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144 South America Repositioning Cruise Reviews

the ship it self is still in quite good condition ,the cabins are well laid out and spacious , the staff were friendly and helpful ,especially in the ensemble lounge. this is not a family vacation ship as there are no slippery slides , ... Read More
the ship it self is still in quite good condition ,the cabins are well laid out and spacious , the staff were friendly and helpful ,especially in the ensemble lounge. this is not a family vacation ship as there are no slippery slides , wall climbing , surfing etc, only indoor kids area, which we were glad about, unruly kids on ships don't float my boat. The food in the main dining room moonlight sonata and ocean view café was repetitive and a lot of the time tuff, tasteless bland, (many felt the same) it felt like you were eating at a retirement village buffet. they did manage to do 1 lobster night on the whole cruise which was the second last night (presumably to make you feel warm and fuzzy) there were numerous charges added to our room account (by mistake) that we had to ring up about and have removed so keep an eye on your tv statement, the is no APP for this ship or touch screens to see what's going on (menu etc) you have to use your tv which did not display free dining menu for more than 3/4 of the trip only specialty dining, drinks and drink packages are now getting over the top a drink package costs nearly as much as the cruise? in room movies are limited and repeat often, the cruise director would bang on for ages every morning doing the hard sell for everything but the kitchen sink!!! the first 3 ports in Mexico were good but the tendering at Cabo san lucus was a joke up to 3 hours to get to shore only leaving a few hours to look around as it was a short stay. that's where things go really down hill from there (after Mexico ports) the remainder of the cruise ports were CONTAINER SHIP TERMINALS, (presumably because its far cheaper to dock at them) every port was a shuttle bus to the gate or another bus to town, ALL tours for san Antonio were cancelled the day before arrival BUT wait a minute hasn't the unrest been going on for months (we didn't care as we got off but many, many were not happy Jan) if this is the best that celeberity can come up with then its not looking good (I mean why pay more when you can do MSC and get the same) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that the delay was caused by an unannounced ship inspection which NCL STAR passed with ease. An explanation of the unavoidable delays should have been communicated to all passengers as soon as possible (e.g., in the newsletter) so that those unfamiliar with NCL would know that NCL check in is usually efficient. By not communicating it to passengers, NCL missed an opportunity to reduce passenger displeasure with NCL even before boarding the ship. Even as a PLATINUM level NCL Cruiser, our check in took one and a half hours. It was the slowest and most inefficient check in I have ever experienced. Even the photograph taken at check in did not process which required that we line up again at customer service desk to re-take the photo. NCL security would not allow anyone to disembark without a photo registered. Dining People go on cruises to EAT and my experience with the food on the NCL Star is hit & miss; mostly a miss. Some dishes were good, others were less so. Here are more examples re my disappointment with dining in the NCL Star: the scallops were minuscule and overly salted; the pork loin seemed overcooked which made it unnecessarily tough, the sliced sirloin was so tough it was inedible, the french toast, scrambled eggs and cinnamon buns and every fish dish I tried (except for the salmon poached in broth) were overcooked, i.e. dry. Maybe others had better luck, The sliced fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries and honeydew) were NEVER ripe. This made the fruit hard and not flavorful. This was especially true for the morning fruit plate that could be ordered for breakfast room service. I stopped eating fruit. BUFFET Overall, the food at the Garden Buffet is below average with dishes reappearing in other forms on consecutive days and a very monotonous breakfast selection. For example, if one day you had a pork roast, the following day you may likely see sliced breaded & fried pork steaks with some overcooked sauce. Unlike on prior NCL ships where you could find a daily roast (e.g. turkey, pig, prime rib, roast beef) the NCL Star often just offered roasted chicken. Bottom line: there is plenty to eat in the complimentary restaurants; it’s just that the food preparation and presentation is below average. Maybe the NCL STAR needs a new more creative chef or a higher food budget. Not once did we see roast turkey, prime rib or sucking pig. I usually only go to the buffet for breakfast for an omelette. I’ll also admit I enjoy passing by the buffet late in the evening for a light snack. The fresh cookies that used to appear on every other NCL ship are GONE. The cookies now served seem to be made from a frozen dough roll and are not edible. There is also no real ice cream station. The soft serve ice cream machine is not good. I was also disappointed with the juices offered in that they are overly sweet and not good. Even their coffee is just OK. THE BEST COFFEE is what you can make in your room if you can get a coffee machine. Most of the cakes offered at the Buffet that I tried lacked moisture and flavor, and were not as aesthetically pleasing as on prior NCL cruises. A cake must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, moist and flavorful; never dry. I often stopped after the first bite because the cakes failed. On the positive side: I often did not finish one entire piece of cake. The bottom line is that it’s not about serving lobster or fillet mignon; it’s about doing right what is served. The most edible daily cake was the pound cake that was consistently fresh and moist. COMPLIMENTARY RESTAURANTS The complimentary Versailles & Aqua restaurants provide a sit down served meal in a relaxed, elegant, yet casual environment with table cloths, a menu, and waiter service. You can even have dinner wearing nice shorts and sandals at Aqua. I go on cruises to relax and even having to dress up for dinner is sometimes stressful; so at Versailles & Aqua you can dress down and still have a wonderful unhurried served meal where you order from a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Loved them both, but especially Versailles with its high ceilings. Aqua, on the other hand, tends to be a bit too loud for my taste because of its low ceiling. The larger more formal Versailles does not permit men to wear shorts at dinnertime. I was also able to dine at Cagney’s Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaría (Brazilian steakhouse), Le Bistro and La Cuccina. All specialty restaurants are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the offerings at the Versailles or Aqua. There is a fee to dine in these specialty restaurants but it is the onky way to ensure you enjoy an excellent meal. It is disappointing to say that in this NCL ship, my favorite dish were the fajitas served at the 24 hour O’sheehans Pub. In all 16 days, the best meals were at the specialty restaurants. I do not remember one memorable meal at either the complimentary Aqua or Versailles restaurants. As a Platinum NCL cruiser, this is the first ship where I have uniformly been disappointed with the complimentary restaurants as well as the buffet. Not sure if it is just a substandard head chef or an attempt to cut costs. The dinner at Moderno includes unlimited served steak, chicken, lamb, pork, lamb chops and chorizo as well as a salad bar with hearts of palm, marinated grilled peppers, cold shrimp, cheeses, in addition to the usual salad bar fare. If you have a special event to celebrate Moderno could be a more exclusive quieter space with good quality meats. Even vegetarians would enjoy Moderno because of the salad bar. The Brazilian cheese rolls at Moderno are soft flavorful and delicious. Service Service is where the NCL STAR excels. The service throughout the NCL STAR is simply put: Excellent; period. I would attribute that to a committed hardworking well-trained young staff. I was extremely impressed with the commitment of the mostly young and foreign staff throughout the ship, from housekeeping to food service. Housekeeping staff was uniformly excellent. Whatever you need, they try to accommodate you. For example, I always like having iced water; my rook steward brought me a small ice bucket and made certain it was regularly refilled. Towels were fluffy, thick and absorbent, the bed was always beautifully made and the stateroom was kept impeccably clean and tidy. The restaurant staff was equally excellent: they were professional, efficient, attentive, respectful and always had a welcoming smile. Now, if the chef and food preparers could be reminded of what makes for a good cinnamon bun, soft scrambled eggs, moist French toast, tender and juicy pork or beef roast, tender ribs, edible scallops and what should be a very basic baked fish dish, I would have rated the food on the NCL Star as excellent; however, it wasn’t. Remember NCL, it’s not about seeing lobster or prime rib: just do well what you do well and passengers will reward with excellent evaluations and praise. The heroes of every cruise, are the cabin attendants that ensure your cabin is kept clean, tidy, stocked, functional and smelling nice. Even if you included the service charge when you paid for your cruise, tip them a little extra