285 Venice First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Chose a cruise from Venice that stopped at Santorini, Athens, Ravenna and Dubrovnik as we have never been to any of these destinations. Our cruise didn't go to Santorini or Ravenna so not a great start, we got offered $100 each. Most ... Read More
Chose a cruise from Venice that stopped at Santorini, Athens, Ravenna and Dubrovnik as we have never been to any of these destinations. Our cruise didn't go to Santorini or Ravenna so not a great start, we got offered $100 each. Most of the other couples we spoke had not been offered anything. Please bear in mind that when you book your specific cruise you might not actually go there and they reserve the right to change it at anytime! The freestyle dinning was just mental, typical wait if you shared was 45 mins to get a seat. If you wanted a table for 2 it would take an hour! Once you got seated the service was good but slow. Typically we would head out at 7pm and it would be after 10:00 before you got your finished! We booked all inclusive but found it to be a bit of an oxy-moron as you still had to pay for coffee, water and a list of many other things. Th advert said that all inclusive also included ALL service charges, tips and gratuities but NCL still tied (very hard) to charge us. We were on the 4th floor and it was horrendous, very noisy as this was the main level for getting on and off at each port. There was a hive of activity constantly going on. Add to this the 50 billion (honestly, no exaggeration) announcement from Tom the bloody cruise direction then you get the idea. The trips onshore were really expensive and hundreds of pounds each, it felt that NCL were constantly trying to rip you off and we also had to check everything. Shame. The service from the staff was mixed from down right rude to fab. I found the staff in the trash bar to be rude but the guys who look after your room were fantastic. The entertainment in the main theatre was really good but this was only 45mins once a day. There was a live band with the worst singer in the planet that popped up everywhere. The cocktails and the red wine where fantastic but glad we had a drinks expensive as prices were highly inflated. Food was good, not great, never bad but not as good as I thought it was going to be. The market cafe buffet were you can just grab a plastic plate and help yourself was exactly like school dinners. It was also the noisiest place on the ship, maybe even the planet! This was our first cruise that we booked and we will never ever cruise again. Constant noise, massive queues, never got to see our chosen destinations, naff entertainment and bloody tom the cruise director are the main reasons. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my first ever cruise so I do not have any reference to another ship. The ship to me was in great shape, everything was clean and new looking. The crew was fantastic always smiling and very helpful. they all seemed to remember ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise so I do not have any reference to another ship. The ship to me was in great shape, everything was clean and new looking. The crew was fantastic always smiling and very helpful. they all seemed to remember our names and what we needed. See my Cabin Review for my thoughts on the cabin. The food options to me where very good. I am not a foodie so i am not going to complain about the food options I enjoyed them all. The Lido market was fine lots of options, i liked the English breakfast they had including baked beans and black pudding, We ate on time at the pinnacle and it was very good the service was great. had one meal at the Italian restaurant and the food was good. MDR was good every night I have no complaints. The Entertainment was a little dull, I saw a couple of shows in the main stage and only the two magicians i liked, The singers where ok but the show seemed out of wack there did not seem to be no reason to it. The BB king band where good but it was the same thing every night. the billboard on board was just not that impressive. about 10:30 pm the ship seemed like a ghost ship. bars where empty entertainment done. there was a novo virus breakout two days before the end that made things a little different. you could not pick up food on lido they would bring your cups and silverware. It was a bit of an inconvince on the last port Naples where we where not allowed to leave the ship for a 1 1 /2 delay The ports where great except for two Sardene Albania was not much fun nothing much to do there. I did not do an excursion but i did take a cab to the castle. The only real complaint i had was the excursion to Capri. it was $400 for two of us. The description was deceptive. Example " Enjoy a jet boat to the island looking at the panoramic views of the island" Reality they put us on a ferry that held about 300 people all inside i did have a window it was so dirty you could not see out of it .. nothing special. at that price i thought they might have there own boat. when we got there. we had to wait 30 min in the hot sun for public transport to get to the top and they can only hold 20 people so we had to wait for two... I wont go on about this but all they did is took us shopping for 45 min free time. bus down then lunch and then back to shopping and to a park.the guide really did not have much to say he was nice but not worth $400 over all i loved the trip and would not hesitate to go on the westerdam again Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I am a first time cruiser and have two small children. We are seasoned travelers with our children and were looking for adding something different to our European vacation and originally considered a river cruise, but opted for this cruise ... Read More
I am a first time cruiser and have two small children. We are seasoned travelers with our children and were looking for adding something different to our European vacation and originally considered a river cruise, but opted for this cruise out of Venice. We concerned about many things in advance: size of the cabins, food choices, seasickness, etc..probably some of the things everyone who has never cruised wonders about. The boarding process seemed chaotic to me as I didn't print out my bag tags in advance---I think if I had it would have gone better. We booked a two bedroom royal family suite with just four of us. This was a great choice, we always like a suite when traveling and this didn't disappoint---our ocean view was fantastic, and it was like having an apartment on the ship. It was very clean, I would characterize it's decor as something similar to a decent Hilton. Not great, but very comfortable. Beds and bedding were what you'd expect in a high end hotel. Bathrooms were fine, balcony was nice--it's great to always have an ocean view! The perks afforded to suite guests are worth it to us...we always