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13 Italy Romantic Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have just returned from a cruise and stay package with Marella, staying firstly at the wonderful conca park hotel in Sorrento then onto the Explorer 2. Given it was our first cruise, We obviously have limited experience of ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a cruise and stay package with Marella, staying firstly at the wonderful conca park hotel in Sorrento then onto the Explorer 2. Given it was our first cruise, We obviously have limited experience of cruises but must say that we found our first experience to be amazing. Every aspect of the cruise was fantastic, from the cabin we had (a standard balcony cabin on deck 8) to the food, entertainment and staff. We enjoyed having so much choice for meals and loved fish and chips at the snack shack, pasta in Nonnas and main meal in the MDR. We were very Impressed with the friendlyness of all of the staff and the amazing shows in the show lounge, we made full use of our balcony and wouldn't like to do another cruise with a lesser grade cabin. So,altogether a great trip and would highly recommend this ship and company to others. The only negative aspect of our trip as mentioned in other reviews was Naples airport which was hell! Too busy, awful service and attitude and a horrible start and end to an otherwise great experience, I can only hope that Marella get the message and change this airport as we would certainly not wish to use it again and would therefore be very reluctant to do another holiday via there again. I had a wheelchair with me and found that all on the ship and tours were very accommodating. It was a bit of a squeeze in the cabin but we managed fairly well. However the same could not be said at the airport. You also realize how far we have come in accommodating disabled people in this country compared with others. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It was our 1st cruise and we thought it was a great experience the entertainment staff catering bar staff cabin staff highly recommended would do it again .would recommend it to other 1st time cruisers as well only thing we didnt like was ... Read More
It was our 1st cruise and we thought it was a great experience the entertainment staff catering bar staff cabin staff highly recommended would do it again .would recommend it to other 1st time cruisers as well only thing we didnt like was that you was unable to watch england games in the world cup tournament and to have wifi would be rather expensive the captains announcements were very clear and accurate information. My wife unfortunately broke her ankle while we were in rome and the medical staff were great and was Amanda of entertainment who came with us to th hospital while we docked in palermos spain also the very kind taxi drivers who took great care with us .I travelled with my with and mother in law and none of us had been on a cruise before we would do it again one year liked it very much. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer. We ... Read More
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer. We were in the different parts of Italy many times but not in Sicily. So the decision was easy. Embarkation was smooth and easy. We were upgraded to a higher deck - which was a nice surprise. Cabin was clean and kept clean all the voyage. The dining on Windstar ships is the one of the best you can get on a cruise ship. All the time 5* - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, BBQ event - everything! The ports were interesting for us as I've mentioned. All around Sicily plus Malta and Gozo (small island next to Malta). Unfortunately due to the weather conditions in Gozo captain decided to stay one more night in Valletta so we couldn't see Gozo. But safety first and we spent a wonderful one more day in Malta - which was nice :) Special event was very well organized. Additional point to the Team. Miss the ship already and dream to come again! :) Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available. From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele. After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area. One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters. Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at ... Read More
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at hospitality. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom with a rain shower head. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. We were well cared for and the staff looked out for our every need. The food and drink were of excellent quality and represented fresh local cuisine and regional wines. The wait staff were attentive and engaging. Overall, the staff were courteous and very helpful with on board activities such as embarkation, disembarkation, and other events which were efficient, well planned, and easy processes. During our week on the River Countess, the shore excursions were very well planned and the local and expert guides, including art historians, were well informed and provided informative and insightful background for our experiences. During our land excursion to Florence and Rome the bus was comfortable and the tour manager was very attentive to our every need. Our accommodations in Florence were not up to rest of Uniworld's standards, however, the accommodation in Rome were excellent. Our local guides in both Florence and Rome were also excellent and highly trained and informative. We would definitely take another trip with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be ... Read More
