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96 Miami to South America Cruise Reviews

We chose this adventure because of the reputation al National Geographic and their photographers. We were not disappointed. We were lucky enough to have Don Johansson on board to educate us on Darwin and the discovery of “Lucy”. ... Read More
We chose this adventure because of the reputation al National Geographic and their photographers. We were not disappointed. We were lucky enough to have Don Johansson on board to educate us on Darwin and the discovery of “Lucy”. What a treat! We were able to see all the wild life up close and personal and learn how to get really good shots. Every activity was planned to the tee and the scheduling and timing was on point. Unreal. The ship was delightful and the food was authentic and delicious with several “theme “ nights. The wait staff learned our favorites and were always ready to please! The staff was multi talented. Their knowledge of the area was unsurpassed and one night we were entertained by them with their entertainment and guitar skills! I’d you are lucky enough to have Salvatore on board please ask him to make the sound of a sea lion! If you hav ever had The Galápagos on your bucket list, this is the company to book with. A trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Loved the intiniary going to columbia,peru and Chile . My husband had hurt his ankle and needed a wheelchair at embarking we waited 6 hours with other handicap and no wheel chairs came. One 95 year old was carried on by a family ... Read More
Loved the intiniary going to columbia,peru and Chile . My husband had hurt his ankle and needed a wheelchair at embarking we waited 6 hours with other handicap and no wheel chairs came. One 95 year old was carried on by a family member. Food in dinning room was cold, many tasteless and service was to long. We missed four 7:30 shows even though we got to dinning room at 5. We asked for ice to Stewart for my husband's injury could not get went to buffet and filled my bag myself Missed columbia due to mechanical issues got to other ports one had no stores open due to sunday. Should have received credit none given Tendering to port for Lima unless you are taking a tour no cab's to city and 3 sets of police telling us its unsafe. Tendering in paracas was changed they used a tour company boat. Step with little assistance was big. Getting off I actually had to jump down un safe. Tour cost was huge example take bus after cruise to valiparisio was 85.00 per person local same bus company 6.00 for two. Bus terminal a 10 minute walk. Paracas boat tour 169.00 at dock 25.00. Still had fun but was very disappointed Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The cruise was great although the ports left a lot to be desired. I don’t understand why ncl would pick ports such as these. I loved the ship, but the ports were run down and not near anything. I took a bus into one of the towns, as soon ... Read More
The cruise was great although the ports left a lot to be desired. I don’t understand why ncl would pick ports such as these. I loved the ship, but the ports were run down and not near anything. I took a bus into one of the towns, as soon as I got off the bus I was told by 3 local policemen it was not safe to walk around the area alone. So why would the ship bring us to such a dangerous place ?? All in all South America has left a bad impression on me. We took an excursion to a rain forest and saw many make-shift homes made out of pieces of trees and cardboard , bananas and 1 sloth. Nothing else. As soon as the sloth was spotted, we headed back towards the ship, and the gift shop. The food in the main dining room and buffet on the ship was 1 step above prison food, unless you bought the dining package. The service was excellent. The entertainment suburb. Lots of onboard activities such trivia and husband and wife not so newlywed game, they were lots of fun. My cabin was great close to everything, and lots of storage. The ships singers and dancers were fabulous. All in all the best part of the cruise , except for the food , was the ship was the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Seems like Embarkation was our initial warning. We literally stood in line for registration in the Miami Cruise Terminal for over 2 hours. The lack of concern for the passengers became the theme of our cruise. Our first two ports, which ... Read More
Seems like Embarkation was our initial warning. We literally stood in line for registration in the Miami Cruise Terminal for over 2 hours. The lack of concern for the passengers became the theme of our cruise. Our first two ports, which were in Columbia, were canceled before the ship even sailed. How many passengers had booked this cruise for the Colombian ports? Based on the grumbling we overheard, a lot. This was very disappointing. The food offered in the buffet and the two main dining rooms was mediocre, at best. The only excellent meal we had on board was at the very expensive steak restaurant, which cost us $150. Our cabin had not been cleaned well before we boarded: lots of greasy hand prints on closet and cupboard doors. The back of the cabin door looked like it had not been cleaned for many cruises - don’t the stewards ever look there? We found fingernail clippings on our cabin’s sofa upon our arrival. Really! Our steward did make an effort after we brought these matters to his attention, but should we really have to tell the staff how to clean? Our cabin was comfortable for the two of us, it was a mini-suite with balcony. It would have been so much more comfortable if we’d have had more sturdy chairs on the balcony with a table conducive for drinks or meals. We just had a tiny little side-table that barely had room for two drinks, let alone a plate or book or anything else. There was plenty of entertainment on board; we enjoyed the musical shows a lot. But that stinky Casino! Why make such a big deal about where people can smoke on the ship and then leave the doors to the casino open to stink the whole ship up with cigarette smoke? That smell was the first thing to greet us each day when we stepped out of our cabin. The staff is very well organized when it comes to ports and shore excursions. The ship’s excursions are pretty expensive, but well run. I would have appreciated a bottle of water on some of them. Is that too much to ask? The lecturers who gave presentations were very lacking in depth and breadth of their knowledge of the topics. Their presentations for the most part were shallow. Would we go again? Not on Norwegian, I’m afraid. There were just too many additional charges for every little thing: with no do-it-yourself laundry facilities, the charges for wash and fold were pretty high; Spa prices are high as expected, but the services were not really special - I get a much nicer pedicure at home for less money. My 14-day gel nails only made it a week. Again, the Spa services were not as special as their prices would suggest. The final straw was the lack of dark chocolate desserts - not even a dark chocolate bar could be found in the ship’s stores! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe ... Read More
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe wide open on a balcony over a noisy area. Last evening tried to checkin for flight home but could not get online. No one available to help. -embarkation was slow for no discernible reason. -Gym classes and instructors good and reasonably priced with a one time charge. -Deck 5 forward was quiet. -not happy with port changed. -Took taxis rather than tours. -this was my second time on an NCL ship. Probably will not cruise with NCL again unless the price and itinerary are exceptional. -had several enjoyable meals in dining room where food was better but did not always want to spend time there and miss a show or other live entertainment. -happy with staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We did the back to back Norwegian cruise, leaving Miami and ending in Buenos Aires. The restaurant, cabin and cruise director staff was AMAZING. The on and off cruise systems were horrible. Causing hours and hours of waiting in line ... Read More
