4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to go to Dubai and are experienced cruisers world wide. This is our 12 th cruise and it started in Mumbai. Mumbai should never be visited unless you like crazy traffic with shanties everywhere. Way way worse than the poorest ... Read More
We wanted to go to Dubai and are experienced cruisers world wide. This is our 12 th cruise and it started in Mumbai. Mumbai should never be visited unless you like crazy traffic with shanties everywhere. Way way worse than the poorest town in Mexico. The next 3 ports were literally gravel pits with commercial cranes and little access to leave the ship. At one port my wife and I barely made it back through port security. The 3 rd & 4 th port of Furjariah and Abu Dhabi were better with the last actually having easy on and off the ship access. Finally one UAE country figured how to cater to guests . Then we find out at 2 pm they cancelled our Qatar stop and have to spend another full day here. Not that much to do that one day doesn’t suffice, so we will sit by the very small pool and eat the fly invested food I guess! The staff were friendly but the food is a disaster , they don’t have .orange juice now two days in a row for breakfast! I am serious about the flies! We have a suite and have been awoken each night except last night with the cleaning crew on deck 8 around midnight. The ship is outdated and we heard is scheduled for a referb soon, can’t be soon enough. The captain has made 4 announcements and I didn’t understand a single word he said. He should not be allowed to use the PA. Besides the 4 out of 5 ports that literally are a shit hole, we paid $22,000 US and I cannot see any value. I would recommend Oceana or another line. I will not sail with these guys again. 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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And ... Read More
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And we felt very safe, even when we were sailing by Somalia. The ship is lovely and very well designed. The interior decorating is very Scandinavian and comfortable. There were lots of places to relax. Even though there were nearly 900 people on the ship, we never felt it was crowded. The food choices were excellent, and we probably ate more than we should have! We really enjoyed having a variety of food venues and the option to eat both inside and outside. We liked the experience so much that we signed up on board for another cruise on the ORION in Nov. 2019 -this time to Southeast Asia. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with the India Taj Mahal Extension on April 25, 2018. Our flight from Florida was arranged by Oceania and flew through Newark, then to Delhi. No problems. The Oceania representative was waiting for us at the airport in Delhi. The Taj Mahal Extension was great, the JW Marriott Hotel in Delhi was at the airport and was outstanding. The trip to Agra started with a quickie tour of Delhi before driving south. On the way to Agra we saw a developing area of India. The bus trip was around 3 hours or so, in a very nice bus. We stopped a few times for restroom breaks. We had to get up very early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We returned in the evening to see it again at sunset. The next morning we got up early again to drive to the airport to fly to Mumbai and board the ship. When in Mumbai, the driver gave us another quickie tour of the city. Mumbai is quite a bit different from Delhi. India was HOT. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was towards the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, were available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director, Julie, provided information about tours and timing and basically everything you need to know on a timely basis. She even provided entertainment one evening. The ship had a cast of wonderful entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics. Both needed to use larger print on their PowerPoint presentations. This was a 28 day cruise plus a few additional days for the Taj Mahal. That seemed like a long time but the time went by quickly. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 600 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. DUBAI, UAE – We took the Discover Dubai tour and the Sharjah Heritage tour. The tours cover the city. You will see lots of gold and more gold ….. and more gold … and spices. The weather was very hot. Dubai is a beautiful new city and is a bit over the top. We learned a lot about the Muslim religion and saw very large Mosques. FUJAIRAH, UAE – We took the East Coast City tour. Fujairah is a developing area. It is hot and dusty. The mountains in the background make it considerably different from Dubai. You will see more Mosques and more gold and spices. MUSCAT, OMAN – We took the Mystical Muscat tour. Muscat is a beautiful city of old and new architecture. You will see a Mosque and more gold and spices. It's still hot. SALALAH, OMAN – In Salalah, we took the Scenic Salalah tour. This is the place to buy Frankincense. The good stuff is very light in color and can be purchased in liquid or solid forms. This was an interesting place. …. still hot. FOUR DAYS AT SEA – We received Pirate Training and Navy Seals boarded the ship! AQABA, JORDAN – After the Taj Mahal, Petra is the reason we are on this cruise. We took the Magnificent Petra tour. The tour required a lot of walking through a beautiful slot canyon. This was one of the high points of the trip. …... It was actually cool in the morning but, it got HOT. The walk to the main attractions was generally downhill, but uphill coming back. Horses and carts were available to rent; both were a little questionable. The tour included a nice lunch. SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT – On the first day we took the all day trip (Ancient Luxor tour) to Luxor to see the Valley of Kings and other ancient stuff. Most of the drive was through desert! When we finally got near Luxor, the driving was very slow. We were in Luxor previously on a Viking Cruise so we probably could have passed on this tour and spent more time in Safaga. But