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be there, the views are so gorgeous, the other passengers so pleasant. There's no fighting over deck chairs, no scrambling to get the best seats, no worry you'll get reservations to the restaurant of your choice. There's a feeling like, "Relax. Chill. There's enough of everything and they have it all planned out." From the time I arrived at the airport at Venice and a Windstar agent was waiting to take us to our hotel, I just feel relaxed and taken care of. The food on t his cruise was even better than the food on Windstar, the last ship on this line I cruised, and that's really saying something! There was more variety, I think, more food from local markets featured in all three meals. I honestly couldn't have imagined fresher, more appealing meals than all of those that were offered--I can't think of one that wasn't really delicious. In the city where I live, I can't get food anywhere this good! Yes, the entertainment isn't great (although I liked the duo Splash). But really, the entertainment is in the vistas all around you and the conversations with other passengers. We didn't get to have our signature event, which was supposed to be a cocktail party with folk dancing in Dubrovnik. The lead dancer died that day, so you couldn't fault Windstar for that. And they brought in some folk singers on to the ship instead (not the same, though; I didn't care for them much). Our deck barbeque had to be moved indoors because of weather, but it was delicious and brilliant all the same--they work so hard on this! And we missed one of our ports, Capri, one of the ones I was most looking forward to, because it wasn't safe to tender (seas were too rough). The usual captain of Wind Surf was on vacation, and the substitute captain had an emergency, so the first officer became captain for his first time ever. Even with all of this, though, there was such sincere desire to please the passengers and make their vacations memorable that I think the crew cared more about the things we missed than we did. The ports of call were great, the available tours were outstanding, our cabin was comfortable and so well taken care of during our voyage (thanks, Azhar!) that it was just overall a really great vacation. Windstar, you've spoiled me! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss ... Read More
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss the work/workers we encountered as that goes with the territory and all items I noticed during the cruise were fixed/finished/installed/etc by the time we left.*** My husband and I did this 5 day cruise from Venice to Civitavecchia with additional days in Italy before and after as well as some time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam following the cruise. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Modern yet still keeps a lot of the Holland America Line "feel" that the other ships have, minus the bright colors and over-emphasis of red color palettes and brass. Public spaces still have a feeling of intimacy for the most part. Yes they are larger to hold more people but compared to other ships of similar size the ship does still keep a "coziness" to it. Not ever single room is designed to hold hundreds and hundreds of people and that's a really good thing. I've posted a massive photo post on the HAL forums of the ship here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347682 and our room here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347714 so those will likely help with a lot of understanding of how the ship and the room look. As far as dining goes, here's where we ate: **Lido Market - Had one breakfast here and the omelet was a little undercooked. We brought it to his attention, he made another one and it was great. **Dive In - Great burgers and fries as always. Cannonball is the BEST! **New York Pizza - Had the pizza that Elizabeth Faulkner won an award for a pizza contect in Italy with called "Finnocchio" if I remember right. Cream sauce, onion, fennel, sausage... YUM! **Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center - Incredible experience. They encourage you to socialize with each other and the chefs as they prepare everything. Farm to table, very fresh food and ingredients. Unlimited red and white wine they've selected as well (we had organic wines from Columbia Winery, not sure if they vary) **Tamarind - One of our favorites and for good reason. Everything is flavorful and cooked to perfection here. The venue is even more gorgeous than on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. They've really outdone