Assuming that we would receive a five star experience; we booked this crossing but in reality we have experienced better food and service at chain motels.The ship is beautiful but not entirely functional. Our room butlers were superb but ... Read More
Assuming that we would receive a five star experience; we booked this crossing but in reality we have experienced better food and service at chain motels.The ship is beautiful but not entirely functional. Our room butlers were superb but the rest of the staff is a horror. We lost water and heat several times during the crossing and in one case there was no heat for 15 hours. In trying to resolve the problem, it was discovered that the majority of staff has an attitude. I was put in my place by a telephone operator, told by another staff member that she had made a phone call so what else did I want. It is necessary to almost rant and rave to get problems resolved. This attitude permeates most of the staff.......spa, pursers, library, concierge.
The food was ok. There was a strong start but quality declined as we got into the trip. Our servers were excellent and competent but that cannot compensate for mediocre offerings. The ship is massive and it took 7 minutes for me to walk to the library from my suite. It had to be a chore for some people forward to reach the Grill's Restaurants during the heavy weather. The Queen's Grill is long and narrow and the tables are set too close to each other, fortunately we had great neighbors or it would have been horrible. It sits on deck seven where other passengers walking by can literally stop and stare at you eating or evaluate your menu choices.It is a moderately attractive room. The brilliantly remastered Kings Court Restaurant resembles the Clara Barton rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and after one meal there; the food is certainly better on the Turnpike. The food looks and tastes like my high school cafeteria lunches.
Entertainment is standard ship board fare although several of the lectures were excellent especially the multi part talk on airline safety.
You should get the message, by this point that Cunard, and the QM2 do not deliver on the promises in their advertising and they are selling a mediocre product.. Read Less
We recently sailed on the 12/30/17 voyage on Silver Galapagos. Our itinerary started in Baltra and ended in San Cristobal. What an amazing trip we had! This was our first Silversea experience and third cruise. I will never again go on a ... Read More
We recently sailed on the 12/30/17 voyage on Silver Galapagos. Our itinerary started in Baltra and ended in San Cristobal. What an amazing trip we had! This was our first Silversea experience and third cruise. I will never again go on a mega-ship and we are already trying to figure out how we can sail on Silversea again. This is absolutely the best way to see the Galapagos. We were a multi-generational family traveling together... my 72 yr old father, husband and myself (mid 40's) and two teen daughters ages 14 and 16. I was worried that the ship would be a mostly older crowd but I was very surprised with how young the group was. They said the Christmas and New Years sailings often have younger guests and this was definitely true. Out of the 100 guests, I would say 25 of them were under the age of 20 yrs old. There were many families with multi-generations like ourselves that were traveling together. If you are even considering this ship with parents, grandparents, kids, this is the place to do it! So much to do for everyone of all ages. We really got to know almost all the guests and became great friends at the end of the week.
I will try to review as much information as possible because if you are like I was, I was scouring the internet for any information I could find on this cruise and Galapagos in general.
Transfers: We flew 4 days early to spend time in Quito and it's surroundings. Glad we did this. We were able to see the city and also make a few excursions. There's tons to do in Quito and beyond if you have the time. We stayed at the JW Marriott all 4 nights. It was a very nice, large hotel, no complaints whatsoever. Breakfast was included which was appreciated. They also have a nice fitness area and gorgeous pool. A Silversea rep was at the airport to take us to the hotel and again at the hotel on the day of embarkation, to take us back to the airport. Once at the airport, it was a LAN flight for all guests. We touched down in Guayaguil for 30 mins to refuel and then onto Baltra. Altogether, the flight was around 2-2.5 hrs. Transfers were just fine, don't let the other reviews scare you. By the way, on LAN, you have to press the Call button to request anything to eat or drink and you do have to pay for it. Just a heads up on that. On the way home, we flew from San Cristobal to Guayaguil where we had a day room at Hotel Oros Verde. This was a 5 star hotel, wish we could've stayed the night here but only used the room for a nap and shower before our midnight flight back to Miami. As you can imagine, that was no fun at all.
