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90 Europe - British Isles & Western Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise for the excellent itinerary, quality of Princess food, cabins and amenities. I would rate this cruise excellent in all these categories. The passenger logistics in handling the movement of passengers on or off ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the excellent itinerary, quality of Princess food, cabins and amenities. I would rate this cruise excellent in all these categories. The passenger logistics in handling the movement of passengers on or off the ship and other required on-board activities, such as customs, were so bad that my wife and I will be very hesitant about taking any future Princess Cruise. At Guernsey the line-up for the return tender took over 2.5 hours while the one at South Queensferry was at least 1.5 hours (this probably caused by all shore excursion tour buses arriving at the same time shortly before the advertised time for the last tender). Given that many of the passengers were seniors, Princess should be much more considerate of their difficulties in standing in queues (at times in the sun) for such extended periods. Other than those dealing with passenger logistics, all crew members were extremely helpful and obviously very concerned about passenger satisfaction. It is a pity that all of this was overshadowed by the lack of passenger concern / satisfaction demonstrated by those managing passenger logistics. Maybe this comes with such a large ship - seasoned Princess passengers seemed to know to arrive at the designate meeting area at least 45 minutes ahead of the designated time to presumably be at the head of the queue. On that basis their total wait time may have been 30 minutes shorter than that endured by those that arrived at the designated location only 15 minutes early. The key question for my wife and I is: do the slightly superior cabin, food and ship amenities adequately compensate for the terrible passenger logistics or should we go back to Holland America where we have had excellent cruises with nominally lessor cabins and food. Most likely the itinerary will be the deciding factor. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my first Princess cruise, and it will not be my last. I liked the itinerary and decided to branch out and try a new cruise line. Certainly not disappointed.The cruise was fabulous, the staff and crew were great. The food was ... Read More
This was my first Princess cruise, and it will not be my last. I liked the itinerary and decided to branch out and try a new cruise line. Certainly not disappointed.The cruise was fabulous, the staff and crew were great. The food was delicious, better than some other cruise lines. Wheelchair embarkation and disembarkation was well organized and done with ease. The bar to be at is Piazza Bar, deck 5. A fast paced bar, but well run bar. Always friendly and eager to serve. The Dining staff were terrific. My cabin attendant was outstanding. There were many choices of entertainment, all great. The spectacular shows were spectacular. The only downside, the veranda cabin was the smallest I have ever had. But, dealable. I would certainly go on this ship again. The decor and cleanliness of the ship was superior. Loved the ease of traveling from Southampton, used the ship's transfers. They were well organized and on the look out for their clients throughout the airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Travelling: Two disabled seniors and their adult daughter; from Montreal, Canada. All experienced cruisers, primarily loyal to the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara group. Itinerary: Norwegian Cruise Lines' Jade 14 night ... Read More
Travelling: Two disabled seniors and their adult daughter; from Montreal, Canada. All experienced cruisers, primarily loyal to the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara group. Itinerary: Norwegian Cruise Lines' Jade 14 night Northern Europe. Southampton, U.K. At Sea Bergen, Norway Ålesund, Norway Lerwick, Shetland Islands (Scotland), U.K. At Sea Reykjavik, Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland Akureyri, Iceland At Sea Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (Scotland), U.K. Invergordon, (Scotland), U.K. Edinburgh, (Scotland), U.K. At Sea Southampton, U.K. Embarkation / Disembarkation: City Cruise Terminal, Southampton The greeters were extremely professional, welcoming and helpful. They provided assistance for my disabled mother and assigned us a "special-assistance" minder to guide us through the check-in process. Porters were readily available for our luggage and were really pleasant. I have to say that I was very impressed with the friendliness and enthusiasm of all of the Terminal and NCL staff who provided service. Problems occurring often give the opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service and three particular issues were evidence of NCL's quality. There was a slight bug with the computer system during check-in, there were profuse apologies and every effort was made to get the problem resolved quickly. Secondly, there was a mechanical issue with my mother's rented mobility scooter during embarkation and we had to transfer her back to her wheelchair. The land-based staff provided assistance to bring the scooter on board for us. Thirdly, one bag had lost its identification tag and was stored in the pursers office. All I had to do was identify it and it was swiftly delivered to our stateroom. Disembarkation was also very smooth and organised with many porters on hand to help. Signage, Daily Activity Guide, PA announcements communication and Muster Drill Navigation on the Jade was extremely easy. The use of the "forward facing" window fish stickers and on the carpet pattern along with the clear diagrams near the stairwells and elevator areas were really genius. The Freestyle Daily newsletter was clear and well-designed. My suggestion about it would be to provide the advertising inserts separately and in only one kit per stateroom. There was a bit too much paper wasted on the coupons and sales materials as these were distributed per person. During the cruise, I found the frequency of announcements to be reasonable and only emergency information was piped directly into the private areas. The volume of announcements to the adjacent stateroom hallways was muted enough to be heard in the cabin but was in no way disruptive. One type of announcement was not made which I think would be an improvement: At some of the ports of call, there was entertainment by locals. If there had been some mention of this to go on deck and see the little kids doing their folk-dancing and sending us off, I wouldn't have missed it! The announcements could also be heard on the "View from the bridge" television channel which was useful for announcements concerning tendering. There was a secondary informative channel with our current navigational position, time of day, current and forecast weather. I have the suggestion to add this time and temperature information in a crawl on the "View from the bridge" channel. In an inside cabin, we use this channel to know how warmly to dress for the conditions outside. Additionally, we can make sure that our watches are correctly set when we wake up in a new time-zone. The muster drill instructions were clear and we observed several crew-drills while we were berthed in port. This made us feel very safe. Accommodation: Accessible Family Inside cabin 10153. This room provided ample storage space for the belongings of three passengers, a collapsible wheelchair and a mobility scooter. The closet was accessible for a person seated in a wheelchair and the rack could move up or down as needed. As the third person in the cabin, I opted not to actually pull out the convertible queen-sized sofa-bed in order to conserve floor-space. I was very comfortable and simply put sheets and a silk sleeping bag on the couch and used the pillows and blankets provided. The room's flat-screen TV was mounted on an adjustable arm so that it could be angled in such a way that the occupants could see it from bed and the person on the couch could see its reflection in the mirror on the wall. Clever design! The bathroom's size was typical for an accessible cabin and had some of the extra features such as an adjustable mirror and safety handles. The zero-entry shower drains did a terrific job keeping the floor dry which was initially a great concern. One additional improvement could be extra hooks for towels and clothing. The room-steward tended to forget that the handles were for the purpose of supporting the weight of a disabled person. We would always find towels hanging on these which made them unstable for my mom to support herself. It was hard to find a place to hang up our used face-cloths and towels for re-use because though there appeared to be many towel racks, these were not good places to put wet towels. My mom commented that the door was not wide enough to easily make the turn into the cabin from the hallway using her scooter and that because there was no automatic door opener, she needed help to get in by herself. Luckily, there was always a friendly room-steward to assist. I found that the lighting in the room was very dim and maybe my mom was particularly demanding but it seemed that every time I got comfortable, she would need me to turn on or turn off a light that she could not control easily from her bed. In an eventual technology upgrade, voice-controlled smart lights or perhaps a hand-held remote with dimmable bulbs would be my suggestion. Dining We were blown away! Your chefs, food selection and service wildly exceeded our expectations and this in the main dining rooms Alizar and Grand Pacific. The hostesses and Maîtres d'hôtel (Especially Maria and Dušan) were very accommodating to my mom's needs as she always preferred a table near the entrance so that she didn't accidentally mow anyone down with her scooter. Dušan had the special talent of maintaining a perfect poker-face while being extremely funny and sarcastic. This really made it fun for me who was sometimes frustrated by my demanding mom. To anyone watching, he appeared perfectly professional but he was quietly acknowledging his awareness that my mom was being unreasonable. I really hope that any management reading this will understand how grateful I was! For myself, I was particularly impressed with the international menu options featuring things that were spicier, more exotic and less well-known to North-American palates. Breakfast options were varied every day and servers were always happy to do their best getting special requests like "bacon extra-crispy" or substitutions right. Server Yuli slipped me some Sambal Olek from her personal stash because the only hot sauce condiment was Tabasco. That was some terrific customer service! The buffet was not my favourite place to dine as I prefer the quiet of restaurant-style meals but when ship was in port or during off-peak hours, I really enjoyed the vegetarian and Asian selections which featured lots of delicious Indian, Chinese and Indonesian offerings. During our cruise we tried Jasmine Chinese restaurant one time. My parents liked it but honestly, the presentation and texture of the food seemed dull to me. The cubed chicken was so uniformly cut up that it looked factory pre-processed and tasted of freezer-burn. Emelinda, our server was excellent as was all of the staff. She even showed us some pictures of her country and how beautiful it was. She was very nice to speak with so overall, I enjoyed the experience at that restaurant. We also went to Cagney's steakhouse for one steak dinner. Yes, the grade of meat used was discernibly superior to that used in the main dining and buffet and the price was a good value for comparable specialty restaurants on other ships but to me, the service and presentation at all the restaurants was so high quality that there was no real difference dining at Cagney's vs. dining in a main dining room. I also thought that the dark lighting and thinly-shear-curtained view of the jogging track was comical. Just put some blackout curtains and spare us the spandex bottoms careening past, please. Full points for the concept of O'Sheehan's Pub! This was the place where I always felt comfortable. Waking up jet-lagged in the middle of the night, I could go there to get a snack. Passing by gorgeous scenery on a cold and windy day, I could take my binoculars to look out the huge windows without mussing my hair or getting a runny nose. Again, the quality of the service and the food choices were excellent. I also liked being able to hear the entertainment in the main atrium without being right in the middle of the crowd. I liked the location on deck 8 being accessible from both the mid-ship and aft elevators. This made it really accessible for my mom too. Getting down to the wheelchair-friendly deck 6 Grand Pacific entrance was always a tiny inconvenience because only one elevator car among 4 stopped at that level. Ports of Call The itinerary was well balanced between at-sea and port days. Having the overnight at Reykjavik really gave excellent opportunity to visit many of the far-flung attractions that Iceland has to offer. It's always difficult to anticipate the requirements of differently-abled travelers especially when dealing with ports of call in countries with varying sensitivity to the needs of those with mobility issues. I think that the "Special Needs at Sea" team still has a way to go with analysing the difficulties that people might have. We received communications that disembarkation assistance would be possible but we had trouble getting assistance, we often had trouble making our way out without using stairs and using the gangways. Taxi stands described as "a short walk away" in Invergordon were too far for my dad to push my mom in a wheelchair. Wouldn't it be possible to have a taxi dispatcher with a walkie-talkie call for a cab to come to the bus-loading area for those in need? This is in no way a critical comment to the way that NCL handled the majority of special needs issues, just an idea. I really feel that the NCL staff were always helpful and sympathetic in this regard and as cruisers with limitations, we should understand that not all ports of call will be easy to access. As a