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8 Transatlantic Spa Cruise Reviews

I HIGHLY recommend this cruise! The most impressive thing to me was the staff and crew. I was on a cruise a couple of years ago where gratuities were built in and so many of the staff had the "I can't be bothered" ... Read More
I HIGHLY recommend this cruise! The most impressive thing to me was the staff and crew. I was on a cruise a couple of years ago where gratuities were built in and so many of the staff had the "I can't be bothered" attitude. On this ship everyone I met seemed genuinely interested in helping. I tried to give a server a cash tip and she told me she had to put it in the tip pool. They get rewards from the ship based on comment cards and I hope good reviews like this. If something isn't quite to your liking, let someone know, politely, and they'll instantly take care of it. The ship didn't get their full order of supplies in the Canary Islands, and about 3 days out from Miami they ran out of diet Coke. Olga at the Porch went to bars on three other decks looking for more and spent the next 2 days apologizing that she only had Coke Zero to offer me. The people really cared. Cabin: We were on deck 11, forward, port. This is the Aqua Spa level. The cabin was a mini-suite. It was a little smaller than some, but overall nice. WARNING: the only electrical outlets in the room are on the desk (one in the bathroom, too). I think there were four 110 and either one or two 220. You might want to bring an extension cord if you want something on your nightstand. There's some storage space in the bathroom. The shower head was on a hose and there were side jets at waist level. The benefit to this level is that you have more access to the spa. Many things there are extra, but the steam room, sauna, and a few other things are free. I was having back pain and they had these great heated lounge chairs that helped a lot. I was there several times a day. Spa: Since I'm on that subject, I'll tell you what I know. They do all types of massages and treatments. My wife had several and reports favorably. They also had an acupuncturist who worked miracles on my back. I don't think I'd have enjoyed the trip without her expertise. There's a nail and hair salon. The fitness center is also connected and I think there's a fitness trainer available. I'm not into the seaweed wrap type stuff, but it seemed to offer the same services as a very nice day spa. Dining: For those of you new to cruising, tap water, regular coffee, iced tea, and the juice drinks in the buffet are free. There's a charge for everything else. I can't live without Diet Coke, so I bought a soda package. If you don't, they are $2+/can. I drank my share--the ship ran out a couple of days before the end and I had to suffer Coke Zero. My wife had a drink package that included bottled water and specialty coffees. She also had a bottled wine package. The main dining room and the buffet are included in the price, but there are a number of specialty restaurants with anywhere from a $20-$40 cover charge. There are also package rates for the specialty restaurants. Murano: EAT THERE FIRST!! It's the most expensive place, but more than worth the money. It's billed as French, and the ambiance is very up scale, but it's not like any French restaurant I've been to before. I had the lobster bisque both times and it was incredible. The first visit I had venison and the second steak medallions. They were so good that I wanted to order more but restrained myself. For dessert I had the Grand Marnier souffle, and I showed no restraint here and ordered two. My wife had this Snowball crepe which was made tableside. I thought she was going to lick the plate. The staff was very attentive and very knowledgeable. I know staff changes a lot, but ask for Ema. The menu is fixed throughout the cruise, so you'll need 2-3 visits to try things. Qsine: (mostly Asian--cover charge) Their gimmick is little portions of lots of different things. When you order soup, for example, you get three different types, each 3-4 bites. If you find one you like you can have more, but the idea is that you end up eating 20+ different things during the course of the meal. The menu comes on an iPad. The concept is interesting, the food excellent, and the presentation entertaining. I recommend this as a group experience. The Porch: ($5 cover)This was my favorite place to hang out. It's up on Deck 15. It's open air, but it has wind blocks and radiant heaters in the ceiling. It was a little cool in Europe but was very nice as the temperature increased. It has a limited menu of soups, salads, paninis, and sweets. It wasn't very crowded usually, so I could sit and admire the view and be attended by the best people (thanks Olga, Michelle, and Danily)! The Lawn Grill: (Cover charge) Also on 15, open air with windbreaks and heaters. This is billed as an interactive experience. You start with flatbread pizzas which you toss yourself (don't wear black--many people ended up wearing flour). You also have the option of working with the chef and grill master in preparing your meal. We had Chef Michael and loved the experience. You must save room for the soft, warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. Tuscan Grill: (Cover charge) An Italian steakhouse. This was good, and the service excellent, but it wasn't that much better than the steaks in the Cuvee (main seating) and I didn't think it was worth the high cover. Blu: This is a specialty dining experience for the fitness crowd. We ate there once (no cover for Aqua class), but I did not go on a cruise to get a dessert menu where everything starts "sugar free...." Good food and service. Grand Cuvee (main dining room): It didn't matter when we went or where we sat, the service was excellent and the food superb. Buffet: I thought it was good, but not that different from other buffets I've experienced on other ships or at casinos. Casino: I'm not much of a slots player, but there