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57 Europe - All Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much less enjoyable and disappointing. Wouldn't have taken it if had known this fact. Scheduled for two days in Barcelona and left after first evening. Afternoon or morning on five other destinations. Also not clear on personal touring transportation option which were limited. If you promote a stop/city then don't have transportation for sell guided tours readily available very disappointing. Most excursions were good but a few tried to pack too much activity into too short a time in port. We have done numerous river cruises with Viking and self guided is a big plus. Ship was nice and having taken an Amazon cruise in December we were familiar with the ship offering. Staff was always pleasant and accommodating. New ship so facilities were good. Enjoyed the Restaurant and the World Cafe'. World Cafe' staff was solicitous to passengers compensating for self service format. Had two occasions in Resturant that staff wasn't good and reflected staff either overworked or focused on certain passengers Selection of items was good in the World Cafe'.. We were not fans of the Chiefs Table due to the presentation and selection of menu but that is just a personal choice. Heard lot's of compliments about Chiefs Table from others. Manfradi's was pleasant but often portions were too large. Also some staff more pleasant than others. Again just a personal choice and observation. Service was good so would recommend this to other travelers. Enjoyed Mamsens and Explorer Lounge. Staff was great and environment was great place to meet other travelers. Sorry that this cruise wasn't what we had hoped for. Compared to our Amazon Cruise with Viking, our first Viking Ocean Cruise, this was a disappointment. Undecided on future Ocean cruising with Viking but would recognize that they do a good job on board. Will always consider Viking River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was unnerving when the captain came on and said he didn't anticipate the weather. We were rocking bad ... 12 to 15 ft waves. I thought they could avoid those issues. Then the noro virus hit. We heard over half the passengers were quarantined ... and 200 crew. The captain came on and said anyone trying to leave their cabin would be removed from the ship!!!! Many of the staff were saying they had never seen it this bad. The food was less than appetizing and we spoke with one family who got food poisoning. The food was consistently repeated (tasteless and some seemed rotten). There was nothing high end other than the specialty restaurants. The entertainment tried, but it appears they just couldn't afford or didn't attempt to gather decent entertainment. There was nothing much to do all day with 6 days at sea. I was expecting activities all day. We ended up watching the same 4 movies the entire trip. They just kept repeating themselves. Even airlines have a better choice of movies. My friend (who was not sick) ... went to medical to purchase some Imodium (accidentally forgot it) and they charged her $219 for 10 pills. He never examined her, just sold her the pills. It appeared the crew was instructed not to discuss anything with passengers after a few days, and they began to get irritable (probably double and triple shifts). Dublin (beautiful city) was a horror trying to get off the ship. Six shuttles for over 1000 people. Nightmare!!! I would not recommend this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh ... Read More
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh bedding everyday. Kudos to Yu!!! Def didnt pack the right clothes! We needed warmer things incl jackets and sweaters. Even gloves! Cold and rainy and stormy across Atlantic and in most all ports except Cobh.Dining was ok. Love the Freestyle idea. Buffet was too crowded. By the time we found seating food was cold. Ate breakfast at OSheehans every day. Thank you to Steven- a customer service oriented server! Shows were soso. We enjoyed the shows on ship tv. Liars Club etc. The Pearl needs to work on excursion organization and esp tendering. We missed Dublin because of the tender ops. We had a fun time and will go again! Maybe on another NCL ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were ... Read More
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were closed or restricted. It was kind of a disaster. My wife and I didn't get sick and that was a good thing. Now the two excursions we were looking forward to Dublin Ireland and London England turned out to be a disaster too. In Dublin you tender from the port of Dun Laoghaire, if you see that don't book. Tendering process was terrible. We lost so much time in the process we didn't get what I paid for. In London we were at the port of Tilbury . Same thing terrible process to get off the ship. Wound up with maybe 3hrs. in London but was dropped off far from the main tourist areas. Didn't get what I paid for there. It was a mess ship times changed from what was listed. Now to be fair the excursions at Cork, Ireland Le Havre, France and Bruges,Belgium were great. The dining rooms and specialty restaurants were fine. The cabin was ok and the crew we came across were friendly and helpful and restaurant service was great. For my part this is the second NCL cruise in row were I have left a little disappointed. Maybe river cruising would be better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all ... Read More
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all had TA's scheduled to sail out of NYC. The Pearl was chosen since the first stop was in Ireland, a place we always wanted to see. Embarkation was out of Manhattan on pier 90, the Escape was docked at 88. I was expecting chaos at the terminal but it went unusually smooth, we arrived around 11 am and was aboard before noon. Since we booked the cruise under 60 days our first cabin was a GTY oceanview but working with a very good travel agent we were upgraded to a balcony along with no DSC as an added perk. Our cabin 9090 was a 4 person but I still don't know how. Everything was in working condition and clean. We did find the TV was just that a TV. We couldn't do anything else, seems strange that the ship was that backward with technology. Going down to the front desk and getting a print out of your account became a hassle since we found several items charged that shouldn't be, so going down every morning became a chore. Overall the ship appeared to be dated, Bliss lounge still had the leisure suit Larry feel to it, bowling alleys still there, no flow thru the bar central area ( had to snake around the bar stools and chairs ) and the crystal lights above the Atrium not working. Since we had this unwanted guest we avoided the MDR's for the first week and had our meals at the specialty restaurants. We found during the later half our cruise the food in the MDR's was subpar compared to the GEM. Pedro and his staff did a fantastic job, need to change up the liars club words and the newlywed show ( starting to get old ). NCL production shows above average, guest entertainers were also above average ( loved Bud and JP ). Since we had this unwanted guest, we watched the shows from the nose bleed section. Service at first seemed to be off, slow but as the cruise went along there appeared to an improvement. Because of the unwanted guest, the internet appeared to be really slow since a lot of the PAX remained in their cabins. Oh, the unwanted guest went by his nickname, Noro. Nobody ( except NCL ) really knows how many got sick, the captain and CD did mention that they were at stage #2 and they never have seen it this bad before. Stage #2 is the highest level of countermeasures ( paper menus, no salt / pepper at the tables, no self-serving at the buffet, ect. ) they use to contain the virus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather not bother me. Or even find fun in the 50 mPH winds with 30degree F wind chill. That’s Mother Nature and what can you do. Since we didn’t get sea sick it was almost calming feeling the sway. But unfortunately that was not the case for many. I feel we had an experienced captain who thinks it’s ok to threaten everyone that he will throw you off the ship if you don’t do what he says. I also feel that based on the fact that I heard the number of sick people by day 3 was 27 and by day 10 was over 1000 of the 2500 passengers. Even if it was your traveling companion sick you too were quarantined to your cabin. They ACTUALLY sent in these poor crew members dressed in hazmat type gear to clean up after these sick people. I’m very sure the cruise company made a lot of money by forcing people to see the ship doctor at $200 minimum a visit. Even room service is an extra charge at $7.95 per person if you use it and that is per time you use it. I was told Norwegian doesn’t like seeing dirty dishes in the hallways, so this stops people from ordering in the middle of night. So no dishes in hallways, but there were ALWAYS cleaning carts blocking halls. You are also not allowed to bring even a water bottle on board. The crew will happily make you pour it out. They lie and say it’s security like at the airport. But that is a lie. It’s to force passengers to do it one way only and that's to spend on Norwegian. This company is a bunch of people acting like Natzi’s and risking our lives from poor cleaning, poor security and a crew that liked to bully passengers. Even if an announcement was very very important they weren’t smart enough to have it in every room instead only in some. It’s their way of keeping the passengers in the dark. The excursion company that Norwegian used is more than awful. Plus in Dublin since my excursion was in the afternoon and you had to use your excursion tickets as your tender ticket, the Pearl crew would not let me off early to go into Dublin. Since my excursion was in the countryside, I didn’t get to see ANY of Dublin. They wouldn’t let us off the ship. People also got hurt on tenders due to not having caring staff helping people get on and off. If I hadn’t. Even there for my 80 year old mother I’m sure she would have fallen. I’m Le Havre the Security was a joke. The terminal staff left promptly at their end of shift regardless of people standing in line to get packages, purses and bags scanned, and for people to walk through scanners. Norwegian let more than 50 people just walk on