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39 Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Repositioning Cruise Reviews

The cruise was a treat for myself, my wife and Son (21). It started off great with a gentle cruise out of Venice capturing the views of let’s face it, stunning architecture. With purchased the all inclusive drinks package. Again ... Read More
The cruise was a treat for myself, my wife and Son (21). It started off great with a gentle cruise out of Venice capturing the views of let’s face it, stunning architecture. With purchased the all inclusive drinks package. Again what we expected no hidden nightmares. Ship Dated and in a poor state of repair : toilets not up to scratch along with the public areas below spec Sun beds dirty with no comfy option. Again we are Diamond members - should be a free option for regular members. Trips : Appalling: overly expensive with little to no quality. Absolute rip off I honestly cannot point out one positive thing other than the guide they were terrible for such a fabulous itinerary. We have complained to RCI via feedback however yet again no response. The food was average to good, entertainment was plain shocking! If you like Butlins but at sea then RCI are beginning to become exactly that. We thought Carnival were bad however this is now our worst Cruise. Avoid ! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my first cruise and I was delighted with all the delicious and varied food, the spectacular shows, the service, the members of both service to the booths and entertainment were always helpful and friendly I really do not have any ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I was delighted with all the delicious and varied food, the spectacular shows, the service, the members of both service to the booths and entertainment were always helpful and friendly I really do not have any complaints. The ship is amazing and all its beautiful locations. I was lucky to be served by Gopal and Dominic every night at the Main Dining and they were the best waiters in the world and the best I have ever had in my life they were very kind, funny and very helpful, if I have the opportunity to take another Cruise would choose the same and of course Gopal and Dominic too. Thanks to you, we spent one of the best holidays of our lives with my family, with my eyes closed I really recommend rhapsody of the seas. I really liked that at every entrance of every restaurant, bar, theater there was disinfectant soap, what a great idea. Keep doing and amazing service and incredibles shows Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
You know, the thing is that we have been floating on this ship for over 3 weeks now.. with the best Captain, the best staff, pretty good food, an nice suite on the 12 th floor. Love it.. but...but.. there is just one big thing that ... Read More
You know, the thing is that we have been floating on this ship for over 3 weeks now.. with the best Captain, the best staff, pretty good food, an nice suite on the 12 th floor. Love it.. but...but.. there is just one big thing that gnaws on me daily. The Guy in charge of movies, sports etc. on tv. So get this, 70% or more of the 3000 cruisers are from US. It is the middle of the football season. They have espn 1 & 2 and... and an extra sports channel. Today is Saturday 3rd of November , and it is no different than last Saturday or the sat. prior. ESPN Showing the Michigan game, ESPN 2 showing Crickett, extra sports channel showing another soccer game from Europe, as if the 3 other European channels is not enough. I complained, and the guy in charge said he just got in from India ( thus, Crickett.?) and said he would work on it. Nothing. Same guy in charge of movies. There are 5 movies available free on demand, and guess what he plays in the movies downstairs, either cartoons or any of the 5 above. So it’s all about us buying old..on demand... movies at 15 bucks that are free at home on HBO. What I’m saying here is that the entertainment via TV is old, stale as the 10 year old tv resolution. Charge me more in my ticket, but serve me something in a new, clear medium. Outside of this, the ship is good. Even our Indian Head Chef. I do question if there really is a Tandoori oven, oh, but I digress..Like it ...as a good upper middle cruise option. Recommendation......get an American in charge of video.. when you do a rehab..buy some modern flat screens. So, childish as we sports fans are, and not that I am glued to the TV more than 6 hours per week, just want to point out this one small, to most, an insignificant side note. However, this is enough to drop the rating. You know, it’s the little things, etc. Like I said, Suite is great, Imade, our cabin steward was meticulous, always on the job. Got us a fan for the suite. It is obvious that all these cruise lines use specialty dining, as added revenue. We pay for cruise but they charge us 100 bucks plus service charge just to have dinner at Murano’s for example. Alcohol is extra. The Master ( infamous Captain) is the best. Gives feeling of safety with a flair of a stand up comic. A French Chef would have been desirable. Not a big fan of pseudo tandoori cooked Indian Cuisine. No garlic nan bread for instance. How about a specialty Indian restaurant? Park the master chef there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We did a Mediterranean cruise before and loved it. This was fantastic too. Waking up in new country or port. So much to see and do. Did a day trip booked thru to ship and although a bit pricey, it was a fabulous day. Booked other ... Read More
We did a Mediterranean cruise before and loved it. This was fantastic too. Waking up in new country or port. So much to see and do. Did a day trip booked thru to ship and although a bit pricey, it was a fabulous day. Booked other excursions with outside contractor and our ship was late getting in and been allowed to disembark passengers. Missed our tour completely. Sad because Naples was terrible but the tour we should have done was awesome. Disappointed as we won’t go back again. The Greek islands are amazing, beautiful scenery and great weather when we went in October. Ship sailed from Civitaveccia We travelled by train from Rome and stayed at Civitaveccia. Lovely place to stay. We booked into a B&B. Highly recommend staying there before boarding the ship. We had been to Rome before on our first cruise and had a good look at the sites. A must place to visit. The cruise was so great busy all the time. The Jewel is a terrific ship, I would highly recommend this cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Every couple of years we do a longer cruise as our getaway. This year it was the back to back reposition and Greek Isles cruise from May 6 to May 30. The cruise itinerary was fantastic and every stop was a great experience. Thanks Royal. ... Read More
Every couple of years we do a longer cruise as our getaway. This year it was the back to back reposition and Greek Isles cruise from May 6 to May 30. The cruise itinerary was fantastic and every stop was a great experience. Thanks Royal. Just one thing wrong. And it was a surprise. The food was way below par. For the past couple of years I have noticed a deterioration in the quality of the food both in preparation and food quality selection. The service has remained very good. The problem is that the service staff can't correct food quality with no alternatives. Example: On four occasions in the dining room, medium rare meat was delivered medium well. Upon questioning the waiter I was told on every occasion that was the best he could do. Preparation problem. Example: In the Windjammer the food is notoriously tepid to cold in the buffet. After a while you get used to it. But every now and then you just want something hot. so one morning I waited for the service staff to put out fresh eggs from behind the counter. I took the egg right off the outstretched spatula. I went straight to the table. Stone cold! You couldn't eat it. They had stored it without heat! My wife was astonished. As to the quality of food, beyond the preparation problems there is the issue of the quality of food purchased. Tasteless tomatoes were green to light pink even following ports that had terrific local tomatoes. Beef Bourguignon was made with beef that was very chewy. The bacon, which is usually very good was constantly tough. In the Windjammer the lowest grades of meat were used most of the time. Whether in ethnic dishes or grilled recipes it was almost impossible to find a piece of chicken breast. The potatoes and rice were good as were the gravies. But too many dishes were sloppy, stewy, or soupy. The ethnic displays were non existent except for some India dishes, which I like. But not every day. When the buffet is overrun with stewy stuff it begins to feel like a food trough. For two glorious days they served 'home made' burgers that were to die for and then, back to the old prepackaged frozen hockey pucks. Shame, you know what to do and how to do it and you don't! When something was good, and there were a few good dishes, they 'sold' out quickly. On several occasions I asked them if they could get more they responded, "It's coming". So, on two occasions I waited. 10 minutes on one, 15 on the other. Frustrating. In the dining room the menu selection was poor. In 24 days we were offered lobster once, shrimp twice, and no fillet mignon. (tenderloin medallions excepted). The temperature of the food is always an issue but I can deal with that if the food is good. When it was all said and done, the best meal served on our trip was a chicken cordon blue. I never order it, but my wife does. It was so good, I ordered it on the second offering. Finally, a piece of chicken breast thicker than 1/4 inch. Yummy. I could rattle on, but I think you get my drift. Food is important to me and many other cruisers. We sat beside 6 other cruisers from novice to loyalty and the consensus of food quality was disappointing for all of us. Royal.... you can do better than this. You have done better than this. Kitchen staff are committed but they have lost their passion. I didn't see a real joy in executing their part of our culinary experience and it showed up in the eating! Discussions behind the counter between staff often seemed to be strained. I have never written this type of review before, but I feel it's time to speak up or stay away. Let me end on two things I loved. I loved going to the concierge lounge in the morning. Putting a bagel in the toaster, garnishing it with cream cheese and lox and washing it down with a cappuccino. And lastly, in the Windjammer, on many mornings they have begun serving fresh waffles straight out of the waffle machine. Don't take the premade ones. Ask the attendant to make you a fresh one. Top it with butter, cream and maple syrup....OMG. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Trans Atlantic Inaugural Cruise Some things were good.The worst of many is when we arrived ion Miami and disbarked at our designated time.The luggage was still being taken off the ship.Their was almost a riiot and peolpe had planes to ... Read More