We did the back to back Norwegian cruise, leaving Miami and ending in Buenos Aires. The restaurant, cabin and cruise director staff was AMAZING. The on and off cruise systems were horrible. Causing hours and hours of waiting in line on ship, and being out money. ADMINISTRATION WAS A NIGHTMARE. Things I wish I knew as a cruiser. * Keep all receipts and if any concern email vs. wait in line. I had over 8 hours of lines... I recouped the money I paid for things like excursions, bad restaurant bills &spa. Net/Net - they don't care about your money and their systems don't connect. I did have all the receipts, but still had to wait line after line after line... just to 'prove' I prepaid or was misbilled. * Have a plan b for Norwegian air and transfers. Although I booked my husband and daughter's air and transfers through Norwegian, Norwegian lost all records for transfers and airline. The American airlines flight was delayed by 5 hours, so they missed their flight. My nineteen year hold daughter was stranded in Chile airport.I am out over $1k due to this. Multiple emails. * Remember the minute you embark on the ship, the systems you used before you onboarded do not connect to the ship. I had to get the General Manager on the ship involved, so my husband and son could board. I'll cruise again, but I will budget additional money for all the snafus. I thought with travel insurance and booking everything through Norwegian, I would be covered. They just sent me a very negative email saying "I received chocolate strawberries and pepsi", and here is $100 credit for another cruise. I thought this is incredibly rude given what myself and many others dealt with. Beyond the over $1k,, we missed missing 2 attractions, my family being delayed by 3 days and me spending 8 hours in line after after line. For my travel insurance I submitted all of my receipts... and now they are saying I have to "prove" the flight was delayed... even though I already sent that information. It is sad to me that their administrative issues clouds the really fun workers that work on the ship. The cruise director, restaurant and cabin staff were exceptional. I am a seasoned travel and was taken aback by the apathy, system issues and outright regard for my families safety and budget. Hope this helps for someone that is cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that the delay was caused by an unannounced ship inspection which NCL STAR passed with ease. An explanation of the unavoidable delays should have been communicated to all passengers as soon as possible (e.g., in the newsletter) so that those unfamiliar with NCL would know that NCL check in is usually efficient. By not communicating it to passengers, NCL missed an opportunity to reduce passenger displeasure with NCL even before boarding the ship. Even as a PLATINUM level NCL Cruiser, our check in took one and a half hours. It was the slowest and most inefficient check in I have ever experienced. Even the photograph taken at check in did not process which required that we line up again at customer service desk to re-take the photo. NCL security would not allow anyone to disembark without a photo registered. Dining People go on cruises to EAT and my experience with the food on the NCL Star is hit & miss; mostly a miss. Some dishes were good, others were less so. Here are more examples re my disappointment with dining in the NCL Star: the scallops were minuscule and overly salted; the pork loin seemed overcooked which made it unnecessarily tough, the sliced sirloin was so tough it was inedible, the french toast, scrambled eggs and cinnamon buns and every fish dish I tried (except for the salmon poached in broth) were overcooked, i.e. dry. Maybe others had better luck, The sliced fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries and honeydew) were NEVER ripe. This made the fruit hard and not flavorful. This was especially true for the morning fruit plate that could be ordered for breakfast room service. I stopped eating fruit. BUFFET Overall, the food at the Garden Buffet is below average with dishes reappearing in other forms on consecutive days and a very monotonous breakfast selection. For example, if one day you had a pork roast, the following day you may likely see sliced breaded & fried pork steaks with some overcooked sauce. Unlike on prior NCL ships where you could find a daily roast (e.g. turkey, pig, prime rib, roast beef) the NCL Star often just offered roasted chicken. Bottom line: there is plenty to eat in the complimentary restaurants; it’s just that the food preparation and presentation is below average. Maybe the NCL STAR needs a new more creative chef or a higher food budget. Not once did we see roast turkey, prime rib or sucking pig. I usually only go to the buffet for breakfast for an omelette. I’ll also admit I enjoy passing by the buffet late in the evening for a light snack. The fresh cookies that used to appear on every other NCL ship are GONE. The cookies now served seem to be made from a frozen dough roll and are not edible. There is also no real ice cream station. The soft serve ice cream machine is not good. I was also disappointed with the juices offered in that they are overly sweet and not good. Even their coffee is just OK. THE BEST COFFEE is what you can make in your room if you can get a coffee machine. Most of the cakes offered at the Buffet that I tried lacked moisture and flavor, and were not as aesthetically pleasing as on prior NCL cruises. A cake must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, moist and flavorful; never dry. I often stopped after the first bite because the cakes failed. On the positive side: I often did not finish one entire piece of cake. The bottom line is that it’s not about serving lobster or fillet mignon; it’s about doing right what is served. The most edible daily cake was the pound cake that was consistently fresh and moist. COMPLIMENTARY RESTAURANTS The complimentary Versailles & Aqua restaurants provide a sit down served meal in a relaxed, elegant, yet casual environment with table cloths, a menu, and waiter service. You can even have dinner wearing nice shorts and sandals at Aqua. I go on cruises to relax and even having to dress up for dinner is sometimes stressful; so at Versailles & Aqua you can dress down and still have a wonderful unhurried served meal where you order from a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Loved them both, but especially Versailles with its high ceilings. Aqua, on the other hand, tends to be a bit too loud for my taste because of its low ceiling. The larger more formal Versailles does not permit men to wear shorts at dinnertime. I was also able to dine at Cagney’s Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaría (Brazilian steakhouse), Le Bistro and La Cuccina. All specialty restaurants are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the offerings at the Versailles or Aqua. There is a fee to dine in these specialty restaurants but it is the onky way to ensure you enjoy an excellent meal. It is disappointing to say that in this NCL ship, my favorite dish were the fajitas served at the 24 hour O’sheehans Pub. In all 16 days, the best meals were at the specialty restaurants. I do not remember one memorable meal at either the complimentary Aqua or Versailles restaurants. As a Platinum NCL cruiser, this is the first ship where I have uniformly been disappointed with the complimentary restaurants as well as the buffet. Not sure if it is just a substandard head chef or an attempt to cut costs. The dinner at Moderno includes unlimited served steak, chicken, lamb, pork, lamb chops and chorizo as well as a salad bar with hearts of palm, marinated grilled peppers, cold shrimp, cheeses, in addition to the usual salad bar fare. If you have a special event to celebrate Moderno could be a more exclusive quieter space with good quality meats. Even vegetarians would enjoy Moderno because of the salad bar. The Brazilian cheese rolls at Moderno are soft flavorful and delicious. Service Service is where the NCL STAR excels. The service throughout the NCL STAR is simply put: Excellent; period. I would attribute that to a committed hardworking well-trained young staff. I was extremely impressed with the commitment of the mostly young and foreign staff throughout the ship, from housekeeping to food service. Housekeeping staff was uniformly excellent. Whatever you need, they try to accommodate you. For example, I always like having iced water; my rook steward brought me a small ice bucket and made certain it was regularly refilled. Towels were fluffy, thick and absorbent, the bed was always beautifully made and the stateroom was kept impeccably clean and tidy. The restaurant staff was equally excellent: they were professional, efficient, attentive, respectful and always had a welcoming smile. Now, if the chef and food preparers could be reminded of what makes for a good