before you disembark. They should never be taken for granted and should be rewarded for having to work with those cleaning chemicals all day. Enrichment Activities Enrichment activities need to be reworked and improved, especially in the longer cruises with more sea days and with an older passenger composition. I have suggested that NCL add real enrichment opportunities more appropriate for older frequent cruisers who may not be as enthusiastic about drinking games, sexy man contest, newlywed game, etc. For example, I’d like to use my time onboard to learn how to learn how to cook new dishes, how to bake the perfect cookies or rolls or create a travel blog, something that would be of benefit to NCL itself. Imagine if NCL CRUISERS wrote excellent blogs about their NCL experience. Being able to use one’s time to learn something useful would be well received. Other cruise lines are already providing computer and cooking lessons for cruisers; NCL should too. Learning to play bridge is OK but improving one’s computer or specialty cooking skills is undeniably more desirable and better use of our time, especially for older passengers who want to improve tech skills or learn how to prepare dishes from some of the ports visited. The cake decorating session was more of a fun comedy exercise than a serious baking or cake decorating learning session. For the longer cruises, lectures about the recent history or current political realities of each country visited would add so much to the overall experience. The lecturer on this ship was more of an entertainer than a serious lecturer. His talks seemed to be aimed at middle school children that needed to be entertained. Am sure there are even some cruisers who would be willing to host talks and share their own knowledge of each port. The content of the lectures offered on this cruise were substandard and never covered the current political and economic situation in the countries visited or any discussion of their history and culture. Entertainment Enjoyed most shows. The production shows with the ship’s singers and dancers were consistently the best. The comedian was OK but a couple of young Ukrainians who did some aerial maneuvers was repetitive, amateurish and embarrassingly bad. The magician was extremely funny and performed basic but entertaining tricks. The music throughout the ship was varied and uniformly good. Everyone could find enjoyable live music. The music by the pool and in other public spaces was significantly more mellow and less loud than what one would hear on 7-day Caribbean cruises with a younger passenger composition that may prefer blaring music by Pitbull, Cardi B, rappers and top 40 artists. Fitness & Recreation The Spa Thermal Suite on the NCL STAR is not as large and impressive as the thermal suite on the larger ships. On this trip, I found the $159 price charge for the 16 day cruise VERY reasonable. In my opinion, it is worth the added expense just to have a quiet less crowded child-free area to relax in. My only observation is that the chairs in each of the relaxing areas should be replaced with cushioned lounges. The staff in the Spa should also ensure that the area is kept clean, dry and tidy. A number of times I saw plates & glass cups brought from the buffet uncollected for hours. I also never saw the Spa maintenance remove sitting water from the areas around the lap or thermal pools or the jacuzzi or from the area outside the men’s sauna, steam room & cold plunge pool. Those area were consistently wet and dangerously slippery. The iced water containers in the Spa were often empty; they should be regularly refilled. The Spa treatments offered are expensive and superficial; avoid them. Even with a $75 coupon, the facial I tried was significantly below average compared to any facial you would have at home. It was mostly pizzaz but hardly any real cleaning and definitely no extractions. For example, although I intentionally pointed out one blackhead by the nose before beginning the facial, that one blackhead was still there when the treatment ended despite mentioning it twice during the actual treatment. It was a nice face massage with a number of ointments applied, pretty background music, nice smells, but not a real professional facial cleaning. At the end of the treatment, although a 20% tip is already included on your bill, the nice young lady who just did your face massage will hand you the bill with an open space for an ADDITIONAL TIP. Beware: a 20% “service charge” already added to your bill included, IS the tip; remind her. This is how I felt at the end of the very expensive Spa treatment: I felt like one feels after one goes on one of those time-share tours. The difference, however, is that in addition to being subjected to pressure to purchase products you don’t need and to give a tip in excess of 20%, you are paying a price that is significantly higher than what you pay at home. Avoid the temptation to sign up for any Spa treatment. Beware. Shore Excursions The NCL excursions are expensive, impersonal and just too large. On this cruise, I identified tour operators through Trip Advisor reviews and searching sites such as Viator. I then contacted a number of tour operators at each port and proposed an itinerary combining the highlights of some of the excursions available through NCL, Trip Advisor or Viator. I requested a proposal from each tour operator for a group from a Cruise Critic, at a significantly reduced price, of course. Whomever hasn’t joined Cruise Critic, should. It’s a great way to learn of lower priced and more comprehensive excursions for 20-30 cruisers organized by members themselves. I was able to design an excursion at each port and filled every space with little effort; the excursions were comprehensive and cheap. If you do this, I suggest asking members for a 20% deposit a month before the cruise and requiring full payment on or before the Meet & Greet. You must ensure that when you commit to a final number, you will be able to deliver for the tour operator. Without deposits and advance full payment, you may find that some cruisers just don’t show up on the day of the excursion. That could affect everyone else because often the low price negotiated is based on a minimum number of paying participants. I was able to negotiate prices that were at most a 1/3 of a comparable NCL excursion. The key to success in organizing a private excursion for Cruise Critic members is: (1) identifying a tour operator with excellent Trip Advisor reviews, (2) not being overly ambitious in designing an itinerary (to ensure your group returns in time for departure) and (3) having all participants make payment before departure. It’s a lot of work but the benefits are significant and these smaller excursions with other Cruise Critic members are a lot of fun. Passenger Composition Longer cruises attract a calmer, older, educated, and cordial passenger load. I found fellow passengers to be extremely polite, friendly, kind, and easy going. Compared to other NCL CRUISES I also found the music selection throughout the ship to be much more relaxed; more mellow rock and vocals and less Pit Bull, rap or hip hop. It was relaxingly delicious for a cruise. There was also a time where the promenade of deck 7 was pleasantly busy with walkers, some a little slower than others but the slow ones kindly staying on the right to allow the faster walker to maintain their pace. Many of these walkers had headphones and some elderly couples walked hand-in-hand which was lovely to see as the average age of the couples was on the high side. Everyone got along well. Mi also noticed that some walkers preferred to walk also in deck 7 but walked inside on the more cushioned carpet. Another wonderful observation of the longer cruise is that the pool area is never full or loud. I also noticed that unlike in other cruises, passengers are very cordial with each other and there is not the morning rush to reserve lounge chairs. When a chair is being used there was usually a body on the chair. It was also nice to see the two pools hardly ever used or full and the four whirlpools always had plenty of space, and usually by 5 or 5:30 pm, one or more of the whirlpools were vacant. And although the pool slide was opened on every nice day at sea, there was hardly ever a line. NCL STAR Ports I booked the NCL STAR’s South America 16 day cruise primarily because of the scheduled visits to historically-relevant Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia. Those stops were cancelled only a week before the cruise without much of an explanation from NCL headquarters. The reason given was “mechanical reasons,” a term which caused widespread concern among Cruise Critic Roll Call participants who imagined the worse, i.e., safety issues. Those port visits were replaced by Grand Cayman and Puerto Limon. Grand Cayman is nothing more than an uneventful beach stop. Beach stops on longer cruises (with predominantly older passenger composition) are neither appealing nor desirable. Passengers would have preferred Panama City, for example, or any other more historically-interesting port. More attention should be given by NCL in how it communicates schedule changes to passengers and how it identifies replacement ports. Final Disembarkation: Be sure to pick up your preferred color luggage tags early if you have a preferred time to disembark. If someone in your party requires wheel chair assistance, the party should go to the announced meeting spot to wait for assistance disembarking. Tip your wheelchair steward. The Port of San Antonio is significantly better prepared to receive disembarking passengers than the Port of