We sailed from Southampton as we usually do. Embarkation was swift and we were in our cabin in half an hour . As other people have said , the dry dock did not include the cabins and we had the same shabby carpet as last year and I'm sure the same mark on the curtain. ( same cabin ). The balcony had had the plastic carpet taken off and the floor was painted blue. The furniture was old and showing it's age with paint splashes on it and the metal on the balcony was rusty. The white side walls and metal skirts under the glass screen were filthy and I felt like getting a scrubbing brush and giving it all a good clean.The bed was fine but the pillows were lumpy and horrible.
Our cabin stewardess Elisa was from Mexico and was wonderful , she was always asking if there was anything she could do for us. I felt like saying, yes , make me a towel animal , as in 4 cruises I have never had one .
We eat only in the Horizon self service as we don't like the pomp and ceremony that go with the waiter service . We found it much better now it has the sweet station. My only gripes would be that the food still needs to become more British if they sail from Britain . One lunchtime we had both Shepherds pie and plain roast chicken. 2 of my favorites , I would have preferred them in the evening. On the whole the food was good but I do think there is still room for improvement , maybe more plain food that the ordinary Englishman would like. If you like fancy food , use the restaurants . The other thing was the lack of people gelling their hands before entering.Hardly anyone was doing it and I felt we were sitting targets for bad tummies. One night I watched a teenager go straight in without gelling , then put his hand into the bread rolls, grabbed 3 and put the on his plate without even using the tongs provided.
When I spoke to the supervisor about it , he said they could not make people gel but there were ways to sort it. He didn't do anything and nothing changed. In the hospital I work in we make people gel before eating and when my Sister went on a Nile cruise you were not allowed in the dinning room till you did. They had a waitress standing at the other end waiting to help old or disabled people but no one at the entrance inviting people to gel.We had already heard of a couple of people with tummy complaints and so didn't want an outbreak.
Our shore stops were lovely , although why they changed Gibraltar and Malaga round we never did find out. Herculaneum was wonderful , much better than Pompeii . Pity we didn't have time to see it all.
Naples was the worst place , A lot of people were telling me that they got off the ship to walk round and felt so threatened that after 5 mins they were heading back to the ship as fast as they could. There was dog mess everywhere and the sea in the harbour was filthy. Pant liners and condoms were some of the sights I saw. On the way to Herculaneum we had to go along the motorway and I could not believe that I saw a shanty town built of wood and plastic bags , with sky dishes on the top . Where did they get electric and TV , if they can't afford a house to live in how can the afford Sky TV.
The entertainment was mediocre to say the least , the jokes were the same for each comedian and the ships dancers and singers were like beginners.
We usually drank in the Wheelhouse bar in the evening and really like it there. It was spoilt this year though by one bar steward / waiter who took his job to the extreme. We usually sat in the same 2 seats but one night someone else was there so he directed us to 2 in the centre of the room which were under the air conditioning. We moved to another seat, unfortunately this was where a larger group usually sat each night. You could see he wasn't happy about it and when that party came in and our seats became vacant we moved. But it put a damper on the evening and for a couple of nights we went to another bar. When we did go back there we went to an area which had a different waiter who was much nicer. You could see it was money orientated and as there was only 2 of us we didn't bring as much money in as the larger group . He was always trying to keep the areas free that he knew large groups came too. I thought all customers had to be treated with courtesy whatever size of group.He knew he had over stepped the mark and was trying to suck up after but we went to a nicer waiters area. Disembarkation went as smoothly as the embarkation had and we were off with no problems.
One thing I will say is that we were stopped by Customs and I had tobacco . We found out that we were allowed 10 packs of duty free between us and unlimited as long as we had bought it from the Tabac shop in Spain and had paid Spanish duty on it.We could mix the two . Apparently the duty free shops in Spain had been telling everyone they could take back as much duty free as they wanted , which was wrong and some people in front of us had a suitcase full of cigs , the last we saw of them was as they were taken to the interview room.
All in all I would say that we had a wonderful cruise. The people were friendly, the food not bad , Only a couple of things to moan about but they didn't ruin our time on the ship. Another thing I would like to add , in case Princess are reading this , we went to book next years cruise last Saturday and there was no OBC offered , we said we wouldn't bother till there was as it makes a big difference to the cost of a cruise. The people in front of us booked with P&O and got £799 OBC .Also , on our first cruise we had 9 ports of call now it's just 7 . So we may look at changing ships for next year.