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17 Middle East Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both were very friendly and efficient. Service was great. Oceana might be getting on in years, but she is in excellent condition. This really is down to the dedication of the crew. We found the size of ship and number of passengers to be just right. All crew were friendly and couldn't do enough for you. Cant fault. We dined at 20:30 on a table for 8. Whilst the food was very good, it was nothing outstanding. But we were always able to have an enjoyable meal. Our table companions were friendly. The staff were brilliant. We found the entertainment to be fairly good and enjoyable. However, some of the venues i.e. the pub and outside venues had the volume turned up so much that it was impossible to think. We sat on the sofa's outside of the pub after dinner, which was about right. We took a couple of organised tours. The sights were great. On one the guide was a complete waste of space which effectively ruined the tour. The other was better but no one had anticipated spending around a total of 5 hours sat on a coach. We did our own thing afterwards. Things to improve - they must ensure that people do not "hog" the sun loungers all day. At times, especially on the sea days in particular, it was crazy. Reserved loungers everywhere but empty !!!! We also found that there are just too many announcements. It was like being at a holiday camp at times. Take a lesson from Cunard on this please. Overall ship - excellent cabin - excellent food - very good crew - amazing, a credit to all Best bits - has to be the Suez Canal transit which was beyond expectations. Along with Venice. What a place to just wander around. Breathtaking. A very enjoyable and relaxing cruise and holiday. Just what the doctor ordered. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We last cruised with MSC in the Med 3 years ago and to be honest I was less than impressed so I was a bit apprehensive about booking this itinerary from Dubai for my wife’s birthday. What a difference - the quality of food in both the ... Read More
We last cruised with MSC in the Med 3 years ago and to be honest I was less than impressed so I was a bit apprehensive about booking this itinerary from Dubai for my wife’s birthday. What a difference - the quality of food in both the main dining room and speciality restaurants were right up there with the very best we’ve had on other cruise lines. I can particularly recommend Butcher’s Cut steak house where you can enjoy a 3 course dinner for an additional €39 - worth every penny! Although we didn’t go to any of the shows in the theatre the entertainment around the ship was also much improved with a number of very good singers performing in different locations. One comment would be that the seats in some of the public rooms, Aft Lounge and Purple Room in particular, were a bit too much about form over function. We also spent a bit extra to book a mini-suite (#11009). The room itself was lovely with sitting area completely separate to the bedroom. Two slightly disappointing items were the bathroom (very small) and the balcony (not glass so restricted view and overhung by bridge). If this is the quality of food and service that MSC are now doing across their fleet we’ll definitely be using them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday ... Read More
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday when we went for dinner we would see the pool lit up and just made us smile. it was truly magical. my husband described the feeling of being in the ship, like being in your country club. in our case, they knew our names, and greeted us all the time by our names. they knew our food preferences and always made sure we were accommodated. Thomas Keller Grill was superb. We found the dining room to be a little slow for our taste. if we wanted to leave by a certain time we would tell the maitre d ahead of time. we like to eat by 7PM and go to the show at 8:45PM. most of the time it worked perfectly. we ate once in the evening at the patio grill and it was great. I know of plenty of people that never got dressed up for dinner and just ate dinner at the patio and the colonnade. colonnade had a sit down area instead of buffet and also an outside patio. we chose to have cappuccinos in the morning in our suite but go for breakfast at the patio of the colonnade every day . truly delightful. we ate lunch most days either at the sushi restaurant or the patio. LOVED. excursions were great. we did 4 of them with the cruise. there was caviar on the surf at an island of Abu Dhabi . super fun. temperatures for this cruise is for people that like warm weather like I do. some days temps were 100 such in muscat. cannot wait to return. we did put a deposit for a future cruise , and this deposit will give us 5% in a future cruise that we book and we have 4 years to book or we get our money back. we know and saw lots of people playing trivia, and that a big thing. they had many teams, and it was competitive. also, bridge was big. art classes were busy, which I never went, and lots of guests went to the lectures . they were super interesting and you could watch them live in your suite, or later in your tv with on demand. we met Wonderfull people and there quite a diverse array of passengers from every country. met some nice single people and first time cruisers and they were all having a fabulous time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Review MSC Fantasia Dubai/Abu Dhabi etc..... We had a standard balcony cabin on deck 13 and it was one of the better cabins in terms of design compared to P&O, Carnival etc. The bathroom had no shaving mirror but hey! Breakfast ... Read More
