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131 Venice to Greece Cruise Reviews

Warning and apologies in advance for how ridiculously long this is going to be! Feel free to pass on by. :) My husband and I met our 23-year-old daughter in Venice (she lives in Germany) to embark on the NCL Star 7-day Greek Isles ... Read More
Warning and apologies in advance for how ridiculously long this is going to be! Feel free to pass on by. :) My husband and I met our 23-year-old daughter in Venice (she lives in Germany) to embark on the NCL Star 7-day Greek Isles cruise August 18-25, 2019. Planned stops were Kotor (Montenegro), Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, and Argostoli (all Greece), and Dubrovnik (Croatia). At check-in we found that the Venice Portmaster had, for some reason, mandated that the ship leave about 4 hours later, which meant we wouldn’t be able to stop in Kotor the next day. It was disappointing, but since there was clearly nothing we could do about it we just decided to enjoy having a day at sea. CABIN: For our first time ever, we upgraded from our usual balcony to a suite. The Star doesn’t have a Haven, but has the “Family Suite” (plus other suites), which was awesome, and great value for the money! The bed was one of the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in. We were in 12026, which had plenty of space for the 3 of us. There’s no balcony, but (almost) floor to ceiling windows. Not gonna lie, I did miss having a balcony, but I would still book that type of suite again over a smaller balcony cabin. Plus, we were very close to the pool area so could easily go outside there. Our daughter had the choice of a murphy bed or a fold-out couch. She chose the murphy bed, and the steward got it out for her each evening and put it away each day. It had a curtain that went all the way around it for plenty of privacy, which was nice. The bathroom was amazing compared to regular balcony cabin bathrooms!! There was actually room to move, plus two sinks and a separate tub and shower. You have to go through the walk-in closet, which is a bit small, to get to the bathroom, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. NEED TO KNOW: This cabin had no USB ports near the bed, and only one European outlet on each side of bed, which had lamps plugged in. My husband had to unplug his lamp and use a converter to use his CPAP machine, and I had to plug my phone in across the room, which made it hard to hear my alarm. Also, there is no outlet in the bathroom except for shavers. However, there is a big mirror and counter space in the main room with plenty of outlets (U.S. and European), and there were 2 hair dryers in the room. TIPS: ~ If you’re going to book a Family Suite on the Star, try to book 12030, 12032, 12530, or 12532. They’re a bit bigger due to angling of the ship. ~ Definitely bring converters and power strips for more plug-in options, and if you’re bringing a curling iron, curling wand, or hair straightener make sure they’re dual-voltage so you’ll have a choice of either U.S. or European outlets. ~ Suites get snacks & treats delivered to the room each afternoon. If you want to keep something (like chocolate-covered strawberries), put it in your mini fridge, otherwise they’ll take it away later. GETTING TO CRUISE: We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre San Giulano the night before the cruise. In my research I had been under the impression that the farthest we could be driven was to the People Mover, so had planned to take that. However, our taxi driver was able (by showing our cruise documents) to take us all the way to the actual ship, which was awesome! I believe that taxi ride was around 35 euro. EMBARKATION: Since we were in a suite, we got priority boarding which was awesome! They had mailed us priority luggage tags ahead of time, and as soon as they saw our tags, they came to us, checked our bags, and escorted us to a priority area with light food & beverages. They brought our room key cards to us there. We were the first ones on the ship, and were led on and brought to Cagney's for lunch (suite guests have options of free breakfast and lunch in a couple of the specialty restaurants throughout the cruise). After lunch we went to the pool bar and hung out there all afternoon. Our suite was open by about 1:45 p.m., but our luggage didn't come until around 4:00 (we expected that so we weren’t upset). Muster was at 5:00 p.m., and went very quickly and smoothly. We had a couple of issues trying to set up the social media internet package and were finally told to go to the "Internet Manager" on Deck 9 who fixed our issue within 2 minutes. PHONE/INTERNET: Make sure you go into airplane mode when you’re leaving each port, or you could get big phone charges! You can still get onto the ship’s app for free while you’re in airplane mode, and the ship’s internet if you pay for it. One of our Free-at-Sea offers was 250 internet minutes, which my husband planned to use. However, he forgot to turn it off the first night, and wasted it. I told him to go talk to guest services and they might give him some time back, but he didn’t care enough to do that. My daughter and I both bought the social media package. We were going to share one (by taking turns), but then she wanted her own, so we were each able to have it on at all times on the ship, which was really nice. It worked great for Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat. Not sure about Twitter; I didn’t try it. We could upload and send pics without a problem; it was just a little slow at times. When we got into each port, we went out of airplane mode and used Verizon data for $10/day. You can also pay around $10 per person for the entire cruise to communicate with each other through the ship’s app while on board. SHIP ENTERTAINMENT: I had seen several reviews in which people said they were disappointed with the entertainment on this cruise. Maybe our standards are lower but we seriously enjoyed almost everything we watched! We saw Band on the Run, the Vegas Show, Paradis, Craig Halliday (violinist), a magician/contortionist show, and an aerobatic show by a married couple. Band on the Run was the first night, and when it started I thought it was going to just be so-so quality, but it ended up being very good! Vegas and Paradis were fantastic, as was Craig Halliday and the aerobatic show. The only show we weren’t super enthusiastic about was the magician. He was decent, but lots of his tricks were repetitive (just different boxes to appear and disappear in), and it was easy to figure most of them out. We also went to the Atrium lounge for Neil Diamond music by the “Melodic Trio,” which was really nice. TIP: The BALCONY SIDE SEATS are excellent if you can get a front row in them! We were quite close to the stage (looking down on it) and could see great, plus had extra leg room and a ledge on which to put our drinks, which the regular seats didn’t have. OTHER SHIP FUN: We went to Bliss Lounge for a “Finish That Song” game show, which was lots of fun but they clearly wanted the game to end in a tie (not a big deal, but what’s the point?). We went to World Landmark Trivia and were disappointed when it ended up being World Flag Trivia, but we played anyway and managed to guess a few correctly. We went to the “Not So Newlywed” game in Bliss, which was hilarious (as expected). It is definitely not kid-friendly, but the staff in charge kept warning people of that, so nobody can say they didn’t know ahead of time. We went to Bingo once, but they didn’t have enough players so they gave us our money back and let us play for free. We went to the Perfect Couple game, which was fun and funny, but also not for all audiences. Overall had a good time doing those things. We aren’t super late-night people, so didn’t go to any of the late parties and other events. SHIP SPECIAL SERVICES: My daughter and I got “Fire & Ice” pedicures (involves hot rocks) in the spa, and they were awesome! They cost $75 each, plus gratuity, so came out to $88 each. There was another option that was only $6 less but it didn’t include as much leg and foot pampering, so we were glad we’d splurged the little bit of extra. We also attended one of the “Canvas By U” sessions (painting by instructions) for $35 and had lots of fun, plus have our paintings as souvenirs. NOT-SO-GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE: I had read a lot of other reviews about this cruise and ship, and noticed quite a bit of negativity about customer service. Honestly, I thought people were just being a bit whiny, but now I have to agree, because this cruise had the poorest customer service we’ve ever experienced on an NCL cruise. It wasn’t bad enough to ruin our trip, and since we’ve had other good NCL experiences we know this wasn’t representative of all NCL cruises, but it was still surprising and disappointing. Examples: ~ We had heard/read that with a suite we would get a butler. We had a letter in our room from ours telling us to call anytime, but we literally never saw him until Thursday morning (on a Sunday-Sunday cruise), and then we just happened to notice his name tag when he was helping in the priority disembarkation area for Mykonos. We saw him a