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47 Venice to Italy Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet was not hot enough and we quickly adopted the formal dining room. The educational lectures were well done and much enjoyed, we not not so keen on the entertainment. The shore excursions were very good but some of the local tour guides were much better than others. Can't believe the number of times we went back to the desk to have our card keys replaced. They cheerfully replaced and reprogrammed new cards but fixing the problem would have been better. Our final day was not a happy ending. We did the Ostia Antica tour in the morning and the Vatican tour in the afternoon. Between tours some of our people were dropped off at Rome hotels with their luggage and picked up again on the second circuit of the route. Some of us were kept on the bus without access to toilets, water, lunch etc. I mentioned this to the company and the response or waffle made it worse. "We should have asked to get off at one of the hotels." (We spoke to our guide, it wasn't possible.) "It was an external tour, we can not be responsible." (We paid Voyages to Antiquity and they arranged it.) I would recommend this company with a bunch of provisos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from Italy with Uniworld on the "River Countess", 15 day tour called the "Splendors of Italy". The hotel in Milan, Florence, and Rome were very,very nice and the location in Milan and Florence were fantastic. The ship was also very nice; the cabin size is average for a river cruise but very comfortable, (we loved having a candy dish full of chocolates in our room); the food was good, but not great; the entertainment was what I expected from a river cruise - a pianist/singer who was good; the service was exceptional and the staff was very friendly and accomodating; the ports were wonderful, the shore excursions were great, and the local guides were fantastic. Our cruise director, Agnes, was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was that the trip wasn't a few days longer, especially in Venice and Rome. In Venice it would have been nice to have an extra free day and in Rome, you really need at least two more days to see it all. Plus, since the hotel in Rome was not in the heart of the city, we would have liked to be given the opportunity to stay in town for the day or an afternoon and then to be picked up by the bus to retun to our hotel instead of finding transportation on our own. But we loved this trip and would recomend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
CroisiEurope should be proud of the staff on board the Michelangelo, they were magnificent, very helpful friendly and pleasant at all times, they clearly worked hard. The ship was spotless and the food absolutely wonderful. The cabins ... Read More
CroisiEurope should be proud of the staff on board the Michelangelo, they were magnificent, very helpful friendly and pleasant at all times, they clearly worked hard. The ship was spotless and the food absolutely wonderful. The cabins were roomy with plenty of wardrobe space for two and there was a large window in each. Air con or heating was standard at the flick of a button and cabins were cleaned thoroughly each day. I would say that it was great value for money. I would definitely recommend to all my friends, a holiday with a special difference. The tours and the cruising was excellent, Michelangelo docked every night by the quayside in Venice not too far from the Doges Palace and St Marks Square. During the day when not on an organised tour its possible to see lots of Venice using the vaporettos to get around. The atmosphere on board Michelangelo was very convivial with some form of entertainment on every night. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime. Uniworld does everything first class. I can't wait to book my next river cruise with them! The cabin was elegantly furnished, the food was local and gourmet. The shore excursions were led by the most knowledgeable local tour guides available. From the moment you step onboard, the company's signature style of fabulous elegance is presented in full force. A large chandelier and leopard-skin circular sofa dominate the lobby, and natural light, fresh flowers and two parallel staircases combine to give passengers a warm welcome. River Countess might be elegant in style, but the dress code is resort casual. It caters to a predominantly English-speaking, retired clientele. After 10 years of service, River Countess underwent a total transformation in 2012, with more than $5 million worth of refurbishments. Immediately prior to its Italian debut, the ship received a few extra touches, including a pizza oven and a new tapestry behind the reception area. One of the most impressive spaces is the Sienna Salon Sky Lounge, a glass-walled conservatory-like cafe decked out with plants and outdoor furniture. On a blue-sky day, the cozy room lights up with sunshine. The main restaurant is also a sight to behold, with white leather booths, white tablecloths and white-tuxedoed waiters. Seven-night sailings are offered between April and November, with four nights spent in Venice, using the ship as a base. Other shore excursions -- to the historic and cultural delights of Verona, Bologna, Padua and Ravenna -- require coach trips of one to two hours. For these reasons, the itinerary may suit couples who can't decide whether to see Italy by road or river, as there is less sailing time than on the average cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The itinerary was good with some varied and interesting ports. As usual some of the excursions were quite expensive and it is always advisable to try to book your own if possible. The reviews we read before the cruise did put us off a ... Read More
The itinerary was good with some varied and interesting ports. As usual some of the excursions were quite expensive and it is always advisable to try to book your own if possible. The reviews we read before the cruise did put us off a bit but. The actual experience was better than we expected. The ship is a bit old but the food, entertainment and general ambiance was about the best we have experienced with P and O. We had a balcony cabin on c deck which was on the small side. After looking at an outside cabin next to ours this was probably better and more space inside the cabin. If you really want a balcony better off making sure about the size, probably on a or b deck. All the staff were friendly and could not be faulted. We did try the Marco Pierre dining option which was disappointing both in terms of the food and location which lacked atmosphere and was noisy. The usual complaint about passengers reserving sunbeds despite notices requesting people not to place towels etc. nothing done about it Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The MSC Cruise was recomended to us by our friends who travelled last year and enjoyed .their trip. Embarkation was a bit stressfull as it took a long time for people to get sorted too many people in a small space with very little ... Read More