matter of fact, I really would like to commend the "Special Needs at Sea" team for helping us with the scooter problems that were in no way their fault but they stepped up so that my mom could fully enjoy her cruise. Onboard Activities, Services and Entertainment Personally, I rarely attend the organised activities on board. I am usually travelling solo and don't care much for loud music, flashy stage-shows or napkin-folding lessons. However, for completeness in this review, I'll make mention of what I can. Trivia sessions were held daily mornings and afternoons. It was mandatory that I attend as part of the arrangement I made with my parents in exchange for my passage fare! These were fun and I have to say that my mom really connected with Sheree who had only just recently joined the Jade and I would like to make a special mention of "Nacho"'s talent making for a hilarious half-hour every time he hosted. I enjoyed the set-up of the fitness studio but only participated in one class. I probably would have used it more had I been alone. The changing area only had one toilet and one shower which would be enough for the gym users but there was no changing area for the pool which I could not understand at all. On this itinerary, there were precious few folks using the pool so it was never a problem but it definitely have made a difference for my comfort on a Caribbean cruise. The card room and library looked nice but I never used them. I was a little annoyed when people took up space in the buffet playing cards so maybe the card room needs a bit more publicity to make people aware of it. The spa sales people and drink servers were not overly pushy. They would politely ask if I needed something but would not be aggressive after a "no, thank you." I actually enjoyed talking to them when they weren't busy and the exceptional scenery on the voyage often brought them on deck to see exactly what I was looking at so we had lots to talk about. I'm really not much of a drinker and I couldn't justify the expense of the alcohol on board. I might have ordered three drinks and a cup of ginger tea the whole trip and was pretty disappointed with my $13 Irish Coffee which was served in a tiny goblet rather than the tankard I expected. I attended one comedy show in the gorgeous Spinnaker Lounge. It was exactly the sort of cruise ship comedy that one would expect and that's all I need to say about that but everyone else seemed to like it so I'm the odd man out. None of the live music made my ears bleed and I actually enjoyed the piano music that was broadcast between entertainers. It was played at a volume that was never too intrusive. Around the pool, admittedly, the music was too loud at certain times of day and at those times, you would not find me there because of it. Due to my special interests in snorkelling and wildlife observation there were no NCL shore excursions that really fit my profile. I was very kindly helped by the shore excursion team to try to get on a whale-watching tour waiting list but ultimately, could not participate because it was complete. Pre-cruise, I did find that the shore excursions were a little too expensive for me so I didn't pre-book. I was able to find shore excursions directly from the providers in Norway, Scotland and Iceland that suited me and were in my price-range so I took the risk. It would have been interesting to have a naturalist on board to describe a little bit about the geological formations, sea-birds, midnight sun phenomenon or give other talks of a scientific or historic nature. However, that's just me...maybe most people really like bingo more. Places to hide Not many reviews feature this helpful information but for those of us less social cruisers, it's good stuff to know! Outside on Deck 13 starboard side, forward. This was a favourite hidey-hole for observation. There is a wind-screen that cuts off a good deal of wind, a sloping ramp that provides a bit of back support when sitting and slats in the plexiglass for photography or binoculars. There is not too much action here near the door leading to the Spinnaker lounge. The Chapel on the port side uses this space so there is no symmetry. This is the one and only spot of its kind on the Jade! Outside on Deck 14 forward. This area is labelled Quiet Zone which it is not because of the wind and proximity to the ship's horn but at least there weren't a lot of people there. Bridge Viewing are on Deck 11 port side. Wow! What a concept. A place to safely view the goings-on on the bridge and see what's up ahead. I loved this spot to look for whales without the noise and distraction of the Spinnaker Lounge activities. Middle section of O'Sheehan's Pub. The hostess would seat diners on the port and starboard sides at booths and tables. In the center section were cozy chairs and benches and stools overlooking the atrium. This was a nice area that didn't have tons of traffic. Conclusion The highlight of this trip was being treated so well by the experienced and enthusiastic staff and crew-members from embarkation to disembarkation. There were no mentions of cleanliness in my review because everything was so perfect and consistent that I forgot to even say so! As loyal Royal Caribbean-Celebrity-Azamara cruisers we didn't find any major differences and even preferred some of the new discoveries we made on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
On the whole I was pleasantly surprised by Oriana after hearing a lot of bad press about the ship. The thing I enjoyed most about Oriana was the deck space, I thought it was wonderful and so much better than more modern ships, ... Read More
On the whole I was pleasantly surprised by Oriana after hearing a lot of bad press about the ship. The thing I enjoyed most about Oriana was the deck space, I thought it was wonderful and so much better than more modern ships, there's so much room for everyone, we sailed in winter but I can imagine there's ample space if going to hot destinations. The inside of the ship is finished to a high quality also and I found the bed in our outside cabin incredibly comfortable. Only downside of the room was the noise from the bathroom which seemed to come from the air extractor. Otherwise, the room was very pleasant albeit it was larger as we had a disabled cabin. Food is of a standard to other cruise ships and varied as usual with service being attentive in the main restaurants, I think the buffet restaurant on Oriana could be bigger, we didn't visit the Beach House which has used up part of this space on top deck but in my opinion it would be better served as an expansion in space for the buffet. The layout of the ship is interesting and a little confusing, a lot of lifts don't go to all places and if you push a wheelchair like I was doing you have to do a bit of preplanning, I would seriously advise downloading the detailed map of the cruise on to your phone, the one they give you on check-in isn't that great in my opinion. The itinerary we went on was quite enjoyable to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam, will share some tips with you for both and some suggestions if on a wheelchair. - Zeebrugge: I highly advise skipping the shore excursions to Bruges and instead just use the free shuttle to Blankenberge train station. There are hourly trains to and from Bruges for €5 return and even further afield so can easily do a half day or day. They also have a lift onto the shuttle if you have a wheelchair and subsequently you can get assistance on to and off of the train so this is also a viable option for wheelchairs, just be aware of the cobbles in Bruges although there are some more favourable routes to the centre. - Amsterdam: It's great how the ship arrives right in the centre, you can easily walk to most sites, tram lines go by frequently and there's nothing stopping you going further afield in the Netherlands as the central train station is next door to the cruise port! If you're in a wheelchair I would highly recommend a firm called 'Staxi' - they will take you anywhere in Amsterdam for €25 on their wheelchair accessible van, this is a great option and we used it to go to the Rijksmuseum (awesome for wheelchairs) and on an accessible canal cruise. Overall I enjoyed Oriana and would be happy to sail on the ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
DAY 1 - Sunday 22nd October- Southampton Our first back to back cruise, as this followed a 2 day cruise to Zeebrugge which, due to Storm Brian, turned into a cruise to nowhere as we couldn’t dock due to high winds (see separate ... Read More
DAY 1 - Sunday 22nd October- Southampton Our first back to back cruise, as this followed a 2 day cruise to Zeebrugge which, due to Storm Brian, turned into a cruise to nowhere as we couldn’t dock due to high winds (see separate review). The morning passed quickly and just after midday we headed down to the Glass House and ordered a bottle of Peller Ice Cuvée. Lunch (at extra cost) is now available here on embarkation day and is a very civilised start to a cruise, unlike the scrum in the buffet. We also booked the paired food and wine dinner for the evening of our La Rochelle visit After a pleasant few hours, we returned to our cabin, where we stayed until the Muster Drill was over (as passengers in transit on a back to back cruise we did not have to attend), prior to securing poll position in the Crows Nest for the sailaway down the Solent for the 2nd time in 48 hours! Unfortunately, this experience was somewhat spoiled by a very large group of over 30 people who, as more and more of them arrived, became progressively louder and louder until they dominated the entire Crows Nest, ruining the cruise down the Solent for everyone else. We had feared that the preceding 2 night party cruise would be rowdy, but it was tranquil compared to this lot. We had pre-booked dinner in the Beach House and received a very warm welcome from the restaurant manager who we had chatted to two nights earlier on the previous cruise. We were given a nice table by the window (even though it was dark) and thankfully all the other diners were couples and therefore a peaceful meal of fillet steaks on lava stone was enjoyed by both of us. After dinner we went to Carmen’s where we were pleased to see Caravan perform their Eagles tribute, as we had missed this during our May cruise to the Baltic on Aurora (see separate review). Although they didn’t reproduce the vocals with the same level of accuracy as they had the Bee Gees, it was a good performance, although, in the absence of a member of the entertainment team who should have been providing the commentary between songs, the Philippine lead singer really struggled to give an English commentary and it would be better if they just played the hits back to back. Finally, we went to the Curzon Theatre for the comedian Vince Earl. P&O seem to think that anyone with a Liverpudlian accent is a natural comic. Many aren’t and he certainly wasn’t. There were one or two good one liners but the rest of his performance was dated and strained. We left half way through. Another choppy night and I was disturbed by our next door neighbour banging things around at midnight and then turning their TV on too loud. We like the cabins, but the sound insulation between them is terrible. DAY 2 - Monday 23rd October - At Sea The clocks had gone forward during the night but we weren’t entirely sure whether or not our phones had picked up the European time zone. They hadn’t, so we were an hour behind. None the less, we managed to get to the Medina restaurant 10 minutes before they close to new arrivals. After breakfast we headed over to the Curzon Theatre for the port talks on La Coruna and Bilbao. Although these are thinly veiled sales pitches for the P&O excursions, the presenter was one of the better ones that we have listened to. She had excellent presentational skills, was a clear speaker, kept up a good pace and provided useful info for those of us going ashore independently. We skipped past the Food and Beverage Showcase, as it was being held around the atrium, which is a narrow pinch point at the best of times and particularly so when it’s a sea day and the shops have stalls of tat on display. We took up an early spot in The Playhouse for a talk by Chris Walker on The Great American Songbook. Mildly interesting and a different way to spend 45 minutes, but a very easy gig for the speaker (in return for a free cruise), as it was brief biographies of artists that could be found in seconds on Wikipedia interspersed with film clips. Lunch in the Medina restaurant, where the menu was exactly the same one that we’d had two days earlier during our previous cruise. Upon leaving we realised that the evening menu (Marco Pierre White Gala Dinner) was identical as well, so we decided to book a table at Sindhu instead to see if we would prefer it this time, having been disappointed during our May cruise on Aurora, where Sindhu wasn’t anywhere near as good as the versions on Britannia or Ventura. At 2pm I attended the port talk on La Rochelle and Cherbourg, but post lunch drowsiness meant that I didn’t catch all of it! We were now in the Bay of Biscay and there’s quite a bit of movement. Back to The Playhouse at 4.15pm for a Classical Concert by Spanish guitarist Dimitris Dekavalles who was incredibly talented and put on a very enjoyable performance. This was as enjoyable as the performances by Harmony Duo during our May cruise. Having changed into our formal attire for the first of the two Black Tie evenings, we first attended the 6pm Captains welcome aboard drinks reception in Carmen’s. Dinner in Sindhu had to be at 6.30pm as it was fully booked thereafter (our consolation being a free bottle of wine for early diners up to 6.30pm), so we were a bit concerned that Captain Turnbull didn’t arrive until 6.25 (having done the Crows Nest party first). This was the first time that we had seen him since we boarded 3 days earlier, but he seemed a very personable chap. As he finished speaking we dashed up to Sindhu, arriving 10 minutes late, but we needn’t have worried as they were very welcoming and offered the complimentary bottle of wine without us asking for it. Service and food were both very good, although we still aren’t fans of the ambiance and location of Sindhu on Aurora. It’s essentially an extension of the coffee shop during the day and looks like it. It is