like it didn’t matter. In FRANCE!! Are they kidding me. Even things like broken locks on doors to balcony’s didn’t matter. I reported my two locks broken 8 times. Nothing in mini fridge and was accused if asking for an empty mini bar. It took 5 days to get mini bar partially filled. Was told by cabin steward that no Diet Pepsi was available for mini bars but bar manager said it would be filled. I got used to three things being a constant comment from the guest relations staff. One-just lie, two, say you don’t know, and three just say no. Not one map of one town or any info was included in nightly program like on every other cruise line. This cruise line is cheap and even if you have a mini suite you get the same amenities as a inside cheaper room. Sure there are free packages for drinks but the tipping for two people on this so called free drink package was in excess of $550 total for 2. Then there is extra tipping on the so called free specialty restaurants. They just keep asking for more money and gave less quality, less everything! I probably would have saved by going on a more expensive cruise line then with all the nickel and diming Norwegian does. We were given one of those really small bars of soap for two people to share for 13nights. Even when it fell into pieces we weren’t given a new one. Many days we couldn’t even get a bath mat for the tub/shower. And forget getting more than one body, one hand and one wash cloth for towels per person. No way no how. Do not go on this line for any reason. Even though we were treated like crap and it was our first cruise with Norwegian, they treated people who had spent more than 150 nights traveling with them worse. What a horrible company!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no ... Read More
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no problems of this sort. The General Manager announced that there was a problem at the end of the Q&A by the Hotel Department and then they spent the rest of the trip trying to get the situation under control by increasing measures and restrictions. If it is true that this virus takes a day or two to show up, I can see why this was so difficult. Personally I didn't get sick and spent part of every day in my favorite area, the Bridge Viewing Room. In addition, I ate dinner most nights with the Solo Travelers Group in the main dining room and only one of them had gotten sick. I talked to a person from the cruise at the airport in Toronto after the cruise and she said that she was exposed to someone who was sick in her transportation from the airport before the trip and she was one of the folks who got sick early in the trip. Even if the original sick person had not been allowed to come on board, the others would have brought the illness on board. As a school teacher, we have similar problems with sick people exposing others and this is a tough problem to deal with any where. Another reviewer from this trip (someone who did get sick) had a very negative view of the measures that were taken to try to prevent the problem from spreading and also complained about the use of the ship's tenders in one of the ports. I think that it is good that the ships have to practice using their own tenders in case we actually need to use them in an emergency and didn't find the process tedious as was described by the person who didn't get the opportunity to see the historic port where we landed through the eyes of persons who were able to enter and land at this very interesting location. I feel bad for people who go on a TranAtlantic, North Atlantic cruise in the spring who didn't assume that they would encounter colder weather but had been sold on the trip as being a nice cheap two week cruise. My main reason for going on the TranAtlantic cruise was that I wanted to experience the crossing and am looking forward to going to Rome in October to take the Pearl's trip back to Miami, Florida. I really enjoy being on the Ocean and watching the weather and how the ship reacts to it as well as watching coming in and out of ports. I'm not one who enjoys "regular cruise ship activities" like hanging out at the pool or spas or going to the gym or shows but I really enjoy walking the outside decks and just being on the water and visiting the ports. I think that it is great that so many people can be on the same ship, taking the same cruise and all having very different and personalized experiences and think that is a great benefit of a cruise ship. The reason I only gave the trip a 4 is that there was a notable problem with passenger complaining and non compliance with reasonable requests made by the crew that then made it harder for the crew to not absorb some of their negativity and because some of the activities I had planned to do were cancelled due to the above listed illness problems. If I had known when I signed up to go what I know now, I definitely would have gone of this trip and am looking forward to a Rome to Rome trip on the NCL Pearl that I am doing this July as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on ... Read More
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on the ship. There was a couple there before us, the wife looked like death warmed over and we listened to them fill out a form of where they ate over the last 3 days. They went into the doctor's office first, when they came out the doctor gave the woman some pills and told them they were quarantined in their cabin. Then the doctor asked us in the office and placed my wife on the examination table, checked her out and then talked to us while we sat in the chairs in his office. The seas were pretty rough on the Atlantic... first time on the ocean... already got charged $180 from the doctor for the ankle... so when my wife got sick we presumed it was motion sickness - at least at the start. They forced us all to go through customs on the boat, called us large numbers forcing us to stand outside in the cold and waves - my wife threw up standing in line - good times. She got better, then I came down with it - I have never had sweat drip off my nose like that. The doctors quarantined me, we missed the first excursion (one of the few days without rain). While we were quarantined, the captain came on and told everyone if the were caught outside their room we would be kicked of the ship at the next port - then he repeated it in the same announcement. My first response was - this is our out!!! My second response was - sick people probably won't report themselves as being sick now. My biggest complaint is that they waited too long to get serious about the sickness (shutting down the gym, controlling the dining areas). For days after the quarantine you still won't enjoy food again - especially when you have to see someone else's puke on the floor in the dining room. The excursion disembarkation needed some help with planning - at the end of the day I wouldn't mind a 3 hour delay if I could have stayed in my room or grabbed some breakfast - imagine several hundred people waiting in a room, booing the cruise activity director as she asked them to please be patient (for the 40th time). The longest delay involved tethered boats. My wife and I finally got on the tethered boat and it was pretty frightening - big gaps as the boat separated away from the boat, raised higher than the step off landing, and dropped away from the step off landing. They helped us on the lifeboat then we were on our own - there was an older woman screaming in horror, I lost my footing and hit a corner with my shoulder (glad it wasn't my wife's head). A young Norwegian employee performed the sign of the cross and later put on a life vest (I got that on video). They ended up disconnecting the boat before it was full (separating one of the families) - they re-positioned the lifeboat on the other side of the ship to finish loading. There was a lot of pressure to get folks off that ship - but that was dangerous. The dude who cleaned our rooms was awesome - the folks who served us in the dining areas were great - customer service... not so much (they should plant some secret cruise testers to try to call the front desk from their rooms) Its not how low you go, its how far you fall - we were both so excited about our first cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC ... Read More
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC -> Cobh, Ireland -> Dun Laoghaire, Ireland -> Paris (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Ghent (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands Voyage 02: Northern Europe (14 Day) May 11th - May 25th, 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands -> Newhaven, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Invergordon, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Bergen, Norway -> Flam, Norway -> Hellesylt/Geiranger, Norway -> Giant’s Causeway Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom -> Dublin, Ireland -> Rouen (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Brugge (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands My words of wisdom for cruising with NCL: Don’t treat the crew like crap. The crew are people too. Check your onboard account daily. Listen to announcements and read the freestyle daily for information. History: I’m Platinum latitudes and this would be voyages 08 & 09 with NCL. I originally reserved this B2B voyage while I was on the Gem sailing (NY - Quebec, Sept 2018). Although I had this B2B under 1 reservation number, the Cruise Consulate was actually able to use 2 Cruise Next certificates to secure this booking. We had a previous good relationship as he also remembered me from previous voyages on the Breakaway. Originally I reserved an IB (Inside) category cabin for the 27 day voyage but I used 30,000 BoA NCL MC WorldPoints to upgrade to an OC Category cabin. Also at the time, since I booked an inside cabin I selected the 1 free offer of 4 speciality dining. I would complete the upgrade from IB to to OC as well as payments with my USAA TA. Once my upgrade was completed and I got my cabin assignment a bunch of things showed up in my account. That I didn’t expect, and I didn’t know what to make of it. What showed up is available in my (AMENITY INVOICE) An onboard spending credit of $200. Free $50 USD On-Board Credit Certificate Non -Refundable, QTY 2
Specialty Dining Package, QTY 2
Internet Package (250 Minutes or 1GB), QTY 1
