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30 Europe - British Isles & Western Fitness Cruise Reviews

I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the entertainmenton deck seven. On Sapphire and Ruby -three beautiful well maintained dance floors. Kudos for bringing us singer Peter Howarth and the band "Atomic" both were awesome. Atomic is the best lounge band ever on a cruise ship. The stage band was excellent too. We did not enjoy the other stage shows - we have seen beatles tribute bands many times before, and unfortunately the ships stage performers were well below par. We are dancers and really appreciate the recorded ballroom music offered. The buffet was good for breakfast, dining room,not. the dining room was good for dinner, the buffet, not Most of the staff were very helpful and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Great itinerary. Beautiful ship. I liked my minisuite. Im going to keep booking them instead of a regular balcony cabin. Very good food. One of the best I've had. The ship was clean and well kept. Didn't like the internet ... Read More
Great itinerary. Beautiful ship. I liked my minisuite. Im going to keep booking them instead of a regular balcony cabin. Very good food. One of the best I've had. The ship was clean and well kept. Didn't like the internet charges per minute. They need to fix that. Some of the land trips were expensive but very well organized. Tge Tattoo military parade in Edinburgh is something that SHOUL NOT BE MISSED. I'm planning in going back to Scotland to see this again. The food at the Royal princess ship was outstanding. Liked the healthy choices. Tha staff at the anytime dinning was very friendly. I would go back and take this cruise with the same ship again. The gym had very good quality new equipment. I like to work out so this was important fo rd me. The spa was good but zi didn't like my pushy massage therapist. Didn't like that she charged her own tip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Coach transfer We arrived at Victoria coach station, greeted by cruise and maritime representative. Suitcases were put on coach, We did not see them again, until they arrived outside cabin, Embarkation On arrival, we were told to ... Read More
Coach transfer We arrived at Victoria coach station, greeted by cruise and maritime representative. Suitcases were put on coach, We did not see them again, until they arrived outside cabin, Embarkation On arrival, we were told to take a seat, wait for colour of our tags to be called out, this was a matter of minutes, we then proceeded to get the boarding card, then Register our Credit cards, this was done all very swiftly, no hanging around we was on the ship within 20 minutes, Cabin 7126 Our cabin was a superior inside 3 birth, which was spacious and had two very comfortable double bed, and bunk bed, There was a generous sized en suite including toiletries. There was plenty of storage space, three large wardrobes, It was kept beautifully clean by our cabin stewardess who came in twice a day to ensure it stayed that way. It Was equipped with air-conditioning. Raffles Bistro, (self service) commonly Known as pig troff, Not quite the case this time, Food was excellent, different each day, and plenty of it. Dinner Waldorf Restaurant 1st sitting, 5 course dinner! Well what can one say? Well presented as if I was in a first class restaurants, food was delicious, lots of it, there was 27 different cheeses on board boat ship, Cheeseboard was different every night, The staff in the Waldorf were amazing, nothing was too much trouble, I like port with my cheese, port was not on the drinks menu in this restaurant, but the waiters soon got it organised that I was to have my port and Calvados at my table every night, we even made small changes to Our food orders, we even ordered a prawn cocktail one night, which was specially prepared, nothing was too much trouble, Drinks on board We had drinks package, I drank my normal for on cruise, by god they were not watered down or full of ice like some cruise lines, you could get intoxicated quite quickly. Entertainment Magellan show team were first class with great shows each night, two special guests performing, as well as many and varied day time activities. The part nobody wants to see. Medical department My mother was taken ill, blacked out, days into the trip and needed to use the ships medical department. The treatment She received was first class 3 ECGs blood tests, all don and results back in 30mins, the doctor decided to have our cabin changed, to 5034. she was put on heart pills and sent to bed, and go back next day for another ECG, she was then fit to enjoy the rest of the cruise. On the day leaving the ship, doctor had written a full report, which was left in the cabin to take way. Cabin change 5034, Our cabin was now a superior outside which was spacious and had two very comfortable single beds. With bunk bed, There was a generous sized en suite including toiletries. Also included were tea and coffee making facilities. There was plenty of storage space and it was good to have a window. Was told to put all clothes in suitcases, and they would to the rest within 10 minutes the cases were at the new cabins door. Cruise director Word got around my mother was taken ill, when the cruise director, stopped us and asked my father how his wife was, as he had heard she was taken ill, every day if he see us he asked how she was, The ship, Old looking on the outside, but new modern on the inside, lick of paint here and there on the out side, handled with weather quite okay, not a problem for me.... loved it Now the negative bits I can’t think of any! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Magnificent ship with staff that went out if there way to help out and make my family cruise a holiday not to forget. There was so much food in quantity and diversity and the quality was second to none. All over the ship there was ... Read More
Magnificent ship with staff that went out if there way to help out and make my family cruise a holiday not to forget. There was so much food in quantity and diversity and the quality was second to none. All over the ship there was different entertainment going on so everyone had a brilliant time. We were all treated like royalty and every corner you turned there was a happy smiling faced member of crew. From the moment we stepped on board to the excursions, the staff couldn't do enough for us. This was our first cruise and we were unsure if we would like the experience. We loved the fact we could step off our floating hotel and see different cultures and people. Take in the architecture and sample local foods and wine. All excursions were professionally undertaken and we personally couldn't wait to get back onboard at the end of the day to feast in one of the many restaurants. We are now converted, roll on the next cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose the cruise of where the ship went to . We have sailed with Royal Caribbean before, and had a great experience this time no exception. Breakfast and lunch we enjoy in the windjammer, only dinner we like to eat in the main ... Read More
We chose the cruise of where the ship went to . We have sailed with Royal Caribbean before, and had a great experience this time no exception. Breakfast and lunch we enjoy in the windjammer, only dinner we like to eat in the main dining room no extra pounds to gain Excursions went great lots of fun and on and of board went easy, and we got lots of information on the excursions. Information was easy to get and everything provided on each part of the ship ik needed. The daily cruise paper was very helpfull in understanding what was going on on the ship where and on what time , even the weather forecast and time changes where repeatedly shared to not miss anything. So go on a cruise be Nice to the staff they work very hard for you, and iT Will not hurt to smile or be Nice . Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
First of all, I previously cruised with Royal Caribbean "Allure of the Seas", and it was so exhilarating, I was looking forward to cruising with their Navigator of the Seas. Alas, I was completely disappointed in my experience ... Read More
First of all, I previously cruised with Royal Caribbean "Allure of the Seas", and it was so exhilarating, I was looking forward to cruising with their Navigator of the Seas. Alas, I was completely disappointed in my experience with this ship. Here are some of the reasons: 1. When the ship docked, there was no one to direct passengers to the gangway. Yes, there were signs posted on the walls, but when a whole crowd of people are in the hallway, the signs can't be seen, and there is a lot of confusion about which way to go - right or left. Some passengers, were even saying that the exit was at the other end of the ship. This same confusion and scenario repeated itself at subsequent ports. It would have been so simple if there was a staff member at, or near the elevators directing people to the exit door leading to the gangway. 2. All the poultry and fish in the main dining room and the Windjammer were overcooked. The gravest, culinary sin was the "Filet Mignon" in the Windjammer, which was way overdone, chewy, and quite ghastly. A hockey puck would have tasted better. 3. The majority of food was also over-salted, yet the scrambled eggs, omelets, etc. had no salt and were quite tasteless. 4. To be fair, the tastiest food on the Navigator of the Seas was the Italian food. This is not my favourite type of food, but it was the tastiest on this ship. 5. For those passengers who do not particularly like gambling or drinking, there were not enough other activities to keep one interested and entertained on this ship. A lot of the activities were quite boring, and too many of them ended up being sales pitches, and "buy", "buy", "buy" events. 6. The shows were amateurish, almost laughable compared to those on the "Allure of the Seas" (for example). They were lacking professionalism, polish and finesse, and they reminded us passengers of high school concerts that just don't quite make the grade. 