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81 San Juan to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have ... Read More
2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have tried. Food is tops, no pretensions, same with service. Ship is pure elegance, so spacious. Whats not to like. Shore excursions well organized, one free for each port. Classical music all over the ship is high quality. Cant say enough about ,nordic spa. Steam room, sauna, snowbroom, hot pools, all included. My husband used gym every day, well equipped, never crowded. Scandinavian buffet for breakfast is great for late risers. Sticky buns at buffet breakfast are delish. Gelato flavors change daily. On our anniversary we received a special chocolate cake, one of the best i have ever tasted. Loved daily high tea in wintergarden with string quartet. Perfect cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this cruise was because we love days at sea. While 7-8 days at sea does not appeal at all to some travelers, my husband and I, who are retired, enjoy restful days when we don’t have to be up and ready early for an excursion. And there is so much to do on the ship during those days - the spa and pools, in-room movies, exercising and games on the deck and just watching the vast views from our veranda. But then this cruise had some lovely ports that we had not visited before and definitely wanted to see - Puerto Rico, Madeira, Tangier, Sevilla, and others that we returned to visit. One of the features of Viking cruises is that the excursions are all included. Of course, you can upgrade for a fee if there is a special spot or experience in a port that is not part of the included outings, but pricey excursions are not necessary. The entertainment was fine although we didn’t go to very many of the shows. We liked the lectures about the various ports, their histories and political issues. The lectures were recorded so we could watch them at our leisure. The food on the ship was exceptional with a nice variety of good quality and healthy options. There was always plenty of food and drinks available whenever we wanted them. Service was outstanding for the most part. Staff members seemed to be happy and to enjoy their jobs. Because we had such a good experience on this trip, we booked a future cruise onboard and took advantage of the discounts we were offered. Overall, we had a great experience and are looking forward to our next cruise on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING ... Read More
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING SEA voyage I’m reviewing was the third Atlantic crossing my husband and I have made in twelve months. And it was our first time sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises. Departing San Juan, VIKING SEA crossed to Barcelona in 15 days, with en route calls at St. Maarten, Madeira, Tangier, Cadiz and Valencia. We found the ship to be light-filled, spacious and very attractive. The décor is what one might call relentlessly Scandinavian (reindeer pelts draped over sofas!), with a color palette comprised mostly of whites, shades of taupe and pale blues, accented with blonde woods. The overall look is elegant, if a bit severe, and will appeal to some passengers more than others. Hard surfaces predominate throughout the public rooms, ensuring that voices carry. (Often the very voices you wish didn’t…) VIKING SEA was kept scrupulously clean throughout our voyage. I don’t know when I’ve sailed on a more spic ‘n span ship. Our cabin was a Penthouse Verandah that was bright, roomy and comfortable. Wardrobe and drawer space was more than adequate for our two-weeks onboard. Clothes-hangers are wood and are not of that irritating, ‘anti-theft’ design. The large bed (with room underneath for luggage) was wonderful, though the pillows were too thick and too firm for us. (I don’t know why we didn’t ask if other types were available; our mistake.) The ship’s laundry and the complimentary pressing service were excellent. Blessed with beautiful weather all the way across the Atlantic, we slept each night with the door to our balcony open and enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the waves. You can't beat that! Having crossed westbound five months previously aboard Windstar’s STAR BREEZE (the former SEABOURN SPIRIT), I couldn’t help but compare the two cabins. The use of deep, rich colors aboard STAR BREEZE, as well as the heavy curtain that can be drawn between the sleeping and living areas, gave that cabin a wonderfully cozy look and feel. I could have moved-in permanently. Our VIKING SEA accommodations on the other hand - all blonde woods and neutral-colored fabrics - felt coolly utilitarian; rather like a quiet corner in an airport business class lounge. I never warmed to it. The bathroom was fairly large, with a heated floor and good cabinet and drawer space. The lighting was not very well thought-out however, as it was directed in the wrong directions. The roomy shower produced an absolute torrent of hot water at all times. But the glass door didn’t quite meet the marble sill, so we were always having to mop-up water that had leaked onto the floor. Our hard-working room stewards - one from China and the other from the Philippines - were always eager to please, friendly, immaculately groomed, and completely professional. In fact, all of the personnel whom I would consider to be ‘junior‘ staff or crew were extremely personable. We never walked past anyone cleaning a window or touching-up paint who didn’t greet us with a big smile and a friendly word. It was only those who’d attained a higher rank onboard who sometimes exhibited a bit of an attitude. So far, mostly all good. But I’ve yet to mention the cuisine… And that’s where Viking really disappointed us, because the majority of our meals were mediocre at best. And some were just downright bad. Too many of the hot entrees reminded me of corporate cafeteria fare; unimaginatively thought-out and prepared. Self-serve items sometimes sat-out far too long, such as slices of pizza that dried-out under the heat lamps. A celebration dinner in Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant was so salty we couldn’t finish it. (And we heard the same complaint from other passengers.) The onboard restaurants are oddly managed. Mismanaged, I’d call it. Imagine being told by various maitres d’, over the course of two weeks, “I’m sorry, but there are no tables-for-two available next to a window.” And then, after being seated in the middle of a restaurant, being asked by the waiter “Wouldn’t you prefer that table-for-two over there by the window?” This happened over and over! At the end of yet another evening of musical chairs, I wryly commented to the maitre d’ “You and your colleagues gaze intently into that computer of yours, looking for available tables, and yet you don’t seem to know which tables actually ARE available. So really, what is the purpose of passengers lining-up to check-in with you for a table assignment? You tell us the table we want isn’t available, and then the waiter assigned to serve us tells us it is!” I received a chilly, tight-lipped stare. This awkward disconnect, almost every time we went to dine, was something we have never experienced aboard other ships. In truth, the whole open-seating concept seems just beyond Viking’s capabilities, since there was always an impatient line of diners waiting to be seated, not only at the ‘come when you like’ main Restaurant, but at reservations-required Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table as well. On one occasion, arriving late in the evening for dinner in The Restaurant, I asked the maître d’ on duty why we couldn’t be seated at an empty window table-for-two, clearly visible across the room. “Because there is no one to re-set that table” was the response. I had to bite my tongue, because I really wanted to say “Excuse me? FIND someone to re-set it.” I was pretty much DONE with dining on VIKING SEA at that point. I kept that thought to myself only because it was obvious the staff members in all of VIKING SEA’s restaurants were working furiously, meal after meal, seldom pausing for an instant. (Forget exchanging a few pleasantries with the person serving you. They haven’t the time!) Many of the younger staff seemed rather overwhelmed, and at times, unsure of their duties. At