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18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is our 5th Silversea cruise and we are currently on the ship. Service and food are no where like it used to be. Obviously it’s purchase by Royal Caribbean last year has affected the elegance, food quality and top tier service ... Read More
This is our 5th Silversea cruise and we are currently on the ship. Service and food are no where like it used to be. Obviously it’s purchase by Royal Caribbean last year has affected the elegance, food quality and top tier service we’ve experienced in the past. We are going to be on the hunt for more luxe cruise line! The service in La Terrazzo is SLOW and the food was cold and subpar to previous Silversea cruise .Same at Hot Rocks last night. The gym has not been updated and one of the two ellipticals is an awkward ride Technogym early model. They do to a great job of getting you on and off the ship for excursions, but when you book what you think will be a luxe cruise, you want fabulous food and service. The food is so mediocre and skimpy. We won’t be cruising again with Silversea. We so expected more. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destinations on the itinerary & because some tours were included. We had travelled on Viking before...a river cruise. Some of the shore excursions were terrible...long bus rides...no time to see ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations on the itinerary & because some tours were included. We had travelled on Viking before...a river cruise. Some of the shore excursions were terrible...long bus rides...no time to see half of the sites. & some bad tour guides. Exception Bangkok which had a great company handling the tours. The embarkation in Mumbai was the worst we have experienced anywhere. No one seemed to know anything. When we arrived at the Airport after being delayed and arriving late, the people who were there to meet us had no idea who we were even though we had phoned Viking to tell them that KLM screwed up our flights so badly that we missed the 2 day pre excursion we had booked.& would be delayed. We sat in the airport while 5 guys tried to get us a taxi.The taxi driver took us the long way to the hotel as we would not pay the tolls on the freeway.all this in the middle of the night. The Viking personnel were overwhelmed at the hotel. We finally got on a bus to the ship only to be told that it had to have luggage removed from the previous group. We loaded on a busy street with cars and motor bikes whizzing past. Three days at sea..not enough interesting activities to relieve the boredom. No complaints at all about the quality of the service, the food, the crew or the ship itself or the food we had while off the ship on excursions. If you are going to offer city tours, you need the time to actually see sites, & take some photos from a place other than through bus windows. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After five wonderful Viking River cruises we decided to try Viking Ocean Cruises on their newest ship, The Orion and were were so glad that we did. The Orion is a state of the art mid-sized ship that can comfortably accommodate 930 ... Read More
After five wonderful Viking River cruises we decided to try Viking Ocean Cruises on their newest ship, The Orion and were were so glad that we did. The Orion is a state of the art mid-sized ship that can comfortably accommodate 930 passengers without feeling the least bit crowded . I had no problem getting a lounge at the pool or a seat at the bar. The SPA was amazing with experienced staff and modern and unique facilities. The dining experience was wonderful with four restaurants to choose from. The world cafe was our favorite because of the incredibly diverse menu and the kitchen would also prepare just about anything that we asked for on a moments notice. The two fine dining restaurants were both spectacular and the service was outstanding. The Viking Included Tours were good but we opted for many of the more extensive paid tours to visit special sites that were high on our wish list. The most outstanding thing about Viking is the crew and the service. They went above and beyond to make sure that our every needed was fulfilled. They were very approachable and easy to talk to and always followed up to keep us informed when we needed to make itinerary changes etc, This experience was so wonderful that we have booked another cruise on the Orion this year that starts on November 30th in Bali and cruises to Lombock, Komodo and the the entire Australian coast from Darwin to Sydney. We can hardly wait to get back on the Orion for another three weeks of pure Bliss! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose to take the pre-embarkation tour in Northern India - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - which was sensational. Highly recommended. On embarkation day, we flew to Mumbai and had to conform with the Indian government's rule that all ... Read More
We chose to take the pre-embarkation tour in Northern India - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - which was sensational. Highly recommended. On embarkation day, we flew to Mumbai and had to conform with the Indian government's rule that all passengers must check in through a hotel before they could get on the ship. Viking was not pleased, and the passengers were not pleased, but everyone made the best of it. Like all ocean ships in the Viking fleet, the Orion is beautiful and is one of two equipped with a planetarium. Our cabin - 6th deck, mid ship, port side was lovely, comfortable and convenient. Our steward and his aide were excellent and treated us royally. We did a mix of included and optional shore excursions - which we always do, and the experiences in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were eye-opening and fascinating. Whether dining in the sit-down restaurant, the World Café, or the specialty restaurants, you will encounter excellent food and service, and a mix of traditional and local cuisines. We attended many excellent lectures and port talks. We would rather read in our rooms than seek out the nightly entertainment, but there is plenty - stage, screen, tastings (well, okay, we did some), dancing, lounge piano. We have sailed many times - river and ocean - with Viking and keep coming back. The quality in everything Viking does is unmatched and at a very reasonable price. We like the smaller mid-sized ships, the itineraries, the service, the food, the learning, and the most interesting people we meet. You can't go wrong with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. Unfortunately, this cruise lasted only 4 days for us. My wife and I left the cruise in Sri Lanka on day 4 since she had to go to the hospital due to a serious infection to her left leg from a ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. Unfortunately, this cruise lasted only 4 days for us. My wife and I left the cruise in Sri Lanka on day 4 since she had to go to the hospital due to a serious infection to her left leg from a laceration that happened in Delhi. The Viking ship and facilities were outstanding. The medical staff tried to due all they could to stem the infection - it ended up being beyond their capabilities with the antibiotics they had available. The Director of Cruise Services was a terrible failure - no compassion or customer service focus. Cabin was spacious and balcony was nice. Unfortunately we spent most of our time in the cabin for 4 days since my wife had to have her leg elevated and could not walk. We used room service for most of our meals. The menu was good and the food was delivered timely and arrived hot. I'd choose this again for the great itinerary. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose this cruise because I had not been to the port of calls before. The ship, accommodations, and services were outstanding. So, the time onboard was rewarded with good food, accommodations, and activities. However, more time on ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I had not been to the port of calls before. The ship, accommodations, and services were outstanding. So, the time onboard was rewarded with good food, accommodations, and activities. However, more time on shore would have improved the experience in the countries. Many docks were too far from the city. This created a waste of valuable time to be bussed to the sites. For instance, docking at the port nearer to Bangkok would improve the experience. This cruise experienced many delayed docking. This backed up the departure for tours. This was not caused because the ship was not at the port as the given time, but more about the time required to have the ship cleared to dock and debark passengers. The local tour guides did a very good job. The tours were well planned and organized. Most all the buses were in good condition and were very comfortable. There were isolated issues with the buses, but I believe this was due to limited buses at the port of call. This was a small inconvenience to be able to visit the location. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We did not cruise for 32 years after some not very good experiences. Realizing the industry had changed I would look at reviews here and say to myself I am not like these people. I read a review by a man who thought his service was bad on ... Read More