Embarkation: Once we were through customs (quick process), we were loaded onto buses to take us to a pier and then onto zodiacs from there to the boat. We were quickly shown to our cabins, it was a very easy process. From there, we were able to enjoy lunch while we waited for our luggage to be delivered. It was all very easy.
Cabin: We had Explorer Suites on the second floor, Suites 248 and 250. The rooms were very nice and I felt quite large, especially considering our kids were in their own cabin (unlike other cruises we've done where we are crammed into one suite). They aren't overly luxurious but very well appointed. The bathroom had a nice rainfall shower. TV had tons of movies and even live TV if you have time for that. Mini bar was fully stocked and was always replenished by the butler. Although I was fine with this category of cabin, I felt being on the Deck 2 was quite loud. You could hear much of the ships mechanics and this did disturb our sleep almost nightly, especially, when ship was anchoring. I'm not sure what all the noises were but it was loud. Also, it would be nice to have a balcony if just for the sake of drying all your wet things. Our bathing suits never dried, neither did our water shoes. If you can afford it, I would upgrade to something nicer. This did not detract from our cruise experience as we are not fussy people but just want to put the information out there.
Ship: The ship was beautifully appointed. They just had a dry dock in Sept 2017 so everything was refreshed and looked new. The piano bar is a nice spot to hang out in the afternoon or before dinner and play some cards with the family or your new friends. There is a nice fitness center which I only used once. I never used the spa but I heard from other guests that their massage was wonderful. I do wish they had more outdoor sun loungers. There's only a few sun beds to relax... on Deck 6 by the jacuzzi and on deck 4 outside of the piano lounge. These were almost always full. Since we didn't have a balcony we would often seek out these sun beds in the afternoon but rarely had luck in scoring one.
Restaurants: There are two restaurants to eat at for both lunch and dinner: The Grill and The Restaurant (yes, that is the creative name they gave it). We would always eat lunch at the Grill which was outside so you could enjoy the lovely sea breeze and views. The piano player also would entertain here every lunch. Mostly we would eat dinner at the Restaurant which was fine dining and 5 courses. A couple of nights we ate al fresco at the Grill. In the evening, this has a different menu and features meat served to you raw that you cook on a hot stone. It's pretty cool and the kids loved it. Seafood was also served here as well. It gets a little cool, so bring a sweater but they do provide blankets as well. Quality of food at both restaurants is excellent. We only heard other people saying the same thing. There's tons of variety and I never felt it got competitive. If you like alcohol, you will also be happy on this ship! The bartenders were amazing and served the best drinks. They had quite an extensive cocktail menu that we enjoyed sampling from. They also had great coffee/tea service available 24 hours in the piano lounge. You will not be wanting for anything. I think I gained 5 pounds but it was so worth it.
Entertainment: The only real form of entertainment is the piano player in the piano bar every evening. He was amazing and he would get out a microphone and keyboard if you ask and you can do Karaoke. We did this several nights and we had a blast. We celebrated New Years Eve on the ship and Silverseas put on a great party! The piano lounge was decorated with party hats, noisemakers, confetti, balloons, etc. Drinks were flowing all night and of course, a champagne toast at midnight. As tired as we were, we never thought we would make it to midnight. Some people went to bed but quite a few people stayed up and it was quite the party! So much fun.