open to the atrium and noisy as a result. There are some dividing screens, but they are lattice in design, so provide no sound screening whatsoever. As this poor design makes the restaurant feel less exclusive than the versions on other ships, payment of the £40 cover charge (for 2) doesn’t feel such good value here as it does on Britannia or Ventura. There was only one option for the evening entertainment, Jamie Allan in the Curzon Theatre, who was billed as an iMagician. The pre show videos built it up to look quite promising, but the actual show fell a bit short. There were some clever tricks, but he was a bit stilted in his performance and the numerous card tricks on a table became less convincing when you realised that his hand movements were ever so slightly out of sync with the overhead camera shots, which he continually felt the need to say were ‘live’. DAY 3 - Tuesday 24th October- La Coruna, Spain We woke up to an amazing sunrise over the Spanish coast as we reversed onto the berth at La Coruna. From our balcony we had a fabulous view of the harbour and town, including the famous glass fronted Avenida de la Marina. After breakfast in the Medina restaurant, we headed up to deck 13 in order to get our bearings for where we would be walking from the panoramic observation deck. No shuttle bus is needed here as the berth is in the town centre, so we commenced an anti clockwise circuit of the coastal path around the peninsular. First of all we walked out on to a jetty where numerous locals were fishing. This provided a good view of Aurora. The coastal walk very much reminded us of Cadiz, but without the tropical gardens alongside the promenade. After several miles we came to the Tower of Hercules lighthouse, which was originally built by the Romans who traded tin between here and Cornwall. We had coped well with the wheelchair up until this point, but I did the final climb up the ramp to the lighthouse on my own. We then continued anti-clockwise around the promenade until we were the opposite side of the headland to Aurora, at which point we headed inland and walked around the shopping centre before finishing up in the square in front of the ornate town hall, the towers of which had beautiful sparkling bronze coloured roofs. We were too late for lunch in the Medina restaurant, so headed for the Glass House where we enjoyed copious quantities of chilled water (the outside temperature had reached 21 degrees) and lunch, comprising 3 small plates each and a shared platter of Alex James cheeses. A fairly early departure was scheduled (4.30pm) and a chap pushing his wife in a wheelchair was last to board a few minutes after the deadline. We enjoyed the sailway from our balcony which was on the sunny side. In spite of Captain Turnbulls assurances to the contrary, the ship started moving around again once we had moved back out into the Bay of Biscay. After 3 full days of very noticeable movement we had enjoyed our day ashore on terra-firma. This evening was the first meal that we hadn’t enjoyed in the Meridian, as we both had Pollock with Parmesan crust, which was tasteless. DAY 4 - Wednesday 25th October- Bilbao, Spain After breakfast we boarded an accessible shuttle coach for the transfer to Bilbao. We were dropped off within a 5 minute walk of the Guggenheim Museum, which was our first and primary port of call. We received some sort of reduced admission because of the wheelchair and then spent a few hours looking around various galleries of bizarre sheets of metal, splashes on canvas and video clips, all masquerading as art. Not really our thing, but the building itself was impressive, particularly from the outside. As we left the Guggenheim, we decided to follow the promenade along the river towards the old city. This was going well until it petered out and we had to climb up a long slope before realising that we had missed the bridge that we needed to cross over the river. We picked our way back down and entered the old part of the city. It was quite quaint but a bit of a rabbit warren and we somehow managed to get completely lost and exited at completely the wrong end to where we had planned. After trying unsuccessfully to find where we were on the map, we asked some locals who were having a coffee to show us where we were. It looked a long way back to the shuttle bus and potentially hilly, so we chickened out and got a cab back to the shuttle stop and, from there, a shuttle back to the ship. Another late lunch in The Glass House which, yet again, we had virtually to ourselves. The problem with late lunches is that we then struggle with dinner, so after a long rest in our cabin, including watching the sailaway, we still had no appetite. The Headliners Theatre Group were performing for the first time this cruise (note - we are 4 days in!) but it is the show ‘Fantasy’ which we don’t particularly rate as the storyline is a bit daft. In the hope that we would have worked up an appetite by 9.30pm (last admission for Freedom dining) we decided to give the 8.30pm show a try. It was better than the last time we had seen it as the singers could at least hit the right notes this time but, as has been the case every time we have been in the theatre, passengers stroll in throughout the entire performance and then expect those who were seated on time to have their enjoyment interrupted by having to stand mid-performance to let them pass along a row. P&O staff should stop anyone entering the theatre 5 minutes after curtain up. The other thing that is extremely distracting is the tendency of some passengers to feel the need to talk throughout the performance. As the show closed we dashed over to the Meridian Restaurant still with 10 minutes to spare. Although we were happy to share, we were shown to a table for 2, where we enjoyed a good meal and friendly service. DAY 5 - Thursday 26th October - La Rochelle, France Another dry day as we arrived at our penultimate port, La Rochelle in France. Unlike La Coruna, where we had a stunning view from our balcony, this was a commercial port with dust flying around from the gravel mountain that was being moved around by diggers during our stay. As this was a smaller town, we didn’t leave the ship until around 11am. A shuttle bus was required and this wasn’t as efficient as the service we’d had in Bilbao. At each end, one or two local young ladies had been deployed to supervise the loading and dispatch of buses. As a result, this was all taking a lot longer than if passengers had been left to their own devices. After around a 15 minute wait to board, we were then surprised to find that the supposed 3 mile transfer to the centre was far more like 10 miles as we spent 20 minutes driving there, including on a motorway. Our return trip was a shorter route, but no way was it only 3 miles. La Rochelle itself was very pleasant. An old historic French harbour with imposing buildings, a pretty harbour and countless restaurants and shops, all of which looked very good. After a pleasant stroll around, we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. To show how futile the shuttle bus boarding controls were, our bus pulled away with one more passenger on board than seats and one chap had to sit on the step throughout the journey. Unlike in Spain, the French insisted on seeing everyone’s passport (in addition to cruise cards) before letting us back on the ship. Post Brexit, you can imagine that they will be even more awkward! For the first time this cruise there seemed to be a problem getting passengers back on board. Two gangways we attached. One, to deck 7, looked very steep and was not yet in use. The remaining one, to deck 5, seemed to have a problem as there were long waits between each small group of passengers being allowed on. We eventually boarded after around 20 minutes waiting on the quayside. As we were booked to attend the 6.30pm Food and Wine Pairing Dinner at the Glass House, we decided to have a light lunch in the cabin from the Grab n’ Go area. We then relaxed in the cabin until the sail-away although, being an industrial port, there wasn’t much to see, especially as we plunged into thick fog within a few miles of shore. Aurora’s fog horn started sounding every few minutes, which reminded us of our Baltic Cruise in May where it resulted in us having severely disturbed sleep for 2 nights as we glided along flat calm seas in thick fog. On that cruise, we did not feel a single bit of movement for the entire 14 days, unlike this cruise where it has been almost constant - albeit not enough to cause either of us any issues (other than the loud creaking from the ceiling which has disturbed us a few nights). Thankfully, the fog ended as quickly as it had begun. We had enjoyed the Food and Wine pairing dinner when we had been on Aurora in May, so were pleased to see it was being held on this cruise as well (although there are apparently no wine or gin tastings on 7 day cruises). Clearly the £30 per head charge had put off most people as there were only 6 couples present, spread across 3 tables for 4 people. We finished dinner in time to catch the later of Dimitris Dekavalles’ 2nd performance in The Playhouse at 9.30pm. Another superb performance, this time of Latin American guitar music. Sadly, as has been the case throughout this entire cruise, our enjoyment of the performance was severely impacted by the constant comings and goings of passengers throughout the entire 45 minutes. These passengers, who feel that it is acceptable to walk in half way through a performance and disrupt others enjoyment as they ask people who had been seated on time to stand to let them pass, then seem to feel that it is equally acceptable to hold conversations during the show. All of this, coupled with the fact that the latecomers also leave the door to the main corridor open allowing passing noise to be heard, must be as infuriating for the artists as it is the guests who have the courtesy to arrive on time. It is a shame that the member of the entertainments team who introduces the artist doesn’t put a ‘No Entry’ sign on the door once the performance has begun. DAY 6 - Friday 27th October- At Sea It had taken a long time to get to sleep as the occupants of the adjacent cabin had been crashing and banging around and talking at full volume, in spite of a request in Horizon (which we had never seen before) asking passengers to be considerate about such things given how sound travels between cabins. It’s a shame that they don’t print this message daily as other less important things seem to be. As it was a sea day, we weren’t in quite such a rush for breakfast, but we still managed to arrive at the Meridian Restaurant with only 10 minutes to spare before the 9.30am cut off time. I have always felt that 9am (port days) and 9.30am (sea days) is too early a cut off time for breakfast in the restaurant when people are on holiday. 10am would seem a far more reasonable time to me. After breakfast, I headed to the Curzon Theatre for Chris Walkers 2nd talk, this time on Nat King Cole which was as interesting about the racial discrimination in the USA in the 1940’s and 1950’s as it was for the music. Lunch in the Meridian Restaurant was an easy decision as there was an Asian platter as a starter and lamb jalfrezi for main course. After lunch we went to The Playhouse for Demitris Dekavalles’ last performance of the cruise. Judging by the near full house, we are clearly not the only passengers who prefer our entertainment to be a few levels up from the usual holiday camp style that P&O seems to specialise in. As it was the last sea day, we tidied up a few loose ends, such as completing and returning the customer service questionnaire and returning the book that had been borrowed from the library. It was black and white night and we decided to start the evening with a gin flight in Anderson’s (strangely, they don’t offer these in the Crows Nest on Aurora as they do on Britannia). As well as some nice nibbles, we were surprised to find that the waiting staff (of whom there were many, unlike the Crows Nest) handed out plates of canapés. We shall have to remember Anderson’s as our pre-dinner bar of choice on our future Aurora cruises. Dinner was the Chaine des Rotisseurs version. We said that we would share a table but still had a wait (with a pager). Around 30 minutes later we had not been called, so I enquired at the restaurant managers desk and we were taken straight to a table. Unfortunately, the other 6 guests had already ordered and their starters were arriving as we were ordering, which I thought was pretty poor but, to be fair to the waiters, our starters were served very quickly and we were able to catch up. It was a great table and we really enjoyed the company of all 3 other couples. Half the table (including us) had ordered the lobster. The waiter appeared after some delay and said that there was a wait for lobster. When they eventually arrived, we all had very small portions. It looked as though they had run out and tried to spread what was left between all those they had left to serve. We’ve never experienced that before during 12 previous cruises with P&O. Surprisingly, we had only had one performance by the Headliners over the first 6 nights. Perhaps they were on holiday as well? Tonight it was the girl group called Sister Twist again. They were pretty good. DAY 7 - Saturday 28th October - Cherbourg We had assumed that this would be our least interesting port of call and whilst the town itself was nothing to write home about, it was a 10 minute walk from the ship (shuttle buses were provided but not necessary) which turned out to be quite an interesting walk as fishermen were selling their freshly caught fish, crab and lobsters on the quayside. Cherbourg has quite a large traditional shopping area (in which we purchased some gifts to take home) and, on the other side of the harbour, a modern shopping centre. The highlight of the visit, however, was the City of the Sea exhibition which was immediately adjacent to where we had berthed. This is housed in the old Art Deco buildings of the former grand ocean liner terminal once used by Cunard and White Star Line, including passengers boarding Titanic. After lunch back on board the ship, I went back ashore on my own and had a thoroughly enjoyable visit there, which included a full tour inside a decommissioned French nuclear submarine (La Redoubtable), an