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866 Mediterranean Senior Cruise Reviews

Embarkation the quickest ever after a smooth coach journey down from Woolley Edge in Yorkshire. Great to have luggage dealt with efficiently - you do not have any contact with it from handing it over to coach driver, until delivery to ... Read More
Embarkation the quickest ever after a smooth coach journey down from Woolley Edge in Yorkshire. Great to have luggage dealt with efficiently - you do not have any contact with it from handing it over to coach driver, until delivery to cabin. !6 night cruise and weather bad from start to finish, but that cannot be blamed on P&O. All seasoned cruisers said they had never been on a cruise with so much wind, rain, mist and cloud. We went on this cruise because we love Oriana and we wanted one last trip before she is sold to China. So were not too bothered that we had visited most stops previously. One place we hadn't been to before was Terceira in the Azores. This was really the only decent weather we had on the whole trip and it was a lovely island. We had booked a 4 x 4 tour (8 hours) through Viator with ProIsland Tours. I cannot recommend them enough. We covered the whole island and were taken to many places the ship's own tours couldn't access. We had also taken a half day 4 x 4 tour the previous day on Sao Miguel. Again it had been booked through Viator with BioBird tours. Many of those on cruises are very wary of booking trips through anyone other than P&O. We have done it many times and have never been worried about a missed sail-away. The tours' content is usually much more comprehensive and they are usually at least a third cheaper than ships' tours. Give them a go if you've not tried them. After the Azores we visited Madeira, where we used the local bus to visit Santa Cruz. Next was La Palma where we took a P&O tour to a silk farm. OK, but tended to be herded about a bit and were unable to stop to photograph nice views where we were not scheduled to stop. Then came Gran Canaria. Again we took a P&O tour which gave a leisurely overview and took us to some places we had not visited before. We were particularly impressed with our stop in Port Mogan. Fuertaventura was not worth the visit really, unless you wanted to go to a beach. Again we took a local bus and travelled up to a town on the north coast. Last stop was Lisbon where the weather was so bad that it didn't warrant getting of the ship. However, we had to get gifts and so had to go shopping. Got soaked to the skin. The two sea days on the return were once more dull, misty and rainy. We disembarked (very efficiently) in Southampton to a lovely sunny day. Now Thursday and weather still great. Perhaps UK is worth considering. Overall impression of cruise was good because we like the ship so much - no children, good food, good entertainment, nice bars to sit in etc. Would just like to give a tip to anyone who may be considering buying a wine package on board. Don't bother. There is little, if anything, to be saved. In fact, unless you choose the most expensive wines on the lists available (only about 4 of them), you could find that you had paid more than if you had bought them individually from the full wine list. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Always wanted to see the Mediterranean countries and the architecture and culture. We had been told about this cruise in 2015 when we were on the Legend The ship was great but the tour company needs to step up their game. ... Read More
Always wanted to see the Mediterranean countries and the architecture and culture. We had been told about this cruise in 2015 when we were on the Legend The ship was great but the tour company needs to step up their game. Amenities onboard were great and the staff fantastic as you expect from Viking. The various restaurants had excellent food and choices. The staff couldn’t do enough for you. Only problem onboard was the pools are too deep to stand for someone like myself who is 6’1”. Cabin steward Madi excellent . Entertainment was very good and especially in the Atrium after hours. The wine choices were very good as my fellow traveler is a wine expert and did not feel the need to purchase other level wines. I found doing the pre cruise tipping better as I didn’t have to worry about it after the trip and I then could give extra where I felt appropriate. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time ... Read More
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time and arrived 35 minutes early into Rome. We met one of our fellow cruisers at the airport and had arranged a shared transfer to Civitavecchia. Despite some airport confusion, it all worked out. Note that after leaving through customs I did not find an ATM at the airport. They must be there, but not in the places they used to be! Our driver with Civitavecchia Shuttle Express was kind and professional. He did not talk very much. We were dropped off at our guest house, “MyHomeBLU” at about 10:40. MyHomeBLUE is an interesting guest house on the top floor of a condo building. It has some great views of the city as well as the Mediterranean. We went back to visit our new friend at her hotel and found an ATM. We attempted a walking tour I had downloaded from the port website. Streets are poorly marked, and while we found the two churches they were both locked and we could not enter inside. We were too late for the market. We stopped at a supermarket for two bottles of wine to bring on board and a small gelato container. The gelato became lunch. At 4:00 we met our new friend and went for dinner. Many restaurants are closed from 3 – 7 PM but along the seaside promenade several were open. The “New Gran Caffe” has a very nice upstairs dining room with views of the sea. My dinner was good although not what I expected. We walked along the sea for a while afterwards taking photos. Walking back to our temporary home DW said she was still hungry. There is a supermarket on the first floor of our building so we visited there and she bought some cheese and olives. This was very satisfying as it was enjoyed in the “Living room” overlooking the coast. At about 8:30 we called it a day! Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – embarkation We slept very well. We woke to my phone alarm to get ready for the day. We had a light breakfast in the MyHomeBLUE living room. There is cheese and olives left from last evening and that was helpful as little that was available met DW’s dietary needs. We took a nice walk to the town market. About half the market was fruits, veggies, seafood, & meats. The other half was an assortment of goods including clothing and electronics. We walked back and enjoyed a few minutes rest chatting with the proprietor until heading down for our prearranged 10:30 taxi. He was waiting for us at 10:25 and off we went to the port. We were in the terminal before 11:00. They told us boarding would begin at 11:30 and handed us boarding card #1. At 11:10 they called for #1. We had our photo taken for our last embarkation on Prinsendam, and headed to our cabin. It seemed a few things were not as cleaned as DW prefers but our room steward took care of everything. We sent away the soiled laundry from our travels and headed to the Ocean Bar. Here we found the maître’ de and discussed dinner plans. We handed him our prepared list of DW’s dietary restrictions and he kindly assigned us to table 143, a four top all the way aft. He also took a preorder for dinner. We also stopped at the Pinnacle Grille to preorder tomorrow’s lunch which we are having with several roll call members. Lunch was enjoyed in the dining room and all our special orders were very nicely taken care of. We headed to the cabin and our luggage was just being delivered. We unpacked and had everything stowed away prior to the 2:30 Mariner’s welcome aboard gathering. We attended the welcome aboard party and it was the best one we’ve ever enjoyed. The wait staff kept the beverages flowing freely and we had a great conversation with a couple we met in the elevator. After the party there was just enough time to shower and put on evening clothes before the 4:30 muster drill. The muster drill was pleasant enough with only about ½ the normal crowd as so many have stayed on from the prior cruise segment and they were excused. We were finished by 4:44. We headed straight to the Ocean Bar. At the Ocean Bar we renewed acquaintances with roll call members who we had shared tours with last year on the Iceland cruise. Other roll call members also joined us; it was a lot of fun. We went to dinner at 5:30 and had two sisters join our table. Conversation was very enjoyable and while I thought the menu tonight a little sparse my chicken was better than expected and the sisters both ordered the “Flank steak” but it looked more like a nice London broil. We left dinner with just enough time to stop in our cabin before the 7:30 welcome aboard show. Linda the cruise director was also CD on last year’s Iceland cruise. The Ocean Bar quartet is good with a strong vocalist. After the short show we visited the Ocean Bar to listen to the quartet but by 8:30 called it a night. Tomorrow is a busy day at sea and we are looking forward to it! Thursday, April 25 – at Sea After all our travels this was a morning to sleep in. We were up by about 7:45 but by the time we were ready to leave the room it was getting close to 9:30. With a 10:10 appointment with the future cruise consultant, we decided to head to the lido. To our delight the special of the day was Gingerbread Waffles with Orange Butter. I had asked for these on the Rotterdam recently and they did not know what I was talking about. DW ordered an omelet to her specific desire. To our further delight, Rosiato was serving in the lido. We got to know Rosiato last year on the Iceland cruise and she remembered us right away. We enjoyed breakfast with a couple from Australia and it was very nice. We were five minutes early for our appointment and she was ready for us. Knowing what we were looking for the booking was expeditious and quickly handled. We were also able to book a cabin for our friends who had asked to go with us. We finished just in time to head to the crow’s nest for the 10:30 Cruise Critic meet and greet. This was a tremendous event! Special thanks to cruise critic member KAZU for all her efforts in organizing our roll call and the wonderful name tags that remain on display in our cabin. Only one couple she had name tags for did not attend. We met many folks we have scheduled tours with and it was a super meet and greet. At noon we had a reservation with cruise critic members at the Pinnacle Grille. Our “Captains table” was delightful. The food was good and the conversation terrific. This was a busy sea day as at 2:00 we had our complimentary wine tasting session. This was really not as nice as the tasting we had on Rotterdam’s Christmas cruise. It had become very windy out on deck putting a literal damper on our hopes for a few laps on the promenade deck. All too soon it was time to get ready for gala night. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar while the Ocean quartet entertained. On the way to dinner we found another crew member who remembered us from last year. As they say, Prinsendam is like a large family. We will miss the chance to sail her in the future. Friends from the Iceland cruise joined us for dinner. We had a very nice time. After dinner was the captain’s welcome toast in the theater followed by “Atlantic Crossing” by the cast. We have seen this show before but it was worth seeing again. The four vocalists are very talented. I’ve always felt the cast on Prinsendam are a cut above those on the other ships. After the show we went to listen to Daniel in the Crow’s Nest. We had a nice time but it was getting late so by about 9:40 we called it a night. Tomorrow we are in Alicante, Spain and have a full day tour scheduled. Friday, April 26, 2019 – Alicante, Spain The alarm went off at 6:45 although DW was up before that. Our tea order arrived at 6:55. We enjoyed a cup of tea in the cabin while getting ready. It is very sunny today so sunscreen is a must. We went to the lido for breakfast where I enjoyed one of today’s specials, a meat-lovers omelet. We were talking with a couple from Calgary during breakfast. The meeting time for our tour is 8:45. We watched the docking process from our balcony and then went to meet our group. The ship was cleared and off we went. Our tour was with Spain day tours with our guide David and driver Juan Carlos. First we drove to the historic center of Alicante (not very far). We visited the cathedral and the town hall. David took us over to the seaside promenade and introduced us to the specialty Alicante ice cream flavor which is honey and almond. We had just enough free time to walk down the promenade to the first leather merchant where I was able to obtain a ratchet style belt for 12 euros. Back to the van we were off to Guadalest in the mountains. It is about a 1 hr. drive mostly along the coast before crossing a mountain range. Guadalest is very photogenic being set among the hills. Leather and chocolate is produced locally and could be purchased, although we did not find anything that could not be passed up. One of the shops had purses at very good prices (at least so we thought). We returned to the van and headed back to Alicante to visit the castle. We certainly got our exercise climbing from the mini-bus parking area up to the top of the castle. This was a crystal clear day and being able to see everything around for many miles was quite a treat. No one will believe the photos were not enhanced as the color of the sea is just stunning. Back at the van at 3:30 and David and Juan Carlos had us back at the ship before 4:00 for our 4:30 all-aboard. We quickly got ready for dinner although missed happy hour. Dinner tonight was just all right. I was excited to see prime rib on the menu and having skipped lunch was looking forward to it. It just wasn’t juicy as prime rib should be. DW’s fish entrée was also just okay. We listed to the Ocean Quartet until they finished their set and then enjoyed the show. Yaniv Zarif gave a tremendous show with his interpretation of several Broadway and west end hits, in multiple languages. He was excellent and this was one of the best shows seen on a HAL ship in a few cruises. After Yaniv’s performance we called it a night as we have a long tour tomorrow and also King’s Day festivities on board. Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Malaga, Spain Prinsendam docked on schedule this morning in Malaga Spain. We enjoyed a quick lido breakfast with today’s special of Cinnamon & Bacon Waffles and a small ham omelet. We met our cruise critic group for our tour with Spain Day Tours to Granada and the Alhambra. This was a really great tour. We had plenty of time for our guided tour of the Alhambra and the gardens. We really enjoyed hearing of the 800 year history of the palace and fortress. From the Alhambra we were taken into Granada and had 90 minutes of free time. Our guide showed us where the department store and supermarket was, along with a variety of tapa bars. DW wanted shoes as her dress shoes were not working. We were successful in finding shoes. We then picked up a few apples and some local chocolate at a supermarket. The apples were “Lunch.” All too soon our 90 minutes were over and everyone was back on the bus. We returned to the port just after 6:30. After a quick stop at our cabin we went to the lido for the special “King’s day” Dutch dinner. DW’s special order dinner was delivered from the dining room, along with our wine bottle. I enjoyed many of the dinner options served, including poffertjes. The desserts were extra special with almond cookies, Dutch Apple Pie, and Ollie Bolen available. After dinner we enjoyed a little balcony time until we went to the showroom for “Authentic flamenco.” I always enjoy it when the cruise line brings local talent on board; in this case I just wish the troupe had explained the dances a bit. All in all this was an exceptional day and at 10:30 it was past time to call it a night! Sunday, April 28, 2019 – Gibraltar, UK Territory We enjoyed watching the Prinsendam wind its way to the dock this morning. “The rock” of Gibraltar blocked the sunrise. We docked on time and after a nice lido breakfast of today’s special Buttermilk and Corn waffles we met our tour group in the Ocean Bar at 7:45. We all made our way down to deck 4 at 7:50 and were allowed ashore at 7:55. We were the first group ashore and the first van leaving the parking area. This proved to be important. Our guide Rachel took us first to the Pillars of Hercules to view the strait of Gibraltar and in the hazy distance we could see the coast of Africa. From there we visited St. Michael’s Cave. We spent quite a bit of time at the cave. We’ve been to many caves over the years and this was impressive as I don’t recall ever seeing a natural open cave environment so huge. The sheets of limestone formations are extremely impressive. Outside the cave we had our first encounter with a Barbary Macaque Ape. This one was posing for photos and we enjoyed the opportunity. We were the second van to leave the caves and we made our way up the hill to the “Top of the Rock” and the upper Apes den. We spent maybe 30 minutes here watching the apes, taking photos, and being well entertained by the apes. Next we visited the Great Siege Tunnels. In addition to the natural caves, there is over 50 miles of man-made tunnels carved into the rock. These were made to move cannons and soldiers in case of war and siege. After exploring some of the tunnels, we visited and climbed the steps of the Moorish Castle, originally from 1160 and enlarged in the 14th century. This structure has withstood many wars and sieges over the centuries. We drove to Europa Point, the southernmost point of mainland Europe. This means we have now visited the northernmost and southernmost point of Europe. We drove the east side of the rock and Catalan Bay, with colorful houses along the beach. We crossed the active airport runway as the main road does to reach the border with Spain. This was a terrific tour and highly recommended. Back on Prinsendam at 12:10 we enjoyed the British Fish & Chips lunch being served at the Dive Inn pool grille. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy outside dining. DW had some fare from the lido. We met friends who joined us for lunch and had a similar tour. During the sail away we enjoyed watching the African coastline slide by from our balcony. I used the pool and hot tub for a while before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was a nice time in the dining room with a cruise critic member joining us. The show was “Sessions” featuring the Prinsendam cast singers. This was a very nice show. After the show we enjoyed the Crow’s nest piano bar and happy hour, before calling it a night at 10:30. All in all, another super day on Prinsendam! Monday, April 29, 2019 – Lisbon, Portugal We woke at 6:00 (after gaining an extra hour due to a time change!) and found we were already close to shore as we sailed towards the Lisbon cruise dock. As the sun rose we passed the Moor tower along the river and sailed under the Lisbon “Golden Gate” bridge. We enjoyed a lido breakfast and met our tour group at 8:10 in the Ocean Bar. Everyone was early so we headed out to meet our guide. Our group of six had booked the “Setubal Wine Tasting tour” with Lisbon Riders. This was a superb tour. We were met outside the cruise terminal at about 8:20 and our guide gave us a quick drive by of Lisbon and we twisted and turned our way towards the highway over the Golden Gate Bridge. He gave us the recent (and not so recent) history of Portugal on the way. We headed south to the wine region of Azeitao. We visited the small local family owned cellar “Quinta de Alcube” in the middle of the peaceful Arrabida Mountain. We tasted four different wines and visited their very nice shop. Bottles ranged from two to seven Euros each. We ended up buying one of the seven Euro bottles of White “Reserve” to hopefully enjoy on the balcony. From there, we crossed Arrabida Mountain & Arrabida Natural Park. We were always close to the sea and passed a number of beaches with azure waters enjoying the incredible views. Our next stop was the fishing town of Sesimbra. We enjoyed the oldest fish restaurant, owned by generations of fishermen. This place, called, Isaias, was outstanding. We would never have gone there without our guide, as from the outside it is a “Little hole in the wall.” They cook fresh fish, just off the boat, on a charcoal grille built into the exterior wall of the building. We both ordered Swordfish and it was both incredible tasting and a large portion. All meals came with a simple family style served salad, warm rolls out of the oven, and boiled potatoes. I enjoyed a “Lemon beer” and a coke zero while DW had a glass of white wine and bottled water. We all agreed to cover our guide’s meal and the total bill was just under 15 Euros per person. After lunch we walked down to the beachfront and went into the restored beach front fortress. Our guide went to retrieve the van and he took us to an overlook of the town for photos. From there we traveled back towards Azeitao for our second winery visit. Next we visited the oldest cellar of the region, owned by the same family for more than 7 generations. The Jose Maria de Fonseca winery gave a very nice tour and the wine cellars were impressive. We really enjoyed the tour and the samples of two wines, including a 16 year aged Moscatel. From here we headed back to the ship. This trip took longer than expected due to unusual traffic according to our guide. We returned at 4:30 for a 5:30 all aboard. The Lisbon cruise terminal makes you walk through a maze to get past security and it was 4:50 by the time we returned to Prinsendam. That gave us just 40 minutes to prepare for dinner but we made it. We enjoyed dinner and left port on schedule by 6:00. Sailing down the river I took a break to get photos of the Christ the King statue on the hillside near the Golden Gate Bridge. Later that evening we enjoyed a comedian, Rikki Jay. His routine was entertaining. We are exhausted from the last few days and called it a night after the show. Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Porto, Portugal Prinsendam was just a little late on arrival to Porto today. Our 8:00 arrival became more like 8:25 by the time guests were able to disembark. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido, nothing special today but still a good start to the day. We met the one other roll call member on our “Off the beaten track” photo discovery tour with Pictuary photo tours. Jose was great and met us as we left the cruise port. He drove the three of us in his car to the end of the tram line where two Tuk-tuks were waiting for us. The first 2+ hours of our tour were by tuk-tuk. This was literally a little “Cool” but it was fun, and it sure beats climbing the hills of Porto by foot! We saw so much it is too much to list, but certainly one highlight is the six bridges crossing the Duro River. After one incredible viewpoint to another we bade farewell to our tuk-tuks at the Bridge of Luis 1st. This dual layered bridge was a pleasure to walk over. The top level is for pedestrians and trains. Beware the trains!!! The bottom level (much lower) is for vehicles. After a light lunch, we then rode the Rodonorte Funicular down to the river level. We walked along the river enjoying the sights and incredible buildings of the historical Ribeira neighborhood and went shopping in a 100% made in Portugal shop where DW picked up a handbag made of cork (from cork trees). To end the tour, we rode the #1 “Electric” streetcar back to where the car was parked and returned to Prinsendam at 3:10 for a 3:30 all aboard. DW shot over 200 photos and I took about 300. What a day! Back on board we ran into friends enjoying the lido sunshine and stayed there for sail away. Tonight is “Rudi’s Sel de Mer” at the Pinnacle Grille that we are trying for the first time. We met friends at the Ocean Bar at 5:30 for pre-dinner conversation. At the last minute, they decided to join us and the Pinnacle was happy to oblige changing our reservation for two to four. Sel de Mer was enjoyable and we would do that again on a future cruise. Dinner went for 2 ½ hours but the conversation was most enjoyable. After dinner we visited Daniel at the Crow’s Nest Piano Bar for “Sing along night.” By 9:45 it was time to call it a night. Tonight we LOSE an hour as we are headed to France which is in the European time zone. Wednesday, May 01, 2019 – 2nd day at Sea After five port days in a row a day at sea was most welcome. No alarm, no room service, just sleep. Sleep until 8:30 or a bit after! We got the day rolling by heading to breakfast in the lido. Today’s special was listed as “Dutch pancakes” but other than being made on a Holland America ship I’m not sure what was “Dutch” about them. We were invited to the 10:30 Mariner’s reception which was a nice event. About 20+ copper medallions, five silver medallions, and one gold medallion were handed out. The nibbles were nice and drinks ample, but I did not see wine being offered as an option. The mariner’s lunch followed and we were able to sit with several friends and one couple we had not met earlier in the cruise. The Prinsendam tiles were most appreciated and will be added to our collection. After a cabin stop to store our tiles we visited the lido for ice cream. The ice cream man was funny as he was really ‘pushing’ the macadamia nut ice cream with caramel. It was pretty good but neither of us found any macadamia nuts in our serving! We chatted with friends and before you know it the clock was at 1:45. At 2:00 KAZU from cruise critic had invited the roll call to her Neptune Suite for a “Wine tasting.” At least two dozen (likely more) from the roll call visited and we had great conversation along with lots of wines to try as well as a bunch of nibbles provided by the ship. My favorite was the Tempura Shrimp. Most folks stayed until nearly 4:00 when several, including the host, had an appointment with the Bingo game. DW was the winner of one of two door prizes, a hand-made wine bottle stopper / corkscrew donated by one of the roll call members. We truly appreciate this and will both treasure it and use it regularly at home! A brief cat nap (after all that wine) in our cabin brought us to 5:15 when we headed down to deck 5 for passport collection. For some reason, Bordeaux customs wants to inspect non-EU passports. These will be returned on Saturday. Dinner (and more wine) was enjoyed in the dining room. Prime Rib was on the menu and now having learned the ‘secret’ to ask for a “King’s cut” it was superb and very much enjoyed. The show tonight is “Dance” by the dancers. We have seen this before and decided to pass, just enjoying being on the ship with nowhere specific we needed to be. We caught up with the travel expert’s Bordeaux talk on the TV and called it a night. Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Bordeaux, France We awoke to catch a slight glimpse of Prinsendam sailing under a bridge as we approached Bordeaux. We docked on schedule and the ship was cleared at 7:30. Our tour is not until 10:00 so we had time for a leisurely breakfast in the Lido with today’s special of Gingerbread waffles. We met our tour group at 9:50 in the Ocean Bar and departed the ship. We met our guide from Ophorus Wine Tours right outside and off we went to the town of St. Emilion. During the 45 minute drive our guide told us about the area we drove through as well as about the development of wine in the area. St. Emilion is an incredibly original / restored medieval town centered around a church that was begun by St. Emilion. We toured the underground church – a very impressive structure considering the work was done with medieval age tools. The stones were quarried out and used to make buildings, and the church and catacombs were built in the resulting cave. Regretfully no photos were allowed and after the tour we could not find any postcards to be purchased of the underground monuments. After touring the underground our guide showed us the highlights of town and we had two hours to explore further and have lunch. We ended up at a suggested place for lunch, chosen due to the outdoors patio. We also stopped at Moulierac bakery for almond macarons. These small almond cookies are the closest to what I enjoyed as Dutch almond cookies when I was young. They have just three ingredients; Almonds, Egg Whites, and sugar. Gluten free even DW could enjoy them. After the village we toured two St. Emilion chateau/wineries. To be honest, we didn’t care for the wines. All St. Emilion wines are reds with Merlot being the dominant grape in the region. We returned to Prinsendam about 5:45 and had dinner in the dining room. One note I haven’t mentioned yet is that the dining room menus have been somewhat disappointing this cruise. I’ve eaten three times off the everyday menu, something I have never done in the past. This evening the fish entrée was not very good to my taste, although DW enjoyed hers. I then had the Wiener schnitzel instead. After dinner we left the ship and walked. We passed by the reflecting pool and took photos. We went half way out on the nearby bridge and took photos. We wandered around part of the old town until back at the reflecting pool. The wind was picking up and we became cold and thus returned to the ship at about 8:50. We were bushed and called it a day after watching the sun set from the verandah. Friday, May 03, 2019 – Bordeaux, France day 2 This morning we woke without alarms and enjoyed breakfast in the lido. Today’s special of a meat lovers Omelet called my name and it was nice. We met one other roll call member at 9:15 to head out for our 10:30 “Free walking tour.” We managed to figure out the tram system tickets and rode the tram to the meeting spot. The tour was enjoyable and ended up not far from the ship. We did want to walk the “Longest pedestrian street” in Europe, Rue St. Catherine, at 1.2KM. So we did. We stopped to look in one shop along the way but nothing else. We took the tram back towards the ship and stopped at a Patisserie recommended by the guide from the prior day. They had a Meringue cookie that DW could enjoy while I had a raisin bun and chocolate croissant. From there we walked back to the ship and reached the lido just as they were cleaning up lunch. DW was able to get some chicken and salad, while I ordered a Dive-Inn burger. We returned to our cabin and were entertained by the dogs playing in the park next to the ship. The crew gave one of the dogs a cup of water and that was a happy dog! It soon became time to get ready for dinner and sail away. Dinner was again a bit of a letdown. The Arctic Char was pretty good but the short ribs were overcooked, dry, and inedible. I certainly didn’t go hungry but if you are going to spend 90+ minutes in the dining room the food should at least be good. We ran into friends before the show and they stayed outside for sail away and had dinner in the lido. They said the lido had whole turkeys and delicious fish & chips. I ended up going to the lido to have two slices of turkey with gravy before they shut down. The show was different. This was the “Pianist with the hair” aka as Julian G. Classical piano is not my cup of tea but Julian made it entertaining in various ways so I would give his show thumbs up. After the show we enjoyed Daniel in the piano bar and called it a night at about 10:15. The Indonesian crew show was at 11:00 but there was just no way to stay up for this. Saturday, May 04, 2019 – Sea day #3 Prinsendam spent the day sailing leisurely through the bay of Biscayne with a still head wind but rather calm seas. With the wind from the northwest it was much cooler than our two days in Bordeaux. A 9:00 deck sale of previous port gear had us buying ‘South America’ cruising sweatshirts at 75% off. We’ve been there and are going again so this was a good buy for us. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido and spent 90 minutes talking with another roll call couple before leaving for the 11:00 “Ask the captain” session. No new information was shared during this 45 minute chat. We went with friends to lunch and even though not hungry after the late breakfast, they were serving Turkey again! Two slices with gravy made for a delicious light lunch. I had an appointment at 12:50 with the future cruise consultant to obtain future cruise deposits for a friend that texted me the prior day. We tried walking the promenade but the wind made it too cold, even with multiple layers. We also tried sitting on our verandah and in a sheltered area it was tolerable for a while. A friend made it to the final in the blackjack tournament so we went to support him. He was the third of five to be eliminated. It is a gala night so afterwards it was back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. We met friends before dinner in the Ocean Bar as the time passed quickly. They joined us for the gala dinner. I will say without question this was the best dining room dinner of the cruise. After dinner we exchanged the tulip vase I had purchased earlier in the cruise for one more to DW’s preference. We enjoyed the show with the singers and dancers, “Concerto.” The Crow’s nest Piano bar was hopping with Daniel doing a tribute to the Beatles. At 9:45 the “Chocolate Surprise” took place and everyone had a few specialty chocolates. By 10:15 it was time to call it a day and prepare for our last port. Sunday, May 05, 2019 – St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK. Last evening we received notice of a mandatory immigration inspection prior to going ashore in St. Peter Port. Well, okay, but they could have notified us much sooner. This caused a lot of concern with the private walking tour that one of the roll call members set up. As immigration began their process early, it all worked out, but this was just poor planning on the part of Holland America. We arrived ashore at about 8:45 and shortly thereafter began our walking tour with Annette Henry. Annette was one of the most interesting walking tour guides we’ve ever experienced with her bag of props and she told very detailed stories of Guernsey’s history. This was a very worthwhile 2.5 hours and we left her at the tour’s conclusion at the sunken garden. Annette gave us directions to the local flower garden, just a few blocks away. This was very nice and a tea room was open. We enjoyed a pot of tea and hot chocolate. While a beautiful sunny day it is cool so the warm drinks were welcome. I took a bunch of photos of various plant arrangements and we headed down the hill towards the harbor. We stopped in a few shops along the way and ended up at the pharmacy as we had a few pounds of coins to spend before leaving. This was successful! Back to the tender and we returned to Prinsendam for the very last time  just after 1:00. We went straight to the lido and enjoyed some lunch. We lingered talking to some folks before returning to our cabin at 2:30 to begin packing. By 3:30 with the majority of the packing complete we began getting ready for dinner. It became pleasant on the verandah. We ran into one of our roll call friends who just returned from a fantastic day exploring all around Guernsey AND taking the ferry for 90 minutes on one of the out-islands. We got to talking so we ended up skipping the Ocean Bar and heading right to dinner. Tonight one of my favorites “Sweet & Sour Shrimp” was on the menu. Scallops were an appetizer. Sorry, HAL, and no disrespect to the chefs, but these had to be about the worst scallops ever. The muscle was not removed and they just looked ugly and did not taste much better. But the Shrimp dinner was good. After dinner we wondered the ship a little and listened to the quartet in the Ocean Bar. Roll call friends stopped by to chat and we wished each other safe travels home. There was a one-time variety show at 9:30 but we did not stay up for that. I wish we could have paid Daniel a farewell visit to the Crow’s nest but with the last minute packing and setting out the luggage that was not to be. At a little after 9:00 we called it a night. Monday, May 06, 2019 – Dover, UK (Disembarkation and travel home) At 6:00 we were entering the port. It took nearly 50 minutes, and the help of a tug before we were securely docked. We enjoyed one last breakfast in the lido. No “Specials” today. We ran into roll call friends to bid them farewell. I’m sorry we never ran into a few others. They began calling for disembarkation right on schedule at 7:15 and with our 8:05 “Purple 1” tags we left the stateroom at 8:00 to head to the elevator. We went up to go down and left the ship at virtually exactly 8:05. By the time we reached the luggage only a part of the Purple 1 had arrived. We waited a few minutes and the cage with purple 1 was unloaded. We retrieved our bags and headed out to the bus. We were the first on the bus and with the luggage stowed underneath it was a pleasant enough ride out to Heathrow. The driver told us to expect it to take 2.5 hours due to “Roadworks” but we actually made it in two hours. I was tracking along with my Waze phone AP. From drop off until check in at the A1 lounge it was less than 30 minutes. We had a few hours to kill so I finished up this log and enjoyed some lunch and beverages. The flight itself was quite pleasant as the plane was far from full. We even landed in Philadelphia 30 minutes early. Then we sat for another HOUR and ended up being 30 minutes “Late” as there was no gate for us (???) By the time we picked up our car it was 7:00 so we had no traffic for the drive home. Conclusion: Oh Prinsendam, Prinsendam, we will miss you Prinsendam. This cruise was a log of fun. With all the ports (except St. Peter Port) new or ‘essentially’ new to us, we had a blast and saw so many things. Prinsendam is the opposite of the flashy new 4,000 – 6,000 passenger ships. The ship is NOT the destination. The trip is for the ports. I doubt HAL has another ship that could go up the river to Bordeaux and fit under the bridge. Is there another that can go to Porto, maybe? Prinsendam is showing its age without question. The new owners will have a lot of work ahead of them. Yet the crew is simply the “Best in the fleet.” I really believe that. We didn’t eat breakfast in the dining room once the entire cruise. Why? I generally dislike the lido. On this cruise, we enjoyed the lido as unlike the other ships, there are always crewmembers to bring tea, coffee, water, etc. And refill them! They help carry items when you are juggling two plates, and the ice cream man is funny and obviously loves his job! On the other hand, it seems that since last year, the lido service times have been further curtailed. I believe HAL is going in the wrong direction here. There is no more “Late night snack” either. If someone takes advantage of a late night or an overnight in port, staying out past 8:00, there is no food available other than room service. Lunch is over at 2:00. We came back one afternoon at 2:10 and while DW was able to grab some left-over chicken, the pickings were slim. We had two mornings that the water in the cabin was yellowish. We used the bottled water from the mini bar to brush our teeth. The front desk couldn’t tell us much about what was going on, but the last afternoon of the cruise they called to apologize and offered a small token as an apology. Customer Service needs a refresher course at the upper levels (likely in Seattle). We had a roll call group tour planned in St. Peter Port. Then, the evening before, the ship springs on everyone that there is a mandatory immigration inspection. Why not notify the passengers at boarding, or even earlier (like, when they changed the port) so those of us making plans outside of ship tours can plan accurately? Our cabin team of Agus & Heri was super, going above and beyond when some sticky substance got all over our hard sided suitcase between embarkation check in and stateroom delivery. They scrubbed it down the best they could. The laundry service is terrific even if at times things may not be as perfect as we like them at home. But they sure do press things to make the clothes so neat! Our dining room team of Setaji & Andrian took very good care of DW’s special dietary needs. The Wine Steward Theresa was great and found nice alternatives that were to our liking and fit within our package. Amin was outstanding both in the morning in the lido and after dinner always greeting us with a smile and a taste of ginger. All in all, the good ship Prinsendam on her fifth to last HAL voyage gets 3 ½ out of 5 stars for the cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very ... Read More
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very smoothly, I had read previous reviews about the ship some good some bad , although some areas looked a bit tired overall the ship was fine, the cabin was no better than what we have had on Thomson ships. We found the afternoon tea was very limited (the same things on all the food areas ) Our breakfasts and evening meals were taken in the baytree restaurant and we found them excellent a good choice at every sitting, our waiters were very friendly and attentive (jam and dominic) table 109. Did not think the entertainment was that brilliant some acts were good (but not the shows like we have seen on Thomson) Our cabin steward was very good cabin always spotless. Went to Madiera for the first stop and on the cable car and toboggan ( this was a great experience , our last stop was in Lisbon and we went on the amphibious duck what a great laugh that was our guide Gonzales was brilliant. Would go again but did find drinks quite expensive you can get a drinks package but at £39.95 each a day and you must both have it think its a bit much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra ... Read More
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra spend because some noise was heard early one morning.Although not P&O,s fault the ship was overun with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and mobility scooters.Technical faults ensued throughout and rudely awoken at 4.20 one morning with chairs etc being moved above us, when complained was virtually called a liar as no one goes above deck until 7.00 am to move stuff ,haunted ship I suppose. I dont think I've seen so many vastly overweight people in one place before, food ok but nothing wonderfull but most staff ok with some of the younger girls very smiley and chatty. One waiter virtually threw the food at us and seemed like he would rather be elsewhere . Two P&O cruises and four Princess and will go back to Princess in future , shame really as we would rather support home grown. Freddy Mercury tribute was awful if you were a queen fan and on a last note ive never seen food consumed in such large ammounts by people in their 80s as on this trip, no wonder it cost so much in care homes, lovely bunch though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wonderful cruise! We traveled with another couple and had side by side rooms. Our cabins were beautiful and spotless. We were thrilled that they were able to open the veranda divider while at ports. Apparently, this partition must be ... Read More
Wonderful cruise! We traveled with another couple and had side by side rooms. Our cabins were beautiful and spotless. We were thrilled that they were able to open the veranda divider while at ports. Apparently, this partition must be closed while the ship is in motion. This made visiting back and forth so easy! We chose the included tours at each port, and couldn’t have been more pleased. Due to winds we stopped at Villefranche instead of Monaco. It turned out to be one of our favorite towns, and Viking still provided us with a short bus trip to Monaco. We did hear a few older passengers stating that the excursions were more strenuous than they expected. We are all in our 60’s, and had no problem at all. The food was excellent, and the silver spirits package was well worth it! The nights we made it to the evening (9:15) show...it was great, especially when local entertainers came onboard. The staff was fantastic! I would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
