After 4 days in London with constant sightseeing, we transferred via a Princess bus to Southampton. Bus transfer a bit chaotic but passable. Embarkation and later disembarkation at terminal good. We have been on this very ship 4 times now and each time we very very satisfied. The food was very good, if not excellent, although we have seen the more expensive items disappear from the menu over the years( e.g. lamb chops)Service in the dining room was excellent but the average length of time in the dining room was over 2 hours. That would interfere with getting to entertainment. One of the section maitre d's, Toma, overheard me ask about escargots. He saw to it we got escargots the next evening. Each day when we returned from a shore excursion, we had a snack at the international cafe, which had good sandwiches and very good soups which were quite welcome since the weather around the British Isles was often cool and windy. The room service was excellent. We had breakfast in our room every day to save time since we always had an early excursion. It was always on time and we were brought things we ordered that were not even on the menu. Pizza and hamburgers by the pool were excellent. The cabin itself, an oceanview with a balcony, was trouble free. The steward, Ron, was excellent. All features of the cabin worked well including plumbing, climate control, fridge, TV, & comfortable queen bed. The entertainment was excellent. It was varied and enough of it. The cruise director and his staff were wonderful, except for one woman whose attitude regarding one of the trivia games was unacceptable. The cruise staff often has wrong answers to trivia. This woman insisted the American flag has 13 red stripes. This was on July 4 th no less. I was insulted. But this was more than made up for by the fantastic cruise director, Kelvin Joy. In 10 cruises, he is the best one we've ever had. Tons of personality, talent, good sport (and a great bum which he flashed at the end of the crew show), very friendly and easily accessible. The ports of call were a great selection and that's why we chose this cruise. Only Guernsey should be replaced since little to see or do.
As for these ports, make arrangements on your own. The ships tours are not as good and are considerably more expensive. We took a tour of Cork with some friends we had met on an cruise 5 years ago and among other things they got us to the Blarney Stone ahead of the lines. Can't you tell I have the gift of gab?In Dublin, we took a free walking tour of the city which was interesting but too rich in history. In Liverpool, we saw two good museums and the Cavern where the Beatles got their start. On to Belfast, for a tour of the Giant's Causeway and the swing bridge at Carrick-a Rede, both worthwhile natural wonders. In Glasgow, visited Loch Lomond, and Stirling Castle which was over rated. Inverness included a tour of Loch Ness among others and was great because of the great guide, Gordon Pearson of Wow Scotland. Edinburgh, next, very colorful and St Giles church not to be missed for its stained glass windows. Last port was Le Havre and an hour and a half car ride thru Cruise Excursions.com (Not the ship)and an excellent guide(Florian) We went to the 2 American beaches of the D Day landing, the American cemetery and several other related cites. It was extremely emotional and we don't even know people who died there for our freedom. One of our friend's father fought there but survived. In all, a marvelous cruise, taking into account the ship itself and the ports of call.