Luxor is special if you have never been there. On the second day we went on the Snorkeling in the Red Sea tour. This was fantastic. The Red Sea is full of interesting fish. The area along the Red Sea is a resort area that is very dead. Not much going on. THE SUEZ CANAL – The canal was another reason this cruise looked interesting. The history behind it is interesting … covered by the speakers. The canal is basically a big ditch, parts of it is only one way traffic. While cruising through it, an all day trip, you will basically be in Egypt with Africa to the west and Asia to the east. A nice relaxing day surrounded by sand. HAIFA (JERUSALEM), ISRAEL – This stop was another reason we were on this cruise. We took the A Day in Jerusalem and Bethlehem tour. Jerusalem was a zoo …. very crowded and busy. Besides all the people that live in Jerusalem, it is full of tourists and shops. Bethlehem appeared to be more reverent and enjoyable. We stopped at a nice place to shop in Bethlehem. On the second day in Israel, we took the Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee tour. This was out in the country and very enjoyable … but very, very HOT … in fact, the HOTTEST. The heat was a real problem. LIMASSOL, CYPRUS – In Cyprus, we took the Pafos & Kourion tour. Cyprus is a beautiful island with an interesting history. The included lunch was very good. This is a nice place to visit. RHODES, GREECE – The Highlights of Rhodes tour was very nice. The island is beautiful with a great harbor and market. KUSADASI (EPHESUS), TURKEY – We visited Ephesus, the Virgin Mary House and a local museum. The Virgin Mary House is special … it feels holy. Of course, Ephesus and the museum are world class. We also visited a carpet factory! The weather is much better. The lunch was great. SANTORINI, GREECE – We took the Santorini Winery & Oia tour. The winery included a small glass of three different wines. We were in and out in 30 minutes. You can miss this! Oia is what you expect Santorini to be like. The only problem was that four ships were in port. People everywhere. Up to this point, we really didn't see another cruise ship. The line to go back to the four ships was a joke … we never found the end. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in Thira to kill time. The food is good, as is the beer and wine. VALLETTA, MALTA – We took the Scenic Sights of Malta tour which included a tour of the island. The port is beautiful and very active. Malta has beautiful churches and is a great place to shop … good prices. We may not have needed a tour in Malta. It looks very walkable to most points of interest. PALERMO (SICILY), ITALY – We took the Mysterious Palermo tour. We probably should have just walked around the city. In fact, we did when the tour was heading back to the ship. One interesting stop in the tour was a catacomb with hundreds if not thousands of exposed skeletons; aka mummies. SORRENTO (CAPRI), ITALY – We took the cruise to Capri. This was one of the highlights of the cruise. We had time to just walk around the island and visit too many high end shops, sample Lemoncello and other treats. Its nice to just have a drink and watch the world go by in Capri. The scenery is outstanding. Capri was warm! All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. Overall, the cruise was wonderful. You will see too many churches and mosques, markets, gold, spices … but you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. You will also walk …. a lot. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We've always thoroughly enjoyed our silversea cruises unfortunately not this time . From the moment we stepped onto the ship in Mahe the atmosphere felt different . Reception staff not friendly customer service sadly lacking ... Read More
We've always thoroughly enjoyed our silversea cruises unfortunately not this time . From the moment we stepped onto the ship in Mahe the atmosphere felt different . Reception staff not friendly customer service sadly lacking particularly from 2 people one male and one female who showed no interest at all in any query we made . In my mind first impressions are the most important and they certainly let the company down . Staff attitude in some areas was apathetic gave the impression they did not want to serve us , Service poor in lots of areas particularly Stars where after the food had been served the bar staff were nowhere to be seen . Face recognition sadly lacking this is something that Silverseas has excelled in there was a handful of staff that rembered us mainly because we'd sailed with them before . I have to say most of the staff were friendly and helpful unfortunately you need a few bad staff to lower the ships reputation . The food was very good with a nice choice on the menus . Very disappointing to have only one cooking demonstration . No tasting or drink offered . The Chef had nobody in attendance they all cleared off and he was left with difficulty using the cooker and no Salt and Pepper !!!! Most unimpressive . Entertainment was good We really enjoyed the singer in Stars Claudette had a good voice too . We were made aware countless times the ship was going into dry dock in March . That is no interest to us we spent a lot of money on this cruise and we expected full silversea service which was lacking in lots of ares . We had our photo taken at the Venetian society as we'd achieved 100 days which entitled us to free laundry !!! This photo was taken with the captain . We did not receive a copy of this photo until disembarkation day Adam sorted it out . Once again the reception were most unhelpful and the female hostess should have followed up who had their photo taken that night and dealt with it accordingly . I'm sorry to say that was the nature of most of the cruise . On the plus side we really enjoyed the Indian dancers and the Italian tenor not to mention Claudette and the singer in Stars .Suite was a bit tired mini bar well stocked . Free laundry was great . Butler and Room attendant helpful and pleasant . Pool area was very busy not enough sun beds put out and occupancy rules not adhered to . The Boutique was closed a lot of the time . Delightful girl working there . The merchandise needs addressing it's dowdy and old fashioned and more costume jewlellery should be available Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