On board crew exceeded ! We enjoyed them more than the passengers- professional, kind and attentive The local tour guides lacked sensitivity to older passengers especially in the Venice airport -speeding through and we stayed to help ... Read More
On board crew exceeded ! We enjoyed them more than the passengers- professional, kind and attentive The local tour guides lacked sensitivity to older passengers especially in the Venice airport -speeding through and we stayed to help guide the seniors through the chaotic airport After watching these elders become frustrated we had to step in and help Some guides cut tours short and or discussed their own business- disappointing - not 60 but 90 as promised would meet the stated tour time The three days of no pool, spa or gym due to a virus also disappointed tho we understood the situation The folks in the jewels shop used pressure tactics to sell, but we refrained The musicians, bartenders and restaurant staff made us feel at home and happy The quality of musicians impressed us each night- each fabulous Food and service and management scored high each day. Torshavn bar became our sanctuary- the guys there welcomed us each night with warmth and familiarity Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose Viking for our first ocean cruise based on some friends recommendation and on-line reviews of cruse lines. Viking proved to be as good as all the highly-rated reviews we read. We were so impressed with the attention to detail ... Read More
We chose Viking for our first ocean cruise based on some friends recommendation and on-line reviews of cruse lines. Viking proved to be as good as all the highly-rated reviews we read. We were so impressed with the attention to detail from the Viking staff. We didn't even have to carry our bags once we got them off the baggage conveyor belt in Venice. When we got to our cabin our bags were there. Every staff member seemed very happy to serve you and made every day enjoyable. The food was every bit up to our expectations. Not even one disappointing meal. We got room service for 3 of our breakfasts and they were prefect...not cooled off from the trip from the kitchen. How do they do that? The special sea food buffet one night was fabulous. Every shell fish imaginable. We loved it, especially the king crag legs. The included excursions were very good, though hard for us to understand all the guides were saying, due to their accents. Not their fault, just hard to follow sometimes. We did 3 paid-for excursions which were much better, especially our trip to San Gimignano and the farm we visited nearby where we had a great buffet lunch. We appreciated that you could opt to be on your own during the port stops, rather than follow the tour guide. We did that several times and it was great. No issues getting back to the ship on time. We didn't go to most of the entertainment events, but the one we did, on the last night was very good. The piano player and 2 guitarists in the atrium were fabulous. Very talented. We were so impressed over-all that we just last week booked another Viking cruise for next year, this time a river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 8 cruise and the second with Msc. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are a couple in our late fifties. Embarking in Venice took several houres and here they can do a better job. Stateroom. ... Read More
This was our 8 cruise and the second with Msc. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are a couple in our late fifties. Embarking in Venice took several houres and here they can do a better job. Stateroom. We had a suite om deck 10 and it was very nice with a good bed, lots of space, å nice bathroom and a good balcony. Everything was kept nice and clean by our cleaner. Food. We had breakfest at the buffet, lunsj mostly in the buffet and one day in the restaurant and dinner every night at the restaurant at deck 6. All the food we had was wonderful and the service by the waiters was excellent. Drinking package. We had the non alkoholic package with water, coffedrinks, soda, none alkoholic softdrinks etc. and they were all very enjoyable. Smoking. We dont smoke. There are no smoking at the balcony any more . Only place inside were people could smoke was in one bar. We were not there and had no problem with smoking people. I never smelled any sigarette smoke at all. Entertainment. This entertainment ensemble is one of the best I have seen. They have wonderful singers and dancers. We saw every show. They were brilliant. Every day we were out on a organized tour and they were all good. We did Sibenik and Trogir in Croatia, Kotor and Perast in Montenegro, Ljublijana in Slovenia and San Marino in Ravenna. Every tour well organized. There were a lot of different activities day and evening on the boat to choose from . As we were out most of the day the evenings went to dinner, show and dancing. Would I cruise on this ship again. Yes with no doubt. Thank you for a wonderful week MSC Lirica. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First time cruising with Norwegian. Had heard some poor reviews so we were dubious. Check in was amazingly quick. Super pleasant staff. Stateroom was smaller than what we were use to on other cruise lines. The ship is old and the ... Read More
First time cruising with Norwegian. Had heard some poor reviews so we were dubious. Check in was amazingly quick. Super pleasant staff. Stateroom was smaller than what we were use to on other cruise lines. The ship is old and the bathroom dated and in desperate need of updates. There was no big sign of that elsewhere on the ship although the bathrooms could use updating as well. Everything was very clean. The staff were the best!!! Food in main dining was great, so much in fact we didn’t bother with any of the speciality dining rooms. Entertainment was wonderful. We didn’t participate in many of the ship activities but there seemed to be a decent variety. The photographers did not hound us like other cruise lines. That was both pleasant and a little disappointing because we only found one picture worth purchasing. Shore excursions were good. Really liked the freestyle dining. Loved not having to pack formal wear and not having to dress up. No complaints at all and we would definitely consider Norwegian. I think the biggest positive was the staff from the stateroom steward to dining room servers to those who greeted you with the hand sanitizers as you entered the dining areas. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
THIS WOULD GET A 5.7 FROM ME FOR MANY REASONS: 1 - we were told by travel agent & we double checked ourselves on the NCL website that we could bring a '750 ml BOTTLE OF WINE OR CHAMPAGNE' on board - it was taken away = ... Read More
THIS WOULD GET A 5.7 FROM ME FOR MANY REASONS: 1 - we were told by travel agent & we double checked ourselves on the NCL website that we could bring a '750 ml BOTTLE OF WINE OR CHAMPAGNE' on board - it was taken away = VERY POOR MARKS 2 - room smelt of sweat sox - the steward didn't notice as he rarely got any outside time so was nose blind - however he was so nice & unobtrusive that we liked this in him - I will bring fabreeze next time = POOR MARKS for ventelation but good for actual steward 3 - most meals were good [not the chicken parmesan] = OVERALL GOOD MARKS 4 - approx 40% were american but majority of things were geared to them including the safety drill stating met american standards .... should be International standards on a ship registered in Nassau travelling in Italy in Greece = POOR MARKS 5 - we like to go to trivia [3 x a day] - on 9th day 6 out of 20 questions were repeats = POOR MARKS 6 - never put a meeting for bridge players in the daily bulletin - we like to play bridge but had hard time meeting others - we used their cards which were toast after 1 game of cribbage [glad we brought our own ] .... Poor choice on ncl - how do you spell 'very cheap'? = POOR MARKS 7 - had art auction which was discreet & we liked that = GOOD MARKS [FYI people who buy art on ships = chump] 8 - CASINO was situated where we didn't need to walk through it = GOOD MARKS 9 - we were supposed to leave ship over 6 1/2 hrs before flight - we had to change that - felt that they were trying to get rid of us as fast as possible - airline counter didn't open until 3 hours prior to departure = POOR MARKS to NCL 10 - mini fridge in room - waste of space & we could have used that space better = POOR MARKS 11 - we were not allowed to bring any fluids on board - no water, soft drink just so they could pad up their bill = POOR MARKS 12 - took ncl tour of athens - sat in theatre for an hour ... poorly organized - felt like we were sheep being herded by a border collie - did not repeat = POOR MARKS 13 - we went on shore & did the same thing for 40 to 60% less 14 - POOR ARRANGEMENT FOR CRETE - 7 AM to noon - museums didn't open until 10 - didn't bother to get off ship - could have been scheduled better so that we could have decent time there = VERY POOR MARKS 15 - hot tubs had perfect temp = GOOD MARKS 16 - shops & photo areas were waste of space = POOR MARKS 17 - most time we felt if there was any way NCL could put their hands in our pockets & take more money they would do so - drinks overpriced but no effort to arrange bridge as there was no money in it for NCL = VERY POOR MARKS Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I just took the 10 Days Regal Princess out of New York last November and had the best food service and selection so I gather a group of friends to do the 10 Days Euro Explorer cruise and what a disappointment! Everyday the breakfast ... Read More
I just took the 10 Days Regal Princess out of New York last November and had the best food service and selection so I gather a group of friends to do the 10 Days Euro Explorer cruise and what a disappointment! Everyday the breakfast buffet is exactly the same! Where is the smoke salmon? If is behind the station and you have to ask for it! Water down coffee and hard as a rock toast! Lunch buffet is no better unless you go down to the dinning room and catch hell from their waiter staff and yells at you when you do not sit at the right table. No flexibility when you want to eat before 8pm or else buffet is your option! The ship was supposed to be recently refurbished but the cabin still looked aged and only new TV and bed. But I must say the bed is really good and comfortable to sleep on! TV has very good movie selection but you can not check the ship's day program and only via your cellphone or mobile device... why not? Who is their IT Program Director that can't even come up with this basic function? The TV is HD but the in-house program that talked about the shore information recorded from the live sessions are not so you will see all the fizzy video the you can't even read the wording they are showing on shore info. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside ... Read More