Shore Excursions Promotional Credit, QTY 1
Latitude Reward program 30 min internet, QTY 2
120 Min Ship to Shore Phone Calls, QTY 1 In addition, I’m also an NCL Stockholder and I submitted my shareholder benefit application. $250 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 15 Days or More. $100 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 7 to 14 Days. However, on paper I received 2 ($100) on board credits instead of the $250 for a 27 day voyage. I called NCL to see if I could get the $250 credit but the person I spoke with said that their computer saw my reservation as 2 voyages although it was under the same reservation. He did also say that he would see what he could do when I ended the conversation. Built in 2006 and refurbished in 2017, this would be my 1st time on the Pearl, 3rd TA crossing and my 2nd east bound voyage and the last of all 4 of the Jewel class vessels in the NCL fleet (Jewel, Jade, Gem, Pearl). I would also be bringing along my Citizen Miami folding bike which I had done on previous voyages. Cabin review below. I found the food overall on this voyage to be very good. From the behind the scenes tour I found that they are on a 14 day rotating dinner menu. Typically I would start my day with breakfast in the Summer Palace MDR (4 juices (2 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 cranberry), oatmeal, then a rotating entree choice). For lunch I would vary having lunch in a different restaurant location. For Dinner I alternated every other day in a speciality restaurant or the MDR Indigo and dining only once in the Lotus Garden. The food wasn’t bad in Lotus Garden but it wasn’t Chinese either. I was telling my cousin who joined us for the 2nd voyage that I think most of the food is 10% authentic and 90% cruise ship, meaning that don’t really expect german food when they say it’s a german buffet or when it’s a specific theme night with the exception of the Indian food in the buffet which was really surprisingly really good. I found all the shows to be entertaining. The aerialists on board were my favorite. I did get to see the NCL Pearl’s main production cast of singers and dancers perform their main acts 3 or 4 times. If you are going to see the same show, for a different perspective I suggest sitting in a different location then you sat in from the previous show. I also brought this up with the Production manager during the ship tour on ships entertainment outside of the production cast seems to be broken down to: magician, juggler, comedian, musician or hypnotist. She agreed that seems to be the entertainment spectrum. The lecturer they had on board during the TA was to talk about Ireland but was not really that interesting but good try. This ship in general I found to be in good condition. There were no major areas of the ship that needed to be worked on and I did all kinds of wandering around the ship. For a quite space to watch over the water head up to the Sun Deck, Deck 14, starboard side of the ship, and can be access only by 1 staircase. To get to the Sun Deck start yourself at the rock wall on Deck 13 and follow along the starboard side while walking towards the front of the ship then go up the stairs at mid ship. This area doesn’t get used a lot. The other quite place on board the ship is Deck 11 Port side and forward which is the “Bridge Viewing Area”. The “Bridge Viewing Area” is the same location on all Jewel class ships in NCL’s fleet. April 28th, 2019 - Boarding in NYC There were also 2 other NCL ships in NYC that day (NCL Jade & Escape). I remember I was walking with my bike in the ship terminal when I got to the checkin desk and handed my documents over. I’ve previously gotten questions about the bike, but the person behind the desk asked me if he had rented me a car from Avis a week ago, which in fact he had done. This was his 2nd job. I thought that encounter remarkable. Boarding in NY (April 28th) went pretty smoothly and we ended up having lunch in the O’Sheehan’s. They also turned Lotus Garden in to a baggage storage area so I was able park my bike there until our rooms were ready. Boarding in Amsterdam (May 11th) was a huge mess for everyone but me and perhaps those others doing the back to back (B2B). The crew did this huge cleaning and sanitizing when the ship arrived to Amsterdam. But since I was on a B2B voyage and in the same room they gave me a B2B sticker so I didn’t have to do anything and just skipped the boarding process in the terminal. I didn’t even wait for the all clear for rooms to be ready as my room was the same room and it was already ready. My cabin steward as well as the cabin steward next to him knew what was up when they saw me. While my Aunt and cousin who were boarding the Pearl in Amsterdam did have to wait in line to check-in, after biking around Amsterdam and returning to the ship I went back to my room and took a shower and a nap. I did take anything they didn’t want to hold while waiting in line back to my cabin. I believe the crew took extra time cleaning the ship so there was a long delay in having all the rooms ready which was unfortunate but necessary. April 29th - May 04th, 2019 - Sea Days We had our CC M&G in the Bliss Lounge and it was a pretty good turn out. I also did the behind the scenes ship tour which included trips to the MDR, ship laundry and theater which was very entertaining and I also assisted with the slot pull. There was an outbreak of either AGE or Noro Virus on this 1st voyage but I didn’t catch it. I always used the hand sanitizers when ever possible or appropriate but from previous voyages I knew to do that before, hence why I don’t thin I got sick. By day 4, the ship did implement their upgraded containment procedures to keep passengers safer as people didn’t seem to either listen or take it seriously. As a result in the MDR, silverware, napkins and menus were brought to the tables only after you sat down. In the buffet you could no longer server yourself, instead a crew member had to serve you the item, this included the beverage areas too. I didn’t have a problem with this. They were also able to do the immigration inspection for Ireland on day 5 in the Spinnaker lounge however on my previous TA crossing they did that too. Over the course of the voyage I also did as many activities as possible and like to think I came to know the CD staff on this voyage pretty well. CD Pedro & Assistant CD Tiara CD Staff: Paul (Transferred from the Jade on April 28th), Cathryn, William, Gabby, Firat, Monica, MariAnna, Taz, Tracy, MariAnna, Katerina (on 2nd voyage which was her very 1st voyage), Facia (on 1st voyage but not 2nd) and Yasmine By random chance, I kept on running in to Captain Paul at dinner in the speciality restaurants, he and his party kept being seated at the table next to mine. Captain Paul von Knorring now calls Florida home but is originally from Helsinki, Finland. On the 2nd to last day of the 2nd voyage in Zeebrugge (May 24th) I ran in to Captain Paul on land. Captain Paul was with his wife and they were dressed like any other tourist from the ship but we recognized each other right away. Captain Paul remarked that he was impressed to just find out that I had brought my bicycle with me all this time. On May 05th, upon arrival to our first destination Cork, Ireland, I had booked a NCL ships excursion to visit Blarney Castle. It was a good excursion and yes I did kiss the Blarney stone. That all being said the next day, I was going over my onboard account and noticed that I got double the Shore Excursion Credit ($50 * 2) for the excursion. I couldn’t figure out why that happened. But then it happened again in Lehavre, France (May 08th) and again in Zeebrugge, Belgium (May 10th) for the NCL excursion. So even if the excursion was less then $100, NCL still gave me $100 per excursion. Unfortunately that was only on the 1st voyage. On the 2nd voyage I think the Shore Excursion people caught on to that mistake and only gave me the regular single $50 credit for each NCL excursion. Towards the end of the 2nd voyage, I stopped by and asked the shore excursion people why I was getting double shore excursion credit on the previous voyage and they also couldn’t figure out why but left the double credit in place. My ending balance on the 1st voyage was around -$223.40 and I was worried that negative balance wouldn't transfer to the next cruise so I went to the casino and charged $195 to my onboard account. The casino charges 3% for the transaction but I ended up winning an additional $130 playing ultimate texas holdem so that worked out. On May 06th we were in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, which is a suburb of Dublin. This was a tender port and May 06th happened to also be a holiday (Mayday). I had nothing planned that day but I did have my bike. I had been to Dublin in May 2017 and also planned to visit Dublin on our next voyage (May 20th). But I’d never been to Dun Laoghaire before, so my plan was to ride around Dun Laoghaire on my bike. Apparently, while the ship was scheduled to arrive @ 8:00AM, people thought that they could get off at 8:00AM and as such began queuing up in the stairwell before 8:00AM. There were numerous, NUMEROUS announcements to not queue in the main stairwell and that they were also passing out tender tickets. I had gone to get one but being platinum I knew that I didn’t need one, but I also knew that I should not try to be the 1st one off of the ship. No one that was standing in the main stairwell paid any attention to any of the announcements from CD Pedro nor did they follow any of the instructions from NCL staff present. Around 10:00AM I went to have a look at the main stairwell, walking up from deck 5 to deck 7 and found the queue which began on deck 4 and went all the way up to deck 7 and then extending towards the Lotus Garden both impressive and disturbing. While I didn’t count, it was literally wall to wall people compressed together trying to be the first off. I think each tender will hold 100 people and each tender takes 1 hour to complete it’s journey. You can do the math. What I realized was that for tendering operations NCL will give priority disembarkation in the following manner: 01) NCL Ships excursions
02) Haven guests
