Second Mate

Joined: 02/09/2015
Helpful Votes

About steve123


steve123's Past Cruises

Emerald Princess

April 2016 - Emerald Princess to Transatlantic

A Nice Ship

This is an interesting ship to be aboard. There are some excellent points about it. The ship has been refurbished and is very appealing to the eye. Our 10th deck balcony cabin was taken care of by Danny to perfection. Note our balcony was extra long as perhaps all of those on this deck were and we were able to look down onto balconies below us. those balconies did not have any privacy which ours did. if this is a concern you may want to check with your travel agent or Princess before locking in a balcony cabin. 


Things to like: fast elevators (3 banks) very little or no wait, easy embarkation and disembarkation - princess has this right, very good communication between the bridge and the passengers, nice pools, the best pizza we have had at sea (subjective of course), self service laundry which is helpful on long voyages, decent food although the buffet can get repetitive, a no column to block your view theater (excellent) and the staff really does work hard to make sure you are taken care of.


Despite a few rough sea days we felt the ship rode through the heavy weather very well without causing us any problems. Movies under the stars is neat but the weather kept us from really enjoying it, too cold or rainy. Popcorn and cookies are available during the movies.


There was significant storage space in our cabin for luggage storage and hanging of clothes. If you bring your own plug in alarm clock, the 60 cycle power on board was decent and your clock did not lose more than a minute or two day to day. An easy reset corrected this.


what to dislike: the theater entertainment was not to our liking almost every night. the music played on board is from the pre mid 50s era, a generation above us and we're 70. How about some rock & roll music from its first decade Princess? You had to ask for smoked salmon at breakfast in the buffet. It simply was never available at breakfast otherwise. Internet is typical for being at sea, dial up speed and at times it was unavailable. Overall the Emerald Princess is a decent ship to be aboard.



Read Full Review »


December 2015 - Riviera to Caribbean

Our 2nd Oceania Cruise with problems

We boarded the Riviera which is a magnificent ship Dec. 2nd. In the terminal the staff started announcing pre assigned numbers for boarding. All was going well until suddenly the loud speaker system announced "everyone may board". The terminal was packed still with people and the mass mayhem that resulted as everyone tried to board at the same time was a disaster. People with disabilities suffered. The logic to this cannot be explained.


After a not so pleasant embarkation we went straight to our room which was ready, a nice touch versus having to wait and wait before being able to enter. The balcony cabin 8069 was excellent; the marble bathroom had a full size tub. That came in handy - more about this in a moment. Typical of Oceania, the fridge is stocked with all water and soft drinks included in the cruise price. The bed was the exact one we had purchased after being on another Oceania cruise. For people like us with ailing backs it is a total blessing to sleep on. It is outstanding!


Everything on the Riviera is first class. Service is impeccable and the food - WOW. In the dinner buffet you can custom order grilled steak, lobster, shrimp and so on. It was delightful experiencing dining there. Book the specialty restaurants as early as you can before you ever board or you may never be able to dine in them. You'll enjoy them. For foodies, Oceania is a treat.


There are 2 banks of elevators and if you have any mobility issues do not take a cabin all the way at the front of the ship for you'll be further away from an elevator than if you were aft or mid ship.


The library is elegant and well stocked. For a ship this size it is large. 


How can anyone fault this ship?

Here's how in one word - NOROVIRUS.


We were never informed the previous voyage had infected passengers. Upon boarding we were told of the sanitation program the ship was undertaking. This meant stringent washing of hands before entering any dining facility. That's aok. However in the restaurants the tables and chairs had to washed down and allowed to dry for approx. 10 minutes. If they weren't completely dry, as we found out, your bottoms got wet. Our cabin was sanitized prior to our boarding and my wife had problems with the unpleasant sanitizing odor coming from the sofa throughout our 10 day cruise.


As experienced cruisers we always plan on doing laundry on board thus cutting down our luggage weight. Because of the norovirus the self service laundry rooms never opened even though we were promised they would by mid cruise. We ran out of fresh clothing and had a choice, WASH OUR CLOTHES IN THE BATHTUB or use the ships expensive laundry service.


Because of the disaster of the embarkation along with the norovirus issue, for two nights the captain opened up the bar for free drinks. That was classy but for non drinkers like us this meant not a thing.


Now here is the real rub - we were on the Insignia the previous year when it caught fire and we had to abandon the ship. We were provided on that ship $500 in on board credit which we had not used, free internet service and another perk. Oceania refused to give us any of these when we booked this cruise saying all was lost. On board a tender going to port my wife struck up a conversation with someone she remembered who was on the Insignia. He said he asked Oceania for the perks (same ones we had) on the Insignia and they gave them to him. When we got back on board the ship I visited with the front desk and asked them to provide the same for me. They asked who the passenger was that told me this. Luckily I remembered his name. The desk checked with the Florida office and then offered us free internet and only $300 in on board credit. This was better than nothing but should I have had to ask for this or should Oceania come forward and be upfront? It sure would have made me feel more positive about Oceania than I do. Needless to say I am grateful to get these but not happy to have had to ask. The IT person surprised me with his knowledge & incredible aid he personally provided getting our tablet & laptop up to speed. He was impressive.


Forget about any decent entertainment on board this ship. We were floored by the limited theater entertainment.


Disembarkation was flawless.


Because we have had 2 not so pleasant cruises with Oceania I would be hard pressed to say we would sail with them again. Their strong points were top of the card and flawless but their errors were so egregious for a 5 star line they cannot be excused. 





Read Full Review »

Norwegian Jewel

January 2015 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western

Not Bad but not so good, too.