aquarium, the old Art Deco Boarding halls and a Titanic Museum. The sail-away was relatively uneventful and at 7pm we headed up to the Beach House for our final evening meal. Service was excellent as ever but the food wasn’t great this time. The chilli squid was absent of any chilli whatsoever and the chocolate fondu, which we had enjoyed on a previous cruise, had been ruined by the use of a very watery chocolate sauce that was more akin to drinking chocolate. After dinner we had some time to kill before the final show, so we went to Anderson’s for a pre-show drink. Entertainment for the final night was a new show called ‘Echoes in the Night’. Performed by the Headliners Theatre Company, in what was only their 2nd show of a 7 night cruise, this was quite a departure from their normal song and dance shows. The story line was more convincing, the acting was less forced and the dancing was excellent. Singing new songs in the style of old songs didn’t work for me, but it was refreshing to see P&O try a need format as their traditional approach to entertainment is really stuck in a time warp. DAY 8 - Sunday 29th October - Southampton Whilst it is usual when returning from mainland Europe to gain an hour back during the morning of arrival back in Southampton, as it was the end of British summer time UK clocks went back an hour overnight so we had to put our watches back 2 hours. Coupled with the fact that Cherbourg is less than 100 miles from Southampton, the Captain had time to kill overnight, so we had headed West along the English Channel towards Devon before turning back towards the Isle of Wight. It was a busy morning in the port of Southampton as Ventura, Oceana, Independence of the Seas and a Fred Olsen ship had all arrived before Aurora, even though we had by far the shortest journey! We vacated our cabin at 8am and then had the usual final morning difficulty of trying to get a lift, as able bodied passengers disembarking the ship insist on using the lifts simply because they are carrying small items of hand luggage, thus making it near impossible for wheelchair users (who are unable to use the stairs) to move between floors. After we had eventually managed to get to the Medina Restaurant, we were pleased to find that there was no queue to enter and we had our pre departure breakfast. At the end of our May cruise on Aurora we had been unimpressed with the assisted disembarkation service, as it was wildly abused by a large number of passengers who didn’t genuinely need a wheelchair to get off the ship but had requested the service in order to queue jump. In frustration, I had pushed the wheelchair off the ship myself and we requested the assistance of a porter in the luggage hall. This time we decided that, if there was a long queue, we would do the same again. When we reported to Vandebelts we realised that there were an awful lot of people in there already (most of whom had coped easily without a wheelchair all cruise, around the ship, on and off in ports and whilst ashore, but suddenly need one to get off the ship on the last morning when there is some perceived advantage), so we didn’t sit down and just followed the next assistance pusher off the ship and grabbed a porter. As we were returning to the QE2 terminal having departed on the previous cruise from Mayflower terminal, we had been concerned that our car wouldn’t be waiting for us. No need to worry as it was there in poll position at the front of the first line of cars! Finally, we have a new favourite captain in Neil Turnbull. Nobody has ever lived up to Chris Wells, whose humour and informative announcements made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the two Cruises we did with him, but Captain Turnbull has personality, humour and professionalism. Few have all three, but he does and we hope to sail with him again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing ... Read More
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing separate reviews for each). The 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge didn’t start well, as CPS car drop off was, for the first time, poor. The normal arrangement for a 2 day cruise is for passengers to self park in the short stay car park, but I had called CPS many weeks before and they had linked our two cruise bookings, telling me that I could ignore the self parking option and should pull up at the terminal to be valet parked as normal. I had called CPS again the day before the cruise to confirm and was, once again, told this would be no issue and CPS staff would be available at the terminal. As we arrived at the terminal, we first had a battle with the traffic marshal’s, who seemed incapable of understanding what we had arranged (and were quite offhand) and then, as we arrived outside the Mayflower cruise terminal, there wasn’t a CPS operative in sight. After a phone call to CPS (when I was kept on hold for 10 minutes) and a further wait, two CPS staff members eventually arrived. During the time that we were waiting I noticed that the porters were just standing idle alongside the building waiting for passengers to take their cases to them. Even though I had two large cases, a carry case, a wheelchair and my wife to attend to, no effort whatsoever was made to assist. When I asked an idle porter whether or not there was porter service today, he replied “No, there never is”. Perhaps he meant on 2 day cruises, but this attitude was shocking none the less. Thankfully, as we entered the terminal building, first class service immediately took over. We reported to assisted embarkation and didn’t even have to take a seat, as we were escorted straight to check-in and were through security and on board within around 10 minutes. A record for us. Due to high winds when Aurora had docked, the air bridge wasn’t attached, so we had to board up a steep ramp from the dockside. Thankfully we were assisted by two pushers for this bit. Even though we had an embarkation time of 1430, we were in our cabin by 1310 with both cases already present. Very impressed. We were staying in C152 (Accessible Balcony) which was the same cabin that we had stayed in for our 16 night Baltic cruise in May. We instantly noticed an issue with the bed, in that one half was higher than the other! Also, the previous occupants had stupidly left the safe locked, rather than open as instructed. We could not find our steward, so unpacked and stowed the suitcases under the bed. More than an hour later, we eventually found our steward (Lawrence) who told us that the previous occupant had hired a Mobility at Sea special bed and that the normal bed had not returned as planned. He said he would sort it out and called the deck manager to unlock the safe. Next stop the Glass House, where we each traded our Peninsular Club vouchers for a freebie glass of champagne. The staff have all changed since our May cruise, but were just as friendly. We also noticed that food was available during the afternoon, even though it was a changeover day. We had already had an early lunch at Maritimo Lounge in Ocean Village, but will keep this in mind for changeover day on Sunday as we are staying on board. Then to Anderson’s for the muster drill. When we returned our life jackets to the cabin we were impressed to find that the bed had already been changed and was now level! Up to the Crows Nest for a sailway drink and observation as we pulled forward off the berth, turned (as the ship had docked facing inland) and cruised out past the Isle of Wight. Horns were honked between us and Azura as we passed her. Azura is delaying its departure by 24 hours due to former hurricane (now storm) ‘Brian’ which is due to engulf the English Channel tomorrow. As we are heading North, we are departing as normal, although we will have to come back through the remnants of it. During out time in the Crows Nest we were joined by a lovely couple who lived on The Isle of Wight, so were able to have a good chat about the island. We weren’t overly fussed about the main dining room menu, so tried to get into Sindhu, which although only had about 4 couples in it was apparently full! We ended up in the Beach House where the manager recognised us from May. We experienced exemplary service but my beef sizzling platter wasn’t as tasty as before and none of the deserts appealed, so I just had Eton Mess ice cream, which was very nice. We didn’t fancy the Headliners show (Fantasy) as we had seen it in May and didn’t rate it, so we went to Carmen’s for a Showaddywaddy tribute band called Shomaddymaddy. Pure cheese, but we actually quite enjoyed it as the music was good, even though we couldn’t see the band once the dance floor had filled with people dancing! Our final port of call was a repeat visit to the Crows Nest, as the male members of the Aurora Orchestra were performing. However, they were playing jazz, which is about the only style of music that I intensely dislike, so we retired to bed, although I first popped out to the Horizon buffet for a Horlicks nightcap. DAY 2 - Saturday 21st October- At Sea (Zeebrugge cancelled) Although we had heard a lot of people talking very loudly as they passed our cabin late at night, we both managed to sleep well, probably assisted by the combination of alcohol, Stugeron and rocking motion! At 0745 (0645 UK time) we were woken by Captain Turnbull making an announcement that, due to high winds, we were unable to dock at Zeebrugge and would have a day at sea as he had not been able to find a substitute port. Although quite understandable, it’s a shame for those who had booked the cruise specifically to go to Bruges, not least as there are no other stops and this is now a cruise to nowhere! We both commented on how professional and comprehensive his announcement was e.g “the safety of the vessel and all those aboard is, and always will be, my first priority”. We had a leisurely breakfast in the Medina restaurant where the waiter remembered us from our last cruise. During the morning, we cruised up past the Thames Estuary (passing wind farms and gas platforms) into the North Sea, prior to turning around 180 degrees off Lowestoft and heading back towards Southampton - and storm Brian! Lunch in the Medina prior to popping our head into Carmen’s for a singer , Sadie Ebbon, whose 11.15pm show had been brought forward to 2pm due to the unplanned sea day. We stayed for a few songs but weren’t really getting in to it, so we left and went to Anderson’s for a quiet read. By now there were a few more white peaks on the waves and more noticeable movement. We have noticed how busy the ship feels compared to our last cruise on Aurora, which is not helped by everyone having to stay on board and it being autumn, so few people are on the open decks. Although the P&O blurb talks about this being a ‘Discovery Cruise’, the staff on board refer to it as a ‘Party Cruise’ and you can see why. Lots of large groups including quite a few hen parties. We assume that, to keep costs down, they might be sharing 4 adults to a cabin, which also explains the relatively high passenger density. As the ship was busy, we returned to our cabin for a rest and to read. The wind was now force 9 with gusts up to force 11. The balcony divider door is rattling loudly and our patio door out to the balcony is draughty and doesn’t keep out the noise of the wind. We ordered a cream tea from the new room service menu. This took around an hour to arrive. Our steward is pleased that we are staying on board. He explained that on changeover days he works almost all day and evening and has just 90 minutes off during which time he has to rest, eat and call home. The band ‘Caravan’ are on board again, so we decided to go to the 7.30pm Bee Gee’s Tribute show which we had very much enjoyed when we were last on Aurora in May. There was no member of the entertainment team present to provide the commentary between each song and the lead singer attempted to do it but really struggled due to his strong Philippine accent. Thankfully the songs were still good. We decided to have dinner late, so hot footed from Carmen’s to the other end of the ship to the Curzon Theatre for the early (8.30pm) show of a Madness tribute band called Badness. They were the same group that had performed the Showaddywaddy tribute and we enjoyed this performance as much, especially as they didn’t just sing Madness songs but also other Ska groups such as The Specials and Bad Manners. We left before the end as it was 15 minutes before the Medina restaurant closed to new arrivals, so we hope that the show is repeated on our follow on cruise. Dinner in the Medina restaurant was the Marco Pierre White menu, as it was the Black Tie night. Other than the Beef Wellington, I didn’t particularly enjoy the other courses (other than the delicious port infused Stilton to finish) so may dip into the non-Marco choices next time that menu appears. As we had finished dinner very late and the ship was being buffeted by Storm Brian now that we were in it’s path in the English Channel, we retired to our cabin. It was difficult to get to sleep due to the fact that the ceiling of the cabin above the bathroom door was creaking and banging as the ship was being thrown around by the storm. That said, we didn’t feel sick at all and obviously slept well when we eventually got to sleep as we didn’t awake until we were alongside in Southampton. As we were doing our first back to back cruise, there are no disembarkation comments to make and anything beyond this point will feature in the next review. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in ... Read More