few times in our room after that, but he was always in a big rush. We didn’t have any particular needs that weren’t being met, but we also didn’t experience anything special from him. I don’t know if this was because NCL had him spread too thin doing other things, or if it was just his work habit, but we talked to other people in a suite and they said their butler was awesome. ~ In a suite you get free room service, but when we tried to call for breakfast one morning, nobody answered. The menu had said we could leave a door hanger menu out at night to order for the next day, but we didn’t have any of those in our room. I called the concierge later and told her that, so we got some after that and when we did get room service it was reasonably decent. ~ The morning that we couldn’t get room service for breakfast I went to the cereal and yogurt bar out by the pool, and they had no spoons out. It wasn’t that they’d run out, they literally didn’t put them out. I’m fine with mistakes happening, and I didn’t throw any kind of fit over it (just asked for a spoon), but I thought it was kind of ridiculous to forget when the food items there could pretty much only be eaten with a spoon. ~ We went to O'Sheehans at 11:30 for lunch one day before docking. We were told lunch didn’t start until 11:45, so we asked if we could just sit at a table and wait until 11:45. They said yes, and seated us with menus. That was the last time they came to our table for over 30 minutes. I finally had to flag down a server to take our order. ~ They have a midweek laundry special, which is one bag for $20 (I recommend doing this!). We had it ready and was told we’d have everything back by noon the next day. Noon came and went, and we heard nothing. We finally called around 5:00 p.m. and somebody brought it to us. GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE: In spite of that list above, we also experienced some excellent service! Our steward, Richard, was fantastic all week; he was cheerful and pleasant, and was present whenever needed. ALL of our bartenders went above and beyond to exhibit great service, which was probably enhanced by the pile of $1 bills my husband had brought and was tipping with for each drink (yes, he had already prepaid required gratuities, but he knows how far a few bucks of appreciation can go and has no problem doing that). They were calling us by name starting on the first day and remembered us every time we saw them throughout the ship. One night in Versailles the server asked if we were planning to attend the 7:30 show and we said yes, so she said she would take special care to make sure we had everything in plenty of time, and she did. Also, our daughter’s birthday was the last day of the cruise. There was a birthday card waiting in the room when we started that she could use in any restaurant to celebrate her birthday, which we used in La Cucina and she got a free mini cake. I decorated a corner of our suite for her birthday and apparently our steward saw that, so he left us another mini cake. And the last night when we were eating at Cagney’s, they heard us mention her birthday so they brought out ANOTHER mini cake and sang to her! FOOD: ~ Ginza – Ate dinner there twice. Excellent food; slightly slow service but very friendly. Small portions, which worked for me because I ordered a few different courses, but hearty eaters might want to get 2 entrees (my husband did). ~ O’Sheehan’s – Went for late night snack, and remembered nachos not being great from our last NCL cruise, but decided to give them another try. I still like them more loaded but they worked. Somebody nearby got wings that looked and smelled delicious. Also went there for breakfast one morning and it was excellent. ~ Moderno – Suite guests can eat breakfast there for free, so we did twice, and it was very good (same menu both times). Also had one of our specialty dinners there. If you’ve ever eaten at Fogo de Chao (a land-based Brazilian steakhouse chain), this doesn’t match up, but if you haven’t then it’s fine. ~ Versailles (main dining room) – Had a lunch and a dinner there, and it was good both times. ~ Cagney's – Ate lunch there twice (free due to suite), and had our last night’s specialty dinner there. Very good food and service, but if you’re not a steak eater I recommend checking the menus ahead of time (I’m not but my husband really is, which is why we went). I had seen it earlier in the week and there was at least one chicken option, but the night we went there wasn’t. Also, the appetizer options were only three seafood choices and one “thick bacon.” That’s not a complaint; just good to know, especially if somebody doesn’t care for seafood. ~ La Cucina – Another specialty dining choice. Good food and service, but nothing super memorable. ~ Aqua (another main dining room) – Ate there twice, good food and service. ~ Garden Café (buffet) – Meh. Not terrible, not great. Super crowded during expected busy times, but not bad at other times. ~ Room service – I already discussed that earlier, but something to note is that even though my husband and daughter could order free soft drinks in restaurants with their Unlimited Beverage Package, that wasn’t the case with room service. We got charged $3.50 for each Pepsi Max, because apparently with room service cans are the only option and those aren’t free (except in the casino for certain player levels). If they had told us that when we ordered, we would have declined and gotten our caffeine elsewhere. (BTW, the suites come with a coffee maker, similar in operation to Keurig.) DISEMBARKATION/LEAVING CRUISE: We chose to carry our own luggage off because for us it was more of a hassle to have it ready by midnight the night before. Being in a suite, we got priority disembarkation, which meant we could go to the Ginza restaurant between 7:45 and 9:30 a.m. and get escorted off the ship ahead of others. It was fairly seamless. We were planning to take a taxi to our hotel (staying one more night in Venice), and we saw a taxi line right when we got off the ship. However, there were no taxis there and upon further investigation we discovered that those would have only taken us to the outside of the cruise port. So, we just walked out (took maybe 10 minutes) and caught a taxi there. We were staying at the Doubletree Venice North, which was quite a ways away (closer to the airport), and it cost 75 euro. Taxi driver only wanted cash, so I had to run over to an ATM (it was right there) to get that. After arriving at the Doubletree, I saw that they had a shuttle to & from the cruise port that would have been 12.50 euro per person, so of course wish I would have checked that ahead of time. EXCURSIONS: ~ Venice – We arrived in Venice the day before the cruise around 9:00 a.m. After taking our luggage to our hotel, we purchased a 24-hour ACTV (public transportation) pass for 20 euro. This was good for all buses, local trains, and vaporettos (public water taxis), and was really easy to use. I recommend downloading the MyPass Venezia app before you go, and then just purchasing from there. (You can also purchase the cruise port People Mover ticket from there for 1.50 euro.) We just showed it to the driver on the bus, and then when we got to the water taxi stop, we had to go to the machine, hold it up to a scanner, and have it print us a paper ticket to use for the rest of the day. We didn’t spend time on actual Venice that day; we used the pass to boat-hop to Murano (famous for glass-blowing), Burano (famous for lace-making), and Torcello (first place Venetians settled in the 5th century, and has a church dating back to the 600’s, plus a 12th-century bell tower that you can climb for 5 euro). We loved all of them, but especially Burano and Torcello, because they weren’t very crowded. Highly recommend visiting these places if you have time, and it was a good way to stay awake after traveling all night. You can also take a more formal tour to all 3 islands for around 20 euro, but you’ll have to pay to get to wherever that leaves from, and our passes included that transportation, plus gave us more flexibility on time. We used Google Maps to figure out where to go, and it told us exactly which boats and buses to take. ~ Corfu – We booked NCL’s “4x4 Adventure” and LOVED IT!!!!! Seriously, it was our favorite excursion the entire week. You have to be able to drive a manual-transmission jeep and be comfortable starting from hills. Everybody gets a small jeep and drives in a caravan all over the island. We were able to go many places that the buses couldn’t, due to size. We went up the side of a mountain that had 27 zigzag turns to the village of Sokraki, which was small, peaceful, and beautiful. We also went to Bella Vista (“beautiful view”) and it was amazing! They served us ouzo or wine there, plus a few snacks, while we overlooked the amazing blue water. Then we drove to the Koum Quat distillery where we learned a bit about them, saw what they made, and sampled the liqueur and candy. It was fun, beautiful, relaxing, and we felt like we got more of the island flavor by visiting the less populated areas. I HIGHLY recommend this! NOTE: They had us fill out a scary-sounding waiver on the ship before we left and told us to give it to the guide, but when I tried to give it to him he laughed and said we wouldn’t need it! TIP: If you have a backseat passenger, bring a towel or something to put on the seat. Our daughter wore shorts, and the back seat got REALLY hot whenever we parked. ~ Santorini – We booked NCL’s “Charming Oia & Winery” excursion, which we enjoyed very much. I wanted to see the island, but my daughter wanted to see a winery, and this was a nice happy medium. We didn’t spend too much time at the winery, and the views from there were incredible. After that our bus took us to Oia, which has the amazing blue & white buildings you see in so many Greece pictures, and after some time there took us to Fira, where we had the option of taking the cable car down to the ship tender (2-hour wait), riding donkeys (DON’T—it’s cruel!), or walking (we did that). I had read that Santorini is ridiculously crowded, and that was true. Even though this was the location I had most been looking forward to on the cruise, once was definitely enough because I don’t have the patience for that many people. However, I’m glad I went, and the tour we chose was a good fit for us. