donovan appeared to have an attitude problem, and was not very approachable, and didn’t appear to endear himself to many passengers. The Cruise Staff consisted of Matt, Kim, Brandon Mark, Martin and Mikey. Matt was the assistant Cruise Director, and took over as Cruise Director when Tim left. Matt appeared to enjoy his job, and always spoke. Martin was then promoted to Deputy Cruise Director, but this appointment left more than a lot to be desired!!

Kim was the Zumba instructor, and her classes every sea day were packed to overflowing. Other than Zumba and the occasional evening passenger show, you never saw her. Brandon was by far the most approachable, always had a smile, and seemed to care that he was there for the passengers. Mikey was patronizing, with a large attitude problem, and needs to acquire more PR skills. D.J. Mark was out of his depth on this cruise of elderly passengers. He gave the opinion that he didn’t want to be there, and for the most part, shouldn’t have been there. Martin was a complete waste of space, both as a member of the cruise director staff, and as Acting Deputy Cruise Director. Despite the differing issues with the Cruise Staff, they did manage to survive keep us entertained for the 104 days.

Tender service:

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.

Visa Acquisition:

For this cruise, the only Visa’s we had to get before boarding were for India and the United States. For whatever reason known only to them, the acquisition of the Indian Visa was a nightmare. From completing the forms online, then submitting them with your passport and required fee, then waiting for it all to be completed, created many nightmares for numerous passengers. The inequality of some passengers not getting the Indian visa at all, left a lot of the passengers who did get the visa angry at Princess for the differing stories & falsehoods we had been told. This is an area that needs to be immediately investigated and rectified by Princess.

Several other countries required visa’s. but these were organized onboard by Princess and charged to our cruise a/cs. Such a pity the Indian Visa could not have been done the same way.


Apart from a few minor hiccups, we had a fantastic 104 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.


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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013

If you are staying on Bajah deck be careful of your cabin choice - 2 storms 2 floods in the cabin. Cabin became smelly and hallways were allergy enducing/terrible. The the cabin staff were wonderful trying to dry everything but the ... Read More

If you are staying on Bajah deck be careful of your cabin choice - 2 storms 2 floods in the cabin. Cabin became smelly and hallways were allergy enducing/terrible. The the cabin staff were wonderful trying to dry everything but the smell remained as did the fans constantly in your ear.

If you have a special diet it takes some working out-if you are like me you just want to be treated like all other passangers, not miss out on anything and not be mad a show of. Well if you want that you have to take the time and explain it to the staff as you will not get it without doing so.

The ship itself is getting a little tired but we still managed to enjoy the activities onboard. It was really nice getting to know all of the cruise staff and once there was a change in cruise director half way through thing improved out of sight.

A change of chef half way through the cruise and the food improved 100% even the scons were not like hockey pucks. The special lunches were excellent and we even got to meet the chef on a number of occasions.

The movies onboard were disgusting and I suggest you take your own on a hard drive and watch on your computer if you can.

Live entertainment for the most part was good and some were extra good but too many comedians, most very poor.Espresso Coffee on board cost $30 for a card and is pretty good value but there was only one bar on board that made decent coffee. I really think they need new machines or they need to clean them more often. The staff are supposed to be Baristas but they are not.

The Indian Visa was a big issue and not only were we very annoyed by the amount of money for the visa but the total inconvenience of how you get the visa. As it was a port we had no desire to visit Princess needs to look at arrangements for people to stay on board if you dont have a visa. We in fact were told wether we stayed on board or not we had to have the visa or we would not be allowed to board the ship in Sydney. That was a total lie as many people had no visa they boarded the ship and weree allowed to stay onboard in India. Princess would not accept any responsibility for the messup an annoyingly had to be pushed into following up on the problem - nothing was ever resolved despite a partition from passangers onboard.

Princess advertised a speedy embarkation for priority passangers/another problem as we waited in line for a very long time. The also so say priority disembarkation we just not so for us we waited 3/4 hour for our luggage to come off the ship after us. People who came off the ship after us go their luggage before us and left whilst we were still waiting. Really just not very good at all.

One thing to be aware of is the lack of seating in public areas, my suggestion is to get there very early for any of the big shows or functions or you will stand. Also if it is a Captains Cocktail party stand near where the waiters come out or you may not eat or drink.

Princess and customs need to share ideas it took 4 hrs to get through customs in New Your leaving us only a few hours to see the place, it was really bad and we were standing the whole time.


