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15 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
Sail Date: February 2014
Firstly, I'd like to say that myself and my partner (both 26) were travelling on this 14-day tour of the south pacific islands for our honeymoon. As a bit of background we both enjoy music (playing and listening), theatre shows, ... Read More
Firstly, I'd like to say that myself and my partner (both 26) were travelling on this 14-day tour of the south pacific islands for our honeymoon. As a bit of background we both enjoy music (playing and listening), theatre shows, dancing, and partying as well as relaxing with a good book. So we thought this cruise would provide the perfect honeymoon as a mixture of relaxation, beach fun, musical and theatre entertainment and some partying too. Ship: Pacific Jewel Cabin No: 11212 Cruise: 14-days around pacific islands - Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia Well it provided the beach fun and relaxation.... but thats about it. I'll elaborate more on the reasons why and what we did and didn't like about it later on. The main reason for writing this review is to inform others on what you will actually get on this cruise as we were very disappointed with the on-board entertainment and would, as a result, never cruise with P&O again and would NOT recommend it to honeymooners, 20-30 year olds, or anyone wanting to be entertained on board. Sea days (6 in total) were boring... which is a lot of time to be bored on what isn't a cheap holiday. Definitely a cruise for the lazy or those who literally want to do nothing when on ship... this may be suitable for some but was unacceptable to us. As I said we were on honeymoon. I booked it myself through the P&O website and was vigilant for anywhere I could use to let them know that it was our honeymoon, I had heard that on other cruises they would make you feel special, which I wanted for my new wife as she deserves it, and had also heard they would have a 'honeymooners club' with get-togethers on ship for all those on honeymoon - sounds good, right?. Finished booking... nowhere did it ask for additional information or special circumstances. Ok maybe I'd have an opportunity later. Forgot about it until less than a week before the wedding and my mother-in-law asked if I had let them know that it was our honeymoon. I had not... dammit! So she called and emailed P&O about it - they said "unfortunately we need to be informed at least 8 days prior to departure". We asked if there was anything that could be done - P&Os response "no"..... Right, well a little effort would have been appreciated but ok. So I decided to just let our room steward know on arrival to our room after embarkation. We let him know that we were on honeymoon, he congratulated us with smiles and enthusiasm (which was nice) and put some balloons and a sign up on our door to show it was our honeymoon..... that was the extent of 'special attention' given to us by P&O. Now I never expect special attention for anything but this was our honeymoon! Pretty disappointing - they didn't even organise a catch-up for other honeymooners despite seeing at least 5 other 'honeymoon' signs on other doors during walks around the ship. Moving on - we were originally booked in for an outside cabin located midship on level 9 (we picked it specifically) and asked NOT to be upgraded. Somehow about a week before the cruise we were informed of an 'upgrade' to deck 11, one cabin from the back of the ship.... definitely NOT an upgrade. but the midship cabins are easier to sell so they 'upgrade passengers from those to accommodate last minute sales. Not happy but didn't complain as it was 1 week away and we didn't have time to think about it with our wedding coming up. We were in room 11212 and ended up wit 'restricted view' out the window. Luckily for us we didn't have the 'chair scraping' issue that other cabins on deck 11 seem to have as we did not have any area of useable deck above us so for that reason it was quite good. It was also very close to the plantation restaurant (deck 12 directly above) and the oasis bar (below on deck 10). Cabin was clean and the cabin steward was very nice. On three occasions (over 14 days) we received towels in the shape of different animals. After only being on the ship a few hours it was clear that the average age of passengers on this cruise would be around 60! Also, putting it as delicately as possible and really trying not to offend anyone... a very large percentage of the passengers would be classed as obese! Whilst this is fine and has nothing to do with us it did, without exaggeration make navigating hallways and elevators very difficult. This is not a reflection on P&O as its not something anyone can help but it is something to consider! It could be very uncomfortable at times as we were the ones expected to get out of their way. Now you may think I have been quite negative so far but as reviews are generally viewed to get a sense of the negatives associated with the topic I will mainly focus on those and mostly summarise the positives at the end. The embarkation process was fast and easy, welcoming onto the ship was good, all the stewards, waiters, bartenders etc were very friendly and always helpful. The layout of the ship wasn't bad. The decor was simple, nothing opulent, and the common areas seemed a little cramped. The top deck consisted of a single common area with 2x small pools, 2x 6 person spas (for 1500+ passengers), a bar and 100+ lounge chairs with a balcony on the deck above overlooking this area. Food on board was either at the main buffet (Plantation restaurant), Waterfront restaurant (no charge), Salt Grill ($50pp) or La Luna ($40pp) as well