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61 Transatlantic Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

This was our second crossing on QM2, having sailed two years ago Westbound in December. The Atlantic in December *is* the destination for us as much as the QM2 herself, and neither disappointed. Perhaps because this was my second trip ... Read More
This was our second crossing on QM2, having sailed two years ago Westbound in December. The Atlantic in December *is* the destination for us as much as the QM2 herself, and neither disappointed. Perhaps because this was my second trip on QM2, I found the ship even more beautiful than I remembered. I noticed more of the details and the design and was constantly amazed and enchanted. So many beautiful "liner-y" public spaces to spend time in, it was a pleasure just moving through the ship. We spent a great deal of time in the Commodore Club for cocktails before and after dinner, and the Chart Room - my personal favorite. And of course the gallery on 3L was especially captivating on the days when we had "lumpy seas" as Captain Wells called them. The service from the Queens Grill through to all the public rooms was very warm and attentive, especially Rakesh who looked after us so good naturedly in the Commodore Club, making us always feel very welcomed. Osman and team in the Queens Grill ran a very tight ship as well, with near flawless service. There were a couple of gala nights were we arrived at the peak time and things were a bit backed up, but the room itself, and the floor show of all the table side preparations kept us more than entertain. We never went to any of the shows, as for us, dinner was the evening's show. I did attend the three lectures by Maureen Ryan the former Cunard social hostess who chronicled her career from the 1950s to the early 2000s and she was excellent. Likewise the jazz combo in the Chart Room each night was wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to the reasonably sized post-dinner martini and the dark Atlantic waters rushing by. The only negatives to the otherwise completely outstanding QM2 crossing were around the food: The menus and food execution were not really up to scratch.  We were in QG and found the food only about 4 out of five.  The service (thank you Osman and team!) and setting was fantastic,  but the variety of the menus and sometimes the execution was not up to par. This was especially true at breakfast, where not only was the menu very very pedestrian, but where they also struggled to poach eggs properly.    The menus were very tame, not even up to par with what I would call today's wonderful "modern British" fare. The food is more than adequate, but I guess especially in QG I would be looking for bit more flare and sophistication. Osman was very aggressive at offering us off menu items, which we took advantage of. Most were good to very good, but overall I would not sail on QM2 for the food. I had to keep reminding myself that I was on "Queen Mary 2" and not "Normandie 2" and that put things in proper perspective. The new menu in the Verandah does not do justice the beauty and sophistication of that space.  It's a gorgeous room, swanky and sophisticated, so it seemed a but incongruous to be eating steakhouse fare. The wine list by contrast was wonderful, and well stocked with a great range of old-world wines at reasonable process. Still, we've been back for almost 3 weeks now, and I have already had half a dozen dreams about the ship.  I am plotting our return at the first opportunity. I am a foodie normally, so despite the "meh" rating of the food, it speaks volumes that I cannot wait to be back aboard. It was absolutely brilliant, and how enormously lucky I felt to have experienced it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long ... Read More
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long lines checking in at the terminal. While I found this a bit of a speed bump to the start of our cruise I didn’t let it bother me. Everyone was doing their best to get us onboard as quickly as possible, and let’s face it sometimes that takes time. The layout of the ship didn’t bother me too much. Every ship has its own quirks. I did miss the lack of windows and quiet spaces to sit during the day, but they do make the specialty restaurants available to use when they are closed so there are still plenty of quiet places to go. I also missed the running track, but this ship has the biggest and best set up gym I’ve seen on any ship. I found it easy to find my way around the ship. I agree they are missing a bank of elevators, but I have no problem taking stairs. Also if you don’t mind walking a little you can usually find elevators that aren’t busy. The food was fantastic, and the service was amazing in the restaurants. I didn’t eat at the buffet because I just am not a buffet person. My only time up there was to get ice cream and I have no complaints there. Disembarking was a bit of a process. Not sure what happened but they halted disembarking for at least an hour just as we were going to get our stuff out of our cabin. Our cabin steward told us to just stay there and relax until they started to allow people off the ship again. Which was sweet that he offered this to us. We left our luggage in our cabin and walked around the ship a little so they could still get in and do as much as they could to get the cabin ready. When it was time to get off the ship we were off in 15 minutes. I think the crew got handed some tough situations on this cruise with the embarkation and disembarkation, but I feel that they handled everything as best as they could and very professionally. I was very impressed. I would also like to add that I haven’t see a crew work together so well and genuinely like each other. You could tell these guys are all family. Like I said earlier I wouldn’t hesitate to book a cruise on the Epic again. I loved my time with her and the crew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Basically used as transport from the UK to the Caribbean, we had time to take this trip as part of our itinerary to reach home. Southampton check in -very quick and efficient the only flaw was NCL’s oversight in prebooking information ... Read More
Basically used as transport from the UK to the Caribbean, we had time to take this trip as part of our itinerary to reach home. Southampton check in -very quick and efficient the only flaw was NCL’s oversight in prebooking information in failing to advise that documentary proof of ESTA is required. Ship-We had anticipated some shortcomings as this voyage was essentially a shake down , however it was interesting to see how the latest cruise ships have evolved with a lightly built, full bowed hull outfitted with low maintenance Internal modular units obviously designed for a refurbishment a few years down the road. Despite its huge size the vessel reacted like a much smaller one encountering some poor but not particularly rough sea states, surprising that it is classed for “winter North Atlantic” service. The internal ambience is very understated and the internal decorators have done an outstanding job in both layout and decor. Cabin-Mini suite on deck thirteen, was a little on the narrow side and the balcony, unused due to the weather, extremely small. A large amount of storage, more electrical points would be useful(US standard only). The king bed was comfortable and located inboard of the seating area, apparently the sofa converts to a double bed, it would be adequate only for small children. Bathroom was large with excellent shower, but poor quality toiletries. Restaurants-complimentary, were somewhat limited as Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room have exactly the same menu which changes little from day to day. The Garden Cafe cafeteria was generally a better choice, being large, beautifully laid out and with an good selection, the carvery and Indian sections were the high spots. -specialty, Ocean Blue(seafood), very disappointing , Food Republic basically sushi with a rather annoying tablet menu, a little better, Le Bistro, worth a visit for a change, Cagneys, by far the best and really the only one worth paying for unless the very reasonable Free at Sea package had been purchased. Bars, although cumulatively quite large in number only the Observation deck had a lounge quality with adequate seating. Again the Free at Sea package is almost essential even for moderate drinkers as the per drink prices are high, a plus point is that only the excess cost is charged over the base prices for premium drinks. Wi Fi-worked well but the very reasonably priced unlimited use add on is essential as the basic 250minutes was consumed by an apparently arbitrary log in and out algorithm. Service-Generally good(vessel only 50%occupied), but could improve particularly in table clearing and cabin areas. Entertainment-Two free professional level productions but not continuously available meant that tickets were scarce. Smaller general acts very similar to other cruise lines. Excessive emphasis on trivia and TV type game shows indicate a Bingo rather than Bridge orientation. Outside facilities, did not use due to weather-vessel is geared to tropical cruises. Value-exceptional,even including Free at Sea and extra Wi Fi costs Disembarkation -An utter shambles, not the fault of NCL, or indeed the immigration officers who struggled to cope with 2000+ passengers using outdated technology and without the self clearance machines used at US airports. They were fortunate, as were we, that the crew were not permitted to disembark.Customs clearance on the following day was much easier as the officers basically just watched passengers collect luggage and leave. High spot-The sea approach to New York under the Verrazano Bridge , past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson to the terminal berth was stunning and could have been more so had the ships entertainers been used to provide NY music during the transit. Fellow passengers-mix of American , British, Canadian and some others. Many hugely overweight and large numbers of mobility scooters, walkers and wheel chairs, generally in 50 to 70 age group and preponderance of return NCL guests. Overview-A relative bargain on a new ship , perhaps a half star lower than Holland America or Celebrity but quite enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Our last time on the Marco Polo was in 2011, our second cruise, after our first on NCL with a butler and a concierge and lots of fancy extras. We’ve done lots of cruises since, but the Marco Polo has stayed VERY special and both times ... Read More