the start of a dinner with wine-pairings in The Chef’s Table, the white wines we were to be served with specific courses were all poured into our glasses at the same time by the young wine stewardess. When we said we’d like to have the white wine for the later course poured along with that course, so that it would be chilled, she was clearly unhappy. Our request meant, of course, that she would have to make more than one trip to our table. I understood that she may have had too many tables to serve on her own, but the staff’s excessive work load shouldn’t become the passenger’s problem. It often did when dining aboard VIKING SEA. Our waiter in Manfredi’s apologized for our evening’s chaotic service, confiding “Viking has taken away our waiters’ assistants. And on top of that, tonight is the first night with this new menu…” He was clearly stressed, which hardly made for the elegant dining experience Viking’s promotional materials extol. But then as I mentioned earlier, the food was too salty to enjoy anyway. And there were more problems to come… The expensive bottle of Veuve Clicquot that I’d requested – 24 hours in advance – be placed in an ice-bucket one hour before the time of our dinner reservation, arrived at the table only slightly chilled and with a dry paper label – a sure sign the bottle had not been iced. And then, at the end of the meal, the birthday cake I’d arranged as a surprise for my husband never materialized. When I later voiced my disappointment to the maître d’ with whom I’d made the arrangements, and who had carefully noted my requests for the Champagne and the cake in his small notebook, he offered only a sheepish shrug in the way of an apology, and blamed the sommelier for forgetting to ice the wine. Now honestly, icing a bottle of Champagne and arranging for a birthday cake should not be beyond the capabilities of anyone overseeing a restaurant – on land or sea. Failing to follow through on both of my requests was inexcusable. Offerings at the self-serve World Café were the most meager and the most haphazardly-prepared we’ve encountered on any cruise ship. (Dried-out, lukewarm scrambled eggs at breakfast...)That VIKING SEA’s galleys could turn-out so many sub-standard food items over the course of two weeks was a major let-down. Especially considering Viking’s lofty per diems! By way of comparison, we crossed eastbound last spring, from Cartagena to Lisbon, aboard Pullmantur’s MONARCH (the former MONARCH OF THE SEAS). Spanish-owned Pullmantur is hardly a high-end cruise line, yet the food served onboard was consistently impressive. Every meal we were served in the dining room was delicious, and the choices and quality of the myriad items available at the early morning-to-late night buffet were amazing. It was some of the best food I’ve ever enjoyed on any ship. Our VIKING SEA crossing cost us five times more than our junior suite aboard the MONARCH. Five times. Proving once again that paying more doesn’t necessarily guarantee getting more! Filling-out the comment card distributed prior to disembarkation, I suggested to Viking that “rather than rapidly adding one new ship after another to your fleet, perhaps you should consider investing more heavily in the ships – and the employees - you already have.” Maybe then we’d consider sailing with Viking again. But in the meantime, my husband and I are cancelling a previously-booked 2020 Viking cruise in Asia. We don’t want to risk being disappointed a second time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Transatlantic from San Juan to Barcelona with stops in Madeira, Tangier, and Cadiz. The ship is beautiful! The food was excellent no matter the venue. Enjoyed the entertainment and movies with discussion groups afterward. The Meet ... Read More
Transatlantic from San Juan to Barcelona with stops in Madeira, Tangier, and Cadiz. The ship is beautiful! The food was excellent no matter the venue. Enjoyed the entertainment and movies with discussion groups afterward. The Meet & Mingle was outstanding—cocktails, hot appetizers and officers who truly wanted to engage. There are outdoor fitness machines on the sports deck for those who prefer to enjoy ocean sounds rather than gym noises. Lots of nooks and small group gathering space on the outdoor decks. Loved having laundry facilities on each floor—including an ironing board. Let us pack less with no expense. Free detergent (or you can use your own). Great social spot as we waited for a washer or dryer to open up. Lots of men doing the laundry! Viking also lets you bring your own liquor and wine aboard with no corkage fees. Wine and beer offered freely at lunch and dinner but cocktails are reasonably priced. They treat adults like adults. One initial challenge was loud banging noises in our cabin. The first night there were six crew members including head of housekeeping in our cabin trying to figure out where the noise was coming from. Because cruise was sold out, told no other cabin. Next day, noise was worse. Someone had canceled so we were moved—no noise! Finally a good night sleep! Someone else had also complained about noise and was moved to our old cabin but said the noise was worse so moved back to their previous cabin. Two days later, we found the problem—a ratchet strap hitting the metal on a lifeboat which was right under a vent pipe at our old cabin. Suggested they pad it—maintenance showed up immediately and did so. End of noise. Responsiveness to our complaint was immediate and taken seriously. Commend housekeeping, maintenance and guest relations. Stellar. Loved the heated bathroom floors! Lovely cabins with luxurious bathrooms. Public spaces are inviting. Different music (not loud!) rotated between—a string trio, pianist, jazz, etc. My husband is a singer and would’ve liked a passenger choir to fill some of the Sea days. The CD said he’d been lobbying for one so would keep trying. All in all, loved this cruise. We met more people on this cruise than any other. Signed up for two more in future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Viking Ocean Cruise ships are a "thinking, well for today's society, persons cruise", in contrast to Carnival for example which is a "drinking person's cruise". That is not to say there isn't any ... Read More
Viking Ocean Cruise ships are a "thinking, well for today's society, persons cruise", in contrast to Carnival for example which is a "drinking person's cruise". That is not to say there isn't any drinking, as wine and beer are complimentary with lunch and dinner, and we purchased the "drink package". Children under a certain age are not allowed, the isn't a casino, and the "entertainment" is more "education" oriented. Other complimentary items include, all balcony cabins, a shore excursion at each port, the above mentioned beverages, use of the spa, and entry into all of the exclusive dining areas. The staff remembers your names and preferences and in general, treats you with superior service. Always friendly and helpful. With several days at sea the atmosphere is very relaxing and leaves you feeling renewed. Having traveled on nine different cruise lines the Viking experience is one that everyone should try to do at least once. We'll be looking for Viking when we sail across the Pacific as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We wanted to experience sailing across the ocean a second time. We enjoyed crossing the Atlantic the year before so much we decided to go again. What an awesome way to enjoy traveling to Europe. The Viking staff on the ship was amazing, ... Read More
We wanted to experience sailing across the ocean a second time. We enjoyed crossing the Atlantic the year before so much we decided to go again. What an awesome way to enjoy traveling to Europe. The Viking staff on the ship was amazing, very friendly, always there and helpful. Best of all, was the food. The menus had wonderful selections and wine or beer is included with each meal. We really enjoyed the Chefs Table. Amazing meals where the wine was paired with each course of the meal, every course was excellent. You can be as busy as you want while the ship is at sea, there’s always something going somewhere on the ship. We always had a good time in the spa, going back and forth from the steam room to the snow room was extremely exhilarating....but the bucket of ice cold water being dumped over you was a real eye opener. After the cruise we stayed extra days on our own and explored Spain Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We decided it would be fun and different to do a transatlantic crossing so we booked the Viking Sky after hearing many positive things about the Viking Ocean brand. I booked through my usual travel agent and still had pretty decent service ... Read More