Trans Atlantic Inaugural Cruise Some things were good.The worst of many is when we arrived ion Miami and disbarked at our designated time.The luggage was still being taken off the ship.Their was almost a riiot and peolpe had planes to catch.No officers from the ship from their to tell us how long it would be before we could get our luggage.Never experienced anything like that before and we have been on over 50 cruises The food was bad.The ship is built for 7 day Caribbean sailings as their was not enough draw space for a 20 day cruise where you needed all typesf clothes as the first 11 days weather was cold and the last nine werein very warm climate.The shows were so so.No band,all music piped in.They did a good job with most of the shows and the costumes made the shows.With saying all of the above,sailing in warm climate for which the ship was built combined with the low prices should fill the ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and public areas were clean, the food was delicious, and the land excursions excellent. Every night a different cuisine was served in Windows, the buffet restaurant, giving guests a chance to try different foods. The best place for evening dining is The Patio with table service but one can also visit the buffet line from there. We were able to get to know the different countries we visited. We were delighted to see Eric, the Cruise Director, again. He is so much fun and so entertaining. Standard drinks and tipping are included in the cruise price which means you aren't trying to drink your way through a liquor package and you don't need to worry about tipping too little or too much. They still need to improve their Wi-Fi connection. This was another wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the option to visit both Luxor and Petra. On the previous cruises we weren’t fit enough to take these strenuous tours, but this time we intended to, and did, ‘tick off’ both these bucket list destinations. We had stayed in Athens twice before, so decided to look for a hotel in Piraeus and we found a great one. The Phidias Piraeus is a small boutique hotel very well located close to the Zea Marina, which has an interesting range of boats from luxury cruisers to small fishing boats. The road around the Marina has many restaurants and bars, so is an ideal place to find dinner. The hotel itself was great. The receptionist could not have been more helpful. Our room was small but very tastefully decorated in a modern style and the bathroom was nice - everything was very clean. Breakfast was great, too. They took us to the port the next morning at 12 on their free shuttle, along with about 12 other Azamara passengers who were staying there. As usual embarkation was quick and easy and well before 1:00 we were on board sipping a glass of bubbly. We went straight to the speciality restaurants reservation table in Windows(buffet) to buy a 3 meal dining package for the speciality restaurants and make our bookings, then had lunch in the Patio. By 2:00 we were in our verandah stateroom (7021) unpacking. Our steward, Luis, was happy to get us some metal coat hangers to supplement the ones provided. The cabin was very comfortable, with lots of storage space. We had asked for a queen bed configuration, and bed was huge and extremely comfortable. The balcony was small but had a table and two chairs - big enough for us to sit out there. We ate most dinners in Discoveries (MDR) and overall the food was excellent. We had some main courses that were outstanding - lamb chops, surf and turf, filet mignon, lobster with scallops and shrimp risotto. Azamara generally does soups well too - favourites include red pepper soup and Thai seafood soup. There were two or three misses though - garlic soup that tasted of rubber, veal chops that were tough and Thai beef curry that tasted like stewed beef, but these were very much the exception. We usually shared tables at dinner, often with the same group of people who all went to the Discoveries bar at about the same time (7:30) and had many lovely sociable meals. We ate twice in Prime C and once in Aqualina and these were all outstanding meals. We mostly had lunch at the Patio (my husband thinks the Azamara special burger is unbeatable) and breakfast in Windows. Although we were happy with the included drinks, we felt that the quality of the wine was lower than on our last cruise, a year before. After dinner, we often went to the Cabaret Lounge to watch some or all of the show. Mostly these were song and dance shows by the ship’s group of entertainers, including the talented Eric De Gray, the Cruise Director. During our 16 nights aboard there were two guest artists - a comedian and a cellist, but we didn’t see either of them. On a few nights we ended the evening dancing to disco in the Living Room, with the DJ Marcio. On this cruise there was a good crowd up there most nights. The Azamazing Evening was, unusually, a little underwhelming! It was in Wadi Rum, which is a beautiful setting, but the entertainment was folk dancing, which was very repetitive. It was men in white robes (plus a boy) waving swords and dancing. There was wine to drink but the only food was flat bread made by a couple of women sitting at the base of the stage. As we were sitting near the back we didn’t even get to try it! It also became quite cold once the sun set, as the sky was clear. We enjoyed the sea days, as we love sitting on a sun bed on deck 11. That means that I can’t comment on the lectures, art classes or bridge lessons - we didn’t get to any of them. From Aqaba to Muscat the ship was subject to high security - there was a team of security guards onboard and all outdoor areas had to be kept dark between dusk and dawn. We had to close our curtains at dusk and not use our verandah light. Deck 9 was only accessible after dark by ‘smoker’s corner’ - but the added bonus was that the view of the starry sky was wonderful with no light pollution! As always with Azamara the service was generally excellent. Senior Officers were very evident - we spoke to the captain a couple of times, and the Hotel Director, Heike, was everywhere - directing people to buses in port, welcoming us back to the ship. The other thing that always impresses is with Azamara is the general friendliness onboard - crew and passengers alike, and this cruise was no exception. Ports:- Crete - Agios Nikolas - we went on the little blue land train. We took the 70 minute tour for €13, which went up into the hills to a view point over Elounda and Spinalonga as well as back over Agios Nikolas, then had a walk around this pretty little town. Egypt - Safaga - we took a 2 day private tour with Your Egypt Tours which included Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, a sunset felucca ride on the Nile, an overnight stay at the 5 star Steigenberger Hotel on the banks of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and the Colossi of Memnon - all for $160. We also had some optional charged extras - the Light & Sound Show after dark at Karnak Temple and visits to King Tutankhamen’s and King Seti’s tomb. I loved the Light & Sound Show, but my husband found it boring. The two extra tombs were well worth the extra charge, especially Seti’s tomb - the paintings there were amazing, so fresh and vibrant. Jordan - Aqaba - we went on the ship’s excursion to Petra. A very hard day, but also well worth it. We walked for 5/6 miles on uneven ground - not so bad on the way there as it’s downhill, but hard work coming back uphill. You can pay to go in a carriage, but we didn’t fancy it, they went pretty fast and the passengers looked as if they were being thrown around a lot. The walk through the Siq is interesting as the rocks are amazing colours, then you get your first glimpse of the Treasury - the iconic building that you see in every bit of information about Petra. It’s amazing, but there is so much more to Petra - lots more carved buildings and even an amphitheatre. Oman - Salalah - we didn’t get off the ship as it was very hot (88) and the port was 25km from the town. Oman - Muscat - we took the ship’s free shuttle to The Muttrah Souq, which is huge. The main path is where all the souvenir stalls are, but it’s more interesting on the side and outer paths where there are stalls and shops selling goods designed for locals, such as shops selling abayas (Arab black dresses). We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Souq and the surrounding area. UAE - Dubai - took the ship’s free shuttle to the Dubai Mall. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise and destinations we're good and we enjoyed the cruising part of the trip. The crew and service were great. The shows at night were nice, typical for a cruise ship. The entertainment around the ship was fine. All ... Read More