Our last time on the Marco Polo was in 2011, our second cruise, after our first on NCL with a butler and a concierge and lots of fancy extras. We’ve done lots of cruises since, but the Marco Polo has stayed VERY special and both times have been equally enjoyable. It’s a shame this is the last time the Marco Polo will visit Canada, so I’ll concentrate on the ship, rather than the ports. If it were to return to Canada, I’d suggest calling it “Canada with a fall”, as a lot of people took the title “fall” rather too literally and actually fell, which kept the doctor fairly busy (although he always seemed to have time for a cigarette – and the occasional brandy - out on deck!)! On arrival, the new parking facilities at Tilbury made things much easier. As we went towards check in, we were greeted by Sheena, a member of staff who recognised us from 2011 – she was also there to wish us a safe journey home when we got back! Check in took no time, and within minutes, we were in our cabin. We really like CMV, and yes, there are things they could do better – information about the ports could have maps, there could be more mugs available and a couple of the waiting staff might be a little more courteous at times (that said, our waiter, Pritish, was fantastic). Sometimes, perhaps a little more attention could be paid to detail. Getting the time zone wrong was a good example, but it does add to the quirkiness of CMV and probably why we rate it so highly. It’s a small ship experience with a very friendly and very helpful crew (mostly) and very friendly passengers (mostly), with no casino, no art auctions, very few queues, no huge upselling – and no kids (although most passengers are very young at heart). Calling it a “small ship” is correct, but as the cruise progresses, it takes longer and longer to get anywhere as you keep nattering to people on the way! We’ve racked our brains as to what facilities a larger ship has that we’d use and can’t think of anything that really makes a huge difference to our overall enjoyment. We booked a “guaranteed” cabin and were allocated 655, an accessible cabin on deck 9. It was very big and exceedingly well situated. It had more than ample storage facilities with a large dressing table and three wardrobes. And very usefully, lots of wall hooks for coats and dressing gowns that we brought with. One of the dressing gowns came in particularly useful to block out the light from under the door. Most of the time the noise from Scott’s Bar didn’t bother us, however we did have to make sure the big doors were closed before we went to bed, and were annoyed by the selfish people who opened them once or twice late at night despite the signs. Our cabin door rattled - we managed to remedy it by using a sock - the cabin attendant did say he’d inform the carpenter, but that didn’t seem to happen, however he did keep the cabin absolutely spotless and never seemed to stop working. The hold rails in the bathroom came in very useful when we were taking a shower in rough seas. However, as for true accessibility, the ship isn’t modern and one day a lady was in tears after climbing the gang way back up to the ship which was very steep due to tidal conditions – she didn’t leave the ship again until disembarkation. However, others (including yours truly) managed to dance in Scott’s Bar in rather rough seas until the small hours. With so many sea days, we were delighted with the daytime activities, especially the creative writing classes by Chrissie – and the drama classes with Harry and Emma. Doing these meant that there were clashes with some of the lectures but the ones we saw (especially Steve’s maritime history ones) were great. Sue was always on deck saying we’d just missed a whale (seriously, she was fabulous at explaining the natural world around us) – and Lucy was a real trooper although a lot of what she said about photography rather went over our untechnical heads – we just want to point and click to get a photo! Given that our previous Marco Polo Cruise Director was the amazing Richard Sykes, Josh had a lot to live upto and he was a really great Cruise Director – a very talented showman with a great future. The standout moment for us was when he unexpectedly appeared during our drama class in his costume for the cocktail competition. At that moment, it confirmed we were in great hands! The nightly entertainment was mainly very good, although we thought the comedians were rather past their best before date. At nearly 60, I really struggled with some subjects, such as putting sixpences and aspirins in stocking suspenders that broke in the wash. Thankfully some other passengers explained it to us. One thing we would change about the “Round the World” would be the English bit. Surely Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn and some outdated jingoistic claptrap about how we’re going to widen our “Empire” could perhaps be replaced by something more in keeping with the modern world, perhaps a couple of Beatles songs, like “With A Little Help From Our Friends” and “Imagine”. Or even Scooch’s Eurovision entry, “Flying the Flag”. Or something less innocuous like “My Old Man”. It was nice to see a smattering of same sex couples, perhaps we should have asked for an LGBT meet up to be put in the programme as we didn’t get to know one couple until the last few days. Being gay obviously wasn’t a problem, but we were rather more cautious about talking about politics and very carefully “came out” as pro-EU – and were delighted to find so many likeminded people – and were over the moon that EU flags sometimes adorned our cocktails! Unlike some other lines, CMV isn’t “totally” British, we very much enjoyed having a smattering of Dutch and Australian etc passengers onboard. The food was very much to our taste, I’m not sure I ordered anything I didn’t like, and there was a very good variety with very few repetitions during the 30 days, although my pescatarian husband had a couple of veggie dishes he wasn’t keen on, but they were changed very quickly to something he did like. Our waiter, Pritish, was absolutely brilliant and dealt with our dietary requirements superbly. Portions were huge and our only complaint was that the food was too nice so we ate too much! Of course, it wouldn’t be CMV without a few quirks – vinegar springs to mind where at first it came in a gravy boat, then the waiters just brought the plastic bottle! Shame I can’t be as enthusiastic about the house wine. My husband refused to drink the house white after a while and we ended up buying bottles – even at £12 after the discount, it mounts up and is rather annoying when you’ve already spent around £1200 on two drinks packages. For our next cruise, we’ve decided to take the VIP package, reluctantly, in the hope that the wine is better. To cut down on eating, many times, we had the free “breakfast in bed” – toast, a croissant, a pastry, orange juice and tea/coffee was enough – inside cabins don’t have a kettle, so this was a way round getting a hot drink in the morning. A cooked version for a tenner was also available, although I’m not sure how you’d actually eat it comfortably in most cabins which don’t have a table. We only missed one port, St Johns, due to a hurricane, the rest of the time, we got to our destinations, although the tender process was a little chaotic at times, and our last Canadian port, Sydney was only until 1pm, meaning a very short stop for some – thankfully we pre-booked an excursion meaning we were off the ship quite early, but didn’t get a chance for a walk round the town afterwards. The excursions we went on were well priced and well organised and most of the time, free shuttles to the city centre were laid on by the port authorities, but that’s down to the port authority, rather than the cruise company. There’s no denying that CMV is truly unique and not for everyone. There’s simply no point in comparing it to other lines, it does things differently, it will suit some people more than others, and I’m sure there will be reviews about the “rust bucket” and “rude staff” etc. It certainly isn’t a rust bucket and 99% of the staff are friendly and helpful. Towards the end of the cruise, we had no hesitation in booking another with CMV where we got a 5% discount – plus free parking from cruise.co.uk! We’ve now got three CMV cruises to look forward to, none on the Marco Polo, which is a shame as it’s a fantastic ship, but I hope we’ll put that right soon enough. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We travelled as a couple on an 11 night transatlantic from Salvador to Barcelona. We primarily travel on Royal Caribbean and this was our first time on MSC. As such this review will be comparing the two. Good Points - Great Cabin ... Read More
We travelled as a couple on an 11 night transatlantic from Salvador to Barcelona. We primarily travel on Royal Caribbean and this was our first time on MSC. As such this review will be comparing the two. Good Points - Great Cabin Explained in the cabin review - Almost Great Designed Ships The ship was designed beautiful and designed exceptionally with every detail almost thought out. The ship was kept meticulously clean - Great In-house Entertainment The in-house shows were very good although were 35 mins each. Costumes, make up, lighting were superior to RC. - Slightly Cheaper Drinks We don’t drink much so don’t purchase packages. Drinks were about 20% cheaper than RC and tended to be a similar size. Nice touches in the Sports Bar was providing nachos and dips with drinks. The drink alcohol measures also tended to be large. - Always Available Sun Loungers There was sun loungers always available even when very busy - An Affordable Ship Tour At $45 for a three hour tour of behind the scenes of the ship this felt like good value compared to RC price which on Oasis was around $80-90 (which we didn’t take up). Now to the negatives - there is a few: - Some Design Flaws Whilst the ship is beautiful they made some mistakes; The theatre has 934 seats - on a ship with a capacity of 5300. This means that the performers are forced to do 3 x 35 minute performances a night. Whilst these didn’t always sell out (as booking is required) I feel the theatre should have had more capacity to reduce this to two maybe slightly longer performances. The seating is also very tight on leg room. The pools are all 6ft deep with no shallow sections (with the exception of the kids play park) The dinning rooms are too small. This cruise wasn’t full but heard previously of issues with not having enough tables in the restaurant. This results in some very closely configured tables which almost resemble banqueting halls where your almost sharing tables with your neighbour. This didn’t happen to us but it could be pot luck whether you land one of these tables. I’m also not sure if this is down to the table situation but they tend to run 4 dinner sessions 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm - there is also a my choice dining option. If you aren’t in within 15 minutes of that time then the restaurant closes. This policy leads to everyone arriving in a 15 minute window. Servers maybe with 6 tables or more each then need to take orders, serve drinks, bread and food. Not staggering tables affects quality of service and also I’m sure has an effect on the kitchen staff as well. Very open venues. Many of the entertainment areas aren’t intimate or open and have limited seating - so often what happens is a performer is playing to people who are not there to see the act but people who are just there taking a seat. Often the venues are also corridors to other places which then has the effect of major background noise. - The food was very hit or miss The food in the buffet and main dining at breakfast was to a similar standard to RC although with possibly slightly less choice Lunch in the buffet offered less variety than RC and the one time we had lunch in main dining it was ok. Again they seemed to seat people in one waiters section meaning they had immediately 8 tables to serve in quick time. We had dinner in the main dining each night and it was very hit or miss. Some dishes were surprisingly good others were just ok. Portions tended to be smaller than RC - which I think is a good thing - as often RC portions can vary and tend to be large. We developed a system to ensure we got alright food on MSC - we found they tended to be better at seafood and fish dishes than other meat types. For desserts their ice cream and ice cream sundaes were actually very good. They were also very good at pizza and (crisp) fries at the buffet. - Water At dinner service we were entitled to complimentary bottled water - which seemed to be rationed with one bottle coming out at a time. I’m not sure why they don’t just serve water - I actually would prefer a big jug of iced water from the tap than create more plastic to be recycled. - Sanitisation Whilst cleanliness was very good on board hygenie such as hand sanitisation was more an optional occurrence. There was hand sanitiser stations and even hand washing stations in the buffet but many just didn’t bother. By the end of the cruise a large number of people seemed to have a cough. - Disembarkation at some ports was a nightmare We stopped at Tenerife and Malaga on this trip. Tenerife was actually very smooth. However Malaga was slightly dangerous. Due to three medical evacuations by air and bad weather the disembarkation time was understandably changed to 2:30pm. People queued from 2pm with no staff to manage queues these quickly got out of hand with no real queuing system, people joining the lines as they come down the stairs or out of lifts. Some of the queue were then sent to the crew exit to alleviate this. But that was somewhat a bottleneck > with again people coming down stairs and lifts and joining in a mass. - Lack of Activities On board there was somewhat limited daytime activities. On RC we enjoy attending the trivia which is up to seven times a day. It