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39 Canary Islands Romantic Cruise Reviews

Azores and Canaries cruise on Celebrity Eclipse - 13-27 September 2015 Southampton Boat Show certainly had an impact on the Port as we queued to get to the Ibis Budget Hotel in West Quay. After nabbing the last available space on the ... Read More
Azores and Canaries cruise on Celebrity Eclipse - 13-27 September 2015 Southampton Boat Show certainly had an impact on the Port as we queued to get to the Ibis Budget Hotel in West Quay. After nabbing the last available space on the car park, we collected our keys very quickly, thanks to our online checkin on the day before. We had an 11.30 - 1530 checkin for boarding so we left our hotel at 10.50 am, anticipating some traffic hold ups. We drove onto the Shuttle parking at ABParking and a very helpful and friendly guy helped to take our cases out of the car and load them into their luggage vans. He then was really helpful as we loaded onto the bus, passing up each of my three hand luggage bags to me after I was on board, making life so much easier. We set off immediately to the Departure Check-in and with our Xpress passes duly completed we were taken immediately to a check-in desk and we were whisked through customs and were on board by 11.30. It has to be one of the most efficient and speedy check-in we have had. We had our customary glass of bubbly as we boarded and we made our way up to the Mast Bar with all our hand luggage, having a quick drink before we went up to the Sky Bar to settle a little until the cabins were ready - said to be around 13.30. Plenty of places to relax and a nice surprise when I went to the bar. I was greeted with a warm "hello again Mrs Jean, would you like one of your usual's by jairo. To say I was surprised was an understatement, as I could understand being recognised, but not having our drink preference remembered three months after we were last on board. But this is really quite an example of the excellent service we have come to expect from the Celebrity Staff and Crew. We had an obstructed D2 balcony cabin, 6180 on Deck 6, so we were not quite sure how much obstruction to expect, but it was better than we had anticipated. One of the larger lifeboats stanchion was visible up to the balcony top edge and then there was a gap to the stanchion of one of the smaller lifeboats, so we could actually see the sea between these two boats if we looked down and, of course, there is no obstruction if you look out across the horizon, Once inside the cabin, it is hardly distinguishable from the Concierge cabin we had earlier this year. The bed was close to the balcony and the settee nearest to the bathroom. The wardrobe space is adequate for a two-week cruise even with the formal attire we took, but we were very pleased that we had brought additional hangers because the ones provided were very few and took up a lot of space. We had brought light-weight, non-slip ones which don't take up much space at all. There are five fairly small drawers available so I had brought a couple of collapsible plastic cases which fit very well into the above-the-bed cupboards, but they make for easier access if you are as vertically-challenged as I am. This space also provided storage for bags and other miscellaneous items. The bathroom is spacious and the shower is excellent, being easily operated and powerful enough. There are closing shower doors, so no dreaded shower curtain . There are multiple enclosed shelves for toiletries and the space works very well. Our cabin steward Jefrey kept the cabin spotlessly clean and was on hand to help with anything we needed. We also used our cabin for breakfast, preferring this to the busy Oceanview Buffet in the morning on most days. However, the Buffet has an excellent menu for lunch, with stations serving great variety. We also used the Moonlight Sonata main dining room on occasions for lunch, our choice between these two venues being dictated by our mood at the time. We had pre-booked our evening meal for 7.00 pm all cruise, because this is our preferred time to eat. We also asked for a table for two because my OH does not hear so well when he is in a large group, so a table for two is better for us to enjoy our meal. Towards the end of the cruise we often had Markus and StagPolo waiting on us with Gjorgji as our sommelier. They serve a very nice Pinot Grigio on the Classic Package as well as a very acceptable sparkling wine. I found the food in the MDR usually very good, occasionally absolutely excellent and very occasionally quite good. We did try the Tuscany Grill after we were offered $20 off the normal price during a promotion. We had the most fantastic table, overlooking the wake of the ship as we were each served a beautiful meal, and a Pinot Grigio that was definitely superior to the one in the Main Dining Room. We did not expect dusk to dawn sunshine as we were leaving from Southampton, but we were hoping that Tropical Storm Henri would not affect us too much. Hope was in vain however, as I was woken quite a few times during the night as the ship started to rock and roll. The Captain announced in the morning that the winds were gusting at 45 knots per hour and we had 18 foot waves. This lasted for most of the day and a bank of mist also rolled in at one stage to add to the general greyness of the day. We spent most of the day after our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle reading and relaxing, although I did join in with Bingo for an hour, prior to getting ready for our first formal evening. The captain and most of his senior officers attended the M&M, and they were very ready to have a chat with the members who attended. Day 2 at sea, on our way down to the Ponta Delgarda in the Azores started with a moderate sea, still very grey, and the captain announced in the morning that he expected both the wind and seas to increase. The waves were about 8-9 feet in the morning, but were expected to increase to 17 feet later in the day. Time for flat shoes methinks! As the afternoon wore on the waves did get higher, and the spray at times obliterated our view out of our cabin on Deck 6. Having said that, we felt the ship coped really well and I felt fine. Our first port of call, Ponta Delgarda, was new to us but we found it reminded us of Lisbon. The open-topped bus here was informative and comfortable. The weather