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in wardrobe. and of course the walk in shower. Food was ok although the horizon restaurant was nearly always busy so with my wife in a wheelchair it was easier to eat outside for breakfast and on sunny days and why not. Not much entertainment on sea days other P&O cruises we were always kept entertained, as 2-3 sea days can be very boring. No activities around the pool no chutes just 2 swimming pools. Obviously very accessible for disabled throughout the ship except deck 18. However not all good for disabled. As stated by others stairs in midships only go to deck 7 bad design therefore unless you walked to either the stern or forward passengers would get the lift. Lifts were small 2 wheelchairs and a couple of passengers that was it. The Oriental restaurant on deck 6 aft can only be accessed by stairs or lifts there is no thoroughfare so disabled had a long time to wait for the lifts. another bad design. The theatre called 'headliner's is too small for the number of passengers on the ship Although some disabled spaces are available there should be designated area for wheelchair users, with the emphasis on wheelchair users . Chairs would be moved out the way for the wheelchair users but of course some people would just sit in the chairs. You would have to get to the theatre 45 minutes at least to guarantee a place for the wheel chair Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was a back to back with the Mediterranean cruise. The ship was great. All the amenities we required. Smaller than Indy but that did not detract. We moved from a standard cabin to a disabled access cabin It was great to get the ... Read More
This was a back to back with the Mediterranean cruise. The ship was great. All the amenities we required. Smaller than Indy but that did not detract. We moved from a standard cabin to a disabled access cabin It was great to get the extra room for the scooter and the wet room The couple who had this cabin before had cleaned it from top to bottom as they were very disappointed with the standard of cleanliness That gave the cabin steward a good start but edges and corners were not cleaned until well into the cruise. We stock with the windjammer due to poor experience in dining room on previous cruise. Windjammer was very good, great selection, lots of vegetarian options., We loved the food and service in Johnny Rockets and dined three times in Sabor, the specialist Indian cuisine Best Indian meal ever. Stage shows did not attract us in as we had seen them last cruise, same with ice shows. Service in the Diamond Lounge was great Hats off to Kevin, Concierge, Alexandrou and JJ, bar staff. They made our visits feel personal and welcome. Ports were good but very naughty of RCI not to tell us that there were no disabled shuttles and no suitable infrastructure in Morocco We got a note on our beds late the night before we docked. Some of us had cruised because we wanted to see Morocco. For one it was on his Bucket List. They should have told us when we booked disabled access cabins Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant ... Read More
Plenty to do on the Black Watch, throughout the day and plenty excursions to enjoy when in port whether you choose to do it yourself or through one of the organised activities. The ship was very clean considering her age and constant maintenance takes place to ensure this. Our cabin 8005 with balcony was adequate for our week's holiday and it was cleaned and maintained daily by our wonderful young lady who looked after us for that week. Dining was excellent, we requested first sitting and had a table for two, although we were in close proximity of 4 other people whom we struck up good conversation with. The waiters could not do enough to please you, along with bar staff in all the bars. Evening show was well presented and varied with some talented artists. Although there were a high percentage of elderly people on board that did not make the experience less enjoyable, in fact it was nice to see older people enjoying themselves. Trip was so good, we booked for another one next year to the fjords and the port being 5 minutes from our door. Couldn't ask for more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Late booking secured excellent deal with adjacent balcony cabins and inclusive drinks package for 4 adults. A beautiful Ship in excellent condition. The most visible and charismatic Captain we have ever had on 10 cruises - his ... Read More
Late booking secured excellent deal with adjacent balcony cabins and inclusive drinks package for 4 adults. A beautiful Ship in excellent condition. The most visible and charismatic Captain we have ever had on 10 cruises - his charm and hospitality permeated through all the officers and the entire crew. The fastest embarkation and disembarkation we have ever experienced - superbly organised. Excellent wheel-chair assistance from car to lounge on ship on departure and the reverse on arrival. Excellent clean cabin with attentive room steward and cleaner, Plenty of quiet space around the ship and excellent on-board facilities. Great entertainment and shows. Singers, Dancers, Juggler, Comedian, and other shows - plenty of space in theatre with no queues, Wonderful food well served, huge choice, lovely main dining room. Despite 2800 passengers - it never felt crowded. One small niggle was the Lisbon City Tour by coach organised through Celebrity - a very poor guide, the route was not clearly described and the coach did not stop at the main sights in Lisbon. We should have arranged our own tour by taxi. The city looked wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This ship has a strain of flu not yet in the U.S. and is knowingly operating without quarantine or warning at-risk passengers. I saw a cupful of bedbugs found by first time cruisers on their honeymoon, scrubbed black slimemold out of my ... Read More
This ship has a strain of flu not yet in the U.S. and is knowingly operating without quarantine or warning at-risk passengers. I saw a cupful of bedbugs found by first time cruisers on their honeymoon, scrubbed black slimemold out of my handicapped shower. I paid too much for my mediocre, passive/ aggressive pedicure. Dining and waitstaff were magnificent, thankfully. As half of a double income no kids, I am unimpressed, regardless of the Captain's good graces. Take Clorox wipes and avoid the population the UK is beautiful. The ship's age is showing, and I understand that it's a ship, things do go wrong, but having watched several friends and family members have to get upset/ and/or sick enough to have to raise their voices to get a response , I will be hard pressed to recommend this brand. For an organization that bills themselves as the consummate host, I find their actions, rather lack thereof, grossly negligent, greedy, and deplorable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
After 10 years since our last cruise, I booked a 12 night adventure with my elderly father. I am 26 and he is 78 with a walker/cane. Overall, we had a great trip and enjoyed our time together - we are not picky people. However, he ... Read More
After 10 years since our last cruise, I booked a 12 night adventure with my elderly father. I am 26 and he is 78 with a walker/cane. Overall, we had a great trip and enjoyed our time together - we are not picky people. However, he mentioned several times while on the ship, and off, that he doesn't think he will sail with Princess again; and I agree. PROS: - Service: 95% of the service we received was exceptional! The genuine care and attention from many of the crew members salvaged the other aspects of the ship. I drink, so the bar staff got to know me over the course of several days and greeted me across the decks (by name) every time they saw me with a smile; even if I was just passing by. The restaurant staff was also wonderful and very caring. Maybe I just have a memorable face but they seemed genuine each time they greeted us night after night. The spa attendants had a bit more of a spicy demeanor but were still very nice and fun. I think they get tired of seeing the same old kinds of people and will treat you well if you take the time to talk with them. I only dealt with one excursion officer for our onshore endeavors who was extra helpful. After only meeting him once, he automatically sent my father priority passes to exit the ship with disability access and reserved us front seats on each bus - something we did not even request or know about. Each time we disembarked the ship, the crew was always very helpful and swift with my father - making a normally chaotic experience a stress-free one. The staff was 10/10, overall. - Cleanliness: The entire ship was very clean, our cabins were spotless, and the newly refurbished areas were very nice. - Excursions: The ports and excursions were all fun. We choose excursions that were designed for limited mobility and were simple to get off and on. Princess exceed our expectations with several of their offerings. CONS: - Food/Dining: After the first day cruising, my father and I recalled what we noted on our last cruise with Holland America: "My God, the food on this ship is so much better than Princess!" - a realization that we had forgotten when we booked this cruise. When you are on vacation, food is a big part of the fun. I'm going to break down the dining experiences we experienced: 1. Main Dining Room: Usually decent food. We stuck with shrimp cocktails each night and had about 1-2 good dinners that we would actually order again. Everything else was just meh. Only sent food back once, something I never do, because my steak was virtually raw, not medium. The staff was great, and the food was the best that was included on the cruise, so we frequented it more than the rest. 2. Buffet: The "International Marketplace" was very bad. The salads were like a cafeteria with prepaid dressings that tasted like they were from Sysco. The bread was always bland and dry. Their Asian-style food was like tough meat and veggies with generic soy sauce. Panda Express is more authentic. The only good food I remember getting from the buffet was veal and prime rib, which was only available one day each. I am not a breakfast person, so I cannot comment on the morning options. 3. Slice: The poolside pizza was disappointingly some of the best food on the ship. I did enjoy the pizza and the California toast was pretty decent if you like avocado and a ton of bacon. 4. Salty Dog: The hamburger place was disgusting. A frozen patty with very salty cheese and basic condiments. After one bite of the cheeseburger when we first boarded the ship, I looked at my dad and knew we were in for a rough time. All of the french fries on the ship are also frozen and flavorless with no seasoning. A hamburger is a hard thing to mess up, but the burgers on Princess make Burger King seem like a special treat. I didn't try their famous "Best Burger at Sea" because it was an extra $13, and I had no hope that it would suffice. 5. Crown Grill: At $40 per person extra, we decided not to try the ship's steakhouse. It probably would have been decent, but we decided we would just eat the free food on the ship and put our money toward better things - or even our favorite restaurants back home. 6. Italian Restaurant: I forget the name, but it was the best food on the ship - not to mention a ton of it! There are many courses so don't fill up on the delicious bread. Unfortunately, we waited until the last couple of days to try this spot because we would have dinned here more often if we knew it was good. Worth the extra charge! 7. Planks: Coming from barbecue country, we have high expectations. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing. It defiantly satisfied my cravings for meat and flavor. The menu was a bit confusing. We were a party of two and thought we each got a choice of 4 meats. However, they brought the "plank" for two of us, which was a ton of food. The order was therefore a little mixed up, but we didn't have a problem with it. The tri-tip was very tough but the flavor was good. The pickles came from a jar and were way too sour. If you are craving BBQ, it is worth the extra charge. Otherwise, skip it. 8. Steamers: You'd think a cruise ship would specialize in seafood... My dad was more disappointed than I was because he loves fish. The starters were good - we loved the chowder. The crab legs and lobster were also good (all I really wanted anyway), but not enough to fill you up. The flounder was inedible. It was smothered and injected with crab meat and overpowering cheese. It was like a VERY fishy omelette more than anything. Not worth the extra charge in my opinion, but it was the only place to get crab legs or lobster on the ship unless you deal with dressing up for formal night in the main dining room. 9. Room Service: Worse than main dining room, terrible hamburger same as the poolside place, very small portions. 10. International Cafe: The ship's only 24 hour place to get food. Cold pasta salads and sandwiches with about 90% bread and 10% filler. The bite-sized desserts were good. The rest was just food for the sake of being food. Nothing worth a second bite. Also had one of the worst mochas I've ever tasted. - Extra Charges: Don't expect to get anything for free on a Princess cruise. The internet is insanely slow and expensive. I spent a lot of my paid minutes waiting for pages to load. My father was horrified that they charge extra for black coffee everywhere but in the formal dining room. This means you have to pay Starbucks prices each morning if you want any caffeine. I purchased the unlimited beverage package which was worthwhile because they strictly measure a thimble's worth of liquor in each drink. They do have a good cocktail selection, but you cannot get doubles with this package. I was disappointed that all food except for the main dining room, buffet, and pool food areas was an extra charge. Even the real ice cream at the "Coffee and Cones" was an extra cost, only the soft serve yogurt is included. I also didn't like that you had to pay for many of the onboard activities and games including bingo. - Hidden Fees: Watch out for extra gratuity charges that will be added to your bill, even if you opted out of the prepaid gratuity. We were luckily advised by another guest to print out a copy of our invoice on the last night of the cruise - THANK GOD! We were surprised to learn that a daily $13.50 housekeeping gratuity had been added to each of our cabins, even though the unfriendly service did not deserve it. We cancelled that and tipped the cabin steward what we thought was fair in cash and left it in the room. We also caught a staggering $475.00 charge that was accidentally added by the spa staff without any explanation. After we questioned the charge, it was immediately removed as an honest mistake - but it would not have been if we did not see it first. - Service: There were only two issues we encountered with certain staff members... The crew at the ship's front desk were always elsewhere. With 7 stations, it was usually staffed with 0-3 people max. This made the front desk lines very