363 Stockholm Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was our second time sailing with Oceania (the other in 2005 Barcelona to Istanbul). We like the smaller ships (less than 700 passengers) and the port intensive itineraries of Oceania. The ships are very nicely appointed and have a ... Read More
This was our second time sailing with Oceania (the other in 2005 Barcelona to Istanbul). We like the smaller ships (less than 700 passengers) and the port intensive itineraries of Oceania. The ships are very nicely appointed and have a "country club casual" ambience. No need to pack all that formal wear. Although staterooms are known to be on the smallish side, they are very well laid out and comfortable. In 2005 we had Concierge Level balcony Stateroom which was very nice, however on this cruise opted for the somewhat larger penthouse suite which had a bathtub and came with butler service. Our butler was extremely pleasant and efficient but did not find having a butler significantly contributed to our enjoyment of the cruise. Although I was completely satisfied with the concierge level stateroom, my husband enjoyed the extra space of the penthouse suite especially as was 14 day cruise. Dining on Oceania was wonderful experience. Maybe not quite ***** but certainly much better than many of the larger cruise lines. We generally dined in the main Dining Room - no set seatings so could dine when you pleased. Had the option of dining alone, with group or to be placed at an open table. Many of the tables were for 2 but well positioned so could have a private meal but were at the same time conducive to meeting others. Particularly enjoyed the speciality Italian restaurant Toscana and dined there on a number of occasions. Polo Grill was also nice but menu limited to fairly standard steaks & chops. For breakfast we generally ordered room service & ate on our balcony or had croissants & coffee up in the Horizon Lounge (very quiet). We are not buffet type people and generally avoided the buffet except to pick up a few appies to enjoy in our stateroom. Unlike other cruise lines, Oceania do allow you bring your own liquor aboard to consume in your stateroom. Can also bring your own wine to dining room but charged a corkage charge so not worth extra cost. Normally we would order bottles of wine with dinner, and what was not finished was stored by the wine steward for the next day. Without set seating, you did not always have the same service staff. However being a smaller ship and longer cruise we did get to know a number of the staff. Service was exceptional and friendly. Where Oceania falls down is on entertainment and shore excursions. Entertainment - The house orchestras were OK but the headlined acts were so so bad. I generally would walk out but my husband would stay because they were not only bad but they were terrible! One of the entertainers on our Baltic cruise was the same as on our Mediterranean cruise in 2005. Oceania is adult oriented and do not have children's/teen programs. Not a "party boat". Shore excursions: Grossly overpriced and Oceania have the habit of canceling excursions at the last minute if they don't have enough people signed up. Excursion desk staff, although pleasant, were unable/unwilling to provide port information other than related to their tour. Generally a local tourist official would board when we got into port but a bit late for advance planning. For St. Petersburg , Oceania gave us the impression that it was very difficult to get a visitors Visa for Russia and it would not be possible to get off the boat without taking one of their excursions. Fortunately at the last minute we learnt this was not the case & booked 3 day tour with Alla Tours which was fabulous. Best advice is to try and pre-arrange own tours or get a good guide and do it on your own. With this last cruise, had a few problems pre-cruise with our flight deviations. Our itineraries were different as husband was returning a week later from UK. We received our flight confirmations from Oceania and all seemed OK as we had requested until we called the airlines to book our seat assignments. Evidently my husband's reservation had been changed & he was scheduled to fly out to Stockholm a day later than me. Took over a week to rectify. Would I sail again with Oceania - probably yes but am a bit hesitant because I enjoy going to the evening show as part of the cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Background Information We are a couple in our mid-fifties. We have been on 15 cruises, but only the last three have been without the kids. This was our first luxury cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew SAS business ... Read More
Background Information We are a couple in our mid-fifties. We have been on 15 cruises, but only the last three have been without the kids. This was our first luxury cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew SAS business class to Stockholm. Crystal had a good deal on an upgrade and it was well worth the extra money to fly business class. The flight and taxi ride to the hotel went very smoothly. In Stockholm, make sure you take a taxi that says Taxi Stockholm and has a large green leaf painted on the side. There are many other taxis with similar names and they will overcharge you. Hotel and Embarkation We got to Stockholm a day before we could board the Symphony and stayed at the Sheraton. We arrived at the Sheraton at 9:30am and were very pleased that they had a room ready for us. The Sheraton is in an excellent location, walking distance from many interesting places. We had a wonderful day sightseeing and sampling great foods and pastries and managed to stay up until 10:00 pm. The next day, we checked out of the hotel around noon and took a cab to the Crystal Symphony, since I had read on Cruise Critic that you could usually check in at noon and have a champagne lunch. Check-in and boarding were quick and efficient. We checked our hand luggage and had a lovely champagne lunch. The many staff were efficient and gracious. Several people welcomed us back, which was odd, since this was our first Crystal cruise. Maybe they thought since we knew you could board early, we had cruised Crystal before. Stateroom Our cabin was small, but adequate. There was very good storage space and the bed was comfortable. Dining The food in the main dining room was very good. The appetizers were excellent. We really enjoyed Silk Road and Prego. We had no trouble getting all the reservations we wanted in either restaurant and the food and service were superb. We enjoyed the breakfasts in the Lido. There was a nice selection and everything was fresh and well prepared, and this was definitely the best buffet breakfast we've had on a ship. The Bistro was one of my favorite places on the ship. They have excellent coffees, teas, beer and wine. There is a good selection of snacks, both savory and sweet. The service was excellent and the snacks were constantly replenished. I wished that The Bistro had longer hours. We enjoyed The Mozart tea. The waiters were dressed up in costume and there were musicians playing Mozart as well as other classical pieces. They served small sandwiches and pastries, which were quite good. Activities There were only two sea days, so we didn't have enough time to attend many of the activities on board. We really enjoyed the enrichment lectures by Marc Ginsburg and the wonderful historical storyteller, Dr. Jay Wolff. Service The service in the Lido for breakfast was outstanding. There were many staff to help carry our trays and refill our coffee. They went out of their way to remember our names and what we liked to eat. The waiters even ordered my husband's waffle for him and brought it to the table when ready. The service at Silk Road and Prego was also outstanding. However, our regular waiter and assistant waiter were good, but did nothing to make them stand out from good waiters on other cruises. Our room stewardess also did a good job, but nothing special. We had to ask to get our robes since by the second day, there were only empty robe hangers in the closet. We certainly got anything we asked for promptly, and it was nice that crystal didn't keep trying to sell us things. In fact, the stores on the ship closed for good before we had a chance to buy everything we wanted. They didn't open after the 10:00 pm sailaway from Rostock. The next morning we were docked in Copenhagen for an overnight stay before we had to disembark the following morning. Entertainment The ship's singers, dancers and band were excellent. There were a lot of songs from musicals, which I enjoyed very much. My husband didn't enjoy them as much but that was because of the type of music, not the caliber of the performers. The dance couple on board, Beverly Durrant and Chris Curtis, were excellent and really fun to watch. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to take any of their dance lessons. There was a British singer, Robert Meadmore, who sang songs from musicals and had an excellent voice. Comedian/Singer Kenny Smiles was very funny. There was a pianist, Naki Ataman, who performed this hour-long piece that included music from 19 different countries around the world, and used "Around the World in 80 Days" as a transition piece. He was accompanied by the bass player and drummer from the band. A London musical show singer Jacqueline Scott was good. She could play piano as well as sing. She sang show tunes, the Minute Waltz, a medley of Beatles songs. The Liars' Club was fun. The panel included the ship's rabbi, monsignor, Dr. Jay Wolff, and comedian, Kenny Smiles. The audience formed teams. Each panelist gave a different definition for each of 4 words. Each panelist also elaborated with stories and jokes. It was funny and entertaining. Port & Shore Excursions The cruise had a wonderful itinerary. It began with an overnight stay in Stockholm, followed by a day at sea, then a two-night stay in St. Petersburg, a day in Helsinki, a day at sea, a day in Gdansk, a day in Rostock and an overnight stay in Copenhagen. Free shuttle buses: Crystal provided free shuttle buses from the ship to Stockholm, Helsinki, Gydnia, and Copenhagen. In Germany, Crystal provided free shuttle buses to both Warnemunde and Rostock, since our ship docked in Rostock, rather than the more commonly used port, Warnemunde. We enjoyed seeing Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen on our own. We had good guidebooks and maps and it was nice to see what we wanted to see at our own pace. The highlight of the cruise was St. Petersburg. We had booked a private tour with Anastasia Tours for just my husband and me. (FYI, When we boarded the ship for the last time before sailaway to St. Petersburg, Crystal took our passports. They returned them the next day with one copy of the main page.) We were scheduled to meet our guide from Anastasia Tours at 9:30. We left the ship around 9:00 and had no trouble with passport control. There was a short line. They needed our passport, a copy of the main page of the passport, and our ticket from Anastasia Tours. They gave us a small, red laminated card that we had to turn back in before we got on the ship at the end of the day. I had made copies of our passport pictures for all three days, but they only asked for them on the first day. They did look at our passports and our Anastasia tickets all three days. The next two days, we got off the ship about 8:30 am, and there was no line and there were no problems. I don't know if the ships tours had already left, but there were no issues. Our guide, Natalya and driver Dimitri were excellent. Natalya spoke excellent English. She had an advanced degree in English from St.Petersburg University and taught there, as well as being a tour guide. She also loved St.Petersburg and knew the history in great detail. Her grandmother, who was still living in St. Petersburg, had been there during the siege and Natalya had many interesting stories to tell. Since it was just the three of us, we never had to wait in line. Natalya always moved us to the front of the line and we got in right away. Anastasia told me that this is perfectly acceptable procedure for groups of five and under. We even had priority embarkation to get on the hydrofoil and we were the only three passengers on our canal cruise. We got to see a lot in three days, and had two wonderful Russian meals and (at my request) a trip to a supermarket. It was like a very nice Walmart, huge with everything you could think of. There was a lot of fresh fish and more Vodka than I had ever seen in one place. I highly recommend Anastasia Tours. The price was very reasonable for such a great, three-day private tour. We took a ship's tour in Gdansk that basically provided bus transportation to Gdansk with a guide explaining things as we drove. We had two hours on our own in Gdansk. We asked the tour guide if we could be dropped off in Gdynia, spent about an hour in Gdynia and took the Crystal Shuttle bus back to the ship. We had done a lot of sightseeing by this point and wanted an easy day. Our ship docked in Rostock, not Warnemunde. I knew this ahead of time and it is much more difficult to take the train from the Port of Rostock than from Warnemunde. None of the ship's tours sounded that good go me. We had decided not to go to Berlin. We've never been there and we didn't want to spend 3 hours each way getting to Berlin and back to spend only 6 or 7 hours in such a great city. I was very happy when I discovered Friends of Dave Tours on Cruise Critic. Dave is American who has lived in Germany the past ten years. He is extremely knowledgeable about the area and was extremely helpful. He even went to the Port of Rostock to check it out ahead of time and contacted Crystal Cruises to find out their plan for shuttle buses. Dave arranged a wonderful tour to Wismar for us and another family. We took the Crystal shuttle bus to Rostock and Dave was