seemed to be a good variety and they had several tournaments. There were 2 single deck BJ tables. Most of the other BJ tables were gimmicky, with dollar side bets for poker hands or spin the wheel for a 21, that kind of thing. Minimum bet was only $6 (the extra dollar could be the side bet or you could just bet $6). Hand shuffled!! There was one tournament with a lot of qualifying rounds. I know there were other table games but they aren't my thing. Great people!! Shopping: Nyeeh. Ask my wife. Internet: The ship is wireless and the price ranges from $0.30 -- $0.75 per minute, depending on the package (prepurchased minutes). I was teaching an online class so I had no choice, but never had connection problems. I also got access on my Droid tablet. If you only want to check email occasionally there's a Mac cafe. The ship has an arrangement of some sort with Apple. Entertainment: The main theater is like a concert hall. The shows were great with many different acts. There were also a number of small musical acts throughout the ship. I won't go into details since these change frequently. Activities: I chose to be lazy, hang out on the Porch reading books on my tablet, and have the lovely Olga and the other wonderful people there bring me a continual string of diet coke and snacks. For those who wish to be active there's plenty to do. There are a couple of pools. One, in the solarium on deck 12, is adult only. I'm not sure if that has clothing implications. We met a couple that used this area as their hang out. They said there's a small food place there. This same couple attended many of the lectures and loved them. The activities staff always had something going on. There's a movie theater but I had never heard of most of them. There are several places to dance. There's a library and game room. My complaint about these 2 is that they are open to the atrium space, and there's music being played most of the day so they aren't really quiet. There's also a community board for the passengers to organize things like bridge groups. So whether you want to be a sloth or a hummingbird, there's plenty. Kids: One of the reasons we chose this trip is because it was early December which we hoped would mean the kids would still be in school. We were right. I know there's a kids club, but can't tell you anything about it. If you want to escape children, this is a great cruise. Disability accommodation: I don't know the whole story on this but I thought I'd put it out there. Early in the trip I heard a woman crying in the elevator. She was on a scooter. What I gathered was that the staff decided she couldn't keep the scooter in her room or in the hallway outside her room because it presented an evacuation hazard. The ship was full so she couldn't move to an appropriate room. The ship had lots of wheelchairs, and I saw several in my hall at night, but they folded. I don't know the outcome, but if you plan on taking your scooter you might want to check on accessibility. I'm a disabled vet and I have severe tremors, almost like Parkinson's. Everyone was very accommodating. I don't do well with spoons, so I was served cold soups in a glass and hot soups in a coffee cup. I need a straw to drink, which apparently are not available at fancy French restaurants, but Ema went out to the bar to get one for me. Everyone on the ship was extremely friendly and polite and respectful and they seemed to go the extra mile to make you happy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Smooth sailing across the pond while we encountered 90mph winds and 30 foot seas in the Western Mediterranean Sea while transiting to Barcelona. Thanks to some pre-planning and pre-emptive navigation, we were spared much worse conditions ... Read More
Smooth sailing across the pond while we encountered 90mph winds and 30 foot seas in the Western Mediterranean Sea while transiting to Barcelona. Thanks to some pre-planning and pre-emptive navigation, we were spared much worse conditions and spent only one evening tossing and rolling in heavy seas. Sea sick patches did their job and we actually sort of enjoyed the rough weather, even though a rogue wave managed to do some damage to the glass balconies on the ship. This was our fifth cruise on a Solstice Class ship. We love the modern facilities and the good food we always find on Celebrity. The first week of the itinerary was port intensive with visits to Italy, France, Spain and a final call on the beautiful Portuguese Island of Madeira. While the weather in Europe was chilly and wet, things rapidly improved as we headed across the Atlantic. Temperatures gently rose into the mid-70s and the seas were calm and inviting. My wife and I especially enjoyed the tranquility of not having to be anywhere to do anything. We read, sunned, pampered ourselves with seven massages and totally relaxed. We are an active couple. My wife is in her early sixties and retired and I'm a hard working travel industry executive about to turn sixty. While we found the majority of the passengers' considerable older than us, we enjoyed their company and found the crowd to be somewhat upscale and very friendly. THE GOOD: We LOVED our complimentary upgrade from a Sky Suite to a Celebrity Suite. Positioned mid ship, the spacious Celebrity Suite provided us the stable ride we were seeking when the seas turned nasty. We especially liked the oversized veranda, two large flat screen TVs and a bathroom connected with two doors and connecting to a private bedroom. WE LOVED THIS CABIN and the attention we received from our Butler. We ate four times at Silk Harvest, the Asian fusion specialty restaurant we have grown to love. Try the cream cheese filled wontons and the Asian Chicken salad. Magnificent! We found Morano very good and the main dining rooms far better than Princess, Royal Caribbean and NCL. They could not however come close to the quality of cuisine on Paul Gauguin. We never had to wait for a table for two with anytime dining. I still wish the cruise