After reading earlier reviews we specifically asked Silverseas Uk for reassurance that this ship was indeed up to scratch, they said yes we would receive the normal 5 star luxury cruise experience..... basically they didn't tell the ... Read More
After reading earlier reviews we specifically asked Silverseas Uk for reassurance that this ship was indeed up to scratch, they said yes we would receive the normal 5 star luxury cruise experience..... basically they didn't tell the truth as it was anything but. Our $1000 a night suite had worn out soft furnishings and a heavily stained carpet that we avoided walking on with bare feet, the public room soft furnings were also worn and drab, a bit like a care home lounge. The menu choice was restricted to items that had not run out as they reduced stock pre refit which is where the ship will spend the rest of Feb 2018 in a dry dock....they even started to dismantle the ship days before we disembarked....art was removed leaving near bare bulkheads throughout the ship. Food quality was especially poor more like a cross channel ferry than a 5 star lux ship. Entertainment was dire. Staff acted like it was the end of term...which it was for many of them. Needless to say its back to Oceania and we will never trust Silverseas again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We (just the two of us) love the size of this ship and that all the cabins are a comfortable size, though we did have a larger cabin on this particular cruise. The service was impeccable as usual and food was very good (and that is saying ... Read More
We (just the two of us) love the size of this ship and that all the cabins are a comfortable size, though we did have a larger cabin on this particular cruise. The service was impeccable as usual and food was very good (and that is saying a lot since I am a very picky eater). We always arrive a few days before our cruise since we know things can go astray (cancelled flights, delayed flights, etc) plus we enjoy resting up and exploring our departure city. We both love the all-inclusiveness of SilverSeas. There was plenty of good entertainment thru out our Cruise. Our room had so much storage space and the closet was very large for a ship. (Drawers and cabinets galore) The balcony was a nice size with a small table for eating, an adjustable lounge chair and a standard cushioned chair. The only negative was the limited movies as I do enjoy watching movies late at night. I'm glad to see this ship going into dry dock for refurbishments--It will be a great Enhancement. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
This cruise was part of a package put together by ecruising.com. starting with an 8 day land component in India commencing first in Delhi, then Agra then Jaipur and flying into Mumbai for 3 days before boarding Azamara Journey From the ... Read More
This cruise was part of a package put together by ecruising.com. starting with an 8 day land component in India commencing first in Delhi, then Agra then Jaipur and flying into Mumbai for 3 days before boarding Azamara Journey From the ease of embarkation right through to our departure in Athens 17 nights later every moment was filled with fun, relaxation, comfort, laughter and inspiring sightseeing My balcony cabin was serviced morning and night to an exceptional standard All food outlets were a standout and the food and service also exceptional eg juice bar at breakfast, ten different homemade gelato and sorbets every day, huge variety of specialty breads and rolls, endless selection of beautifully prepared fruits, salads, cheeses, deserts and really tender and delicious beef, pork, chicken and fish etc. Yum! I'm a really fussy eater and have to say best cruise food I've ever experienced Drinks were plentiful and cocktails delicious and incredibly generous! The entertainment was really enjoyable and in particular the outstanding 7 piece orchestra Lots and lots of great things programmed for every day. Endless variety. Service everywhere just couldn't be improved and one felt very spoilt and indulged always Shore excursions may seem expensive but our ports of call in the middle eastern countries of Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Israel all came with great itineries, very knowledgeable enthusiastic guides, 1 or 2 crew members and most importantly they made safety a priority in these countries so felt it important to only use the excursions organised by Azamara Journey. Coming through the Suez Canal to Cyprus was spectacular and the ship made it another fun filled event. I cannot emphasise the cleanliness right throughout the ship. Another thing that normally doesn't reach my standards. The only reason I gave fitness and recreation 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pool is very small. I usually like to swim every day but there was so much else to do it didn't really bother me. There were 635 passengers on board and 400 crew - great ratio for total indulgence. This ship is great for older couples (or singles) whose kids have flown the coop. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The itinerary was fantastic. As usual, Oceania provided a wonderfully relaxed and luxurious environment. The crew are really the stars of this luxury ship. The service and cuisine is faultless. This is not a family cruise suitable for ... Read More
