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56 Middle East Romantic Cruise Reviews

We did this cruise simply to get out of the UK weather and enjoy the quality of Celebrity's accommodation and food. The intinary is not very good if you are looking to simply get off the ship and tour the local promonard etc. Due to ... Read More
We did this cruise simply to get out of the UK weather and enjoy the quality of Celebrity's accommodation and food. The intinary is not very good if you are looking to simply get off the ship and tour the local promonard etc. Due to the flight times and arriving in Dubai then transferring to Abbi Dhabi we were simply to tired to see anything of Abbi Dhabi and that was one of the better stops. Dubai is simply a great place to explore if you are prepared to use either the taxis or red bus. It's a city break really with some odd stops thrown in. The ship (Constallation) was one of the smaller ones in the fleet and did need updating and we did not find the staff as friendly as others we have been on although it's difficult to put your finger on what was wrong. The food and wine was very good but the dinning areas seemed a little cramped during the evening which resulted more noise than usual. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We did a cruise on the Vision of the seas from december 26 2016 to january 2 2017 from Dubai and going to Khasab (Oman), Muscat (Oman), Abu Dhabi and back to Dubai. The flights with QATAR airlines were excellent. We stayed at the Holiday ... Read More
We did a cruise on the Vision of the seas from december 26 2016 to january 2 2017 from Dubai and going to Khasab (Oman), Muscat (Oman), Abu Dhabi and back to Dubai. The flights with QATAR airlines were excellent. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Internet city for 2 nights before the cruise, it was a perfect location to visit by walking the Palm, the Marina, the Burj Arab, the madeinat Mujerah and the Emirates Mall, The service and the food (breakfast was included) at the Hotel were excellent. The only thing at this Hotel was they convince us to use their taxi service and it was very expansive compared to the regular taxi. The embarkation on the ship was very easy, The service in the dining room for food and wine was terrible (they bring the wrong wine and no service at all to fill up the glass of wine when empty from the bottle we ordered, they bring the wrong plates, it was really slow, etc.....)...Very bad service for the imformation at the reception desk and excursions desk (when we asked if they have information about next port of call they told u they don't have anything but at the end of the day I discovered by myself that they have imformation right by the reception desk but nobody from the staff was able to tell me that.... The cabin was adequate with plenty of room to store evrything we had in our luggages. The disembarkation went very smoothly.... I really like all the place we did on that trip...I discovered a very nice country Oman (Khasab and Muscat). I did not know too much about that country but I find the people very helpfull, very respecfull, very friendly, great landscape.....I am very happy to discover that part of the world that we discover....) Dubai and Abu Dhabi are very nice too.... Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First the good points. Staff throughout the ship were brilliant, helpful, happy and delightful especially our main dining room server Daisy. Food was generally very good in the main dining room and buffet both in quality and choice. ... Read More
First the good points. Staff throughout the ship were brilliant, helpful, happy and delightful especially our main dining room server Daisy. Food was generally very good in the main dining room and buffet both in quality and choice. State room was very good although the bedding had seen better days, but was clean and changed regularly, again the steward was brilliant. Excursions were great in India, not booked through the ship but by friends made on cruise critic roll call. Met lovely people from all over the world, most were happy with their cruise although as always you get the perpetual moaners. The Classic drinks package included in the cruise price was more that adequate, and included speciality coffee and soft drinks. The ship although a bit on the old side was great, public rooms were really good and just the right size not too big or too small. Now the not so good points. Celebrity obviously keep the upfront costs of the cruise reasonable, but try to make up their money by on board sales. If you don't play their game and buy extra it is fine, remember you are boarding a shopping mall! We were approached six times on boarding to upgrade our drinks package which we found was totally unnecessary unless you enjoy Matinies, (only $10 + 18% per person per day!) Speciality dining was pushed time and time again throughout the cruise and was relatively expensive $40 to $50, as I said food in the main dining rooms were very good. Entertainment was very poor. The cruise director was the worst I have ever encountered, never saw him around the ship only on stage in the evening or the usual TV program, his catch phrase of " Love You" was really cringe worthy. God knows what he did! Again a lot of the entertainment was to make money, usual art auctions, casino competitions, tastings etc.etc. Stage shows were predictable and visiting artists generally poor. All said had a great time as we did not commit to extras and accepted the entertainment as it was and enjoyed the company of other guests. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had a fabulous time....the Weather was brilliant as we expected We arrived at the terminal after a flight from the UK around 11 am. We were on board within 15 mins We booked for the 19th December for one week over Christmas ... Read More
We had a fabulous time....the Weather was brilliant as we expected We arrived at the terminal after a flight from the UK around 11 am. We were on board within 15 mins We booked for the 19th December for one week over Christmas stateroom 8024 and then stateroom 8032 from 26th December for the New Years Cruise . These staterooms are under the pool deck and you can hear trolleys, children running etc but it did not bother us to much We had a wonderful time ,so much so we have booked to sail again on this cruise on February 6th 2017 we have booked an aft jnr suite. We were very impressed with the service that we experienced everywhere on the ship The Captain Michael Lindberg was very visible and made a point of speaking to many guests on a one to one basis . The Officers we would like to thank for making our cruise very special are the Loyalty Ambassador Fernando, The Bar Manager Alex from Romania, the Maitre de and of course Junior and his team for the wonderful fresh food on board. The Concierge Team of Mangesh and V were also amazing When we docked at Muscat you can buy a hop on hop off bus ticket there is a special deal if you buy the Muscat, Abu Dhabi, and the Dubai bus tours which were a great way of seeing and learning about these great places. These buses are frequent and not to crowded. If you have a gold card then you can have breakfast served to you in Giovanni's. Check the cruise compass for timings. You can also have breakfast served in the main dining room. The Windjammer was very busy on times but as long as you avoid these busy moments then you will always find a seat and the staff are quick to assist and help, offering to take away empty plates and/or bring drinks. We ate at Chops, Giovanni's and Isumi several times during both cruises and enjoyed the exclusivity and quality of the food.and don't forget to try the Park Cafe in the Solarium for lighter options or late snacks. Room service was delivered quite quickly and if you fancy breakfast in bed then put out the breakfast menu before you go to sleep. your on Holidays after all ; o ) The Gym is well equipped and the spa was very good with special offers on port days The entertainment team we enjoyed and the cruise Director and his team were entertaining and happy at all times.we enjoyed the shows and the trivia quiz. There are plenty of lounges to sunbathe on because a lot of people are doing the shore excursions and don't forget to try the Park Cafe in the Solarium. You can also get fruit cups and some desserts at the Seattle's coffee bar deck six We went out in the evening in Dubai during the overnight stop for a curry on the and found that taxi's are cheap and we used Uber to take us back to the ship, worked out less than $10. You feel very safe in Dubai. My Husband had a shoulder back and neck massage along with a manicure inside the terminal it was extremely good and very reasonable, worth checking this out. Disembarkation was quick but we had already booked a car to our Hotel which was a day rate at the Hilton Creek.which is a wonderful Hotel The taxi rank however was not that busy around 8.30 but around 9 am it went very busy around 70 people waiting but the line moved quickly with plenty of taxi's Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have been on many cruises and cruise lines ,but when we looked at this one ,flights, All inclusive ,plus free drink package included ,and 14 nights cruising .it was one of the best ever. The food was lovely ,in both restaurants ,our ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and cruise lines ,but when we looked at this one ,flights, All inclusive ,plus free drink package included ,and 14 nights cruising .it was one of the best ever. The food was lovely ,in both restaurants ,our cabin was outside,our steward was 1st class , We got all our photos on deal,just £69.95 ,needed a case to bring them back. The entertainment as always with Thomsons was excellent ,there is nothing I can't say bad about this cruise,we loved the superb weather full 14 days in the 80s . The price was so good we came back home and booked a 14 day cruise on the discovery On the 8 th jan 2017. Well done on the Middle East cruise it was fab ,I hope the security allows you to have this cruise again ,it would be sad for many other passengers not to see these fantastic countries and very kind people ,just like ourselves just wanting to live in peace ,I'm sad I did not take family with us I know they would of loved it as much as we did. David & Maureen Blair , I would just finish saying Thomsons/ Tui. Being together sets you apart. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We booked this cruise so that we could go to the Dubai 7's, As we sailed on the Saturday we missed the final but that was fine as we had a great week to follow it up. My review is for Yacht club as we spent most of our time in ... Read More