line chefs would create more basic American fare menus without so much fancy influence. Heck, I would love to see a Tex-Mex specialty restaurant on board with fajitas, but that's just our preference. We are not "foodies". Staff was very accommodating and we thought the Captain was frequently available and provided ample updates on our progress. We LIKE the fact that ship wide announcements are discreet and seldom, making it possible to truly relax on the sea days. We also enjoyed the Spa, despite outrageous pricing for a simple Swedish massage. We negotiated a package of spa services which brought the bill down to a more manageable but arguably still ridiculously overpriced. The itinerary across the Med for a week was nice. We stayed at a fantastic Airport Hilton in Rome and hired a private sedan service to the port. We have been to Rome before so we simply needed a place to chill before boarding the ship. We most enjoyed Barcelona and the Portuguese Island of Madeira. Don't let all of the paranoid warnings about pick pockets and wide spread crime scare you off. We found Barcelona, Cartagena and Madeira to all be clean and very safe destinations. Use the same degree of caution and common sense you would use in New York or London and you'll be just fine. Save yourself some money and purchase the HOP ON- HOP OFF tour bus tickets to get the best overviews of what each city has to offer. One more feature we really like is the Interactive flat screen TVs. We enjoy the option of ordering FREE or PAY movies on demand at reasonable prices. This service makes up for deplorable choice of television programming. It's also convenient and a good idea to keep an eye on your ever growing shipboard charge account via the ship's interactive television system. We would like to see Celebrity add nightly Main Dining Room menus to the Interactive service. (Hey, there's an idea!) THE NOT SO GOOD: The same old complaint we have had for years. The Entertainment is just not very good. Having said this, keep in mind that Celebrity is ahead of the pack when it comes to their live venues. Celebrity is about the only major cruise line remaining with a live orchestra for their shows and they deserve props for this. BUT: Why does the live entertainment have to be aimed at those born in the 1930s and 1940s? With a massive baby boomer audience, would it really hurt the cruise directors to bring on some classic Rock bands or entertainment which is even a slight bit edgy or contemporary? For God sakes, the Rolling Stones are in their late sixties. Why can't the cruise lines bring on musical shows that appeal to those in their fifties and sixties? No offense to the "Lemon Squeezies" acapella group, but how many time to we have to listen to that type of music during a 14 night cruise? And are Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons still relevant? A guy can only take so much BAD BROADWAY in one week. There is an abundance of talent shows invading television including The Voice, America's Got Talent, X-Factor and Idol. In light of their huge popularity, surely the cruise lines have an entire new stable of acts to employ. Imagine performing music for other than the "nearly dead". Not every act can win first place. Plenty of talented kids would fit right into the showrooms at sea. And those my friends are the only complaints we have. Overall, it was another amazing cruise on Celebrity. Now that we know not fear long ocean crossings, we are booked on a 15 night Celebrity cruise to Hawaii from San Diego on the Century. Yes we know it's not a Solstice Class ship but we enjoy smaller, classy vessels. After all, we better book them while they are still around, right? Thanks Celebrity for another relaxing experience aboard our home away from home at sea! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Our crossing on the Queen Mary 2 proved to be one of the loveliest travel experiences my partner and I have had - and we travel a lot, to destinations both traditional and off the beaten path. Critics (and Cunard seems to attract a very ... Read More
Our crossing on the Queen Mary 2 proved to be one of the loveliest travel experiences my partner and I have had - and we travel a lot, to destinations both traditional and off the beaten path. Critics (and Cunard seems to attract a very steady stream of customers who are both repeat visitors and fiercely critical!) may carp, but in our seven days, we had consistently good to excellent service, food that regularly met or exceeded our high expectations, and activities that were on the whole highly enjoyable. We traveled Britannia Club and will plan to do so again. The dining plan is the main attraction - open seating at the same table for all three meals, additional a la carte choices on the menu, and the same servers throughout. We lucked into a very congenial table for eight, and we really enjoyed the cosier atmosphere and more personal service in BC (we ate a couple of meals in the main Britannia room as well - fine, but not as polished). The additional menu choices (especially the excellent scallops) were much appreciated, as were the dramatic tableside dessert flambes. Highlights of the food included first-rate fish and seafood, and very good and unusual starters (in portions small enough one needn't feel guilty about have two - or more!). Soups were a disappointment, generally, and only once was there something we had to send back (tough, dry calve's liver). We also really enjoyed our AA cabin up on Deck Twelve - we were directly adjacent to the Pavilion Pool and loved being able to slip out for a late-night swim (and, to allay a fear I'd had based on the deck plan - there was no additional noise that we noticed for being so close the pool). Cabin service was flawless - we made good use of the excellent quality (and not wildly expensive by hotel standards) laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services, facilitated by our cheerful steward, and we were amused by our daily towel