We did not cruise for 32 years after some not very good experiences. Realizing the industry had changed I would look at reviews here and say to myself I am not like these people. I read a review by a man who thought his service was bad on a two week cruise because on the second day he got some breakfast on his robe and the cabin people never changed his robe. I saw numerous reviews by people who parsed the smallest thing instead of giving me the big picture. So I concluded it was not my style. Along cam Viking Ocean and the fabulous itinerary of the Orion from Mumbai to Bankok. Reviews of Viking could not be higher. We just returned and we could not be more impressed by Viking and its crew at every level. We avoided the few passengers who wanted to compare and contrast the cruise with others. Who cares? These are like the people who think I am interested in their last doctor's appointment. I am not. Sorry. What we loved were the lectures by former Ambassadors and the round-table discussions. The best moment for me was they had all veterans gather to tell their story. each was different yet the same. We all gained much for our entire lives from our military service. We did not come home to parades, but the anti-war movement in full voice. We felt like we had let the country down. After years and out gathering it is clear we were not the lacking the military mission of the Vietnam war was fatally flawed. Thanks Viking for providing that special bonding (even a Brit was in our group). The passengers were predominantly Brits and we all got along well. The ports were great. We traveled on to Hong Kong on our own and we experienced unfriendliness from many people based on, we assume, the trade war and policies that are newly in place. They see their immense growth as threatened. And maybe it is and should be. Look at downtown Toledo and Kuala Lumpur and you will get the problem. Viking is #1 for good reason. No company can meet the needs of a cruise better than they can for people who prefer no casino, kids, or glitzy shows, but lectures and fine art, books and music. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I were trying to get from Europe to Japan mid-October to meet our son for a two week vacation with the least amount of jet lag. This seemed to fit the bill. We could catch the ship in Mumbai, disembark in Hong Kong, spend a ... Read More
My wife and I were trying to get from Europe to Japan mid-October to meet our son for a two week vacation with the least amount of jet lag. This seemed to fit the bill. We could catch the ship in Mumbai, disembark in Hong Kong, spend a week in China before catching a short flight to Tokyo. The ship is beautiful, comfortable cabin, good food, great on board library for readers who like history, memoirs, exploration etc., which I like, not so great for thrillers, romance novels etc. Got to know all the fellow smokers well. Passengers are mostly affluent, retired Americans (I'd guess 80%), the others mostly anglophone from the UK, Australia, NZ. Ports of call and tours were a mixed bag, many at container ports with miles of docklands a long way from anything you'd want to visit, though seeing the container ports themselves was eye-opening, often with beautiful sunsets through the gantries. No way in most places to walk off the ship and explore on your own. Our own favorites were an overnight trip to Kandy (Sri Lanka), Georgetown, Penang, and Viet Nam (Saigon, Da Nang and Hoi An and Halong Bay). The best ports for getting off the ship and exploring on your own are Georgetown, Halong Bay, Singapore and Hong Kong. The port for Bangkok was especially inconvenient, a 2-1/2 hr drive each way in slow traffic. We went in once, spent the second day in port on the ship. In ports like Bangkok and Saigon, where the ship is docked overnight, our advice would be to book a hotel in town and explore on your own. Our main criticism of the ship-organized tours, which we took in every port, is they left no time for wandering around on your own. In Sihanoukville, where we took a tuk-tuk tour we took things into our own hands and told the driver where we wanted to go (a liquor and cigarette store), after which we lost the rest of the tour group, to our relief. Same with Hoi An, where a large majority of those on the bus rebelled against some cultural stop that hadn't been flagged on the itinerary and asked to be dropped off in town to wander on our own. These turned out the best of the tours. A lot of passengers complained about Sihanoukville, which is dirty and poor, with little culturally of interest to see, but we found it interesting, the obviously poor public services, the life story of our tour guide, sent to a child labor camp at 6 where many of the children died of starvation, the signs of Chinese investment (billboards promising great new developments, some built, some half-built and abandoned, some just billboards of fabulous things to come). I hope Viking won't drop it from future cruises based on the comments of others. Our guide was grateful for us coming, and I hope others will come in the future. The ship is beautiful, but not without flaws: it should have teak decks (the rubberized, fake teak decks are deplorable), for cruises in the tropics, there's inadequate shade for the sun deck loungers and after-deck dining, the promenade deck, which is wholly given over to walker, would be much improved if it had deck chairs. The library should have a section of guidebooks to the countries being visited. An ATM onboard dispensing US Dollars, even if not local currency, would also be helpful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Signed up for the great itinerary. I did thorough research of each port prior to embarkation. The excursions were poorly organized. Far to many people on each excursion. Much lost time at each port. Limited information onboard about ... Read More
Signed up for the great itinerary. I did thorough research of each port prior to embarkation. The excursions were poorly organized. Far to many people on each excursion. Much lost time at each port. Limited information onboard about excursions. Excursion director was hard to understand. Prior to this trip, I have now been on 4 ocean cruises and 3 river cruises. The Cruise director of this ship was the worst of the seven. Was silly and tried to be funny. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organized. Room were exceptional as well as the service of steward. Beautiful ship with lots of options for onboard experiences. Food was very good but not exceptional. Service in dining room was exceptional. Wine stewards were knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful. If you are booking a trip to eat and drink, this is it. If you are booking a trip to see the ports visited, this is not for you. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually ... Read More
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually being there exceeded my expectations. It literally took my breath away. We had a 3.5 hour bus ride to Agra from New Delhi and 114 degree temperature but it was worth it. I highly recommend a trip to see it. I took protein bars and peanut butter crackers on the trip because in some places I was concerned about eating the food in India. After a bus trip back to New Delhi, we flew to Mumbai to board Oceania Notice for our 28 day cruise to Rome. As usual, Oceania was spectacular. I didn't think it was possible to upgrade the food, but they always seem to find a way to make each trip more memorable. The service is always flawless. I ordered some tea from room service and the person bringing the tea thought he should bring me honey and lemon for my sore throat. The attention to detail was amazing. Since I am trying to eat a healthier diet, it was great to have Greek yogurt and Truvia available. At the Terrace Cafe, they would grill lobster tails, shrimp, steak, lamb chops and other things for you. It was a very popular addition. The Terrace Cafe has the same food options as the Grand Dining Room which was great if you wanted a more casual and quicker dining experience. Coming back to the ship from a day of touring in the extreme heat and being able to have great food in a casual environment was great. Toscana, the Italian restaurant and Polo Grill, the steak restaurant were fabulous too. We had 28 days on the ship and the menu and food choices kept changing, so you never got tired of the food. Nautica had great staff and there was always something fun to do if you wanted to. I never got bored. Oceania bent over backwards to take great care of us. I had booked a shore excursion package with Oceania prior to sailing. I had so many shipboard credits that I went to the spa for two massages and several hair appointments. The deep tissue massages were fantastic and it was nice not to have to blow dry my hair a few times. The spa is expensive, and I wouldn't have used it if I didn't have so many shipboard credits. The gym on ship was big and had great machines. I wish it opened before 6:00 AM though. We had two guest lecturers on the cruise. One was kind of boring, but the other man, Hassan, was entertaining, interesting and informative. The ship's cabins and bathrooms are small, but adequate. You don't use your cabin except to sleep and shower. Our ports include Dubai, UAE, Fujairah, UAE, Muscat, Oman, Salalah, Oman, Aqaba, Jordan, and optional overnight trip to Luxor, Egypt, two days in Haifa, Israel, Limassol, Cyprus, Rhodes, Greece, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, Santorini, Greece, Valletta, Malta, Palermo, Italy, Sorrento, Italy and Civitavecchia, Italy. The itinerary couldn't have been any better and all the passengers raved about it. I was surprised to see mountains of rock in the Middle East. Of course, there was plenty of sand too. The color of the water and the beaches were beautiful. Unfortunately, women don't have free access to the beaches as we have here. In Fujairah, women can only go on Wednesday. The overnight trip to Luxor was fantastic. I have always wanted to go there and to visit Karnack Temple, Luxor Temple, the Valley of the Kings and other archaeological sites. We had another 3.5 bus ride from the port of Safaga to Luxor. Our hotel was right on the bank of the Nile. It was an action packed two day trip and we didn't spend much time at the hotel. We went back to Karnack Temple at night to see the Sound and Light Show. It wasn't very good and I don't recommend it. It was dark and you walk a long way on an uneven walkway. People were using the flashlights on their phones to light a path. In the Valley of the Kings we went to three tombs, Ramses III, Ramses IV and Ramses IX. For an extra $12.00 you can visit King Tut's tomb which we did. If you want to take photos, it costs $18.00, but I am glad that I could take photos. No photos may be taken in King Tut's tomb. You walk down a steep staircase and see King Tut's mummy and another room with beautiful drawings. The other tombs also had beautiful drawings. We saw lots of guns in Egypt. We were told only the police and military can have guns, but I saw someone selling watermelons on the side of the road with a gun. I waved to people from the bus and the people smiled and waved back. I wasn't afraid though and would like to see the pyramids and the Cairo Museum in the future. Dubai was all about shopping. I have never seen so many malls and the city was very clean. We took a walking excursion of Old Dubai and I wouldn't recommend it. We went to the Dubai Museum and it was dark and looked a bit moth eaten. I was sorry I didn't splurge for tea at the Burg al Arab hotel. The Dubai Mall is incredible and has fountain show that is supposed to be bigger and better than