waiting for us at the bus stop. We then embarked on a very interesting day in Germany. After a short walk around Rostock, we took the tram and then the train to Wismar. We were extremely glad to have Dave as our guide. It was by no means obvious what to do and where to go at the train station and Dave already had our tickets and was leading the way. After an hour's train ride to Wismar, he took us all around this wonderful city and told us all about the culture and history. He also took us to a 500 year old Brewery for an absolutely wonderful lunch. His rates are per person and are very reasonable. The price included the train tickets, lunch and drinks at an outdoor restaurant. His website is friendsofdavetours.com Disembarkation Crystal really excelled here. Our flight wasn't until 3:30 pm. We got off the ship about 9:45 am and Crystal bussed passengers with later flights to a very nice hotel with a hospitality lounge with pastries and drinks. The hotel, The Imperial, was right in the middle of downtown Copenhagen, so we could leave our luggage there and sightsee for a few hours. Depending on the time of your flight, Crystal either provided taxi vouchers for passengers to get to the airport or they provided a bus at 12:30 pm. I thought this was handled very well. Overall impressions Our first two days on the ship, several waiters welcomed us back or otherwise recognized us from previous cruises. It was pretty odd at first, since we had not been on a Crystal cruise before. We guessed that we looked a lot like another couple that had cruised with Crystal before or the staff were trained to "remember" passengers in order to make them feel special. The ship is beautiful and very clean. It was only about half full, so there was never a line and there were lots of helpful crew members. This was the best cruise we have taken although Crystal didn't meet quite meet my expectations. This may be because I have read for years about how wonderful Crystal is and perhaps my expectations were unrealistically high. We will most likely cruise with Crystal for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very ... Read More
Having sailed previously with Seabourn and Crystal, my husband and I expected Silversea would equal, if not surpass, our previous experiences. I'm sad to report we came away from our 10-day Baltic cruise disappointed and hungry. Very hungry. We decided to try Silversea after it was recommended to us by my parents who, in all other things, are reliably excellent judges of quality. In their defense, my parents (like many we met aboard the Silver Cloud) have never tried any of the other high-end cruise lines and, if your standard of comparison is the Carnival Funships, Silversea probably seems like the gold standard of luxury cruising. And some aspects of Silversea ARE pretty swishy. The service is excellent, as good as we've had on Crystal and Seabourn, and very friendly. There were none of the delightful, above-the-call-of-duty surprises we'd come to expect from Seabourn-no constant stream on yummy treats on the pool deck, no canapEs on the dock after a long day of sightseeing, nothing but the standard chocolates on the pillow at night, no trademark complimentary excursion-but the wait staff had memorized our names and preferred cocktails by Day 2, and our cabin stewardesses were most meticulous women I have ever met. The cabins were spacious and luxurious. (The walk-in closet was fitted-out with cherry built-ins and padded hangers, by far the nicest closet I've seen on a cruise ship.) The gym was truly impressive given the size of the ship, and it's location (top deck, forward) provided great views from the elliptical trainer. The box of Godiva chocolates we were given upon embarkation was very much appreciated. Best of all, was the pool deck, the nicest I've seen on any ship, truly superlative in both quality and layout. It became our very favorite place to while away sea days, even in the blustery north. The pool-side grill provided the tastiest food on the ship, the pool itself was generously heated (and the hot tubs actually HOT!) and deck stewards were quick to supply coffee drinks, wool blankets or anything else we requested. The real problem we had with Silversea is that we shouldn't have HAD any problems with Silversea—that's what luxury cruising is all about. And my husband and I are pretty good sports. We do our share of luxury travel, but we also do our share of "roughing-it," and aren't normally critical people. Enough was amiss with life aboard the Silver Cloud, though, that we started to Notice Things-and those things added up. We were able to see the humor in a lot of it (the free cocktails really helped with that) but there were definitely times we were Not Having Any Fun, and we were more that ready to get off when we at last disembarked in London. Our biggest complaint was with the food. The pool deck grill served fairly well-prepared basics and, throughout the ship, the pastries and baked goods were very nice, but the dining room was a disaster. I recall only two good meals in the dining room: a lunch with a very nice soup course and a halibut cooked in truffle oil, and a dinner that featured some kind of smoked reindeer carpaccio. Beyond that, the Dining Room cuisine was complicated but badly executed, and sometimes not even hot. (Sometimes not even WARM.) Moreover, service in the dining room was almost comically disorganized and really, really slow. At breakfast, I often waited 15 minutes for my beloved caffeinated beverage and another 30 minutes for eggs. Lunches took two hours, and dinners nearly three. I mean, I can "dine" with the best of 'em, but we spent huge stretches of time seated at a table with nothing in front of us-no bread, no drinks, and no hope of a satisfying meal. Overall, the food ranged from almost good to downright bad. We discovered the best dishes were the wellness options, which featured delicately prepared shellfish, fish, soups and some nice desserts. The problem with sticking to this menu was the very real specter of starvation. After a 64 calorie appetizer, a 186 calorie main, and a 119 calorie dessert (the calorie counts for wellness dishes were helpfully listed on the menus) we would bolt back to our cabin, salivating at the thought of our turn-down chocolates. La Terrazza, the ship's alternative dining venue, served good-but-not-great Italian food at dinner, pizza at lunch, and offered hearty but unimpressive breakfast and lunch buffets. Still, food quality in La Terrazza beat the Dining Room hands down and, for this reason, it was very popular and usually very crowded. The crowds were a real problem in the snug, galley-style buffet area because, believe me, in those quarters you do NOT want to be trapped between the 95-year-old lady and the chaffing dish when she decides she wants some hash browns. Some things just aren't worth dying for. Okay, enough about the food. It was bad. Moving on...the bathrooms were small, with only one sink and they were looking a little worse for wear, but the real issue was the toilets, which must have been manufactured by N.A.S.A. because every time one of them was flushed it sounded like a FREAKING ROCKET BEING LAUNCHED. If anyone along our line of plumbing flushed in the middle of the night, it literally woke us from a dead sleep. Most passengers seemed to abide by an unvoiced pact not to flush between midnight and 7AM, but it happened occasionally. Napping was never an option. Even more disturbing, the hallways twice smelled strongly of sewage while maintenance men with shop-vacs bustled about. I thought riots might start in the laundry room, which was unwisely outfitted with 5 Miele washers and 5 Miele condensing dryers. The controls on the Mieles were so complicated, most older passengers needed help just turning them on, and the condensing dryers literally took several hours to dry a single load. One of the two receptionists at the front desk was consistently snippy to the point of rudeness. We spent an entire day in Szczecin, Poland, home to the captain's wife and children. Unfortunately for those of us not married to Szczecinians, there was NOTHING to do in Szczecin beyond posing for photos with the giant fiberglass shark outside the town's nicest pub. Like most of our fellow passengers, we were back on the ship within an hour and spent the rest of the day reading on our deck chairs and watching the captain's kiddies frolic in the pool. As for the captain, he didn't bother to attend either of the cocktail parties he "hosted," which resulted in rumors he a) spoke no English or, alternatively, b) hated us all. The piano player was so bad that the cruise director, Judy, referred to him as "Poor Henry" in her announcements and twice encouraged us to go listen to him as he was "up there all alone." Judy was charming and British but was absolutely addicted to the sound of her voice over the ship's PA system and, according to those who attended her lecture on the final evening, shared entirely too much about her tragic relationship history. Afternoon tea was interrupted by "fashion shows" from the ship's boutique and H. Stern jewelry store, and you basically had to tackle someone to get a scone. Disembarkation in London Bridge was interesting but very disorganized. The Silver Cloud rafted up alongside the HMS Belfast and, after milling around in the reception area while we ostensibly waited for our luggage to be unloaded, passengers disembarked by walking across the Belfast and boarding a Port Authority launch, which dropped us off on the Westminster pier. I have no idea how some of the less-ambulatory passengers managed this, as there were lots of slippery ramps and steps on and off of ferries involved, and we STILL waited in the rain for 40 minutes for our luggage to appear. Silversea had assured us there wouldn't be any taxis available and encouraged everyone to buy pricey ship transfers or hire private cars. We were not the least bit surprised to see the long line of waiting taxis, though, and as we hopped in one of them and headed for the train station, we felt nothing but relief. And hunger. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Overall, both my wife and I enjoyed a comfortable and fascinating tour of the Baltic on this elegant and well appointed liner. We did however come to feel that Cunard is so preoccupied with turning a profit that the cruise experience was ... Read More
Overall, both my wife and I enjoyed a comfortable and fascinating tour of the Baltic on this elegant and well appointed liner. We did however come to feel that Cunard is so preoccupied with turning a profit that the cruise experience was cheapened for its guests, most of whom have already paid a premium price for their holiday. For example, on the final day of the voyage, my wife booked a 'relaxing head massage' at the Royal Spa that had been advertised at a price of $35. Throughout the massage, the masseuse politely but persistently tried to sell my wife beauty products that she neither wanted nor needed. The masseuse then presented my wife with a bill in excess of $50. To cut a long story short, my wife spoke to the manager and found that she'd been lied to. The price difference of $15 or so was less significant than the masseuse's determination to make money out a guest even if that meant lying. On a similar theme, I noticed bottled water being offered to guests at the assembly points for the shore excursions we took in St Petersburg during western Russia's heat wave. On closer inspection, it was clear that Cunard was in fact selling bottled water to guests at patently inflated prices. I neither needed nor expected water to be provided. Yet what I had taken as a thoughtful gesture towards guests who had paid about $200 per head for the day turned out to be yet another attempt to turn a quick profit. Likewise, while the daily programmes were immensely helpful, the travel advice was heavily skewed towards helping Cunard profit from on-board currency exchange. It didn't mention that many Scandinavian vendors accept the Euro, while Russian vendors accept the Euro or the US Dollar. Nor did it mention that in most cases, it is cheaper and more practical by far to use one of the various credit cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees. Purchasing six local currencies at on-board rates could make for an unnecessarily expensive holiday. Once again, Cunard plainly didn't have its guests' best interests at heart. We were also troubled by the fact that US Dollars were required for gambling in the on-board casino. We had assumed that 'cruise dollars' could be exchanged for chips or tokens as nothing in the pre-voyage documentation said otherwise. We gambled only rarely to avoid paying Cunard's inflated commission on US Dollars. I do appreciate that Cunard is a profit-making business. However, it is difficult to square the culture of class and elegance to which Cunard aspires with its persistent and often blatant chiselling at the wallets of guests. I have a number of other observations to make: • The gym has been very badly designed - the combination of low ceiling and large cardio machines meant that no man much above 6' in height could use anything other than the exercise bikes; • The free seminars offered by the gym staff began with some grains of good sense but quickly degenerated into boasting, scaremongering and pseudo-scientific sales pitches for individual consultations - because the gym staff were obliged to earn commissions, they seemed to have little time to look after gym-using guests, many of whom were overweight, frail or both, and using the gym inexpertly - as in the Royal Spa, gym staff were overwhelmingly focussed on their commission; • The atmosphere on the sun decks and in the Lido was spoiled for me by the use of pre-recorded, background music - this is tacky and not at all classy - in any case, if I'm relaxing in the sun, I don't want to be force-fed someone else's idea of pleasant music; • Our stateroom lacked the means for us to make tea or coffee, a major omission for what purports to be a classically British (albeit American-owned) liner - I appreciate that room service was available for a small fee, but I didn't want to have to ask someone else for something as basic as a cup of tea; • The acts hired in by Cunard as evening entertainment were generally excellent, particularly John Evans and CrazeeHorse. However, the Cunard in-house productions were generally dire, with the impressive exception of the dance showcase. While the dancers and musicians were certainly expert and the singers proficient, the musicals were without exception leaden, poorly written and wholly dependent on lazy clichEs - we quickly learned that a Cunard night in the theatre would be amateur hour. • We felt it unfortunate that the itinerary only allowed us about six hours in Oslo, a city boasting many unique attractions, compared to a full day in tiny Kristiansand and two full days in Copenhagen - whatever Cunard's reasons for this arrangement, P&O's Arcadia, which almost mirrored our itinerary, seemed to manage this issue better and find better berths. Overall, penny-pinching seriously compromised the Cunard experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We had already booked a Baltic Cruise with Oceania (whom we really enjoy) but then I started to compare the Regent package and we switched to a Voyager cruise in same time frame. We selected a Horizon C suite because of Business class air, ... Read More
