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21 France Family Cruise Reviews

We headed to Southampton on a bright autumn afternoon - looking forward to our 16th cruise on our largest ship to date. We entered the port of Southampton via dock gate 8 - dock gate 8 is near the holiday inn - it can be tricky to find ... Read More
We headed to Southampton on a bright autumn afternoon - looking forward to our 16th cruise on our largest ship to date. We entered the port of Southampton via dock gate 8 - dock gate 8 is near the holiday inn - it can be tricky to find as the sgins are not clear. AB Parking were on duty at the city cruise terminal - as it was a short cruise it was self parking - we got a great space close to the terminal. In my opinion the staff were not as jolly as the CPS (cruise and passenger services) staff who service the carnival ships (p and o etc ) There were no porters around to take luggage - as it was just 3 nights we carried our bags on with us. At City Cruise Terminal security is done first then check in - so there is a fair bit of queing in the first instance but once the security is out of the way check in and embarkation were swift with the whole process taking less than 45 mins. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7 and we had ordered the anniversary room decorations which were in place for our arrival - I think RCI are the only cruise line to offer room decoration packages for special occasions and they were great - we got pillow cases, beach towel, photo frames and more to take home. We had pre ordered the soft drink package and the souvenirs cups were waiting in the cabin for us. The cabin was lovely and the bed comfortable - this was one of the nicest cabins we have had in our cruising "career" even the hair dryer was acceptable and the shower had proper shower doors rather just a curtain. We met our friends in the Windjammer buffet and enjoyed lunch - be careful of the burgers that have sat around .... I was sick on the first night after eating them and had to miss dinner ... Something I have never ever had to do. There was a strange and unusual mix of fellow cruisers as two separate companies were holding their annual conferences aboard, on embarkation day the vessel seemed very over crowded - and the crowd very over excited. INDIE as she is known by regular cruisers is really more suited to warmer climates the indoor venues are too small for the vast number of bodies on board. For Northern Europe I would recommend ships with sliding roofs over the swimming pools. Dinner reservations made on the online system for our two parties for my time dining had not made onto the ships system - they accomadated our party with a table for 5 second sitting in the king Lear restaurant deck 5. Food was acceptable but nothing special - not a patch on Fred Olsen for example - however they are cooking for a vast and wild number of people. Lobster etc is at a surcharge. Staff were very friendly, attentive and helpful possibly more so than any other line we have been on, possibly because of the very wide range of nationalities (our waitress was Chinese) Johnny Rockets was a lot of fun at a surcharge of £6.95 Sorrentos pizza was FAB. The ice show and GREECE were both amazing, the best we have seen on board ships with on pitch singing at all times !! We had an elderly lady of 88 with us using a "whizzy" small compact mobility scooter - it was accomadated everywhere. At The port of zeebrugge my friend and I used the Cruise Express into Brugges which was accessed by taking the port shuttle (free) at the bottom of the gang plank to the port gate - this is provided by the port not the line - we pre booked our tickets using Viator website. Be wary of using the other bus service to Brugges which waits at the bottom of the gang plank as it is unreliable and there were many worried people clutching raffle tickets waiting for it in Brugges. My husband went on a private battlefield tour with Andre from The Dugout BnB in Ypres - he collected my husband and gave him a private tour for 150.00 euro - the ships battlefield tours are usually very interesting too. At the port of Le Harve - we took the RCI transfer to Honfleur - a beautiful little Norman town well worth the visit - don't stay in Le Harve it is an industrial port town flattened in World War Two, but the Norman countryside including pont du normandie are well worth seeing. Disembarkation was swift and painless - we choose self disembarkation before 7am - I recommend this if you are able to carry your own luggage. In summary - an enjoyable "cruise fix" at half term and a useful insight into how large resort ships compare to our usual choices of adults only medium - small size ships. Probably not a great reflection of RCI cruises - the short cruises never give a true picture and the conferences on board may have affected the demographic. Nappy changing in the spinnaker bar during the evening quiz (which we won) was revolting and there were rowdy noisy balcony antics in the early hours of the morning - but this might be down to the conferences and relatively low price - regardless of this it was great value for money and our whole party enjoyed themselves. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first ever cruise. We chose the 4 nights trip from Southampton to Zeebrugge and then the trip to St Peter Port (Guernsey) returning to Southampton. We upgraded to deck 11 and had a lovely balcony in a luxurious state room. Our ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. We chose the 4 nights trip from Southampton to Zeebrugge and then the trip to St Peter Port (Guernsey) returning to Southampton. We upgraded to deck 11 and had a lovely balcony in a luxurious state room. Our room number was 11074 and we were travelling with family who had rooms 11070 & 11064. We found the service and the facilities perfect. The crew were exceptional and made us feel so much at home and relaxed. Evening meals in the Britannia Restaurant was magical and it was a lovely touch that the waiters all stand in a line at the doorway in to greet you when you arrive each evening. Food in every Restaurant was absolutely brilliant and we all ate like kings for our whole voyage. The evening shows were superb as was the Planetarium show. If I had to say a negative about the cruise it was the very expensive alcohol on board. We really spent far to much money on this and really should have brought more with us to reduce the costing. The fact of the matter is that you pay extortionate prices for all drinks and then to slap you really hard in the face they then add on a Compulsory Automatic Service Charge. On our first night we selected two bottles of wine one Red & One White. The two bottles came to $112:50 and then they added on the Service Charge $16:88 which gave us a total of $129:38. This was far to much and kind of set the theme with costing which made us feel uneasy with Cunard and this policy. Even if you went to the bar yourself and bought two pints of draught San Miguel this would set you back $14:95 which included the service charge of $1:95. Not sure how they get away with this extra costing. One tip we took from friends was to visit the Pursers office when we first got on board and we requested they remove the Automatic Gratuity they put on each day. If we had not done this then the 6 of us would have had to have found between us approx. £300 sterling. Anyway forgetting the moan about the extra chargers we did have a great time and enjoyed a wonderful opulent experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It was their newest ship. Arrived 3 days before to explore Barcelona, great idea! The terminal was very well organized. Ship's lobby has very nice artistic colorful center light that changes themes daily. The ship still has some ... Read More