The itinerary was fantastic. As usual, Oceania provided a wonderfully relaxed and luxurious environment. The crew are really the stars of this luxury ship. The service and cuisine is faultless. This is not a family cruise suitable for children. Its a luxury line. The ports for this trip were unique and should be on everyone's bucket list. However it was a busy itinerary with lots of walking, climbing and stairs. A quick summary: Oman - interesting but half day tour was more than enough for the local sites Jordan - Petra - speaks for itself - magical but not for those who have mobility issues. Its a long, hard work to the treasury in the heat Luxor, Egypt - so much to see. We stayed overnight in Luxor due to the 4 hour journey from the ship. Its a long 4 hours with not much change of scenery. Luxor was reasonably clean and I never felt unsafe. We had a private tour and that was fantastic as we did only what interested us which included a sail on the Nile. Cypress - Pretty marina area to wander around and a break from ruins Israel - 2 days not enough. Glad the ship overnighted which allowed much more time. So interesting but Jerusalum very busy. We swam in the dead sea on a private tour. A must-do. Patmos Greece - gorgeous little port village. Picture perfect Rhodes, Greece - so much to see. Full day tours are a must and highlight was the acropolis. Santorini - lost of ships in but really didn't notice the volume of people. Simply stunning and a must. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The cruise went to specific countries we wanted to visit. The trivia team games were fun! The lecturer from UCLA, Dr. Teofilo Ruiz, was superb and the best historian I have ever heard on a cruise and I have been on 30 cruises. The ... Read More
The cruise went to specific countries we wanted to visit. The trivia team games were fun! The lecturer from UCLA, Dr. Teofilo Ruiz, was superb and the best historian I have ever heard on a cruise and I have been on 30 cruises. The food was excellent and with free soft drinks, we could drink sodas as much as we wished. The Oceania cruise staff was very efficient and organized. The collection and later return of passports was fast and very well organized.The organization of tour groups at each port was fast, efficient and the best I have ever seen. The tour guides at all the ports were very knowledgeable in their subjects and spoke English very fluently. I felt I was back in grad school taking history courses. The only suggestion I would make is for Oceania to improve their internet connections on their cruise ships. There is a need that the wifi and Internet access be constant and not off most of the time. For a cruise almost a month long, the constant intermittent reception of wifi internet access was a problem. Also, it would have been nice if movies could have been shown that went with some of our ports. For example, in Jordan the cruise line could have shown the old film, Lawrence of Arabia, which took place in Jordan and was filmed in Jordan in 1917 during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turkish Empire. When we were in Egypt, there are many films that could have been shown about ancient Egypt. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
After botched (complimentary) transfer (we were in an owner's suite) and dreadful embarkation experience (computers down again (that's three times in the last three cruises)) we boarded after an hour's wait. Yes, the ... Read More
After botched (complimentary) transfer (we were in an owner's suite) and dreadful embarkation experience (computers down again (that's three times in the last three cruises)) we boarded after an hour's wait. Yes, the kid's took our luggage and walked us to the elevator to the dining room - not to the restaurant and no-- not to your room - the old, well loved boarding tradition is long, long gone. Stuck with the dreadful buffet, then sitting in Seabourn Square tip 2:00 when the rooms were ready. (Okay, they eject you from your room at 8:00 am at end of cruise - why does it take 6 hours to make up rooms?) Short form: Odyssey = worn out. No maintenance done since our January 2014 cruise. Going into dry dock at end of cruise - but lots and lots of deferred maintenance. Does that include stained carpet?, stains on sofa? worn out chair upholstery? Rust everywhere outside, Felt like a 3 star cruise line ( we were in an Owner's Suite)... Everything worn out. Let's move on -- After being told that there would be a safety drill at 5:00 - 20 of us (all experienced cruisers) went down five minutes early -- as we have done for the last, let's just say more than 20 cruises and were verbally assaulted by the SENVO who said "Don't you Listen" - this we got hurled at us for going down "early", instead of returning to our stateroom when the alert began and then going down to the dining room (the "lifeboat assembly station"). We had never been treated that badly by anyone on any cruise line. So - when the alarm did ring - 20 minutes later, they actually started the drill narrative . So we are verbally assaulted for being 5 minutes early to an even that was 20 minutes late? If Seabourn and their SENVO were really concerned re. safety - why did they start the drill with 20% of the passengers filing in, all talking at the top of their lungs - you missed 20% of the drill instruction! Food - dreadful. Room service dreadful. Guest Services dreadful. Shore excursions - the absolute WORST - avoid them at any cost. Advice to the wise.....Book your own! Shore excursions are EXACTLY the same as Holland America -nothing special for the luxury cruiser - and overpriced. The accompanying staff member has never been on the excursion ... and can answer no questions.... and as far as we could tell.... added nothing to the experience... and were certainly not advocating for the travelers. It's a perk for the crew - nothing in it for the guest. Disembarkation - the worst experience ever. We were given a completely WRONG set of disembarkation instructions. And waited 30 minutes until someone figured out what to do with our Luggage Forward bags (our complimentary "van" waited ) - of course we had to walk 400 yards to the van. We have three more cruises planned with Seabourn (cancelled the July Odyssey cruise after a day on board). Such a bad experience we're off cruising at all. If this is 5 star and "intuitive" service - we'll fly coach -- that's what the Seabourn experience is down too. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
I was very happy with our recent Azamara cruise. I am a regular cruiser..usually two long cruises a year. I liked the size of the ship 680 pax...very easy to get around. The balcony cabin 6027 was well appointed, I particularly liked ... Read More