03) Gold and above latitude members 04) General Tender ticket holders (01 - 50) 05) Anyone Rather then wait in a queue on the stairs I just did normal stuff (breakfast and then trivia @ 9:15AM) until I heard the announcement that (Anyone) could get off which was around 11:00AM. I believe and understand that for the majority of the people on this voyage that: - they were unaware this would be a tender port, - they were unaware this would not be in Dublin city, - this was there only chance to visit Dublin, - they had booked their own shore excursion and were planning on meeting their guid/group at a certain time, - it was a 30 minute tender trip from the Pearl to land and then 30 minutes to get from land back to the Pearl I too was also unaware that May 06th was a holiday (Mayday), or that every tender from the Pearl was required to also have a local escort for each tender from the Pearl to the harbor and then escort the tender back out of the harbor. At 11:00AM I heard the announcement from CD Pedro that I could get off so I went back to my cabin, got my bike and changed to my riding gear. By 11:15 I was on a tender with my bike and by 12:00PM I was on land and riding around Dun Laoghaire. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire. I followed the heritage trail to the James Joyce Tower and Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce_Tower_and_Museum which also happened to be free admission that day so I went in and up. I then rode on to the Obelisk on top of, Killiney Hall Park http://archiseek.com/2014/1742-obelisk-killiney-hill-co-dublin/ On my way back to the harbor from the Obelisk, I stopped at a red light when a huge group of hundreds of cyclists passed by me. They were all on a family fun ride so I just joined them and they ended up showing me the bike paths of Dun Laoghaire which happen to run parallel to the train tracks. 4 hours later I was back at the tender pickup point. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. I had a very good time on this 1st voyage but a great time on the 2nd voyage. There was a lot of negative energy on the 1st voyage. There were many also many sea days. On the 2nd voyage that included a similar itinerary but aded 4 stops in Norway the negative energy that was present on the 1st voyage seemed to have gotten off in Amsterdam and we had really perfect weather for every stop on the 2nd voyage. There were also very few sea days. Our only tender port on the 2nd voyage was in Edinborough, Scotland (May 13th) but that went smoothly as they were using tenders from the port and it also wasn’t a holiday. I got a lot of use out of my bicycle on both voyages and highly recommended you giving bringing a helmet and bicycle on your next voyage. Holland America is the only line that has a ban on all bicycles. Our one bad NCL ships excursion was in Rouen (Le Havre), France where it would have been much better if the guide had provided or used a microphone and wireless headset system as they had been used in the other ports. Lastly, since I’m platinum I’m entitled to a free bag of laundry, per voyage. However on my 2nd voyage I needed to go down to the front desk to have them correct the laundry charge for that voyage. In general I had a great time. The 2nd voyage was better then the 1st and I really enjoyed most of the destinations we went to and would do it again. The crew did a fantastic job and it’s always good to see relatives that I don’t get to see often. If you have any questions, please feel free to look up my account and see in which topic I’ve posted to recently and write me a msg there. Remember if you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Safe travels! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Why this cruise? I enjoy sea days more than port days and was excited to take my first Transatlantic Crossing (13 days from NYC to Amsterdam, with 7 sea days) on Norwegian. This would also mark my first cruise with NCL, to whom I was ... Read More
Why this cruise? I enjoy sea days more than port days and was excited to take my first Transatlantic Crossing (13 days from NYC to Amsterdam, with 7 sea days) on Norwegian. This would also mark my first cruise with NCL, to whom I was attracted by the many consecutive sea days, ports of call, Free Style Dining, Deal or No Deal Game Show, attractive rate, and that it left from NYC, where I live. I booked via a travel agency and did not qualify for any perks based on my category/rate (Inside Guarantee). This cruise also marked my introduction to Cruise Critic, where I spent many hours pre-cruise reading forums and tips, as well as interacting with others in my Roll Call. I was delighted to connect with others from the Cruise Critic Roll Call and ended up having lots of fun at the events which were hosted by other CC members: Meet and Greet, Slot Pull, Cabin Crawl, Specialty Dining with a new friend (Thanks, Jo!), and even a fantastic excursion to Mont St. Michel in France which was not offered by NCL (Thanks, Cherie!). NCL Supplements I added: * 3-Meal Specialty Dining Package (booked pre-cruise). Were I to travel with NCL again, I would add this again. * 250 Internet Minutes (booked pre-cruise). Were I to travel with NCL again, I would add this again. Next time, however, I would use the wisdom gleaned from a fellow traveler: answer emails in an offline word processing document and then connect to the internet when the response is ready to send...a much better use of the precious internet minutes! * Thermal Suite Pass (booked on embarkation day) Based on my experience, were I to travel with NCL again, I would NOT add this again. Dining I used my 3-Meal Dining Package at Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro, and Teppanyaki; I did not dine in Moderno or La Cucina. I eat a lacto/ovo/pescetarian diet and was able to enjoy a variety of options on-board. Of the three specialty restaurants I dined in, I enjoyed the food at Le Bistro the most, though all three were good and the package price was more affordable than dining purely a la carte. Incidentally, as a solo traveler, I was able to book dining reservations for 1 person pre-cruise at Cagney's and LeBistro, but not at Teppanyaki. I was able to make a reservation for 1 person for Teppanyaki on Embarkation Day at the Restaurant Reservations Desk immediately after boarding. I ate one lunch in the Lotus Garden (which was fine, but not exceptional) and all of the other meals in the Garden Cafe (buffet), O'Sheehan's, or the Summer Palace. I did not dine in Indigo, though Summer Palace evidently shares the same kitchen and an identical menu to Indigo’s. Overall, the food everywhere was good, and I was glad I had peppered in some Specialty Dining to add more variety to the dining. (I have cruised on Celebrity in the past and their cuisine was definitely on a higher par with more subtle seasonings, more "quality" selections etc, but the prices are also higher, so you get what you pay for. :) ) As a vegetarian-ish diner, I found it annoying that veggie burger patties could only be gotten in the Garden Cafe/buffet, instead of also at the Great Outdoors Grill or Topsiders Grill, where burgers were the mainstay, but it ended up being that both of these venues were closed much of the time because of weather and/or the virus which was spreading during this cruise. I know that other vegetarians had issues with the Garden Cafe’s grill simultaneously sharing cooking space for both meat products and veggie burgers, or there not being a large variety of vegetarian options, but for my needs, there was plenty of variety (from fresh fruits and veggies to vegetarian Indian cuisine to roasted vegetables, etc.) and I chose not to focus on the "mixed" aspect of the grill itself. I really enjoyed the concept of Free Style Dining, which ended up being my favorite aspect of cruising with NCL. A few times when dining solo, I offered to share my table with other diners or was invited to share theirs, and ended up meeting some great folks along the way. Activities and Issues The rating-lowering factor for me regarding this cruise was, in a word, communication, or rather the lack thereof. For example, the ship hosted a Solo Traveler's Dinner each night, but, on the first night of these dinners, there was no manifest printed out (to indicate which rooms housed solo travelers) and subsequently the staff were "surprised" that nearly 50 Solos showed up when they were "expecting 2-5 people." Although only around 30 people ended up dining with the Solos the first night, many others stopped by, witnessed the chaos, and never came back on subsequent nights, even though the ship eventually provided a dedicated host for the dinners, as well as a separate dining area. On this first night, it took over 3 hours for several of us to receive our 3 course dinner. Had the actual number of Solo Travelers been communicated to the hosting department and the restaurant beforehand, this debacle could have been avoided. Following this initial Solos Dinner (before there was a plan for an ample reservation or separate dining space for the Solos), I went to Guest Services to talk about the experience. The response from Guest Services was not one of empathy, but literally, "Who told you to come here? This is not our issue." When I asked to whom I should be speaking instead, I was told, "Cruise Staff." When I asked if the Cruise Staff had a desk to go talk to someone, I was told, "No. This is the only Service Desk." So, I asked if there was someone from Cruise Staff with whom I could talk. I was told, "No one is available because of the game show, but someone will contact you from the Cruise Staff by 9 AM tomorrow." No one contacted me the next morning, nor ever throughout the duration of the cruise, despite several written followup requests left at Guest Services in the GM's comment box. This was Day 2 of the trip and a perfect example of the old adage: "You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression." I attended all four days of Deal or No Deal (the 5th Day was cancelled because they were "not selling enough game cards to justify the expense of the license for the game show") and had a great time each day. For $25, you got to play two separate games in conjunction with the person who was selected to be on stage, with a chance at winning from $.01 to $1,000 (if selected to be onstage) or from an "Instant Win" Pull Tab all the way up to $5,000 or a Caribbean Cruise for 2 (if playing along in the audience with your game card). Although I only ended up winning $3 on $100 in spent over the 4 days, I definitely had $97 worth of fun along the way! Also, for