brightened as we travelled south and stayed warm, with a few bouts of drizzling rain while we were in Tenerife. Our other ports were Funchal, Madeira: Santa Cruz, Tenerife: Gran Canaria: Lanzarote: Fueteventura and Lisbon, the busiest being Lisbon with three ships in port. Relaxing on the ship was easy as there are plenty of places to sit, the speciality coffees are delicious and service was excellent without being intrusive. The first Celebrity Eclipse Show, scheduled in the Theatre was postponed due to the sea state, as it included quite a lot of aerial performances, which would have been dangerous as the ship did its 'rock and roll'. It was performed later in the cruise and was spectacular. Instead, Jayne Curry, a comic singer gave an excellent show - her voice range and interaction with the audience was superb. The Beatles Celebration seemed to have been enjoyed by all with many of audience joining in enthusiastically. One of the biggest surprises for me was a guy called Tom Suha, a violinist who made his violin sing - he was amazing! One of my best memories will be an evening in the Sky Bar, when there was an Abba singalong, with booklets of song lyrics available to join in. The Solitaire group who performed all over the ship is also excellent and provided the music for some outstanding evenings. Overall we had a fantastic time on the Celebrity Eclipse, and enjoyed good food and drink and, most significantly, great service! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Well, we went on our 2 week cruise on Britannia wondering what we had let ourselves in for. Though we had booked in March 2014 for our 14 night Canary Island Cruise, we had read so many bad reviews that we were wondering if we had made the ... Read More
Well, we went on our 2 week cruise on Britannia wondering what we had let ourselves in for. Though we had booked in March 2014 for our 14 night Canary Island Cruise, we had read so many bad reviews that we were wondering if we had made the right decision. We knew the moment that we boarded that we hadn’t and are now sitting at home, very depressed, wishing we were still onboard! Prior to booking the cruise we had done our homework on the Princess Cruise sites re the Royal Princess, her sister ship, and had chosen an aft cabin F729. It had a large balcony which we guess was about 5ft by 9ft. We loved the cabin and though we had an hour on one sea day when there was some soot, it was quickly cleaned up by the staff and that was it for the whole 14 days. It was a quiet cabin and we did wonder if there was anyone else on the ship. Fair enough, the cabin above us could look down on to our balcony, but that really didn’t concern us and we never saw anyone above us any way. The cabin was a GD cabin and well designed. Ok, the bathroom was on the small side, but there was plenty of space to do what you needed to do in there! The toiletries provided by the White Company are good quality. There are plenty of sockets and the cabin TV is a big plus, with lots of excellent films, programmes etc. Shame that you are not able to check your bill on-going or order through the TV as on other cruise lines. We could go on forever, but have added the positives and areas for development in note form as it may not take as long: The good things about Britannia: *We loved the design of the ship and were more than happy with the colour scheme – very modern and stylish. *Though she is a big ship we never felt too crowded. Though this was one of the first cruises of the main school holidays, and was pretty much full we NEVER once failed to find somewhere pleasant to sit at any time of the day or evening. This included the Buffet area, up on deck and in the many bars at night. We were pleasantly surprised. *The lifts – again, we NEVER had a problem with the lifts. Fair enough, we were lucky as we were close to the aft lifts and used those, but when we used the midsection lifts we never had to wait for too long at all. If we hadn’t read previous reviews we wouldn’t have known that there was a problem. It was also good to see that people were always polite and courteous re the use of the lifts and for those less mobile – everyone waited and used their manners. *The staff were exceptional (well, apart from 2 who stood out like a sore thumb), very polite, friendly and helpful. *We ate in the Meridian Freedom Dining restaurant and it was very good. Thanks go to the Restaurant Manager, Jaison, who granted our request for a specific area of the dining room each evening. We did have to wait quite a while as a result as they are not allowed to reserve tables, but it was good to have the same staff each evening. We also had excellent service from Costa, Hyacinth and Jackson – thank you, we miss you! *There was an excellent range of Select Dining venues. We tried Sindhus and despite one of us not liking Indian Food we both enjoyed the experience. The Beach House was excellent value for money, though the Glass House was disappointing and lacked atmosphere. We went to the Epicurian for Afternoon Tea, but found it too rich – too many cakes - and over facing. It was nice, but we wouldn’t do it again. *The over whelming majority of passengers were a pleasure to meet and the children on board were a credit to their parents and never caused any problems at all. The 2 main pools were used for families, leaving the Serenity Pool for adults only. We preferred to sit up on deck 19 facing the pool. There are lots of small, hidden areas that are worth finding if you want a quiet sunbed, in a good location! *The ship’s photographers were very good without being obtrusive and the quality of their products was good *The formal nights were great events and we only saw one person who had not dressed up for the occasion according to the P&O dress code. Sailing from Southampton does help here as we could take there were no luggage restrictions. *As with all P&O cruises we were able to take on board a box of wine and any more wine we purchased at the various stops along the way. Drinks were about the same price as at a 4 star hotel at home and a bottle of wine was about the same price as you’d pay at any Brewer’s Fayre type pub at home : e.g. £15. No gratuities as on US cruise lines. *The ship’s officers were very personable and visible around the ship. We had the pleasure of doing the Behind the Scenes Tour and were impressed with everyone we met. The