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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I ... Read More
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I had allowed for travel holdups that did not occur, and arrived at the port almost two hours early, and checked in and was aboard in less than five minutes. I had a comfortable outside cabin on deck 7 with tea and coffee making facilities, which I was very happy with. It was kept spotlessly clean by my steward, who was a dab hand at providing me with a range of daily towel sculptured animals. Our first port of call was Rotterdam, which was a delight. Although free coach shuttles had been laid on, it was only a 15 minute walk from the cruise terminal to the city centre. Rotterdam is much more modern than Amsterdam, but the benefit is that you do not have the hordes of tourists to contend with. It is a lovely city to explore on foot. Our next stop was Rouen for an evening visit to the Christmas markets by the cathedral. As before, free shuttle coaches had been provided to the city centre. Rouen is beautiful, I would have liked far longer there to fully explore the place. Our third and final stop was a full day in Honfleur. We had been informed at the start of the cruise that the Christmas market in Honfleur had been delayed and would not be open for our visit. I spent the morning exploring Honfleur, which is well worth a visit, with many quaint narrow streets and ancient buildings. After returning to the ship for lunch, CMV kindly laid on free coaches to take us over the impressive Seine bridge to spend an afternoon in Le Havre. I have seen some reviews of Marco Polo where people moan about various niggles they’ve found, but these seem very unfair to me. The ship is not new, but she is smartly styled and the crew work tirelessly to keep her looking her best. I found the food in the restaurant to be very good, the beef wellington one night particularly worth a mention. Dinner consists of five courses, Cunard only serve four on QM2! My table companions all agreed the food in the restaurant was very good. There were lots of activities organized on board, regular quizzes and games, craft workshops, guest lectures (themed on Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte which were excellent and well presented) as well as entertainment from talented musicians and an enthusiastic show team of singers and dancers. If you get a chance to do a longer cruise on this lovely liner, you are in for a little treat at the end of your meal on the last formal night. This is possibly the only ship that still does the ‘Baked Alaska’ parade properly. Take your cameras with you to dinner. I’ll say no more so as not to spoil the surprise! The baked Alaska was delicious of course. After a final day at sea, we disembarked in Avonmouth, Bristol. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise level for the location, but it was never a problem, we had no noise at all from the elevator and stairwell traffic. The room itself was very good with lots of storage and plenty of room to move about without any problems. The only issue is if you are not agile the tub presents a problem as it is a high step into the tub. Once in tub area to shower your head is practically touching the ceiling, I am 5'8" and clearance was about 1 inch, so if you are over 6' you will have to scrunch down. Otherwise the bathroom size is good. The Club Continent Suite comes with a stash of free liquor, Bombay Gin, Sotli Vodka, Rum, and Johnny Walker Red. The balcony was a bit tight but not an issue. I suggest that when you board, if you have a Club Continent Suite or higher the specialty dining is free, you book the specialty restaurants for every day you are on board, then cancel the day(s) you do not use on those schedule days, otherwise you are on a wait list the whole trip. The food is not spectacular on board, but very good. The surprise restaurant is the The Patio, poolside. Order a bone in sirloin steak that was as good as the steak house specialty restaurant Prime C. The menu at The Patio is very good. The best food of the entire cruise occurred on White Night when the food is superb everything from lobster, pork, steak, frog legs, calamari, etc. is available. Tons of desserts, too. Entertainment on board is good, nothing to write home about. The singers, magicians, and band are fine, good way to spend an hour relaxing on board. For dancing and drinking the Living Room is the place to be where they have a DJ and combo for entertainment. My favorite location was the Spirits bar in the Den which seems to be the gathering place on the ship most nights, cocktail lounge atmosphere with piano player. The bartenders were exceptional at the Spirits bar, but I learned they are not permanently assigned but rotated through the ship. The bartenders we had were Alex and Vlad, Alex was assigned to work the Mosaic Coffee bar and Vlad the pool bar on the next cruise, too bad as they are truly good at the bar. We booked three tours on board. We were very disappointed with 2 tours and loved the 3rd tour. This is hard to judge for future cruises as they rarely return to the same ports, but keep moving across the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. So it just could have been the locations we chose to see. Look into Viatour or local tour companies in port. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. One nice feature is fewer passengers so embarkation and disembarkation at ports is never crowded, easy on and easy off was nice instead of waiting in long lines. The ship is small so navigating decks and going to bow to stern takes no time at all in getting around the ship. Would I do Azamara again, yes, now that I "know my way around and the tricks" The ship does not attract the younger crowd, families with children, or serious partiers so the atmosphere is laid back for people in the 50's and over age croup Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This cruise had great ports and two nicely scheduled sea days. It was a great trip! The ship is in beautiful shape. We had wonderful food, terrific service and enjoyed our excursions. The shows on the ship were great though they are ... Read More
This cruise had great ports and two nicely scheduled sea days. It was a great trip! The ship is in beautiful shape. We had wonderful food, terrific service and enjoyed our excursions. The shows on the ship were great though they are repeating them on cruises which is not my preference. We had sailed with DCL several times but had not sailed in Europe until this trip. We did a couple of days pre-cruise in Barcelona and stayed at a DCL recommended hotel (Barcelona Renaissance). It's location and travel to the port were both great. Our DCL excursions in Lisbon (Lisbon Highlights) was a nice overview of a beautiful city. Sailing into and out of this port was breathtaking. We also enjoyed our excursion in Vigo, Spain which took us to a nearby town of Bionia where we toured a fortress and a replica of a sailing vessel like the one Columbus used. We had a stateroom with a balcony and enjoyed a little time out there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Suggested by our travel companions. Great Choice! The ship was only a few years old. Spotless! no scuffs or any damage anywhere. Pretty remarkable, when you consider how many people walk the halls and use the stairs, elevators ... Read More
Suggested by our travel companions. Great Choice! The ship was only a few years old. Spotless! no scuffs or any damage anywhere. Pretty remarkable, when you consider how many people walk the halls and use the stairs, elevators ect. Food was plentiful and of very nice quality. Entertainment was excellent and very tasteful. Onboard staff could not have been better. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both handled well. Disembarkation was a worry, taking into consideration how many people were on the ship. Princess had it totally dialed in, we were off without difficulty and no crowding. The on shore excursions we a great! value. We opted for the all inclusive drink package, a must if you want more than water or tea. Almost every afternoon the ship provide a trio of string musicians two violins and one Cello. This made for very classy moment every afternoon in the main lobby area. Will cruise with Princess again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I ... Read More
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I point out I am usually not one to complain as I understand that sometimes things don't go to plan but we had a couple of main issues whilst onboard. -Drinks Packages & Shortage of Drinks Onboard Prior to setting sail I enquired about drinks packages, 4 of the party wished to purchase the Deluxe Package, myself the soda package and one of the party did not want a package at all. However, this is where the disappointment started. We were informed that due to new regulations it was either all or nothing. We did not want the drinks packages so that we could ‘drink excessively’ but more for the convenience of not having to sign for drinks on each purchase. Having being informed of new rules set by yourselves we ended up purchasing 4 Deluxe packages and 2 Royal Refreshment packages. This totalling £2821.84, £517.69 more than the package arrangement that we initially wanted. Further disappointment followed as on day 10 of the cruise, drinks began to run out. Only select beers, wines and sodas were available at the bars and pub. The pub eventually having no Peroni, San Miguel, Pinot Grigio, Tonic Water or Sprite Zero. Little alternatives were offered and we were left 4 days without our preferred drinks, which we had effectively paid for when we purchased our packages? -Overcrowding Another issue that was particularly apparent was the sheer overcrowding of the Independence during the 5 sea days. Having travelled before I understand that sea days are busier than those where we are in port. However, during this cruise it was noticeably worse than previous. Fellow guests began the reserving of sunbeds at 6:30am!!! This making it an unbeatable challenge to find any sunbeds after around 8:30am. Guests were sunbathing on the paths and sides of the pools and sunbeds were also so close that it was impossible to get onto them safely. I was extremely disappointed as for our party this holiday was about relaxing, which was impossible when we had to awake early to find a sunbed and there were no particularly peaceful areas to sunbathe. After speaking to fellow travellers we were not the only guests who found that the ship appeared overcrowded on this voyage. This