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16 Europe - All Repositioning Cruise Reviews

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
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 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
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
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
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
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. We enjoyed this cruise. The food was good, and we met some good company when freedom dining in restaurant. The ship is in great condition throughout with the exception of Footlights theatre. We found the seating in there uncomfortable, although not too uncomfortable to enjoy shows. The only negative I had issue with was the timing of the shows, first one at 8.30pm and second at 10.30pm. This was an issue for us as in other ships first show starts at approx 7.30pm which allows you to see first show, have dinner in restaurant and then see second show. We mainly ate in restaurant for dinner and had breakfast and lunch in the limited menu Cafe Jardin (no cost for breakfast or lunch). Menu consists of a small buffet and limited served options, which we found more than satisfied us. I have never seen this option on other P&O ships. We do not generally like the buffet option (smash and grab) for our dining, but on the two or three occasions we used the Plaza buffet we were pleasantly surprised. I would say that the Plaza buffet was the best we have experienced on any ship. Initially we thought our cabin on the small side, we soon got used to it and everything was fine. In general we had a great cruise even though the weather was a bit colder than expected. We failed to land at Mykonos due to high winds. We felt that service, food and entertainment were great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Great value for an itinerary that covered several areas that we had not visited before. The offer of two guests for one fare with free air was too great a temptation. The trip was excellent except for somewhat rough seas for a couple of ... Read More
Great value for an itinerary that covered several areas that we had not visited before. The offer of two guests for one fare with free air was too great a temptation. The trip was excellent except for somewhat rough seas for a couple of days. It could have been a lot worse! The excursions were well planned, and for the most part were interesting and informative. The service on the ship was excellent. Our cabin was kept spotless and the dining was always good. Most of the dishes were very good, but other options for special order were also available. One evening I ordered a New York strip steak that was as good as any I have ever had--even at some very expensive restaurants. The entertainment was also excellent, as were the informative talks about European history and environmental issues. We especially enjoyed the entertainers. The three young female vocalists were especially talented and performed in a most professional manner. The string trio also was an elegant touch to the trip. We have been on a number of ocean and river cruises, but the cruise director on this one was the best I have ever seen. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We really enjoyed this cruise as our first Viking Ocean cruise. We had three disappointments, however. The one day we had for shore excursions in Bergen, Norway didn't occur because a major bicycle race was taking place which ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise as our first Viking Ocean cruise. We had three disappointments, however. The one day we had for shore excursions in Bergen, Norway didn't occur because a major bicycle race was taking place which didn't allow for the various tour buses for the excursions. We found out about this a few days before the cruise. With Bergen being such a big port for Viking, we feel someone should have known about this disruption well in advance and warn us so we didn't waste time booking a shore excursion in addition to the "included" excursion. Disappointment #2 was having to miss our port stop in Falmouth. We had to sail directly from Portsmouth, UK to Porto, Portugal to avoid a storm coming to the UK. The onboard history lectures were really great and primarily focused on World War I and II events. The theme of the cruise was "Trade Routes of the Middle Ages", so disappointment #3 was the lack of lectures on that theme. Our stateroom, the food, the stafff, were all excellent and we really enjoyed our time onboard and in the various ports. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We've crossed the Atlantic on the QM2 a bunch of times, but this time was memorable because of the rescue at sea of a yachtsman from a disabled craft. We watched from our balcony, and then learned from a Q & A session between the ... Read More
We've crossed the Atlantic on the QM2 a bunch of times, but this time was memorable because of the rescue at sea of a yachtsman from a disabled craft. We watched from our balcony, and then learned from a Q & A session between the Captain and the rescued seaman. Very interesting. Otherwise, we keep coming back to the Queen Mary because of the beauty of the ship and our favorite experiences on board. We most love the Chart Room and go there for cocktails before dinner and the nightly jazz concerts after dinner. Also love the Commodore Club atmosphere day and night. We slept in a Princess Grill cabin, which suited us well because of the extra space. We tend to hang out a lot in our cabin, especially during the mornings, so the extra space was very important. The cabin is well enough designed and furnished. Enjoyed a series of lectures by Christine Roussel on art and history in New York. Also enjoyed the headline entertainers including a West End cabaret singer and a group of male vocalists. Plenty to do on board during the day, and some of our favorite activities are workouts at the fitness center and walking the promenade on Deck 7. Food quality in Princess Grill was adequate, although definitely not big city restaurant quality. A little too much in the direction of standard cruise ship fare. Service in Princess Grill was also adequate, again nothing special. We went to the Verandah for dinner one night and were underwhelmed by the quality, shocked by the noise from the kitchen and doubly shocked by an argument from our waiter. Also went to Coriander one night and were disappointed by the bland South Asian food, too bland even after we specifically asked for spicy food. I think the chef ignored our request. We will be back on board in October and hopefully many times after. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was the follow up cruise to our Atlantic crossing and it was a good choice. The Baltic itinerary was very busy compared to the crossing but there were no scheduled speakers, which would have been a plus to gain a better understanding ... Read More