Captain had a high profile and was a good ‘people’ person. There was an incident late on the first evening – it turned out not to be an engine room fire in the end – and though it was unnerving at the time it was handled quickly and professionally by the crew. *We don’t tend to go for the entertainment so cannot comment on the quality of the theatre productions etc etc. We did go into the theatre for a look around, however, and found it to be very small, so we could see why people complained. We did enjoy the sailaway from Southampton and loved the Great British Sail away from Madeira – an excellent ‘deck party’. *The excursions we did were generally of a good quality, all booked via P&O. These were: Vigo Celtic Heritage and Wine Tasting. An excellent day Lanzarote: Fire Mountain (it rained!) was ok but we would not go for the one with wine again and wished we had done the Camel Safari with this one. Tenerife: Mt Teide by Cable Car: An excellent trip – shame we didn’t have much time at the top due to long queues Gran Canaria: Walking Trails and Wine – a HIKE (NB not a walk at all) into a crater and out again followed by some great wine tasting. This one isn’t for the faint hearted! Cadiz: We did our own thing and walked around the perimeter of the City and then to the Cathedral. A great stop Madeira: We took ourselves to the Cable Car and to the Tropical Gardens which was excellent Madeira: Jeep Safari : A fabulous excursion and well worth the money. Areas for development noted in our survey for P&O: *We met a couple who had booked an aft cabin on G deck above the Live Lounge. Sadly, this cabin was affected badly by the noise, not only during the evening but when the group was rehearsing during the afternoon. We could sometimes hear the bass beat from our cabin, but it was hardly noticeable, though we could hear the rehearsals from the balcony some afternoons. Why they needed to rehearse with the music so loud was beyond us and it was annoying when you just wanted to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. *Many passengers complained that there was little in the way of entertainment in the atrium at night. We agree with this – there was a beautiful grand piano in the corner, but for some reason it was never used. It would have been good to have someone tinkling away quietly in the corner to give some atmosphere. I suppose the positive side is that there wasn’t loud music so you could hold a conversation! *We knew that Britannia didn’t have a prom deck, but we did miss not being able to have an evening stroll around the ship after dinner. I suppose there is nothing that can be done about it now, but something for future ship designers to consider. *The Buffet was much better than on Oceana, but we still felt that the Celebrity Solstice class ships still have the edge here. There seemed to be 4 identical areas and we felt that it became a bit ‘samey’ over the 2 weeks. They would benefit from sending someone to Celebrity to see what an outstanding Buffet looks like. * As it was a school holiday cruise the small pool at the back and area was reserved for teenagers. This was frustrating as every time we walked past there was no one there and the older teenagers were in the adults only pool ... *Embarkation was a fiasco! For some reason P&O has changed the way that it boards passengers now so that cabins would be ready when you board. I can see the logic, but they are now restricting boarding times more, expecting everyone to keep to the time on their e-ticket. Without going over the whole debate about the rights and wrongs of this, just to say that the new set up doesn’t work. The embarkation area was full to over flowing with cross passengers and when we were told that “We are only inviting Suite guests to board” it didn’t come across too well. Then the PA system kept breaking up so it sounded like some sort of a comedy act. Not a good start. In the past we have waited about 20 minutes max to board a ship and been happy to wander about waiting for our cabin. On this occasion we sat in a hot, stuffy hall for about 2 hours with thousands of others. P&O need to review this ‘new’ system. Finally, just to end by saying that we had a fabulous holiday and would not hesitate to go back to Britannia again if the itinerary was good. Rule Britannia! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
After several recommendations to sail with P&O we took the plunge and booked our first ever cruise on the beautiful Britannia. As a young married couple we were both worried that we would be very young compared to other passengers ... Read More
After several recommendations to sail with P&O we took the plunge and booked our first ever cruise on the beautiful Britannia. As a young married couple we were both worried that we would be very young compared to other passengers so we were relieved when there were lots of others our age and younger! We loved everything about it... The wonderful food, the lovely balcony cabin, the fantastic entertainment.The strictly come dancing aspect of the cruise was fantastic...where else do you get to see the strictly professionals upclose for free?! Embarkation was pretty quick given the number of passengers. We found our cabin with ease and met our lovely steward. We were very impressed with the grandeur of the ship. Spotless and beautiful! Not tacky at all. Always somewhere to sit and always a drinks waiter nearby :-) We had freedom dining which was a lovely surprise and thoroughly enjoyed the food. The waiters were attentive and very friendly. We had to wait with a buzzer occasionally but that wasn't a problem...we were on holiday and not in a rush after all ;-) Our cabin was lovely and the balcony and shower were a great size...honestly I don't know what people are moaning about!! I'm quite cross after reading people's dislike of the entertainment team!! They were fantastic, well above the standard I was expecting. Myself and my husband are both professional musicians and were really really impressed. Seriously can't find any fault at all. On most counts it was far better than the west end. We went on a Cunard ship shortly afterwards and the entertainment was abysmal.... We had to wait for a lift occasionally but again we weren't in a hurry :-) All in all we loved it! I really don't know what people have to moan about, it was just fantastic! We've just booked a mini break on the Ventura! Well done P&O!