Excursions: As you now know, this is an Expedition Cruise which = BUSY. There is not much time for downtime. I was worried about my teenagers and the early morning excursions. This was a little brutal on them but they survived just fine. Just know that you can be flexible and not go on every single excursion offered. Every night at 7pm, everyone convenes in the Explorer room for a rundown on the next day's itinerary and offerings. There are things to pick and choose from. For instance, you can choose to go on a nature hike or a zodiac tour of the coastline. Or you could sign up for kayaking or deep sea snorkeling. Every day is different but most days, the first excursion was at 7:30am. They gave us a reprieve on New Years Day and started at 8:30am but a lot of people chose to sleep in that day. After the first excursion, you come back for the boat and sometimes there's a second excursion around 10:30am. Lunch is after that and usually, there's a couple hours after lunch that you can take a nap, read a book, or just relax until a third excursion around 3:30 or 4pm. Again, you can pick and choose what you want to do. I think we only skipped one morning and one afternoon excursion. We were pretty full-on but I heard many other guests choose to skip much more than that. It's totally up to you. One thing about the activity level, yes this is a busy ship but I would say you are NOT expending much energy. For instance, most of the nature hikes were LONG but SLOOOWW. We would go 2 miles but it would take us 2.5 hours to do this. That's because the Naturalist Guides would stop every 10 feet to explain something about a bird or animal. It's all interesting but after a while, there's only so much you can learn about birds. One day, they offered a speed hike and tons of people including my family jumped on that because we were actually able to get in a little exercise and not go at the pace of a snail. I think older folks may like this slow pace but it seemed to drive younger folks a little nuts. I'm not complaining as I still enjoyed the entire experience but I'm just putting it out there for you to be aware. Every day, they offer a snorkeling activity of some kind. Please, always snorkel if you have the chance!!! We always had the best time and saw the most amazing things under water. The water is COLD! Be ware of this. Shortie wetsuit, mask and fins are provided. You will want to wear the wetsuit every time, it does help. I would always wear my long sleeved rashguard underneath and that helped too. No need to bring your own wetsuit, mask/snorkel. I read others did this but it's one more thing to pack. A few times, I would almost chicken out to snorkel because of the cold, but once I jumped in, it wasn't so bad. It was really worth it. By the end of the day, no matter what you choose to do, you will be exhausted. We would still head to the piano lounge after dinner for drinks and karaoke but we would try to be in bed by 10:30pm. I think we were the exception as most people would go to bed around 9pm.
Staff/Service: We had the best service by everyone on board. You get to know the staff members and they anticipate your needs/requests. Service in all the restaurants and bar were excellent. Our butler was the best! Our daughter celebrated her 16th birthday onboard. We asked if he could do something special for her so as a surprise, when we got back from our morning excursion, her cabin was decorated with balloons galore, confetti, and a delicious cake. She absolutely loved it and it truly made her birthday special. There are around 6-8 Naturalist Guides that live onboard and take you on excursions... these folks were all wonderfully knowledgeable and patient. You could tell their passion for the Galapagos is genuine.
What to pack: If you are like me, you cannot figure out what to pack! I am here to help you, folks. Keep in mind, I sailed in December which is the start of the warm season but it was in no way "hot". If the sun is out (we only had full sun for probably 3 days, other days were cloudy), it can be warm and shorts and t-shirt are good for daytime walks. If it's a cloudy day, light capris/pants would suffice with a t-shirt. Bring a light long sleeve just in case but it really was very temperate at around 78 degrees every day. Rain coat is necessary. We had two days where we encountered a little rain. On boat, have a light jacket for eating lunch or dinner at the the outdoor Grill. Also, it gets cool in the evenings so again, long pants or sweater are appropriate. You do not need to bring anything fancy. Sundresses, skirts for the ladies or even pants/blouse. Men, pants and button down dress shirt. No sport coat needed. My teens wore jeans the two nights we ate at the outdoor Grill but jeans are not allowed in the Restaurant. I brought 3 pairs of shoes (so proud of myself): water shoes (Keens), athletic shoes, and sandals for evening. For water shoes, any kind of water shoe is fine. I read you needed closed toed but that's not really necessary. The only time you wear water shoes is for wet landings, and honestly, you can even go barefoot. My kids would do this several times. My keens were fine (honestly, I'm not a fan as rocks get inside them) but the rest of my family had water-type sneakers bought on Amazon for $19. Hiking shoes are not necessary!! Remember, how I mentioned a 2 mile hike took around 2.5 hours? Yup, hiking shoes not needed for that. Most of the trails are a little rocky but flat. Sometimes, you have to climb a bit to get to the flat trail but hiking shoes would be overkill. My kids wore their Nike sneakers and I had my Merrill running shoes. Pack two bathing suits as one will be wet (ours were always wet). Rashguards come in handy to keep you warm and protect from sun. My husband and I each bought those wide-brimmed dorky hats with the chin strap ($8.99 on Amazon) and I was glad to have it. We wore baseball hats sometimes, but those big hats on more sun exposed days. We didn't even go through one full bottle of sunscreen so I don't know what we did wrong. We didn't get burned either but still, be careful with that sun. Another thing I just remembered, backpacks and water bottles are given to you for you to use throughout the cruise as well as bring home with you. Most everyone used these on their daily excursions.