Review MSC Fantasia Dubai/Abu Dhabi etc..... We had a standard balcony cabin on deck 13 and it was one of the better cabins in terms of design compared to P&O, Carnival etc. The bathroom had no shaving mirror but hey! Breakfast buffet on deck 14 was the same every day but offered good choices. The only omission was that there was no mushrooms and to make toast you had to queue to use one of those very old and tatty dreadful toast conveyer belts machines (absolutely rubbish). Lunch also offered a wide variety of food and you could have lunch in the Red Velvet restaurant if you so fancied. The buffet on deck 14 could be manic with people of certain nationalities pushing and shoving as if the food was going to run out! There was a distinct lack of patience and manners and it did feel awkward sometimes with passengers reaching over you to scoop up food. On sea days the top sun decks became incredibly overcrowded as everyone was on board at once. It was almost impossible to walk the decks such was the mess of sun loungers with those dreadful orange towels packed tightly together. I'm sure this is a serious health and safety risk because if there was an emergency there would be no escape. The theatre entertainment was the best I have witnessed on any ship and was incredibly varied. All the shows had a bit of risqué which added to the spectacle and each one of the shows was highly entertaining in their own way without dragging on too long. The evening music and entertainment in the lounges was again magnificent and top class. Too often evenings on cruises are a bore fest but not with MSC. The thought that went into each part of entertainment was amazing and there was a wonderful atmosphere around the entire ship up until the early hours. The tours on this particular cruise were good value. The cabin boys and staff in general were graceful and well mannered although the reception staff could be very inpatient and seemed to be set at the default state of "the customer is always wrong" The drinks packages are good value especially if you upgrade your package from say 'Cheers' to the top package on embarkment. The internet is a waste of money and I repeat a waste of money! Even the top plan is very very slow and the data allowance is rigged. Most smartphones have apps running in the background and even if you know this and switch them off you still end up using €35 just loading 2 Google pages. I can not stress how poor the internet is and how quickly you lose the data allowance even if you 'log off'. When your data runs low (which is very often) you are offered a further 'Top-Up' which gets eaten up in 2 emails. The worst thing is when the ship resets its internet and your allowance (which can be €35) is simply wiped off! then you are directed to reception who immediately assume you have used your data up in the way intended and talk to you like you have no knowledge of the internet and how it works. They will never believe you are in fact right EVER and they waffle on about data allowance etc until you get fed up and leave. So you have been warned! Don't be tempted to use the internet allowance plans! All in all a very beautiful ship which comes at a great price with amazing itineraries. Happy sailing!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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
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
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
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
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
It's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a cruise on this beautiful ship. Well maintained, easy to get around, cabins with good storage space - this ship will not disappoint. Our sailing, from Barcelona to Dubai, had several ... Read More
It's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a cruise on this beautiful ship. Well maintained, easy to get around, cabins with good storage space - this ship will not disappoint. Our sailing, from Barcelona to Dubai, had several highlight ports. The port of Aqaba was near Petra and Wadi Rum, so most all passengers took an excursion or two. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, with none of those usual bottlenecks and confusion that sometimes occur. The Brilliance provided shuttle service for most of the ports, which made it easy to go off on ones own. In Eilat, the shuttle service took passengers, at no charge, to a shopping mall and beaches. Dining on the Brilliance did have a couple of flaws and some highlights. The highlight for us was Breakfast. The baked goods offered - breads, muffins - were exceptional. There was even a chocolate breakfast with a chocolate banana bread that was die for. The breads at all the meals were admirable. However, the dinner menu and the food served were at times rather ordinary. No one will go away hungry, for there is always something to please the palate, but after the first week of our cruise, the food did go downhill. We tried Chops, the specialty restaurant. Our suggestion would be to save your money. Our filet minions was grizzly and the food was