as a cafe and a grill place for pizza, chips or anything deep fried. Buffet was reasonable. Food was very similar each day with small changes in variety of food supplied. Pre-made salads and baguettes/sandwiches weren't very nice at all. Had heard they do seafood buffets during the cruise - not once was this provided, which was disappointing. Some of the hot food was ok and was happy to try most things for lunch. Breakfast food was better than what was supplied for lunch or dinner. After 2 days of buffet food we ate at the Waterfront every day for lunch and dinner. Service at the waterfront restaurant was very good but was highly dependant on the waiter that you were allocated - we were very lucky. Ours were very friendly and between dinner courses would do magic tricks, tell us riddles or jokes, or made us intricate objects/animals out of napkins! The food was quite good considering there was no charge and we always got 3 courses, and sometimes extras if we were particularly hungry and asked them. We didn't eat in Salt Grill or La Luna so I can't comment on their service or quality. Food in the cafe or pizza place cost extra and were reasonable. Cocktails were very well priced at $9.50! We liked going out to the oasis bar on deck 10 and relaxing on the lounges with a pina colada! :) Considering the next topic this was about all there was to do during sea days. Entertainment - now this is a very important aspect of a cruise considering we spent 6 full days at sea, not to mention being at sea every night. So as far as we were concerned there needed to be enough entertainment to keep us interested and of good quality. We were extremely disappointed with most aspects of entertainment. When looking at the 'Pacific Daily', which is the daily schedule of activities, it would seem that there is a lot to do... but on closer inspection we found it hard to find 2 things per day to go to. We were MOST DISAPPOINTED with the quality of the musical theatre productions on board. The pacific entertainers (the dancers and singers on board) were absolutely terrible, we get better entertainment from our local scout groups annual performance - which is really saying something. The singing was average at best and the acting and dancing was uninspiring. We usually enjoy all forms of musical and theatre entertainment, so it might sound like we're being picky, but these performances were terrible and each night less and less passengers came to them. We only continued to go out of sheer boredom - it was either go to that or go to bed (at 9:30). The on-deck parties (I think there were 3) were an absolute joke. The pacific entertainers were unenthusiastic and failed to really interact with the crowd, seeming bored with being there at all. Rather than trying to improve the feel of the party they seemed resigned to the fact it was losing momentum (at 10pm). Bands on board were talented but failed to judge the crowd well and played the wrong songs at the wrong times - for party music they failed to get the crowd going. Now in all honesty this could have been due to the fact that 80% of the cruise passengers seemed to be over 60 years of age. Having said that P&O still should have made an effort for those who did want to say up until past 10 and enjoy some night time activities. Sigh... very lame. Dance classes - 2x salsa and 1x jive. Hardly extensive. Lots of bingo, at least once per day. Karaoke heats every day. Casino open most of the time. These seemed like the extent of regular activities- none of which i was interested in... sigh. During Sea days I did enjoy some of the on board 'adventure' activities (extra costs) including rock climbing up the rear funnel. These activities cost between $20 and $60 per turn but can be purchased as a package if you think you will use it often. To cut this review short and summarise: - Entertainment => Poor - Food => Reasonable - Service => Excellent - Ports => Great Not recommended for anyone under 30 or maybe even 40. Even young families may find the on-board activities lacking. Most activities have additional charges and they are NOT cheap. Even the pensioners we talked to on the ship were disappointed and the entertainment seemed to be directed towards them.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
Over the years, we have cruised for over 240 nights on all of the 5 Silversea ships combined with the exception of the Explorer-type ships. It is very sad to report that the last two cruises, back-to-back (25 days aboard), that we just ... Read More
Over the years, we have cruised for over 240 nights on all of the 5 Silversea ships combined with the exception of the Explorer-type ships. It is very sad to report that the last two cruises, back-to-back (25 days aboard), that we just finished: voyage 3404 from Singapore to Singapore (14 days) continuing on voyage 3405 from Singapore to Hong Kong (11 days) were really a disappointment especially when it came to the overall condition of the ship and especially the cabins. We last cruised on the Shadow in September/October 2013, from Vancouver to Shanghai (27 days) and the Shadow needed big time "TLC" then; we were told at the time that it was going to go in dry dock for a refurbishing before the end of 2013. Fast forward to this year's cruises and to our surprise when we boarded in Singapore we did not see any changes or updates in the public areas. When we checked into our suite, it looked dated to say the least and really needed work, the desk area looked like a mad child had taken a hammer and made nicks on its surface, the letter area on it was scratched and worn, the sofa and arm chair in the suite had threads coming out as if a cat with long nails had used them for scratching pad and the