what it's worth, most Bingo games carried costs of $39 for the least expensive card packet with a possible win of $150 versus the $25 Deal or No Deal cards, with their much higher prize payouts. Although I attended a couple of the other game shows on-board, I found the sense of humor of some of the hosting Cruise Staff or Guest Judges to be "mean," making fun of the guests who were participating instead of having fun, but not at a guest's expense. After I observed this a few times, I stopped going to the other contests and game shows, with the exception of Bingo on the final Sea Day. Even being told by the hosting Cruise Staff to "boo" a fellow contestant who is getting close to a Bingo seemed somewhat mean-spirited and off-putting to me. Everyone is there to have fun and that fun doesn’t need to come at another’s expense. I attended the violinist’s show, as well as both the "regular" and "adult" versions of the comedian's show. Both of these acts were fun and entertaining. Having watched snippets of the other acts on the ship's TV channel, I opted to skip those, in favor of the movies in the Atrium or in my room instead. The selection of movies in the Atrium (and also available complimentary on the stateroom TV) was great, though there were never enough chairs available, and Guest Services was often talking too loudly in the background to make the experience wholly enjoyable. I did write a comment card suggesting more chairs be added based on attendance, and though some chairs were added a few nights, there were still less seats than viewers in the Atrium throughout the cruise. As has been mentioned in other reviews, this was the cruise where the A.G.E. Virus (a variety of Norovirus) was spreading after only a day or two at sea. I commend NCL and their hard working staff for taking the measures that they did to contain the virus, including eliminating self service in the buffet, providing paper menus and cutlery only after being seated, propping open restroom doors in public areas, continually washing the hallway walls and handrails, constantly reminding passengers about hand washing, and quarantining sick passengers as necessary. However, I was disappointed and frustrated by other containment measures which lacked communication and empathy from the staff and management. For example, supposedly only 100 passengers (most of whom are represented by couples in the same cabin) are sold the Thermal Suite Pass. Purportedly, in an effort to contain the virus, the cold plunge pool, hot tubs, and large pool in the Spa were closed and/or emptied of water on several days (not including the rough sea days when they could not keep water in the pools because of the ship's rocking), the steam room would be intermittently closed, and even the dry sauna was closed periodically too, leaving only the 7 heated lounge chairs available to enjoy (as well as non-heated, regular lounge chairs). While I sincerely appreciated the efforts to contain the virus and maintain guest and staff health, these measures could have easily been communicated to the 100 guests who had purchased the Pass (again, most of whom were in the same cabin thereby representing even less than 100 explanations). Instead, the Spa Manager was never available for a conversation or explanation, nor did she respond to a written request for the same. In fact, though I went to Guest Relations and also completed the Dear Cary (GM of Hotel Operations) comment card asking for some communication several times, I never received a response from anyone on the ship during the 13 day cruise. Apparently due to the virus, eventually the gym, library, game room, etc. were closed, as well as several scheduled events. Unfortunately, instead of closures like this being clearly communicated over the intercom system or via a letter left in the stateroom, it was often indicated by a note posted on the door of the facility. Then, when the hot tubs and pool in the Spa were closed "because of the virus" (with no notification to the 100 guests who had Passes), strangely the hot tubs available to the entire ship on Deck 12 were open and available. Furthermore, the Casino, where you can’t not touch a machine in order to play, remained open throughout the cruise. Contradictions like this, with no explanation, made it feel like "the virus" became a convenient way to avoid communication with the guests. And, again, if ANYONE had been communicating or showing empathy for the guest experience, this would not have been an issue and would have created a much better overall experience. I did eventually hear from Guest Relations, about a month after writing a complaint, six weeks after the cruise ended. NCL’s form tells you that you can expect a response within 15 Business Days. Thankfully, another traveler reported that they had inquired post cruise about the delayed response from NCL Guest Relations, and evidently, they were backlogged with issues from this cruise and would not be responding until closer to 30 days. BUT EVEN THAT illustrates my point: the delay and its reasons could have been COMMUNICATED by NCL to any pending claimants, but was not. Had it not been for that other cruiser sharing the information in our Roll Call, many might still be wondering what is/was going on. Hospitality is about making guests feel acknowledged (at the least) and appreciated (when done well). And a cruise is supposedly about hospitality, not just transportation from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, my experience was soured enough by the lack of communication that I ended up returning the Cruise Next Deposits I had purchased, 30 days after purchase, at which point I had still not heard from Guest Relations following my post-cruise written comments. At the end of the day, though there were certainly aspects of the cruise I enjoyed, NCL's lack of ANY direct communication until six weeks after the cruise left me feeling like they are unconcerned with genuine customer care...and that experience is definitely below “Average” or, using the CC rating system, “Poor.” For these reasons, it is unlikely that I will recommend NCL, nor am I likely to spend my money to travel with NCL again. Ports/Excursions Cobh, Ireland I took the local train from Cobh to Cork where I had reservations for a Free Walking Tour. The suggested tip amount was roughly $10/person/hour so I paid 20 Euros for what ended up being an excellent, informative, 2-hour walking tour. Dublin, Ireland (Port of Dun Laoghaire) Particularly in Dun Laoghaire where tenders were used to reach shore, many people missed their non-NCL excursions. I met a local friend here; no excursion. I had a tender pass for Group 8 and was able to join the tender around 10:30am, arriving into Dun Laoghaire around 11am. Le Havre, France Based on what happened to travelers in Dun Laoghaire who did not have excursions booked via NCL and ended up missing their excursions, I was grateful that the excursion I had planned via some CC organizers for Mont St. Michel was not pre-paid in case we were delayed. This excursion was not offered by NCL and was a highlight of the trip for me. The travel time to/from the Mont in Normandy was about 2.5 hours each way, and the climb up to the Abbey atop the island and the ensuing tour was fascinating. Following the tour, there was time for a quick lunch/short shop in the village below. This full day excursion was well worth the trip and as promised, our guide had us back to the ship in time for departure. Many thanks again to Cherie from our CC Roll Call for arranging this wonderful trip! Tilbury (London), England Having been to London on another visit to the UK, I decided to explore nearby Gravesend, just across the river from where we were docked, and accessible via a water shuttle for a nominal fee. Highlights of the visit included antique shopping, seeing the Pocahontas Statue, having authentic fish and chips at one establishment, followed by classic afternoon tea at another. Zeebrugge, Belgium I ended up taking public transportation (tram first, then train) from Zeebrugge to Bruges. The round trip cost for both was slightly less than the 20 Euro shuttle which was available near the port. Highlights of the trip included taking photos of the quaint medieval city itself and feasting on chocolates at Chocolatier Dumon, The Chocolate Story, and other chocolatiers. Amsterdam, Netherlands I stayed for 2 nights following the cruise at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton. I selected this location because I could book via Hilton Honors Points and because it was walkable from the cruise ship terminal and also to the main train station (to get to the airport for the return flight home). While in Amsterdam, highlights included the Free Walking Tour: Classic version, the Anne Frank House Tour, and the Houseboat Tour. Purchase tickets to the Anne Frank House before the cruise, as this self guided tour sells out quickly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was a standard veranda. It was nicely appointed and comfortable. We liked the world cafe for dinning. It had a wide variety of foods each meal. The restaurant was very good. Similar food to that served in the world cafe. We ate once in the chef’s table. The service and food were excellent. Great wine selection. Service on the ship was excellent. All the staff did their best to make our cruise comfortable. There was an issue with the ship staying in barcelona overnight so we had to move down the coast. This caused several of the shore excursions to be canceled or you had to ride a bus back for the excursion. The excursion to london required an 1.5 hour bus ride each way along with a ride around the highlights of city. Too much time on the bus and not enough time on foot at a destination. The foodie walking tour in copenhagen was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary ... Read More