We booked this cruise so that we could go to the Dubai 7's, As we sailed on the Saturday we missed the final but that was fine as we had a great week to follow it up. My review is for Yacht club as we spent most of our time in this area of the ship so it would be wrong to try and cover the rest of the ship in too much detail. The service we recieved was exceptional, nothing was too much trouble. We were greated at ther terminal by a butler who escorted us through the terminal and dealt with the paperwork as we sat and had a drink in a designated sitting area (I must hdd here it was a little embarrassing but we soon got used the exceptional service). We where then escorted directly to Yacht club on desk 15 in a dedicated lift. We had a dedicated concierge desk who dealt with everything we might need, We were greeted by a bottle of bubbly and fresh fruit in our cabin, fully stocked mini bar, bath robes and slippers. Walkin wardrobe and mable bathroom with a full size bathtub. We had a butler on has 24hrs a day should we need anything, We had a pillow menu, beutical egyptian cotton sheets and were left chocolates and other treats each evening in our cabin. Our daily newspaper delivered everyday to our cabin. We had prioirty embarkation and disenbarkation, a priority lift so no issues there either. The Top Sali longe and one pool bar were lovely and again the service was great. Our waitiers took drink orders from our sunbeds. No issue with sunbeds either, you could get one at anytime of day either at sea or in port. We would quite ofter nove around the one pool deck to take advantage of the sun. We could get light breakfast and lunches in the One Pool bar area or Top Sail lounge. Afternnon tea was served by a butler everyday in Top Sail loinge between 5 - 6. Tea and Coffee was served in lovely china teapots and cups in the Top Sail lounge throughout the day. We didn't do many excursion but when we did we were excortred off teh ship and our seats were reserved onthe transport whihc was a very nice touch. To be fair there on some of the port there wasn't a great geal to see or do other than shop. we did visit 2 formula one tracks. We were the first MSC ship to stop at Sir Bani Yas island, that was lovely but they did have a few hicupps as it was their first visit and were over 2 hours late getting there so the staff were in a bit of a fluster. But I am sure this will get better. We were inthe VIP area and transported there via golf buggies and again the service was great with butlers looking after us on the beach. We ate each evening in the Le'Etoille restuarant which was lovely, with 7 courses daily to chose from there was always something you would like. Choices ranged from Lanb shank to Lobster Tail. They had a freshly prepared pasta dish daily and a low calorie otpion .They did serve breakfast and Lunch in this restaurant daily, we did go for one breakfact which was lovely but the light food they served on the Top Sail an One pool bar was adequate for us. They had a chef who prepared a fresh pasta dish dailly at the One pool bar. The entertainment in the Theatre on the ship wasn't the best I have experienced but to try and cater for so many nationalities is quite difficult so to be fair they did well. Yes we paid more for this experience but it was worth every penny and i would certainly do the same again. We were treated so well and away from the hustle and bussle of the croweded areas. Don't get me wrong we love to party like the rest of the ship but this was such a great exeperience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Second time we have used Celebrity and again booked a Sky suite as larger suites were all taken. The cruise was from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (overnight) to New Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai all India. The cruise was supposed to go into Oman but ... Read More
Second time we have used Celebrity and again booked a Sky suite as larger suites were all taken. The cruise was from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (overnight) to New Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai all India. The cruise was supposed to go into Oman but due to bad weather we returned a day early (4pm) to Abu Dhabi but remained onboard overnight. The led to the farcical situation of a standoff between Celebrity and UAE immigration which led to EVERY man, woman and child being called off the ship in queues to the cruise centre at 10pm to surrender their passport!! This could have been avoided by Celebrity but they did not wish to disrupt dinner service and obviously tried to use their influence to leave it till morning! Funnily they then used that excuse to say immigration was being called at 10pm and it was better now instead of queues in morning...unfortunately this meant children, babies and the infirm being called from their sleep ( this was the last night and everyone had to be out of their cabins by 7am so many including us had retired early). This is definitely a bad mark to Celebrity and some extent UAE immigration. We as usual picked up our own taxis for tours so as not to be stuck waiting for others on a bus or the repetitive queuing to get on /off same bus and at a fraction of tour costs! Mumbai was particularly excellent for us as the taxi driver we used was very informative and took us to places we had not asked to see but were pleased he had added...of course there was the obligatory jewelry and carpet shop stops but that was an easy distraction at the end. Once again the Luminae restaurant was very good both in food and service. Our suite was tired and had torn bedding and had to constantly mention to Butler or attendant things that required attention such as shower hose leaks and lamps that were out. The Michael's Club (for suite passengers only) was again excellent but poorly utilized other that afternoon tea and early evening before dinner. Part of this was because it was supposed to close at midnight but staff started cleaning up sometimes as early as 10.45. with the vacuum out at 11pm putting clients off coming. Will still use Celebrity again as we like the private dining of Luminae and drinks at Michael's club at times to suit our taste. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Chose this cruise for the unusual ports and had a super cruise with Celebrity last year. The cruise was to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Joining the ship was smooth and easy. Dubai was the first stop and good to visit the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the unusual ports and had a super cruise with Celebrity last year. The cruise was to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Joining the ship was smooth and easy. Dubai was the first stop and good to visit the one time, enjoyed the hop on hop off bus and visited the mall, marina and the Burj Khalifa. The water fountain show at night and the tower lighting show were impressive. Arrived in New Mangalore, India and Celebrity did not manage the disembarkation at all well. A queue that stretched throughout the ship and it took an age to get off. Then to find that this was a coal port, and very dirty. To combat this water wagons were driving up and down the roads dropping water which had little effect other than to make a black slush underfoot. New Mangalore did not have much to see other than a market and some temples. I don't think this port is suitable for a cruise ship! Goa was a little better with some nice beaches around 50 mins drive in a taxi, beach bars supplied beds free if you bought food or drink and the locals were quickly roused to sell us the usual Indian wear. Slightly intense and annoying but expected. Mumbai was a complete farce with Celebrity messing up the immigration by missing off a vital stamp from the card. It took just under 2 hours to sort which was stressful and in one case upsetting for those concerned. We missed our trip and after considerable lobbying they finally agreed to put a further coach on for the 13 people concerned. No guide only a 'stand in' local chap who tried his very best. The trip meant we missed a few sights and a train trip and being we had looked forward to it as the highlight, it was a big disappointment. After further discussion Celebrity refunded the trip cost and offered a free meal in the Tuscan Grill restaurant. A fair offer but it could not take away the disappointment of a missed opportunity. As one passenger has already pointed out, we could not enter Oman due to 30 mph winds. The captain had delighted in telling passengers earlier that he could maneuver the ship in winds of 30 mph...a shot in the foot :>). Sad to miss the Oman stop altogether. Then the fun and games started again with Celebrity messing up the immigration one last time. An announcement out of the blue at 10pm that all passengers would have to leave the ship immediately to collect their passport and hand in person to Abu Dhabi immigration. Then they announced that there was no need to proceed immediately and it was ok to watch the show and visit afterwards. So we proceeded from our meal to the show and as we arrived a further announcement said all those on deck 2 must proceed to immigration immediately. So off we went and queued once again with those who had woken up with children and the infirm etc. We got back just before the end of the show only to here that we need not have gone to immigration until after the show!!! So you see it was a real farce, you couldn't make it up. Some people were shouting at officers looking down on the queue from the deck and there was some loud booing and shouting at the end of the show when the cruise director said 'these things happen sometimes' not the best choice of words and he left the stage rather quickly. The cabin, dining, bar and other staff as always were excellent and could not do enough. The shows I have to say were of west end theatre quality in my opinion which was why it was so annoying to miss the last one, I am told it was superb. We did enjoy the cruising and the staff, food and shows were great. On a 30th wedding anniversary it was just so disappointing with the repeated immigration faux pas. This was due to the handling of disembarkation which has to be attributed to Celebrity I am afraid. This was not the high standard that we enjoyed last year on the 'Reflection' and I have written to Celebrity who replied and told me of their concern and how sorry they were. Celebrity said they were sorry for the experience and that was all. I might try PO cruises for the next one then as they may appreciate our custom a little more :>) Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I am a very, very experienced cruise traveler. I enjoyed this cruise, had a good time. There are some big BUT's though which unnerved me. Here my opinions, which will most likely resonate more with fellow Europeans: + Ship ... Read More