The cruise and destinations we're good and we enjoyed the cruising part of the trip. The crew and service were great. The shows at night were nice, typical for a cruise ship. The entertainment around the ship was fine. All our shore excursions were with the cruise critic groups. The ship is getting old and needs a lot of upgrades. Our inside cabin was just ok. The drawers on our little dresser were very loud opening and closing. The little chair was old and stained. Mini bar was replaced and did not fit the compartment properly. First of all I want you to know I like food and will eat almost anything. The food was poorly prepared. It looked good but the meat was mostly tough and over cooked. It wasn't all bad, just not that good. Breakfast was always good. I have never been on a cruise where I ate so many French fries and hamburgers. The buns had been frozen and were dry so I had hamburger without the buns. The fish was mainly talapia. Talapia is a farm raised inexpensive fish. Our over experience was ok. We are going on the trans Atlantic on November 5th. I hope it will be better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We were originally booked to travel to Florida but as a result of damage etc and the hurricanes prevailing at that time we decided to cancel and were offered the chance to rebook so decided on a cruise and stay as always fancied this type ... Read More
We were originally booked to travel to Florida but as a result of damage etc and the hurricanes prevailing at that time we decided to cancel and were offered the chance to rebook so decided on a cruise and stay as always fancied this type of holiday. We had cruised many times before, only once though with Thomson on the Majesty which we hadn't particularly enjoyed at the time but had heard of good reports of the Discovery 1 and 2 ships. We were immediately very impressed, only had an inside cabin as that was all that was available approximately 6 days before we sailed but it was fine, plenty of storage, clean, quite modern, well kept by the steward whose name I sadly have forgotten, easy access to the parts of the ship we visited and also close to a water cooler so we always had fresh water to take ashore or during the night, great idea this instead of the constant sales push by other companies to purchase bottles of water from them at extortionate prices. The only negative is the horrid shower curtains that keep attaching themselves to you, why can't they get rid of them! Shower doors would be much better. We used the main dining room for breakfast as we had had a break from cruising as we had both got utterly sick of buffets, the queueing for tables and hustle bustle and noise of it all in the past. This was a much better choice, waiter service, good selection of breakfasts and much more relaxing dining option and we never had to wait for a table. We also used this option for dinner, generally we had to have a pager but often we ordered a drink, sat down and then our pager went off. Food was excellent too at dinner, cannot fault it and my husband is fussy! Would thoroughly recommend the main dining room and the all inclusive drinks option was wonderful. The Prosecco, cocktails and wines which I tried were excellent and bar service was good. We used to have a drink in the bar on the upper deck which became the disco later in the evening and would then go down to book a table for dinner, going into the atrium bar while we waited. Coffees were also available on the all inclusive package. We did not book any trips etc but did our own thing. During the day we used the glass house for swimming as I do not sunbathe, the pool was a little chilly but the atmosphere was lovely and the food options for lunch good and the takeaway section just outside did a variety of foods and fresh fruit selection. We only used the buffet once, quite late in the afternoon so it was not too busy to at that point. We went to a couple of shows which were very good but generally did our own thing in the evening. Embarkation was very speedy when we boarded and our suitcases arrived very quickly indeed which is always a relief !and as we were going to a hotel for four days we left the ship fairly early in the morning but sadly we ended up sitting on a coach for ages as the coach was overbooked initially, the passengers were transferred to another coach, all a bit of a pain really and then we had a long wait to check in at our hotel but that is another story! The cruise was excellent thoughout, would definitely go again and would recommend, the all inclusive drinks package and tips included is a bonus. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this particular cruise line as we have sailed several times before with Seabourn and it has been excellent. We chose this particular cruise because of the time of year, and the ports visited in particular the Greek Islands, ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise line as we have sailed several times before with Seabourn and it has been excellent. We chose this particular cruise because of the time of year, and the ports visited in particular the Greek Islands, Croatia and the Dalmatian coast. Our cruise was made up of three cruises. Boarding was very good as usual and always great to meet the pleasant and welcoming crew. Our cabin was exactly as we expected it to be. We had a forward cabin on the 5th deck ( cabin number 511 ) and this proved to be a bit of a problem when the ship was mooring rather than berthing in an actual port. The noise and vibration of the anchor dropping and /or then raising in the evening was very noisy and intrusive. In previous trips although we were on a forward cabin we did not have this problem.The cabin itself was kept very clean and tidy by our stewardess and the bed as usual was extremely comfortable. Our breakfast every day was in the Collonade Terrace and was made especially enjoyable thanks to our favorite waiter Andre van der Spuy. Andre made a special effort to make us feel happy and could not be more obliging. We dined every evening at The Restaurant in deck 4. Service was impecable. The food was generally very good particularly steaks and fish. Desserts were not up to the same standard. We ate also twice at the Thomas Keller grill on deck 8 and the food was very good as well and service was outstanding. Activities on board were minimal. We really enjoyed the trivia afternoons when they were available. We went to a couple of lectures by Ambassador Karel Kovanda which were excellent. We also were lucky enough to be invited to share a couple of meals with him and his wife Noemi. Evening entertainment we did not attend many as we tended to linger over our evening meals with other guests. Guest services were excellent and would help in every way they could. Disembarkation was very easy and we were allowed to stay longer on board as we were not flying out of Barcelona until the evening. All in all an excellent cruise and recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I can't complain about anything. Our trip in Pan Orama through the Adriatic sea (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece) was absolutely amazing. The crew is incredible, everyone was super nice to us and we felt really ... Read More
I can't complain about anything. Our trip in Pan Orama through the Adriatic sea (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece) was absolutely amazing. The crew is incredible, everyone was super nice to us and we felt really well-treated by everyone. Absolutely everyone was super kind. The service is amazing, you get your room done twice a day. THE FOOD IS AMAZING!!!!!! The cabins are really well equipped, and they provide you some toiletries. It has a bar and a coffee table, where you can help yourself with coffee, infusions, tea, cookies or fruit 24/7. Its super peaceful and I am looking forward to go on board again. I was scared of being dizzy all day long, but the ship doesn't move that much and you feel in perfect conditions all the time. The shore excursions are really interesting and we went to really beautiful places ashore. The swim stops are one of the most amazing things I've ever done, it's amazing to swim in open sea.The activities on board are really entertaining and they were scheduled in the perfect moments. We relaxed and had the best vacation of our lives. I seriously hope to be back again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I'm totally new to the major cruise line experience (I had only taken a two-day cruise to the Bahamas by a local provider). I am definitely hooked. I got to experience several "bucket list" countries/cities on this trip. I ... Read More
I'm totally new to the major cruise line experience (I had only taken a two-day cruise to the Bahamas by a local provider). I am definitely hooked. I got to experience several "bucket list" countries/cities on this trip. I took advantage of every shore excursion offered and I was very pleased with the results. I'm used to being an independent traveler, so it was nice to just have to show up at an appointed time and learn about the local area from an experienced tour guide. I highly recommend doing the short excursions if you're not adventurous or just want to relax and let someone else take care of the details. The staff were helpful, the food was delicious, the cabins were clean and spacious, and the entertainment offered was also not to be missed. Overall, this is a great value. Tip: Don't forget to bring 2-4 "dressy" outfits for some of the parties on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The ship was an excellent ship with excellent accommodations, elegant interiors. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. The food and drink were of ... Read More