The MSC Cruise was recomended to us by our friends who travelled last year and enjoyed .their trip. Embarkation was a bit stressfull as it took a long time for people to get sorted too many people in a small space with very little refreshments only water and juices. Once we boarded the ship it was great after an early start 5.30 in the morning we got to sit down and relax the food was the usual but very much welcomed . The Cabin was small enough with one double bed and two single bunks that came from the wall with two big teenage boys it was a bit tight but we managed it was very clean and tidy and the service we got was excellent. We have a first seating in the Dining area every night which was very comfortable the staff were so kind and friendly always making sure we were looked after very well thanks to Roberto and milton they were amazing thank you both. The food was average with very small portions. My husband liked to use the Dining area for breakfast as he was always up early. The buffet was great if you wanted a lie on. Some of the entertainment was great but some was boaring same songs every night We enjoyed The Hungarian Lady and her husband they played all the songs we liked in the Topazio Bar deck 6 . The Tiger Bar was brilliant on the MSC Factor night really enjoyed that. The white night was amazing at the pool we had great fun and went to the night club later. The 60s 70s 80s night was my favourite loved all the music and we dressed up great fun. I wasnt well for a few days on the trip and a lovely young lady from Napal made me the most amazing hot brandies with lemon and honey I didnt get her name but a big thank you she also served us our coffee with a great smile she was going home when we left. The Entertainments manager did a fantastic job she was a lovely girl from England she always had time for a chat and always had a great smile on her face loved all the theatre shows. We didnt see our two boys they did their own thing and enjoyed it they only came back for dinner or when we went on the trips.We did all the trips ourselves as we found the excursions from the ship very expensive we loved everyone of them. The boys said the pool was too crowded and there was not enough space fro the amount of people . People still held beds for the day and didnt use them towels should be taken away after a few hours to give others a chance. We paid for wi fi for the boys they say it wasnt very good they had their own cards and had to sign for drinks ect some things were not on beverage packages so the boys ordered without knowing and we got the bill for it. We had the Italian night which was great the information tells you what is included in your cruise its tells you a souvenir gift to recall the special moment of your cruise will be available at the Photo Shop after the Italian night the photos were taken but when I went to get them there was no photo I was very disapointed to cut along story short the manager gave us two photos of the ship and a dvd which i was delighted with untill i went to play the dvd it would not work on any of our players this was very upsetting for me as I love my memories. Apart from that we had a brilliant holiday loved the cities and sights , made lots of new friends. We will Cruise again but I dont think it will be on The MSC Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Rarely does a second experience live up to a perfect first one but in the case of recent Windstar cruise, this is the case. Three years ago, we had the cruise of a lifetime on The Wind Star, highlighted by our marriage on board with ... Read More
Rarely does a second experience live up to a perfect first one but in the case of recent Windstar cruise, this is the case. Three years ago, we had the cruise of a lifetime on The Wind Star, highlighted by our marriage on board with Santorini as the backdrop. The Windstar experience was beyond our expectations and created such indelible memory for all of us that my wife and I decided that we must celebrate our 3rd anniversary with another Windstar cruise. Once again, we were fortunate to have all 3 of our adult children join us, although it was obviously not too hard to convince them! This time, we decided on the Star Breeze’ Italy and Dalmatian Coast itinerary. While the sails of the Wind Star create a majestic and awe-inspiring visual experience, the spaciousness of the cabins, all suites, and increased deck space of the Windstar motor yachts, such as Star Breeze, compensate for it in a different but equal way. What is not different is the warmth and feeling of being amongst friends from the minute you step aboard. For those of you who remember the TV show Cheers and the line from their theme song, “where everybody knows your name”, you would be able to easily apply that to the Star Breeze crew. From the minute you step aboard, somehow magically, the crew know you by name and immediately start to pick up on your desires and likes. You really feel as though you are on a private yacht and that you have known these people for much longer than a day or two. On big ships, other guests pass you anonymously and you are part of a large “pack” that moves around from activity to activity or reservation to reservation. On the Star Breeze, you almost immediately start to develop conversation an in many cases, friendships, with your very select 200 or so shipmates. You find yourself interacting and smiling much more than you though possible. You also do not have to worry whether you made a diner reservation or if you are running late, the Amphora dining room staff works on your timetable and when you show up for dinner, your table and very smiling, attentive staff are there waiting. Once again, Windstar did those little “extras” that mean so much and make you feel very special. We were welcomed onboard with a bottle of champagne and a beautiful flower arrangement waiting for us in our suite. We were then given a special Honeymoon gift of a professional family photo shoot, champagne at dinner and breakfast in bed. While most hotels or cruise lines would give a guest a mediocre bottle of champagne, ours was our favorite, Veuve Clicquot. This is just one more example of how Windstar shows how much they value their guests. Windstar’s itineraries have allowed us to experience more of each port of call as well as visit ones that we would never have even contemplated. Rovinj, our first port after departing Venice, was absolutely idyllic. The cobblestone streets and small shops that dotted the mountainside were only equaled by the incredible truffles sold in the local market. This is a port that no large cruise ship could visit nor would it be welcomed. Our ship at 214 passengers did not overrun the small town and allowed us to get the feel of a local Croate village. This is what true travel should be! In Dubrovnik, we sailed at 11:00 PM which allowed us to experience the Old City by gas lantern-light, truly a trip back to the Middle Ages and a page out of Game of Thrones. Overall, Windstar has once again given my family and I a truly memorable experience of not only fantastic ports but also of new friendships made and eager anticipation of our next Windstar cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at ... Read More
