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13 Rome (Civitavecchia) to Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

Travelling solo, I was nervous of cruising but this trip converted me. A wonderful time at sea and on shore, and a delicious atmosphere of restrained elegance. I loved it all - even my little inside cabin! The food was excellent, so much ... Read More
Travelling solo, I was nervous of cruising but this trip converted me. A wonderful time at sea and on shore, and a delicious atmosphere of restrained elegance. I loved it all - even my little inside cabin! The food was excellent, so much to do if one felt like it, or great days spent in an armchair reading. We had port calls two out of every three days so there were not so many quiet sea days - I found myself looking forward to the breaks! The onboard activities were generally great though I found the evening dancing geared rather towards the expert dancers rather than the “social foxtrotters” of which I am one. Lots of fancy steps required! Dance hosts were of variable enthusiasm at dancing with the non-expert. The evening shows were of a high standard - I wish I had organised better to get to the first few nights. Activities for singles were appreciated especially the meeting before the Captain’s Cocktail Party do we could avoid wandering in alone. My favourite seat in The Commodore’s Lounge is calling! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Departed 15 September 2018 - 15 nights. We chose this cruise because of it's excellent itinerary and longer stays in ports. Overnight in Venice was the icing on the cake. We were a little perturbed by some of the reviews and ... Read More
Departed 15 September 2018 - 15 nights. We chose this cruise because of it's excellent itinerary and longer stays in ports. Overnight in Venice was the icing on the cake. We were a little perturbed by some of the reviews and comments that life on Queen Victoria was 'boring' and the ship was 'full of old people'. My husband didn't want to go as he thought he'd be bored. The reality was that our cruise to be fairly even in age, although not many children. Embarkation was seamless - even though we turned up 2 hours before our allocated time. We were unpacked and ready to go long before we cast off. From the time we boarded, we realised that British punctuality reined supreme on the Queen - everything was perfectly on time, and no stragglers thank you. From the Captain down to the cabin staff, there was always a friendlWe were allocated first sitting in the Brittania Restuarant - fine for sea days but not so good when in port and the ship sails late afternoon. No time to dress for dinner, so we ate mostly in the Lido Buffet. The meals in both the Britannia and the Lido Buffet were excellent - especially the pasta chef in the Lido who made sauces to taste. Delicious. If portion control is important to you, better stick to the Britannia as it's very easy to go overboard at buffets. We ate breakfast in the Lido every day as most days we had early starts while in ports. I loved the fresh fruit and healthy options available. My only adverse comment is about the behavior of some of the older male passengers at the coffee/juice machines on the Lido. You'd swear it was the last supper as they pushed and jostled others out of the way. Other than that - dining gets a big tick. Our cabin was 4001 - right at the front of the ship and with a metal balcony. Any further forward and you'd be over the bow! I was disappointed at first, but the photo opportunities as you sail into ports like Kotor are exceptionally good. The cabin was a good size, plenty of room under the bed to stow luggage, plenty of wardrobe space and excellent shampoo, conditioner etc. The bed was extremely comfortable, as were the gorgeous pillows and bedding. The sound of the anchor being dropped was an excellent early morning wakup call in ports. You couldn't sleep through it! The only complaint I had was the horrible hair dryer in the drawer. You had to hold the button on to make it work and it took ages to dry my short hair. A small issue though - another tick for the cabin. The entertainment was varied and first class - we loved it! There was lots of ballroom dancing and we even took a couple of classes. We were terrible but at least we had a go. It was wonderful watching those who could dance and now dancing classes are on our bucket list. The formal nights were wonderful for we Aussies who rarely dress up. My husband took a tux, vests, bow ties and loved dressing up. We particularly loved the Captains Cocktail Party and the Masquerade Ball. I wore long dresses for the first time in the 18 years that we'd been married (not a good look for someone as short as me). For the ladies, trousers with evening tops are perfectly acceptable if you don't suit dresses (I don't and I'll never wear another one). I think Cunard recognises that it's demographic is changing and that we aging Baby Boomers who grew up on the Rolling