straight chair in front of the desk swayed like a rocking chair. The bathroom hardware was so worn that the chrome had worn was almost off. The black granite counter top was so worn out that it was white in some areas although the original color was black. The shelf underneath the two sinks was sagging and a someone had placed a large screw to hold it, but it had been so long that the screw had eaten through the wood and one had to be careful not to scratch ones hand when using the shelf. I could go on but I hope that by now the reader gets the idea of the condition of the suite. Silversea usually gives you a mid-cruise questionnaire asking you to return it to the Hotel Director, in this case it was Martin Blanar, I did write a lengthy review pointing out the things that I saw wrong and expressing my disappointment. Normally, once the questionnaires are submitted the Hotel Director normally sends a reply addressing the concerns, this time, we got a call from the front office requesting a face-to-face meeting with the Hotel Director and the Stephen, Guest Service Manager. I did go to the meeting and they basically told me, after apologizing profusely, that they kind of agree with me and that very little had been done during the dry dock to the ship and that they did not know of any plans to update the Shadow, and it was out of their control, at least they were honest. The next day when we were out the straight chair was changed and I noticed that the screw in the sagging shelf had been repaired. One of my big peeves is the fact that walking into a suite at any of the Silversea ships should have the same feeling as I was walking into a room at a Four Seasons, Ritz, Shangri-La, Peninsula or similar 5 star hotels. The suite should not feel like you are walking into run down Holiday Inn, especially for the premium prices that we pay to sail aboard a Silversea ships and the hype of their advertising. I do not know who bestows all the awards that Silversea gets but I am positive that these people have not sailed aboard the Shadow lately. Why do we pay so much money for these cruises and still have to buy blocks of time for the Internet, and be mindful of not over using them and making sure that we sign off correctly. Many times the sign on and signing off is so slow (I know because of satellites) that we have to go to the IT Concierge and when we complain and in most cases he gives you the time back without any fuss. It was announced during our cruise that Silversea was launching another Explorer-type ship, I feel that instead of expanding they should use the money to retrofit the existing ships, the company seems to be getting too greedy and it going to hurt them in the long run. I could go on but I don't want to lose the reader so I would just mention the latest "improvement" to the travel experience, it is the booklet that Silversea now sends with the ticket before we leave. It is personalized and it tells you all about the shore tours you have reserved, and it also gives you a partial description of the tour and it instructs you to go to the Silversea website for further information, unfortunately the company takes the tour information down one week before the departure so one is in la la land. When I asked the Tour Desk about the information they told me that they had no written information they could give me since Fort Lauderdale did not print the little booklet we used to get listing all the tours. Also, they used to send us two "leatherette" baggage tags, those were eliminated, I guess Silversea needs to save money. The booklet also tells you that now you can make reservations in the specialty restaurants up to 180 days prior to the sailing date. Who knows a few months before what kind of dinner one wants to have on a particular evening, I thought that one of the "big" pluses that Silversea advertises is that one could eat in any restaurant wherever one wanted, only La Terrazza, Le Champagne and pool Grill needed reservations, but normally you could get one a day ahead and in many cases the same day, I guess that we need to plan ahead from now or take our chances. I guess you probably wonder why we keep coming back to Silversea, and it is the wonderful crew and the service they give you. It never ceases to amaze me how they remember you, your name, and in many instances what your preferences are. The crew goes out of their way to make sure that all your requests regardless of how minute or odd may be, are taken care of. I hope someone at Silversea reads these reviews and wakes up.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had no storage and there was only one outlet (not sure how ships can do this as everything requires charging these days). Cabin was a draw. The amount of activities during the day was also a draw '" pretty standard. Nighttime was great '" plenty of activities going on '" karaoke was not made into a competition and was in a much better setting than we have seen. Shows were average to good. NCL wins this one. Dining  this one I have to preface as we knew what we were signing up for. This line has the multiple venues on it, plus the MDR and buffet options. However we found that the surcharges for some options (Chinese and Brazilian Steakhouse) were kind of steep at $15.00 pp. We did dine at Le Bistro which we thought was great and reasonable '" however Cagney’s was nothing mind-blowing. The thing we disliked about the MDR is the choices were repetitive and not up to par with other lines. I’m pretty sure this is because they want to steer you towards the pay to eat dining. For this reason I wouldn’t consider taking this line on any cruise longer than 7 days- especially not a Transatlantic. Not a loss, but not really a draw either. I’ll