We decided it would be fun and different to do a transatlantic crossing so we booked the Viking Sky after hearing many positive things about the Viking Ocean brand. I booked through my usual travel agent and still had pretty decent service when I called Viking directly with questions. Usually I've been told to "go through your agent". Booking advance restaurant reservations and shore excursions was quick and intuitive. Viking has one of the better customer websites. Our cruise sailed from San Juan to Barcelona. I chose to do my own air arrangements as I've never liked dealing with cruise line air departments. We arrived in San Juan the day before the cruise and stayed directly across from the pier. This made for an easy walk to the ship the next morning. Boarding was quick and trouble free. Our stateroom category was PV1 so that meant our room would be available at 1:00pm. We had a couple of hours to explore the ship, eat lunch, etc. My first impression was WOW. The ship was absolutely beautiful. There are so many public areas to gather, sit, relax or whatever. We had lunch and began to explore the ship. Just before 1 we learned our room was ready. Our luggage was already delivered so we quickly unpacked. Our room was slightly larger than the basic or deluxe veranda by about 70-80 sq/ft which in my opinion made all the difference in the world. For the first time in my cruising life we had more storage than we needed and actually had a couple of empty drawers. Pretty good because I'm a serial overpacker. The bathroom was also spacious with a nice sized shower. Instead of the usual sliding glass door for the veranda, there was a regular door and a separate picture window making the room seem even larger. The bed was extremely comfortable as well. We set sail to some pretty rough waters in Puerto Rico and in fact were unable to make our first port of St. Martin. This was a problem as people whose flights got in late went to St. Martin to meet the ship which never stopped there. Waters continued to be fairly rough but not uncomfortably so. My preference for less people on a ship ( Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I was checking in to Vikings Website about my 2019 Alaska Cruise I have booked. While there I saw the "Last Minute Specials" and found a two week Trans Atlantic out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to Barcelona sale. At first I was ... Read More
I was checking in to Vikings Website about my 2019 Alaska Cruise I have booked. While there I saw the "Last Minute Specials" and found a two week Trans Atlantic out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to Barcelona sale. At first I was concerned about spending 6 days in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and finding something to do. Needless to say those were the best part of my whole trip. I was able to relax and enjoy myself the entire trip. One thing I've learned in life is that not all goes perfect every time, especially when your dealing with Mother Nature. Right away from when the boat pulled out of San Juan, Mother Nature wanted to remind us she was there. Seas were very choppy and it prevented us from being able to stop at Saint Martin the next morning. It also prevented some guest and entertainers from being able to get on to the ship there. (There had been delayed getting to San Juan and were gong to connect there). Fortunately, the seas calmed and we had a great trip across the Atlantic. The dining arrangements were fantastic. Most people follow the "business casual" dress request for dinner but you always have a few that figure those rules aren't for them. We ended up eating most of lunch and dinner meals in "The Restaurant" which is the main dining room. The foods were always outstanding and the staff was great. I recommend that if you like a particular waiter, that you request sitting in his/her area at each meal. It took a day or two to learn this but once you catch on it makes things a lot easier as he/she learns all your little secrets and requests. My only suggestion is that you make sure you give that waiter an extra tip and the end of your trip for helping to make it so special. The $15 per day that Viking charges your account is a mere pittance for all of the staff that you see helping making your trip special on this boat. The specialty restaurants are Manfredi's Italian which was very good. They have a fixed menu that will be the same every day except for the "Fish of the Day" and the "Pasta of the Day". I only ate there two nights and loved both meals Rib Eye Steak and Porchetta. Both meals were outstanding and can't wait to have them again on my next cruise. The "Chef's Table" I had booked for the first night of the cruise. My wife wasn't feeling well because of the water turbulence and I wasn't even more disappointed because I found out about their menu's changing every two days. I picked nordic night that meant just about everything had Salmon in it and that's not one of my favorites. The big thing about the "Chef's Table" is you don't select what your going to eat. It is all ready predetermined for you along with wines with each course. There were no real problems getting reservations here but after reviewing the different menu's we elected to spend most of meals in "The Restaurant" as the food quality and service are just as good. The entertainment was great with the Cruise Director Aaron doing a wonderful job. He also did a great show by himself with songs from Sinatra, Buble, etc. Viking had the Virginia Gentlemen, an A Cappella group on board for daily entertainment as well. These college students won the heats of almost every passenger and hopefully will become on regular on the Viking system. The Viking Band, dancers, entertainers all made the night end with an enjoyable show. We enjoyed out trip so much we booked a second trip for 2019 traveling from Rome to Athens next year. Because all Viking ocean ships are the same, once you get the lay of the land, it doesn't change going from boat to boat. This will make our Alaska and Rome trips even easier next year. Can't wait to go cruise again on the Viking fleet!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
viking is a great cruise line and i have been on it before. however, after completing a cruise on viking sky a few weeks ago i would really hesitate to choose it again. from the moment i got on the ship i had trouble breathing. the ... Read More
viking is a great cruise line and i have been on it before. however, after completing a cruise on viking sky a few weeks ago i would really hesitate to choose it again. from the moment i got on the ship i had trouble breathing. the hallway outside our stateroom was freezing all the time and after a few days i had a full blown asthma attack. have never had one before..............my asthma is very well controlled but there is something that they are putting in the air on this ship that irritates your nose, your throat and your lungs. we started out with having our room only cleaned with hot water.....no detergents. didn't work. went to the doctor every single day for two weeks to have an inhaler put on me which helped for a few hours. with every stop.....................i could breathe again on land but as soon as i got back on the ship,i would start having problems again. even a specialist i saw in madeira confirmed there was something toxic in the air on board that was causing the problem. i talked to at least ten people who were experiencing allergy problems on board. i don't know if anyone else had it as severely as i did but they all complained of running noses, coughs etc. in their attempt to kill off every single germ on the ship, viking is putting something in the air conditioning system that is irritating to the lungs. i hope they look after this. Entertainment I am afraid is pretty amateurish. The kids try hard but whoever looks after this part bof the on board program needs to get out of the "tribute to the Beatles " era. Nothing new..nothing even remotely interesting. Food is good.. especially in alternate restaurants. Staff were helpful and I liked the casual atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Fantastic 1st crossing & to visit our son in Barcelona. So 1 way: San Juan to BCN was perfect. I am a yachtsman & navigator, so appreciate the perfect sized Viking Sky, while my darling spouse appreciates the top quality cruise ... Read More