themselves. (Get a cold sake, the presentation is really neat!) **Sel de Mer - Seafood at it's finest. Yes it's a la carte and as our group of 4 wanted to try a lot the bill came to $205 (ack!) but had we not been on a mission to try so many different things the bill could easily be within just a few dollars of the Pinnacle Grill. Unless you're allergic to seafood, this is a must do! **Room service - Got it a couple times late at night. Menu is limited that late, but the food was the right temperatures and tasty **Grand Dutch Cafe - Tasty coffees and amazing split pea soup, Koningsbol and bitterballen. This needs to be retro'd onto all HAL ships YESTERDAY!! The Music Walk area is genius with Billboard Onboard, Queens Lounge (with BB King Blues) and Lincoln Center Stage all within steps of each other and alternating performances all throughout the evening. There were A LOT of us that closed the bars down every night, and while I was skeptical, the Queen's Lounge actually makes for a great nightclub space too. World Stage is a game changer. Simple as that. The screens add so much, are not "gimmicky" and on several occasions, a transition on the screens between or during performances got oohs and ahhs from the crowd. This is some of the best entertainment of ANY ship we've ever been on (and we've been on 30+ cruises, multiple brands). The ship is definitely in the right direction for the future of HAL, and while we've done the majority of our cruises on HAL we were also starting to branch out more and more for variety. This has brought us right back "home" and given us lots of motivation to stay there. Well done HAL! Can't wait for K2 (Koningsdam #2 due out in 2018) Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Loved Viking River Cruises and couldn't wait to experience a Viking Ocean Cruise. This was a surprise trip given to my husband for his birthday and retirement to finally go visit his Italian family roots. Viking Ocean Cruise was ... Read More
Loved Viking River Cruises and couldn't wait to experience a Viking Ocean Cruise. This was a surprise trip given to my husband for his birthday and retirement to finally go visit his Italian family roots. Viking Ocean Cruise was spectacular and perfection in every way. Boarding and departure was very smooth, amenities aboard ship were the best, crew was extremely friendly and always there to offer anything you needed, and entertainment was wonderful. Without a doubt, we will do another Viking Ocean cruise. The arrangements in all ports were flawless and the tour guides were from the area so they could really give you the true history and worth points of interests to see and know. Coaches used in each port were very clean. The process for departing the ship each day for your daily excursion was very smooth considering the number of people they needed to move off the ship. Well worth it in every way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I took our first Viking River Cruise in 2011( Christmas Markets). After friends heard our how we loved it, they accompanied us in 2013( on the Rhine). In 2015 we stepped up to the Ocean cruise with yet another couple. (3 in ... Read More
My husband and I took our first Viking River Cruise in 2011( Christmas Markets). After friends heard our how we loved it, they accompanied us in 2013( on the Rhine). In 2015 we stepped up to the Ocean cruise with yet another couple. (3 in total). Having been on the smaller river cruises , we did not know how we would feel on a larger ship. I tell you the worries were unfounded. The crew is professional and accommodating. The ship was beautiful and plenty of space for 900 passengers. I felt as if we were on a floating hotel and we had plenty of places to explore and relax after a day of sightseeing and a wonderful dinner. There was no "crowed" feel. All our meals were delicious. The excurssions were a little disappointing ( i think they are on all cruises) I personally would not do Pisa ( yes you need to see the Leaning Tower , but not really) Toulon, I would not choice Aix and on Corsica, there is no need to take a 3 hour bus ride around the island, although the brief stop at a local tavern was very nice. In Monaco we took the bus to Nice. ( cost a 1.50) Oh and a must see is Monserrat while in Barcelona. And I wish I had 2 days in Florence and a week in Rome!!! Two beautiful cities and so much to see. Our guides in these cities were spectacular! I highly recommend Viking to everyone and have had other friends take cruises based upon my reviews and they have enjoyed the trips as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party ... Read More