We were excited to visit Venice, Florence and Rome and this trip surpassed all of our expectations. The River Countess was an outstanding ship with excellent accommodations, beautiful and elegant interiors, and a crew that excelled at hospitality. Our cabin was spacious with a large bathroom with a rain shower head. The room and the king sized bed had top quality appointments and comforts. We were well cared for and the staff looked out for our every need. The food and drink were of excellent quality and represented fresh local cuisine and regional wines. The wait staff were attentive and engaging. Overall, the staff were courteous and very helpful with on board activities such as embarkation, disembarkation, and other events which were efficient, well planned, and easy processes. During our week on the River Countess, the shore excursions were very well planned and the local and expert guides, including art historians, were well informed and provided informative and insightful background for our experiences. During our land excursion to Florence and Rome the bus was comfortable and the tour manager was very attentive to our every need. Our accommodations in Florence were not up to rest of Uniworld's standards, however, the accommodation in Rome were excellent. Our local guides in both Florence and Rome were also excellent and highly trained and informative. We would definitely take another trip with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We've sailed on Celebrity's other ships a few times now. Always enjoyable. First time on 'Connie'. Beautiful places visited. Fantastic butler for our Sky Suite. Likewise stateroom attendant, and everyone in the ... Read More
We've sailed on Celebrity's other ships a few times now. Always enjoyable. First time on 'Connie'. Beautiful places visited. Fantastic butler for our Sky Suite. Likewise stateroom attendant, and everyone in the suite restaurant and in the suite lounge. But there were a few hiccups. Celebrity were very good at apologising, and we appreciated that. It was nevertheless odd to be turned away from suite-class embarkation, being told that we didn't count as suite class, so had to queue with everyone else. A mistake, but not a good one. It was also a bit of a situation in the Oceanview Café. This has been a real treasure on other ships in the fleet. Here, we did all we could to avoid it. Unfriendly staff who pretended people didn't exist. Awful food choice. I know it's only a 'quick bite' experience, not a main restaurant - but it was so noticeable as a difference. As someone who has to avoid particular ingredients because of illness, it was a nightmare to find anything to eat up there. That wasn't the case on other ships. Connie also could really do with her refit for 2017. Although our own room and balcony was lovely, there were signs of wear and tear in areas. As a disabled passenger (autistic), the information on board was very good and I felt comfortable not having to ask for extra assistance. So, we loved the suite experience. But agree with some others that it'd be easy to make this a five star experience all round. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be ... Read More
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be there, the views are so gorgeous, the other passengers so pleasant. There's no fighting over deck chairs, no scrambling to get the best seats, no worry you'll get reservations to the restaurant of your choice. There's a feeling like, "Relax. Chill. There's enough of everything and they have it all planned out." From the time I arrived at the airport at Venice and a Windstar agent was waiting to take us to our hotel, I just feel relaxed and taken care of. The food on t his cruise was even better than the food on Windstar, the last ship on this line I cruised, and that's really saying something! There was more variety, I think, more food from local markets featured in all three meals. I honestly couldn't have imagined fresher, more appealing meals than all of those that were offered--I can't think of one that wasn't really delicious. In the city where I live, I can't get food anywhere this good! Yes, the entertainment isn't great (although I liked the duo Splash). But really, the entertainment is in the vistas all around you and the conversations with other passengers. We didn't get to have our signature event, which was supposed to be a cocktail party with folk dancing in Dubrovnik. The lead dancer died that day, so you couldn't fault Windstar for that. And they brought in some folk singers on to the ship instead (not the same, though; I didn't care for them much). Our deck barbeque had to be moved indoors because of weather, but it was delicious and brilliant all the same--they work so hard on this! And we missed one of our ports, Capri, one of the ones I was most looking forward to, because it wasn't safe to tender (seas were too rough). The usual captain of Wind Surf was on vacation, and the substitute captain had an emergency, so the first officer became captain for his first time ever. Even with all of this, though, there was such sincere desire to please the passengers and make their vacations memorable that I think the crew cared more about the things we missed than we did. The ports of call were great, the available tours were outstanding, our cabin was comfortable and so well taken care of during our voyage (thanks, Azhar!) that it was just overall a really great vacation. Windstar, you've spoiled me! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Arrived on ship and room not ready had to wait. Cases did not arrive at our room till after 8pm No face clothes till we had been on board for 2 days No note paper just envelopes On first dining but the meal was almost thrown at ... Read More
