39 Reykjavik Luxury Cruise Reviews

Just returned from three week cruise on Riviera. Have cruised with them before but I think they have gone downhill. Many small problems. Late for several excursion because of management issues. Three tours was cut short because of ... Read More
Just returned from three week cruise on Riviera. Have cruised with them before but I think they have gone downhill. Many small problems. Late for several excursion because of management issues. Three tours was cut short because of problems but we were offered no compensation. Twice we had serious tender issues and once had to be towed back to ship. Crew was good but I think there are management issues. Most disappointing was the excursions.Descriptions did not match reality. They over-hype the excursions. leading to a disappointing experience. Management unresponsive to our issues.Disembarkation was an issue. We were told breakfast a 5:30 but when we got there they said it was a mistake and had to wait until 6:30, another in a series of management miscommunications. Leave the ship was 30 min.later than we were told. Special restaurants were all excellent. The manager of Red Ginger was very impressive and ran a top notch operation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is a very hard review to write, because the ship has been designed to be to many things that are so different, which is difficult to achieve. The design has certainly tried to incorporate a high degree of luxury and speciality gourmet ... Read More
This is a very hard review to write, because the ship has been designed to be to many things that are so different, which is difficult to achieve. The design has certainly tried to incorporate a high degree of luxury and speciality gourmet dinning venues in an expedition vessel with many unique features. So from my point of view, I really have to review it on the basis that it is an expedition ship or discovery yacht (as Scenic like to call it) with the ability to view the landscape and nature from the ship as well as from the air and below the surface of the water. It was for these features and the region it was to travel that I chose this cruise, even long before building of the ship had even started. The ship certainly looks the part from the outside with modern lines and a purposeful structure. However on in the inside the design deficiencies of trying to be too many things, become much more apparent. It seems as though there has been too much effort put into making it modern and futuristic with little or no thought into making it practical or functional. The Eclipse is a paperless ship, so there is an overuse of electronics which as we all know do not always work as they should and in many instances are confusing or complicated to operate. And when they go wrong, no manual or conventional system is able to take it place. From a safety point of view the hand rails which are square in profile have sharp edges and corners as do many handles, taps and tables. These may be in fashion at the moment and look good, but can catch you or your clothing which may be dangerous on a moving ship. The dark colours which prevail throughout the ship together with mirrored surfaces everywhere are not conducive to an older generation of passengers, which I would assume will be a large part of the Eclipse future income. Most modern expedition ships have forward and aft lifts or stairs, the Eclipse only has only has one set which are situated more towards the stern of the ship. This means easy access to the outer decks is very limiting and certainly can take a lot longer. It is important on a true expedition cruise, to have quick and easy access to outer decks and indoor observation areas to view nature and wildlife as soon as possible after sighting. Unfortunately the observation lounge has very limited forward vision but at least allows good access to the large outer bow deck. Also this lounge only has self-serve tea and coffee and no bar, while the restrooms are along way a way at the stern. The outside observation deck is good for viewing nature and wild life but deck 10 which is all outside, is a really good area for viewing as it give a 360 degree view. Mind you a part of this deck is set aside for smoking. This deck like most deck has a very large protruding roof structure which is a benefit in raining conditions but can be a hindrance to viewing birds and mountains from certain areas such as the observation lounge. The main lounge is very open with the reception at one end and the main bar at the other which makes it very open and probably less personal. The seating layout and design does not help in making the area as friendly as other expedition ships. Dinning venues are generally good but all with limited seating. There is no buffet option for dinner which is not ideal for a true expedition ship either. Some passengers just want a quick meal and get to bed early after a long days adventure. The main theatre is round and has very comfortable seating, unfortunately a couple of large pillars block vision from some of the seats. With a full complement of passengers the theatre would be very hard pressed to fit them all in, which will be a problem sometimes. The use of plain dark carpet in areas of the ship was probably not a good decision, as it almost always looked dirty as did some of the dark glass tables. Suites are generally dark and bland with reflective surfaces everywhere. Almost no warmth has been added. Our suite had one blueish toned painting, which only made the room feel even colder. Although the TV is very modern, it was set behind glass which meant you could not view it from any reasonable angle, even in bed, because of reflections. If you sat directly in front of the TV for viewing, you had the pleasure of seeing yourself reflected in the glass. As well the TV menu and remote control was more confusing than normal, and very slow to respond to button control, quite frustrating in fact. The cabin itself has a very thin curtain to the balcony and an electronic blind which lowers to darken the room at night. The problem with this setup is that, not only was it noisy to operate but also if you wanted to look out at night while your partner slept, the noise and possible additional night would wake them up anyway. The suite we were in was a deluxe verandah which was good in size but had limited drawer and wardrobe space. The wardrobe doors block access in and out of the bathroom when opened and there are no additional hooks in the suite to hang expedition clothing such as hats or jackets. Suite bathrooms do not have a conventional hand basin. Instead they have a sloping flat surface to take water away, so there is no plug. This not only means it cannot be used for washing personal clothing but the design also tend to splash much more water everywhere, including over oneself. As mentioned before, handles are square and on the shower door they are really sharp, certainly an accident waiting to happen. The bed was very comfortable and the air conditioning, which covers a good temperature range, is effective and easy to adjust. The internet throughout the ship is generally very good and seems to have a higher capacity with less dropouts than other ships we have travelled on. Staff to passenger ratio is very favourable, however it is my understanding that staff quarters have been built to the very minimum standard, which is small. Only time will tell if that is the case, and that will be through staff turnover. I know a number of staff left the ship in Quebec. The ship itself is very smooth and relative quite. It certainly handles rougher conditions better than most other expedition ships and its dynamic positioning system is brilliant. This system means it does not have to drop anchor but can stay in the one position with almost no movement. However the side thrusters, which keep the ship in position, do create some problems for zodiac drivers as they approach the ship. The idea of having helicopters and a submarine to enhance the experience is certainly very appealing and the experience is certainly worth while. Unfortunately there will be many instances where they will be unable to be used due to local restrictions or weather conditions. With passenger expectations high for these experiences, the Eclipse could have some very unhappy customers at times. Local restrictions may become a bigger issue in certain regions in the future for both the helicopters and submarine. In summary the ship itself is very good but it certainly could have been better, in fact world class, had there been much more functionality designed into its main purpose, which I assume is a discovery yacht. Although I did not chose to sail on a maiden voyage, unfortunately that is the way it turned out. So how did this inaugural voyage from Reykjavik to Quebec, on the Scenic Eclipse go. It certainly did not start well. Three days prior departure we were advised that boarding the time would be delayed by three hours from midday. Instead a room at a local hotel near the port was made available for meeting, and a light lunch was provided. We all waited until around 3pm the revised boarding time, when we were advised that boarding would not take place for another 24 hours. Scenic staff then spent several hours arranging accommodation at various hotels all around Reykjavik. The whole process was handled so badly that passengers became extremely unhappy. Scenic also offered us to board the ship for drinks that evening. Many passengers took up the opportunity to view the ship, which may have been a mistake as we were able to see just how unready the ship really was for the cruise. To fill in the following day Scenic offered a full day, which turned out to be very good. After the tour we did board the ship, and saw just how tired and wore out the staff really were from preparing the ship for us to board. They must have worked day and night without much sleep, never-the-less to their credit they still had a smile for some very unhappy passengers. Realistically the ship was several weeks from being ready for sailing with passengers. To highlight how unprepared they were for passengers at the safety drill there was no check list to make sure everyone attended and when they did try to do a roll call too many were not present so they gave up and said it was all over. During the first few days there were many issues, certainly far to many to mention here, but overtime everything started to improve and by the time we reached Canada things were running quite smoothly and everyone seemed to be enjoy the cruise even with issues remaining. Food quality varied from average all the way up to exceptional. Hotel staff were friendly and generally good to excellent while the expedition staff were very competent and did a great job in making the experience more enjoyable. Over time I’m sure the ship will become a top quality product, but its design issues will remain, which is ashame. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a ... Read More
