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13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have ... Read More
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have collectively informed my opinion of our MSC experience. MSC is NOT for the American market share rather, this European line is clearly after the sustainability of the European market share. American products by and large, do not charge a consistently high price for the cruise and then, charge clients for water while on board. Yes... MSC does this. Not even Costa does this. We paid over 3k for our cruise (similar and consistent to what we have paid for with other products like RCCL, Costa, Princess etc.) but while on board the MSC product we were charged for water.... we were amazed, perplexed and terribly disappointed. Its also important to note -what MSC USA sold us was not what we experienced onboard. When we pointed out the discrepancies on board we were told to take it up with MSC USA when we got home. We did, they did nothing to satisfy or settle our issue. We purchased the Fantastica experience, were told drink packages were included - then they somehow were not included. When we argued they were - we were told we had to buy a drink package which we did for our two children (non alcoholic package) and 1 adult alcoholic package. Only to get on board and be told we shouldn't have done that in fact it was included in our package and when we asked to have the initial prepaid packages we purchased refunded they said - sorry it wasn't included... The only thing which we felt was consistent was the inconsistency between what was sold and what we expected to what we actually experienced onboard. Other things we felt were important to note. The excursions - expensive but of little to no substance; again, representing to us an imbalance between what we paid for and what we actually experienced. We purchased several excursions through MSC - and quickly spent MORE TIME transiting to the excursions than we actually did enjoying the place we were visiting. This happend to us in both Arles France and Portofino. In Arles, we spent 3 hours on a bus to experience the town for only an hour. While in Portofino, same things - we paid a fortune to go to Portofino and spent three hours transiting there only to spend an hour IN Portofino... Very little value for money. Similarly, MSC twice docked at a port which they charged a fee to go from the Port facility to the town.... We were left shaking our heads and again, having the experience of other lines, this was an anomaly we felt was important to note for others who are considering this line. The ship itself was clean, comparatively clean to other lines and with cabins which were much larger than the typical stateroom found on other lines. That was about the only two bonuses on this line. Our experience of the ship was in one word -- exhausting. Terribly overcrowded and with clearly overwhelmed staff who continually treated us with discourtesy and disregard. The staff appeared as exhausted of the overcrowded conditions as we were. This was consistent from the bar staff to the dinning staff -- totally overwhelmed and continually discourteous and seemed exhausted..... The common centers on the ship were jammed daily elbow to elbow with people and loud music - wasn't a quiet spot on the ship to be found... ever. The smoking is an experience not commonly found with American products, on European lines - smoking is everywhere and something we found terribly intrusive and distasteful. Imagine placing the ONLY soft serve ice cream station for kids on the ship in the smoking section of the ship... kids actually have to endure cigarette smoke while waiting for their ice cream (which was eventually closed down due to being broken). This careless disregard for children - alone, made us not want to return to this product... ever. We have sailed many ships (19 cruises to date) and several of those other European products. First time we were ever on a ship and product we couldn't wait to leave... first time. The cost of this product comparatively is similar to other lines - RCCL, Princess Holland America - but what you get for your money is wholly inconsistent and as a result, we could not in good conscience recommend this product, especially for families. While MSC is trying desperately to break into the American marketshare, we believe this is going to be extremely difficult as people with experiences such as ours, share our impressions with others. This was an honest and unbiased account of our experience. We hope it is taken seriously so the product may be improved for others going forward. For us, we will not use or recommend this product in the future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have sailed Azamara a number of times and really enjoy the on-board experience. This itinerary attracted us because of the variation in cultures and climate. The embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly processed. . Because ... Read More
We have sailed Azamara a number of times and really enjoy the on-board experience. This itinerary attracted us because of the variation in cultures and climate. The embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly processed. . Because of an upgrade, we were staying in a Club Continent Suite as opposed to our usual Veranda 2. We really enjoyed the extra space, but did not utilize all the perks associated with the Suite. One of the perks was complimentary dining in the Specialty Restaurants, a choice we made for four of the 14 nights. For other dinners, of course, we ate in Discoveries (the main dining room), and on the Patio. Most breakfasts we frequented Windows, the buffet area. We were very pleased with the food in all the venues, especially the attention paid to certain food intolerances that limit some of our choices. One of the attractions for us on Azamara is the friendly and attentive service on board..From the room stewards to the waiting staff in the dining areas, this cruise was no exception. The friendliness is true of most officers as well. Although not noted for entertainment, in this case Azamara provided some of the best we have enjoyed. From The Azamazing Evening to more casual events, we found a lot to enjoy. Hard to pick out a port that was more enjoyable than the others. Because of our travelling through four countries, each port provided some interesting contrasts. As we sailed further North the weather cooled and rain became a sometime occurrence. That added to the variety of experiences on this itinerary. We participated in only two shore excursions. The trip to see Bayeux and its famous tapestry was well worth the cost. The walking tour of Cadiz was good but not amazing. In both cases we were travelling in relatively small groups. Most of the ports were quite accessible for those who wanted to explore on their own, and Azamara provided free shuttles where needed and appropriate. As part of that service, usually there was a guide at the drop-off points with maps and helpful suggestions. After sailing up the Thames the previous day, disembarkation at Greenwich was a little more complicated than at most ports. But the staff on the ships had it well under control, and there was a surplus of attendants on shore to assure that you made your connection with taxis for the airport, for travel home, or for extended stays in London. For the reasons above, out of 18 cruises this was one of our favourites. Although the itinerary is not one of the common ones offered, we think others should give it serious consideration. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Because I'm a cruisey and it is the newest ship. The Retreat lounge was ok and I liked the idea that food was once again served in this lounge. I never made it to the Captain's Club. Our group, all in suites, liked to finish ... Read More