It was their newest ship. Arrived 3 days before to explore Barcelona, great idea! The terminal was very well organized. Ship's lobby has very nice artistic colorful center light that changes themes daily. The ship still has some things missing in their standard labeling of exits , staircases. The cabins are basically the same as their other ships, balcony is same, their TV is upgraded, information to passengers has improved so you can be informed at all times. The entertainment has to improve. Activities like Bingo there was not enough room for participants to sit...more than half of the people were sitting on floor. Their night entertainment area chairs were uncomfortable to sit. Their outdoor activities is good and diversified. The sky ride is good but the line to get on takes too long. Bowling you need to pay! Dining rooms need to be able to organize better when there are groups. Food variety is not the best. If you cruise regularly it is almost identical on all. They do have a new section Havana Club which has a slight variety. If you eat late dinner sitting you cannot see the entertainment, after dinner,, so you see the early show and arrive late to dinner! There is something that they are outstanding in all their ships, it is the service received from all their employees be the cabin members, restaurant, buffet, guest services, shore excursions, etc. The ports were good and very easy to get into the city, shore excursions have great variety for all different types of activities. The casino still has to improve their ventilation system. You come out of there your clothes and hair retain the smoke odor when you remove them. It should have some sort of fragrance to disguise the smoke odor. The shops in the ship have not improved, need variety. Their new way to see your pictures is very innovative, great for tech smart people but for non savy individuals is a challenge. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere ... Read More
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere throughout the whole trip was relaxed, We enjoyed meeting new friends which is easy because the cruise only has a maximum of 200 passengers. They met us at the airport and took care of all the details in transition to the ship. The same excellent service was there for our departure. Get off the fence and go!! Viking cruises are totally great. Can't wait for the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a week aboard the Britannia along with my elderly parents who had never cruised before. We had been a little concerned having read previous reviews, but went with an open mind. The ship itself is spacious, spotlessly clean and ... Read More
We had a week aboard the Britannia along with my elderly parents who had never cruised before. We had been a little concerned having read previous reviews, but went with an open mind. The ship itself is spacious, spotlessly clean and very well laid out. We were all able to find our way around it quickly. The concerns around the lack of stairs mid-ship were well founded, but I would say that even with my Mother who is a wheelchair user, coped well. Although it would have been even better if some impatient able-bodied people had not been so keen to push their way in front of her to access the lifts. We used first-sitting in the Oriental at night which suited us well. Food was lovely and the waiters professional and friendly. It was a pleasure to eat each evening. We also used the Horizon buffet during the daytime, again the food here was hot and varied. One evening we ate in the Limelight club where we saw Eric and Ern. It was a great evening all round. All entertainment was first-class and I would especially recommend the show ‘Gravity’. We had balcony cabins which were roomy with plenty of storage space. Our cabin steward Edward was so helpful and opened up our balcony divider between the cabins so we were able to sit outside with my parents and we spent quite a time out there. We had a wonderful week and we can’t wait to get aboard the Britannia again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This cruise was planned for Brugges/Belgium. It was changed at the last minute, but I won't comment on that because the change was understandable and couldn't really be helped. This was our 6th cruise (and the first one on ... Read More
This cruise was planned for Brugges/Belgium. It was changed at the last minute, but I won't comment on that because the change was understandable and couldn't really be helped. This was our 6th cruise (and the first one on Britannia), I had high hopes for Britannia, but unfortunately it was a bit average The good points were the bathrooms were great (other than the lack of handwash or soap in cabins), food in the main dining room and pay extra venues was good, it was very clean and staff were very polite. One of us did a cookery class and the cookery school was very good!! In terms of negatives, this is a new ship, I expected to be wowed and it was very underwhelming. The central areas were very bland and lacked the glamour of other ships I had travelled on, the bedrooms were a bit like a travel inn, safe but bland! The layout was confusing, staircases that went nowhere and lifts were too busy. We booked a balcony cabin for 2 adults and 1 child, thank goodness it was only for 2 nights! When the bed was down we had to crawl under it to get to the kettle or balcony, not workable for a longer cruise, 2 days was more than enough! We have travelled with P&O and Celebrity before, we were really hoping that Britannia would give Celebrity a run for its money, sadly it didn't! Such a shame for a new ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This Chateaux and Wine Country cruise on the Viking Forseti during the week of Christmas was one of the best gifts we've ever received. We traveled with our family group of 8. A "Viking" met us at the Bordeaux airport, ... Read More
This Chateaux and Wine Country cruise on the Viking Forseti during the week of Christmas was one of the best gifts we've ever received. We traveled with our family group of 8. A "Viking" met us at the Bordeaux airport, helped us fill out lost luggage forms, and then whisked us off to the modern, sleek Viking Forseti in one of the fleet of clean & swift buses that are part of the Viking fleet. Our cabin had a French Balcony. The cabin had plenty of room for everything we brought with a large closet. We LOVED the heated tile floors in the surprising large bathroom. ,Although the cabin was smaller than what we were used to on ocean cruises it was more than adequate for our week's stay. The public spaces on the Forseti are lovely. The Aquavit Terrace is a perfect place to have casual meals. Speaking of casual, we loved the casual, cozy feel of this river cruise. No formal clothes required. (and speaking of clothes, our lost luggage was retrieved by the Viking staff and brought to our cabin before dinner that evening!) The first night we went on a Night Walking Tour of Bordeaux. The buildings in Bordeaux are beautifully lit and make it magical. The Opera House, Grand Hotel are perfect for lovely photos...they are a prelude to the spectacular Place de la Bourse (old stock exchange). This stunning square has the world's largest water mirror which reflects the beautiful trio of lit buildings. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. She spoke perfect English, making it very easy to understand all of the interesting facts and stories about the area. We enjoyed the walking tours. Seeing the markets, the housing gave us a small taste of each town we visited. Since the Forseti was able to dock close to the town centers we were immediately immersed in the French towns! The Christmas markets with their street food, crafts, and wares were particularly lovely. One highlight of many was optional tour and lunch at Chateaux Siaurac. This stunning 19th century classic style mansion is set among a lovely vineyard and park. We learned about the 'terroir' which makes each wine unique. This cruise is centered around the 'terroir' and wine. We learned more about wine, vineyards, wine tasting and making in 7 days than we had in our lifetime. Given the chance to travel this way was truly an eye opening experience. We'd cruised on over 12 large cruise ships prior to this and found the river cruise to be very different, in a good way. No crowds, no loud music blaring in all of the public places...just a relaxed atmosphere. WE loved this experience and have already booked our next adventure with Viking. They are a first class operation. The staff goes out of its way to meet every need. The food was superb and fresh. We liked that they included any wine or beer at meal time, too. I believe a river cruise is one of the best and most economical ways to see Europe! Viking has won our loyalty with their excellent service, friendliness, and hospitality. Each of our tour guides was exceptional. Viking does an great job providing these excellent ambassadors to guide us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
A family friend chartered the Jeanine for a week long cruise from Dijon to Beasancon in France. I had never cruised on a barge before so really didn't know what to expect. This was a great trip. The barge itself, was very nicely ... Read More