like from a 1960s restaurant. Too much cheese and rich stuff over everything - ruining (at least for us) some of the dishes served. Service on the Brilliance was excellent, as one would expect it to be. We liked that up at the Windjammer buffet, servers came around and offered to bring drinks to ones table. Our cabin steward and the wait staff in all the dining venues were excellent. Be aware that there is no more shampoo, conditioner or lotion provided to cabins other than suites. Bring your own. There is no more chocolates on the pillows or lobster or lamp chops. But there is a beautiful experience on a lovely ship. Our vacation was enhanced by the ports and the Suez Canal and an almost daily trip to the well equipped gym. As is usual on a cruise, some of the shows were better than others, but still a nice way to spend 45 minutes before or after dinner. RCCL did have lecturers on board who talked about a variety of subjects and were of excellent calibre. We wish we could go around again. It was a wonderful cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We decided to go to Venice and Florence for a pre-cruise vacation prior to embarkation. Venice was as magical as we remembered and our stay at the Locanda Orseolo was perfect. This was our second stay, and the owners and staff are the ... Read More
We decided to go to Venice and Florence for a pre-cruise vacation prior to embarkation. Venice was as magical as we remembered and our stay at the Locanda Orseolo was perfect. This was our second stay, and the owners and staff are the consummate hosts. The hotel is in a great location being in a quiet area right off of St. Marks Square. Florence was a nice stay at the Hotel David. The hotel is a very good value, extremely clean with lots of hospitality touches. The location is a little off the beaten path. It was fine for us because we are avid walkers, but it might not be for those with mobility issues. The train ride from Florence to Civitavecchia was easy. Upon arrival in Civitavecchia we caught a cab to the port. Embarkation was smooth. There was a separate line for guests in Aqua Class, but it seemed that all lines moved efficiently. We were a bit concerned about having to check our passports with the ship, probably more out of fear that we would lose our claim checks than of the ship losing our passports. We always travel with multiple copies of our passports, so in the event we would have to get replacements it might help. Since our itinerary included stops in Egypt and Israel, we understood the reasons for the passport collections. Our first impression of Equinox was WOW! The ship is stunning;every attention to detail was made. The ship is sleek, modern, sophisticated and has an understated elegance. The centerpiece of the atrium is a huge tree suspended in a gorgeous colorful crystal planter. It combines art and nature and it made me smile every time I rode the glass elevators and read the signage "Here Comes the Sun". We were so happy we booked in Aqua Class. We enjoyed the private access to the spa and the Persian Gardens were wonderful. The little perks (daily bottled water, fruit, flavored teas) were nice, but the best part to us was dining in Blu. We absolutely loved it. The cuisine was a bit lighter than what is typically served in main dining rooms. The fish entrees were divine and the intimate setting had us hooked. It was evident that the staff worked as a team, but kudos to Gusti and Artur who were generally our head waiter and assistant. They were exceptional and made our dining experience outstanding. We had one little hiccup with the sommelier, but it was quickly and courteously corrected. The ambiance in Blu is beautiful and we looked forward every evening to eating there. Our cabin was extremely comfortable. The bathroom was spacious and felt full size. The vessel sink, glass tiles, fantastic shower all gave it a "spa" feel. We also liked the fact that the automatic fan kept the mirror and glass shower from fogging which added to the spacious feel. The bed was great and the linens are of high quality. Our cabin stewardess Elvie worked very hard to make sure everything was perfect in our cabin. She was delightful to talk to and made us feel like we were coming home every time we saw her in the hall or near our cabin. Some of our favorite spots on Equinox were Bistro on 5, we ate lunch there multiple times and loved the Parisian crepe for dessert. My husband, who has a sweet tooth also enjoyed the desserts at the Cafe Al Bacio along with a specialty coffee. The cruise director, Drew Pavlov was the best one we have had on all of our cruises. He was funny, articulate, and informative. We enjoyed his MC'ing, his silly nightly jokes and the late night game "Liar's Club". We also enjoyed the battle of the chefs. I got to be a "Celebrity" judge which was a lot of fun. The entertainment on the ship was mostly hits with a few misses. The West End show singer was very good, as was the violinist. The stage shows were average, and the comedienne was not very funny. The Cirque de Soleil show looked to be spectacular, however the theater was packed and even though we arrived a few minutes before the late show started we ended up having to stand and really could not see much. My suggestion would be to have reservations, or some type of ticketing like RCL does for their ice shows. We attended the hot glass show and it was very interesting. I wish the glass items could be sold but understand that it is a non-profit. We can not say enough great things about Equinox. The staff was unbelievable, friendly, polite, hard working and attentive. The ship is beautiful, and pristine. We will definitely be back for future vacations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We decided to book everything with Costa through our TA and through Costa website. This was good and bad. Good because of the flight/transfers because this way we had nothing to worry and because we got a deal that offered us the X1 ... Read More