had seating in the MDR whenever we showed up, and the concierge in the lounge was so helpful and dedicated to just us the cruise was outstanding. Noellia expedited us off the ship at ports, put us first in line for everything and even arranged a bridge tour only for suite guests on the sea day---that was outstanding. Food was interesting at first but gets tiresome after a few days. It's kind of like going to a wedding every night---fancy names on a printed menu with swirly handwriting but not very well executed--nice to look at but not great. We tried specialty dining at Chops and Izumi--if you have never been to a sushi restaurant you would like it---I did not. Chops cuts of meat are not prime in my opinion--underwhelmed but appreciated having some choices to dine in. Bartenders seemed tired--I didn't purchase the drink package and they seemed overworked by all the folks trying to get their money's worth from their packages. The exception was the waiter in the concierge lounge---he always worked hard for us. Healthy food choices: the ship really lacked at this. Canned fruit on a salad bar even on occasion is just not something I feed my kids. There were cookies and softserve ice cream everywhere but no good choices for snacks like nuts or even popcorn would have been welcome---you don't have to overeat to enjoy yourself but the ship seemed like a throwback to the 1980s when it came to menu planning... I used the patch and never was seasick so it was nice, and again the company rolled out the red carpet for suite guests so this is something I liked. Will certainly cruise again, but will select a ship with better dining choices---I can see those are available. I don't think I"ll take all my trips on cruises because the port time is too short but will do again in the future--can see it as a plus for group or family trips with multi generations. Overall ship and crew were friendly and stellar. I met some nice people on the cruise, oddly many from Texas...The entertainment was so bad it was funny in most cases...more in room entertainment would be appreciated in a suite at least...I already dropped the money it would be nice to sit in my nice room and watch a movie with my kids.... Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise as first timers after a long time researching different options on here - this is a very helpful website by the way. The positives first. The food and service generally exceeded our expectations. The main dining room ... Read More
We chose this cruise as first timers after a long time researching different options on here - this is a very helpful website by the way. The positives first. The food and service generally exceeded our expectations. The main dining room Aquarius was great as a dining experience and Windjammer perfect for breakfast and lunch. The cabin we had was good as well - small but well equipped and we slept like logs each night. Cleanliness was particularly good and we liked the fact that each food area had anti bacterial stations. We enjoyed the entertainment generally and they cater well to a mass audience. The Love and Marriage show was a particular highlight for us - very funny. We also loved the sushi making in Izumi. Negatives for us were the tender process - people not following the tender ticket order and staff seeming to allow them to get away with it and smoking in the casino. The Internet and drinks packages are overpriced so we didn't take either up and I honestly don't feel that we missed out on our holiday experience. We don't mind spending time giving feedback like this but felt we were continuously pressured by staff throughout the trip to tell them how they were doing - like their jobs depended on it which made us feel awkward at times. We booked independent excursions through Cruising Excursions to save money and generally they were pretty good apart from Argostoli. Loved Kotor, Corfu and Mykonos and would happily visit there again. Athens was good just very hot that particular day (Not RC's fault!) Argostoli was a letdown in terms of the amount you could do there. The Mellisani Cave excursion was a rip off for the amount it actually cost to enter the cave. I wish we could have more time in each port and would have happily missed out the last one to allow for more time in the four previous. The overall cruising experience was very positive for both of us as first timers however and Royal Caribbean does deliver a very good service with excellent staff in all areas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We are a couple. This was our first cruise of any sort. We are about 70 and in fair shape. We are experienced independent travelers. We used a land tour only once (in China). We chose this cruise for its Eastern Mediterranean ... Read More
We are a couple. This was our first cruise of any sort. We are about 70 and in fair shape. We are experienced independent travelers. We used a land tour only once (in China). We chose this cruise for its Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, its dates, its port of departure/return, and its discounted price. The ship's itinerary included Athens,Istanbul, and Venice, three cities we had previously explored and were happy to see again. We had not visited the other Greek ports or Ephesus. Our plan was to go ashore in all or most ports. We booked two archeologically-oriented excursions. We planned to eat breakfast and dinner on the ship, eat lunch ashore, use maximum shore time, and enjoy onboard entertainment in the evenings. We had traveled in Northern Italy for 10 days prior to our departure. We arrived at the port in Venice by bus from Padua and departed by train to Milan. In general, we stuck to our plan. There were pleasant surprises. We enjoyed the two sea-days. We enjoyed the two Gala nights. We enjoyed most of the people we sat with in Open Seating for dinner. We enjoyed some great dinnertime conversation. We enjoyed making two new couple friends and spending some shore-time with them. We enjoyed the international mix of the passengers. Embarkation: At the Venice Cruise Port there is a significant distance between the People-Mover station and the terminal entrance. This is a problem for all older passengers and all those with poor hips and knees. HAL should provide a shuttle, even an optional one for a small charge. Venice is a major port of departure for HAL. What do they do if it rains? Food: Food was pretty good but not quite as good as one might expect. One pay-extra restaurant (Caneletto) really disappointed (menu choices, food prep, and service). The pay-extra Pan-Asian restaurant was excellent. Food at the Lido could vary more. Our cruise was 13 days. If it had been 24, we would have really tired of the selection. The Main Dining Room was nice. We used it many evenings. Food was okay but speed of getting main dishes out of the kitchen was way too slow on two occasions. Entertainment: All three small music venues were excellent (classical, blues, and billboard piano bar). We went to each small music venue at least four times. Entertainment at the MainStage was once excellent, mostly okay, and once terrible. We took two HAL-sponsored shore excursions. Both were good quality. We often went ashore on our own. The ship should have provided more and more up-to-date information about ports of call. Presentations the evening before were difficult to time with dinner if you had been ashore that day. More printed info would solve this. Of the info provided, some was 2-3 years out of date. Guests who want to explore may want to do some of their own research. This was our first cruise. For the first few days we had many basic questions, about the cabin, location of storage space, location of hair dryer, etc. Since they knew it was our first cruise on HAL, they could have provided a 1-2 page discussion of things we needed to know. It would be more efficient than going down to Guest Services and standing in line. Of course, this would not be a problem for experienced cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
this was the first cruise we took , that too after so many apprehensions that we may end up managing the motion sickness issue of mine and my daughter , but to our surprise both had no issue of nausea etc . at all . we stayed for one ... Read More
this was the first cruise we took , that too after so many apprehensions that we may end up managing the motion sickness issue of mine and my daughter , but to our surprise both had no issue of nausea etc . at all . we stayed for one day prior to embarkation in venice just to explore this beautiful city we heard that embarkation takes hours but it was not crowded at all i have concluded the following do's and don'ts 1. reach the embarkation city one day prior as it ease out your boarding plans like reaching in time ( in my case four hours from the departure of the ship ) hence you don't have to face crowd 2. choose aurea package ( cabin with balcony ) as it gives you - priority boarding ,unlimited drinks on board , free access to thermal area which is worth going every day , complimentary massage which is average in quality and preferred dining 3. don't take excursions from the ship as they are double the cost of the one sold at the dock and it's the same excursion ( we had the following ports - bari,santorini,katakolom,corfu, piraous and kotor 4. always keep one black and one white formal dress for two formal dinners given at the ship .if possible keep one floral dress as well 5. don't miss the entertainment shows - it is done twice 7;15 pm and 9:15 pm 6. no need to keep snacks etc in you luggage for emergency as they run one restaurant 20 hrs / day with free access to all unlimited times with lot of things on buffet 7. prefer higher decks . ours was 12th deck which i found the best 8. shopping on board - watches , wine and jewellery is worth a buy ,plan it 9. for indians there is nothing much as far as food is concerned but can have it in preferred dining , we personally were not satisfied with the food served to us in the name of veg indian dinner 10. rooms have one big double bed , one bunk bed and one sofa cum bed thus four beds in total , good enough for a family of four 11. the problem comes in disembarkation though its not so for the european guests as they dont have to submit their passports as passports collection takes hell lot of time . 12. plan one small suitcase for last day clothes as your main luggage will be taken on the previous night by the ship authority for scanning and it will be lying at the port when you disembark 13. carry umbrella /raincoat as orchestra doesn't supply the same ( other cruise lines might be doing ) 14. don't take wi fi package ( though its not expensive - 19 euro for basic surfing for the whole duration of cruising ) i will definitely cruise again on some other destination for sure thank you msc orchestra Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Wanted to go for longer than a week. Also had never been in Venice Greece or Turkey thought this would be a good cruise. We were celebrating a special occasion and thought because of all the add on's we had everything covered and ... Read More
Wanted to go for longer than a week. Also had never been in Venice Greece or Turkey thought this would be a good cruise. We were celebrating a special occasion and thought because of all the add on's we had everything covered and would have no extras to pay for. Thought we were going 5 star. The bedrooms with balcony were 3 star max. We had to pay for ironing which was more expensive if you needed it back the same day.. In a 3 Star hotel you would at least have access to an Iron and ironing board. Everything was very clean. Staff in the dinning room were very attentive and pleasant but the food was only a 2to 3 star. The entertainment was poor. No children with us. Don't believe they would enjoy this cruise either. I have to say I did not see many children. I would not do this ship again. Beds were comfortable. The lifts had a bad smell. I would get sick if i had to take one. Gym was small and was too busy. Also did not see any instructor. Went on two excursions one was good the second was poor. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Never again! But thats just me. To pay top dollar to spend 7 nights in a shoebox with no windows is not my idea of fun. It seemed to me it was a feeding frenzy for overweight people and pensioners. Too little time at the stops and a ... Read More
Never again! But thats just me. To pay top dollar to spend 7 nights in a shoebox with no windows is not my idea of fun. It seemed to me it was a feeding frenzy for overweight people and pensioners. Too little time at the stops and a constant worry that we would not make it back in time. 2500 people on board and unless you book a pool lounger before breakfast, you will not have place to sit at the pool. We had a very small baby in the cabin next to us and this child screamed 24 hours a day!! Great way to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary! The boat was fully booked and so we were handed a set of earplugs! Can you imagine. The food was good. Rather ask for your gratuities to be refunded to you in cash so that you can hand a gratuity to your chosen service staff in person in the envelope provided. Be prepared to be bombarded with specials and up-selling from the time you step on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first cruise, I wanted to visit Athens, Istanbul and Dubrovnick. Unfortunately the recent bombings in Turkey caused MSC to drop Istanbul from the itenary. MSC emailed and pledged 100 Euro on to the cabin account as ... Read More
