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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I wish I had read the Cruise Citic Reviews for this ship before I booked. I would not have gone ahead. Many of the reviews do not have nice things to say about this ship and they are accurate. Silversea claim that this is a 6 star ship. I ... Read More
I wish I had read the Cruise Citic Reviews for this ship before I booked. I would not have gone ahead. Many of the reviews do not have nice things to say about this ship and they are accurate. Silversea claim that this is a 6 star ship. I have done several Cruises and it is1 -1.5 stars at best. So in summary I paid a six star price for a 1 star ship. Everything on board is the cheapest of the Cheap. Even the bottled water in the cheapest they could buy. No Evian here - cheap water from somewhere in China. Cabins are rusted, no AC working, crew is not allowed to speak any other language then English and they are Latin Americans. The quality of the meals is the worst ever I have, the lowest quality and charged as a 6 Stars. Ship - Tired and Run Down. Staff - poor levels of english and you have to ask for everything 4 times Management - Don't care - we told them of our dissappointment only to be ignored - One manager organised one special meal for us and that was it. Special Requests - At first they tell they can't do special things for you hoping you will stop asking then after a while the reluctantly give in and get it for you - not what was expected on a "6 star" ship. Don't expect any pampering on this ship. They claim to have daily yoga, pilates and fitness classes - they had nobody on board to do them. This is the worst cruise I ever gone and not worth a Penny is TRASH.. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star ... Read More
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star cruise ship , my arrival was direct from the airport , the schedule washboard on April 7 and ship overnights 1 night in Manaus so touring Manaus was very helfull using the ship as a hotel with all its confort that really struck any pasta large cruise pax as my self . thus was my first small cruise ship and ohh my what a difference , on arrival to my cabin located on deck 7 , the cabin attendant welcomes us and in a tray she has a menu of different types of soaps to chose or select during your cruise , it seem like a different and very intimate gesture , after departing I notice that every thing was so near by and this made everything so nice , another unique appointment to me was that the ship has a suit tub in the bow and decently every night before 20:00 hrs I made my list and just sat there and watch the the amazon go by with a glass of Champaign served to me every Time , the food was just incredible , fool of taste a different and unusual flavors created every day , the observation deck was a magical plcace where the piano man sat and entertain all guest , the caves was always a must here before dinner here , I really think the ships from seaboard are very well thought through out and really can wait to be papers again , the bed linen and pillows where the best I have sleep on and probably made my rest the best on a vacation which I think I had deserve , what I think they could improve is ti have more reasonable priced excursion on the zodiac the where good bu hey USD 500.00 for 2 pax situation ..I ended fonding my own excursion in ports and was way luckier than the rest of the fellow passenger at least on adrenalin of the Amazon , hopefully I can afford to go to Antartica on the Quest ! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ... Read More
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ratings and we wanted a slightly larger ship with very experienced naturalists. While the ship holds about 100 people, I think we only had about 85 on board and it never felt crowded. Silver Seas has this down pat! From the moment you arrive at the airport, it is well organized and orchestrated. You never felt rushed or like you were part of a herd. Each experience was personalized and the staff and crew were very polite, respectful and helpful. Each day, you wake up early and head out for excursions. Most days, there were options to choose from. Each excursion started in a zodiac and you headed out to explore an island, snorkel, kayak or visit a small town. Each zodiac had a guide who lead you through the excursion and ensured each guest got the most out of it. The animals are a highlight of the whole trip. They are not afraid of people and you get a very up close (but not too close) experience with sea lions, birds, iguanas, fish and so much more. The ship itself was very nice. Rooms were spacious (for a cruise ship) and well appointed. Your personal butler ensured you had everything you needed and was quick to respond to any special request. Every time we left the room, they came in and cleaned and straightened it up. The ship wasn't new but well kept up. There was only one restaurant and the Grill on board. We had breakfast at the restaurant buffet each morning and chose to have lunch in the Grill on the deck of floor 5. We alternated between the Grill and main restaurant for dinner. The food was very good in both. I do think they could expand the Grill dinner menu beyond on the hot rocks as it was fun the first night and then got a little old. The restaurant food was all excellent and what I would expect at a fine dining establishment. Our fellow travelers were generally 40-60'ish years old and liked a very active vacation. There is little time to rest during the week. You could choose to skip excursions but then why go on this trip? It was action packed and crazy busy but exactly what we expected. There was only 1 child on our trip and about 10 teenagers who seemed to really enjoy it. Most people were part of bigger (6-12 people) groups which included families, siblings, multi generational, friends, etc. One word of warning which Silver Seas is clear about - this is not a trip for anyone that is mobility challenged. The ship isn't set up for it and the excursions all require you to go up and down steep steps on a rocking ship to the zodiac and often disembark in to the ocean and walk ashore to hike on a rugged trail. There is no entertainment on the ship other than a small piano bar for pre-dinner cocktails while watching the sunset. Most people were in their cabins by 10pm resting up for another big day of excursions. Overall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip although we may go back again one day and see the Western part of the archipelago. Also, we chose March as the seas were warmer for snorkeling although the air temperature was very warm too. It is the rainy season, but we didn't see even a drop of rainy and it was sunny each day. Can't recommend this trip on the Silver Galapagos highly enough! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence ... Read More
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. We also got upgraded to a suite without asking ! That alone should make it five stars but there were some downsides as well. - One of the ‘guest relations’ staff turned out to be anything but. The others were great. - Because we had a lot of OBC, we booked some tours. The ‘gaucho’ tour in Uruguay was disappointing as we went to a dairy and crop farm. Talk about false advertising. - We had butler although he did not really enhance the experience. - The indulgence package included the specialty restaurants. However, it’s not open seating and booking something was very though. The attitude of the person doing the booking did not help. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not match the daily program. There is a lot of paper that could be saved...... The food never disappoints and the staff go out of there way to please you. The entertainment was solid and there are plenty of activities. The specialty restaurants are also top notch in food and service as was the Chef’s table. The staff was great in helping us transfer to another room for next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Ports of call interesting.We havd never been to these countries on the Pacific side of South America.. Going this tome of year we expected, and received waem weather. Having sailed with Princess several times, with very positive results, ... Read More