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary for this trip has been a cultural smorgasbord. From Spain through Italy and Greece, through Jordan and the middle east to Dubai and the Arab rich. Oman to see more rich Arabs then India to see hoards of people and the chaos of Mumbai. Cochin was more laid back and less crowded but still had the chaotic flavor of how they do things in India. Malaysia and Singapore complete the banquet with South East Asia cultures of two distinct sub flavors. This has been a great banquet and the ship is aptly named as the Spectrum of the Seas. The ship itself is a marvel. Being brand new it was fun to participate in the maiden voyage. Lots of swag handed out by the various departments, some of it even useful like the drinking mugs. Throughout the ship, they have invested in interesting art and some spectacular lighting. Technology is heavily used, for the most part, quite successfully. The journey is smooth and quiet and the ship purrs along at some 21 knots without breaking a sweat. For a ship this size, I am amazed at how small the wake is. On deck, there are many deck chairs. Not so many that provide a shady seat for everyone but lots of them anyway. There are still many people who ignore the “No Saving” rule and leave their possessions on the seat while they take an hour for lunch. The ship's propaganda says that the deck staff will remove your possessions after 30 min. of no occupancy. Never saw it happen. But is was not really a problem. Nowhere on the ship are you pressured to buy drinks. Bars are plentiful as are the bar waiters. They even have mobile bars that patrol the upper sundecks. The ship can sleep almost 5000 passengers if you put more than 2 people in all of the rooms designed for that. We had some 3700 on the first leg I think. Even with all of that, the ship does not seem crowded. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well at all ports. In fact, surprisingly well. To get that many people off the ship and onto the 50 or so tour buses waiting for them seemed to go smoothly from our perspective. The quality and variety of the entertainment was great. We enjoyed every show and some of them were exceptional. There are many “out there” activities available to do. Things like the climbing wall, the surfing wave, the North Star crane that lifted you up 100 feet and out over the side of the ship to get a unique view of the ship, the I Fly sky diving tube that allowed you to be a skydiver no more than 4 feet off of the ground, the Seaplex where you could play pickle ball, soccer, basket ball, do laser tag, and ride bumper cars. We especially liked the bumper cars. They also had something called the sky pad where you hooked bungy cords to yourself and bounced on a trampoline, all the time wearing virtual reality goggles. There was table tennis, fencing, and many forms of dancing available to learn. They had 3 different lecturers onboard, one to talk about our destinations, one to talk about the internet for fun and profit, and one to talk about crime and psychology things. So, all in all, never a dull moment. Both our inside and our balcony cabin were extremely well laid out. Maybe the best we have ever experienced. There seems to be a massive cleaning staff on board and they did their job very well both inside and out. And all of the staff were very friendly and very obliging. Many of them went out of their way to deal with your question or problem. The food has been great and easily available. The Windjammer, (the Lido deck on other cruises), was a very well laid out set of food islands where the variety seemed endless. A bit hectic during the prime meal times but easily manageable if you watched where you were going with your plateful of food. The Main Dining room was great and we had some terrific serving staff. There were several other places around the ship where you could get some snack food should you feel the need. The chocolate chip cookies were especially appreciated. The use of technology on board was good. The elevators seemed to perform flawlessly and, for the most part, had very tolerable wait times. Interactive displays at various points around the ship helped you get around. You had access, for free, to a phone app that let you do several things like find out what was on for entertainment, check out the times for various activities, learn what food outlets were available at that very moment in case you were hungry, you could reserve a spot at particular activities and events so there was no line up problem, you could bring up a map of the ship deck by deck to find out where you were and where you really needed to be, you can load up your calendar so you know what you are supposed to do at any given time, and you could check on your account amount right up to the minute to find out how big the sticker shock would be. To do all of this, you were allowed free access to the ship's WIFI but were limited to just this app. Things I would like to see added to this app are: Text messages between passengers, location of passengers so it would actually give you a path to where you wanted to go like the interactive displays do, a way to leave messages for appropriate ship staff, and maybe even order drinks to be delivered to wherever you are. All in all, this ship is great. THE BAD It's difficult to be totally objective here because of my culture, previous experiences and general expectations. Others may see things differently. That being said, here is what I would put in the “Bad” category. The Bionic bar where two robot arms mix and serve you a variety of drinks chosen from a tablet at your table. Interesting once, technically amazing, but boring and avoided in the future. I like talking to the bar and wait staff. I don't really need my drinking automated. While there are many deck chairs on the sundeck, they are too close together and also roped together at the back so that you can't move them around or out of the way. This is a nuisance. Even though I was able to un rope a few occasionally, they were tied together the next day. If we had super high winds and/or rough seas, I would understand this but such was not the case. Maybe they will untie them or mean to untie them in the future but so far, it hasn't happened. Of all things, we found the seats in the theater uncomfortable. Maybe it was us and our butt shapes and the seats we chose but by the end of the performance, I had butt ache. There seems to be 8 specialty restaurants on this ship. That, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it costs significant coin to eat there. In my expectations, I get the finest food and the finest treatment in the Main Dining room. I don't like to feel that the really good stuff is available elsewhere. For a fee. I realize this is a trend in the industry but the prices for that on this cruise are out of line. Speaking of costs, the drink prices on board seem very high. Yes, there is a drink of the day but there are no happy hours. Yes you can buy a drink package but you would have to drink like a fish to make it pay. For 30 days. And both stateroom members. For us, this would have added some $3900 CDN to the price of the cruise. No thanks. The cruise line brags about the fastest Internet at sea. It may be, but it is expensive. I get it that some people feel they must be totally connected and able to stream movies for their entire trip. The cost of doing that for 30 days would approach $1000 CDN. What I need and probably others need is 10 minutes of access every 3 or 4 days. This is not available. It should be. It is on other ships. Even if they charged an a la carte rate of $10 per hour, that would work fine for us. Again speaking of costs, rumour has it that many of the activities we have now at no charge will carry a fee when the ship reaches Shanghai. For example, I heard, with no validation, that they are going to charge $60 for a ride on the North Star. It simply isn't worth it. I suppose the price will find its own level depending upon the market it is in. Before I move on , I need to set the cultural stage a bit. This ship is designed for the Asian market. It is different than the market I am used to, that being mainly Western. So what I find bad, perhaps is because it is culturally a problem for me. In the Asian market, gambling far exceeds the drinking urge. In fact, the bar staff will be reduced by 50% when the ship goes “Full Asian” when it hits its base in Shanghai. The Casino is extra large and will have a “Golden Room” for the high rollers. The reason for the high priced shops on board will become more apparent as the ship gears up for the “Crazy Rich Asians”. Now, you cannot buy basic toiletries like toothpaste but you can buy Asian cough medicine for $111 USD. So I get it. I get it that the first language on board will be Chinese. I get it that all the signs on board are in English and Chinese. I get it that there are a lot more Asian food offerings. I get it that the entertainment will cater to the Asian market rather than to the Western. All this is well and good and I commend it. However, without getting too specific, there are two areas of what seems to be Asian culture that the ship might want to address by additional signage. One is spitting. The lovely and well used communal washbasins outside of Windjammer are not spittoons and spitting off of your balcony is unfriendly at best. And toilets in the public ladies room are to be sat on, not squatted on where you can't aim properly. Perhaps I over step. Apologies, I don't mean to offend. And finally, THE UGLY There are only two things that I think qualify for my “ugly” designation. Neither of them are the fault of the ship and its staff. Rather, these are Royal Caribbean policies determined by Head Office. The first is what we experienced as back to back cruisers. In the Main Dining room, we had a table of 6 people with whom we had bonded and become friends with. So to with the great wait staff. At change over to the second leg, they assigned us all to different tables. New people, new wait staff. This was done by head office at the last minute. We protested as did many others caught in the same situation. But head office had determined that they needed to accommodate those getting on in Dubai at the dis-accommodation of those already on board. To head office, we are just names. Need a table for 10? Take the table for 6 and the one for 4 and combine them; shove those people somewhere else. Our protests resulted in at least being re united with our new friends but we learned from the dining room staff that this was a common occurrence with head office and that they had told them repeatedly about it to no avail. It happens every trip and the dining room staff has to scramble to address the problems it creates. The staff were very apologetic and we received a bottle of wine and 6 lobster tails by way of showing this. (Normally, you have to pay for the lobster dinner.) The second ugly