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history and customs on Santorini, and I was never bored during the ride. I was surprised how “not green” the island looked; I didn’t realize rain is such a rare occurrence there. After we got to Fira my husband and daughter were ready to go back to the ship, but I wanted to stay in Fira for a little shopping, plus watch the sunset from there. I watched part of the sunset, but then decided I also wanted a bit of light while walking down, and it was beautiful watching the sun set the rest of the way on my journey down the hill. As far as the steps go, even though our tour guide had advised against walking, it really wasn’t bad and we were all glad we’d gone that way. You have to dodge a few donkeys and a bit of donkey dung, but there’s plenty of room. Each step is around 4 feet deep and at least 5 feet wide. They do all slant a teeny bit downhill, so I recommend some type of closed-toed shoes. I was wearing Croc flip flops, which are usually my most comfortable walking shoes, but my feet kept sliding down into them since the steps slanted down. TIP: Make sure you have euro coins for restrooms! (Actually, this applies everywhere we went.) And keep in mind that some of the restrooms are just holes in the ground. I paid 0.50 euro for that privilege. ~ Mykonos – We didn’t book anything ahead, because everything I’d read made it sound like we could just wing it. My husband stayed on the ship so it was just my daughter and me. I had read about “Mykonos Farmers,” a local creamery that supposedly made fantastic cheese and Greek yogurt, so we looked on a map and found it. We were going to get a taxi or bus, but decided to walk to Starbucks first (my daughter’s town in Germany doesn’t have one so she was quite excited). It was about a 20-minute walk through some really cute areas, but also included SUPER long and high hills, and (worse than that), walking on a very busy road with no sidewalks or shoulders. But we made it without a problem. By then we were only a 30-minute walk from Mykonos Farmers, so we set off to do that, with similar hills and unsafe roads, so when we saw a car rental place we decided to give that a try. The first one quoted 80 euro, so I said no (we only needed it for about 4 hours). The second one quoted 60 euro, plus said we could return it at the port (which we were somewhat far from by then), so we went for that. I didn’t need an international driver’s license; she just took down info from my license and CC number. She said she only needed the CC number “just in case,” but actually wanted us to pay in cash. I told her I needed to go to an ATM, and she said I could do that while we had the car and just bring her the money when we return it, which was really nice. So we took the car (a 2-seater SmartCar) and were thrilled that we had done that! I’d read horror stories about driving in Mykonos, but it wasn’t bad at all, especially in such a small car, and we were able to accomplish so much more than we would have. We drove to Mykonos Farmers and LOVED IT!! The owner, Yiorgos Syrianos, was gracious enough to give us a spontaneous tour (12 euro each) and was extremely proud when telling us about the generations-old techniques they use, with very little modern technology, to create their very creamy yogurt and flavorful cheese (both of which we got to sample!). He learned everything from his grandmother, and has passed it down to his son. We got to sample quite a bit of the amazing yogurt, plus 3 different cheeses, and little toast things with cheese spread, all included in the price of the tour. We purchased cheese, because he said certain types could stay unrefrigerated for up to a week. It was seriously fantastic, and we were the only guests there so it felt very personal and local. Apparently you can also book cooking classes there. After that we drove to a beach to take some photos, and then went to the Little Venice area, which is by the windmills. We had to pay 12 euro to park there (not a big deal, but good to know). Little Venice had the typical Greek tourist shopping we’d come to expect, but it was still fun to walk around. When we were ready, we called the car rental lady and told her we were heading to the port, where she met us and we paid her cash. Getting a car there made a huge difference in what we were able to see and do in a short time. ~ Argostoli, Kefalonia – We booked NCL’s “Melissani, Meze & Ouzo” tour. It was okay, but not what I expected (which was my own fault after reading the description again), and now that I’ve been there I would rather rent a car and just do things on our own. For some reason I thought this tour involved a lot more time on a boat (again, I see now that the description never says that). It consisted of a 45-minute bus ride across the island (with an outstanding guide!), then a 30-45 minute wait in line, then a 15-minute ride in a small boat around the underground lake, then a short ride to the village of Sami where we enjoyed ouzo, wine, and meze (small Greek dishes) in a really pretty setting by the water, and then a 45-minute ride back to the port. The underground lake is beautiful, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle and wait. Like I said, our line was 30-45 minutes, and when we got out it looked twice as long. If you’re set on going to this lake, you could rent a car and try to go as early as possible to beat the crowds. We loved the village of Sami, and enjoyed about an hour of walking around there after our meze. It was touristy, but not too crowded and very cute, with friendly people. But again, we could get there on our own in a car, and some other sort of boat tour would have been fun. We did enjoy the island overall though, and wouldn’t mind going back. It was interesting to see such different topography and architecture from the other Greek islands we’d just visited. ~ Dubrovnik – We booked NCL’s “Game of Thrones” tour and really enjoyed it! Old Town, Dubrovnik, is another insanely crowded place, but we’re big GoT fans so just dealt with it. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, and gave us little radio things to hang from our necks with earbuds so we could hear everything he was saying. He had photos of GoT scenes, which he showed us from those spots, and talked about other GoT scenes that had occurred around Dubrovnik that we weren’t going to. It was really interesting to see how many changes the show made to the scenery (I think mainly digitally). Our guide also talked extensively about the history of Dubrovnik, and mentioned memories he had of when it was part of Yugoslavia, and from the 1990-1992 war after which Croatia became independent. It was a bit of a rushed tour with tons of information, but our stop wasn’t very long and I think this was probably as efficient as we could have been. Our daughter isn’t a GoT fan, so she just paid 30 euro to see the fortress and Old Town herself, with no tour, and enjoyed that also. When we were released for free time and told to meet back at the bus about an hour later, we were kind of over the crowds, climbing, and heat, and decided to take an NCL shuttle back early (our guide had said we could). It was nice getting back on the ship without the crowds! ~ Venice (again) – We had saved St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal for the end of the trip, so after we left our luggage at our hotel, we took the hotel transportation back into Venice and bought vaporetto tickets (7.5 euro each way) for the Grand Canal. Those are crowded (as is the whole St. Mark’s area), but a nice inexpensive way to see a lot in a short time. At St. Mark’s Square we first went to Hard Rock Café for lunch, and then went to St. Mark’s Basilica, which is free if you don’t mind standing in line (it looked long but moved quickly so we only waited about 20 minutes), and then the campanile (bell tower), which has an elevator and cost 8 euro to go up. It was well worth that for the amazing views, and there was no line when we were there. After that we went to the Rialto Bridge, and on the other side was more