is a great way to meet people as well as break up sea days. On MSC it tended to be dance classes with only three trivia sessions across 12 days. On one day they had 3 activities scheduled at one time and none for three hours. They also had a guest lecturer on board who we attended several talks and was quite interesting. On speaking to her she stated that she only does the transatlantic cruises - what would they have had if she wasn’t on board. There was a lot of entertainment staff even more than on other lines so felt they weren’t utilised as well as they could be. - Languages It became quite monotonous to hear every thing repeated in 6 languages. MSC is European, and I was shocked how seemingly few US customers were on board which make up a large proportion of RC guests regardless where they sail from. Unsurprisingly the majority were Brazilians meaning Portuguese was the main language. Being from the UK and having a little grasp of a few languages I would have struggled without English which was certainly a minority language on board. I’m not sure there is a solution to this problem. Although perhaps they could announce in one language and display subtitles in other languages on screens in places like the theatre. - Not the best imported shows The shows which are imported tend to be languageless or language light. These were a mime act (x2), singing act (x2) and a Ventriloquist using somewhat common words from multiple languages. In fact the best part of these shows was often the audience participation bits which were only a small part. Overall these certainly were not as good as guests performers on RC. - Service was not as friendly as RC I felt the staff were not as friendly as RC. They all did a good job but didn’t really talk. On RC servers of food and drink tend to be really bubbly, restaurant managers visit our table each night and most other staff great you in the corridors of all ranks. I felt this was in a minority on MSC. The staff were still good at their job and some were really friendly. For example a waitress at the chocolate shop remembered us for the rest of the cruise and greeted us each time we walked by, the maitre’d at main dining was very chatty and always acknowledged guests, deck staff cleaning the deck at 5am even gave out a strong good morning in Portuguese. Some other points; We had 3 air medical evacuations during this cruise and these were handled really professionally - it was good to see that if you need specialist medical help even 500km off the coast that attempts will will be made to get you that help. The Spanish Search & Rescue Service Salvamento Maritimo sent a Puma helicopter and an AirbusHeli plane to evacuate a staff member who was in labour with the baby in the breech position. An unusual announcement came over the tannoy in another language first and I picked up the words gynaecologist or obstetrician as they are very similar. The next day whilst at the buffet they made an announcement of “Mike Echo” over the tannoy and the evacuation was in full progress. MSC was the first cruise line to search my bags getting off at a port. As we were on holiday for 17 days we really needed to wash some clothes. I hadn’t preordered a washing package which were reasonable in advance. But per piece priced onboard. As we had washed clothes before off ship on our last transatlantic we thought we would do the same again. Last year on RC we carried off two rather large stuffed full weekender bags no questions asked. Even Spanish police and didn’t even look as we walked through with them. However MSC security were puzzled why I might be taking a weekender bag off the ship and wanted to know what was in it, scanned it and then did a quick visual search. This vigilance I believe is a good thing although what bag size is too big - I was shocked to have not been at least stopped last year with RC. On MSC others got off with backpacks no questions asked. Beware of the shuttle sale at Malaga. This has been mentioned by others before but MSC somewhat tried to sell a $10 shuttle to the city centre from Malaga cruise terminal stating it’s a 20-25 min bus ride away. In reality it’s about 25 minutes leisurely walk by the marina. A taxi would be about €6 each way, and if you wanted to do specific things may just save you a few minutes. Overall we left feeling we enjoyed a relaxing 11 nights on board. We would sail again with MSC possibly on their smaller ships (which we tend prefer) on itinerary rich sailings negating some of the activity issues although we have another two transatlantic sailings booked with RC for early next year so possibly not anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was really excited to get back and give Costa Deliziosa a proper review. I am not sure which cruise most folks that have had issues with this cruise sailed on though my experience was completely opposite. So yes I have been on about ... Read More
I was really excited to get back and give Costa Deliziosa a proper review. I am not sure which cruise most folks that have had issues with this cruise sailed on though my experience was completely opposite. So yes I have been on about 10 cruises in The U S and one out of Rome. Also I used to work on a ship (Everyone a large vessel is not a boat. It is a ship) years ago. Pre registration was super easy and the port personnel shared that I was one of the first people he encountered that actually read and filled out all of the needed paperwork before reaching the port. Our ship didn’t leave port until 11 p.m. I showed up around 12:30 p.m. Check In was about 5 minutes. I sat down and waited for my group # to be called. It was called about a 1/2hr after I checked in. On this cruise (Keep in mind this may change) your actual stateroom key is not given to you at check in. It is on your bed in an envelope. I did a quick check of my room, said hello to my stateroom host and went exploring the ship. A tip. Walk around the ship if you arrive early and take pictures of the different decks, spaces and areas. Just about everyone else is at the buffet so you will get some amazing unobstructed pictures. After the pictures I went to the buffet. I was pretty surprised due to the bad reviews. The food was good. There is something for everyone. Obviously yes there was pasta though lots of proteins, salads, cheeses, breads, soups, etc. There is free pizza and hamburgers and fries for lunch each day at the buffet. Yes there is an additional charge if you wanted to partake in a special experience of them at night though it is a larger portion and presented in a meal function vs. self serve. My bags were delivered to my room about 2 hours after I boarded. I did receive a drink package with my room though choose to upgrade it to the highest tier. Honestly there was no need for me to do that because the drink I had for the 10 days was included in my initial package. Oh well Update as of February 2019 (This may have changed by time you are reading this). The Samsara regular cabins only get access to the spa area stairs/elevator, spa rooms (Not included are massages and services). You do not get access to The Samsara Resturant anymore and need to make a reservation like everyone else and pay the extra charge. Samsara Suites do get all of the above privileges along with a drink package minus the massages and services. First thing to do is join Costa Club. It takes seconds and is free. Your new club number may not show up online on your reservation if you get the number after you book the reservation though it will be noted and recognized on board. There are quite a bit of perks along with 50% of the specialty restaurants on board along with discounts on certain drinks, shops and spa. A couple I met are loyal members and receive major discounts on their cruises along with upgrades. Shared it was for sure worth it. The buffet was so good I ate lunch and dinner there everyday except for dinner in the dining room on my first night. I did meet a cool cruise mate the first night and build a friendship for the next few days. I travel by myself and it was nice to have company for a few days. He was on a work trip and left after 4 days. Out of the numerous crew members I encountered only one was a bit grumpy. Came to find out he had a newborn at home and had months left on his current contract. This didn’t give him the excuse not to be “on” though it sort of made sense. He did lighten up a bit as the cruise came to a close. So I had an absolute great time on my first 10 day Costa Cruise. I made friends with a few of the crew members. If you do eat at the buffet do read the hours in the daily guide. For some odd reason the hours changed on the 8th night and create some unhappy moments. I shared with the staff that was simply silly and moved on. I opted to take my bags off the ship in Ft Lauderdale. Lined up about 15 minutes before the published times. Was about 15th or so in line. Cleared Customs in 5 minutes. There was a van directly outside the exit hall that took about a dozen of us to the airport. I am getting ready to head out on another cruise on a different line in a few weeks though will have Costa on my mind for some time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to ... Read More
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to personally express our gratitude to this next generation of Holland America. That said, by any metric, the maiden voyage was an overwhelming success and we feel sure that this great new ship - with its great new crew - will provide enormous joy and enrichment for all who sail with her. If you know/like the Koningsdam, the Nieuw Statendam is its (almost) identical twin, but with some revisions: the Crow's Nest/Explorations Central (deck 12) has been re-imagined into a giant, gorgeous, and inviting "living room" offering an intimate environment, to chat, watch the ocean, check the stats of the engine, ship location, etc., and engage in puzzles, cards, and much more. Moving Lincoln Center Stage to the Queen's Lounge put these great classical musicians in an environment fitting to their artistry and charisma, and the new Rolling Stone Rock Room (with its great band) is a HIT! Holland America crew's legendary warmth and dedication to excellence are evident in this hand-selected crew of 1,000 - for us, cruise veterans yet making our first ocean crossing - we couldn't have asked for anything more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We´re a gay couple from Norway (early 40´s)and this was our 19th cruise overall but FIRST transatlantic... we tried Harmony some years ago and loved it and wanted to try the Symphony + TA. We started booking a Central Park view cabin and ... Read More