item is more critical to us. As a matter of fact, it is a deal breaker. This issue alone will discourage me from travelling Royal Caribbean again. It is this. RC has started classifying passengers and has created at least 3 different “statuses”. Now I am in favour of all the loyalty benefits that I can get. If I travel a lot with one cruise line, I like to get rewarded in return for my loyalty. I like getting the perks that are available. Things like drink and meal packages, internet access, free laundry, free drinks in my stateroom, perhaps priority boarding or a cabin upgrade. All these are great. And none of them take away from what the rest of the passengers are getting. RC sees it differently. They have created significant prime areas of the ship which are for the exclusive use of the few. We can't go there. They have created special reserved seating in the best seats in the theaters. We can't sit there. They have special deck space, pools, lounges and dining rooms where the privileged can hang out away from the rest of us. I do not know what percentage of the ship has been taken away but it is significant. Why would someone want to join a ship of 4000 passengers so that they can be alone with 200? This is a backward step in cruising in my opinion. And I know there will be those who totally disagree with me. As is your right and privilege. I sincerely hope you enjoy all of your future cruises on Royal Caribbean. I will likely be on another cruise line. I remember my early days in cruising when everybody was made to feel like they were first class passengers. Now, we can't help but feel we are somehow less valued. Maybe this retrograde step will permeate throughout the industry. I hope not. Did I still enjoy this cruise? Of course. Did I let this dividing of passengers get to me? I tried not to but perhaps failed a little. But if it signifies a trend, then I want to speak out. We all saw how things turned out on the Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave ... Read More
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave a small carbon footprint when travelling. I enjoy travelling with older people or retired people. They make for better conversation. The group on this trip was smaller and it made the ship less crowded. The shore activities were great but quite costly. Dining was good with a good buffet and menu in the evenings. The ship does not include wifi and I did not know this beforehand. It cost NOK 1600 for wifi throughout the cruise. It was an unforeseen cost. There should be more clarity on that . I also prefer an all inclusive full board which should include tips etc. No surprises. I loved the entertainment. It was heartfelt and interesting Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a last minute booking. Oceana is perhaps smaller than her sister ships but she is friendly & her crew seek to look after the passengers. I have to say having read a few of the preceeding reviews I really do wonder just people ... Read More
This was a last minute booking. Oceana is perhaps smaller than her sister ships but she is friendly & her crew seek to look after the passengers. I have to say having read a few of the preceeding reviews I really do wonder just people expect, the crew are fantastic, the food good to very good and the overall experience excellent. We flew from B’ham having travelled from the SE and waved goodbye to our bags to be reunited with them once onboard. Boarding and checkin was very efficient and we were in our cabin within 30 mins of getting off the coach at Valetta Cruise Port. Our bags were with us within a further 10 mins. Food was good to very good, but always a good choice and the waiting staff attentive and as the cruise went on becoming friends in our adventures. One evening my wife and I were doused in baileys from a passing waiter and the immediate response could not have been better. Accidents happen and the issue is how they are resolved, thank you everyone, you did yourselves proud in this respect. Entertainment was variable but I expect no more, when at home we select what we go and see. We did the same onboard and enjoyed the piano recitals, the sax player, but were less enamoured with the Headliners group who whilst enthusiastic lacked polish in some areas. That said many did enjoy these show and we do not feel that we have been shortchanged due to our preferences. A highlight was the art shop, the display changed regularly and there were some interesting pieces, so much so we now have one hanging at home. Overall, the ambiance is good, we are not great ones for sitting around the pool and listening to the music but there are plenty of other spaces on the upper decks to go and enjoy the sun. Many thanks all, we appreciated all your effort and enjoyed our time with you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss ... Read More
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss having a balcony.... Freedom dining good in Saffron or Cinnamon and other options good for cover charge - Sindhi -Indian/Thai and The Glass house for seafood.... Entertainment patchy but some excellent - e.g Mark Walker but other options rather lack lustre. Service good generally - excellent cabin steward and spa staff good, as are,bar and restaurant staff... Excursions also patchy but Gaudi tour excellent Staff paid commission only on drinks and disclosure of bullying by member of spa staff, juxtaposed,with huge,price,hikes for 2019, Dumbing down in terms of customers including hogging of sun beds and poor supervision of children -,signage not observed in terms of not jumping in pool,and poor behaviour in dining rooms DOUBT IF WOULD GO AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the ... Read More
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the educational experience matched our needs. Now Viking has re-invented the ocean cruise experience and delivered beyond our expectations. The ship is perfect. It had the right number of passengers. The open areas were spectacular. The food was terrific. The room was luxurious. The ability to be with a group balanced with being in a quiet one on one area was perfect. The crew addressed our every need. In conversations with them you know that Viking was treating them well and they were loyal to the company. The educational programs was outstanding. Dr Laurie gave us unbelievable insights. The cruise director was informative, engaging and funny. Matching the route to historical events was enlightening and enriching. It seems that every attention to detail really made a difference. We highly recommend this ship and diving back to the ocean cruising experience. Now we can go beyond the rivers and venture back to the seas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Facilities were poor. Smoking areas were a joke and people were treated like "the great unwashed". Eventually after a Petition was set up the Captain provided a covered smoking area (weather was not very good). They ... Read More
Facilities were poor. Smoking areas were a joke and people were treated like "the great unwashed". Eventually after a Petition was set up the Captain provided a covered smoking area (weather was not very good). They announced it in the daily paper as an additional area, then proceeded to close the smoking area on the sunny deck Day time entertainment was very poor considering the weather, evening entertainment was not average but could have been so much better if nearly all the entertainment staff were not all their first cruise. They just did not seem to gel at all, they should have mixed it up a bit more. Poor standard of food, never ever warm never mind hot! Daily information about the ports was nearly non-existent, to the stage that a half-hour bus ride to a destination that was closed (bank holiday) was a total waste of time. A bit of a wash-out is the best way to describe it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I have been on several Viking River Cruises and have always found the staffs to be very warm, welcoming and inviting. The Viking Sun was no different. The entire staff went out of their way to make our voyage one of the most exciting of ... Read More
I have been on several Viking River Cruises and have always found the staffs to be very warm, welcoming and inviting. The Viking Sun was no different. The entire staff went out of their way to make our voyage one of the most exciting of a lifetime. Viking does it right! My husband and I were on the Viking Sun World Cruise for 4 months. Between the interesting ports of call, enrichment lectures, shore excursions and the dining options, I can honestly say that we never got bored. I can't say enough about the staff. They would go above and beyond to get you whatever you asked. Everyone on the staff was accessible, from the captain on down. In four months of dining aboard ship I can honestly say that I never walked away from a meal feeling disappointed. While we are not planning any further cruises in the near-term, you can be sure Viking will be the one we contact when we're ready to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Locations visited and length of cruise was perfect. The staff was exceptional, and the food was delicious and plentiful! The wait staff kept the wine glasses filled as requ at both lunch and dinner. Although we weren’t on the optional ... Read More
Locations visited and length of cruise was perfect. The staff was exceptional, and the food was delicious and plentiful! The wait staff kept the wine glasses filled as requ at both lunch and dinner. Although we weren’t on the optional drink plan, the wine selections were very good. It was a very comfortable journey...not rushed, and we enjoyed the actual cruise alng the rivers. Seeing the scenery of vineyards, small villages, old castles, windmills and large cities lit up at night was an unexpected delight and it was glorious. On our last evening in Budapest, the captain took the boat out on the river to see the glorious lighting on all the buildings. It was beautiful! Because of the smaller size and fewer passengers, we had time to meet, chat with and relax at the lunches and dinners with other guests. We would sit with some several times at both lunch and dinner, as well as see them on the daily walking tours. We exchanged contact information with some of them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We haven't cruised for nearly 30 years so it was interesting to see how cruising in general had changed. We chose this particular cruise and cruise line because of the ports of call and the timing. We decided that 10 nights was ... Read More
