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7 Transatlantic Gourmet Food Cruise Reviews

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
This was our seventh Transatlantic crossing, the fourth with Thomson, sorry, TUI! and about our 25th cruise in total. Previously we've crossed on Celebration, lovely little ship! I shall be sorry to see it go, Azura (P&O) and ... Read More
This was our seventh Transatlantic crossing, the fourth with Thomson, sorry, TUI! and about our 25th cruise in total. Previously we've crossed on Celebration, lovely little ship! I shall be sorry to see it go, Azura (P&O) and Adventure of the Seas (RCL). Flight was great. Travelled Dreamliner Premium Club which is worth every penny of the additional charge. Transfer was OK by Barbados standards but they don't have big comfy buses and its only 30/40 minutes so no big deal. Embarkation was swift and possibly helped by the fact we were in a Junior Suite with priority boarding. First impressions of the ship were good. Thomson, sorry TUI, at last has a ship in style and facilities to rival the big lines. It IS quite impressive! Very spacious and loads and loads of interior light in the public areas. I did note like another reviewer the crew demographic had changed with many Eastern European crew members, but who cares where they're from provided they do a good job and they largely did. We ate mostly in the main restaurant served by two great guys, Julio and Appollon. Ive cruised with many different cruise lines and on all Thomson ships except Dream and without a doubt, the food was every bit as good as any other four star cruise line and better than some Ive travelled on . I often read and have posted reviews myself complaining about cold food but not the case on this ship in the main restaurant where the food was always interesting, varied, well presented and hot. Only ate once in the self service restaurant and my choice was very nice but luke warm. The only minor hiccup came early in the cruise when a waiter who shall remain nameless served us at lunch. Three out of four starters came out all of which were hot so three of us began to eat. We then saw the main courses delivered to the waiter station at the same time as the missing starter. Three of us had finished our starters whilst the fourth was still eating theirs when the waiter came to the table and said he was going to serve the main courses because they'd been there a while. He didn't ask.... he just told us! We declined his kind offer and asked that the main courses when served be replaced having been standing about ten minutes and fish cools quickly. At this point it seemed that we'd asked for the impossible and were visited by Head Waiters, Restaurant Managers and other waiters one of which took responsibility and resolved the problem. Thank you to Anthony! The first waiter never served us again even though he was always close by. Not sure if that was by design or luck but a restaurant needs in my view to conform to common dining etiquette and on this occasion, it didn't. This incident apart, the main restaurant was excellent! Thank you. We like to eat in the specialist restaurants and the Italian was really good and does not incur a surcharge. I cant t say the same for my experience of Surf and Turf for which there IS a surcharge of £25 per head. Previously we've eaten in Mistral and Kora La on Celebration and the al a carte on Majesty. All three are excellent restaurants with a great food in a convivial atmosphere for an additional £20 a head. In the case of Mistral, that's for a six or seven course quality meal served by experienced and knowledgeable waiters. In Kora La on Celebration, you enter an oriental environment with suitably dressed waiters and the food is great. This is not the case on Discovery. The atmosphere and environment is no different to any other restaurant and depending on the time you eat, you have the vast pool deck screen glaring through the windows into your face. Not very oriental! I'm sorry to make the comparison but I'm afraid to do so is inevitable. We cancelled our reservation in Kora La as we found the screen intrusive and would have detracted from the dining experience. For your £25 in S and T, there are four courses and my personal view is that the food was little different to that served in the main restaurant. I chose seared scallops as a starter. It consisted of three small queen scallops which were not seared. Nice but........For my main I chose Sole which was to be served at the table. No fault of the waitress but I'm sure she hadn't deboned many sole. It took an age for her to do so whilst the fish was cooling all the time. Why not ask the customer whether or not they would like the fish to be deboned at the table or would they prefer to do it themselves. I wanted to scream out "Please give it me to do" but I resisted not wanting to cause any embarrassment. In short, S and