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My husband and I wanted to do something different and decided to do the Canary Islands on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. The ship is huge, but pretty easy to navigate once you figure out where everything is. Our cabin was a ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to do something different and decided to do the Canary Islands on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. The ship is huge, but pretty easy to navigate once you figure out where everything is. Our cabin was a balcony, which had ample storage and a nice layout. The multiple eateries were very good, but it took some getting used to having to make reservations for dinner if you didn't want to do the buffet. The entertainment was exceptional. We went to all three shows, Spectra, We Will Rock You and The Gift. The production, considering the small venue and moving ship, was fabulous! We enjoyed The Gift the most, even though they had a small set issue which caused a delay. Everyone on board went out of their way to make our vacation memorable, and we really appreciated it. I only wish two things... 1) that Royal Caribbean and Celeb would share perks as I have cruised Celebrity in the past and have two additional cruises already scheduled with them. 2) that Royal Caribbean still sold open cruises when you are sailing. I would have purchased a package, but I am already scheduled through February 2017 and I need one after that when my son graduates college, which was not available yet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
After having been on a few cruises with various company's, but normally with Royal Caribbean, I was slightly wary about cruising for the first time on the Norwegian Spirit. It was to be the smallest ship I would have been on and I ... Read More
After having been on a few cruises with various company's, but normally with Royal Caribbean, I was slightly wary about cruising for the first time on the Norwegian Spirit. It was to be the smallest ship I would have been on and I expected it to be a cheap and cheerful cruise with the food not very good. WOW was I wrong! We embarked in Barcelona ready to sail to Morocco, Madeira, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Malaga. My first impressions of the ship were great. All the staff were very friendly in welcoming us on board and the ship was extremely clean. We did our own tour of the ship to check everything out and find our way around! Although being a smaller ship, there was still plenty on board-a basket ball court, golf driving range nets, lovely swimming pool, 6 hot tubs, children's pool with slide, large casino, fantastic theatre, spa and gym, many restaurants and bars. It was just perfect! Although it doesn't have the WOW factor of some Royal Caribbean ships such as the Oasis of the Seas which I have cruised on, it was still perfect! Our cabin was a balcony located on deck 10-cabin number 10526. The positioning was great right by the lifts and we had a brilliant stateroom attendant named Rizalde-nothing was too much trouble for him! I was very impressed with the storage in the cabin- a large wardrobe with plenty of hangers, set of 4 small drawers etc. Although the cabin was slightly outdated there were still no issues. We did find quite a lot of movement on the ship but I think it was a mixture of the sea being very rough, having a slightly smaller ship maybe and being towards the front. We used Raffles main buffet for Breakfast which has a wide variety including all fresh fruits, cakes, cereals, muesli etc., all cooked breakfast items, cooked to order eggs and pancakes. All being delicious. We also ate here for lunch and evening some evenings if we just wanted a quick chilled bite. The variety of food was good and the made t order crepes were absolutely DELICIOUS! With a variety of fillings and either normal ice cream or a 'mr softy' ice cream machine to accompany this was our favourite thing! We dined most nights in Windows where we found the food to be absolutely fantastic. The quality and presentation was brilliant. We were served mostly by Naomi who's service was exceptional. We did experience 1 evening a waiter who was prompt but not very friendly so we always asked for Naomi and she didn't fail to disappoint. We ate one night in the Garden room which has the same menu as Windows but a lot smaller and intimate. Also we dined for my Birthday in 'Shogun'. The food once again was fantastic and I had a lovely Birthday cake. The celebrations even continued the next day when I had another Birthday cake in Windows and many waiters/waitresses singing Happy Birthday! There is also a 24 hour dining area called The Blue Lagoon. Although small it was great if you wanted hot or mild chicken wings, fresh salads, fries, cakes etc. 24 hours a day and with waiter service! The cocktails were reasonably priced. We always had the amazing 'mudslide' which was just over 10 us dollars including gratuities so about average. We definitely didn't find it worth purchasing the beverage package but then we only had a couple of cocktails each day and that was it. The offer they are doing at the moment is not to be missed though when you can take advantage of the free beverage package whilst booking now. For entertainment we only went to the theatre a couple of times but one show that we did see which I would say is a 'must' was the Beatles tribute act. They were fantastic and it was just like being at an actual concert. Also the Amy Winehouse tribute that we experienced at Champagne Charlie's was exceptional. Overall we were very impressed with this cruise and even so that we have booked to go back! I would say 'Cruise like a Norwegian'! Any questions then I am more than happy to help! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
A wonderful trip on Windstar. Embarkation is so easy and the updated rooms were beautiful. Though smaller than some rooms on larger lines we never felt cramped. Lots of time spent on deck. We left Lisbon to sail the coast of Spain to ... Read More