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a bit dated, with constant creaking and temperatures too high in the suite (spotless), but often too low in public areas (some noticeably dusty). Silver Cloud now has competition in the English-speaking market from Scenic Eclipse, coincidentally in Reykjavik at the same time for her much-delayed maiden voyage. Food was excellent as always, though portions seemed larger. Service was normally very good, but with the odd slip-up, perhaps because waiting staff have new tablets to take orders. We enjoyed every included wine; typically Silversea buys up entire vintages of less well-known varietals from small European vineyards – not the bland New World wines you get on most lines. Silver Cloud now has a Social Director (Moss) who handles zodiac embarkation and hosts fun afternoon and evening quizzes. Some other changes: thinner hand towels (fluffier towels changed less often would be preferable) and unlimited wi-fi (still slow). Thankfully, butlers no longer have to proffer a tray of toiletries when you embark. Exploring was what this cruise was about. Six “zodiac groups” disembarked with rotating departure times, but usually you could go ashore later on a shuttle service. Excursions could be pre-booked through MySilversea, but this was pointless as there was no set schedule. We enjoyed the ship’s passages through the fjords, and zodiac cruises close up to glaciers, but were uncomfortable wandering among people’s houses in small villages. For us, the highlight was two hours in Disko Bay (Ilulissat) on a small boat operated by a local company; under a cloudless sky we saw whales and vast icebergs that looked like islands. A note about clothing: Greenland in August was warmer than Antarctica in December. While we were exceptionally fortunate with the weather, make sure to take some lighter hiking gear, as you may get too hot ashore if you wear thermals under a parka. We skipped the only two “wet” landings so didn’t use the waterproof boots we’d hired at $90 – ordinary gumboots would have sufficed anyway. We would have given this cruise five stars, but for the horrible last day (not covered by Silversea’s onboard questionnaire). For our previous Antarctic cruise we booked our own flights to/from Ushuaia and wish we could have made our own arrangements this time. After vacating the suite by 8.30 am, it was “hurry up and wait, wait, wait” for the charter flight from Kangerlussuaq back to Reykjavik. After disembarking by zodiac group, an interesting bus tour on the tundra was followed by an acceptable BBQ-style lunch at a rowing club on a pretty lake. There we heard that the incoming flight was late due to weather in Iceland and ATC issues, as happens of course, but from then on everything went downhill. Waits for the restrooms at the rowing club were 30-40 minutes. It took 80 minutes for everyone to get through security at the airport, not least because both the ship and the charter company (Omni Air) allowed people three or even four large carry-on cases (in spite of Silversea previously specifying one piece up to 8 kg/ 18 lb plus a purse or laptop). Then we waited as long again in the gate holding area, most of us having to stand, until boarding after 4 pm. Yet another delay was due to the cabin crew being unable to reconcile the boarding cards and having to count passengers FOUR times. The plane itself was a very old 767, with a soggy defrosted snack well below Silversea standard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have only been on a few cruises. We selected Viking based on friend's recommendation, industry reputation and the itinerary was just what we were looking forward. The Viking SKY did not disappoint. Everything was spotless ... Read More
We have only been on a few cruises. We selected Viking based on friend's recommendation, industry reputation and the itinerary was just what we were looking forward. The Viking SKY did not disappoint. Everything was spotless clean, food was excellent, service 10 stars, shipmates were fun and engaging, wonderful ports and excursions, fun entertainment and plenty of beautiful public spaces to enjoy. We never felt like there were 900 people on board. Embarkation was seamless. We got on board at 11am. The restaurant was open for lunch and we were in our cabin before promised time. Port disembarkation for shore excursions were very well organized. Depending on excursion they had you meet at different locations. So all went smoothly. Pleased that they had some fun onboard surprises. One night dancing by the pool - themed" dancing under the midnight sun". We crossed the arctic circle (briefly) and that night we received certificates signed by captain stating this. There were a few more. Highly recommend and will return to do another Viking voyage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Iceland’s Majestic Landscapes, August 13, 2019, Viking Ocean We chose this ship for chance to see Iceland up close. It made four stops in Iceland with two days in Reykjavik at the beginning. Most cruise lines stop at the capitol ... Read More
Iceland’s Majestic Landscapes, August 13, 2019, Viking Ocean We chose this ship for chance to see Iceland up close. It made four stops in Iceland with two days in Reykjavik at the beginning. Most cruise lines stop at the capitol for a day as they transit between the US and Europe. This was our first Viking Ocean cruise. If you are tired of the glitz, the constant sales pitches and wandering to find a quiet spot to read, this cruise line is for you. The ship had no casino and only two shops. Decks 1 and 2 which surround the 3 story atrium are open concept with contemporary Scandinavian décor in neutral tones– sofas, easy chairs & coffee tables with low bookcases to make them feel more intimate. Instead of a single room dedicated as the library, books are shelved at one end of Deck 1 with more books in other areas. Bars/snack areas are also spread throughout the open public areas. There were only two sea days. We found that our only choices for spare time were the port talks, lectures (excellent) and evening performance by the four ship’s singers. There are no dance/show productions. Trivia was held only on the sea days. Obviously the sports deck was not used with the cold and cloudy weather although the pool deck with its glass ceiling had wonderful nooks for reading, relaxing and looking at the ocean and also offered grilled food at lunch and sometimes at dinner. We used the buffet and pool grill for lunch each day and dinner varied between the dining room, Manressa’s Italian café and The World Café. The World Café offered one dedicated ethnic cuisine menu with paired wine included which changed every four days. We found that to be as much of a “show” as a dinner and portions were a bit small. The dining room and buffet food was well prepared and presented. It tended to have emphasis at times on Asian/Indian dishes which were interesting to taste made us wish to see a nice clam chowder, something less pretentious, ie. “down home food” by the last days of the cruise. As my husband put it, after traveling over three weeks, we had “hit the wall” as far as eating was concerned. The staff without exception was helpful and cheerful. Ports: Iceland is a small country with a population of less than 400,000. More than half live in Reykjavik. When our ship of 900 visited a port, Viking worked hard to gather good excursions and transportation. We were often delighted to find ourselves in a small group of less than 20. Viking offered one or more free excursions in each port. The majority were not just a short bus tour around the town. Some days we took both an included tour and a paid tour. Reykjavik We were exhausted when we boarded the ship. Many flights from the US are red-eye and our Icelandair business class seats did not recline more than a few degrees. I would recommend coming in a day early to acclimate. The most popular tour the day after boarding is The Golden Circle, an 8 ½ hour tour staring at 7 AM. We saw Iceland’s most famous waterfall,, Gullfoss, a geothermal area, lava fields and more. Isafjordur: A small group tour to Litlibaer, a tiny home from the early 1900s with stone walls and a turf roof. You will see many turf roofs throughout the country. We were served waffles and jam and our guide made butter in a churn. We were also served homemade chocolates at a photo stop and told about the home-grown enterprises to earn money in this sparsely populated country. Akureyki: We chose a private tour through Tripadvisor/Saga Travel to the Lake Mvatn area to see lava formations, bubbling geothermal areas, Godafoss, the “Waterfall of the Gods”, and learn a lot of local lore. We won the grand prize in our guide, Thor, who truly looked like his name. He had grown up in the area, entertained us with stories from his childhood and was also an extra in Game of Thrones. This was hands-down our