T was not a good experience, not good value in my view and one I would not repeat in the current circumstances. We did speak to the head of F and B, raised our concerns and made the comparison with Mistral but his response was "Its the new concept" It certainly was different to Mistral and a "difference" I didn't care for! For me, a backward step. It's sad that there are no longer any wine waiters on board. Wine is now very ably and frequently provided by your table waiters but it was a little hint of extra class to have a wine waiter?waitress. I'm sure someone from TUI will read this review and I would point out that my comments are intended for their benefit also and to ultimately improve MY experience. I'm not a serial moaner and have cruised many times and to make comparisons although subjective, is inevitable. I have noted one comment on a review which I also totally agree with and is something we commented on when speaking to those in authority. In S and T restaurant, it was as if I was being served by someone speaking from a prepared script. Each waiter who approached the table started with the same pre prepared script and conversations with them were very stilted.. Ive never experienced this before on a Tui ship. It is unnatural, unwanted by me at least and makes normal conversations difficult. Please let the waiting staff be themselves. They can still say what they need to say. It was so obviously scripted, it became farcical. Lets be honest, Discovery is a nice ship. I didn't see a speck of dirt anywhere, 99.9% of the crew are fantastic. There is plenty of deck space and the sun beds are comfy. Although the bed grabbers were there at the crack of dawn as always, we never struggled to find availability.. I did read another review which commented that two of the six days were rather rough (my description, not theirs) My response would be to say that it was nothing more than gentle pitching and not nearly approaching rough. Have a ride through the Bay of Biscay on a bad day when all the doors are secured and you are not allowed outside at all. That's rough!!! Yes I agree the upper decks were closed for sunbeds on a couple of days but that was for safety reasons to prevent anyone being injured by airborne sunbeds. Yes it was windy, but if you ride a motor bike at 20mph into a 20mph headwind, it WILL be windy!! The ship was travelling at 18 knots (20mph ish) into a 20 mph headwind. Not much that can be done about that. Ive had worse transatlantic crossings but none I would describe as being uncomfortably rough and certainly none where abandoning ship became a consideration!!!. Its a great way to get home without jet lag whilst just relaxing or doing whatever takes your fancy on the ship. We don't do the shows so I cant comment on entertainment. Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise. So much so, we've already booked again for next year on Discovery and I look forward to once again meeting some great people providing a great experience. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. ... Read More
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. Every aspect of the trip, the ship itself, the staff and the cuisine. WOW! Everything about this cruise was excellent, (i.e., the ship itself, the staff, the cuisines and the wines!!! There were several people from the Corporated office in Seattle, who supported all of the daily events. Guest chefs were brought aboard during the sail, all of home provided special regional dishes.The Wine Guys were also aboard. They are world class experts on wines, especially, Spain and the United States. They made our trip s m o o t h............. I believe that the service on this particular cruise showed a level of excellence rising above what has always been wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My wife and I love this ship. Luxury is a keynote in describing Reflection. Food in dining room is 5 star and speciality restaurants are 10 star, especially Tuscan Grill, Morano, Qsine. The Lawn Club Grill put on a special called ... Read More
My wife and I love this ship. Luxury is a keynote in describing Reflection. Food in dining room is 5 star and speciality restaurants are 10 star, especially Tuscan Grill, Morano, Qsine. The Lawn Club Grill put on a special called ULTIMATE BAR B Q and it was beyond anything we have ever experienced. Starting with a Cocktail party on the big lawn, we engaged with ship staff officers in the most one on one we have every had. Then in dining, they presented an incredible menu. We were deciding what we would order, when the wait staff advised that the ENTIRE menu would be delivered to us! Wine was served as part of the meal. STarting with Fillet Skewers, then Shrimp (Tasted like Lobster), then Pork, the Lobster and ending with Ribeye! All cooked to perfection and any guest was permitted to do his/her own cooking! MOST FUN WE HAVE EVER HAD ON A SHIP! WE ARE 30+ CRUISES AND THIS WAS THE BEST! ONLY NEGATIVE!!! The claiming of luggage was the poorest we have EVER experienced on ANY cruise. 1 hour and 33 minutes upon arriving at the carousels, we finall got our bags. No sitting this whole time and many people with problems were not accomodated and had to suffer this incredibly mismanaged fiasco! What happend to the 20 minute depot of all luggage in groups????? Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere ... Read More