Because I'm a cruisey and it is the newest ship. The Retreat lounge was ok and I liked the idea that food was once again served in this lounge. I never made it to the Captain's Club. Our group, all in suites, liked to finish the evening at the Martini Bar - that's really so neat. The bar every so often is allowed to "mix martinis" showing their talents - every hour, I think. They were very tasty and the living room concept was comfortable. We went to the workout room and was impressed with all of the equipment and never had to wait for a machine. The hallways were a little cold at times but happily able to completely regulate room temperature with a digital unit. Raw on 5 was my favorite dining experience because the fillet Mignon was just to die for. We loved Le Petit Chef and would do it again - the Primecut (I think was the name - the steak house) served lamb, veal and wonderful cuts of aged fillet. Our friends brought Caymus and we were able to serve that to dine. All in all it was a great trip, my only comment is that the ship is new, staff has to grow to understand the steps of serving in this new configuration. They'll get there - they always do. This was our 41st cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Overall loved the ship!. Is it my favourite Celebrity ship?: Probably BUT they do need to deal with some of the fixable points below (most of which have already been mentioned by other people. We will be back (and soon!) Celebrity Edge ... Read More
Overall loved the ship!. Is it my favourite Celebrity ship?: Probably BUT they do need to deal with some of the fixable points below (most of which have already been mentioned by other people. We will be back (and soon!) Celebrity Edge pros and cons Pros Good use of public space. Everything seems spacious. Ocean view not frantic and lots of table space even on notorious busy days like Embarkation and long port days return. Good use of every inch. Guest relations, future cruise etc all very open plan. No desk between you and staff Love all the hidden places that you only discover after a few days. Love the Eden space. All the different levels Staff very attentive and friendly. Food standards seem higher than other celebrity ships in all areas. Love the panini etc at Eden for lunch. Like the split 4 main dining rooms. Never seems to look really mobbed. Always got a seat at times we wanted. Hosts very helpful. Cafe del bacio much bigger area now and is good place to chill at any time. Lots of sun lounger space and seems to have lots of shaded areas (apart from maybe the top deck). Fabulous massive pool. Never is full because of the space. Magic carpet quite nice for few drinks but (see later for cons). Good viewing area if in port. All the stair areas, lobbies etc much more space. More lifts than normal and bigger. Love the running ,walking track. So much more interesting than normal circuit idea as goes all over ship and over more than one deck. Love the theatre. Great shape and the IT is well used as part of the show. Shows were very professional. Jacuzzis much bigger and better placed. Eden restaurant very interesting experience. Fabulous food CONS Magic carpet looks hideous. Seems pretty useless unless in warmer and calmer ports as the windproofing is non existent. First three days of our cruise wasn’t really used at all. Cabanas which are supposed to give seclusion and views out to sea useless as everyone walks right past them all day AND magic carpet is 95% of the day right across from them so view obstructed! I never once saw them used in 10 days. Found the garden area nice but mostly unusable again due to lack of wind or shade protection. Unless in port and in very warm climates not really used apart from for films during the day. Don’t like the total ‘class’ split now. Suites guests are now totally cut off from normal passengers during the day and for meals. Miss the panoramic lounge viewing at the front which is now suite guests only. Even though Celebrity are obviously wanting to attract younger clientele, they (like most other lines) insist on the same music Mix of 50s and 60s. Ie beetles, Elvis etc. Some more modern please although ive now heard that the music was changed to older stuff because of complaints ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports. We wanted to see a Dubai and Petra. In my opinion, the ship was in pretty good shape. Yes, it needs paint in a few areas, but it is due for a refurbish anyway. I like the M class ships and was very happy ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. We wanted to see a Dubai and Petra. In my opinion, the ship was in pretty good shape. Yes, it needs paint in a few areas, but it is due for a refurbish anyway. I like the M class ships and was very happy with the ship. We could not get excited about the entertainment offerings in the theatre, which I think was because it was a repositioning cruise. We did enjoy the Take 5 band. The food in the main dining room was good, not great, but I had no trouble finding something that I wanted to eat. I was disappointed with the Tuscan Grill. I thought my steak lacked seasoning and could have used a little more attention from the servers. At $45 per person, I will not go back. Princess specialty restaurants, ie Crown Grill, is $29 per person. We did eat at Quine twice - catching it on sale at $30 per person, I felt we got much more attention and a great selection of food. We had 9 sea days, including transiting the Suez Canal, and 5 ports. We did ship excursions in Muscat, Oman and Petra, Jordan. We had scheduled a walking tour in Muscat which was cancelled, and the only other offering was a panoramic tour. It gave us the opportunity to get off the ship, but we were not impressed with Muscat, or the panoramic tour. Our ships tour of Petra was excellent. I only wish we had another day in Petra to explore some more. We rented a car in Katakolon and drove to Olympia. I was disappointed in Olympia. While there is signage by most of the ruins to describe the ancient use, they did not provide a map or brochure to help you organize your visit. Also, there is no parking at the site. You have to find a parking spot in the modern town of Olympia and then walk to the site. We did like the little town of a Katakolon and the people were very friendly. Our cruise also visited Dubai and Athens, where we had arranged private tours. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
First Med cruise and first cruise with Princess. It exceeded our expectations. Everything was perfect. Staff were so nice. Food was fantastic. The activities and shows were all very good. Such nice treatment from all the crew. We met ... Read More
First Med cruise and first cruise with Princess. It exceeded our expectations. Everything was perfect. Staff were so nice. Food was fantastic. The activities and shows were all very good. Such nice treatment from all the crew. We met people from all over the world. This cruise had started in Singapore, picked up some more people in Dubai and then Rome, where we got on. 10 days of spoiling from all the crew on Sapphire Princess. The excursions were very good, we took the one to Juno beach. It was fantastic, and they had a speaker on the D-day landings, aboard the ship. The excursion in Portugal to Sintra and Cascais was excellent. It was so beautiful, both places. We really enjoyed Gibraltar and Monaco. The International cafe in the piazza was fantastic. All the restaurants, provided excellent service, everyday. The food was hot, and very good. We ordered Room service every morning and it always arrived promptly. The entertainment was great, and varied. We also tried the two speciality restaurants, the Steak house and Sabatinis. Both were very good. The pizza restaurant was good as well. So many bars, but lots of quiet spaces to find some space. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Recently returned from ten days on board this ship for Christmas around the Med. This was by far the worse ship and the worse cruise we have ever been on. This was our second MSC cruise and what a total letdown. Firstly I’ll ... Read More
