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Sail Date: March 2019
We chose a 3 night Sydney - Burnie - Melbourne cruise as a sampler and introduction to Cunard cruising. Embarkation was reasonably painless. We arrived a little earlier than the allocated boarding time and was told to board anyway. We ... Read More
We chose a 3 night Sydney - Burnie - Melbourne cruise as a sampler and introduction to Cunard cruising. Embarkation was reasonably painless. We arrived a little earlier than the allocated boarding time and was told to board anyway. We dropped off bags, queued for about 15 minutes and then found ourselves on-board. Finding our cabin was easy as we were escorted by our cabin steward who did a good job of explaining our cabin facilities. The cabin was comfortable and clean, though no larger than what we've previously experienced. Power is via British and American sockets, which is no problem, but there were no USB sockets. The bathroom was small but everything worked as expected. The bed was comfortable, but I found the pillows too soft. A nice touch was a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine on ice in the cabin. As a tip for Cunard though, next time source a wine that is drinkable. Two lunches and breakfasts were in the Lido buffet. As a buffet, the food was reasonable quality with a good variety. Shouldn't have to pay extra for espresso style coffees though. One lunch and dinners were in the Britannia Restaurant. This was disappointing. The food was no better than a reasonable RSL club bistro. The service was reasonably attentive though a little hit and miss. After our first night's dinning I found myself with someone else's keycard. This was quickly fixed up at the purser's office and provided a lesson to check the card after purchases. A highlight of the food experience was the high tea, which we experienced on our second day. Being our only day at sea, it was very popular and the overflow ended up in the Britannia Restaurant. The tea (or coffee) was plentiful and hot, the food, sandwiches, scones and sweets, were spot on and the service was attentive. Drink prices were on the expensive side, especially once you remembered to convert from USD and add the gratuity. Being Australian, gratuities, and tipping in general is a pain. If it is part of the standard or expected cost, just roll it into the overall price and be done with it. Then we can decide to tip if we feel the service deserves it. Overall though, the service was good. We didn't take in a show but did experience some of open the entertainment on other nights. The bands were what you would expect and reasonably entertaining. We took in a talk by a historical expert regarding WWII Japanese hold-outs (refusing to surrender after the war) in the Pacific. I found this interesting as I enjoy the historical aspect, but it wasn't to my wife's taste. My wife though did sample the shopping, fortunately without much success. Our one port day was in Burnie, Tasmania. This a good, honest working town, but not a very inspiring cruise destination, especially as it was a public holiday and would have been completely dead if it weren't for hundreds of cruise passengers wandering around looking for something to do. There were very few cafes and you couldn't even have a beer and lunch in a pub as they were all closed. At least the mayor was there to greet us when we came down the gangway. We didn't do any organised shore excursions, but my sister, who was part of our cruise group, did, and enjoyed the Cradle Mountain excursion. Overall, the ship had a decor in keeping with it's image and wasn't overcrowded. We weren't disappointed, but now feel we've done the Cunard experience and probably won't be sampling it again. We are going on a longer Oceania Mediterranean cruise later this year. It will be interesting to compare that experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I was looking forward to this so much and first time trying Viking, thought the Caribbean would be a good choice as it was one of their less expensive cruises and I wanted to see what the Viking experience would be like without spending ... Read More
I was looking forward to this so much and first time trying Viking, thought the Caribbean would be a good choice as it was one of their less expensive cruises and I wanted to see what the Viking experience would be like without spending too much money. Weather was mixed, some of the Islands are still recovering from various hurricanes so be prepared for infrastructure and transport that may not be what you’re used to. No sea days, in a different port each day ( except San Juan at the beginning ) Let’s start with the good things: Beautiful contemporary classy ship with gorgeous public spaces. Staff good in the main but quite a few seemed to struggle with our British accents and some were surly and on automatic pilot. They didn’t listen. Good cabin stewards. Nice cabin but on the small side. Fantastic bathroom. Top end and stunning spa suite. Expensive for treatments though. Included excursions were ok but given itinerary it was to be expected. Optional excursions expensive. Silver beverage package good at a decent price but all drinks reasonably priced in any event. Other cruise lines should note. Good included WiFi And the not so good: Food and wine Layout of buffet and indeed main restaurant not great. Small ship so narrow down each side. In the main restaurant, you felt at times if you were sitting in a corridor. Service very spotty, wine waiters, difficult to get