Photography/Videography: One thing to know is that there is an onboard Photographer/Videographer. Ours was Jorge and he was amazing! He would be out on every excursion, photographing wildlife and also people. At the end of the cruise, you get to see the video he's put together and you would be nuts not to buy it. At $150 it wasn't cheap but there was no way, we were passing it up. It's so professionally done, it's like watching a National Geographic documentary but you are the star. Absolutely, amazing quality and much better than any photos you will take (at least I'm speaking for my own photography skills).
Overall, although this was an incredibly expensive trip for us, it was truly once in a lifetime and so worth every penny. I cannot stop thinking about it since our return home. I'm sure we will be reminiscing for years to come about our amazing Galapagos adventure and dreaming about when we can return to Silverseas. Read Less
It was LA to LA, so very little flying from Las Vegas. The ship is small, but big enough, so as not to feel cramped. Our suite is always the correct size. The food is so much better than other cruise lines. We never seem to be rushed like ... Read More
It was LA to LA, so very little flying from Las Vegas. The ship is small, but big enough, so as not to feel cramped. Our suite is always the correct size. The food is so much better than other cruise lines. We never seem to be rushed like other cruises on bigger ships with 2 dinning seating. This time the enrichment lectures were not as good as we have had before, they were only average. The service has always been excellent and this time was no different everyone is so helpful. Always smiling and asking if they can get you anything, so pleasant. We were at sea a good share of the time. The ports in Mexico are for the most part very nice. Shore excursions were varied and there was something for everyone. Sometimes it was nice to just stay on board and read a book, they had a nice selection in the library. We are already booked on the Navigator in 2019 for a northern Atlantic cruise. Read Less
After 3 prior cruises on Regent Seven Seas, we chose this Caribbean cruise based on itinerary, convenience, New Years Eve, and past experience with Regent. I, as well as my cruise mates, noticed a very perceptible decline in Regent ... Read More
After 3 prior cruises on Regent Seven Seas, we chose this Caribbean cruise based on itinerary, convenience, New Years Eve, and past experience with Regent. I, as well as my cruise mates, noticed a very perceptible decline in Regent cruises since my first one 7 years ago. The staff, except for the butler, were mostly inattentive and uninterested. The food was, for the most part, inedible. Even the special restaurants leaved much to be desired. The ship itself is in need of a major renovation. The carpeting in the suite was old and stained. The pillows had a disgusting smell. You pay a premium to travel with this cruise line and I am so sorry to say, it was money wasted. The best part of this cruise was getting stuck in Miami due to foul weather in New York. I already have another cruise booked with Regent for 2019. I am seriously considering canceling this cruise and trying another cruise line. Read Less
A beautiful ship with excellent crew/staff,smaller than your average floating office block we have been on ships larger,about fifteen hundred people and have no wish to go on any ship that takes three days to load and unload ... Read More
A beautiful ship with excellent crew/staff,smaller than your average floating office block we have been on ships larger,about fifteen hundred people and have no wish to go on any ship that takes three days to load and unload passengers,impossible to find your suite,cabin without a map and compass ,surrounded by thousands of people,takes ages to tender to port,queue for two hrs for food,full of screaming spoilt children,it was an absolute pleasure and we will do it again soon,nothing was left to chance,off ship barbecue/beach days were well organised embarkation and luggage service first class,probly not possible but I would like to have been able to see NBC sports channels on suite TV and a pool table,only this might be tricky unless they invented metallic balls that didnt roll about with the sea ( lol) did hope to see Ross Roberts as we have sailed with him 3 times and he is the complete entertainer,still there is always next time Thank You Alastair and Carolyn Read Less
My second Clipper cruise...first was Star Clipper and that was so unique and amazing that I wanted to spend Christmas on the Royal Clipper out of Barbados and tour the Grenadine islands. As I was alone I booked a smaller stateroom and ... Read More