Fantastic 1st crossing & to visit our son in Barcelona. So 1 way: San Juan to BCN was perfect. I am a yachtsman & navigator, so appreciate the perfect sized Viking Sky, while my darling spouse appreciates the top quality cruise amenities & modern stabilizers to glide the ship across the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Weather was far warmer than expected. Sea was calm or following after 1st 2 days. Food was always great. Breakfast in our suite was gratis & varied. I give a A+ to the on-board enrichment speakers: (3 are noted here). A professor on Christopher Columbus & his era, President Reagan's secret service retired guard & ocean life & whale expert who stayed on deck for many dawn & auspicious moments to spot & discuss sea life. This great experience has led us to again cruise Viking along the west coast of Europe from BCN to Denmark in April 2019. Bravo! Viking ships Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Our Departure was in Puerto Rico, we arrived early in the morning on the same day. Everything went as smooth as can be checking onto the cruise ship. We went up to our cabin and were so taken back at how beautiful the set up was especially ... Read More
Our Departure was in Puerto Rico, we arrived early in the morning on the same day. Everything went as smooth as can be checking onto the cruise ship. We went up to our cabin and were so taken back at how beautiful the set up was especially the balcony. The cabin stewards were pleasant and made sure our stay was enjoyable. The service on board the ship was awesome. The crew always greeted you with a smile or a gesture. The dining was absolutely delicious, food, service, variety, cleanliness...just perfect! The ports were enjoyable. My husband and I did a couple of excursions and were extremely happy with the tour guides. The entertainment was AWESOME, what a talented group of professionals. The shows were so enjoyable, great idea having the split of the men and women doing their own shows as well as together. I just want to draw attention to one of the entertainment crew Elora Von Rosch, she has such style, grace and can sing anything. We saw her in the shows in the theater, outside on the pool deck, the lounge, and in the atrium. She is such powerhouse! This Viking Ocean Cruise Ship was on my bucket list and were so glad we decided to go, crossing the Atlantic Ocean and not even releasing you were on the ship for 6 days straight was enjoyable because we went about the ship and enjoyed everything they had to offer. The Room service was excellent and delivered our food in a timely fashion. Would I do it again, YES!I Before we disembarked I booked a River Cruise for next year. It cannot come soon enough! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Initially we were booked into stateroom 3005,the first night we were kept awake by a rattling coming from the verandah door.Being the first night we put it down to the new environment however it continued and after a second night of ... Read More
Initially we were booked into stateroom 3005,the first night we were kept awake by a rattling coming from the verandah door.Being the first night we put it down to the new environment however it continued and after a second night of interrupted sleep we called customer services first thing.A carpenter arrived and tried to fix what is apparently a common problem.Five minutes after he left the rattle returned so I again contacted customer services and they agreed to move us to another stateroom,3077. When we arrived at the next stateroom I enquired if it was a quiet cabin and if anybody had stayed in the cabin previously.No it was quiet and had not been used we were assured by two people.We noticed a knocking noise behind the bed head but thought it was probably something from the adjoining cabin so we went for dinner.On our return the noise seemed to have increased,we tried to sleep but it was impossible.Our worst ever night at sea and we are used to rough seas.The following morning we contacted customer services again and were offered another move very quickly.No fun packing and repacking. So here comes the crunch.That evening we went to the Viking bar as usual for a pre dinner drink.As we were on the silver drinks package we had to give the barman our cabin number yet again.’Sorry I said we ve had to move again’.A couple sat near us said ‘ excuse me,did you say you’ve had to move twice?It wouldn’t be cabin 3077 would it?!!! Can you believe that this couple had been moved out of 3077 because of the noise in the wall and they moved us in.A cabin where they knew there was a serious noise problem. This is unforgivable.Needless to say we shall not cruise with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My husband did the choosing. I was really against 6 days at sea. I mean what can you do doing nothing for 6 long sea days? Anyway, San Juan was wonderful. Our hotel was directly across from the Dock where Sky was berthed. I will admit she ... Read More
My husband did the choosing. I was really against 6 days at sea. I mean what can you do doing nothing for 6 long sea days? Anyway, San Juan was wonderful. Our hotel was directly across from the Dock where Sky was berthed. I will admit she was a beautiful site that morning from our hotel balcony. Boarding was a snap. Have crused 25+ times and this really was the easiest. We were greeted once onboard by the crew. In fact one of hem noted our look and asked us if we'd like a tour of the ship. WOW. I can go on and on, the singers were as good or better than any other ships entertainment. Ok, no glitz,,, however the singing was solid. Elvis was cool! The Beatles were totally entertaining. The crew is as good as it gets. One time we had an emergency. The crew , including the Dr ran to the scene. It was a minor item however they were totally on it.I heard later the DR stated with the patent all night in sick bay to make sure the person was ok. This ship is the opposite of the RCL Oasis class ones. As we were on the Oasis 7 days prior with our grandchildren I can tell you they are opposite. Yes we like them both. For very different reasons. The SKY is not a family fun ship. They do not play in that field. What I can say is they are the way my husband and I wish to travel the seas when we are not with the young family members. Our friends came with us.They to agree the SKY is the way to go. Ok, Food is solid. Loved the Buffett. Note: The sea conditions were a bit interesting. Between 3 and 10 meter swells all week. Anyway we Loved it all. Probably why we have 62 additional Viking Ocean days already booked. Team Viking, they are some of the best crew we have ever had the pleasure to cross paths with. Yes, i can name one or two on each cruise we have been on as being wonderful. The team on SKY are all that way. I cannot remember a bad experience. After 7 days at sea (missed St Martin due to heavy seas), you get to know people. . They are the reason why we booked more. Hats off to those who traveled so far to serve my husband and I up a WOW trip. Oh, remember my not wanting 6 days at sea? Well, we wanted a few more when we made it to Barcelona. It was a sad day leaving the SKY. If your wondering, do it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My wife and I first cruised with Viking in Dec 2017 and absolutely fell in love with this cruise line. The value is unbelievable for all the extras you are given with no corners cut! Where do we start: * Outstanding price * Airfare ... Read More