Ports of call interesting.We havd never been to these countries on the Pacific side of South America.. Going this tome of year we expected, and received waem weather. Having sailed with Princess several times, with very positive results, we picked this itinerary. Being familiar with the Royal Princess, having sailed with her before, and having been told that she was refitted with new mattresses, new wi-fi, new Medallion sophistication our expectations were very high... We were given the wrong information.. With the exception of a few members of the crew, the staff was efficient but without personality. We seldom saw the ship's officers, common on most cruises. The captain was glib and amusing from the bridge. We laughed at his "rolly-poly to describe any rough weather. The entertainment was very good initially, but the last vocalists were not familiar with the passengers' preferences. Our biggest food problem was we found hair several times in our meals. Not what we expect from Princess Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We had already booked a 12 day Galápagos Adventure with another company. Our travel agent suggested the Aria post cruise as we were already in South America! The Aria is state of the art, gourmet food, 4 enthusiastic knowlegable guides, ... Read More
We had already booked a 12 day Galápagos Adventure with another company. Our travel agent suggested the Aria post cruise as we were already in South America! The Aria is state of the art, gourmet food, 4 enthusiastic knowlegable guides, and adventures galore. Imagine breakfast floating on the Amazon, paddling a dugout canoe with a tarantula swimming alongside, Mimosas in a skiff at sunset and nighttime searches for anacondas! I kid you not! It is worth every cent and memories will remain forever! Please do not buy Jaguar handbags from the locals. You cannot bring them back through customs! But do buy their silver jewellery, fruits, nuts and beaded earrings. Customs also confiscated spices, seed necklaces and bracelets. The Aria Amazon had a great little gift shop with a tasteful selection of both costume and expensive jewellery at fair prices. Meant to have a massage but no time! Be sure to attend cooking class and a Pisco Sour workshop! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the ... Read More
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the middle, Oceania made sure to add pool heaters, Azamara apparently cheaper out leaving the pool only functional for most when it is in the tropics. When we were quite surprised and commented to the in service staff we got shrugs and told that is how all the Azamara ships are. So if swimming is important to you as it is to us, beware you probably should choose a different cruise line Having said this, the staff are generally good, the staff/guest ratio and cabins fine (although like all R class ships on the small side. ,. Although I have heard from others that the food on Oceania ships are better, having been on both, I would rate them about the same with the exception of the smaller specialty restaurants on Oceania are free whereas the specialty restaurants on Azamara cost $30 each.3 for $70. On the other hand they have one free outing on shore which Oceania lacks....so on balance....unless you are a swimmer, or like the more frequent activities scheduled regularly on Oceania cruises or simply want to stretch out in a properly heated pool I would rate the two lines about the same...at least in their R class ships...with an edge to Oceania’s slightly larger Marina/Riviera and an edge to them if you are on a longer voyage as the costs of specialty dining in Azamara would more than offset one night’s activity. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. ... Read More
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. English was the majority main language. We are in our 50s and found we were amongst the youngest onboard. The median age was around 70. Our fellow cruisers were sophisticated, gentle, friendly, polite people who were well travelled. There were absolutely no children on board We treated ourselves to an Owners Suite ....wow! It was stunning, beautifully equipped, with lovely welcome gifts, like champagne, a set of Bulgari toiletries, a tote bag and a beach bag with fluffy towels to take home. Our butler, Abhi, had been well trained and was friendly and professional, arranging anything we needed, even before we knew we needed it. He made us feel so special and so spoilt. Meals were served in suite from any restaurant on board, so we often ate in. There is a bar setup for some suites, so we had a choice of spirits or wine, which was great. We used the suite far more than we would normally because it felt so lovely .....it was like a Manhattan apartment. We thought the standard of food was generally very high.The main dining room was very good, buffet had plenty of choice and was good, Waves grill was OK, Tuscan was variable and Red Ginger was excellent with great food and service. Special mention must go to the Maitre D’ in Red Ginger, Hula from Cape Town who was outstanding. Baristas coffee bar was our first port of call each morning...a lifesaver The small ship was much more intimate than larger ones which meant no queues for getting on and off the ship. We also liked the country club casual dress code and found that people generally dressed up for the evenings. The captain and crew were often seen around and were very friendly. The Captain’s cocktail party was a lovely evening and it was nice to see staff being rewarded for long service. We also enjoyed the farewell from the crew, where we were able to clap them onstage and they, in turn, clapped us out of the lounge. We didn’t really do the shows so can’t comment, neither did we use the bars or enrichment activities. The library was amazing - leave your books at home, there are plenty to suit all tastes. The spa was expensive but I did get a good manicure and my husband had a relaxing massage. We did 6 shore excursions, having bought a discounted package. I disagree with previous poor comments, as we had nothing but good experiences. The tours were professional, with a fair standard of English and buses far exceeded our expectations. Our cruise was from Buenos Aires to Lima, taking 3 weeks. It was amazing, despite a couple of days of bad weather, which is so much more obvious on a small ship. Thank goodness for seasickness patches! There were quite a few sea days, but that is the nature of the distances covered On the negative side, I burnt my hand due to ill fitting lids on takeaway coffee cups and found I was not alone. I cursed myself for having left our reusable cups in the cabin that day! Please get lids that fit or give guests reusable cups, which would be a greener option. Also the vibrations at the back of the ship were terrible and the cabin shook and rattled when going at speed. We did get used to it, but it would put me off spending that kind of money again on that suite. We would absolutely travel on Oceania again and we loved this trip. My husband commented that if he were a billionaire he would employ our butler Abhi in a heartbeat. We can dream...... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ... Read More