A family friend chartered the Jeanine for a week long cruise from Dijon to Beasancon in France. I had never cruised on a barge before so really didn't know what to expect. This was a great trip. The barge itself, was very nicely furnished with lots of color. It was very bright. We were greeted with champagne when we boarded. The crew was a mixture of French and Hungarian and they could not have been more accommodating. While English was not their first language, we had no trouble at all communicating with them. The cabins were on the small size, but very well equipped. The bathrooms were very well set up. Everything was very clean and was kept that way for the entire week. The weather was a bit cool, so we were unable to use the outdoor seating very often, but a few brave souls did use the hot tub every evening! The lounge was the gathering spot and everyone could sit there at the same time. The food was really above our expectations. It was certainly better than we experienced on the larger ocean cruise ships. The deserts were too tempting to pass up. The chef does Elvis imitations and he came out one night and sang for us! My fried arranged the trips and this area of France was very scenic and historic. Our trip to Baume les Messieurs was long, but very interesting. We are already taking about another cruise for 2017. I hope it comes off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
So first of all arrived today from a 1 week cruise on MSC fantasia, I didn't enjoyed it at ALL!! the food always the same, always the same pizza, the pizza marinara is supposed to have fish on it and it only have herbs and I ... Read More
So first of all arrived today from a 1 week cruise on MSC fantasia, I didn't enjoyed it at ALL!! the food always the same, always the same pizza, the pizza marinara is supposed to have fish on it and it only have herbs and I don't call that a marinara, the plates some of them are broken, the prices of the drinks are very very HIGH! like bottle of pringles 4 euro 80 cents, oh come on!!! they have money from your cards with out telling you for UNICEF we ordered in November 2014 and we wanted a room with a window or a balcony, they told us its fully booked already, our friends booked in June and they had a room with a balcony and a window!. I went to put my daughter in the playroom and they told me only one person can come and play with her, so my big daughter couldn't go in to play with her.The staff some are okay and some are not...but most of them are unfriendly i'm not saying all of them there where few example when I wanted to order a coke I told her and the waiter kept on walking she pretended shes not listening to me, the rooms are very small...from all of the week the cruise arrived all of the ports most of the time where 12:00/1:00/2:00 p.m today he arrived at 6:00 a.m in Malta !! sorry but for me its useless day...anyway thanks but the first and the last on this cruise sorry for the bad english but I'm french and I tried anways.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were travelling for a surprise birthday party for our relative which was held on board the cruiser. The ship was exceptional, furnishings and decoration throughout the ship was first class with every detail thought out, not only design ... Read More
We were travelling for a surprise birthday party for our relative which was held on board the cruiser. The ship was exceptional, furnishings and decoration throughout the ship was first class with every detail thought out, not only design but comfort also. Everything was well signposted and ships information and activities were communicated to us the day before in order for us to plan ahead. Our cabin service was outstanding and our cabin steward attended to anything extra which we required (one of our party has mobility problems) big thank you to Nigel Davenport. There was a lot on offer for excursions for those who wanted them. Port experiences were good with staff on hand to direct us to buses and taxis as we wanted to make visits to other places previously seen. Dining was a good experience and we tried several restaurants although I preferred the Windjammer which offered a very wide selection of International food and specialist foods (gluten and sugar free). Lots of entertainment on offer to suit most tastes and I enjoyed everything I saw. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organised and there were no hold ups. Checking in for embarkation the staff came to our group to accommodate our wheelchair member. All staff were courteous, helpful and made us feel special. The only suggestion I would make is perhaps to offer coffee sachets in addition to tea in the cabins. A thoroughly enjoyable experience for us - congratulations to all staff and Royal Caribbean for a memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We sailed on the Viking Spirit for a seven day cruise on the Seine. Before we sailed, we spent four days in Paris. The Viking Cruise team arranged for our hotel and some walking tours. I cannot say enough good things about the Viking ... Read More
We sailed on the Viking Spirit for a seven day cruise on the Seine. Before we sailed, we spent four days in Paris. The Viking Cruise team arranged for our hotel and some walking tours. I cannot say enough good things about the Viking team. We were met at the airport by one of their representatives, and were treated like royalty from the time we landed until the time we left for home. Every Viking employee, from the cruise director, Guillaume, to the the maintenance staff was wonderful. I never saw such a hard working, dedicated staff. The food was sensational, also. We have cruised on several different ships, but this was the best one. The boat is small, and we were able to meet some wonderful people. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, as well. While we were sailing on the boat, we were able to walk on the upper deck, tour the kitchen, and simply enjoy the beauty of the river and the French architecture and scenery. There was not the hustle and bustle that you find on the large cruise ships. The cruise itself was a wonderful experience. We traveled on the Seine and stopped at many historical places, including the Claude Monet house and Versailles. The best part of the trip, for me, was the day we spent at the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery. It was very emotional for everyone, and made me appreciate even more the sacrifices that our soldier heroes made. There is no doubt that we will again sail with Viking in the not too distant future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
It was our first Celebrity Cruise, we were looking forward to it, until two days before the date of embarkation when we received a very strange e.mail from agent informing us that Celebrity does not allow a holder of a Syrian passport ... Read More
It was our first Celebrity Cruise, we were looking forward to it, until two days before the date of embarkation when we received a very strange e.mail from agent informing us that Celebrity does not allow a holder of a Syrian passport aboard the ship ! However, after so many prolonged e.mails providing proof of documentations to seek a final decision, only 'by the day of boarding', someone from the company in USA did call and confirmed that it was wrong information given by the Immigration Officer on this Ship. No compensation of the stress caused or even apology of any kind has been delivered to us for that awful time, unknowing if we were going on our holiday or not after we booked a taxi and an overnight Hotel in S'hmton. Leaving that unforgettable tensed experience behind us, we were extremely satisfied during the express embarkation process, helpful desk staff, early boarding and ready room at 11AM. The ship was absolutely beautiful and modern, great dinning restaurants and to our taste. Very smiley and welcoming staff in general. Relaxed dress code in all occasions. Entertainment was very good especially the ship own show and the singer (Ben). Buffet Food and beverages were tasty, good variety and presentation. Select Dining was great in all means, Personalized friendly service which was a credit to them (Jesus, Sheilish and Alina), loved the New York Steak and Onion soup. We had easy wondering across the floors/amenities using the panoramic lifts, and enjoyed the different ambience of the public rooms. The ship motion was very stable and smooth. Missing on the excellent: - Dining/Buffet (night buffet was poor, buffet restaurant's carpet needed frequent vacuuming) - Embarkation (ship was noticeably vibrating when disembarking at ports, had to pay shuttle bus to zeebrugge 12 Euro return ! - Definitely needs diversity of activities for Young adults, LGBT and new movies in the Cinema. - Entertainment in other areas than the Theatre was unrecognized - Lack of directions to the Sauna made us unaware of its existence till the last day, and no steam room. - Some public rooms were unutilized or required some promotion - Shore Excursions were highly priced - of course as a Cruise fanatic, I will always ask for additional discounts towards the cost. I Will Cruise Again on this Ship - if Celebrity made some courtesy towards the mess they created on my expense. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I have previously been on two Quantum of the Seas cruises: Maiden Voyage November 2, 2014 from Southampton and 12 Nt. Southern Caribbean Cruise from Bayonne, January 11, 2015 . It was my primarily interested to see the difference ... Read More