My wife and I first cruised with Viking in Dec 2017 and absolutely fell in love with this cruise line. The value is unbelievable for all the extras you are given with no corners cut! Where do we start: * Outstanding price * Airfare included * Free excursion at each port * 24 hour room service * Gourmet food * Top notch entertainment * Heated floors in bathroom * Full size showers * Well appointed furniture in rooms and common areas * Unbelievable service in rooms, dining rooms, bars, etc * 2 to 1 ratio crew to customers * No children under 18 allowed We have been on many other cruise lines and Viking is the only cruise line we will use in the future for ocean and river cruises!!!!! Our next cruise with Viking will be a river cruise on the Rhine in Spring 2019 and this will be our first river cruise and looking forward to it. We have spoken to many people who have taken many river cruises with Viking and rave about them..we cannot wait! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I have traveled several Viking Cruises with my sister and had the opportunity to go with my husband so he could experience why WE LOVE VIKING!!! Everything from Winston our wonderful Viking Travel Consultant who handles every trip we have ... Read More
I have traveled several Viking Cruises with my sister and had the opportunity to go with my husband so he could experience why WE LOVE VIKING!!! Everything from Winston our wonderful Viking Travel Consultant who handles every trip we have been on. From the time you get off the plane they are there to greet and take care of you!!! Which makes the trip start off great (no worries). We love adding the days before the cruise or after if available to get you acclimated to the time and enjoy a city that you might just be getting on the boat and leaving! Viking really makes sure to get the best excursions for the port you are in to make all passengers happy. They also really care that the hotels are close to city centers for extra time exploring on your on if you wish as well as beautiful rooms. Once in the cabin/lounge the staff is there for you the whole time looking after you remembering your name and what you drink after one hour!!!!! It is such an amazing company. It really reflects through the ship with all the chefs and servers...by the end of the cruise it really is sad to leave them!! We are so blessed that in the next 3 months we will be going on two more cruises that happen to be on the same SKY ship. One tip is to book your excursions early on the big ships. We have been on the river cruises which everyone is able to go on. With the big ships there is less availability for some excursions so early is better for sure! It is so nice that after you come back from your excursions the crew is waiting for you to greet and get you ready for the evening shows that everyone can see either before or after their dinner which is a MUST.....they really do a great job and it is something really different every night! When the evening is over you will go back to your room all BEAUTIFULLY CLEAN and enjoy the great programs that viking puts on your TV every night to enjoy from tomorrows trips and wonderful talk and nature shows. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our second cruise this year on the Sky. We had never done an Atlantic crossing and thought it would be fun. We had relatively smooth water the entire way and perfect weather. We left San Juan Puerto Rico and were supposed to dock ... Read More
This was our second cruise this year on the Sky. We had never done an Atlantic crossing and thought it would be fun. We had relatively smooth water the entire way and perfect weather. We left San Juan Puerto Rico and were supposed to dock in St. Marteen but the port was closed so we kept moving. Unfortunately some travelers who missed San Juan because of bad weather flew to St. Marteen only to hear the ship would not be stopping. The food was marvelous except we did not really care for the changes to the menu at Manfredi's so only dined there twice. We were disappointed both times. The service however was excellent. We have now tried all of the Chef's Table menus and the only one we did not particularly care for was the French one. Again excellent service everywhere including the dining room. The entertainment on this cruise was far superior to the performers in January. Especially the featured dancers Julia and her partner Adonus. We were on the 6th deck which was rather loud after midnight for an hour or so while they cleaned to pool area. Would probably avoid deck 6 again. We had several guest lecturers who were very interesting. We docked in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, Cadiz, Valencia, and Barcelona, Spain. We really loved these ports and can't wait to go back. We extended 2 days in Barcelona and wished we had planned more time there. The day we docked (Sat.) we did an all day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat with Barcelona Day Tours which was fabulous. Unfortunately almost everything is closed on Sundays except for churches. We did enjoy the open markets in Cadiz and Valencia so got to experience them before Barcelona. We really loved how relaxing the 7 days at sea were. We spent a great deal of time reading and talking with other cruisers. We are already planning our next cruise on Viking! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
A beautiful ship , with stylish public areas , always easy to find somewhere comfortable to sit and read a book . The furnishings in all locations on the ship were top class . The Scandinavian style abounds throughout the vessel ,with ... Read More
A beautiful ship , with stylish public areas , always easy to find somewhere comfortable to sit and read a book . The furnishings in all locations on the ship were top class . The Scandinavian style abounds throughout the vessel ,with beautiful pieces of artwork , and a phone App that enables guests to get more information on each item . The main pool area was spacious with comfortable sun beds . Unfortunately they have a problem with the opening roof , they seem afraid to open it in case they are unable to close it . The Captain said they could not use it if there was more than 3 degrees of inclination on the ship . When closed the pool area was more like a Sauna and made everyone head to other areas. This looks like a problem on this vessel which will not go away until a significant engineering effort. The sun areas on deck again have some very nice furnished areas , you can almost feel you are on your own super yacht . In the Caribbean we had a sea swell of about 4 metres , the Viking Sky did not handle this very well . The downside was the dining experience . The Restaurant (main dining room) is a vast ordinary venue , the food on the occasions we used it was over cooked and often cold and bland .The service was basic just placing of order and delivery of food . Just a quick dining operation .It s also a very noisy environment due to low ceilings and hard furnishings . The World Cafe buffet style eatery was ok , and some dishes were freshly prepared in the open kitchen you could see into .The Sushi in the evenings was excellent . The feature restaurants again rather ordinary. The Chefs Table menu always sounded exciting but the taste was not there . We settled for having dinner in the World Cafe buffet , not what we normally do . The Dining experience is far superior , more an event , stylish with higher quality produce with excellent feature restaurants on Oceania. The Norwegian cafe Mamsems offered oatmeal or pancakes with fresh berries for a light breakfast and Scandinavian open sandwiches for lunch - very nice. The entertainment team although small were very good with singers offering a wide range of music skills . The use of high quality and stylish graphics as a backdrop to the stage in the theatre worked well and was comfortable . The enrichment lecturers (3) were very good and always available to talk to and their presentations accessible on TV in the cabin . The Viking band was excellent , especially in the night club at the end of the evening where a good atmosphere was generated , The ships officers mainly Norwegian were very friendly and very willing to engage with the passengers . Overall the most stylish cruise ship we have sailed on in more than 20 cruises . Viking will have 10 of these ships on the high seas in the next few years . Nearly 10000 guests to find each week . Unless the dining improves hard to imagine how they will attract the customers at their current prices . Would we come back onboard. . NO - the wining dining experice is important to us . We had a bad experience on arrival in San Juan. Not on any hotel lists , had to sort it out ourselves . Viking said they would investigate and get back to us , but to date (3 weeks ) no communication from their customer services . Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We travel at least 3 months/year now. Our favorite trips usually involve a repositioning cruise, followed by a lengthily land stay. We loved our time at sea, never wish it would end. This was our first trip on Viking Ocean, and what a ... Read More