best excursion. Seydisfjordur: The Wilderness Center is a unique hotel/tourist attraction far off the beaten path. The owner has created a museum of unique walk-through dioramas showing the life of early settlers and local lore plus a bed-and-breakfast hotel with some of the beds in a single room arranged in cubbies along two walls much like ancient Vikings built their homes, plus two outdoor geothermally heated soaking tubs, all of which the owner proudly showed us. We were served waffles and jam and given taste of lamb smoked on the premises. Thorshavn, Faroe Islands: The 22 small islands which comprise the Faroe Islands stand midway between Iceland and Norway. We visited a turf church, the remains of a 10th century Viking home, and saw fish ladders for salmon while driving through the scenic countryside. Geiranger, Norway: Easily the most scenic stop on the trip, the tiny narrow fjord ends at a tiny town where we chose to take a free tour up a road with 11 switchbacks to a viewpoint looking over the town to the mountains and reverse course and go up the other way to a viewpoint looking down over the town and fjord. This was nothing more than viewpoints and we ended a hotel for a “rest break” which was far too long with nothing to do. Alesund, Norway: Sunnmore Open Air Museum is a collection of homes, barns and other buildings from the past two centuries. Most are open so you can visit inside and the guide gave commentary as we walked along. The buildings are set on rolling land with gravel paths so this may not be suitable for anyone with difficulty walking. Flam, Norway: The small town of Flam set at the end of a fjord hosts up to six cruise ships a day. We were lucky to find only one other. The #1 tour is a 12-mile ride on the Flam railroad up the hillside and through the mountains with waterfalls in abundance. There is a 10 minute stop at a waterfall where the mythical witch appears singing her siren song. At the midway point, there is an hour stop to enjoy waffles and coffee in the hotel and spend a little time enjoying the view back down the valley before catching the next train back down. Viking reserves seats for its passengers. Check out the1-minute zip line ride from the viewpoint halfway down the valley to a farm you can barely see in the distance if a seat on the train back down is too tame! Bergen, Norway: Bergen is the 2nd largest town in Norway and iconic for its gathering of quaint historic merchant homes/warehouses from the days when the town was a trading powerhouse in the Baltic region. Our tour included visiting an old merchant building, a town tour and a funicular ride up Mt. Floien to enjoy the views, a gift shop, a child’s playground, some goats which keep the vegetation trimmed, and restaurant. It was possible to then wander the old wharf and Fish Market on our own afterward since the ship could be seen from the wharf and gauge if it was within a distance you could walk. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as a way to visit both Greenland and Nunavut. With our tickets, two weeks before departure, the itinerary stated that we would not be able to go ashore at any of the three stops in Nunavut. We did not look at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way to visit both Greenland and Nunavut. With our tickets, two weeks before departure, the itinerary stated that we would not be able to go ashore at any of the three stops in Nunavut. We did not look at the itinerary before boarding the ship - we thought we knew where we were going and had of course paid in full. We anchored in the harbour of Iqaliut for customs clearance. We were not alone in thinking we were visiting Iqaliut, only those that had gone through the itinerary issued with the tickets actually had any idea we would not be getting off the ship. We spent 8 days in a row on the ship - a total of 12 days at sea on a 24 day cruise. We would never have taken this cruise had we known it was not stopping in Nunavut. It was billed as an "adventure" cruise, but it felt like a trip to nowhere. We felt we had been totally misled by the line, and even though we have been on quite a number of cruises with the line, we would not have any confidence in the itinerary again. Excursions - The expensive trips by zodiac are a complete waste of money - we spent 20 minutes circling a rusted hull of a ship in Paamiut for no apparent reason; a trip in dense fog to see a rock called Lady Franklin Island where we lost one of the zodiacs and then, having found the lost zodiac, had to be guided back to the ship by the Bridge as the fog was so thick. Staff - The only reason for giving this cruise any rating is that the staff are, as has always been the case, just outstanding. They are friendly, make the effort to learn your name, and are always helping to make your time on board as comfortable as possible. Food - not as good as it used to be, but then they were clearly struggling with lack of supplies as we were at sea for so long. Lobsters were clearly off the menu and perhaps one of the cost-cutting exercises. The ship does offer a Lactose and Gluten free options, at least in the Colonnade Restaurant, for lunch. Room service is excellent and you can choose from the main restaurant menu during opening hours. Overall this is a nice ship to sail on, but as we only endure sea days in order to reach places we would find complicated to get to by air, this cruise was dreadfully disappointing and we feel completely misled by Seabourn as to the intended itinerary. I should add that none of the itinerary changes were due to weather conditions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was ... Read More
Having never heard of Ponant, we chose this cruise because it did a circumnavigation of Iceland which is what we wanted. The ship was extremely clean, comfortable, and well laid-out. Embarkation from a small port outside of Reykjavik was a breeze (as was disembarkation). Captain Etienne Garcia was terrific - his enthusiasm for the immense beauty of Iceland came through in every message from him and he made sure no one on board missed a whale sighting or any other special event. Food service was in one of two rooms - on Deck 6 was a buffet-at-all-meals room that opened on to the deck which had additional seating. Weather during our cruise was wonderful so we could often eat on the deck which was delightful. Food was good and daily choices varied enough to keep us interested. The drinks-included selections were excellent and the pouring wine was very good. Other food option was a white-tablecloth dining room on Deck 2 with no outdoor access. We learned that it served the same food but with dinner served (not buffet). We did not choose that option. Excursions were very good and organization of everything on the ship was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally ... Read More
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally lax. Everyone from the Captain, yes the Captain, on down seemed unhappy with the ship and the itinerary. Rumors circulated that the Captain had complained about being saddled with this route at the Captain's dinner--"what did I do to deserve this...." My sense was that Windstar was just trying to get through a few more cruises on this ship before it enters drydock for a major overhaul in October. The ship's team talked constantly about the need to move on--every complaint was met with a sigh and a promise that the overhaul will fix all bad things. Don't like the broken shower faucets? We're fixing it. Don't like the drink stains on the table? We're replace them all. Wonder about all the repair work? Give us some duct tape and come back a year from now. Windstar did this to itself in many ways. Part of selling future cruises on this Iceland trip was to explain the company's desire to add cabins to every ship--the plans were widely advertised to passengers as a way to keep Windstar in the small-ship category by getting as close to 350 cabins without crossing over. Hence, the conversation was almost always about how tired the ships all are--"we'll be converting staterooms on the Wind Star here and on Star Pride there, etc., but will never go over. The whole dialogue was a distraction and left me wondering why we weren't told that this was a bucket of bolts before booking. And it definitely was a bucket of bolts. It was a great ship ten years ago after it was updated before joining the Windstar fleet, but it has suffered at every turn and the company has spackled its way to the drydock. Food was good, but this ship is not designed for an Iceland itinerary--not easy to eat outside when it is near freezing outside. And the inside amenities were, as noted, aging. Three ancient treadmills and two stationary bikes is not a fitness room and looping the same movies over and over day by day is not an entertainment program. As for ongoing service, reception desk was great but couldn't solve most problems--took us too long to get small things fixed and the ship was confused from time to time with scheduling, in part because Captain Surly was anti-social. The frontline staff was terrific as usual--highly motivated, but worn out by a brutal schedule. Lovely folks out of SE Asia for the most part on short-term contracts and 7-day schedules. Got to love them for their enormous effort. Nothing they could do about the ship's condition so far from the penny-pinchers in Seattle. Would I go on another cruise with the Windstar fleet after this? Absolutely. It's a fine company that cares about quality. I just wouldn't sail with them again this year or next. Give Windstar time to work through the kinks as its fleet goes into the renovations--these are major, major changes that involve cutting ships in half and adding new sections of cabins (see the promotional material at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/). This is not just a little paint and new beds. I'm of the opinion that how a ship goes out is just as important as how it comes in. This cruise was a joy on many levels, but our satisfaction was IN SPITE of the company, not because of it. They have let this ship decline ever since they decided on the upgrades and it shows. Be careful about this, Windstar. Your own advertising about the upgrades contains the shadow of the neglect you've tolerated as everyone waits for the teardown. It showed on this voyage. If we had known more about it before booking, we would have taken another ship. Once burned, forever shy? (Oh, why does embarkation have to be such a crowded mess on Windstar? Not enough people and too little space to do this right on this ship. A mess and uncomfortable. Is that because the all-you-can-drink package sales-team is trying to make a sale? It's the last stop on this brutal, unhappy welcoming.) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I did not know whether to title this review “The Last Cruise” or “The $22,000 Colds.” As much as we like Crystal, in 2018 I had booked a cruise on Pro-Iceland for a 7-day cruise of just Iceland. But in April I was in hospital ... Read More