We decided to book everything with Costa through our TA and through Costa website. This was good and bad. Good because of the flight/transfers because this way we had nothing to worry and because we got a deal that offered us the X1 drinks package (excellent for those who don't drink alchool like us). Bad because due to the Bahrein cancelation due to the unrest overthere the tour package we had booked suffered so many changes that we ended at tour desk more times than intended when booking tours online. Flights were with Lufthansa but because we had to go from Portugal to Dubai this was the schedule: 6AM OPO-FRA (2.5h) - 2PM FRA-DXB (5.5h). Getting to Dubai around 11.30PM we had another 60' to pass through passport control and then 45' of transfer (getting to bus and travel) to Port Rashid. With the checkin to Deliziosa going smoothly we ended up on cabin around 2AM but still waiting for our suitcases. Fortunately Costa had some snacks on the Cruise terminal while we were checking-in and the Pizza restaurant was open on-board. Got to a deserved bed rest around 4AM. After this we definitely deserved our vacations. The retirn flight was a little easier since DXB-FRA was around 2AM so we ended up sleep the entire return trip :). Deliziosa being just 1 year-old is a beautiful ship with excellent staff. Food was always available somewhere on-board and with good quality and variety. I think noone can say there are not enough eating options. The only really bad thing are the ice-creams (in an Italian ship we should expect Italian quality ice-creams and that doesn't happen). Entertainment activities are there for all tastes but as we would expect it's light entertainment. Quality light-entertainment. If you like that you will be very satisfied. If you don't you will be disappointed. We liked it but believe that some wouldn't. Others have called attention to drinking on-board. If you drink alchool you're doomed to a heavy bill. If not, and have the luck of getting offered like us the X1 package you're safe. Just buy Boys n Girls for those off main meal drink and you won't get a problem with drinking. On Deliziosa, Costa has some interesting, but priced, things. The F1 simulator, the Golf simulator with a tiny putting green on deck, the 4D cinema, the PS3 corner and the Samsara Spa. Though we didn't use any of them we think the Spa might be a good option and they were constantly publicizing sales for their products. The staff is really good. With 1 or 2 exceptions, besides being very gentle they're excellent workers that provide us and high-standard service. 5 star for all of them. Now, one last word for 2 things we didn't like on our cruise. 1st: due to the unrest in Bahrain, the stop there was cancelled 2 or 3 days before departure. Perfectly understandable. Less understandable is the way Costa re-arranged things. We were supposed to do: Dubai-Dubai-Muscat-Fujairah-Abu Dhabi-Bahrain-Dubai-Dubai. We would think they would either replace Bahrain with another port like Doha or do an overnight stay on the previous port (Abu Dhabi in this case). Well, they took an illogical potion of overnight in Muscat and thus postponing Fujairah and Abu Dhabi 1 day. The only reason I see is the eventually cheaper port stay in Muscat instead of on eof the other more logical options. 2nd: we booked a Dubai visit with Costa. We understand that usually, in these organised tours, the "guides" like to take us to some "friend-shops" for some percentual gain over sales. But when the shop we're taken is a Costa-Club member that Costa takes us without advertising it on their tour sale I think that's a new low-level for tour organisation. Luckily this only happened once and on the last day so we didn't even tried to bother with it. Oh... the general level of the tour guides was well below medium (at least the ones of got - 2 tours in Spanish and 1 in Italian). Everythong considered we ended loving our cruise and had great fun. Definitely recommended Deliziosa and this Middles East itinerary. DUBAI A must in every aspect. The contrast between new and old Dubai is breathtaking. Architectural highlights are everywhere. Burj Khalifa is just beatiful. Shopping heaven for those who search for it. Easily visited with cheap taxi (with taximeter always on) ABU DHABI The Great Mosque is a must visit. Ferrari World and YAS Marina Circuit are also there not to miss for the fans. And when the project 2030 is ready (first museums - Louvre - will open next year I think) it will be a top world destination for anyone with a little cultural interest FUJAIRAH Still can't understand why we stopped there. MUSCAT Very interesting. A very strict interpretation of Islam marks this country but it's capital is definetily worth visiting. The mountains from where this city grows are beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010

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