overcrowding issue was also noted by guests in our party when trying to order speciality coffees at café promenade, with the wait being up to 25 minutes for a single coffee. A timeframe which I do not deem acceptable. The overcrowding issue also became apparent in the evenings before and after dinner, throughout all bars on the ship there was not one table or chair free for either before or after dinner drinks and the wait for being served was up to 30 minutes. From what we remember and understand about the Royal Caribbean brand this is not up to the usual standard, and it disappointed us, and was embarrassing with the first time cruisers. -The Stateroom Having staterooms located around the ship 7334, 7634 & 8220 we were disheartened to find that the cabins had not received any attention during the renovations earlier in the year. The same rusty bins, stained curtains and barely working TVs remained, issues which could’ve been resolved for little cost. This was slightly disappointing as stateroom 7334 could not use the TV, this was reported to guest services who later informed us that the TV was in working order, which it certainly was not. Our staterooms attendants for cabins 7334 & 7634 were also poor in comparison to previously cruises, leaving bins unemptied and tea making facilities were not replenished for up to 3 days at a time. This is not the usual standard and certainly not acceptable for Royal Caribbean. In summary, I have written to Royal Caribbean about the issues above, of which their response was 'Sorry but we have not broken any policies' and 'We never state when you purchase a drinks package that drinks will actually be available' I'm an emerald member and they can't even say 'Here's a free drink for those ones you missed out on' We paid £17,000+ for this cruise and left feeling extremely disappointed and sorry for those that have already booked to travel on this cruise in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to ... Read More
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to select cabin 6036, which is between lifeboats and thus not very obstructed. I was pleasantly surprised how well laid out this cabin was and it was totally acceptible for one person with alot of closet space. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillows were soft and easy to sleep on. I enjoyed the smaller ship experience and how friendly the passengers and crew were. The service was exceptional and the food was much better than other, larger ships I have been on. I liked the way the buffet was arranged at dinner with tablecloths and candles, so you felt like you were in a restaurant rather than a cafeteria setting. The ship tours were more expensive but they were much smaller than other ships, with an average participation of about 12-15 persons per tour. It was simple to get on and off the ship and particularly convenient to be docked closer to the ports. I booked several other cruises on Azamara because I felt the higher cost of the line was definitely worth the enhanced experience. It is especially good for solo travelers as Azamara seems to cater to those traveling alone, and the passengers are so friendly and welcoming to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I had taken a Viking River Cruise a couple of years ago and were excited to find that the company had gone into the sea cruising business. We were somewhat late in signing up for this cruise but found that the rear Explorer ... Read More
My wife and I had taken a Viking River Cruise a couple of years ago and were excited to find that the company had gone into the sea cruising business. We were somewhat late in signing up for this cruise but found that the rear Explorer Suite was available. The reputation of Viking and our personal experience gave us great confidence that our money would be well spent. This proved to be true in nearly every segment of the cruise. Our early boarding was nicely done as our luggage arrived at our room in a very timely fashion. There was one problem which took time to resolve. The obligatory picture of each of us upon boarding for the first time apparently failed to register. We had to stand in a fairly long line to have that resolved which kept us from our room for about an extra hour. Once in however, we were made comfortable by our extraordinary Stewardess, Jackie. The Suite was beautiful and comfortable as I discuss in the box below. My wife had a hip problem that caused her to be uncomfortable in the two chairs provided in the room. We saw deeper chairs in the room next door and asked Jackie about exchanging one of ours for one similar to what we saw. Ten minutes later Jackie and her partner had the new chair set up and the other one gone. We were pleased to no end. This was just a sample of the extremely courteous, thoughtful service she provided throughout our voyage. The ship itself is the most beautiful and functional we have been on. Great care has been put into considering the comfort of the passengers and offering a different style of cruising from that of the competition. The dining experience was one of recognizing what was great and what was ordinary. I thought the seafood was outstanding and the beef dishes to be ordinary. This might be something to look to upgrading. The specialty restaurants were mixed, I felt.Manfredi's