1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Carnival Cruise Line
  4. Carnival Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

5 Carnival Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

There were 10 of us Canadians on this cruise. The Legend is a beautiful ship and the crew were amazing. Carnival has the same menu on all their ships, because we have cruised with them for the past few years, we found the food ... Read More
There were 10 of us Canadians on this cruise. The Legend is a beautiful ship and the crew were amazing. Carnival has the same menu on all their ships, because we have cruised with them for the past few years, we found the food disappointing. Carnival need to change the menu and improve on the desserts available in the dining room. Due to weather our itinerary was changed. The Cruise director gave a talk at 3 pm explaining why the itinerary was changed. They did it for the safety of the passengers. The only port we would not visit was Belfast, as they could not accommodate us on the date we had. We left Dover and our first stop was Liverpool. This port was not on the original itinerary and it was amazing how the port staff pulled it all together in just a day and half. We were greeted with such kindness and willingness to help us find our way around the town. Liverpool was amazing even in the rain. We then went to Glasgow where we met up with our tour guide/driver, Hamish. He was from the Timberbush Tour Company and again we had booked this online. Hamish met us at the pier wearing his kilt and a big welcoming smile. He drove us around in a 16 seater bus, played Scottish music for us and told us about Glasgow and Loch Lomond. We visited Stirling Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had lived, it was built in the 1530's. It is a beautiful castle and worth the visit. Loch Lomond area is beautiful even in the rain. We then went to Dublin and had the booked tour which we had arranged on line. We booked through Lynott Tours out of New York and due to the dates being changed, our driver, Brian was not a tour guide and was unable to give us much information on Dublin. We did go to Trinity College, Guinness factory/store, Malahide Castle and our driver stopped at a Fire Station for us. Our next stop was Invergordon and our tour company was The Taxi Tour Experience. Duncan was the Tour Co-ordinator and we had many emails back and forth planning the perfect day in Invergordon. Kevin, our tour guide/driver was great. We visited Dunrobin Castle, Glen Ord distillery, Dornoch Cathedral, Priorty Church and had a tour of Inverness. Dunrobin Castle was beautiful inside and out. The grounds are a work of art and there is a Falconry show. We did not visit Glenmorangie distillery as Duncan said it gets very busy with all the passengers on the cruise ship excursions. The Highlands of Scotland are beautiful and worth the trip to see it. We will go back and Duncan said he would organize a tour for us. We like the private tours rather than the cruise ship excursions as they can be more personalized and are less expensive. We were fortunate when we got to Edinburgh that we had Hamish again. he was wearing a different kilt this time and gave us a wonderful tour of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Glenkinchie Distillery, Temple Church (ruins of) and Roslyn Chapel. Our trip was full of wonderful history that we had taken in school. Our day in Stavanger, Norway was disappointing due to weather. It was raining and low ceiling so we were unable to see the fjord, but the boat ride was enjoyable. We booked through Rodne Fjord Cruises and saved ourselves a lot of money. The cruise ship cost for this tour is ridiculous and we had the same tour for 1/3 the price, (seniors rate, adult price is a little more.) Stavanger is a very pretty town, things are expensive and we were there on a Sunday when a lot of stores were closed. Our last stop was La Havre France. We also had a private tour here as well and this one turned out better than any of us expected. One of group had an uncle that was killed June 7, 1944. Our tour guide/drive, Sylvan, was amazing. Our first stop was the house where General De Gaulle and General Montgomery stayed We then went to the Juno Beach Centre. While we went through the Juno Beach Centre, Sylvan did research in the books at the store and found many interesting facts about the uncle. He took us to different spots on our way to the Canadian War Cemetery. The cemetery is beautifully laid out, the tombstones are in rows, similar to Arlington in Washington D C, but there are plants between each tombstone and at the end of each row. There are 3000 Canadians who died between 1939 and 1945 buried there. We found the tombstone of the uncle, he was buried in the first row. Our day ended with a brief visit to Honfleur. We were lucky on this day as the weather co-operated and it was sunny and warm. After our cruise we returned to Dover, while staying there visited Canterbury with its magnificent cathedral and Dover Castle. This cruise was amazing and we would highly recommend taking it. It is our favourite cruise so far because of all the history. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Carnival Sunshine Western Europe Cruise Review Firstly, do not pay for the incredibly expensive Carnival transfers. I mistakenly thought the advantage would be that they would check your bags straight through on to the boat etc, but this ... Read More