I am a very, very experienced cruise traveler. I enjoyed this cruise, had a good time. There are some big BUT's though which unnerved me. Here my opinions, which will most likely resonate more with fellow Europeans: + Ship beautiful, (if you like modern ship design, which I do), looking new. It did not look full, although it must have been at 90% of capacity. Except the pool deckchairs of course. Staff very good, dining staff exceptional (incl. remembering preferences and satisfying special wishes). Entertainment program very good (important on a cruise with many sea days). Guest lecturers were knowledgable and interesting. I like that they include also off-mainstream subjects, like cave exploration. Dining was good and variable at the dining rooms, no variety at the casual buffet any time of the day, and day after day the same items. Nothing to eat after 10pm. MINUS Cabins small relative to other cruise lines, but nothing was missing. I knew that from earlier cruises and was traveling solo anyway, so I had enough space. Nice touch: Night light in the bathroom. Only small tubes for generic shampoo, conditioner, body lotion. Constant music, too loud, everywhere. Including the main pool area, which is probably desired by the guests during a Carnival Caribbean cruise but not on this cruise with more mature passengers. Not one quiet place where you could read a book without having to order a drink or without loud music or with some sales event going on there (gym courses, wine tasting and selling, art selling, adult coloring class, bingo etc. etc). Library is a minimal room with 4 seats (on a 2000+ passengers' ship) burried in the interior, with probably less than 200 books. One thing I really disliked: There is an extensive and detailed "code of conduct" for passengers which lays out a regime I did not sign up for when I booked this cruise and foresees severe consequences at the sole discretion of the ship's management. I think common sense, courtesy and if necessary the applicable laws are more than enough. And body cams on security staff at all times, in addition to the omnipresent fixed video cameras, obvious and hidden. A person I had met (a young lady in her first trip ever outside her home country) was forcibly disembarked in Muscat, Oman for climbing over a reeling. Another major objection is the prices of side services, which Celebrity describes as "reasonable" in their website but they don't publish detailed pricelists anywhere. Here below I will compare prices with Holland America because I was on a HAL ship just one week before this cruise: -Many items included in the price with other cruise lines are charged here, and handsomely: Certain drinks at breakfast-juices, more than half of items listed in the room service menu and even for the free items a delivery charge of $4.50! -Pay per view movies in the cabin at $13.50 each, compare with the extensive free library of HAL on dvds AND one new movie daily at the movie theater (versus one big screen movie in 16 days on Celebrity). -Prices for drinks and beverages are outrageous: Why is a cappucino priced $7 incl. 18% gratuity and Holland America charges $4 incl. 15% gratuity? Is it so much better? Similar with wines and cocktails. Small plastic bottle of water $3.50+18% gratuity? A scoop of ice cream $4+18%? It is forbidden to bring even a glass of wine on board, for no other reason than to consume their own overpriced items. -Prices for laundry are outrageous too (no self laundry possibility on Celebrity): A bag of laundry at $49 on "one time special offer"? A 2 piece suite for $19? A pair of socks $3? Double the price of HAL? They clean double as good? -Internet package for 16 days $299? Or $23.50 for 1 hour? Prices for one device only! Again almost double the price of HAL for the same satellite service. -"Optional" but automatic gratuity $13.50 per person per day? (HAL $10.50 for no worse service). No adjustment of the amount is possible, either nothing or the full amount. -Shore excursions similar, but in this Celebrity is no worse than other cruise lines and critically the consumer has alternative options with local tour operators. -Specialty dining for a charge and spa services: I didn't try, cannot compare. - Shops on board: I compared prices for items I had earmarked earlier for purchase such as alcohol and certain perfumes with other duty free outlets (airports and airlines). Don't bother, Celebrity's "duty free" price is 20-30% more expensive at every single one. Seems to me they reduce the state tax and add the difference directly into their sales margin. -Shoe shine service as on HAL? Let alone complimentary? Not here! So this cruise was only a good value if you restricted yourself to the absolute minimum of consumption, did not drink wine, cocktails, coffee, did not watch movies, did not use laundry or internet and checked if your conduct fits Celebrity's regulations at all times. But if you consumed all of the above, you could easily spend on board 3-4 times more than the price for the cruise. Hmmm... Quite the cheap trick of "get them on board first and sell them every little thing or service expensive"... not my idea of relaxed vacation or fair pricing policy folks and counterproductive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise very late and got an amazing last minute deal . We had been on the Connie only 2 cruises (see other review) prior to this one and had a great time. This was a different cruise in that it was a re-positioning cruise ... Read More
We booked this cruise very late and got an amazing last minute deal . We had been on the Connie only 2 cruises (see other review) prior to this one and had a great time. This was a different cruise in that it was a re-positioning cruise and so was primarily sea days (5 in a row at one point) whereas on our other cruise we had 6 port days in a row. The main thing that did not change was the service, it would be understandable after so many sea days for the wait and bar staff to be exhausted but their service levels never wavered. So impressive. Embarkation was quick and we quickly settled by the pool and had a great day waiting for the late departure. The ship is definitely older than the 2 others ships we have taken (Equinox and HAL Koningsdam) but it is still in reasonably good shape. The outside windows were very dirty on both cruises but all other areas were clean. We feel that there is much more space on this ship relative to the others we have sailed except in the MDR which feels incredibly packed. We had an OV cabin (3017), this was our first non verandah cabin. I prefer having a verandah but did not miss it as much as I though we would, we were rarely in our cabin. The strange thing was we only had a single doona placed sideways in the cover which we didn't notice until we went to bed very late on first night. We told the attendant the next day and he said" I noticed that but wasn't sure why" ... why not just replace it????This cabin did feel more worn than our previous one on deck 7 and the exhaust fan in the bathroom did not work and the a/c did not seem as efficient. Our attendant also was not as good, regularly left pillows on the floor, dirty rags in the cabin and forgot to restock toiletries. Overall it felt like you were treated worse on level 3 than 7. Noise was not a problem even though our door faced the lift well. Dining - on this cruise we bought the 3 restaurant specialty dining package. There is no doubt the food is of a better quality than that served in the MDR. The prices for the restaurants are very high but there was no limit on how much you could order. Tuscan grill had great quality produce but we did not care for the sauces they felt sweet relative to real Italian cuisine. The layout of the restaurant makes it feel cramped compared to on Equinox. Service was good. Oceanliners - much better sauces. Loved the dining space, very nautical and very spacious. Service was friendly but not polished for what they are trying to portray. Good overall experience. Sushi 5 - on the package you could order as you like which made it very good value as normally a la carte pricing. We ate more than 3 times what would have been provided under the package price. Good food but lack of hot asian dishes. Restaurant was virtually empty. MDR - the 2 tops are too close together and may as well be shared 4's. Can make it a little uncomfortable if you want a private evening. Eventually the maitre d fixed this and gave us a 4 seater just for the 2 of us - made it much more relaxing. Our sommelier was superb. Our waiters were busy but very good. As on the last cruise the food improved the longer the cruise went. Buffet - easy to find tables compared to other ships. Good range of food but quality is a bit basic. Entertainment - superb. The productions shows were the same but the performance level had improved even more. All the guest entertainers were superb and very varied (most passengers and us included did not quite understand what the Chili Gold show was supposed to be - but the only disappointment). Plus they often did matinee performances. The lounge acts were also good. There was so much in the way of activities - dance classes; colouring classes; at least 3 lectures; more trivia than you could fit in etc. Our only wish is that the lectures had been more staggered as we are late risers on cruises. They really increased the amount of activities in accordance with the amount of sea days - there was no way you could be bored. I would like to see a few more complimentary gym classes though. Oh and there were several dance parties and silent disco as well ... we partied ourselves to a standstill. Service - first class. Again easily the best we have experienced on a cruise ship. The bar staff in particular the waiters at the bars are first rate - serious kudos. Guest relations were friendlier than we normally find them and were quick to get back to us. The only issue I have with the service was that our big issue from the last cruise was not addressed by head office before we departed for this cruise yet they acknowledged we were cruising again so I thought I might have heard from someone onboard given we had returned to the same ship and head office knew we were but no one addressed it or us ... strange. The few ports there were were very good. Chania is very cute; Petra is outstanding; Muscat interesting except that it was a Friday and Abu Dhabi is ok. However there was ZERO information about these later ports, I know the ship hasn't sailed there before but surely the company has done some research on this??? Disembarkation was easy but we were the last off the ship. In summary - this was a really fun and relaxing cruise with great activities and service. The cabin was average and some of the food could be better but at the price we paid we have to give it a 5 star rating. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The dates fit into our schedule.The food was very ok on this ship. Not bad, not great. Too many people at the buffet lines and tables. MDR too physically crowded. The shows were fabulous. Momma Mia was Broadway quality. The shows were ... Read More
The dates fit into our schedule.The food was very ok on this ship. Not bad, not great. Too many people at the buffet lines and tables. MDR too physically crowded. The shows were fabulous. Momma Mia was Broadway quality. The shows were great.The cabin was a good size with a nice seating area. There was plenty of storage for 2 people. Also we enjoyed our excursions specially in country of oman with the best tourism Company there ( Lifetime-tours),Oman was my third stop on a four country vacation and I immediately fell in love with this country. At first I could not put my finger on why, but I think it was the heart of the people that made this place special. Ahmed, our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and professional. He spoke with a certain pride about his country and I could see why. He took great care to make sure we had a great time and he altered the tour a bit due to my disability to make sure I could still experience a Wadi, but just not a challenging.Also the excellent service and organisation we had with this agency.Finally it was everything beautiful and relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Excellent value and the ship was brand new. Getting on board was seamless. Better than usual entertainment. Went to ports we would not normally choose, Oman & Kochi. Even though it's a huge ship it was not crowded. There were no ... Read More