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ruined for myself and my partner and ship's response was more 'out of sight, out of mind'. The ship is beautiful, restaurants are good. The ship certainly has style decoratively and never feels overwhelmingly large or oppressive. Delightful cosy corners and cafes can be discovered everywhere around the ship which is generally well appointed for most things you need. Cellar bar terribly under utlised and such a shame as it's a delightful space. Packages are worthwhile. However we had a luxury drinks package and there was no Evian water available as this wasn't stocked in error at the port therefore we were only supplied with the usual bottled water. In addition every time I asked for grapefruit juice I was given orange on our cabin breakfast order. I was advised there was none? This was untrue, I discovered different food / beverage outlets don't share, possibly due to their accounting and stock management, none the less it is frustrating. General treatment of anyone injured in my experience disgusting, of course this has negatively influenced my entire experience which for me was very sad. I now look forward to surgery to repair my hand having returned home. Shame on Celebrity also for not advising passengers when they have a concierge class cabin in the corridor under the cafe that there is noise and obstructed views from the balcony, including poor maintenance and peeling paint onto it. Of course my cruise was tainted due to the fractures I sustained and a badly bruised bottom, both of which effected and still effect all my activities of daily living. However, I also believe it exposed some huge deficits in their service delivery, professionalism and ability to know how to effectively deal with challenging circumstances. In the words of a guest relations team member "most of the crew are young and inexperienced, they just don't know how to behave" and in the words of the concierge representative "there is a hierarchy on board the ship and you can't just talk to anybody" . Our dining experiences were good, all food and beverage outlets provided great service and friendly, attentive staff. Cabin once we relocated was a good size and well provisioned, cabin steward was excellent, Imade thankyou. I used the gym once prior to my injury and it is well equipped. Theatre shows were average by comparison to other cruise ships we have been on. Around the ship there was as usual plenty of activities available and something for everyone throughout the day, although almost non existent on port days, which if you remained on the ship could be a bit boring, although there is always the spa. I had a couple of treatments in the spa and visited the salon for a barber shave and haircut as due to my injury I couldn't shave and needed all my hair cut off. Both experiences were very good. Rio shore excursions were excellent, the remainder advertised appeared less so. We visited Buzios and Santos also. Shore excursions were well organised however. Cabin breakfast was generally served incorrectly and / or tepid, also around 20 minutes earlier on average than the time booked (because it suited them to do so I suspect based on the volume of orders, not satisfactory though). Laundry service was poor, always came back later than should have and we had to chase this up with cabin steward, also items should have been ironed and were apparently but quality was abismal. In fact we had them all done again at the hotel we booked into post cruise. I wouldn't recommend laundry use. This ship is more crew centric than customer centric, be warned, I wish I had been. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This is only the second time that I have composed any dialogue regarding our many cruises around this unique planet. This cruise, on Regent SS "Explorer", was chosen by us more than two years ago. It takes a lot of ... Read More
This is only the second time that I have composed any dialogue regarding our many cruises around this unique planet. This cruise, on Regent SS "Explorer", was chosen by us more than two years ago. It takes a lot of discussion, a lot of planning, a lot of 'buyers' remorse, a lot of tender anticipation before deciding on the correct fit that an Ocean Going Cruise will make. Two years ago a significant birthday, for myself, was looming on the horizon and the two of us (TC2 and myself) wanted a cruise that would meet the requirements of that birthday. Since my birthday, by default, had two distinct dates ( another story, another time) the 2019 Explorer Cruise from Santiago to Los Angeles would be a perfect fit for both dates. Since we live in the northern area of the USA it can and does have very obtuse weather conditions during the winter. Our weather assumption, unfortunately, proved correct and caused us to change flights, incur unexpected hotel stays and invoke extra costs to an already expensive cruise. But, if we did not accomplish this we would never have reached the ship on time for embarkation. Taxi scams at the Santiago Airport added more frustration to our journey and being 'World travelers' we should have known better. The flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Santiago, Chile. was made on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Comfortable and on time flight but we would never have made that flight had we not changed out flight from Vancouver to be one day earlier. However, our luggage arrived with us and having that not happen more than once, we were surprised. Boarding the "Explorer" ship and climbing the gangway to be greeted with a Champagne "Welcome Aboard" is always exciting, even though we have done this so many times. We have told each other, "do not take it for granted". We were, indeed, fortunate to obtain a 'Master Suite' due to a last minute 'upsell' which we offered to accept. It is a fine example of what Regent can put into a luxury ship. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one full) and a deck that commands more than 180 degree view as well as an expanse that would accommodate a Rothchild party. Put this together with Butler Service and it would be hard to find an equal. It just so happened that the "Discovery Channel" camera crew were on board with us filming for one of their episodes of "Mighty Cruise Ships". In order to cover the complete ship they need to film a Butler served dinner service en Suite. We were innocently chosen to be the couple that was provided this service. The episode will not air for about eights months but it certainly should be interesting and also give a boost to Regent. The Discovery Channel film crew attended my birthday get together. Balloons, festoons and canapes together with a full Marzipan cake for me and an Opera cake for TC2, baked by the Regent Pastry chef, all made it a Happy Birthday and unforgettable memorable occasion. The crew is always our second family and we look forward to greeting each one of them on our regular Regent cruises. General Manager, Massimo, met and greeted us as we boarded the ship and made sure that attention, care, service and safety were all prime. We particularly enjoyed being invited to an Explorer Suite on Deck Eight where we met and became extremely close with the guest of that suite. We also were fortunate to join, for cocktails in the Explorer Lounge, two outstanding guests, 'Master and Madame Echo'. I would like to comment on some items that Master Echo has reported on in his cruise critic review. 1) Electric cut off when you leave the suite. This items is about par for most hotels. I presume it is a method of conservation. However, since the ship provides its' own electricity you would think it is not necessary. It is most likely a safety item especially for batteries and chargers that are left plugged in. Because we don't want to keep putting the card key into the slot each time we enter we chooses to use either a cardboard or stiff paper insert and leave it is as long as we "own' the suite. It works fine for us. 2) Cabin cleanliness. I was surprised to learn that some funnel smut had collected in the room and also that a solitary and wayward grape had not been cleaned away. For our own experience we have found housekeeping to be above par but understand that some items can be missed. Where's that 'white' glove? 3) Vibration. Like individuals, we are different. So it goes for ships. We expected big things from Explorer when she came out. "This one is not going to vibrate and she is not going to have dischordent frequencies. She is going to be so stable you won't know your on a cruise!" Obviously not so. Every ship, again like ourselves has its' idiosyncrasies. They all creak, they all sway and they all have haunting vibrations. A super example of this is the "Navigator". It has always had problems. They have 'fixed' it several times, but it still has problems. If you 'fix' one frequency in one place it transfers to another. That is the ship world. Given the amount of weight on the Explorer, with glass, marble alloyed Prayer Wheels, etc. etc. it is a wonder that she even got our of Italy. 3) Water quality. Water quality on the ship is always a concern. It is conserved and osmetically re-cycled. Problems to emanate from rusty boilers but while it is unsightly it does affect the cleaning power. Personally, I found the shower water to be so clean that it left my shampoo squeaky clean. Most people do not realise that 'conditioners' change the structure off the hair and eradicate its' history. I do not think you can get away without putting chlorine into a swimming pool. It is ubiquidous. I found the Infinity Pool to be quite strong with this additive. 