I did not know whether to title this review “The Last Cruise” or “The $22,000 Colds.” As much as we like Crystal, in 2018 I had booked a cruise on Pro-Iceland for a 7-day cruise of just Iceland. But in April I was in hospital with heart problems and we cancelled the cruise and got all of our money refunded from our travel agent David Butterfield of All Cruise Travel in California. By late summer of 2018 I was feeling much better and we booked the Iceland-northern Norway cruise on the Crystal Serenity for 2019. Unfortunately by February I had more heart problems and was back in the hospital for 45 days and three operations. But, damn it; we were not canceling the 2019 vacation. It turned out I should have stayed at home, The cruise was Reykjavik to Copenhagen over 17 days. We had two prior cruises on the Crystal Symphony that were great. Getting There: We love Icelandair! It is the only airline we can afford to fly first class on (they call it Saga Class), but getting a flight from St. Louis to a city served by Icelandair can be a problem. You have to get your baggage after your domestic connecting flight and recheck it. We went through Chicago this year, which was a bit of a mistake. The International Terminal is nowhere close to any another terminal, requiring a bus ride across the airport complex. We were delayed two hours for a 45-minute flight because they had to replace a seat (apparently there was a human discharge.) Once in Chicago things were a little smoother, with one exception. I left an “Andy Carpenter” mystery novel by David Rosenfeld that I was in the middle of on a luggage cart stand. The flight to Reykjavik was great and in fact one of the flight attendants was on our Iceland Air flight in 2006. She did not appear to have changed a bit in 13 years. There was a free large bus from the airport to the dock. This is where I frist discovered I would be having problems. The long walk to the bus showed my heart was still having issues. I had to stop about every 100 feet to catch my breath caused by my heart beating too fast. I had left instructions that if I die on this vacation to give my body to a medical school in Reykjavik or Oslo and save the shipping costs back to the U.S. THE SHIP AND THE CRUISE: The unusual: There was a long line to get onto the ship. It was outside and there was a cold wind blowing with drizzle. This was unusual for us as past Crystal Cruise there were no lines. The Usual: Since Crystal is “an all inclusive” line I have referred to it as the “Cruise Line for Alcoholics.” Passengers were met at check-in by staffers holding trays of glasses of Champagne. Once on board check-in was very fast and efficient. The Stateroom: We got what we paid for even if it was about $7,500 a person for 17 days. The stateroom was small. The only chair in the room was a desk chair. The sofa was narrow and low to the ground with a vinyl covering. You had a tendency to slide off of it. Unlike the beds on the Symphony which had firm mattresses, the bed had a soft uncomfortable mattress and the cruise was for 17-days. If you are in colder climates dry hair is a must and there were two hairdryers, one in the bathroom and the other by the desk. Since our last Crystal cruise they added large screen TVs. There was no disk player in the TVs to play DVDs or music on CDs. However the new large screen TVs came with a selection of downloads that included 84 movies, TV shows and several hundred music selections. The bathroom was nice with a couple exceptions. There was not a walk-in shower but a high wall bath tub/shower combination. The tub was short. Since most people on Crystal are going to be older, this creates two problems. It is difficult for people with knee and hip problems stepping over the high wall of the bathtub. It also seems that the tub was so small it would be difficult to get in and out of it unless you are 5-foot-1 or smaller. A walk-in shower would still need a higher lip, since the drain is slow during peak hours of use, but it would better than the tub. The other areas of concern was that they could use another “grab bar” in the shower and one next to the toilet seat, which like all other seats on the ship is low. THE FOOD: As usual the Crystal food was better than I have had on any other cruise line. There was one exception. One night in the main dining room T-Bone steak was on the menu. My steak was so tough that you could not cut it with steak knife. This was not an isolated bad piece of meat. Diners at other table had the same problem. If you could cut off a piece you ran the risk of choking on it. WHAT? They did have Beef Stroganoff on the menu. I didn’t look closely to the menu since everyone knows Beef Stroganoff is served on noodles. Everyone knows that except the chef and cooks on the Serenity where it is served on rice. The Main Dining Room: It is named the Waterside. As usual there were no lines or long waits to be seated. Service was very efficient but not rushed. My wife had a favorite waiter and we sat in his section on most nights. This was good as I did not have to feel guilty about not leaving a dozen waiters a tip, I could simply leave one large tip at the end of the cruise on our ship’s account for one waiter. Beyond the call: All the desserts were good depending what you like. My wife asked a question if they ever had Strawberry/Rhubarb pie. They don’t, however a maitre told her to come back the next night as he would have one especially baked for her. They did and she said it was very good (I’m not eating rhubarb on a bet.). The same thing happened at the Palm Court bar on the 12th level. I was easy as I always wanted a Coke or a Dr. Pepper. But my wife enjoys mixed drinks. One night she ordered a “Bee’s Knees” cocktail. The staff was unfamiliar with the drink. But the bartender looked it up on the internet and the next afternoon she was served a Bee’s Knees. The specialty restaurants: These were all good, plus they had a few items on the menu that were not part of the specialty dishes for spouses who hated the normal specialty items. At the Silk, a Chinese restaurant I was disappointed they did not have my favorite “Lo Mein” on the menu, but I was well aware that “Lo Mein” is not really Chinese, but something sold at American Chinese restaurants. Bistro: We would often skip the traditional breakfast and go to the Bistro on Deck 6 for fresh fruit and muffins. At night we would often skip dessert in a dining room and go to the Bistro where they had a number of desserts for you to pick from including chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate truffles (I started with 3-truffles a night and by the end of the cruise was downing six.) plus desserts in cups such as Crème Boule. ENTERTAINMENT: Dan Davies in the Piano Bar, The American Saloon, isn’t American but is an Australian. He also was the best entertainment on the ship. He was funny and showed signs of being a very good jazz pianist. He won’t be selling any CDs of his vocals, but still he was worth several trips to his venue. The majority of the passengers got sick with colds and sore throats Dan was not an exception, but his piano work was so good on the nights he could not sing it was still very entertaining. The passengers’ requests were a problem. People should realize the piano bar guys hate playing the Piano Man and My Way. It didn’t stop the passengers from requesting them and Dan reluctantly playing them. There were two comics on this cruise, both British entertainers. One was very good and the other was barely “OK.” On July 4, a British female singer with a number of performances in shows in London’s West End was the featured entertainer. On the program it stated there would be patriotic 4th of July songs for the Americans. I thought it was odd that a Brit would be singing songs reference a war that King George III lost. My worries disappeared when the only song she sang was “When the Saints go Marching In” which has nothing to do with American Independence and is most associated with New Orleans which belonged to the French until 1804, The Crystal Quartet was a group of musicians from the Philippines. They performed music from the American Songbook and pop tunes through the 1980s. They usually played in the Palm Court on the 12th floor. This is also where the ships male dancers, the Ambassadors, who danced with single women or wives whose husbands could not dance, were found on most nights. You could detect a slight accent of the female singer, with one exception. When she would sing songs made famous in the 1950s by the “Singing Rage Patty Page” she sounded just like her. TORTURING OLD PEOPLE: Just like in the cabins, in the bars and lounges all the chairs were extremely low to the floor. In the Palm Court there were four high back chairs that were actually off the floor and they were always occupied. Older people getting up from all the other furniture sounded like a