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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
I have cruised since 2002, previously with Holland America (excellent experience & after Cunard regard them as much better value for money),Princess (very good, would choose them again) & P&O Australia (probably not again - well, enough ... Read More
I have cruised since 2002, previously with Holland America (excellent experience & after Cunard regard them as much better value for money),Princess (very good, would choose them again) & P&O Australia (probably not again - well, enough said). Embarked in great expectation, but found as the cruise progressed, pre cruise publicity not very accurate. The disappointments came fro a lot of little things. I will fill you in in 'dot point' fashion. I would probably think hard about going with Cunard again as the value is not there when compared with other cruises I have experienced. * Embarkation & De-embarkation - very smooth & easy (looked like P&O ground crew being used) * Found stateroom quickly (A lot smaller than other ships of same vintage & older) but not cleaned or prepared for 3 of us. * Went to Kings Court for a 'cuppa' ( & experienced our first taste of unhappy crew - sniping at each other) * Dined in Britannia Restaurant that evening (& most evenings), stewards and Maitre D welcomed us - great, but meal was good but not special. Our table stewards' service was excellent but took some time to warm up (again suffering from unhappy crew syndrome, may be because of many & varied cultural backgrounds)I must add that our table steward proved excellent. * Speciality Restaurants were booked out in a very short time after boarding. * Afternoon tea was a disappointment with soggy sandwiches and often stale cakes, &, often cold tea. * Ship ambiance, excellent but looking close at the timber panelling etc. showed how clever people are with the artificial. * Meals followed our first meal experience of being mostly good but not great. * We partook in the formal night activities and enjoyed them (your choice). * Kings Court, the few times we went, the food was pretty ordinary but always quick & easy. * Stage shows typical of cruising, not a lot of variation from other lines shows. * Illuminations would have been OK if special reclining seats were repaired or replaced. * Cunard Enrichment activities were good, informative & worthwhile - Library & Bookshop worth visiting. ( Commodore Rynd was available for book signing one day but I think was overwhelmed with response with many passengers turned away). * It was good not to feel overcrowded - on board passenger/space ratio excellent * Room Service excellent (better than buffet for quality) * Cabin Steward very obliging * reception staff very good. * Overall ship appearance - at just under 10 years old and following previous maintenance & upgrades, the ship is showing some lack of regular/ongoing maintenance (tired looking, bad rust in some areas) * We had 2 tender ports which was good but some new crew had difficulties with tenders (got to learn sometime somewhere I guess). * Entertainment throughout the ship was excellent * Guest entertainers ( mixed quality) * Ports were all good particularly Akaroa and Fiordland - bonus at Milford Sound where Cunard had arrange some publicity shots allowing us extra time in that beautiful place, even maneuvering/navigating within a few metres of a waterfall. * To repeat it was a lot of little things including some unhappy crew that let the ship down. Overall enjoyable cruise to a lovely area but not quite as publicity generated expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
On March 3, 2013, our day of departure, we arrived early at Barangaroo Wharf 5 in order to beat the crowds. Once there, we had an orderly check-in and then were asked to assemble with a group of about forty people. Apparently the ... Read More
On March 3, 2013, our day of departure, we arrived early at Barangaroo Wharf 5 in order to beat the crowds. Once there, we had an orderly check-in and then were asked to assemble with a group of about forty people. Apparently the passengers from the previous cruise were still disembarking, so HAL decided to treat us to a two-hour bus tour of Sydney while we were waiting. We had a nice tour around town and a stop-over at Bondi Beach. Once back at the Oosterdam, we were shown to our cabins without further ado. We were so pleasantly surprised by our stateroom; it was on the Navigation deck (8079), starboard center, with a gigantic verandah. The room itself was spacious and had ample luggage and storage room. Our two cabin stewards, Indra and Sutarno, were outstanding in every way. We got to know them quite well while on our twenty-seven day journey on the ocean waves. I would describe the Oosterdam as an elegant ship, neither dazzling nor garish. She was more cozy and comfy, with some nice artsy touches. Everything seemed to be spotless, which is, as they say, next to godliness. I noticed the profusion of hand-cleansing dispensers scattered around the ship. This gave me a clear impression that the management was dead serious about stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses through unwashed hands. Good for them! The food in the Lido Lounge was, um, average-to-slightly above-average most days. The best meals in the Lido, I think, were the breakfast omelets, Panini sandwiches, pasta bar, and dessert bar. The entrees could be hit or miss, depending on the day. There was also a little hamburger station at the Lido pool which served great burgers and hot dogs. A "Mexican" station was also set up by the Lido pool, and I hear the best item was the shrimp/guacamole/mandarin salad. We only dined in the Vista Lounge twice, and both times our steaks were as tough as a cadaver. With almost a month on board one gets a good feel for the ship's milieu. The Oosterdam was no exception, as we became settled into a routine on sea days. I know my husband complained a little about there not being much activity on board, and a slight insouciance by the athletic staff to organize sports activities during the day, especially table tennis. It would also be safe to say that there was very little activity for young children or teenagers onboard, as the Oosterdam is geared mostly for mature adults, although, ironically, the adults we spoke to all said that there should be more sports activities around the Lido pool area for adults. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the Oosterdam was the Crow's Nest, a lovely atrium-like area with great views and a nice little library and computer area. Each day the Cruise Director would host a Team Trivia game, and this proved to be a big hit. There was also Happy Hour at the Crow's Next bar and the Queen's Lounge, where passengers could buy their second drink for $1. I won't go into detail about ports visited, except to say that the process was very smooth indeed, even when we had to use the ship's tenders. One memorable occasion was when our tender was halfway between the ship and the Akaroa dock when the engine stopped. We floated for a good fifteen minutes and then, voila, the engines started up again. I'm glad they did, because Akaroa was a beautiful little town in a most picturesque and sheltered bay. There were many highlights of our cruise on the Oosterdam, not the least of which was our good fortune to meet some lovely people from Australia. These folks made our trip so memorable, along with the excellent Oosterdam Captain Arjen Van der Loo and his outstanding crew. All in all, it was a terrific experience and one I won't soon forget. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013