A wonderful trip on Windstar. Embarkation is so easy and the updated rooms were beautiful. Though smaller than some rooms on larger lines we never felt cramped. Lots of time spent on deck. We left Lisbon to sail the coast of Spain to the Canary Islands. Weather in early November was on the cooler side but never cold. Early November in the Canaries is perfect weather actually. One port was Casablanca for Marrakech. We did our own excursion with another couple we were traveling with and it was very nice, especially as Marrakech is 2 hours inland from Casablanca. Traffic in Casablanca was horrific, ships excursion was very late returning. One this Windstar did was keep the main dining room open a few hours after main seating to accommodate the late arrivals, so they didn't miss dinner. It's those little touches that makes Windstar so special. Disembarkation at Tenerife where we rented a car and stayed in Garachico, a lovely small town on the other side of the island. It all was a spectacular trip and I look forward to my upcoming Star Breeze cruise in October 2015. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my 3rd Celebrity cruise and about my 20th cruise on any line. It was also my 8th cruise traveling with a large, positively focused spiritual group. My first cruise with the group was a Celebrity Cruise in Alaska and the absolute ... Read More
This was my 3rd Celebrity cruise and about my 20th cruise on any line. It was also my 8th cruise traveling with a large, positively focused spiritual group. My first cruise with the group was a Celebrity Cruise in Alaska and the absolute highlight of the trip was dancing every night. The intervening cruises were on other lines but I was really looking forward to being back on Celebrity and dancing for hours in the Sky Lounge. Unfortunately it seemed the ship had no idea of the energy level of positively focused people. There were about 450 of us. We attempted to find dancing venues where we could dance and enjoy ourselves (and use the fun form of exercise to work off the food consumption) but found the venues were either designed for the young crowd that wants techno music or the very old who want slow ballroom dancing most of the time. We were quite excited one night when the Sky Lounge advertised Motown but disappointed to find it was mostly a show with a brief period of dancing following. I've cruised with this group eight times. I know how much fun it can be to dance until the wee hours with them. We booked their Sydney/Fuji group cruise for next year and I am still considering booking an upcoming one to the Caribbean in March (both on Celebrity) but really hope they actually plan dancing opportunities for the crowd. On the 1st Celebrity Cruise with this group in Alaska '09, they had a band in the Sky Lounge that did stop early but after that they provided a DJ that kept us rocking until the wee hours. On Holland cruises with this group there was a venue with a DJ that went until about 2 and they allowed us to hook up an iPod and continue dancing after the DJ went to bed. The Sky Lounge is the best dancing venue on the ship. The one near the dining room felt closed in and cramped. Beyond the dancing, we were very pleased with the cruise. Our cabin came with a Butler and Glen was wonderful--he made our morning breakfasts on the deck and our afternoon teas very special and gladly provided any services we requested. We had dinner in the Tuscan Grille three times and were very pleased with it. We had dinner once in Murano but changed our 2nd reservation there to Tuscan Grille. We had chateaubriand and the chateaubriand offered in the Moonlight Sonata with no upcharge the next night was better. The aspect we least cared for in Murano was that we wanted to enjoy one another's company during dinner and they made such a presentation of the food that it kept interrupting the flow of conversation. Perhaps a couple with nothing to say to one another would enjoy it more? I do not have a need to watch a waitress cut my chateaubriand and find conversation far more interesting. Some friends loved Murano so to each his or her own but it was not what we wanted. We ate in Moonlight Sonata the nights we did not dine in a speciality restaurant and found the food to be fine and service was nice. The ship was beautiful and clean. Our cabin spacious. We actually had two large drawers and several shelves in the closet that we did not need to use. Staff were friendly and helpful. We prefer to do our own thing in port so we did not book any excursions. Except for the lack of a place where we could dance for long periods of time we found the cruise to be very nice. We were not the only ones who were disappointed with the dancing. The first two nights of the cruise we had a group moving from venue to venue attempting to find good music for dancing and we finally gave up opting for conversation and drinks in Ensemble. We arranged all our own transportation and used Smithsforairports.com from Heathrow to our pre-cruise hotel. We were very pleased with this service as well as the early check-in the Meon Valley Marriott provided upon our arrival from an overnight flight. That may be because we are at their highest reward point level so I'm not sure if they will do that for all guests who arrive mid-morning. We were in the aft of the ship on level 12. I love the aft view. Neither of us have motion sickness. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We are just returning from an excellent cruise to Canary Islands on Norwegian Spirit. Everything was wonderful from Embarkation to disambarkation, all employees on the ship try to please you in anyway they can, the tours we took from the ... Read More
We are just returning from an excellent cruise to Canary Islands on Norwegian Spirit. Everything was wonderful from Embarkation to disambarkation, all employees on the ship try to please you in anyway they can, the tours we took from the ship was excellent for Lanzarote (best of Lanzarote) in the way that we visited a lot of things and it was very nice and the meal on the tour was excellent too, but we took a tour a Casablanca (exclusive Casablanca and Rabat) and it was not worthed to pay extra money to be in a small group in the way that we did not visit everything we were supposed to (the guide was upset with some of the questions he was asked...) )the tour was supposed to last approx. 