We had already booked a Baltic Cruise with Oceania (whom we really enjoy) but then I started to compare the Regent package and we switched to a Voyager cruise in same time frame. We selected a Horizon C suite because of Business class air, butler service, and a large deck on the very aft of the ship. We were concerned about the vibrations, but the only time it really bothered us was the first night we spent in Stockholm -- they kept their generators on. At sea, it was no problem. We had excellent connections with Regent Air flying direct from Chicago to Stockholm on SAS (great) and from London to Chicago on United ( Fine). The embarkation was so easy and basically took place on board, not in the terminal. After a nice lunch in the Veranda ( our wonderful first meal with Regent) we then sat in the sun by the pool until our rooms were ready at 2:30. We were thrilled with the rooms and the deck and the view, Our malt scotch and Cabernet were in the suite with all the other extras we requested. The butler, Satke, was very reserved, but was a big help the entire cruise, Our stewardess was great and cheerful and the room always seemed nice.We did have a problem with a leaky shower but it was fixed. Also, I have to use a CPAP machine when I sleep and no outlet near the nightstand -- so each night we ran an extension cord. We ate most of our evening meals in Compass Rose -- always had a good free wine selection. If you did not like the offering that night, we would get one from an earlier night. Never had problem getting a table that we wanted -- sometimes just the two of us and sometimes with new friends. We really enjoyed one evening at Prime 7, but had to cancel our dinner at Signature due to inclement weather and stomach!! We had an excellent dinner in our room and also a party in a neighbors room with Mio a fantastic Magician. Voyager was great for making new friends and the block party the first night was a wonderful help. By the way, the cruise director, Lorraine W was a great leader. Although the entertainment was limited, we always enjoyed our evenings . We were very pleased with the free excursions in each port. Never overly crowded. We paid supplements for some excursions. Biggest disappointment was not being able to stop at Tallinn Estonia, but it was a wise safety decision by our friendly and competent captain. The service from start to finish was fabulous, no matter where we were. Also we loved the coffee shop and the ability to use the nice coffee machines most anytime. Also liked to use the exercise equipment and the steam room.Spa was nice, but as always, very expensive. Food was top notch each night with plenty of variety for us. Usually had breakfast in our room. Disembarkation also was very smooth -- best we have ever had. Overall, Seven Seas Voyager exceeded our expectation and we booked another Regent cruise for next June in Eastern Med!! We got to take a Galley tour with the head chef. Quite a treat. Computer room worked well and never had to wait to get on. Casino was small, but always plenty of room -- just wish there were no smokers on board:-(.It was very nice that the last night I did not have to get upset looking at a large bill. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My husband and I sailed on the Regent Sea Seas Voyager in June 2011 and it was a pretty disappointing experience. The cruise is advertised as "six star luxury" however if there were any six star experiences on the ship we ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Regent Sea Seas Voyager in June 2011 and it was a pretty disappointing experience. The cruise is advertised as "six star luxury" however if there were any six star experiences on the ship we didn't experience them.The cruise did not start well. I expected there would be "in cabin" check in, however instead everyone was herded into the ship's theatre and made to sit in particular rows. When I attempted to move somewhere more comfortable, I was told I could not move due to "crowd control". We ended up waiting an hour in these cramped conditions to check in, and at no time was there even a token apology for the delay. When another guest told one of the stewards that she had been on a lot of cruises and never had this sort of delay, the steward told her that "all the buses turned up at once". It goes without saying that it is up to Regent to put a better system in place.Rather than different tours meeting in different parts of the ship, everyone had to meet in the ship's theatre. This lead to long delays every morning in often cramped conditions and long queues that usually snaked out the door. One of the ports, Visby, was particularly bad. All the tours finished about the same time, which lead to a queue hundreds of people long on shore waiting for a tender to take them back to the ship. It was cold and windy with only a small amount of cover for the last half an hour or so of your wait. A lot of those on board were elderly, and I estimate some must have stood waiting for about one and half hours in these conditions. My husband and I were also quite disappointed by the food. It was okay, but nothing special. Most of it had that sort of bland, mass produced quality to it that you find in food from chain hotels. Portions were very small. For example, if you ordered pancakes for breakfast you would get 2 tiny pancakes about the size of your palm.The ship's decor is not luxurious or impressive, and the so called "suites" are just a skinny cramped cabin with a tiny balcony. No surprise that they looked a lot bigger and better in the brochure! One of the things my husband and I were particularly looking forward to was some quiet relaxing dinners on board. This is impossible on the Regent. All of the tables for 2 have a large table right next to them so you can barely hear yourself think. Even when we asked to be seated somewhere quiet, the waiter would put a large table right next to us a few minutes later. We found that even on the rare occasions when the restaurant was almost empty, the waiters would jam the patrons all together and close off most the restaurant. During busy times there never seemed to be enough waiters and service was sub-standard. Meals became something to endure, rather than enjoy.Even cabin cleaning was slow and pretty slovenly.Disembarkation should have been a simple exercise however even this involved a long delay. The cruise was a three star experience at a six star price.It's hard to find anything positive to say about the Regent Seven Seas Baltic cruise, and if I were you I would investigate a different cruise line for your holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We wanted to visit several Scandanavian countries and taking the Baltic and Viking cruises on Oceania allowed this to be possible. Flights and transfers were included and without issues. Embarcation was quick and easy. We found service ... Read More
We wanted to visit several Scandanavian countries and taking the Baltic and Viking cruises on Oceania allowed this to be possible. Flights and transfers were included and without issues. Embarcation was quick and easy. We found service to be excellent both with room stewards and dining room staff.The nearly new Marina was everything promised. We had great weather and smooth sailing. Most ports were great. It was fun to visit more out of the way places, like small towns in Iceland and Visby, Sweden. We avoided the overpriced shore excursions, except the train in Flam, Norway, which is difficult to book on your own. We used ShoreTrips.com in St. Petersburg, which provided an excellent two day tour at half the price. Oceania was great about providing local experts, city maps, and free shuttles to town to allow us to tour independently in all other stops.The high point of Oceania is the dining experience. We were able to book specialty restaurants for 19 of the nights, although the grand dining room was quite good as well. I liked the filet mignon at Toscana, the desserts at Jacques, appetizers at Red Ginger, and prime rib at Polo Grill. I am more of a beef eater, but my travelling companion has dined at some of the fine restaurants in Napa, such as the French Laundry, and he said the sea bass and trout were on a par with these. We went to the Terrace and Waves when there was no other option, and found them to be fine, but informal. One tip is to order the shakes and malts with double ice cream, which is made on board, if you like them thick. I gained 10 pounds and am starting my diet.For entertainment, if you keep in mind that this is a midsized ship with food as a focus, you will not be disappointed. The eight singers and dancers were fine, with some stand out performances. The magic act and pianist were fun to watch. This is not Broadway, but a nice way to wrap up the day.Due to the cost of two cruises together, we opted for an inside stateroom, which was very adequate, and especially nice in the land of the midnight sun. One suggestion is to put signs in each foyer to make it easier to locate odd and even hallways. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We were totally delighted with the service of ALL the staff and crew on board. To be truthful the stateroom was a bit smaller than we expected based on what is show on Crystal's web page...More narrow space between bed and ... Read More
We were totally delighted with the service of ALL the staff and crew on board. To be truthful the stateroom was a bit smaller than we expected based on what is show on Crystal's web page...More narrow space between bed and walkththrough towards bathroom. Silversea equivalent cabins are bigger. The prodcuction shows were the best! The food was quite above average but again not what I expected..either in the main dining room or the specialty restaurants...I expected a ***** experience and it was a as ***+ experience...the service in all the dining venues was indeed ***** They need to get their 'open seating ' program better organized...one tended to miss several show room numbers [only one several evening] if one booked a 7:30 reservation! Shops are delightful and well stocked..The photography on board is way too expensive..mark up from their costs probably is 500%. But again, purchase of photos is voluntary. Bottles of water were not consistently available on shore excurcusions. Personally we were disappointed with all the tours that Crystal provided. The guides, while knowledgeable, were boring and appeare tired at what they were doing. We felt rushed through at several of the sites. The private tours that we had arranged prior to the cruise were far better! The description of the shore excursions in their brochure can be misleading! In spite of the above, we thoroughly enjoyed our voyage, priamrily due to the staff on board.....A bit costly $20,000.00 for this vacation [incl. business class upgrade] was it worth it......YES... Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first Azamara club cruise and we really liked it, I'm mean a lot. Embarkation was a breeze and the attendants were helpful and kind in Stockholm. Met on the ship with a glass of champagne and knowing the ... Read More
This was our first Azamara club cruise and we really liked it, I'm mean a lot. Embarkation was a breeze and the attendants were helpful and kind in Stockholm. Met on the ship with a glass of champagne and knowing the cruise wasn't sold out (by my constant searching on the web) I asked about upgrades. We upgraded from an ocean view standard cabin to a continental suite for an additional cost. Sure, no sea days and only 7 days on the ship but the bathroom was full size including a real tub and nice balcony. Heaven! We used the typical pool and hot spas which were clean and not over crowded. The ship seemed to flow with people not in a hurry and enjoying each port and port scenery. White and red wines were served with lunch and dinner as well as sodas included in the cost. No problem asking for one and the wait staff cheerfully brought whatever requested. Bar prices were reasonable and even happy hour was a great deal at the pool bar. Pool barbq open until 4PM. I felt like I wasn't nickeled and dimed as I have on other ships,there were cold bottles of water ready for each days departing into ports and drinks ready for us upon our return to the ship. Our Butler had coffee delivered each morning and brought the tea service cart by each afternoon. Since there are less people than other ships getting on and off the ship was no problem. The french toast, caramelized pears and bananas in Windows cafe was outstanding. Prime C steak house had an amazing black angus steak and exceptional service. Overall service on ship was excellent and welcoming. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