Excellent value and the ship was brand new. Getting on board was seamless. Better than usual entertainment. Went to ports we would not normally choose, Oman & Kochi. Even though it's a huge ship it was not crowded. There were no problems getting lounge chairs at the pools. no big queues at the dining venues. Food and service are great as usual. Good choice of tours in Ports. Activities are great too, North Star and I fly were amazing. Robot bar was a great novelty. There was a great wine bar with a good selection. Two seventy at the blunt end was an excellent bar to relax in and in the evening it transformed to a theatre. The free dining venues were 1st class and although an extra expense Wonderland was a great dining experience. Cabins were a good size and no sticky shower curtains, much more storage room than usual. Overall a great sailing adventure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise ever, so we went with no preconceived ideas and no expectations. We chose the cruises mainly on price, it was cheap and it went to interesting places in the Middle East that I wanted to go to. We knew we would ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, so we went with no preconceived ideas and no expectations. We chose the cruises mainly on price, it was cheap and it went to interesting places in the Middle East that I wanted to go to. We knew we would be off the boat most days and to us it was just a floating hotel. Embarkation was good and quick and we arrived on board straight away after arriving at the cruise terminal. However our suitcases took more than 4 hours to arrive at our cabins. We could have gone into Dubai or relaxed by the pool except we had our UK winter clothes on and couldn't change. Now we know to bring a change of clothes or swimsuit in your hand luggage. In general the ship was great, no complaints. We had a cabin without windows which was adequate in size, very comfortable and cheap.We bought an Allegrissimo drinks package before we came, which was cheaper and very good, as you never had to think about the costs of drinks. We found all the staff to be very professional and very helpful. There was a service charge daily but I think the staff deserved this. The main sit down and be served restaurant served excellent food, though portion size was small. The buffets, breakfast, lunch and dinner were excellent in the choices and ranges of food available. They were very busy and sometimes you had to share tables, but this was good for meeting people of other nationalities. I can't comment on entertainment as we never attended any. Excursions were expensive but well organised, though the guides let them down by not being able to offer up information, history or stories. It did say they give basic information only but our guide on the Desert Safari didn't even do that. He only spoke when questioned, didn't say where we were or how long we had at that spot. I booked the Big Bus on line before coming and got a combined ticket for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat. This was a lot cheaper than individual tickets bought on the ship. Finding free sunbeds or places to sit in the sun outside was also a problem. You could reserve you place with a towel, which people did and then disappeared for the rest of the day. Staff were supposed to remove them after 30 mins but they never did. Lastly and most importantly, my husband contracted some kind of food poisoning on the first evening, maybe after eating mussels. He was sick all night with diarrhea too. This then lasted the whole week and on into the week we got home. He visited the medical centre who examined him, gave him advice and medicines and even 2 drips but nothing worked. Also it cost us 526 euros! even though we are in the process off claiming some of it back through our insurance. It spoilt the cruise for us, especially for me as I was alone for a lot of the time. This year we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and had planned a variety of holidays to celebrate, but this turned out to be a disappointment due to the illness and the ships inability to cure it. Despite this the cruise itself was very good and I would recommend this company. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our seventh cruise, second with RCI. We had done this cruise before, but on Brilliance of the Seas. We booked everything through a cruise agent and was very happy. We departed from Birmingham on an Emirates flight EK38 on ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, second with RCI. We had done this cruise before, but on Brilliance of the Seas. We booked everything through a cruise agent and was very happy. We departed from Birmingham on an Emirates flight EK38 on the Sunday evening at 20.25. Be aware as last time we experienced poor service from cabin crew. It almost seems like they cannot be bothered on this flight. As last time, we were served only one meal. In addition we were parched by the time we arrived at Dubai airport, once again due to the fact we were given very little in the way of free water or juices on the flight. Once again the cabin crew seemed to want to get the meal out of the way so they could have a decent rest before we arrived into Dubai. This was exactly the same as last time. The meal was only luke warm, like it hadn't been in the oven long enough. It seemed like everything was far too much trouble for them. We got to Dubai airport and didn't miss the transfers arranged by RCI. Last time we were escorted to a hotel for breakfast and had to go through the process of passports, cruise cards etc there which was a real pain considering we were tired. The only advantage was we were served water and fresh orange juice which we terribly needed. This time however, we had a private car arranged and it was so welcome. There was guy with a placard who escorted us straight to a car, loaded our luggage and took us to the port. Our bags were taken from us immediately by RCI crew and we waited in the lounge. We had priority boarding passes and there was no queing as we were one of the first there. We were first on the ship and used our cards immediately to upgrade to the Premium Package for drinks as we mainly drink spirits. This was $105 each for the week, which we thought was well worth it. Cabins were not available until 13.00 hours, but we had a change of clothes, previously packed in hand luggage so made ourselves comfortable until this time. However, we were incredibly tired. Our cabin was on deck 6 - 6022. It was the first time we had a balcony cabin. We didn't realise but these balconies had been added on a couple of years ago. It was ok though, there was somewhere to sit. We had requested double bed configuration. There was a dressing table with three small draws, but no other draws so we used the floor of the wardrobe. We took our own travel kettle and tea, coffee, sugar etc. There was no fridge. Apparently there were facilities and a fridge on higher up balcony cabins. There was a flat screen tv but the channel choice was pretty rubbish. Bathroom was usual cruise ship size. No toiletries provided apart from some shampoo, usually this is shower gel, which we did not bring with us so abit strange. As usual cabin steward very efficient, but he did get on my nerves alittle, keep knocking the door at night to see if we had gone out. We chose MY Time dining but was able to book for 9pm most evenings in advance and ask for a table for two. Sail Away party was a complete joke. Afew of the crew dancing around to awful music. No hooters sounding party atmosphere or anything. We have had fantastic ones on Thomson and Ocean Village in the past. This was a complete disappointment. Breakfast Mainly horrible. We mainly ate in the Windjammer. Absolute beglum. Like a cattle market, plastic plates. Bacon like scratchings it was done that much and sausage not always cooked right the way through. HP sauce scant. Coffee awful. Lunch Didn't always eat lunch but when we did mainly in the Windjammer again, although I did miss the ability to dine outside which we have experienced on lots of other ships. Dinner Taken every night in the King and I and I have to say this was fantastic. Our waiters, Favron and Sunny were brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble. They were attentive and hard working and all out to make sure we had an enjoyable experience. It was my birthday on the Saturday night and they were lovely. Excursions Didn't do any arranged ones. As we had been before we didn't get off first day as we wanted to relax after the exhausting day on Monday. Didn't seem like a lot to do in Khasab anyway. We were then in Muscat for two days and we decided day one should be spent on ship again and we could go out on day two. Once again great weather, as experienced last time. We walked around the souck but bothered by people all the time and no toilet facilities anywhere. Not great when you take a water tablet and have IBS!!!! When we did find one, there was only one working and it was absolutely disgusting. Abu Dhabi/Dubai - we once again bought Big Bus tickets for the two days, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but be aware if you bought in Dubai some of the advertised "free" attractions in Dubai were not included. This included Atlantis. Disappointing and not advised of this before purchase. However we did the beach tour in Dubai and the hotel drop after Burj was fantastic. Proper Arabian village type with water all around it. We took the hotels boat tour around it and if we go to Dubai again we will most certainly stay here. It was apparently a highlight of the tour. We also went to Dubai Mall, not so much for shopping but just a nose around at how big it is and we had something to eat here. Dubai is certainly full of rich folk. We had problems with our toilet in the cabin. For the last three to four days there was a problem with it not flushing. Each time we called reception they asked for maintenance to attend. Each time it was fixed when tried again same thing happened. No suction, just filled up with water. This was most annoying and I understand I am promised some discount off my next cruise with them. One week on and Im still awaiting the promised email. However, they did give us two days free internet access which is usually $20 per day per device. We also had late checkout which allowed us to stay on the ship till around quarter past eleven. Our private car was collecting us at 11.30. Of course you could stay later, but couldn't use cruise cards after 09.00 hrs. This was something we hadn't expected as even with Thomson you can use them right up until you disembark. Photographers were a pain in the neck. I didn't mind photo on embarkation or Formal Night but they came every night and even on sea days taking photos of folk in their costumes! who wants a shot of that. Drinks package was good. Husband drank Johnny Walker Black Label and I drank Bombay Saphhire. We also had cocktails. However, we did both have jippy tummies