We´re a gay couple from Norway (early 40´s)and this was our 19th cruise overall but FIRST transatlantic... we tried Harmony some years ago and loved it and wanted to try the Symphony + TA. We started booking a Central Park view cabin and upgraded to a Junior Suite and then to a Grand Suite. It was a good a deal, so we went for it. PRE-CRUISE: One night in Barcelona, stayed in the Acta Mimic Hotel, close to the port, good for a one night sleep. EMBARKATION: Fastest embarkation ever. we did the online thing, uploaded pictures and at the port they just scanned our sailing passes and Boom... om board in less than five. SHIP: Symphony is just Amazing... the amount of art pieces around is just incredible. Layout is perfect, that you dodn't feel the crowd around. Loved the ship overall. CABIN: we ended up upgrading ourselves to a Grand Suite slowly slowly, cabin 7254; just Amazing... loved the layout. Incredible amounts of storage space. Bathrom size perfect. Location was just perfection... close to elevators, close the the entertainment decks. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Grand Suite Cabin gives you Sky Suite Class perks: Concierge Service, All Day Access to Coastal Kitchen with reservations, Specialty Bottled Water (upon arrival), Complimentary VOOM, Priority Boarding and Departure, Priority Dining Reservations, Reserved Seating Area in Select Entertainment Venues, Suite Lounge Access (complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails each evening), Access to Suite Sun Deck, Spa Bathrobes for Use Onboard, Luxury Pillow Top Mattress, Luxury Bathroom Amenities by L’Occitane. The concierge (Rahul) was amazing and fixed everything we needed in a very efficient way, the first day we just brought him a plan we wanted for our dining reservations (specialty and Coastal kitchen) and he took care of that in just few hours. The suite lounge is really a place to enjoy and relax, in our sailing there were a lot of Pinnacles (around 250) and therefore it was always crowded during the day and it kinf of annoyed us, but whatever that was not going to disturb our holiday. The only thing we missed in this suite class is having a buttler or kind of an upgraded Stateroom attendant but we managed well. Suite Sun deck with a bar and jacuzzi: perfection. DINING: • Coastal kitchen: As part of the Suite perks, we had access to CK as our main restaurant. In general we loved CK, the dinner menu changes everyday (at least for the first seven days), breakfast and lunch menus didnt change daily but t it was great we loved every single meal. The staff made its best to make us feel welcome and at home. • Windjammer: Very good and varied selection for lunch (when we were there), good quality and tastes, also good service from the waiters. • 150 Central Park: This was our choice for the first night and it was a train wreck, dinner for the two of us took around 2,5 hours and we waited almost an hour between started and main without having contact with the waiter at all, like if we were forgotten... then the waiter shows up and gives up a excuse aboput some problems in the kitchen and asked us to wait a little bit more... we did, the food came and the steaks were raw, even if Iasked a medium -raw it was still cold inside... whatever we decided to not make a problem of it, eated some of it and hqad dessert and that was it. • Chops Grille: It was good, good steaks, good service but nothing to brag about. being this the most "signature" restaurant from RCCL, they should do better. • Jamies's Italian: One of our favorites, so good at every level that we visited it twice during the cruise. The menu, the quality of the food and the service were some of the best during all the cruise. • Hooked: one of the new kids in town of the RCCL restaurants... perfection at every level... The food, service, the design of the restaurant... Just do yourself a favor if you liek seafood and eat there. • Wonderland: Incredible dinner, good service and amazing entertainment now with a mad hatter going around interacting with the tables while you enjoy dinner. • Solarium Bistro: loved the concept and easy delicious buffet dinner. • Johnny Rockets: easy going dinner but it was slowly with an almost empty restaurant. • Playmaker's (for dining): BEST BURGERS EVER. period. • El Loco Fresh: if you like (or love) Mexican food just go there, easy lunch and delicous and fresh and and and and.... Guacamole... burritos... Carnitas... BARS: as said, we bought the premium drinking package and we found it is still worth it. In general we found the service around all bars to be good with no long waiting. Best bar for us as the English pub... ENTERTAINMENT: NO SPOILERS: just go and enjoy and the shows... everything... Symphony entertainment team does a great job overall and the shows are some of the best productions we have ever seen on a ship SERVICE: I would say the service all around the ship was great. SHORE EXCURSIONS DESK: we didn´t use this so will not comment on that. CRUISE NEXT OFFICE: they did their job and we booked two future cruises with very good deals and promos DEPARTURE: VERY CAOTHIC PERIOD, the shuffle to the airport was kind of crazy and not organized at all. CONCLUSSION: we would definitely and easily sail again in the Symphony but not in Suite Class, it was great, and we loved it but comparing with other suite programs (Celebrity and NCL) you get less for your money... Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
One of the best cruise experiences we have ever had. As it was a long cruise we splurged and had an Aft Suite. Paying the extra was totally worth it. Having your own personal Concierge and Butler was awesome. Our Concierge (Carlos) was ... Read More
One of the best cruise experiences we have ever had. As it was a long cruise we splurged and had an Aft Suite. Paying the extra was totally worth it. Having your own personal Concierge and Butler was awesome. Our Concierge (Carlos) was absolutely fantastic. He truly took care of everything from getting us shore excursions, dinner and show reservations, and the best part, priority embarkation and disembarking. We truly never had to wait for anything. Our cabin steward (Ian) was also amazing. We called him the Ghost, because it seemed like as soon as we vacated the cabin he was there to tidy everything up! The ship itself is very nice and the specialty restaurants are delicious. Our favorites being, LeBistro and Tampanaki. We enjoyed both so much, we ate there twice. The cruise ports were also terrific. Our favorite being Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Just beautiful and the people were incredibly kind. We can’t wait to take another NCL cruise. Just a great time and experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the ... Read More
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the keep playing those godawful reworded 70s Love Boat theme-song safety messages - thank GOD they stopped after the first day) so roll on the bennies! Let’s skid sideways through the special quickie check in lanes and get this party started!! The line for elite/suite/platinum/not-sure-what-else looked like Disneyworld suddenly decided to throw a half price sale. The Princess person guiding people in apologetically said they had a rush of elite guests. Um...maybe. Or the boat is loaded with them. I’m no idjit. Where’s the steerage lanes? Waaaay down ther...I waddled with increasing speed towards the line that could’ve had tumbleweeds blowing through it. Then I started doing my “come hither” dance at my other half. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. Splaying limbs, expressions of a Maori warrior communicating half the British armed forces are bivouacked over yonder hill, I’m certain I’m adorable in all my middle aged glory. So my beloved and a few other canny people moved to the unimportant people line, which ended in the same place. I figured, even if they sent ten premiums through for every one pauper, hell, we’d still be in our stateroom hours ahead. We joined the remarkably short queue of commoners. As did several people from the premium lanes when they heard what we were doing - and those bods were halfway through the line already. Ducking under the rope that separated their highnesses from the likes of us, they now had mere feet to get to the head of the line rather than wrapping around like the Haunted Mansion awaited them. The young woman in the Princess uniform at the front was trying to send more premiums than commoners through, but as we inched forward, the guy behind us cried, “We’re platinums!” I couldn’t help myself, I could see this young lady pulling him from the line ahead of us and hell, it was my idea in the first place, I was the Moses who lead this line of premiums into the General Area. Which, as I write that, sounds really snotty. Yes, we did jump the premium line, but honestly, it was set up in such a way that anyone could. You just had to think about it. So I snorted and said “so are we!” Well, that rattled her some...elite passengers from all directions, so she didn’t stop to think we’d walked through the almost empty third-class lane. “Oh, of course. Please, step this way,” much, I’m sure, to the annoyance of the next up in the elite lane. This, in turn, got us earlier tickets to get through the security checkpoint. I kinda feel bad but really, it was there for anyone to do. Next comment: The other thing Princess would do well to change about this cruise is the ice cream. Last cruise, the ice cream bar by the pool had sugar free which they happily dispensed at no charge along with the sugary soft serve 12 hours a day. I skip dessert at night...no hardship, sugar free mango cheesecake didn’t sound appealing, but a bowl of ice cream sure did. I’m thankfully not diabetic but after my bariatric surgery I find I can only tolerate small amounts of sugar. So we get poolside, only to be informed if I’d like sugar free, they’d be happy to help me at the gelato bar** on deck five. Okay. Couple issues with this. 1. The Royal Princess is one of the largest ships in Princess’ fleet. And Princess doesn’t really redesign their ships, they more accordion them - they stuff extra decks in. I try to limit my elevator usage to one per day. The pool is on 16. Gelato is on 5. Bed is on 11... 2. The gelato bar** is always followed by asterisks. Just like the Crown Grill**, Sabatini’s Italian Resturante**and the snooty tooty Lotus Spa**. Yep. You guessed it. “May I have your cruise card for a moment, please?” Cha-CHING! Smarmy smile, as that automatically incurred a 17.5% tip on toppa the cost. Thank you, madame. We can afford the charge, of course, it’s the idea of the thing. But I’m especially cheesed off for the child diabetics on these cruises who can’t just sneak an ice cream like any other kid can. Instead, they have to choose to either mess with their blood sugar or have their folio rat them out - they can’t even pay cash outta their allowance. What fun is that? So for my sugar intolerance, I get an extra $50 charge (yes, fifty bucks. Don’t judge me. I don’t judge YOUR dessert consumption and two scoops are nearly $3 each. Over 15 days, that’s what? One a day? Like YOU have ONE dessert a day? Please.) This will get too long if I add everything that happened, so if you’re a glutton for punishment, I kept a semi-regular log at examiningmisadventures.com. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The staff was the staff that answers your call from your credit card company. Staff: poor attitude, does the least Food: redundancy - bland, fried, salty, boxed, canned and not labeled with ingredients. Lots of nuts everywhere and ... Read More
The staff was the staff that answers your call from your credit card company. Staff: poor attitude, does the least Food: redundancy - bland, fried, salty, boxed, canned and not labeled with ingredients. Lots of nuts everywhere and same tongs for near multiple items. Food stations: salad bar, pasta bar & omlet bar: only one person one station and have you waiting for food for over 20 min. Why not add an additional station to actually accommodate guests? Salad bar was wilted and old veggies. Expreso bar: paid, also waiting Bartenders: no pep in the step to handle more than two people at the bar. Our bartender was 100 years old and working / sharing the same well with another bartender, so they would wait for each other to make drinks....so it was like having only one bartender, since there was another unused well in the same bar that could have been used to increase efficiency. They need a food & bev manager to regulate the staff, since they do whatever they want. One time we waited over 30 min to BUY our coffee from the expreso bar bc the front desk girls came up with an order for the front desk crew of 5 or 6 drinks. And they are on island time when it comes to tasks. Internet is per person in the room and is very expensive for being so crappy and it doesn’t disclose that it doesn’t work in all ports. Overall the staff really was bad. In attitude, in performance of job duties and in customer service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
RCCL offered a very attractive price for this cruise, and we were looking for a smaller ship (i.e., less than 3,000). The Jewel is not new, but it has been kept up well and the public rooms are all very nice and comfortable. The service ... Read More