the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I loved the architecture in Dubai. The emir bought the QEII for the use of his guests. Life in Dubai if you are a local is amazing. Housing, education, medical care is free for locals. Fujairah, UAE looked like a lunar landscape with nothing to pretty to see. It was sobering and eye opening to see the number of oil storage units at the port. They went on forever. The entire Arabian Gulf had a lot of oil tankers. I enjoyed Muscat, Oman. We had a great guide and the country even had women in government positions. The current sultan has done a lot for his people and the infrastructure was impressive. His father didn't help his people and the current sultan overthrew him. The father lived out the last years of his life at the Dorchester Hotel in London...not a bad place to be in exile. We asked why the women cover their faces. Islam doesn't require Muslims to cover their face or feet. It is a personal choice if the ladies want to cover their faces. I am not sure I believe it. The sultan has two huge private yachts in the harbor, but he doesn't use them. We stopped at a few places on our all day tour. I would have been happy to skip some of them to have gone in the Grand Mosque, which was gorgeous on the outside. Salalah was okay. We did go to the Museum of Frankincense and a souk. They were selling a lot of touristy stuff at the souk, but we saw lots of locals too. Our ship took on extra security as we cruise around Yemen, past Somalia, through the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and up to Aqaba. They call it a "High Risk Area" because of the pirates. The waters are patrolled now and the piracy has been eliminated. In Aqaba, we took a 2 hour bus ride to Petra. We passed some Bedouin tents on the way. Petra was great. We walked about a mile downhill to the Treasury which was beautiful. We also walked to the amphitheater. You can ride in a donkey cart or take a camel, but we opted to walk. There were many caves and interesting rock formations on the path. People are selling postcards, silver bracelets, and other trinkets all the way down the path. Our ship entered the Suez Canal at 4:00 AM. I was in Horizons Lounge at the front of the ship to see us enter. The Suez Canal is wide and has no locks because sea level is the same in the Gulf to Suez to the Mediterranean. The transit took 11 hours. They actually allow people to fish in the Canal. In Haifa, Israel, we took an all day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jerusalem was packed and involved a 1.5 hour bus ride. I loved Jerusalem even though the city was packed with tourists and the guide kept us moving. He obviously didn't understand the female's need to shop. When we went to Bethlehem, we crossed into the West Bank, so we had to take on a Palestinian guide. We were told that Israelis can't go to Bethlehem unless they are tour guides. The guide also told us that we were not protected by the Israeli military in the West Bank. We went to the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. We stood in line for 1-1.5 hours to see where Jesus was born. It was very chaotic and people were cutting in line and pushing for a quick look at the manger site and the Star of Bethlehem. It was a very unpleasant experience and I wouldn't recommend trying to see the manger site. The next day I took an all day tour to Nazareth and went to the Sea of Galilee. We went to a few sites where certain biblical events were supposed to have occurred. Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth are so built up, nobody really knows if what you are seeing are the actual sites. We stopped at a baptismal site on the Jordan River. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake and is quite beautiful. We went to more biblical sites around it. Limassol, Cyprus has the most beautiful ancient floor mosaics I have ever seen. The water was crystal clear. Rhodes, Greece is a charming island with a medieval walled city. We got there early so I wandered the streets and alleys lined with shops and restaurants. I had been there before, but it was just as nice this time. In the afternoon, I took a tour of ancient Lindos. It is a long climb to the top, but it is worth it. You can also ride a donkey up the hill. The ruins and the views were fabulous. The next day we were in Kusadasi, Turkey where Ephesus is located. I had been to Ephesus before, but the cruise line offered a tour of Ephesus with an expert. We had an archaeologist who actually worked on the site and he gave us a tour of the Ephesus Museum before we went to the actual site. He showed us the items that he personally found. Ephesus is an amazing place and being with him made the tour even more memorable. Santorini, Greece is a beautiful island, but we had 5 cruise ships in the port that day. The crowds and the traffic going to Oia were horrible. I had been there before without the crowds and loved it, but this time wasn't very good. To get back down the dock, you can either walk down the steps, ride a donkey or take a tram. The tram had six cars that could hold six passengers. The crowds were so bad that it took us two hours in line before we got to the pier. I felt sorry for the people who were on their first visit to this picturesque island. I would never get off the ship if there were that many ships in port at the same time. Valletta, Malta was a pleasant surprise. It was clean and had some beautiful old buildings. They also had a great gelato store. I had been pretty good on my healthy eating, but I caved when I saw gelato. Palermo, Sicily was okay. I wish I had taken another tour than the one to the catacombs. I found them to be very creepy. There are some pretty churches, and other buildings by the Four Corners. In Sorrento, we took a tour to Herculaneum. We had been to Pompeii, Capri, Positano and Sorrento before, so we chose to go to Herculaneum. While Pompeii was covered by lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Herculaneum was covered with volcanic ash and was much better preserved. The ship docked in Civitavecchia, Italy and I took the ship's transfer to the airport. My only complaint was having to get off the ship. I wanted to stay there forever. This really was a trip of a lifetime and I would do it all over again. I booked my next Oceania cruise onboard and when I got home, I booked a second Oceania cruise. 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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I fell in love with Oceania in 2013 on the Marina going from Sydney to Papeete (and have never seen that same itinerary again); which was glorious. The staff knew our names within the first few days, the rooms were spacious (granted, we ... Read More
I fell in love with Oceania in 2013 on the Marina going from Sydney to Papeete (and have never seen that same itinerary again); which was glorious. The staff knew our names within the first few days, the rooms were spacious (granted, we had concierge level with normal sized bathrooms with tubs; as I said, it was glorious). The following year, we went on the Riviera to the Caribbean. Still enjoyed the rooms, most of the staff knew us in the first week... Then we went on a Mayan cruise, again on the Riviera... staff never knew our names... Not sure when ownership has changed, or what has made each trip slightly more disappointing, but this last trip is likely our last with Oceania for awhile. Nothing terrible, but for what we pay, for what we were treated to the first cruise, it's time to try other lines and see. And book our own guides; without question. NEVER will we book excursions through Oceania (just like we will NEVER book our flights through Oceania either - learned the very hard way). Yes, the Nautical is smaller than the Riviera and Marina... and it felt like it. The cabin space was much tighter (Concierge, Deck 7), the bathroom was shockingly tiny - barely bigger than an airline toilet, except stick a one person shower in. Fewer passengers, more attention by staff? No, not really. Very hit and miss. The first few days, we wondered if we were on the same line as we'd been before, as we were frequently ignored by staff, particularly in the Terrace Cafe (which is often very crowded, and as it's smaller, you are forced to push through the middle to get anywhere) as we would sit and sit, waiting to be approached, and then once we finished our food, our plates sat for some time. At one point someone in our party asked the server if she could please get a smoothie that we saw someone else had at another table. "You have to go outside to Waves Grill to get a smoothie; we don't have them here." Huh? We know where they're made; and not to sound spoiled, but again, the level of service which we were treated to initially ("of course I will get one for you; which flavor would you like?"), this was a bit shocking. One elderly member of our party, who had been helped instantly in the past with carrying her plates from the buffet to her table, was frequently brushed by staff hurrying to get by. On occasion in the dining room (the GRAND DINING ROOM!!), we literally set our timers to see how long it would take the waiters to remove our dishes from our finished main courses. 