Carnival Sunshine Western Europe Cruise Review Firstly, do not pay for the incredibly expensive Carnival transfers. I mistakenly thought the advantage would be that they would check your bags straight through on to the boat etc, but this is not the case - in fact you would get closer the to terminal building and more help with your bags from a taxi. It would also be a fraction of the price. Also, and most annoyingly, our bus wasn't there and we had to wait more than 30 mins for it to turn up! A frustrating way to start the holiday, and there was more to come. Boarding was chaotic and frustrating. Arriving at Barcelona port there were no signs, no helpful staff and we ended up relying on other passengers to show us where to drop bags etc. the queue to get checked in was massive, and in a cheerless and airless warehouse. I was put in mind of queuing at Ellis Island. There are signs saying "this way to fun!" as you snake you way round an endless queue full of tired and frustrated people in a joyless place. Not good. Having done that, there is then a long queue to get your photo taken to go with your "sign & sail" cards (why can't they do it when you are queuing to get them?) and then you can finally get on the boat. Took us over an hour. You then board, where people are surprised that you might need directions and a map and you have to ask for them, rather than being offered. And there's no welcome drink. Disembarkation (not debarkation as the would have it) was incredibly smooth. We set off from our room just after 6.30 am and were at our hotel by 7am. I am sure that queues for taxis build up through the morning, so best to be off early. Anyway, boarding was the main hassle and gripe. There were two adults and two kids in our stateroom, and it was fine. I've been in hotel rooms in resorts where we didn't have much more space than we had, so I was pleased for a cruise. We had a balcony floor at the back of deck 6 and that suited us just fine. The shops and bars are below so I wasn't worried about my kids charging around our room and disturbing the other guests. Being at the back was handy for restaurants and the pool and waterpark. Waterworks was brilliant- we had chosen Carnival for this reason, and it was hugely popular with all the kids on board. More disappointing the main pool was very small and very cold, so the kids were all in the heated whirlpools. Kids' club was ok. They didn't follow the published schedule so instead of playing playstation, my son ended up having to do karaoke to "one direction" songs - he was not impressed and only went once. They give you a mobile phone so they can contact you while your children are there. There is a little playground outside the kids club which you can use when the club isn't using it, and my two enjoyed that. There was "family time" on the "fun day at sea" where you could be with your kids and use the games and facilities, and we had a great time then, it's a shame there wen't more opportunities for that. We did the build a bear, which was pretty pricey - $25 plus tax plus $8 for an outfit, but the kids loved it and won't be parted from theirs! I thought the food was excellent. By the pool you have the blue iguana cantina which does fantastic burritos and tacos, and Guy's burger joint. Very tasty burgers, but very greasy. There is 24 hour ice cream and frozen yoghurt too, which was popular with my family. The pool then leads to the buffet, where there are set hours, but also pizza 24 hours (delicious) and a deli bar 11-11 which does toasted sandwiches. There's a good range at the buffet, with hearty food, salads, lighter options, soups and a good range of desserts. There is water, iced tea, tea, coffee and lemonade available all the time, and juices and milk at breakfast time. There is a self service beer station in the buffet as well. Soft drinks are about $2.50 and cocktails $8-9 plus 15% tip and tax - about $10 overall. There are also some restaurants here that are free at lunch, and have a service charge in the evening. We ate in the Sunrise Restaurant some evenings. The food was excellent and there was a wide range, with a menu with the same favourites every day, and daily specials. There is always pasta, fish, red meat (usually beef) and a vegetarian options. The kids menu is regular kids' stuff - burgers, pizza, nuggets, but all good quality. They did smaller portions of the main menu for my kids too. Cabins are serviced twice a day and kept very clean, as is the whole boat. There is shampoo, shower gel and bars of soap in the cabins. There are lots of hand wash stations and hand sanitisers in the food areas. Around the pool there was a lot of reserving of sun loungers, and the 40 minute limit in reserving is NOT enforced. Several times I asked staff to move towels that had been there for hours and it was always not their job (but would you like to buy an $8 drink?). There's no point having this rule if it's not going to be enforced, and there would be plenty of sunloungers if the rule was enforced. They show a movie by the pool most days, and otherwise they play music, which as other reviews have said, is a bit too loud. There are self service laundry facilities, costs $3 each for a wash and a dry and each cycle takes about half an hour. Wifi is available to purchase at high cost and I don't know how strong the signal is. We didn't see much of the entertainment, but we really enjoyed Sky Green who was around the ship playing guitar and she was kind enough to take requests. As we were travelling with young kids (7 and 3) who didn't take to seeing historic sights in the sweltering August sun, we didn't do many excursions. I have set out what we did in each port of call in case readers are in the same situation. By the way, our luggage didn't arrive until the evening of the first day, so I'd recommend packing swimwear in your hand luggage so you can enjoy the facilities straight away. Marseilles Took a taxi to the View Port (old harbour). It was a mistake to drag the kids away from the boat on the first morning and they didn't last long, but it is a pretty harbour and when we were there, there were large statues of animals, brightly painted which they enjoyed finding. From La View Port you can take a boat to Chateau d'If or a road train around Marseilles. Not sure of the prices for these. A taxi to La View Port was about 18 each way. Monaco La Musee Oceanographique is a short walk from the port (bottled water 1 in the vending machine in the port). It is a fantastic museum for children. Kids under 4 are free. There is an area where you can stroke sharks, a huge aquarium, a playground on the roof terrace and lots of interesting exhibits. There is a little beach on the walk to the museum if you fancy a dip. Check out tom's cruise port reviews for a walking guide to the museum with lifts/escalators as Monaco is a steep climb otherwise. Livorno We decided to make our own way to Pisa to see the leaning tower. We took a taxi from the port to Livorno station (25) a train to Pisa Centrale (13 return for all of us. Remember to validate your ticket at the machine on the platform before boarding) and a taxi from Pisa station to the tower (8 there, but a suspicious 13 on the way back...). The tower is in beautiful square, with other gorgeous buildings. We didn't climb the tower. There were surprisingly few taxis waiting at the tower to go back the to station, but one did come eventually and we repeated the journey back. Overall, it cost about 80, which is considerably cheaper than the "Pisa by yourself" excursion for 4, and frankly I don't know how you would kill several hours there. Civitavecchia You can (apparently) get a train to a lovely beach resort called Santa Marinella which is one stop away, but we took the free shuttle into Civitavecchia and used the beach there. It is a mix of sand and rocks/pebbles so beach shoes are a must. There is no shade, but sunloungers and umbrellas can be hired (not sure of the cost). We spent a happy hour there, building sandcastles and burying our feet. There are apparently some nice markets in the town, but we didn't explore those. Naples I did the "Pompeii on your own" excursion with my 7 year old. I wouldn't recommend the excursion and have done a review on the Carnival website. You can walk from the port into Naples and there are some shops nearby in Galleri Umberto. Messina You can walk straight out of the port into the town. There are horse and carriage rides and a road train. It is a pretty city to walk around. We went to the Cathedral and watched the "astrological clock" in the bell tower. This only does its thing once a day at midday, where clockwork items move to music. I've never seen anything like it before, and it was really charming, the kids enjoyed it. Palma We took the InterCruise 2 stop shuttle from the boat into the city centre. It cost 17 per adult and 7 for each child, so not cheap. It stood at the Castle and at the Cathedral. I don't know if a taxi return to the city centre would be cheaper, and there is a hop on/off bus tour that stops at the cruise terminal as well. It was very hot so we just had a little walk around the Cathedral area and got the shuttle back. I