Valparaiso. When I disembarked in Valparaiso, it was chaos and I speak perfect SPANISH. There were taxis waiting to rip-off cruisers who simply wanted to get to the bus terminal less than 5 minutes away and the bus terminal was unprepared for English speaking customers. I am certain that a number of cruisers disembarking in Valparaiso were subjected to scams or even victims of pickpockets or worse. The Port of San Antonio, on the other hand, was prepared. There was English-speaking young persons providing information to disembarking cruisers, young persons serving as volunteer porters helping passengers with their luggage, the luggage was placed in a well organized, large, clean, covered holding area, Chilean customs was efficient, there were sitting areas for passengers, clean bathrooms and personnel everywhere providing information and assistance in English. The best part, however, was that disembarking passengers did NOT have to make their way to the city’s bus terminal to catch a regular Chilean $7 bus ride to Santiago. There was a bus actually inside the Port where English speaking employees from the Chilean Pullman Bus Company would sell you a bus ticket with a credit card, help place your luggage in the luggage hold under the bus and even assign you a seat in the bus. It was amazing service. Cruisers did not need to exit the protected Cruise Terminal area to hop on a regular Chilean bus to Santiago. REALLY...AMAZING! Kudos to the City of San Antonio! Why would any cruise line disembark in Valparaiso when they can disembark their passengers safely and efficiently in San Antonio. San Antońio has been the most organized port where I have disembarked on any NCL cruise, Miami included. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe ... Read More
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe wide open on a balcony over a noisy area. Last evening tried to checkin for flight home but could not get online. No one available to help. -embarkation was slow for no discernible reason. -Gym classes and instructors good and reasonably priced with a one time charge. -Deck 5 forward was quiet. -not happy with port changed. -Took taxis rather than tours. -this was my second time on an NCL ship. Probably will not cruise with NCL again unless the price and itinerary are exceptional. -had several enjoyable meals in dining room where food was better but did not always want to spend time there and miss a show or other live entertainment. -happy with staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first cruise with Celebrity having sailed mostly with HAL, it's interesting to wonder whether this means you become used to how a certain provider does things but our overall experience could have been better. The ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity having sailed mostly with HAL, it's interesting to wonder whether this means you become used to how a certain provider does things but our overall experience could have been better. The ship was lovely, well maintained, comfortable, everything worked, always a bonus. We had a standard balcony room and it was fine, big enough, plenty of storage and we were well served by our steward, friendly guy. Embarkation was fine, we followed the guidance issued about arrival times for each deck and breezed through. Similarly disembarkation was well organised, we were allowed an earlier time to fit our transfer/tour to Santiago and were off even earlier. Service was good, the staff to guest ratio was higher than we were used to and most friendly/welcoming. Our experiences with Guest Relations, Shore Excursions and Cruise Director and staff was mixed, some were too officious / bureacratic and inflexible, they didn't respond very well to mini crises and seemed impersonal. One of the main reasons we booked the cruise was to stop in Costa Rica and this was cancelled at very short notice for a reason (a silted up port, both of them I presume) which seemed odd. It was replaced with Puerto Quetzal Guatamala which compared poorly, only one attraction (Antigua) a two hour drive away. The tendering process in Cabo San Lucas was shambolic, we arrived late, took ages to get people off such that we got on shore at 2.45pm with just over 90 minutes to poke around. We witnessed complaints handled very poorly in Cabo, very uncaring. It did make you wonder how a real crisis requiring tenders would be managed. We arrived late in other ports too and then seemingly took a long time to gain "clearance" from port authorities, people with private tours were badly inconvenienced. Information on ports in the daily newsletters was very brief and rarely contained maps or noted places of interest. Huatulco was gorgeous, Manta and Arica were interesting stops and Lima deserved an overnight as there was so much to see and do there. We did an "Atacama Coastal Walk" in Arica which frankly was dangerous with an eroded pathway and sheer drop to rocks below. We really did not take to the Oceanview Cafe, a cold functional place, a bit like a staff canteen. Food was generally presented in an unappetising manner in the Oceanview, not a great experience. The Moonlight Sonata dining room was fine, roomy, well organised and very attentive staff. Breakfast was particularly good there, a nice cheerful start to the day. Overall the evening menu was not particularly comprehensive and portion sizes seemed to get smaller as the Cruise went on. Some of the Appetisers were pitifully small and a number of guests we shared with commented how some of the dishes were named differently but essentially seemed identical to dishes from a few nights previous. We've had much better food with other cruise lines, disappointing. Entertainment was distinctly average and often would be found in the strangest of places and the strangest of times. The Silent Disco was great though, the fact that it kept on being brought back due to demand should show Celebrity that a more modern and energetic programme should be their direction of travel. The daily programme was similarly average particularly on days "At Sea". Laundry prices were outrageously expensive including the usual mid cruise special offer, travel irons are strictly off limits due to safety concerns and yet hair straighteners are not a problem, so little to do with safety and more to do with driving business to the Laundry would be my conclusion. We met some lovely people on this cruise, very chatty and very friendly, more than usual I thought, a younger crowd than HAL generally. This included a number of guests who had English as a second language which was less of a barrier than you would think. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I have cruised over a dozen times onboard Celebrity ships. This was our first time on Eclipse. We were in Concierge class and selected the cruise because of the unusual itinerary from Los Angeles along the west coast of ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised over a dozen times onboard Celebrity ships. This was our first time on Eclipse. We were in Concierge class and selected the cruise because of the unusual itinerary from Los Angeles along the west coast of Central and South America. To get my primary complaint out of the way . . . from embarkation through the entire cruise, queue management was a problem. I do not know what department is in charge of that, but they were hopelessly befuddled. At embarkation concierge class is supposed to have priority boarding. We boarded after people who rode in the bus with us from our hotel. Most people gave up trying to go to Cabo because the queues for tenders were hours long. When we had to turn in our passports prior to arriving in Guatemala, they called everyone to turn them in at the same time. Ridiculous! The queue for shore excursion to Guatemala was the length of the ship and then some. The passengers were frustrated and so were the crew. I've never seen anything like it. It was as though Eclipse had never done this before. Prior to embarkation: We arrived in Los Angeles about 1am and slept in a cheap motel until it was time to go to the ship. Drop-off at the ship was uneventful. Common Areas: The ship appears well-worn. It is clean, but is definitely ready for refurbishment. Furniture in the common areas needs re-upholstery. I didn't see anything torn or broken, just worn. Cabin: I do like all the storage space on Celebrity ships. We participated in the Cruise Critic organized cabin crawl and that was really a lot of fun. Our cabin steward was very helpful and friendly. Dining: We had dinner in the main dining room, late seating. The food is wonderful and plentiful. We were well cared for by our waiter. The sommelier left a little to be desired. I wish I understood how they assign duties because it seems like on all our cruises we are served last on late seating, well into the dinner. So, I'm not sure how that works, maybe just bad luck. There was inconsistency at our table of eight, too, with the somm. Some were served before others on a regular basis. It was just weird. Perhaps the time has come for a Guide to Fine Dining. The bar man wants your cocktail order, the somm wants your wine order, the waiter wants your dinner order, the assistant wants the food accompaniment orders. If you don't want one of those things, wait for the proper person, don't ask the bar man for wine, etc. That may be where our table mates went awry. We had dinner one night at Murano and it was fabulous. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the Beatles cover band. Most of the other acts, we left before they were over. The Buddy Holly show should have been great, but it was lackluster at best. Overall, really disappointing shows. We did not go to the lectures. Dog-sledding in Greenland seemed a poor topic choice for a cruise to South America. We were the only ones to show up for the scavenger hunt. We used the spa pool a few times and took a day in the Persian Garden. Very nice. We spent a little time in the casino. That's another place some lessons would come in handy. I would probably lose more money in the casino if I understood how to play or what to do. That was the extent of our activities participation. Service: The service was top-notch as always. Couldn't ask for better. Guest services interactions were better than we've had on previous cruises. Ports: This itinerary was awesome! We basically were ashore and then asea every other day. Cabo I was planning to skip anyway, my husband tried to catch a tender, but people in the queue had been waiting 2 hours. Nope, not doing it. Puerto Vallarta we went to the beach on our own. Huatulco we went to the beach on our own. Guatemala we took the ship shore excursion to Antigua. Again, queue management was the primary problem. They said Yes to too many people and it was not fun. We arrived back at the ship after dinner and the ship left late, I think because they were waiting for people to return from that shore excursion. It was just badly managed. Manta, Ecuador we walked around the port area on our own. Interesting. Lima, Peru we took an independent tour with ten Cruise Critics. Fabulous time. I would go to Lima again. Arica, Chile we walked around on our own. That was our first glimpse of the civil unrest plaguing Chile right now. Graffiti on all building and statues, everything. On the first sea day following Arica, Celebrity canceled all their shore excursions in our final destination of San Antonio, except for transfers to the airport in Santiago. We were booked on a transfer tour to our hotel in Santiago independently with other Cruise Critic members. Of that I am very grateful. We had no issues with our transfer tour. I understand now what Celebrity's issue was in canceling, but I think they could have done this much earlier. Their concern was traffic and getting people stuck in traffic on tours to or from the airport or in Santiago. Several of the metro stations had been damaged in the riots, so the roads had an overabundance of traffic on them. Street signs and signals had been torn down in the riots, also. The ship arrived in San Antonio on a Friday which is when demonstrators came into central Santiago for the demonstrations over the weekend. It was just a bad combination of timing and infrastructure for the cruiseline. A little more than two days notice would have gone a long way, though. Plus they were offering to let people stay on the ship until late in the day to catch their transfers to the airport, for an additional fee. Really poor optics, that. Cancel the tours and then charge people to stay on the ship. Most flights depart Santiago for the US and Canada at 10:00 pm. I'm so, so glad we didn't get involved in that. Our transfer tour was delightful and we used the same company to take a tour into the Andes from our hotel a couple days later. Our hotel in Santiago was simple, but it was far enough away from the troubled area, but close enough to walk to historical sites. Our room was on ground level so no stairs, and we had air conditioning! The owner/operators were salt of the earth people who we could not help but love. We had a lot of fun in Santiago over the four days we were there. Our taxi to the airport had to be arranged in advance and took about an hour to get there from the hotel. I think it's normally a 30-40 minute trip, but again traffic, because of the metro stations damage, was considerable. We would do this trip again, but I'm not too keen on sailing on Eclipse again. It felt like a shakedown cruise instead of a repositioning cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Celebrity Reflection Transatlantic 2014 cruise spoiled me. The Eclipse in 2019 woke me up. Food poisoning does that. I ate in the Celebrity cafe on the 14th floor. I was treated by the medical staff and once the ship docked in ... Read More
The Celebrity Reflection Transatlantic 2014 cruise spoiled me. The Eclipse in 2019 woke me up. Food poisoning does that. I ate in the Celebrity cafe on the 14th floor. I was treated by the medical staff and once the ship docked in Santiago South America I received further treatment. My cabin 6212 creaked incessantly. This ship does need to be overhauled. The dining room experience was enjoyable. The food, delicious. The Celebrity ships are not known for quality entertainment. This cruise was no different. I didn’t use the ship to book excursions. Third party excursions were much cheaper, very informative and enjoyable. Kristian, our cabin staff was excellent. All the staff I encountered rated five stars. The ship had a bad odor. The maintenance staff cleaned but the ship is old and in need of refurbishment. The upholstered chairs on the fourth floor, overlooking the grand foyer were filthy. I used a towel while sitting in these chairs. The cruise was geared towards seniors. Boring entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This cruise was 3 back to back segments totalling 34 days covering East and West Mediterranean islands and ports some of which we had not previously visited and an Atlantic Crossing with a stop in Cape Verde Marina and Riviera are ... Read More
This cruise was 3 back to back segments totalling 34 days covering East and West Mediterranean islands and ports some of which we had not previously visited and an Atlantic Crossing with a stop in Cape Verde Marina and Riviera are comfortable stable ships and we choose them for that reason. On this trip there were challenges. Strong wind forecasts 2 days ahead of arrival in Monte Carlo made docking in that confined port risky. Oceania remained in Marseilles to accommodate a passenger change over. This was indeed a great inconvenience for embarking and disembarking passengers but any idea that somehow Oceania did this to inconvenience people given the cost and total disruption to them of making a safety decision is absurd. We had a private tour arranged for Livorno. On communication with that local provider they had no problem refunding our payment given the change in the ship schedule. Two days out of Marseilles Noro Virus cases began to appear and the crew began to take appropriate precautions. As cases increased appropriate appeals to all passengers to follow prescribed sanitation requirements were made. We followed the instructions, could not pass a hand sanitizer without using it, and washed hands frequently And used bathroom facilities in our own cabin. Oceania followed the required procedures, Oceania did not invite the virus aboard. We have experienced a similar problem on Cunard. All cruise lines encounter this problem. The entire ship was sanitized in Barcelona and that caused more discomfort and inconvenience to embarking passengers and the 48 of us who were staying aboard to Rio and beyond. During this virus event, buffet food services reverted to being served and this added a burden on the catering staff who handled it very well. Unlike some comment we found the staff to be polite and very helpful. It did not take any effort to understand why this change in service and react accordingly and appreciate the increased pressure the staff were encountering to give service. With a maximum of 1200 passengers and the size and number of ship function rooms, the scope of the entertainment is obviously very different from a 5000 passenger ship. So when selecting a cruise personal expectations have to match the ships ability to deliver. We do not use Oceania for its entertainment. We like Oceania for the ship and have made many voyages over 20 days. Their approach to dress as Country Club casual sets a good standard that some do not respect but is not as formal as say Cunard where there also were people who disregarded the set code. The service delivered is very good, the staff are well trained. We watched with great interest a new and young employee grow in confidence as every day passed. What an experience and opportunity she was experiencing but it is hard work. The virus was a reality, the ship did what it needed to do, we received our meals in the quantity and selection we wanted. We were only slightly inconvenienced but we had the time. Marina is due for a refit and it is beginning to be time for her to be freshened up. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny ... Read More
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny plays it all very poche, a bit pathetic... This was our 23rd cruise, and the first with HAL. There was a cabin on the promenade deck confirmed by the HAL 5 months in advance. However, 5 days before this was moved to a so-called upgrade, I was not happy with that. after complaining seems nobody could change it any more. cabin 6100 was a terrible loft, I could not get up straight from bed, the desk was unusable and the layout unlogical, curtains had to be closed with Velcro tape. In the afternoon was no sleep possible, 2x 1.5 hours were practiced with the music, so noise, in the evening, 2x1.5 hours the performance, again noise till 22.00 hour and sometimes from 00.00 hour to 2.00 hour practice with the staff presentation for a few hours. After difficult reaching the hotel director, (permanently protected by guest service employees), I got the cabin that was originally promised after a week by grace. Incidentally, with that rediculous small bathtub it is difficult to shower, you cannot take a shower over you, but shower against you. Later I got out of the bath and fell because I had the handle in my hand, it was not stuck in the wall, the next day it was screwed in another place in the wall. Evening meals were good, but monotonous, and not always in accordance with what was on the menu (but that happens with more ships; drinks were extremele expensive. Breakfast and lunch in Lido and restaurants were exellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This review is for two adults in an Aurea balcony on MSC Seaview. Salvador , Brazil to Barcelona, 11 nights. Our first on MSC... Boarding in Salvador was very quick, we were in our cabin by 12.45. Most passengers started 4 days before ... Read More