Rice Krispies commercial, “Snap, Crackle and Pop” coming from people’s knees. THE CON: One lecture on the ship was “The History of the Swiss Watch.” The lecture was not by a nice person from Switzerland but by a Brazilian, who happened the run the ship’s “Watch Shop.” He handed out raffle tickets to people attending, but the winner was not announced at the end of his talk in the movie theater. You had to follow him to the Watch Store where he would draw the winning ticket for a small gift certificate. I did not follow him to the store. I felt I was being scammed and walked in the opposite direction. THE DIRT COVE: On thing that really amazed me was that for a ship that was in dry dock for an allegedly complete interior overhaul, was how filthy the white chairs in the Crystal Cove. These were covered in dirt and it is hard to believe that staff was not aware of their condition. This is one of the higher priced cruise ships in the world. You would expect the furniture to be clean. HIGH MARKS: Chief Concierge Marco Juen from Germany went out in the rain and got us a taxi to standby when we simply asked if there were any cabs available while the ship was docked in Tromso, Norway. Juen told us to have a seat. We thought he was going to make a call. Instead he went off the ship and retuned in 10-minutes, wet and telling us there was a cab waiting for us. MOST POPULAR GUY: That would be the guy manning the Scoops Ice Cream bar from noon to 6pm on the 12th level next to the Trident Grill. This guy was serving up Ben and Jerry’s and soft serve for six hours straight, often getting unusual requests to mix the flavors in half or quarter scoops. Regardless how busy he was and how stupid the request was, he always had a smile on his face. FREE: This was the first time on a cruise ship where the computer/internet service was completely free. The ship had a computer room with at least 12 computers available for passengers. Several other computers had leading newspapers’ online editions at no charge. SYMPHONY VS SERENITY: While we found almost everything on the Serenity to be very nice, we preferred the Symphony. Everyone we spoke to who had been on both ships said the same thing. TOURS: My wife and I often differ on places to see. I like to see where people live and styles of houses. She likes to go to where the tour busses are going to famous locations. To handle this dilemma we try to find a taxi that will give us an hourly rate. On this cruise we found that the taxi was often cheaper than the ship’s tour bus trips. The only problem was in some smaller towns there were no taxis to hire. The last full day of the trip was in Copenhagen. The ship offered a free shuttle bus into downtown Copenhagen. It was about a 30-minute ride one-way. It was a rainy day and they rain increased when we got downtown. We just stayed on the shuttle bus and went back to the ship. We got a free 1-hour tour of Copenhagen, a city we had been to before and spent lots of time on a sunny day seeing the tourist sites. WEATHER: Iceland was relatively warm with temps around 54f. In the Norway towns north of the Arctic Circle there were July days where the temperature was near freezing with a combination of drizzle and snow. THE COUGH AND SNEEZE: By the end of this cruise at least half the passengers were coughing and sneezing. Both my wife and I went to the Ships Medical Center. We knew better than to rack up a big bill by seeing the doctor. Instead nurses gave us cold medicines that were very reasonably priced. My wife was in bed for three days on the ship and a week after our return. I was carrying a wash cloth to cough into while on the ship. Counting the cost of the cruise, airfare and other transportation, plus the dog sitter back home our total cost was around $22,000 and perhaps in years to come the biggest memory with be the cough and cold. DEPARTURE: My wife had signed up for the shuttle bus from the dock to the airport. On our last full day on the ship we learned that a taxi to the airport was the same price as the bus or cheaper. Marco Juen at the Concierge Desk had no problem cancelling the bus. We were then able to reserve a taxi with someone from Copenhagen’s Tourist Bureau who was on the ship. It turned out the taxi fare was cheaper than the bus. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable ... Read More
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable service, cuisine, facilities, entertainment- there cannot be a better cruise line than this. I am a customer service expert, so I have high standards and Crystal surpassed every expectation. Every single item of cuisine at every single meal or snack was exceptional. They even had a wonderful variety of sugar-free and gluten-free treats which were most welcome for those of us with dietary restrictions. The staff handled all that with ease and a smile. Every single staff member from the gangplank to the crew to the waiters to the stewardesses were delightful and the best you will ever experience. Really marvelous service. The entertainment was way beyond what I was expecting, and there were informative lectures and movies, and so much more. They even had the astronaut who rescued the Hubble Space Telescope giving talks. Very impressive. They imported a number of special guests performers, and the in-house artists were all world class too. The excursions, while expensive, and extra, were ll top notch and absolutely beautiful. The fjords are astonishing and spectacular. The ship has been nicely refurbished and is spacious, bursting with every possible amenity, planet of space. There is so much to do, or not do, that every taste will be satisfied. The spa and fitness center were excellent and spacious. The cabin was ample and the double sink in its bathroom was a nice touch. the bathroom was sizable, and I could even stand up n the show and in 99% of the ship even though I am 6'-8"/203cm tall. We loved having a verandah and could have sat out there all day and never left and been very happy (thanks to the free and wonderful room service). Of course, there was some internet spottiness above the Arctic Circle and in the fjords, but it's still miraculous to even have internet on the high seas. It turned out to be a minor inconvenience, but was better than our last Crystal cruise on the Symphony, but that was before their remodel and internet upgrade. I would HIGHLY recommend Crystal Cruises for any route, and I would very much recommend Iceland and the Norwegian Fjords as destination- really exceptional and awesomely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My friend actually chose this Ponant cruise because of its interesting title: "In the Wake of the Vikings", and because of historical interest and curiosity about lands I had never before visited I decided it was a grand idea to ... Read More
My friend actually chose this Ponant cruise because of its interesting title: "In the Wake of the Vikings", and because of historical interest and curiosity about lands I had never before visited I decided it was a grand idea to see parts of Iceland and Scotland and finish in Norway where great adventurers had set out from to explore initially unknown lands. This cruise did not disappoint - the ship was absolutely perfect in its size and outlay. As there are only a small number of passengers the dining seating allowed us to meet many different people or we could be seated by ourselves if required.The meals were always beautifully cooked and served (5courses if you wanted with superb choices for each). This may sound over indulgent but portion size enabled us to taste such a wonderful assemblage of offerings! From the moment we stepped on board (to be greeted by the captain is a special delight) we were spoiled - our cabin (we had a stateroom on level 5 with its own balcony) was very well equipped and serviced(at several times throughout the day). All our needs were met immediately because of the small size so crew did not have to go far. A special bonus was access to the bridge when appropriate. The entertainment was varied and interesting - from the captain's welcome dinner to lectures about various lands and explorers; musical and film - all different! We had a variety of shore excursions to choose from - the "Chasing Waterfalls" walk from Seyisfiordur (Eastern Iceland) was particularly interesting and beautiful. The tours from Kirkwall (Orkney Islands), Lewrick (Shetland Islands) and Isle of Skye were always on time and exceeded expectation after we had sailed into these ports through beautiful scenery. Again because of the small ship there was absolutely no waiting for any shore excursion or to board a tender - it was instant.Consequently embarkation and disembarkation proceeded very smoothly (even in Bergen at the end of our cruise on a cold rainy day I think my face was more wet from tears of leaving such a wonderful trip and departing from newly found friends, than from the rain) - the crew were there with large umbrellas for the short walk from ship to terminal. Would I go again - you bet - in a flash - I have absolutely no question in my mind! In fact I would be loathe to embark on a "large liner" - I have been on 2 previous cruises with passenger numbers over 2000 and adamantly would NOT go with that type of cruise again! I'm staying with Ponant and hope to travel on a Kimberly cruise when their ships are in that area - or perhaps an Antarctic Expedition on their new custom designed icebreaker small ship.( Dreaming of visiting new sights again!) Ponant Cruising is ........