7. A few times, the Dance Fit classes were scheduled to be held pool side, but because of inclement weather, the activity moved inside to the Cosmopolitan Club, and no announcement was made, so those of us who arrived a minute or two later, had to ask the lifeguard where was the class, and if he did not know, he had us ask the Towel Rental guy about it. Lovely. Such poor communication and customer service for a cruise ship. This was aggravating and irritating to us passengers. 8. The Line Dance class was cancelled, and no announcement was made. Those of us who showed up for it at poolside then thought that it must have moved to the Cosmopolitan Club. So the group of us headed up to the Club. Nothing was happening there, and the personnel there knew nothing about any Line Dance class. Rushing down to Guest Services, we were then informed that the class was cancelled. When we asked why was the cancellation not announced, the answer was that "not too many people are interested in that class". A simple announcement saying that the "Line Dance class has been cancelled" would have been the courteous thing for Royal Caribbean to do for the few of us who wanted to do this activity. 9. Some of us tried to enjoy table tennis, but Deck 14 was so windy for so many days, that it was impossible to play. If this happens more often than not, why doesn't Royal Caribbean devise some sort of enclosure that blocks off the wind so that passengers can enjoy this activity? Thumbs down for this ship, its activities, its entertainment, and its food. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been ... Read More
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been on many cruises but never P&O. My mother has always referred to the service as being outstanding on every cruise (cruise Maritime, Thompsons, Fred Olsen). First morning, I attended the buffet breakfast area (conservatory) at around 9.30am to be faced with huge queues waiting for hot food, these queues seem to be taking a considerable amount of time to move. I have been to many 4-5-star hotels all over the world and I expect to queue at busy periods but the queue would always move quickly. After observing for 10 minutes while I wait (moved ever so slightly in this time), it was instantly clear why the queues were not moving. The hot food was not being replenished quick enough, now this was simple things like mushrooms, bacon, fried eggs as so on (basic breakfast food that is normally consumed by most people). I queued and eventually selected what I wanted, but the overall wait was approximately 25 minutes. I did contemplate getting more but the waiting time outweighed the hunger. This continued throughout the duration of the cruise, (every day apart from the last day, this was mainly due to me and my mother arriving at 6am so we could disembark early). Day 3 and onwards, again I had to wait around the same time as above only to be told there was no mushrooms today or they had completely run out. One day that stands out, the 5th day 28th July 2017, I even asked the member of staff behind the counter, only to be told there had not been any mushrooms cooked and there is none being cooked. At my amazement, when I returned to my seat, my mother had mushrooms. Clearly, I was lied to and again they had simply run out, bear in mind, we always attended breakfast between 9am and 10am. The staff in the conservatory buffet seemed very under trained and had no idea how to interact with the guest. Not once did they say, "good morning", Good Afternoon", or Good Evening". Most of the time they spent talking amongst themselves, it also seemed they had their own game going on. I like to watch people, several of the staff would look at each other and make some form of facial gesture, the other one would then laugh, this was though they were insulting the guest and this made me and my mother very uncofortable. As a little test, I left my plate on the side of my table, 3 members of staff were just chatting and laughing, the plate was eventually removed after about 15 minutes. I am unsure what uniform the Management wear, but to me it was a clear there was lack of supervision in the so-called restaurant. I also witnessed a waiter clearing a table and rather than sweep the crumbs etc. from the table on to a tray or their hand, with my astonishment they just swept it on the floor, there was still around 2 hours of service left, appalling. Throughout the duration of the cruise There was no draught Larger in the Crow’s Nest, (well this is what we were advised). The first club dining night, our table (55) had to wait around 45 minutes between starter and main course. This was nothing to do with the waiters. I would like to say the club dining waiters were very professional and an asset to P&O. I I have made an official complaint via P&O website. I have received a reply (took 29 days which falls outside their complaints process, and only I feel i only received a response due to chasing twice) which basically told me what P&O set out to achieve (type of mission/vision statement) but nothing on how they will be dealing with my dissatisfaction. There was also no apology for the late response and they had the cheek to advise they would welcome me back on board. I have replied back to still state my dissatisfaction, and guess what no response. I have even called the customer services to be told we can not put you through to the complaints department, you need to send an email (trust me this doesn't work), I was advised a Manager would call me ASAP (this call took place on 6th September 2017 and i m now writing this on 7th September 2017, and surprise, surprise, I am still waiting for a call. To sum up. DO NOT BOOK A CRUISE WITH P&O and look for an alternative operator. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first class. Accommodation was brilliant and so was the entertainment. The spa on the ship was wonderful with very professional staff and the gym was brilliant too. It was absolutely faultless. So much so we have booked again for next year with the same ship. Every time we docked everything was explained to us. It is not everso formal but you do get a chance to dress up if you feel the need. Very mixed age group and every age is catered for. There was always something to do and everywhere was so clean. Just couldn't believe it. Not one speck of dirt anywhere and all the crew members just wanted to help and assist you. They were very very friendly without being overpowering. When the cruise came to an end and we left the ship, there was no long wait and everything was made so easy. Never wanted it to end. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We had read the mixed reviews about P&O and decided to try Britannia out because of the good prices sailing from Southampton and because it was a new larger ship. It was probably the most straight forward journey into a ship we had ... Read More
We had read the mixed reviews about P&O and decided to try Britannia out because of the good prices sailing from Southampton and because it was a new larger ship. It was probably the most straight forward journey into a ship we had ever encountered. We were on in less than 20 minutes and the cabin was ready for us. We loved the balcony cabin (Reviewed below) and didnt find the balcony too small at all and enjoyed having breakfast on it in the mornings. Food was good and we didn't have one bad meal. We had room service every day for breakfast and this worked out well especially when we had an early start on a port day. The buffet choice is more restricted than with RC, NCL & MSC but it was still fine. The tea bags would run out and coffee machines seemed to work sporadically but often a waiter came around with jugs if this was the case. I loved the fact there was Zumba onboard so I didn't miss my regular exercise. There were classes each sea day and were very high standard. All abilities could join in as Keeley took it to three different levels. This is a trial so please P&O keep it going! The classes were full each day so the need is there! The ports were all very good, we hadn't been to most of them before, and I liked the fact they didn't charge for transfers as we had paid the higher rate when booking. Actually, we think the whole cruise was better value for money as drinks were reasonable too- the same as UK pub prices- with no added tips. We appreciated being able to have wine in our cabin without paying a service or corkage. Other cruise Ines charge to bring your own wine aboard so this was pleasing. We loved the Limelight club where we saw Jackie Graham and Chesney Hawkes on another evening. Both were very good and friendly after the gig at the meet and greet. It's a great concept with having a meal followed by music afterwards. I wish more ships did this. It was worth paying a bit more to see well known artists, in a more comfortable, intimate setting. All staff were friendly but in the spa perhaps too much so! We did a couples massage which my husband enjoyed (he had a delightful Thai woman who had just joined P&O). I was not so fortunate and had an average massage followed by a very hard sales pitch for 10 long minutes. This wiped out the relaxation benefit and was not appreciated or necessary. This member of staff will hopefully, with age, learn to be more customer cantered and talk less about herself. I also didn't need the hug she gave me at the end- most unexpected and inappropriate. We didn't use the spa again after this. The relaxation room was nice though. We would return to this ship in the future, although we probably enjoy NCL more. The staff on the ship are all pleasant but seem a bit unhappy. We missed having other nationalities onboard (we enjoy learning about other cultures) as it was almost 100% Brits. We hated the whole idea of the flag waving party but easily escaped to a more restful bar at the Crow's Nest. To sum up a fun, good value cruise on a larger, newish ship! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from ... Read More