This review is for two adults in an Aurea balcony on MSC Seaview. Salvador , Brazil to Barcelona, 11 nights. Our first on MSC... Boarding in Salvador was very quick, we were in our cabin by 12.45. Most passengers started 4 days before us in Santos and reported 5 hour delays getting onboard. We were told the ship only had 3400 passengers out of a possible 5179. The Cabin was clean, amazing bed and pillows, big interactive TV and we had a large balcony with two sunbeds, 2 chairs and a table. Our room steward was friendly and sorted several things we needed straight away. The bathrooms a good size with a roomy shower with three pressure settings. The decor of the room was an awful green and didn't match up to the rest of the ships glitzy interior. The rest of the ship is very nice, its modern but classy. The Swarovski staircases were stunning. The ship is marketed as bringing you closer to the ocean than ever before but i found the opposite. As deck 8 is open air, the rest of the ships built inwards, therefore restaurants were surrounded by decks and chairs not seaview windows, the side panels were very high along the decks, no venue at the front of the ship to look out from, decks 4/5 had little to no windows at all and at the front there is a massively high side wall blocking deck 9 balcony views. Some days there was very loud and deep bags from the waves hitting the hull, you get it on all ships but this was much worse than we have ever experienced. Another passenger we met actually complained and they were told by an officer its the ships design and the speed we were going at the time... The pools are salt water and were not heated. There was more than enough sun beds across the ships which were very comfy with headrests. We found the food to be very good overall. The main buffet had lots of stations and did vary each day. The buffet stopped dinner at 10pm and then pizza was available until 2am and the Pizza is amazing! We found numerous veggie options in all eateries every day. The smaller buffet on 16 has themes each night including tex-mex, BBQ and Indian. They could get crowded so i dread to think what it would be like with over 5000 onboard. The main dining room had lots of options every night, usually 4/5 main courses plus the "always available" menu giving you another 5+ main course options. The service was mostly very good, just the occasional delay between courses. Every third night was also themed in the main dining room. One afternoon we tried lunch in Golden Sands and was seats in the Bella Fantastica area. Our experience was very different, the service was extremely slow and the mains were cold they took that long to come. The waiters had too many tables to serve and it doesn't help them that everyone gets seated at the same time causing a big rush. The tables for 2 were also extremely close and in long rows, you may as well have been on a table for 8/10. If we would have had this experience the entire cruise we would never consider MSC again. We ate at the French Bistro twice and its great value for money at $15pp. Portion sizes are massive. There is lots of nice bars all over the ship and plenty of seating. Seaview lounge is nice with chilled acoustic music, the Garage club seem to just fill a walkway, shine bar is a good spot for listening to any musicians in the atrium and Sunset beach bar was often lively with an afternoon DJ set. A glass of wine started at $3.40 and cocktails were mostly $7.90 upwards. The coffee onboard is very good and they serve is everywhere. Entertainment was the biggest disappointment, the in house shows were shockingly bad, propped up by the odd quality variety act. The shows became boring and the acts were repeated. All of the musical shows include opera, they even worked it into their dire Tina Turner tribute. The shows were only 35 minutes each as there is three a night, 19.45, 21.00 & 22.15. The theatre is small for the size of the ship, so it will be a struggle to get in when the ships full. There was lots of good bands/ singers on across the ship during the day and evening. Daytime activities were average, most being games or chargeable activities. The slides were great fun, especially the surf board one. The zip line was closed when ever its windy, which is a lot of the time on a moving ship... The party's in the atrium had a great atmosphere and went on until the early hours. The two male cruise directors were almost invisible, the only time we saw them was in the dining room or buffet. Clearly employed for their language skills to quickly open the shows then disappear but not much else. We found the MSC for me app really useful, booking everything on it. The wristbands were much easier than carrying your room card and worked for everything including access to your room. Communication onbaord was very poor, PAs were inaudible most of the time and no announcements from the captain, even after a 3 hour delay leaving Salvador and then arriving into Malaga half a day late. As others report with MSC the Pas are made is multiple languages, we counted 7 one night and i have to agree it does become tedious. The main staff were really very good. They went out of their way to help, they were always polite and happy to chat. Our main waiter was great, very chatty and friendly, he would always give us little appetisers before we even ordered. The service overall was very personal for such a large ship. Aurea Experience- With Aurea we had my choice dining so could turn up when we wanted between 6pm and 10.15pm at Golden Sands and select a table we wanted. As we booked a while ago we had the old "classic drinks package" with upto $8 drinks, coffee and gelato. This included the vast majority of every drinks menu across the ship and was a great saving for us. We really liked the chilled top19 deck, lots of sunbeds, 2 Jacuzzi's and nice sofa seating by the bar. It was very quite compared to the main pools and the server said its always quiet up there even when the ships full. We used our massage that was included which was really nice, however as soon as they finished they were trying to sell you more. The free access to the thermal spa was a really nice bonus too, there were about 8 different rooms and the salt room was so relaxing. There was a few nice touches in the cabin too with slippers, robes and a diffuser. You also have priority disembarkation and your bags were ready first in the terminal. We loved Aurea class and would not sail MSC without it because of the flexibility it gives you. Getting on and off at the ports was easy during the cruise but final disembarkation was painful with ques to get off and ques in the terminal. We did not like MSCs disembarkation procedure, giving us times to meet and get off and also taking our bags away the night before. When we went to the meeting point there was no staff or guidance so we just made our own way off after breakfast. Taxis to the airport from the cruise port are 39 euro fixed price. Few Tips for anyone new to MSC or Seaview- - You only get sunbeds on your balcony if you book Aurea on deck 9. But the very forward ones have obstructed views which they don't tell you when booking. Go 9024 or backwards. - Aurea bookings now only give you easy drinks package which is up to $5 and this really reduces your drinks list. You would have a few wines and Skol beer along with the house vodka and gin with mixers. If you like cocktails, proper coffee, branded spirits and shakes its worth upgrading, i believe you can just pay the difference in the package prices. - Bella and Fantastica have set dining times and your not guaranteed a table size or time. Dinner times were 6pm, 8pm & 10pm in Golden Sands, 7pm & 9pm in Silver dolphin. - Book shows the day before if you want to get in. - If you use the spa they have sales during the cruise. Getting on it was 10% off when you booked 4 treatments but a few days later it was 30% each one. - No kettle/ coffee machine in room, take your own as getting one was not easy. Finally comparing MSC to our favourite cruise line NCL. MSC defiantly felt more upmarket because of the look of the ship and our Aurea experience but it was more restrictive. We had a very nice cruise but because of the lack of good entertainment we would choose NCL hands down. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Price and itinerary.. Its was a destination that we did not do before. Food was good but not exceptional . Food was better on other celebrity crises we have been on . Disembarkation was awful. It appeared very organized with everyone given ... Read More