This was our third cruise on Oceania (including one on the predecessor Ranaissance) and the first on Marina. We did the itinerary from Sydney to Tahiti - 25 days - in March/April 2013. I cannot say enough about the quality of this ship. ... Read More

This was our third cruise on Oceania (including one on the predecessor Ranaissance) and the first on Marina. We did the itinerary from Sydney to Tahiti - 25 days - in March/April 2013. I cannot say enough about the quality of this ship. Luxury is found in every aspect of the ship. Among the most important elements is that the ship is very well sized for the passenger count. The Marina is larger than the previous Oceania ships and takes 1250 passengers. Both the physical size of the ship and the size of the staff is perfectly matched to the passenger count. There is never any difficulty finding a place to sit anywhere, whether in the buffet dining room, poolside, lounges, casino, or even getting on equipment in the fitness center. The cabins are very well sized and the space is very well used. The staff is uniformly excellent. I have never seen such friendly and pleasant people who are so eager to be helpful without being overbearing. The food is the best I have encountered on any other cruise line (and I have been on many others). There are four specialty restaurants (French, Italian, Asian and Beef) and each is fantastic with regard to both the quality of food, quality of presentation, breadth of menu and quality of service. There are no additional charges for these restaurants, although reservations are needed. The main dining room does not come up to the same high standard. Although the service there is excellent, and being seated (open dining) was never a problem, the menus and food quality not not nearly as good as the specialty restaurants. As a result, we had 19 of our 25 diners at the specialty restaurants. We eventually learned that on the nights when we could not get a reservation at a specialty restaurant, the buffet was an excellent alternative. The selection and quality was actually much better than the main dining room. As long as you don't mind the informality of a buffet, it is an excellent choice.

We really enjoyed the more casual dress code of this ship. A jacket is never required at any of the restaurants. There are no "formal nights" which for us is a pleasure.

We really appreciated that there are no extra charges for anything except liquor. Soft drinks, cappuccino, mixers, etc. are all free. We were on the concierge level and the concierge lounge was always well stocked with juice, soft drinks, bottled water, small snacks, coffee/tea/cappuccino. The fridge in out room was also stocked with soft drinks and water. Of course, alcohol is available for purchase, but much to our delight, they do not constantly push it on you as is the case on many other ships. If you are poolside and want a soft drink, it will be brought to you. If you want a drink you will get one easily but you won't be bombarded with constant attempts to sell you liquor. Especially nice that that whenever you leave the ship there is bottled water available as you leave. On so many other ships, they squeeze an extra few bucks out of you by selling water to you as you leave the ship.

Now for the one big negative...the pricing of their shore excursions is outrageously high compared to any other ship I have been on. Also, the quality of the excursions is nothing special. At a couple of our ports we took independently arranged excursions and they were much better and very much cheaper (1/2 to 1/3 the cost). One striking example is that at our disembarkation in Pappete, Tahiti, they ship charged $149/person to transfer to the airport by bus (a 15-20 minute ride). We took a cab which cost us $20 for 4 people.

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