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes, we sat, as waiters and assistants bustled around us, filling glasses at the tables around us, as well as changing the table clothes at the other TWO EMPTY tables near us. The maitre d' even passed by, asking all the OTHER tables how their meal was... and turned his head as he passed by us. We figured we were in the invisible zone. It was bizarre. THEN. We complained. We expressed our disappointment, and frankly, surprise, at the low level of service. We were not angry, merely saddened by the decline in service. Like a magic wand had been waved (or, a memo went out to everyone?), BAM! From that point on, we were greeted by name, someone appeared to help with carrying plates, asked if we would like this or that... it was a complete 180; it was lovely. And it was much appreciated. But - why did it take us complaining? I can only say great things about the housekeeping and room service staff; always they were delightful and followed through on any request. The shows? Meh. Not my type. Again, I get it's not a big ship. I'm not interested in a Broadway or Vegas show, but I'm also not interested in cheesy glitz and spotlight singers (not much depth). Again, the first cruise, the comedians in particular, were fantastic. This time, old jokes, tried and ... acceptable. No big laughs. Talented singers and dancers, but, felt like I was watching a grad revue. Excursions - from ok to awful. Too much of a costly risk to ever do again. The best, was our guide in Kusadasi, who actually did what I asked... to have patience with some of us, as we might be a bit slow, but we will do what we can to keep up, and she made sure she went at a reasonable pace that we could, but more so, frequently asked if we were ok, if the pace was ok, and if we had any questions or could here ok. Much appreciated. The worst? Getting on a brand new bus in Cyprus, the guide, whom again I asked to please keep an eye out for our slower group etc., only to realize hours later that the A/C on the bus did not work. Never. Did our guide call for another bus? No. Did she wait for those of us in my party? No. She didn't wait for anyone. Some could not make the steps into the amphitheater at one of the ruins, so they waited in a shady spot while the rest of us went. As we left the site, the person who hadn't gone asked, "what is that building?" as we passed by the other side of the amphitheater, and over the mic for all to hear, the guide snapped "it's the AMPHITHEATER!? Where we JUST WERE?!" Um, not all of us were, including the person who just asked that question. When we arrived at the old village, she popped off the bus and starting walking briskly, never pointing out the bathrooms that many of us needed. The bus driver showed me. I yelled out to another member of my party who was practically running to catch her to ask about the bathrooms, to let him know they were back here... I caught up to them, and the guide said, "Did something happen? I heard yelling." I replied "I was trying to get yours and others' attention to point out the bathrooms that you just walked by, as I know some of us need them." She responded, "Oh. Is that it? Can I go on then?" "Yeah, sure. You go on." And off she went. We sat around on our own, doing a bit of wandering, but not too much as to get lost... very disappointing. Overall: Ok. And if I'm paying this much, to go away for this long, I want better than OK. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
WE have sailed 4 times with Silversea. Twice in the Silver Cloud (before becoming a expidition ship) and twice on the Silver Spirit (before the latest refurb.). We sailed from Mumbai to Dubai. As usual the Silversea staff was ... Read More
WE have sailed 4 times with Silversea. Twice in the Silver Cloud (before becoming a expidition ship) and twice on the Silver Spirit (before the latest refurb.). We sailed from Mumbai to Dubai. As usual the Silversea staff was attentive and our cabin butler was offered excellent services. The cabin was larger and clean. The dining room service and food were excellent and the wait service attentive and the food, as always, we excellent. The itinerary met all of our requirements and the excursions offered covered much of what one would want to see. At some ports we chose to hire a cab to take us around. We found the drivers very willing and their prices reasonable. Just make sure you agree on a price prior to beginning. This is not a ship to take children and that includes teenagers. Small ships have limited entertainment facilities and The are other curise lines better suited to handling children. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was my 4th cruise and my first with the Costa line. Will also be my last cruise with this line. The ship was small and we knew this, but the restrictions placed on teenagers was not acceptable. They had the option of one pool ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise and my first with the Costa line. Will also be my last cruise with this line. The ship was small and we knew this, but the restrictions placed on teenagers was not acceptable. They had the option of one pool (small) and no Jucuzzi, unless they were 16 plus. What were they supposed to do, so it was boring on cruise days . Not even allowed to use the gym. The ship felt grubby and dated. The crew is part of the experience, and we found especially the reception staff to be rude , abrupt and unhelpful. Sewage smell on the 4th floor that they could not get rid of. There was were two free eating areas. One classy Resturant and one Buffet type eating place. Food was tasty and fresh but everyday the same. No variety. Also too many pork dishes. Not for the religious conscious. The other eating places you had to pay for. Why we had to pay extra for Pizzas when it is an Italian line. Teenagers and kids love Pizzas so how hard could it have been to provide this. They could not even serve ice cream on deck on hot cruise days. In fact there was nothing extra to say this cruise was WOW. In fact you pay for everything outside eat times. water included. When all in Euros , it becomes costly for South Africans. To automatically bill your account in Euros for tips at the end of the cruise is a cheek especially when they were undeserving of a tip. Maybe this is why no effort is put in because they know they getting it anyway. No kids or teenager entertainment, only midnight disco. Senior Staff generally not obliging. . Theatre entertainment ok . Once again no WOW. Activities generally all in Italian so hard for other nationalities to participate. Anyway we made the most of it and we enjoyed the family get together and the ports. We made tan effort to create our own fun and entertainment. we used our own contacts for shore excursions because the ones arranged by the ship were just to expensive. We will definitely not do another Costa cruise . Language and culture to big an issue . They were seldom accommodating. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
From the moment you get to the port in Mumbai there is total confusion and chaos. We have been on about 30 cruises and this ship is the worst we have ever been on. The rooms are mediocre and unexceptional. There is no thought put in ... Read More
From the moment you get to the port in Mumbai there is total confusion and chaos. We have been on about 30 cruises and this ship is the worst we have ever been on. The rooms are mediocre and unexceptional. There is no thought put in as to how to make it inviting. The ship looks "tired" and in need of some rejuvenation. There is nothing exciting going on and, quite honestly, the crew couldn't care less. The entertainment is nonexistent. I actually walked out of a show which is something I have never done. The food was a disaster!!! The same old food everyday. Full disclosure - we only ate in the buffet lounge and the only bright light was one of the supervisors - John, who is the sweetest young man and only wanted to make us happy. The only time you get coffee and tea is at breakfast and NOT with any other meals. If you want coffee or tea after lunch or dinner in the buffet lounge, you have to pay about 3 euros. I just felt that they tried to squeeze as much money out of the passengers as possible. You also have to pay for room service which is something we have never done before. The one side of the buffet was Indian foods and the other side was so bland and boring, I sometimes went hungry which has never happened to me before on a cruise. There was plenty of pasta, bread and dreary deserts which doesn't give weight conscious travellers any options. If you wanted pizza, you had to go to the pizza cafe and PAY!! There is no thought put into to making the food exciting and different. The one time we ate in the dining room, the waiter took no time to explain the items on the menu. He just wanted us to order and get it done with. I understand that Costa Cruises is based in Italy but they really don't care about travellers from other countries. The shore excursions were not very exciting and quite expensive. We travelled once with Costa cruises a few years ago and swore never again but there are no other cruise lines that do the southern India and Maldives route. I was disappointed in the Maldives and would absolutely recommend you save your money and go to Tahiti, either on a cruise which is AMAZING or stay on Bora Bora or Morea. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I have broken this review into segments rather than a day by day account. Conclusion Azamara is back on track with one of the best cruises we have had Azamara transport and travel arrangements Caught flight ex NCL to spend some ... Read More
I have broken this review into segments rather than a day by day account. Conclusion Azamara is back on track with one of the best cruises we have had Azamara transport and travel arrangements Caught flight ex NCL to spend some time in Concorde room at LHR before boarding 9.25 pm flight to Mumbai. Service on board excellent and the flat bed was conducive to a good night’s sleep after a few more glasses of champagne after the few pink ones in CCR. We had heard horror stories re Indian immigration but we were met at aircraft door with electric buggy and whisked to separate immigration desks and after picking up luggage were escorted to private taxi for the hell that is Mumbai traffic. Anybody in a Tuctuc must have a death wish. I presume anybody learning to drive only learns to turn left as turning right is a nightmare. Arrived at Taj for overnight stay which was great and met a few Azamaraites who were equally bamboozled by letter from Azamara promising “a plague of locusts” or similar if we arrived at port before 12.30 pm, We then got a note saying coaches were available at 11.00am. Usual Indian chaos to get on bus but have to say boarding experience was as good as anywhere else in the world. Return journey was equally pain free although watching Indian staff unloading suitcases one by one down a ramped passenger gangway was painful. Luggage was then loaded onto airport 2 suitcase size trolleys for other day labourers to put into shed. I understand from Azamara staff that ALL supplies for this 20 day voyage were also loaded case by case up this similar gangway. I dread to think how many cases were carried up this gangway for this cruise. Why they do not invest in a fork lift truck and some grocery cages I do not know. Met at bus and directed to far left of terminal where First class passengers are processed. Usual Indian security where I was convinced soldier was reading our TA documentation upside down until baggage handler suggested he look at a separate list for our names. Taken to seating area with settees etc where staff come to you and process you. HOW VERY CIVILISED. Went to GVK lounge where snacks were available. My wife had foot massage and I also had a complimentary back massage. I am convinced that at some period he was actually walking on my back so hard was the pressure. Usual long walk to gates where the final bit of Indian idiocracy waited. To get to plane using the lifts you have to press arrivals button!!! Onboard usual First service with a good meal and some decent wines. Watched I ,Daniel Blake and Hacksaw Ridge. Both amazing films in their own way. Landed in UK and spent some time in CCRoom before the final indignity of BA flight to NCL and a Bl ... y Awful experience. Had priority boarding but my wife’s pass would not work in self boarding gates. Told by staff to wait until ALL the other passengers were boarded before they could/would do anything about it. Bad idea to say that to my wife but as I was on other side of barrier could not help but got it sorted. Got on plane to find passengers seats double booked which took some time to sort out on a full plane. 