Stones and Beatles aren't always ballroom dancers. We had a reggae band and a very good DJ on board. There was a good disco on Deck 10 next to the Commodores Lounge - complete with flashing lights and ABBA music. Very popular! The Golden Lion pub provided my darts-mad husband with something to do at sea - he even won two matches. The trivia and Bingo were fun. Laura with her quirky, Northern UK voice made me smile every time I heard her speak. She's a lot of fun and so were the other two girls. The ports were the major selling point of the cruise for us - first stop Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Venice overnight, Korcula, Valetta, Messina, Naples and back to Rome. Plenty of time in port except for Korcula where we had to leave early because of a pending storm. We thought the captain was panicking until it hit. Very interesting crossing to Malta and from Malta to Messina. We didn't take any of the Cunard port tours - our experience is always to choose a local tour company and do our own thing. It's worked before and worked perfectly this time (with the exception of Naples - choose a ship day tour in case you're running late). The service on Cunard was exceptional - nothing was too much trouble. Even when my cabin card kept demagnetising (mobile phone was to blame), they replaced it with a smile. Disembarkment was a bit of a problem - we were given a time to disembark, only to be told to go 2 hours early and 3 hours before our transfer was booked. There are no seats to sit on outside the Civitavecchia terminal so it was a long wait standing up. For those passengers not used to leaving large tips at the end of the voyage, or who prefer to leave tips for those special staff members, there is a system at the pursers office where you can opt out. The tips were in US dollars - and our exchange rate at the time of sailing was terrible - we preferred to tip in the Euros that we had at hand rather than charging our credit cards and awful exchange rates. Cunard provide envelopes so that you can leave tips yourself. My biggest bugbear were the deck chair hogs around the pool. I'd see people go out, use large colourful plastic pegs to secure their towels to the chairs, walk away and not come back for hours - sometimes well into the afternoon. This meant deck chairs were rarely available and hardly ever two next to each other. I think there should be a system if the chair hasn't been used for over 3 hours, the towel should be removed. My final comments: We'd sail with Cunard again in a heartbeat. The service, the ship's facilities and the ports have changed the way we look at cruising. I'm hooked and can't wait to sail with Cunard again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have sailed only with RCI before. We have been getting more and more disappointed with RCI standards and thought we would try Cunard. Being 51 years old, we were a little concerned that Cunard would be too formal and 'sedate' ... Read More
We have sailed only with RCI before. We have been getting more and more disappointed with RCI standards and thought we would try Cunard. Being 51 years old, we were a little concerned that Cunard would be too formal and 'sedate' for us. We needn't have worried. We found the whole Cunard experience brilliant, and it put RCI to shame with the level of care and detail Cunard put in to ensure your cruise is as worry-free as possible. Our cabin was spacious and very clean. We were well looked after by the steward, and, unlike RCI he wasn't constantly knocking on the door. The balcony was big as well (I think you get a bit of extra room on deck 4 as our balcony stuck out further than the ones above. Beware though that some of the balconies on deck 4 (those towards the bow) have metal fronts, not glass like ours). The ship is very well laid out and easy to get around. We found the food to be superb, both at the Lido and also thee main restaurant. In the Lido, there is a good choice and the quality is excellent. In the main restaurant there is a different choice every night. RCI always seem to have many of the same starters and desserts, whereas with Cunard each night is different, which we liked. We really liked the stricter dress code on board. Every non-formal night a jacket was required, but ties were optional. We thought this was a really good policy as everyone looked so smart each night. On the formal nights i don't think i saw anyone without a dinner suit or lounge suit - so good after enduring 'formal' nights on RCI recently. I must also comment on the general friendliness of the ship. We spoke to so many people over the course of the cruise. At the end of our stay we also found it a nice touch that suitcases were taken to the airport and we collected them from the check-in desk. We will definitely look to cruise with Cunard again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My husband and I were on the Nautica for the 10-day Western Europe Escapade. We sailed from the Port of Rome to Barcelona and