My second Clipper cruise...first was Star Clipper and that was so unique and amazing that I wanted to spend Christmas on the Royal Clipper out of Barbados and tour the Grenadine islands. As I was alone I booked a smaller stateroom and while they do sell it for two I found it perfect for one ... well designed with wood paneling, great bed, lots of mirrors and quite a large bathroom...all marble. I was very forward so I did hear the anchor but I didn't care much. There is a lot of stairs going up and then down a bit and up some more but you get used to it. The grand dinning room, at the lowest deck was a touch of Paris with an Atrium up to the top deck and the sky light is actually the bottom of the pool. A white grand piano sits like Juliet on a special balcony so it can be heard at all levels and he had another on deck for the after noon buffet. There is a piano bar, a shop, a library, top deck bar and plenty of sun beds....no need to HOG and reserve them. The tenders to shore are great and the back of the Royal drops down to the ocean like a draw bridge and you can swim off it and they have lots of fun water toys. They feed you four times a day and I mean really feed you. Great buffet breakfast with Egg station...Buffet Lunch...both in main dinning room and then the on deck Buffet they set up everyday on deck at 5 p.m. The bars are great on deck and inside the Piano Bar. The Christmas decor was wonderful with trees and garlands...music and ginger bread houses and Yule logs....l ate so much I felt like ballast.
There are a lot of shore excursions to choose from but I felt those on excursions were always at the foreground...we would stop at, not very nice ports so they could board a bus while we had nothing to see in port....I didn't like the split days...a stop in the morning and then move to someplace else in the after noon. Too rushed....some stops you could do without (except to board a bus) others Like Martinique we had too little time and had to rush to see anything. One fabulous beach day they dragged everything from the ship and had a huge BBQ on shore while we swam and sunned...all delicious...they even bring the desert. Each time we leave port and they start raising the sail they play the most magnificent music...classical with a Male choir ... WOW...it is so moving and makes you feel like a Viking off to war...I wanted to throw a spear at somebody. The mail pool of three where bar patrons can see you through under water windows was very nice. We could even climb the mast for the most amazing photo Op. Then there are nets at the front figure head you can just lay there like a fish in a net with the water rushing below.
Now for the best feature....THE CREW...I have never seen such a hard working group and always pleasant, smiling and helpful, and remember everything has to be lugged up and down countless flights of stairs...from the kitchen which is somewhere underwater and all the way to the top deck...up and down...My room attendant was fabulous and I felt very pampered...everything perfect always. As the tips are based on Per Person they get a bit cheated when there was so many solo travelers it literally cuts they tips in half...so as I was alone I doubled my tip (not much ) and ensured he would earn the same as if it were two. The sing songs, the talent show, the Christmas Carols, the Steel Band who came aboard for a couple of hours...the Campaign party...the Lobster, the Turkey, and all the specialties to eat...you can't go wrong and as I said....This is NOT Disney Land at sea. This is a fabulous, luxurious, unique cruise under sail and you need this in your memory for every. Thanks to all on the Royal. Read Less
I will be upfront from the start ... I didn't think value for this cruise was good. The dining and room crews were very good. The overall management left me feeling quite disappointed. The cruise was not for me starting with the ... Read More
I will be upfront from the start ... I didn't think value for this cruise was good. The dining and room crews were very good. The overall management left me feeling quite disappointed. The cruise was not for me starting with the first day. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the pre cruise information and thus wasn't fully aware of the dress code. With that being said, I could not get dinner anywhere on the ship with shorts on other than my room. I wasn't dressed sloppy, simply had khaki shorts and a polo on and was told the only place I could eat was my room. Not even by the pool. I had been traveling ALL day from the US to Barbados ( a Caribbean Island by the way) and can't get a hamburger on the ship in shorts other than my room ... come on ... that's taking the whole upscale cruise experience a little too seriously.