cinnamon bun, soft scrambled eggs, moist French toast, tender and juicy pork or beef roast, tender ribs, edible scallops and what should be a very basic baked fish dish, I would have rated the food on the NCL Star as excellent; however, it wasn’t. Remember NCL, it’s not about seeing lobster or prime rib: just do well what you do well and passengers will reward with excellent evaluations and praise. The heroes of every cruise, are the cabin attendants that ensure your cabin is kept clean, tidy, stocked, functional and smelling nice. Even if you included the service charge when you paid for your cruise, tip them a little extra before you disembark. They should never be taken for granted and should be rewarded for having to work with those cleaning chemicals all day. Enrichment Activities Enrichment activities need to be reworked and improved, especially in the longer cruises with more sea days and with an older passenger composition. I have suggested that NCL add real enrichment opportunities more appropriate for older frequent cruisers who may not be as enthusiastic about drinking games, sexy man contest, newlywed game, etc. For example, I’d like to use my time onboard to learn how to learn how to cook new dishes, how to bake the perfect cookies or rolls or create a travel blog, something that would be of benefit to NCL itself. Imagine if NCL CRUISERS wrote excellent blogs about their NCL experience. Being able to use one’s time to learn something useful would be well received. Other cruise lines are already providing computer and cooking lessons for cruisers; NCL should too. Learning to play bridge is OK but improving one’s computer or specialty cooking skills is undeniably more desirable and better use of our time, especially for older passengers who want to improve tech skills or learn how to prepare dishes from some of the ports visited. The cake decorating session was more of a fun comedy exercise than a serious baking or cake decorating learning session. For the longer cruises, lectures about the recent history or current political realities of each country visited would add so much to the overall experience. The lecturer on this ship was more of an entertainer than a serious lecturer. His talks seemed to be aimed at middle school children that needed to be entertained. Am sure there are even some cruisers who would be willing to host talks and share their own knowledge of each port. The content of the lectures offered on this cruise were substandard and never covered the current political and economic situation in the countries visited or any discussion of their history and culture. Entertainment Enjoyed most shows. The production shows with the ship’s singers and dancers were consistently the best. The comedian was OK but a couple of young Ukrainians who did some aerial maneuvers was repetitive, amateurish and embarrassingly bad. The magician was extremely funny and performed basic but entertaining tricks. The music throughout the ship was varied and uniformly good. Everyone could find enjoyable live music. The music by the pool and in other public spaces was significantly more mellow and less loud than what one would hear on 7-day Caribbean cruises with a younger passenger composition that may prefer blaring music by Pitbull, Cardi B, rappers and top 40 artists. Fitness & Recreation The Spa Thermal Suite on the NCL STAR is not as large and impressive as the thermal suite on the larger ships. On this trip, I found the $159 price charge for the 16 day cruise VERY reasonable. In my opinion, it is worth the added expense just to have a quiet less crowded child-free area to relax in. My only observation is that the chairs in each of the relaxing areas should be replaced with cushioned lounges. The staff in the Spa should also ensure that the area is kept clean, dry and tidy. A number of times I saw plates & glass cups brought from the buffet uncollected for hours. I also never saw the Spa maintenance remove sitting water from the areas around the lap or thermal pools or the jacuzzi or from the area outside the men’s sauna, steam room & cold plunge pool. Those area were consistently wet and dangerously slippery. The iced water containers in the Spa were often empty; they should be regularly refilled. The Spa treatments offered are expensive and superficial; avoid them. Even with a $75 coupon, the facial I tried was significantly below average compared to any facial you would have at home. It was mostly pizzaz but hardly any real cleaning and definitely no extractions. For example, although I intentionally pointed out one blackhead by the nose before beginning the facial, that one blackhead was still there when the treatment ended despite mentioning it twice during the actual treatment. It was a nice face massage with a number of ointments applied, pretty background music, nice smells, but not a real professional facial cleaning. At the end of the treatment, although a 20% tip is already included on your bill, the nice young lady who just did your face massage will hand you the bill with an open space for an ADDITIONAL TIP. Beware: a 20% “service charge” already added to your bill included, IS the tip; remind her. This is how I felt at the end of the very expensive Spa treatment: I felt like one feels after one goes on one of those time-share tours. The difference, however, is that in addition to being subjected to pressure to purchase products you don’t need and to give a tip in excess of 20%, you are paying a price that is significantly higher than what you pay at home. Avoid the temptation to sign up for any Spa treatment. Beware. Shore Excursions The NCL excursions are expensive, impersonal and just too large. On this cruise, I identified tour operators through Trip Advisor reviews and searching sites such as Viator. I then contacted a number of tour operators at each port and proposed an itinerary combining the highlights of some of the excursions available through NCL, Trip Advisor or Viator. I requested a proposal from each tour operator for a group from a Cruise Critic, at a significantly reduced price, of course. Whomever hasn’t joined Cruise Critic, should. It’s a great way to learn of lower priced and more comprehensive excursions for 20-30 cruisers organized by members themselves. I was able to design an excursion at each port and filled every space with little effort; the excursions were comprehensive and cheap. If you do this, I suggest asking members for a 20% deposit a month before the cruise and requiring full payment on or before the Meet & Greet. You must ensure that when you commit to a final number, you will be able to deliver for the tour operator. Without deposits and advance full payment, you may find that some cruisers just don’t show up on the day of the excursion. That could affect everyone else because often the low price negotiated is based on a minimum number of paying participants. I was able to negotiate prices that were at most a 1/3 of a comparable NCL excursion. The key to success in organizing a private excursion for Cruise Critic members is: (1) identifying a tour operator with excellent Trip Advisor reviews, (2) not being overly ambitious in designing an itinerary (to ensure your group returns in time for departure) and (3) having all participants make payment before departure. It’s a lot of work but the benefits are significant and these smaller excursions with other Cruise Critic members are a lot of fun. Passenger Composition Longer cruises attract a calmer, older, educated, and cordial passenger load. I found fellow passengers to be extremely polite, friendly, kind, and easy going. Compared to other NCL CRUISES I also found the music selection throughout the ship to be much more relaxed; more mellow rock and vocals and less Pit Bull, rap or hip hop. It was relaxingly delicious for a cruise. There was also a time where the promenade of deck 7 was pleasantly busy with walkers, some a little slower than others but the slow ones kindly staying on the right to allow the faster walker to maintain their pace. Many of these walkers had headphones and some elderly couples walked hand-in-hand which was lovely to see as the average age of the couples was on the high side. Everyone got along well. Mi also noticed that some walkers preferred to walk also in deck 7 but walked inside on the more cushioned carpet. Another wonderful observation of the longer cruise is that the pool area is never full or loud. I also noticed that unlike in other cruises, passengers are very cordial with each other and there is not the morning rush to