I was very happy with our recent Azamara cruise. I am a regular cruiser..usually two long cruises a year. I liked the size of the ship 680 pax...very easy to get around. The balcony cabin 6027 was well appointed, I particularly liked having a decent sized table out on the balcony...perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea. Service was excellent throughout the ship, no gratuities, free alcohol all very good. We bought a package for four nights in the speciality restaurants for $80 USD...excellent food but honestly the food in the dining was so good could hardly tell the difference. The entertainment was excellent..but get there early the sight lines in the small theatre lounge are not good. Cruise director Eric de Grey is a fantastic entertainer in his own right. I have never cruised with such an energetic captain he was everywhere, saying goodbye as we left on the tours, walking around the ship, eating in the restaurants. An outbreak of GI after our departure from Mumbai was handled very professionally, immediate steps were taken to make sure it did not spread. The long transit across the Gulf under pirate conditions was fine. The complimentary azamazing evening in Cyprus was a little underwhelming...Patmos was a tender port which made the evening very long for a half an hour program...we had to wait more than an hour in the cold to get back on board. Organisation for tours could be a little better managed, long transits for the tours could not be helped...but I found 12 hours just too long. The ship offered water as we left but none was available on the long bus rides..tours in 45degree heat really needs water to be available. No charge for shuttles was a pleasant surprise. Overall a very pleasant cruise...I have purchased an open passage..I'll be back..soon. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Report on 17-night (April 15 to May 2, 2014) Azamara Journey transit from Mumbai to Athens with stops in Fujairah, UAE (Dubai), Eilat, Israel (overnight), Aqaba, Jordon (overnight), transit to the Suez Canal and Paphos Cyprus. ... Read More
Report on 17-night (April 15 to May 2, 2014) Azamara Journey transit from Mumbai to Athens with stops in Fujairah, UAE (Dubai), Eilat, Israel (overnight), Aqaba, Jordon (overnight), transit to the Suez Canal and Paphos Cyprus. Independently my husband and I arranged a six-night land tour in India through "Magic Tours". I cannot say enough nice things about this group. We were picked up at the Delhi airport driven to the hotel, and an additional four days of tours (to Agra and Jaipur) with the same driver, and three different local guides in each city. Then we flew Indigo Airline to Mumbai, and were again met with the Magic Tours driver and a guide who looked after us until they dropped us at the ship. The entrance into the ship terminal in Mumbai was CRAZY. Our driver and guide helped us navigate the madness of getting port passes and taking our luggage through the required security screen. Interesting the ONLY thing I was questioned about by the "security" force was my jewelry in a small suitcase that I intended to carry on board the ship. They made me open my small jewelry bag and describe where each piece was from (Italy, my mother, my husband etc.). I had three pairs of gold earrings, a bracelet, two necklaces and a bracelet I bought in India. There is some new customs limit on gold being brought into the country by residents especially from the Gulf States, but tourists are allowed their personal jewelry. I guess I gave the correct answers, but the interrogation was rather scary. Once we boarded the ship things calmed down. Our luggage arrived promptly. Because this was a long trip (17 nights) we upgraded to a Continental Suite (which is about 1.5 times larger than the regular veranda cabins). I am very happy with our decision. We would have been trampling all over each other for the 17 nights. The other amenities: dinner in the premium restaurants (we ate 7 times), Thalassotherapy pool (multiple times), extra room service menu (one time), afternoon tea (multiple times) and the nicer pre-dinner savories were nice, but the extra space is the primary advantage. PORTS: Fujairah, UAE. We took the ship tour to "At the top". I general I avoid ship tours but booked this one due to the logistics and cost of getting tickets. The lines getting into the elevators to go up and then to go down were too much; we were in line for almost two hours. The views were amazing, although it was an overcast day. I am glad I did it, but do not need to repeat the experience. The rest of the tour was lunch and a drive around the city. No need to see Dubai again. That night there was a Bar-B-Q and a belly dancer for entertainment on the pool deck. Overnight in Eilat, Israel: After six sea days we arrived in Eilat, unfortunately an hour late due to port traffic. About three weeks prior to departure, Safaga, Egypt (Luxor) was dropped from the itinerary and Eilat Israel (with tours to Jerusalem and Masada/Dead Sea) was added. This itinerary change was handled poorly. I believe that Azamara should have emailed the passengers, but instead relied upon travel agents, who in my case had moved to another agency and the message was never conveyed. Thank goodness for "Cruise Critic"! I quickly arranged for a private tour (Ron Harari) for 6 persons and enlisted two other couples and we had a much better experience than the ship tour. Not only did we see much more of Jerusalem, have a nice local lunch, and got a swim in the Dead Sea (amazing), we arrived back at the ship over an hour ahead of the ship tours. It was a very long day with a delayed start. Overnight in Aqaba Jordan: The next day we did the 2-mile transit to Jordan! We arrived around noon. I had arranged for another private tour with "Red Rock Tours" to Wadi Rum on the first day in Aqaba. I like to believe we had a more "authentic" experience. I never did see the tour busses, so I don't know exactly where the tour groups went, but our little group drove into Rum Village and boarded a jeep with benches and pads and drove off into the desert. It was very fun! We saw Lawrence Spring and Khazali Canyon with really cool rock carvings. We also visited a large dune area, where you could climb to