4) Gratuities. Regent classifies itself as "All Inclusive". Therefore you should never have to dig into your pocket for anything. Coming from the U.K. I am very stingy. I work for my money, I get a salary, I do expect anything else. The early coffee house in Britain in the 17th Century gave rise to the TIP. (To Insure Promptness) It has now grown, due mainly to American influence, some that is not just expected but demanded. It seems that if you do not give a 'Tip' you are embarrassed and the worker relies on this embarrassment. Regent contracts their employees. Their employees get paid well for what they do. Nowhere in the contract does it say, "Thou shalt receive a tip or extra awards for doing your job". Should you wish to contribute to a crew 'welfare' fund then do so, but you can do it without be embarrassed by it. I was extremely upset to see a head-waiter canvassing every table in Compass Rose, on the penultimate night, shaking hands with each customer and instructing them to make note of his name in the 'Comments' report. It was also noted that some exchange of dollars was taking place. 5) Explorations. The Ships' Destination Services has historical problems. Each of the port and each of the tours brings it's own problem. Dealing with contractor busses, variable languages, countries, ethnicities, safety, reliability, comfort, needs a lot of tact and experience. Transform this into on-board guests who always want to be first in the line at the supermarket and it can be a bee-hive to avoid. But, seeing the world and it's history is why we cruise. Patience! 6) Internet. On board Internet is almost a permanent failure. Contacting Satellites hovering 25,000 miles above the Earth is expected but cannot always be justified. Nature is, however always present. Climate, Gravity, Sun Spots and a myriad of galactic and global influences have a big influence on our Internet system. Just like the movies, we expect instant response but even electricity takes time to get from one place to another. Again, it pays to be patient and through in a little levity. I just wait until I get home. Just a word or two on Dining. The Pacific Rim on Explorer was a new and exciting addition. Being our fifth cruise on Explorer we had eaten in Pacific Rim several times. It took us four or five of those visits to finally grasp what the menu is about. Now, when we attend, we know what it is that we like and we have adjusted ourselves to the Asian Infusion method that type of cuisine. Service is always impeccable as provided by mostly Russian servers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After 2 cruises last year with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Singapore and with Azamara Pursuit from Athen to Rome we opted on a cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires with Azamara Pursuit. Overall we had a very good cruise and the route ... Read More
After 2 cruises last year with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Singapore and with Azamara Pursuit from Athen to Rome we opted on a cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires with Azamara Pursuit. Overall we had a very good cruise and the route from Santiago and its itinearies onto Buenos Aires was filled with exiting experiences. We can sum up as follows: - Ship is newly refurbished and overall quality is good - disembarkment was very smooth while embarkation took some time - Cabin is small but has what you need with good service and daily cleaning - Dining is very good and very pleased with service in all restaurants - our favourite is the main dining restaurant Discovery - did go to Aqualina and Prime C and this time Aqualina was better than Prime C both on food and service - entertainment was over average this time and we loved the trio in the livingroom - overall service is very good as overall ambiance - we did just a few excursions and these were ok - captain and management can be more visible and can learn from captain Johannes on Azamara Journey Overall a great experience despite the fact that there still are rooms for improvement. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise, but also our previous experience of Azamara. It started with a poor experience of the port, not because of anything Azamara did but the poor process the Chilean authorities had, forcing ... Read More
The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise, but also our previous experience of Azamara. It started with a poor experience of the port, not because of anything Azamara did but the poor process the Chilean authorities had, forcing us to queue, something we'd not had on any previous cruise with Azamara because of the small size of the ship you don't often see queues. The actual check-in was on the ship and that worked well. But I don't recommend San Antonio as a departure point. Once aboard the Pursuit, it was clear how much work had been carried out, transforming this ship into the newest Azamara vessel. We loved the quality of the new decoration and fittings which we think has been done to an even higher level than on Journey and Quest. I understand that both Quest and Journey are going to have further work carried out on them soon to get then up to this new level. One area of the ship that has been enhanced is the old Casino, that area has been a waste of space for a long time, very few cruisers on Azamara used the facilities, though I realise the few that did will miss it. I always felt sorry for the staff who were sitting at unused roulette and card tables. Now the future cruises and shore excursions people have moved to the location at the end of the room where the casino office was and The Den has been created this is a fabulous meeting and social area, of course with a bar. There are plenty of activities and music events here too. Another improvement is a new art gallery which now has its own room. Food has been steadily improving on the ship over the years and this cruise continued the improvement. They also continue to select some reasonable wines for the complimentary selection. When launching this new ship Azamara where smart enough to know that the staff are key to success and they moved about a third of staff from each of the two existing ships to form the core of staff on the new ship. This has worked very well, with the high standards being maintained and many familiar faces around the ship if you've travelled with Azamara before. Despite travelling with Azamara before we had not seen Tony Markey before and loved his humour and singing, especially the duets with his wife. Lee Herrington is also fabulous as his assistant, between them they ensure that there is plenty to do and see on the ship. I can't believe I've got this far into the review without mentioning Captain Carl, there were a few comments about what could possibly go wrong on a ship that came out of Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast (where it was transformed into Pursuit), with Captain Smith and a few Icebergs, there again some may miss the Titanic reference. Captain Carl has now been on each of the Azamara ships and is arguably the most experienced of all their Captains, he kept us safe in an area well known for its very changeable weather. His informative and entertaining comments were most welcome and he now runs the third, friendly and well run ship in the fleet at Azamara. Highly recommended. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband ... Read More