RCCL offered a very attractive price for this cruise, and we were looking for a smaller ship (i.e., less than 3,000). The Jewel is not new, but it has been kept up well and the public rooms are all very nice and comfortable. The service was outstanding, starting with a very visible and friendly captain from Canada. Everything operated very efficiently and, if something was to our dissatisfaction, the staff attended to it very quickly and in caring fashion. The itinerary was terrific, making 6 stops (3 Canary Islands, Gibraltar, Alicante and Valencia, Spain with disembarkation in Rome). All the stops were very nice, particularly Alicante and Valencia. We had plenty of time to tour, and could walk easily to virtually all ports. Entertainment/music was generally very good. A weak point was the so-called "enrichment program" with amateurs. Bartenders were incredibly efficient and service-conscious, and always with a smile (e.g., Javier from Columbia and Girish from Mauritius). Embarking in San Juan and disembarking in Rome were extremely smooth. Captain and his officers met us either going off or coming back on ship at many ports--a nice touch. This is something you can hope to enjoy with a small ship, and the Jewel delivered. We've done a lot of transatlantic cruises--some on newer or bigger ships--but this was the best. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Solo cruiser with 25 previous cruises on Celebrity, and 4 on other brands. Happily cruising since 1984. This was my 2nd transatlantic on the Reflection, and 4th transatlantic overall Ship information- Celebrity Reflection is the ... Read More
Solo cruiser with 25 previous cruises on Celebrity, and 4 on other brands. Happily cruising since 1984. This was my 2nd transatlantic on the Reflection, and 4th transatlantic overall Ship information- Celebrity Reflection is the flagship of the Celebrity Fleet of 12 ships. It is also the fifth/last in the series of Solstice Class ships. It has a passenger capacity of 3040, and 1240 crewmembers. Fort Lauderdale I usually stay in the nice upscale resort hotels, but since a friend recently bought a townhouse in Wilton Manors, I stayed at a small boutique hotel nearby. It was a great choice as I was literally steps away from Wilton Blvd, and all the dining and entertainment venues you could want. WOOPS-Of course there was the inevitable “I forgot” moment. This time it was my IPOD (got to have my music), so got creative and instead of spending $200 on a new one from Target, I instead took an Uber to the mall. I then found a cell phone repair place, that had some unclaimed ipods, and after some negotiating a virtually brand new one for $60. Then back to the hotel to load it with music from “the cloud” Embarkation- Normally I try and arrive at the terminal mid time (a few hours after the opening bell, this time we didn’t. A friend convinced me that we should arrive early at the Fort Lauderdale port ~1030. I was really surprised as we dropped off luggage with the porter’s pier side, and then literally we were on the ship 25 minutes later, absolutely the smoothest embarkation I ever experienced. Activities-With 7 sea days at the start of the trip, you have many “Celebrity Life” activities going on every day (sometimes every hour). The Cruise Director Rich Spacey, Activities Manager Valentina, and their activities team did a great job engaging the guests. It’s not always an easy task as there were about 1200 Captain Club members onboard as well as bout a dozen of the more seasoned Zenith members. My hats off to Melissa Martinez the Captains Club host. She seemingly had people lined up around her desk every single time I walked by, and didn’t let up till about day 11. Always a smiling face, always willing to above and beyond to keep her guests happy. I’m guessing average demographic on this voyage were ~90% married couples over 65. Most of the guests I met onboard had previously traveled on Celebrity at least once Beyond the Podium Speakers-Thought that Melinda Bates, Jim Kennedy and Ian Wright were good but not great. I think I’m a little jaded, as we have Mickey Live on our last voyage in Antarctica, and he’s a hard act to follow. I don’t think it was the speakers fault as much as the topics. The topics were just not ones that grabbed me. Cabin-Sky Suite 2185 on deck 12, about 300 ft2 with a 80 ft2 balcony. This was the first time I had a deck 12 cabin. No real noise from above, as I figured there might be some noise from the pool deck above, but relatively quiet at any time of day. Not sure if I am a fan of the covered balcony though. Undecided whether it’s a plus or a minus. The Sky suite has a large amount of floor space that I never use, storage that I never use. I do love the idea of having the butler, although I generally have little to no butler needs. For me it’s more of a psychological thing than a needs things having a suite. The silver sea pass card, access to the MC concierge is nice, as the two we had were terrific. Never really been a fan of Michaels Club itself, to me it just seems a bit dark rather than inviting. It’s great though for those that drink as the alcohol flows freely as do hors d'oeuvres. Tea time seems popular with many, but just not my thing. Port & ShoreExcursions-Didn’t try any of the ship sponsored shore excursions this trip, three friends and I have visited these ports before, and luckily they are like walking Google Maps. I on the other hand, am not. I get lost after walking off the gangway from the ship. They ship did have some issues shore excursions issues though. One internal issue, and one external issue involving a third party vendor beyond the ships control. Internally while docked in the Canary Islands there was a total lack of organization internally getting people off the ship for excursions. It was a real mess in the Celebrity theatre, and seemingly no one in charge. Huge lines formed outside and inside the theatre. No one on excursions off the ship till about 2+ hours later, and it seemed like all the excursions returned to the ship at the same time, so real bottlenecking returning to the ship. Next port stop in Malaga was better in the Celebrity theatre but was still lacking a well thought out plan to get people in and out. They kind of overcompensated for the errors on the first day. But made things a bit more confusing in doing so. External issue was that we had to partially tender in one port (Ajaccio, France), and from what I was told, one or more of the planned local tenders failed to show up, so they got really backed up since the ships tenders had to compensate for the missing larger local tender(s). Long lines on the pier, with a funnel effect of passengers trying to board the smaller boats that were available. Celebrity tried to help and tried their best to provide cold water to the long lines on the pier, but many folks were just too grumpy at that point, so it wasn’t too pleasant. Dining-FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD –I alternated between venues using Main Dining Room(MDR), Luminae(Suite Dining), and Specialty Venues (Lawn Club, Murano, Qsine-Le Petit Chef, Sushi on 5, The Porch) Main Dining Room-Dinner here 4 nights-We had late dinner at 815 each night and had a superb waiter named Adrien and his equally superb assistant Chen serving us. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer more energetic team. Even on extremely busy nights, it was interesting to observe when a fellow guest would ask him to take a picture, or a special request, it was always performed without hesitation, and always without a smile. Never losing a beat on his primary responsibilities. Food in MDR was very good, a nice variety and glad to see they annotate on the menu dishes that are vegetarian, gluten free, no sugar added, lactose free, and fit fare for those that have preferences in their diet. I really admired the management style in the MDR as well, at least 4 or 5 times the Asst Maître d checked in to make sure all was well, as did the ships restaurant manager. Luminae- I thought was good, but not great this voyage. Some elements were just missing this trip. The little taste treats they bring out before the meal just weren’t the quality or originality they have had in the past. For example, one night it was a deviled egg, maybe it was the bar was set higher by other trips, but the overall flavor and execution of the meals just seemed off. I think out of the 4 dinners and 8 breakfasts I had on Luminae, none really stood out. I remember the first breakfast I stopped in for, I ordered the smoked salmon as part of the breakfast, and the presentation was pretty, the salmon itself was gray around the perimeter, and very chewy, maybe it had been sitting out for a while?, but didn’t have the freshness I was used to. Dinners too were nothing to write home about. I can’t think of any that were knockouts, most were a bit bland (or a bit overcooked) without the signature of Celebrity style to them. Did find I wasn’t alone in my feeling. My three table mates all agreed, something was off on it. Service was great though. Had I do it to over again, I would of said something to the restaurant manager earlier in the cruise, but I guess I just assumed it would get better, and what we were experiencing were isolated incidents. Two of my table mates are vegans so no meat dairy fish (taste ), and their dietary needs were much different than mine, but was kind of surprised that although they ate all their meals in Luminae, every meal was a challenge for the Luminae team to put together. I would have thought there would be some standard protocol for dealing with it like they had in the MDR. I partially my fault I think for not bringing up the issue of the quality of the food with the restaurant manager, F&B manager or Hotel Director earlier (I did mention these specifics to the HD director a few days before the cruise ended). In closing I just didn’t find that Luminae was a step up from the MDR in terms of the quality of the meal offered, where in previous cruises I always have. Tuscan Grill-Best dining views onboard, spectacular service and a hearty well prepared delicious meal. I ate at Tuscan twice, and enjoyed the experience both times immensely. The host Vitalii (A Ukranian native), was friendly and professional. The wait staff excellent, and food superb. Had a traditional meat and potatoes meal the first time (9 oz filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes). For my second visit I had a succulent sea bass with a saute of spinach and a side of the lobster rigatoni. Also was lucky enough to be invited to a luncheon at Tuscan one day hosted by the Captain/Staff Captain Hotel Director and Senior Officers. About 20 guest total and a dozen officers. Some were suite guests, others were not, I liked that it wasn’t just a you spend the most you get the best access group. It was a nicely mixed group. Both meals were culinary delights, and really could think of nothing they could have done to make it better Murano-A group of 10 of us ate at Murano in the wine room. The wine room for those that haven’t noticed it is a room that seats 8 or 10 comfortably and is like a private dining room with the walls of Murano. We had a variety of dishes, some prepared tableside and a few like my rack of lamb, delightfully prepared in the kitchen. Everyone in our group enjoyed the meals, and especially the presentation with the large silver presentation covers. The maître d, checked in on us a few times, and after some wonderful deserts (the chocolate soufflé is to die for), our 3 hour visit ended with 10 fully satisfied diners Qsine-Preface this by saying I enjoyed visits to Qsine in the past , as I think I tried it 4 other times, but did feel it was running out of steam so was glad to see them trying something new. It was quirky it was fun, but always annoyed that you use an Ipad to make your selections, but then ultimately the waiter took your order using a pad of paper since the Ipads weren’t connected to anything. You really had to reach group conscience on what you ordered or if the waiter was good, he/she would kind of guide you to reach a decision Qsine is now Le Petit Chef (at least on Reflection), so what is Le Petit Chef? It’s a fun informative 3D visual mapping of your meal that is presented between the 5 courses of your meal. Initially I thought it would be too gimmicky for my taste, but instead I really enjoyed it (I ate there twice). I liked it for several reasons • I expected it to delay dining courses, and it didn’t. The show only lasts about ~2minutes or so (total of 5 shows) • It’s informative and funny-was nice learning what ingredients go into each dish • It’s funny, and volume and noises of the show are low enough that you can still talk and here others observe things you may not of • It’s scalable, using the technology, you can make the venue any type