This was my first cruise, I wanted to visit Athens, Istanbul and Dubrovnick. Unfortunately the recent bombings in Turkey caused MSC to drop Istanbul from the itenary. MSC emailed and pledged 100 Euro on to the cabin account as compensation. On the last day of the cruise this turned out to be 50 Euro per person, not what they pledged. Embarkation, disembarkation, was painfully slow, not because of the registration process but there seemed to be long delays waiting to process through security control. On-board was great, the "B2" cabin was definitely worth the upgrade and mostly the service was first class, although certainly fell short especially during my complaint when trying to sort problems. I dined in both Quattro Venti restaurant and oasis buffet and found both excellent dependent on which fitted into my routine. I bought the Allegrissimo drinks package during embarkation which became better value the more drinks, coffee and ice creams you consume. Happily there was so many things happening to keep me choosing entertainment. I did the ship excursion to Olympia which was ok but I felt it was not value for money therefore opted to go it alone from then on. I'm glad I did, there was no hassle and having freedom of choice once off the ship was great. I will definitely not book with MSC again as I did not enjoy the feeling of being a cash cow and do not think my experience was good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Wow fantastic, Fabulous food, brilliant entertainment, stunning dancers, well looked after ship and great service who could ask for more! We embarked from Venice, all the staff were friendly and efficient. When we entered, wow it ... Read More
Wow fantastic, Fabulous food, brilliant entertainment, stunning dancers, well looked after ship and great service who could ask for more! We embarked from Venice, all the staff were friendly and efficient. When we entered, wow it looked amazing and it was, the decor is very Italian and very flamboient but stunning. There was entertainment all day from the animation staff and the dancers but also quiet parts if you want to relax, the animation staff are crazy and lots of fun to watch or if you want join it they make all nationalities welcome and speak all languages. The evening entrainment was first class, professional and left us wanting more. I do not speak Italian but everything was in English, even the announcements for guests were in English, Italian and German plus a couple more languages but the were not many announcements. The only all Italian announcements were for staff only. All the staff speak English, menus are in English, entertainment is in English. The food was beautiful, lots of choice and variety, cooked perfectly every time, being a fussy eater I even got to try some food I would not try at home and I'm glad I did it was amazing. The desserts would melt in your mouth all cooked fresh on board daily with fresh bread, doughnuts, pastrys, cakes and lots more. If you want full English they have it all the and will cook your eggs in front of you exactly how you want them. Every country we visited we would have food from that area as well as all the other choices We enjoyed our time on Costa so much we will book again and again. After our cruise on Costa we went on a second cruise with another cruise line which was more expensive but what a difference like night and day. Costa being luxury and the other company being budget at designer prices. Would recommend to anyone. We are 40/50's English Wonderful first time cruise for myself and a one of many for my partner. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, entertainers and for the whole experience it was true perfection from start to finish. THANK YOU COSTA Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The ship was beautiful BUT it was all money money money, if you are a vegetarian then don't go unless you want omelet as that was all I was offered, can't eat that for nearly a month, they really didn't want English ... Read More
The ship was beautiful BUT it was all money money money, if you are a vegetarian then don't go unless you want omelet as that was all I was offered, can't eat that for nearly a month, they really didn't want English passengers on board, it was my for ever dream to go on a cruise as had worked on ships and wanted to be the passenger, boy was I disappointed, I paid extra for a outside cabin with sea view, was given that BUT with a life boat in the way so in darkness all the time, when asked if I could move was told if I paid more money, as "what did I expect on a cheap cruise" it was not a cheap cruise as other than the air you breathed you had to pay very inflated prices, so please think before you book, also be warned they take money out of your account every day for services whether you get service or not, and then when you buy a drink etc you pay up to 15% again, a few of the staff were fantastic like STACEY English and made my cruise, what a little gem, some of the bar staff, but if you have problems with your food don't bother to talk to the matradee Geogio Conti he just laughed if I was his boss he would have been dismissed on the spot, well as you can tell I was very disappointed and would Never Ever cruise with Costa again, and I was not alone Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Was on the CM this last week and had an awesome time! We were due to embark in Venice and flew in the day before and stayed at the best western olimpia in P. Roma. Very beautiful hotel and I highly recommend it. Only one bridge to cross ... Read More
Was on the CM this last week and had an awesome time! We were due to embark in Venice and flew in the day before and stayed at the best western olimpia in P. Roma. Very beautiful hotel and I highly recommend it. Only one bridge to cross with luggage. The ship didn't dock in Venice the morning we were supposed to embark due to fog. We went early to the terminal to see what we were supposed to do and they put us on a bus to Trieste. Was a nice ride about an hour and a half. All very well managed and I actually really enjoyed the extra time in Trieste since I've never been before. Once on the ship we found our cabin. We booked an interior but were upgraded to a balcony..nice. I'm so glad the reviews on here didn't put me off from going with Costa because it was a really great trip and awesome value. We have spend 3x as much at mediocre resorts so this was really a surprise. So you know where I'm coming from...I'm American and my husband is Italian, I have lived in Italy and France the last 10 years just to give you an idea of my background. I thought the food was great (I wasn't expecting Michelan star fare though) and even my husband who is the worlds biggest food critic (thanks to his mamma) loved it too. Sure it isn't 5 star but it's good. The breakfast buffet isn't your American brunch but I didn't have trouble finding something to eat at all (donuts, croissants, fruits...) if you do want American stuff get room service. I did it one morning just to try and