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband and I both became extremely ill on exactly the same evening about ten days into our trip-- we are both in excellent health and among the very youngest on the ship. We went from feeling fine to minutes later having fever, chills, nauseated, extreme disorientation, dizziness, terrible hacking cough. We were in our room for three days, I literally was so ill I didn't have the energy to order room service. When we finally were well enough to leave our room, we heard that half the ship had the same virus, there were lines at the doctor's office, you could hear the same hacking cough everywhere. I tried twice to see the doctor to see what the virus was and if we needed antibiotics-- the first time office hours were cancelled because "he had been up for 36 hours straight" and the second because during his office hours there was an emergency medical evacuation. It was getting to the end of the cruise and I thought we would be feeling better soon. Everyone we talked to had a story about either being sick themselves or listing all the people onboard who had the same virus, and people in our trivia group dropped out due to the virus. When I found out the virus had been going around the ship the whole time we were there with people onboard from the previous segment, I was so bothered that it had not been communicated sooner and that precautions had not been taken by the ship-- they were shaking hands with passengers regularly! Had I known I would have disinfected the room, never shaken hands, avoided the buffet, taken the immune building supplements I carry for travel whenever there is sickness spreading, etc. After we left the ship, whenever I tried to do anything for the remainder of our trip I became ill all over again, I couldn't eat, etc. Once we returned and I wasn't getting well (I was so dizzy I couldn't drive, could only eat soup and bread, couldn't concentrate on work, etc.) I called my doctor who wanted any background information on the Virus. I contacted Viking who said they didn't have to tell me because there were far fewer than 20 cases reported! Now, I literally spoke with more than 20 people who had had the virus. The customer service person was belligerent and accusatory, implying I wasn't really sick and said in a sarcastic tone that if I was sick he was sure I would have reported it. I told him we told the housekeepers we were too sick to leave the room and he said that didn't count. I also told him about trying to see the doctor twice and being prevented one time because of the emergency medical evacuation-- and he told me in a triumphant tone that there was no emergency medical evacuation during my cruise. I replied that it was pretty frightening that hundreds of people onboard were ill with the same severe virus and there was an emergency medical evacuation that hundreds of people watched since it was by the coast guard in open ocean and lasted hours-- yet Viking had a record of neither. I finally told him that since they have no record of this illness I was reporting it now, and he said that didn't count. After spending a fortune on this cruise, being so ill and trying to get information for my doctor, it was so dispiriting to be treated this way. I contracted this virus about a month and a half ago and not only have only started getting completely well in the last two weeks (after taking powerful antibiotics), but I'm still having all kinds of medical tests because of concerns that it was so severe it might have caused a mini stroke and other permanent damage. Now, if I had not gotten a horrible virus that I think could have been prevented, and not been treated so dismissively by Viking customer service? On the positive side, I would say the food was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship (and we are foodies used to high end cruises). As one example, they serve a full traditional tea daily, complete with tiered plates of mini sandwiches and sweets, plus scones every afternoon, just like a fancy tea you might pay for. On Oceania, the tea is from teabags with paper napkins with a few things passed around. Most notably, the general restaurant was as good as specialty restaurants on other ships. I'll compare again to Oceania where the general restaurant was so bad we couldn't eat there and you had to fight for reservations in the specialty restaurants. Another Viking plus was that you could get as many reservations in the free specialty restaurants as you wanted. Service overall was the best we've ever experienced on a ship. Loved that there is no corkage fee in the restaurants and they are delighted to open and pour what you bring-- while basic wine was free, we loved to pick up special bottles as we traveled and really appreciated this benefit. The cafe and main restaurant are also really well designed so that you can often get a window seat, and never get the sense of an overwhelming sea of people. They also did a lot of special things that were nice-- bringing local specialty foods aboard, etc. We enjoyed the trivia everyday in port (vs. bingo on some ships), loved not listening to announcements all day and no junky art shows, and the hairdresser was fantastic and very reasonably priced. Generally, a very high quality, lovely experience vs. some of the constant upgrading and rules on other ships-- they seemed super flexible and customer service oriented. On the negative side, be very weary of this boat, I would try the other Viking Ocean boats because this boat does two World Cruise Trips a year and if you do a segment as we did (unbeknownst to most people booking who didn't realize they were taking part of a world cruise) there are disadvantages. First, even with an upgraded room and the paid for perk of being able to get first choice on excursions etc. what this means when you travel with world cruisers is that you get to pick AFTER that half of the boat, so no real perk for upgraded rooms and many segment people were unhappy to see the excursion they wanted sold out on the very first day they were available to book. They were also unhappy to see the world cruisers at events they were not invited to and felt like second class citizens. However, depending on your age and health, the biggest disadvantage is that the average age on the boat seemed to be 70-90. I have never been on a cruise with so many old people and they were not healthy, active old people-- it was a sea of 4 prong canes and a very slow walk down any corridor. For many world cruisers this is a bucket list item, and they frequently didn't even get off the boat, kind of like a last hurrah. We didn't take any of the included excursions because they are basically all 3 hour motor coach rides, but segment people who did said half the time was spent with the old folks getting on and off the huge busses. To be honest, I felt like I was in a nursing home at times. The rooms were a mixed bag. They functioned beautifully and were very comfortable with a nice shower, but they just weren't special, they were very plain. We got the upgraded penthouse balcony for many thousands more and it was maybe a couple of feet wider but that's it, it looked like a very standard ship room-- this was not a worthwhile upgrade. For example, with Oceania the penthouse balcony for about the same amount to upgrade is luxurious and beautiful with special touches like a dining table for two and a huge closet-- I would call it romantic. Viking just isn't romantic. One issue my husband had was that many events were held in the pool area. However, when the roof was closed the chlorine gas was overwhelming and you simply could not be in that room-- yet this is where they were serving all kinds of specialty foods, like when they went ashore for local king crab legs, you could only get them in this area. My husband had to leave the superbowl get together because he couldn't breath the fumes anymore. Finally, I will say that many seemed to like the entertainment but we were disappointed. Too many of the shows were with their in house group and in house band which were both weak-- the vocals and instrumentalists were painful at times. The few shows they brought in from the outside were generally strong. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours ... Read More
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours by Locals. Overall service was very good. The butler was excellent and the cabin service was very good. Prices in the shops was way out of line. No general sundry shop to purchase small items. Did not like the idea that they would not let you on the ship until noon. Other cruise lines will allow you to board early and wait in a common area until cabins are ready. Disembarkation was not satisfactory. Since we had a late flight we purchased a transfer package that included wait time in a hotel. The hotel day room supplied a minimum of snaks and drinks along with broken chairs. Probably not Crystals fault. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Relaxation in luxury. Although far more expensive than some of its competitors I believe this cruise line gives value for money. Its detail tp the design of the cabins are well thought out with loads of space even for the most discerning ... Read More