Recently returned from ten days on board this ship for Christmas around the Med. This was by far the worse ship and the worse cruise we have ever been on. This was our second MSC cruise and what a total letdown. Firstly I’ll start by saying the ship was at least clean.After that the positives end unfortunately. It’s a very basic ship with extremely limited options in regards to food,drink and entertainment.So if you one of these people that enjoy poor food poor entertainment and very poor service you will love this ship. The buffet is way too small for the size of the ship and most days there are que outside at peak times.They have tried to increase the size of the seating area by offering seats on the deck in a patio heater style seating area.This is ok in summer but not in winter and eating food off plastic plates under patio heaters isn’t my idea of fun.The choice of food at The buffet was “same old” most days and again very basic. The restaurant was a slightly better environment but being forced to sit with people even after asking to be moved three times again isn’t my idea of fun.Food was again poor. Moving onto entertainment (or lack of). There are 5 bars in total with only the Irish pub offering anything in the way of entertainment before 11pm.This consists of an Italian guitar player playing a very limited song book in very limited English.He also has to stop playing every half hour or so because they could “hear him in the theatre “ even though we could never hear the theatre. It all got very frustrating leaving people sat there with no music and zero entertainment. As for the other bars,well the Budda bar was shut most times when we walked through although we did get a drink there one night and they had a guy playing piano for a while. The main bar (Manhattan) is a strange concept. Yoga and stretch classes are the main entertainment every night before dinner. Yes you did read that right!!! The musical duo who were supposed to start at 6pm usually rolled up bout 6.15 and played a couple of iffy Spanish/Italian/French songs.The “main” entertainment then began around 11pm in this bar. Ranging from a few game show things to some music. Our main highlights consisted of seeing how long it took to get served every night in each bar. This ranged from a few mins to 39 mins which was the longest it took.We ended up changing their tile from waiters to sales prevention staff because they would do everything they could NOT to serve you. This leads me onto their “all inclusive” drinks packages. If you buy one before getting on board you are offered to “upgrade” which sounded great because we only had draught beer and wine package we took up their offer.103 euros per person for the ten days.Me being a Strongbow drinker I was happy with that. Unfortunately after day 3 they ran out of Strongbow and by day 5 still had none ( even though we had stops every day bar one) So when I decided to complain feeling I had been short changed the bar manager informed me the ship was at full capacity with Strongbow (all very confusing) still the sales prevention staff kept telling me they had none.Then to my delight I was informed they had draught Strongbow in one bar.What a blatant lie,it was some sort of cider in a box but most certainly NOT Strongbow!!!! I could go on about various other faults and cost cutting areas but I think you get the picture. My advice is avoid this ship even if the price seems quite good ( we made that mistake) Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
MS Koningsdam - A Review I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, ... Read More
MS Koningsdam - A Review I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly...in this writer's experienced opinion. THE GOOD By all appearances, the ship is being kept very clean. Wear and tear has not yet begun to show too much. Not much rust in sight. The theater (World Stage) is the best in the HAL fleet, and maybe in most fleets. Sight lines are excellent and there is hardly a bad seat in the house. Seating capacity is relatively generous and can fit about a third of the passengers at any one time (close to 800). That said, there were many occasions when the theater was totally filled and people were standing and/or sitting in the aisles (safety hazard?). The hi-tech stage uses a 270 degree computer controlled LCD screen as the backdrop and is the main apparatus of the otherwise sparse set decoration. Lincoln Center Stage is an outstanding plus for HAL. Koningsdam's venue for the very talented quintet is larger than other ships in the fleet and offers comfortable seating. Public seating is excellent and comfortable throughout the ship. The staterooms are a bit smaller on than most of HALs ships, but they are reasonable equipped. Electric and USB plugs are abundant and storage/closet space is good. THE BAD While Koningsdam is new and bright, HAL has done nothing to change the nickel-and-dime operation and product they offer. EVERYTHING they do is designed to get passengers to spend more money. Most of the daily on-board programs offered are for revenue and income production. Venues throughout the ship are too small for the large number of passengers, often filling an hour or more prior to a presentation. The Culinary Arts Center is the showcase venue for America's Test Kitchen, and it is very ill-suited for the purpose...very poor seating and sight angles. They also utilize this room for extra-cost dinning in the evening (much more suitable). The Mariners Program on Koningsdam appears to be treated more as necessary nuisance than as the customer building program it was originally designed to be. There does not appear to be a suitable venue on Koningsdam for a Mariners Reception, so only medallion recipients are invited, no matter how many medallions one has or how many cruise days you've logged. The multi-Star Mariners cocktail party is held in part of the Lido Pool area, while other people are in hot tubs on the other side. It's very clear that HAL management wants to change the demographic of its customers. They are looking for new, free spending blood. Staterooms are noisier than one would expect for a "new" ship. Even in slight seas there is creaking, rattling and banging...especially at night when you are trying to sleep. Fit and finish is not all that it could be. As an example, stateroom have a recessed "frame" for the wall mounted large screen TV. In my stateroom the TV was mounted well out of the center of the frame and lop-sided (one side higher than the other). There is no replay of the excursion or enrichment talks on available on Koningsdam's closed circuit TV system or on stateroom TVs. You can, however, book extra cost dining, spa and excursion options via the interactive TV system. What little "art" there is on the ship is far removed from traditional seafaring art. All is very contemporary and the artwork appears to be photo-shopped pictures. There is NO art in stateroom passageways. Passage fore and aft on public decks 2 and 3 is restricted to one side of the ship, ensuring exposure to every selling station onboard. Traffic flow is poor, especially outside elevator locations where they have planted large modern sculptures (?), creating bottlenecks. The Promenade Deck is quite narrow and there are no deck chairs thereupon. The walking gets very bottlenecked at the stern end of the ship, so if one is walking behind slow walkers or encountering walkers who insist on walking upstream, it slows everyone down. Not important enough to write Congress about...just a mention. THE UGLY Whoever designed the toilets in the staterooms should be fired immediately. One cannot sit "on the throne" straightaway. You have to sit sideways because the glass shower enclosure is in the way, and you can't get your knees to squeeze in...unless you're 2 or 3 years old. Very awkward and uncomfortable. DINING This is a very subjective area and not all tastes are alike. So offering comments about the food and service aboard the Koningsdam is treading on very dangerous ground. That said, HAL has put together a fine group of chefs in what they call the Chef's Counsel, to help Chef Rudy design a dining program for the ship's various venues. They have created offerings that, in their test kitchen, appeal to all the senses. Great food requires great ingredients skillfully assembled by craftsmen who love their work. Unfortunately, the Chef's Counsel is not on board to supervise the final product. HALs logistics program is complex and mainly designed to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies. They do not take advantage of the terrific local products as they cruise from place to place. So freshness of ingredients is sacrificed in favor of program convenience. They claim there are reasons (or excuses) for this, but others seem to be able to take advantage of local fresh product availability. That's all I have to say about this topic. Everyone has to judge for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a ... Read More