20 mins taxiing and then take off. Staff were completely disorganised . As we were in row 2 we could see discussion/chaos for ourselves. Started serving CE meals to discover they only had cutlery for 2 people!! Eventually found some plastic cutlery but doubt if they actually got to serve everybody as trolleys were only put away minutes before landing. Ship Experience Dining As we have sailed before we knew the score and booked our restaurants straightaway with Daniel and Alex. We only ate once in MDR as early dining prior to private LCV entertainment so cannot comment meaningfully. We did use Patio cafe at night on several occasions as it undoubtedly serves freshest food on ship. After all it is cooked to order. Prime C as good as ever and was able to get personalised dishes given notice. I.e. Goats cheese soufflé and halibut when I fancied a change from fillet steak. Crab cakes and Onion soup good also but I wonder how many people actually order the pheasant confit. Good to see cheese trolley on display but still a pity that it is not brought to the table with a few specialist cheeses rather than merely the standard ships cheeses. Windows buffet was fine for breakfasts in the outside area before it got too hot during the day Good to see Marmite as well as Vegemite although I was not convinced by the Indian Marmite look alike with red label. English sausages at breakfast were some of the best I have tasted on ship and the German sausages were also very good. I realise I might sound like a UKIP loving Brexitting little Englander. Brexiter certainly. Not convinced that any premium ship should be serving Shepherd’s pie even on an English themed buffet night and I understand that the Indian night dishes were not a great success speaking to some other guests. Lunch buffet was good with some really good soups (crazy in a hot climate but good nevertheless) We were able to get our preferred Riesling at all venues and meals via a discreet request. Best of Best dinner was a standout meal by Iwan which included one item covered in gold leaf. Rather a shame to think where that gold leaf was in 2 days time. I gave toast on behalf of the guests to the Fabulous 5 Captain Magnus Iwan Thomas Heike Angello Guests Finally got to identify Excited of Harpenden and Riocca but missed Uktog A great mixture of nationalities that seemed to gel together except for one couple who were famous within a couple of days for their complaints. I understand from talking to staff and other guests that this was ther first ever cruise. Why you would choose the longest cruise in the book to start with I do not know? We thought the anecdotes we heard were exaggerated until we met them dining in the Patio Cafe one night. They changed tables 5 times and complained to the chef and his supervisor for approx 7 minutes about the quality of the food. I do not intend to repeat what was said but it was unacceptable to abuse anybody in that way and they left the chef in tears. We spoke to him as well as Heike (Hotel Manage)r and Thomas (Food and Beverage Manager) to ensure that if any complaint was made then we would support the chef as the behaviour was completely unacceptable. We noticed later that Azamara seemed to have nominated Guest relations staff to sit with them at meals etc. to check their behaviour. Entertainment Usual great show from Eric as well as 2 great female singers. Firstly an American lady and finally i.e. 2 days only an English singer. White night party was good with a great conga line around the decks as normal. Eric of course finished a great cruise with his trademark skating. Amazing evening Well organised transport with snacks etc. available. Fortune tellers etc. Ports of Call etc. I am probably too old for third world countries and Dubai is probably as far as we will travel future. I cannot believe that India has 100 nuclear weapons but allows their population to live and work in such squalor!!! Firstly unless you go to a hotel or take tours there is nothing to do at most calls. We did one private tour on the Cochin backwaters and it seemed a long way to go to sit in a boat to watch people bashing their clothes in the river. Had raging row with taxi driver in Sri Lanka after agreeing $60 fare for three hours with fixer as well as driver. We were the confronted with demand for $200 to be paid via ATM in Ceylon currency. In UK it is alleged that ther is a thriving Srilankan crime syndicate which specialise in ATM Pin code stealing. It was only when we demanded to be dropped off at police station that demands were dropped. A bad taste to an interesting day. Immigration This was usually a farce. At one port we happened to be first in line to be processed after the leaving crew. It was like Lilliput Big Enders vs. Little Enders. The 6 personnel had a 5 minute discussion which appeared to revolve about whether they stamped your card or signed it first . or did it simultaneously Eventually the man with the biggest moustache got his way. I recognise they are entitled to be on the ship all day but I do not see why their wives and children should be allowed on board stuffing the buffet and blocking stairs for photographs. I guess it is part of the way things get done in these countries Standouts I do not normally try to pick individuals as ALL staff contribute to the experience but here are 2 1: Angello Housekeeping Manager. We met him an Owners suite private reception and my wife made a throw away comment about it being a pity there were no magnifying mirrors in the bathroom. On return to room after reception there were 3 different magnification mirrors for my wife to try. Followed up 2 days later with a call to see which she preferred. 2: Russian waiter Kuril who noticed our struggles to get a working salt cellar. From then on at every meal he saw us he provided a condiment pot with loose salt without prompting. Niggles. 1:As above salt and pepper shakers of either variety china or metal are simply not fit for purpose You either spend time with toothpick or take bottom off and get rice with salt. At first I thought it was restricted to outdoor area but same in MDR. They should invest in Perspex grinders so that they can work and you can see if they need filling. 2: They ran out of glass bottled free sparkling water fairly soon and I do not consider Soda water or sparkling flavoured water (label states No fruit content) as acceptable alternatives. Fortunately we had a good supply in suite. 3: I understand that standard serving protocol for serving tea is to provide a separate saucer for disposal of dunked teabag rather than have drips etc. on cup saucer but this was rarely implemented. Also I believe it would be better to have teabag dry when presented so that the individual can decide on strength of tea. First world problem I know!!! Final Conclusion Azamara is back to its best and we look forward to using our free nights soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We scuba dive and this itinerary gave me and my wife the opportunity to see India by flying into Bombay and use of the ship for a hotel for a day and half while touring Bombay. The ship was fantastic and the service superb. Americans ... Read More
We scuba dive and this itinerary gave me and my wife the opportunity to see India by flying into Bombay and use of the ship for a hotel for a day and half while touring Bombay. The ship was fantastic and the service superb. Americans on Costa get their water with or without gas free! This was a great surprise for us since I regularly drink water with gas. At night we had entertainment both by floor shows and the disco, most of the time the disco was not visited due to being too tired from the days excursions or scuba diving. Many times we seek other tour options due to some cruise lines inflate their's so much not on this cruise. The most enjoyable aspect of the cruise was that you knew what you were eating and where you were sleeping was comfortable for 14 days. We extended our stay for several more days so as to visit the TM. India needs to spend money on infrastructure. While on our extended visit there were a couple of days we did not eat for fear we would have to find a place for deposit, Oh, toilet paper forget about it. If you have a desire to see our experiences both above and below the waters around India please visit my YouTube channel. TherealDavidPressler Read Less
67 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was a deal offered by bookonline.com. Two back to back cruises over 14 days covering Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Goa & back to Mumbai. On entering our cabin, it was obviously tired and in need of ... Read More
This was a deal offered by bookonline.com. Two back to back cruises over 14 days covering Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Goa & back to Mumbai. On entering our cabin, it was obviously tired and in need of refurbishment, there was only one socket for all our uses, which in these modern times is crazy. As always after a long flight etc. We made use of the coffee machine and water bottle. Our disgust to find, next day, they we added to the mini bar bill. Everything purchased has a 15% service charge added. EVERTHING. The clientele were 90% Italian. The entertainment was excellent, mostly in Italian. The music and dancing in the main bar was strictly Latin line dancing, 4 steps forward, 4 back, 4 left, 4 right, all night every night. We even started making bets on the next song to come.one other ballroom had a group who played mostly swing, but to only ever a half dozen people, so took frequent breaks. The food in the main restaurant was Italian, with only one deviation when we had a number of Indians on board for 3 days., but there was an opportunity to get something else in the buffet restaurant. The visits to the various stops were fantastic, but very expensive. In Male, the excursion to Paradise Island was 209 Euro per person, incl. lunch & soft drinks. We did it on another Island for 120 Euro pp incl a fantastic lunch all alcohol, beach towels in a 500 Dollar per night hotel & for an hour longer than Costa's. Wake up Costa. Cater for other Europeans as well. As this is the only line to cover that area, there is, sadly, no other choice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This cruise combined a 5-day land tour of India's Golden Triangle -- Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur-- with sea voyages from Mumbai to Oman (Muscat and Salaleh) and Jordan (Aqaba, Petra, Amman). Fascinating itinerary, high-quality ... Read More