Arrived on ship and room not ready had to wait. Cases did not arrive at our room till after 8pm No face clothes till we had been on board for 2 days No note paper just envelopes On first dining but the meal was almost thrown at us, plates removed from table as you pushed down the last mouthful so they could get ready for the 2nd sitting. None of the food was ever hot either in the dining room or the self service. Cold fried eggs are not good. Plenty of fruit and salad though Self service was always very busy, no seats or tables, walked miles for food in 2 parts of the "canteen" Never long enough on land as unless you wanted to wait for ages in a line to get back on the ship you gaot back early to miss the wait Had taxi booked for disembarkation at 9 am, colour coded labels came for turn at 10am. Went to reception to ask for a change but they said nothing could be done, went to the other half of the reception, explained our problem and he gave us new labels no problem bringing out time forward to 9am. In all not a good holiday and we have come home tired rather than refreashed. Will not go on MSC again Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Everyone we talked to said how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we said. We had no idea that the amount of time ... Read More
Everyone we talked to said how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we said. We had no idea that the amount of time traveling on buses would exceed the time spent cruising on the river. With the exception of time spent in Venice, itself, we would spend a couple of hours to get to the site, about 2 hours on a tour and another couple of hours returning to the ship. Would we have paid $600 a day to spent 3 to 5 hours on a bus every day? If you count the time spent waiting for the bus we can stretch that out to 6 hours or more. Sitting on a cement curb breathing diesel fuel in a bus parking lot for 45 minutes wasn’t even unusual. I guess we should have looked at a map. At two junctures everyone had to get off the boat and onto a bus while the boat traversed the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic is too rough and the Michelangelo is too small to allow passengers. We got on and off a bus so many times it reminded me of Girl Scout camp. Very little time was spent actually cruising. Most of the time we were tied up to a pier. The Food In a word, terrible. At breakfast the steam table eggs and sausage were cold, as was the coffee. You will not dine on filet or lobster on Croisi. Veal shoulder and fish couscous is what you’ll get—the cheapest cuts of meat, fatty, stringy, tough or all of the above. After three days I was ravenous and ready to eat the napkin. The only other Americans on board wanted to leave the boat after the first dinner and they requested a refund (no way). At one meal we were served what appeared to be raw bacon. Our table mates, four Brits from the Midlands assured us it was cured meat, safe to eat and that they quite like fat. I switched to vegetarian meals, which seemed to cause some consternation. You’re supposed to make a declaration at the start of the cruise and to stick to it. But the plate of bright orange pureed sweet potatoes wasn’t much more appealing than the raw bacon. I ended up eating an inordinate amount of cheese and bread. I was always under the impression that the French ate well. I am revisiting that notion. They did serve very nice tomatoes. Amenities In a word, none. It had been in the high forties and low fifties with a brisk wind. Croisi did not supply lap robes on the sun deck. We managed to keep from freezing by sitting on towels. The last time I used towels like this was in 1976 in a Moscow hotel. The deck chairs are cheap and uncomfortable. There is wifi, but you have to sit in the salon, where the receiver is, in order to connect. The Cabin There is a wastepaper basket in the bathroom but none in the cabin. I asked for one but no luck. I considered myself lucky to get a box of kleenex when I asked because it may well have been the only box of tissues on the boat. No one expects ship cabins to be spacious. But I wouldn’t have thought it possible to fit a sink, toilet and shower in a space that small if I hadn’t experienced it up close and personal. I began to question my sanity when I thought about spending four grand to spend a week in a room the size of prison cell. What’s good about it? Free booze and plenty of it. (You’re gonna need it.) If I think of something else I’ll let you know. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking on 5 different cruises and will do more in the future but the itenerary offered by Uniworld was one we could not pass up. We did the Splendors of Italy tour which was a combination land and boat tour. We understood that it wasn't really a river tour but a floating hotel in the Venice lagoon. The land portion of the tour was excellent. The quality of the hotels was better then anything we experienced with Viking. The only negative was the food service at the hotel in Florence. One meal was so bad that everyone in our group complained and we joked about it during the rest of the trip since everything else was superb. The really great meals were on the tours at the wineries and small restaurants we visited. The guides were excellent, informative and easy to understand. From Mylan to Rome we couldn't have aske for a better experience. The experience in Venice was also very good but the service on the River Countess did not measure up to what one would expect from Uniworld. The dining room staff did not appear to be ready for a full boat. We had two meals where we waited over an hour for our food. The air conditioning could not adequately cool the dining room so the wait was a hot one. At the captains diner those who dresses up regretted the choice, shedding jackets etc. to try and be comfortable. This problem was also true in the lounge as it was difficult to get a drink in a timely fashion. We noted that more staff were in the lounge as the week went on. We were told that they only had about 60 people on the previous cruise and may have not been prepared for a full boat. It was noted that there was a large contingent of people on board that had booked the trip with a discounter who sold a big block of rooms at a huge discount. You would think that Uniworld would upgrade those who paid full price before giving rooms to a discounter. But for the problems mentioned above the tours and guides were great. The evening at St. Marks was special and the quality of the guides, especially Susan, the art historian was top notch. The boat docked 7 bridges from St Mark's square so it was great for touring Veniice. All in all, this was a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss ... Read More