tourist shopping. Then the others wanted to sit and have a beer, so I walked on my own to the Jewish Ghetto, which I’d been wanting to see. This was the area of Venice in which Jewish people were forced to live by the government of the Venetian Republic starting in 1516. (The English word ghetto is derived from the Jewish ghetto in Venice.) It starts at the Ponte delle Guglie (bridge), and actually had locked gates back then. In 1797 the Venetian Republic was dissolved by the French army of Italy, ending the ghetto's separation from the city. Today, the ghetto is still a culturally active center of Jewish life in Venice, although only a few members live in the ghetto. It was really interesting to see, and nice to get away from the crowded tourist areas, but sad to think about the history. If I’d had time, a tour would have been helpful to get even more out of it, but it was still interesting to see the buildings, people, and stores with Menorahs and related artwork. It should have been about a 20-minute walk, but I stopped to take quite a few photos, so it was longer, but I enjoyed getting out of the crowds and seeing a different area of Venice. On my way to the Ghetto, I’d seen a really cute restaurant with red checkered tablecloths both inside and out called “Al56zerootto,” so we all decided to eat dinner there. It was very good, with lots of culinary options and great service, and seemed “authentic.” The address is 30131 Venezia – Cannaregio 5608 Campiello Riccardo Selvatico, in case anybody is interested in trying it. If you’ve actually read all of this, thanks for following along, and let me know if you have any questions! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We sailed on Sirena May 29, 2019 out of Venice. Although Sirena did an overnight in Venice, our flight didn't arrive until late afternoon. I used Oceania for my air. They booked us through Copenhagen from Boston with a five hour ... Read More
We sailed on Sirena May 29, 2019 out of Venice. Although Sirena did an overnight in Venice, our flight didn't arrive until late afternoon. I used Oceania for my air. They booked us through Copenhagen from Boston with a five hour wait for our flight to Venice. The next day the ship departed at 3:00pm. Useless port unless you arrive at least a day early. The ship just finished a total renovation. I was not impressed. It did not look elegant. The cabin (concierge) was extremely small. No afternoon appetizers. The luggage couldn't fit under the beds so we had to deal with it the entire time in the cabin. One could barely walk by the bottom of the beds. I also thought concierge was an upgrade from a balcony. I honestly did not feel there was any difference between balcony and concierge. Nothing special. As a matter of fact, I left a precious hand painted piece of artwork on the desk upon disembarkation. Upon arrival home, I immediately contacted Oceania via email as there was no phone number provided for this. From guest services I received a response that they checked with the vessel's Concierge, Chief Housekeeper and the Reception Desk, however, the artwork was not found nor returned to lost and found. I asked that they talk with the cabin steward as he would have found it and he would be able to tell them what he did with it. Oceania has not responded. Very disappointed with their response. We made excursion reservations prior to embarking on the cruise. Upon arrival in our cabin there was a letter informing us that one of the excursions was cancelled. We visited with the excursion staff but the new excursions we chose were unavailable and we were sent back to our cabin to choose additional choices. Many of our fellow cruisers were affected with cancelled excursions. We spent more time arranging new excursions than enjoying the cruise. We were so looking forward to the Greek Islands but the ports were so crowded you could not move on the islands. The highlight of this cruise was the food. They do an exceptional job in all the restaurants. One feels very special. The entertainment was below par when compared with larger cruise lines. There were very few children onboard. Having been on Oceania before, and being so impressed with the line, I talked a girlfriend into this cruise. It was an embarrassment for me. I spoke so highly of Oceania to her prior to the cruise. I am sorry to say I would not cruise with Oceania again. There were too many problems to call this a vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 ... Read More
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 back to back cruises. It indicated a reasonable level of fitness which also suited our requirements. On arrival in Venice we found that the cabin was as we expected. Not flash, but functional; however, had only one, poorly located powerpoint. The staff were generally helpful but some appeared that they would have been happier elsewhere. We found the food to be adequate but not to the standard we had experienced with some other companies. Food in the main eating area was cafeteria style, dishes were not labelled so everyone had to ask what each dish was. This created long slow lines at every meal. We asked the staff about adequate signage and were told that it was not Company Policy. Deserts and other hot foods were “serve yourself”, which provided huge opportunity for cross contamination and increased the risk of allergic reaction if staff did not understand or were not available to provide adequate answers. I am allergic to poultry and asked staff the ingredients. I was answered ‘meat sausage’. turned out is was chicken and as a consequence spent a very unpleasant few hours. There were not always staff to ask. There did not appear to be adequate staff to ensure appropriate hygiene was maintained by the passengers. We were served on a number of cracked cups and bowls which should have been removed from service. The more formal eating area was much better as the food was individually served. Since the cruise was focussed on Ancient Greek and Romanan ruins there were guest lecturers on each of the three legs. Most lecturers provided interesting insights but others just went through the motions. The AV facilities were as old as the ship, and provided many interruptions and failures. Most lecturers used laser pointers which were useless. Talk times were not at optimum times but when most passengers were not on board. As days went by it was obvious that the ship was extremely noisey. When our small ship was birthed next to one carrying 10x more passengers (3000) the only one you could hear was the Aegean Odyssey. Whilst cruising the noise level was greater than 75db in the cabin, which made sleeping difficult. The poor crew had to remove soot daily from the outside furniture and many passengers gained black oil stains on their clothing. Shore excursion staff lacked basic knowledge of the ports visited and could not tell passengers where pharmacies or banks were located, cost or location of buses or taxis. Nor could they tell us about some of the places of interest that were on the shore sheets. Manning of desk tardy. Not there on time. A little offhand and sometimes rude with responses. Water was only provided to guests who elected to do organised excursions. The excursions were usually run by local guides, some good some hopeless, who tried to accommodate all passengers. Unfortunately, with an average age of passengers in the middle to late 70s, the pace at which they were forced to go resulted in excruciatingly slow movement that then meant some of the highlights were not seen. This persisted for all three legs of our journey. It really should have been called Voyages of Antiquity! There appeared to be a policy of ensuring the passengers who had travelled before were always first off the ship. Unfortunately, due to their age and lack of mobility, this ensured everyone else was delayed. Tender safety was poor. The crew did not provide definitive instruction on where to sit, how to hold arms, slide along seats to move rather than walking and direction on where to sit and when to stand for exit. As many of the passengers no doubt had osteoporosis, it will only be a matter of time before bones are broken. Very poor! At the end of the first leg our cabin developed a water leak which soaked the carpet. The hotel manager offered us a move to a cabin on the upper deck which we readily accepted. It was slightly larger with one bed instead of two singles and slightly quieter (72db) Unfortunately the hot water was intermittent and often was filthy and both taps lacked acceptable pressure. The toilet would not flush so we resorted to a 10l bucket! When cruising, the room vibrated to such an extent that we were forced to put towels in the door to stop it rattling. There is no way this room was worth an extra $4000 pp! On our last day there was a significant water leak which resulted in a large area of one level being flooded. Since the ship had no downtime the oncoming passengers had a very wet and potentially mouldy trip ahead. Internet now is a must for travellers and unfortunately was exorbitant in cost and was of such poor quality that many passengers demanded refunds. In conclusion, Voyages to Antiquity have a great product but need to ensure guests’ capabilities are assessed and appropriate shore excursions are provided so that all passengers are provided with the experience they expect. The ship is in dire need of major refurbishment and maintenance. The crew have to endure more than most. I would not recommend this trip to anyone who has even a moderate level of fitness. It’s like travelling in a floating care facility! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are a family of 3, mom, dad and 9 year old son. Previously we have cruised on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and Norwegian. Of those, the experiences on Carnival and Norwegian all but assured we won't be back. The RCL Vision 7 night ... Read More