We travel at least 3 months/year now. Our favorite trips usually involve a repositioning cruise, followed by a lengthily land stay. We loved our time at sea, never wish it would end. This was our first trip on Viking Ocean, and what a delight! I can tell you all the good things we enjoyed on this beautiful ship, but I also want to tell you all the things we were thrilled to be without, like the miserable art auctions that take over the public spaces on other lines. No casino, no kids, and basically, no smoking too. Glorious! Beautiful music in the atrium throughout the day, wonderful guest lectures, movies and snacks at night and an utterly beautifully appointed ship. Superb service, varied and well prepared meals served with some very tasty wines. Internet was included in the fare, as were taxes and port charges. The internet was surprisingly good considering we were on the stormy Atlantic. The crew was extra special, as was the Captain. Leadership was apparent, and the entire experience with Viking was exceptional! It will be hard to ever go back to the other carriers, we really liked what we experienced on this journey. Hoping to sail with them on another repositioning trip this Spring, 2019. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We wanted to do a transatlantic crossing. We liked that there was a minimum age...no youngsters running around and playing in elevators! We liked the idea of free beer & wine at lunch and dinner...we did not need the drink package! ... Read More
We wanted to do a transatlantic crossing. We liked that there was a minimum age...no youngsters running around and playing in elevators! We liked the idea of free beer & wine at lunch and dinner...we did not need the drink package! And having the laundry facilities was a plus. Here are some of my thoughts...and I know I'm missing some tips... The cruise was a pleasure. I liked that it was very informal...literally no "formal" nights, but you still had to dress appropriately for the "dining rooms"; you had the World Cafe buffet and the Poolside Grille if you did not want to get dressed. Seasick? I was worried about rough seas, but I did not feel sick at all. I got the "patches" from my pharmacy, but never used them. I used "Meclizine" ("Bonine"), taking one at night before bed. It was just enough to keep me feeling well and not making me sleepy. Check with your pharmacy and see if you can order a bottle of Meclizine instead of spending $$$ on the blister packs of Bonine. Years ago I got a bottle of 100 for $7. We upgraded to a Penthouse Verandah. Our mini bar had "liquor", but they took it out and gave us wine...red or white...daily...or as our bottle was gone. The Restaurant - Good variety of food..and tasty, too! They had a standard menu that did not change and an additional menu that changed daily. We ate one lunch and several dinners here. Poolside Grille - We ate here quite often. It opened before the other restaurants and you did not have to dress up. They have burgers and hot dog and the best onion rings...they do not list them on the menu..you have to ask for them...don't miss them! The Chef's Table - Speciality dining. My recommendation...know what the theme is for the night you choose for dining here. We enjoyed the "Chiang" night, but the Indes was not a favorite. If you do not get an option for booking before the cruise, you can sign up by the entrance of the World Cafe for other nights. Manfredi's - We enjoyed this Italian restaurant. Try their speciality steak...it is "to die for"! I enjoyed everything we ate here. Entertainment - They do not have big name stars, but the entertainment crew was good for us. They had "Enrico", the Hungarian guitarist, Olga & Geza (pianists), and a trio of ladies playing classical tunes with their cello, violin & flute. The University of Virginia's "Virginia Gentlemen" were on our cruise. They are the school's male a cappella group. They sang almost every day in the atrium and did a special show in the theater. Laundry - Take advantage of the laundry facilities on each floor and pack a lighter suitcase! They have (3) washers & dryers and the soap is included...free! They also have ironing boards and irons. NOTE: Check your washer carefully when it is done. I had a blouse that was stuck to the top of the machine. Had I not stuck my head inside, my blouse would have found it's way to either lost & found or someone else's suitcase! Gym - They had plenty of treadmills and other machines, free weights and other "torture devices". We usually walked on Deck 2...4 laps for a mile. But on cold or rocky days, we used the treadmills. We did not try any of the pools or spa...maybe next time. Flights - We wanted to fly to San Juan the day ahead, but Viking air services would not allow that option. Lucky for us, all flights were on time and our luggage made the ship. Not so lucky for some of our shipmates from Miami...their luggage never made it to the ship...at all! It was going to be in St. Maarten, but the seas were too gusty and we had to skip that port...and had to leave behind folk who had flight delays and were going to join the ship at that port. Next time, I will be adamant that we get to the port a day early! We spoke with lots of folk who booked the cruise in the last 30 or so days; we booked our March 2018 cruise in August 2017. Those late cruisers got good room deals and some had free airfare. One also bartered with the booker and got the premium drink package for free! We will try that tactic next time! Our Penthouse Veranda was great...and so were our room attendants, "Darius" and "Vive". We had plenty of hanging and drawer storage space. The bathroom and bedroom area had lots of space, too. Shore Excursions - We were disappointed with the bus ride in Funchal (Madeira) Portugal. We hoped to see more of the vicinity, but it was mostly driving to the point of interest...which was overcast and rainy. Still, we had some time to wander in the city before catching a shuttle back to the ship. Check out your ports and see what is available before you take the cruise. There are options for things to see that are not covered in some of the literature and talks you get. We look forward to saving our $$$ and finding our next Viking Ocean Cruise. If you want other details, send me a note with specific question and I will try to answer Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The food was mediocre. Hope you like Indian food as at least 3 mains Indian daily for lunch at Windjammer. They can't save any more money on food- they have taken it to the lowest level.New room service menu is a bad joke- a ... Read More
The food was mediocre. Hope you like Indian food as at least 3 mains Indian daily for lunch at Windjammer. They can't save any more money on food- they have taken it to the lowest level.New room service menu is a bad joke- a lackluster regular menu with no spaghetti to avoid having dinner in dining room or Windjammer AND YOU PAY $7.98 FOR THIS SERVICE!!!!!! They will not accommodate people with wheelchairs to their cruise tour bus as their competition does. I only paid my gratuities to reward waiters in Windjammer and other low paid staff in background.Not a value at any cost.Ordered eggs and pancakes for breakfast one morning and was called to verify order- evidently not used to an order like this- and the pancakes were not edible and the eggs were overdone and we had to pay $7.98 for THIS! I have to say crew was never ugly to us. They know how to say no pleasantly and believe it or not, they have tremendous loyalty to cruise line- really good brain washing by company. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my second TA and first with Royal Caribbean. It was cruise #34 for me and it was my most enjoyable so far. I will break down this review in categories, to make it easier to read and understand. I will post videos of the entire ... Read More