I have previously been on two Quantum of the Seas cruises: Maiden Voyage November 2, 2014 from Southampton and 12 Nt. Southern Caribbean Cruise from Bayonne, January 11, 2015 . It was my primarily interested to see the difference between Quantum ond Anthem. Interior but also functionality and service. And I was not disappointed. Anthem is certainly delivering as promised - and expected. Ship was nice and staff was very helpful and friendly. A summary: A very nice 3 nights cruise. Compared to the Quantum maiden voyage everything worked very well and service was top notch. Anthem of the Seas is truly a sister ship to the Quantum of the Seas - it is a true copy. The only immediate difference is the decoration. Therefore, The VIA also is the place, where I have experienced the most visible difference. Overall it was a high level of attire on this trip compared to my Quantum cruises, and people were also festive dressed for the 'Royal Evening'. Embarkation: We did have a 12:15pm to 12:45pm arrival appointment - we did arrive close to 12:30pm . Check-in and boarding went very smoothly and efficient, and at 1pm we got access to our cabin. Royal IQ: For this short cruise we did have carry-on luggage only so we did not use luggage tracking. We did not make any dinner or show reservations in advance. Once onboard we did register Royal IQ and made our reservation for dining and shows. Did work very well and much better than for our Quantum cruises. Also possible to make reservation for the time we vanted. Cabin: See my special Cabin review of cabin #8282, category D8 Superior Ocean View Stateroom w/ Balcony Dining: We have Dynamic Dining Choice, but as mentioned not booked any restaurants in advance. At this short 3 nights cruise it is the same 'Taste of Anthem' menu in all four complimentary Dynamic Dining restaurants. The menu card changed every day, and was created two showcase the best dishes from the four venues - at longer cruises they will still have different menu's in the different restaurants. The 'Taste of Anthem' was OK for this cruise, however I really do not see the reason for not having the dedicated menu's for each restaurant! Dynamic Dining Classic Here you eat together with the same group every night but in different restaurants. The group has the same waiters every night. On this trip was the order Chic, American Icon Grille and Grande. The only change I have seen for restaurants until now is Jamie's Italian is now A la Carte restaurant. We did not eat at Jamie's Italian, but based on individual prices for the dishes it's likely more expensive to eat in the restaurant now. We were eating at Chops Grille, Chic and Silk. Nice meals and good service.No queuing and we got a table for two. Windjammer The concept of Windjammer Marketplace is the same all over the Royal Caribbean fleet. We used Windjammer for breakfast and Lunch. Wash your hands In windjammer they have introduced a new routine of washing hands with soap and water instead of the usual dispensers with alcohol disinfection. It gave a small queue at the wash basins at peak times. Shows: We Will Rock You is a great Show. Fantastic singing. Spectra's Cabaret is an electric multi-dimensional cabaret with a blend of live performance and cinematography together with music, sound and light. Impressive graphics on Robo and Vistarama screens, but the music was not quite my taste and difficult to follow the story line. However a impressive show. Royal Evening and "Dress Your Best": From 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm there were Royal reception with a glass of champagne and a short speech by Captain Claus Andersen. The dress code was "Dress Your Best" I have not the proper definition of "Dress Your Best" but I it is an invitation to attend the 'Royal Evening' at the Royal Esplanade in the 'best dress', albeit not formal because most restaurants is smart casual except Grande. Bars: We did use Vintage and Schooner bars. No difference from equivalent bars at other ships Shops: Shops are very similar to Quantum. Now there is Bobbi Brown & Tom Ford with mainly perfumes instead of Kiehl´s at Quantum. Also Armani Jeans with clothing, accessories and purses instead of Michael Kors. Internet: The only internet challenge was to get the account created and we had to see customer service to get the problem solved. Professional support and then Internet worked fine. At this cruise we could choose between 3 packets: Super Cruise Special is for the entire cruise at $20 per day for two devices ($140 for a 7 nt cruise). Cruise Special is for the entire cruise at $15 per day for one device ($105 for a 7 nt cruise). Daily Plan $30 for 24 continuous hours. Disembarkation: We arrived into Southampton at 6am. Gangway opened at 7:15 am and the disembarkation process went very smoothly. We did have a coach to Heathrow at 9:45 am and left the ship at 9:00am. No queues and it took less than 15 minutes to get off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to ... Read More
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to visit we walked into the Town don't be fouled by paying for the bus as it is not far to walk. We took the trip the next day to Paris that was a good trip to go on must say the weather was not very warm. The next stop was Honfleur that was a most stunning place we also walked into the town would have liked to see it in the sun shine but again it was not warm and it also rained never mind still enjoyed it. The 3rd place was La Pallice for La Rochelle again DONT!!!! pay to get the bus into La Rochelle as the local bus takes you for 1 euro 30cents and people had paid £18 pounds but they don't tell you till the day before many people were not happy as they had booked it on line. The ship itself was great and we had a great time the staff were very friendly, the meals in the dining room were excellent ,we asked for a table of 2 and got it next to another table of 2 and we got on well with them. The entertainment was very good,except we didn't like the magicion but I am sure other people did you cant please everybody. The drinks package is a no brainer we had our moneys worth and I don't drink much just soft drinks alone would add up nearly to ten pounds a day. All in all we had a very great time and would go with Fred Oulsen again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had a lovely room, well two R746 & R748, they were situated at the aft and provided a good base as we were near the pool, buffet & kids club, the kids club did not allow self signing for our 10yr old, this was very inconvenient ... Read More
We had a lovely room, well two R746 & R748, they were situated at the aft and provided a good base as we were near the pool, buffet & kids club, the kids club did not allow self signing for our 10yr old, this was very inconvenient as we were always clock watching, this is the first time we have had this problem as RCI, Thompson and Disney allow self signing, this was a definite negative point, although our son did enjoy the kids club and entertainment, it was however run by teachers that join the ship for half term, so this maybe why it was enjoyable, our 14yr old also attended the teen club and had a lovely time, they do have the freedom to come and go when they wish. The layout of the ship is not as user friendly as we are used to on RCI as there is no central promenade, we spend a lot of time going up and down lifts/stairs, and spoke to many people who were lost, this again for us was a negative point, we felt the shows were very well choreographed and the singers were excellent, however there was a lack of daily entertainment and the quizzes were very few and far between, the entertainment staff were very poor and seemed disinterested, an example is they advertise unsupervised shuffleboard at 11.30, this is something I do on my own it does not need to be advertised on the cruise news (which was also very poor). We had the 6.30 dinner slot which was a little early as we normally have 8.00-8.30, the shows are timed to follow each dinner sitting so if you do have 8.30 your show will be 10.30, which for us was a little late as it clashed with other entertainment we wished to see, we are used to a pre dinner show on other cruise lines and felt this could all have been organised differently, again another negative point. The bar and dinner staff were very polite but were not very customer friendly or as interactive as we were used to on other cruise lines, there were no ice sculptures, fancy fruit carvings or towel animal waiting on our bed each night, we love a hanging monkey. The food was good not great just good, we ate in the Glass House one evening and it was lovely, the atmosphere and staff were first class, we also heard great reports about 17 and Sindau, the wine and drinks were well priced throughout the ship, Overall we would not return to P&O if there was an alternative cruise line sailing at the same time, we are restricted to school holidays so who knows, the ship is advertised as their child friendly ship, we did not fee this was the case due to the staffs attitude there was also no child facilities no climbing wall, mini golf, flow rider, ice skating etc… I hope you find this useful. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We booked our trip with Vantage 8 months in advance. We were traveling with 2 other couples and we were told there were only 3 cabins available for the cruise we wanted to take which would be close to D-Day. On the ship, we heard similar ... Read More