animals. Heck, we even enjoyed our embarkation bottle of the much-maligned Pol Acker bubbly. Our crossing was smooth but foggy and so not all that conducive to deck time - still, it was wonderful to take a long daily constitutional on the Promenade Deck. Indoors, we found the Canyon Ranch spa both a haven and, with daily passes for the duration of the trip, rather a bargain. Only a morning or two were crowded, and we loved the thalassotherapy pool and the beautiful and supremely comfortable relaxation lounge. We each had an excellent massage from a first-rate therapist. Given shoreside Canyon Ranch prices, this feature on QM2 is an amazing value. We took advantage of only a few organized activities, but greatly enjoyed the wine tasting (excellent choices, and very interesting to hear from the sommeliers), trivia quizzes in the Golden Lion, and watching the dancing nightly (and some afternoons - tea dances were enormous fun) in the Queens Room. Since I don't want to give the impression that I'm without a single criticism, I will say that one of the two productions shows, "Hit Me with a Hot Note," was tired and seemed out of place (loud, paceless, and generally pointless). The other, "Apassionata," was better, but neither were as good as the welcome and farewell shows. The former, especially, which featured the best dancing and costumes we saw, set our expectations rather too high. Specialty entertainers were variable - soprano Annette Wardell rather too pleased with herself (and iffy on her high notes), all-around entertainer David Copperfield (NOT the magician!) actually great, if highly cheesy, fun, and a good piano/cello duo ruined, for me, by poor miking. I'll close with a couple of thoughts for first-time crossers, based on things that enlivened our trip: - Embark early. We got to S'ton at 11:00 and were on board by just past noon, embarking just after the Grills passengers. Getting there before the crowds was a great choice, although the staff otside the terminal were surprisingly unaware of even the basics of the procedures involved (especially in dropping luggage to be x-rayed). The stateroom was ready, and we dropped our things and immediately started exploring. We avoided the Kings Court and had a very good lunch in the Golden Lion - quiet, cosy, and a nice start to the week. - As noted, if it's to your taste, take full advantage of the spa. - Some features, such as the Commodore Club with its excellent cocktails and peerless views, are notably quieter at the start of the trip, before they're "discovered". Make yourself a regular early on for best service! - If you want to avoid crowds (which personally we rarely found an issue), take advantage of popular features at off hours. We had the Pavilion Pool to ourselves late at night, and even the Kings Court can be a serene place to enjoy a pre-breakfast coffee at 6:30 a.m. The Winter Garden is often a pleasant getaway, and the Chart Room - packed pre-dinner - is a great spot for a mid-afternoon cocktail. - If you're disembarking in New York, don't worry about transport - we grabbed a cab immediately on exit and paid far less than for a car service to our midtown hotel. Also, if lines at immigration seem long, grab a porter - they were taking their passengers to an expedited line that moved quickly and efficiently. Worth it for the tip! Most of all - make the trip your own. Ignore the moaners and occasional bores (especially of the "well, it's not the QE2/last year the lobster tails were bigger/my steward doesn't scrub the bathroom on his knees" sort!). Explore the ship, meet some of your fellow travelers, and, above all, enjoy the too-rare opportunity to have seven days of time entirely at your own disposal. 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Sail Date June 2012
We are Elite members with Celebrity in our fifties and retired so suffice it to say we feel this cruise line is the best match for our interests and demographic. But this cruise left us wondering if perhaps Celebrity missed the mark. This ... Read More
We are Elite members with Celebrity in our fifties and retired so suffice it to say we feel this cruise line is the best match for our interests and demographic. But this cruise left us wondering if perhaps Celebrity missed the mark. This was our first T/A, and we had high expectations given we had also not been on an S-class ship before. Yes, she is beautiful ship but we never got that feeling that she was "ours" for the 13 days. We didn't care for the flow of the ship, especially around the elevators which we had to wait for many minutes no matter when we used them. Why a large ship would only have 2 elevator areas was poor planning. The flow was also a factor on all the upper decks. We really like to be able to go to the buffet on the same deck as the pools as on the M-class ships. Having to go up a deck was a pain. The Aqua Spa cafe is great but it is very poorly placed. There is little room for people to eat and there are constantly people trying to get through that area on the way to the spa -- again poor planning. We gave up eating there. Instead we went to the Bistro on Five which we loved -- great food, lots of space, quiet and lovely views so it was well worth the $5 upcharge to us. Be sure to go on embarkation day -- a real sanctuary away from the masses at the buffet. Stateroom and its Perks -- As many have said, the staterooms are fabulous. The bathroom is roomy with plenty of storage space -- really lovely. We upgraded to an Aqua Spa room for very little, but would not do that again for many reasons. Yes, the shower head is nice but after all it is just a showerhead. Yes the towels and robes are better, and you get 2 bottles of water daily. But the drawback for us was the placement of these spa rooms. They are right under the pool deck so we had furniture being dragged overhead that started at 7AM every morning and high heels late at night. An easy fix would be to switch deck 11 and 12 but no one has done that yet. We were