a hold of, serving staff were different all the time. Seemed a bit chaotic and it took on average around two hours each night for a 3 course dinner to be served. Not always asked if you wanted tea or coffee. Food itself ranged from very good to indifferent and we had over cooked fish and lukewarm food on more than a few occasions. The speciality restaurants offered better service but food didn’t live up to the hype. They take themselves far too seriously in The Chefs Table. The staff need to lighten up a bit and let their personalities come through. Having said that, there was one waiter who was particularly bumptious, condescending and aggressive. After we complained, the restaurant manager sorted it out but it was quite an upsetting experience. Mentioned the overcooked fish in mid cruise survey and was gobsmacked when the head chef called, came to see us in Manfredis that night, got the main chef to come to our table too and arranged for beautiful petit fours to be sent to our cabin. It was impressive how Viking wanted to sort things out. We had upgraded wines as on the package- seemed to confuse staff but in the main the upgraded versions were decent enough. However, the included wines were pretty poor with very limited choice. It wasn’t exactly free flowing either way. Mamsens good, coffee and pastries in the downstairs bar good. Lovely Gelato and desserts in the buffet. You get much better food and wine on Oceania though. No comparison. Room service- we gave up after a few days. Missing items. Wrong items. Entertainment- A real weak point. Good band, four great young singers with 4/5 shows over a 10 day cruise. Couple of movies shown in the evening. No guest artistes. Classical duo. Nice up to a point and then begins to grate. Good pianist but no vocals.Not looking for high impact stuff but it was a bit too sedate. Better than Oceania though where the Tumbleweed roams freely. Atrium bar and Explorers bar very nice places for a pre dinner cocktail. Toshaven - lovely little venue for dancing but not well attended. Good fun though and the band/ singers very good. Didn’t go to any enrichment lectures so can’t comment. Others said they were interesting. No casino but in my book, not missed. We are a couple in our late 50’s so we were at the lower end of the age spectrum. Fellow guests were in the main very nice, polite and courteous. So, summary- there is much to like about Viking BUT at this price point, there are other options that may suit better. It depends what you’re looking for. If only I could combine a bit of Oceania, a bit of Celebrity, Regent and Azamara with Viking, I think I’d have found the perfect cruise line. I thought I had found it, but I wouldn’t rush to book another cruise with them unless the itinerary sang to me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the ... Read More
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the middle, Oceania made sure to add pool heaters, Azamara apparently cheaper out leaving the pool only functional for most when it is in the tropics. When we were quite surprised and commented to the in service staff we got shrugs and told that is how all the Azamara ships are. So if swimming is important to you as it is to us, beware you probably should choose a different cruise line Having said this, the staff are generally good, the staff/guest ratio and cabins fine (although like all R class ships on the small side. ,. Although I have heard from others that the food on Oceania ships are better, having been on both, I would rate them about the same with the exception of the smaller specialty restaurants on Oceania are free whereas the specialty restaurants on Azamara cost $30 each.3 for $70. On the other hand they have one free outing on shore which Oceania lacks....so on balance....unless you are a swimmer, or like the more frequent activities scheduled regularly on Oceania cruises or simply want to stretch out in a properly heated pool I would rate the two lines about the same...at least in their R class ships...with an edge to Oceania’s slightly larger Marina/Riviera and an edge to them if you are on a longer voyage as the costs of specialty dining in Azamara would more than offset one night’s activity. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose the sailing because the timing and itinerary were just what we were looking for. The issues started just after we booked the cruise through the Silversea Florida Office. The thing to bear in mind is that this is supposed to be a ... Read More
We chose the sailing because the timing and itinerary were just what we were looking for. The issues started just after we booked the cruise through the Silversea Florida Office. The thing to bear in mind is that this is supposed to be a luxury cruise and you are paying top dollar. The booking/ administration was awful and had no idea of life outside Florida. Questions went unanswered for weeks, escalation to management helped, but slowly, promises were not kept. Flights routings were stupid - the first plan was to fly us 4 hours East to Toronto, to fly us 5 hours West to Vancouver (rather than just the one hour to Vancouver), before flying to the Far East. Then they rescheduled our early February flight at the last minute giving us a very tight transfer in the middle of a deep freeze/ snow storm. We were told they wanted to cut down on our wait time in Vancouver - a better plan would have been to ask us! In my opinion, they had just no idea. The Shipboard credit was not provided and had to be requested from the