long. The only other person who was unpleasant to deal with was our main cabin steward. He was nice enough on the first day but for the next 11, he would never smile, talk, or acknowledge you unless you made the first move. A real sour puss. My dad asked if I did something to offend him; that's how cold he was toward both of us. We both kept our cabins clean but I felt unwelcome and judged by him because he gave off such negative vibes. If I trashed my room each day then I would have understood, but this was weird. Sufficed to say, he did not earn his $13.50/day cleaning gratuity from me or my father because of his unfortunate demeanor which threw off our daily routine. - Commercialized Atmosphere: At times, it felt like being in a floating mall. Everyone was trying to sell you something - either a GoPro camera, a Discovery Brand accessory, or a really bad painting. The art gallery was right outside our room, so it was unavoidable. It felt a lot like Disneyland when you see signs like "Indiana Jones - Sponsered by AT&T" . Didn't feel upscale. SUMMARY: If you are reading reviews on a site like this, it means you care about what kind of vacation you are about to put good money into. If you don't care about food quality, upscale entertainment, or aren't looking for a young person's experience, you should seriously consider a Princess cruise. However, if you want a less commercialized experience, gourmet cuisine, and upscale amenities - seek another cruise line like Holland America or higher. I talked to some other passengers who had much worse horror stories on our same cruise... One man's room was directly across from the laundry room. During the first day of very rough seas (that day's port was cancelled), the laundry machine's overflowed and water spilled into his cabin - soaking the entire carpet and the luggage/shoes/belongings of his that were on the floor. When they discovered this, the crew made them virtually stay out of their room except to sleep while they cleaned and replaced the carpet. They claimed they had absolutely no other rooms to switch them to for the inconvenience. Despite several of their belongings being ruined in the food, Princess would only compensate them $50.00. No free things, no discounts, and no upgrades. I know it was hearsay, but I cannot imagine this lack of service in the hospitality industry. The only other note I have was more of a personal bummer, not the ship's fault. I know that a 12 day cruise in September around the British Isle's isn't as sexy as a Spring Break cruise to Cabo, but I was very surprised that I was one of the youngest people on the ship. There was virtually no nightlife after 9:00 PM and the few bars that stayed open until 1:00 PM were very dead. The last Holland America ships I was on allowed the crew to enjoy the bars and nightclubs which made it a lot more social and fun. This was not allowed by Princess, so there was zero party scene. The crew told me that there are lots of parties and social events each night on the lower floors, but passengers are not allowed. There was also a number of "un-hosted" meetups advertised at various bars and lounges for singles, LGBT, etc. I tried to go to three of these but it was impossible to tell who else was there for the same reason. I only ended up meeting one other person there for the meetup because the only way to tell was to awkwardly go up to others and ask if they were there for the same thing. Just a poor system. It was not a bad cruise, but if I could do it over - I would have found another cruise line for this vacation. Overall, disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We felt we needed a quick cruise so we selected Oriana's 7 night trip round Ireland on which some friends were booked. We got a good cabin at a good price with a very generous on board spend allowance. Packing was a problem as Ireland ... Read More
We felt we needed a quick cruise so we selected Oriana's 7 night trip round Ireland on which some friends were booked. We got a good cabin at a good price with a very generous on board spend allowance. Packing was a problem as Ireland is not known for the driest weather but we only experienced a few drops during the entire week. The ports -1 Cobh. Known for being a major emigrant port, the last call of the Titanic and the sinking of Lusitania in 1915 was a delightful little town with good rail links to Cork from right alongside the ship. The museum 'The Queenstown Story' is right in the old station and is really worth a visit for only a few Euro. As it was Sunday when we called, the whole town turned out to see us and it was a really festive call. 2 Dublin. Easy shuttle into the city where we caught a Hop On Hop Off bus ('DoDublin'). The driver/guide was so funny we kept the video running just to record his fabulous humour - informative too! 3 Killibegs (port for Donegal). Quite small but the biggest fishing port in Ireland where we visited a craft exhibition laid on especially for the ship, talked to the local fishermen and tug crews. So friendly and good WiFi and food. 4 Galway. A long tender into port but the town laid on a big trip boat which eased the tender delays. Again, full of live entertainment and very pretty. The captain and crew (and fellow passengers) were all on top form and good sea days at both the beginning and end of the cruise meant that it was well balanced and seemed a lot longer. Thoroughly recommended. Oriana had a refit at the end of last year (2016) which we think had been very well done. All the cabin upholstery had been renewed (although cushions on the bigger cabin settees had not been replaced sadly) and all the seating and decor in all the bars and restaurants looked very well updated. The new carpets caused a few respiratory issues on the Amazon cruise we did in January but they had settled down by the time of this cruise. We felt that P&O had done a focussed refit on the passenger areas and Oriana looked all set for a few more years service. Our Deluxe outside cabin was so similar to our Deluxe balcony cabin from January a deck above that we found ourselves bumping into the window in the morning expecting to find a balcony door behind the curtains! There seemed to be fewer items in the cabin tea tray but our Steward Elton (great guy) was always refreshing it as well as supplying glasses, lemons and ice when we wanted it without any fuss. He was also very happy to empty the fridge on our arrival and to stow its contents under the bed so that we had the fridge available for entertaining.We noted that nearly all room service items (except breakfast) are now chargeable. Didn't worry us but upset some people. We had booked Freedom dining (which we were told was going to be the only form of regular dining on the new ship) and, as we dined with our same friends every night, we were able to arrange the same table at approximately the same time so as to enjoy our rapport with the same waiting team. As usual , it was almost exactly like Club dining but with the flexibility of Freedom dining with the added bonus of getting seated half an hour before the late sitting time in Club that we often opt for. Sadly lobster never made an appearance on either formal night. The quizzes we popular and well managed and the one guest speaker, Carole Phillips talking about her service in the Police was very entertaining and engaging. Headliners were particularly good on this cruise and had the sense to perform their Destination Dance show early on with its spectacular Riverdance final - very apt for Ireland. The classical pianist was very good but was AWOL for his last appearance sadly. We didn't go on any excursions as we were a foursome and could arrange our own schedule at reasonable cost - and there was no shortage of friendly locals to make sense of everywhere we went and to make excellent recommendations. It was almost in our native language! There were 300+ first time cruisers aboard and all the ones we met seemed to be enjoying themselves although the hardening of tender boarding restrictions, while sensible in our opinion, disappointed some of the more physically challenged guests. The only odd issue that we had not come across before was the charging of tax on all shipboard items in the shops. Apparently this is because the cruise was wholly within the EU and therefore everything had to be tax paid. This explains the popularity of ports such as St Peter Port, Guernsey, and Gibraltar whose tax-free status means that a visit there on any cruise apparently allows the cruise to 'leave' the EU for tax purposes. Check it out in the P&O online Advice Centre. Unfortunately Irish prices are rather higher than in the UK - but at least you get extra Club points in Tesco's! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Love this ship, itinerary took us to a couple of new places. The ship was full but never felt crowded. Food was lovely... I put on 4lbs. I had to make a choice every night...and the strawberry sundae was delicious! We had the best cabin ... Read More
Love this ship, itinerary took us to a couple of new places. The ship was full but never felt crowded. Food was lovely... I put on 4lbs. I had to make a choice every night...and the strawberry sundae was delicious! We had the best cabin steward ever, Shiva, he was so efficient and helpful. Mum uses a wheelchair and all the staff went out of their way to help her. The doors to the Prom deck were not electric so quite a challenge to get her out there, although there always seemed to be a helpful person to hold doors open. Leaving the Belvedere and going out onto deck 9 by the Aquarius pool there were 2 sets of doors to go through, one set automatic and the other not... I came home with a few bruises as I struggled to hold a door open and push mum through at the same time. Mum has a food allergy and was given the next days menu each evening. She could choose anything and they would make it specially for her. The new menus had lots of choices, I struggled every night to decide what to eat. The daily roast and grill really suited mum, I feel she ate the best on this cruise than any other. Assisted embarkation and disembarkation worked really well, luggage was outside our cabin when we got to it. We had a lovely cruise and we are looking forward to our next one, back on Arcadia next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was Our first Cruise, it was everything we were told it was going to be ,excellent,from start to finish, apart from the weather, (and i cant hold P&O responsible for that,) the staff on board were absolutely fantastic both on a ... Read More
This was Our first Cruise, it was everything we were told it was going to be ,excellent,from start to finish, apart from the weather, (and i cant hold P&O responsible for that,) the staff on board were absolutely fantastic both on a personal level,and professional level , the ship herself was neat and clean as was the cabin, the house keeping was outstanding, and all aboard went out of their way to help(my wife is disabled) if i could give a 11/10 i would ,from the captain down to the bottle washer ,everyone went out of their way to help, the food was great and plenty of it (i put on half a stone in a week), ease of access to all decks (using the lifts ) was easy We Highly recommend P&O Cruises, and will definitely travel with them again, With Grateful thanks to all aboard the Magnificent ORIANA, Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This is our first cruise with P&O and first impressions were great. My partner is unable to walk more than a few yards and uses a mobility scooter. Embarkation was smooth and very easy, we were fast tracked through check in and ... Read More
This is our first cruise with P&O and first impressions were great. My partner is unable to walk more than a few yards and uses a mobility scooter. Embarkation was smooth and very easy, we were fast tracked through check in and security and our luggage was waiting outside our cabin for us. We had a accessible balcony cabin on deck 12 (C deck) and were delighted with it! It was spacious and extremely comfortable, the wetroom was ideal and the balcony, although small was perfectly adequate. We were booked onto Freedom Dining and allocated the Peninsula restaurant and here is where we encountered the first frustration. As we expected we were told we had a short wait for a table and were given a pager. Unfortunately the reception for the pager didn't stretch as far as the closest bar on that level (Brodie's) and so we had to loiter close to the shops. As my partner uses a mobility scooter, to go to the bar in the atrium area we needed to use the lifts ..... often there were queues, so with a short 15-20 min wait it hardly seemed worth it! Once we made it into the restaurant the food was good ... although service was rushed and we thought the menu could have been more imaginative. On night 2 we had booked into the Limelight club to see Eric n Ern .... fabulous! Great food, great service and outstanding entertainment. Eric n Ern were brilliant and there was opportunity to have a photo with them afterwards. Grace, the host for the evening did a fabulous job. Well worth the cover charge. We also ate in the Beach House one evening and, although the menu and food were very good, the evening was spoilt because the air conditioning was uncomfortably cold. We complained several times but as the controls were centralised nothing could be done. Some diners were putting serviettes over their shoulders to try to keep off the cold! We did complain to reception and the cover charge was refunded back to our onboard account. Our first port of call was La Rochelle and we had booked the Il de Re excursion which was excellent. We loved the island so much we would like to return for a longer holiday. Next day was Bilbao and again we booked an excursion, this time to the Old town and Guggenheim..... another memorable day. Excellent. Both excursions were worth the money and the both Tour Guides and drivers outstanding. The drivers uncomplainingly lifted my partners scooter in and out of the coach luggage compartment at every stop and we had front row seats reserved on both coaches. Our final port of call was St Peter Port, unfortunately due to high winds the captain was forced to abandon the port as it was unsafe for the tenders. I watched the pilot boat early that morning and it was certainly 