Price and itinerary.. Its was a destination that we did not do before. Food was good but not exceptional . Food was better on other celebrity crises we have been on . Disembarkation was awful. It appeared very organized with everyone given assigned times for immigration. But then they threw the schedules away huge groups go all at once . This caused long waits , long lines, long waits for elevators and lines jamming the stair cases. The captains club hostess did not seem overly friendly and a bit standoff and did not seem interested in the passengers. The cruise director was excellent. Bar staff / waiters seemed overwhelmed and service was slow. Stateroom attendant was excellent . ports in chile (except for santiago) and peru were poor and we would not do them again. Santiago and surrounding area was good. Would we do this cruise again ... No. shore excursions were expensive and limited. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Celebrity Eclipse Trip San Antonio Chile to San Diego California March 24 2019 Embarkation poor. Had people lined up for hours waiting to be processed. There was no place for anyone to sit. Other cruise lines issue a number and have ... Read More
Celebrity Eclipse Trip San Antonio Chile to San Diego California March 24 2019 Embarkation poor. Had people lined up for hours waiting to be processed. There was no place for anyone to sit. Other cruise lines issue a number and have passengers sit to wait for their number to be called. The gangplank to the ship was very steep so the staff had to strain to push wheelchair passengers on the ship. Room 9402 very nice and good location, efficient room design with the exception of no electric plug next to or near bed. I called Crucon prior to sailing and requested distilled water for a piece of medical equipment. It was not there. I am sure that there are many people who use a CPAP machine at this present time. Our room attendant Kam, came and introduced himself. He was pleasant and carried out requests. There were no extra special touches in the room, ie cotton buds, shower caps, razors or emery boards in fact you could not even purchase an emery board aboard the ship. There was only soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. We were not served a complimentary bottle of champagne as we were served on prior cruises,We had to ask for ice to be present in our room in the evening. There is no folder in the room to describe anything about the ship or contain a list of room service foods. I still don't know if room service is available for meals other than breakfast. There was a sheet for us to fill out every evening for breakfast. We had coffee in our room every day and twice they delivered without cups and milk. The towels and sheets had a funky unpleasant odor, perhaps it was their detergent or not enough detergent. The air conditioner/heat control was not predictable, one time it would be very cold on a setting and the next time it would be uncomfortable at that same setting. The room would become warm while we were in port. The bed was not wonderful, there was no pillow top softness but I am like the princess and the pea. The pillows were OK. Trip route- It was a relocation cruise and the stops were not earth shaking. The prices for ship trips to essentially nothing locations were very expensive. We only did two trips, one to Lima and the other in Punta Arenas Costa Rica. Both were interesting. The other ports did not have anything that looked like we needed to explore further or sounded uninteresting. Entertainment- Stale and according to passengers who previously sailed on the ship it was a repeat of the same performances. The songs were dull and uninspiring. The entertainment was aimed at old people and I am older than god. They need to update their performances. The Eclipse Orchestra was the highlight of the performances. They need to continue with “Live Orchestras” not a digital replacement that is being contemplate by the company. All of our table mates refused to attend the performances because of them being so boring and repetitive. Service-The staff were very positive, smiling and caring throughout the ship. The Captain was a pseudo comedian. Alejandro the master of ceremony was great. Jose P and Edwin our staff in the dining room were caring and attentive they get a 10 out of 10! Food- Terrible!! On previous trips the many tasty main courses offered were wonderful, one had to make a decision of choosing from all the very appealing meals offered most every evening. On this cruise trying to find even one was a difficult task, in fact there were many nights we only had appetizers for our meal because the selection was so poor. On the dress up nights there was nothing special offered except on the last dress up night and another regular evening soft shell lobster not New England lobster. The breakfast and lunch buffets were OK. The salad dressing were horrible. There were people stationed at the entry of cafeteria dispensing hand sanitizing solution but there are no hand washing places there. Hand washing is the only way to truly prevent novovirus. Passengers complained that there was a respiratory illness spreading aboard the ship toward the end of the cruise. Disembarkation-A nightmare! Directions printed for passengers to follow were not written by an English speaking person and were very confusing. Other passengers stated the same regarding the poorly written directions. No one knew where they were to go or wait. There were lines all over the ship. Exiting from the ship was down a very steep gangplank. If I had my luggage I would have been propelled down the gangplank. Being in a wheelchair would have been very scary. Summary We are not gung-ho cruisers but have enjoyed our previous 7 cruises because the food was outstanding, the entertainment fun, but this trip left a bad taste in our mouth. I am not sure we will cruise again anytime soon. Is Celebrity trying to drive people do the specialty dining?? I refuse to pay additional money that probably amount to $100+ for each night to get a decent meal. If this is their object the staff will be shortchanged and service will suffer. The staff in the dining room depend on their tips to supplement their income. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The cruise was pleasant enough but when we returned home we found our MasterCard had been charged for an unidentified item. Contacting Celebrity they informed us the charge was for items used from the mini bar. We, in fact, had not used ... Read More
The cruise was pleasant enough but when we returned home we found our MasterCard had been charged for an unidentified item. Contacting Celebrity they informed us the charge was for items used from the mini bar. We, in fact, had not used any items from the mini bar during the entire cruise and, more to the point, had not authorised any payment. Very concerned that payment can be taken from your bank card without authorisation. The cleanliness on the ship was of a high standard, particularly in the Solarium, toilets and pool area. The one outstanding excursion on the cruise, was a visit to the Palamino Islands. Very memorable and worth the money. However, some of the other excursions during the cruise were expensive and not good value. Food in the Lido Cafe was often cold and much of the selection was repeated every day. Overall it was a pleasant cruise but left us dismayed at being charged for something we didn’t have.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. This is a beautiful ship with a musical theme. We liked the baroque organ. We ran into two storms on the Pacific Ocean with 6.5 meter waves and the Captain changed our port of call from Ushuaia to Castro and also gave us the beautiful Brujo glacier. We were good with the decision since it was a bit of a rough ride that day. We had booked mostly private excursions since we like the smaller groups. Except for the tendering ports, all the ports of call on our cruise were well managed. We have travelled with at least 4 other cruise lines and we found the food selection to be good better than some of the others. We liked having less choices but better quality. Cabin crew were good. Enrichment activities were good. Entertainment were okay. Embarkation and Disembarkation were spot on. All in all, we liked Holland America and have already booked another cruise with them on the Westerdam. Hoping to be able to have the same level of service or better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now elegant and other areas of the ship nice. This was a repositioning cruise, so there were seven sea days, which was a bit much for us, as we don't participate in bingo, karaoke, art auctions, knitting, etc, although I would have to say the ship did do a good job in offering all kinds of daily activities catered to the mostly older passengers. We are 60, but the average age is a bit older. The ship never felt crowded, except on sea days around the pool. Embarkation was easy, as we arrived late, so no crowds. Disembarkation in Miami was slow and bottlenecked through customs. Probably not NCL's fault. Service on the ship was generally good. Cabin, bar, restaurant, drills, excursions, port disembarkation, shows, lectures, etc. were all well organized. Only complaint was disembarkation for ship shore excursions, which was a joke. We were an hour late for every excursion due to a very poorly designed system. We did a combination of ship and third party shore excursions, all were pretty good. Some ports had limited attractions and things to do. For some reason the ship organized about a half dozen separate excursions under different names that ended up at the same place (rain forest, tram and zipline) and doing about the same activities. Ship excursions are a bit pricey compared to what is available from Viator and other companies, which get you off the ship quicker. NCL needs to fix this. Meals in the main dining room was surprisingly good. Cagney's and French Bistro meals were mediocre. Teppenyaki and Sushi restaurants were very, very good. Good drinks at Los Lobos. We had a complimentary NCL drink package, which we overused. Buffet inside was predictable, small, and generally crowded. The deserts on board were excellent just about everywhere. Drinks were easy to get and bartenders were some of the best on any cruise ship I have been on. The Great Outdoors buffet was better and convenient to the back seating are, where we spent a lot of time. South American ports are a bit rougher than other parts of the world. A lot of poverty and trash around. Still, many great sites. We did enjoy the extended time in Santiago. The couple we traveled with went to Machu Picchu and loved it. We enjoyed the Panama Canal experience and many of the Inca and other historical sites. Lima and Cartagena are overrun with Venezuelan refugees, which is sad but pretty much ruined most of the excursion. The ziplining experience in Costa Rica was a lot of fun. I would use NCL again and would cruise the Sun again for the right itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My mother's friend chose the cruise. My husband and I came along to help my 89-yr-old mother. The cruise started in San Antonio, Chile and ended in Miami. We had two additional stops in Chile, two in Peru, one in Ecuador, one in Costa ... Read More