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere (DoubleTree Hilton on Lexington Ave) and given a very good review for. Cunard arranged the transfer from the hotel to the Docks. Unfortunately this was not so good. There were 2 staff that attended the hotel in the days before the transfer who gave conflicting information about how the 3 coaches were going to be organised. This lead the a crowded reception area with a very long wait by most of the passengers from that hotel. One of the staff quite rightly told us that the 3 coaches had set times and which coach we would be assigned to. The other male staff wrongly told us all to be in reception an hour before the first coach was due and he would just pile everyone on the coach until it was full & then send them off. This was incorrect. If we had all turned up at the times that the first member of staff had told us, then most people wouldn't have left there rooms until later, reception wouldn't have been so crowded and less people would have been annoyed at their long wait (we were on 12:30 coach that didn't get there until 13:15. We were waiting from 11:00). Once on the coach, everything went more smoothly. The transfer from coach to dock to ship went without any issues. The ship has had a major refit recently and it shows. The whole ship is beautifully decorated. The ship is also enormous so, it takes some walking from one end to the other. All of the public areas are very well decorated. The room was amazing. It was everything we hoped for and more. It was beautifully decorated, with plenty of storage/wardrobe space and perfectly designed to maximise comfort. The cabin had an outside balcony that had a couple of seats and a small table to put drinks on. Our cabin steward Annalise was excellent and she would get us anything we asked for. She never appeared to be annoyed at us, despite the fact that several times she came to do the room, we were sat on the balcony and she said she would come back later, when we were out. Despite us being in our room until late morning, she managed to keep the room immaculate. My only criticism is that our cabin was near the front of the ship & the Brittania Restaurant was at the back, so we got a LOT of exercise before & after meals. The ship is really big. Dining, the food aboard the ship is amazing. The Starters, main courses and salads are cooked fresh and to a very high standard. Some of the deserts & cakes were either frozen & defrosted or not to as high a standard as the rest of the food. Certainly, the Afternoon Tea had frozen & defrosted scones. Maybe the pastry chef was having a bad week? That said, I cannot criticise any of the food that I had aboard the ship. We were assigned a table for all of our evening meals in the Brittania Restaurant. There were 2 sittings and we chose the later one. Our waiters Ramil, Kenneth and Luka were excellent. Their timing was perfect and Ramil in particular had an uncanny ability to know exactly how much black pepper to put on, which was particularly handy for me, as when I am talking I forget to pay attention. Although many people ate their breakfast & lunch in the Kings Court buffet style dining area, we found it almost impossible to find an empty table there. Not sure if it was because the design of the Kings Court was not designed with enough tables, or the particular group of passengers we were on with ate in there in unexpected numbers. Because of this we ended up having all our meals in the Brittania, which worked out for the better anyway by preventing too much snacking or adding an extra scoop. We did have a few issues with our wine waiter, and consequently purchased less wine than we otherwise might have done. The prices of drinks are also quite high, at our local restaurant we pay £18 for a particular bottle of wine, on board ship, the same bottle was $75 more than 3 times the price. Entertainment. All the time we on board there were things to do, all day long. Most of the activities we did, took an amount of time, we then had 30-45 minutes before the next activity, so we didn't have to rush from one thing to another, yet we never had a point where we were bored waiting for the next thing to start. The evening shows were amazing. 