We are a family of 3, mom, dad and 9 year old son. Previously we have cruised on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and Norwegian. Of those, the experiences on Carnival and Norwegian all but assured we won't be back. The RCL Vision 7 night Greek Island cruise made us solid fans of RCL and the Vision. On and off the ship went without a hitch especially since we only travel with carry on luggage. However departing at 7:15 am in Venice meant that the people mover shuttle wasn't operating yet and with a solid rain, we had to blow $20 on a taxi to go the 1.5 miles to the train station. The ship was clean as was our cabin. An inside cabin, #3015. It was clean, smelled clean and everything operated well. We selected a fixed time dining as we prefer to have the same waitress for service as it assures better quality care in our experience. The food was all very good and it arrived at the table at the correct temperature. Service for beverages was quick. We also ate in the main dining room a couple of times for breakfast. The service wasn't as attentive and much slower. Beverages weren't refilled unless you signaled for that to be done. We also had breakfast once in the cafe at the adult only pool. It was quick, simple and tasty. The buffet, Windjammer had good quality food with some variety each day. We enjoyed all 3 meals there but dinner only once. We just preferred the dining room. Food was the appropriate temperature, fresh and tasty. We enjoyed the evening theatre programs a few times. A magician, headline singer and one music/dance show with a disco theme. They were all very good. Our son went to the kids area daily and enjoyed playing with kids his own age and the organized activities. Overall the service was excellent. Crew readily greeted us with a smile and hello. Our cabin steward fulfilled any request and was very warm and friendly. We did not use and excursions but rather did our own thing. With the exception of Athens, all the other ports could be easily accessed on foot. In Chania Crete, we used the city bus between the port and downtown. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
An excellent cruise. The Viking staff was excellent. They were friendly, helpful, and provided service with a smile. THe service was outstanding and the entire staff worked hard to provide a great experience for the folks onboard. The ... Read More
An excellent cruise. The Viking staff was excellent. They were friendly, helpful, and provided service with a smile. THe service was outstanding and the entire staff worked hard to provide a great experience for the folks onboard. The shore excursions were well done and enjoyable. The food was the best I have ever had on any cruise. This cruise exceeded my expectations. The variety of food and the food quality were really good. The was a nice variety of dining options available on the ship. The service in the dining areas was the best I ever experienced on a cruise. There were more than an adequate number of activities available on the cruise. In fact, there were so many options available that I had to prioritize which I would do on this cruise and and which I would do on my next Viking Ocean Cruise. This cruise was so good that we are now looking forward to booking our next cruise on Viking Ocean Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My daughter and son in law booked this cruise for me I travelled with them but in my own cabin. It was a way I could experience cruising as a solo traveller but with them to fall back on after losing my husband and lifelong partner of 47 ... Read More
My daughter and son in law booked this cruise for me I travelled with them but in my own cabin. It was a way I could experience cruising as a solo traveller but with them to fall back on after losing my husband and lifelong partner of 47 years. The ship was really good it did not have single cabin lounge but they did have a group that met for a drink and I even went for a meal with them one night. I met lots of lovely people and it has given me the confidence to maybe look at booking a cruise with one of the larger NCL ships with the special single studios next year. I cruised quite a bit with my husband but I have never cruised on the NCL line and was really impressed with the friendliness of all on board and the quality of the food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Viking always does a first class job. We have been on four Viking River Cruises before, one Norwegian Cruise, and one Princess Cruise. We thought we would never do another ocean cruise after having done the river cruises. But when we ... Read More
Viking always does a first class job. We have been on four Viking River Cruises before, one Norwegian Cruise, and one Princess Cruise. We thought we would never do another ocean cruise after having done the river cruises. But when we heard Viking had started doing ocean cruises, we thought we would give is a try. Although the ship is bigger than a river cruise, it is still small enough (900 passengers). Although we sill prefer river cruises, if we go on another Ocean Cruise, it will be Viking. They do it right. The service is impeccable. The food is phenomenal. The shore excursions highly enlightening and enjoyable. We watched other cruses ships pulling into the same ports we were. I can't imagine it is that fun to be on a ship with 2 to 3 thousand people. Again, although I still prefer river cruises, a Viking Ocean cruise is a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I titled this review “Returning to the Jade village” as it is like coming home as you get out of the van on the arrival at the port and you start to meet the old friends you made on previous cruises. A lot of interesting changes here ... Read More
I titled this review “Returning to the Jade village” as it is like coming home as you get out of the van on the arrival at the port and you start to meet the old friends you made on previous cruises. A lot of interesting changes here since the last time we cruised on the Jade last October and nearly all for the better. The first improvement was that if you turn left on entering the check-in and are travelling in the Haven, check in is in the Concierges lounge and we were met at the door by Omar O’Bresso who we last met on the Norwegian Star, a quick check-in and we were en route to the ship and lunch in Cagney’s. Everywhere we went we met old friends, and once we settled down for lunch, the food seemed to have improved somewhat. We were a party of five, three first time cruisers and my DW and I. Our youngest member was our three year old DGS and he soon made many friends around the ship. There have been some positive changes on the Jade ahead of her refit and it was good to see that i-concierge was available and the wifi had been given an overhaul, making it easier to log in and out and it was said to be four times faster. The only negative thing I can comment on is that most of the seats and tables including the bar stools have been removed from the Star Bar and it is now a dark soulless place with me often the only one in there. I know this will become Moderno after the refit, but it is dead now despite the very best efforts of the bartender. I chose not to get off the ship this time although the rest of the party did and had a great time. I had a great time too, meeting old friends and making new among the crew. The Haven staff were excellent, with Benjamin our Room Steward, Roberto the Courtyard Butler and Naveem our Butler looking after us very well indeed and all the staff at the restaurants we ate at, mainly Cagney’s, Le Bistro and La Cuccina were great, always fussing young Jack and making sure all went well. The food seems to have improved a lot, difficult to pin point but the steaks were excellent and the sea bass and salmon nearly perfect. Good quality food cooked to perfection. It will be very interesting to cruise on the Jade next September post refit and see how the changes work. All in all a great cruise, lovely people, excellent food and a nice way to spend a week in my “other” village. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Sailed with NCL a couple of times before - once to Alaska (Norwegian Sun) & the same cruise to Greek Islands 4 years ago. The Jade is starting to look a wee bit tired and probably in need of a refurb - but overall a very enjoyable ... Read More