My mother's friend chose the cruise. My husband and I came along to help my 89-yr-old mother. The cruise started in San Antonio, Chile and ended in Miami. We had two additional stops in Chile, two in Peru, one in Ecuador, one in Costa Rica and one in Columbia. There were shore excursions available in all the ports, but we prefer to walk around and go geocaching. Often there were locals selling wonderful crafted items from little tents right on the pier. They want cash in US dollars, but most items only cost a few dollars. Take along a bunch of ones and fives. The guest services desk will also break a twenty for you. There is and ATM at the casino if you need more cash. The ship provided a free shuttle to get us out of the port area, but in Peru ports they dropped us off in an unsafe location. We could either pay a taxi to take us to a safe location for walking or biking or get back on the shuttle and go to the ship. There were police to make sure we did not wander off on our own. At the second Peru port we did paid extra to take a bus to Trujillo. We could not use our shore excursion credits for this shuttle, however! It was the same thing in Columbia. We were disappointed that we paid to be able to see the ports and Norwegian wouldn't deliver us to a safe place onshore. One of our shore excursions was overbooked and they ran out of food by the time they got to our table. We were offered 50% off that tour. In Costa Rica, there was a very steep ramp and several stairs to get back on the ship. That was a problem as three of our party of seven were physically challenged. The staff will come help you, but you need to ask. They don't volunteer. The food was great, as usual. We used both main dining rooms and the buffet. The waiters were mostly attentive. We found you can request a particular waiter (ask for Mac) and he will remember your preferences. There did not seem to be a lot of folks who wanted to share tables although that was available if you ask when you arrive at the dining room. We liked the anytime dining as we are early eaters. Our cabin was a handicap cabin for my mother. It was a little crowded for three people. Our steward, Juevan, was excellent! Even though Norwegian is discontinuing the towel animals, he made a new one for us every night. He also brought ice to the room when requested. Having had a more pleasant experience on Princess, I suspect we'll be sailing with them in the future. We've been to Alaska and the Caribbean with Princess. They were more attentive during the pre-cruise phase and the shore excursions were better planned. The ports were safer and the ramps to and from the ship was handicap accessible. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 ... Read More
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 (0067)...on the very back of the ship. The size of the balcony was average. This balcony provided an excellent view for the Panama Canal crowding. The Junior Suite was average size...had a walk-in closet and a bath tub/shower. I was not impressed with the service from the room steward. The main dining room service and food is awful....we ate in specially restaurants 14 of the nights. The production shows in the theatre are excellent...other shows are average. The bar staff is excellent and they cocktails are also excellent. Of the specialty restaurants...we prefer Cagney's Steakhouse and LaBistro French Restaurant. There is no lobster served on this ship.....not even in the specialty restaurants (this is unacceptable). The only restaurant that serves shrimp cocktail is Cagney's Steakhouse....and they charge an extra $4.99 + specialty restaurant fee (this is unacceptable). Most of the shore excursions that we booked on the ship were good. Boarding the tours were not handled efficiently. The cruise director is a former "Miss Colombia"....we rarely saw her. We rarely saw the Captain. None of the fish at any of the restaurants are eatable....sent the fish back every time....never came back any better (this is unacceptable). The breakfast in the main dining room was good. Overall service was average. They never tell you when they are having a dress-up (elegant) night. We did like the entertainment in the Windjammer Bar (Keiffer Wiley). Disembarkation process was average. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore ... Read More
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore excursions were not impressive and they were always late. They would tell you to meet in the theater at 8:45 but you wouldn't get called for your excursion until 9:45. Felt like a lot of time was wasted waiting for the shore excursions. We tried to go to the beach in Ecuador but it took 1.5 hours to get there. We were supposed to have 3 hours at the beach but ended up only getting 1.5 hours. Enjoyed the activities that were provided daily. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. The food was overcooked in the Moderno which is not the usual case for that restaurant. We were a bit disappointed. Shows were pretty good. Loved the quietness in our cabin. It was nice not hearing your neighbor open and close their drawers and flush their toilet. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and I have become fans of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean for quite some time. >The service is excellent!! The staff on the ship are friendly and very helpful. My wife has a hard time getting around, the excursion team did ... Read More
My wife and I have become fans of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean for quite some time. >The service is excellent!! The staff on the ship are friendly and very helpful. My wife has a hard time getting around, the excursion team did an excellent job of helping us get to the excursions buses. Our dining room staff couldn't be anymore helpful. >Food is excellent, in all restaurants, buffet, etc. >Cabin was clean and comfortable. The steward was very helpful and took of room very well. We were at the very aft end of the ship.. WHAT A VIEW. We could see 180 degrees and going through the Chilean Fjords was amazing.. >We had a fun time at the Captain's Club events. >The ports were very interesting and unique. >We used Choice Air.. What a great idea that was. We did not have to worry about our luggage getting to the ship, Celebrity took care of that. I am now looking at using Choice air when we travel on Celebrity and Air to Sea on Royal Caribbean whenever we cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the full monty. Not much space to do justice to 30great days but I’ll try! The Sun is a small ship and did suffer because of this at times on the first leg on sea days. This was especially true of the buffet where spaces were frequently at a premium. Size also meant that the options for light dining at lunchtime were very limited. Sandwiches were limited to filled croissants and there were few cold meat options. By contrast I found the range of choice in the main dining room to be excellent. In 30 nights I never duplicated a main course choice and was never disappointed. Of the speciality restaurants if found La Cucina and Los Lobos to be very underwhelming, but Le Bistro was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Windjammer, especially Kiefer Wiley, who always kept the party going. A young pianist, Walisson, had joined the ship’s crew at Buenos Aires so it was early days for him but he settled well and was well worth a pre dinner listen. We caught a performance by the ship’s singers in Bliss one evening. Backed simply by electric piano, they were superb and distinctly better than in the over amplified main theatre. The show and produced a similar quality performance at each of the Jazz Brunches we attended. Old adage if you’re good enough you don’t need to be loud. We didn’t use any of the ship’s excursions, joining fellow Cruise Critic members on a series of excellent trips. Not once were we in danger of missing departure and one of the early questions we were always asked was when does the ship leave? I’ll probably give a thorough review of each excursion on a post under South America Ports of Call. Special stand out mentions now however for Dennis Purtov at Puerto Montt and Patricia at Trujillo. We also had great experiences at Valparaiso, Coquimbo and Puerto Chacabuco. I have to say that embarkation at Buenos Aires was excellent. A clean, comfortable waiting hall, a