This was my second TA and first with Royal Caribbean. It was cruise #34 for me and it was my most enjoyable so far. I will break down this review in categories, to make it easier to read and understand. I will post videos of the entire trip on my www.youtube.com channel: cruise addict. If you want to watch what made this cruise great, just check out the videos. I have also posted the Compass, dinner menus and food pictures from the whole cruise on my Facebook page: Robert Ghitea, from Vancouver, Washington. Both youtube and Facebook will provide a visual of this amazing TA cruise, which a survey or review can not do. Embarkation: It was the easiest, fastest and most hassle free embarkation I have ever experienced. We arrived at the port around 10:50am and were in the windjammer buffet at 11:25am eating. Ship: It was my first time on this class of ship and I absolutely love this ship class, as it is big enough to offer so much, yet very manageable. The ship is absolutely gorgeous and it was in great condition. Cabin: We had an oceanview on deck 3, #3604. It was close to the stairs and elevators, and it was very quiet. Everything functioned properly and we had no issues with the cabin. Dining: We had late dinner at 8:30pm and had Basri as waiter and Chao as assistant waiter. They were both amazing and really took care of us. Our table was by the window and it was a two top. The food presentation and quality was great and we ate all dinner in the dining room, breakfast in the windjammer and lunch in the windjammer, with the exception of one lunch in the dining room. Entertainment and Activities: Great bands, shows, comedy, juggler, cruise director/staff and we were never bored. Service: The service we received from the crew was amazing and this was the friendliest crew I have ever had on a cruise. Starting with Captain Lis and the officers, and all the way down to the last crew member, they were friendly, helpful and enjoyed being on the Jewel of the Seas. Ports and weather: Our five ports were fantastic and the weather and seas were great. I got some serious sun during the five sea days and the ocean was calm. We did excursions that I reserved at home through Royal Caribbean and they were great, with the exception of Alicante, for which we received a 50% refund because the excursion was cut really short. The other port excursion were great and in Gibraltar we did our own deal because we had been there before. Both the wife and I had a great cruise and we look forward to booking another TA for next spring, as soon as we decide on an itinerary and ship. I hope this review will be helpful in your decision to book the Jewel of the Seas without any hesitation. I hope you will enjoy your cruise as much as we enjoyed ours. Sincerely, croaziera on cruisecritic.com, aka, Robert Ghitea in real life, or cruise addict on youtube. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Repositioning and landed in Rome End in Rome End in Rome Excursion group was not helpful, a waste and reason to choose another ship and/or cruise line. They seemed disconnected / not organized. An view held by many fellow ... Read More
Repositioning and landed in Rome End in Rome End in Rome Excursion group was not helpful, a waste and reason to choose another ship and/or cruise line. They seemed disconnected / not organized. An view held by many fellow travelers, a disappointment. They get a F. Internet service goes down to easily and slow. It gets a C-. Cruise Director gets a D. Shows are a C. I could take it or leave it. Guest Services - very helpful and they get a B+. Main dining staff gets a A-. Thanks Lukas and Lisele were a real pleasure. Next Cruise gets a D+; not helpful. Please bring back the Crown and Anchor team. Diamond Club - gets an A; nice folks and we enjoyed our experience. My time dining we always enjoy. The retractable roof did not work in solarium - disappointment for Radiance class. Thank you Manager Stefan of the Windjammer - gets an A / A+, nice meeting you Thank you Executive Chef Jondeau - gets an A+, nice meeting you To Corporate - please get thicker bacon for the chefs. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I chose this cruise because of its Port-au- Calls, which I had not visited before. It was somewhat inconvenient as it sailed from San Juan, PR and we live in Miami, thus had to fly in the day before (the same day flight was leaving at 7 ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its Port-au- Calls, which I had not visited before. It was somewhat inconvenient as it sailed from San Juan, PR and we live in Miami, thus had to fly in the day before (the same day flight was leaving at 7 AM and had to be in the Miami airport at 4 AM.. Thus it cost me a one way ticket to SJ plus a night in a hotel plus meals (an extra $700). The cruise had 7 whole days at sea and I relied in the entertainment judging it fro previous experiences i Holland American that were excellent. It was not so in RCI, the movies on TV were terrible(, same movies over and over, very old ones, some did not even had an ending). The movies on the ship theater we extremely poor with only one exception in 13 days, (mostly Star Wars type and animated movies and very old). There were no photography, cooking or computer classes as in other ship lines we have been. The lecture, most of them, were not very good at all and although on TV they were repeated over and over again (for example 3 ports of call after Gibraltar, the same lecture was constantly on Channel 26. TV was terrible. Most of the time no image, occasionally no sound (especially BBC and CNN)- at times was like listening to the radio. others viewing a TV sign that said no reception.Poor choice of news channels. In short, the ship and service and the room was fine, the rest left a lot to be desired Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have completed many Transatlantics including a previous one on Jewel of the Seas. We particularly like the relaxing sea days and getting to know other passengers, so joining activities onboard is a big plus for us. Embarkation and ... Read More
We have completed many Transatlantics including a previous one on Jewel of the Seas. We particularly like the relaxing sea days and getting to know other passengers, so joining activities onboard is a big plus for us. Embarkation and travel to San Juan was part of the package was well organised as was the disembarkation and return journey from Rome. We arrived the day before departure, giving us a little while to explore San Juan. Excursions organised through the ship were on the whole, very good. We did have one poor experience but upon return to the ship we raised with the shore excursions team and they investigated, came back to us very quickly and resolved to our satisfaction. We used the Main Dining area for both breakfast and Dinner. Staff were very quick and able to offer alternatives to standard menu offerings. The ship is smaller in the RC fleet, but we prefer the atmosphere this creates. Overall, there were just over 2100 passengers onboard and we never felt crowded. If you like sea days and being able to do as little as you want, or have plenty of activities if you prefer, then this would be a great ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
CRUISE CRITIC REVIEW BY: Ernest H. Williams, Jr. QUALIFICATIONS: Hundreds of restaurant and hotel reviews and 85 previous cruises. CRUISE SHIP: Jewel of the Seas CRUISE LINE: Royal Caribbean DATES OF CRUISE: 23 April to 6 ... Read More