9 hours...we left at 8h15 and we returned at 15h45 (according to the original schedule we were supposed to be back at around 17h15) and the tour on the big bus with more people took the time to visit everything and more...but I told the facts to the shore excursion personnel and they took care of my complaint right away in the sense they give me some money back...I really appreciate the fact they listen to me and take care of the situation... One other thing we appreciate is that we told at the reception personnel that a suitcase was broken by one of the porters (from the bus to the room) and they took the time to repair that suitcase...it was greatly apprciate... All the meals we took on board was excellent (at RAFFLES for breakfast and lunch except for the days we were on excursions and at WINDOWS for dinner) and the waiters and their help gave a really good service....we usually eat at around 5h30 PM and we had a table right away (no waiti) and by the Windows... Al the shows were excellent and we went to all daily shows (3 shows with dancers and singers, 2 shows of magic, 1 show with 2 excellent acrobatic, 1 Broadway show and more)... They have very good music onboard (ship band, 1 other band with 2 singers and they were excellent, 1 trio, duo, 1 pianist, 1 guitarist)....so they have music for everybody and evry taste with those 6 groups... The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and fast....(for the disimbarkation, it took only 30 minutes from the time we left our room on the ship to the finish of checkin at the airport....I never experience a disembarkation, transport to the airport by taxi and chek-in for the plane so fast...we left the ship at around 7h00 in the morning))... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My husband and I just returned from our first European trip (from United States). We spent two days in Barcelona before boarding the NCL Spirit. We had a surprising quick check-in process and experiences nothing but superb service and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our first European trip (from United States). We spent two days in Barcelona before boarding the NCL Spirit. We had a surprising quick check-in process and experiences nothing but superb service and friendliness of the crew and staff from beginning to end. Our room attendant, Charlie, was fantastic. A wonderful smiling face to see everyday. As other reviews have mentioned, the food was just OK. We had a great food and service at Cagney's, and were happy with that we ordered at Trattoria and as for the complimentary eateries, we found Windows to be the most pleasant. We didn't particularly love the shows as the talent felt like small town community theater, but could tell the performers were really trying to put on a good show. Our first port, Lanzarote, was OK. We just walked around, lacked stores/places to visit outside of excursions. Tenerife was also OK. Unfortunately, this stop was on New Years Day so most of the city was closed. We did take a highlights tour in Casablanca and were extremely disappointed. The whole tour felt like a cattle heard and after we were shuffled through the Mosque, we spent the next 4 hours of the tour wasting time with random stops--- one at a small hotel where we were given a soda, and told we could sit in the lounge for 40 minutes (while 6-8 other tour busses did the same thing). We were dropped at some small store with souvenirs... crammed like sardines with way too many tour busses stopping at the same store. One bathroom for use, no toilet paper. Casablanca was a sad city, very dirty, and the people were not friendly.... very negative experience. We LOVED Málaga. LOVED it. Cannot wait to go back just to visit that city again. Other than the iffy stops, we were overall very happy with our NCL experience. The boat may not have had many bells and whistles and the activities felt a little hit or miss, but the Crew and Staff were phenomenal. There was always SOMETHING to do. Every NCL employee we encountered was upbeat, helpful, and friendly. Will definitely look into future trips with NCL- especially their newer ships.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Having been on the Epic 6 months earlier we were a bit worried that a smaller, older, ship wouldn't suit us fun-loving party animals...hmm, maybe I exaggerated our energy levels, but we are early 30s and go to bed past midnight on ... Read More
Having been on the Epic 6 months earlier we were a bit worried that a smaller, older, ship wouldn't suit us fun-loving party animals...hmm, maybe I exaggerated our energy levels, but we are early 30s and go to bed past midnight on holiday! Embarkation was great with a taxi from the airport for about 30e (better than the NCL transfers IMO) and a quick check-in. We couldn't board because we were early, but it was nice to wander around Barcelona for a bit. Top tip - get the shuttle, it's a lot longer walk than it looks! Our room, balcony on 10, was a bit small but never felt too small, and although it was a bit dated compared to the EPIC, it didn't detract from our overall enjoyment. For us faded carpet and a small toilet don't negatively impact our holiday! The MDRs could be busy, but it's important to time it around the entertainment, we had a pager on 2 nights, but we don't mind: we like to go with the flow. We didn't eat in any pay restaurants and enjoyed our meals and service every night. We also had lunch in Windows a few times, and this did seem to be a little lacklustre service-wise, but not really bad or worth moaning about. The buffet was actually really good and the crepes are amazing! On a few occasions it was too busy to find a seat (at lunch). We weren't keen on the Blue Lagoon - it's situated in a walkway and it's not nice being banged into when eating. At one point we had several people stood right next to us singing psalms (I think) and it was very loud and then a grow of children were left to sun riot it put us off for the rest of the cruise. We loved the shows and enjoyed them all - probably not what we would expect to like, but they don't last long and are quite varied. They also have films on and use it as a cinema - we really enjoyed this beings as the time of year meant lounging on deck wasn't fun! The Galaxy bar was brilliant and busy every night, although the music got a little repetitive in here it was still fun. The disco was never on, and if it was it was empty. It's a shame because it's a nice room, but I think there was a problem with the DJ having to leave the ship. There were a few other bars and a pub which were all ok, and the atrium area was lovely in the evening: quite bustling. We loved the jacuzzis and used them a lot. I also