With 700 passengers Voyager is 3 times larger than Silverseas and Seabourn, so we read the negative reviews with some anxiety. However, No long check-in lines, we were in our superbly appointed cabin within 15 minutes of boarding. cabin ... Read More
With 700 passengers Voyager is 3 times larger than Silverseas and Seabourn, so we read the negative reviews with some anxiety. However, No long check-in lines, we were in our superbly appointed cabin within 15 minutes of boarding. cabin equal to Silverseas and much better than Seabourn. Love the walk in shower, L'Occitane products, large bath sheets. Hectic schedule of ports, with only one day at sea, but well managed tours with staggered set off times and no waiting around. Lots to do on board, award winning spa, excellent daily fitness classes. Food plentiful, not gourmet, but up to top hotel food. Great choice of fresh, healthy options. We asked on several occasions for something not on the menu and it was always provided. Main negative was the appallingly slow and unreliable and very expensive internet connection - a major source of aggravation to us. This apart, this was definitely 6* luxury, the cabin was very spacious, very quiet and the balcony plenty big enough for two to sit and dine. and the crew were friendly, courteous, attentive. We can't wait for next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Baltic Cruise Review, July 28-Aug 9 We spent a lot of time reviewing all the itineraries that cruise in the Baltic's and decided to go with our favorite cruise line, Regent. It was a 12-day cruise and there was a comparable ... Read More
Baltic Cruise Review, July 28-Aug 9 We spent a lot of time reviewing all the itineraries that cruise in the Baltic's and decided to go with our favorite cruise line, Regent. It was a 12-day cruise and there was a comparable cruise on Oceania that was 14 days for close to the same price, but then we did the analyses of the all inclusive nature of Regent, coupled with our silver status giving us free internet and the comparison was close enough to make the plunge. At just over $20,000 for the two of us, this took some time and thought. Bottom line, we had a wonderful time, as we typically do on Regent cruises and I will say that they exceeded my expectations. We took advantage of the business class upgrade each way for $999 which made the trip over much more enjoyable (and we got the miles on United). Regent's air desk was very accommodative. We arrived 3 days prior to the departure in Stockholm and stayed at the Sheraton on our own nickel. A lot has been said, positive and negative about the Sheraton, but we found it to be well located and comfortable for our purposes. We did a lot of walking sightseeing while in Stockholm, did a hop on/hop off bus tour, a boat tour, and a self guided tour using a Rick Steve's book in the Gamla Stan (Old Town). After two solid days, we saw everything we wanted to see. Stockholm, as others have reported, is very expensive. In fact probably the most expensive place we went on this cruise. But we enjoyed the sights, the Vasa museum, the food and the people. It was easy to get around (and great connections via high speed train from the airport to a block and a half from the Sheraton). We left for the port on Thursday arriving at 11:30a (work with the your hotel to get one of the "cheap" taxis; there are many here that will rip you off big time). We were one of only a couple of people in the waiting area and thought that everyone must already be on board. Turns out that no one was there yet! A Regent spokesperson said that the ship would be ready around noon (not the cabins) and they ended up boarding us at 11:50a. We ended up being the first on board! I bee lined to the spa desk and got the last booking for a massage on the at sea day (all others were booked online). Lunch was fine in La Veranda and we were able to eat in Prime 7 that night, which was excellent. We explored the ship and at 2pm, we were allowed in our cabin and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Rather than give you a day by day of each port, let me provide the highlights: Ship: We thought it was in great shape. Others have talked about it being tired and in need of refreshing. We cruised on the Voyager two years ago, New Zealand to Australia, and found her in great shape then as now. I really love this ship. Everything is close by! We had cabin 647 which just seemed to be in the perfect spot in terms of distance to everything including the location on the ship (in the center so less rocking/vibration) and deck level in terms of the main things you do on the ship like eating (decks 4 and 5 mainly) were just one floor away. The cabin was excellent as before; roomy, well laid out, and I have to say one of the best beds I have had on the 20+ cruises we have been on. The bathroom is better than most suites I have been in on Princess, Holland, and others. The Voyager has a great cabin. Staff: our cabin stewardess, Christina, was excellent and got the routine we were in very quickly. We can't say enough positive things about her. She quickly replaced what was in our refrigerator for what we wanted and kept our cabin in great shape. We didn't like the waiter we had on the second night of the cruise in the Compass Rose so on the third night when they sat us somewhere different, we found a waiter that we loved, Emmanuel (Station 12) and his assistant. We ended up sitting in his section each night we ate in the Compass Rose as he was one of the best waiters we have had. Having the same waiter night to night, if you find a good one, is just wonderful. They totally pick up on your likes and dislikes. By the end of the cruise, he could almost order for me as he knew what I wanted when I sat down. There is something to be said about an excellent waiter like that. Our wine steward, Albert, also was over the top in helping us find that special pinot noir that was included in the ships "included" selection once we found one we liked. As for the rest of the staff, they were friendly and helpful, but no one stood out too much. Food: Always subjective, but I still think that Regent has some of the best meals at sea (at least for what we have sailed on). You get what you pay for! We cruise frequently, up and down the various lines (Crystal, Regent, Princess, Holland) and while variable, the meals were consistently very good to excellent each night on the Voyager. We got into Prime 7 twice (the second time was near impossible as the ship was sailing full, almost having to beg to get in the second time which was a bit disappointing) and the food was amazing both times. One night a bone in rib-eye and the other a pork chop that was over the top. Both experiences and service in Prime 7 was memorable and delicious. We ate in Signatures once and it was nice, but once was enough. Word of advice, if you go in hungry, be sure to ask for extra appetizers as the portions were small as before. They don't "like" this very much and often brought both ordered appetizers at the same time as I'm sure this threw them off a bit, but what the heck. By the way, the chairs in Signatures are much more comfortable than any other dining establishment on this ship. The chairs in the Compass Rose are too tight (all right, no comments on my hips). La Veranda and the pool grill both offered an ok set of food choices each day but just nothing to write home about. The only sea day we had was Mexican food and it was very disappointing. The ice cream bar is great to have, but most of the time, it is only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. With room for about 12 ice creams, you would think they would change this up a bit more. Liquor/Wine: Only top shelf liquors, in fact, higher quality than I remember on past Regent cruises. I have to say, this is one of the best reasons to go Regent: I HATE pulling out my card key every time I want a drink. HATE IT! I find that we would go and have a nice before dinner drink every night in the Observation lounge, listen to the pianist, and not even think about it which, unfortunately, I often do on ships where it isn't all included. The wines we had on board were good to very good, but we usually found several wines we liked a lot and the staff always seemed to find another bottle of that selection for us each night. As an example, we enjoyed an excellent Byron Chardonnay and several Russian River Pinot Noir's, all included. On a couple of nights we ordered off the wine list which was reasonably priced and a great selection for a cruise ship (they actually had a Screaming Eagle Cab on board; I think it was $2500!). Excursions: I haven't sailed on Regent since they added free excursions. I was a bit concerned as to how they would be. My biggest concern was that they would pack 50 people on a 50 passenger bus, it would be slow and crowded, etc. I was in for a welcome and delightful surprise: they typically only had 25-30 on a bus, leaving extra room and a more manageable group. Despite the fact that some excursions had several buses to the same location, the fact that they didn't cram everyone together was a welcome surprise. I found the tour guides used to be first rate, very informative and the passengers on the bus to be respectful about meeting times, etc. The positive experience we had on the excursions was the biggest surprise (positive) of the whole cruise. Further, on each of the excursions we did that were extra money, we found these to be each "over the top". It was amazing how much more special an experience was for paying a little bit extra. This should really be considered before you are turned off by the extra fee. Ports: This is a very port intensive cruise so you need to be prepared to almost have a vacation after you get off this itinerary. We bagged two excursions that we were just too tired to go on (telling the destination desk, of course, of not going in advance to open it up for others). We loved all the old towns we visited and the ability on many of the excursions to have extra time to enjoy lunch in each. The most memorable ports/excursions were: 1) The Hermitage, of course; 2) all of St. Petersburg; 3) the chocolate making session in Tallinn; 4) Bruges (one of our favorite destinations); and 5) The Reclaimed Land excursion in Amsterdam. This latter excursion was very interesting and included a couple of extra stops including a cheese farm, a windmill museum, and a small town that was very quaint. This coupled with an excellent tour guide (as were all of them!) made this a most memorable excursion. Entertainment: Sorry to say but we were so tired each day from the excursion and then a nice dinner, that we saw only the concert pianist who was exceptional. So I can't speak to the other performers/shows. With some ship board credits applied, I think I got off the ship owing $70! That has never happened to us before! Love Regent.... We disembarked flawlessly as we had arranged a rental car in Southampton. We ended up being one of the last to get off! The assistant cruise director said as we got off the ship, "Wow, you really got your monies worth, first on and last off!" We ended up driving to Stonehenge, staying two nights in Bath (loved it!), drove to Blenheim Palace, stayed in Oxford one night (a great town), then took a train to London where we saw Jersey Boys (awesome!). Business class home through Regent ($999) made the trip home that much easier to get back to reality. It was a very memorable vacation with no/few glitches, excellent service, food, and excursions; Regent has me for life.... P.S. What's not to like? We had one oddity occur on an excursion that I should mention (there has to be something constructive here!). We did an "Evening with the Tsars" in St. Petersburg excursion that was excellent. Not open to the public, we visited Catherine's summer palace where just Regent cruisers were in attendance (maybe 3-4 bus loads of 25 each). The evening was magical in how they had music playing in different rooms including the ballroom where they had a string trio that played to us along with dancers. Really special evening. The excursion included a dinner; we didn't read close enough that the dinner wasn't until 10:30 at night! Although it did say to have a snack before starting, we didn't expect it to be this late. I noticed on my ticket that only salmon was to be served. As we don't eat salmon we asked if there was an alternative to the destination desk (days in advance). They said there was and made sure we could have the vegetarian plate which was fine for us. We ended up with a plate of shredded carrots! No really, I have a picture of it! Hardly a dinner! I did complain to the destination desk, they took down my info and sent it to the corporate office in Miami. We received a letter on the last day of the cruise that they apologized for the carrots, but due to an "overwhelming positive response of the evening" that there would be no adjustment in the fee charged (this was a $159 per person add on). I thought this was lame. Even a token $25 adjustment to recognize that a plate of shredded carrots is hardly a meal would have been fine by me. The phrase in the letter that surprised me was the "overwhelming positive response"! No one else had a vegetarian meal that I could see so how could it not be? Again, it certainly didn't ruin our cruise or the evening, but I thought Regent would have been a little more generous in their response. Finally, we came back to dinner one night to find water all over our bathroom floor; turned out that the sink was leaking. We called to have it fixed, and unfortunately, it took over three hours and wasn't complete until midnight. As said previously, given the port intensive nature of the cruise, it was tough to stay up while we waited. It was just a pipe to be replaced and took longer than I would have expected as the workers left and didn't come back several times for half an hour. I called reception to make sure they were on it. The pipe was completely rotted out so that was a bit of a concern. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