Relaxation in luxury. Although far more expensive than some of its competitors I believe this cruise line gives value for money. Its detail tp the design of the cabins are well thought out with loads of space even for the most discerning traveller. The entertainment was first class and was viewed in total comfort of individual seats, if one so wished. Tables around the seats allowed for your drinks to be within easy reach. The theatre offered good views of the stage no matter where you sat. The specialty restaurants were diverse and true to their character. Swimming pool of a reasonable size for a cruise ship. On the top deck there was a mini golf and various other ways to entertain oneself if not desiring to sunbath. An amazing amount of sunbeds which well cared for by diligent willing staff. Personally, would travel with Regent Cruise line again should the opportunity present itself. I have no reservation recommending this cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first ocean cruise, but I am sure that it cannot get any better than this cruise experience on Regent Explorer. We stayed in a Penthouse A suite (917), which is beautiful and very functional room, with a huge balcony. The ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise, but I am sure that it cannot get any better than this cruise experience on Regent Explorer. We stayed in a Penthouse A suite (917), which is beautiful and very functional room, with a huge balcony. The walk-in closet in the Penthouse suite is a bit small, but we still managed to fit the contents of two big suitcases into to it without any problem. The empty suitcases can conveniently be stored under the bed. The shower cabin is absolutely fantastic and so is the quality of the bed. We arrived at the pier in Rio de Janeiro for embarkation at around 1:30pm and we were onboard 15 minutes later. Everything was so well organised, and it continued like that throughout the cruise. The cruise was fully booked, but the only time it felt crowded was upon embarkation when everyone was having lunch in the Veranda/Pool restaurants, but after the suites became available, it never felt crowded again. We initially didn't really know what to use the butler for, but he turned out to be extremely helpful and useful. He really made us feel special and pampered. He served a couple of breakfast on our terrace, which was a wonderful way to start the day. We were generally totally amazed by the service, which is very attentive and rather personal. During our 12 nights cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, we had three dinners in each of the restaurants Compass Rose, Prime 7, Pacific Rim and Chartreuse. We also had several lunches in the speciality restaurants. The food was generally very good to excellent. We were not fans of Sette Mare/La Veranda, as the place looks a bit like a canteen. Furthermore, we were not impressed by the breakfast, which was exactly the same every day and some of products were rather cheap/industrial, and the fruit was often unripe. We are in our early fifties and were surprised to be among a relatively young crowd without a single wheelchair or rollator onboard, perhaps because the cruise included many anchor ports. Some of the ports of call were great, while some were very forgettable. The same goes for the excursions. We had two fantastic biking trips. We don't really care about the shows, lecturers etc., so I will not comment on that. We used the gym daily, which was really great, spacious and lots of equipment. I also had two nice massages in the spa. The weather was hot and sunny throughout the cruise, but it was surprisingly easy to get sun-loungers around the pool. Only on our single sea day, it became rather busy. The ship is absolutely gorgeous and in perfect condition. The all-inclusive concept is really great, but also a little dangerous as we definitely ended up eating and drinking too ;-) We loved our first ocean cruise experience and now look forward to the next on Regent Splendor. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the ... Read More
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the family-like Azamara experience. This being our 10th Azamara cruise we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, though The Pursuit is a recent addition to the Quest and Journey. The layouts are identical so it was just like returning home. A number of the crew were familiar transfers from the other ships so it really did feel like family. The ship was renovated before being put into Azamara service with the new Deck 5 layout sans Casino. Honestly, on this size ship, the casino was little more than a nice diversion and the extra space in the newly converted "Den" was put to good use. Though we had a 7 day stretch where we were limited to staying on the ship, it seemed to pass quickly with the interesting "cruise by" itinerary of the Alaskan peninsula. Passing a number of HUGE icebergs was also a favorite of all onboard. Best of all, we were lucky to have pretty calm seas passing through the Drake Passage twice and the horror stories some people told us about never came to pass. Entertainment was varied, though by necessity it is limited to guest entertainers and a small ensemble of singers and band. Still, they were excellent, professional, and interactive. The stops were all interesting and fun, and the AZAMAZING EVENING in Montevideo was a presentation of the Urguayan Carnivale and was one of the top two AZAMAZING EVENINGS we have experienced! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ie,fried eggs not fully cooked and kept at luke warm temperature. Chicken kept at luke warm temperature, not hot. There were so many issues and we saw lots of food being sent back. Many times we spoke to staff who told us they would pass our concerns on. There had been gastroenteritis on board and everyone was advised to wash hands and use sanitiser around the ship! There were guests who have travelled with Azamara several time before and the told us not to judge Azamara by the Persuit, they stated the Pursuit was not up to standard. The entertainment was very poor, the cruise entertainment director was more interested in selling his CD’s and the assistant entertainment cruise directors discription of tours on the TV was appalling. If you like Jazz the type where all the notes are’in the wrong order’ this is the boat for you. One evening the pianist microphone was off, no one told him, that’s how bad he was. Communication on board was not informative, unless you booked a very expensive trip with the ship there was little information on Ports. Speakers gave wrong information, which the captain had to apologise for. The list goes on and on. This was not the amazing cruise it was advertised as. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to ... Read More
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to write this review. This is my first review on cruisecritic, though I’ve read hundreds of reviews to help with the dozen or so cruises we’ve been on in the past few years on Celebrity, Oceania, and Viking. I’m going to take each main experience area in turn, starting with the positive. Embarkation Overall experience was smooth for the most part. Though we were surprised there wasn’t a line dedicated for Suite guests, as is the case with other cruise lines we’ve traveled on. Cabin We were fortunate enough to be able to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself is roomy, with over 300 sq feet. The décor is modern and inviting. Lots of closet space. The bathroom and walk-in shower were great. Lots of room and storage. The veranda was as long as the room, but fairly narrow. Just enough width for the 2-seater table and a little leg room once you’ve sat on the individual seater situated on the veranda. Food This was one of the most disappointing of the elements. We ate at the buffet for most breakfasts and lunches. The food served were the basics ( egg station, cheese and charcuterie station, one carving option, sandwiches etc..). No imagination, no creativity, and for the first few days, very little was seasoned. For dinner, we ate the specialty restaurants since we had that as a benefit for being in a Suite. The menu never changed, and after the first few dinners, there was little left on the menu that we wanted to try. What