We booked our trip with Vantage 8 months in advance. We were traveling with 2 other couples and we were told there were only 3 cabins available for the cruise we wanted to take which would be close to D-Day. On the ship, we heard similar stories from other travelers. Vantage keeps their prices low because they don't use travel agents - you book directly with them. Their customer service has improved since 2009 when we traveled to China with them. You no longer have to wait on hold for hours to speak to a customer service representative. We booked the Paris extension and were put up at the Hotel Meridien Etoile. Our plane arrived at 7:30am from the U.S. and we were in our rooms by 11:30am. The hotel is located across the street from the Metro -great for getting around Paris. Headed out to lunch then on to Montmarte, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de' Triomphe , shopping at Louis Vuitton (bring your passport if you want a VAT refund). The second day in Paris we booked a dinner cruise (through Vantage cruise director at the hotel) on the River Seine which I highly recommend! See the City of Lights at its finest and see the flickering lights at the Eiffel Tower at 10 while it's sparkling in all it's glory. Sumptuous buffet at hotel with bags out at 7:30am to be transported to River Venture. On the Museum D'Orsay to see exhibits while staff on River Venture is saying goodbye to last cruisers and getting ready for the next one. Arrived on boat at 12:30pm. Cabins were surprisingly spacious Magnifying mirror (3x) in bathroom, I home radio which will charge early model iPhones and iPads. Large screen tv. Large shower for river boat and strong water pressure. Good wifi, Le Occitane products, sewing kits - everything you could possibly need. Dinner was shrimp cocktail, cream of broccoli soup, choice of chicken, halibut - mousse ice cream or cheese plate for dessert. Always a vegetarian choice too. Day 2 - Vernon - everyone is assigned a bus, yellow, blue or green that you board throughout your trip. Depart at 9:15am for Giverny for a guided visit to Monet's house and gardens. Guide was an ex-pat, Lexi, who was most entertaining. Gardens and house were breathtaking, as well as ponds and lily pads. Lunch on boat at 12:15 then at 2pm depart for a home hosted visit. Very informative and fun to see how the French live. She served apple tart and hard cider - and some of her husband's private liquor stash. . . way better than the cider. Upon our return we were supposed to have a walking tour of Vernon but it was cancelled. Another fabulous dinner - sirloin or river trout, tiramisu, always ice cream or cheese plate. Day 3 French lesson for 1/2 hour followed by a lecture on Impressionism. Lunch then a walking tour of Rouen. Lots of stores closed in town because it's Ascension Thursday and most French take a 4-day holiday. Saw where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and a few French churches. Two hour walking tour, then back to boat for Captains Gala Dinner. Free Drinks during cocktail hour. Dinner was Chateaubriand, followed by Benedictine and an impressive Creme Brûlée. Nice Gypsy Jazz Ensemble in the lounge following dinner. Day 4 Arrived in Caudebec-en-Caux about 8am, departed at 9am for two Abbeys, one was a ruin and the other is still inhabited. Optional tour to Alabaster CoastOne and a half hour bus ride there. Those who opted not to go were given cash by our guide, Ken, to buy cheese and wine for an impromptu party on the top deck. Lots of bakeries, little cafes and cute shops. Supposed to have a pub crawl, but were told there are no pubs to visit. Day 5 LeHavre/Honfleur Vantage claims to be one of the few ships to be able to dock in Honfleur, but the truth of the matter is they have never docked in Honfleur. Dock in LeHavre- 1/2 hour from Honfleur - quaint town with lots of ships, amazing architecture, gigantic farmers market going on - so much to do. We opted not to return to the ship at noon but to stay for lunch in town till 2pm - hundreds of restaurants overlooking the harbor. Returned to ship for an informative lecture on D-Day to prepare us for the Normandy beaches tomorrow. International night for dinner and movie "The Longest Day" complete with popcorn. Day 6 Normandy Beaches Depart at 8:45am for a 2 hour bus ride (wouldn't have been as long if we had docked in Honfluer). Most touching to see the vast sea of crosses of American soldiers who lost their lives in an effort to keep democracy alive. Vantage arranged for a ceremony honoring the people in our group who served in the military. Not a dry eye in the place. Had lunch in a restaurant where they could feed all of us in less than an hour, red and white wine, poached white fish, carrots and rice with a cream sauce and apple tart for dessert. On to Pointe du Hoc where you could see the impact of the bombs, lots of bunkers bringing the war to life. Finished the day at a museum at Arromanches. Lots of French re-enactors in American jeeps and uniforms. Good place for D-Day souvenirs. Guide passed out Madelines (sponge cakes, like twinkles without the cream) for the two hour bus ride back to River Venture. Dinner at 8pm. Day 7 Two hour bus ride to Bayeux to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame and toured Bayeux Tapestry museum. The tapestry is a woven cloth which tells the story of William 11. Local guide gave us each 15 euros for lunch on our own, then back to ship. Day 8 - Les Andelys 9:30am Apple Tart demonstration by chef. Docked in Les Andelys, a picturesque little town, followed by a walking tour to Chateau Gaillard, a medieval castle, overlooking the town - or you could opt for a gentle walk of the town. Galley tour at 4pm and bus departs at 6pm for LaGrange DeBourgoult, a private reception country estate where we were to have dinner. En route we stopped on a high hill with breathtaking views of the town and a tasting of Calvados. Nice touch Vantage!!! Views of the farm were incredible, we were greeted by the Normandy Folk Dancers who performed complete with accordion and fiddle. Food not great, but I think it gave the staff on the ship a little respite. Day 9 Versailles Lunch at 11:15am due to early departure - bus to Versailles at 12:30pm. Versailles was so crowded, difficult to see much due to massive numbers of people. Made aware of pickpockets and scammers. Returned to Conflans for Captains Farewell Reception - free drinks in the cocktail lounge. Day 10 Coach tour of Paris, including Notre Dame (4th or 5th Notre Dame we visited). Louvre tour not as crowded as Versailles. Mona Lisa was waiting for us. Great guide - only 6 people to a guide which made it very enjoyable. Day 11 Full breakfast starting at 5am. Luggage out of our room by 5:30. Everyone out of their rooms by 9am so they can get ready for the next group who will be boarding at noon. Great trip by Vantage - Staff couldn't have been nicer and Vantage personnel (guides) did everything to make our experience memorable. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this trip to everyone!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This is our second river cruise and I think we are hooked. This was an excellent cruise: great boat, great excursions, and good food. Only the disembarkation marred the trip. Pickup at the Airport We had Vantage provide the air fare and ... Read More