and my Husband suspected it was all the ice in the cocktails. Toilets on the decks were abit strange being located one below and one above the main deck 4. In addition I have never been on a ship where there are no toilets by the pool. Consequently if you are in your costume you have to cover up to go indoors to use one of the three toilets. These were also used for the Windjammer so you can imagine how busy they were. Smoking was Starboard side, deck 4 9 and 10. We were told the entertainment was rubbish. We did expect to see some shows but didn't see one. We were told by people who went to some performances it was crew doing most of it and there did not appear to be any outside entertainers on board. We have had better on Thomson. The shops were not great. If you wanted a decent coffee it came at $11 for two lattes. This included 15% gratuity which i thought was abit of a cheek to add on without first telling you they added. There were only a few seats, about 8 to sit and have a nice coffee. We did it once but didn't bother again. Sea day - the usual people who have no where to sit apart from indoors. Every cruise ship I have been on has this problem with sunbeds and unless you are up early you are sure you will not get one for the whole day. Fortunately we had only one sea day. Disembarkation was great because we were not part of the RCI arranged cattle market transportation. We had our own driver again, lovely Audi car, complementary water and swift drop off at Dubai Airport. Here though we had to go to immigration to have our passport stamped and despite RCI having our passports for nearly a whole week, they failed to stamp the passport for leaving Dubai. All in all it was an ok holiday. We knew what to expect but would we do this one again - possibly not. The ship is going to Thomson in April and it will suit them down to ground. The ship itself is lovely. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Started the cruise after a 4night stay in Mestre Venice embarkation excellent balcony cabin midship on deck 6 plenty of hanging space but no drawers or shelves for clothes. Drinks expensive so took a package for one (surprising as in the ... Read More
Started the cruise after a 4night stay in Mestre Venice embarkation excellent balcony cabin midship on deck 6 plenty of hanging space but no drawers or shelves for clothes. Drinks expensive so took a package for one (surprising as in the past all cabin occupants had to have one.) We knew about the drinks policy but managed to get a bottle of gin and a bottle of brandy on board in our suitcase. As RC have no tea/coffee making facilities in the cabins we use room service each morning for our wake up brew this year we asked for a kettle and received one on day 3 so could brew our own as required. Food on board was very good but not usually hot service good buffet which we rarely use was the best I have seen on a ship(we have done 11 cruises on different lines) Entertainment with the RC singers and dancers was poor but entertainment brought onboard was good although some nights we struggled to decide what to see on others we had little choice lots of daytime entertainment from bridge to crafts, dance lessons to keep fit sometimes a little holiday campish like the belly flop competition and the sexiest male but you could avoid this if you stayed away from the pool area area. Excursions desk not much help if you wanted to see somewhere on your own took one with the ship to Jerusalem and Bethlehem rather expensive at approx 139$ each we were rushed around for 5 hours Jerusalem was excellent but Bethlehem was a complete disappointment would have been much better to take a taxi arround Jerusalem and enjoy it at leisure Finally disembarkation was excellent for our 3night stay in Dubai Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We've cruised with RCI now for a number of years and generally like the cruise line. This particular cruise was a bit of a mixed bag! The good.... For an older ship about to be sold we were pleasantly surprised that it was in ... Read More
We've cruised with RCI now for a number of years and generally like the cruise line. This particular cruise was a bit of a mixed bag! The good.... For an older ship about to be sold we were pleasantly surprised that it was in such good ship shape, was intimate and had more character than the newer RCI ships. Even our cabin was well appointed and more spacious than we expected (room 7106). The not so good.... it's hard to explain the downside without listing a whole load of niggling faults that accumulate. I guess the best way to say it is that it feels like the ship is winding down to the sail of the ship in April next year. For example... 1) Service around the ship - normally on RCI impeccable but on this cruise was variable... sometimes not enough bar staff and sometimes bar staff more interested in talking to each other. 2) Food was often lukewarm or cold 3) Entertainment seemed low key and forced rather than a pleasure... (note having spoken at length to one of the performers who I'll keep anonymous this isn't a surprise as they were generally not treated so good) 4) Processes like passport collection and distribution were badly organised (one required us to queue for 30 mins in the middle of our cruise).... etc. We completed a mid-cruise review with these points and in all fairness to the crew every issue was recorded and raised with us discretely. There was at least some attempt to solve the problems but it was clear the effort was more about negating our complaints than solving the problem. For example the day we submitted our "food is cold" comment, the dining staff looked out for us and our food was delivered on piping hot plates and the whole table noted. It was a nice touch except that the next night it was again lukewarm.. and we weren't about to delay our food and make an issue every night. We met a variety of people that were much more animated and displeased on the cruise.. from the first time RCI cruisers who were appalled at the rip off alcohol prices (note this is typical RCI and so if you're into alcohol we'd advise you find another cruise line) to a couple who have cruised with RCI many many times and even were on the Splendour the year after it first sailed (1997) who basically thought every aspect of the service and ship was worse. Frankly and in complete fairness on the whole we had a great holiday despite things being below RCI normal standards. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Recently my husband and I took a cruise on bi -lingual Europa 2 from Limassol to Dubai. Our interest was two-fold: we wanted to see Petra and transit the Suez Canal, and we wanted to experience the ship. We flew to Larnaca, Cyprus where ... Read More
Recently my husband and I took a cruise on bi -lingual Europa 2 from Limassol to Dubai. Our interest was two-fold: we wanted to see Petra and transit the Suez Canal, and we wanted to experience the ship. We flew to Larnaca, Cyprus where we rented an apartment for a few days, and then caught a cab to Limassol, our embarkation port. We arrived just before the posted embarkation time of 4PM, handed over our luggage, boarded, downed a fast glass of bubbly and went to our cabin. We were shocked (and pleased)to see that all our luggage was there — within 15 minutes of boarding. Our cabin was an entry level one. We had booked a guarantee and ended up on deck 7 in an ocean suite. This consisted of a room of 301 square feet, with a balcony of 75 square ft. I believe that about 80% of the cabins are this size. The bathroom had a tub and a separate shower (with built-in bench) and one sink. The walk-in closet had double hung bars and multiple drawers and shelves. In the cabin there was also additional storage space, a Nespresso machine, and a clever split door covering the make-up mirror, which lit up when opened. There was a complicated lighting/dimming system that required a booklet to explain — we did not attempt to learn this. Ditto with the phone system. The bed linens are top quality and changed every 3 days. Before dinner we took a stroll around the ship and were struck by how spacious it all felt. The 2 forward elevators are glass and the the elevator landings have large windows, which adds to the expansive feeling. Although the ship was not full (350 out of a possible 510), I could tell that this ship would never be crowded and there would never be jostling for deck chairs. The ship is decorated in muted shades of beige, cream and gray — quite a modern feel, yet soothing. Well, time for a pre-dinner glass of wine! And here we hit our first snag. The first bar we found was in the lobby. The is not the best location as the space is brightly lit, and offers an overly enthusiastic piano player. We wanted to sit at the bar, but found it too noisy so moved to the far side of the room. We wanted to order a bottle of wine, which we would then have had taken to our dinner table. Although we never got the full story, it seems that the only wine bottle storage is in the main dining, on deck 4. This means that a server has to physically retrieve your chosen (or partially consumed) bottle. This took a long time which is not the fault of the server but a design flaw in the ship. In fairness, I believe most Europeans have an aperitif or cocktail before dinner and this would not have been a service issue. Let’s go into dinner. We chose the main dining room, which is a stunning room with blown glass chandeliers. It was surprisingly quiet and I think that was because there are a variety of noise barriers — varying raised levels of seating and varying ceiling levels. What a pleasant evening! The next day we continued our exploration of the ship. There is a large area devoted to the beauty parlor, exercise room, steam room and massage rooms. We didn’t sample any of these. There is a library split into 2 — one side books, one side computers. Internet was not free. I was surprised at the excellent selection of English language books. There is an art gallery, complete with curator who gave tours of the extensive art collection on the ship. There is a teaching kitchen for passengers, although classes are only in German. However, Hapag-Lloyd has done a clever thing in that each voyage has an international hostess who is fluent in German and English and is available to translate in the kitchen, and anywhere else that is required. Ours was Angela Hidde, who was a gem. There is also a movie theatre where the English enrichment lectures (there were 3) were held. There are numerous bars, our favorite being the Sansibar. However, with the exception of the uninviting lobby bar, none of them had a bar and barstools — rather they were set up as cocktail lounges. So there was little chance to socialize with other passengers. Let’s talk about the food. In a word — spectacular -- from presentation to service to taste. In the morning you could eat in the partially open air Yacht Club, the main dining room, or have room service. Breakfast was similar to that of other luxury lines,but offered more cured meats, cheeses and smoked fish. One morning I asked for Eggs Benedict and was told I could not get them until 8am — I don’t know why. When the main breakfast was over you could have late riser’s breakfast in Sansibar. Then