The ship was an excellent ship with excellent accommodations, elegant interiors. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. The food and drink were of excellent quality and represented fresh local cuisine and regional wines. During our week the shore excursions were very well planned and the local and expert guides, including art historians, were well informed and provided informative and insightful background for our experiences. We spent a day in Venice before our embarkation and we used Venice Limousine Rent company in Venice for a transfer from our hotel downtown Venice to the cruise port and also this service was excellent and all went very smooth... nice and almost new vehicle Mercedes brand, very clean, driver with an excellent english and great courtesy, really appreciated. They arranged for us the boat from the hotel to the place where was waiting for us the driver Domnik He helped us with the luggage and he was extremely kind. Recommended to everyone Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Many of the ports such as Athens, Aqaba, Luxor, Haifam, Suez Canal are all bucket list destinations and that's why we picked this cruise. At the main dining room they asked if we wanted to share dinner tables and we met a lot of ... Read More
Many of the ports such as Athens, Aqaba, Luxor, Haifam, Suez Canal are all bucket list destinations and that's why we picked this cruise. At the main dining room they asked if we wanted to share dinner tables and we met a lot of interesting people that way. The main dining room menu is extensive with more than 10 entree selections and the food especially the fish was always well cooked although I am not as fond of the desserts. The breakfast buffet always had lots of fruit and nuts and the egg/omelet line manageable. The crew is always helpful and cheerful. The entertainment for 21 nights and I missed only 2 was varied and good. Norwegian always had good dance productions. The library has a pretty good selection. The only drawback is deck chairs on deck 7, people put their towels or stuff on the chairs in the morning and they are seldom available and yet seldom used at the same time. They need a system of reservations or something. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Stayed in Italy for 3 days prior and 3 days after. Would recommend maybe staying 6 days prior next time. Embarkation when fine. Ship is smaller than the other classes and a bit choppy in rough seas. We had a balcony, wouldn't ... Read More
Stayed in Italy for 3 days prior and 3 days after. Would recommend maybe staying 6 days prior next time. Embarkation when fine. Ship is smaller than the other classes and a bit choppy in rough seas. We had a balcony, wouldn't go back after that. Dinning could be better. Entertainment was so so, Service was fine Ports were great. Something that is bothering me about RCL is the nickle and dime with everything. For instance, people who buy the full drink package can usually be spotted anywhere on ship, many of them feel it's necessary to get their money's worth and end up drunk and falling over, I've seen a few just stand there in the walk ways puking. It's not a pretty sight. I'd much rather them consider a different alternative. And the wine corking fees. Never had those before. Need to see some improvements here. Didn't travel with children. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Two ports drew us to this cruise. Montenegro and Dubrovnik. Both were wonderful. The ship is old and tired. The staff were friendly and with the exception of Leonardo on excursions were friendly and helpful at all times. Do not ... Read More
Two ports drew us to this cruise. Montenegro and Dubrovnik. Both were wonderful. The ship is old and tired. The staff were friendly and with the exception of Leonardo on excursions were friendly and helpful at all times. Do not look for fine dining unless you are prepared to pay more than your cruise price. It is good some night but on others disappointing. The real irritations are : - Unbelievable - poor old curtains in all the state rooms. Not clean. Carpets throughout looking as though they need a good clean. 69 dollars to play BINGO. ( three cards) 15 dollars to leave the ship to visit the port of call. Coach - one mile each way. No scoop of ice-cream on one deck unless you are in the captains circle. No proper cocktail glasses on one deck and you may find your cocktail in a tumbler. Internet to your stateroom at 315 dollars charged. Gratuities charged to the stateroom daily though we had paid these in advance. Some excellent shows especially the troop of dancers singers in two production shows and terrific Jane Curry guest singer. The other male singer was good also and very entertaining. All others were poor and not worth the visit to the theatre. Anytime dining was under stress as most passengers choose this. Feeding 1200 in a couple of hours with waiter service is tough on them. You spend more time inside as only on some decks can you walk outside. Staterooms are tired and poor and in need of doing up. The TV set worked but it was a struggle to use the various channels until we simply didn't bother. Photographs taken of you on board and off are sold to you at 30 dollars a picture. Absolutely dreadful and in protest four of us bought none. Though the ship is led by the wonderful Nina - senior officer - and her staff are a great crew - the charges and silly rules and tiredness make this a ship to be avoided until they spend money on it. There is nothing whatever for children on this ship. Sad but true - and you should not choose this one for a family holiday. Often the cocktails are made ( not so good). Some waiters make them very well. Training is needed to produce the right mix in many cases. There were some exceptionally good waiters outside on the breakfast area and in the main dining room. Waiters however would often butt in and interrupt conversations without the polite 'excuse me'. Our experience was previously with Princess Cruises but this is several years ago and I wonder if there has been a change in the way passengers are treated in the industry to extract more money ie. photos and short port bus rides etc... and that all are now the same. I wonder? The ports of this cruise were wonderful Venice to Malta and back but it is Croatia and Montenegro which both steel the show as Jane Curry did in the evening on the stage. Loved the singers and dancers - a new great troop. Trained in New York. Terrific. Such moments made it a good cruise but it needs the wow factor restored. Friends we were with were very disappointed indeed. It was very sad. They had paid a good deal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
After touring France for a 12 night Trafalgar Tour plus 4 nights in Paris we flew to Civitavecchia and boarded the Royal Princess the next day. It was so wonderful to have a balcony cabin again, this being my 35th Cruise and ... Read More
After touring France for a 12 night Trafalgar Tour plus 4 nights in Paris we flew to Civitavecchia and boarded the Royal Princess the next day. It was so wonderful to have a balcony cabin again, this being my 35th Cruise and hubby's 33rd Cruise we utilized the balcony every morning day and night, which can be neglected with hectic schedule whilst cruising the Mediterranean. The Royal Princes was beautiful and grand we enjoyed her Royal splendour. Being Elite cruisers made our privileges extra special. Malta was cancelled due to timing and our safety for Istanbul's instability, Corfu and Monte Negro were rescheduled instead which were lovely but we were unhappy that they cancelled Malta. Nevertheless we had a wonderful time on board as usual meeting interesting people, eating delicious food, watching a fabulous show and dancing the night away. We shall look forward to cruising the Mediterranean again soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Having been on a number of Thomsons cruise in the past (with no problems) we decided to try the Enchanting Vistas repositioning cruise on the Dream. Wish we hadn't bothered now. The only good thing about that ship was disembarkation! ... Read More
Having been on a number of Thomsons cruise in the past (with no problems) we decided to try the Enchanting Vistas repositioning cruise on the Dream. Wish we hadn't bothered now. The only good thing about that ship was disembarkation! The food was sub-standard, often cold (custard mainly). Lobster on the Captain's night was so tough and overcooked that it was impossible to cut! Bread was sweet, toast was pre-cooked the night before for breakfast the following morning (we saw and asked), desserts, ok so a cupcake is nice but....... The ship lost a third of it's staff in Palma before setting off and was full of trainees who didn't have a clue. You could die of thirst waiting for waiters in the lounges! Reception staff were either trainees or didn't wear name badges. Tour to Sorrento and Pompeii was a farce, under an hour in Sorrento??? issues with guide in Taormina! Now I got a refund on 1 tour which left my onboard account at a minus figure and was given cash back but I have appending amount of £15 in my bank account, so watching that. Family had £1 to pay, had £14 pending but have had £22 taken out so all going on a complaint to Thomsons. This ship has rotting windows, rust and is shabby. Needs a total refit to be any good, ship and staff! Book any other ship but this. Credit however does go to Carlos in the main Restaurant, his professionalism and witty charm made our evening meals a pleasure (even if the food lacked quality). His trainee Luis was also very very good and saw a big improvement during the week, again credit to Carlos who works extremely hard (as do all wait staff) to make sure your evening meal goes smoothly. This cruise should never have been allowed to sail, the staff were simply not prepared/trained to deal with a full ship of passengers. Disgusted at Thomson right now and will not be considering another cruise with them for a very long time, if ever! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like service, food, entertainment, etc. I believe I have found it. My biggest concern was that I've always heard that HAL tends to be a older crowd (I've heard it referred to as the "Q-Tip Cruise Line") and while I found it to be true - there were many more "younger" people than I expected (I'm 55). I was traveling alone on this cruise (as I am finding that's the way I want to cruise more and more these days). I was happy to see that HAL tends to be less on the single supplement than most others which certainly helped my buying decision (and will help future buying decisions). SHIP INFORMATION: I will start by saying that I know this ship was going straight into dry dock after this cruise so I won't spend any time on how it needs to be refreshed. I was pleased with the layout of the ship. Everything was easily accessible and laid out nicely. While I have sailed the larger mega ships, I tend to like the mid-sized ships better and this was no exception. Things like the teak wood flooring on the promenades/pool deck and upgraded furniture outdoors was a nice surprise. The decor choices are certainly reminiscent of the time it was built, but I feel sure that this will change with the facelift. One thing I noticed that there is much less "open" space on this ship compared to some of the newer ships. Many of the passage ways (halls) from one part of the ship to the others felt dark and claustrophobic as opposed to open and bright. Overall, it is a lovely ship and the down sides did not get in the way of enjoying the ship that much. ACTIVITIES: There were many activities available on the ship and I took part in some of them but not all. The things that were a highlight for me were 1.) The Screening Room 2.) The Destination lectures 2.) The Fitness facility 3.) The sauna was nice (I wanted to purchase the Thermal Suites but they only sell 40 per cruise and I waited to long [day 2] to purchase it and they were sold out) 4.) I got a haircut in the salon and it was great and well priced ($25). I didn't try any of the cooking activities but heard they were great. SERVICE: This was one of the things I was hoping would be great and it was. I have sailed on so many other lines where crew members have a hard time doing something as simple as saying hello when they pass you, but overall, this crew gets it! Service across the board is better than on any other cruise line I have sailed. It's not just about DOING your job, but being genuine while doing it. I felt like I was special more times than not because of good service. Not every line can say that. My cabin stewards were the best Ive ever had on any line (Putu and Kadek). PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: I loved each of these ports but did not do any shore excursions. I tend to like to just get off the ship and explore myself. Each of these ports allowed me to do that. EMBARKATION PORT: Since this was my first HAL cruise and I don't have "frequent floater" status with them like I do with RCL, I was concerned about the board process. I have to say that my worries were unfounded. The process of being in GROUPS to board was incredibly easy and I only waited about 30 minutes to get on board once arriving. I loved it! CABIN: I traveled alone on this cruise and had an inside room (6075) and loved it. The layout of this room was more "square" than long and skinny and it offered much more space. I think it was a Large Inside (Category I). The closet space, the bathroom, the bed position - everything felt oversized. The quality of the linens was wonderful and the bed was very comfortable. The room had a DVD player under the TV which was nice. There were 4 electrical ports on the desk (2 for U.S. and 2 for European). I brought 2 currency converters so I ended up having all the plugs I needed (4 U.S.). The only thing that would have been more perfect was if there were outlets by my bed. I liked the fact that my cabin steward brought ice into my room each day without me asking for it. I also loved the complimentary shoe shine service from my cabin. DINING: I ate in ALL of the outlets and loved everything. The quality of food, the presentation of it and the choices were very good. There seemed to be lots of option, even for vegetarians and folks who need gluten-free. There were plenty of sugar-free options and I even tried some of them and they were good. I had read in previous reviews about the "pre-packaged" sandwiches and how people didn't like them. I tried them and found them perfectly fine. Overall, the food in all the outlets I tried was quite good (Vista Dining Room, Dine-IN, Lido Buffet, In Room Dining, Caneletto, LeCirque, Pinnacle Grill). CHILDREN'S CLUBS: I didn't see them, but I met some folks who had kids (3 & 5) and they loved every aspect of the service they got for their kids. The kids wanted to spend more time in the Club than they did with their parents!!! ENTERTAINMENT: I found the entertainment to be equal to or better than any other line I've sailed. Shout out to the FLYBOYS - a group brought on board for this cruise. They were 4 guys from the UK who took contemporary songs and laid a decidedly 30s-40s feeling on top of them. There was also a special orchestra on board for this cruise called the Harry James Orchestra which was a 16-piece band that were AMAZING! The only down side to this group was their female singer. Being a trained musician myself, I tend to be a little hard on entertainers and she was flat most of the time and struggled to stay on pitch most of the time. You could tell she knew her stuff, but was just having a hard time (every time I heard her). The ship's singers were amazing - some of the best Ive ever heard. I liked the variety of entertainment around the ship. There could have been a little more entertainment, but overall, what was there was good. DISEMBARKATION: Very easy. I liked being asked to wait in my stateroom instead of some public lounge until my number was called. I didn't have to wait long at all once I made it to the embarkation deck. Overall, I loved it. OVERALL: I was very happy with HAL since this was my first cruise on them. I look forward to cruising them again and would highly recommend this line to anyone who is used to the level of service and quality found on RCL or NCL. HAL takes it up a notch and made it work. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) ... Read More
I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) because my usual line, "Celebrity", had become less than acceptable. I must say that Celebrity gives me tremendous "Frequent Cruiser Benefits". Much, much , much better than Holland America! MUCH BETTER! But, Celebrity has gotten much worse over the last few years. Their food, which was once fantastic, has changed to the worse. Don't know why, but they did. I had received an amazing offer from Holland America's Casino, for Caribbean cruises last Fall and realizing that I couldn't possibly cruise for 1 week for what they were offering me, I took 2 cruises, one in "January", on the " Westerdam "and one in "February" on the "Nieuw Amsterdam". They were both fantastic. Yes truly excellent. It was because of that, that I booked the "Eurodam" for April to Barcelona, from Ft. Lauderdale. With a 100% charge, plus 60% surcharge for a single occupancy in an ocean view cabin, I decided it was a wonderful deal and started getting ready for it. (sad, that I had to pay a 160% surcharge, but it is what it is) I found out later that several friends were going on the Oosterdam in March and I changed to that cruise. They were able to offer me a balcony cabin for only $25.00 total upsell, for the 13 day cruise. I should have smelled a rat, shouldn't I? Yes, I most certainly should have. But alas I did not. This is where my story actually begins; I actually met quite a few people that were more than charming on this crossing. They were a rather interesting group. Mostly we met at Trivia. On Celebrity we got trivia 4 times a day. On Holland America, only 2 times. And the 2nd one was during dinner hour. 1st one at 1300 hours. 2nd one at 1900 hours. (1PM and 7PM). I think it was the most popular activity for the entire crowd. When I played on Seabourn, it was attended by 50% of the entire ship. Trivia is extremely popular. Regardless of that, I was able to meet most of the people at Trivia and again at "Happy Hour". Holland America has a "Happy Hour" every day, between 1600 hours and 1700 hours. They are only held at the "Ocean Bar", and the "Crow's Nest". If you don't know about it, then you're out of luck. Now you know about it! I would like to say at this time that the bartenders at the "Crow's Nest", Santos and Bong, were amazing. If you see them, please say hello to them for me, Howard. The entire bar staff at the "Crow's Nest" were truly terrific. The problem with the Crow's Nest was that at exactly 1700 hours, the "Harry James Orchestra", which was mostly comprised of horns and was 16 players strong. If you've ever been in the Crow's Nest on the Oosterdam, then you know what I am talking about. If you haven't , then I'll explain. It's a rather small-ish room with 9 foot ceilings. Totally wrong for this venue. Once cocktail hour ended, all conversation came to a close. There was a very lovely elderly couple that took to the floor every night and showed everyone how to dance Ballroom Style. The choices of food was to say the least, tedious. Yes, this was a low cost cruise and as such, not expected to be able to offer caviar, but in actuality they offered much less. No one could find Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, now Egg Salad. One day I noticed the Executive Chef speaking with one of the Matre' D's and asked him why these Salads weren't available on the "Salad Bar" and he told me, and I quote, "They Cheapen The Display" on the Salad Bar. I told him that I and many other Americans like "Tuna Salad", and he said that I could easily make it myself by combining the "Ahi Tuna Flakes" with Mayo and make my own, and me telling him that I didn't come on board this ship to make my own Tuna Salad. Having owned my own restaurant, many years ago, I would have given him his walking papers. One should never tell a customer to make his own , anything! I ate every meal in the Dining Room. Why? I like being served, when I am away. Plus, I get to meet many interesting people. I love meeting people. I have more friends this way than I could any other way. I would rate the dining room very good for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was mediocre at best. But, at least I had great company. AND, great service and excellent wine Stewards. I can't say enough about the service personnel in Cabin and Dining and Lido Deck. Bravo Gentlemen. I