This is our second river cruise and I think we are hooked. This was an excellent cruise: great boat, great excursions, and good food. Only the disembarkation marred the trip. Pickup at the Airport We had Vantage provide the air fare and they picked us up at the airport. Had to wait for an hour which was a bit of a bummer. Got to the ship, grabbed lunch, and then walked about our docking area. It was in the Citroen area, about a mile from the Effiel Tower, and a half mile from a Metro station. It's a commercial area with ship docks and a cement factory. Seems pretty safe and with Metro access, you can get anywhere in Paris. The Boat New in 2013, the River Venture spent its first year in German rivers to be close to component manufacturers - a shake down year. Now, it's pretty much running back and forth on the Seine. This is a very good example of what a small footprint boat can be. The rooms are relatively spacious, tastefully done in wood and high quality fabrics, enormous amount of storage, a shower you can fit in, comfortable bed, two 110v outlets, and storage under the bed for your luggage. Great A/C with excellent adjustments. Hair dryer. No irons on boats. In-room safe, but instructions are incorrect. TV had a bunch of movies and international channels, many in English. A note about the 110V outlets: the one in the bathroom won't run a curling iron and it won't fit a night light; the one on the desk is also shaped funny and wouldn't fit a night light. I always carry a small extension cord and this proved helpful for our electronics. Did I mention that they have high-quality WIFI? Nice! Rooms are on the 200, 300, and 400 levels. 400 level also has suites. There is a central area in the boat on the 300 level with the concierge/tour director and main desk. Forward of this is the dining room - above it and forward is the bar/meeting room. On the 400 level on the aft of the boat is the Captains Club, a small dining area (and outside deck) serving limited menus for lunch and dinner. With its outside seating, sunroofs, and some grilled items, it was very popular. On the 200 level is a small fitness room and beauty parlor. The fitness room has a bike, e-trainer, and treadmill, all good quality. Because of the low ceiling, your head will hit the ceiling on the e-trainer if you are over 6 feet tall. A large TV is provided as is a single yoga mat for stretching (thanks Vantage!). Five of us used this room. We had room #301 and we liked the position - right next to the center of action and atrium, but it was not noisy. The Staff Ninety percent of the staff on the shakedown came on along to France - they work well together. The officers and staff are not Vantage, they are contracted as are the tour director and theieceirge. The Captain is not comfortable with English, but if you catch him alone (as we did at breakfast, at his invitation) he is quite personable. The hotel manager has the gift of gab and is the face of the ship. He calls his crew the "beehive" and indeed, they are. Most important to your trip are the tour director and concierge. We had Eva and Virginia respectively. They were both excellent. Their arrangements and interface with us were terrific. Great excursion details the night before and great handouts. The folks that manned the front desk were fine. Vantage has an annoying procedure that you turn in your room card for a paper card when you leave the ship. This is time consuming - other boats have an electonic check out. The front desk will convert your dollars into Euros and also make change - helpful for getting tip money for the guides and drivers. The wait staff in the restaurants were friendly, efficient, and willing to help you out with special needs. The Passengers Almost 100% American with the exception of one or two Canadian couples. Just about everyone was in their 60s-80s and as friendly as can be. We had one family of four generations that included kids. That was Stan Newman's family, a WWII fighter pilot who always wanted to go the Normandy beaches and his family joined him. Google Stan to read about his career. We also had a group of 40 from New Jersey, lots of fun. Many passengers did pre-voyage trips and after voyage trips, sponsored by Vantage. Some did back to back river trips. The Food and Beverages The food was good, not great. We were disappointed that we did not have more French food. Portion sizes were small, which was good because you are getting upwards of four courses each meal. Breakfast was your standard cruise fare with buffet eggs, meats, cereals, fruit, baked goods, juices and yogurts. The omelette station was excellent. Lunch featured another buffet or you could order specials off the menu. Specials were not always up to their standards. Burgers were only fair. All their soups were terrific. You could also have lunch in the Captain's Club. You pay for alcohol at lunch. Dinners were always at 7pm, open seating. Travelling by ourselves, we made a lot of new friends by sitting at different tables. Each night featured new appetizers and three entrees, meat, fish, and veggie. Usually choice of two deserts. Could also order a standard dinner of salmon, steak, or veggie, and standard appetizers and deserts. Beer and wine are complimentary. The beer was German and good. The wines changed every night. If you didn't like it, you had other free options. Nice. Our favorite meals were: lobster, lamb shank, fettucini cabonara, and eggs benedict. Unlike other cruise lines, you are free to bring alcohol on board the River Venture. And there is an ice machine to cool your beverages. Sailing The Seine OK, I did not expect the beauty of the Seine - big hills with chalk-faced cliffs, surrounded by stunning farmland and picture perfect towns. By all means, try to spend some time on top or on the forward area or on the aft deck. Because of the time zone, it stayed light very late. Intriguing also were transversing the locks, going through commercial areas, and docking at the huge port in La Harve. Kudos to the French who take meticulous care of their homes, business, and commercial plants. The Itinerary and Excursions Cannot ask for a better itinerary of French towns and Normandy WWII beaches - that's why we chose this tour and we were not disappointed. Most excursions were via large, comfortable buses - three buses for our boat, each with its own guide. Eva got everything organized and hopped between buses to see that everything went smoothly. Vernon Our boat was parked right near the center city. Guided tour of Monet's house in Giverney and gardens, including the famous lily ponds. A great tour, if a bit rushed and crowded. A superb gift shop. Look for the seed packages. Some folks signed up for having a bite with a French family and had a great time in the PM. We decided to walk around Vernon and found a cherry festival. It was fun. Rouen It was Sunday and we got up early and went to the 8am Mass at the cathedral. If you are Catholic, you MUST go to a Mass in one of the European cathedrals. (They are all name Notre Dame in France of course). After lunch, we had a guided tour of Rouen. Fabulous old houses, some crowding over the streets. Back to the cathedral for more commentary. Tomb of Richard the Lionhearted (at least part of his body - did you know he was really French). Nice chapel dedicated to Saint Teresa of the Little Flower (my grade school). In contrast to the cathedral, we visited a modern church in the shape of a ship. There, the tour ended and we stopped at the La Terresa brassarie for a drink. Caudebec-en-Caux We visited two Benedictine Abbeys. The first had ruins and a timber newer (and operational) church. The second was just ruins - but it was stunning. Our guide was Olivier, who was excellent. He brought to life the history and dynamics of these ruins. We had an excellent time. That night was formal night with a special dinner. Nice. La Harve and the Beaches of Normandy We were supposed to dock at Honfluer (a nice tourist town) but docked at La Harve instead. We were told that it was because of French bureaucracy. Hmmm.... that put us in an industrial setting 30 minutes farther from our excursions the next two days. (And here I would say, any cruise/boat trip can have issues, so just deal with most of them). An expected bonus was that the Russian cadet training four-master docked near us and we could tour it. We did get some time in Honfluer and it was a nice tourist town. We found the merchandise to be pricey. The restaurants were nice and there was a lot of them. We noticed that no river cruise boats were docked there. Our first day was huge - a two hour trip to the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach. Our guide was Alex (a Brit living on the coast) and he was five stars. I am a fan of WWII history and well read - he told me things I had never heard of