Two of our excursions were canceled. The dive vendor in Aruba was unprepared for the divers and needed to go back to their shop to get more equipment. They didn't want to provide me transport to my hotel after the cruise - the only reason I needed transport was because they couldn't get us flights out on the day the ship returned.
The entertainment was the same people every night - good - but the same five singers. The food was over rated and the fine dining restaurants were not as good as the main restaurant.
The itinerary was poor, arriving at night in each port and with limited port time in Bonaire, which probably was one of the nicest islands.
I would not recommend ... I know many will disagree however. I do like the size of the vessel but would recommend Regency Seven Seas over Silverseas. Read Less
Chosen for itinerary and ship size, we were not disappointed. Our cabin was ample and we enjoyed the veranda coming into and leaving ports. Staff was super nice and eager to please - always smiling. The ship itself is showing some age ... Read More
Chosen for itinerary and ship size, we were not disappointed. Our cabin was ample and we enjoyed the veranda coming into and leaving ports. Staff was super nice and eager to please - always smiling. The ship itself is showing some age and needs some TLC/updating.
Kudos to Allan the Cruise Director! The entertainment was cute - smaller ships do not get much variety or stars. Most enjoyable was the trio in the bar for some dancing.
As for ports - skip Grenada, it's a pit! Bonaire was probably our favorite and the snorkeling was wonderful. The farewell tour of Barbados was a pleasant surprise, though the timing at the plantation needs to be worked on as all buses showed up at once! The guide on the bus was exceptional.
We enjoyed meeting new people as we joined larger tables at dinner. We tried 3 of the 4 restaurants and they were all very good. We were not successful getting a reservation in the Grill. So word to the wise, book your dinner reservations early! Read Less
We just returned yesterday from a 10 night sailing on the Crystal Bach, and we had the time of our lives! From our embarkation with a Crystal 'Ambassador' welcoming us 'Home' to Claire, the Fitness Director checking us in with a glass of ... Read More
We just returned yesterday from a 10 night sailing on the Crystal Bach, and we had the time of our lives! From our embarkation with a Crystal 'Ambassador' welcoming us 'Home' to Claire, the Fitness Director checking us in with a glass of champagne, seamless registration and introduction to our cabin, to our final moments on the sailing, it was truly divine. Crystal goes above and beyond to ensure every request is not only met, but anticipated before you even have to ask. The service and attention to detail were both impeccable, as was the food, the beverage offerings, and every facet of the sailing.
Our cabin was BEAUTIFUL! We were worried before we sailed about the size of the cabin, but they are extremely well designed, with ample space for everything (and we packed a LOT). One benefit to odd-numbered cabins on this particular sailing, was that we were rarely blocked by another river boat and almost always had an open view of the water, or our port. However, I cannot say this would be the same on any other sailing...so keep that in mind.
We had absolute confidence in Captain Hans' leadership, and he ran a tight ship, while still being extremely personable and friendly with guests and encouraging his team to do the same. The entire Crew could not have been more professional, while also being engaging. They took the time to get to know each and every guest...bartenders and Palm Court staff, from our first cocktail knew our names, and specifically how we liked our libations. Dining and culinary staff made each and every meal a joy and a delicious delight. We were hesitant upon hearing that breakfast and lunch would be served buffet style in Waterside (Room Service and the Bistro had full service with limited, but delicious offerings, in addition to an all day spread that could easily suffice for a meal). However, the Chef went above and beyond in ensuring that it NEVER became repetitive - even the salad buffet offerings and desserts completely varied each and every day. For two people that hate buffets as a byproduct of having to dine at far too many of them at conferences in our professional lives, we were actually excited to see what was going to be offered each meal. It never became monotonous...not even remotely. The servers were outstanding, ensuring our wine and water glasses were never empty, and would bring you anything else desired, including coffee and tea service post-meal.