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a big happy family who always make you fell welcome. Special mention to our cabin steward Regie and Salem for looking after us do well and the lovely towel animals. Thank you to Harly and Kevin in the compass rose every night they brought smiles to our faces. Thank you to Adrian the maitre d' and Mario and Kent our wine waiters. Yes the ship is a bit tired looking but I would choose her any day over one of the huge ships that are on offer today. I hope Marella don't go too big because there is a market for the smaller ships.we had a great holiday good food, great atmosphere and very friendly staff what more could you ask. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We paid for a cruise on Vantage, a line we have had good experiences on previously. Instead of the Vantage ship we expected, we were greeted with the Variety Voyager on arrival in Poole, our departure point. The ship appeared to be older ... Read More
We paid for a cruise on Vantage, a line we have had good experiences on previously. Instead of the Vantage ship we expected, we were greeted with the Variety Voyager on arrival in Poole, our departure point. The ship appeared to be older and was in need of some repairs, some of which were obvious to passengers. The reservation agent offered a cabin on the port side so we would have a good view of the landscape as we cruised. We later learned learned that international shipping law requires vessels to sail 15 miles from the coastline. Within a couple days of sailing, some passengers reported they had brown water in their sinks, toilets and showers. As time on the ship continued, the condition reached most, if not all the cabins. This condition was never fixed in spite of the ship being docked in Ferrol for 3 full days after only 2 days at sea. Passengers were bused to and from destinations that were not included in the itinerary, destinations we specifically wanted to see. Instead we spent about 7 of the 13 days on the bus with nights spent in some very nice hotels. We did get to see some of the scheduled sights but the tour directors had to scramble to find activities for the passengers since we were not in the designated ports of call. Because the bus time was so lengthy we were deprived of the pleasure of the company of fellow passengers stuck in our bus seats. We often arrived at a hotel very close to dinner time (in one case dinner at 8:30) so by the time we finished our meal, it was very close to bedtime. Once again, no time to mingle. While the food on the ship was generally good, breakfast left a great deal to be desired. Lunches were buffet style and offered several options that were acceptable. Entertainment was a disappointment. One song group came in but were busy pedaling (selling) their CDs to the passengers. We found that offensive. The other two nights with entertainment were somewhat enjoyable.. Most land tours were well done but again, with the exception of two days, there was no time to explore on our own. The cabin was comfortable but had limited storage space but had much wasted space with what passed for a desk area. Staff was courteous and willing to help when called on. As time went on, tour directors, having had to struggle to find substitute venues, became a bit short with passenger inquiries. Somehow this was almost acceptable as they had to scramble for alternates due to the bus ride. Yes, there were weather conditions out to sea but not for 5-6 days off and on. We were told the ship would be sailing in an effort to keep up with the bus but that did not seem to happen. Apparently this was a repositioning cruise which are somewhat less expensive but we were never advised of this. All in all, the cruise was largely a bus ride. Had we wanted a bus tour, probably at about half the price, we would have bought that. Again, had there been any indication much of it would be a bus tour, we never would have signed on. We expect some sort of remuneration by Vantage, the cruise company with which we contracted. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a one way fly cruise, 10 nights Southampton to Barcelona. I booked a one way car hire to Southampton, cruise only with Cunard and booked hotel and then flights back to Cardiff. It all worked really well and I would happily do ... Read More
This was a one way fly cruise, 10 nights Southampton to Barcelona. I booked a one way car hire to Southampton, cruise only with Cunard and booked hotel and then flights back to Cardiff. It all worked really well and I would happily do something similar if Cunard reintroduce fly cruises in the future. I booked an extra suitcase on the flight (approx £30) so there was no issue with luggage. Embarkation/Disembarkation Very easy on both occasions, we were a bit early for our 12.30 boarding time and were on board and eating lunch in the Golden Lion by then. We disembarked in Barcelona at 9 am. Food/Dining We had a shared table of 6 on second sitting. Food service was great but our Sommelier was very busy. We got into the habit of ordering wine at lunchtime or the previous evening to make it sure it arrived in time for the food. We found something good on most menus, often more than one. I was a bit worried when I read comments about new menus but overall it was an improvement. We never ordered more than one soup/starter/salad but we never have so that wasn't a problem. We had starters as main courses a couple of times. We enjoyed the light bites at lunchtime in the Chart Room and room service breakfast, the time slots are now 30 minutes which isn't great if you have an early. We made it to the Britannia restaurant for breakfast and lunch on a couple of occasions, always had a table for 2. Entertainment Never a priority for us but we enjoyed a couple of the guests performers, particularly the Comedy String Quartet, it doesn't sound very promising but it was very funny. It was good to see The Royal Court theatre orchestra and Caribbean band Changez playing in the Golden Lion. One of our favourite evenings was the deck party. Cabin We had a metal fronted balcony forward on Deck 4. The cabin itself was fine but there was some noise from the crew pantry opposite. Itinerary We only took one ship's excursion, the others were easy to diy. Santa Margherita was probably the highlight for us. Summary Another great cruise on Cunard. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We took a our first cruise on Regent in May from Lisbon to London and we were blown away. We have taken Crystal in the past on some 15 cruises, and now we find ourselves remiss for patronizing a good cruise line (Crystal) when there was ... Read More
We took a our first cruise on Regent in May from Lisbon to London and we were blown away. We have taken Crystal in the past on some 15 cruises, and now we find ourselves remiss for patronizing a good cruise line (Crystal) when there was such a much finer cruise line (Regent) out there. Regent beats Crystal in room quality, service, staff, food, athletic facility, spa, public areas, embarkment, and in a very big way, in excursions. Crystal does have better entertainment, but overall this is a minor item to us. Further, Regent is not as pretentious as Crystal by declaring itself the "best" cruise line, and Regent does not push purchasing photos at every conceivable instance as Crystal always does. And even the passengers on Regent appear to be more polished and polite than those we have encountered on recent Crystal ships. Perhaps Crystal is yesterday's cruise line, but Regent is today's. Special compliments to the Regent's ship management. The attendants for the rooms were almost invisible, yet their job was always complete in a timely manner. Similarly, we were treated excellently by the food mangers in the various restaurants. Our favorite restaurant was Prime with the bone-in ribeye. Every excursion seemed better than the one before! Thank you Regent-job excellently done! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We had been to Europe before and wanted to see something/places we’d missed. This was a great way to do a lot of things in a short time with no packing/unpacking or transportation. We spent a few days in Barcelona pre-cruise. This ... Read More