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss the work/workers we encountered as that goes with the territory and all items I noticed during the cruise were fixed/finished/installed/etc by the time we left.*** My husband and I did this 5 day cruise from Venice to Civitavecchia with additional days in Italy before and after as well as some time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam following the cruise. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Modern yet still keeps a lot of the Holland America Line "feel" that the other ships have, minus the bright colors and over-emphasis of red color palettes and brass. Public spaces still have a feeling of intimacy for the most part. Yes they are larger to hold more people but compared to other ships of similar size the ship does still keep a "coziness" to it. Not ever single room is designed to hold hundreds and hundreds of people and that's a really good thing. I've posted a massive photo post on the HAL forums of the ship here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347682 and our room here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347714 so those will likely help with a lot of understanding of how the ship and the room look. As far as dining goes, here's where we ate: **Lido Market - Had one breakfast here and the omelet was a little undercooked. We brought it to his attention, he made another one and it was great. **Dive In - Great burgers and fries as always. Cannonball is the BEST! **New York Pizza - Had the pizza that Elizabeth Faulkner won an award for a pizza contect in Italy with called "Finnocchio" if I remember right. Cream sauce, onion, fennel, sausage... YUM! **Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center - Incredible experience. They encourage you to socialize with each other and the chefs as they prepare everything. Farm to table, very fresh food and ingredients. Unlimited red and white wine they've selected as well (we had organic wines from Columbia Winery, not sure if they vary) **Tamarind - One of our favorites and for good reason. Everything is flavorful and cooked to perfection here. The venue is even more gorgeous than on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. They've really outdone themselves. (Get a cold sake, the presentation is really neat!) **Sel de Mer - Seafood at it's finest. Yes it's a la carte and as our group of 4 wanted to try a lot the bill came to $205 (ack!) but had we not been on a mission to try so many different things the bill could easily be within just a few dollars of the Pinnacle Grill. Unless you're allergic to seafood, this is a must do! **Room service - Got it a couple times late at night. Menu is limited that late, but the food was the right temperatures and tasty **Grand Dutch Cafe - Tasty coffees and amazing split pea soup, Koningsbol and bitterballen. This needs to be retro'd onto all HAL ships YESTERDAY!! The Music Walk area is genius with Billboard Onboard, Queens Lounge (with BB King Blues) and Lincoln Center Stage all within steps of each other and alternating performances all throughout the evening. There were A LOT of us that closed the bars down every night, and while I was skeptical, the Queen's Lounge actually makes for a great nightclub space too. World Stage is a game changer. Simple as that. The screens add so much, are not "gimmicky" and on several occasions, a transition on the screens between or during performances got oohs and ahhs from the crowd. This is some of the best entertainment of ANY ship we've ever been on (and we've been on 30+ cruises, multiple brands). The ship is definitely in the right direction for the future of HAL, and while we've done the majority of our cruises on HAL we were also starting to branch out more and more for variety. This has brought us right back "home" and given us lots of motivation to stay there. Well done HAL! Can't wait for K2 (Koningsdam #2 due out in 2018) Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We were really looking forward to our so-called 6 star cruise. It was only 6 star, in our view, if the ratings were out of 10. The service was, by and large, good: especially the suite butler. However, the food was distinctly very ... Read More
We were really looking forward to our so-called 6 star cruise. It was only 6 star, in our view, if the ratings were out of 10. The service was, by and large, good: especially the suite butler. However, the food was distinctly very average and we have had much better on all our other cruises. The entertainment, if you can call it that, was third rate to non existent. The ship itself was dated and needed upgrading. When we asked about the standard, we were told it was going in for a refit at the end of our cruise: so this confirmed our opinion. So, our 6 star cruise turned into a 3 star experience: thus, our disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Below the neck line, creature comforts are good. The cabin was spacious, well furnished and with an excellent bathroom, all extremely comfortable. The food was also some of the best cruise food we have experienced; there is a main ... Read More
Below the neck line, creature comforts are good. The cabin was spacious, well furnished and with an excellent bathroom, all extremely comfortable. The food was also some of the best cruise food we have experienced; there is a main restaurant, a buffet restaurant, plus 4 other speciality restaurants (no extra charge) and all of them had excellent offerings. The ship is very quiet and vibration-free. There is a very good gymnasium and a nice library, and there is a variety of pleasant bars and other spaces. So the basic needs of food and shelter are attended to in luxury. Above the neck line, I started to think that various issues contained a common thread about how the ship treats its customers. The Cruise Director made PA announcements in a formal monotone which has something of the estate agent and station announcer about it. Doubtless well-intentioned, but a far cry from the chatty, witty and informal announcements of the English Captain on our first cruise quite some years ago. The restaurant service was plentiful (lots of waiters) but seemed to be scripted, too many formulaic comments of the “have a nice day” variety. And the service can become intrusive, with waiters repeatedly interrupting table conversations. We arrived (by prior arrangement) on the second day of docking at Venice. The Reception gave us a room key and a number. No directions, no offer to carry cases. We discovered the ship had brought forward its departure time by 2 hours: no attempt had been made to contact us. In fact, reception denied that the departure