As professional musicians from Jacksonville, Florida, we don't usually take expensive luxury cruises, but there is no question that the Seabourn Sojourn delivers the value and exceptional quality of food, facilities/stateroom and ... Read More
As professional musicians from Jacksonville, Florida, we don't usually take expensive luxury cruises, but there is no question that the Seabourn Sojourn delivers the value and exceptional quality of food, facilities/stateroom and service expected for the price. One night we had amazing Nigerian shrimp that were 10 inches long! The staff members were always helpful and attentive. While we know it's their job to be friendly, they were sincere. With less than 400 passengers on board, we had all the amenities of the big ships, but none of the crowds for dining or disembarkation. The people on the cruise were mostly interesting professionals from the US. We enjoyed dining at Restaurant 2 seated with other passengers, with exceptional food and tableside informance about each of the dozen dishes served. Toward the end of the cruise, we got a tour of the galley with the head chef to see what goes on behind the scenes to make the magic happen for the passengers. All the artists, performers and cruise director were excellent, not over amplified, and they went out of their way to engage with the passengers - and even stay in touch after the cruise. We also like the all inclusive policy - no bills for drinks or tips at the end to worry about. As amazing as the ship was, it was the great port cities that were the highlight of our trip. Seabourn provided a travel/history expert on board to speak about each destination to help plan excursions or activities. With the exception of Stockholm, the Sojourn ports right in the city center. We are good walkers and like to explore on our own, so we easily walked to all the city highlights in Helsinki (such as the Church of the Rock), Tallin (Alexander Nevsky church, shopping for amber) and we covered all of the quaint city of Visby. Though you might not choose this cruise for the purpose of going to Tallin or Visby, both were surprisingly delightful medieval walled cities. The Stockholm embarkation port was quite a ways from the city center and not at all glamorous. Fortunately we arrived in Stockholm a few days early to see the sites and insure our arrival for the cruise. The Arlanda Express train got us from the airport to our hotel in 15 minutes. We stayed at the Frey Hotel (mentioned in Stieg Larsson's 3rd book) which was reasonably priced, friendly and perfectly located to walk to the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan, Opera House, Skansen, Vasa Museum and central downtown. When the ship leaves port in Stockholm, it goes by the 24,000 islands in the archipelago with great views on both sides of the ship. Though it was raining hard when we departed, delay dinner and stay out on deck to experience this! The highlight for us and the reason most of the passengers were on the cruise was to visit historic St. Petersburg. Though the ship docked right in downtown St. Petersburg, the sites are spread out and it is not a walkable area/city. You also have make advance arrangements with a St. Petersburg tour in order to get your 72-hour tourist visa. Recommended by a friend in Jacksonville (who lives in Riga, Latvia), we contacted Timofey Kruglikov of Tailored Tours of St. Petersburg. (www.tour-petersburg.com). Via email, we discussed our interests and Tim then emailed an outline plan for each of our 3 days. Tim took care of our visas and met us with a private car and driver at the ship each morning. He is a scholar in so many areas and has a wealth of knowledge in history, art, and architecture. He is an native of St. Petersburg and speaks openly about the changes in Russia in the last decades. Tim personally guided us at the Hermitage, Russian Museum, Peterhof, St. Isaac's and shared deeper meanings of symbols in much of the art. If you love art/history Tim will flood your senses and you will learn so much! It was also a very crowded time of year (August) and somehow Tim planned our entrances to exhibits so there was never any wait time. When you have so little time to visit, it's nice not to have to wait in huge lines, which we saw many. We saw the major sites and had time to visit many other places not offered on excursions and we had access to rooms not accessible to the large tour groups. Tim is congenial, sincere and has a great sense of humor. We highly recommend his affordable and wonderful guidance while in St. Petersburg! Many of the passengers took the excursion to Moscow and enjoyed it, but were exhausted with the extra travel. We like to travel and explore cities by public transport and usually pack light with carry on and small roller bags. Our disembarkation was in Copenhagen and we easily got from the port to our hotel in the central city by train in 15 minutes. We met some fellow cruisers making the same trek and made good friends quickly! We stayed at the Imperial Hotel which was adequate and conveniently located by Tivoli Gardens and again, walking distance to nearly every major site. We were there on a Sunday so some things were closed but the Nyhavn restaurants were bustling and the bike portion of their Ironman triathlon was going on. It was amazing to see thousands of bikes parked everywhere in this northern city The hardest part was coming home. We were thrilled to have a non-stop from Copenhagen to Atlanta on Delta but what a long flight ending a trip of a lifetime, that we would recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our third Seabourn cruise and it was superlative, easily the best we have ever been on on any cruise line. Our first Seabourn experience, on the Spirit in April 2010, was truly magical and a delight from the time we checked in ... Read More
This was our third Seabourn cruise and it was superlative, easily the best we have ever been on on any cruise line. Our first Seabourn experience, on the Spirit in April 2010, was truly magical and a delight from the time we checked in in Lisbon to the moment we disembarked in Venice. Our second, on the larger Odyssey from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires in January-February 2011, was somewhat disappointing due partly to the itinerary, partly to new and ill-trained staff and partly to the 400+ passenger size of the ship.(Our own resolution, after the Odyssey, was never to go on any ship larger than 200+- passengers.) But ships reflect their captains and in Ian McNaught (I hope I got that right)on the Spirit and in Eric Saaybe on the Pride, Seabourn has two of the bery best anywhere. Professional, in touch with everything on board ship, exacting in their expectations of service and performance, personable and engaging, they reflect everything a ship's captain should be, and more. Staff generally, service and food in both the main dining room and the garden cafe were consistently excellent. We had met many staff on previous cruises and they all, without fail, remembered us and our names. The bar staff make a point of remembering your favourite drink and bring it without prompting not long after one sits down. I sometimes tend to look on the dark side and suspect that the overwhelming friendliness and concern for passenger satisfaction might be simply a facade or product of rote learning at a hospitality school, but for Seabourn staff it remarkably seems to be true and heartfelt. We booked our own tour guide in St. Petersburg and were generally on our own by choice in the other ports. The steam train tour in Germany was poorly organized for someone who likes to take plenty of photographs, but I heard no complaints from other passengers who took the other Seabourn tours. The ship is kept spotlessly clean and the decor is conservative, quiet and comfortable. People looking for flash and dash will probably want to go elsewhere. Finally, I have noted several reviews that castigate the line, ship, crew, food and wine mercilessly. I cannot comment on their specific experiences, but in my own experience there exist passengers from hell, whose expectations are out of this world and whose ability to criticize far outweigh their ability to appreciate the unrivaled quality before them. Unless you are one of those, the Pride (and the Spirit) are not likely to disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our best cruise experience ever. What we look for in a cruise experience has changed over the years. Where once we thought a balcony was superfluous, we now enjoy the solitude of a personal space escape. Voyager was by far our ... Read More
This was our best cruise experience ever. What we look for in a cruise experience has changed over the years. Where once we thought a balcony was superfluous, we now enjoy the solitude of a personal space escape. Voyager was by far our most enjoyable cruise to date. Our Penthouse C cabin was spacious, had plenty of storage, room to move around, the separate shower (full size, not Euro size) and tub was great, and the size of the balcony was the best ever. Knowing a glass of wine on the balcony would be waiting for us at the end of each excursion day was delightful and relaxing. We did the math before choosing Regent Seven Seas and the all included price was comparable to what we would pay on another line for the same level of amenities. While taking a chance that it would be worth the greater price up-front, we were not disappointed. The excursions were managed very well, very efficient, the destination staff members were friendly, informative and efficient. The only improvement I would like to see would be port maps included in "Passages", and a port weather report posted 24 hours in advance rather than 12 hours. The dining was enjoyable in every venue. Food presentation was very nice and portion size was appropriate. The dining staff provided the best service ever. All staff members spoke English very clearly which was appreciated. The ladies in La Veranda were lovely, upbeat, funny, and a joy. The men were equally as attentive, humorous, and created an enjoyable environment. The Compass Rose staff were very attentive and had a few special folks that made dining something for which to look forward. "Newman" from Bali was a delight and addressed us by name all over the ship. We looked for him in every venue knowing he would make our dining a fun and delightful event whether it be informal at the pool grill or reserved and elegant. He led the servers in a rendition of "let me call you sweetheart" for our anniversary celebration. Our butler and stewardess, Saraj and Ni, never missed a beat. They were always charming and moved in and out like stealth. Everything was taken care of without ever having to ask. They made our anniversary very special and memorable. I won't provide details so as not to spoil for anyone else looking forward to a special celebration. Suffice it to say our cabin and dining crew brought me to tears of joy. The evening canapes were excellent and could have doubled for entrees. Compared to other lines, this was the best by far. Having a glass of wine with canapes, at dinner, an after dinner drink, all without worrying about the bill made the experience that much more enjoyable. We love history and looked forward to the lectures. Unfortunately, the lecturer on this cruise would put an insomniac to sleep. The content was ok, but the delivery was painful. The captain was a bit of a marble mouth as well. Sorry. I know his skills are in steering the ship. However, a little expression in his voice and clear articulation would have made his announcements more encouraging. We would definitely recommend the Voyager for anyone looking for understated elegance and sophistication, good food, exceptional service and comfort. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Took the Baltic Cruise July 22 - 29 Seven Seas Suite. Butler great. Booze and Champagne room great. All inclusive great but: The cruise was not up to snuff. It was like watching the Rockettes with several dancers' kicks just off. ... Read More