speedy transition through check in and a good transfer by bus to the ship was a really good quality service. Compare that to the sloppy positioning of colour tag luggage, muddled exit pathways and haphazard progress through security at Miami and it was like being in two different worlds... and it wasn’t the third world country that was shown up! Just an extra point of minority interest. It was so nice to be able to run on the Promenade deck and not feel guilty. Runners don’t have to feel compelled to run on treadmills in a humid gym or up on an exposed top deck. We made so many new friends on this trip and hope to meet up again some time. A lot of that was down to a really active Cruise Critic Roll Call, so thanks for making it all such a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports and was not disappointed as we got to go to all the ports listed on this itinerary. We had good weather going round Cape Horn. We were lucky to have Captain Michelle Tuvo who has a great sense of humor ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and was not disappointed as we got to go to all the ports listed on this itinerary. We had good weather going round Cape Horn. We were lucky to have Captain Michelle Tuvo who has a great sense of humor and very visable around the ship as well as very informative taking us on this cruise. We saw penguins, sea lions,sea turtles, dolphins etc. Cabin was nice and spacious with a new TV as well as the new beds. Our cabins steward was good always friendly and checked if we needed anything. We opted for anytime dinning which was good. Breakfast in the dnning room was a hit and miss. Some days it seemed like the waiters just couldn't cope even though the restaurant was not full. Food was good but the deserts in the Horizon Buffet standard has dropped. The entertainment was fair nothing oustanding. Expected more Latin American entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The breadth of ports was very attractive, from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, the long way. It enabled visiting places that one might not see otherwise. Prices for cabins with an "obstructed view" were excellent & the view ... Read More
The breadth of ports was very attractive, from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, the long way. It enabled visiting places that one might not see otherwise. Prices for cabins with an "obstructed view" were excellent & the view was still quite good. Dining & entertainment were terrific! Condition of cabin was very fine. A couple of excursions were horrible and many very over-priced. Sailing around the tip of S. America was lovely and very interesting. The crew failed to assure that all passengers had valid travel documents. This resulted in our being kept in Montevideo for several extra hours & arriving in Buenos Aires about 9 hours late. That meant hundreds of people missed their flights home & we missed our flight to visit Iguazu Falls. Plus, hundreds had to sit in a non-air conditioned terminal while waiting many hours for the ship to arrive. Some Princess employees should be fired for that, or shot! Fitness Center was the best of any ship that we have been on. Princess over sold the excursion to the Christ The Redeemer Statue in Rio. Result was standing around for hours due to not enough vehicles for the number of passengers. Tour should have taken 90 to 100 minutes. It took over 4 1/2 hours. At a couple of ports, Princess only bought space for one tender boat at a time to dock. This resulted in the trip on the tender boats to take 50 to 60 minutes when it should have taken 15 to 20. The staff at the Excursion Desk were not empowered to satisfy the many, many dissatisfied customers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was an exciting cruise going all the way aroundSouth America from Ft. Lauderdale to LA. We were a bit apprehensive about the length of this cruise as it was over 20 days longer than our previous longest cruise. That ended up not ... Read More
This was an exciting cruise going all the way aroundSouth America from Ft. Lauderdale to LA. We were a bit apprehensive about the length of this cruise as it was over 20 days longer than our previous longest cruise. That ended up not being an issue as the cruise was a very good mix of sea and port days. This was the first time the Royal had been in most of these ports and was the biggest cruise ship many of these ports had seen. This was in part a repositioning cruise getting the Royal from the east coast to the west coast. While we have been on many Princess cruises this was our first time on the Royal or a Royal class ship. We missed the Explorers Lounge and did not like the Princess Live venue for trivia. The Piazza was used a lot and was the venue for music at night and dancing. Seating could be a bit of a challenge in this area. We had Club Class Dining and did not like the way that is handled on the Royal. On smaller ships, the port side dining room entrance is CC only and the service is more personalized. Once we got seated the service and food were good and the manager's special salads and pastas were welcome. Some of the CC specials were nice but we ordered off of the regular menu most nights. On the Royal CC dinner in is one dining room and breakfast and lunch are in a different place with different servers than at dinner. The same dining room and staff for each meal were one of the CC attractions. Alfredo's pizza and pasta restaurant was one of our favorites for a light lunch or dinner. We ate at Sabatini's 3 times and Crown Grill twice and enjoyed all of the meals. The service and food are very good. Sabatini's for breakfast (a suite passenger benefit) was very nice and something we enjoyed most mornings. The menu never varies but they will try to make just about anything you would like or any variation if they can. We enjoyed all the ports and did a mix of walking around on our own, taking Princess tours and private tours. All the ports were new to us and we enjoyed most of them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose Celebrity because of long and frequent previous experience. To begin : embarkation in Barcelona was the worst we ever experienced. Despite our Elite statute we stood in line for 50 minutes. One man fainted in another line. ... Read More
We chose Celebrity because of long and frequent previous experience. To begin : embarkation in Barcelona was the worst we ever experienced. Despite our Elite statute we stood in line for 50 minutes. One man fainted in another line. Cabin with balcony very much alike to other cabins on ships of this class. Excellent steward (Francesco) . Very attentive and efficient. We have no complaint at all over meals. Great quality,variation and diversity. The high prices of wines held me back from enjoying tastings of unknown origins. The cheapest bottles varied between 35/40 $ + 18% "gratuity". Also prices of excursions were unacceptable. It was much more affordable to take a taxi for tours.We booked only one from the ship : bus tour of Rio. The evening shows : the best were those performed by the ship's own artists and particularly their fantastic orchestra.Also the magician. The different single singers and instrument players were somewhat longish. Conferences were informative and sometimes funny (Alejandro). We met a young European couple who were shocked to find out that he ship's "gratuities" standard charge was almost 25% on top of the amount they paid for the whole cruise. If you calculate the amount the total must come to a hefty extra for all staff aboard. Why not quote a correct total rate ?? One thing that shocked all passengers we later met in town was the taxi mafia at exit of cruise terminal in Buenos Aires.They charged a standard rate of 15 to 20 US$ for any ride. We took many taxis later that never amounted to more than 4 to 5 US$ . The cruise line ought to interrogate Buenos Aires port authorities about this. We heard that this same racket had been terminated at the local airports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call members. Waaaay cheaper than the NCL offers. I had read both good and bad reviews for the Norwegian Sun. Personally I found the ship the perfect size. Frankly I don't want or need water slides or thousands of people on a cruise of this type. The refurbished ship looked great especially the large fitness centre. Our inside stateroom chosen for us by NCL was larger than we expected and was a nice surprise. We only dined in either the buffet or complementary dining rooms. The food in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons was so good that we felt that paying extra for the specialty restaurants would be a waste of money. We dined early and the food arrived in good time and was hot. We liked the slower pace of the dining rooms allowing us to take our time and enjoy the meal. I found the buffets offered a good choice of food and we liked the themed nights. We did not purchase any alcohol on ship as we felt that it was overpriced. The drink packages at $69 and $99 per day seemed grossly overpriced. I couldn't conceive drinking that much every day. We found the complimentary tea, coffee, ice tea and lemonade sufficient. Finally the staff were terrific. Our cabin steward Amol was great. He learned my name the first day and always chatted with us about our day. Overall we had a great time and came away happy. Lastly I must mention that we LOVED the Atlantis Strings trio. We listened to them every night. A rare offering of culture amid the usual cruise fare. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018

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