reserve lounge chairs. When a chair is being used there was usually a body on the chair. It was also nice to see the two pools hardly ever used or full and the four whirlpools always had plenty of space, and usually by 5 or 5:30 pm, one or more of the whirlpools were vacant. And although the pool slide was opened on every nice day at sea, there was hardly ever a line. NCL STAR Ports I booked the NCL STAR’s South America 16 day cruise primarily because of the scheduled visits to historically-relevant Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia. Those stops were cancelled only a week before the cruise without much of an explanation from NCL headquarters. The reason given was “mechanical reasons,” a term which caused widespread concern among Cruise Critic Roll Call participants who imagined the worse, i.e., safety issues. Those port visits were replaced by Grand Cayman and Puerto Limon. Grand Cayman is nothing more than an uneventful beach stop. Beach stops on longer cruises (with predominantly older passenger composition) are neither appealing nor desirable. Passengers would have preferred Panama City, for example, or any other more historically-interesting port. More attention should be given by NCL in how it communicates schedule changes to passengers and how it identifies replacement ports. Final Disembarkation: Be sure to pick up your preferred color luggage tags early if you have a preferred time to disembark. If someone in your party requires wheel chair assistance, the party should go to the announced meeting spot to wait for assistance disembarking. Tip your wheelchair steward. The Port of San Antonio is significantly better prepared to receive disembarking passengers than the Port of Valparaiso. When I disembarked in Valparaiso, it was chaos and I speak perfect SPANISH. There were taxis waiting to rip-off cruisers who simply wanted to get to the bus terminal less than 5 minutes away and the bus terminal was unprepared for English speaking customers. I am certain that a number of cruisers disembarking in Valparaiso were subjected to scams or even victims of pickpockets or worse. The Port of San Antonio, on the other hand, was prepared. There was English-speaking young persons providing information to disembarking cruisers, young persons serving as volunteer porters helping passengers with their luggage, the luggage was placed in a well organized, large, clean, covered holding area, Chilean customs was efficient, there were sitting areas for passengers, clean bathrooms and personnel everywhere providing information and assistance in English. The best part, however, was that disembarking passengers did NOT have to make their way to the city’s bus terminal to catch a regular Chilean $7 bus ride to Santiago. There was a bus actually inside the Port where English speaking employees from the Chilean Pullman Bus Company would sell you a bus ticket with a credit card, help place your luggage in the luggage hold under the bus and even assign you a seat in the bus. It was amazing service. Cruisers did not need to exit the protected Cruise Terminal area to hop on a regular Chilean bus to Santiago. REALLY...AMAZING! Kudos to the City of San Antonio! Why would any cruise line disembark in Valparaiso when they can disembark their passengers safely and efficiently in San Antonio. San Antońio has been the most organized port where I have disembarked on any NCL cruise, Miami included. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this cruise for us to get closer to Easter Island where we were planning to visit but Norwegian Star Cruise Line was not an enjoyable cruise for us this time...and I thought it could have been nice as the other one I had. Most ... Read More
I chose this cruise for us to get closer to Easter Island where we were planning to visit but Norwegian Star Cruise Line was not an enjoyable cruise for us this time...and I thought it could have been nice as the other one I had. Most crew or officers don't greet cruisers but only a handful of waiters and Bliss Ultra Lounge blonde bartender; food quality were average, fruits were not ripped, simple meals, never had lobster included in our 15 days cruise; we had specialty dining and it was just average; everyday/every night clang noise which we informed customer service...the head of housekeeping came and that's it...; he reported it and later when we asked, he didn't have an answer. Almost at the end of the cruise, we asked again and he still didn't have an answer but offer us a specialty dining or changing our cabin. We declined. We never knew what was causing that annoying noise. Beside of the above issues, the worst, first time we encounter a rude stateroom steward and lousy one. I've pictures of how he made the beds.... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This year, we dumped Viking, after a decade, because of the recent cutbacks to their on-board experience. We were delighted to find none of those annoyances on Insignia. The food is outstanding. We enjoyed trying a lot of ... Read More
This year, we dumped Viking, after a decade, because of the recent cutbacks to their on-board experience. We were delighted to find none of those annoyances on Insignia. The food is outstanding. We enjoyed trying a lot of "luxury" foods that we don't have at home: oysters Rockefeller; caviar; lobster, escargot, filet mignon, etc. And we enjoyed the wide variety of fresh fruits, especially the berries. We cruise for the destinations, and on this trip they were excellent. Our favourites were Manaus, Alter Do Chao, Devil's Island, and Trinidad. Just cruising on the largest river in the world was spectacular. There was lots of variety in evening entertainment in the theatre; some suited our tastes while others did not. However the quality overall was excellent. The staff musicians were the best we've heard on any cruise ship: Constantin was amazing on piano; the jazz quartet with saxophone was superb, as was the string quartet. Sandy Cares does all the enrichment lectures and port talks and is exceptional. Service throughout the ship was attentive and professional. We appreciated that staff members approached their jobs with a quiet competency. Everyone was friendly, but there was none of the gushing, effusive greetings that we heard from Viking's staff all day long. We were most impressed that Oceania hired several people who were able to sign for a group of about 30 deaf people who came on this cruise. As a result, those handicapped guests were able to enjoy everything that happened on and off the ship as much as anyone else. We spent a lot of time on deck 10, the sports deck, and enjoyed being able to run on the track, and play shuffleboard and nine hole mini-golf. We also liked the various lounges throughout the ship. Most contain high back chairs that are very comfortable to sit (or snooze) in. The library is huge and is absolutely magnificent. It is well-stocked with hundreds of hard-cover books, many of them being recent best-sellers. As well, there is a whole bookcase of Lonely Planet travel books dealing with all of Oceania's destinations. Certainly, the cost of an Oceania cruise is higher than with HAL, NCL, etc. However, that's to be expected when you are on a ship that holds 625 guests instead of a few thousand. And we also like the fact that we are not two-bitted for basics such as WiFi, all day non-alcoholic drinks, use of the laundry room, and specialty restaurant bookings. Any negatives worth mentioning are caused by the ship's design. There are sometimes long line-ups in the buffet restaurant and at the gangway while trying to embark the ship after shore excursions. That's because of the narrowness of the aisles in those areas. As far as the staterooms go, you get what you pay for. We hate reading negative comments from people who choose a cheaper room and then complain that they don't like the size. Everyone can read the exact square-footage of every room on the ship before they book. A deck 3 porthole room was fine for us because we were only in it to sleep and shower. Contrary to some of the exaggerated reviews we've read, although the bathroom is small, you don't have to leave the door open in order to sit comfortably on the toilet (unless perhaps you're a 300 pounder). Two years ago, Oceania did a superb job of renovating the entire ship. Everything is sparkling new and now, Insignia is one of the most elegant cruise ships we have been on. We would recommend Oceania without reservations, and are booked on cruises with them in 2020 and 2021. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was someplace we had always wanted to see but never thought we would have that opportunity. Lindblad/National Geo came highly reccommended and we were not disappointed - our room was roomy and ... Read More