This was the follow up cruise to our Atlantic crossing and it was a good choice. The Baltic itinerary was very busy compared to the crossing but there were no scheduled speakers, which would have been a plus to gain a better understanding of the history of each port. The food in the main dinning room was fine but the choices were a little slim, with no effort made to bring any local flavor to the menu. On the other hand, the Windjammer cafe, while often crowded during peek periods, had a better than usual list of options including some local fare and the service there was above average. I only used third party excursions (Google SPB) and liked the smaller group sizes and the ability to savor local food at each port. Finally, I must mention how well the ship handled the cold weather we experienced. With temps in the 40's and 50's every day, the ships design was nearly perfect. All that glass acted as a wind break and only the main pool and sport decks were, effected by the wind and cold. There were other venues to keep you occupied, like the gym or the indoor pools and spas. All in all I would be happy to sale on the Renaissance class ships any time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A brilliant itinerary :Venice, Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Koper) Montenegro, Valletta, Slovenia, Italy (Ravenna, Catania and Salerno)Pretty good weather (though heavy rain in Venice) and a very nice crew. The food was generally very good. ... Read More
A brilliant itinerary :Venice, Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Koper) Montenegro, Valletta, Slovenia, Italy (Ravenna, Catania and Salerno)Pretty good weather (though heavy rain in Venice) and a very nice crew. The food was generally very good. We were unfortunate enough to need the medical team in an emergency and I can't thank them enough, they were brilliant.Only two moans: the water in the pools tasted salty but I was assured it wasn't salt water. I found this unpleasant to swim in as it stung my sensitive skin. A bigger problem for us was the siting of DJ Crazy Prince most nights on the landing over the main staircase atrium by the cocktail bar so that when we were sitting enjoying a quiet pot of tea after dinner ( in the only place you could get actually one, al Bacio cafe) we were assaulted by loud thumping "techno" and disco music from the floor below. This meant 3 decks had this noise. The same younger (ie 40 ish) guests - maybe 20 of them- were dancing and enjoying this most nights but I don't think it was to the taste of many older (typically cruiser) guests. We would have had a better cruise if EITHER the DJ was in a more enclosed area- one of the bars perhaps- OR we could have got our tea and coffee somewhere quieter, such as Celllar masters. I asked about taking a tray through as they were adjacent facilities but i was told if i did so I would have to have a paper take away cup...not the experience I wanted. This was due to the design of the ship, I don't recall this as a problem on Celebrity Eclipse. Otherwise a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Although this ship is owned by Pullmantour (ultimately RCL) - sails in the colours of Croisieres de France - predominately French clientèle with French and some English announcements - almost all crew speak English well. Some English/US ... Read More
Although this ship is owned by Pullmantour (ultimately RCL) - sails in the colours of Croisieres de France - predominately French clientèle with French and some English announcements - almost all crew speak English well. Some English/US passengers, a few Russians but very much in minority. Olga - ships international rep very good indeed - speaks fluent English, Russian and Ukrainian Positioning cruise Saveurs et Decouverts - with wine and food experts on board. Very very good value for money as price was relatively low. Like this ship. Not too big - food good - inside cabin spacious. Struggled in storm on Bay of Biscay - late arrival in La Coruna and Gibraltar - stays shortened considerably which was annoying. Did not take ship's excursions. Entertainment ok - not quite as good as Costa (Magica cruise last Oct). Food better than Costa. Drinks package included in price - not all included - but enough to keep interesting. I would travel on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We booked this repositioning cruise as our second trip on this ship. We paid a little extra for cabin 373, which we had on the last cruise, it is a four berth cabin used by two guest, as we were grateful for the extra space as well as ... Read More
We booked this repositioning cruise as our second trip on this ship. We paid a little extra for cabin 373, which we had on the last cruise, it is a four berth cabin used by two guest, as we were grateful for the extra space as well as wardrobe and draw space. The cabin had TV, kettle, safe(at extra charge) aircon. and a fridge. The shower was small but had a hair dryer, tissues and very usable soap, shower gel and shampoo. Towels were changed daily on request and sheet every couple of days. The cabin and it's size were described acutely in the ships details. Guests must remember that this ship is elderly and small, only 40k tons, and cannot be compared with larger ships, 95k tons and above. The cabins will therefore be smaller and the ship will bounce more in a rough sea. Our cabin was clean and well serviced by the chambermen who couldn't do enough to help you. We tried the waiter service,buffet and The Bistro (extra charge)restaurants . The food was varied and plentiful. You could eat from 6am until 2am if you wanted to. In the waiter service restaurants some portions were a little small but served as part of a 6 course meal. The Bistro was fabulous and well worth the £19.95 per person extra. Our only complaint was that meat tended to be cook "well done" when we like it less cooked and on occasions the food was not hot but was changed immediately this was pointed out. We booked two tours, one in Rome and one in Florence. Our first with Thomson. Both were well organised and efficiently run but perhaps a little expensive. We had a great holiday and would use this ship again but all cruisers should be realistic about it's age and size. A lower cabin is better in rough seas that a upper one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Very good cruise on an excellent ship. The best ship I have sailed. The stateroom was excellent, entertainment was good and the food was outstanding. The Enclave at the spa was a welcome treat everyday. However, it should still be a perk ... Read More
Very good cruise on an excellent ship. The best ship I have sailed. The stateroom was excellent, entertainment was good and the food was outstanding. The Enclave at the spa was a welcome treat everyday. However, it should still be a perk for suite guests as it is on other Princess vessels. A drawback is that there are no other steam rooms or saunas on the ship except in the Enclave where an extra charge must be paid. The Concierge Lounge was a major hit as it was the only place on board to get a really hot cup of coffee and it was only lightly used. The Horizon Food Court is the best in the business. The food experience was excellent except in Sabbatinis at breakfast. The staff there just could not get an order right and the coffee was always cold. Even though it is a perk for suite passengers to eat breakfast in Sabbatinis, only went three times as the service did not match the standards of other princess ships. There is plenty to do on the Regal and it did not seem crowded even though the cruise was fully booked. My only major complaint is that there are no great perks for suite passengers except the Concierge Lounge. The enclave should be free, there should be a small section in the theater for suite passengers as it was necessary to arrive at 45 minutes before a performance to get a seat. That is not acceptable for the money that was spent. Shore excursions are another matter. Princess needs to work out n that aspect of their cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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