of dining you want, simply by changing the menu and performance, as the restaurant serves more as a blank slate So what’s the experience like? The restaurant darkens, then your dining table and your dinner plate become the stage for Celebrity Cruises “Le Petit Chef”. He’s a quirky chef about the size of a saltshaker that’s determined to hunt down and deliver your meal. Five succulent courses, each seemingly prepared before your eyes by the driven little guy and his wit and resources. In between each 2 or 3 minute show, the room brightens and his proud wait staff has your next course tableside to eat. Excellent concept and execution, and don’t let the fun and performance fool you, the food was terrific, original, and flavorful. It was five courses starting with a bouillabaisse, filet of beef, lobster tail, rice pudding brulee, and a vanilla ice cream sundae. So for example while your lobster is harvested from the sea. The entire dining room table is the ocean, or while your ice cream is being made, your entire table is a background of a massive winter wonderland. It’s really quite remarkable the visual and audio effects do to enhance the meal rather than distract from it. Lawn Club Grill-Lawn Club continues to be my favorite dining venue onboard. To me it’s the ultimate in at sea dining. I ate there twice for dinner and once for lunch. They have a nice variety of dining options with steaks and chops being big favorites of mine. All their dishes have a signature/style of their own. From simple things like the side dishes such creamed corn or lobster mac n cheese, to the main course offering such as the lamb chops, salmon, to the kabobs were all were excellent both in preparation and delivery. Two in particular desserts are must tries one being the hot chocolate chip cookie, and the other being the carrot cake are melt in your mouth delicious. Alcoves-Next to the Lawn Club are the alcoves. Eight private hideaways you can rent for a 9AM-9PM day. They advertise as being suitable for a party of 6, but I think 4 is more reasonable. Rental fees vary from $149 to $249 a day (dependent on whether a port or sea day. Included in that fee are a cheese and fruit plate, an on call butler, 6 beers, and bottled chilled water, and a bottle of wine or gray goose. Fees and amenities are somewhat negotiable. For example I don’t drink alcohol so they were nice enough to offer a seafood platter from The Porch (shrimp, scallops, lobster, mussels, and cerviche) instead of the alcohol. Luckily too the port day we selected they were renting them for $99. Like anything its supply and demand, and never hurts to ask if they have some wiggle room to customize it to your own needs/budget. Entertainment-To me anyway most of the musical acts onboard were like elevator music, I would pass by the different ones (Linda Capewell, Fiesta Duo, Pipoka Duo) without stopping. None really engaged me with a unique take of a song, or a different arrangement to have me stop and listen. A few things they did on the entertainment front that they did really well though, Celebrity Life Game Shows • Liars Club • Are You Smarter than a Ships Officer • True or False • The Challenge • Frisky Feud • Wheel of Fortune • The Wedding Games • 60 Seconds or Less A few of these are “Adult Themed” which I like even better. They seem to get the best laughs and larger audiences. They do a disclaimer before the act stating that they might use words that might be deemed uncomfortable to some, but fairly tame with only an occasional use of stronger words for a needed joke or line. I only wished these shows lasted longer than 30 minutes, maybe try a few for an hour might be nice. A second part of the entertainment onboard I found spectacular was when the Cruise Director Rich Spacey/Activities Manager Valentina cohosted events with other singer/dancers/performers such as • Disco Never Dies • Silent Liquid Party-This was spectacular, combining Silent Disco with Mermaids, Male and female dancers and acrobats all in the Solarium • Groove The things that made these come alive was the energy that Rich and Valentina brought to the game. Only a small handful of CD/Activities Manager have a great chemistry that really comes out in free flowing performances. This pair certainly does. I really prefer these off stage performances over the production numbers of years past as those all seem to blend together even when the dancers and singers are very talented Disembarkation-The simplest I’ve ever experienced, 630 met my travel mates at Café Al Baccio, and we walked off 3 minutes later with our luggage in the Civitavecchia port. The car we arranged for was 50 feet from the pier, never saw anyone from Italian customs or immigration till we arrived at the airport. Summary- All in all a great cruise with a very few minor bumps in the road. Someday would love to do a b2b onboard, but always happy to see Celebrity is a learning organization that never rests on its laurels, but instead charts new territory in the travel industry. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
For clarification - our cruise departed Ft. Lauderdale on 3/18 as a 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise and was actually the first leg of the 24-day cruise. We disembarked after the 10 days and did not continue on to Rome. We picked this ... Read More
For clarification - our cruise departed Ft. Lauderdale on 3/18 as a 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise and was actually the first leg of the 24-day cruise. We disembarked after the 10 days and did not continue on to Rome. We picked this cruise, in large part for the itinerary (Holland America/Carnival’s private island in the Bahamas, Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba). were spectacular and were every bit as amazing and beautiful as we expected. Our poor customer service experience with Holland America began well before we ever got anywhere near the ship. We booked a full ocean-view veranda room. Roughly 2 weeks before our sail date, we received an email offering us an upgrade to a full ocean-view veranda room for a nominal sum (roughly $99 I think). I immediately called. The first person with whom I spoke was unpleasant at best. Needless to say, there was no upgrade available to a full ocean-view room since that's what we already had booked. It took another call and an eventual request to speak with a supervisor to confirm that we were in fact already booked for a full ocean-view room. It took another phone call on a separate day with a lengthy hold time to straighten out our transfer (they had the wrong airport listed on our documents even though they promised us on the phone that everything was correct in the system). I'm still not sure it was ever corrected but we were able to board the bus at the airport. In retrospect, I wish that were not the case. The treatment that we endured onboard for 10 days was horrendous. Over and over and over for the duration of our cruise, we dealt with blatant mistreatment. This was at the hands of the employees of the ship, from the lowest level staff in the dining areas all the way up to literally the ship’s captain. I can assume only that they were offended by an openly gay couple. Rather than bore you with the details of everything that we went through, I will give a couple of examples that illustrate what we experienced and how it impacted our trip. In the informal dining area (buffet style), you go through and get your food and then sit at any open table. The workers come through with pitchers of water, iced tea, etc. Almost without fail, we would watch as they would go to the tables all around us and bypass us. It became a running joke about which of us was going to go and get our drinks for the meal. On the 8 nights that we chose not to eat in the formal dining room (a whole other ordeal unto itself), we almost always chose to have food delivered to our room (from a very minimal menu) because it was simply less agonizing than going to the dining room. On the next to last full day of the cruise, there was an event called “Meet the Captain” (or something similar). I am keeping track of my personal nautical miles, and wanted to find out how many we would be covering on the cruise so we decided to go. The first part was a canned presentation. There was a short “ask the captain” portion at the end, where the audience could ask questions. Following that, a line formed to talk to the captain as well as the “hotel director” of the ship. After waiting in line for quite some time, I eventually got to the very front of the line for the captain. I was no more than 2 feet away from Captain Darrin Bowland. He didn’t look at me, acknowledge me, or speak to me. Instead, he had a conversation over my head with the man in line behind me. At first I thought that the man was perhaps one of the frequent cruisers and therefore knew the captain. Unfortunately, when they had finished their conversation, Captain Bowland continued not to acknowledge my presence and instead had another conversation with the next guest behind me. When this happened for the third time, I gave up. That really was the last straw for me. After 8+ days of being made to feel like second class citizens, to be so blatantly disrespected by the captain was infuriating, degrading and humiliating. If I could have gotten off the ship that day, I would have. Unfortunately, we were somewhere (I think) off the coast of Cuba so I had no options. Prior to getting on the ship, at the cruise terminal in Ft. Lauderdale, for some inexplicable reason, they had quite a large portion of the terminal blocked off. This led to several hundred people crammed into roughly 60% or so of a large room while we waited for them to begin calling our boarding groups. There were a LOT of chairs in the portion that was blocked off, while meanwhile literally dozens of people had to stand around for quite some time (from the time we arrived at the terminal until they even began calling the very first boarding group, there was a wait time of at least 45-60 minutes). There were many elderly and physically handicapped people waiting in the room. We went to one of the HAL personnel standing at the stanchions blocking off the section and were specifically told we could NOT sit on the other side of the room. Aside from that, once our boarding group was finally called and we were able to board the ship, we were able to go right to our state room even though it was before the time they said the rooms would be ready. Once we returned home (literally the day we got home), we got a survey from HAL. We answered it honestly. My other half received a very generic "we're sorry to hear about your bad experience but we have a no discrimination policy and treat everyone equally and fairly" email. I never heard back from anyone at all. I think it's pretty clear that I won't. Now for the good stuff. The ship, which is pretty new (2016? I think), was clean and obviously well-maintained. The room was smaller than some other ships we have been on and the bed was more uncomfortable than expected, but there were movies and TV shows (and some VERY limited music that no one born after 1910 has ever heard) that was available on demand. The bathrooms in the staterooms were very nice. The itinerary was great. The islands we went to were everything we expected and hoped for. We enjoy snorkeling, and found Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Turk (Bonaire in particular) to be amazing. The waterfall excursion (Damajaguas) in the Dominican Republic was one of the more unique experiences I have ever had and really enjoyed it. The gym onboard was comparable to other ships we've been on in terms of size, equipment and class offerings. There was a spin class available for $20. This seemed a little high to me, so we did not do that. Equipment was well-maintained and hours were good for the gym. There were a decent number of live entertainment options each night - a variety of types of shows in the main theater such as comedians, singing/dancing shows featuring the onboard talent etc. Pretty much what we expected there. In other areas of the ship, there was a blues-type band, a string quartet and live piano players that sang most nights. There was only one night where smoking was not allowed in the casino. There were several stores on board, selling jewelry, high-end watches, perfume and some other lower-priced items. With the exception of trivia, I found there were very few other options for entertainment, particularly if you weren't willing to pay to do things. The food was good, and there were plenty of options regardless of whether you were a picky eater, preferred a certain type of food or wanted to eat at a specific time of day. Food was available 24 hours a day, although options were limited during certain times of the day. Room service, while very limited as to the options, was completely free (no gratuity added as I have seen on some other lines for example). There was a mini fridge in the room, but you couldn't use it to store anything as HAL stocked booze etc that you could purchase. You can bring alcohol on, I think it was on 750-ml bottle of wine per person. The HAL literature says any bottles in excess of that are subject to an $18/bottle fee, although we didn't run into that issue. I think it's obvious that I will never again patronize HAL. This experience left such a bad taste in my mouth that not only will we never again set foot on a "dam" ship (Holland America's boats' names all end in "dam" - Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam etc) again - we won't even consider Carnival since they're owned by the same parent company. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The cruise was great. The staff was excellent and went out of their way consistently. The ship lacked a quiet room/library and had very little reading material. So make sure you bring your own. There were board games on the ship, but ... Read More