looking forward to dining in Blu, but that turned out to be a huge disappointment. The atmosphere is lovely and the assistant matre d' does a fine job. But the food choices are very odd. Many times, the 4 of us found nothing we wanted on the menu. So we succumb to going to the 4 Specialty restaurants, which were absolutely amazing, but added more than $100 to each account. Breakfast in Blu was wonderful. We also went to the main dining room 3 times to avoid going to Blu and had a good meal, although the service was mediocre -- maybe because we hadn't made a connection with a waiter. It was also very loud and crowded in the MDR on the lower level. We were also looking forward to using the spa without a fee, but that proved to be much more easily said than done. Because the weather was poor, the outdoor decks were almost empty and everyone came inside. The spa was packed every day. Some who had bought the spa package were understandably angry that they could never get one of the amazing heated chairs; 9 for 3000 passengers are not enough. The spa staff didn't enforce the quiet zone in the spa and some staff members even came in to talk to clients, ruining the spa experience. It was certainly not a reason to get a Spa stateroom again for us. The stateroom has little drawer space and so I had to climb up onto the bed to get golf shirts etc from the large space above the bed. I can't imagine older passengers doing that. It would have been simple to have the closet like the M-class closets that work -- half hanging and half bank of drawers. The balcony was large with chaise loungers but we never got a chance to use them because it was too cold or windy or raining with spray from large waves that kept the chairs soaked. Staterooms -- 4, because of the lack of drawers as well as noise from above. Public Areas -- Again, a series of hits and misses. We are dancers and there is a great dance floor upstairs on Deck 14 but was almost never used. Instead the live entertainment was shoved into the space at the bottom of the grand staircase where pillars caused dancing to be difficult and where people continually walked through to get to guest relations. People who came down the staircase walked into folks dancing; just a plain bad decision. Then there was the glass blowing which was awesome as were the glass blower guys. It was too bad the weather was bad. We froze up there trying to enjoy it. The lawn area is nice I guess, and we did play bocce ball once but again with bad weather this entire deck was lost space. The flow on this deck is poor as well, going upstairs and down to get to elevators. The pool area is beautiful and on a hot day (we didn't get any) it would have been great. The theatre is a wonderful space and I was so glad to see the tables gone and replaced by clever cup holders so you can actually walk down the aisle. The ceiling is horribly painted and again is such an easy fix. The Internet Cafe was so crowded one often had to wait 30 minutes to get a computer. Yet, the space called "Earth" was never used and could have housed a second Internet area. You would have thought that Celebrity would have realized years ago the need for much larger Internet space. The Spa Relaxation room under it is a very nice area which we used every day. I was glad many guests didn't find it. The gym was very crowded and wait time for machines was up to 30 minutes. Perhaps that was also because of the weather. The martini bar was a big hit and you must go just to see the bartender do his multi pour tricks. Public Areas -- a 3, because the beauty and variety was there but the functionality was missing. Entertainment: So we all know Celebrity isn't NCL and expect less than stellar Entertainment. I felt badly for the ship's singers and dancers who were very good -- better than almost all other troupes we've come across but the material they had to perform was cheesy, old, an uninspiring. We are booked on 3 more cruises this year so we simply won't bother going to the theatre for them. The comedian was awesome but all the rest very ho hum. The Brits seemed to like the singer but she was self-serving and relied more on song choice than her actual talent. The ventriloquist -- what can I say -- a ventriloquist on a cruise ship -- definitely a miss. We were not wowed once. Even the "strength act" was just OK, yet the two were very talented. It was the material they were given that was of poor quality. Of the 13 days, only the comedian was worth going to. Elite Member: This was our first cruise as Elite members and we were very glad we had worked hard at becoming "Elites." The perks were fabulous! We really appreciated the free Internet minutes and used all. We were able to take smaller luggage with us knowing that laundry would be done for free. Priority embarkation and disembarkation at ports was super and did make a difference especially in Le Havre when we got off the ship within 5 minutes of its being cleared allowing us to have a 12 hour private tour of the D Day beaches. The free cocktail hours from 5 -- 7 was wonderful. The staff worked very hard at making sure drinks flowed non-stop and the serving of appetizers never stopped. It was a highlight of the cruise for us. The only poor part was the Captain's Club hostess was overwhelmed by the number of Elite members and she coped very poorly. She never knew anyone's names. Yes there were lots of us but she did have almost 2 weeks. The line up to get into the Cocktail Party was very long and unnecessary. All they had to do was open the far doors and have 2 lines -- such a simple fix. With over 700 CC Elite members why there was no live entertainment there was odd -- to me it was an obvious choice. Elite Member Status -- a big 5. Cruise Director/Passengers: Is it the cruise director who decides where things are located? If so, she missed the mark. She was never visible except at the shows. Why did she feel she had to reread and retell the exact same information as was in the Daily bulletin on