usually never go to the shows. But on this cruise there were some fabulous singers. Especially the "FLY BOYS. WOW what a great group of guys. Think A CAPELLE with music. Sensational. There were also some not so great players. I won't say, not I won't mention the string duet, no, I won't so don't ask again. Why do cruise lines not tell their passengers that there is a free "Shuttle", from the pier to the City Center? WHY? Telling me that they never heard of such a thing is inexcusable. Even us neophytes know more than this. Come on People. If the entire "Tour Department" is changed every week, it should be still in the computer. Oh and the Computors were abysmal in every possible way. seriously dreadful. My toilet overflowed 4 times. Yup, 4 times. I called and called the front desk and got nowhere. Zip, Nada, nothing. I asked for a meeting with the Hotel Director, so sorry, says Ms. Guest Relations , Annie. Not happening. The buck stops here. Seriously? Yup, and there was so so much more. I lost my I-Phone somewhere between the UBER car and the Checkin Desk. Like what a WOW I give to the ladies at Check in. They bent over backwards to help me re-unite me with my phone. I owe you ladies big time. I got it by the way. It took 1 week but I did find out that I got it back before I did. That was lucky because I also found out that my bank froze my account even though I did tell them that I was going on a cruise. Quelle Dommage. There were workmen on board the ship from the moment we left Port Everglades. There were even more workmen when we got to Funchal, home to a free shuttle bus from the pier to the city center, for all cruise lines. We received more and more workers and when we got to Rome about 2,000 more got on. It would have been impossible not to notice them during the cruise. Those passengers that didn't notice them were quite blind to everything. Do not get on any ship that is going into or coming from "Drydock". It doesn't matter how much you pay for a cruise if you're going to be interrupted with dangling cables and missing ceiling tiles and closed decks and missing infrastructure. I'm sorry, I did not pay you for this. If you're giving it to me for free, well then, OK. If I'm paying anything, no, not so nice. My friends and I went to the specialty restaurant called, "Pinnacle" , supposedly a NW Steak and Fish House. I say supposedly because if a chef in a steak house doesn't know how to cook steak properly, they should not be working in a steak house. Not too hard to understand. When I call over the Matre' D', I expect him to know what I mean by overcooked. Is that too much to expect? Is it? no, it isn't . I had an amazing round of luck in the casino. Thanks guys. You're all deserving of many accolades. I paid for my cruise basically. Which is a good thing. Because if I had not, I would have been a very unhappy camper. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just been on a cruise with the Splendour of the Seas - 7 nights 'Greek Isles & Turkey Cruise' from Venice November 7 to 14, 2015. Itinerary: Dubrovnik, Croatia; Rhodes, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Split, ... Read More
We have just been on a cruise with the Splendour of the Seas - 7 nights 'Greek Isles & Turkey Cruise' from Venice November 7 to 14, 2015. Itinerary: Dubrovnik, Croatia; Rhodes, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Split, Croatia; and back to Venice. We did 'Do it yourself' excursions in Dubrovnik (took a shuttle from the dock to the Old Town), Rhodes (Walking distance) and Split (walking distance). organised For Ephesus we had purchased an excursion through RCI, but you can also just take a taxi from Kusadasi (30 minutes). Despite the late time of the year, we had a fantastic weather on the trip. Splendour of the Seas is a Vision-class cruise ship. She was commenced on March 31, 1996. In March 2015, Royal Caribbean agreed to sell Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises, which planned to lease the vessel to Thomson Cruises. The final sailing for Royal Caribbean departing on April 4, 2016 for a 16 Night Suez Canal Cruise from Dubai to Venice. She'll be renamed Thomson Discovery and be based in Palma starting in June 2016. Splendour of the Seas did meet our expectation, however some of the crew members had mentally left the ship. My review will primarily focus on the itinerary and the ports rather than the ship. Travel to Venice We always travel the day before and Friday we had a flight at 6:50pm - Lufthansa via Frankfurt to Venice. When we arrived the flight was canceled - flight attendants in Frankfurt on strike. We quickly changed our reservation for a Lufthansa flight on Saturday morning - also via Frankfurt and got a room at the Hilton Airport Hotel - as well as dinner and breakfast - at Lufthansa's expense. At 8pm it was announced that all flights in and out of Frankfurt on Saturday was canceled. Thanks to Scandinavian Airlines, we managed to get a flight via Berlin to Venice with SAS and Alitalia. Unfortunately, with rather late arrival in Venice - and therefore the risk that we may not be able to reach the cruise ship before 3:30pm which is the last time for check-in. We have just an hour to get our luggage and a taxi to the cruise ship. Originally we had planned to take a water bus (Alilaguna) from airport to Cruise terminal, but due to the late arrival we had to take a taxi. Quickly we found a taxi that drove to the 20 minutes to the cruise terminal. Day 1 - Departure from Venice We arrived at the Splendour of the Seas at 3:15pm - a 'quarter before closing time' - but we were definitely not the last to arrive! We got an aft cabin - larger than normal cabins with a balcony much bigger - a really nice cabin. Immediately after we had boarded was the 'Muster drill' where we had to go to our lifeboat at deck 4 and get instructions on life jackets and lifeboats. At 6pm we sailed from Venice - a spectacular sight as we passed St. Mark's Square. At 7pm we went down for a drink in the lounge and at 8pm we got dinner in the Chops Grill - one of 'specialty restaurants' - which was a welcome aboard deals. A nice dinner. Day 2 - Dubrovnik, Croatia After breakfast, we sat on the balcony and followed the entrance to Dubrovnik. We docked at noon. After lunch we took a shuttle bus the four km from the cruise terminal to the old town. We bought the transfer at the ship for € 12 pp - cheaper than a taxi. Dubrovnik, known for the old town there is a pedestrian area with straight streets. The town has several churches, monasteries, and the Old Town Hall, from the period year 1200-1600. The city is surrounded by a very well-preserved city wall, which is 2 km long, 25 m high and most places 6 m thick. There are four gates into the city - we went through 'Pile Gate' (top picture). In the wall there are many towers and two high corner fortresses. We started with a walk around the city walls, a lot of stairs up and down, and incredible views of the city churches and houses and the sea from the high wall. We went all around the city on the wall. After the wall went for a walk around town and looked at the churches and streets - an incredibly clean city. Late afternoon we took the shuttle back to the ship. After a drink at the bar, we got dinner in the restaurant ´King & I'. Day 3 - At Sea We sailed south, along the coast of Greece - towards Rhodes. Today we were at sea all day in beautiful weather - 22 C and calm sea. The clock was put forward by one hour in the night, and it was obvious that everyone was a bit later for breakfast. We chose to eat breakfast on the balcony. This morning we read the daily newspaper on our iPad's - network is not as fast as on the Quantum Class of ship but after some time we managed to download the newspaper. After lunch we set out again on the balcony - the sun was shining and the weather was lovely. It was 'formal night' - first captain's welcome in the center and then dinner in the restaurant. After dinner we walked round the ship, to the shops in Centrum, listened to music and had a glass of wine in the bar before bedtime Day 4 - Rhodes We followed the arrival to Rhodes from the upper deck, and 11am went we ashore in Rhodes town (walking distance). At the port are a number of beautiful old windmills and behind them a 4 km of preserved town walls that encircle the old town. The town lies on the island's northern tip and is surrounded by sea on three sides. The old town is just 5 minutes walk from the port. The city is like a large fortress, and is untouched the last 400 years. We walked through the old narrow streets and looked at the city's sights. The highlight is the Palace of Grand Master of Knights, which was built in the 1300s and is today the city's landmarks. From the Palace Grand Master leads the The Street of the Knights, down to the archaeological museum. The street is considered one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe. The Turkish part of the town is also interesting, including Soliman mosque that was built when the Turks conquered Rhodes in 1522. Back on the ship we ate lunch and read on the balcony overlooking the city of Rhodes. We ate dinner already at 6pm when there was "welcome back" reception. A glass of champagne and the latest news on Royal Caribbean Cruising. Then there was show in the Centrum - 'The East Coast Boys'. We ended the evening with a glass of wine in Scooner Bar. Day 5 - Trip to Ephesus Arrived to Kusadasi in Turkey in the morning. We were on tour (through the ship) in the morning to Ephesus on Turkey's west coast 30 minutes from the harbour of Kusadasi, located almost off the Greek island of Samos. In ancient times, Ephesus was a rich city of great religious and commercial importance. The town was built in the valley between two mountains. It was located on the important silk route between Rome and the Orient. In ancient Ephesus was a city that was at the river Kaystros' estuary, but today is a town about 10 km from the coast. According to ancient legends, the city was founded in 1100 BC by King Androklos from Athens. In the 500s, the port of Ephesus destroyed by mud from