then visited Cartagena, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Oporto, Portugal; Bilbao, Spain; and Bordeaux, France. It ended ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Nautica for the 10-day Western Europe Escapade. We sailed from the Port of Rome to Barcelona and then visited Cartagena, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Oporto, Portugal; Bilbao, Spain; and Bordeaux, France. It ended in Southhampton, from which we were bused to Heathrow. The very beginning of our cruise was also the worst part of it. I thought it would make things easier to let Oceania book the flights and airport transfers. The flight from Seattle to Heathrow was long but not too bad. We paid extra for premium economy. Then it was a couple-hour flight to Rome. We were supposed to be met by Oceania representatives once we cleared customs and retrieved our checked bags. We did find the people, but they accused us of being "late" and said the bus had already left. Believe me, we had come through as quickly as we could, not even stopping to use the bathroom. We and one other hapless couple were told we would have to wait until there were more people for a fuller bus. By this time we were exhausted, hungry and getting very irritated. After about two hours, just when we were about to find private transportation, we were told we could get on the bus. Ninety minutes later we were on board, sipping Champagne in our stateroom. We found the ship quite stately and attractive, especially the artwork that was everywhere. The public rooms were beautiful and pleasant. We particularly enjoyed Martinis Bar and Horizons at the top of the ship. It was fairly warm for our first couple of days in Spain, and I did get a chance to enjoy the very small swimming pool. But for most of the cruise, the pool and all the lovely lounges around it sat empty. It was too cold and windy even to sit outside, much less swim. I loved the weightlifting equipment in the gym and spent a fair amount of time on the treadmills and stationary bikes. Although Oceania boasts it has the finest cuisine at sea, I found the food uneven. For example, one evening, at the buffet I had sliced roast turkey, which was moist and quite good. Another day I tried the roast beef, which was tough and inedible. The main dining room featured many choices, but some were disappointing. For example, I sometimes like to order Eggs Benedict, but these were way overcooked, more like hard-boiled than poached. Possibly the best food was at the grill, which mostly served simple burgers and the like. But since it was partly open to the air, and it was so cold much of time, we couldn't eat there very often. I did appreciate the 24/7 "coffee bar" at Horizons. We didn't go to any of the evening shows, but my husband and I really enjoyed the string quartet that played for afternoon tea at Horizons and at other times. We also liked the jazz piano player in Martinis. Best of all was the lecturer, Dr. Stephen Wesley. He did a good job of preparing us for the many architectural styles to be found in Barcelona and for the classical underpinnings of so much of modern Europe. Service was excellent. Our room was made up promptly twice a day and was always immaculate. The only problem was keeping it that way since it was so small our stuff tended to get strewn about. This was a good itinerary. We especially loved Cartagena, Oporto, Bilbao and Bordeaux. Probably our best single day was our first day in Bordeaux. We got there a little before noon, got off the ship and walked into the town. Even though it was raining we found it quite beautiful and soon found a little place to have lunch. That evening we had a very special excursion to a chateau in the Haut-Medoc. The winery owner led us on a tour of the cellars, including the "secret cellar" where the best wine was hidden during the Nazi occupation during World War II. Then she escorted us to the dining room of her chateau, where we had a very French dinner (including foie gras) with appropriate wines throughout. Would I go again? Probably not on Oceania. For the approximately $20,000 we spent (including $500 each for that tour and dinner at the chateau), I think I could do better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. We were on the 12 day of a 19 day sailing. You do not see it available often. Sailing from Rome, we had several ports in Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It gave ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. We were on the 12 day of a 19 day sailing. You do not see it available often. Sailing from Rome, we had several ports in Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It gave us a chance to really see different areas of Europe and to see were we would like to come back for a longer visit. We have sailed Holland America before, but never on the Koningsdam. It is a newer ship and the public areas, bars, restaurants were decorated very nicely with interesting artwork. We had excellent service every time we visited the Explorations Cafe. Cruise staff was great and addressed all of our needs. For entertainment we enjoyed the BB King venue. The entertainment in the main theater is hit or miss, but we find that to be the case on all cruises. We prefer the guest entertainers over the ships singers and dancers. We did like the ports visited, and there was a variety of shore excursions to choose from. We booked half through the ship, and the other days set off on our own. We would definitely do this itinerary again. We had booked it with an air package which made it an excellent value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