Our suite attendant, Diana, was like an incredible genie - she magically knew our schedule and somehow made our room perfectly spotless, whenever we left the room even for a few minutes. I swear - the digital room systems must have an alert that notifies attendants and your butler when you depart from your cabin, because even when we didn't select the 'make up room' toggle, it still happened.
Relative to excursions, Crystal is without peer. Each port offered several complimentary excursions, and many were once in a lifetime opportunities. In Strasbourg, they closed the Cathedral (stunning) for a private Organ recital/concert and tour, exclusively for our group. In another, we had a private concert with 4 ladies playing string instruments, in a stunningly lit castle, complete with champagne welcome. Yes, you heard me right - we had a private concert in a CASTLE. We paid for one all day, optional excursion to Colmar and the Alsation Wine Route. It was not to our groups standards (or Crystal's), and when we shared our disappointment, they immediately refunded the cost and apologized profusely. It was still a fun day, but had been misrepresented in the description and didn't hold a candle to the experience we could have had on the ship, beyond the fabulous morning in storybook Colmar, which was also offered as a complimentary activity.
The ship also has a gorgeous spa suite, with a remarkably talented massage therapist and aesthetician. I had the best massage I've ever had - and I've had countless, and my spouse said the same about her facial.
As for any negatives, there were only two. The first is that the gym is extremely small, albeit the equipment is in exceptional shape and offered full technical/digital capability with tv, music, news, etc (recumbent bike, another racing-style bike, ample free weights, exercise ball and rowing machine). The ceiling was also standard ship height, so if you wanted to do tricep raises or any other lifting, you had to do so sitting down on the weight bench or ball. However, Claire was available each morning for a scheduled exercise class, optional personal training if desired, and almost all days' excursions offered plenty of walking/cardio opportunity. There was also a gorgeous pool room (indoor) with a resistance pool, lounge chairs for relaxation, etc. I wanted to spend more time there, but there were simply too many other things to do! But the guests that did spend time in the pool or relaxation room, shared they enjoyed it immensely.
The other negative, not for us, but for others on the sailing, was that it was promoted both as a Holiday sailing along the Rhine, but also as a Christmas Market Cruise. With the departure date on December 23rd, almost all Christmas Markets close either on December 23rd, or certainly on the 25th - with the exception of Strasbourg and minimal other markets that converted to 'Winter Markets' (a scaled down version, with most booths closed down - such as in Heidelberg). However, my spouse and I flew in early and spent 4 days in Belgium and an extra night in Amsterdam, so we were able to get our Christmas Markets fix. But keep this in mind, as you select your sailing date if this is an important reason for your sailing.
On a positive note, the Crystal Bach Crew did an exceptional job making the Bach feel festive and joyful for both Christmas, New Year's Eve and Day. The New Year's Day Brunch was one for the record books - the best I've ever experienced and a glutton's heaven (freshly shucked oysters, caviar bar, poached cold-water lobster tail salad, crab cakes, made to order crab pasta, truffled this and that, incredible pork, beef and protein offerings, extensive dessert selections and more). New Year's Eve we had a phenomenal dinner, followed by champagne toast, passed hors d'oeurves, and headed up to the top deck for a 360 degree view of the most splendid fireworks display many of us had ever seen.
The guests on the Bach were just wonderful, and it was a much younger (and/or younger at heart) sailing than many of us had been expecting. A few families were traveling together for the Holiday break, and we made friendships that will last long beyond the sailing. We had ample romantic time to reconnect as a couple, but plenty of time to engage and get to meet amazing people from all over the globe. Most fellow guests were American, but there were others from the UK, Australia, Mexico and beyond.