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside cabin at the front of deck 9 was was comfortable, quite spacious with a well designed bathroom, plenty of storage space and very quiet. Daytime activities were limited and quizzes almost all music questions. However the breakfast and lunchtime buffets in the Marketplace was very good and evening waiter service along with the food in Latitudes were also very good. The shows in the Broadway were often excellent, but the evening entertainment in the Squid and Anchor was variable and often a bit chaotic, however since this was a maiden cruise it should improve as the entertainment team ' come to grips with their roles'. The crew are a major asset of the ship since they were invariably friendly and helpful. We knew the shore excursions can be expensive and since we had visited all the ports before only did one to Rome. It was The Easy Rome and was ok but did not leave the ship until 12pm. We arrived on the ship after 6pm so missed the lifeboat drill and never did one - this oversight must be sorted out. Yes we were aware of other problems around the ship but overall we enjoyed the cruise and are sure Marcella will sort them out and we recollect the Marcella Dream had host of problems when she first came into service with Thomson's. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of all the stops. It was a great experience! And the cruise staff make your stay super enjoyable! We loved our waiters in Windows, Dheeraj and René. Their service was excellent, they are great together! ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of all the stops. It was a great experience! And the cruise staff make your stay super enjoyable! We loved our waiters in Windows, Dheeraj and René. Their service was excellent, they are great together! Definitely our “On board heros”. The time me and my husband spent dining at Windows was on of the highlights of our day, getting to eat good food, served by such nice and entertaining people, getting to talk about our amazing day was priceless. Also the Latin Fiesta Duo was great, super professional, friendly and amazing human beings! We got to meet a lot of very nice people! Including crew members and guests. Our favorite stop was Montenegro, amazing views, food and people! The scenery takes your breath away and there’s a lot to choose from. Also, we loved visiting all the different places in Italy: Firenze, Pisa, Messina, Napoli and Rome! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat ... Read More
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat exclusively in the Buffet Restaurant Venezia, so that she could select food to suit her. There was too much emphasis on curries and Indian dishes, very little variety with few cooked vegetables and food not always as hot as it should have been. Venezia restaurant always crowded as only half the space open most of the time. Coffee machine not working for the whole of the cruise, fruit juice only available at breakfast and pineapple juice only available 3 mornings out of 12. The milk dispenser often not filled and you were expected to use UHT milk sachet instead, Drink P & O are new to the drinks package idea but do not have the price right. A drinks package for two for 12 days would be £960 when in fact our bar bill was under £100. You would need to be an alcoholic to get your money’s worth. Their soft drinks package would have been £480 compared to Norwegian on the Epic at £138. Service The cabin service was very good but in the restaurant there seemed to be a lack of willingness to help and when service was given it was very slow, when ordering drinks they often arrived halfway through the meal even when ordered right at the beginning. Tables not cleared as quickly as they should have been. Entertainment I understand that P & O have won an award for entertainment and goodness knows why. The entertainment was very poor with a few second rate comedians and singers and no shows. The standard was so low that the highlight of the week was the entertainments manager doing an Elvis impersonation. Cost We opted for the saver fare as opposed to the select fare and consequently were only allocated a cabin a week before we sailed and then treated as second class citizens in dining room allocation and having to pay on the “free” shuttle buses. An example of the shuttle bus cost in Lisbon was £4.00 per person per journey a total of £8 each way compared with a taxi cost one way of 6 Euros. The cost for the internet package was very high and so we did not use it. P & O should rethink this policy in this interconnected electronic age. Not a very good move to encourage future bookings on P & O. Ship The Azura started operation in 2010 and is now in desperate need of a refit. Certain areas such as the Malabar and deck 7 midships smelled of sewage all the time and one passenger reported black mould under the toilet seat which was not immediately rectified. The satellite TV was not working for most of the cruise. P & O’s standards have dropped considerably and are now below an acceptable level and do not compare well with rivals such as CMV. Shore Excursions We did two P & O excursions, one to La Palma for Whale watching. 3½ hours on a small boat in heavy seas and saw no whales nor dolphins, in fact not even a fish and no compensation for this. We also did Lisbon by land & river and this was very good with a tour of Lisbon by coach and then a very pleasant river cruise. We also did three excursions by Cruising Excursion The first at Madeira where we were left stranded on the top of a mountain and had to return to the ship by taxi. The second to Tenerife where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes at the foot of Mount Tiede and the third to Lanzarote where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes on a visit to Fire Mountain. All the excursions by both companies are vastly overpriced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We like to compare Cruise compagnies. Barcelona we like. Embarkation in Barcelona was bad organised , 30 full Sun no shadow because they used only 1 Controller so ther were 4 other unused. The evening programs were great.(Shows) ... Read More
We like to compare Cruise compagnies. Barcelona we like. Embarkation in Barcelona was bad organised , 30 full Sun no shadow because they used only 1 Controller so ther were 4 other unused. The evening programs were great.(Shows) The Entry hygiene (Restaurants) was outstanding The Selfservice : eating was mayby good for USA citizen certainly not for us Belgian. Soup : not warm , less taste. Lot of salad bar and Veggie Dessert: a lot but less Taste The Koffie : was awfull except Lavaza in restaurants Lot of Sausages not real specialities. Even in Specialitiy restaurants : general rate 6/10 Drinks: midrange lowest category Fruits were enough Organisation on Schip must be good because there were absolut no queues at Service desks Personnel is very helpfull and kind Shore excursions we did on our own We did use already other cruise companies like HAL, Prncess,MSC, Costa,Regent Our points for NCL Spirit 5.5/10 Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is our first time to go on the cruise and wasn’t disappointed. Other people commented the ship is too old but as for me, I think it is the upkeep is excellent. We stayed in Deck 4, room 4316, outside cabin. Cabin: good size ... Read More
This is our first time to go on the cruise and wasn’t disappointed. Other people commented the ship is too old but as for me, I think it is the upkeep is excellent. We stayed in Deck 4, room 4316, outside cabin. Cabin: good size for 2 people, cleaning services everyday Food: at the buffet, the food was a typical normal buffet but a lot of varieties. Ice cream was too soft because it wasn’t cold. Not sure why the ship serve that way. So I stick with soft ice cream Fine dinning: Le Bistro and Cagney’s were good. Italian was disappointed. It looks like Italian restaurant was new to the ship. The food is cold when it served. Not good. NCL needs to improve on this, still a lot of work to do on this restaurant. But the wine was really good and I am not a drinker. This is my first time to taste it and it was really good Entertaining: Elements show was very nice. It was the last show on the trip. This is a must to see. The trip had varieties of entertainment for everyone. I like the dance competition, and couple dance classes. Library: love this place, so comfy and quiet for reading when we are at sea Excursion: we had 5 but Morocco trip was disappointed. I think we bought Imperial Rabat something, we just saw outside the mosque. Not fun and not recommended Staff: no complaints..they all were excellent. Very attentive, friendly and always have smile on their face. It sure made my day awesome and first experience in cruising is outstanding. I think this ship was gear toward senior which I didn’t know. They were very nice to us and very funny. And they all were such a happy couple. I will try different NCL on our next trip. I gave 4 Stars , I cannot give 4.5 Stars, because disappointed on the Italian restaurant. Embarkment and disembarkment processes were exceptional. It was so organized and smooth. I was so impressed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
A friend asked me to join her on a trip to Europe because her husband did not want to go. I suggested a Viking cruise because I had heard about Viking from another friend and had wanted to try one. I wanted Viking because of its ... Read More