had been changed, although several couples we met had booked trips ashore with local companies and had been seriously inconvenienced. The ship's excursions set new levels of stratospheric pricing. For example, docked at Livorno, “Pisa on your Own' was priced at $ 129 – basically a coach trip to drop you in a car park in central Pisa. The actual cost of a return journey to Pisa is 1.20 Euros each way bus fare to Livorno station, plus 7.50 Euros return train fare. So less than 10 Euros return or 9 dollars. The ship thus charges 14 times the public transport cost. The “Historic Pisa” excursion is the coach trip, plus a ticket to 3 monuments (not including the campanile) and costs $ 179. That's an extra 50 dollars for a ticket which anyone can buy for 8 Euros at the ticket office just behind the campanile. There is little real service for the 'independent” traveller who is not buying the ship's excursions. On two occasions, the ship announced that landings by Tender would not be possible, and docked 30 miles up the coast. Although it was easily possible to get to the original destinations in under an hour, no-one at “Destination Services” took the trouble to spend 10 minutes on the internet and post up the train times....... let alone organise a shuttle bus to the train station. Local Tourist representatives came on board with some photocopy maps of the town, but perhaps it would have undermined the ships trips to give out any information indicating that passengers could travel around on shore by other means !! The ship's disembarkation information at Monte Carlo made very heavy weather about taxi prices and waiting times for transfer to Nice airport. It recommended the ship's own transfer bus for 100 dollars each. But it failed to mention that an easy 10 to 15 minutes walk from the ship, there is an express bus direct to the airport for 20 Euros. Prices for beer, wine etc were about double normal UK prices. There was no draught ale on the ship. Bottled beer cost £7.70 per pint. (ie a 355 ml bottle for 7.67 dollars). The cheapest wine was 47 dollars per bottle. (£30.60). These prices are expressed as 6.50 dollars and 40 dollars plus a compulsory 18% service charge. As the charge is compulsory, I found it irritating:- is the intention to lull the customer with the lower “headline” figure ? Or do they think that I am not adept enough to work it out ? The best solution was often to buy wine ashore and pay the corkage charge. This was stated to be $20 per bottle in the cabin handbook, However the restaurant staff insisted on charging $25 even with the printed word in front of them. This ability to flatly contradict a customer against your own printed literature was certainly a novelty. Most people we spoke to thought that entertainments on the ship were lacklustre across the range. The “dance” group had a completely inadequate vocalist and should not have been selected for this role. There were many fewer crew “shows” than on other ships. On the last night of the cruise, there was no event, and no party......... merely a showing of “Jurassic Park”. One might be forgiven for musing “We've had your on-board spend, so now just go to bed whilst we unload the suitcases” So overall, the ship's relations with its customers appeared to lack enthusiasm or transparency, and any sense of espirit. In summary, if you require good food and a comfortable environment, this ship provides it. And if you simply want to take photographs of foreign places without getting outside the bubble and you are happy to pay maybe 1500 dollars for a collection of tours which could be achieved for 200 dollars you will have no problem. On the other hand, if you hope for more from a cruise than merely good towels and posh food, if you cannot put aside your basic sense of value for money, and if you think that a ship has some duty to “play straight” and assist its travellers (albeit with a reasonable mark-up) then there are aspects of this experience which you may find profoundly irritating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food ... Read More
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food but nothing like the food available in Italy before or after the cruise. They don't push their shore excursions too hard and we have found that we can arrange for excellent private guides in many ports for the same or less cost. The problem as Windstar has gotten bigger appears to be the Seattle corporate office. Our recent cruise had a change of itinerary before departure and only a few passengers were notified of it. This affected our shore plans and nobody in the home office wants to take ownership of the problem. In addition, we booked a post cruise transfer hotel stay in Rome through Windstar and it appeared that the hotel was totally unprepared for our arrival. The local agent for Windstar was useless. We are seasoned travelers and generally go with the flow so we probably will cruise with Windstar again. Would never book a pre or post cruise stay through them again. A high % of guests are repeat customers who know that they will meet other older affluent people. This is not a ship for solo travelers or anyone under 50. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party ... Read More
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party until late at night. We would listen to music, and may I add...the duo Casey and Erick were stunning. Man...what a lovely voice. Cannot believe SA Idols let her slip through their hands. If ever you come across them, ask them to do Purple Rain and Bed of Roses. They absolutely made our tour. Well done Windstar!! Let me also not forget Harry our waiter at the restaurants. What a guy. The whole ship was talking about him. He should be the communications leader. He was witty, quick to assist, quick to let you feel welcome and even special. The rooms were excellent. Enough space and what a big bathroom. I am a big, very big guy and did not have any problem at all in the shower. The food at all the restaurants were superb. We will be going again and again and again...this I promised myself. I stayed in Room 243. When that door was closed during day or night it was peaceful and quiet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We took a late booking for this trip around Italy (Venice to Genoa) and the first time on Oceana. Having read some negative reviews I was slightly apprehensive but was soon won over by the quiet and elegant charm of this ship. While it ... Read More