We had been to Europe before and wanted to see something/places we’d missed. This was a great way to do a lot of things in a short time with no packing/unpacking or transportation. We spent a few days in Barcelona pre-cruise. This served two purposes: it allowed us to catch up on jet-lag (from US) and we had time to visit Barcelona. This was onw of our favorite places! We toured the Sagrada Familia (get tickets ahead of time!) with a guide. She was wonderful and we wouldn’t have understood or experienced it as well without her. We made reservations at Casa Mila for dinner (Gaudi’ designed this residential complex) Dinner included a tour of the complex which was fantastic! He was a genius. It also included a rooftop light show that was spectacular. Cost: $59 pp including dinner. Embarkation was quite simply the easiest, quickest we’d ever experienced! From taxi to walking on the ship: 12 minutes! Royal has this down! Our embarkation time was noon but we arrived at 11:00 a.m. Uncrowded and painless. Cabins open at 1:00, so we went to cafe on deck 8 and had roast beef sandwiches and good salads. Our cabin was booked as a GTY(guarantee) for an ocean view category 6N or above. We always book balconies but would be off the ship every day but one so didn't care on this one. We knew we may not get a room assignment until embarkation. But about 3 days before we left home we received a call from them stating there were no more ocean views available. I wasn’t happy, but they offered a virtual balcony with a refund of one person’s fare! Now virtual balconies are kind of “hoky” . I said I wasn’t sure I would do that even with a refund so they then offered two hundred fifty dollars on board credit along with the refund. I asked if this refund would be in the form of future cruise credit and no it would be a refund on your credit card! I accepted and glad we did. A virtual balcony has a huge window-like screen with a live feed of what’s going on outside. Worth it for a certain price. Our 2nd night we booked Wonderland for dinner. It was unique and delicious. I loved it, my husband thought it was just okay. The presentation was unlike anything we’d ever experienced and definitely worth the up charge. It appears at first as if the servings are small, but there are so many you get a lot of food and will leave full. We booked excursions both on our own and through cruise line. Palma de Mallorca: guys toured Drach Caves and girls toured Cathedral (lovely grounds, beautiful church) and shopped. We stopped at a little outdoor cafe for coffee and listened to an outdoor band...Very pretty island. Marseilles was a tour on our own...We rode the petit train to the Cathedral. The views are spectacular from there. Our next stop was LaSpezia. We decided to forgo Florence as our friends had been there before and it was quite a way from the port. Will go there one day! We opted for a tour of: Rapallo, Santa Margherita and Portofino. It included two boat rides and each place was quaint and quite beautiful. We had a guide and some time to explore on our own too. Next stop: Rome. We love Rome and decided our best course od action was Rome In Limo. This was we could see what we wanted and skip the things we’d done before! Rome In Limo was wonderful. We’d read all the great reviews and now understand why people go with them. We had Max as a tour guide/driver. He was knowledgeable, polite, knew his way around and spoke English very clearly. He showed us things we might have missed on a larger tour. We had a Mercedes minivanfor the 4 of us. So comfortable. He recommended a great place for lunch. Osteria dei Pontefici....great service and food. 20 Euro included wine, appetizers, main course and dessert. We saw Pantheon, Villa Borghese, Trevi Fountain, and the secret tunnel/path from the Vatican the pope used. He had us back in plenty of time. We will use them again! Our last stop was Naples. We booked a tour with cruise line and visited Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii. Capri was my favorite place we visited! We rode the Funicular up to the top with spectacular views. We walked to some gardens with views that are postcard beautiful. Didn’t want to leave. Sorrento was nice. We had lunch there and not enough time! Lastly we visited Pompeii. What a fantastic tour. Very interesting to see how people lived so very long ago and how well planned their community was! We very much needed the last day to rest. Glad it was an at sea day! This ship is marvelous and we will go on it again for the Caribbean and just enjoy being on the ship!(we’ve been to most ports) our cabin was fine for the Europe trip. Cabi. Steward was Rosli and he did a great job. Attentive and friendly. Service all over the ship was very good. Smiles, helpful, friendly employees. We are in our 60’s and didn’t do some of the things offered (rock climbing, ice skating, laser tag,) but some of us (not me) enjoyed the slides, zip lines and jog track! It was a trip of a lifetime. Loved every minute. If you can, do it!!!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Departure delayed by several hours with passengers waiting in lounges. Ship right out of dry dock but rugs not finished installing. New bedding and rugs plus new larger TV's were only apparent changes. Divers had to inspect ... Read More
Departure delayed by several hours with passengers waiting in lounges. Ship right out of dry dock but rugs not finished installing. New bedding and rugs plus new larger TV's were only apparent changes. Divers had to inspect underside of boat at first port as the thrusters were creating huge vibrations on ship, delaying departure by several hours. same thing happened at next port. Chairs in Skywalkers Lounge completely worn out and stained but not replaced. No more Happy Hour and drinks at Captain's Club more expensive. Menu offerings below average and not up to past experiences. Daily canapes for elite passengers used to be a plate full, now 4 tiny canapes for 2 persons ! Many people complaining about all kinds of problems like only a trickle of water in cabin, weak air conditioning, etc. Some of the laundry rooms were closed at sailing for maintenance, others had non-functioning or ripped out machines. Token dispensers not available on all floors or out of service. Several rest rooms had non functioning taps with "under maintenance" signs. Waiters did not remove lobster meat from shells like in the past even if asked Baked Alaska parade done at 8:45 p.m. on last day of cruise. Liked this cruise like all cruises but feel this ship was not upgraded properly at dry dock and had an overall feeling, like many other experienced cruisers, that this cruise was not at previous level of Princess excellence. But the staff, as usual is wonderful and makes up somewhat for the bad experiences. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because we love sailing with Regent. We were not disappointed. The food, service, crew, tours were all top notch. These are highlights: Embarkation went without a glitch and it was fast. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because we love sailing with Regent. We were not disappointed. The food, service, crew, tours were all top notch. These are highlights: Embarkation went without a glitch and it was fast. Cabin was kept beautifully by our attendants. Food in every restaurant was outstanding. Dino, the executive chef, had great meals and lunches every day. The shore excursions and guides were outstanding. We did the overnight excursion to Luxor and it was excellent. We love the crew and it was nice to reconnect. The entertainment was good too. All in all this was one of our best cruises. The itinerary was awesome. We highly recommend Regent. Once again they did not disappoint. We loved every minute of the cruise and can't find any fault. From embarkation to disembarkation it was perfect. We also did the Regent post cruise tour of Dubai/Abu Dhabi and it was excellent. Very good hotel, guide, and sights. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
it is a very beautiful boat, and the service very good, the very professional direction. if I have to give recommendations I proposed it to everyone the boat a wonder, the cabin with balcony is great, the table for dinner very good, ... Read More