Sailed with NCL a couple of times before - once to Alaska (Norwegian Sun) & the same cruise to Greek Islands 4 years ago. The Jade is starting to look a wee bit tired and probably in need of a refurb - but overall a very enjoyable trip. Balcony cabin on deck 9 was very comfortable with an extra large bed, the balcony a decent size (although not as clean as it should have been!). Food on the Jade was excellent - plenty of variety and choice in the Garden Cafe (buffet style) - if you couldn't find something to eat here you must have a problem !! Also, the Italian restaurant was excellent. The entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was always to a high standard and very professional. The majority of the crew were very friendly and helpful. Wouldn't hesitate to use NCL again but next time, to a different destination. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 1st cruise, we chose the ship due to the itinerary and as a 'taster' to see if we would enjoy cruising. Well it was amazing! in fact we've been home 2 weeks and we've booked our next one for May 17 for ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise, we chose the ship due to the itinerary and as a 'taster' to see if we would enjoy cruising. Well it was amazing! in fact we've been home 2 weeks and we've booked our next one for May 17 for hubby's birthday and to introduce our son to cruising. We couldn't fault anything from embarkation to the beautiful locations we visited. Santorini had by far the most amazing scenery. The food and service were outstanding, we ate at Chops Grille and had the most amazing steak. The food in the main dining room was excellent every other night with great choices. Our waiters Kingsley and Edwin were superb. We had a large interior cabin on deck 8 which was ideal. Zoe our housekeeper did a fantastic job and was always willing to help. Entertainment onboard was pretty good most nights, they all worked very hard to put on these shows. All port excursions we did ourselves at a fraction of the cost offered by the ship. Dubrovnik, we took the local bus to the old town and walked the walls, stunning views Ephesus we took the local bus 4euros return and did the tour ourselves, beautiful architecture Santorini, we hired a quad and drove to Oia, wow!! Breathtaking views Olympia we shared a private tour with another couple we met on the ship, also went to the Virgin Mary Church built into the caves Fantastic ship, would definitely cruise with Vision again Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We sailed out of Venice on 15 Aug for an eleven-night cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas. Our stateroom was 7580. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary. We have 60 nights of cruise experience on Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Our ... Read More
We sailed out of Venice on 15 Aug for an eleven-night cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas. Our stateroom was 7580. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary. We have 60 nights of cruise experience on Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Our overall experience was very good. Check-in at Venice was very smooth and the lines were reasonable. The staff did a nice job with a ship full of people speaking different languages. In fact, I would say that the staff was the strong point of our cruise. Everybody was very friendly and helpful. They really went out of their way to make our anniversary special. This was our first major vacation without our kids (both are young adults now). When we booked our cruise only the early dining was available. We did not ask for My-Time dining. For us, the jet lag from flying from the states matched nicely with early dining. We typically went straight from dining to the early show being about 15’ late, we usually only missed the introduction by the cruise director. This schedule allowed us to be in bed before our jet lagged bodies gave out. We did purchase the 3 meal plan for the special restaurants and scheduled a slightly later time with them. Chops was excellent. Our dining table had 6 seats and the other 4 people were French speaking. One couple never showed up so we were paired up with a couple that spoke very little English-which is way more than the French we speak-none. My wife was very uncomfortable with the situation and kept trying to have a conversation with them. This effort was exhausting and a distraction. The head waiter was French speaking and did a little translating for us but sensed our issue and asked us if we would prefer a private table because we were celebrating our anniversary—this improved our dining experience (and I’m sure the other couple felt the same) dramatically and it is this kind of attention to detail that made me really appreciate the staff. Overall the size of the ship is nice (we have sailed on the Allure and really liked that too). It’s quick and easy to get around on the ship. The Windjammer restaurant was usually very crowded as was Deck 10 around the pool but we aren’t pool people and we just avoided the Windjammer for the most part. My biggest complaint is noise coming from the Centrum area. The Centrum has a stage on the 4th floor that is open all the way to the top of the ship. They have activities in the evening through about midnight that are very loud (music). Our stateroom is only a few feet from this area and it is EXTREMELY loud. Earplugs help very little. At 10:00 pm they close a door leading to the staterooms that helps but people are constantly going through the door allowing periodic blasts of noise. If you are a non-jet lagged, night owl this won’t be a big deal. But if you are craving an early sleep you better hope your cabin is not near the Centrum (ours was 7580). We love having a stateroom with a verandah but when I discovered that the smoking area for the ship was on Deck 5, starboard side, right below us (deck 5 outside area is “two stories” below us) I was worried but we very rarely smelled smoke. The size of our stateroom, including storage space was perfect for two people. You could add a small child and still be ok. Internet. This is the first time we purchased the internet plan on a ship (Voom Surf + Stream 1 device). If you manage your expectations its ok. When it works it works fine. But it was spotty. There were times that we could not connect at all (for example sea days when everyone is trying to research the next day’s port call. Best times were during late diner, first thing in the morning, or during a port call. One tip: when they say “1 device” this means one device at a time. So my wife and I took turns on our different devices-tablets, phones, and laptop. I feel like it was worth having the internet plan. Drink plan. I am not a big drinker, I like a beer occasionally, so the drink plan is not for me. However, my wife loves wine and martinis. We almost purchased the drink plan for her which would have been around $500 for 11 nights. I’m glad we didn’t. She didn’t even spend half of that. By the time you subtract the departure day and the large chunks of time you off the ship at the ports, you have to really drink a lot to make it worthwhile. Gift shop. Even on day 1 the only sizes available seemed to be small and XXXLarge. I guess they figure by the end of the cruise we will have eaten so much that we’ll need the bigger sizes? For a company trying to make money at every corner, it seems strange that they don’t have the popular sizes available. Water package. We paid 47 Euro to have some Evian water in our room. This is obviously ridiculously overpriced. At our first port, Katakolon, the duty free shop sold cases of water for 3 Euro and the staff had no problem with us bringing 2 cases on board. Of course they were hawking all of the liquids for liquor contraband. Ports. Katakolon, Chania, Mykonos, Santorini, Kusadasi, Piraeus, Venice. We did not use any of the cruiseline packages. We find that there are way better deals out there. We use Trip Advisor and have been happy with the results for years. Katakolon-- hire Nicolas at OlympiaTaxi and go see Olympia. Chania—walk around old town have lunch or a drink overlooking the bay. Mykonos—just walked around the city its nice but windy. Santorini-Amazing. We took the bus down to the ruins of Akrotiri and then up to Oia for lunch and shopping. Kusadasi--hired a private guide and went to House of Mary and Ephesus. Piraeus—hired a private guide and went directly to Acropolis at 7:30. We beat the crowds and the heat. We had been to Venice before so we just went and had drinks, diner and gelato. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
First time cruise for our family and we loved every minute. We chose this cruise as we loved the itinerary, timing and price combination. We booked four speciality dining packages however the Ultimate Drinks Package was a free promotion ... Read More