This is well beyond a cabin review alone, but my point is, if you're considering a sailing on Crystal Bach, DO IT! It's truly one of the best decisions we've ever made and we will remember it fondly forever. We loved it so much, we already booked the Danube sailing for the same dates next December. Well done, Crystal Bach (and more importantly, her Crew)...VERY well done! Read Less
This was our 3rd Azamara cruise and we eagerly anticipated the opportunity to celebrate Christmas & New Year on board Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Hongkong was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. Our hotel (Marco Polo) ... Read More
This was our 3rd Azamara cruise and we eagerly anticipated the opportunity to celebrate Christmas & New Year on board Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Hongkong was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. Our hotel (Marco Polo) was linked by a new shopping centre walkway to the new cruise terminal but as the immigration hall was not in operation Azamara arranged on board processing. We arrived at midday. Within half an hour we were enjoying a welcome drink and buffet lunch in Windows. Our ocean view stateroom on deck 4 was ready at 1.30pm and our luggage arrived almost immediately. We were welcomed by our steward Danny and his assistant Agostino who gave us excellent service throughout the cruise.
We were only a small group (26 people) for The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle cocktail party
but the Captain & senior staff still took the time to attend - we were impressed.
A highlight prior to our 8.30pm departure was a grandstand view of the Victoria Harbour Symphony of Lights from the deck of Azamara Journey.
Azamara has rigorous hygiene & sanitation protocols which were instituted for the first 4 days of the cruise (no self service of food & beverages) We avoided any outbreak of Norovirus & greatly appreciated the extra work & effort by all the crew. Service and food in Windows, Patio and Discoveries were all of a high standard.
Captain Tysse and Cruise Director Eric de Grey were both brilliant always highly visible, friendly & superbly professional.
As we expected the ship was tastefully decorated for Christmas.
Christmas Eve (a sea day) was very festive. We had an excellent Christmas brunch and Christmas carols with Eric and the entertainment team.
On Christmas Day we anchored in Halong Bay (a tender port) for an overnight stay. Anticipating an exciting program of Christmas Day celebrations we had booked a Halong Bay shore excursion for the following day. We did not want to miss out on any of the Christmas Day festivities (we also chose not to take the 3 hour drive to Hanoi). We were sadly disappointed! No special entertainment had been planned during the day - neither the piano or guitar entertainers. Discoveries restaurant was closed and Windows and the Patio only had their usual menu. The ship was like a morgue. A crew member said approximately 100 passengers remained on board expecting Christmas Day with all the trimmings. It was a non event until activities resumed with a Christmas quiz at 4pm. and Christmas dinner and very entertaining pantomime in the evening.
I put in a written complaint expressing my dissatisfaction at the lack of a daytime Christmas Day program. I received a call from Hotel Director Heike Berdos. Her explanation was that as we were in port on Christmas Day It was the usual port day program and instead they had organised Christmas brunch & entertainment on Christmas Eve! I pointed out that a lot of passengers had come on this cruise to celebrate Christmas Day and also as we were in a tender port a lot of passengers either did not want to or were unable to go ashore.
Some passengers were also disappointed with New Years Eve as a highlight in the marketing promotion was “see the New Years Eve fireworks in Saigon” a bit difficult as we left Saigon at 4pm! As the Captain had predicted the weather got rough once we were in open waters. However there was a great party mood on board and we all donned (courtesy of Azamara) our New Years Eve party hats and the entertainment staff had done a great job with the decorations. Despite the conditions the wait staff in Discoveries did a heroic job - not sure how the folks fared up on deck 10 in Aqualina and Prime C !
Like many others owing to the ships motion we never made it up to the Livingroom to see in the New Year.
We enjoyed the Azamazing and White Night evenings which are a usual feature of an Azamara cruise however Christmas & New Years Eve cruises are marketed as premium cruises at premium prices and are regarded as an opportunity for a special celebration. Even on “low key” ships such as Azamara we expected a festive Christmas lunch. Read Less
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