at about 11am it was time for bouillon by the pool. Lunch could be taken in the main dining room, selected specialty restaurants or the Yacht Club. We always ate at the Yacht Club since the weather was so nice. Here, I was knocked out by the selection, beginning with 8 kinds of lettuce for salad, a whole prosciutto plus other cured meats, numerous hot dishes and aterrific selection of cheeses. The Food and Beverage Manager told me they had 80kinds of cheese, and 40 kinds of fish (not counting shellfish). Then it’s waffles by the pool and/or tea in the Belvedere lounge. At dinner the specialty restaurants required reservations for the evening, but no stated time — your table was yours for the evening. The main dining room and the Yacht Club did not required reservations. The menu selections in all the restaurants was not large, but quite variedand I always found more things to order than I could possible consume. The Yacht Clubhad an amazing array of cold lobster, oysters, mussels and shrimp every evening. Next is entertainment. First — the theater. It is on 2 levels with about 2 feet between each row of swivel chairs — very comfy. We were lucky to have aboard a classical music group called Ensemble Mini who put on three shows. Another night there was a acrobatic show and one we missed that featured performers on roller skates. There was also a 2 part tribute to Simon and Garfunkel. We thought the entertainment was terrific — and we are people who generally skip the entertainment on other ships. In the Jazz Club I caught a good trio and I heard there was a great Sinatra impersonator. The was not a port intensive trip, but for each port there was at least one tour in English. The tours were good and priced similarly to other luxury lines. On our last day we had to disembark very early in the morning, as did other passengers. I was stunned to see that the main dining room was open for a full breakfast at 4:30am. There was also a continental breakfast in the lobby. As we reluctantly walked down the gangway we saw all the officers bidding farewell to the passengers. Regarding costs, we paid for the trip in Euros and it cost us about the equivalent of $12,000. Drinks are not included, but when you order anything alcoholic you just give the server your cabin number -- no need to show your room card. In fact, you do not even give the ship your credit card until a day or so before the end of the cruise. Final thoughts. This is not a ship where you will make new friends. Although most of the German speaking passengers speak English and were cordial, they were not very outgoing. They did not seem outgoing even among themselves. The bars do not lend themselves to socializing and I assume this is a cultural preference. I think that once Europa 2 attracts more English speaking passengers this will change. On our cruise there were 14 English speaking guests; we were the only Americans. Would I go back? In a Hamburg minute! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were on Century, sailing from Singapore to Dubai on March 22nd. This was originally part of the Century's farewell cruise to Europe but changed when the ship was sold to China meaning the final cruise was a return from Dubai to ... Read More
We were on Century, sailing from Singapore to Dubai on March 22nd. This was originally part of the Century's farewell cruise to Europe but changed when the ship was sold to China meaning the final cruise was a return from Dubai to Singapore after we left the ship. We were somewhat apprehensive after reading some of the negative comments about the state of the ship, however we always keep in mind that for every negative comment there is usually significantly more positive experiences because people are quick to criticise and slow to praise an enjoyable experience. Also some people appear to spend more time looking for faults than having an enjoyable holiday! Embarkation in Singapore was fast and efficient, we were on board with a glass of champagne in hand with very little delay. The ship may be the oldest in the Celebrity fleet but it has been very well maintained, certainly there was no evidence of undue wear and tear. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8, it was smaller than we're used to but adequate and comfortable. Food in both the Main Dining Room and the Buffet Restaurant was of the expected standard with little room for complaint, the service was generally very good, it was especially noticeable that wine arrived very quickly, unlike what we've experienced on other cruise lines where, the worst example was when our wine arrived with our desserts. We had dinner in Murano one night and the food and service was excellent, in particular the wait staff were friendly and helpful but never intrusive as can sometimes happen. We only went to a few shows and they ranged from an Italian tenor who was excellent to a stage show which was ordinary at best, overall in our experience pretty much standard for cruise ship entertainment. We went on shore excursions in Cochin and Mumbai which we enjoyed even in spite of an Indian Immigration system which conspired to turn every one off visiting the country, it was petty Indian bureaucracy at it's finest! Firstly we required a visa which isn't unusual, then on the second day out we all had to spend about an hour in the Hemisphere Lounge filling out Departure and Arrival cards plus a port card for each of the four Indian ports. Then on arrival in Cochin we had to queue for at least an hour for a face to face interview with an Indian Immigration official before leaving the ship. This process was so tedious that the queue became a conga line that stretched over two or three decks at it's worst and saw crew moving along the queue with water and juice as they made regular announcements to try and keep us informed. We never went ashore in Goa or New Mangalore but we did in Mumbai where being the last Indian port the process was similar to Cochin but handled in a slightly more efficient fashion. Our only comment and also that of many we spoke to was that if India wants to increase tourism, they need to lift their game to a whole new level! Our excursion in Cochin was pretty much the usual ho hum excursion apart from the Chinese fishing nets which were interesting but could also be seen from the comfort of the ship as we sailed in. Our guide was an Indian woman who smiled a lot and knew the date of everything that ever happened in Cochin but was pretty mediocre as a guide. In contrast, our excursion in Mumbai was fascinating with an excellent female guide who told us only historical facts that were relevant but also had a sense of humour and made the tour extremely interesting, having a more conversational way of delivery instead of sounding like she'd swallowed a history text book The highlights were the architecture, the Gateway to India and the Taj Mahal hotel, the Lunch Boxes and the open air laundry, Ghandis house was also an interesting insight into the past. The next stop was Muscat in Oman which was such a contrast with India, we simply walked off the ship and onto our tour bus, the highlight of this tour was undoubtedly the Mosque which is huge and fascinating and the Souk. The guide was a young man who was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. One of the really nice things we found with Celebrity was that when you arrived back at the ship all hot and tired after an excursion we were met with drinks and iced towels before boarding the ship! On the subject of shore excursions generally it looks like cruise lines pick a tour company and select from their brochure without actually sending staff on excursions to assess them. Too may excursions see us trawl through endless churches, temples and museums etc which most regular travellers have seen enough of to last a lifetime. One of the really nice things about Century was the lack of queuing on the ship, there were always tables available in the buffet restaurant, even at peak times, we had My Time dining for dinner and were always able to get a table for two with little or no delay. The crew were outstanding, always friendly and helpful, our Cabin Steward, Antonio from Goa looked after our every need, the lady allocating tables in the main dining room was a delight, however the highlight by far was "Ferrari Man" in the buffet restaurant, he went around with tea and coffee on his wheeled round table all decorated with Ferrari merchandise, he was always happy and never failed to make the day of anyone he came into contact with. This was our first cruise on Celebrity with previous cruises being on either Royal Caribbean or Carnival but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wouldn't hesitate to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for our ... Read More
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for our cruise around the UAE's (including flights)... The embarkation process, on land, was OK - aboard ship was caotic. No body new what to do where to go... and the que at the Customer Service/information desk was insane... then, when you got to the front you were met with a grumpy faces of 4 women who didn't care how they spoke to you and didn't think it was their job to help you... The ports of call were all great - no complaints there. The entertainment on the ship was OK.. nothing spectacular but it wasn't awful. The sunbeds were awful... so dirty with an smell that wasn't pleasent, and I'm not talking about one or two of them.... but most of them.. but the worse thing for me was the bedding. Check it when you go into your cabin - which again is basic but OK. We had badly stained pillows with huge brown marks, blood (or what we assumed was blood). they were disgusting - and the mattress was the same. Unfortunately we didn't do this until disembarking.... when we were leaving the cabin I thought I'd help by stripping the bed.... shocked at what we saw. We're written and complained to Costa who have basically said 'oh well, never mind' and when I said that this wasn't acceptable they have just ignorned my emails. Shocking service - really is. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was ... Read More