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from the pier check in to walking on the cruise ship. My advice is to get down to the Southampton terminal early, by doing this, you will avoid large queues. The disembarkation was very easy using my card to get off the ship, the luggage was easy to get to, you find the number, take your suitcases/luggage and leave the terminal. The Independence Of The Seas is a big ship in the Freedom Class band of the Royal Caribbean Cruise line, the ship has lots of choice, when you get on board from sports to entertainment, spa and beauty and the Gym. I was lucky to be in a balcony stateroom, I was at the back of the ship on deck 7. It was straight forward to get to the stateroom, our luggage arrived outside our stateroom at 1pm. The cabin was clean and beautiful. The views from the back of the ship were breathtaking to watch when I opened the balcony door. The Main Dining Room on Decks 3, 4 and 5 had a shakesperian theme to them as they were named Romeo & Juliet (Deck 3) Macbeth (Deck 4) and King Lear (Deck 5). I was in the King Lear Dining Room and the meals and drink were 1st Class. The Entertainment was absolutely sensational, the headliner shows such as Grease and The Magnets was West End Quality! The service was very good. The negatives in my opinion was that the food in the windjammer was under par, the desserts were sensational, but the meats such as the chicken was fatty, dark and oily. It felt to me that the standards of food in the windjammer lacked in quality, the positives about the windjammer is that there is a variety of food to choose from, from Asian, American to British and French cuisine. I and my Family visited Bruges, Paris and Cherbourg they were all stunning. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The reason I chose this cruise was partly because we are both first timers to cruising and the entertainment was our favourite bands and artistes from the 1960's. My mother is not a fan of the water and has only travelled on ferries ... Read More
The reason I chose this cruise was partly because we are both first timers to cruising and the entertainment was our favourite bands and artistes from the 1960's. My mother is not a fan of the water and has only travelled on ferries and hovercrafts previously and sometimes the journeys have been very rough. On cruise ships of this size however you would not even know you were moving. Everything about the ship was luxurious and the customer service second to none. Food and drink was plentiful and we took advantage of the Spa by way of facials and manicures. Our deluxe ocean view state room with veranda was luxurious. Hygiene and security were top priorities and everyone was made to feel special regardless of the accommodation they occupied. This ship was first class all the way, with casinos, shops, bars, eating experiences to suit all tastes, entertainment and various shore excursions. There was something to do 24 hours a day if you wished or you could just sit back and relax. Staff were always on hand to assist and nothing was too much trouble. Real grass for boules or golf, 24 hour library and a Card/Games room. To anyone unsure about cruises do not hesitate book it now. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
6 port days in a row! It was exhausting. I definitely needed a vacation from this vacation. But I feel like I got a good overview of Ireland and Scotland. I do not feel the need to hurry back to either now. So I feel like it helped check ... Read More
6 port days in a row! It was exhausting. I definitely needed a vacation from this vacation. But I feel like I got a good overview of Ireland and Scotland. I do not feel the need to hurry back to either now. So I feel like it helped check off some boxes vs. the Baltics cruise was just the tip of the iceberg for every place. As far as the Caribbean Princess - not my favorite. Not terrible by any means, but I saw some cleanliness issues - again nothing major, but just stuff that made me go 'hmmmm' - especially compared to my other cruises (Regal, Celeb Silhouette, Celeb Reflection). I loved loved loved the Serenity pool (we dubbed it the Buddha pool b/c of the statue). It was great to have that w/ the cooler temps. The Dining room was nice - but I still prefer the grandeur of the 2 story. Same with the Piazza area - I prefer the open nature of the Celebrity ships I have sailed. Ship: The Caribbean Princess. I liked the ship – I knew it was older and it looked more worn than the Regal but not in a bad/unkempt way. Just not as shiny. The only thing I didn't love were counter and wall stains (I wiped all our room surfaces, and the fact I removed so many stains w/o scrubbing just tells me they never bother to wipe the surfaces). I also wiped away one too many curly hairs on the surfaces. I travel > 50% of the year, so it's not as if I never see stuff like this, but I took exception to the number of times I saw this in our stateroom. I also didn't think the bathrooms were as spotless compared to Regal and Celebrity - I would just see random stains in places that should be wiped (toilet seat, by the main door handle). Would I consider it dirty? No. But I feel like I had high, if not unreasonable expectations coming from 4 other ships. Embarkation: easiest thing ever. Took the train from London Waterloo to Southampton. 