We haven't cruised for nearly 30 years so it was interesting to see how cruising in general had changed. We chose this particular cruise and cruise line because of the ports of call and the timing. We decided that 10 nights was enough for us and by night 10 we were right. We were told onboard by other passengers that this cruise was a 'repositioning cruise' so 'don't expect too much in entertainment'. We didn't know this but it was true. We were expecting more guest lecturers, workshops etc that we used to have in previous cruises but the only lectures or seminars were ones where the crew tried to sell things. Having said that we loved the cruise, the ship, the ports of call, the food....everything. The ship was very clean and impressive. Needs more signage though - kept getting lost. Our cabin - inside and low down the ship because of movement - was suitable for our needs. Great wardrobe space and very comfortable beds. No problem there. I liked the fact that we could chose 'anytime dining'. Some times we just had a bowl of soup from one of the cafes. We didn't join in with the formal nights but that's ok we just went to other places for dinner. Horizons was superb, loved the International Cafe for a great coffee and cake after a day's sightseeing and the other restaurants were top class. As I said, not much in the entertainment but we only had 3 'at sea' days and we just wanted to relax. The spa was great - I joined the thermal suite for the cruise and it gave me a place to relax away from the general population. Service was spot on. Everyone seemed to be genuine in their greetings and happy to be there. Excursions were a little on the shallow side and expensive for what they were. Many of them entailed a great deal of coach time to get to places - Rome, Florence and Paris - so that made for a rather long and exhausting day. Yes we are planning another cruise and yes we would cruise with Sapphire Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Crossing the Atlantic was on the NCL Jade very laid back comfortable way to cross the Atlantic . days passes quickly playing games , meeting people and all the other activities. Loved our quiet cabin on the 4 deck. Sea were calmer then I ... Read More
Crossing the Atlantic was on the NCL Jade very laid back comfortable way to cross the Atlantic . days passes quickly playing games , meeting people and all the other activities. Loved our quiet cabin on the 4 deck. Sea were calmer then I was expected. We enjoyed dining at the Jasmine, staff was wonderful. Grand Pacific was very loud and slow service. More staff serving would help. Garden cafe layout is great, salad bar always fresh with a lot a choice . Soup was not salty- prefer. I did miss avocado. Fitness room was very busy when we wanted to workout. So we used the stairs 4th floor up to 13th floor it is a workout. I did not gain weight on the cruise. We would sail across again . Evening music around the ship Charlie , Patricia and other groups kept us entertained. Sing along, dance or just sit and listen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
i am just back from Carnival Horizon ship. this is my fourth cruise with Carnival and the ship is amazing. the atmosphere was so happy and cool, the service all over the ship was fantastic, food was great in the buffet as well as in ... Read More
i am just back from Carnival Horizon ship. this is my fourth cruise with Carnival and the ship is amazing. the atmosphere was so happy and cool, the service all over the ship was fantastic, food was great in the buffet as well as in the beautiful dining room. also recommnded to eat at Bonsai, we had a great time there and definitely go to the pig & anchor pub which offers 4 kinds of homemade draft beers. the rooms are large and bright, the casino was big and very active and fun was all over including the shows and the comdian which i highly recommend to go at least one night. the hamburgers are big wow!! the ice cream is unforgettable ... i didn't sail with kids but i saw so many features that they will love! skyride, waterslides, video games, IMAX and many more. well done to Carnival! it's definitely best value for money !!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Previous great Viking cruises. The itinerary. Value. Lifetime travel goals, Barcelona, Montserrat, Sagrada Familia, Cartagena, Roman Theater, Granada, Alhambra, Rock of Gibraltar, Porto, Land’s End, St Ives, Salisbury Cathedral, ... Read More
Previous great Viking cruises. The itinerary. Value. Lifetime travel goals, Barcelona, Montserrat, Sagrada Familia, Cartagena, Roman Theater, Granada, Alhambra, Rock of Gibraltar, Porto, Land’s End, St Ives, Salisbury Cathedral, Magna Carta,Stonehenge, Monet’s home & garden, all realized on this incredible journey! The shipboard experience was superb in all aspects, as anticipated. There were some rough seas off the coasts of Spain & Portugal, but we were not ill or uncomfortable; not true for many other guests & crew. Weather was quite good overall, at sea & in port. Tour guides were good, and for Montserrat, Grenada, Monet garden & Stonehenge, simply outstanding. Onboard dining was great & bars & restaurant drinks also. Entertainment was really fun, and entertainers were visible & approachable during the cruise. The cultural enrichment programs are Viking’s strongest point, and wonderful on this journey. Sail-away talks were great, and how special, to sit down for office hours with a high-level former British Ambassador? A fabulous experien, highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The Viking experience covered everything! Our early morning flight to Barcelona arrived early and there was our welcoming Viking Red waiting for us at the baggage claim. Private car transfer to precruise Renaissance hotel and into our ... Read More
The Viking experience covered everything! Our early morning flight to Barcelona arrived early and there was our welcoming Viking Red waiting for us at the baggage claim. Private car transfer to precruise Renaissance hotel and into our room by 9:00 a.m. Talked with the Viking rep about the area and got great local recommendations. Transfer to ship, panoramic bus trip allowed the Sky and the hotel time to prepare for the next round of guests. Embarkation process was relatively quick and we were onboard by lunchtime. Room access was timely and met our stateroom stewards for a overview. These guys, worked hard and were always willing to get us what we needed. Dining - really looked forward to the alternative dining. Loved the ability to check the menus using the Viking Voyager app and make adjustments and additional reservations. The Chef’s Table was wonderfully imaginative, but we are the adventurous types. Manifredi’s indeed served enormous portions, asparagus become my favorite side. The dining room was good, but we found the World Cafe served the same food and ended up there more than we expected. We didn’t have the Silver Spirits package but enjoyed the included wines, paying for an occasional cocktail. Activities-cooking demonstrations, bridge tour, galley tour, movies under the stars, live entertainment, port talks were all included. Additional charges for wine tasting, cooking class in the Kitchen Table, and spa treatments. The service was wonderful, the staff doesn’t seem to know the word ‘No’, except ‘no problem’. They seem genuinely happy working for Viking. Viking doesn’t nickel and dime their employees or their guests, the staff doesn’t have to pay for their uniforms, their WiFi, or their flight home. The ports weren’t congested, probably due to the April sailing. Only occasionally, did we share the port with othe cruise ships, including the RCCL’s newest behemoth. Boy, was I happy with the 930 passengers size! Probably the reason the Sky was moved to the prime docking location near the Columbus monument instead of terminal 3 in Barcelona. The shore excursions were staggered, but even so, that’s where the congestion happened as the gangway opened and the staffed filled the tours and headed the groups out to the waiting buses. Included Shore excursions generally included bus tours with stops. The value of these was greatly affected by the individual guide. Optional excursions were as described, read the description and listen to the port talk to set expectations. The MyVikingJourney reservation process was cumbersome at times, with Sold Out tours and late additions. Mixed or inaccurate responses from the 800 customer help line added to the confusion. But overall, apprehension was wasted effort, Viking knows their successful business model. (Tellus@vikingcruises.com was much better than the 800 number.) After just a few days, we were talking to the onboard cruise consultant to take advantage of promotions to book our next Viking adventure. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our second Viking Ocean... fantastic! We love the ship, it is port-intensive,love the 2 days in port at the start and the end, the flowing wine at lunch and dinner, the heated bathroom floors, the wonderful staff, the mostly great ... Read More
This was our second Viking Ocean... fantastic! We love the ship, it is port-intensive,love the 2 days in port at the start and the end, the flowing wine at lunch and dinner, the heated bathroom floors, the wonderful staff, the mostly great food. We had a great cruise director and mostly good entertainment-- some even great! We didn't know that this was a repositioning cruise but we believe it was...to take the ship from the Mediterranean up to the Baltic. In 14 days there were 11 great cities with 1 exception- Porto Portugal which we were in just too short a time (6 hours). B ecause it was repositioning (we think) the price was very good. As for the food, we mostly chose the Restaurant which is the formal dining room, but not one of the 2 "specialty" dining options. We loved Manfredi's and were able to get a private room 2 nights as there were 10 in our group. We were not that fond of the Chef's Table so tried it once and did not go back. That menu is limited and "foam" is used in lots of the choices! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018

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