enjoyed the steam room and sauna - but they are separate for men and women and it can be confusing not knowing the "etiquette" of nakedness, but you are ok in a bikini/swimwear, you don't have to be naked! Plus they are free so that's always a bonus. The gym was small but adequate and you could always get on the equipment. There were plenty of loungers on the deck - i just wish the weather had been better! The ports: Casablanca - we did the ships tour of Casablanca. Lots of people did Rabat, but that was several hours on the bus, and I don't like coach travel. Plus Casablanca is an intriguing city and really interesting - ice it a try (but I would stick to the ships tours). Funchal - did our own thing and loved it: the red bus tour and the cable car. I don't see the point in doing a tour unless you want to see other parts of the Island. Lanzarote - this was cancelled due to bad weather and replaced with Tenerife Santa Cruz, Tenerife - it's a nice city but don't think I can judge it as a port as it was a last minute additional and we hadn't done any research so didn't know what to do with ourselves. Malaga - again everyone seemed to opt for the 2hr bus ride to Gibralta, but we really enjoyed Malaga itself and there us lots to see and all quite a good price. Barcelona - loads to see within walking distance, but next time we will definitely do the HoHo bus. Overall we loved it all. The entertainments team were brilliant and there was a good mix of holiday makers. The casino (although tiny compared to the Epic) was quite lively and they always had a busy Craps table and managed a poker cash game every night. And no, we did not develop any serious "second hand smoking" complications. If you want glossy, modern, perfect and new don't go on the Spirit. If you want a relaxed holiday with good people, and like to feel comfortable and surrounded by other like-minded relaxed people, then book it! P.s. If you wait until a few weeks before, and are happy for not so good weather (15-20c), you can get an absolute bargain!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Really enjoyed this cruise, embarkation was easy, cabin not available till 2pm as was expected, this gave us time to explore a little before unpacking. Our first impression was that we liked this ship and that view was confirmed throughout ... Read More
Really enjoyed this cruise, embarkation was easy, cabin not available till 2pm as was expected, this gave us time to explore a little before unpacking. Our first impression was that we liked this ship and that view was confirmed throughout our stay. We would sail with NCL again My husband and I enjoyed the freestyle dining,and although we opted to share a table each evening when booking our table we actually only shared twice which was a bit disappointing. The standard of food in my view was very good, varied and flavorful, though occasionally it could have been hotter. There was roast beef served in the garden cafe one lunchtime that was some of the best beef I've eaten. Pancakes at 5.30 were delicious. The Food at Tappanyaki was wonderful and made for nice birthday experience for my husband, however no birthday cake was presented which was a tad disappointing. it was not the same having one delivered to cabin later in the evening. The entertainment on board was some of the best we've experienced at sea, Fourever (Il Divo Style) were excellent, as was RJ Red Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in ... Read More
Various friends keen on cruising had suggested that we try it and so, after years of travelling abroad by plane and car, we chose Fred Olsen's Christmas and New Year trip on the Balmoral to Madeira and the Canaries to dip our toes in the water, as it were. In short, I have to say we both found it simply excellent. We stayed at the De Vere New Place hotel, 10 miles outside Southampton, the night before our embarkation and found their cruise package very good. It included dinner, bed and breakfast, 16 nights car parking and taxi transfers to and from the terminal before and after the cruise and we would certainly stay there again. At the terminal the check-in and embarkation process was trouble-free and we were delighted with our Superior Suite on deck 9. Our cabin stewardess, Ellen, was a delight, as were our two evening waiters. The food and entertainment was suitably varied and of high quality throughout our time onboard and what struck us most was just how friendly all staff were, from the Master down. It really was a happy ship. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were simply superb thanks to the staff's efforts. We, in our mid 50s, were probably some of the youngest passengers aboard, but the age mix was not a problem for us as we made some good friends along the way. We tended to do our own thing whan ashore, but found the mix of land and sae days fine. Disembarkation was just as impressive, particularly compared to passing through airports. We enjoyed this trip so much that, whilst we will still look forward to other forms of overseas holidays, we will definitely look to cruise again and more than likely with Fred Olsen. In short, Fred and his team on the Balmoral made this the best Christmas and New Year we have ever had, and we are already eyeing up a trip for the same time this year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We had been on quite a few cruises before this, but this was our first formal cruise, and we've been on many others since and it hasn't come anywhere near as close in any way. The staff are amazing, so accommodating, helpful ... Read More
We had been on quite a few cruises before this, but this was our first formal cruise, and we've been on many others since and it hasn't come anywhere near as close in any way. The staff are amazing, so accommodating, helpful and friendly, the food is incredible, wow, from breakfast through lunch dinner and the other diners and pizzerias fabulous, you certainly wouldn't go hungry at any time and the food was amazing, it really has made us see how it should be done. We really enjoyed the fact that if you didn't want to dress up and wear Black Tie/Evening dress/Cocktail dress you could dine elsewhere, and those who really wanted to dress up could do so with like minded people, this does make a big difference as on other ships they allow you in even if you're still in t shirt and shorts, it really can make you feel " what's the point". The entertainment was fantastic, we found something different to do every night and really had a good time. Everything on this cruise was brilliant, we had one little hiccup with lunch one day and nothing was too much trouble trying to get it fixed, it was brilliant, the food, service, attitude, cabin, destinations, everything was perfect and to top it off, we met our best friends on this ship. Thanks Royal Caribbean for doing things the way all cruise ships should. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Well, after reading many damning reviews about MSC Fantasia, my husband & I approached this cruise with a little trepidation. No need though - the whole experience was great! On arrival at the cruise terminal in Barcelona, & having ... Read More