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was someplace we had always wanted to see but never thought we would have that opportunity. Lindblad/National Geo came highly reccommended and we were not disappointed - our room was roomy and comfortable and the food was local and delicious. Everything from the immaculate ship, the friendly crew and fantastic excursions made this a trip we will never forget. The local naturalists were a highlight- their stories of and knowledge about the islands was an inspiration. It is wonderful that these young men and women have taken the opportunity to be educated about their island and have chosen to make a career out of educating other people. Amongst all the fabulous sights and activiities the he ability to snorkel with sea lions was my favorite thing My lasting gift from this trip is to see that there is sill someplace on earth where people value the natural beauty in which they live and have prioritized its preservation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We had a good time. It seemed like a good itinerary but most of the ports had very little to do. The food was adequate. Dining room service was slow. They seemed understaffed. Wish they had a happy hour and afternoon tea. Some ... Read More
We had a good time. It seemed like a good itinerary but most of the ports had very little to do. The food was adequate. Dining room service was slow. They seemed understaffed. Wish they had a happy hour and afternoon tea. Some positive things: coffee maker in the room, fishes on the carpet to tell forward and aft, great entertainment, friendly staff and had only 75 percent occupancy. Just know what you are getting into before you go! The ship isn’t new but the cabins are spacious. Internet is slow and nothing available on tv like meals, bill, etc. NCL needs to revisit offerings on sea days. More activities. Activities appropriate for age of cruisers. Cagney ‘s was excellent! Food and service. There were no port lectures because the ship makes this path only once a year. So, no one could help and there were no maps available on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The most important for us was the itinerary. This was our first time sailing to South America. We enjoyed all the new ports on the way. The 3 tours which we took with NCL were very interesting and informative. This was also the ... Read More
The most important for us was the itinerary. This was our first time sailing to South America. We enjoyed all the new ports on the way. The 3 tours which we took with NCL were very interesting and informative. This was also the first time we cruised with NCL and the experience was very good. I liked the ship and the many activities. There was a lot to choose from and everyone could find something for themselves. I enjoyed most the special evening production shows and the music at the bars. The food was very good. We eat breakfasts and lunches in the Garden Cafe; there were many choices and the staff was very kind and attentive. I was amazed how quickly the empty dishes were taken away and the tables cleaned. In the evenings we were dining in the both main restaurants. The service was good and we were very happy with the food, specially with the fish dishes. (the flounder was excellent) Also deserts were amazing. Overall my husband and I enjoyed the cruise very much and had a great experience with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Back to Back from Miami to San Antonio and San Antonio to Buenos Aires. Best cruise(s) we have ever taken. Ship was excellent … clean, spotless, correct passenger size (about 2000 people), friendly crew, excellent food, calm, ... Read More
Back to Back from Miami to San Antonio and San Antonio to Buenos Aires. Best cruise(s) we have ever taken. Ship was excellent … clean, spotless, correct passenger size (about 2000 people), friendly crew, excellent food, calm, peaceful and simply the best. Celebrated Christmas and New Years on ship and they had special dining AND special celebrations for both holidays. Cruise Director (Adriano) and his Assistant (Guido) were HUGELY ANNOYING .. did their jobs but had enough of both of them after Day 1. Trip through Panama Canal was most interesting as they had a narrative going through the entire 48 miles of locks. Excellent dialogue and very insightful. Ports of call were mostly great (no reason for Santa Marta and Manta) and we booked 90% of our excursions ahead of time through outside vendors. As a part of the Cruise Critic Group, we were designated a special person, Julia from Ukraine, who escorted us off the ship prior to anybody else embarking AT EACH PORT. This was absolutely the best as we were able to make all excursions without any delay. A BIG THANKS TO JULIA!!! Dont Miss any of the penguin stops ... Punta Arenas, Stanley and Puerto Madryn. Expensive to see but so well worth it! We booked with SoloExpediciones (Punta Arenas) and Jimmy Curtis (Falklands) and in Puerto Madryn (sorry - forgot vendor). Cant say enough positive things about these trips. Jimmy Curtis in Falklands had an excellent driver named Steve ... try for him if you can. Patagonia nature is simply to die for..volcanoes, glaciers and more. Penguins and llamas and alpacas and so much more. Once in a lifetime trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary of South America and the opportunity to go through the Panama Canal transit. From the smooth embarkment at Miami, to the culturally interesting ports of Columbia, Equador, Peru, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary of South America and the opportunity to go through the Panama Canal transit. From the smooth embarkment at Miami, to the culturally interesting ports of Columbia, Equador, Peru, and Chile, relaxing days at sea and finally our disembarkment at Santiago, Chile, we thoroughly enjoyed our voyage. The transit through the Panama Canal was one of our favorite parts. It was very interesting. We found the size of the ship to be perfect as it was not crowded and impersonal. We were not looking for water slides and zip lines for entertainment but enjoyed the walking track and sitting on deck. Our cabin was roomy and the king bed was very comfortable. It had storage drawers, and closets and a couch. The shower had shampoo, conditioner supplied and the water pressure was very strong. The complimentary food at the Four Seasons and the buffet was excellent and the servers were personable and professional. The meals were hot and there was never a wait at any open dining restaurant. All the staff on the Norwegian Sun was very accommodating and friendly and went the extra mile to take care of our questions or need. In particular, our cabin housekeeper, Francis, was detailed, kind and we developed a nice friendly relationship during our cruise. We enjoyed the economic speaker that advised us of each country's history and current condition prior to entering the port, the spanish classes, and also the most talented and quality entertainment provided us by the Atlantis Strings (an violin trio from Budapest). Upon arrival back onto the ship after an excursion, the staff greeted us with refreshing drinks and wet washclothes...that was nice. To sum it up, we have only good memories of our 30th anniversary trip aboard the Norwegian Sun! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call members. Waaaay cheaper than the NCL offers. I had read both good and bad reviews for the Norwegian Sun. Personally I found the ship the perfect size. Frankly I don't want or need water slides or thousands of people on a cruise of this type. The refurbished ship looked great especially the large fitness centre. Our inside stateroom chosen for us by NCL was larger than we expected and was a nice surprise. We only dined in either the buffet or complementary dining rooms. The food in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons was so good that we felt that paying extra for the specialty restaurants would be a waste of money. We dined early and the food arrived in good time and was hot. We liked the slower pace of the dining rooms allowing us to take our time and enjoy the meal. I found the buffets offered a good choice of food and we liked the themed nights. We did not purchase any alcohol on ship as we felt that it was overpriced. The drink packages at $69 and $99 per day seemed grossly overpriced. I couldn't conceive drinking that much every day. We found the complimentary tea, coffee, ice tea and lemonade sufficient. Finally the staff were terrific. Our cabin steward Amol was great. He learned my name the first day and always chatted with us about our day. Overall we had a great time and came away happy. Lastly I must mention that we LOVED the Atlantis Strings trio. We listened to them every night. A rare offering of culture amid the usual cruise fare. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Although the Norwegian Sun has been recently renovated, they have a serious problem with proper ventilation. Smoke from the casino and designated smoking areas infiltrated the public areas of the ship. Why do they put designated smoking ... Read More