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party until late at night. We would listen to music, and may I add...the duo Casey and Erick were stunning. Man...what a lovely voice. Cannot believe SA Idols let her slip through their hands. If ever you come across them, ask them to do Purple Rain and Bed of Roses. They absolutely made our tour. Well done Windstar!! Let me also not forget Harry our waiter at the restaurants. What a guy. The whole ship was talking about him. He should be the communications leader. He was witty, quick to assist, quick to let you feel welcome and even special. The rooms were excellent. Enough space and what a big bathroom. I am a big, very big guy and did not have any problem at all in the shower. The food at all the restaurants were superb. We will be going again and again and again...this I promised myself. I stayed in Room 243. When that door was closed during day or night it was peaceful and quiet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first clothing optional cruise, but definitely not our last. The boat was full of nothing but cheerful people. I guess it's hard to be crabby when your not wearing pants! This was truly a clothing OPTIONAL cruise. ... Read More
This was our first clothing optional cruise, but definitely not our last. The boat was full of nothing but cheerful people. I guess it's hard to be crabby when your not wearing pants! This was truly a clothing OPTIONAL cruise. Most folks chose to take full advantage of the sun and ocean breezes, but some preferred full or partial covering and that was OK. I can't recommend the Bare Necessities folks and organization highly enough. there were 16 first time couples, and we all said we'd come back in a heartbeat. The ship, meanwhile is great. When the wind blew the Captain shut off the engine and hoisted all 42 sails. Stunning! There isn't much choice of activities on this 200+ passenger ship, but all we wanted to do was lounge around on deck, with occasional (and voluntary) sail hoisting and mast climbing. One day he raised all the sails in a very light breeze, and launched two tenders full of photographers to circle the ship. She is a BEAUTIFUL ship! There is a minuscule library, comprised solely of donated books in many different languages. And the entertainment is very low key. Shoe excursions were very reasonably priced, with a good variety. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Cruised for the first time as a 25th Anniversary present to ourselves, and other than minor (really, really minor) issues, the cruise was great. We live in Orlando, and drove in to port the morning of the cruise, arrived early - and < ... Read More
Cruised for the first time as a 25th Anniversary present to ourselves, and other than minor (really, really minor) issues, the cruise was great. We live in Orlando, and drove in to port the morning of the cruise, arrived early - and < 30 minutes after stepping from the car we had embarkation mimosas in hand and were looking at the booths on deck 3. We'd been advised that cross-selling was more prevalent than it used to be, and it did seem that every corner had someone offering a dinner package, a drink package, a spa package, etc, etc; learning to say 'no' came very quickly. We did purchase a dinner package (one dinner at the Tuscan restaurant, 2 at Ocean liners), and we had no complaints or issues at either restaurant, EXCEPT that the MDR food was *almost* as good and no additional cost. Based on the food quality in the MDR, i'd have a hard time justifying the cost for the dinner package on a future cruise. Almost everyone we spoke with told us how 'brave' we were to make a Trans-Atlantic cruise as our first cruise ever - and we still marvel at that thinking. We had no time for boredom, always something going on; a show, a class, an auction, a drawing, meals...all great fun. Of all things, Bingo was disappointing. I'd be fine only playing 3 games a session if packages were, say, $20/person. But the packages were $40/60/80, and that's a bit pricey to play three games and leave - so that was a one and done experience. We were *slightly* disappointed in the karaoke songs options (lots of older music, which is fine considering the typical clients, some newer music) in that there were few musicals included (as in one - 'My Fair Lady' was the only one I find - no Phantom, no Cats, no Wicked, no other big name, recognizable musicals included; just seemed like an odd omission). The ship ported in Madeira, Gibraltar, and Alicante before disembarking in Civitavecchia. We took none of the ship excursions, and so cannot comment on their quality - but can say the pricing seemed high. In Madeira we walked the town and had a great time, especially after 8 days at sea 8-). In Gibraltar we accepted a cab tour from a gentleman standing at the taxi stand, and once a group was gathered (maybe a 15 minute wait), we took off and definitely got our monies worth. He was informative, funny, knew his material and was easily understood. In Alicante I had arranged a Vow Renewal ceremony through a local company, and we met at Castillo de Santa Barbara - beautiful site and all went very smoothly. DO NOT look for cabs at the Castillo though, they don't seem to wait around there at all; expect to take the elevator from the Castillo to the beach and find one there, although it's a short walk to port shuttle from that point. The entertainment was hit or miss, mostly hit for us. Jayne Curry was fantastic, and the highlight of the individual entertainers as far as we were concerned. The juggler/comedian Steve Carte was standard fare, without anything