We took a late booking for this trip around Italy (Venice to Genoa) and the first time on Oceana. Having read some negative reviews I was slightly apprehensive but was soon won over by the quiet and elegant charm of this ship. While it carries over 2000 guests it still has an unhurried feel about compared to the larger (3000 plus) ships and is ideal for a relaxed holiday with the right level of optional activities in a stylish venue. Public areas are elegant and well kept, with a good range of bars and entertainment areas. Unlike on the larger P and O ships where you need to grab a seat in the theatre 45 mins before a show, on Oceana, with less passengers but similar sized venues, you can turn up 5-10mins before a show. Even on sea days you can get a sun lounger on deck if you make the effort to look. Cabin - we had an outside (first time) and was impressed with the window size which gave a light feel. Other features - bathroom/shower, storage, bed, were all to the standard of the major lines. A larger TV would be an improvement and a more powerful AC system, but otherwise we were satisfied with the quality and presentation. Dining - we had Freedom dining and alternated between having a table for 2 and sharing on a table for 6 or 8, depending on whether we wanted to wait or not. Even if we waited it was only for 10 minutes. Food was to a good standard with a varied selection on the menu. In the buffet, for breakfast or lunch, the selection was again varied covering most tastes. Entertainment: the shows were very good and specialty acts also provide options each night. With effectively 2 venues - main theatre (Footlights) and the night club stage (Spotlights) - there is plenty of seating available for either option. One suggestion would be to increase some of the daytime activities on sea days. While the guest speaker was interesting on 2 days, there could have been more activities (other than the quizzes). Stops: Venice: what more can be said Kotor - pretty medieval town with narrow streets. We didn't do the climb to the castle on the top of the hill (1000 steps) as it was too hot (30 degs). It seems that the large amount of bees/wasps we encountered in 2011 are still there so beware when having a drink in the outside bars in the main square. Corfu: we did a 2 stop excursion ( beach and resort) which gave a feel to the island as well as views of Albania. Rome: having been many times, we chose to go to the beach at the nearby town of Santa Marabella. (train fare €4 return) This has a sandy beach and is a clean resort but be prepared to rent an umbrella and 2 chairs for the day at €30 - - still cheaper than an official excursion. Monte Carlo - good to walk the F1 track and view the casino. I have never seen so many Ferraris as well as 2 Bugattis on a normal street. I would certainly recommend Oceana for a relaxed holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As promised my review of my floating hotel Michelangelo on the Venice Lagoon and River Po. First I shall talk about fellow passengers. Being a French ship most passengers were from France with a large French speaking Belgian group from ... Read More
As promised my review of my floating hotel Michelangelo on the Venice Lagoon and River Po. First I shall talk about fellow passengers. Being a French ship most passengers were from France with a large French speaking Belgian group from an organisation called Kwiani (hope I have the correct spelling). 6 Spanish speaking guests and the English speaking table consisting of 4 British and 2 Flemish speaking Belgians. French was the predominant language for announcements followed by English then Spanish. CroisiEurope do not have independent Cruise Directors but directly employed staff from Animation or entertainments as we know it perform this function. Sarah the senior of these came to the English and Spanish tables each night at dinner and went through the following days programme. Her English was very good and she was very helpful. Some of the French and Belgians spoke English and I was able to hold conversations including one in partial French with a lady who felt it unusual for such a young man to cruise on his own (I am 64)! The ship had an age range from around 5 years to I suspect around 80 years. There were 6 children on board the oldest traveling with a younger brother and grandmother was 15. This was one of CroisiEuropes dedicated Kids Club cruises where a member of the Animation team ran the kids activities which gave parents/guardians the chance to go on excursions knowing their children would be safe on board. Crew: The ships crew/hotel staff was a mix of French, Italian and Hungarians. The waiter/waitress staff are not allocated to tables and often would address us in French when first serving our table. Some did speak a fair amount of English and some had very little English. I do think they were getting worried for the trip following mine as only 10 French were on board the rest being English speakers. It does go to show how on these ships the crew do many jobs. I thought I had asked a deck hand a question before checking in. That night he had his full uniform on and was introduced as Chief Engineer. Food: Breakfast was the usual buffet with set meals for Lunch and Dinner. Menu was broadcast on the televison and if the meal was not suitable the chief would do his best to find an alternative. The chef was French so a good deal of French and Italian food was on offer. Sometimes it was a bit overpowering with a four course lunch and a four course dinner on the same day. As far as dressing for dinner then smart casual was the norm and on the gala night some chaps wore a tie about 6 wore suits and a few ladies were a little elegant. Actual Cruising and Excursions If you want a major river cruise this is not the trip for you. On the first night we cruised from one side of St. Marks Square to the other around 30 minutes. The following morning was a 2 hour cruise to Chioggia where all passengers had to disembark. There was and optional trip to Padua with a trip to SottoMarina for those not wishing to take this. The ship made its was to Cattelan Gas where we all re boarded. This section is at sea and we were told that for the past couple of years the Italian authorities will not allow either of the river boats to carry passengers over this section following the Costa Concordia disaster. During Dinner the ship cruised to Polesella which could not have been more than a couple of hours sorry I just cannot remember. Day 3 was a morning coach trip to Ferrara which was very nice. We had a tri-lingual guide and the Spanish and English speakers saw this town together. After lunch the choice was an excursion to Verona or stay on board while the ship sailed to Banchina Grandi when everyone was off again due to sailing at sea. We rejoined the ship at Chioggia again. 