CRUISE CRITIC REVIEW BY: Ernest H. Williams, Jr. QUALIFICATIONS: Hundreds of restaurant and hotel reviews and 85 previous cruises. CRUISE SHIP: Jewel of the Seas CRUISE LINE: Royal Caribbean DATES OF CRUISE: 23 April to 6 May 2017 ITENARY: San Juan, Puerto Rico; La Palma, Tenerife, Grand Cayman, Canary Islands; Gibraltar, Britain; Alicante, Spain; Rome, Italy. RATINGS: 4/5, 80%, B COMPARISONS: Not quite as good as Princess IN GENERAL: A good and enjoyable cruise. Might offer fewer, better dishes instead of too many indifferent ones. Too few personnel for economy is an understandable ploy, albeit a balancing act. A simplification of the menu might also help there. Wine bar needs help. Chefs might be advised to taste their creations.1 Blanding down your general cuisine to promote your specialty restaurants comes with certain perils to your approval ratings. I hope my suggestions will be of use to both potential passengers and the cruise ship personnel. ANNOUNCEMENTS: This is not male chauvinism, but the Captain’s voice could not be understood. ARRIVAL TIMES: These should be as early as possible, the stay as long as possible, and the schedule should not be changed, if at all possible. This was not the case on this cruise. A broader schedule allows for better shore excursions. I had scheduled scuba dives on La Palma, but the ship’s schedule was changed and I had to cancel. Of 6 scheduled dives in the Canaries, I could only make 2. BARTENDERS: Excellent BILLARDS: Two gimballed pool tables were nice, but cue stick tips were worn out. BREAKFAST: Most diverse I have seen on a cruise ship and good, but almost everything remained the same. Few innovations, which was good or bad? BUFFET: Good food for lunch, very good for dinner. Too few tables that are always full. Always had a row of Indian foods (I had my fill in India and Sri Lanka); sporadic oriental; a few other cuisines. Always some fish, but seldom other sea foods. Eight fish species one night, which was wonderful. Always beef, pork, and chicken dishes, good salad bar, good cooked vegetables, good breads, good variety with daily changes, but few really exceptional dishes. CABIN: small, okay storage, uncomfortable bed,2 good lighting, comfortable shower, adequate electrical plugs, good balcony, good mirrors. CHECK-IN: Easier than most, but also fewer passengers than most. DAILY INFORMATION (CRUISE COMPASS): Daily maximum temperatures were greatly underestimated every day. This made clothing planning difficult for tours. COSTS: Very reasonable, particularly with specials. DRINK CARD: Good deal, covered most drinks, but very few wines. Need more wines choices on the card. DESSERTS: Usually, at least 1 good desert in dining room. A great variety of mediocre to bad deserts1 in the buffet and too much daily repetition. The few excellent ones run out too soon. Whenever you see a good one, take it immediately. Soft serve ice milk, 2 kinds of ice cream at dinner. Raised dark and white chocolate covered donuts were good, but too firm.1 DINNING RESERVATIONS: These were usually not necessary. Reservations put you at tables for 2, which are not private, but jammed into many other tables for 2. Apparently, those who ask for “private tables” are so snooty they did not even like themselves. Ask for a shared table. This is no more crowded and almost always more pleasant. DINING ROOM: Adequate and interesting food for lunch, but strangely inadequate and less interesting food for dinner.1 Too crowded with tables too close together. Not enough service personnel made for very slow, and often inaccurate, service. Grab the waiter for a drink when seated. You may never see drink service. Near the end of the cruise, the waiters apologized for slow service. Not their fault. They were stretched too thin. Not open long enough for lunch. DISEMBARKATIONS: Often permission to leave the ship had not been announced, while there were already hundreds of passengers on the dock. Also, brochures said the tours got passengers off the ship first; not. ELEVATORS: Always full and often with a long wait in atrium. Better fore and aft. FOODS, ODD: A lot of Radicchio was used, which is rather expensive and good. Asparagus was served at every meal in every which way, which was fine with me. FORMAL NIGHT: Most cruise ships have special foods on formal nights. On their 3 formal nights, the menus were the worst of the cruise. We did not bother to get dressed up to eat uninteresting foods. GOLF: We enjoyed the nice put-put 9-hole course. HANDOUTS: These were in microprint. Why would they print stuff most people on their cruise have difficulty reading?3 Old people, small print, really? POPCORN: Most cruise ships give away popcorn. They sell it for around $2.50 including tax and tip for a tiny bag at the Pit Stop Bar. This was irritating. PREFORMERS: They must be grateful for the cruise ship businesses, because they could not torment an audience anywhere else. Mediocre to bad and of a bygone era.3 SAFE: Broken, requested repair, never fixed. SERVICE: Excellent in quality, inadequate in quantity. SICK CALL: You had better be very sick, because they will quarantine you to your room, not let you go ashore, and your food will be confined to the very limited room service menu.3 Thus they make you suffer more. SOLARIUM: Nice indoor pool, hot tub, and bar. Two badly rusted, large panels high on wall were quite incongruous. They particularly glare at you when laying in lounge patio chairs. SOUPS: Choices, tastes, and consistencies were terribly disappointing.1 The handle of the ladles transfers the heat so much they are useless. Gross service ineptitude. Good ladles are available. Has any of their staff ever tried to use their ladles? SPEAKERS: One excellent, interesting, albeit invalid speaker. However, crew people explaining shore destinations were horrible. TOURS: We usually just take the ship-offered tours. They are more expensive, but easier and safer. Our friends took a ship tour in Gibraltar and did not get half of the tour. We took a similar private tour off a cruise ship there a few years ago, which was cheap and excellent. Our ship tour guides in La Palma and Tenerife were awful. So bad my wife was the only one on the bus to tip the first, and even she did not tip the second. TRANSFER: Reserved taxi trip to Rome cost about half of the cruise transfer bus. WIFI: Internet was expensive, not high-speed as claimed, and worked about half of the time. WINE BAR: Very few varieties and most all were too expensive for the drink card. Tables too few, and unromantically, too out-in-the-open. Few, unimaginative tapas. Overall, very poor, counterproductive, and inept. This should be a fun, important, positive, not a negative. WINES: White wines on our drink card were limited and not very good. More selections needed. Reds were better. The only sparkling wine on card was good. Footnotes 1Someone, please taste the food before you serve it. Cruise cuisine is supposed to be excellent, not atrocious. No one, in their right mind, could have possibly tasted some of these dishes. 2Additional pads helped. 3Most cruise ships do the same. I have no suggestions on quarantine and entertainment, but you could easily make the print larger. SPECIES: Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar; Barramundi, Lates calcarifer; Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris: Corvina, Cilus gilberti; Dover sole, Solea solea; European Perch, Perca fluviatilis; European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax; Florida Stone Crab, Menippe mercenariai; Radicchio or Italian chicory, Cichorium intybus; Tiger Shrimp, Penaeus monodon; Vietnamese Catfish, Pangasius pangasius; Whitefish [This can be almost any fish with low-oil flesh. Given present availability, its taste, quality, and cost, I would guess: Haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus. Am I correct?] OTHER FOOD COMMENTS: Desert: Most pies were, oddly, cakes in disguise. “Raspberry” cream tart was made with cherries and was not very good.1 Banana pudding was made with unripe bananas.1 Duck breast was terrible.1 It was oddly recommended on the menu, but not listed. Later duck meat and pâté was excellent. Escargot had little taste and were tiny. Fish varied greatly. Corvina was bland and fishy one night; oddly very good later. Catfish was mushy and awful (So disgusting I could not eat it and complained to waitress.). Like soggy frozen fish sticks. How could you ruin such an excellent fish?1 Barramundi was probably excellent, but was incredibly too hot with pepper to taste!1 Perch and whitefish were just okay. Salmon good to fair. Sole very good. FLAN: You cannot serve such a horrible flan to the many Puerto Ricans on board. A terrible insult to Puerto Rico! Octopus was excellent, but seldom used. Prime rib was served twice and was terrible. How can anyone destroy this usually excellent dish?1 Scallops were very small. When oddly dumped into scrambled eggs, they were tasteless. Shepard’s Pie is not supposed to be sweet!1 Shrimp varied from a good-size excellent to tasteless salad shrimp. Making Tiger Shrimp into Thermidor was silly. Some “chilled” shrimp were served smelly and dangerously warm [potential health hazard]. My wife returned them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017

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