call this a detraction. We had heard from some friends that took the Dawn several years ago they did not like this type of cruising because it was difficult to meet others. I have to concur as the 2 nights we ate in the Venetian we requested to be seated with others '" of course we were not. This doesn’t seem to fit into their business model as most tables were set up for to 2 to 4 diners. We really enjoy meeting the other passengers and hearing about their travel experiences. Another reason to not take a longer sailing on this line. This was a loss for NCL. The staff was competent, but they lacked the warmth and friendliness I have seen in other lines. Although we frequented the pub, we were never greeted by name, asked where we were from, how is the cruise going etc. NCL gets a minus on this. There were plenty of pre-school kids on this cruise and I have to applaud the parents as they were all well behaved and any bad behavior was nipped in the bud. Way to go Moms & Dads! A plus but this had nothing to do with NCL. Finally, this was absolutely the WORST disembarkation ever. NCL pretty much said '" whatever you all want to do '" take off your bags- fine with us. Have your bags at the terminal '" ok by us. The problem with this is that everyone decided to leave ALL AT ONCE. This resulted in a line that took over an hour before leaving the ship with passengers standing in a line that wrapped around the ship including outdoors. Why weren’t you classy and time everything out like the other lines do? If you want to take your bags off you must be off the ship at a certain time. Want to get your bags at the terminal '" great '" wait in one of the lounges or dining rooms until your color is called. I really felt bad for parents with little ones and passengers that were not handicapped but had mobility issues that made standing for a long time difficult. This is no way to treat passengers on the last day of their cruise. Disgraceful. NCL, you should be embarrassed- this is the last impression you leave with the passengers and it was also the worst. NCL is at the bottom of the barrel for disembarkation.   Read Less
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 to ... 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 Read Less
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. Read Less
3 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 smell ... 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.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
This was our first cruise with MSC. We are experienced cruisers, having sailed before with many other lines (European and North American cruiselines). We did our homework before sailing and we knew what not to expect at MSC cruises (for ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC. We are experienced cruisers, having sailed before with many other lines (European and North American cruiselines). We did our homework before sailing and we knew what not to expect at MSC cruises (for example no free table water nor coffee or tea after dinner). For that reason many things already mentioned on this board have not bothered us. We were prepared and actually our expectations were not very high. My review touches many aspects, which I would like to rate individually.1) First some words to the Itinerary and ports of call. We have chosen this cruise because of the Itinerary. We found it a very nice way for us to travel from South America to Europe and a good alternative to flying. The ports of call were Buzios, Salvador Bahia, Recife, Arrecife, Cadiz, Coruna, Dover, Amsterdam and Hamburg.I would rate the itinerary and ports of call as very good with five stars.2) Precruise booking process. For South America, MSC has not the option of booking online. The website is of no use for us, because we cannot even determine the prices of the cruises. We are always directed to a travel agent. Being fairly independent, I usually do my own reserach for my cruises online. Once I am ready to book, I tell my travel agent already all the details and ask her to do the booking for me. This procedure was not possible with MSC Cruises. Even for the small question I had to go through the travel agent. Fortunately I have for MSC cruises a very good travel agent and things worked out fine. However since I would prefer to have more freedom for booking, making reservations and managing my reservation online, I would rate this aspect as poor with two stars.3) The ship. The MSC Magnifica is a very nice and elegant ship. It is also in a very good condition. The fitness center does not have enough machines as other cruise lines though. I would rate the ship and facilities as good with four stars.4) Fellow passengers. Having read several comments from other cruise critic members about how unpolite passengers on MSC cruises are, and being used to the very considerated and polite manners from Northamerican cruisers, I was a litle aprehensive before boarding MSC Magnifica. I have to say, that I was nicely surprised. Passengers were from different countries in South America and Europe. Well educated, wealthy and well travelled Brasilians were the mayority. We have enjoyed the internationality among passengers. I would rate this aspect as very good with five stars.5) Food and Wine. For us it was a pleasure to enjoy Italian style of food. Yes the portions are not large, but they were large enough for us. We have missed a proper steak after such a long cruise but we have enjoyed pastas and rissotos. I had the best Ossobuco at sea onboard the MSC Magnifica. The German style bread was excellent. Wines were good. We could not have the allegrisimo package because of a funny explanation that South Americans drink too much and this is why it