got a huge amount of French toast, pancakes and eggs Benedict for just 5 euro. The best lunch was when the chefs set us a pasta demonstration near the central pool. There was 5-6 different pastas and all were soooo good. I found you do have to look around the different buffets to find different things. I didn't eat breakfast or lunch in the mdr so I can't comment on them. The drink package is defintely worth it even if you don't drink tons of alcohol. I had no problems paying for a few bottles of water here and there for the room, but could easily get glasses of water free with my drink package from any bar or in the mdr. I did not have the USA water thing because I didn't book through the us site. I didn't notice the "lack of personal space" or rude cultural differences everyone always mentions in Costa reviews, but maybe after living here so long I don't notice it. Everyone stayed in the lines and were patient. The staff were awesome! Everyone always smiling and greeting you by name. That was impressive. I do wonder if I had a better time because I speak Italian and French though. I got to know a lot of people and staff because of that. But there were other English only speakers around and seemed to be having a great time too. We also had no problem asking the maitre d to change us to late dinner when we saw we were assigned to the early seating. He also happily changed us to an Italian speaking table (you can request anything language wise or just a table for 2). The gala night was fun and people dressed up in everything from gowns to just nice pants/ dress shirts or even just normal clothes. It was a great time. The only bummer was the club medusa. We paid to eat there one night with our table mates from the mdr and the food was just ok...I actually liked the menu in the mdr a lot more, so I don't recommended it. Everything else was fabulous and we booked our next cruise on the diadema the 3rd day in on this cruise lol. I say you need to try it for yourself..some of the reviews on here sound so crazy after I have actually been on the ship now. Someone said on here people must have hugh and unrealistic expectations to leave such extremely negative reviews. It was my first cruise but not my last with Costa! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
As Dorothy said to Toto, we weren't in Kansas anymore -- meaning we had done three river cruises with Viking but had never embarked on an ocean cruise anywhere. What a way to weigh anchor! The Star is a beauty, an Emerald City afloat. ... Read More
As Dorothy said to Toto, we weren't in Kansas anymore -- meaning we had done three river cruises with Viking but had never embarked on an ocean cruise anywhere. What a way to weigh anchor! The Star is a beauty, an Emerald City afloat. The staff in our floating Oz is superlative. The fine food and beverages keep coming. The cruise organization -- pre-boarding communication and arrangements, airport transfers, pre-stay in Venice, embarkation and return -- all work handsomely with precision. The ship's ambience is relaxed elegance with large spaces as needed to accommodate passenger crowds comfortably but with plenty of nooks for couples to find getaways for viewing, contemplating, admiring the seascapes. Entertainment opportunities abound, organized in a daily listing for picking and choosing. We most like on-board talks by experts, and the scholarly presentations are a delight to anticipate. We like shore excursions that expand the reach of the boat, and The Star's guided offerings excel. A staff bobble kept us from seeing Delphi, but the alternative time spent in Athens' new Parthenon Museum compensated more than adequately. Folk music, folk food and folk places swell the experience even now in memory especially with dream opportunities to photograph. A visit to the hill country of Croatia really shines. The native guides there and in Athens and in Mostar got us off the yellow brick road and into a deeper understanding of our destinations. Our expansion of lands and UNESCO World Heritage sites seen is a treasure no one can take away. Do I gush? Well, Viking is a wizard on river and now on ocean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The Viking Star is a great ship with all the amenities you need. The entertainment on our cruise was excellent and the food was always very good. All interactions with crew and staff were pleasant and professional. We were greeted by ... Read More
The Viking Star is a great ship with all the amenities you need. The entertainment on our cruise was excellent and the food was always very good. All interactions with crew and staff were pleasant and professional. We were greeted by every member of the crew that we met. I was amazed by the well thought out design of the ship and the ease of getting anywhere on board. We toured the kitchen and the bridge and were not rushed or ignored. All of our questions were answered no matter how trivial. We had arrived in Venice a few days early and stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel. Our embarkation was directly across the lagoon from the hotel and went very smoothly. We went on the provided tours in each port of call and were generally impressed with the quality of the tour guides although some were better than others. Everything about the ship and crew was wonderful and as this was our first cruise, I fear that we have been spoiled. I don't think any other cruise line will be able to compete for our affections and our next cruise will have to be with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The biggest reasons for taking a cruise are, for me, the food, the service and the entertainment (of all kinds) on board. Lets start with the food. It was terrible. Even after just 5 nights they started repeating earlier menus in the ... Read More
The biggest reasons for taking a cruise are, for me, the food, the service and the entertainment (of all kinds) on board. Lets start with the food. It was terrible. Even after just 5 nights they started repeating earlier menus in the formal dining room. The meat portions were tough, even un-edible in one case. The breakfast and lunch buffets were of much lower quality than even the large, low-cost, low-end all-you-can-eat buffets in the U.S. (they sell at around $10 person). The morning served breakfast took so long that one could not use it if you had a shore excursion. Dinner service usually took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, thereby eliminating the chance to see the formal shows. Drinks. Very small pours, less than a single ounce. Took 15 to 30 minutes to order and get a drink. At two successive sail-away parties could not even get one drink in 45 minutes. As a plus, their fancy drinks with much fruit juice did taste good. The entertainment that we did see was amateurish with one exception. The usual stage shows were fairly simple, with better acts available locally where I live. The big exception was opera night. The lead singers had big voices, with excellent range. Unfortunately MSC insisted on watering these down with their local talent when they made guest appearances on other nights. Pluses include nice tours, especially of Santorini and Corfu. Another plus was the room - sufficiently large with excellent heating, cooling and general ventilation. The closet and drawers were large with much storage under the bed. The room was always clean and orderly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We went on our first cruise for my 40th birthday and researched various cruise companies.We opted for NCL as they seemed to offer the flexibility we were looking for. We checked in at the Port of Venice and this was a very straight ... Read More