A friend asked me to join her on a trip to Europe because her husband did not want to go. I suggested a Viking cruise because I had heard about Viking from another friend and had wanted to try one. I wanted Viking because of its educational experiences. We chose this particular cruise to get a good flavor of several countries in a short time since she may not get another chance to visit Europe. I had studied in Nice, France in college and was eager to re-visit. We started in Barcelona and ended in Rome, taking the two-day extension. (Side note: we used Rome in Limo as our tour service since Viking did not provide excursions on the extension. We were THRILLED with Rome in Limo!). We took advantage of the included tour of Barcelona so we got an overview in order to decide if we wanted to explore more. We were fairly tired from the long flight over so we explored the ship and spa that first evening (I loved the snow grotto!). Our cabin was on the Deck 4 port side. Honestly for this cruise, getting the port side is not critical. Only Monte Carlo had a scenic view at the harbor. The other ports were...well, ports. Very industrial. So no worries if you are starboard. Embarkation and disembarkation could not have gone more smoothly, and all our transfers were wonderfully handled. We were particularly appreciative of that being two women travelling on our own. It was nice not to have to manage logistics. The ship was spacious with plenty of fun places to relax or engage with others. We loved hanging out at the bar in the evenings, talking to our bartenders and meeting other travelers to share our experiences. The entertainment was tasteful and geared to an older adult audience which comprised most of the ships' passengers. I loved the observatory! It had great shows as well as informative lectures. I did not see any children on our cruise but a few passengers perhaps college-aged travelling with family and there were a few young couples travelling without their children for anniversaries, etc., but most of the passengers were over 50. The excursions were wonderful. We sometimes used the included excursion which usually comprised a bus tour overview of the city with a few stops to see sites and included a local, knowledgeable guide. In Marseilles we had booked our own private tour but used Viking's excursions for the others. Because we were next-to-last in booking priority based on our cabin category, we were worried about getting the excursions we wanted but we did not have any problem (although we did book the very first day we were able to!). We changed our mind on one excursion half way through the trip and made a change which was not our first choice but that was understandable. Our favorite excursion was A Day in Tuscany. The bus ride out was informative and scenic, our guide giving entertaining stories and information about the history, geography, farming, art and sites. We toured San Gimingnano, an ancient walled city and had plenty of time to explore it on our own and shop after the guide showed us the highlights and explained the meaning behind the towers and layout of the town. Then we went to a farm for a lunch. Most of the food was raised and prepared at the farm--charcuterie, cheeses, olives and yes, WINE! It was lovely and we sat at large, family-style tables so we had great conversation with fellow passengers. The proprietor gave us a tour of his winery. We found the descriptions of the excursions accurate but we did overhear a few passengers complaining about the exertion level being too much walking for them. I found their descriptions spot on, so pay attention if you don't like walking a lot. I have booked another Viking cruise (a river cruise) with my husband and we are looking forward to it. I highly recommend Viking. It is first class and a great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because we like to do long ones crossing the Atlantic. Unfortunately it was the first time we had such bad sea for 5 days. Our cabin was the very last one on our deck. 13223 stern. Wow every little swerve or move of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we like to do long ones crossing the Atlantic. Unfortunately it was the first time we had such bad sea for 5 days. Our cabin was the very last one on our deck. 13223 stern. Wow every little swerve or move of the ship we felt. It was okay until we had very strong winds continuously 90 miles an hour for about 5 days. We had to be in the atrium as much as possible it was better. The food was very good not extraordinary but very good. The cabin service was excellent. The entertainment was very good at the theatre but the activities were not. I guess too many languages would have made it difficult to have too many different ones. The port presentations were excellent. Embarkation and deembarkation was terrible. A total mess no one to take charge in different situations it seemed there was no management to lead. We will cruise again with them as the prices for a crossing is excellent and the ship was super nice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Happy 12-day cruise but just sometimes food quality was surprisingly poor. Potatoes with black rotting areas and occasionally not hot. Staff in smart restaurants and buffet were hard-working, helpful and pleasant. Often a ... Read More
Happy 12-day cruise but just sometimes food quality was surprisingly poor. Potatoes with black rotting areas and occasionally not hot. Staff in smart restaurants and buffet were hard-working, helpful and pleasant. Often a feeding frenzy in buffet servery which is too crowded sometimes and too small. One area is opened while the other closes. Ideally should both be open. All made worse by impatient passengers who don't like queuing. Also, despite polite request notes on each table asking diners to vacate once finished eating, there are some who seem to camp there for an hour or two chatting, dozing or reading books while others search for seats. Some ignore hand sanitisers in restaurants. Thump of engines can be heard in main restaurant. We heard that P&O have made economies on several fronts and sometimes it shows compared with previous cruises by us. Cabin stewards now asked to service more cabins daily. Stage shows were very good/excellent. One comedian fared badly/gross with old folk with mime of him pretending to wipe his bottom, complained about weak P&O 2-ply toilet paper, said some elderly passengers "smelled like the homeless" and were infirm - among other grubby "jokes." Long wait to disembark because of tide change and positioning the bridge to terminal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple ... Read More
The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple of days you realize that the size for that number of passengers results in many public spaces to relax. In fact, with so many areas for folks to enjoy you get the sense that you are on a ship with many less people. In tandem with that concept it seems there is a lot of staff available. A side note here, most of the good cruise lines, big and small, have good staffs. The Viking staff may be the best as any I have encountered in over 20 cruises. A difference is that there are so many of them to meet the passengers needs. I wish I knew the ratio. For example, when someone leaves the pool area almost instantly an attendant shows up to remove spent towels and add new ones. As a result, it is easy to spot open chaises and just makes the whole area appear more attractive. Most of the staff's demeanor is friendly but not so much as to be even a little bit over friendly (a fine line that may be most appealing to their older clientele). You do get the sense and we were even told that the staff is very happy to be working for Viking. As for appearance, the ship appropriately is done in Scandinavian style with blond wood, leather and pleasant blues throughout. Their towels and blankets (both very plentiful) were in the same color scheme and felt very high quality (note to self: why didn't you ask to buy a blanket?). The result is a calming and pleasant setting in every area of the ship. It is an easy ship to get to know and the elevators and stairs were never crowded even when folks were leaving for port excursions. Signage is generally excellent except for a couple of floors where arrows pointing to lounges would have been more helpful. A neat feature is the sign between elevators shows you where to disembark for excursions. The pool area in many ways is the star of the ship. Since it has a roll back roof, it is used for buffets, special events and just relaxing when the outside temperature would be too low to sit out. Examples: embarkation day -- poolside grill open for passengers with grill and salad bar doing a great job; two special evening events -- a seafood buffet night and a tapas with excellent sangria night BEFORE dinner. Both were excellent with plentiful staff clearing tables and pouring wine. Never thought I would do afternoon tea but enjoyed it greatly on the other side of the pool with a tremendous staff serving inside the Wintergarden and in the poolside lounge. Doretty (spelling?) from Peru took excellent care of her area. It should be mentioned that the crew really is an international crew with staff hailing from Asia, Europe and South America all of whom spoke impeccable English. The dining room is gorgeous, the two specialty restaurants Manfreddi's and Chef's Table were very lovely with our enjoying the Chef's Table a bit more. Maybe, it was the service of Ivan and his assistant waiter, maybe their innovative twists of food, or maybe the best damn dessert I ever ate. We would have loved to go back but ran out of time. The World Cafe is just plain wonderful. It is the spot most people chose for breakfast. Great, great, great. Entertainment is appropriate for the clientele. Shows start kinda early and generally by 9:30 are ended. The shows themselves were very well attended and met the needs of the passengers, i. e. high octane shows featuring music of the Beatles, ABBA and the eighties. Every show we saw got a standing ovation. Later on there is continuing music and dancing elsewhere. Not to be ignored is the very beautiful and calming chamber music trio, pianist and guitarist that seem always to be playing. This is in the Living Room which has a bar whose staff is particularly talented at making drinks and making guests feel very comfortable. By the way, they have the most innovative system of taking orders; the staff member notes choices on what looks like an early model cell phone which immediately is sent to the kitchen or bar. The result is instant service of your drink or meal! The fellow passengers were basically all middle age and above Americans who understood the kind of ship they were on. People were always dressed appropriately and it gave the ship a feeling of a country club even though I don't belong to a country club. As eluded to earlier, service was impeccable in every area of the ship. The senior staff works as hard as their assistant waiters! We were in a Penthouse Veranda. If funds allow, choose this upgrade. It is near perfect sizewise, plentiful storage, refreshed mini bar with little bottles of liquor, soda, beer and snacks. Closet lights go on when the door is opened. Hurray, for electricity -- there are USB ports throughout and the lighting is innovative. The bathroom has a heated floor! Example of the level of service: we found the shower head moved when full force water was turned on, a trip to customer service (24 hours) had it fixed in twenty minutes. Room stewards were good. Service in customer relations by Nichert was superb. We used the laundry and ironing facility. Another example of Viking services: wind made stopping at the Port of Sete impossible. Within a half hour a new daily calendar with adjustments was printed and distributed. This sail day actually was a blessing since even though it occurred past midway of the cruise it actually gave us time to enjoy the ship's amenities: spa, pool, wonderful exercise room (never more than four people), etc. Even on this day with everyone on board, it was easy to find quiet area to sit and read or sit poolside in shade or sun. I guess I could go on and on about the ship but suffice to say, it probably will be the cruise one will always remember since I strongly believe that Viking will uphold this level of service and luxury. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted to visit several countries in a short period of time. A taste of southern Europe so to speak. Everything about this company, ship and service were top notch. The cabin gave us everything we needed. We spent a minimal amount of ... Read More
