I spent a week this past summer cruising with friends around the British Isles on the Princess Cruise Lines Ocean Princess. This smaller ship was greatly to my liking. Intimate enough to be interesting, and with great attention to detail and cleanliness.
Pros- easy on and off- no long lines. Small enough to explore fairly quickly, but with lovely ambiance. Great library, beautiful dining room. Photographer did very professional work, small shops were useful, shows were great and varied. Food was very good, and wait staff soon anticipated our various needs. Alternate dining areas served good food and drinks. My gluten free dietary requirements were ably met.
Front desk service was superb- great attitudes. Cabin steward was so attentive to one of our number who forgot to take her Dramamine, and did not hesitate to reclean the shower when asked.
Nice surprise was a $100.00 credit that appeared, compliments of Princess. I purchased a drinks package in advance which totally helped to keep those expenses in line. I also gave myself a casino credit as a means of paying in advance. In fact, I exited the ship with a $13.00 credit which was given to me in cash on departure.
8 hours shore excursion in South Wales was entertaining and drenched in history. (I paid in advance for that, too) Nice on- board show in Edinburgh for those choosing not to go to the Tatoo.
Very few children, but some nice family groups. Average age of participants appeared to be 40+. Surprised at the number of locals (U.K. people) I met who took this cruise.
Hairdresser on board was good and reasonable (in port).
Loved our balcony room for quiet time and drinks.
Great group air fare. I did not get the Princess transfer from Heathrow to Dover, and had an easy time getting into the London bus station connecting on to Dover. My bus ticket was less than $20.00! Got off right next to my bed and breakfast (I went two days early and got a see a tournament day at Dover Castle!
I exited the ship two days early on our second day in Edinburgh (preplanned and fairly easy to arrange, but definitely has to be arranged in advance) in order to travel up to Inverness and spend a little additional time in Scotland. I would do this again in a heartbeat! Excursion to the Applecross Peninsula was breathtaking! Fabulous opportunities for photography abound!
Cons- Port in Guernsey was not open to us due to high seas, but I was warned well in advance of this possibility by reading other reviews.
I only found a 15 minute window when the casino was operational (at least during my waking hours), so could not take advantage of the credit I had paid for. Probably all to the good! I did keep checking periodically, but no go!
Time in Dublin was too short to get any more than a cursory glance at anything. I'd suggest a separate holiday in Ireland if you want to understand anything about it.
Communication would have been better upon arrival in Edinburgh with regard to shuttle buses into various venues.
Presentations on various ports by in-house staff could have been more informative and creative.
Would not recommend RCI to arrange this cruise for you. Way too many mistakes.