This cruise combined a 5-day land tour of India's Golden Triangle -- Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur-- with sea voyages from Mumbai to Oman (Muscat and Salaleh) and Jordan (Aqaba, Petra, Amman). Fascinating itinerary, high-quality land tours, comfortable small ship, lovely crew and staff, and interesting fellow passengers -- mostly Australian, British and Canadian. Many aboard were university professors, history aficionados, seasoned travelers seeking cultural immersion. Pros included the high-quality onboard lecturers: a BBC war correspondent, a BBC radio religion commentator, a top archaeologist. Land accommodations were first-class; food onboard was always enjoyable; dining venues were attractive and elegant -- al fresco dinners in the stern's Terrace Cafe were especially memorable. Public spaces -- the lounge, the library, the pool and decks, the small spa, the spacious lecture space -- were fine. Cabins were comfortable and attractive, if showing their age a bit (the ship is a converted car ferry of some vintage). Given the troubled areas we were passing through (Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the territorial waters of Somalia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia) the Captain reassured us of the security measures in place: armed military men, 24 hour watches, razor wire on the stern to prevent pirate invasions. The slight element of tension was worth it for the wonders we saw, especially in Jordan: the desert expanses of Wadi Rum, the breathtaking hidden city of Petra, the Roman ruins in and around Amman. Criticisms: the quality of the musical entertainment was far below the standards of the cultivated clientele. North American passengers reported problems with reservations, flights and timely receipt of tour materials. Overall, a memorable experience. Not perfect, but very good. A vacation that stimulated the brain and enlarged the vision. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
The Voyager is a well appointed ship and well maintained by an excellent mostly Filipino Crew who are always friendly and helpful. The restauants serve excellent food although dinner in the Discovery Restauant can take a very long time. ... Read More
The Voyager is a well appointed ship and well maintained by an excellent mostly Filipino Crew who are always friendly and helpful. The restauants serve excellent food although dinner in the Discovery Restauant can take a very long time. The Veranda Restaurant is a buffet and the same choice of food is available and again the staff are helpful but there are problems with the layout. At breakfast, the cereals are in one section and the cooked food etc are in another section but with the layout of the ship it would be impossible to change any arrangements. The entertainment consisted of an excellent programme of lectures given by a high calibre group of lecturers and the Darwin Lounge was usually full for these events and the use of three screens helped to overcome the problem of poor sightlines. The sightline problem was most noticeable in the production shows where the complicated footwork could only be seen by those in the front row. The production shows were of a high quality and performed in a limited area. Shore excurions were all to a high standard and some local guides were excellent. The visits to Egypt were well received by the local populations who had not seen a cruise ship for a year. The cabin was well appointed but I had a major problem with the noise from the propellors and engine. I was allocated a cabin in the stern of the ship on deck 3 and at 0330 one morning I was at reception asking someone to come down and listen to the noise. Sleep was impossible and I feared thirty-one nights of disturbed sleep. I was moved the following day to another cabin but for that sector only and I had to return to my old cabin for the second sector as new passengers had boarded. I kept up my complaints and moved to a cabin on deck 4 which again was fine. I was not seeking an upgrade and would have happily accepted a downgrade just to have a quieter cabin. I would recommend any intending passenger not to book cabins at the stern of the ship because the noise is unbearable and one passenger had the crew checking the noise with a noise monitor. The Reception Staff were always helpful and sympathetic. My reaction is that if the Company choose to sell cabins which are liable to excessive noise and vibration then the intending passenger should be warned of the problem and the cabins offered at a much reduced cost. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Our cruise from Mumbai (Bombay as it is referred to in India) to Bali had a pre-cruise option for three nights to the Taj Mahal. We took advantage of this option so we flew into New Delhi rather than Mumbai. For this, our 14th Regent ... Read More
Our cruise from Mumbai (Bombay as it is referred to in India) to Bali had a pre-cruise option for three nights to the Taj Mahal. We took advantage of this option so we flew into New Delhi rather than Mumbai. For this, our 14th Regent cruise, we had Regent arrange our air. We were not confident about our skill in negotiating transportation in India. I will also say upfront that I have not had a desire to visit India but my DH did. From the start my intention was to be open to this new and possibly very different experience. Regent booked us on British Air, Business Class from Vancouver to Heathrow with a 2 hour layover and then continuing on to New Delhi. The flights were excellent -- on time -- no problems. When we arrived in New Delhi we waited until all of the luggage arrived and one piece of our luggage was still missing. We must have waited for close to an hour. Then my DH had to file a report with the airline. All of this took so long that we were fairly certain that there would not be a Regent representative waiting for us for transportation to the hotel. Fortunately we were wrong and we were able to get the bus to the hotel. There were people on the bus that must have waited for a very long time for us. Now for the review: Starting with the pre-cruise trip to Agra, Regent did an amazing job coordinating three nights in three hotels plus the plane trip back to Mumbai. . Taj Palace, New Delhi -- the best of the three hotels -- lovely accommodations and exceptional food. This was an excellent choice and we certainly appreciated the ability to check in when we arrived at the hotel (approximately 8:00 a.m.) Regent offered 3 ½ hour tours to "Old Town" or "New Delhi" for a cost of approximately $100.00 per person. We booked a 3 ½ hour "small group" tour to Old Town for $31.00/person that included a stop for Chai tea and lunch. We were the only people on the tour and it was a highlight of our trip. IMO, it pays to check out reputable private tours when you are in India. ITC Mughal, Agra -- this is a rough one to review. The food, service and grounds were very good -- no complaints. However, the accommodations are so poor that I feel this hotel should be dropped. There was one couple who were given a room that had not been cleaned from the previous occupant. Some rooms lost power and, from what I've heard, all of them were dirty and needed refurbishment. On the plus side, Regent had a cocktail party on the lawn of the hotel with local dancers. It was truly lovely and again, the food was superior (just don't go to your room :-(. At 9:30 p.m., we received a phone call that our luggage had arrived. It first arrived Delhi and was sent via courier to Agra. What a relief:-) Marriott in Jaipur -- definitely the most beautiful hotel -- it appears new. The only negative at this hotel was the food which was the least appetizing of the three hotels. No reason to change the hotel -- just ask them to provide hot food and to serve it on time as we were on a tight schedule. The buses and tour guides used were very good. It was an incredible -- if tiring -- 3 days. Unfortunately, too many passengers had not done their homework and complained that the India was too hot and too dirty. I cannot for the life of me understand why this is Regent's fault. The flights to Mumbai were delayed (again -- some blame Regent for this) and some passengers did not arrive on the ship until 8:00 p.m. This was hard on the passengers who had to get up at 6:00 a.m. but was also hard on the crew....... over 400 passengers arriving on the ship late caused a lot of work. For the better part of the first week, the passengers were complaining about everything. Some passengers did not want to dine with people they did not know because all they heard was complaints. I am sure that reports of this will filter back to the home office. In my opinion, there was nothing Regent could have done better. Regent passengers were taken care of every step of the way. We were given food, free flowing wine and beer and very good service. Excursions -- I think I have said enough on CruiseCritic on this subject. In my opinion, no one can handle 500+ passengers going on an excursion at approximately the same time. Destination Services has improved a lot in this area....... still, as of this time, I will try to avoid "included" excursions. Sitting in a full theater waiting for the ship to be cleared is not a happy experience. I have to wonder why tours are booked at the same time the ship arrives? Okay -- I still love Regent but hate the excursions. One excursion had three busloads of passengers complaining and asking to go back to the ship. Only one bus load talked the driver into taking them back. It was a 7 hour tour that should have been no longer than 5 hours.... it was hot with poor air conditioning. I felt that we should have been taken back to the ship. They did a vote and we unanimously wanted to return. This is something to think about for the future. Since boarding the Voyager on December 1st, we have received excellent service and food. There is an exception to the almost perfect service. We made a difficult decision to change butlers mid-cruise and it was a fairly good decision. Our first butler seemed to argue every point with us. The "new" butler was upbeat and communicative and we enjoyed being around him. There is a "but" to this story. Towards the end of our cruise, he started talking about Oceania and how their pay and benefits were better than Regent. He quoted very specific salaries, etc. He complained that his salary never goes up -- no matter how many contracts he has. And, he said that Regent employees want to work for Oceania as they have a completely different system and also receive great tips. On the last night, it was apparent that our butler was waiting for a tip. It is interesting because I do not tip individuals on Regent -- not in 14 cruises. However, it was Christmas and I did want to give the butler a Christmas gift ........ up until the last 2 nights. The discussion of Oceania salaries and tips was uncomfortable. Then, he was rarely at the cocktail party we had and when the G.M. came to our suite, I had to pour his wine. This was very different than cocktail parties we have had in the past where there is always a Regent crew member present to serve guests. Then, when he was obviously waiting for a tip, I was no longer interested in giving him anything. I call Captain McNeil, General Manager, Franck Galzy and Cruise Director, Paul Reynolds the "Dream Team" of Regent. They are, IMO, the "standard" that every officer should be held to. Everything seems to run perfectly with this team. I have long said that, in my opinion, Franck should be the top G.M. (if there were such a position). There are excellent G.M.'s on Regent but it would help if they all were on the same page (so to speak). Franck has the respect of both passengers and crew. I speak with the crew a lot and they universally are happier when Franck Galzy is on board. General Managers could be even better than they are with a little guidance from Franck. Paul Reynolds is just great -- not enough words to describe how much we enjoy this gentle, kind man. We are so happy that we will be on the Mariner with him in March. So, finally, you may wonder what I thought of India -- the one place that I did not want to visit? Well, I am happy that we went, had a very enjoyable time and learned a lot about a very complex country. I am not a warm weather person and the weather on the entire cruise was in the 80's with lots of humidity. Fortunately our suite was nicely air conditioned. Would I go back to India? No -- don't think so...... but there are few places that we do return to. Regent provided a most boring and miserable "included" excursion prior to taking us to the airport in Bali. One stop was so bad that few people even bothered getting off of the bus. Those that did returned to the bus within 2 minutes (not understating the time). Regent booked us on Cathay Pacific from Bali to Hong Kong and then on to Vancouver. What a great airline! The Business Class lounge in Hong Kong may be the best lounge we have visited. For those of you taking these long flights, planning for a shower in the lounge is a great idea. After departing the Voyager at 7:30 a.m. and arriving in Hong Kong 9:00 p.m., a shower was wonderful. Being able to change clothes and feel fresh before the next flight makes a difference. The showers in Hong Kong (and Heathrow) are actually full private bathrooms -- very clean and comfortable. This was another wonderful cruise. We look forward to our March 20th Miami to Barcelona cruise on the Mariner. When we step foot on the Mariner, we'll be "Platinum Seven Seas Society members" (free laundry ) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
We chose to return to the Journey after a wonderful cruise in South America last Christmas, and selected this itinerary as a way of visiting India without dealing with luggage or other intra-country transportation issues. We thoroughly ... Read More
We chose to return to the Journey after a wonderful cruise in South America last Christmas, and selected this itinerary as a way of visiting India without dealing with luggage or other intra-country transportation issues. We thoroughly enjoyed the places we visited, and had a very relaxing time on board despite the full ship. It was fantastic to meet again some of the staff who made our first Azamara trip -- my mother's third -- so memorable. However, the ship needs to be refurbished -- both public and private quarters -- and we're not certain eight days in dry-dock will suffice. Before I comment on our visits to other ports of call, let me address Male in the Maldives. Over the summer, I asked fellow Cruise Critic board members about onshore excursions in Male since none were offered by Azamara. Regent, which was in Male the same day as our ship, was offering several onshore excursions (private beaches, submarine). One of the board members replied that the Azamara video for this cruise noted that there would be a "surprise" for guests as the Journey would stop at a "private" island, and that he hoped the ship would perhaps provide a barbecue on the beach. I had not watched the video of Claudius and Eddie sitting on an uncomfortable-looking couch because the videos for other itineraries were (and are) visually unappealing and not very informative (i.e., I love shopping). But hearing about the "surprise" at a "private" island made me dream about a barbecue on a pristine beach -- a precursor, perhaps, of the Azamazing special excursions for 2013. Alas, the surprise at the private island turned out to be merely a marketing ploy. The staff on-board did not know about the video -- they found out at the shore excursion presentation -- and Captain Idiakidis wisely decided against dropping off hundreds of passengers on an island without electricity or restroom facilities, and only 20 lounge chairs, from which the last passengers would board the tenders in the dark (after 5pm). Azamara Miami had not done their homework, so passengers were notified a day before we arrived to Male that there was no local outfitter up to Azamara's standards -- yet Regent had made arrangements for its passengers months in advance -- but there would be a tent at the dock where passengers could make private arrangements. We were further notified about the beach on Male Island -- one of the world's most densely populated places -- where women would have to bathe in t-shirts and shorts given that it was a Muslim beach. Sounded like fun!?! We ended up joining 20+ passengers on a beach day at Faru Club, an island resort 45 minutes from Male by boat. Beautiful white sandy beach that stretched forever, lots of fishes and even some baby sharks, regular bathing suits. No barbecue, however. Mumbai - we arrived a day early and took two private day tours with Mumbai Magic. Fabulous, and we saw more than we expected during our limited time at this city. Our second day's tour included the transfer to the ship; did not have to wait or walk in the heat. Would recommend this company to others. Goa - we took the churches of Goa shore excursion; it was very good. Well organized and run. On our second day, we took an excellent private tour with Goa Magic visiting old colonial houses, the Rachol Seminary and a market. The overnight stay definitely allowed us to do a lot. Cochi - we arranged an overnight houseboat backwaters tour with Wilson Tours, which included a quick visit to Fort Cochi and a cooking class on the second day. The visit to the backwaters was the highlight of our trip, so peaceful. Male - see above Colombo, Sri Lanka - we took one of the city tours, which was very good. During our visit to the Galle Face Hotel, we saw the wedding party and guests of a very fancy wedding. With the wedding party were the members of a dance troupe in beautiful local costumes. That evening, the ship offered a local dance show with a similar troupe on the pool deck, so it was great to unexpectedly get a preview of the costumes. As in Goa and Cochi, the ship docked in the middle of a huge industrial pier, so there were no shuttle buses or quick access to town. This was not Azamara's fault, but it was a challenge. Upon our return to the ship around noon, I asked a taxi driver who was standing next to the ship how much it would cost to go back in town. The price that he quoted went down considerably when I returned with a similar request two hours later, and we were able to "escape" the pier to visit a couple of places not included in the morning's tour. Galle, Sri Lanka - we took the tender to the ship's shuttle to this fort town and walked around. We also got on a tuk-tuk -- cleaner and in better shape than many we saw in India -- and had a blast. While Colombo is a large city, Galle is an easy stroll, with plenty of small shops. A relaxing day ashore. Chennai - we took the Mamalapuram tour with the ship; a magical, must-see place. The Mamalapuram complex has the most persistent trinket/postcard sellers we encountered during our trip. To say "no thank you" four times was often not enough. But since they could not enter the temple site areas, we got a respite. But you have been warned. Our transfer to the Chennai airport for our 430am flight was well coordinated by the ship's concierge staff. Regarding meals, I had never seen that many people at the main dining room. Wow! Meals were very good, and if few were memorable, it's more important to note that our special requests were honored with a smile despite the bi-zillion other diners. We ended up going to the buffet upstairs more than in previous trips, especially on special dining nights (Greek, Indian, etc.) and there was hardly anyone there. We found the pool grill improved from last year, and had plenty of meals at that venue. Regarding the pool area, we were all warned against hoarding beach chairs, but that was never an issue -- and we were in the pool every single day. We always found a pair of lounge chairs near the pool readily available. Regarding entertainment, the highlight for us was the Sri Lankan dance troupe. Slava and Alina were amazing, as was the rest of the dance crew. The guest performers did not appeal to us, but might have to others. I cannot count how many yummy skim lattes and cappuccinos I had at Mosaic Cafe -- fantastic service too. We participated in several ship activities, but these left us wondering where was everyone since the only place were one ever realized there were 700 passengers was early in the evenings in the main dining room. I lucked out during my two visits to the laundry room -- hardly a wait. In sum, the staff is the reason why many Azamara passengers return time and again. From the consummate professional Captain Idiakidis to the employees who cleaned the pool area each morning, the Journey's staff is positively wonderful. But the Miami staff has to perform as well as the on-board staff, and it definitely did not. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We were instructed by the booking agents in the USA to call a tel no in Mumbai 24 hours prior to departure to get port instructions for embarcation the problem was this was a sunday and no answer. The hotel did contact the port agent on ... Read More