the river, and the city's economic importance decreased rapidly. The inhabitants fled due to malaria and since the city was buried in mud. Today, about 20% of the original Ephesus excavated (pictures) - streets paved with marble and ruins of the merchants' houses, temples and theaters. Back in Kusadasi we visited a factory that makes carpets of wool, cotton and silk - interesting to see how silk threads are extracted from the butterfly pupae how the rugs are hand-knotted and hear about and see the different qualities. After lunch we enjoyed the sun and a cup of coffee on the balcony. At 5pm we followed the exit from Kusadasi from our balcony and 6pm there was dinner in the 'King & I' dining room. After dinner we had a drink in the lounge and at 9pm we saw a Production Show with 'Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers' - Dancin' Thru the Movies - as usual a great show with good music, dancing and singing. Day 6 - At Sea It was a really nice day of sun on the balcony in the morning - the deck chairs are put into position! After breakfast we enjoyed the sun - late morning we had arranged a meeting with 'Next Cruise' to get a deal on a cruise to New England next year. After lunch, even a little sun and coffee on the balcony. We got dinner at 6pm in Chops Grille and immediately thereafter, there was a welcome back reception for the guests who had traveled most of Royal Caribbean - this was our cruise no. 25, but there were many cruisers with multiple cruises. We walked around the ship and completed the evening with an aerial show in the Centrum. Day 7 - Split in Croatia Now we felt that we had come a little further north. The wind was cooler. The captain had put the ship in the harbor so we had morning sun on our balcony. After breakfast we prioritized the sun on our balcony instead of Split. After lunch we went to the old town - 10 minutes walk from the cruise port. Split was originally built as a castle in the year 300 but it was 400 years later transformed into a city. An elegant promenade with palm trees (picture). We walked around town looking at the sights. An old town with very narrow streets, palaces and church walled. Back on the ship, we got a coffee and then we went around a bit. A glass of wine before dinner. After dinner, we decided on a manhattan cocktail in the lounge before the suitcases were packed. The suitcases were outside the door before 11pm, so they could be amassed during the night. Saturday - from the cruise ship to the airport We were up at 7:30am and ready for breakfast at 8:30. There was the usual "return chaos" in the Windjammer Cafe. We found a good seat on the pool deck. However, a little cool. The weather is not as good as at the departure from Venice. As there was plenty of time for our flight departure from Venice Marco Polo airport, we had decided to take the 1 h 40 min Alilaguna water bus from the cruise terminal to the Venice Marco Polo airport. We did miss that opportunities at cruise start due to very late arrival. We had an excellent boat from the cruise terminal to the airport. When we arrived at the airport we could see the great advantage of being SAS gold card customer. There was a long line at check in, but we could put us in the very short business class queue. Also we had 'fast track' access through the security check and got lunch in the Lufthansa lounge. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Although we had a wonderful time on board due to the great people we met from our Cruise Critic contacts, we felt the ship's atmosphere and entertainment were sorely lacking. Having travelled on the Infinity twice, we expected the ... Read More
Although we had a wonderful time on board due to the great people we met from our Cruise Critic contacts, we felt the ship's atmosphere and entertainment were sorely lacking. Having travelled on the Infinity twice, we expected the same experience or better in the Constellation. We were very disappointed. The crew and Maitre "D" in the dining room went out of their way to please us. We didn't like being nickeled and dimed for every little thing. A small bottle of water was $ 3:50, on shore . 50 cents! Food improved after the first two days which were sub-par. The changes made from past cruises were not appreciated. Unless you were in a suite, you could not use Michael's club and there was a separate dining room for suite travelers. The worst was canceling the stop in Israel that was supposed to be for three days. Most people booked the cruise because of the Israel stop. While we understood the reason, we didn't appreciate the replacements chosen as we had been there before, so we spent 5 days more in places we had already been and less time at sea to relax in the first 12 days of the cruise we had only two sea days. Very hectic. The crossing was great! The South American cruise on the infinity( 2014 ) had a very lively guitar player who entertained in the bar every night with such enthusiasm that you couldn't help wanting to dance and have a good time. The feeling when you left the dining room and heard his music was so upbeat that we looked forward to something similar on the Connie.....we didn't get it. All in all we enjoyed ourselves but it wasn't due to the cruise director or the entertainment...very disappointing. We made our own fun with our cruise critic group. The best lectures were those given by the traveling astronomer, Mr. Sink. He was wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such ... Read More
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such friendly helpful staff. The food is always cold so do not except too much, the deserts in the Horizon is really good for choice and the staff up there are the best always asking if you would like coffee or tea , Water nothing was too much for them to do for you. The free ice cream on the Lido deck is free and really good. The biggest problem was the shaking of the cabin at the AFT deck lido deck 14 on island princess shaking these are new cabins even though they were clean and nobody could look down on you and were not noisy the shaking is like being on one of those fitness shaking machines all the time. The shows were very short and some of the acts were terrible. The Films on Deck at night were good with free popcorn and cookies. The Burger bar is very good very hot food and fresh. Room Service which is free try the steak sandwich in the afternoon what a treat. The cabin Staff were so good always cleaning and perfect. Always sun lounger’s room in the pool space for all as there are 2 main pools and a splash pool on top deck forward. Be careful with the photographs can be very persistent. One of the best things is Any dinning you can go for dinner between 5:30 and 10 o'clock and sit a a different table every night. When shopping on board we found that staff very unhelpful and always looking at their watches rather than helping you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the ... Read More
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the pictures, and there are over 600, here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/sets/72157637358470363/ We flew to Rome nonstop from Miami on Alitalia. The agent took a liking to us and blocked four seats just for us in the center section. Off to a great start! The flight was very comfortable with good service, and it's the first time I've experienced live cameras providing a forward and ground view on the in-seat monitors. I thought that was pretty cool. Upon arrival in Rome we were met by Cunard's airport staff who really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. They took our luggage and the next time we saw it was in our cabin. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were on the bus headed to the ship ... or were we? Actually since we were so early Cunard provided a motor coach mini-tour of Rome before heading to Civitavecchia where the ship was docked. This was certainly an unexpected surprise, and what a difference from our Costa experience in April where we basically had to loiter around the airport for almost four hours before they took us to the ship. Embarking QUEEN ELIZABETH was a breeze, with no lines, no waits, and a very simple check-in process. Disembarkation in Venice 12 days later was just as painless. I was anxious to see QUEEN ELIZABETH having already sailed on her sister QUEEN VICTORIA and the Cunard flagship QM2. The QE is the same basic design as QV but with some minor changes to the layout and a more art deco interior design. I quite liked it and immediately felt very comfortable in my new surroundings. The ship was spotless and essentially looked brand new. QE is a Vista Class, but with a custom layout for Cunard that includes far more multi-level spaces and public areas that are more airy and bright compared to her counterparts sailing for Holland America. In fact you would be hard pressed to realize QE was even related to her HAL cousins unless you knew in advance. The overall ambiance of QE is Cunard through and through. For those not familiar with Cunard, it's truly the last seagoing experience that beckons to a bygone era of tradition, formality, and civility. The atmosphere onboard is sophisticated, spacious, elegant, and yes very British! Our passenger compliment was probably around 60% British, 30% American, and 10% a mixture of Japanese and Europeans. Daytime activities include enrichment lectures, an afternoon message, lounging by the pool, and of course afternoon tea. Since this cruise was so port intensive, most days were spent ashore. In the evening a jacket is required after 6pm as the minimum dress code. Everyone honored the dress code which was a breath of fresh air. Not a single T-shirt or flip flops spotted in the dining room! Cunard cherishes its history, and is probably the only cruise line with an authentic bookshop onboard selling Cunard memorabilia as well as ocean liner books, cards, and puzzles. My partner who has little interest in ocean liner history really loved the Cunard experience, and surprisingly wanted to stop by the bookshop almost every night. It was something