it is a very beautiful boat, and the service very good, the very professional direction. if I have to give recommendations I proposed it to everyone the boat a wonder, the cabin with balcony is great, the table for dinner very good, the super professional direction, and super team there are plenty to do, 3 swimming pools, golf, wall climbing, ping pong, casino, games,basketball court...... We're not bored internet, the boy Antoine very polished and elegant. for the first time, we are very happy, it is very big we lose the first two days. the shows were very good just the dancer should be more together, we worked at Iberostar punta cana, and everyone was together 100%. but the singer and the others were perfect, especially the couple for the Tango sa it was very very profetionel. I hope with all my heart and my husband, make a return cruise Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved every moment. The food, cabin, excursions, ship and mostly the crew were great. This ship apparently is one of the older ones, but I thought it was just lovely. We went on 2 ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved every moment. The food, cabin, excursions, ship and mostly the crew were great. This ship apparently is one of the older ones, but I thought it was just lovely. We went on 2 arranged excursions (Pompei and Rome in a day), both of which were amazing. We weren't sure if a cruise would be "our thing", but we definately have the bug now. You can dress up or down in the evenings, it really is your choice and what ever you decide, you wont feel out of place. We didn't go on the very formal night, it just isn't for us, but we did dress up and have a treat in one of the restaurants. The entertainment was first class, with a selection of bars with waiter service. Everything from first day boarding to leaving the ship was done smoothly with no hassle at all. We booked the drinks package, which was well worth it and cheaper I believe if its booked whilst booking the holiday. I cant wait to go with Thomson again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
We decided on this ship because of the ports it was visiting Then we looked at the shore excursions and they looked interesting We bought most of our shore excursions through Viator and that was a great decision It saved us a lot ... Read More
We decided on this ship because of the ports it was visiting Then we looked at the shore excursions and they looked interesting We bought most of our shore excursions through Viator and that was a great decision It saved us a lot of money and the guides were brilliant We had 300 dollars in ship board credit We bought 2 shore excursions with it One in Gibraltar and one in Cartagena The Gibraltar one lasted 90 minutes and cost us $52 We could have easily done it by taxi for half the price but we did not mind as it was free money In Cartagena we went to a place called Murcia on top of a mountain The guide was beyond excellent. It was one of the best excursions we took As for the entertainment on the ship it really did not have any classy acts. We missed the show only one day while we were in Barcelona As for the food it was always very well presented and very tasty All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
A Critique of the Ship Viking Sea : I and my wife were recently on this ship for a cruise from Rome to Barcelona via Tunis and Algiers. The cabin space and the balcony size were adequate, but not enough drawer or shelf space. The ... Read More
A Critique of the Ship Viking Sea : I and my wife were recently on this ship for a cruise from Rome to Barcelona via Tunis and Algiers. The cabin space and the balcony size were adequate, but not enough drawer or shelf space. The desk had a lid which lifts up to access the drawer but became a nuisance because it lessened desktop space. There was no sofa bed. The TV had good quality, and the controls, and software were good. They have an app for the iphone for you to look up daily events, schedules and bookings, which was really a nice feature. They have Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, but no CNN. However no TV whilst in port at Tunis. The Bathrooms and Showers were good and spacious. But no second set of towels. The Sink is square and shallow, has a flat bottom, so shaving cream does not drain out. The Drinking Water was free and plenty in the cabin, both bottled and in a large container. The Refrigerated Soft Drinks were also free and plenty and renewed daily. The Architecture was all straight lines or rectangles, with hardly any curves or rounds. The Design was all Scandinavian with simple bland pastel colors. Everything is square cornered: on the sink, table light, wall light, handles, faucets, shower head, etc. There was no Casino on board. Games such as bridge or chess had to be played in open spaces. There was no closed private room, and it was Impossible to play Mah-Jong. The maximum Capacity was 900. There were 850 passengers, with no kids. The Service was good with one service personnel for every two passengers which was really appreciated in the dining room. The Wine was free at lunch and dinner, and of good quality, with endless refills, like on their river cruises. Good only for wine lovers. The Food was generally good, similar to Oceania and Crystal, but the choice is less. The World Café is a clean lengthy cafeteria, one on each side of the ship, with the kitchen in the center of the ship between the two sides. They appear identical, but on closer look, the 2 sides serve different items, e.g. Ice creams, seafood, and sushi, only on one side, which you might miss if don’t visit the other side. However, the Sushi is very fresh and good, all the time. Like ice-cream, only on one side The Specialty Restaurants were difficult to book, but there were plenty of vacant tables, which were wasted, so their booking system needs to be improved. The Manfredi’s, - an Italian Restaurant, was quite good, almost as good as on Crystal’s. You could have all the following items for hors d'oeuvres, if you want: mussels, fried calamari, crab cakes, pate de foie gras, and escargot. The Chef’s Table – another specialty restaurant, was a joke. It is designed to promote Scandinavian cooking, and although they offer a different menu every 2 days, the flavor is just too bland. Can you imagine, the high-light on their menu was the Poached Salmon! After we tasted the main course, we walked out, and then ate again at the World Café whose average daily menu was much better. The owners would be well advised to convert this restaurant into French or Asian. The City Tours – were free and very well organized, similar to their River Cruises, usually 3 to 4 hours in the mornings, which was enough. For 800+ passengers, I counted 29 buses lined up at the quay side. The takeoff was staggered, and was quite a sight. In the city tours of Malta, Caglieri, Tunis and Algers - really nothing much to see. The worst experience was in Caglieri – where there was only one bathroom for 4 bus loads of passengers, which took over an hour. The Ship – has only 8 floors. The Pool has a roof that is openable. The Elevators take only 8 persons with comfort, not 14 as noted. All the office areas, computer stations, shops, and bridge and chess areas - are open on the corridor side with no privacy. They are open spaces, not rooms. The Dining Rooms were clean and bright, but no lunch is provided there. There were only 2 Shops, so you could not spend any money. They give no on-board credit, because their basic price was fairly low. They do not offer any Foreign Exchange so you must bring all the cash in Euros you might need. The Shows and Entertainment – were good on average, but not spectacular, with only 6 dancers and 2 singers who perform every other day. Life Jackets – are not stored inside the cabins. Peter Fan. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, ships personell did an awesome job. We thought other than headliners Entertainment was lacking. A lot of Venues had nothing happening. Not enough era music for the people on board the ship. They had ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, ships personell did an awesome job. We thought other than headliners Entertainment was lacking. A lot of Venues had nothing happening. Not enough era music for the people on board the ship. They had Big Band music which was great and drew a crowd but not enough space to dance. Leaving the ship was chaos, no direction, signs, or ship personell. To point us in the right direction. Finding luggage was CHAOS. We were very disappointed with the waiter service in the casino, I tried to order a Pina Colada and was told they don't make those in the casino. When we went to the Casino bar we were lucky to find somebody there to take our order. It was also hard to find a waiter in the Solarium. Not enough wait staff in all the Venues. Also I did fill out a form with a complaint about not being able to get certain drinks in the Casino and the Quaser lounge. I was thanked for my complaint and not even offered a complimentary drink. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Its my 75th Birthday so we decided to fly to Barcelona and take the western Mediterranean cruise and back to back to port Canaveral. We had the Haven which was so nice but of all the ridiculousness's in the world the placement of ... Read More