is not available on those itineraries. Really? Well, we did not need the package. Our thanks to the sommelier who always gave us a good advice on the wines. I would rate food and wine as very good with five stars.6) Cabin and facilities. We were in a balcony cabin. It was nice although small. The television was too small for any cabin. The programms on the TV were very limited with almost no news while the ship was on the Brasilian coast and during the crossing. Only once in Europe, several European channels were available. I would rate this aspect as good with four stars.7) Friendliness of the crew. Cabin attendants and waiters were very friendly. I would rate this as excellent with five plus stars.8) Interaction with officers and management response to problems. Unfortunately this is our main critic to MSC Magnifica. Officers were seldom to see. We have never met the hotel director. Every thing seemed to be fine as long as we did not need to communicate with Management. If we had some concerns, we were blocked by guest relation's personnel without being able to access the management. It gave us the feeling that if more serious problems were to arise we would receive litle help. I would rate this aspect as poor with two stars.9) Hygiene on board. We had the feeling that not enough measures were taken on this ship to control outbreaks like Norovirus or others. Sanitizers were many times empty or nobody paid attention if they were being used. I would rate this aspect as poor with two stars.10) Entertainment. We have loved the music from Musica in Maschera. We have enjoyed the Brasilian music in the different bars. We would rate this aspect as excellent with five plus stars.In summary we had a good cruise (according to my rating this means three stars). We would sail with them again if we like the itinerary. We would like to try a different ship instead of the Magnifica to be able to compare among ships of the MSC cruiseline. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
We started a our cruise in Beijing.China. Not a good start the night before when Regent was hosting our free night in the Peninsula Hotel Beijing with a social dinner in a special room where we could meet other guest s who would be ... Read More
We started a our cruise in Beijing.China. Not a good start the night before when Regent was hosting our free night in the Peninsula Hotel Beijing with a social dinner in a special room where we could meet other guest s who would be travelling with. Well, No Host from the ship turned up !!! Food was like a sub par meal you could get in a bad restaurant!!! Next we get on ship which was fine, suites always comfortable and clean and service there second to none. Staff wonderful. Restaurants on ship overall very disappointing . standard of food not good, when I spoke to the chef, was told that Head Office dictate the quality of food, steaks on the ship were uneatable sent back to the kitchen many times. Know for a fact, was not the best of quality having been in the Restaurant Business many years before. Fish was always overcooked, had to make sure they knew what to ask for when we wanted anything in the dining rooms!!!. Service in restaurants had been cut back staff had too many tables to cope with. Very often we had to wait 10/15 minutes to remove our dinner plates, we ended up walking out of the restaurants. We found having travelled before on both the sister ships that after they were sold, standards dropped and now after hearing the CEO of the company all they are looking for is the bottom line= meaning money money money. They do not care for the discerning traveller. how sad.!!!! We were on the ship for 78 nights.Think again about making a long travels with this line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough sea, many passengers found that the meals weren't as attractive to them as they expected ;-) Barcelona proved to be an interesting place for everyone but Athens/Piraeus didn't really want the QM2. So due to high winds and a bad forecast for the next days Commodore Rynd and Cunard decided in the late evening to change the next destination to Heraklion/Crete. This is not quite an alternative to Athens, but larger ports in the region are rare. 70ton provisions stayed in Priraeus and subsequently eggs became a rare occasion, good for our cholesterol balance. Port Said saw us at late afternoon from a far distance and by 1am QM2 entered the Suez Canal in a foggy night. Almost until Ismailia the sight was poor, but the atmosphere nevertheless tensioning. The view of Suez was then clear and the short trip to Ain Sokhna completed in slow motion. Ein Sokhna - not a place to live or to die, only a place to enter the buses to Cairo and Gizeh. Next day saw us early in Safarga, only to get into the buses to Luxor. I wish I hadn't done this... Strange Egyptian water-waste-regulations required the the ship to block the washing machines and call for water saving, later enhanced because of a emerging water shortage due to unavailability of drinkable water supplies since Barcelona. Security precautions required blacking outs like 1942 for the next days from dawn to dusk and killed by this the board live almost to zero. The company of NATO warships was most welcomed although the pirates waited until the safe zone was passed for showing up and attracting the ship's attention. Anyway, nothing serious happened and we reached the fantastic town of Dubai in time. Major disadvantages: Very noticeable cost cuttings by Cunard in restaurant service and food selection All important regions with the exception of the southern part of the Suez Canal have been passed in the deepest night time. Read Less

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