the top for a nice view if you wished. That overnight in Jordan was the "White Night Party". Originally we had been scheduled to depart Aqaba at 5 PM on the second day, so I had again opted for a ship tour and kept with that even after the departure was moved to 9PM. MISTAKE. We boarded the first excursion bus for Petra, but waited an hour until all the buses were loaded, so we could all leave together and then all pile up at the souvenir/ rest stop together where we wasted another hour, so we arrived at Petra at 11:30 and it was HOT. Also there is a lot of walking, down hill in the morning and all up hill in the afternoon, and did I mention it was HOT. It is over a mile from where the bus drops you off to the entrance to the Siq, another 1.2 miles through the Siq to the treasury, and then you could walk another 2 to 4 miles to fully explore the ruins. I figured I walked over 8 miles and I was wiped, as were most people. If you want to see Petra and you cannot walk -take the buggy. Don't bother with the "free horse rides" they don't go very far (only 700 m) and end up costing at least $15 in tips each way. Better take the buggy and negotiate the price and pick up time. People who took the buggy said it was very bumpy, but it saves almost 4 miles of walking! When you are at the Treasury you could take donkeys or camels to see more of Petra. I arrived back at the hotel for lunch at 3:00PM and it took about 20 minutes to cool down enough to eat. Everyone was tired. I ordered room service dinner, breakfast and lunch the next day! Paphos Cyprus: After two more sea days and the transit of the Suez Canal, we arrived in Cyprus. We were on a early tender and took a taxi (15 euro) to the old market in the upper town, did some shopping had a delicious grilled squid lunch and then took the public bus back to the beach (1.5 Euro). From there I went to visit the archeological park (4.5 Euro). I highly recommend this. The mosaics were the best I had ever seen. Overall: I love the size of the ship and the friendliness of the staff. The only negative about the cruise was the presence of Noro virus. Strict sanitation procedures were in place to combat the spread, but it was hard to beat after the large number of passengers had just toured India. Each time I put on my shoes, I made sure to wash my hands, just remembering some of the stuff I must have walked through. After a few days my hands were so dry from the continued washing. After the increased sanitation order was removed, about three days before the end of the cruise, I realized how much I missed all the little things, like silver ware and water glasses on the tables at the Window Cafe, the bread basket, salt and pepper shakers, meals with the officers etc. etc.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
I had high hopes of the cruise on the Azamara Journey from Mumbai to Athens, and my overnight British Airways flight from Heathrow, and stay the following night in the Vivanta by Taj President hotel in Mumbai, were excellent. Unfortunately ... Read More
I had high hopes of the cruise on the Azamara Journey from Mumbai to Athens, and my overnight British Airways flight from Heathrow, and stay the following night in the Vivanta by Taj President hotel in Mumbai, were excellent. Unfortunately it went rapidly downhill from there. The boarding at the passenger terminal was shambolic, and when I finally got to my Balcony Stateroom I found a letter from the Captain, Johannes Thysse, informing me that I would be unable to use my balcony or the open decks after sundown for the majority of the cruise. This was part of the security arrangements, and it was clear that Azamara had made these arrangements months previously but had not told any of the passengers before boarding. Since many cruisers, like myself, enjoy being at sea because it gives us a chance to watch the stars, free from the light and noise pollution of cities, I can only conclude that Azamara deliberately did not inform us because they knew we would not book the cruise if they did. I paid a considerable sum for the cruise and I expected full disclosure on the part of the cruise company; there was no disclosure of any kind. The cabin was pleasant, with a decent sized balcony, but the bathroom, and the shower in particular, was very cramped; it was impossible to take a shower without ending up with the shower curtain sticking to me and water all over the floor. There was a ceiling to floor mirror opposite the bed which made the room look rather tacky; it's probably just as well that I didn't know about the 'Swingers Cruise' until I read about it today on Cruise Critic! The first port was Fujairah, and I took the half day excursion up the East Coast to Dibba where three of the Emirates meet; Fujairah itself is the only mountainous part of the region with spectacular ranges of grey black rocks broiling under the sun. Some passengers took the very expensive trip to Dubai but I was uninterested; there are so many cheap holidays available in Dubai nowadays that it's certainly not worth a long coach drive. If I were going to buy an expensive land excursion I would have preferred a day wadi bashing but Azamara did not offer it. There followed the bulk of our sea days, and our claustrophobic sea nights; as we moved up the Red Sea the weather forecast worsened so the once-a-voyage White Night deck party was rescheduled from the Med to before the Canal transit. This was a great success for all the people I spoke to. My primary reason for booking the cruise was the Suez Canal transit; Azamara claims that it gives passengers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the places it cruises to and through. Unfortunately the information provided about the Suez Canal transit was rather less than could be gleaned from 5 minutes on Wikipedia, and although the 'destination specialist' promised he would be providing detailed commentary from the bridge, this turned out to be intermittent and inaudible. And just as we moved into the Great Bitter Lake he disappeared entirely to give a talk on Santorini, notwithstanding the fact that there was another sea day before we reached the island when he could have done