Its my 75th Birthday so we decided to fly to Barcelona and take the western Mediterranean cruise and back to back to port Canaveral. We had the Haven which was so nice but of all the ridiculousness's in the world the placement of the haven split between floors and ends of the ship created a lot of running around.we thought the haven meant all those suites are in the same area, but they are not. it seems really dumb to have to leave your room on 14, go to 15, cross from the back of the ship to the front, get on another elevator go to 16 and then you are in the Haven office and restaurant and spa. The regular Spa, is on the 14th floor and we were told by spa personnel, we did not have access, yet we had the key cards that said spa suite. We lost 4 days of spa time because they were not informed of the split. After speaking to David Contreras we were then issued entrance to the spa. New help / Or just not informed I don't know but I wished I had let David know this earlier. I do not like to be billed for Gratuities. Not everyone meets up to the above and beyond service and deserves it. Some should pay me, like the witch hostess in La Cucina. I want to have the pleasure of handing out the tip to those that have helped me and been of excellent service. After all those in the back ground might be doing a great job but they should be paid by the ship, I'm not the employer. I think this is insulting the guests. This ship is poorly laid out. difficult to navigate and hard to get a sense of where you are. Once we started on the transatlantic portion of this trip we were getting better oriented with it but if it wasn't for wanting to get home by ship and not air we would have never chosen the Epic. We love the getaway and the Breakaway and the Spirit. We did book the Haven leaving Copenhagen for next year. Now all I have to do is find a ship that will go to Europe and we will cruise Norway and or the Baltics . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the ... Read More
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the Oosterdam (two 12-day collector cruises and a 15-day transAtlantic cruise). Although we were supposed to join the ship in Civitavecchia, our Alitalia flight from Toronto was delayed four hours and this meant our arrival time was set for 5:00 pm - the ship was sailing at 6! Luckily we had booked our flight with Holland America and, once we phoned to alert them, they arranged for us to fly on from Rome to near Florence where we were put up in a hotel overnight and driven to the ship in Livorno the next day. Full marks to Tom in HAL's Seattle Office on this one for arranging everything - on arrival we found a bottle of sparkling wine in our cabin and $50 credit each for our meals. Having sailed with Holland America several times since 2007, we have noticed that while service levels from the Indonesian cabin stewards and waiters remain excellent, the rest of the experience is slowly being devalued. The first thing we noticed was that under normal circumstances, it's very difficult to get a seat in the Lido for breakfast or indeed lunch. This is thanks to the extra passenger capacity added since the ship was built. Another sign of decline is that the latest re-fit has almost done away with the Library which is now part of the Explorer Cafe and Crow's Nest. There is no librarian, you simply take the books that you want away with you (they must stay on the ship). If you like the quiet atmosphere of the library and a place to use your laptop on other ships, you'll hate this arrangement as both the noise of the cafe, art and Crow's Nest activities invade this small corner making it difficult to focus. Food is still generally good but decline is creeping in - for example, the only milk available for your cereal is UHT milk (with its distinctive taste) and it comes only in Tetra Paks meaning that you have to insert the straw and squeeze the carton repeatedly (think milking the cow) in order to pour your milk. Full fat plain yogurt is not available. In terms of sanitation, for the last leg of our trip, we noted that many passengers had no idea how to keep their hands off the food and plates. They would touch food or dishes / cutlery etc and return it. One gentleman was seen picking just the fruit he liked off individual fruit plates and putting them on his own. There should have been better supervision to deal with people like this. The last few days were spent in 'Code Red' thanks to an inevitable Norovirus outbreak. As always, an excellent room service menu is available with prompt and cheerful service and we found it to be a good alternative to the Lido crowds at breakfast. We had fixed seating for dinner in the main dining room and our waiters were excellent although they seem to have to work harder than ever before. One thing in large supply is wine stewards but we don't usually bother with wine since wine prices are high and the quality low. Our cabin stewards were excellent and worked around our schedule. Entertainment: there was a fair amount of entertainment but we generally like early nights. I took part in the quizzes but entertainment staff often repeat the same old questions making it a memory rather than a knowledge competition. Some staff tend to drone on about themselves or the many money-making activities on the ship. We didn't use the gym - the spa is very expensive. I find that keeping off the elevators and walking a mile on sea days helps keep the pounds off. We became 4-Star mariners by the Transatlantic portion and though we were entitled to 4-Star privileges, we had to pester front office staff several times to expedite this and missed out on our free wine-tasting. Not a big deal but if they're offering this, passengers shouldn't have to chase it down. It was nice having free laundry privileges. Speaking of Front Office Staff, we found a great variation in their levels of willingness to help. Often we would report a problem and find that we would have to explain everything all over again the next day since the original person failed to make notes. One was outright rude and accused us of being freeloaders when we asked about a wine package that HAL had given us. Lastly, we paid HAL for a transfer from the ship to Tampa Airport. The process was a total shambles with porters holding people to ransom inside the terminal and total chaos getting onto the bus organized by HAL. A sign indicating where to catch the bus would have helped. Once we had scrambled onto the bus, we had to get off to check that our luggage had been loaded. Adding to the fun, the air conditioner apparently couldn't operate if the bus wasn't moving so we sat and sweltered through the loading and checking process. Hint: take a taxi - they're cheaper, cooler and you won't worry about your luggage. In summary, we find that we're outgrowing Holland America - the quality of the experience is going down. They seem to be moving towards being a budget cruise line and attempting to extract money from passengers once they're aboard. We'll be looking elsewhere for our next cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The price was very good with cruise nation , beautiful ship very relaxing. Easy check in best we've ever had we were on the ship in 5 minutes and were in our cabin within 20 mins . We took out the £20 per person per day drinks ... Read More
The price was very good with cruise nation , beautiful ship very relaxing. Easy check in best we've ever had we were on the ship in 5 minutes and were in our cabin within 20 mins . We took out the £20 per person per day drinks package well worth it as it covered cocktails spirits beer wine coffees water sparkling wine etc Le Coruna , Lisbon, Gibraltar,Barcelona stayed in Genoa for 2 nights caught a train and ferry to portofino all fab lots of classical , opera and cirquedesoleis type shows food good .There were around 7 courses every dinner time Lilia looked after us well we were put on a table with 3 other couples who were brilliant company .I recommend the steak and tiramisu also good seafood., Singers had beautiful voices . One bar was offering free tapas with a drink , service was slow at breakfast time in Mdr so only used it the once. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our third cruise on MSC Splendida and our seventh MSC cruise in total, having been twice on her sister ship MSC Fantasia and also on the Lirica and Armonia. The cruise departed Southampton on 5 October, heading towards Genoa ... Read More