before. If you have not been to the Normandy beaches, please go and celebrate those brave men. The cemeteries will make you cry. We had a ceremony where Stan placed a wreath at the cementary and all vetrans joined him. Wow. We walked around the cemetery, then headed to Omaha beach. Strangely silent, it's hard to imagine the death and destruction on 6/6/44. We then headed down the coast for an average lunch (hard to feed 120 folks great food, but they did have lots of wine). Then, off to Pointe du Hoc, where the Rangers assaulted German guns atop 100 ft cliffs. This is one of the few places where gun emplacements are still left. The French removed most of them as they were a blight on their country. Then, we stopped at Arromanches, where the Brits (God bless them) created one of the Mulberry harbors. Still some remnants. We went to the museum which had a Brit film, not that good, skip that and look at the good exhibits. Check out the History Channel for something better. Note: the shops around this area are way overpriced. If you must have a D-Day hat or T-shirt, buy it here. Otherwise, wait until Les Angeles for trinkets. What a day! We passed a countless number of monuments and museums. I would like to go back for a week! If you take this trip, your enjoyment will be enhanced by reading one of the great books on D-Day. My favorite is the one by Steven Ambrose. Read this and you will recognise a lot of the small towns that were involved in D-Day and the battles after that day. Also try the books by Beevor and Ryan. If not, just rent "The Longest Day" based on Ryan's book. Our boat showed the movie topside the night before. Know your history folks... Day Two from La Harve Another long drive, this time to Bayeux. Toured the cathedral and then lunch on our own. Found a wonderful restaurant with pate. Yum. Walked up to the British cemetery and then toured the Bayeux Tapestry. Had lunch at La Petit Normandy (great pate!). If I had to do this day again, I would have skipped Bayeux and toured some more WWII monuments and museums. Some folks took a side trip to Mount St. Michelle, but it was a long trip. One of the days in La Harve gave us an opportunity to walk around. Some of the old dock warehouses were turned into a modern shopping mall with clothing stores, shoes stores, a huge grocery store with wine and beer, and a garden center. This gave us a taste of French life outside of the old cities we visited. Les Andeles OK, I am hooked. This is my favorite French town. It's small, beautiful, and friendly. I'll go back. We had a walking tour way up to Chateau Gaillard, built by Richard the Lion Hearted. It's not a bad hike, 20 minutes, but some of our old folks had some minor problems. They also offered an easy walk just in town. The castle and its history were excellent. Once again, Eva paid for all our admittance. An easy walk down and then we were on our own. We stopped at a patisserie to smell the bread and buy a morsel. Yum! When you leave the main dock, walk towards the town and make a left at the main street. There are a couple of nice shops with quality merchandise and good prices. Also, a nice brassarie to have a capacino or beer (Le Cafe du Petit Andeley). Try a beer you have never heard of - you will be rewarded. That evening, we left our boat (it moved down to Vernon) and we bussed to a large farm where we had dinner in a barn with folk dancing. Um, not my cup of tea. Food was mediocre and two hours of the same song sung different ways was painful. Better off to buy your dinner in Les Andeles and stay on the boat. One positive part of this side trip was that we drove up to the castle so those that did not walk up could see it. On the way we passed a 1959 Buick convertible and a shop specializing in older American cars. Go figure.... Conflans This is near Paris where the Seine and the Oise rivers meet. A blue collar town with boat crews. They were having a festival of the boats and they paraded the boats and had lots of land stuff to do. Lots of fun to walk around and see how the French enjoy themselves. Paris Back to the same docking as when we first joined the boat. We have been there before and seen the major sites. We went to the Metro, got a one-day pass (about 6 Euros), visited three museums, and found a restaurant we visited 14 years ago. A great day. By all means, be adventuresome and take the Metro - it's cheap and easy to use - lots of walking however. Our concierge had great maps and advice. For a great time, try the Arts and Meiters Museum. On Board Lectures etc - French lesson - Lecture on impressionism - Lecture on D-Day - Showing of the movie "The Longest Day" - Nice tour of the kitchen by the head chef - Virginia has lots of good handouts and maps at every stop Entertainment - nice piano guy in the bar all the time - other guest musicians brought in, including a woman who sounded just like Edith Piat - skits by the staff which were pretty good Disembarkation This did not turn out well. We departed on Monday and the French rail strike was already two days old. Folks that normally taking the train to the airport drove. Our bus should have taken 50 minutes but it took three hours. Traffic was gridlocked everywhere. We missed our flight. I fault Vantage for this. They were well aware of the strike and were actively working to schedule bus trips for those who were scheduled on rail to other destinations. They should have scheduled the airport trips earlier. To Vantage's credit, they had a rep at the airport who booked us into a hotel near the airport, paid for that, and paid for the E200 extra fee for missing the flight. One poor chap was separated from the Vantage rep and ended up paying full fare to get home. Don't know if he was reimbursed. This incident was preventable and has soured me somewhat on Vantage.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was a short three night cruise visiting Belgium and France and was booked for our wedding anniversary. My Wife is disabled and a wheel chair user so I have commented on each part on any good and bad experiences in each of the ... Read More
This was a short three night cruise visiting Belgium and France and was booked for our wedding anniversary. My Wife is disabled and a wheel chair user so I have commented on each part on any good and bad experiences in each of the sections. Hotel We stayed at the IBIS budget in Southampton, which is as basic as it gets but it was clean and well located, on 10 minutes from the dock gates. The price of hotel room was very competitive, you do have to pay to park (£6), although it is free for those with a blue badge. There is a TGI and McDonalds on the site and restaurants in the other two hotels (Novotel and IBIS) that you can use. The hotel was great for accessibility and we were immediately allocated an accessible room which made life easier for us. The service from the front desk was very good indeed. Embarkation We sailed from Dock Gate four, which we have done before and used the on site parking which as normal was first class and highly recommended. The check in was quick and easy, although we were allocated to a special section for wheel chair users, I think everyone else probably checked in quicker than we did. The welcome to the ship was very good, professional and even had a red carpet laid out. We got on the ship just after 12 and asked when the rooms would be available and were told that they have been available since 10 a.m. which is very impressive. The Queen Victoria She is a beautiful ship, not as big as some of the competitors but stylish in most ways and spotlessly clean everywhere. Although a smaller ship, she is longer than I expected as it still seemed to take some time to walk from one end to the other. It did get a little crowed at times as she is narrower than other boats, with only one corridor running from front to back on some decks. Service The staff were very polite and attentive to all needs and we found the service in all bars and restaurants to be very good with not feeling of being ignored or rushed though meals which was nice. The wine waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine and automatically adjusted his comments and suggestions to our budget after we had ordered the first bottle of wine, which saved any awkward conversations. Dinning The food was outstanding in the main dinning room, which a good choice each night and staff that knew about the food which is helpful. Any requests for adjustments to the food, leaving out one ingredient etc. was never an issue and did not slow up the service. The buffet was of good quality and with a reasonable selection, but like all boats it is what it is and we did not struggle to find something to eat when we had lunch