Although the Norwegian Sun has been recently renovated, they have a serious problem with proper ventilation. Smoke from the casino and designated smoking areas infiltrated the public areas of the ship. Why do they put designated smoking areas near the pool and over the aft eating area? It makes no sense. We felt that we could not get away from the smell of smoke. For whatever reason, Norwegian did not have my correct credit card number. I did not know this until three days into the voyage, when I received a curt letter informing me, "your onboard account has been deactivated and your signing privileges have been suspended." I am a Platinum member of Norwegian and found this shockingly offensive! How about a little courtesy; maybe something like, "Would you kindly come to Guest Services at your earliest convenience regarding the credit card we have on record for you." This kind of interaction with a longtime loyal guest is a surefire way to lose a customer. My next cruise will not be on Norwegian; I've just booked with Viking. This cruise had six sea days. There should be a far bigger selection of movies available to watch on television. There were only two movie channels and the same movies were recycled over and over and over again. Also, instead of the TV being mounted in front of the bed, it was way over to the right side of the cabin, which made watching in bed very uncomfortable. The Cruise Director had such a strong accent that we could hardly understand any of his announcements. This could be a safety issue in an emergency. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this Cruise because of the wide variety of islands we were visiting. This Cruise was an older crowd not very Lively so I think bedtime was roughly around 9 p.m. . All the specialty restaurants were very good and the food was ... Read More
We chose this Cruise because of the wide variety of islands we were visiting. This Cruise was an older crowd not very Lively so I think bedtime was roughly around 9 p.m. . All the specialty restaurants were very good and the food was excellent service was great but when it came to the main restaurants the seven seas and the Four Seasons ran the same menu every night. With four or five specials every night and they both ran the same specials on the same night. Entertainment was non-existent we went to two shows and that this was the type of ship that did not have first class entertainment. We chose the unlimited beverage package which was a great advantage for us, we got our money's worth. We did not do any excursions through the ship as we found they were way over priced you can walk off the ship and find a tour right on the pier for half the price. We found that tipping a few extra dollars here and there for the waiters waitresses and bartenders helped out immensely as the few dollars they charge for gratuities doesn't seem to be enough. I prefer to leave my own gratuity as I feel the people that work for it are the ones that deserve it. And on the final note it was a very good Cruise the staff is very attentive the ports were great they just need to make some adjustments with the culinary department and the entertainment Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I've been on the Sun now 4 times. I must say I believe that this is my favorite ship in the NCL fleet. I must say that the recent refurbishment has been a real plus. The color schemes are really great. This ship has plenty to ... Read More
I've been on the Sun now 4 times. I must say I believe that this is my favorite ship in the NCL fleet. I must say that the recent refurbishment has been a real plus. The color schemes are really great. This ship has plenty to do, but it's not like the mega ships. Being the smallest in the fleet it can't offer all the choices. I find it a ship where you can chill out and relax. The balcony rooms have more storage than any other balcony room I've been in. The shelves, cabinets, and drawers will provide more room to store your stuff than you may need. The bathroom is smaller. Plenty of shelve space but really only one can fit in the bathroom at a time. The Shower is also a bit small but not the worst I've seen. The dining is standard NCL. Now that all the ships follow the same menu if you like the food it is just as good here. I personally find the selections and quality of the food to be very good. Both the main dinning rooms are very nice. Either one is an enjoyable place to dine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with ... Read More
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with a little less than 2,000 passengers. The ship itself was very easy to get around and never had a feeling of being overcrowded. We would absolutely recommend the Sun, depending on what is important to people below. Itinerary/Ports: The reason we booked the cruise was because the itinerary was completely new to us. After the sailing, we would absolutely do it again. For the most part the ports are ugly looking, commercial shipping ports. Once we left the port, we were very happy. Because so few cruise ships stop at these locations, it did not feel like we were being shuffled through the same, tired tourist, commercialized trap ports found in the Caribbean. We were able to get some good, authentic experiences, and felt like we were off the beaten path in many of the stops. On the flip side, the ports still seemed immature and still learning how to offer a wide-range of fun things to do for a couple of thousand of tourists only there for 5-12 hours. Ports included Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia), Manta (Ecuador), Trujillo and Lima/Callao (Peru), and Arica, Coquimbo, and San Antonio/Santiago (Chile). At three of the ports we saw some great wildlife - sea lions, dolphin pods, and a walrus. The Panal Canal Transit was outstanding and I would highly recommend to anyone. Seeing the locks and how they are done to lift and lower the ships was awesome. There were a couple of ports we only had 5-6 hours at - in general, I would recommend going through the ship for excursions for any port with that little time, unless there is a nice little town/beach right off the ship. This itinerary did not have those nice little port villages/beaches at the port. Food: We tried the Main Dining Room three times for dinner and then stopped going. Every night there seemed to be some kind of issue with temperature, quality, or options. The menu itself seemed very boring and repetitive. If we went more, we probably would have just returned food we didn't like or wasn't cooked right. Because we were in a suite, we were able to go to Cagneys for breakfast and lunch every day. After our dining packages ran out, we just paid ala carte at the specialty dining restaurants the rest of the cruise. We found all of the specialty restaurants to be good to excellent. Cagney's was probably the best - the meats were also cooked correctly. This was probably the best lamb I have ever had. Bistro was also very good. There were a couple of items I tried I didn't care for, but most of the menu was outstanding. The menu on La Cucina changed from our last sailing and I think we liked the older menu better. The new menu included some pizza options. We were pleasantly surprised by Los Lobos - we ended up going there three times. We did not have one item we didn't like. My favorite was the stuffed poblanos. We did Sushi one night - the Sushi on the Sun was better than the experiences we had on Celebrity's Sushi on Five. Moderno was ok - probably our least favorite of the options. It did not seem as good (quality of the cuts and options at the salad bar) as other ships, and we are spoiled with several Brazilian Steakhouses where we live that are much better. We did not go to the Teppanyaki - it looked like it was usually full, but we've done that so many times that the show the chef does is not exciting any more. Our only real gripe was the Sun does not have the Irish Pub, but has the Sports Bar instead. The menu and food at the Sports Bar was much worse than our experiences with the Pub and its not open as long. We never went to the buffet, so can't provide feedback with that. Entertainment: The entertainment on the Sun was below average for other NCL sailings we have been on. Maybe it was because it was a smaller ship. The production was not that good - the dancers seemed to always have a timing issue and only two of the singers were really good. Outside of the production, they had too much magic/hypnotism shows - it seemed like it was every other night. There was a Cuban born singer that performed two nights and she was outstanding. The Sun was also missing other options other NCL ships have, probably because of size: there is no Howl at the Moon dueling pianists, Cirque show, Burn the Floor, Bowling Alley etc. They did have a couple of hours of karaoke every night. There was also the typical Deal or No Deal, Bingo, and Trivia activities found on other ships. Service/Others: We were happy with the service on board (restaurant and room) and was a little above our experience on other Norwegian ships. My partner did three sessions with the Spa and really enjoyed the treatments. Often he has mixed reviews on spa treatments, but we have 100% positive about his experience on the Sun. The were plenty of bars scattered across the ship and never had difficulty getting served drinks. Because it was a small ship, the public pool area was small, but it never seemed overcrowded and there was always lounge chairs free. The Casino is tiny. Some of the table games only had one option, and the slot machines were boring. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
November 25,2018 to the Amazon Very enjoyable, but would not say that the Amazon is interesting.Just another muddy river with very little of interest. In spite of this, the cruise and ports in the caribbean are OK. Ship nice,very ... Read More
November 25,2018 to the Amazon Very enjoyable, but would not say that the Amazon is interesting.Just another muddy river with very little of interest. In spite of this, the cruise and ports in the caribbean are OK. Ship nice,very clean and welcoming.. We are not entertainment or late night types so the quality of show is not applicable to us.o us. The only short coming is the PRIME 7 restaurant. It brings down the quality of the ship.. The food is bad and we can assure you that most passengers who tried it did not go again.The food elsewhere on the ship is far better. All areas of the ship were were clean and well kept. Drinks were readily available Pool deck nice, not noisy and service excellent. At all times service was superior. Always with a smile, Quick and professional. Unfortunately we contacted bronchitis, so we missed some of the excursions, but the ones we did go on were fine. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my first Regent cruise. It was chosen for its itinerary and except for one stop, it was wonderful. PROS: Smaller ship means smaller number of passengers, easier to maneuver on board. Crew was exceptional. Everyone, ... Read More
This was my first Regent cruise. It was chosen for its itinerary and except for one stop, it was wonderful. PROS: Smaller ship means smaller number of passengers, easier to maneuver on board. Crew was exceptional. Everyone, from tender attendants to officers were pleasant and engaged with the guests. They truly made you feel welcomed and special. The 24 day trip allowed you to form friendships with fellow guests and staff. The all inclusive aspect of Regent is a joy. No worries- all is included! Entertainment was top notch. The Orchestra had such talented musicians, the singer/dancers were broadway-worthy and most of the guest entertainers were entertaining. CONS: Navigator has a lot of vibration. I did get used to it but took a few days. One of the shore stops was awful. Boca De Valeria was purely a staged "village" fill of children begging for attention but 8n reality they want you money. I do understand that tourism is important for these people but I also feel that it was a total waste of a day. Another day in Manous or Santarem would have been much better. There were so many sites to see in those cities and only 1 day each was not enough. Overall, I loved this cruise and the Navigator. Looking forward to another Regent vacation!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had booked a suite high and forward to limit the effects of the vibrations, i was surprised, not bad at all. The ship is smaller so it took me a while to get adjusted to the ceiling height and general smallness of the ship, it needs ... Read More
We had booked a suite high and forward to limit the effects of the vibrations, i was surprised, not bad at all. The ship is smaller so it took me a while to get adjusted to the ceiling height and general smallness of the ship, it needs refreshing and i heard it was due in the near future. The smaller ship gives you a more intimacy feeling. The stewardess were as usual amazing , always smiling and they have the worst job, cleaning up after us. There was a small decrease in quality of the service especially on the veranda. Maybe a very small decrease in the number of staffs The food was very good with a few hiccups, soufflé's are basically warm cake, good but not a soufflé , the pastry/croissant were not as flaky as in the other ships, the french baguette was amazing, the selection of cheeses was very limited, every day i saw the blue cheese, there is thousand of cheeses in the world , could have been better, the food was very good in general The excursions were fine, the buses 70% of them were uncomfortable if you were unlucky on being the last ones on the small bus, you were stuck over the wheel with your knees in your face. The organization for the excursions , checking in was bad, especially when the others ships have a different system, you come in, checkin, they give you a number then you sit until your number is called, here everybody would line up until they called your excursion number, and you do not want to be the last ones on the bus, so most people are standing to get their buses tickets Tenders , especially the first one was horrid , they picked up on it and got better. We missed the meeting of the waters, the negro river and amazon because the ship was late leaving the port by one hour, got too dark, i blame the captain, he should have been more organized or in the morning announce the event by speaker. Overall, a good trip, what made the difference was the speaker Terry Green, she made this cruise, she was terrific , and reading the river of doubt , which narrates the expedition of Teddy Roosevelt down the amazon was also very helpful. The cruise director Andy is terrific as are all of the crew, always smiling and greeting you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose Azamara, primarily because we wanted to go to Peru in the month of November. We had primarily cruised with Oceania before, and since this ship is from the same previous Renaissance line, we had familiarity with the ship. Sadly, ... Read More