(of numerous words to use which one?).....EXCEPTIONAL. Ponant Cruises will not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we have always wanted to see icebergs and the Disko bay. My husband only speaks french and we wanted to enjoy beautiful scenery, interesting conferences, and an all inclusive drink and food cruise. • Travel To Port of Embarkation We live in France and made our own way to Reykjavik Iceland to join the ship.We arrived the day before and stayed at the Storm Hotel, which was walking distance to town center. It's a simple and very clean modern hotel, rooms are small, no closet, but a clothes rack with a few hangers. It's okay for a night or 2. • Boarding was very easy, there are many people waiting to carry our bags on board and the captain and staff are there to welcome us. Stateroom • Our prestige stateroom was on the 5th floor, with a balcony. The rooms are beautiful, clean, and there are a lot of storage room. Double wardrobe with drawers and enough hangers, and opposite the bed there are 3 big drawers with a coffee machine and electric kettle on top . There is also a safe and small fridge. Note that you cannot store suitcases under the bed, we laid them flat in the wardrobe. • Shower room is small but very nice. It's a walk-in shower and there's a clothes line in it to hang your washing. Don't forget to bring a few clothes pins! Dining There are 2 dining rooms, one on the 6th floor which is a buffet, and another one on the 2nd floor which is a more formal dining room. Food is fabulous french cuisine, drinks and wine are included.You can also enjoy more expensive wines , but we found them very expensive, around 100€ a bottle. • Entertainment Don't expect entertainment like on Costa or other huge cruises! On the 6th floor there is a observatory bar with a musician who plays classical music and on the 3rd floor in the evening there's a singer and musician who are more lively and you can dance to disco, rock & roll or other music. • Port & Shore Excursions There are excursions organized in Reykjavit before leaving port, a few small towns, in the capital Nuuk, Illulisat, and bay of Disko. Most of the excursions are not free and you have to sign up for them. They are not cheap either! Considering that Ponant sells luxury cruises, they could have included these excursions in their price. • Disembarkation Disembarkation was at Kangerlussuaq which is an old american military base and we left the ship at 5:30AM, with a bus. Return flight to Paris was a chartered flight with Iberia. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, ... Read More
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, sloppy, not friendly, poor in execution of excursions. As soon as the ship handed us off to the expedition staff, it became like we at a campground. The expedition staff is indifferent without service attitude. We had no idea which landings were wet and which were dry. As we got to the port, it was clear and the ship could have told us before we boarded. Guess they enjoy their free ride and leave the clients to their own. The last day of the cruise, we left the boat on Zodiacs and were put on a bus enclosed for one hour waiting without direction. No staff accompanied us. We had no direction. Senior citizens were left to figure out where to go on the plains of windy Greenlandon excursions. It’s a miracle no one was seriously injured although a few people fell a bit. As we left the ship, the expedition guide said, “Honestly, I have not heard back from the guide company, so I hope they come.” At lunch, a buffet was set up insufficient creating a large cafeteria line. The bathroom wait was 45 minutes. The excursions on Zodiacs to see the icebergs were brilliant and beautiful. Really unmatchable. The cruise was generally fantastic. It was hard to leave the ship. Only the expedition segment was painful and disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of ... Read More
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of the larger ships (no casino and no shows though). Awesome specialty restaurants to choose from, especially our favorite, the Grille (hot rock cooking at its' best). The crew service was outstanding in every way. Our butler and attendant were especially attentive and provided the best service we have ever received on board any ship. We enjoyed our first use of the spa services and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the service was! We also wanted to suggest that the disembarkation tour of 5 hours, was not the best use of time for us. It was too long and too confined in the rustic artic buses with all of our carry on luggage. Also, restroom facilities were very limited, which made us uncomfortable. We were really spoiled being on the ship and had a rude awakening when we disemabarked. Definitely enjoyed all aspects of the cruise until the very end and when we did our post trip hotel. We had lunch on the 5 hour tour and then our flight was delayed so much that we missed dinner completely and about 50 of us arrived at the hotel both hungry and exhausted, only to find no food available. To top it off, someone neglected to arrange for our transportation to the airport (which was included). We had to find a way on our own and it made our last day of the trip terribly stressful. Even with the end of the trip not going so well, would we do it again? Absolutely! Loved the SilverSea Silver Cloud and it's crew a lot!! Thank you for asking our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines ... Read More
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines for everything--from dinner in the main restaurant, La Terrazza breakfasts and lunches, and boarding the zodiaks. The service was perfunctory, with some exceptions--our assistant butler was wonderful, as were many individual members of the staff. And there were some unique experiences, from the 'polar plunge' to kayaking in dry suits. The captain was welcoming and generally terrific. But the overall experience--from spending hours trying to figure out what appropriate clothing to bring(no, Silversea--not 4 pairs of gloves PLUS glove liners for a 10 day cruise; not hugely difficult-to-pack calf-length waterproof boots for what turned out to be ONE!! wet zodiac landing) to the final day--again, no details til night before,but basically a lovely almost 5 hour excursion offset by standing in way too many lines--did not in any way measure up either to my expectations or Silversea's promises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our long awaited and much anticipated Northwest Passage trip has ended and will long be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Inputing required information into Ponant’s website before the trip was frustratingly difficult and ... Read More
Our long awaited and much anticipated Northwest Passage trip has ended and will long be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Inputing required information into Ponant’s website before the trip was frustratingly difficult and generally only remedied by Sydney’s staff. Thank you to all who assisted. The required medical information was widely regarded by GPs and fellow travellers as an invasion of privacy. Our travels to Antarctica onboard MV Orion in 2007 and a previous 42-day Arctic expedition cruise aboard MV Silver Explorer in 2013 did not require such detailed information, simply evidence of travel insurance that included repatriation from remote areas. And then there were the charter flights. Check-in at Charles de Gaulle airport was an absolute shambles. Many, if not most, passengers had arrived long before the Ponant representative and located a Ponant banner near gates 50-51. Nobody was aware that there were two charter flights, the other check-in being on the opposite side of the terminal at gates 1-2. Much cross-terminal activity ensued as people realised they were in the wrong queues! My partner and I were allocated the Trade Air flight that used a Fokker 100 aircraft. The aircraft was not designed to carry a full economy-class passenger load with everyone having hold-stowed baggage, and consequently some baggage was loaded into some of the toilets at the captain’s suggestion. That carrier has been cited on previous occasions for regulatory breaches, according to internet entries, and this was possibly another. Being a charter flight we parked remotely from the terminal in Copenhagen and much of the baggage was offloaded into open baggage-carts in a downpour. Some passengers reported their baggage was sodden upon retrieval. Transferring to the Air Greenland commercial flight was another exercise involving a very long walk with little guidance. A couple of quick-thinking passengers were able to pay for a business-class upgrade, while most of us continued to languish in economy. Upon arrival in Kangerlussuaq we were directed to board coaches for the transfer to the ship. Nobody bothered to inform us, until asked, about what was to happen to our luggage....it was collected in bulk and transferred (successfully) to the ship. The reception on boarding the ship, was adequate but not exceptional, particularly as it was close to midnight when we boarded. Our cabin, 528, was tiny with no under-bed storage for luggage and was apparently designed as the sitting-room to the adjoining cabin 526, to which it had a connecting door for use when both cabins were sold as one suite. It was a similar story for other cabins on deck 5, some with under-bed storage, others without. Within the cabin, the bathroom and toilet doors opened outwards into the entrance passageway, as did the wardrobe doors. Open one door but beware opening another as they clashed with one another. Inexplicably, the shower door opened inwards to the stall and if anyone fell while in the shower and could not pick themselves up, access for assistants would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, without demolishing the screens. Compactness was also a feature of both restaurants, with tables very close together hampering access for both passengers and waiters. Both restaurants were badly under-staffed, with waiters having too many tables to look after and also doubling as wine waiters. Under these very trying circumstances, the waiters did the best they could, but lengthy delays were normal. The bars were also understaffed. Some food items and beverages ran very low, with some items completely exhausted