unique that he had not experienced on any other ship. To accompany the book shop is a fully stocked two level library complete with librarian. Proudly displayed all over the ship is artwork and artifacts from Cunard's illustrious past. If you require even more reminding that you are sailing with a company steeped in tradition and history, then a channel on your TV is dedicated to programs about Cunard history and its past vessels. Needless to say this was my favorite channel! Evenings on Cunard are quite elegant and formal, with music throughout the ship, costume balls in the Queens Room, ballroom dancing complete with gentleman hosts, big band, production shows of a fairly decent quality, and yes even disco dancing! The fine art of paying attention to the details is not lost on Cunard. There are nice touches like sparkling wine upon arrival, turndown service with chocolates on your pillow, Gilchrist & Soames bath products, robes & slippers, and even a daily newspaper delivered nightly with news from your home country. Many cruise lines have done away with these amenities, but Cunard continues to uphold the tradition. What you won't find on Cunard are endless revenue producing announcements, obnoxious art auctions, constant nickel & diming, bellyflop contests by the pool, rock climbing walls, shorts in the dining room, or buckets of beer. If these are things you will miss then Cunard is clearly not for you. We opted for a standard outside cabin thinking it would be too cold to make use of a balcony. Were we ever wrong on that one. The weather was amazing the entire two weeks with warm air and cloudless sunny skies. It might be the best weather I've ever experienced on a cruise. The seas were as equally calm as the skies, and never once did we feel the ship move. I was actually a little disappointed in that fact, but it was perfect for my partner who is prone to motion sickness. I really enjoyed our cabin and its location on Deck 1. Our midship Deck 1 location was perfect for a port intensive itinerary. The gangway was never too far away and the main lounges were a short jaunt down the hall or up a deck. The window and its opening was large enough to sit in and read a book. Bedding was very comfortable and decor was soothing. Our cabin stewardess Rosalina was one of the best we ever encountered. Three things lacking were drawer space, a proper shelf in the small shower, and an interactive TV. We did order room service on occasion and it was always delivered right on schedule and delicious. The dining experience on QE was quite good. We opted for late sitting and a table for two. We were in a nice section near the windows very close to three other tables for two. Two of the tables were next to us and another behind us. If you were looking for a private dining experience this arrangement would not have been ideal, as the tables were quite close to each other. As it turns out we got along great with our fellow two-tops and enjoyed some great conversations (thanks Dee & Michael!). Our serving team did a great job as did the wine steward who appeared every night almost as we sat down. I'm glad Cunard has kept the wine stewards and not placed the task on the already overworked wait staff as many cruise lines have done. One option missing from the experience was an "always available" selection on the menu. This is offered on most other lines and usually includes a steak, fish, salad, and chicken option. It's always nice to have such options in case nothing appeals to you on the main menu. Luckily we never had that problem but I'm surprised it wasn't offered in the Britannia Restaurant. We dined in the Britannia Restaurant every night except two. For my birthday we dined in the Verandah Restaurant, which is an a la carte speciality dining experience drawing its roots from the original QUEEN ELIZABETH and QUEEN MARY. I opted for the tasting menu which was very French and very unusual for my taste buds. I quite enjoyed it but it was a lot of food. The overall experience was quite nice but I still feel Celebrity Cruises has the best speciality restaurants at sea. Another night we dined up in the Lido Restaurant with the Spa Manager and the theme was a steakhouse. The upcharge was $10 per person. It was satisfactory but the steak was certainly no better than what was offered in the main dining room. Lunch was taken either ashore or in the Lido Restaurant & Grill. The quality was good as was the variety. This cruise was very port intensive, with only two days at sea out of twelve. For those ports where we docked in a remote location, Cunard provided a complimentary shuttle service into the center of town. This was certainly not expected as most cruise lines charge for such a service, but it was certainly welcomed! In almost all the ports we enjoyed lunch or at minimum some coffee/tea/soda at a cafe in order to take advantage of free internet. It's so much faster than what is offered on the ship. I'm not going to detail much on the ports, but I will let you know how we enjoyed each one ... Salerno. We booked a Cunard shore excursion to Pompeii. I was really fascinated with Pompeii and it was a great way to spend the day. Cunard did and excellent job with the organization of the entire tour. Highly recommended. Messina. We booked a Cunard transfer shore excursion to Taormina. Basically it was a motor coach ride to and from the small cliffside town of Taormina with free time once you are dropped off. Again highly recommended. Taormina is charming and picturesque. We enjoyed shopping, people watching, and lunch at an outdoor cafe. Santorini. One of my favorite Greek islands. We went into town on our own, taking the funicular up to the main town of Fira. We enjoyed some shopping, ship spotting, and an amazing lunch with a view to die for. Pretty much a prefect day in my book. Rhodes. Since we have been to Rhodes several times, we opted to walk the walled city on our own, again enjoying the sights and a lunch at one of the main squares of the old city. Kusadasi. We were here fairly recently and toured Ephesus. This is a must and we strongly considered going back for a 2nd look, but instead took it easy and strolled around the waterfront near where the ships dock. Athens. In that past we have toured Athens quite extensively, so again it was a light day of strolling around the port area of Piraeus. This is a great area for ship spotting if you're into that sort of thing. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus that circles Piraeus and another that goes into Athens itself. These are great options if you prefer to save a little money and have a bit more freedom to plan out your day. Both leave from the port area just outside where the ship docks. Corfu. We really loved Corfu. It's quite different from other Greek islands due to its location and the fact it's so green. It feels more like Italy to be honest. A free shuttle was offered into town but we felt like walking. We strolled around the waterfront and then into the city. Chris went to a "fish spa" where these little fish suck all the dead skin and calluses off your feet! It was an interesting experience for him and fun to watch. Dubrovnik. This was probably my favorite port of the entire cruise next to Venice. We took the free shuttle from the ship into the walled city and just spent the day exploring all the amazing sights this beautiful city has to offer. This is someplace I would truly like to return to for a week or more. Some of the cliffside hotels outside the walled city looked quite inviting. Ravenna. Probably the most disappointing of all the ports. The ship was supposed to overnight in Venice but due to port congestion the overnight was canceled and Ravenna was added in its place. The closest major city is Bologna and tours were offered there, but we were not interested enough to book one. The ship docks in a fairly industrial area and it's about a 30-40 minute ride into Ravenna itself. We were there on a Sunday and things were pretty quiet, but if you're into Mosaics then this is the place for you! Ravenna is quite famous for them and they are beautiful, but I would have preferred the overnight in Venice. Venice. We took a water taxi from the port area directly to our hotel which was really cool. I quite enjoyed the experience but be forewarned that water taxis are very expensive. Roughly 80 Euros for a 15 minute ride. Our hotel was the Westin Europa & Regina located right on the Grand Canal. We had a superior room facing the Grand Canal and I can tell you it's not a view I would ever tire of. I highly recommend the hotel and a visit to Venice in general. It's one of those places that really lives up to every expectation and perception and even exceeds them! From Venice we took a train to Milan and spent a night there before our flight home. I was disappointed in Milan as it lacks all the Italian character we came to enjoy in Venice, Salerno, Messina, and even Ravenna. We stayed at the Sheraton Malpensa which is actually connected to the airport. This is without question the most modern and luxurious Sheraton I have ever stayed in. Since the hotel is connected to the airport, it made catching our 9am flight to New York JFK quite simple. We flew home in Business Elite on Delta and it was a fantastic way to end a truly wonderful vacation. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this trip was nearly perfect in every regard. We loved the ship (including the food, service, and entertainment), the new friends we made, all the ports, and were treated to picture perfect weather. The logistics of getting to and from the ship went without a hitch, and spending some time in Venice at a truly gorgeous hotel helped ease the disappointment of having to part ways with the lovely QUEEN ELIZABETH. What I've found is the best way to get over a great vacation is to have another planned, and next up is ROYAL PRINCESS this coming Sunday! Please enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any questions. Ernie   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013

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