There's a lot to like about QV, but the food in the Britannia dining room, an important part of cruising, is not one of them. Tough steaks, dry roast pork, tasteless sea bass, endless steamed vegetables, in fact the only way to ... Read More
There's a lot to like about QV, but the food in the Britannia dining room, an important part of cruising, is not one of them. Tough steaks, dry roast pork, tasteless sea bass, endless steamed vegetables, in fact the only way to describe the meals is ordinary. Except perhaps for the deserts there was very little else that was delicious. Also strange combinations of ingredients e.g. a slice of cold tomato with roast veg. And how excited I was to see Rockefeller oysters on the menu one night. Expecting to see 3 oysters served in their shells on a large plate, well what I got was a large plate with 3 tiny oysters all crammed together on a small round slice of toast with a thick dressing on top. Awful ! OK you get a symphony of waiters, but the food in Britannia was so ordinary ( I understand the Exec. Chef was from Malaysia. Probably very good at Asian food, but not much of an idea about Western ) that we thought it was not worth getting dressed up for ( and yes, we'd bought new outfits before we left) that we often found ourselves eating in the Lido buffet where the food while not gourmet was always very tasty. Harsh comments I know, but really Cunard you can do better. On a very positive note the beautiful and elegant ship was well presented even if the air con was constantly on cold no make that freezing.The Chart room, the Commodores Club, the Winter Garden were always a joy to be in especially when the Imprezza Strings, an all female string quartette were playing. The afternoon tea was always a treat and so very civilised. Well done Cunard ! The service by the extremely friendly and accommodating waiters was outstanding . I understand there were 190 on board all Professional polite with nothing being too much trouble. My wife's Gluten Free intolerance was always well looked after. Joel serviced our stateroom twice a day and kept it spotless. Absolutely no complaints in that area. Departing from Civitavecchia we chose the 14 day Med. cruise with the Queen Victoria for the great itinerary. Some places we had visited before, but also several we had not. Malta.Having previously visited the Co-Cathederal we chose the ship's tour of Mdina and the hidden gem Palazzo. An excellent tour with a very competent guide. Kotor. Our second visit so we just wandered the interesting old town. Zadar. A free shuttle to the old town which was new to us.Not really much to see, but the Octopus salad I had for lunch was fabulous. Venice.Paid $35 pp of OBC for 2 day unlimited travel on a motor launch from the port to near San Marco, well 4 bridges away. A bargain even if the departure from the ship to the launch was a 10 min. walk in sweltering heat. There were 8 cruise ships in Marritima, the port of Venice, during our overnight stay. Ridiculous. Venice is so overcrowded with tourists in the San Marco area that it is spoilt for everyone and the authorities are doing nothing about it. Having visited Venice many times we stayed well clear of San Marco and after lunch at the excellent Pensione Wildner ( €25 for 3 courses, very good value for Venice) we visited the Venice Biennale and being from Melbourne, the Australian Pavilion and Tracey Moffat's fantastic photography. On the second day we crossed the Accademia bridge to our favourite sestiere and one we have previously stayed in, Dorsoduro where you will find the Accademia museum, the Peggy Guggenheim museum, Ca Rezzonica, great little shops, terrific trattorias in Campo San Barnaba and away from the bridge area, virtually no tourists ! Oh, and 2 ATMs for money even if the exchange rate was terrible. Dubrovnik. Our third visit so boarded the ship's free shuttle for the walled old town to visit on our own. Again Octopus salad for lunch, not quite as good as Zadar, but still delicious . Corfu. Having read many of their books and enjoyed the TV series we chose the ship's tour of "In the footsteps of the Durrells" An excellent tour with a wonderful guide. The tour ended with lunch at the White House, the family home of the Durrells. Katakolon. At the large orange building on the corner of town you can buy a return ticket to Olympia for €10 