Took the Baltic Cruise July 22 - 29 Seven Seas Suite. Butler great. Booze and Champagne room great. All inclusive great but: The cruise was not up to snuff. It was like watching the Rockettes with several dancers' kicks just off. Or a symphony where several players are a beat off. Many "small" errors that added up. 1. Daily TV program of main restaurant's dinner menu. Did not change until noon. So if you got up in the morning and wanted to plan where to eat with friends, the menu was yesterdays. 2. Prime Seven and Signature "full", but every night multiple tables empty. 3. Three free white wines and three reds every night. BUT not told nor written what they were (or that there were three unless you asked). They came by and served the cheapest of the bunch. Several of the wine stewards did not drink and had no idea how to explain the wines although the head sommelier was great. 4. The room service menu was very limited. Unlike other cruise lines where the prime suites could order room service off any menu in the ship or something not on the menu, not allowed on the Voyager. For example, could not order banana fosters in the room or in advance at any restaurant. 5. The TV program on the ports did not include just the ports being visited, but all the ports in the Regent inventory. Thus, unless you spent hours, could not learn about the local ports. 6. On visiting the ports, there were no maps available at the point of disembarking. In fact the staff there were only security and had no idea. Later to find out that the maps and a local were available on a different floor. Not announced. 7. At the Italian restaurant, typical multi-course menu (antipasto, pasta, meat... The waiter did not tell you that you could have the pasta dish as the entree with a full size dish instead of the small multi-dish size. 8. The menus were limited. The restaurant hours were limited with no "late" food venue other than room service (ie if you went to a show or the casino, you could not get something to eat without going to your room). 9. At the main restaurant, if you were in a small party, the head waiter did not oversea and at several times wrong or forgotten dishes were served. 10. The pool bar closed early and there was no where to get a bloody Mary in the mornings. 11. The ship's doc had no "surgical" back ground and the ship had no way for her to communicate with one. eg One passenger cut her leg at a port several days prior to the cruse and had staples (stitches) in. The ship's doctor wanted to "kick her off" and put her on iv antibiotics unnecessarily. The passenger saw a surgeon in port who said the ship's doctor was a xxxxx. 12. Warnemunde, Germany has one of the prettiest beaches in Europe. It was not included in one of the outings nor descriptions of the the port. Several of us took a taxi to it and enjoyed the sun with many Germans on holiday. It was great. 13. The fitness area was VERY small and had to wait for machines. At the spa, the chairs for waiting were 4 inches deep. In conclusion: no comparison to the Cunard and even worse than the RC and Disney (except for the included drinks). I would not repeat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We arrived into Stockholm a day before as this long of travel from the States necessitates at least a day to unwind! EMBARKAtion: About 30 minutes; although we arrived at "peak" boarding time. Not bad for a 1000+ passenger ... Read More
We arrived into Stockholm a day before as this long of travel from the States necessitates at least a day to unwind! EMBARKAtion: About 30 minutes; although we arrived at "peak" boarding time. Not bad for a 1000+ passenger ship. ROOM: Our vista suite was at front of ship and was exceptionally well- appointed, laid out brilliantly with large master, large living room, exercise room, two (2) outstanding full bathrooms, large walk-in closet, and then a massive deck with hot tub with 2 chaise lounge chairs, table/4 chairs, and 2 easy chairs with end tables. Every room (aside from closet and bathroom) had televisions! Butler was fantatic.....better than most of the other butlers I've had. Plus there was a great sound system in room......we stay in our room quite a bit, so we literally loved our suite! It was absolutely perfect for us! FOOD: Some of the very best food I've had on cruise ship! From appetizers, to entrees, to dessert----all were exceptional. Usually a ship focuses on either desserts or entree selections or buffet line; but, this ship had outstanding food in each and every facility! We ate several times in the Red Ginger because my husband loves sashimi; but, my group's all-time favorite was probably the specialty italian restaurant on board. The food there, although it be rich, was exquisitely prepared and presented. HEALTH CLUB: All new equipment and very upper-crust facility. I didn't use any of the "spa services" on this trip because we were in port each day; but, it looked wonderful and was busier than I had imagined with such a vigorous schedule on board. SERVICE: As I mentioned earlier, the service was impeccable. The butler we had was one of the best on all of our 19+ cruises. The stewards did an outstanding job as well---they attended to our room several times a day and ensured our ice bucket never went empty. GENERAL: The security, entertainment, programs were all above average. My favorite thing to do was attend the martini classes. My favorite bartender was Rackman---he ensured I knew my drinks and kept up with our group on making various types of cocktails! The ship was well-laid out and decorated and definitely appealed to an upper-end following. I loved the fact there was NO formal evenings.....when you travel, it is so difficult to pack those extra bulky outfits. Go to your formal gatherings at home....cruising if for sitting back and enjoying yourself while being pampered! Tips: I would recommend the trip to Baltic for those who want to get away from the heat of summertime in the USA! It was so nice and cool and you were at a different port each and every day (aside from Russia). It is not a big "party" ship and this particular cruise was geared more so to couples in their 50's to 70's. Although I did see a few children ---perhaps 8-9 on entire boat. I'm used to a busy lifestyle at home and it was nice to slow the pace up a little. I thoroughly enjoyed the Marina and will focus my attentions on traveling with Oceania on all special future cruises! NEGATIVES: Perhaps only that it was a bit too cool/windy to truly utilize our massive deck on front; it would have been perfect sailing the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Oceania's two new ships, Marina and Riviera are supposedly identical. They carry twice as many passengers as the older ones. The public space reflects the increase in passengers, the decks are spacious and well appointed, they have ... Read More
Oceania's two new ships, Marina and Riviera are supposedly identical. They carry twice as many passengers as the older ones. The public space reflects the increase in passengers, the decks are spacious and well appointed, they have lost nothing in the increased size, the service is just as wonderful and attentive as before. But, that being said, it is a lot more people than the traditional 650 or so on the smaller ships. You feel this only in the fact that you never meet the same people twice...the ship is BIG!!! The embarkation and disembarkation was spotlessly organized with virtually NO waiting, so this was a surprise given the amount of people. As you enter the ship, you will be floored by the amount of Lalique crystal,and incredible Murano glass decorates the ship throughout. The furnishings are stunning, but not flashy...and the main dining room is a wonder to behold. Our stateroom was larger than any of the other ships we have cruised on (Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea and Radisson) and the furnishings were beautiful. Our butler was around ALL the time, but unobtrusively. The room was lovely, spacious and beautifully appointed, a stall shower plus a full size bath, a large walk in closet with every amenity a human being could want. I SHOULD mention though....try NOT to book the 11th floor...take the 9th or lower as the overhang on the 12th is a good ten feet larger on each side and blocks out the possibility of sun on your terrace...this is a big minus for me, so next time PH3 instead of PH1. We booked our dining reservations through the internet the day after we booked, to insure that we got what we wanted when we wanted. The specialty dining was lovely, Jacques (the French) is a wonderful experience and one not to be missed. Red Ginger (the Asian) also, a stunning dining room, with an innovative menu, a real experience!! Toscana was good, but very much like the other ships, an Italian with all the trimmings. The Polo grill on this ship was disappointing, the steak was mediocre at best, and the first course left a lot to be desired. This restaurant needs some serious work (in my opinion) BUT the MAIN dining room was wonderful....there was something interesting every night on the menu, the service was impeccable, the sommeliers VERY well informed and we looked FORWARD to dining in the dining room. I can't really say, as I didn't take an excursion ( we like to do our own thing in each town) but the excursions seemed VERY pricey to me, I would consider carefully each destination and decide whether or not an excursion is really necessary. The destination services provide you with a plethora of info about each town and how to navigate it. We enjoyed the enrichment lectures, and were sorry there weren't more... but there were a lot of ports and very little time. I wasn't crazy about the entertainment to be honest. We tried it once or twice, and apart from a lovely quartet of brass, piano and guitar, we felt that the ship comes up short in this department...especially the pianist who I found particularly irritating (no concept of harmony at all?????) This is not really a problem when you have so many ports in a short period of time, but if I was sailing for an extended period, this would be very very annoying, and I would want to find out about the entertainment before I embark (cruises of 21 days and more) In short, Oceania is one of the better cruise lines out there, price quality, it can't be beat, the food, the destinations, the service....really unparalleled. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My wife and I have been on four Oceania cruises on the smaller ships. My first impression of the Marina was that this is a large floating Vegas hotel. I learned to love the ship as the cruise progressed. The embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
My wife and I have been on four Oceania cruises on the smaller ships. My first impression of the Marina was that this is a large floating Vegas hotel. I learned to love the ship as the cruise progressed. The embarkation was efficient. We arrived at noon and we were having lunch at 12:30 PM. Our room wasn't ready until 3 PM. There is a class system on this ship. People in higher category rooms have their rooms prepared first. They also get first choice of restaurant reservations. The layout of the Marina is very similar to the smaller ships. Oceania has tried to keep most things the same as on the smaller ships. The food is very good and in most cases excellent. I had an excellent fillet in Polo, an excellent osso buco in Tuscana and an excellent meso seared sea bass in Red Ginger. The service is very good. The beds are great. Oceania has corrected some of the problems with the smaller ships. The bathrooms are bigger and better. I liked having four specialty restaurants. The elevators are great. The lounge is much better. The entertainment is better but don't expect much. I didn't take any of the ships excursions. They were very expensive. I booked a 2 day deluxe tour of Saint Petersburg with SPb tours. I was very happy with their tour which was very reasonably priced. The ship provided a shuttle service in Helsinki and Tallin. The port provided a shuttle in Gdynia. We got a taxis in Gdynia and saw Gdansk and the Stutthof concentration camp. We walked off the ship tp see Riga, Ronne and Warnemunde. We missed the stop at Visby. The sea was too rough for safe tender operations.The internet seemed expensive. There was a long wait for a taxis in Copenhagen. My only major disappointment was the weather. It was far colder and wetter than I had expected. We had several cloudy days and a full day of rain in Saint Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just back from the last Regent Baltic cruise of the season, Stockholm to Southampton. Overall a great cruise, with better than expected weather and great ports. Since this is the last trip of the season, no one will be able to use this ... Read More
Just back from the last Regent Baltic cruise of the season, Stockholm to Southampton. Overall a great cruise, with better than expected weather and great ports. Since this is the last trip of the season, no one will be able to use this review for the current year, but I think it will be helpful for those planning for next year. The flights, transfers and loading Flew from Washington Dulles to Copenhagen on SAS Business /First and had a great flight, service and food. Arrival in Copenhagen was early, and we cleared security and passport control in a breeze. After prowling the shops we settled into the SAS lounge until our one hour hop over to Stockholm. Meet and greet was prompt, we rolled our bags onto the bus and were downtown in about 45 minutes. Hotel was Scandic Grand Central. This was supposed to be the upgrade. Not a bad place but if you are thinking Grand Hyatt or even newer Hilton, it is not. I cannot compare to other Stockholm hotels, but if I was going back I would try something else. Transfers to the ship were right on time and check in was a snap, done on board in the showroom. Disembark was again right on the promised time despite docking 30 minutes late. We were on an 11:15 Virgin Atlantic to Dulles and our bus also included people on an 11:00 to Chicago. We were all nervous of the time, but even in Thursday morning rush hour traffic we were at Terminal 3 in less than 90 minutes and sitting in the Virgin Upper Class lounge two hours before our flight. Flights home were great and we had no complaints. The Ship This was our sixth Regent but first on Voyager. The layout is efficient with most public space on decks 4, 5 and 11. This ship is very similar to Mariner. We had a Penthouse C in the back of the ship. For the extra dollars you get a very nice deck and butler service. You also get the automatic Business upgrade and upgraded hotel. The Deck was nice and much larger than the standard cabins. The rear location was also nice if you enjoy watching the wake which we do. The Penthouse suites on Mariner are much bigger than on Voyage and a better value. However the ones on Navigator are no bigger so it is probably a better value on Voyager than Navigator. There is no more vibration than on any other cruise ship I have been on. Honestly, I tried to notice anything extraordinary as reported by some passengers, but other than accelerating and decelerating there is nothing noticeable. A ship is a large piece of machinery and there