within 10 days of the start of a 23 day cruise! Somebody needs to answer for that. The much-hyped French cuisine was disappointing, with a preponderance of fish on the dinner menu. The cruise proceeded much as advertised until it was announced that we would be unable to transit the Northwest Passage because of the ice conditions in Bellot Strait and further west. That decision was based on ice charts and forecasts available before we had even set sail from Kangerlussuaq on the cruise, and that changed little as the cruise progressed. We were initially offered early disembarkation (at Pond Inlet, Canada), an option that a number of us selected, and two other options, each less appealing than the other. Eventually it was decided an early disembarkation would unnecessarily delay the ship sailing north in Baffin Bay on a random itinerary taking us towards the very north of Greenland towards another channel blocked by sea ice, before turning south and returning to Kangerlussuaq by the 18th September, the date we were originally due to disembark in Nome. Mutterings were heard that we’d paid the ransom before we’d been kidnapped! Communications from staff members was poor on many occasions, with the constant changing from French to English difficult to follow. And once the revised itinerary got underway, we were only told on a daily basis what to expect the next day, with nobody sure when we would be back in Kangerlussuaq (17th or 18th, morning or afternoon etc). Eventually we found ourselves back in Kangerlussuaq and the charter flight shambles started all over again. Europeans won the lottery with a short flight back to Paris. The rest of us had to endure a long, uncomfortable economy-class flight all the way to Seattle with a refuelling stop in Buffalo. And finally liberation! We could never, in good conscience, recommend Ponant. As a luxury expedition/cruise line it barely rates a 3, based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose this 15 day trip with Seabourn because of our interest in travel around Iceland and Norway. Our previous experience has been with Oceania and Regent. Overall, the cruise was excellent, particularly the competence and attitude of ... Read More
Chose this 15 day trip with Seabourn because of our interest in travel around Iceland and Norway. Our previous experience has been with Oceania and Regent. Overall, the cruise was excellent, particularly the competence and attitude of the staff and the attention to detail. Ironically, the worst service we received was in the Thomas Keller specialty restaurant. Variety and quality of entertainment was quite good, especially for a small 480 passenger ship. Food generally was excellent, with only complaint being the lack of variety of food offerings during off hours. The Ventures shore excursions (hiking, kayaking, zodiacs,etc) were exceptional, with amazingly qualified Seabourn employees as guides. Standard shore excursions, however, were hit and miss, and several of the ports of call should have been skipped as either uninteresting or repetitive. My biggest issue with the cruise, however, which obviously is no fault of Seabourn, is the overwhelming advanced age of the vast bulk of the passengers. I am 70 and my wife 64, and we both felt like youngsters. Don't get me wrong, the clear majority of passengers were friendly and engaging, but you can't be in a group of 450+ aging passengers and not come away with a number of stories and impressions about how difficult some seniors can be to deal with. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have sailed on Regent going back to when they were Radisson, ( Pre-Regent days), and thought they were excellent. We last enjoyed them a year ago in Alaska, and we were looking forward to sailing on their new ship the Explorer. ... Read More
We have sailed on Regent going back to when they were Radisson, ( Pre-Regent days), and thought they were excellent. We last enjoyed them a year ago in Alaska, and we were looking forward to sailing on their new ship the Explorer. Advertised as the most luxurious ship a-float, we thought this would be the ultimate in Regent Cruising. Suffice it to say I assume that the cost of the ship and its extensive art work and decor must be paid for somehow, and so cuts must be made. It is the little things such as food served lukewarm, or tepid. A request at lunch for a German or dutch lager beer and getting served " Tiger Beer " from the Philippines. A Concierge that immediately responds; "We are not offering any Compensation", when all you were doing was making them aware of an issue, ( while never asking for any compensation). Ordering an Asian stir fry dish listed on the menu in the Pacific Rim Restaurant and being asked how you wanted it cooked? Really? Going to the Patio for lunch and taking a dish from the stack just placed by the kitchen staff and finding the first plate still has food residue stuck on it. When reported and shown to the server, they simply took it away and left the stack of dished it came off of in place for other passengers to take their plates from. I have no idea if the other plates were clean or may have also have had some residue stuck on them as well. Is it possible as Regent has increased the size of this newest ship to add more passengers that they have lost ability to continue to provide World Class Customer Service? Our overall experience made us feel as if we were on a Princess, or Celebrity Cruise, good but not " Luxury Class, not world Class. Goodbye Regent and Hello NCL. Service for the masses, good but not luxury. For us, if I want that type of service I can Cruise with Princess, or Celebrity, or Royal Caribbean. For luxury though, I will be comparing to SeaBourn, and SilverSea Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise partly because of the reviews and partly because it went to a few places that we have not been before. First, the good: They had an excellent lecturer aboard and I thought his presentation was phenomenal. ... Read More
We chose this cruise partly because of the reviews and partly because it went to a few places that we have not been before. First, the good: They had an excellent lecturer aboard and I thought his presentation was phenomenal. They had one great restaurant: Chartreuse, for French, but you can only book it once. The suite was adequate, lots of drawer space. The seating area could be partitioned off with curtains, so it could be considered an actual suite. Decor is very dark with low ceilings. I am 5’6” and could place my whole hand on the ceiling. Now the negative: We have cruised before with Seabourn and Silverseas. This did not compare to those lines in any way. The main issue is the overall experience: We felt like cattle. Like many other luxury lines, they include the tours in your price, but unlike others our experience, they make no attempt to control the quality of the tours. On Silverseas, we had a crew/staff member on every bus and on every tour. If something went wrong, that person was able to manage it or intervene. Regent makes no effort to even ask for reviews of the tours. The most obnoxious part was the tour departures: They ask you to line up early on board to turn in your tour ticket and get a bus number. There are a lot of buses on a 700 guest cruise... then you wait and wait in the very dark “Constellation Lounge” until your bus is called. Often twice a day. You spend a very long time hanging out in this lounge with staff repeating the same thing over and over... Then you line up to offload and get on the buses. I do not remember any waits or lines for the tours on with either Silverseas or Seabourn. Finally, the food is just ok. They rely heavily on buffets. Their returning customers seemed happy with that. There was exceent restaurant, Chartreuse. The other two were just OK. There seemed to be a dichotomy of opinion between people who cruised with them often and the newcomers to Regent. The returning customers thought it was just the best experience, and the newcomers were talking mutiny. Our experience was exactly what we wanted to avoid on a cruise. Perhaps it is caused by the move back to larger ships. It has put us off cruising for the future. One of the reasons we chose Regent was because of the glowing reviews. Please don’t be fooled. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This cruise took us from Iceland, through the Faroe and Shetland Islands, to Norway, Sweden, and ending in Copenhagen. What a wonderful experience - we will find it difficult to “go back” to regular cruising. The service was ... Read More
This cruise took us from Iceland, through the Faroe and Shetland Islands, to Norway, Sweden, and ending in Copenhagen. What a wonderful experience - we will find it difficult to “go back” to regular cruising. The service was outstanding, drinks were generous and ubiquitous, our cabin was so luxurious that we didn’t mind spending time in it, excursions were informative and geared to the capabilities of the “over 55” set that is the primary passenger profile. Beautiful ship with original artwork, glass sculptures, etc. Only complaint is that, since airfare is included, they make the arrangements, and you have no say in your air itinerary unless you pay a $175pp fee. Domestic airfare is coach, not what you expect for a luxury line that transports you in Business Class for overseas travel. Our next cruise leaves Miami and ends up in San Francisco - we don’t expect to have to travel coach cross-country, and the cost for upgrade is very high. The rebate if you choose not to use their airfare is not enough to cover travel cost. We do like the convenience and security of using them to book air, but wish that they would just include travel arrangements that are suitable for a luxury vacation for ALL of their cruises.. We did have to stand outside in a cold wind with slight rain, waiting to embark onto the ship. Other passengers told us that having to stand in line out in the cold (and it’s cold in Iceland even in August) was not normal. Did not like that. Hotel in Reykjavik was poor, but they are building more new ones all around. Our room was small, no A/C so we had to keep the window open even in the rain, listening to the traffic below. Mold in the shower. I suggest RSSC find a better hotel there or get the Blue to improve. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Fortunately for us our inclusive pre-cruise hotel in Reykjavik was in a great location in the old town, however talking to many of our fellow passengers it appears we were very lucky and most were in hotels some distance from the city ... Read More