there. Activities Being only three days we did not take part in many activities, which the exception of having the afternoon tea which is served in the spectacular Queens Ballroom. It is the perfect setting to have your tea in fine bone china, eat tiny sandwiches and cakes and enjoy quiet music from a quartet or piano. Civilisation at its best and would highly recommend. Entertainment We did take in a couple of shows which were not the best that I have seen to tell the truth, one of which we left after about half an hour. One disappointing factor is that the boat has twelve disabled cabins but only 8 disabled spaces in the theatre, so we have to get there earlier to ensure we see the show. When we asked at the reception desk they suggested that we pay the $57 per person to sit in one of the boxes if we wanted to guarantee that we got a seat. The matter was not helped with the number of non disabled people that were sitting in the companion sits and in the second show that we went to we saw a number of other guests in wheel chairs come and go as they was no where available for their carer to sit. Again the staff seemed uninterested in helping the situation. Ports Zeebrugge We had ordered a taxi to pick us up at the boat and were disappointed that it did not arrive, however there are plentiful taxis available at the port to take you where you want to go. An advantage of using these official cabs is that the fares are fixed (50 euros to Bruges). The lady that drove the taxi was fantastic, helping my wife in and out of the car and delivering us to the very centre of Bruges and picking us up from the same spot exactly when we asked her to later in the day. Bruges itself is a beautiful city with lots of little shops to look at, although with all the cobble stones it is not the best place for wheel chairs, but the shops and restaurants were very obliging to helping us get my Wife to tables and around the tiny shops. We had a lunch in the main square at 'De Beurze' and found the food to be exceptional with very reasonable prices. Cherbourg Cherbourg is a pretty little port, that is undergoing a significant amount of work and we enjoyed the morning walking around the towns streets and stopping for coffee on the front. Getting on and off the boat in both locations was very well organised and we received assistance with the wheel chair in both ports. No real waiting was evident in either port, although we always waited about an hour after docking to avoid the main rush. Summary In summary we really enjoyed out short stay on board and would be happy to take another cruise with Cunard. The only caveat to this would be that I would not take my children, as although there is a kids club, the few children on the trip did look bored most of the time. The trip represented good value for money and was relaxed and enjoyable at all times. I have reviewed the cabin separately.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Let me first begin telling about my Amazing Journey sailing the Bordeaux Region of France aboard Uniworld’s River Royale by mentioning how wonderful it is that Uniworld is now an All Inclusive Boutique River Cruise. All the gratuities ... Read More
Let me first begin telling about my Amazing Journey sailing the Bordeaux Region of France aboard Uniworld’s River Royale by mentioning how wonderful it is that Uniworld is now an All Inclusive Boutique River Cruise. All the gratuities onboard and onshore are now included along with unlimited beverages including wines, beers, spirits, cocktails, sodas, and coffees. Schedules Airport Transfers are also complimentary along with outstanding Excursions – no need to pay for extra excursions although a few optional tours are also available. When I sailed my first Uniworld River Cruise two years ago on the River Antoinette I noticed barely anyone went to the Lounge after Dinner. Now, with open bar, many people stopped in for a drink after dinner. I noticed by midweek many friendships were being made and by the Farewell Dinner there were over 70 people in the Lounge after Dinner. I was traveling with my 30 year old Son who is in the Wine Business. With his depth of knowledge in the Industry he was amazed at what he was seeing and learning at the Wine Estates, and Châteaux’s. Bordeaux offers so much to Wine Lovers and to see the major areas of the region in just one week was outstanding. From touring Chateaux's in Margaux, exploring the beautiful historic town of St Emillon, to enjoying the sweet liquid gold of Sauterns, no wine enthusiast would leave this trip disappointed. We were in Category 1, Stateroom 302. The cabins are smaller than on ocean ships but adequate and well designed. On a River Cruise you spend very little time in the Cabin so we were fine. The Dinners in the Dining Room were beyond outstanding with always a choice of Meat, Seafood, or a Vegetarian Dish. The Food Presentation was to perfection with Incredible Deserts to end a 5 Star Dining Experience! There was a Sommelier onboard who every night paired a Red and White Wine for your Dinner Entrée. I am so grateful to the entire Staff onboard the River Royale that made this such a wonderful cruise and memories to share with my Son. As people have said on other posts “You get what you pay for” and with Uniworld you are getting the Best.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from an 8 night cruise to France and Spain onboard The Adventure of the Seas and can honestly say that is one of the worst experiences we have ever had. The Ship is very impressive to look at but that is where it ... Read More
We have just returned from an 8 night cruise to France and Spain onboard The Adventure of the Seas and can honestly say that is one of the worst experiences we have ever had. The Ship is very impressive to look at but that is where it begins and ends. The Food was of a very poor standard compared to other cruises we have been on the meat was tough, and was either undercooked or cremated no happy medium at all barely edible the choice was limited and the only thing i can liken it to was a very average all inclusive ie Butlins. The daytime entertainment was very repetative and of a holiday camp standard and as for all the supposed ammenities such as ice skaTing rock climbing inline skating these were also limited to a couple of hours a day weather permitting and no other alternatives apart from the very cheesy kids clubs were on offer for older kids my 12 year old son was bored to death. The only thing to look forward to was the evening shows which were at inconveniant times and in order to see them we had to eat in the self service cafe nearly every night because the main resturants took upto 45 mins to bring each course. the ship was understaffed and we sometimes waited up to 30 min to be served with a drink in the bars. All Royal Caribbean seemed interested in was making money out of passengers by trying to sell them sub standard goods at inflated prices. ie cheap watches and immitation pandora braclets. WOULD NEVER BOOK WITH THEM AGAIN   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We've never cruised before so thought this would be a good way to try it. Check-in was amazingly easy (although I was in my wheelchair which mean skipping the HUGE queues). Staff were really helpful & whisked our luggage away ... Read More
We've never cruised before so thought this would be a good way to try it. Check-in was amazingly easy (although I was in my wheelchair which mean skipping the HUGE queues). Staff were really helpful & whisked our luggage away before assisting us onto the ship. We loved IOS. Amazing service in the dining room each evening& our room attendent was brilliant. Staff were great with my son. He did rock climbing, ice skating, swimming, golf. He was interested in the kids club but that was disappointing - staff ignored us when we went to register, they didn't give him a tour of the facilities and as such, he wouldn't go to the club. It didn't matter but given that it is meant to be an award winning kids facility, it was a shame. DIsappointing that other passengers were so greedy... on the formal night, with the Captain's reception, people tended to grab 3-4 glasses of champagne which meant that lots of people didn't get any. Room service was appalling - we tried it twice, just to order tea & coffee but both times it took over an hour for it to arrive. Cabin was wonderful - clean, bright & plenty big enough (although door wasn't wide enough to accomodate my wheelchair without collapsing it, despite having mentioned it when I booked), lots of storage, lovely spacious balcony & decent shower. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013

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