Let's get the good things listed - cabin was totally clean and maintained that way everyday. Embarkation and disembarkation was about as good as it comes, no hassles, quick and flawless. The nightly theater entertainment was amazingly good. The theater has no center posts to block views of any seat. It's sound system was excellent. From a guest's point of view, it is tops. The bridge room allows you to view into the bridge. The welcoming awards posted there were interesting to see. Some are uniquely designed. The ship is easy to navigate as a passenger. There are tons of chaise lounges for those wanting to be out even on at sea days. For the money the Jewel provides a decent experience. The elevators were quick - all ships should be like this. The tour prices were reasonable

The not good - our mini suite cabin, 11034, was below the pool area. At 6am we would hear banging from up above. Also, because the pool area is directly above, during the day on the balcony we heard music from that area. It wasn't totally obnoxious but if you want quiet best if you had a cabin away from this area. Also, if you want to soak in some rays on your balcony go to a lower level. An overhang extends well past the balconies for most of the 11th deck and limited the sunshine to early in the morning or late in the afternoon depending which way the Jewel was positioned. The food was better than on our last Norwegian cruise but so so in our opinion, akin to Princess or Holland America, and definitely below  Celebrity, Azamara or Oceania. This being said, there was plenty of it and seating in the buffet restaurant was always available and you are not paying the premiums those lines charge either. Because plug in clocks operate off of current frequency maintaining 60 cycles/hertz is important. This ship could not manage this. Our clock lost a half to a full hour every four so forget about using your plug in clock for time or heaven forbid, as an alarm. This was the worst experience re time in our 20 plus cruises. However, you can and we were forced to use the ship's wake up phone system. 

The prices in the on board main shop were high on some items. Make certain you bring all you need with you. There are no bargains on mosquito repellant, deodorant, cups or men's bathing suites where you paid retail or were gouged.

Overall the Jewel represents a good sailing experience for your travel dollar.




Read Full Review »


December 2014 - Insignia to Caribbean

Wonderful Ship - Bad ending

The Insignia is identical to the two Azamara ships. They all are intimate, small and provide excellent service. Perhaps Oceania offers just a notch above Azamara.

We enjoyed the bed so much that we ordered one for our home along with the pillows. We had the best nights' sleep at sea of any cruise. I have back issues and actually awoke in the mornings without pain! You can check out the bedding on their website. Our cabin, a balcony, was small as expected and was meticulously maintained.

The was excellent. Even in the buffet lobster was available for the meals we had there. The only disappointments were the cookies and caviar. Everything else was top notch and the buffet is really not quite that for you are served your food. My wife, a coffee drinker, said the coffee was the best she ever had. The dining tables are elegantly set. It was a pleasure just to walk into the restaurants. Speaking of which, the specialty restaurants do not charge extra. Isn't that refreshing! However, book them before you even board or as soon as you board or you will not be able to get in or be limited to a day and time. Some people we met had reservations for every night.

The Insignia is not for anyone looking to have a wild time. It is beautifully appointed, no formal wear nights (thank goodness), super library in case you forgot reading material and is a quiet ship. There are no hairy leg contests, photographers pestering to take your photos, or waiters doing the same with drinks at poolside. It is a reserved class act allowing you to simply relax and enjoy life. It certainly is not a ship for youngsters. The only item they might enjoy would be the pool.

As with Azamara, poolside lounges are at a premium on sea days. If you simply want to be out in the sun there are other decks available.

In our opinion, Oceania and the Insignia provide ideal and luxurious service well worth our travelling dollar.

We were docked in St. Lucia several days into the cruise when a fire on board took the lives of 3 people and terminated the voyage.

Oceania does  include air  in their pricing. Be advised this does not include transportation to and from the airport. On other lines we have traveled when we purchased air through them transportation to and from the ship was included or it was clearly stated it was an extra. This may be a petty item and we stumbled across it just two weeks from departure. My thought, Oceania, being an upper scale line, should include this in their pricing. Raise the price if necessary but cover it. I wonder how many unsuspecting passengers found out too late about this?

We boarded in San Juan. There was no one at the boarding ramp to help me board! I needed assistance and none was available or provided. A person not affiliated with the line walked by, saw my dilemma and provided the aid needed. This was the only lack of service we encountered.

We intend to sail with Oceania again.


Read Full Review »

steve123's Tips

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Easy ride from the airport to the ship. If you get there early you can explore Old San Juan.
Insignia Insignia - Book the specialty dining rooms in advance of boarding the ship or immediately when on board. You're not limited to the number of times you can dine in them but reservations fill up ultra fast. Transportation is NOT included to and from the airport/ship.
Belize City, Belize - lots of poverty so be prepared for this. however, people seemed well fed and clothed. the tour of the mayan ruins was facinating.
Houston, Texas - ugly port area (commercial) & expensive transportation cost to and from the airports.
Cozumel, Mexico - place much cleaned up from our last being there 8 years ago. prices also much lower.

Badges (Learn More)

Points (View Leaderboard)

This Week

Recent Activity

received a helpful vote on their Emerald Princess cruise review - A Nice Ship

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Wonderful Ship - Bad ending

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - Not Bad but not so good, too.

received a helpful vote on their Emerald Princess cruise review - A Nice Ship

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Wonderful Ship - Bad ending

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Wonderful Ship - Bad ending

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Wonderful Ship - Bad ending

added Dec 2, 2015 cruise on Riviera to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean cruise on Riviera and gave it 4 stars!

added Apr 2, 2016 cruise on Emerald Princess to their profile.