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8 NIGHT WINDSTAR ITALY & DALMATIAN COAST
9 Day Venice to Rome from only   $4129.00 Ocean View Suite Sailing 15 July, 2014 This 212 passenger vessel visits such exciting ports as Rovinj, Split & Dubrovnik (Croatia); Kotor (Montenegro); Messina (Sicily) and Capri (Italy)
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Impressions

 

Coastal New Zealand – January, 2009

Nautica (Oceania).  We just felt like recharging the batteries and getting away from it all for a few days after the traditional Christmas/New Year madhouse.To somewhere different, but not too far – and just be pampered with some memorable F & B, plenty of R & R, with a bit of tiki-touring thrown in.  Well, this just has to be what the Doctor ordered.  Thanks for finding an answer to our dreams.

 

The Nautica was perfect for what we wanted.  An adequate size cabin, our own facilities, comfy bed – the works.  The bathrooms on the ships are a little small, but after a couple of days you get used to it. But the service, the food, the whole thing was the best value for money that we have ever spent. 

The best thing that I found, was that you could be as busy as you wanted, or lock yourself up with a book in their Library and just while the time away until your next culinary feast. Up until now we have always taken quick, short breaks to the Gold Coast or the likes, but this cruise around familiar waters and names was truly a dream of dreams.  Would we do it again ?  That’s a no brainer !

The Pluses and Minuses.  Well, value for money, food  & entertainment were the tops.  The only negatives I can think of was the size of the bathrooms (especially the shower) and the cost of using the Internet.  But in fairness, just how long do you spend in the shower every day ? – And my partner shouldn’t have been on the computer anyway - it was a holiday after all !!  Thanks once again Cruise Escapes – we are glad we found you.

F.C. & D.D. – Wattle Downs, Auckland    

View at    http://www.oceaniacruises.com/ships/nautica/default.aspx                   

 

Halong Bay, Vietnam - June, 2011

Paradise Cruises (Chinese Junk) – an awesome experience.  Scenery right out of a James Bond movie. There are one and two night cruises.  Forget the one nighters, too short.  Definitely take a 2 nighter with a visit to Cat Ba Island on the second day.  Quality & quantity of food is excellent. Reasonable selection of wines - but fairly pricey. Halong Bay Junk

Good size cabins and bathrooms. If the budget can extend to it, upgrade to a suite, (only double beds in the suites - no twin beds).  Three hour road journey from Hanoi, with an interesting local crafts stop  half-way. Competitively priced.

Richard - St Heliers

View at   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH0vH8sxJmM

     

Marquesas, Tahiti – August 2011

Paul Gauguin (5 Star  19,200 ton  332 Pass) – A tropical cruise, small ship with great dining options (3) and plenty of activities including g a good selection of water sports. The extra cost (minimal) for a balcony cabin was well worthwhile and allow us to sit outside and watch the world sail by. Good size with heaps of storage, bath with shower over and our suitcases slipped under the bed.

All drinks were included (which was a surprise), but Shore Excursions were very expensive. Ports of calls were good with tenders between ship and shore. We experienced some great walking tours in the Tuamotus with informative pre arrival talks by very interesting speakers on all archaeological matters.

The ship was just the right size for us with the crew being mainly Filipino and the Officers, French. Anyone interested in diving should book on-line prior to sailing and likewise shore excursions as these can often fill up very quickly. There is also a great little boutique onboard with an excellent jewellery selection albeit, a little pricey.

Entertainment at night was great with magicians, singers and Tahitian Dance troupes as well as a movie being shown on one of the nights.

We enjoyed the cruise so much that we have booked again for November 2012.

Sue P. – Auckland

View at   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjBO2SB1txg

 

Viking River Cruise - November, 2013

15 Day Budapest to Amsterdam              

On arrival at Budapest airport we and many others were met by a representative of Viking River Cruises.  Very well organised with English speaking guides who divided us into the groups that were sailing on different long ships.  Taken by bus to the port where we embarked on our ship – the ‘Skadi’.  We were welcomed and shown to our cabin (cabin 204), one level above the water line with a sliding door and a railing to stop one from falling overboard.  The cabin was better than I envisaged.  There was a double bed, large TV with cable. Toilet and bathroom suite of a reasonable size.  A large closet to hang clothes and an area under the bed to store suitcases.   Dressing table with a large mirror.

The Viking long ship sailed with 181 passenger (total capacity 190).  Dress was casual for the total trip and you could suit yourself with seating arrangements at meal times.  The Cruise line offers a silver service package for alcohol. Do not take this package unless you are totally into cocktails and or spirits.  Wine and beer is offered at all meals. At breakfast you can also have a champagne (the taste not to my or Roselyn’s liking).   You can take your own alcohol on board.  Different wines are served during your sail through different countries.  Pastries and coffee are offered at the coffee area from 6am every day. (That’s me).  A full breakfast is served at 7.30am either in the main dining area or upstairs in the ‘aquadeck’ where croissants and pastries are served.  Lunch is served from 12.30pm and you can choose to stay for lunch or come back to the ship at a later time.  A full dinner is served in the main dining area at 7pm.

Most sailing is done at night and at every port you are offered a walking tour or if moored away from the city a guided bus trip is provided.  As you leave the ship you are handed a card that must be handed back to reception when you return in order to keep track of wayward passengers.  You are also given a card informing you of  the number of your bus or tour group. After each tour you have the option of staying in the city or returning to the ship or you can leave the group whenever you like.  Extra tours and activities are provided at an extra cost.  This is a relaxing trip with no pressure from staff or guides to provide more revenue.

It was emphasised on board that tipping was purely voluntary, including tipping at the end of the trip.

 This particular river cruise passed through 67 locks and we saw many castles, forts and palaces as well as smaller villages and larger cities.  Viking Cruises generally provided their own bus and driver so there was no problem identifying your transport.  The staff on board the ship were exception.  From the Hotel manager, through to the Tour Director, the kitchen staff and the pianist.  All mingled  and assisted with queries.

Roselyn and I would both recommend river cruising with Viking Cruises.  No hidden costs and everything they advertised was clearly exceeded.

R & R - Auckland