so. It is difficult to see any reason for doing this other than Azamara hoping to sell excursions on the island, whilst failing to provide the service it had promised. It was particularly disappointing for me because I was born at one of the many RAF bases which lined the Suez Canal, in my case Abyad which lay to the west of the Great Bitter Lake near to Mount Shubra. We were left with no information at all about the Great Bitter Lake, nor were we provided with any maps of the Canal until, following my complaints, some were downloaded from the Web and distributed after the transit was completed, along with our Certificates of Transit signed by the Captain. By the time we moved out into the Med the weather had noticeably worsened and by the time we reached Santorini there was even some rain. The excursion I had pre booked with Azamara was cancelled and I was not prepared to pay for the very expensive day tour they were pushing; instead I went in on the tender and took the cable car up to Fira, where I managed to get lost several times in the narrow winding streets looking for the various museums I was interested in. I was rescued each time by fellow passengers, and finally threw in the towel, returned to the ship and spent the rest of the day taking photographs from the ship! The transfer from the Port in Piraeus to Athens airport went well, and my flight back to Heathrow was well timed so I did not have to hang around waiting. In general the crew were exceedingly pleasant and hardworking, though somewhat unsophisticated; for example, the restaurant service was noticeably slower for tables which were mostly women than mostly men. That doesn't happen in central London, where I live. The food was mostly good, but not exceptional; I didn't try either of the special restaurants so I cannot comment on them. I would advise against ordering scrambled eggs or omelets since the chefs didn't know the difference between them. The spa staff who provided massages etc were pleasant and competent, but the prices were more expensive than in central London, which has some of the most expensive real estate prices in the world. The compulsory 18% service charge on spa services was ludicrous, given that the duty free prices were already more expensive than the non-duty free prices in central London. My fellow passengers were a delight; I met some wonderful people from quite a wide variety of backgrounds, which certainly made for interesting conversations. It seems to me that the problem lies with Azamara in that it is trying to position itself in the market without being prepared to do the things which will justify the hype; cultural immersion requires people who both understand and respect the cultures you are interacting with. For example, the monument built by the French commemorating the defence of the Canal during the Great War was simply ignored by the person who was supposed to be informing us of its history, yet without it Britain and it's allies would probably have lost the war. Egypt was defended primarily by Muslims in the Indian Infantry; the Turks had declared Jihad, hoping that both the Indian soldiers and the Muslim Egyptians would join them when they attacked. Instead they were thrown back with great gallantry and the course of history was changed. Instead of cultural immersion we had the ship's officers handing out ice-creams to passengers; not even the undoubted charisma of the cruise director, Eric de Grey, who did a magnificent job of leading from the front, can make up for all the other failures, which included failing to provide an itemised account of my on board spending. I waited for my credit card statement to arrive, and it looks vaguely right. I can't envisage sailing with Azamara again, and I would not recommend it to a friend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
My husband, twins sons and I took a cruise from India, through the Souez Canal and on to Greece. India has long been a bucket list destination for me and when I saw this itinerary I told my husband "I am going on this. You can come ... Read More
My husband, twins sons and I took a cruise from India, through the Souez Canal and on to Greece. India has long been a bucket list destination for me and when I saw this itinerary I told my husband "I am going on this. You can come too if you want" haha. I had also been very much wanting to try out Azamara -- their casual luxury, personal service schtick was extremely appealing for me. We usually cruise on Celebrity, Princess, or RC but I had long been petitioning to upgrade the budget to a smaller, more intimate environment with less crowding. It was a dreadful experience, one that I will never, ever repeat, and I have spent since then telling everyone what a disappointing, dismal experience Azamara is. Hopefully I can save others from the same terrible experience. I won't detail all the disappointments -- just a few that still stick in my mind, 22 months later. First, embarkation was dreadful -- basically a metal shed (hey, at least not in the sun) and extremely disorganized. After the chaotic checkin we were shuttled by rickety bus to the ship side. I don't mind that the ship is older -- I much enjoy Grand Dame hotels, actually -- but this ship is extremely shabby. The furnishings, the bath fixtures, the dining room, the carpets, the tableware --- everything is faded, chipped, well worn (worn out) and the carpeting smells dirty throughout the ship. The entire ship smells dirty, actually. The public bathrooms smell particularly bad, although this may have just been our trip. Hopefully they aren't usually so "sewer-y" smelling and prone to overflowing. The cabin was very depressing. Our beds were metal cots, literally; they had no bedskirts so it looked like we were sleeping on Army cots. The seating was stained and icky -- I lay towels on top of any surface before sitting on it. When we checked into our suite we found a cache of cigarette butts and ashes next to the bed, which made me wonder if the room had even been at all vacuumed between the lasts guests and us. Both my teenage sons and my husband (and numerous other passengers) got Norovirus the first two days on the cruise. To