pp, yes €10 ! So we did that. The air conditioned bus departs at 9:30am returns a t 1:00pm. The Olympia Museum is excellent and well worth the €12 admission fee. Heraklion . A €5 taxi ride from the port is the Venetian Fort and Harbour. Many shops, many Taverna and not that many tourists. Athens. Disembarked. Having previously sailed with Celebrity I certainly did miss the fun of the ship, the delicious French onion soup and the specialty restaurants, however I did not miss the aggressive on selling, something mercifully non existent on Cunard. We only attended two shows and they seemed more suitable for an English music hall rather than a Royal Court theatre. The three guest speakers that we attended were very good with the former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia being outstanding. Overall despite the disappointment of Britannia, we had a most enjoyable cruise to some wonderful places. The weather while hot, was otherwise perfect and the Med. for all 14 days was like a lagoon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We are first time cruisers and were looking for a good first impression. The Queen Victoria didn't let us down. The cabin was superb (Deck 8 forward balcony), the food also well prepared and presented (the wait staff were excellent) ... Read More
We are first time cruisers and were looking for a good first impression. The Queen Victoria didn't let us down. The cabin was superb (Deck 8 forward balcony), the food also well prepared and presented (the wait staff were excellent) and the overall service was faultless. We declined the automatic gratuities (tips) and a simple request at the Pursers Office had these taken from our onboard account. In lieu of this, we gave each of the wait staff a personal tip at the end of the voyage, which they kindly accepted. We took the Cunard organised tour of Valletta (our first port), but got off the bus before we got back to the ship and explored the Grand Harbour by foot. Realising that we could probably get better value for money by doing our own thing, we elected to negotiate our way around each port and this was a fantastic experience. It is hard to find fault with this ship, and although we had a table of six in the restaurant each night, we also went to the Lido Restaurant for lunch if we were at sea. The food in the Lido was great. Our breakfast was served in the room each morning and this suited us as we like to start the day at our own pace. Overall a very enjoyable cruise and highly recommended by us. The only downside was the extremely hot weather in the Med and this meant we had to be careful to carry enough water in our backpack. Next time we will go in the shoulder season (Spring or Autumn). Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise mostly for the departure and arrival ports, but were really pleased with the cruise itself. I had sailed on this same ship in the Caribbean years ago and was not all that impressed. Somehow, this captain and crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise mostly for the departure and arrival ports, but were really pleased with the cruise itself. I had sailed on this same ship in the Caribbean years ago and was not all that impressed. Somehow, this captain and crew made the experience for this trip outstanding. Loved the solarium pool! We chose to dine in the traditional dining arrangement so got to know our tablemates and waiter and assistant waiter quite well. I have to say that really can make a difference--having exciting port adventures and then knowing that there were "friends" back at the ship each evening to share the adventures with. The food, drinks, and service were wonderful. Loved all the towel animals that our room steward provided for us. Appreciated the care that the bar tenders took in mixing our drinks (yes, we went for the pre-payed premium drink package and made good use of it--that did help the whole experience as well. I wouldn't waste my time or money in the spa again--but other than that--it was wonderful. The italians in Rome and Florence were friendly as well as all the French and Spanish hosts. The only down-side was that there were literally no singles; and I was cruising with my adult son to celebrate his college graduation. It would have been nice to have at least a few singles to mingle with. Oh well, poor itinerary for that I suppose.:) Altogether a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with ... Read More