We went on our first cruise for my 40th birthday and researched various cruise companies.We opted for NCL as they seemed to offer the flexibility we were looking for. We checked in at the Port of Venice and this was a very straight forward process, with friendly staff. Our luggage was booked in for us and would be delivered to our cabin later on, leaving us free to explore and relax once on-board. We booked an inside stateroom on deck 10 and found this was a good area to be in as it was central to most facilities and was quiet compared to other decks. Our cabin was very comfortable, we had a double bed, a Pullman bed for one child and an extra pullout bed for our youngest son. The bathroom was compact but had everything we needed. Our cabin steward was excellent, he did a thorough job of cleaning, tidying and making up our cabin, he was very friendly and showed excellent service. On my 40th birthday, there was a card and cake waiting for us in our cabin which made the day even more special! There are a wide variety of restaurants, from self serve buffets, ideal for us as we had our 2 sons (11 & 8) with us. We ate in the Garden Cafe several times, always a brilliant selection of food available. We also ate in the Alizar and Grand Pacific main dining rooms which were more formal,but very nice as well. Every restaurant had very friendly and helpful staff. We called at Valletta Malta, Palma Majorca and ended in Barcelona. There was ample time in all of the ports, we didn't book any shore excursions as we prefer to explore independently. We went to the theatre every night, the shows were excellent and the staff very talented, thoroughly enjoyed watching every show especially the show on the last night where all of the departments are represented onstage. we found there was always something going on around the ship, so you can join in as much or as little as you wish. The children enjoyed the pool and it was nice to sit and watch the world go by. There was a childrens club but our 2 didn't want to attend. Every evening there was a newsletter in our cabin telling us information for the following day, enabling you to decide what you wanted to do. On the morning of disembarkation, we took our own luggage with us although you could have had it collected the night before. You can also select the time you wish to get off of the ship which we though was a good idea. The staff at disembarkation again were very friendly and took notice of every passenger. We can find no fault with the Jade or her staff, we enjoyed every aspect of our first cruise and would highly recommend the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first cruise and we did have a good holiday but the boat is worn. it fell below expectations. We have been to many 4/5 star hotels and if our room was like our cabin I would have asked to be moved. I read another review than ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we did have a good holiday but the boat is worn. it fell below expectations. We have been to many 4/5 star hotels and if our room was like our cabin I would have asked to be moved. I read another review than mentioned the horrible and stained toilet seat. Cabin furniture has had its day and lots of yellow/black tape for rising carpets which really you should not expect on a holiday of this cost. Staff on the whole very good but only a few that stood out as superb. cabins very clean but just very dated. Food very good on the whole with a special mention to Plaza and supplemented Cafe Jardin Cannot fault kids club and staff-amazing. Do grudge being charged 10p extra for a bit of sauce for my 2 year olds scoop of ice cream but on the whole extras not OTT expensive. Ship looks very rusty especially at port with newer ships. not got the best curb appeal. Missed 2 ports. One due to bad weather, these things happen. Second one more disappointed since other cruise ship was tendering but we did not. being Monte Carlo we were very upset. 2 of 4 ports missed-not ideal. MUCH time at sea!!! Cannot fault boarding or disembark arrangements-first class. To sum up-good holiday had but don't expect lap of luxury with cabin or boat. Very worn in areas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I have just returned from a 7 day cruise in the med with NCL Jade. This was our first time to cruise so we where not sure but thought we would give it a go. All I can say it was a wonderful experience. From start to finish I ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from a 7 day cruise in the med with NCL Jade. This was our first time to cruise so we where not sure but thought we would give it a go. All I can say it was a wonderful experience. From start to finish I could not fault this ship or its crew. The ship is kept in an immaculate condition. It is so clean and all the staff members do an excellent job at that. The Mandron Spa is just fabulous for treatments and I would highly recommend at least one treatment. The restaurants (which there are many to choose from) all serve beautiful food and you are spoilt for choice. The ship has lots to do in the evening and even if you are not going to go on shore there is plenty to do. The shows in the evening are Broad Way material. Fabulous! If you are going to embark the ship it is a quick and easy process and very professional. The crew greet you off the ship and also back on. They make sure you sanitise your hands (great to see) to keep bugs at bay. You can buy duty free on board at excellent prices. If you buy drink at the port then when you get on the ship they will hold for you until the end of your cruise. You do not use money on board the ship. You are issued a personal card to be used at all times. If you buy anything on the ship this will be charged to your account which you can settle on your last day or put on your credit card that will be charged in 30 days. All in all we had a fabulous time and will differently go with Norwegian Cruise Lime again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are trying a cruising holiday as our first time and are not impressed, we started with no information from our agent regarding what we were expected to have, do and maintain. We arrived at the airport in Venice and had to tag all ... Read More