the announcements? Yes the captain's part was somewhat interesting, but it sounded as if she just needed to appear useful. Her staff was marvelous especially Maria who could get chilled, wind-blown passengers to participate. The game shows were good, but the British fellow running them was very condescending. The mix of passengers on the ship was one we will try to avoid. It was just too formal and "entitiled" for us. There were several people who wouldn't move to the back of the elevator. Even after the excuse me they wouldn't move and with a little nudge and gentle push they got indignant. Was it the T/A cruise phenomenon, was it the arriving at Southampton part? We couldn't figure that out and may do another T/A that ends in Miami just to try it again although a T/A will certainly not be high on our cruise list. This aspect was a low 3. (Sorry Maria -- you were awesome!) Ports: One reason we chose this cruise was going to Ireland -- so this was a real let down. Then to replace Ireland with the sad city of Coruna, Spain on a holiday with protesters parading down the main street -- well -- bad choice. BTW The Azores are beautiful and we would go back there. Le Havre -- horrible place -- make sure you plan not to tour around it. Honfleur, Deauville, Arromanches -- anything but Le Havre. We got to the Canadian and British beaches and cemetaries so that was fantastic and for that reason alone we give the Ports a 4. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Celebrity seems to have perfected these processes and again this proved to be the case. Both were so smooth. In fact, we had a transfer bus arranged for us in Southampton. Allowing for customs, lines, etc, it was to arrive for an 8AM pick up. Then a couple of days before Southampton, Immigration had passengers come to get their passports stamped on board but never explained what that would mean at the pier. What it meant was unbeknownst to any passenger, we were simply able to walk off -- no stopping -- no checks nothing. So we had to wait outside for almost an hour because we were that early. Again, it was such an easy fix to just communicate with passengers what disembarkation would look like and we could have easily called the bus company for an earlier pick up. So what should have been a hit turned into a miss. Too bad, but I guess we should still give this one a 5. Food: We didn't have a bad meal and the experiences at QSine and the Tuscan Grill were wonderful and delicious. We asked for a cheese plate with crackers to be brought to our stateroom daily at 4:30 and got 4 tiny slices of cheddar and 2 packages of soda biscuits -- memorable but for the wrong reasons. The dessert menu features far too many cheap ice cream choices that you can get upstairs anyway and the other miss was salads. Other than the Specialty restaurants, including the wonderful Bistro on Five, we didn't have a memorable meal ever but everything was good. I guess that means a 4. It was a cruise of hits and misses that we won't be promoting to others. But the Eclipse is a lovely ship that we may go on again. We seem to prefer the M class ships and cruises that are more port intensive with a friendlier passenger mix. We were sure the brand new Eclipse and S class ship would surpass our expectations but the Constellation still ranks first with us. We are looking forward to our 2 weeks on the refurbished Summit in November. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Trans-Atlantic cruise on HAL Eurodam, April 14 -- 27, 2012 Ft.Lauderdale, Madeira, Malaga, Alicante to Rome. Our first cruise with Eurodam and Holland American Line has been, in many ways, most pleasant. We love to cruise, and have ... Read More
Trans-Atlantic cruise on HAL Eurodam, April 14 -- 27, 2012 Ft.Lauderdale, Madeira, Malaga, Alicante to Rome. Our first cruise with Eurodam and Holland American Line has been, in many ways, most pleasant. We love to cruise, and have been on more than 60 different cruises, and this has been one of the very best. Holland American Line has got a new friend in us. For all of you who are "money wise" and looking for a good deal - This is it! Absolutely very good value at an affordable price. Compared to other cruiselines, there was champagne, vip treatment, gooseliver and caviar - at the price of hamburgers, spagetti and beer. Real value for money -- can't be better ! Eurodam is a happy ship, the way that the crew and staff are very nice and friendly (mostly Indonesians and Filipinos), well trained and always polite. Often they remember our names, and talk to us as friends. We appreciated the friendly atmosphere; a ship with a nice, smiling and caring crew ! The ship (from 2008) was immaculate; very clean and well maintained. No rustspots, and maintenance was on-going daily. The fresh orchids on all the tables at Lido Buffet, fresh flowers in the dining rooms and real plants everywhere impressed us very much. Internet connection, which is normally very slow and expensive on other cruiselines, has been relatively faster on Eurodam. Actually the most speedy internet of all ships we have sailed on so far. It is also very good that we get a summary of use after each time we log out. The fact that we got wifi in our stateroom was a big plus. Rembrandt Main Dining room - lunch and dinners were always good and elegantly presented. A step ahead as compared to most cruiseships. The select dining system which HAL call "As You Wish - seating plan" was functioned very well, as they had 2 hoststations, and waiters that showed you to your table all the time. We where never in line more than 1 minute. Most of the time, no line at all. Lido Buffet restaurant and the food "activities" by the pool side have been some of the best we have experienced on a cruise ship. There is a great variety and tasteful food, and always nice presentation. They also served freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast at no extra cost, and had maybe 10 different kind of juices. We always enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the Lido. The sous chef even went out of his way to please his Filipino guests by offering them a special sauce from the Philippines to accompany the roasted baby pork we had for lunch on the last sea day. Tamarind was a positive surprise. Both lunch and dinner were very tasteful, with wonderful dishes. Very friendly and knowledgeable servers, and an elegant Asian-inspired interior/ambience. Dimsum lunch is free of charge, and dinner had a charge of $15, which was well worth the price. Will absolutely recommend to try this modern Asian contemporary cuisine. The best Asian food we have had the pleasure of tasting on a cruiseship. The Pinnacle Grill restaurant feels upscale, with its sophisticated decor and the Bulgari china. To be the signature restaurant on Holland America, the food and service has potential to be even better. The waiter refused to give me a small taste of lobster instead of appetizer, soup and salad. He also saw that the beef was more done than the ordered medium, but did not offer to change it. When we ordered a plate of cheese to share, he asked if we wanted cheese instead og dessert. No - we wanted both, to his surprise. The sweets were delicious all over the ship. The Le Cirque menu at the Pinnacle Grill was better than the regular menu. Good, yes -- but it was missing something to make it fantastic. It would not take that much to heighten the experience. Easy and simple things like maybe a hot towel before the meal. We missed warm rolls/bread and maybe a sorbet before the main course, and a cheese trolley in The Pinnacle Grill. These small things will not cost much in money and effort. The Pinnacle dinner menu had a price of $25, which is a bit less than most specialty signature restaurants on cruiseships. The Le Cirque menu was a once a week event at a price of $39. As Tamarind and Pinnacle are popular, they will be fully booked early, therefore consider booking a night at the specialty restaurants online, before leaving for your cruise. We liked having had the chance to visit the galley twice (one tour and one galley buffet). Every evening we were able to listen and dance to ballroom music at the Ocean bar. Shows and entertainment were good. A lot of activities (they had a lounge devoted to cooking classes and demo) and resource persons were interesting. We joined the dance lessons (although they could have been longer than 30 minutes). Enjoyable crew shows as well. Cabin was nice. We had an outside view on deck 4 (Cabin 4130). We discovered before the cruise that this had catogary "total obstructed view" and we where a bit disappointed until we entered the cabin. We had a view of the lifeboat (as all outside cabin in the middle of the boat, on this deck has.) But it was not at all "totally obstructed," maybe 50% or less. That is what other cruiseline call "partly obstructed view". Our window was not just a port hole but was a whole glass wall. The cabin was roomy, very clean, had a bathtub, new flatscreen TV, high enough bed, so it is easy to put even the largest suitcase under, as stow away. We where offered a balcony cabin, on the sunny south side, at an additional price of $ 1.000. We had a look, but chose to stay in our assigned cabin. Small details like garbage bins in the cabins with possibility for paper recirculation are well thought off. Shampoo, soap and lotion of an exclusive brand. Lights in the large hanging cabinets, and a few drawers, would have been nice, but thats all we missed. We are looking forward to sail with HAL again -- most likely in the next trans-Atlantic or repositioning cruise. We have found another favorite cruiseline in Holland American Line. Thank you for a wonderful cruise, on a ship with a nice, smiling and caring crew ! See you again ! Best regards, Maria and Morten of Norway Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Almost everything about the cruise was wonderful, but the cabin itself was one of the worst ever... JUST the cabin was awful, not the bath which was excellent. First of all, the cabins are so narrow that, with the beds arranged as they ... Read More
Almost everything about the cruise was wonderful, but the cabin itself was one of the worst ever... JUST the cabin was awful, not the bath which was excellent. First of all, the cabins are so narrow that, with the beds arranged as they are, it is very difficult to get from one end of the cabin to the other. One literally has to shuffle to pass the bed - VERY poor design, all in an attempt to cram in as many balcony cabins as possible. And, don't try to access the very small closet without lots of trouble, since the closet is only inches from the side of the bed. And if your partner is sleeping, forget it because he/she will be awakened as you fumble to gain access to the closet. And, who was the genius who put the largest storage over the bed head. Does one stand on the bed for full access, or not use that precious space, or travel with limited clothing? Really poor design.... All cabin designers should be forced to spend 2 weeks or longer in the cabins that they design and fit, and not pay them until they go through what we deal with. I don't need more space, as I spend little time in the cabin except to sleep and dress... What I do need is a design fit for humans; maybe get the bathroom designer to do the cabins, as the bath designs are wonderful.... Note: Cadiz, Spain is one of the BEST ports ever. It has not been used much in the past, but I promise that you will love, love, love the city... Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We prefer HAL and were new to the Ryndam, chose this cruise because we wanted to be in England early May. I would not choose the spa room category again, thought it was a waste of money, a water feature took up a lot of space and splashed ... Read More