is vibration even when docked, but nothing that should keep you awake. Also there were no unusual odors except from some varnish smell the first day from touching up the rails of our balcony. Food Everything we had was excellent to very good. Ate at all the venues with highlights being the noon grills on the deck for lunch (fish, sausages, and burger buffet), the veal chop in Seta Mari and the return of Beef Wellington in Compass Rose. This had been missing our last two trips (though they would make it if you requested it) and I am glad to see it back on the menu. Wines were good and multiple choices were always available. Nobody pushed us to buy off the reserve list though we did one night. Prime Seven and Signatures were good with Signatures being better. Two complaints here, Compass Rose is really understaffed. I discussed this with the management on board, but honestly one night our waiter was dealing with 28 passengers at one time. You would never see this in a high end restaurant. The other venues on board had enough staff, but for some reason they are trying to do it in Compass Rose without enough people. The second complaint is the people trying to get into Prime Seven and Signatures every night. They are rowed up begging most nights and it just amazed and amused me. I guess it should not bother me, but it clearly puts pressure on the staff to deal with this. Prime Seven is ok, but it is no better than a Morton's, Fleming's or Ruth Chris at home and who eats at those places more than once a month, much less multiple times a week. Signature is good, but no better than Compass Rose, except for the staffing. Entertainment The shows were standard, there were four production shows and we saw two. There was a flutist and pianist that we missed and a singer that was very good who performed twice. We enjoyed him and he actually got a Regent crowd to stand up and dance in the showroom. Excursions were generally good and I thought with one exception (afternoon tours in Amsterdam) the destinations services team did a good job passing out bus assignments and getting people on their way. We did three tours with extra charges of which one was worth it and two were not. In Bruges we did a tour with a Chocolate demonstration which my wife really enjoyed. The tour was good and the demo was entertaining, at least to her. We did the water and fortress tour in Helsinki and it was not worth the extra money. Basically we rode a ferry out with a 20 minute sightseeing talk, did a too brief tour of a small fraction of the island then had to ride a common ferry back to the square with a long walk back to a shuttle. The big bust was the Evening with the Tsars at Catherine's Place and dinner. The ride across town was in horrible rush hour traffic. The three busses took between 2 ½ and 3 hours to get there (the return late at night after rush hour was 45 minutes). The tour is the standard tour with the one exception that we were allowed to take pictures in the Amber room. There was a brief little show with costumed characters as Catherine and her lover hosting a two song concert with a champagne toast. Then we had a dinner at the palace with banquet food and a folk show. I would not recommend this to anyone. Save your money, go see this palace with another tour. We got back so late we cancelled our first tour the next morning. Also you do not eat until after 9pm. We were warned to eat beforehand so we were prepared. Final Thoughts This is a port intensive cruise. You are up everyday touring and have very little ship time. There is only one sea day. Some people like this combination but I do not. If you do, this is your kind of cruise as you will be busy every day. Paul the cruise director was on this trip along with Giannmario who had just relieved John McNeal as Captain. I like both of these guys and they did a good job. Raffeal was just leaving as General Manager and I also think he is one of the more approachable senior Regent staff. Overall a great cruise, but I will likely be looking to return to the Navigator for my next Regent trip as it is still my favorite ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The cruise: We sailed from Stockhom to London with stops in St Petersburg(3 days),Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Berlin. The theme was food and wine. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Very efficiently done. On board check in was a ... Read More
The cruise: We sailed from Stockhom to London with stops in St Petersburg(3 days),Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Berlin. The theme was food and wine. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Very efficiently done. On board check in was a breeze and took only a few minutes.The staff appeared genuinely happy to see us and many greated us by name from previous cruises aboard the Symphony.Food and drinks were immediately available and our stateroom was ready and luggage delivered by about 3pm. Disembarkation in London was equally efficient. Having the customs people come on board speeds up the process considerably. The ship: Beatifully appointed, always well maintained, easy to navigate, and a very manageable size.Although it can accomodate about 900 passengers, typically there are about 750 on board If you like mega resorts or mega liners or lots of activities for kids, this is not for you. Stateroom: We stayed in one of the penthouse suites which had the added advantages of more space and butler service. Both are quite nice but staying in a regular stateroom with a veranda is hardly roughing it and costs almost 50% less. The stateroom was nicely furnished, had a walk in closet, and a bathroom with a double sink,separate shower and bathtub,and nice ammenities. Everything is always clean and in good working order. Noise from the outsice or from next door is virtually nonexistant. Food: The main dining room provides an excellent selection of well prepared, tasty food with healthy choices for those with or without dietary restrictions. If you don't see what you want, just ask for it! Specialty restaurants, Prego(Italian)and Silk Road(Asian) are comparable to fine restaurants in SF or NYC. Complimentary wine selections are quite good and the wine steward is very accomodating if you don't find what you'd like. Breakfast and lunch is also available in a more casual atmosphere. The choises tend to be similar from day to day, particularly at breakfast, However, we had several theme lunches celebrating the cuisine of places we visited which were interesting and tasty. Additionally, there were several dinners high lighting local favorites, some prepared by the celebrity chefs on board. Activities: Plenty to do including attending some excellent lectures by food and wine experts, celebrity chefs, and destination lecturers. We had only 3 sea days, so it was difficult to take advantage of everything. Evening entertainment ranges from piano lounge type to more elaborate performences by the fine Crystal Ensemble and excellent guest performers including musicians and comedians. Service: This is where Crystal truly shines and rises above the other lines we have sailed. Everyone, including cabin staff, dining staff,bistro and lounge staff and pool attendants,go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome at all times. Changing to an all inclusive program(gratuities included) has not resulted in any decline in Crystal's outstanding service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers ... Read More
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers as there are no balconies and people socialize on deck; food is very good to excellent; ship may visit small, isolated ports; the five masts project a fine image; and the ship is great for relaxation. All suites have two bathrooms and more than enough storage space. There is over 300 sq. ft. We were in two cabins and 326 was superior to 318 as to ability to control temperature, quality of linens, and attendant service. There are no verandahs on this ship as it is over 20 years old although rooms were renovated in 2012. However, for a small ship entertainment and number of activities are limited, ship speed is about 10 knots so that time in port can suffer, the cruise line only owns three ships so it may not get competitive airline fares, it outsources planning of excursions, and parent company doesn't understand the industry. A greater concern is that at 70% occupancy in Europe during August, these cruises did not meet financial break even. I am concerned that this means Wind Star may cut expenses and mitigate a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara in less than 4 years. We can find nothing bad to say about this cruise, but overall it seemed flat. The crew was friendly but seemed focused on their jobs more than on previous cruises where we felt ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara in less than 4 years. We can find nothing bad to say about this cruise, but overall it seemed flat. The crew was friendly but seemed focused on their jobs more than on previous cruises where we felt that we had made friends with some of the crew. Service in Windows Cafe was perfect. In the past, it's seemed to be a bit lack luster, but this time the wait staff was always around to offer drinks, clear dishes, etc. We had a similar level of service in Discoveries, however instead of being seated with the same waiter every night we were moved around so we didn't get a chance to develop a rapport with our waiter. The food and service in Discoveries was excellent and outshone the food and service we had in Aqualina. Our stateroom attendants were incredible - our room was always spotless and always made up within minutes of us leaving our room. This is the first Azamara cruise we've taken since it's included some liquor in the price of a fare. We noticed that there was hardly any bar service around the pool, or in the Cabaret Lounge in the evenings. If you wanted a drink, in most cases you needed to get it yourself. This is a disappointing change from previous Azamara cruises. Entertainment continues to be a disappointment on the ship. Our last cruise (Antarctica - on the Journey - January 2012), the entertainment was much better and we felt that Azamara had finally invested in this part of the cruise experience. However, we did not feel that this was the case on this cruise. We heard another couple refer to the Azamara Singers as the Azawful Singers! A couple of the dancers were very talented, but were brought down by the rest of the cast. The 2 guest performers each had 2 shows, and were repeats from previous cruises. Lectures and guest speakers are one of the reasons we have liked Azamara, but on this cruise they all seemed to be scheduled during the dinner hour. Peripheral entertainment was really lacking. There was no poolside entertainment (even on the one sea day we had) and the piano player has been moved to a lounge just outside the casino that makes the main area of the ship very quiet. These changes really made the ship feel quiet, and led to us to not feeling any of the excitement and cruise feel that we look enjoy. We had been expecting a complete overhaul of the ship when it went into dry dock late last year. However, we were told that the budget for that had been compromised because of the engine fire and the generous payouts. Some of the public areas have been refurbished and the mattresses have been replaced, but the cabins are in dire need of updating - for example, the carpet in our stateroom was stained and very worn and the sink was chipped. Azamara seems to be evolving as a cruise line and every cruise we notice changes - some are for the better, some are not improvements. It seems with a few tweaks Azamara could be first rate ship that everyone could consistently rave about. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I sailed on the Oceania Marina mid June with a group of 10 friends that I met through Cruise Critic over the years. I have already published a comparison of my "observations" on Oceania vs. Azamara, on the Oceania board. I have ... Read More