We were instructed by the booking agents in the USA to call a tel no in Mumbai 24 hours prior to departure to get port instructions for embarcation the problem was this was a sunday and no answer. The hotel did contact the port agent on the monday and we were off to the port and the ship or so we thought. arriving at the port gate we were denied entry as we did not have an entry card. more phone calls brought a person from the agent who after two hours provided us with a card and told us we had to go to gate no4. arriving at gate 4 we then had to unload our bags and take them into an xray room and the hump them back into the car. No sign of anyone from the ship al of this in temperatures 0f 40 oC. Arriving at the ship I was to say the least somewhat annoyed at the lack of any ships personel and expressed my concerns to the security man who responded nothing to do with us it is the port security. This as you might imagine this set the scene for the cruise. However entering the cabin which was billed as a superior delux cabin we noted that the walls and ceiling had been patched with different color paint and were told that no matching paint was available. Things were not getting better! Perhaps the food might be the attraction on this cruise not so. the menu was fancy but this is where it ended. The food was repetitive and boring served in a drab dining room in uncomfotable worn seats. The bathroom in the cabin had paint refinished bath and sink unit and the toilet would not flush properly. Our cabin boy however was excellent. Perhaps breakfast would be better and the Lido buffet might provide a better location. I have never had food displayed in an open unairconditioned area in the tropics and this was the same at lunch times. the sliding roof had not moved for a long time and remained in the same location for the entire cruise The ship is long overdue for a refit and I would quesion if this is even an ecomicaly viable as we did not find any area on the ship that provided a well co-0rdinated confortable enviroment where colors and decoration matched the carpets and other furniature. I unfortunately have to say that of all the cruise ships I have sailed on this in my opinion has to rate the worst. The lectures were great and the tours were good but again the quality of food on the tours left a lot to be desired. I do not need another Voyage of Dicovery Community Manager's Note: 'This review was written when the ship sailed for Voyages of Discovery. As of February 2013, it is now sailing under the Cruises & Maritime banner" Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2006
Returning from our cruise on Pacific Princess, I would like to give some feedback. As in my previous business life, feedback should be taken as learning opportunity and starting point for improvement. Without critic we will never see ... Read More
Returning from our cruise on Pacific Princess, I would like to give some feedback. As in my previous business life, feedback should be taken as learning opportunity and starting point for improvement. Without critic we will never see improvement and growth. I had this summary sent via two different travel agencies to Princess Cruises, however, no answer since 3 months. Our trip started at Frankfurt (Germany) with a 2 day pre-program in Mumbai. The time spent in the city as well as in the vicinity was worth the money. Hotel (Taj President) and sightseeing were well organized and professionally conducted. Mumbai is the city with the largest contrast between poor and rich we ever saw. We embarked on Sept. 1, 2006 in Mumbai (Bombay) and disembarked on Sept 15, 2006 in Bangkok. Despite the monsoon season we had sunny to fair weather condition and an almost mirror flat sea, besides some tropical rain at noon or night. The ports of call had been changed after we booked. Colombo was dropped for safety reasons, added Mangalore instead, which was no adequate replacement at al. All other ports of call had interesting points to visit and included Cambodia and Vietnam. The Ship: Positive items first: - Food at dinner time was excellent, high quality, nice presentation, sufficient list of different items to select from, - Service at dining area very friendly and supportive with an excellent taste - Stateroom steward provided all help needed in due time and kept our room tidy and clean. - The stateroom itself included a balcony, which used at night time in these tropical nights, the room itself provided more than sufficient storage capacity, everything ok - Service at bar areas friendly and quick, not urging or pressing - Very fast check-in process at Mumbai, very well organized disembarkation in Bangkok - Some performances at show time had been extremely good (e.g. Piano & Banjo) - Pacific Princess offers two speciality restaurants, however, because of the quality of the standard dining restaurant we did not use them. Items to improve: - Embarkation process lacks positive moments like a welcome glass of Champaign, or someone guiding us personally to the stateroom. -Service and environment in breakfast/lunch buffet area was somewhat strange: - The starboard side of the buffet restaurant is close to the centrally located dish washing facilities, emitting an extreme noise at each opening of the doors,loudly rumbling carts are used to transport plates and silver ware in and out of cleaning area - cleaning of garbage cans and pulling sacks filled with garbage or dirty table cloths in the midst of the area where people are sitting for either lunch or breakfast.All men assigned to this job express their hate of both the work and the guests sitting there. - plastic chairs at outside areas are dirty with spilled coffee and food stains, cleaning frequency far too low, no seat covers, - coffee supply the worst I ever met (lousy quality, only two self service filling stations and one cart for direct service, nobody looking for refills,therefore coffee on cart luke warm. Compared to any coffee shop just unacceptable), - no fresh fruit juices or fresh milk supplied at breakfast buffet. - Food at breakfast buffet somewhat boring, every day same fruit selection, egg station was not able to produce a decent omelette or fried eggs, used partly eggs with an extreme pale yolk without any taste. However, very good and tasty selection of bread. As a tip, the guy at the hamburger station (pool area) produces really good fried eggs and omelettes to your choice during morning hours. - Pool was closed for maintenance for about a week, while we had bright sunshine (however, it will be always at the wrong time anyway) - Lift system is used for transport of cleaning personal with their respective carts and utilities at the time passengers are heading for dinner, keeping passengers waiting. (Should be kept in background anyway) - The restroom check system is nicely set up, but does not function too well, more than once we observed sign-off at the door w/o checking the facilities Show time events had a good variety of events. The dancers and singers might need a new choreograph and some singers need refreshing training on how to hit the right tone. The announcement and the introduction of performing persons are far too exaggerating, thus, they can never meet the raised expectations. It is a question of taste, but joke telling should never disrespect minorities. Shore excursions, as far as we joined them, are basically ok and well organized. However, all excursions land at sales points. At that cruise price level this needs to be restricted to true value sites, and, then, need more time in those cases (e.g. Kuala Lumpur Jewelry and Silk/Batik). We observed in Vietnam at planned restroom stops at different places where the same dealers were aggressively selling low value offers, and the identical cripples begging for money. At a ship, which wants to maintain 4+ stars someone might want to teach the waiters the basic rules of serving at the table like: - serve ladies first - don't over-fill a wine glass - don't start clearing the tables for next sitting while guests are still at the table - don't rush, no loud chats among waiters. While we observed some best of the best we also saw quite a few worst of the worst. This needs attention of and training by the supervisors. Directly booking gratuity might be helpful to have a balanced distribution system. However, it seems to be a contribution of the passengers to adjust for low wages. Eventually, this socialized system disconnects pay from performance. I did not observe the leaders of the crew personally checking their staff's performance and using weaknesses as training and coaching opportunities. My tip: have all automated gratuity re-booked, and use the amount where you are really satisfied with the service. My gut feeling: Some of the leaders are complacent and far too long in their position. In average lowest service standard compared to NCL, Celebrity, Trans Ocean, and Costa, however, average is unfair because we experienced some best of the best who were outbalanced by a good share of the worst of the worst. Good quality does not only mean in average good; the spread between outstanding and low performance needs to be managed. Day time attire of service personal needs improvement (worn out, dirty and scratched tennis shoes; someone, not color blind, should look at shirt and short/skirt colors) Summing up all experiences, Princess might want to have a very close look at the Pacific Princess, or the rating as a high class ship will be lost. We do not want to miss the experience of this cruise, however, for the time being, we will not recommend this ship to friends. Arno Read Less

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