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with four other lines and found costa to be the most memorable. boarding was quick as was disembarkation . the entertainment and activities were well planned, Décor at first was overwhelming to many patterns on the walls couldn't tell a door from a wall but we got used to it. after the third day. we were in minority as only minimal English speaking passengers on board but staff were courteous and tried very hard to communicate with us. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 our room was always clean even though we never saw our cabin steward. we only took a few organized tours and did other ports of call independently. The ship offered shuttle buses to town at ports where transport was needed, in our opinion it was not expensive and worth the cost as it was convenient due to being easy not having any hassles trying to find your own way as you are only in port a minimal amount of time. Time is whats valuable. only negative we had was the drinks package while it was good value if you are a heavy drinker everyone in the cabin was expected to buy it. was not catered for individuals. we were three in a cabin and two drank little alcohol so there would of been no value for everyone to buy the package . also the food was ok but the same thing every day with no variety at the buffet . restaurant food was just ok nothing flash .but same food just a different name each night with a different dressing . if you wanted anything special on the menu you had to pay extra for it . all in all the cruise had a European vibe and that's why we took it . it was a fun ship to be on . We would cruise costa again ports visited Savona, Marseilles, Palama Majorca, Cadiz, Malaga, Lisbon, La Coruna, Le Havre, Dover , Amsterdam. only regret we had was we opted to take a shore tour in Lisbon . advertised 5 hrs 4WD to see all the country sites around Portugal. It was useless spent most of the time sitting in traffic and driving through bush stop for a quick photo stop at a lookout then only had 30 minutes at the final destination which was beautiful needed at least two hours there better to have spent the day in Lisbon town independently. Traffic Not Costas fault but this tour was overrated not worth the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The Noordam is a much larger ship (2,000+/- passengers v. 1,200-1,500)than I'm used to but is certainly not of the mega variety which I avoid like the plague. At times, it did seem a little too big but it did not detract from the ... Read More
The Noordam is a much larger ship (2,000+/- passengers v. 1,200-1,500)than I'm used to but is certainly not of the mega variety which I avoid like the plague. At times, it did seem a little too big but it did not detract from the legendary, friendly and efficient service.Nothing ever seems crowded except one day when it seemed the entire boat was taking one of the land tours in Tunisia and there was a long line to disembark. I myself even took a ship excursion that day because I believed I could not navigate the city efficiently. We had been staying in Rome pre-cruise so we got to the port before noon. The embarkation was seamless and our luggage was delivered to the room within 1 1/2 hours. The ports on this cruise were absolutely the best and included Cannes, Palermo, Barcelona, Tunisia, Athens, Santorini, Turkey, Dubrovnik and a few other smaller ports. All-in-all, with the exception of the toilets in our part of the ship not operating on 3 different occasions, the trip, the dining, the service, the entertainment and other things to do were very satisfactory. My only unsatisfactory experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, for which you normally pay $20 per head but one night on this trip was $39 per head because of a supposed "Le Cirque Restaurant" extravaganza. The Pinnacle Grill on this ship is far larger than the smaller ships and decidedly less intimate and elegant than I have experienced on other ships. Maybe it was a bad night for the restaurant but the entire night was poor from the greeting to the menu with little choice to the inexperienced wine to the lacking Le Cirque experience. I spoke to the front office after the meal and the representative instantly made it right. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
On our Rome to London Seabourn Sojourn cruise, we flew into Rome a day early and stayed at the Hotel Columbus near the Vatican. For a mid priced hotel it was adequate. Two blocks to the Vatican and street dining, very convenient.Easy ... Read More
On our Rome to London Seabourn Sojourn cruise, we flew into Rome a day early and stayed at the Hotel Columbus near the Vatican. For a mid priced hotel it was adequate. Two blocks to the Vatican and street dining, very convenient.Easy trip next day to Civitacheccia to the Sojourn.Easy checkin, champagne greeting and ready room. Big bath w/ dbl sinks and tub, more than needed but top quality fixtures. Small but adequate veranda and excellent appts thruout room. Maid svc was excellent and timely, they did the room while you were away. Many geriatrics?? on board, so casino, spa, other svcs suffered but tea time was quite popular with our British based companions. Dining venues were consistently outstanding except for specialty Restuarant II which was a little over the top with 8 small, individualized servings of many specialty items?? Never a wait or a crowd for seating and, mostly, excellent service. One failing was the WiFi svc which was abysmally slow and expensive. Entertainment was cruise ship quality but worth the time. Debark was a breeze due to both the small number on board and Sunday arrival. Will travel with Seabourn again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We took the 10 day Mediterranean Enchantment Cruise which left on May 19, 2009 from Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy.  This was our first cruise and were a bit apprenhensive as we had never cruised before.  Needless to say it was wonderful, ... Read More