1h30m. Easy. Arrived around 1130a. No security and check-in line. On board shortly after noon. We grabbed lunch at the buffet - ate outside. Our luggage arrived so we settled in/unpacked. Dining: MDR/Coral – 8p seating. We were seated in anytime, but had an 8p seating - since they botched out 815p confirmed dining. The solution was to give up a set table in anytime which worked fine. One the whole I enjoyed almost all of the meals - which I couldn't say on the past couple cruises. Buffet/Horizon Bistro/Court: not bad at all. Never a fan of the crowded buffet. Didn’t seem each table had a designated server so 2-3 different people would keep asking if you wanted drinks - which as a bit annoying. All the port times were shifted by about 15 minutes from the itinerary listed when booking. Ports are in order of arrival. Guernsey / Channel Islands 715a - 3p. Last tender 2p. * On our own. Smooth tender process. 10min ride max. * Most sights don't even open until 930a/10a. * We hiked to Ferman Bay. Lovely views. * Castle Cornet was nice.. * Lunch back on the ship * Formal Night Cobh 815a-6p * Paddywagon tour * Docked at Ringaskiddy - a container port - different than intended. Princess provide a shuttle. * Blarney Castle * Cobh Market * Kinsale photo stop and lunch Dublin 115p-11p * On our own. * Docked Ocean Pier. Princess offered paid shuttle. We took a 20 euro cab to St. Patrick's. Bit of traffic. * St. Patrick's * Dublin Castle * Trinity College * Guinness Storehouse * Arthur's Pub for dinner * Temple Bar Liverpool 815a-9p: * Did on our own. Walked off the ship * Beatles Story * Liverpool Cathedral * Merseyside Maritime Museum. Free. * Beatles Celebration show on board. Belfast 1145a-930p: * On our own. Took a cab to Titanic exhibit. 7 pounds. Paid shuttle too. * Belfast Castle - 10 pounds cab there and back. * Fibber Magee pub for music. Greenock 715p-6p: * Discover Scotland tour. * Loch Lomond/Luss * Trossachs drive through * Callander for lunch * Doune Castle stop * Stirling Castle * Glasgow drive through Next was a sea day - we sailed by the Isle of Skye. Invergordon 715a-6p: * Invergordon Tours * Cruise on Loch Ness * Urquhart Castle * Culloden Battlefield * Clava Carins * Cawdor Castle Edinburgh 715a-6p: * On our own. Breakfast at 6a. First in line for tender at 630a. 725a pushed off from ship on tender. 740a arrival. 5 GBP for local shuttle each way. Last departure 430p. * Edinburgh Castle * Scotch Whiskey Experience * Calton HIll * Palace of Holyroodhouse * Top deck - nice sail away. Le Havre 7a-8p * Princess D-Day tour * Drove by Juno Beach * Arromanches for Museum and artifical port * Lunch at La Ferme de la Ranconniere * La Pointe du Hoc * Omaha Beach * American Cemetery Activities/Entertainment: everything was really nice. Strong ship singers and dancers. The production shows were ok - some better than others - I feel like these are hit or miss. Regardless the talent was there. The acts they brought on were good - Chris Hamilton the piano player, Singer Alan Kavanaugh, Jo Little, a Whitney Houston tribute show, ventriloquist Kieran Powell. Even acts I thought there was no way were fabulous. Spa/Fitness Center: did not use spa. Used the large room in fitness center when classes/seminars not in session. Disembarkation: smooth. 945a disembark. No immigration. just grabbed luggage. Cab to Southampton Central. Took a train to Salisbury, stored our bags at Cat Tavern, and took cab (30 GBP) to Stonehenge. Took 10 GBP shuttle back to Salisbury. Walked around. Nice cathedral. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Boarding was excellent. Great service, staff were amazing. Really great shows and entertainment. Lots to do for children. The only thing I would recommend is a ocean view balcony as not a really nice bar were you can sit and watch the sea ... Read More
Boarding was excellent. Great service, staff were amazing. Really great shows and entertainment. Lots to do for children. The only thing I would recommend is a ocean view balcony as not a really nice bar were you can sit and watch the sea go by. Most things on this ship are internal. The ship was kept very clean. The cabins are really nice with lots of storage, the safe is small. American and European sockets. We eat in the American icon grill every night prebooked late dining, the food was very good and the menu change every night. There was also a set menu that didn't change. The ship was easy to get around with everything being internal you could see where you were from the lifts. You just have to remember boardwalk is deck six back of ship. The gym was fab, lots of machines, the spa area very nice and the solarium lovely with lots and lots of beds and chairs. Loved the rising tide bar was very nice to go up and down while having drinks with friends. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about ... Read More