we ate was fine. But nothing to write home about. And, somewhat meager and plain for a specialty restaurant compared to what we ate on Oceania, Viking, and even Celebrity. Entertainment This was another major downer. Tony Markey, the Cruise Director, and his wife were the headliners for several of the shows. Overshadowing, in our opinion, the four very talented “Signature Singers” who only got to perform 4 or 5 of the 15 nights. The same for the Vegas performer, Tony Arias, who was relegated to only performing 2 out of his 10-night stay on the boat. So odd. So much talent on the boat, and yet we were relegated to Tony, his wife and a string trio that sang the same 10 songs 2x a day for 15 days. The other odd experience was NYE night itself. It seems they combined the “White Party” and NYE celebration, instead of two sperate parties on two separate nights. The party itself was very well organized, and finally some good, higher quality food. However, the moment the clock struck midnight the party ended. No Auld lang syen. Nothing. Everyone looked around wondering if, in fact, the party was over at precisely midnight. Especially since the cruise was billed as an NYE celebratory cruise! Suite Value for Money We paid a handsome sum to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself was lovely. However, apart from the ability to eat at the two specialty restaurants, that for all intents and purposes served up basic food, there were few other standout benefits. In fact, even with a Suite stay and an upgraded Premium drinks package, we were still only served the very basic brand of bottled water given free to every passenger, plus no additional or premium wine selections beyond what every other guest gets. We found that incredible that even the combo of a Suite plus Premium drinks package couldn’t get us a glass of Evian water or a better choice of wine beyond the sub $10 bottles they were serving. The other Suite benefit that seems interesting on paper, but not in reality, was a Tea service provided each day at around 3 pm. The trouble with this benefit is that they were basically serving the same mini sandwiches and scones found at the café, and only provided a cup of tea. Staff We found the higher the ranking, the less friendly or approachable they were. This not only included Tony and his assistant Cruise Director Lee, who had a hard time pronounces many of the ports we visited and proudly stated on one of the awkwardly embarrassing mornings shows that he’d prefer to spend time at the “London Zoo” than visit the wildlife found in the South Atlantic, but the other senior staff that many times just looked stern and not very friendly. On the opposite spectrum were our incredible Butler, Padem, and the other attendants on the 8th floor. As well as the staff in all the restaurants and cafés, particularly Vadym who managed to remember our names after only just a few days. True gem. Feedback We were sent a questionnaire about 4 days into the cruise to provide any feedback that could be addressed during the cruise. We shared detailed feedback regarding several areas where there was an opportunity for improvement. The first was the Entertainment. A few hours later, Tony, to his credit, called my husband to let him know that he wasn’t monopolizing the entertainment, the exact word my husband used in the feedback form and that we’d see improved entertainment. This never happened. We also lamented the fact that even though the Sanctum, in the Spa, was billed as 16 years old plus only environment, on every day we visited there were a few pre-teens in attendance. They were also in the adults only gym, and sauna/steam room. And you could even find infants on the dance floor post 10 pm at night. We realize this was a holiday cruise, but there was no regard to what is stated policy. Disembarkation We were so disappointed with the cruise and all the various elements that when we got to our final port, Punta del Este, we were so depressed at the thought of spending the last two nights on the boat that we decided to give up our Suite and leave the boat early so we could at least explore a town that seemed very interesting. This forced us to spend additional money on a hotel room for two nights and a flight from Punta back to Buenos Aires, where the cruise originated and where we had already paid for a flight back home. Despite the additional expense, we were happy to have thoroughly enjoyed the last two night of our vacation, and off the Pursuit. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. ... Read More
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. The Expedition Team were a group of incredibly experienced and qualified professionals who were so efficient and pleasant whilst looking after the guests and keeping us all safe in extreme conditions. Only criticism of any staff would be that the Cruise Director could mature a little and cease finishing every announcement with 'yaay' as it really grinds after a few days! The room was exceptional for a cruise ship with a walk in closet, twin basins in the bathroom and a full size separate bath. The Thomas Keller Restaurant which is promoted as 3 Michelin star rated was average and we much preferred the normal restaurant - great food without the pretence. In fact, pretence was our major stumbling block during the trip. It took us a while to find 'like minded' folk who were travelling on this particular trip to get to a special and unique place on our earth. There were a lot of ostentatious guests more interested in the shallowness of conspicuous wealth which to me clashed with the vibe of the destination. It was embarrassing to hear how some of these people spoke to staff and partners of the Expedition Team. Saying that, nothing could overshadow the awesome destination. We were so privileged to be able to visit Antarctica and South Georgia and to be on a ship like this made it a very pleasurable experience, although if I had my time again I'd choose a different more earthy cruise line with a younger demographic. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We've sailed on two other Viking ocean ships, so we expected to enjoy ourselves. We did. The route through Caribbean islands and up the Amazon was new territory for us. Because of air schedule we didn't have time to see ... Read More
We've sailed on two other Viking ocean ships, so we expected to enjoy ourselves. We did. The route through Caribbean islands and up the Amazon was new territory for us. Because of air schedule we didn't have time to see San Juan, but had a good excursion into El Junque rain forest. Viking Sea is a splendid ship. All public areas are beautiful, open and light, comfortable to hang out at all times. There were 930 people on this "small ship," but you would never know it from the onboard experience; it was never crowded. We were in a smaller cabin but it was extremely comfortable, room for everything, well designed, great bathroom. And, of course, like every other cabin on the ship, it had a private balcony. We ate in all the dining venues; they were all good. To call the World Cafe a "buffet" gives a wrong impression. The food was always great, with a huge selection from crab legs and sushi on one end, through a choice of meats and fish, to the gelato station at the other end. Two scoops, twice a day, was my chosen prescription at the gelato station. The breads, pastries, and gelato are made fresh on the ship. The very best dining is in the Restaurant, while Manfredi's, Chef's Table, and Mamsen's were nice changes of pace from time to time. And if you can possibly stuff in a little more, we recommend the afternoon tea with special sandwiches and pastries in the Wintergarden. I like to eat, and I was always happy. There were many sea days on this itinerary. We were constantly entertained by Viking's selection of lecturers. Time simply didn't permit seeing every single lecture I would have liked to see. Others will have to discuss evening entertainment; we are early-to-bed folks and didn't see any of the evening shows. But the musicians playing around the boat during the day (string ensemble, pianist, guitarist) were just wonderful. What Viking does best is service. Every crew member smiled at all times and continuously offered to do anything we could imagine. It's uncanny for a bartender to remember your name on the second encounter, before you have ordered or mentioned cabin number. The captain greeted us daily over the intercom, and sometimes several times a day, with an incredibly cheerful and friendly account of what was happening and what was about to happen on "the friendliest and happiest ship on the seas, the Viking Sea." The first time I thought he was way over-the-top, but he always left people smiling. You just couldn't help it. His greetings added a lot to the enjoyment of the trip. Would I go with Viking again? You bet! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our second visit to Galapagos, we were last there 12 years ago on a small boat with 16 guests and a naturalist who had been in the job too long and really spoilt it for us. So this time we decided to risk a bigger ship in the hope ... Read More