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was the fastest decision we ever had, took us around 15 minutes to close the booking we even decided to do an early anniversary celebration for it. We booked before the embarkation by a several month and till the big day we kept dreaming and fantasize about how it will look like beside lots of research. To cut it short to the review we landed in Dubai the day before the embarkation and stayed at Savoy Central hotel about 5 minutes drive from the port. And here comes the big day as we were approaching the port and got the 1st visual contact with the ship we were amazed by the ship's massive size (I know it's a small one compared to RCL fleet but we still rookies) , RCL land staff on the port were very nice , helpful ,smiling and organized the check in process took around 20 minutes including double checking with UAE coast guards our eligibility to take a return visa to UAE at the end of the cruise. Finally we got our sea passes and headed to the ship and from the moment we stepped in the ship the fascination started from the Centrum till we reached our stateroom at the 9th floor, after checking out our beautiful room we decided to talk a walk around the ship and since then we didn't stop walking till we reached back Dubai. Our stateroom was on the 9th floor we booked a balcony room very spacious with a nice size balcony , very comfy bed and pillows bathroom was good the shower was a little bit tight but wasn't a problem as you don't want to waste too much time in the shower , room service was great they clean and make up your room several times a day and by every night you will find your cruise compass along with a very nice wrapped towel (we had an elephant , dog and a hanging monkey. The ship is amazing with lots of activities from live shows to various dining options , relaxation by the solarium to watch movies on the huge screen by the pool, interactive touch screens on each floor showing the ship map , point of interests and all the activities going on board was very informative. For the dining we tried several places along the trip (Windjammer , The Reflections , Giovanni's Table and Park Cafe) usually we had breakfast around 8 Am , Snack 1 PM and Dinner 8:30 PM. 1- Windjammer : The food on windjammer is very nice with lots of varieties and the main thing we loved in Windjammer that no matter how crowded it is you'll never feel it due to its spacious space. 2- The Reflections : The food was very tasty and sophisticated and very nice wine menu. 3- Giovanni's Table : we went to Giovanni's Table on the Mystery Wine Dinner night Same as reflections very tasty and sophisticated and the show was awesome. 4- Park Cafe : Very nice for a mid day light snack and they have the best Roast Beef sandwich I ever had. Regarding the onboard activities we enjoyed the lovely animation team on the Serenade they had different activities every day , the Arabian night was wonderful . We went to the tropical theater a couple of times and were impressed by the huge production they have onboard , also the shows on the Centrum was very amusing specially the 70's disco night. The good thing that if you missed on any show (which defiantly you will as some shows are played together) it will be broadcasted on the internal channels on your stateroom TV. Also all live bands were very nice playing different genres of music from easy listening to latin music. The overall entertainment onboard the ship was awesome Service on the ship is wonderful and very professional from room attendants to restaurant greeters and waiters, bar tenders , animation team ,onboard shops sales representatives all officers and senior officers everyone is greeting you with a huge smile and won't save an effort to help you in anything. We didn't do any kind of shore excursions as we enjoyed the ship very much and we didn't want to waste any time outside it, we only got to a short tour in Oman by our own around 2 hours but from the excursions list we got on the ship seems like they offer lots of on shore activities with very reasonable prices. The most thing we loved in the cruise is the guests onboard the ship a very nice combination of multi culture people that are looking forward to spend good time all guests were friendly , smiling and happily greeting each other, we had lots of short/long side conversations with many people from all around the world we even managed to earn new friendship with a very lovely German couple on the 2nd day and we spent the rest of the cruise together. The only thing we didn't like on the whole cruise that the outdoor swimming pool became very dirty by the last 2 days of the cruise. Checkout process was very easy specially that I had all the onboard expenses debited from my credit card directly. Bottom line we enjoyed every second on the cruise and we are officially attached to the cruising life. we started looking for 2014 cruise already. In the end I would like to thank everyone working on the Serenade Of the Seas for making our dream vacation comes true. Hope the above info. Was informative for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and I had promised ourselves a cruise around our Silver Wedding Anniversary and our wish was granted ! Having had a bilateral total hip replacement with my second op. just a couple of months prior to my travel and our horrid 2013 ... Read More
My wife and I had promised ourselves a cruise around our Silver Wedding Anniversary and our wish was granted ! Having had a bilateral total hip replacement with my second op. just a couple of months prior to my travel and our horrid 2013 winter motivated us to book this Red Sea Cruise with a four night stay at a 5* Jaz Mirabel Beach Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh (SSK) The price was very reasonable. The Thomson flight from London and the transfers to the ship were brilliant and extremely well organised. Almost all cruisers were British and the average age was around 55ish. The entrance to the ship was pretty ordinary and our luggage was taken to our suite. The room size was pretty generous and perfectly adequate for our needs with a full refrigerated supplies. Our first meal was in a buffet section. We were not very impressed with the pretty ordinary looking food but once we settled down, explored all our options, all our concerns were alleviated after a chat with the Chef (Pablito) who assured us that the chicken and lamb was all halal and beef was stocked on board for the large number of muslim Indonesian crew. Pablito produced the halal labels on the boxes on request. The chef promised to prepare a halal fillet steak meal at our behest the following day in the A la Carte Restaurant (Highly Recommended ) and produced a meal of the highest michelin standard at no extra cost. We had most of our meals there since quality mattered more than quantity and the service was second to none. We made lots of friends there and were made to feel like "part of the family". Thomson go out of their way to ensure everyone on board has a wonderful time (of their lives!) Friday sermon (Jumuah) was easy to get to by taxi and needed pre-planning Food, snacks, tea,coffee and water is available 24 hours a day on most part of the ship.I had a bagful of snacks which were never used during our cruise. All Thomson cruisers get prepared to put on weight ! One fellow traveler put on a stone in just a week on a previous cruise, easily done! Another fantastic aspect of the cruise was the butler who appeared like a gremlin and made the bed, tidied up the room no less than three times daily with ice in the ice bucket topped up a number of times daily. In a nutshell, you are treated like royalty whatever price you pay and whichever cabin you choose.The entertainment every night was of West End standard and alone worth the price of the cruise. Since fellow travelers did not have to get drunk like the youngsters made the evenings a pleasure. There was no time to get bored. The ports were not too great and used for access for excursions, we did venture out of the ship a few times just for for touring the surrounding areas.We were never disappointed but always glad to be back "home" on our ship. Disembarkation was easy, luggage had to be left outside our cabins for identification on land beside the ship for taking to the coaches. Help was always available for those that required assistance. In summary, a fantastic experience likely to make most cruiseaholics! Do enjoy your journey and please do not take food/snacks onboard ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Firstly, the boarding procedure in Dubai was pathetic. We arrived early on day of boarding and being in a Concierge cabin expected prompt handling. The check in took over two hours standing for the understaffed to process us on to the ... Read More
Firstly, the boarding procedure in Dubai was pathetic. We arrived early on day of boarding and being in a Concierge cabin expected prompt handling. The check in took over two hours standing for the understaffed to process us on to the ship. Passports were collected and we were told that we would get them a bit later !. Almost 5 hours after entering our cabin and still no luggage. Calls to the Guest relations desk proved futile-no clear explanation or answers. We were forced as well as most of the other passengers to have our first dinner in the main dining room in whatever clothes we were wearing. Not a very inviting sight to begin our first evening on the Solstice. A request to have our passports were met with misleading and dishonest answers. Fact is, we were told that it was OK to go ashore in Dubai or the next port -Muscat,Oman without the passports. Tell that to the U.S. State Department or even the guest lectures on board the ship ! The morning of our arrival in Cochin,India a 45 minute wait to retrieve our passports began the day ! Again, after we boarded the ship in Cochin,passports were collected and we were told its OK to get off ship and tour in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. On the last morning,before leaving the ship in Singapore,we had to line up again for the return. Celebrity must be counting on the ignorance of its passengers,but I would hate to be involved in any emergency medical or legal hassle while off the ship and not have my U.S. passport with me ! I have traveled extensively for business and pleasure as well, and also have overseen of staff overseas assignments and never is anyone ever advised to walk around in a foreign country without a proper,original ( not a facsimile ) passport. The communication skills of the Guest Relations staff as well as the Captain in these matters is disgraceful ! As respects the ship itself,Solstice seems to need a refreshing update in all areas. Decor is dated,faded and nondescript.. Food in MDR is fine for those whom the ability to order many dishes is the draw.Food very mediocre, and presentation is also boring. We ate one evening in the Silk Harvest and food, etc. just average. We opted out of trying the other specialty venues after this attempt at a more upscale experience. Oceanview Cafe was what to expect in a buffet,cafeteria setting ! Outside pool area food -very 2nd rate.. Shows ,mostly were tacky and garish... Cruise director,Paul was a throwback to the old snake salesman/huckster. Pool area always jammed and volume of the music seemed more appropriate for an outdoor amateur rock show.! Perhaps, it was this cruise, and the passenger make-up,but it was a very senior and uncouth bunch. The only bright light for us were our cabin attendants and the wait staff in the restaurants. Celebrity seems to be competing these days with Carnival and its customer base as opposed to an upscale passenger and will suffer in the end. Next cruise will be on Azamara or Oceanic..One gets what one pays for !! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This has been our first cruise on a Costa ship and we chose it to try out it's Italian hospitality and I am sad to say it will probably be our last and it would not be a company I would recommend to anyone. I'm writing this ... Read More