Fortunately for us our inclusive pre-cruise hotel in Reykjavik was in a great location in the old town, however talking to many of our fellow passengers it appears we were very lucky and most were in hotels some distance from the city centre. Taking advantage of our pre-cruise time we took a privately arranged Golden Circle Tour, which despite the so-so weather was an amazing day out giving a great introduction to the history and geology of Iceland. Embarkation was by far the worse we have ever experienced with a huge queue outside on the dock before check-in. Fortunately the weather was ok as that wait would have been horrible in the rain. However, once onboard with a glass of champagne and efficient check-in, the wait was quickly forgotten. This was our second cruise on the Explorer, the first being one of the early cruises post launch in 2016. On that cruise we felt the majority of the cruise staff were very inexperienced with many of the waiting staff making the most basic of mistakes. Fortunately a year on, service is much improved with the majority of bar and restaurant staff being highly competent and even remembering preferred drinks after a couple of evenings. The itinerary was fantastic with 2 other ports in Iceland, then onto Faroe Islands and the Shetlands followed by 3 days experiencing the Norwegian fjords, along with ports of call of Skagen, Oslo and Gothenburg before disembarking in Copenhagen. The choice of excursions at each port ranges from sedentary bus tours to active cycling or hiking tours. They are well organised and usually led by informative and entertaining guides. Group size is limited and we’ve never felt the size to be too large to be able to fully enjoy ourselves. There is an excellent choice of restaurants, all of them of extremely high quality. Our least favourite is the evening Italian restaurant Sette Mari where service can be quite chaotic, with either rushed or desperately slow service. It’s very popular so would be better if this was a reservation only restaurant to avoid the long queues or if the weather doesn’t allow for outside dining consider opening up the whole of the restaurant. At least one of the speciality restaurants is open at lunchtime which makes for a relaxed change from the more usual buffet fare available at the Pool or La Veranda. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that ... Read More
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that the shower in my cabin was over a bathtub, making it very difficult to get in and out of the shower. Bathtubs on ships don't make a lot of sense to me. And the shower head was placed awkwardly in a corner, making it difficult to get the full force of the shower. Service was very good and so was the food; dinners were elegantly served and there was always good entree choices. The Fitness Center is very well equipped. Generally, Windstar does a good job. My annoyance is that I felt "nickled and dimed" because there are so many extra charges. I would rather pay a little more and have more included (like wine at dinner and laundry). Another annoyance is to arrive at a "briefing" for the next day's activities only to have to sit through half an hour of marketing for future Windstar trips before the "briefing" begins. Another annoyance is Internet access; they sell it but tell you that it will work only intermittently and so much time is used up just trying to log on, plus it's expensive! But all in all, it was a good trip and I would do it again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I have cruised on the Marina twice and was wondering how I would find the R class (smaller ship than the O class) Insignia. Well, I loved it. Why? The size was excellent and the passengers did not overwhelm the ports or tendering ... Read More
I have cruised on the Marina twice and was wondering how I would find the R class (smaller ship than the O class) Insignia. Well, I loved it. Why? The size was excellent and the passengers did not overwhelm the ports or tendering operations. Just a nice scale. True the Veranda suites are smaller and particularly the showers than the Marina but they were not disappointing. I did not miss the other specialty restaurants they have on the O ships. Food was excellent and fully up to Marina/Oceania standards. Which I have found to be the best of all other cruise lines that we have taken, mainly AMA and Holland America. I had read a review prior to the trip that stated that the Insignia was tired and dog eared. I looked very closely at a number of areas of the ship and found her to be in excellent condition. I think the main lounge was a little weak (small) for entertainment but we don't cruise for the entertainment. Piano bar and string quartets are more of our thing and was very good on Insignia. I loved the itinerary because they were unique ports and not tourist traps. I learned things about places I had never read about. Service was outstanding as it has been on our other Oceania cruises. Booked next years cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed ... Read More
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed around Iceland and the shore excursions were plentiful. Perhaps the cost of living in Iceland is high, it appears that the shore excursions are more expensive than the other cruises. Not a great deal of travelers heard of WindStar. But if this cruise line is going to Asia, their WIFI program needs to work at a better level than at the present. Entertainment is very low key. Most of all, confusions with communications appeared quite often, resulting in conflicts with travelers. On the whole, it is a pleasant, cold and windy cruise in the midst of summer so that I can say I crossed the Article Circle in style. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our 45th cruise and our 3rd cruise on Crystal. We were intrigued by the itinerary - from Reykjavik to Portsmouth. The weather, admittedly, was dicey for the entire time (cold, windy and frequent showers) but we always try to not ... Read More
This was our 45th cruise and our 3rd cruise on Crystal. We were intrigued by the itinerary - from Reykjavik to Portsmouth. The weather, admittedly, was dicey for the entire time (cold, windy and frequent showers) but we always try to not let that impact the overall experience. Crystal excels in top-notch service and this cruise was no different in many respects. Our stateroom attendant was terrific and never failed to bring fresh ice each afternoon at 5 pm as we had requested. Typically we enjoy having a cocktail on our verandah as we sail away from each port but, because of the weather, we ended up visiting one of the many bars instead. The Crystal Dining Room is darn near perfect. The menus have been refreshed while still offering a number of traditional selections. Our waiter, Miroslav (Miki), was absolutely amazing and the sommelier, Lorena, was probably the best we have ever had aboard a ship. We chose the flexible dining option and it worked perfectly every night. Kudos to the Maitre d' and Asst Maitre d' for having such a uniformly excellent staff. Even at luncheon which was open seating we always had terrific service. Prego, in our opinion, is a waste of time. The staff there have a cavalier, if not aloof, attitude. The menu is either extremely dated or, in many instances, offers food which barely passes for Italian of any region. Symphony is 20 years old now and beginning to look, and perform, like a dowager in comparison to newer luxury vessels. The bathroom of our verandah suite was small and cramped and the vanity, with two plastic washbasins, was the smallest we've seen in years. The sofa in our cabin is really a chair and a half. And it's a hassle to dress with closets having sliding doors close to the bed. Our biggest disappointment in this cruise, however, was the itinerary. Before we sailed, one change had already been made to the originally published ports of call. The "maiden" call at Djupivogur, Iceland was an enormous waste of time. The few who went ashore, as we did, came back shaking their hands in amazement at why we had even stopped. The stop at the Isle of Skye was on a Sunday - almost nothing open in port and the shore excursions sold out quickly. Belfast and Dublin were fantastic, weather notwithstanding, but the call to Waterford was cancelled due to rough seas which the tenders could not cope with and we stopped in Cork (Ringaskiddy) instead. The last port of call, Fowey (Cornwall), was abandoned for the same reasons and we steamed on to Portsmouth instead, arriving there at 2.00 pm. Shore excursions were not arranged but a complimentary shuttle took folks to a local shopping mall (American style) with the same brands we have back home. I will close with the same comments I made after our Crystal Serenity cruise in December 2016. The efforts to expand the Crystal brand in recent years with river cruises, luxury air, luxury yacht, and so on seem to have resulted in the line losing sight of its core product. We have a cruise later this year scheduled on Silversea and a cruise next May reserved for the newest Seaboard ship. We heard similar comments from a number of other passengers. At this point we don't envision returning to Crystal in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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