Restaurant was superb in both food and décor. The Chef's Table was okay except for the problem that causes the passengers to pick the date they want to be at that restaurant many weeks in advance without, as we found out, any knowledge of the style of food to be served at that sitting. We were fortunate to change our sitting to a different night when we found out that reindeer was not on our list of exciting food choices. I do suggest that something be done to allow passengers to have better information prior to making a choice on the Chef's Table. The port excursions were uniformly excellent. We loved them all. I particularly liked the trek across the headlands at Kirkwall in the Orkneys and Scara Brae. Our tour of Dublin afforded us the opportunity to see, hear and sing along with the best single day guide we have ever had. His name is Sam Ford and he is the best. Others were top notch as well. Needless to say, my wife and I will continue to patronize Viking Cruises both on the rivers and at sea. Our experience was the best ever and it is little wonder that the latest Travel and Leisure rates Viking Sea Cruises head and shoulders above the competition and with the highest rated ships of any size. Thank you for a most wonderful time aboard the Viking Sun. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, ... Read More
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, and had excellent tours with the exception of Toulon (which has since been replaced by Marseilles). A big benefit of a Viking ocean cruise is that everything is included with no surprises, except tips and optional tours. Internet, water, minbar, and wine/beer with lunch and dinner are all included. Adults only is fantastic! They also give a lot of info ahead of time on each port. It is truly educational. We were very interested in the ports on Trade Routes, so we took the chance again to pay for a DV6 cabin and were upgraded to a PV2. Our flight on Air Canada Rouge had awful service and amenities compared to Luftansia the year before. (Iceland Air - on the way home - was better, but meals were terrible after waiting at the airport in Norway for 5 hours.) We were met at the airport, did have to wait for other flights to land, but it was very organized. We were whisked up to lunch; once we finished,it was time to go to our cabin. Our ship was right downtown this time, as opposed to the previous docking in a Barcelona which was a 20 minute drive. The ship did not disappoint with excellent food and service. Entertainment was similar and in some cases a repeat of the previous cruise. The fitness center was nice, but we only had the time and energy to use it on sea days. It would be nice if they had some classes. We did not use the spa. We were disappointed in the disorganization of the local tours and tour guides.We were shocked by the lack of knowledge of the Viking staff who booked and helped organize the tours; they knew nothing about the ports, how to best get around the cities,and what would actually take place on the tours. They even gave misinformation and made no effort to help us. In Amsterdam, they told us there was no public transportation, when in fact, they had a wonderful tram system! They did not offer a tour of Anne Frank’s House which is difficult to get tickets, and in spite of it being spring, we never saw a tulip or a windmill. We found out a few days before the cruise that the optional tour to London - one reason we opted for this cruise - was canceled due to an annual marathon. They added unappealing substitutions. The tour guide in Portsmouth dropped us off at the dockyard and could not tell us where to get the public bus back to the ship, which we needed because they were only giving us a short time to explore the dockyard and museums. They handed us tickets to the dockyard and left - no tour. In Falmouth we took a boring 3.5 hour bus ride along the coast with one stop to take pictures - A Scenic Cornish Drive. There was nothing of significance or historical interest. In Barcelona, there were political demonstrations so they could not do Panoramic Barcelona, and it was Sunday, so we could not enter the Barcelona Cathedral. Luckily, we planned to go to La Sabrado Familia Cathedral on our own which was easy to get to on the subway. We did have a great tour guide in Porto, Cartagena, Malaga, and Bruge (wonderful optional tour of Bruge and Canal Tour). There was not much of a tour in Bergen, but we stayed downtown and shopped meeting the wonderful shopkeepers. We made an appointment with the General Manager on board who listened and took notes on all our concerns about the tours, etc. He told us that this was a “repositioning cruise,” was not done regularly, so the staff was not familiar with the ports, tours, and tour agencies. I have seen that some changes have been made in Portsmouth tours and tours have been added in Amsterdam, although not Anne Frank’s Home. The staff, aside from those organizing tours, were amazing! Manfredi’s was fantastic! Book as early as you can; we set the alarm to get up and book as soon as they opened - same with shore excursions! Reservations once on board for Manfredi’s are impossible to get. Food at all restaurants is excellent though. We are booked on another cruise this spring, Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land. We could not get a guarantee room, so we booked a PV room, as there is a big difference in the space and storage for clothes in a DV room. We found we spent more time in the room each cruise than one would think and wanted comfort. We are also doing the add on 4 nights in Athens, as it was very reasonable (staying at Athens Hilton) with breakfast, some lunches and 2 days of tours included. We can’t wait! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Explorer and thought the ports ideal for us, especially with a Southampton start. We boarded and both said WOW. It really is a fantastic ship. From the artwork to the furnishings and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Explorer and thought the ports ideal for us, especially with a Southampton start. We boarded and both said WOW. It really is a fantastic ship. From the artwork to the furnishings and crockery. We were 'processed' quickly at 12 noon and then to a delicious buffet lunch. Once the suites were available we unpacked and found we still had spare drawers and cupboards. The room was beautiful, super bathroom with 2 basins, separate shower and bath. Someone had commented earlier that our room (810) had a lot of teething troubles. I'm glad to say that everything had been put right, except what he described as a 50 cent hook replacing a lost one; we mentioned this to Reception and it was changed within an hour. What he failed to add was that the F2 cabin is so spacious. Crew was uniformly brilliant - always a smile. We dined twice in Prime Seven and Chartreuse, once in Sette Mari, and the rest of the time in Compass Rose. Prime Seven just about the best, Compass Rose good too, but we were never disappointed by the choice or the quality. The last dinner in Compass Rose was outstanding. Wine flowed freely, and if we were always offered a wine that was not to our taste we were immediately offered several alternatives. Cruise Critic had organised a Meet and Mingle on Day 2, and we were pleased and surprised that the Master and some senior officers joined us. This was typical of the approachability of everyone on the ship. We don't do many excursions, preferring in general to walk around the town, but those we did take were also well organised. Bilbao was outstanding, mainly because of the Guggenheim Museum, but we love Bordeaux (where we moored right in the middle of the City), Porto and Lisbon. Finally the infinity pool at the Spa deserves a mention. While my wife had a massage I took the opportunity to sit on the aft deck and use the pool as we sailed down the river out of Bordeaux. This was day 4, and I was told I was only the second person to use it - a hidden secret indeed. We can't recommend Regent enough, especially Explorer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of its itinery. An eclectic mix of Northern Europe (Belgium, France and Ireland) and the warmth of Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. To that end we thoroughly enjoyed the destinations and would do a similar ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinery. An eclectic mix of Northern Europe (Belgium, France and Ireland) and the warmth of Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. To that end we thoroughly enjoyed the destinations and would do a similar itinery again anytime. However the ship is very old and tired. We have been on a few Thomson cruises before on the Dream and the Majesty and hadn't really had cause for concern. But our 2 previous cruises were on Royal Caribbean and Cunard so I guess we've maybe been spoiled. We could see that Thomson had tried to tart up the ship but the cabin was small with nowhere other than the bed to sit. Also our room attendant had a real attitude problem. The 2 issues we brought to his attention were both met with "This is your fault" rather than with an attempt to fix them. The most serious fault was our cabin toilet barely working throughout the cruise. We have been on 8 cruises so we know what you can and can't flush down one. Eventually they replaced the whole toilet unit and gave us a bottle of wine as a goodwill gesture. I would have been happier if the attendant had just believed us in the first place! The food is good in the specialty restaurants is good and you get a great level of personal attention in them but you do have to pay between £15 and £20 each to use them. The food in the main restaurant was nothing special and in the buffet was absolutely terrible! The entertainers tried hard but were not that great and the 2 comedians that came onto the ship would have been far more at home in a working man's club than a cruise ship. I have always stood up for Thomson cruises in the past when people have referred to them as "Butlins at Sea" but I think that description sadly is true. We may possibly try their newer Discovery ships at some point in the future but frankly, I think we'll save our pennies and stick to the more prestigious ships. On a more positive note, at only £818 each for 13 nights the basic price was very good value but you do have to add your drinks, excursions and the nice restaurants onto the price. Also, with only 2 proper bars on the ship, other than the show lounge there was nowhere to sit in an evening as the bars filled up very quickly. Read Less

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