I sailed on the Oceania Marina mid June with a group of 10 friends that I met through Cruise Critic over the years. I have already published a comparison of my "observations" on Oceania vs. Azamara, on the Oceania board. I have reset my expectations and had a little "cooling off" period so I am hopeful that this review will be fair and balanced and will only deal with the Marina experience. Firstly, the ship is gorgeous! She is clean and bright and cheerful and the works of art onboard are amazing. It was a delight just to stroll around her. I arrived too early to embark but my luggage was taken away quickly and I was free to wander or sit or snack. The port in Stockholm is a working port, as were all the ports on the Baltic cruise, so the terminal was a prefab unit but was just fine. There was a small gift shop with coffee and snacks and water. There were quite a few folks there already but it was not crowded. It was cool outside so the temperature in the terminal was pleasant. There were enough seats to handle the number of passengers so all was well. At around 1:30 am they began herding us all towards the security check point. Since there was a bit of a crush - they began to call the Suite passengers first, then PH, then Concierge and so on. This created a bit of a fuss since there were lots of folks already in line. It seemed a bit disjointed. One still had to go to the check-in counter and line up in the appropriate line before being allowed to board, so it seemed strange that they wouldn't just let the line clear through security and let the Concierge and above board after check in. The entire process from line up to check-in to boarding took less than 25 minutes. Pretty good! Suite wasn't ready so I proceeded to the Terrace Café for a bite and a drink...I was impressed by the variety and the quality of the food, along with the presentation. I managed to secure a table on the aft deck. Weather was wonderful and I was enjoying the view! After snacking and downing a perfectly prepared martini - I popped down the one floor to see my room. Very lovely - spacious and well appointed, clean and bright. I had flowers from some friends that had been delivered so the smell was lovely UNTIL ..... I entered the bathroom. :-( Where I was greeted by the smell of sewage. Yikes ---- I thought I was imagining it until my cabin steward came in a told me this was a known issue and they had been struggling to keep it under control. Bottom line - I smelled it off and on for the duration of the cruise. My friends and I also noticed it in the hall out side my room. I know that they were pouring lots of water in and using heavy duty chemicals but the issue was never really resolved. Luckily - my room smelled so lovely from the flowers, I didn't notice it in the room. It seemed to be worse during the day - at night I think I was just so exhausted, I didn't notice. The balcony is a nice size with comfortable chairs but I could have used a table for dining out there as that is what I love to do each morning. The walk in closet is totally decadent .... I could have rented it out, all I needed was a blow up mattress! The tv was a good size with lots of news stations (no CNN).... the cordless phone was a great touch --- used it in the closet!!!!! The upmarket amenities were excellent. The smell was also very noticeable at the shuffleboard court. So much so that my friends stopped going there. They also put away the sports equipment precisely at 6 - although the sun didn't set until midnight. We returned from touring around 5 pm each night as did most people. The food in the Specialty restaurants, Terrace Café, Waves and Room Service was excellent....really well done with lots of choices. Service was great too. Red Ginger had a great manager and I can't remember her name but she was also at Waves and you could see that she REALLY knew what she was doing. She was also really kind to her staff and that was nice to see. Table turnover for the buffet was good. Only one day where it was so busy that you couldn't find seating. I didn't get a chance to go to Toscana, but my friends thought that it was the best dinner they had onboard. Red Ginger came in second. Not that the others were bad...they weren't. I don't think I had a bad meal anywhere EXCEPT the GDR. The food and service there was spotty everytime I went there for breakfast or dinner (with the exception of dining at the Captain's table). We tried it several times and we were always disappointed. Food wasn't hot and when it was sent back, it came back cool again. If it can be good when dining with the CAptain, it should be as good as that for all guests I think. I have recently adopted a gluten and dairy free lifestyle. I was accommodated in every way possible and managed to get very tasty alternative foods! I must say - they watched me like a hawk and I had to tell them that I wouldn't die if I had any gluten or dairy in fact the only thing that might happen is that I just might contribute to the nasty smell we were noticing around the ship!!!! LOL AND NO the nasty smell wasn't me ... I CHECKED!!! :-) The entertainment onboard was nothing special - but this has been noticed by many reviewers for some time. The ports were very intensive and most folks retired early. If you ate dinner past 7:30 it was usually impossible to see the show that started at 9:30. My friends and I aren't notable night crawlers - so it was usually a quick boo at the show's tail end and off to bed. We danced one night and the duo were good. The guitarist was spectacular!!! He did two shows and we wish he had done more. Magician was good too. The Spa onboard is beautiful - but get ready to shell out HUGE bucks for treatments. The Sanctuary turned out to be the biggest disappointment for us all as there was very little maintenance done on it. Used towels, long abandoned by their users, lay on the loungers. New clean towels were sometimes not even available. In the change room, baskets overflowed with used towels and amenities were not replaced. Locker keys were given out and when opened there were still used robes in them. The beautiful heated stone loungers in the Serenity room had used towels on them and the tables were littered with used cups and soda cans. What a shame. My friends and I went up there every day and always had the same experience. When we asked the Spa desk about this - we were told that they are not responsible for cleaning the areas. It was Oceania's job. Hmmmmmm. The gym was well appointed and all the machines were in service everytime I went. But again, there was an issue with tidying up. The disinfectant cloths were empty or turned over and bleach spilled out on the counter for hours! My butler and his staff were excellent - shout out to Sonu and Liliya! Every night he presented himself to escort me to dinner as he felt it was necessary that a single woman should not enter the dining room alone! That was lovely. I wish I could remember the names of all the people who were so wonderful on board. The crew were all so friendly and kind - it was a pleasure to see their smiling faces each day. In summation, I would say that Oceania is a solid 5 star cruise experience. The issues I have mentioned could be fixed very easily and I hope that it has already been taken care of. Based on my previous travels with many other cruise lines, I would say that my experience would have been enhanced if there were just a couple of things that had been there that I missed. Anyone in mid or senior management to say hello/goodbye each day at the gangway. Cold towels and a refreshment at the gangways after tours returned. Anyone in a senior management position to Welcome guests onboard and maybe a sparkling wine? A more proactive greeting from Mid or Senior Management or officers when walking about the ship. I always felt that I had to do a little "dance" to get someone's attention or even to say Hello. It became a bit of a joke as we started counting the number of times we had the practiced "avoidance" coming towards us. Just because we are troublemakers at heart...we boomed out hello to everyone walking by! They always returned our hello with a smile.....with one exception. ;-) What it comes down to is that little things make the difference between meeting expectations and exceeding them. Many new or "upmarketing" cruisers onboard felt that their first Oceania experience was extraordinary having nothing else in the 5 star region to compare it with. To that end and in that market Oceania has achieved and possibly exceeded customer satisfaction. I would hope that delighting the customer would extend also to passengers who have experienced other cruise lines competing for the same market share. I am sure that Oceania values this highly prized group and from all I have seen of their spectacular shoreside service and the exemplary attention I have had from some their senior management, meeting expectations is not the goal. It will be my pleasure to cruise again with them in the future and will feel confident that the experience will be solid 5 star approaching 6!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My wife and I are in our 70's and have been cruising since 1972, when we took our first cruise on the "Loveboat" We generally pick our cruises based on the itinerary and although we cruised the Baltic Sea more than 25 years ... Read More
My wife and I are in our 70's and have been cruising since 1972, when we took our first cruise on the "Loveboat" We generally pick our cruises based on the itinerary and although we cruised the Baltic Sea more than 25 years ago, we decided to visit that area of the world again. We booked back to back cruises, the first one from Stockholm to Copenhagen with stops in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin, Warnemunde, Kiel and Travemunde in Germany and the second leg from Copenhagen to Dublin, Ireland with stops in Eidfjord, Norway, Lerwick, Scotland, Akureyri and Reyjavik, Iceland and Isle of Man. The boarding process was smooth; We were provided transportation from our hotel in Stockholm to the pier and were on board within 15 minutes of arrival. Lunch was served when we arrived and our suite was available at 2:00 o'clock. An hour later our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. The Azamara ships were recently refurbished and for their age are in splendid condition. We booked a suite on deck 8 for this cruise because we find the standard staterooms a bit too small for our taste. This was our seventh cruise on Azamara for two reasons: Their "choice air" arrangements are very convenient for us. We have found their air much better than Regent Seven Seas for example. With Regent we had to get up at 5:00 AM to get to their flights, with Azamara our flights left late mornings and arrived early evenings. The second reason is that they make you feel like family; when we boarded, the first person we met onboard was one of the dancers in their shows, who remembered us by name from a previous cruise on the "Journey". That you don't find very often. Our suite came provided with a butler and our butler, Mevin could not have been more helpful with making specialty dining room reservations (which are complimentary for suite guests) and serving us breakfast in our cabin. He also kept our champagne on ice at all times. Most mornings we had breakfast in the "windows café" which serves breakfast buffet style and has a terrific selection of everything you could possibly want for breakfast including eggs prepared to your liking. The main dining room, "Discoveries" is not as noisy as many ships we have sailed on and, again the service is very attentive and the food delicious. Our favorites, however, are "Aqualina" and "Prime C" their specialty restaurants. Unlike many other ships we sailed on, we never had a problem getting the reservation we requested. We dined in each of the specialty restaurants at least five times. The menus were varied enough to suit our tastes and the presentation and service were always top notch. The Cabaret lounge, while not as opulent as some ships, is intimate and the shows were very good. Their singers and dances, which include our cruise director, Russ were outstanding and we enjoyed many of their Broadway productions. They also brought in a concert pianist and several comedians and singers. Their productions are not as lavish as many other ships but we thought their entertainment was very good. Their orchestra was outstanding! The staff could not have been nicer and attentive. They truly make you feel like a family. That's why we love small ships. Debarkation was smooth; we did not have to get up at an ungodly hour. Had a leisurely breakfast and were off the ship by 9:30 AM for a bus transfer to our hotel in Dublin. We will definitely sail with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We enjoyed this cruise immensely. We enjoyed 3 days in Stockholm prior to setting sail and 2 days post cruise in Copenhagen. We really enjoyed the small, luxury feel to the ship. The public areas were lovely, the restaurants & bars ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise immensely. We enjoyed 3 days in Stockholm prior to setting sail and 2 days post cruise in Copenhagen. We really enjoyed the small, luxury feel to the ship. The public areas were lovely, the restaurants & bars were also lovely...always with gracious greetings from maitre d's, servers and barmen. Embarkation and disembarkation were effortless. We never had a wait for anything...dining...always a table. We dined 5 evenings in the 2 specialty restaurants, and they were both on par with any fine dining restaurant in a major city. The food and service were exemplary. We enjoyed the caviar & champagne service at Aqualina...really special...caviar while in Russia...how special! The Dover Sole at Aqualina and the Lamb & Filet at Prime C were both exceptional. The main dining room, Discoveries, was also terrific...we enjoyed every meal that we we had there and also at Windows Cafe...all first rate & delicious. Pool bars, piano bars, restaurant bars, cabaret bars were all enjoyable & all with very attentive service. Our stateroom on the 7th floor was lovely & well-appointed. The balcony was so very nice...we had breakfast delivered to the stateroom on most mornings. Our housekeeping staff was without fault...service 2 times per day. We booked all shore excursions on-line with the Azamara prior to sailing. All of them were terrific...well managed, great guides, transportation etc. The weather was just wonderful, and the itineray was so very special...a part of the world that we had wanted to visit for some time. We loved the entertainment in the Cabaret Lounge. Russ Grieve is a terrific entertainer and Cruise Director...each evening's entertainment was so much fun! The AzAmazing Evening at the ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia was SO special! A red carpet arrival to a fabulously restored Russian ballet theatre. The ballet was so enjoyable and also with a champagne reception at intermission. Well done Azamara...such a lovely evening! Very special and very memorable...thank you! The staff was all just so attentive. We were greeted genuinely...always in hallways, public areas, exiting and boarding the ship...by staff, managers and the cruise director...very hospitable! We had a terrific cruise...and enjoyed every minute of it. Azamara does a great job of delivering a high quality product with an all-inclusive experience...wine, cocktails, gratuities, etc. There will always be the people for whom "the ice cream is too cold" or "the water is not wet enough"...ignore the pining of these types...and enjoy Azamara...we did! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013

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