This was our third cruise on MSC Splendida and our seventh MSC cruise in total, having been twice on her sister ship MSC Fantasia and also on the Lirica and Armonia. The cruise departed Southampton on 5 October, heading towards Genoa via La Coruna, Lisbon, Gibraltar and Barcelona, having set off from Hamburg two days prior. The cruise was booked via the MSC Voyagers Club Selection, which is their reward scheme. We got an incredible deal and packaged the cruise with a stay in Lake Garda and Milan before flying home. Embarkation at Southampton was quick and efficient. Our boarding time was 3pm but we were onboard by about 12:30, despite my other half having put the cruise paperwork in the main luggage and this being sent to the ship before we’d checked in! Splendida is an absolutely beautiful ship, there is no doubt about that. As we boarded the ship we were ushered in to the main atrium area, which is just absolutely stunning. There are bars on three levels, deck 5, where there is a grand piano and seating area, deck 6 where there is the mixology bar, serving all the usual drinks plus expertly crafted cocktails and deck 7 where there is the coffee bar. All of these decks are linked by two sweeping Swarovski crystal staircases, which apparently costs €5000 per step! We headed to our cabin to collect our cruise cards and found a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and a bowl of fruit in the cabin from MSC. Our balcony cabin, on deck 10 (cabin 10114) was of the usual MSC standard, with a large double bed, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, shower room and sofa. The beds are high enough of the ground to allow you to store your suitcase underneath which is a bonus, we have been on cruises or at hotels where this hasn’t been possible. Having picked up our cruise cards we went to the buffet for a spot of lunch and were immediately greeted by a beaming smile and hello from the waiter who had looked after us at Christmas on MSC Fantasia. When you consider how many guests he must see over the year it’s quite something to be remembered. Following lunch we headed down to the piazza area on deck 6 for a glass of champagne, no surprises that the crew in there recognised us too and made a fuss of us being back. Whenever we step foot on an MSC ship, my partner and I look at each other and think ‘we’re home’. The piazza is a great area for people watching. It’s set out like a small town square with a couple of shops around the outside and iron tables and chairs on a tiled floor, with some tiled benches for extra seating. There are excellent cakes and ice creams available here (at an extra cost, depending on your drinks package) and we often skip dessert at lunch and come here for a cake and a glass of champagne for afternoon tea. Following the muster station drill it was time to change for dinner. We were on the first sitting in the La Reggia restaurant. Although we had requested a table for two we were on a table of eight, six of us English and an Australian couple, they were a great crowd therefore we didn’t look to move to a table of two, had there been one available. Every night we were nearly the last table out of the restaurant as the conversation just kept flowing between us, with plenty of laughs and discussion thrown in. Your dinner guests really can make a holiday in that respect. A lot of people seem to complain about the food on MSC. What I would say to them is don’t go with the expectation that you’re going to have steak and chips every night. MSC is an Italian cruise line, the Italians like to take their time over dinner and have up to seven courses, with an appetizer – perhaps prawn cocktail, smoked salmon or something like that, then a salad course, then soup, then pasta or risotto, an entrée, dessert and cheese. You don’t have to have every course. My advice would be to try a bit of everything though! With so much choice on the menu I do find it hard to believe that people can’t find something they like. Food is very subjective, but my favourite entrées are duck breast with sour cherry sauce or the roast prime rib of beef. Breakfast and lunch in the restaurant has altered since we first started cruising with MSC, there is now a ‘bistro’ concept in the MDR, which consists of a buffet area in addition to the a la carte options. You can order from the menu and help yourself from the buffet selections. The advantage of this is that the deck 14 buffet gets incredibly busy at peak times and it can be difficult to find a seat. In the MDR you are shown to a table and have waiter service, much more civilised. There are also items on the menu that you wouldn’t get in the buffet such as smoked salmon, eggs benedict etc. The evening entertainment was varied, and some of the theatre shows very impressive. On one night the lead singer in the show ‘Amour’ which is an opera gala was ill so this was cancelled and another show put on in it’s place. Amour was then shown in the afternoon of our final day at sea, I’m so glad we made time to go and see it; the show was really good with an amazing sound, backed by a pair of violinists and a pianist. As Splendida has so many bars and defined areas, there are so many different acts you can see. The Purple Bar was a great spot to watch Irena, a European singer who sang both English and German songs. We got to know her over the week and on our final night she actually changed her line up and sang a song from her other set that we’d told her was our favourite! The Inoteca wine bar has another grand piano, the pianist in there played a mix of songs from musicals, classical and old favourites. This is a great spot to sit and they have some wonderful wines available and will bring you some tapas to go with your wine. The service in here was excellent, with the two waiters Ivan and Ivan working well together and always with a smile on their faces. The Aft Lounge is a bit of a party venue, with a dance floor and a proper band playing the usual party type music, and the animation team having fun and encouraging people to party. In terms of the ports visited, they were all very nice with plenty to see and do. La Coruna is a very pretty town, however it turns out we visited on a local holiday day and a lot of the town was shut, with the exception of churches, museums etc. We didn’t go to the Hercules tower, although we sailed out past it and got a few good photographs from the top deck. Sailing in to Lisbon was a wonderful experience, going underneath the bridge – I was on the top deck and wondered whether we would make it underneath, there can’t have been much more than ten feet between the very top of the ship and the bottom of the bridge, or at least it seemed that way! I was sad to leave the ship as we had such a wonderful time, with no problems whatsoever. We did encounter a few English people who had decided it wasn't for them as they were used to Cruise and Maritime - MSC is a world away from CMV's offering, so I can understand why they didn't enjoy it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose Koningsdam because it was brand new and happened to be sailing to my favorite destinations, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Albania, Egypt. Two ports were aborted, one for weather, one for security. The embarkation and ... Read More
I chose Koningsdam because it was brand new and happened to be sailing to my favorite destinations, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Albania, Egypt. Two ports were aborted, one for weather, one for security. The embarkation and disembarkation was flawless from my perspective...no issues, minimal wait times. The decor indeed drew you out of your cabin, delightful, plush. Loved the new Danish Coffee Bar, missed the Library, music was the main theme of the ship. Did not disappoint. Entertainment was first class. The variety and caliber was extraordinary. This cruise was port heavy, the HAL shore excursions were very pricey. My goal is to sail on each ship at least once and of course build my Star status. My interior cabin was quite small, but sufficed for one person. I repeatedly asked for upgrades, certainly paid enough for an upgrade, but did not receive one. I hope that changes on future cruises. Read Less

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