The cruise was great. The staff was excellent and went out of their way consistently. The ship lacked a quiet room/library and had very little reading material. So make sure you bring your own. There were board games on the ship, but most of them were missing pieces. I was surprised that they don't restock every cruise. The internet service is intermittent, especially when we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I did not get why they charge $25 for pool towel you don't return. It is not like you could take them home, or you would even want to as they are old and worn. The deserts need work. They clearly don't know the basic ingredients of most good deserts....Flour, Butter, Eggs, Milk. The were incapable of making bakery cookies, they could not even make a basic butter cookie. In fact the pastry chef who I spoke to on the ship didn't even know what a butter cookie was. The measl in the main dinning room were good, the buffet not so much. Park West acted inappropriately throughout the cruise. They boarded on harassment. Constantly stopping guests and trying to persuade them to attend their auction. During the action I attended, they mocked guests who went and did not participate. They also lead guests to believe that the pictures were original, they were not. They did not inform US citizen of their right to refuse pictures they bid on. They overly inflated the value of pictures. They showed a lithograph done by Peter Max and told us that it was worth $20,000, but today they would give it away by starting the bidding at $8,000. In August 2017, the original was sold at a gallery in East Hampton NY for $3,800. Surprisingly the cruise had more gay people than I expected. I would estimate that 10% of the people on the cruise were gay. Most of them were couples and kept to themselves. It would have been nice if they had more LGBT events then the one bar at 11pm nightly that they designated as a meeting place. An afternoon poolside brunch would have been much more appropriate. I purchased a few items on the ship including two watches. The price on sales days are similar to that of Costco. You won't get a bargain, but if you like the item it might be worth buying. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I would highly recommend Royal Caribbean. Thank you Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at ... Read More
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at 5pm each evening was great. Spa pass brilliant. Flowers in my room, bottle of gin and some of my own wine made all the difference in my cabin. Also fresh coffee, melon and yoghurt with honey in my room at 7am. The passenger choir was great. Like any holiday it is going to be what you make it, if you sit in your room and sulk you will have an horrible time. Drinks very pricy and wifi, best lived without (kind of the point when two days from land.) Some of the entertainment was not quite my thing and I did not use the gym. Deiembarkation was slow, but so what. Overall an amazing holiday and busy saving up for my next trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We spent 4 days in Barcelona before joining the ship. Enjoyed the city tremendously. We wanted to do a Transatlantic cruise and I loved the cruising and the long days at sea. Fabulous time meeting new folks and would absolutely do the ... Read More
We spent 4 days in Barcelona before joining the ship. Enjoyed the city tremendously. We wanted to do a Transatlantic cruise and I loved the cruising and the long days at sea. Fabulous time meeting new folks and would absolutely do the TA cruise again. Malaga was amazing! Although the Azores wasn't on the original itinerary, I really enjoyed the stop there. We planned nothing until we got to ports and really found some great activities and had some new adventures. There were over 4000 people on this cruise and I think the crew did their very best to accommodate everyone however, the food was often cold and it was very crowded in the dining areas, so if your food was hot when you got it by the time you found a seat to sit at your food was cold. The track is on Deck 7. Only on one side of the ship. It was crowded, small, smelly and hot. I was on the Norwegian Sun this summer and the track went around the entire deck of the ship, it was cold, rainy and windy on the Alaskan cruise and walking around that track was preferable to this one. The Debarkation was awful. We were in line to leave at 7:30 and didn't leave the ship until 9am. We were sent to start a new line and waited there for over an hour - I have never seen such a clusterf*ck like this before. I also asked for some water and got a deer in the headlights look. Finally persuaded someone to get a cup for me. They were serving coffee but it was as if it was too much trouble to get water!! Apparently, once the magic time to get off the ship comes, the customer service is gone. I saw people from our ship still commenting hours after they were suppose to get off. Many of our friends missed their planes. The entertainment and shows were wonderful. I was amazed at the number of things to do on this ship and was never bored. If people were bored on this ship they were not looking for things to do. However, they need to change the way people sign up for events. We were often told things were sold out but when we got there to go standby there was always room. Way to many people sign up for things and then don't show up. Change the system to fix it. The IConcierge app needs some work but it was great to have. My friends and I use the messaging part and love being able to find our family and friends anytime we were looking for them. Only had trouble with one bartender he usually worked the Atrium bar and if he had his favorite customers there who were tipping cash to get his attention he couldn’t see you! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having sailed most of my other cruses from Southampton it was refreshing and a great add to sail from Barcelona although flights here can be a little bit of a pain from Manchester! I will never fly in a Ryan Air Plane again! ... Read More
Having sailed most of my other cruses from Southampton it was refreshing and a great add to sail from Barcelona although flights here can be a little bit of a pain from Manchester! I will never fly in a Ryan Air Plane again! Travelling with my partner and friends we have a fantastic time on and off the ship. Staff are wonderful and work hard at getting this done for you most of the time. Unless you are complaining about the internet service then they first make you feel it is your issue then the satellite they switched to but took 24 hours and a lot of complaining to get them to admit they had technical issues and were working on it and we did receive a 2 day refund as we had paid for the full 14 days! The entertainment and services were fantastic. The food in the Windjammer was the worst I have ever experienced. A total Lack of Good Asian Food in Jade. The English Sausage left me laughing most mornings. The food on the rest of the ship was however of a very good standard. The airport Transfer at the end of the cruise was like dropping into Hell itself kept waiting an hour while the lone driver loaded the luggage with no aircon at all the 12 min journey was just hell! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We are senior couple who have cruised quite a lot on Celebrity, Princess and Crystal. The October transatlantic was quite good. The ship had many Celebrity Captains club members aboard and even the crew had many repeats which made for a ... Read More
We are senior couple who have cruised quite a lot on Celebrity, Princess and Crystal. The October transatlantic was quite good. The ship had many Celebrity Captains club members aboard and even the crew had many repeats which made for a happy ship. Physically the ship is very attractive with 3 pools, with many hot tubs and a very large well designed theater. While it is fashionable to complain the food on cruise ships is worse than in the past I found the food on this trip to be better than previous Celebrity cruises, particularly in the buffet. For example, there were grilled fresh local fish one day, home made gravlox another and even German style pretzels. The head chef was Indian so the Indian food was very good as well. I'm not sure how full the ship was but were always many lounge chairs available. And the pools were never crowded despite the excellent weather. I've had to make long searches on Princess to find a pool side lounge chair. The only quibble I have is the entertainment was not to my taste. The performers were mainly British singers who sang way too much Queen. My guess is that the London West End theaters do not have sound system so singers who train there are taught to yell their songs. Give me a Sinatra style saloon singer every time but of course people's tastes differ. On the other hand the in-house cast was excellent especially the singing. If you like seas days over ports transatlantic is the way to go. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Another hit by NCL this time on the Getaway during the westbound crossing - Copenhagen to Miami - 14 nights with stops in Ponta Delgada (Azores) and Bermuda (2 day overnight). Bermuda was an added port after the originally scheduled ports ... Read More