We prefer HAL and were new to the Ryndam, chose this cruise because we wanted to be in England early May. I would not choose the spa room category again, thought it was a waste of money, a water feature took up a lot of space and splashed our "stuff" on the desk area. We normally go for verandah but this ship goes from ocean view to suite category and a huge price difference. Our 21 day voyage began with a stop in the Bahamas and then off to Madeira we thought. To miss a bad storm we headed south of the Canary Islands and up the inside passage, well worth missing Funchal, we were a small ship,been in storms. Canary's were amazing, Lanzarotte, our second stop was volcanic and was like a moonscape, we will return. Perhaps same time next year. The ports of Cadiz, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, St Malo and Cherbourge, France and Zeebrugge, Belgium were very special too. We took ships tour in Cadiz, to Jerez de la Fronterra, mainly because it was Eater Sunday and the city was closed-up. Lisbon we had toured previously so we chose to walk to the Fortress. Vigo is Vigo, we had toured there before, spent our time window shopping. St Malo is a walled city with lots of charm, tendered out here and again walked the walls. Seeped in history. Belgium is almost perfection, having toured Bruges, we chose a ship's tour to Ghent, included a canal tour, brilliant educated guides, perhaps best ever. Embarkation and Dover disembarkation ran very smoothly, Sunday morning, May 1 after the Royal Wedding weekend, we were in Heathrow before 10 a.m. for the flight home. Of course it's a very short run across the Channel from Belgium. This was our 4th transatlantic, last year on Norwegian Sun and on the inaugural Noordam voyage to Rome. In 1967 we were on the old Constitution to Gibralter in a hurricane, navy duty station transfer, it took a lot of courage to get back on a ship but it has been well worth the effort. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then ... Read More
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then offer 20 bars and nearly as many restaurants in a completely new and innovative design the challenges raise their heads high. This is why the experience we completed yesterday on the Norwegian EPIC was so spectacular. Were there issues? Of course. Were they minor? Some yes, some a little more perturbing. Were they fixable? Absolutely, with minimal effort. We chose the Spa Suite as the least expensive entry-point which gave us access to the entire ship including the Courtyard, the Spa thermal suite, the Epic Club Lounge and the Epic Club itself, as well as suite-oriented amenities such as Posh. The services of a Concierge and a Butler made the experience even more enjoyable. The suite is beautiful. Neutral and muted tones with river-rock wall treatments, a large shower, in-suite jacuzzi tub looking over the ocean, and oodles of storage space (so much that we didn't even start to use 2/3 of it). We boarded the ship with the assistance of Karan, our concierge...and within 10 minutes of clearing security, were on the ship and in our cabin. The security lines at Southampton were such that a spa experience was really needed by this time.... 1.5 hours in line waiting to get through the metal detectors/x-ray. The ship is enormous, with niches and atria, and wavy walls to balance out the sheer size of the vessel. Deck 5 houses the art gallery, internet cafe, Le Bistro, Reception, and the Atrium Cafe. This space may be redesigned eventually, it was underutilized and perhaps this is where the library will eventually be installed. On a related note, its unfortunate the Park West is still operating this gallery, their customer service is nowhere near as good as NCL's. Further back on deck 5 is Taste, one of the main dining rooms on the ship. Escalators take you up to the casino on deck 6, which is where we spent most of our time (and money). We believe (firmly! ;) ) that the casino was trying to recoup the entire cost of the ship's construction from us, on this 7 day sailing and we helped them out as best we could. We really liked the atrium with chandelier, and although I've liked the Chihuly glass on the Jewel-class ships, I preferred the 3 level atrium on EPIC. Ice Bar was a fun experience, and we were pleased to see Canadian IceWine featuring prominently in one of the included drink options. There were certainly some ongoing construction issues throughout the ship (we had no television for a few days, and no telephone with which to report it!) but we didn't let that detract us from the enjoyment of our cruise. As usual, and to our expectations the crew and staff were superlative. From the unflinching commitment to customer service that Klaus instills in his staff, through the execution of this as exhibited by team-members all over the ship. We've only taken a single non-NCL cruise (22 days on Sapphire Princess) and although we felt they treated us as valued customers, on NCL we have regularly felt as though we were family, and that we were returning to a second home. An example? The Epic Club is a dining room reserved for the Suites, Courtyard Villas, and certain designated guests...probably available to about 10% of the ship....that's 300 - 400 people. Maria, the hostess, greeted everyone we saw by name starting at day 2. To me this shows a genuine interest in people, and her bright smile seems to confirm it. She was a highlight of our cruise, and a great way to start each morning. For those who propose that the Daily Service Charge negatively impacts the crew's incentive to try harder....I present Maria as an example of how that does not hold true...and she's not the only one, Ceceelio our room steward was excellent, and Cris our Butler was always at hand should we need something. Bravo NCL. With so many potential hurdles, you launched a wonderful and innovative ship where the only remaining issues are easily solvable, and you populated it with the best staff we've seen at sea. Congratulations, we can't wait to sail her again next year! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010

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