We are trying a cruising holiday as our first time and are not impressed, we started with no information from our agent regarding what we were expected to have, do and maintain. We arrived at the airport in Venice and had to tag all baggage with tags that are paper (femur) and with no holes to attach a tie on them, we got over this with a helpful traveller who had done this before. Arrival was ok, we found our very small Junior Suite 8518 (called misguidedly (a stateroom) not a good start. We booked a drinks package and for all gratuities to be paid, to ensure we paid for good service and so we had whatever we wanted as per drinks, as required, we found out the first night the package we paid for did not include water/fresh orange juice/mineral water and so on, the package is geared, in fact the whole cruise (as for as we can ascertain) is geared to getting a captive audience milked as efficiently as possible, directing all activities to the casino or any extra curriculum such as Wi-Fi, excursions and the like. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Décor and External appearance - a tad tired, well below expectations... Food - plenty available, however only average quality in all restaurant's Puddings & Cakes - below average Draught Lager - Carling? I don't ... Read More
Décor and External appearance - a tad tired, well below expectations... Food - plenty available, however only average quality in all restaurant's Puddings & Cakes - below average Draught Lager - Carling? I don't think so! Stay with Bottled selections. Crew Attitude very good Entertainment very good Service - Good, however I dislike my table clearing before meal finished. Rushing to set up next day breakfast setting! NOT VERY NICE. Excursions - Ok Port Security - Good "BIGGEST DISSAPOINTMENT" - NO FREE WI-FI, Charged at 50p per minute or pre purchase Hours at extortionate rates - VERY MEAN in todays age! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
What an experience...crew, staff, entertainment, food, fellow passengers all A One.. we took part in the Chefs Table, and bought the ultimate Food and Drink packages...highly recommend. We flew out of Toronto to Venice where we met the ... Read More
What an experience...crew, staff, entertainment, food, fellow passengers all A One.. we took part in the Chefs Table, and bought the ultimate Food and Drink packages...highly recommend. We flew out of Toronto to Venice where we met the Norwegian Spirit..we had a suite and adjoining balcony room. On shore check in was smooth as silk..well organized and as we were Priority we met our Consierge, Omar and assistant Lovely..a nice cild beverage then onboard..the suite and room were perfect with the shared common area with flat screen TV sofa coffee espresso maker and daily treats.. had time to sight see and have a fabulous dinner then of bang on time..The Spirit ran like a Swiss watch. the meals were excellent with variety and quality..the Chefs table was an experience! i took part in the karaoke contest while my niece and her son enjoyed the casino..she won the slot contest!! Got to meet several of the entertainers first hand and they are just an extension of the PR team..spectacular..Patricia Watson, piano and vocals, was kibd enough to have me join her for a number or two almosr every night in Champagne Charlies or HenrysPub..the Beatles tribute band, were uncanny and personable. Two youngsters who stepped in and helped me find some Robitussin while in port, Lauren and Josh...these two are ALSO entertainers not staff per se. Our consierge and butler and room attendants all superlative.. HIGHLY recommend this smaller more intimate sized ship...The Spirit is aptly named. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first cruise, ever. We chose Viking because we wanted an upscale, small environment. We got just what we expected. The cruise was outstanding. The ship was beautiful and the accommodations stunning. The crew and staff were ... Read More
This was our first cruise, ever. We chose Viking because we wanted an upscale, small environment. We got just what we expected. The cruise was outstanding. The ship was beautiful and the accommodations stunning. The crew and staff were professional, courteous and gracious. Every excursion was well run with experienced, knowledgable guides. The ports were all very interesting, especially Kotor. What a beautiful port. Our cabin was exquisite. We will probably look at the explorer's cabin for our next trip. Especially if business class airfairi is included. The food was very good. We really like the convenience, view and selection of the World Cafe. Sushi, seafood and great desserts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I have always been reluctant to go on a "cruise," but have to say the Viking Star changed my thinking. Beautiful, well-signed ship, fantastic staff, great food all made it a great experience. Really enjoyed the many options on ... Read More
I have always been reluctant to go on a "cruise," but have to say the Viking Star changed my thinking. Beautiful, well-signed ship, fantastic staff, great food all made it a great experience. Really enjoyed the many options on public spaces to hang out (but Explorer's Lounge was my favorite) and enjoy meals. The Spa facilities were fantastic, especially after walking seven or eight miles on certain days. Understated yet elegant design and detailing throughout the ship was a big hit with me, but then I am an architect. The emphasis on education and exploring really appealed to me, as opposed to some of the cruise lines that promote casinos and night clubs (THANK YOU for being different)! I came away with the sense that Viking as a company has a clear Vision and target market and they have done an exceptional job at meeting the vision. The staff, from top to bottom really were fantastic; genuinely friendly and always helpful! My only suggestion would involve how Viking handles getting their guests on and off the ship at ports. Not a huge problem when actually docked, but when anchoring and using tenders, it was very annoying to be the last people off the ship if one was not signed up for an excursion. The Venice to Istanbul is a fabulous route and would highly recommend it to others who have not visited the Eastern Med. Pula, Croatia was the weakest of the stops. I would skip it and add another Greek stop, preferably another of the islands. Five stars all the way around for my first (and only) cruise experience and kudos to Viking Cruise Line! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas and I must say I was really pleasantly surprised. We had read some pretty "not so great" reviews here on Cruise Critic and were quite concerned we had made a mistake. As it turned out, we did ... Read More