Well, after reading many damning reviews about MSC Fantasia, my husband & I approached this cruise with a little trepidation. No need though - the whole experience was great! On arrival at the cruise terminal in Barcelona, & having registered online, we were ushered to the desks, where we waited for maybe ten minutes before being attended to. All passengers who had not registered online were given a coloured ticket & told to wait to be called to the desks. Within half an hour of arrival at the terminal we were in our cabin (a delight), where our bags were already waiting for us. After reading reviews regarding hefty drinks prices on board, we had pre-booked a drinks package, which gave us unlimited beer, wine, water & soft drinks at lunch & dinner. These various packages are not widely broadcast by MSC, & you also need to book your package ideally when you book your cruise, as they are not available to purchase on board. We also purchased a bottle of duty free tipple in the terminal, having already had our hand baggage go through the scanners, & they were not scanned again, nor were we asked if we were carrying alcohol as we boarded the ship. Result! Any duty free alcohol purchased on board is held & delivered to your cabin the night before disembarkation. First impressions on boarding: - fantastic ship, fabulous cabin, and very helpful staff. We had only been in our cabin (with a bathtub!) for about ten minutes when our cabin girl knocked to introduce herself. My husband asked her if it was possible to have some ice for our ice bucket, & she fetched it, saying that anything was possible. It was then supplied automatically every evening thereafter. We had also requested a table for two at dinner when we booked, but on checking at the registration desk, we were told that we were on a table for six in the Cerchio D Oro, & we were advised to go to the Red Velvet restaurant & speak to the Maitre d'Hotel to see if we could swap. This we did without delay, & the very helpful & accommodating manager had no problem changing our table to a double.Another nice touch was being able to order your usual newspaper from reception to be delivered to your cabin for a very reasonable price of 2 Euros. The food was very good, with a wide variety of dishes, none of which were on the menu twice in our eleven days. Breakfast has all you could imagine on offer, & more! Again, better in the restaurants, but if you fancy a less formal affair, the buffet is still good, & you can walk it off finding a table! You could also order a continental breakfast to be delivered to your cabin (no charge), which we did many times, sometimes just ordering coffee & juice, & it was always delivered bang on time! Lunch & dinner - yes obviously there was an Italian influence to the menus (very delicious too!!), but dishes from all over the world appear as well, such as curry, chinese, terayaki, mousaka & even roast lamb & fish & chips! If you still don't fancy anything on the menu you can always order burgers, hot dogs & pasta at lunchtime, & chicken, steak, salmon & pasta in the evening. We ate all our lunches & dinners in the restaurants, as the buffet can be a bit of a nightmare - full of people piling up huge plates & then leaving them. If you prefer to eat a peaceful lunch on a table for two, you have more of a chance in the Cerchio D Oro, as they just lump you all together in the Red Velvet, rather like on a production line. It also seems more laid back & relaxed (in the Cerchio D Oro), & all the staff are great. Our waiter had our drinks order waiting for us on our table every evening, & bent over backwards to make sure we had everything we could possibly need. There were several other restaurants around the ship, but there was an extra charge for these. Also, no menus were displayed there to give an idea of cost etc. There were always menus on display outside the main restaurants.The ship had many bars to choose from, & yes there was smoking in several, but it was not really intrusive. My only real criticism was that although there were loads of places to sit, the chairs & sofas whilst very stylish, weren't what I would call 'cosy'. The best seating was in the library, or unfortunately in the cigar lounge... Also you very rarely saw people sat with drinks, no doubt due to the high prices - around 16-17 Euros for two gin & tonics, once you add on the 15% service charge.We only went to one show in the theatre, as we don't need to be entertained constantly, & although we were battling force 9 gales, it was very professional & watchable. Also the language used in the show was English.There were three formal evenings during our eleven nights, & my husband felt comfortable in his dark suit, rather than trussed up in his DJ. There were some tuxedos about, but most men wore a step down from this.There was a comprehensive selection of shore excursions available, but we always prefer to do our own thing - which was just as well because the weather at several of the ports was evil, so we stayed on & enjoyed the ship.Being a Mediterranean cruise, & with passengers embarking & disembarking at every port, I was surprised to hear most announcements were made in English first, or second at the very least, so there was no need to listen through the other 4 or 5 languages. Disembarkation was smooth, if a little delayed, due to a violent storm before we arrived in Barcelona. On the whole, we had a really great, relaxing holiday with Fantasia, & would have no hesitation booking with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011

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