We took the 10 day Mediterranean Enchantment Cruise which left on May 19, 2009 from Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy.  This was our first cruise and were a bit apprenhensive as we had never cruised before.  Needless to say it was wonderful, the ship and staff were top notch.  Food was excellent and was very relaxing.  We will definitely cruise with Holland-America again.  The ports we went to were Livorno (Florence) - Italy, Monte Carlo - Monaco, Barcelona - Spain, Palma de Mallorca - Spain, LaGoulette (Tunis) - Tunisia,  Palermo, Sicily - Italy and Naples - Italy.  We enjoyed every stop except for Tunis, we should have listened to other comments on Cruise Critic about this stop as we felt we would have had a better time on the ship.  There was always something going on on the ship and if we wanted to relax we could go back to our stateroom and sit out on the Verandah if we didn't feel like participating.  Would recommend the Sorento and Pompei excursion when you go to Naples.  Monte Carlo is beautiful you don't really need to book an excursion here as you can walk everywhere.Entertainment at night was very good from the show with the Noordam singer and dancers, to the casino, to all the lounges with different musical styles.  We ended up in the Piano Bar every night with Lonnie who is the pianist/singer who is very talented and with Sid our waiter who remembered from the first night being there our names and room number.  Like I said the staff were awesome.We went with the open seating plan for dinner and recommend this very highly, as every night we were with different people and a couple of nights we sat with just the two of us.  There was never a line up and we went around 6:45 to 7:15 p.m.  The set seating was either 5:45 or 8:00 p.m. which was too early and too late for our liking so the open seating worked well for us.We had a Superior Verandah Room which was large and recommend this category of room as you have lots of room for your clothes, it had a desk, couch and another area where the mini-fridge and TV were.  The beds were very very comfortable, in fact when we got home we went and bought a new box spring & mattress because we slept so good on the one on the ship, we bought exactly the same kind.  They also give you 3 pillows so you can choose what you want: soft, medium or hard. Embarkment and Disembarkment went so smooth for the number of people arriving and departing, we never waited to get on or get off (what I like NO LINES).Agan, don't hesitate if you are thinking of booking with Holland America in fact we both wanted to stay and do another 10 days and do the Eastern side.  We are already thinking of booking the Alaska cruise for our vacation next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Firstly, we had a great holiday. The crew and our fellow dinner guests were super.  The ports fantastic. The entertainment really good.BUT there are things you need to know and which, I'm sad to say, RCI don't seem to want you ... Read More
Firstly, we had a great holiday. The crew and our fellow dinner guests were super.  The ports fantastic. The entertainment really good.BUT there are things you need to know and which, I'm sad to say, RCI don't seem to want you to know! UNSEEN COSTS1. Any drinks other than straight coffee or tea, with your evening dinner, are charged! 2. BUS Transfers out of port ARE OPTIONAL.  Every port has taxi's, buses, hire cars or trains for you to use, and at far less cost than the official transfer from the ship. Do it yourself by asking for the location of bus and train stations, they won't tell you if you don't ask. The locals are also VERY helpful. All transport seems to use ONE WAY tickets and there is no reduction for buying a RETURN. This gives you the flexibility to come and go as you please.3. You can opt to pay the TIPS to your cabin attendant, waiter etc in envelopes supplied on the last evening of the cruise.  To do this just choose the CASH option when you book.  Once you give your credit card details they will take the set amount (117) in US$, which is bad for us Europeans.4.  When you come to pay your final bill, the Purser's office only accept UD$ or a credit card.  Euros have to be changed into US$ first!  Again not so good for us.5.  Most of the complaints I heard were from people who hadn't done any research as to what to expect.  More fool them.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2008

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