3 of the nights there were 4 singers and a group of dancers in the Royal Court Theatre. They were excellent, in fact one of the singers, Mandy, sang "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" which was the best version I have heard since Dusty Springfield sang it. The Royal Court Theatre also featured the incredibly talented singing voice of Jordan Bennett and the very funny John Joseph. The G52 bar at the front of the ship had a disco going quite late into the night, which featured a band most nights. During the day there all sorts of activities to meet most sedate tastes, although there is also a gym aboard and a couple of swimming pools. We did make use of the on deck Jacuzzi on one of the foggy days and managed to sunburnt at that time. One activity that I would have liked to have done which I didn't was use the Planetarium. To go to the Planetarium you needed to get tickets. for 2 days we went to the ticket desk, waited in a massive queue only to be told the tickets had run out. On the 3rd day we went extra early, waited for over 30 minutes (15 of those minutes after the 9am opening of the ticket office) and no one turned up. We went to the pursers desk to ask if there was anyone going to open the ticket desk, the purser rang up and said there will be someone there. when we got back, we had to go the back of the queue again and didn't get tickets again. We didn't try to go to the Planetarium after that. The only port that we stopped at was Halifax in Nova Scotia. Prior to visiting it, we have never considered Canada as a holiday destination. Now that we have been to Halifax, we would consider going back and exploring more of Canada. Halifax is a very nice place with a Beautiful Public Gardens. The experience as a whole was fantastic and I am very glad we chose to go on that cruise. My main criticisms are minor (couldn't get a ticket to the Planetarium, not enough tables in the Kings Court Dining Room and the Wine prices were astronomically high, as was the additional 15% surcharge on everything) and I would still recommend the experience to others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
worst service everywhere on the ship we have ever experienced. we have been on 9 rccl cruises. great captain merrick. but the food was terrible, entertainment was not acceptable,with exception to the vegas singer and the ventriloquist, and ... Read More
worst service everywhere on the ship we have ever experienced. we have been on 9 rccl cruises. great captain merrick. but the food was terrible, entertainment was not acceptable,with exception to the vegas singer and the ventriloquist, and adult comic. but that was for 14 days. cabin storage was good. cabin noise was very bad #3583. we also stayed on for the next 7 day cruise Barcelona to venice. that was even worse than the14.day. the itinerary was great!!!!!!!!!! rccl took all the english speaking stations off the tv. the 24 food options were uneatable. room service was awful if you could get them to answer the phone.thier food options were sooooooo nasty.we would prefer to go on carnival for now on. our last one in july was 5 stars. we were so unhappy we can not believe how it has gone down hill. embarkation was good. but we didnt get a stamp in our passport in venice when we got off. so we had alot of trouble changing planes in Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The new internet unlimited package for $149 was fantastic! The speed was excellent and I used it all over the ship and got the same speed! Thanks Celebrity. The ship weathered very high seas well and got us across the Atlantic in ... Read More
The new internet unlimited package for $149 was fantastic! The speed was excellent and I used it all over the ship and got the same speed! Thanks Celebrity. The ship weathered very high seas well and got us across the Atlantic in style. The Oceanview Cafe has great food that is available all the time during the day and late into the evening. I am not too sure about the new "chic" dress style. Still having a formal night or two would be nice since it gives the ladies a chance to wear their evening clothes and jewelry. I wish Celebrity would change the ports of call on the Transatlantic crossings since we do it twice a year and are a bit tired of going to the same ports every time. The entertainment was quite good this crossing especially the "Flashers", a group of 4 male singers who do great harmony. They were also in charge of the choir and did a fabulous job of training the group to perform with them in the atrium. It would be great to have them on the next cruise and work with the choir again. I have been in the choir many times and would like to have a performance on the main stage that is well miked and give the audience a chance to hear how great the choir can be. Our cabin #6135 had a bad noise in the ceiling. We complained three times, but were told that they were unable to fix it. I definitely feel that this cabin should be taken out of service until it can be fixed! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016

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