2 of the excursion coaches were delayed by a 3 car traffic accident getting back to the ship after the scheduled dinner time. However dinner was delayed but we only had 15 minutes from arrival to first course. Day 4 and we sailed back to Venice during breakfast in time for the optional excursion to the Doges Palace. That afternoon was free time in Venice and I took the opportunity to have a couple of hours sleep (first time I have ever done this on a cruising trip) as I was excursioned out! That night Uniworlds River Countess moored alongside and was there all of the following day. Day 5 was a boat excursion to the Islands of Murano and Burano. At Murano we were taken to a glass foundry and saw a demonstration of glass blowing. Of course this was followed by a visit to the shop. Burano was a very pretty island where one could relax or wander around at leisure. After lunch was free time and I wandered into St. Marks Square which took me about an hour at a very slow pace. The Ship: The Michelangelo is one the lines 2 cabin deck ships with a lounge and bar, restaurant and cabins on the upper deck and cabins only in steerage where I was. I had one of the two single cabins which was comfortable but compact but just right for me. Small double bed, desk, chair, T.V. and wardrobe space. Very small shower room with hand basin and w.c. On the sun deck was a small inflatable pool, loungers and chairs around tables. Conclusion: Certainly not a trip I could compare to any other being more excursion based rather than cruising based. However a great way to see Venice rather than being in a hotel. Even though I class myself as a Croisifile I do not think I would do this trip again. Next year I shall be looking towards one of their paddle boats if I can save up enough pennies. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just got back from Venice which is an amazing city. We had 7 nights on board MSC Lirica, we had an outside cabin compared to other cruise lines we have been on it was very small, the shower was so small the curtain stuck to your body ... Read More
Just got back from Venice which is an amazing city. We had 7 nights on board MSC Lirica, we had an outside cabin compared to other cruise lines we have been on it was very small, the shower was so small the curtain stuck to your body which was very unpleasant. With regard to drinks we purchased the Allegrisimo drinks package which does include water, which isn't stated on the web site. Also you can get water in the buffet restaurant and also at some drink stations so don't buy the separate water package as we did it was a waste of £23. This drinks package is a must as drinks can work out quite expensive and with this you don't have to worry about the bill at the end. Food in the main restaurant in the evenings was ok but nothing special, have had better on other lines. Also don't bother taking loads of evening clothes people are very casual and on one gala night my husband and one other chap were the only people in dinner suites we felt really over dressed. There were also lots of children on this cruise running around the bars well after 10.00 in the evening (mostly Italians on board - it may have been their school holidays). We also felt that some of the public areas were not up to scratch with regard to hygiene, lots of the hand gel stations were empty. I will say that our cabin steward was very good. After the cruise we had 3 nights stay in Mestre, Aaron Hotel, not very good at all not in a very safe area and rooms are very small, although they are clean. We are looking forward to our next cruise but it will not be with this line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
How disappointing to pay extra and book an ocean view cabin and have a totally orange lifeboat to look at for 7 days. Our first cruise we had an internal cabin and decided to upgrade on our second cruise to an ocean view, very misleading ... Read More
How disappointing to pay extra and book an ocean view cabin and have a totally orange lifeboat to look at for 7 days. Our first cruise we had an internal cabin and decided to upgrade on our second cruise to an ocean view, very misleading charging extra when it was smaller than our internal cabin and had absolutely no view at all - even if you stood on tip toe all you could see was an orange lifeboat! to top it all I have written twice to Azamara and received a computer generated response and now, three months alter, have still not had a reply. Internet also ridiculously overpriced - a a ship of this caliber should be offering free wi fi. service excellent, entertainment good, facilities great. still had a great trip but annoying to be mislead regarding our cabin choice. a cabin with total window blockage can only be classed as internal and not sold as ocean view. we heard a few complaints about this at our first safety meeting from other people as well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We went from Venice to Barcelona. The ship was just beautiful. Even though it holds 900 passengers we will still seeing and meeting people on the last days. There are so many places to sit and relax on the ship it never seemed crowded. ... Read More
We went from Venice to Barcelona. The ship was just beautiful. Even though it holds 900 passengers we will still seeing and meeting people on the last days. There are so many places to sit and relax on the ship it never seemed crowded. We observed that everything was very well orchestrated behind the scenes. For example in the Word Cafe where the buffet was, and this was certainly not a typical buffet in any manner. Only small amounts of food were placed out at a time but a adequate selection to ensure it was hot and fresh, but it was under the constant careful eye of senior staff so food was always available. Also you never went without your table being clean or cleared. Senior Staff had a nice discreet manner with staff to ensure everything was taken care of and passengers were not bothered. Suchi chef was great and the head Chef was always there to explain how food was prepared and to greet you. We ate in The Restaurant, Chefs Table and Manfreddies as well. We found the Restaurant was a bit slow and only ate there when we wanted to take more time for dining. We went on both the included and extra paid for excursions all were excellent. The included excursions were very adequate and many passengers only opted for those. We did some of the paid ones to get us more into the country side and because we wanted to see more. Like the Vatican, Florence, Pompeii. Viking had top notch local tour guides ready for each tour, they all had at least 15 years experience. Each tour had some free time included so you could do what you wanted as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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