me that speaks of a dirty ship improperly cleaned between sailings. The dining buffet was, for all intents and purposes, shut down for several days due to Norovirus. In other illness news, a week into the cruise my son and I were served rotten milk in the main dining room. By rotten I mean clotted and thick, chunky, like lumpy yogurt. How the kitchen/wait staff managed to pour not only one glass but two with the milk in that state is beyond me. My son took a huge drink of it without checking first (as only a teenage boy can glug liquids) and immediately began to gag. The wait staff was shooting HIM dirty looks for making a scene when they were the ones who gave him (us) rotten milk. When the clotted milk was shown to the dining room manager he did not apologise, rather just rolled his eyes and walked away. This would be unacceptable in a dive truck stop, much less a dining room in a so-called luxury ship. Turns out that the milk was past-date. I would think they would have checked the inventory more frequently and discard before serving old food, but obviously not. The staff, while mainly trying hard to do their jobs, were clearly unhappy. I had one wait staff tell me he hated his job so much that he was considering suicide (very jolly holiday conversation, that) and I spent the rest of the trip checking in on him and worried for him (In fact I still think of him and hope he lasted through his contract and got to go home with out feeling so trapped he did himself harm). Another server regaled me with a story about how she was so desperate that she tried to cause herself to abort her baby by throwing herself down the stairs while pregnant. Other staff showed the strain by being thoughtless and rude to the passengers. One of my sons visited a particular bar each night for a cup of hot cocoa before bed, mainly because he thought the bartender was interesting. Not so nice--- the bar tender caught me one afternoon and proceeded to tell me that my son ought not drink any more hot cocoa because he is already too fat and doesn't need the sugar, (the boy is 5'10", 165lbs and an athlete-- hardly obese.) Aside from the rotten milk, the food was uniformly pretty bad except the homemade ice cream, which was very good. The specialty restaurants were noting special -- more or less the same quality of food, just had an up charge. I lost 8 lbs on the cruise because I would often skip eating. The dancers were laughably terrible and the guest comic was a very foul mouthed middle-aged woman from NYC who told very crass stories which did not seem to amuse the mainly elderly British crowd (or me, either, and I am far from a prude). The main comedic entertainment was seeing the ridiculous suits the Cruise Director wore each night -- they were so awful and tacky (shiny, gray and greenish snakeskin-patterned high-water, stove pipe legged suit, anyone?) that I feel like he had to be deliberately dressing like that to amuse the guests. One nice thing was the mini-bar drinks being included. Our room steward kept that stocked and it was much appreciated. We did enjoy the ship excursion we took into Abu Dabi that included lunch in a hotel. The food at the hotel was outstanding, and while my family said it was only fantastic compared to the slop on board the ship, I disagree. A couple months later I retuned to Abu Dabi with my husband for an unrelated trip, ate at the same hotel and the food was equally as good. The other nice thing was the one and only nice conversation we had with any ship officers -- they weren't really officers, actually --they were contractors hired to defend us in case we were attacked by pirates. One night we had a cook-out outside on the deck and two of these 20-something young men came over and sat with us and talked to our sons about their jobs, working on the cruise ships, and generally were a delight. Other than seeing the engineering marvel that is the Suez Canal, they were quite the highlight of the trip for my boys. Far, far, FAR more personable than ANY of the ships officers, none of who could be bothered to interact with the passengers. All in all the cruise itself was a total bust and I never, but never will step foot on another Azamara Cruise. Ick. I have repeatedly asked the company to remove me from their mailing list but so far they insist on continuing to send me marketing materials, so I don't think their head office has it together very well, either. 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: December 2009
We have listened for many years to friends who are 'hooked' on cruising, and felt that it was probably not for us. Would we be bored with the 'at sea' days? would we fit in with the other cruisers? what would the food ... Read More
We have listened for many years to friends who are 'hooked' on cruising, and felt that it was probably not for us. Would we be bored with the 'at sea' days? would we fit in with the other cruisers? what would the food be like? would we be seasick? Any excuse really - that was until we decided to take the plunge and try a Silversea cruise following a week in northern India. From the first moment we got onto the ship we were so relaxed and happy that it seemed a shame to get off and spend a week in the Seychelles over Christmas! The quality of everything on board was excellent, the fellow cruisers were a delightful bunch, the food was out of this world, the crew were helpful and obliging, our cabin was perfect - what more can I say! Well, what I can say is that we booked another cruise for 2010 before we had even left the ship. Yes, we have caught the bug. Cabin was very satisfactory with a small, but adequate balcony. The location was very good, not at all noisy and as it was a forward facing cabin we were very happy. The walk-in closet was quite small, but again adequate, and the bathroom was very usable, except that it was a little difficult to get past the shower screen to turn the bath taps and shower on. However, this was no great problem and we would choose this cabin again at any time. It was also very handy for the launderette, which was just down a nearby flight of stairs. Read Less

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