We chose Azamara, primarily because we wanted to go to Peru in the month of November. We had primarily cruised with Oceania before, and since this ship is from the same previous Renaissance line, we had familiarity with the ship. Sadly, that’s where the similarity ended. Before I begin with the reasons we won’t consider Azamara again, let me note that our room attendant Dyna was fabulous, Anika, fitness coordinator is loved, and all personnel in the spa were top notch. Our cruise director, Amanda ... wow, what a voice! White Night was a smashing success. Everyone, with whom I talked, was dazzled by this event; the outstanding food, the music and dancing, the ambiance. Now then, here are the REASONS WE WON’T RETURN to Azamara: 1. Food poisoning (contracted on board, not off ship) 2. Bland, overall disappointing food including swordfish about 1/4 inch thick ... too tough to chew, with a disagreeable sauce used for color; completely tasteless Thanksgiving meal; and desserts which were largely inedible on the buffet. (Sidebar, on Oceania Cruises, I never met a dessert I didn’t like. On Azamara, I rarely found a dessert worth taking more than one bite). We skipped several meals, after a few days on the ship, thinking why bother? 3. Lack of quality wine choices. I rarely drink alcohol, but my fiancé enjoys a good glass of wine. With our “premium” liquor package, he had the choice of only four wines at each meal, which he dubbed “$10 per bottle wines.” Once we realized this, on the very first day of the cruise, he asked to upgrade to “ultimate” package, agreeing to pay the difference. The answer was “no”. Too late. BTW, if there are any sommeliers on ship, they must by in the specialty restaurants, only. Big disappointment from Oceania, where Mark could have a conversation with sommelier, even at the buffet! 4. No clocks in rooms. Requested one at desk, answer was “no.” 5. There is no game/cards room. Where the game room was, on the other Renaissance ships, Azamara Pursuit has turned that room into a suite. Cards/games are among the other activities at 10th floor “Living Room.” This might be okay, but there weren’t enough tables, bridge lessons-lady loud voice interferes with those of us trying to play other board games, and in the evenings, when the live entertainment was in this room, we couldn’t talk, let alone think. Azamara squeezed two extra paying cabins onto their refit of this ship, to the detriment of the rest of us. 6. What was dubbed AzAmazing evening, was totally awful (this is a quote of another shipmate). The female performer was downright rude to her backup band. The round trip bus ride was over two hours. From where we were seated, seeing the stage was a struggle. 7. I’m not a fitness buff. We take the stairs, not the elevators, but when it comes to using the equipment, I don’t. However, the buzz about the ship was that everything in the fitness room was old/needed repair. 8. Frozen yogurt machines (both) were out of service nearly the entire trip. When shipmates tried to get ice cream from the buffet, after 2:30, the answer was “sorry, no, we’re closed.” 9. General lack of communication. We were on the ship several days, before we discovered they actually did have an afternoon tea. 10. Where is the string quartet, or similar entertainment? Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary. The price was right and being that we had never cruised on a smaller ship we thought we'd give it a go. No disappointments overall. The ship was indeed reflective of a recent overhaul. ... Read More
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary. The price was right and being that we had never cruised on a smaller ship we thought we'd give it a go. No disappointments overall. The ship was indeed reflective of a recent overhaul. Interior appointments appeared as-new. However, the staffing appeared new as well. Several volunteered that this cruise was their first on this ship - and as such they couldn't always answer our questions. Alarmingly, this was also the case at the Guest Relations Desk! When embarking, the process went very smoothly and quickly - however, they neglected to put a sticker on our card which indicated we had the upgraded drink package. So naturally, the first issue encountered on our cruise was only a few minutes after boarding when we sat down and ordered our very first drink - and found out that we didn't have the drink package (due to no sticker). The sever let us have upgraded drink after we showed him our invoice. He said we needed to go to Guest Relations to get our sticker ASAP - then he commented that "this happens all the time" - not a good way to make a first impression. We also noticed that in the Windows Café none of the staff behind the counter are wearing gloves, despite their touching the food from time to time - not good. We also noticed that at breakfast time there is a back-up of guests waiting to get toast - it seems like this should be addressed. My wife also got a great looking cup of very fresh berries one morning, however she found a one inch long coarse black hair in it. Lastly, regarding the Windows Café, on a number of occasions we had to go get our own coffee and juice in the morning after waiting for 5 minutes (or slightly more) with no table service; even though there seemed to be enough wait staff in the area. Overall the food quality was good with a reasonable amount of variety in the Windows Café. The main dining room however was flawless - great furnishings - well arranged - and more importantly the food was excellent, as was the wait staff. Absolutely nothing but praise for the main dining room staff - they are definitely "dialed in". We found the pool area to be very comfortable, with excellent deck chairs (firm padding with an attached pillow and plenty of nice towels and blankets). The deck service was excellent. The cabin staff was flawless; A+. They were always friendly, and addressed us by our names. The room was kept spotless, with plenty of clean towels. The cabin itself was nothing extraordinary - other than it did present as new. The mattress was very comfortable - cabin lighting was good. The bathroom was tight but clean and efficiently laid out. Toilets worked perfectly. We never ran out of hot water. The TV was good, with a fairly good selection of channels. The internet speed was adequate at 430kbs - seems slow but email and apps worked fine. The Mosaic Coffee staff was always smiling - friendly and welcoming. The Fitness room was surprisingly equipped given the small size of the ship - and the on-staff trainer was very knowledgeable an professional. Maybe more classes (especially on sea days) would be a nice bonus. Shore Excursions were expensive (no surprise) but they would benefit by eliminating any shopping opportunities - since they were seen as an annoyance to everyone on the tours we were on. No one wants their limited/expensive shore time eaten away at by a forced shopping trip to an emerald store or T-Shirt bazars. On sea days we were treated to two talks by a woman from the World Wildlife Fund and also by talks by a UC professor regarding our various ports of call. They were all very well received. The Livingroom is exceptionally relaxing (they have some nice chaise lounge chairs along the front of the living room) - very cozy and comfortable furniture lending itself to striking up memorable conversations with fellow travelers, reading a good book in a sun-soaked area of the room, or tasting some free hors d'oeuvres with a nice coctail or wine. Live music is available later in the day as well. There is a game area dedicated to scrabble, cards, etc. which was constantly used by guests. In closing my comments, this last example sums up our review. Upon crossing the equator Azamara had a very fun filled ceremony involving the crew dressing up and fullfilling a ceremony involving kissing of a large fish, bowing before King Neptune and then getting smeared with multi-colored goo (while in uniform) and pushed into the swimming pool. Loads of fun. They then followed up with nicely printed individualized certificates which we found in our cabins that evening certifying exactly where we were when we crossed the equator. I noticed upon returing home that the coordinates on this official certificate were incorrect (they had us crossing near Singapore instead of off the coast of Ecuador). So my point is that Azamara has high asprirations - which they generally meet - but they need just a little more attention relative to their execution. As always, the devil is in the details. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Chose this cruise to see the Amazon. Went 1500 km to Manaus. Was not disappointed!! Smooth getting on and off. Ports were very good. Shore excursion in St Lucia was not great due to heavy rains and the last hour and a half was in the ... Read More
Chose this cruise to see the Amazon. Went 1500 km to Manaus. Was not disappointed!! Smooth getting on and off. Ports were very good. Shore excursion in St Lucia was not great due to heavy rains and the last hour and a half was in the dark. So not researched very well. Cabin was very comfortable and clean. Dining was very good activities were a lot of fun. Entertainment was usually very good. Small ship so always lots of pool chairs and never crowded. Guest speakers were excellent. Service also very good. Transfer from Fort Lauderdale to Miami with SAS transportation was really good and very reasonable $15 pp and we used the service both going and returning to Fort Lauderdale . Cruise staff were really friendly There were no children on this cruise. Very hot and muggy in the Amazon area and length of cruise 35 days was prob why. Great overall!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018

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