First time cruise for our family and we loved every minute. We chose this cruise as we loved the itinerary, timing and price combination. We booked four speciality dining packages however the Ultimate Drinks Package was a free promotion when we booked. The cabin (with balcony) was perfect for 2 adults and 2 children, certainly plenty of room. we decided to book a balcony so we could spend time chilling out in the evening if the children were tired - this worked really well and we were pleased with our decision. Housekeeping was lovely and friendly and did a great job! The specialty restaurants were excellent however we probably would have been better to book 2 or 3 nights as we didn't get the chance to try some of the complimentary restaurants. Grand Pacific (complimentary) was excellent and much higher standard than expected. Cagney's, Le Bistro and The Teppanyaki were all excellent (the Teppanyaki was really good fun, the chef was very entertaining and the food was fantastic) . The Brazilian was good but nothing outstanding and we wouldn't book again. The main deck around the pools could get very busy/crowded at times and it was often difficult to find a sun lounger, the staff would remove towels that had been left unattended for more than 30 minutes but on a couple of occasions this caused a few problems when the owners retuned to find someone else on their sun bed. (not aggressive but a bit uncomfortable) The music on the main deck around the pools was good fun and the atmosphere was great on the whole but sometimes just felt too busy again was great to get away to the peace of our balcony. I feel the swimming pools are on the small side for so many people however the children adored the water slide. I have seen comments from others saying the drinks service was slow so I was expecting to wait quite some time for drinks but we didn't find this at all and were very happy .. TIP - the Pina Colada, its fab. Only attended the elements entertainment show which was pretty good but its not really our thing so didn't attend any others. All the ports were lovely - we did the Greek Opa Celebration shore excursion in Santorini, it was expensive but we decided to treat ourselves as it sounded original and good fun. It didn't disappoint! We laughed all evening , thoroughly enjoyed the dancing and breaking plates (my favourite part). My only complaint with this excursion was the limited time we spent in Oia, we were only given 1 hour which was far too short to wander around this beautiful cliffside town. Corfu, Mykonos and Katakolon were all beautiful to visit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruise left Venice on Aug 6 for 7 nights visiting Cofu, Mykonos, Santorini and Katakalon...Overall, good cruise--ship had 2900 passengers. Only problem was in Santorini, there were 4 ships tendered and it took too much time to get ... Read More
Cruise left Venice on Aug 6 for 7 nights visiting Cofu, Mykonos, Santorini and Katakalon...Overall, good cruise--ship had 2900 passengers. Only problem was in Santorini, there were 4 ships tendered and it took too much time to get anywhere---long lines for the cable car, which was the only way to get back to the ship.---waited in line for 2 hrs.....Had inside cabin #8053 which was adequate--Platinum member status...NCL does nickel and dime the passengers.....room service after 10am is a $7. charge. room service for a continental breakfast required a tip.... A la carte menus now for the specialty dining which could run up to $75. for 2. Buffet was always jam-packed and hard to find a table and when we did the food was cold. No free Cpts Dinner(Farewell Dinner) like before...no comedy shows, just acrobatics and magic, and dancing troupes----was disappointed that the repeat guest party for Gold and Platinum was not more elegant....no afternoon tea which would have been nice for the European passengers. Chose this cruise for the ports and schedule, would have preferred Princess or Holland America---night vs day for sure!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because we have never been on an NCL cruise before and we also have not been to Greece and Venice before. This was our fifth cruise and we will definitely be sailing with NCL again! Embarkation: Embarkation in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have never been on an NCL cruise before and we also have not been to Greece and Venice before. This was our fifth cruise and we will definitely be sailing with NCL again! Embarkation: Embarkation in Venice was ok- not the best we have experienced as it was a long wait to board the ship. Ship: The ship has lots of Hawaiian decor from it's previous life as the pride of Hawaii, but it did not change our holiday in a any way shape or form. The Jade was always spotless and there were always workers cleaning away at the ship. Dining: The food on board was excellent. Lots of choice, our favourites being the Jasmine Garden asian restaurant, and the Blue Lagoon 24 hour eatery. Cabin: Our cabin was tiny, but it was manageable. Our room steward was excellent. Entertainment: The entertainment was excellent. We did not attend all shows, but the ones we attended were excellent. Special mention to the 4ever and the Elements show! We also really enjoyed the music on the ship, especially the showtime band. The cruise directors were phenomenal and made our holiday so much fun. There was something onboard for everyone, be it football tournaments or arts and crafts. Service: The service on board was second to none. Everyone was so smiley and helpful. Ports: Corfu: Did Corfu by ourselves. The old fortress is very nice with great views. Santorini: Did the 'Charming Oia Village' excursion. It was very nice to be able to not worry about tender tickets and cable car queues. Oia village is a must see. Mykonos: Did Mykonos by ourselves. There is a free shuttle to take you right into Mykonos town. Olympia: Booked a private excursion with Mr Theodoros Mamousis of 'Katakolon Taxi Tours to Olympia by Mamousis'. We found him on tripadvisor and he was amazing. He was the highlight of our trip and we highly recommend him! Venice: Visited Venice on our disembarkation day. We used the people mover to get into Venice. It was very good. For a more detailed review, check out my review on the cruise critic community forum! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose the cruise for the destinations. Which on 50% of the time was as expected. The others were not as advertised. We had to pay extra to get into the local towns, even when using their shuttle services. In Dubrovnik, they charged $12 ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations. Which on 50% of the time was as expected. The others were not as advertised. We had to pay extra to get into the local towns, even when using their shuttle services. In Dubrovnik, they charged $12 per person, they told passengers they needed to purchase tickets before they left the ship, so passengers panicked and purchased. When in Dubrovnik you could get a taxi, seating 5 people for 13 euros, to the town. Something they didn't tell you. They did this on 3 destinations throughout the cruise. Drinks - When booking there cruise at Thomas Cook we were asked and agreed to pay all gratuities before embarking the ship. On arrival we found out we had to pay an 18% gratuity charge for every drink purchased, which they call a service charge, but is on the receipt as a gratuity. When sitting on the open decks not one bar member came around to offer drinks. We always had to go and get our own drink from the bar. Entertainment - In 11 days, we received 2 very poor shows from the show team. We never saw them around the ship socialising with other passengers and when asking about them was told they were rehearsing. If this was the case the show would have been a lot better than it was. On Thomson cruises, the show team do a show every day and a live cabaret or deck party. Even with that amount of shows, the quality is far superior to royal caribbean. The headliners weren't even that good either, the opening night consisted of a woman twirling a hoolar hoop and ribbons for 45 minutes, not entertaining. They also put on a mime act, that looked like he was stuck in an oversized condom for 45 minutes, this was also very poor. To top it off their farewell show consisted of the same lady who opened the cruise. They did have 2 headliners acts in the 11 days that were good, Four ever and a Motown group. Food and Dining - The service was good in both restaurants, but the food was far from adequate. I had to result eating the indian selection every evening and my mother, who can't eat cream or creamy food, was eating salad and the rubbery chicken breast as everything else was masked in sauces. They didn't cater from the British clientele onboard the ship. Crew and Staff - On 90% of the time the crew were rude and very unapproachable, when approached for a complaint about the bar service they were very invasive. We did approach the issue of the gratuities and they say it was down to royal caribbean who set the prices on the bar and this couldn't be changed. We are taking it further. The only people that were approachable and nice were Janette and Maria in the Windjammer restaurant and Roberta in the Schooner Bar. Disembarking - We were thrown off the ship at 9am and sent to the airport, even though our checkin wasn't open until 11.45 and we couldn't board the plane until 1.10pm. There were limited seating and way too many passengers in the airport for the size of it. If you wanted to stop on the ship, you had to pay $35 per person and then you could only sit in one place and couldn't get food or drink. When you pay over £1500 per person you expect more. Cabin - The Cabin and cabin steward was excellent, could not find any issues. Adult areas - Even though the solarium was advertised as adult only, children were still using the facilities and nothing was done by the crew. I think royal caribbean need areas, especially bar areas, where children aren't allowed. E.g the schooner bar. I have travelled with them now 3 times and it has got worse every time. They are adding costs on everything you do. I would not go with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We had an oceanview balcony cabin which was good for 2 adults plus a teenager. very impressed with the amount of room although we found storage to be slightly an issue which we had to overcome. but very very clean and didnt have a ... Read More