Wanted to visit several countries in a short period of time. A taste of southern Europe so to speak. Everything about this company, ship and service were top notch. The cabin gave us everything we needed. We spent a minimal amount of time there. The Dining was exceptional: Buffet was of high quality, the main dining was gourmet and the other "price included" restaurants were fantastic. The activity portion was good but we spent more of our time resting for the next day. The service was the best!! Apollo in the pool bar, Aura in dining, Sofia seemed everywhere and Hector in dining were some of the standouts. Our Cabin folks (Annabelle, Faree) were efficient and pleasant and do a super job! Our excursions were excellent with both walking tours and bus tours offering plenty of experience opportunities. If I would offer any suggestion it would be to allow more time for shopping, wandering (hop on, hop off stuff) café experiencing. We will go with this company again. Truly memorable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not disappointed. Since we wanted to spend a few days getting used to the time change in advance, we selected the pre-cruise extension - Ultimate Italy. This was three days in the Tuscan hillside with two full days of escorted tours in Florence, Sienna, and San Gimignano. It was worth every penny. It also allowed us to plan for a more relaxed visit when arriving in the Livorno port upon the ship. We would not have to repeat these cities. There were 30 of us on the pre-cruise extension. We came to know one another and were able to continue those connections on the cruise. Saturday morning we took a coach bus from our villa to the port in Civitavecchia. Arriving at the port there was a bit of a delay. The computers connecting the ship to the desks at the port were not communicating. Viking did their best processing all of us through, admitting about 20 at a time and sending us to the ship to check in at the guest services desk. It ended up working out just fine. We were very pleased with our room - a penthouse veranda category. Plenty of space for everything we needed and by far the nicest bathrooms of any cruise ship. Everything was very clean and crisp. The mini bar was stocked and remained stocked throughout the cruise. We loved all the food on the ship. Our favorite entree was the Bistecca Fiorentina (rib eye) served in Manfredi's. However, our second favorite experience was the king crab legs served every single evening in the World Buffet. We went to The Restaurant our first evening. It was great. However, we found that all the food on the menu there was also served in the World Buffet and you could be on your own schedule. They also always had two items that they made to order. For us it was frequently the New York strips. Mamsen's offers some unusual treats for breakfast and snacks. My husband fell in love with the pickled herring at breakfast there. We did not choose the Silver Spirits beverage package and found we certainly didn't need it. Beer and wine flow freely at lunch and dinner in any location where food is served. This includes the buffet and Mamsen's. And you can take what you haven't finished with you when you leave. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship, though we are definitely not needy in this regard. The Viking band and singers performed a Beatles show and an Abba show that were fantastic. Seating in the auditorium is plentiful. And not a bad seat in the room. You don't have to dodge pillars and obstructions to your view. There is also usually light entertainment in the atrium area on the first floor. We found that a great place to hang out and watch the ocean or port activities. We enjoyed hanging out in the evenings in the Explorer's Lounge. When we were lucky enough to get seats in front of the water vapor fireplace we were delighted! The service on the ship is exceptional. These folks are definitely hard workers and eager to make your cruise enjoyable. Ports and Shore Excursions: Livorno/Florence - as mentioned, we had been to Florence on our pre-cruise extension. We took the optional excursion to the Leonardo da Vinci museum and to Lucca. This was the only disappointing experience of the cruise. The first stop in Vinci was at the childhood home of Leonardo and is nothing exceptional. The museum portion of that is just a holographic video. The second museum experience is a few miles away and is a museum of Leonardo's mechanical inventions. It is interesting, but rushed. Unfortunately, it was raining in Lucca so it put a damper on the enjoyment. That was not the tour guide's fault. Our second day in Livorno we took the included tour to Pisa. It was fantastic. The Monaco day was great. We took the included tour in the morning and Nice on your Own in the afternoon. The included tour covered a walk up the seaside with highlights of the history of the royal family and the city. It does not go to the casino Monte Carlo, but they do allow you to break off from the tour and head there on your own. We were in a bit of a hurry because we needed to get to our second tour. The trip to Nice was worth every penny. On the Marseilles day we took the included tour and then spent time on the ship. It was a great time to take advantage of the spa/steam room/snow room. Very exhilarating. Our only hiccup to the cruise itinerary came on the Sete port day. The winds prevented us from safely making port. Our captain made it a very comfortable day by taking us out to less choppy waters and giving us an unplanned day at sea. The staff got creative with a few impromptu talks and lessons. We also found an unexpected treat in the Explorer's Dome (above the Explorer's bar.) If you enjoy planetarium experiences, look for the three different shows they present in the dome. They require reservations but are easy to get on your viking app. Barcelona is a beautiful city/port. We were lucky to port at the World Trade Center so our ship was easy to walk off/on and right into the city. On this day we took our favorite excursion - the Gaudi Architecture tour. If you want to see the INSIDE of the La Sagrada Familia, this is the tour to take. Of the 800 photos we took during our vacation, 200 of them were inside this cathedral. We then continued the tour at Park Guell, another fantastic Gaudi creation. Because of the timing of this tour, we couldn't take advantage of the included tour but feel our decision was absolutely the best. After our first night on the Jupiter, we knew that Viking was to be our future. We met with the onboard cruise consultant who was very knowledgable about all the options for future tours. The discounts and access to popular cruises early make it worth considering booking your next cruise onboard. We ended up selecting the Grand European tour for next May, 2020 to see how Viking River compares with Viking Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I had most recently cruised on NCL Epic and Breakaway (which are much larger newer ships with outstanding entertainment) so my very first impression upon boarding was that the Spirit was old, tired, and had a confusing layout requiring you ... Read More
I had most recently cruised on NCL Epic and Breakaway (which are much larger newer ships with outstanding entertainment) so my very first impression upon boarding was that the Spirit was old, tired, and had a confusing layout requiring you to go up or down to get to main dining room or theatre. Over the 10 days I came to love the smaller size, more personal experience with smaller size ship. Getting around was actually really easy. This cruise had virtually no children onboard, and they have a separate kids pool in the back, so the pool area was quiet and all adults. The musicians onboard were pretty good, especially the Filipino cover band. As the cruise went on, I began to reevaluate the entertainment and found it to be better than average. Not really a party cruise, as the only dancing takes place at 10:30 when the cruise staff shows up in the lounge for a dance party and then everyone hits the dance floor. The itinerary turned out to have amazing weather. It was high sixties low seventies every day with a mild breeze. Sea days at the pool were awesome and most excursions ended at 2:30 and got you back to the boat for a late lunch, and then right to the sunny pool deck with great music. Casablanca did not impress most people, but the Canary Islands, Funchal were much nicer and more pleasing than expected. Malaga (excursion to Gribraltar) and Alicante were awesome, only mistake I made was taking an excursion outside of Alicante to Guadalest instead of walking ashore and visiting the mountain forts in-town on my own. When the cruise ended I took the train to Valencia for Las Fallas (sort of similar to Mardi Gras) which takes place every year from April 17 to 19. Highly recommend, it was totally insane, fireworks, giant paper mache 40 foot statues, ironic, playful creations, and tens of thousands dressed in period costumes marching all night, fireworks at 1am and the last night they burn the paper mache statues in all the plazas they were erected all over town at midnight on the 19th. Great city (totally flat) perfect for bike rental to get to beach and into crowded festival downtown. I booked last minute and took my first inside cabin, deck 6 front of ship, had some pitch but I was never in the room during daylight and hardly in room at all. The weather was so good I was on deck or enjoying entertainment all the time. Cruise staff is pretty good and smaller ship size means you get familiar with staff much quicker. Finding a seat for music, game shows, was always super easy. As far as Dining, the food was the same as the other NCL ships - however this trip I ate no bread, grains/carbs, or sugar. Finally found a way not to gain 10 lbs on a cruise. However quality of fish and meats, salami, cheese etc was subpar. Never really noticed on previous cruises when I was hitting the taco bar, pasta bar, ice cream station, etc. This cruise had prime rib one night, and the New York Strip is on menu every night, but just OK, but no lobster, no scallops, salmon just ok. So unless you go to Cagney's, the food is really nothing special. There was never a wait in main dining (Windows) and service was outstanding! The few times I ate in the buffet I found the meats overcooked, one type of poor quality salami, few cheeses. Lots of fruits, breads, deserts, potatoes, rice, etc. Coffee on board was better than average. In summary, ship was very clean, staff outstanding, itinerary awesome, weather insanely good, few kids if any, entertainment pretty good, not much night-life but shows pretty good. Never a crowd or much of a line for anything. Super easy getting on and off. Tips: Stay near Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona - Airport Terminal one bus (pay on bus 5.90 Euros) takes you right to plaza - so easy) . On way to and from ship walk Las Rambla 10 minutes to Columbus Statue and board Port bus for 3 Euros. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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