couldn't track down anything particularly child friendly in Palma, so no specific recommendations. Barcelona Stayed at the K&K Picasso hotel. Chose this because next door to a park, the zoo and has a rooftop pool. It was a brilliant hotel, great service, beautifully decorated and to a high standard. It turns out there are also lots of lovely little bakeries, coffee shops and food shops near the hotel. We were also a short walk from the hop on/off bus tour (you can buy tickets at the hotel) and we spent the day exploring the city using that service. Parc Guell is particularly recommended. We had an early disembarkation from the boat, and were at our hotel by 7am. It cost 18 and only took about 10/15mins by taxi, but it was early Sunday morning so would be longer at other times.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Prior to our cruise my mother and I flew into London Gatwick Airport and stayed at the Hilton there for one night. DON'T stay there. We had a private driver, Collin from Diamond Trust Transfer, take us to the port and he was ... Read More
Prior to our cruise my mother and I flew into London Gatwick Airport and stayed at the Hilton there for one night. DON'T stay there. We had a private driver, Collin from Diamond Trust Transfer, take us to the port and he was wonderful. Will use the company again. Embarkation was so FAST! The porters took our luggage from us and were on their merry way. There were no porters in your face demanding tips like they do in Florida. Check in was very efficient and quick too. The fastest and most organized we have EVER experienced, and the computers were even down too! Everything had to be written by hand. The ship itself was gorgeous! Very pink, but gorgeous! I was afraid it was going to seem "too big" since it held so many people, but once onboard my fears were abated. The ship was laid out similarly to the other Carnival ships so I basically knew were everything was right away. The ship was spotless. Our room was great, loved the balcony and our room stewards were accommodating. We have always had excellent service in the dining room, but our team this time, Nina and Peter, were the BEST we ever had! Really miss them. The food was to die for too. Even on the Lido Deck. I highly recommend that everyone go to tea at least once during your cruise. The shows in the large Spectacular Spectacular were excellent, Ron Pass in the Piano Bar was a riot and it was so nice to finally meet John Heald after reading his blog for so long! I will say I was disappointed with the other "house bands" on board. They were not that good, especially when compared to the other bands we've seen on our other Carnival cruises. All in all this is the best cruise we have EVER taken and a cruise is definitely the best way to see Europe. My mother and I are looking forward to sailing with Carnival again in Europe. Debarkation in Rome was very quick and efficient too. Plenty of porters to help and they actually seemed surprised when I tipped them. Now for a quick port wrap up: LeHavre: Took the Pairs Highlights/Seine River Cruise excursion. Long, but it was worth every penny. Especially because of the lunch cruise - it was a very nice break from the bus. Vigo: Didn't get off the ship here, but the ship docks right at the city. Lisbon: Did the Lisbon Highlights excursion. Very pretty place but the people there didn't seem that friendly compared to other European countries. Malaga: Took the excursion up to Mijas. Great little village in the mountains with some unique shopping. Barcelona: We took the Montserrat by Rail tour and WOW we can't say enough about this heavenly place. I want to go back. Cannes: It was raining so we didn't see much of Cannes. Took the Colors of the French Riviera tour. It was OK but lots of time was on the bus without stopping, pictures weren't that great from the bus and it was a very long day. Our brief stop at the Flower Market in Nice was our favorite part. Livorno: We just took the shuttle from the ship into the city center. We walked around, had some wonderful gelato and we took a canal tour (you could buy the tickets where the shuttle bus dropped you off) through the "old town" and it was so gorgeous. Although there are plenty of places to go to outside of Livorno, you really need to give this gem a chance. It was nice being out and about among "real people". Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My wife and I recently returned from a 12-day Baltic Sea cruise on the new Carnival Splendor which, largely because of the ports of call, we quite enjoyed. But the ship itself left me with decidedly mixed feelings.' Firstly the ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from a 12-day Baltic Sea cruise on the new Carnival Splendor which, largely because of the ports of call, we quite enjoyed. But the ship itself left me with decidedly mixed feelings.' Firstly the embarkation as well as the disembarkation went very smoothly, really flawlessly. Moreover the tours, from the standpoint of getting off the ship into waiting buses, were very well organized. I have to give them kudos. Unfortunately, as others have commented, the decor is on the wild side, garish is the one word that comes to mind. Mind you, I can't honestly say it was all that off-putting and after a day or two I hardly noticed. As to the food, we found that quite good, better than some reviewers would have you believe. Strangely the only meal I did not enjoy was in the alternative Pinnacle restaurant ($30 surcharge per person). The food was cloyingly rich; even the porterhouse steak had a veal reduction glaze that gave the surface an oily, butter-like taste. The lobster bisque soup must have been made with pure creamrich beyond belief. But otherwise, the food especially the variety on the lido deck for lunchwas more than acceptable. I must also give them high marks for the cabins, at least the one we occupied (a category 11, 275 sq.ft. plus 65 sq.ft. balcony) which was quite spacious and nicely configured as well as decorated (except one wall painting). The bathroom was by far the nicest I've seen: a vanity area before entering the bathroom, double sinks and a generous size tub. Not to be overlooked was the high level of competence of the staff. Both our cabin steward and dining room waiter were excellent, friendly (but not too) and very professional. I must say that for a staff that had only been together only a few weeks, they really made a great team and I'm including virtually everyone we came in contact with. Now to the downside. The entertainment, such as it was, could only be described as pathetic; amateurish might be more charitable. If you're of an age that enjoys the big band sound or even a nice trio or quartet for dancing in a civilized setting, or seeks some onboard enrichment activities (e.g. lectures) as opposed to karaoke or bean bag tossing, I would hesitate to recommend this ship, particularly if there are many days at sea. Fortunately we enjoyed the privacy and comfort of our spacious cabin, yet it would have been nice if there had been more (adult) activities in a sophisticated setting. But of course the typical Carnival "fun ship" patron would rather participate in, or observe, a hairy chest contest than listen to a renowned expert discuss the world geopolitical situation. I'm not unaware that sounds terribly snobbish, but I nonetheless feel compelled to forewarn those cruisers that might be of a similar mind. Overall, my negative comments notwithstanding, we enjoyed the cruise. But had it not been for ports of call like Tallinn, Estonia, St.Petersburg and Helsinki, which we had not previously visited, we might have been bored to tears. H.W. Hallman, Denver, Colorado Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
I sailed on the Splendor on August 30th for the Northern Europe Cruise. I had anticipated this trip since I booked in May 2007. I traveled alone. My room was on the very back of the ship. I loved it. It was so quiet and the balcony ... Read More
I sailed on the Splendor on August 30th for the Northern Europe Cruise. I had anticipated this trip since I booked in May 2007. I traveled alone. My room was on the very back of the ship. I loved it. It was so quiet and the balcony had a chaise lounge along with chairs. It was wonderful. The room was excellent. The steward kept it clean and well stocked. I found the dining in the Gold Pearl Restaurant was very good (considering the fact the ship was feeding 1500 people per seating). I can honestly say that I did not have one bad meal. The service was excellent and the atmosphere was great. I found the bars and lounges to be adequate staffed with very friendly and courteous people. I do not thing the pricing was out of line. I did not attend the shows. I prefer to just "hang out" in the evenings (having been on numerous cruises). I did find the Grand Piano bar especially enjoyable. Ron Pass was the entertainer and I understand he will be rejoining the Splendor when it gets to its new home in LA. I used the exercise room. It was clean and the equipment was good. I just wished that the newer ships had a deck that goes all around the ship. I prefer to walk that rather than the track because of the wind on the track. I did not particularly like the layout of the Lido Buffet area. It seems to be easily overcome with passengers. Not a good flow of people. The food was just OK. I have had better on other Carnival ships and other cruise lines. Especially bothersome was the area where one could get an omelet or fried eggs. The Deli and Pizza area were quite good. Overall, I had a very good experience on this new ship. I will sail Carnival again. And hopefully will be on the Splendor again!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click