ship. In all fairness, we travelled with a friend from England who did not have any issues with their admiistartion. Planning the ports looked odd. We stayed 2 days in Sianoukville, described as a cross between a rubbish dump and a building site, but only a few hours in Ha Long Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Once we were on the ship, the ship's company could not have been better, service was excellent from top to bottom - particularly all the bar staff. We could not fault the cabin staff, just excellent. The line is Italian, so food was slanted to haute cuisine, which was fine, we had some beautiful dishes. The lunch on the Pool deck delivered a really, really good burger, just light on the salads, though I suppose I could have asked for double portions. The evening entertainment was not as good as we have previously enjoyed. There was a lot of opera/ American songbook shows, some of the arrangements were not my cup of tea The bar and pool staff plus the waiters were a joy. I doubt we will cruise with Silversea again - Regent provide a much better administrative experience and a nicer ship Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to see the Northern Lights and rather than take the Hurtegruten route which is heavily promoted in the UK, thought we would take a more luxurious option with Viking. We are both season travellers with over 10 cruises in ... Read More
We wanted to see the Northern Lights and rather than take the Hurtegruten route which is heavily promoted in the UK, thought we would take a more luxurious option with Viking. We are both season travellers with over 10 cruises in various parts of the globe. Things did not start well with our arrival in Bergen and depositing our three bags at the terminal, for just two of them to arrive at our stateroom some 2 hours later and the third bag finally arrived 6 hours later!! Having chased guest services there was a very laisser afire attitude which seemed to set the tone for the rest of the trip. We have numerous issues with our cabin including excessive squeaking from the French doors when at sea ( whilst they admitted there was a problem we were offered ear plugs!) A shower that didn't seem to be regulated and periodically ran with scalding water, our toilet broke and it took three phone calls to get a plumber. We ordered room service and early morning tea on a few occasions and every time had to wait ages and there was always something wrong with the order. I felt that the staff were poorly trainef. I overhead waiters discussing their grievances on more than one occasion in the dining room which was incredibly unprofessional. The bar service was shocking and in both The Living Room and Explorer Lounge the waiters would swan around with trays clearing classes and NEVER asking if we would like a drink! We had two of our pre paid trips cancelled, one was cancelled well in advance of departure and we were told we could be credited on the card used to pay for the excursion. This now seems to be a total lie as this did not happen and we were given credit on our shipboard account. The settlement of such credits to UK passengers is by cheque within 60 days! What a joke and there is no reason why credit cards can it be refunded. We had considered a Viking River cruise but having experienced their level of service would not touch them with a barge pole! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Last year we really enjoyed a 14 night Baltic cruise on Queen Elizabeth in a Princess Grill room. Decided to try the Queens Grill on this short cruise and regretted the decision to move up from the Princess Grill. The Queens Grill room was ... Read More
Last year we really enjoyed a 14 night Baltic cruise on Queen Elizabeth in a Princess Grill room. Decided to try the Queens Grill on this short cruise and regretted the decision to move up from the Princess Grill. The Queens Grill room was larger but didn’t provide a significant upgrade over the Princess Grill. The Queens and Princess restaurants have the same menu and waiting staff rotate through the range of restaurants so there was no upgrade there. The menu in the Grills restaurants is very conservative and quite bland but the waiting staff were excellent and dealt very well with some very rude passengers. The singers and dancers currently on the Queen Elizabeth are much better than the previous group and the entertainment was really good on this cruise. The room staff, waiting staff and other service staff were very good but the security staff who manage the port disembarkation/embarkation were awful and on a number of occasions were rude and overly officious with passengers attempting to get on or off. The things that annoyed us with the earlier Cunard cruise, very expensive Internet and the gratuity/service charge gouging, haven’t changed and we’ve decided we won’t travel with them again until this is improved or they are offering free gratuities and Internet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Being Cunard we expected something better that Holland, Princess and Royal Caribbean but we were disappointed. We booked some months in advance and requested the early dining @ 6pm but found we had been allocated 8:30pm. No good for me ... Read More