'bobbing around'. Although disappointing I did feel a certain sense of relief at not having to experience a tender to shore! However, due to the unexpected sea day, the ship was chaotic to say the least- the weather deteriorated and rain and wind made it impossible to access outside decks. This resulted in bored, but energetic children (and adults) all trying to find something to do! There was an alternative entertainment programme in place .... but not to our cup,of tea. We retreated to our cabin, my partner watched the Open Golf Championships on the TV and I read my book and had a nap! The final frustration came on disembarkation. We were told to join the special assistance group and meet in the Limelight Club at 8.15am. Realising the lifts would be busy, we left our cabin at 7.45am ... it took us almost 30 minutes to get in a lift! The lifts were full with passengers who had chosen to disembark with luggage, sometimes the lifts were full with large suitcases and only one or two people! It was so frustrating as we did not have an option to use the stairs! I think that lifts ought to be managed by staff at this busy time .... with at least one lift reserved for passengers using wheelchairs and mobility aids. I also think allowing people to take their own luggage off at a time when disabled people have been asked to gather for disembarkation is very poor planning! People,disembarking with their own luggage should not be allowed to do this at 8am when everyone has to vacate their cabins! Total chaos. It is shame that the final memories of what was on the whole a great holiday were soured by disorganised disembarkation. To sum up - highs and lows. However we will try P&O again ... maybe an adults only slightly smaller ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise as it was departing from Dublin so no flying needed for us! We had 2 wheelchair users with myself and my husband. Embarkation We arrived in plenty of time. Only downside is the port has no parking at the berth ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was departing from Dublin so no flying needed for us! We had 2 wheelchair users with myself and my husband. Embarkation We arrived in plenty of time. Only downside is the port has no parking at the berth they used for Magellan so my husband had to drop us off and drive up to Terminal 1 to park. Basic tent and fold-up chairs greeted us. It was bit tough getting the wheelchairs up the wooden ramps but I got there! Bags where whisked away very swiftly. Check-in was fast, we had all documentation ready, we had our photo taken and checked-in within ten minutes. Then the trouble started. We had to get the wheelchair users out of the wheelchairs (they can walk just very slowly) and walk them up the "ramp" onboard. This ramp consisted of extremely treacherous metal steps that were upright so you had to step over each one up to the top. Slow going and nerve-wrecking for an elderly person already a bit self-conscious of walking slowly! wheelchairs were ready after we scanned through. My husband had 1 wheelchair user up ahead of me and so got on first, rather than allowing them to wait for me and my charge. As a consequence they were shown to the room and we were stranded. I had to ask to be shown. Staff were unorganised and some rude, they just ignored you, or in my case, left the wheelchair behind a rail I couldn't get to and had to ask for it to be brought in to me. CABINS We had 2 interior cabins. One was an L configuration to allow the two folding wheelchairs in. Plenty of space, tv, storage and ensuite. Our cabin was double bed configuration and this does make the room appear smaller but still useful. Mirrors make the room lighter. Not enough power points. Cabin steward very attentive and on one occasion, came tot he rescue when one relative fell out of bed he rang us straight away and we got her up. All was ok. He asked how she was every time he saw her after that! ENTERTAINMENT Poor. There really was very little going on. A few singers, a band that played the same every night. Bingo and activities conducted by bored staff so really was a waste. Shows in main lounge was boring most nights, the comedian was good but short (no idea why people reported it was offensive!) trying to get a good seating area free from poles and suitable for wheelchairs was a nightmare. EXCURSIONS None were suitable for wheelchairs on this cruise due to that bloody ramp. The fright they got going up the ramp at the start put them off ever going back down it unless it was the last time! So we could only really go on 1 excursion, Hornfleur. Myself and my husband got the free shuttle up to the town center and saw the sights ourselves. Very nice shopping areas, architecture etc. We watched the rest of the excursion disembarkation from the deck as most where by tender. All I can say is that if I was anyway nervous or on a stick I would probably never sail again!! They manhandled poor old dears like luggage! Shocking. FOOD The restaurant was very good, made all the better for our table servers. The first night he hand cut the steak for our relative and then fed it to her like some Roman Villa scene. She laughed and it was just perfect hosting, knowing boundaries and politeness, not being pushy etc. Just super. We ate dinner here every night and were never disappointed. The buffet is just a bit too much like a canteen. All breakfasts and lunches similar, no atmosphere. SPA Prices similar to other cruiselines. Was disappointed not to have been shown to the relaxation area or thermal area after my treatments. The first treatment was a full body massage & facial. This was amazing. I cannot remember his name now but it was a deep but not sore massage, the way a massage should be. As a bodywork therapist myself, it surprises me how few therapists know not to dig deep for the sake of it but rather pay attention to the muscles and perform deep massage when the client is ready. This stops the treatment from turning into torture! The second treatment was a hot stone massage. I enjoyed this but not as much as the other package. Again I was given no tour, no access to the other areas of the spa and no add-ons recommended or specials. BARS We noticed the English pub had a bar menu on embarkation day but the next day the menu was gone. Maybe it only runs on certain routes? It looked a nice lunch menu of pies, stews, sandwiches etc. and would've been nice to try for a change. Drinks prices similar to at home, we had the drinks package and it was well worth the price. TIP: ask for Smirnoff instead of Vodka, for some reason my husband would get double measures instead of a single measure. Same happened to me when I asked for Bacardi. They do ask for cards for all in the group to make sure everyone is paying what they should. This was sometimes extremely rude when we got drinks but our relatives had tea or coffee. The supervisor made a big deal out of how they didn't have the package and needed the cards....she has arthritis and was struggling to get the card at time of ordering but cards where all on the table for anyone to check from then on. The sinatra lounge was always packed and had piano or jazz music in the evenings. The casino is tiny with about 20 machines, a blackjack table and roulette. Its on the main thoroughfare. Overall, I felt it was a glorified ferry. I had hoped it would feel like a small cruise ship but no, it felt like going on the sea ferry across to England just without my car! We definitely wouldn't do this cruiseline again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There ... Read More
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There was a lovely member of staff in the Verona restaurant, the staff in The Beach House were brilliant, the cabins are nice, the Electric Avenue show was good and mum loved the cocktails.The team running the tenders were lovely and looked out for the travellers with disabilities.The large number of hen parties even sang in tune........... All of that couldn't make up for the sarcasm from the member of staff who did the life jacket demo in muster station D, the lack of food & drink availability when we arrived and very few staff. Just someone to say welcome and then no one. Just a blip I hear you say, must have all been getting the ship ready to sail. And so I thought....until breakfast in the buffet restaurants was chaos and then a two hour wait to get off of the ship (after the busy time they told us to avoid). Take a ticket and sit an wait til called. All stuck in one of the lounges for two hours with no offers of drinks. Told to stand by the side of the room and constantly being told to be patient as they have 3000 to get off of the ship. Surely, you say, they knew how many people they have on the ship and would have thought about this.........Eventually got into St Peters Port at about 12.30 and only stayed a couple of hours as last tender leaving at 5 and they have to get the 3000 people back! Went to The Beach House and paid £10 extra each as not impressed with food in buffet restaurant. Food was good and apparently the extra money buys you the service you should expect anyway.. Didn't even see our cabin steward but they must have been around because we got a chocolate every night. Disembarkation was just another dose of totally disorganised splendour. People had kept their luggage with them rather than trust P & O with it but had to be out of their cabin by 8am. So off they went in the lifts to the buffet restaurants which mean't we couldn't get lifts down to get off the ship. This was meant to be a lovely birthday treat for my dad, who is now 80 and has lost his sight. Have been on cruises with Thomson so thought that he would receive the same consideration and pampering as we have had with them. Made sure that we let P & O know about dad's disability but, other than a scrappy A4 sheet of paper on the first day with large print of the excursions, nothing. Unfortunately dad had a fall whilst getting of the tender but no one bothered to check this morning to see if he was ok. So considering that surely a taster cruise is the 'shop window' for more cruises with P & O, would I ever travel with them or recommend them? I'm sure you can guess.......... Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because it was an area we wanted to travel to, and also to experience a new cruise for us, as we had heard some good reports. As my wife is disabled and in a wheelchair, my comments are based on the suitability of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was an area we wanted to travel to, and also to experience a new cruise for us, as we had heard some good reports. As my wife is disabled and in a wheelchair, my comments are based on the suitability of the vessel for the two of us. First impression on arrival on board were quite good, although the crew member who showed us to our cabin did not know their way around. A lot of thought had gone into the design of the disabled cabin, and this was explained to us very well by the cabin steward. The ship then held its safety briefing for passengers. UNFORTUNATELY they did not check that all passengers could see the video being shown or that they could see the crew member putting on the lifevest Also there was nothing in the briefing to or about what disabled passengers should do in the event of an incident. This was reported to a crew member at the time, but no action taken. We later had a meeting with the safety manager who referred us to the safety video in the room, but there was nothing there either or on the back of the cabin door. He informed us that they had 2 regulations on board that covered our issue but either could not or would not tell what they were. He thanked us for our comments and said he would look into the issue and feedback to us. We had to ask on each of the last 3 days of the cruise before we had a response in writing, and this only said that management had discussed it and the issue has now gone to their head office, so far no further feedback We found that the corridoors between cabins were wide and the best we have experienced with a wheelchair, also the space between tables in the buffet and also between food counters in the buffet were excellent It was a shame that there were no labels for a wheelchair passenger to read so that they knew what hot food was on offer, and also no trays for use by wheelchair users or their carers. In the theatre there were ample allocated wheelchair spaces. The staff appeared exceptionally friendly, and we also received the impression that staff on the gangways had actually been trained on handling wheelchairs, which is very unusual. There did seem to be quite a few reminders of things happening on board, this for us was bordering on the holiday camp atmosphere. The standard of shows was average to good although some items were unique. And the organisation of shore trips was superb even for wheelchairs users. Overall this cruise for us was in many ways very enjoyable, but was spoilt by lack of communication of essential information like safety information and was the food choice. was. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I chose this cruise because of the 3 days in France, I could hire a car and drive up to Dieppe from Le Havre. The coastal road drive was lovely and we had beautiful sunny weather and finished the day with a drive over the bridge to ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the 3 days in France, I could hire a car and drive up to Dieppe from Le Havre. The coastal road drive was lovely and we had beautiful sunny weather and finished the day with a drive over the bridge to Honfleur. Alas our day in Cherbourg wasn't as kind weatherwise and Celebrity took the decision to miss out St Peter Port because of rough seas and poor forecast. So we arrived in Cherbourg a day early and as this Monday was a Holiday day - mostly the shops etc were closed. Some folk returned to the ship complaining about this but it didn't bother us as I knew we would at least find a cafe. We did however lose out private tour to Mont St Michel. We did miss the museum though right by the dock which friend on the ship told us was marvellous; a must for next time. I got ahead of myself so should start at ...... embarkation went as smoothly as usual. The care taken of disabled people at Southampton port cannot be faulted and all credit and grateful thanks to the small army of men who collect you in a chair and whisk you though security (very thorough - thankfully) then through registration etc and then onto the ship where after receiving the flute of sparkly stuff it was off to Cafe al Bacio. After a delicious alcoholic coffee (I had a few of those as I had upgraded to the premium package) we got to our room just after 1pm. It was 2 doors away from last year's room so I knew it suited us well. Room 8191, balcony room with bed by the window. I think our cases were there in the fastest time ever and we had the room organised and clothes unpacked well before Muster drill. Muster drill wasn't quite as smooth as usual - we watched a video which was ok though I didn't see the need for screen after screen in other languages - it could all have been printed on one screen and then some time was spent whilst the staff located a lifejacket to give a physical demo. Anyway it was eventually over and we made our way to the Sunset Bar for the sail away from Southampton. Alas it was a touch cool and windy and quite a few people missed it. I was disappointed to miss a few of the folk who had been posting on the roll call, some had been on other cruises with me and I never managed to see them. I even wonder if "KevininYork" even exists! We had Select dining and it ran extremely smoothly. We never had to wait, due mainly I feel to the kindness of the young lady on the wait desk who knowing I have such mobility issues saw us seated extremely promptly. The waiting staff in the restaurant are really professional whilst being friendly and helpful. All are extremely good at their jobs and make the dining experience just great. We usually had a table for two but when we wished to dine with friends that was quickly organised too. We had some extremely good meals too starting that first evening with prime rib - just delicious. Alas I only managed the creme brulée once during this cruise - I couldn't keep up with the food! If I had breakfast I found we could bypass lunch and if I ate light breakfast then lunch I could not do dinner justice. There were folk who would add a salad course to the evening dinner and that was fine plus adding little extras to the dessert course and the staff would cheerfully supply it, The Sommeliers kept the wine coming replenishing glasses even before necessary! The Oceanview had the usual plenty of choice. Most days I had a delicious mushroom omelette with some French baguette. I also ate breakfast in the Aqua Spa cafe which is an underused and overlooked, very nice venue. The staff keep the Oceanview clear of used dishes very efficiently and on many occasions the staff helped me with my choices to my table. It is lovely to see that the Celebrity staff maintain their excellent record of customer service and friendliness. So full marks to Celebrity on the catering front. The bars..... well I remember the Martini bar being a little more lively on previous cruises but the service was good and drinks...delicious. With only 2 sea days on this cruise we didn't get to engage too much with onboard activities. Our room was great - we never heard any kind of noise and were right by the elevators. Our room steward was lovely, Bagus, and he kept the room well for us and was unobtrusive. He was also very understanding when after I had managed to spill nearly an entire cup of coffee all over the bed, he had to change the whole bedding ! I felt really guilty about that. I love the Celebrity cabins with the lovely large beds and great shower cubicles and bathrooms. We only went to a couple of shows. We watched Mike Doyle and Steve Womack, both very good at what they do. The vast majority of the audiences enjoyed their acts. The shows were of course introduced by the excellent CD Sue Denning. Her energy rate shows no sign of flagging and again she is a huge influence and personna around the ship. Quite how she remembers previous cruise members I do not know but all credit to her professionalism. I chose this cruise because of the ports. I wish Celebrity did more French ports. We did a lovely cruise a few years ago on the Constellation which had an overnight stop in Le Havre and one in Soulac sur Mer, port for Bordeaux. I would love to see these ports amalgamated into a Southern Spain and France cruise as I am running out of itineraries from S'hamton with Celebrity. We did a ship's excursion to Ghent which was very well run and interesting. The canal boat tour in Ghent was lovely. The other excursion we did was in Cork. I do have to say the information wasn't too accurate for this as it was described as "mild" but in reality the guide announced there was to be a 45 minute walk when we stopped by the University. This was news to many on the coach and we decided it wasn't practicable for me. Another guest returned to the coach after they left so not for him either. I should probably have gone to the desk to have a word with them as it isn't very fair not to let Celebrity answer the criticism. I also felt that particular excursion would have been better visiting an Irish pub for an Irish coffee and not the rather soulless hotel we called at. In Greenock a friend of mine came to collect us. I had enquired could we maybe see to getting her a guest pass as I would have loved to show her the ship but apparently that wasn't possible. However when we did meet her on dockside she told us that people had been getting passes and had been going onboard. I feel Celebrity lost an opportunity there as my friend would definitely be a suite guest were she to chose to travel on a cruise with her partner. She took us to the seaside resort of Larghs and the world famous ice cream parlour Nardini's ....even though so well fed on the Eclipse we couldn't resist treats there. In Liverpool my daughter brought my car and I had arranged to take a couple I had met up with on the roll call on a tour of the city. I have done this before for friends and family and have got the itinerary down to a fine art. We managed to get to every site either before or after other tours so I was quite pleased at that as my Floridian friend got a clear view and time to take her photos. We did a full day of leisurely sightseeing. What was so wonderful about this day was the welcome the port of Liverpool gave the ship!!! We were greeted with a Sergeant Pepper's band whose playing and singing would put many a show to shame - they were brilliant! The Mayor of Liverpool was there ....and apparently came on board as one of the Guest Relations staff told us she had had her picture taken with him! This gave the many Americans on board a tremendous impression of Liverpool! I loved the sail into the city as it gives a different perspective and when it came to the sail away the port even outdid its welcome! The band played.... the dock busied up with spectators to watch the ship leave...... waving and cheering and then..... they had 3 cannons which exploded with blue and white "ticker tape" sending it high into the sky. The dock side staff all had large foam "hands " to use for waving and a fire fighter's tug chugged in and the crew lined the dockside to wave us off and did a can can ! Our captain responded with a series of blasts of the Eclipse's horn and I have to be honest I got quite choked up! The reaction of the ships' passengers was one of sheer delight in the experience and people were talking about it for days. I feel Liverpool had to be a highlight for many people on that cruise! I wish Celebrity had made Liverpool its future home rather than Dublin.... I feel they have lost a march there ! We had lovely greetings and help from the ladies at St Peter Port,Guernsey, all of whom seemed very proud of their island and were keen to promote it. We enjoyed Amsterdam, having been there many times we knew where we wished to wander and it is nice to sail to walking distance of a great city. It was a shame it was a drizzly start to the second day. So a good itinerary but I am now struggling to decide where to go in future if choosing Celebrity. I don't feel like travelling to Dublin to take the ship as S'hampton is easier. It is going to be a problem for me. Leaving the ship on the last day well Celebrity has this down to a fine art. We were helped off the ship and collecting luggage and a taxi to the station was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
this was our first cruise, we found the ship to be very clean and the staff very pleasant, the food both in the windjammer and main dining room was excellent, but I would suggest getting a table 1st for the windjammer and sorting out where ... Read More
this was our first cruise, we found the ship to be very clean and the staff very pleasant, the food both in the windjammer and main dining room was excellent, but I would suggest getting a table 1st for the windjammer and sorting out where your food types are before loading your plates as by the time you find a table which is not occupied your food tends to be cold. there is loads to do for families but not a lot early in the mornings unless you like lounging around the pool, also a lot of the attractions, flow rider, climbing wall and ice rink were not open much, no reason was given and we weren't told before our cruise, but this did not affect us as we are middle aged and preferred a quieter cruise anyway. families with children will love the ship. the only fault we found was there was not enough time in Lisbon but loads of time in the 2 other ports this information was not available to us both before we booked and when we boarded which for us as middle aged people meant we didn't have much to do in vigo or le havre as walking far from the ship can be a bit hilly unless of course you decide to pay for a shore excursion., so as a result we cut our shore trips short and enjoyed a quieter ship. the information supplied for the ports was vague unless you attended the seminar the night before in one of the bars the main problem we found was that there was not enough seating throughout the ship which tended to mean we spent a lot of time going to different bars and shows etc a lot earlier than we would normally do just to make sure we got a seat, bit frustrating really. overall though we would still go on this cruise again irrespective of the couple of minor points and seating issue which did not appeal to us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were so looking forward to this cruise having heard lots of good stories from other cruise goers. More than disappointed. Easy embarkation at the port, then about 10 staff lining the entrance to welcome us aboard, but once past the ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this cruise having heard lots of good stories from other cruise goers. More than disappointed. Easy embarkation at the port, then about 10 staff lining the entrance to welcome us aboard, but once past the welcoming party, there were no staff to direct us to our cabins! Therefore, after the initial 'pomp' there was no actual organisation. We managed to find our way to our cabin - some feat on a vessel this big I can tell you. Waited a further two hours to have our suitcase delivered after being told it would be outside our door when we got there. Let that go... The cabin was lovely, usual up-market hotel room, bit disappointed with the balcony being 'sheltered' which we found out means three quarters enclosed by steel... we were under the impression we had a glass balcony. Let that go too... Afternoon tea - I was expecting mini sandwiches and fancy cakes - but it was hot dogs, burgers, and old looking pizza. And not a lot of any of it either! Let it go... Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Great ports of call. Bottom line is we enjoyed the ports of call, the amenities aboard not so much. Service at times a bit lax. Disembarkation very disorganized twice when tenders were used. Dining in Garden Café was hat good and not ... Read More
Great ports of call. Bottom line is we enjoyed the ports of call, the amenities aboard not so much. Service at times a bit lax. Disembarkation very disorganized twice when tenders were used. Dining in Garden Café was hat good and not much varied day-to-day. It was actually quite boring. Although the food was excellent in the specialty restaurants. We do not drink alcohol and asked the gift bottle of champagne be replaced with sparkling water. That request was denied. However, sparkling water was delivered to our cabin and we were charged for it. Accommodations for handicapped inadequate. This a difficult ship for people with mobility handicaps to get off or on in ports of call. The crew were, on several occasions, rude to people with handicaps. We chose to book private tours on 3 occasions for the simple reason that we could see and visit what we wanted to rather than accept the NCL offerings. As it turned out, the private tours were more inclusive and less costly than the NCL offerings. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We wanted to try a different cruise line and sail from Southampton. This cruise was supposed to be a stress free one week break for my upcoming birthday. The ship is far too big to be comfortable for our age group. We knew this when we ... Read More
We wanted to try a different cruise line and sail from Southampton. This cruise was supposed to be a stress free one week break for my upcoming birthday. The ship is far too big to be comfortable for our age group. We knew this when we booked, but thought as it was only a week, and no flying, we should be o.k. Thought we would treat ourselves to a suite with a Butler. Although this was a guarantee, we were not told that it was AFT and a very long way from anywhere. We were supposed to eat in the Epicurean Restaurant as a perk when you have a suite, we did this only 3 times as it was so far and difficult to get to. All entertainment venues were so far away. Yes we were outside the lift, but once you were on the deck you needed, then it was easily a 10 minute walk. We are both disabled, my husband has a mobility scooter, and I was walking with a stick. As for returning to Britannia, no thanks. No Way. Dining. We went to the Epicurean where we had a delightful meal. As for the other places to eat, The Beach House was very good. All else was average. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017

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