Another hit by NCL this time on the Getaway during the westbound crossing - Copenhagen to Miami - 14 nights with stops in Ponta Delgada (Azores) and Bermuda (2 day overnight). Bermuda was an added port after the originally scheduled ports of St. Thomas and St Marteen were cancelled due to post hurricane damage. I was traveling solo meeting global friends onboard, I arrived at the terminal around 10am, At the port drop off, the bags are collected by deck number allowing for quicker delivery. The check-in was easy and the port team was knowledgeable of the process and could answer all questions. I boarded the Getaway by 11am, Meeting my friends at the Savor dining room for lunch where we were quickly seated. Luggage arrived by 2pm. The ship was in good shape - clean, comfortable, My balcony cabin - 13170, was convenient to the stairs, health club and sun decks. I traveled solo and found the cabin configuration to meet my expectations. My cabin steward was pleasant and greeted me each time we say each other, I am not a fussy traveler and found the attention to the cabin to meet my needs. The temperature control was working to increase/decrease air conditioning as needed. My neighbors were quiet as were the passageways, Dining: I had several upsale diners and purchased additional, My fare included the unlimited beverage package. My friends and I enjoyed dinner in all of the venues - Tropicana 1 time, Taste 1 time, Cagneys 3 times, Bistro 2 times, Tapenyaki 1 time, Moderno 1 time, La Cucina 1 time, Ocean Blue 1 time. We enjoyed all. The dining staff was friendly and greeted our table, The Tropicana Main Dining room can be crazy buzzy and appear chaotic at times the team delivered a great meal. Lunch at the RAW bar was phenomenal. Fitness: The Getaway offers an unlimited fitness class fee which I did purchase, The package allows for taking unlimited fitness classes as per the set schedule. The instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, If you are not able to keep to the schedule the fee is not for you. I attended classes twice per day, Classes are not offered on port days, Spa package: I did purchase the spa package. Not a good idea on this trip as the spa was crowded (very over crowded) as the weather was cool, cloudy and foggy. Most spa members took loungers and headed beds and stayed for all day, Some even took two loungers (for their hand bags) being totally rude to others who need, All entertainment is good and enjoyable, I have seen most of the shows before either on ship or on land. I highly recommend attending the shows which fit your schedule, On shore I did my own planning with friends and local outfitters choosing not to purchase ship excursions. Being a gay traveler I find the support of NCL with the offering of the daily meetings (Friends of Dorothy) to be a wonderful bonus., The attendance at the daily meetings were well attended allowing a place to gather before dinner and evenings entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Koningsdam is the newest and largest ship of the HA fleet. We were aboard 31 nights sailing from Amsterdam to Ft Lauderdale. I greatly enjoyed Koningsdam. HA has kept much of its traditional wood trim but decor features colorful, ... Read More
Koningsdam is the newest and largest ship of the HA fleet. We were aboard 31 nights sailing from Amsterdam to Ft Lauderdale. I greatly enjoyed Koningsdam. HA has kept much of its traditional wood trim but decor features colorful, attractive and somewhat eclectic furnishings throughout. The bright, modern and airy appearance of the Dining Room was a most welcome change for me. Our verandah stateroom was comfortable and very well organized. The bathroom features a large, wonderful shower. Our first cabin on Deck 4 was above/adjacent to the BB King venue. Thumping base noise and loud vocals were evident until after midnight on nights when the venue is active (most of them--it's popular). Cabins on Deck 4, midship should be avoided if noise is a problem for you. Isobel, of the Front Office, was very responsive to our situation and relocated us to Deck 5 for the second second segment of the cruise when another stateroom was available. The noise issue was completely resolved! Koningsdam provides an excellent variety of entertainment venues. There's something for everyone's taste. We were very impressed with the young, extremely talented musicians at the Lincoln Center Stage. They were wonderful! We liked the World Stage venue which is spacious and well designed. We greatly enjoyed the classic pianists; the opera singers were good but their performance is diminished by the required use of synthesized music. The musicians are talented but this type music doesn't accompany opera voices well. I enjoyed the dance show--my husband didn't. We avoided the comedians and stage productions. We don't enjoy this type entertainment but appreciate that others do. Sel de Mer and Tamarind are outstanding specialty-dining venues. Food quality was excellent, service was friendly and professional. Pinnacle Grille appears to be more spacious than on other HA ships. Pinnacle is attractive and very comfortable. Pinnacle food and service were excellent and matched or exceeded our experience on other HA ships. The Culinary Arts Center experience was interesting, the food was very good. We purchased the dining package. It was an excellent value! Service was generally excellent throughout the ship. Staff is well trained, responsive and friendly. Smiles and a willingness to be helpful were clearly evident by the hard-working crew. Our cabin stewards (Ketut & Putu on second segment; forgot names of first two) did a wonderful job keeping things neat and clean. The towel animals were a creative surprise each evening. Andy & Ady were friendly, professional and provided excellent service in the Dining Room. Things are a bit rushed in the Lido during peak periods. It takes a while to ascertain where different food items are offered. The assortment is excellent and food quality is very good to excellent. The food-line staff were always smiling and responded quickly to requests. The wait staff seem a bit overwhelmed at peak times. Most are friendly, smiling and do their best to keep up in spite of their hard work and long hours. Furnishings are bright, attractive and comfortable. However, the beautiful carpeting shows some stains/spotting, especially in light-colored areas. There were a large number of LGBT people aboard both segments of the cruise. After some initial confusion, we got cruise management to relocate our meeting venue from the Panorama Bar to the Crow's Nest Lounge. The Crow's Nest provided a much more comfortable, quieter venue that permitted us to rearrange furnishings to promote conversation among the large group; we averaged 20 to 30 people each night. Surabh (the beverage manager) willingly authorized a happy hour for our group which was greatly appreciated. Ryan & Phoebe provided outstanding service and assured we had a more than ample supply of hors d'oeuvres every night. I appreciated duplicate bridge games offered during the transatlantic portion of the cruise. Ellen did an excellent job running games of 11 to 15 tables every afternoon at sea. She held beginner and intermediate lessons each sea-day morning. Feedback from people attending the lessons and bridge games was very positive! Cruisers who enjoy walking or relaxing on the Promenade Deck will be a bit disappointed. Placement of lifeboats and equipment make for a narrower deck area which doesn't permit use of the comfortable wood deck chairs available on other HA ships. The deck narrows to a one-person passage on aft port/starboard sides. People trying to maintain an aerobic pace need to slow down in these areas because it's not easy or safe to pass others here. Signs say "no jogging," which is appropriate, considering constrictions on certain areas of the deck. However, a few passengers insisted on jogging and sometimes jostled people in the narrow spaces or startled slower walkers by coming up from behind too fast. People: be courteous, be safe!! Another note: people, please don't occupy a table for an hour or more in the Lido during peak hours while you read books, knit, work on your tablet, etc. There are many lounges which are nearly empty at meal times. You can read or work there, or return to your cabin. This will assure others have an easier time getting seated in the Lido when its very busy. Again, be courteous! A hallmark of HA ships is ongoing maintenance. Koningsdam is new but crew members are constantly touching up paint, refinishing varnished surfaces, scrubbing, rinsing and a host of activity that reflect a well-maintained ship! All interior areas are in immaculate condition through constant cleaning and maintenance. Captain Derek can be very proud of his hard-working, dedicated crew. HA customers who enjoy smaller ships may find Koningsdam a bit daunting. I was very impressed! Koningsdam signals a change in direction for HA which I support. We've sailed on Noordam, Oosterdam and Westerdam. I believe Koningsdam provided the best overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Love TAs never visited Amsterdam. Check in at FLL pier was easy and quick. Room was ready by 1pm. Ship was in pristine condition. Dined nightly in Blu. Friendly staff and good food. Luncheon buffet had many choices all were very good ... Read More
Love TAs never visited Amsterdam. Check in at FLL pier was easy and quick. Room was ready by 1pm. Ship was in pristine condition. Dined nightly in Blu. Friendly staff and good food. Luncheon buffet had many choices all were very good including the daily themes. Crossing was calm seas. Daily lectures very informative. Have booked the Silly again in Nov. for the TA from Rome. Captain Kefetsis was the life of the party, always joking and mingling with the guests. Room steward, Mario, was like a ninja. Room clean and ready at all times, ice provided for wines etc. The band, Casablanca was terrific. Weather crossing was cool and had several days when sitting outside was too cold. Ports of Brugges, Lehavre and Lisbon were perfect. Days sunny and temperate. Spent 2 days in Amsterdam. Loved the canal cruises there. Disembarkation was quite fast and customs check was non existent. The Silhouette is our favorite ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Miami to early off in Villefranche), the price, and one past experience with Celebrity which was mostly positive. The embarkation was smooth and efficient. Welcome buffet was good, and our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Miami to early off in Villefranche), the price, and one past experience with Celebrity which was mostly positive. The embarkation was smooth and efficient. Welcome buffet was good, and our stateroom was available earliest than usual. Our steward met us in the room, answered questions and began two weeks of excellent service. The room (deck 3, middle of ship) was smaller than some, but well laid out with plenty of storage. The bathroom was very good, with room in the shower to turn around. The location was a real plus on the one very rough afternoon and evening. Quite stable even as the waves crashed against the window. There was no clothesline in the shower which became important as the ship has no launderettes, a problem on a two week cruise. The ship laundry was very expensive and the full bag special at $50 was way overpriced. The food in Opus, the main dining room was very good to excellent. The service was good as well. We did open seating and only had to wait twice for a two-top. The food upstairs was also good, but the layout was confusing. Open air seating on the aft deck was lovely. We did not try any of the very expensive specialty restaurants nor did we buy the very expensive drinks package. One of us got the coffee/soda package which is worth the price for someone who likes good coffee. The public spaces were the noisiest of any ship we have ever been on. Hard to get away from the constant loud music even in places promoted as quiet. Only outdoors on deck five was it quiet. Near the pool was constant loud music or very loud group activities. The bars which often provide respite were full of art auctions and other such activities. The enrichment lectures were terrible. The lecturer on the Roman Empire (appropriate as the destination was Rome) did not know his subject, made lots of factual errors and tried to be funny. The Hollywood speaker was all about himself. The destination talks were pure sales pitches. No helpful information for those going ashore independently. On a seven sea day cruise enrichment is even more important. Celebrity failed this one. With the exception of the singer who did a Judy Garland evening and one of the acrobats who was terrific, the guest entertainers were from mediocre to embarrassing. The production nights were loud, the choreography awful, the stories ridiculous. If one closed one's eyes it would have been difficult to,tell the shows apart save for the gender of the lead singer. The entertainment in the foyer was better, particularly when dance music was played. Many people thoroughly enjoyed dancing. Given that we did not like the entertainment it would have been helpful to have a wider selection of in-room movies and TV shows. It was difficult to get information about our early departure, but in the event the staff were very helpful. It turned out to be the only tender port which made things more difficult, but the thirty or so of us who left did so first. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017

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