truly distinguishing his work from other juggler/comedians we'd seen busking in parks for many years now. The stand-up comedian lost us and we walked out when he presented a series of jokes (better performed and notably available on DVD and the internet) from Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall. Comedians stealing material is nothing new, but not such high visibility jokes and scenarios. Gemma Louise Doyle joined the ship in Madeira when Jayne left, and we lost in that trade; Gemma's singing is mostly pleasant, but she has little stage presence and no connection to the audience whatsoever. If we'd not been sitting in the 2nd row we'd have left. The Stars of the Constellation preformed several shows as well, and several were VERY good (iHollywood and the new show Elyria), most were decent and (we felt) only one failed to live up to expectations. It was the fourth night at sea (can't remember the name or theme of the show) but the cast seemed tired or bored, and it showed in the performance - very rote with no energy. Later performances were much, much better 8-). Perhaps the timechanges affected them? Our room itself (inside cabin 9018) was fine; small as expected, but plenty for two people not spending hours awake in the room. Hallway noise was non-existent, and we never heard anything from other passenger cabins. It IS next to a steward pantry, which apparently has metal stairs in it - you can hear the occasional steps being taken. It's also beneath the spa, and seemed to have drains from the spa area passing the walls, so you had the occasional water feature sounds coming from the walls. We found it relaxing (although it probably encouraged the odd nighttime bathroom trip or two), but I'm sure there are pickier travellers for whom these sounds might be disturbing. Service was great, the crew friendly, the weather was all but perfect for the entire trip. We couldn't believe we were finally on a cruise, and now look to make it a habit. A BIG recommendation: when the ship is heading to a new area (not back to the embarkation port), DO have language classes for the end point of the cruise! Celebrity put on ONE one hour Italian class right at the end of the trip, and all the conversation we heard though this not only should be standard fare, it should have started day one and continued right through the cruise! Just a marvelous idea. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We are a couple in our sixties and have cruised many times, This was our 2nd cruise with Celebrity. We chose this ship because of the itinerary which included the Adriatic coast. Most people chose this cruise for the same reason. Ship: ... Read More
We are a couple in our sixties and have cruised many times, This was our 2nd cruise with Celebrity. We chose this ship because of the itinerary which included the Adriatic coast. Most people chose this cruise for the same reason. Ship: The ship is gorgeous with impressive public areas. We were pleasantly surprised with our balcony stateroom. The room was quite spacious but the biggest surprise was the bathroom. Usually you can hardly move in this room and the shower is tiny. This bathroom was so big that my husband had plenty of room to shave while I had my shower. The shower was large and you could actually move around in it with no problem. Restaurants: We ate only in the main dining room. The staff was attentive but not the friendliest we have ever had. The meals were good but we have had better meals on other ships. We would have liked more variety in the desserts. But we had a good group at our table and enjoyed the dinner hour. Entertainment: The entertainment was comparable to other cruise ships. We enjoyed the shows and comedians. Ports: This was a port intensive cruise with only 1 day at sea. It would have been nice to have another day at sea to relax. Koper: We went on a tour to Lake Bled with a group formed on cruise critic. Our tour guide was Tina, recommended by Rick Steves Lake Bled is beautiful. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. Ravenna: Toured the mosaics by ourselves and had a more relaxing day. Split, Crotia: Another DIY day touring the palace area. We did buy a ticket for 3 sites. Dubrovnik: Walked the wall which was very scenic. There are lots of stairs. Took the cable car to the top of the mountain for another scenic view. Kotor: Took a private taxi with another couple with a guide recommended on cruise critic, Milo.. We toured the countryside and visited a seaside resort. It was a 1/2 day tour which left us time to walk around the port city. Valletta: Took bus to Mdina and toured Valletta. Catania: Went on a tour, Sicily Limousine, which I arranged on cruise critic. There were 8 of us. The tour was to Taormina and the surrounding area. Everyone loved the tour. The guide was informative and very likeable. Naples: Another tour I arranged for the Amalfi coast for 8 people, AP tours. We went to 4 cities and enjoyed every one. I would definitely recommend this ship and the itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013

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