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas and I must say I was really pleasantly surprised. We had read some pretty "not so great" reviews here on Cruise Critic and were quite concerned we had made a mistake. As it turned out, we did not. The cruise was everything we hoped it would be and more. This was our first every cruise and my wife was not very optimistic, but by the second day she was saying , "when we make our next cruise, we need to do this and this". Trust me for my wife, that's a great sign she was happy. Embarkation was very smooth. We stayed in Venice Mestre the night before and took Bus #2 from in front of our hotel to the Pizzale Roma. Total cost was 3 Euro for the two of us. Then we took the people mover to the port. Much cheaper than a taxi-but beware the bus gets crowded. Once at the port, we were in and out very quickly and on our way up to the ship. RCI did the process very well. We came early and ate lunch on the ship while the rooms were being made ready. The bags showed up soon after we came into the room. Good so far. We took time to explore the ship, have a drink and wait for the sailaway. Venice is a neat port to leave from because of what you see as the ship transits to the open sea. I used to be in the Navy so I was fascinated watching the ship get underway. This was the first time I had been on a ship at sea in almost 20 years. The excitement comes back quick. The shows on the ship were good. Not Broadway-but professionally done nonetheless. The highlight was a Frankie Vallee tribute band they brought aboard that performed wonderfully. But ever time we went to the theater on the ship we left happy. Many people complained about the food before. I thought it was fine-but again its about adjusting expectations. This is hotel food and for hotel food I thought it was quite good. Again perhaps its from being in the Navy, but I was not expecting an intimate restaurant-but our experiences in both main dining room and Windjammer were positive and we ate well. I was concerned about the fact that the ship is being sold to Thomson next year. However, it was clear to us that the crew was determined to take the ship out in style-and while Splendour is almost 20 years old, you could not tell it. She was well taken care of and her crew worked hard and provided great service. For complaints, I can list just two and they are both minor. 1) The ship, twice cut an hour off each side of the originally advertised itinerary. For example in Katakalon the advertised departure time was 1730. It left at 1630 and on board time was 1600. The arrival time was similarly later 0930 vice 0900. I suspect tides had something to do with this, judging by the mud the ship kicked up departing-but still, tides are well known in advance. I don't mind that they had these times-but had I known earlier I would have planned some shore things differently. Other complaint was also minor, seating availability in the Windjammer. The seats are there but people tended not to make seats open. That's not the ship's fault but by and large it meant earlier was better. We overcame by just brazenly asking people if we could join them. Met some really nice people that way. Shore excursions were fine-but overpriced. We did ship's excursion to Akortiri and OIA in Santorini. Not enough time in Oia and that's just a shame. Having three ships in port did not help. If I had to do it over again-I would just hop the boat out of the port and take the public bus back. In Kusadasi we used Ephesus Shuttle. The price was right, they were prompt and courteous and the tour was well done. Our guide Neel was very knowledgeable but it was hard to understand her English at times. She knew her stuff-but since I knew the history a lot more than wife did, I was more ok with it. She could have conveyed her points better but she did fine. When we said we did not want to go to carpet shops they were fine with it and took us straight back to the port. I recommend them as an alternative to the ship tours. Other than those minor complaints, it was awesome. The cabin was clean and well taken care of by the attendant, who IMHO took good care of the room. We had My Time dining which was a concern-but as it turned out they gave us the same table each night at the different times we asked for, and we never waited more than a couple of minutes to get seated. Kudos to the waiter Dragosh who made the experience of dinner a good memory. Don't do the specialty restaurants. We went to Izumi to get something different-my Japanese wife was not impressed. ( food was fine, just I think we could have used the money better elsewhere). In summary, Royal Caribbean did well. Many people have complained about the up-selling RCI does and they do, but it wasn't "in your face". Reminded me of a casino in a way-just have to remind yourself that in the end you are in control. The activities were fun during the at sea days-event eh quizzes and dance lessons. We tried to take it all in and we enjoyed the experience a lot. Can't say enough about the attitude of the Splendour's crew. They really were good. I would cruise again with RCI and Splendour of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were very taken aback by what we felt was the 'hard sell' policy of the company. As it was our first cruise we felt we should attend the initial briefing meeting, however after a few general points the whole meeting was used ... Read More
We were very taken aback by what we felt was the 'hard sell' policy of the company. As it was our first cruise we felt we should attend the initial briefing meeting, however after a few general points the whole meeting was used as a selling opportunity for the on board shops. Jewelry and handbags were displayed and there was a whole presentation on the 'opportunity' to buy 'special offer' watches. Next did we want to buy a drinks package ($57 per person per day) or an internet package or indeed a photo package. We were assured that if we didn't book official excursions we might miss seeing important sights or indeed that it was our only guarantee that the ship wouldn't sail without us. As it turned out we could have seen more much cheaper in every port by using locally available tours. For 'sea days' the ship had a policy that guests should not reserve sun loungers if they were going to be away for more than half an hour, however this was not enforced by the staff (hard to see how it could be) and generally this was the cause of some ill feeling. Finally gratuities, we consider ourselves to be fairly generous tippers but were taken aback to find that a prescribed amount $12.95 per person per day was summarily added to our account at the end of the cruise. This way of supplementing staff wages is not our idea of how tipping should work. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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