Being Cunard we expected something better that Holland, Princess and Royal Caribbean but we were disappointed. We booked some months in advance and requested the early dining @ 6pm but found we had been allocated 8:30pm. No good for me with gastric reflux issues. We saw the Maitre D' who was disinterested but put us on a waitlist of 2 pages of other people. This meant we ate in the Lido Buffet for the first two nights - the food was typical cafeteria food and nothing special. After 2 night of poor food we complained to the Purser that we didn't book the QE for poor quality food. Next day we were given the early dining. We joined in Adelaide but 2 people on our table joined in Melbourne and had only booked 3 days before and were given early dining - pathetic. TV picture quality in Balcony room 6119 was poor, given that we were cruising in Australian waters there were no Australian channels for news. At the time we had bush fires in TAS, NSW and floods in QLD and parliamentary chaos federally and in NSW so news would have been nice to hear. The shows were excessively loud, even with ear plugs and pretty boring. Service in the main Dining room was very good once we got access to it. Service in the Lido buffet was not good, especially if you were old and with a walker (not us). We helped an old lady get a glass of water because none of the staff would and she said she had to get only a half-full glass because it would spill carrying it back on her walker. A couple of the lectures were interesting 1. Lowry the painter and his stick people paintings; 2. RAF pilot and his experience of being shot down in the 1st Gulf War and being captured. In addition there were water colour painting classes which were very helpful. On shore tours were the usual price of most cruises but there were some interesting ones. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is our review of our recent trip from Sydney to Auckland on the Silver Muse. We were fortunate to have booked an Owner’s Suite in the ship and we were expecting to be blown away by the whole experience but, unfortunately, it did not ... Read More
This is our review of our recent trip from Sydney to Auckland on the Silver Muse. We were fortunate to have booked an Owner’s Suite in the ship and we were expecting to be blown away by the whole experience but, unfortunately, it did not really end up that way. Embarkation and disembarkation Very good and smooth. Food and Restaurants In our opinion, the food was excellent all round and although other reviewers complained of the lack of variety, the menu is changed every 7 days at the evening restaurants, except for “La Dame”. We felt this catered for enough variety as there are various dishes within one menu to guarantee no repetition of the same dish within two visits to that restaurant in a 7-day cycle. We loved the pizza at “Spaccanapoli”, the lamb at “La Dame” and the overall experience at “Indochine”. Perhaps the one restaurant that lagged was “La Terraza” (Italian) in the evening. We felt the food there could be improved. Service on board Outstanding, that is all we can say. Every single member of the crew made us feel welcome and always greeted us with a smile. We would like to point out the outstanding service provided by Shinuda (maître d’) who was always helpful and happy, Gabor at Indochine who went out of his way to make sure that our wishes were met, and Nuria at Indochine who was always happy and cheerful and made our dinners a joy. Butler For some reason our butler was not as good as it could have been. Not much attention to detail and seemed to be stressed most of the time. We have had better experience with butlers before. This was not one to remember. Entertainment and activities onboard We had a guest guitarist, Vincenzo, who gave two shows in the 15-day cruise. Very good. The Silversea singers were very good but on a 15-day cruise, their shows, we found them to be repetitive. Silversea should consider bringing in more guest entertainers on longer cruises. Our cruise director was good. Activities were average. Cabin That was our biggest disappointment. Having the Owner’s suite booked we had high expectations as regards services, overall experience and luxury. The reality is that other then the size of the room (basically 3 varanda suites -one with no balcony - put together into one suite) the overall experience is the same as any other suite in the ship. We expected to receive additional perks to the standard suites for the cost of the Owner’s suite but that was not the case, but the cost of the suite is over x2.5 times that of a standard Varanda suite. The sitting/dining room had two large TV sets opposite one another in a room that was no more that 5 meters in distance between opposing walls. We did not understand the reason for two TV sets in such a small space and it felt as though one of them was an afterthought to justify the suite category. Totally unnecessary. Our experience with the owner’s suite is that it simply is not worth the money and they do not represent value for money. We are not likely to ever book an Owner Suite or any of the other top suites until there is a clear value for money appreciation in the suite. Booking a Varanda suite will get you the same level or service and extras and if you are after more space, then a Silver suite is a more reasonable option. Just as a point in reference, we had an Owner’s suite quoted for a trip to Antarctica in 2021, the cost was quoted in excess of $110K whereas the Varanda for two costs $35K. Bear in mind you are getting exactly the same service on board. Just not worth the money in our opinion. Crew Never saw them. Did we have one?. Ports and excursions The destinations were what sold us the cruise. Outstanding experience, amazing journey. The excursions were good, and we particularly appreciated the Middle Earth (Littleton, NZ) excursion hosted by Hammond Peek, he made our day – excellent person and great host. Passengers We felt that the average of the cruisers was more in the late 60’s – over 70’s range. Perhaps the distance, time of the year and cost keeps away younger people. My wife and I are 55+ and would have preferred a merrier atmosphere and not so formal. The sea days were particularly tedious with almost no entertainment in the swimming pool which gave it an impression of a 5-star hotel with no entertainment. This area needs to be improved. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Yes, Oceania has the best cuisine at sea, unless you are health conscientious. Overweight and obese passengers were in pig heaven on Marina. We personally found the food way too salty, too heavy with too much butter and too much sweet ... Read More
Yes, Oceania has the best cuisine at sea, unless you are health conscientious. Overweight and obese passengers were in pig heaven on Marina. We personally found the food way too salty, too heavy with too much butter and too much sweet stuff. For the first time on a cruise we had trouble finding something that appealed to us. We personally love fruits, nuts, vegetables, good bred, fresh fish; Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Fruits on the Marina were mostly limited to melons and a little pineapple. Bananas were green or otherwise inedible, as we were told the Marina tried to avoid catering locally and practically all provisions on board were deep frozen. Only rarely was a fresh local fish on the menu. Bread for breakfast consisted mainly of fatty, sweet pastry, I got nauseous just looking at it. Fresh omelettes were fried in butter, the burnt butter was sticking in black spots to the dish, ugh. Frying eggs in butter is unacceptable to us. Fresh oatmeal was a heavy creamy substance that didn't resemble oatmeal. We have never eaten as poor on a cruise as on this one, maybe we had been too spoiled on Silversea or our Regent cruises, but these other cruise line don't boast the best cuisine at sea. But we must admit, the great majority of the passengers on the Marina craved the food, they loved it. They got their moneys worth of salt, sugar and fat and were thus able to accumulate more additional pounds. The clientele on the Marina was different from the other cruises we were used to and preferred. The ship was too big for our liking; we love the smaller ships, where we get to know and recognise most of the passengers and crew after just a few days. The ship itself was excellent, beautifully maintained and a pleasure to sail on. We did love our Penthouse Suite, this is the way to travel. We had no need of the butler, we just loved the spaciousness of the suite high up on deck 11. The staff was excellent and well managed. We did find the sommeliers were under too much pressure to sell the more expensive wines. Oceania is not very "inclusivy"; our suite had 3 free laundry bags offered for our cruise, 3 days for the return of the laundry was too long for us. We preferred the self service laundry which my wife could finish in one day. For the self service laundry Oceania charged 2 $ for washing and another 2 $ for drying, wow, that was another first for us. We did find the shore excursions too expensive and had made our own arrangements. Would we choose Oceania again? No. But we can recommend Oceania without reservations to people who love big chunk of meats, hamburgers, hot dogs, thick french fries and lots of sweets; on Oceania you can get your moneys worth. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Originally chosen because of small size and all inclusive. SHIP - DEFINITELY NOT HANDICAPPED FRIENDLY. In almost all cases use of a rolling staircase of 20+ steps was needed for getting on/off ship. On board only 296 passengers was a ... Read More
Originally chosen because of small size and all inclusive. SHIP - DEFINITELY NOT HANDICAPPED FRIENDLY. In almost all cases use of a rolling staircase of 20+ steps was needed for getting on/off ship. On board only 296 passengers was a definite plus - no lines or waiting. Smaller ship did not appear to handle rough weather as well as its larger brethren. There were 5-6 foot waves rolling end to end in the swimming pool one afternoon.... Casino has 1 Blackjack table. CABIN - Suite - disappointing - small (I do not believe the sq ft figures advertised). We were cramped with 2, would be impossible with 3. Also poor for the mobility challenged as the tub/shower requires getting over a 2 foot step in barrier (tub 2 feet deep). DINING - real mixed bag here ranging from fair at best for dinner in Restaurant (poor selection, very small portions, false advertising - prime rib was at most 1/4 inch thick and weighed about 3 ounces. Saving grace here is to ask for all day dining menu as well and get better choices (steak, fish. even pasta etc.) On the other end of the scale the dinner we had in La Dame ($60 pp extra) was the best meal we have ever had on a cruise! Buffet for lunch was the best alternative with quality and variety. The Grill was good for 1 dinner, Italian dinner got 1 like and 1 didn't like from us. CREW - the friendliest and most accommodating of any cruise line we have been on. SHORE EXCURSIONS - only took 1 (Grand Turk) as most were too long (3-4) hours. It was only fair - uncomfortable "bus" and ran over scheduled time. Majority of excursions were activity/water oriented. Read Less

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