This was our second visit to Galapagos, we were last there 12 years ago on a small boat with 16 guests and a naturalist who had been in the job too long and really spoilt it for us. So this time we decided to risk a bigger ship in the hope of a better range of naturalists and facilities. We hoped that the islands had not been spoilt in 12 years. We were not disappointed and we need not have worried - if anything the islands are even better protected than before. We have sailed with Silver Sea before but this was our first expedition trip and it is a winning combination of Silver Sea excellence with well organised, wall to wall activities with experienced and well trained guides, which make the most of the amazing Galapagos islands. The other guests were all of like minds to us, very keen to see the islands, very polite and engaging and a delight to sail with. You never felt as if there were 95 people on any of the trips or activities - they spaced us all out well and we still had that individual experience. The ship was everything you would expect from Silver Sea, just smaller. An executive chef who prepared the most amazing food and was humble in his approach, to the extent that he would serve you from the salad and ice cream bar if no-one else was there to do so. His ceviche class was so packed with guests even he looked surprised, but it was a reflection of the respect we all had for him and his cooking. Meal times were entertained by the wonderful Alfredo who played the keyboard but sounded as if he had a 30 piece orchestra behind him. The expedition leader Javier was calm but authoritative with a great sense of humour and you felt totally safe at all times, whether walking, deep sea snorkelling or kayaking. Jorge the professional photographer gave a great talk on taking wildlife pictures which I found very helpful indeed and he prepared an fantastic video and selection of photos which were available to buy at the end of the trip - well worth it. The naturalist guides are all free lance and there is no doubt that Silver Sea engage the best. They were funny, knowledgeable and made you feel on every occasion as if this was the first time they had seen every creature they talked to you about. They came snorkelling with us, swimming down and pointing things out. (The other) Javier and Martine in particular were a delight. The staff and crew on board ship were polite, friendly and eager to help. Lolita on reception was so helpful and arranged a cake for my husband's birthday and came snorkeling with us one day and was brilliant. The butlers were discrete but always there. The bar staff (Carlos particularly) remembered your drinks order, the dining room staff were always smiling and friendly and the zodiac drivers very professional and you had complete faith in them to ensure you safely returned, no matter what the weather. Such was the attention to safety that one day I had twisted my life jacket and the guide noticed, slowed the zodiac engine immediately and sorted it straight away. The captain was always smiling and very down to earth - sometimes you would see him walking through the ship in his overalls, from checking up in the engine room. You are given your own back pack and water bottle (yours to keep), wet suit, snorkell, flippers and a bag with your cabin number on to put them in - so less to pack. If you were not a confident snorkeller they gave lessons and arranged assistance Overall, an amazing experience - if I have not mentioned everyone it is because there is not enough room! I would also encourage anyone visiting to spend some time in Ecuador which is the most beautiful and friendly country. We did seven days in the Andes visiting rose farms, inca sights, beautiful mountains and the lovely city of Cuenca. It is also worth remembering that every season in Galapagos is different. If you go at this time of year the islands will be bare but you can see the finches etc much more easily and the birds are starting to breed. If you go in May then the vegetation is lush but there are apparently lots of bugs. It is important to do your research in terms of what you want to see. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because of our prior good experience on Ponant’s Le Lyrial, as well as the promise of an expedition cruise in the exotic Amazon on a new, small ship. We were not disappointed. Le Champlain is a beautiful boat, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our prior good experience on Ponant’s Le Lyrial, as well as the promise of an expedition cruise in the exotic Amazon on a new, small ship. We were not disappointed. Le Champlain is a beautiful boat, elegantly finished in light woods and simple decor. There is no bling, a huge positive for us. There is ample seating inside and out, and even below water in the Blue Eye lounge. The crew, including the very approachable captain, are always about and eager to meet each passenger’s needs. Special kudos to the cruise director and the main lounge barmen — Richie and Jay Jay — who were outstanding. Food and wines were ample and very good throughout. I would have liked to see local ingredients and dishes start to appear on the menu (as one does on, say, Seabourn), but the chef clearly sticks with more traditional French preparations. Towards the end of our 12 days, we were ready for more menu variation. Table service is generally attentive, with occasional lapses. But this cruise was really about the Zodiac excursions to see the flora and fauna in the inlets and lakes that abut the Amazon, and here Ponant earns every available star! The excursion team was truly amazing, with the naturalists representing a wide array of specialties and interests. The outings were memorable, and the accompanying lectures informative and highly interesting. This is a French cruise line and I’d guess 3/4 of the passengers were French speakers, but the English speakers were fully served with several naturalists whose first language is English (several didn’t even speak French!). Maria, Dani and John, you were all fabulous! Separate English and French Zodiacs and lectures avoided the need for translations, maximizing the info that could be shared on the available time. It became clear to me that successful Zodiac outings require the full cooperation of the captain, and his willingness to move the ship to the best location for the day’s conditions. On Le Champlain, this collaboration was noticeable and fantastic. In fact, a highlight of the trip was the captain’s decision for an extra, surprise Zodiac outing on the narrow Strait of Breves, where passengers joined locals on river, to gawk as the beautiful Le Champlain came around a bend in the waterway. Although Ponant is a French cruise line and attracts a majority of French-speaking guests, in my experience English-speaking passengers (Americans, Australians, Japanese and non-French Europeans on this cruise) are equally well served in every respect. English may even be an advantage when speaking to the non-officer crew members, who are largely from the Philippines and seem more comfortable with English. I’ve read other English-speaking reviewers of Ponant cruises, who complained about getting 2nd-rate treatment, and even heard some grumblings from passengers on this cruise. In my view, such comments are totally off base and reflect the biases of the passenger, not of Ponant. I would highly recommend Ponant, and Le Champlain specifically, to English speakers seeking a rich, international experience, and a wonderful cruise experience. Read Less

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