This has been our first cruise on a Costa ship and we chose it to try out it's Italian hospitality and I am sad to say it will probably be our last and it would not be a company I would recommend to anyone. I'm writing this letter to give you constructive feedback because without this you are not able to improve your image. The image with the Italian, German and French markets may be good but I feel that with other nationalities it is sadly lacking therefore the Costa brand is limited to a small potential market base. There were few English speaking people on-board and you are missing a large market. When we've cruised on the ships listed above there has always been a very cosmopolitan atmosphere but this is sadly lacking on Costa. The ship lacked atmosphere.It is the small things that stick in one's mind as to whether you have a good or bad experience and in our case there have been more negatives compared to positives. Positive:1. Our room was well laid out2. We liked our restaurant staff and our room was well looked after.3. Interior deco was pleasant4. Music in the various bars was pleasant5. Good gym but could do with a steam room as well as a sauna6. The ships port of calls were good, except Khor Fakkan.7. I did like the relaxed style of disembarkation -- i.e. you could leave the ship at whatever time you chose on the last day.Negative:1. The draw handles -- (see Figure 1) are totally useless especially if you have arthritis -- which my wife has. I had to use a lock from our suitcase to hook through the piece of leather to give ourselves something to grab hold of to open the draws in the room. The draw handles might look stylish but whoever designed them and specified them for use on your ship is totally useless. Even someone with half a brain cell could tell you that the draw and door handles are totally impractical. There are as much use as chocolate teapot. 2. Public toilets -- these are a total joke assuming you can find them on the ship in the first place. There are small signs just outside the toilets but they are small there are no directions on how to find them. Once you're inside the toilets to say they are cramped is an understatement. These are the smallest public toilets I've ever had to use.3. It is very difficult to navigate around the ship and there are a distinct lack of maps showing where you are and how to get to other places on the ship. Those you do find are small and the text is nearly impossible to read. Those with poor eyesight are totally handicapped. Take a leaf out how the ships maps designed and displayed on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity X -- I feel that in the design and layout of the ship is exceedingly poor and there has been very little thought on how to navigate from one place to another. You feel the ship had been designed on an ad-hock basis by a group of teenagers. You feel very cramped and there is no sense of space. I've been on other ships with many thousands of passengers before but never felt as claustrophobic as I did on the Costa Favolosa.4. There was virtually no communication on the ship as to its progress, days' activities or even words from the captain. Never experienced this before.5. We found the staff were helpful if asked but generally did not smile or speak much unless spoken to. We also found the Italian passengers are generally rude and I believe this rubbed off onto the staff. 6. There was a pool that had a sign stating that is was assigned as adults only and there were children playing in the pool. When we asked staff kindly as to why there were children in the pool they shrugged their shoulders and said that there were powerless to enforce the rules. This is unacceptable -- if you have rules they should be enforced or don't make the rules in the first place. The staff were too afraid of upsetting the passengers and this I also believe rubs off onto staff moral which was obvious to us. 7. While on the subject of rules - Hand sanitation -- not enforced by staff -- it was confirmed by talking to staff that they were afraid to confront passengers and remind them of hygiene rules. Most of the staff were from similar countries as you employ on your other cruise lines and they were happy to talk to us and express their frustrations with their clientele. If you have rules then they should be enforced or don't bother with them - management should support staff in the enforcement of rules.8. Smoking -- the smoking passengers did not obey the smoking rules and as I've stated before the staff were afraid to enforce the rules. I also thought that allowing people to smoke in one half of the atrium are on deck 3 very damaging to ones health and make the whole area (including the no smoking area) smell and unpleasant to be in.9. Not impressed with the pools -- too small and in the wrong places.10. Not many smiling faces on the ship. The staff did not look happy. I've previously given an explanation as to why I think this is the case.11. People putting towels on sun chairs for the whole day and claiming the sun bed as theirs even when they were nowhere to be seen. Sun beds -- if you were not on deck before 10:00am these were all taken. People would put their towels down and make a claim for the day on a given sun bed. Again there is a rule that if you leave your bed unoccupied for more than about an hour the towel is removed to allow someone else the opportunity to use it. Again the staff are afraid to enforce this rule and even if you do occupy a vacant sun bed and the person who originally claimed it a couple of hours before returns, they claim it to be theirs and can be very rude and intimidating. I've never experienced anything like this before on a cruise. 12. Entertainment -- for the majority of the week I would say was OK except for the last night when it was spectacular. The entertainment on the Costa Favolosa does not compare at all to what we've experienced on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My boyfriend and I booked this cruise to the Middle East in January (very good deal, including great Etihad flights from London). Departing from Abu Dhabi, 7 nights cruise in a statement inside room, on board MSC Lirica. This cruise ... Read More
My boyfriend and I booked this cruise to the Middle East in January (very good deal, including great Etihad flights from London). Departing from Abu Dhabi, 7 nights cruise in a statement inside room, on board MSC Lirica. This cruise gave us the chance to visit 5 Destinations in one week (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Khasab, Al Fujairah, Muscat), reaching every port in the morning (approximately at 7 am)and having the entire day to visit (plus 2 overnight stays as well). Destinations are very different and we were very happy to enjoy luxury in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Muscat as an emerging destination and Lovely Landscapes in Al Fujairah and Khasab. MSC Lirica was very clean & well looked after. Cabins, Restaurants, Lounges, Swimming Pool, everything immaculate. Food at the A la Carte restaurants was the best and especially at dinner we enjoyed a very pleasant atmosphere there. Meals at the Buffet were ok, nothing exceptional and not a big variety. The staterooms were clean and well looked after as well, our cabin steward was excellent, efficient, professional, kind, always smiley and helpful (cabin 8154) Entertainment on Board was very similar to the tourist village one. I can't really rate it because we didn't spend much time on the ship during the day, but night shows in the theatrw were lovely! What made the difference for us was the staff! Always smiley, always kind and helpful! A very positive note for our restaurant waiters (Kapriana was our waiter), our cabin steward, guest relations managers and onsite operations coordinators. My boyfriend lost his wallet in Dubai and they were really amazing: they found it and managed to send it in a few hours to Abu Dhabi (our next port) where we could easily collect it. Something that could be improved is the reception staff, which should be more prepared on the destinations we were going to reach. I would definitely recommend this cruise / company to easygoing people, looking for sunshine and happy atmosphere, great locations and great service :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who ... Read More
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who showed us to a bus where we would transfer to the Brilliance of the seas we arrived at the terminal at approx 10.30am checked in straight away no waiting around we then had light refreshments tea, coffee, lemonade or iced tea and pastries these were greatly appreciated after flying through the night. We were allowed to embark the ship at about 11am we did the usuall walk around and at midday the Windjammer cafe opened for lunch my god what an assortment of food very impressive. at 1pm we were able to go into our stateroom with balcony I showered and had a rest as did my wife at about 5pm we went up onto deck 12 and watched Cuddy and Gang do our sail away party they danced around whilst everybody watched Dubai sail away. we were set up for 6 O clock seating in the minstrel dining room our main waiter Mohit and his assistant Bogdan were top notch and really couldnt do enough for us we were never without a drink we had a soda package and by the end of the meal were full of bubbles from the coke the food really was outstanding not a single fault hot every time (I cant see what other people have complained about the must really live like royalty at home because thats how we were treated every step of the cruise by every member of staff onboard) The entertainment on board was good the ships own productions were outstanding the magician not so good. The Ports Fujeriah we did a sand dunes tour from here very good driving around the desert and the wadi great day and worth $99 per person Muscat Omen well here both days we went to the Mutrah Souk then back to the ship for the pool and afternoon activities great to relax after all the walking Day at sea I did the all access tour a great tour of the behind the scenes excursion of the ship slighlty over priced at $150 but a must do for any one who likes to see what goes on behind the scenes it showed you the engine room the bridge the galley the laundrey and loads loads more. Abu Dhabi We went to the marina mall here went up the little tower and had a great view of the city of Abu Dhabi Dubai well we got a little taxi tour to the Burj al arab, Atlantis on the palm, Bubai marina and then droped off at Dubai Mall We had pre booked tickets for at the top at the burj kalifha amust do great views and a lovely building. We then went shopping in Dubai Mall a great shopping Mall every shop you could want Disembarking Day went Very Smooth They take care of absolutly everything we were booked into the traders hotel and were transfered with no problems at all our last day we went to the Emmirates mall not as good so after a couple of hours we went back to the Dubai mall more shopping then watched the dubai fountains again fantastic amazing how they do it check them out on you tube Over all a fantastic cruise it was our honeymoon ignore all previous reviews the ship is amazing in good condition and spotless entertainment great white party 70's party great both fantastic nights paul lancaster the cruise director and cuddy the entertainment managers did a great job wish we were still there will definatley cruise with RCI again Read Less
Sail Date November 2011

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