We had an oceanview balcony cabin which was good for 2 adults plus a teenager. very impressed with the amount of room although we found storage to be slightly an issue which we had to overcome. but very very clean and didnt have a problem at all. embarkation was good but really busy. we had to wait around 45 minutes to get on the vessel and there wasnt much to do other than sit in chairs and stare into space. the ship is older with only 2 pools. it has wear and tear that is visible but not really an issue at all. we found the crew to be very friendly and helpful and always willing to chat. the pools are one for adults and one for children, which was a problem when on the last day at sea one of the children christened the kiddy pool meaning that the adults only pool was abandoned for the entire day and given over to children. this was a real shame as it gave adults nowhere to escape kids. other days though when both pools were open they were really good in telling the kids not to go anywhere near the adult pool. also there is no drinking allowed anywhere around the pool. have to say though the pool had a lot of nastiness floating in it, including one day 2 hardboiled eggs. we were traveling with an 18 year old boy and it was a real shame there was hardly anything for older teens to do. yes he could go in he adult pool, but he was told he couldnt drink any alcohol, and there were no 18 and over acts which we were hoping for like comedians. this meant that the highlight of his day if we were on the ship was a meal. the shows were very very similar other than a really great singing group from britains got talent. men who sang opera. but to be honest if i never see anoher old sweaty russian acrobat in a dodgy lycra jumpsuit i wouldnt be too bothered. 2 nights was an old russian man who juggled and droppe balls. one night was another circuis act with a lady that wrapped herself in curtains, and 2 nights was a magician who was ok in a cheezy way. would have loved more musical shows or the holy grail of a comedian. old circuiss acts are lazy bookings. adults around me felt the same that you shouldnt just cater for children. also in the late shows at 9.45 there were a lot of unaccompanied children being a nuisance. one night the man next to me was checking his facebook with his phone light shining into my eyes. the food was really really good. we loved the free food far more than the dining plan meals. la cuchina italian was very average and i found the pasta dry. the brazilian barbecue the meat was all medium rare and the plate was dripping blood, cagneys steakhouse was ok but nothing woop de dooh. i would recommend this cruise for older people and for couples and for families with young children, but my 18 year old was pretty badly catered for. all trips were half day and we ended up going for food as something to do rather than the fact we were hungry. if i were to choose another cruise it wouldnt be norwegian unless we were going as a couple. even the disney cruiseline catered for adults only. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
It was my first cruise experience. I want to specify that I'm 24 and I'm used to travel but I opt for hostels, b & b and Airbnb. I was told that the cruise was a nice option to see more places as easily as possible. The ... Read More
It was my first cruise experience. I want to specify that I'm 24 and I'm used to travel but I opt for hostels, b & b and Airbnb. I was told that the cruise was a nice option to see more places as easily as possible. The positive: - The food was varied and always fresh. The evening menu is different every day and offers several enticing options. - The room is quite large with lots of storage (for two). - The maid service was very good. - Entertainment is appreciated. The gym is awesome. - The service is generally good. Nothing more. Some servers were very insistent with me and my friend. The negative: - The many hidden charges on the bill at the end (souvenir album of the boat for gifts but charged 29 euros) - The organization for some landings, often late. Must arrive early to book tickets for an evening bus. On several occasions, we had to book shuttles ($) to be certain to get quickly to the center of the place. - The number of days at sea (2) (too) - The number of chairs around the pool does not suit the number of passengers. We walk on the feet. - The waiting time in general - The time at each destination was sometimes too short (Santorini and Mykonos in particular). - The check-out were endless, we were landing at 8am. We went out at 11am. - Water bottles, when we were not at the restaurant, were loaded onto the card while we had unlimited water option. I talked to several passengers who told me it was one of the worst experience on a cruise ship. They strongly recommended me to try a cruise with another company, not to stop with my experience with MSC. The choice is yours! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I booked this cruise based on the ports and overall were very pleased. My mom joined my husband and I so we booked a Family Ocean View stateroom on deck 4. This was the perfect room for us with a separate sleeping area for my mom. The ... Read More
I booked this cruise based on the ports and overall were very pleased. My mom joined my husband and I so we booked a Family Ocean View stateroom on deck 4. This was the perfect room for us with a separate sleeping area for my mom. The room had large black out curtains to help create privacy or have someone watch TV on the couch if others were sleeping. It is very close to the elevator, but had very little noise. I would book this room again. After booking, we realized we had been on this ship before in 2002 to Mexico and then again in Alaska. We were anxious to see the ship and the improvements. Everything was clean and in good working order in the cabin and throughout the ship. The common areas were nice, tastefully decorated and in good shape. We enjoyed getting to know the staff and were surprised at how quickly the staff learned our names and our preferences. My husband has an egg allergy and the head waiter came around nightly after dinner to help him preview the menu to ensure he had choices for each course at dinner. The bartenders in the Centrum and in the dining room remembered our drinks and always had them ready when we arrived. It was wonderful to get to know them and appreciate how friendly and ready to serve everyone was on board. We arrived in Venice 3 days before the cruise and enjoyed exploring the city. We arrived by 11:30 for embarkation and were pleasantly surprised to find out our ship was the only one in port. This made it easy to navigate and we were on board quickly. Disembarkation was just as smooth. We had an early flight out of Venice so we kept our luggage and walked off easily to our private transfer. Ports included Olympia (Katakolon), Crete (Chania), Mykonos, Santorini, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Athens (Piraeus), and one day/night in Venice before disembarkation. We arrived on time at all ports. I had booked private excursions at 4 of the ports and had no lines exiting the ship. We did leave the ship early each time, within an hour of docking. I heard there were lines much later in the day. Tendering was also easy at Mykonos and Santorini. There were several crew members to help passengers get on and off safely. We lucked out and were the only ship in port at most of our stops. In Santorini, being the only ship is port meant a short line to ride the cable car! We ate breakfast and dinner in the main dining room daily. The quality of food was good, but the selection was limited with several entrees repeating nightly. I don't remember this on our previous trips. Lunch is the Windjammer was good with lots of choices. The service usually outdid the food. On cruise days, we enjoyed playing trivia, line dancing, the casino, sitting by the pool or bingo. There were plenty of choices and we also had fun just sitting and visiting with new friends. We also celebrated our 28th anniversary on board and were surprised by our room steward with swan towels, banners, and a door sign. With my pre-planning and the friendly staff, we enjoyed this cruise a lot. There were many small touches from the staff that made the trip even more special and one we will remember for many years. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016

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