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about everything. And in grand scale, grand quality, grand luxury. We were returning for a two week cruise in 2017 - can't wait. Although in a cheap inner cabin we never felt like the steerage customers. We also had a drinks package and we were so pleased we did. We had elderly, middle aged, teenagers and children on the cruise but nbody was lfet kicking their heels so to speak. Plenty of quiet sopts to laze for the elderly, education options galore, activities for teens and young adults, and our child loved the climbing wall, the skating rick, the basketball court and the flowrider. My wife and I thoroughlky enjoyed the theatre productions, the ice show spectacular, and the main dining room. Royal it was, Royal we felt, and Royally treated too. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Extremely disappointed with this cruise. My husband and I were excited to be going on this brand new ship on its first cruise - being regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean we expected their usual high quality and standards. The on boarding ... Read More
Extremely disappointed with this cruise. My husband and I were excited to be going on this brand new ship on its first cruise - being regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean we expected their usual high quality and standards. The on boarding was managed very quickly and within 15 minutes we were on board. This was the only organised part of the cruise. We headed straight to the Windjammer for lunch, and was horrified with it. It is badly laid out and you feel really crammed in. On the fleet's other ships this is nicely arranged and flows well. On this ship you firstly have a bottle neck of a hand washing station, then it is very poorly laid out with cramped seating. It seems far smaller than on other ships - this is worrying considering the far greater capacity of passengers! Staff didn't appear organised, so as well as bumping into other passengers, you bump into staff as well. Then to the cabin - we had a boardwalk balcony. First impressions were good, although not many hangers were provided in the wardrobe. No tea or coffee making facilities were available, we were told they had all been allocated. Toilet had a mind of its own, it flushed when it felt like it some time after the button had been pressed. We were well positioned to be able to view the Aqua Show from our balcony - until we found out from other guests there was going to be no Aqua Show! Muster drill was a joke! Our muster station was in the Aqua Theatre exposed to the elements, and when the heavens opened everyone just ran for cover! Good points about the cruise were: 1. Chops Grille as always was excellent; 2. Central Park was a lovely part of the ship; 3. Ultimate Abyss slide is a fun addition; 4. Wonderland Restaurant was a fun experience; 5. Shows were good - Grease show in particular was fantastic, it has to be the best production we have seen on board a ship; Bad points about the cruise were: 1. Gym now in the bowels of the ship, no natural light - gym staff very officious not the usual friendly team; 2. Only Sauna and Steamroom on the ship have to be paid for; 3. Jogging track now tucked out of the way which is great, however drinking fountains don't work and it appeared to be a dumping ground with old doors, ladders etc.. left down there. The white lane marking strips are already damaged! Not expected for a first cruise on the ship!; 4. Guest Relations disorganised and chaotic - we had numerous issues so spent a lot of time here; 5. Shower in room didn't work; 6. Workmen all around the ship; 7. Abandoned tools and workmen equipment all around the ship - drills, angle grinders left unsupervised!; 8. Holes in sports deck; 9. Missing glass panels on Sports deck - by the crazy golf a toddler could have easily plunged 15 decks into the sea. When it was pointed out to staff tape and wire was put there to cover it up! Missing glass panel by Zip wire - when some mothers refused to move until it was replaced it was balanced precariously in place - there was no restriction to those walking underneath on the boardwalk - if the glass screen had slipped the consequences could have been very serious! Missing glass panels could be found elsewhere too; 10. Children's pool not open at all during the cruise; 11. Water slides not open at all during the cruise; 12. Only one flow rider open on any day during the cruise; 13. No sail away party on day we left Southampton; 14. General untidiness of Solarium area, staff were not clearing dumped towels, glasses or crockery; 15. Solarium area cannot be screened from elements so when in rains everything gets wet, towels were exposed to elements so all towels at towel station got soaked; 16. Toilets became blocked on day we visited Rotterdam, urinals and toilets were full, when we informed a member of staff they said they knew - why on earth weren't the toilets then closed; 17. Welding, drilling could be heard after midnight; 18. Music left on till after midnight on Boardwalk; 19. Staff seemed miserable; 20. Main dining rooms had no hand gel provision; 21. Diamond lounge small, dark and dingy, again tucked away in the bowels of the ship, with no natural light. Insufficient provision for the 600+ members on board, when we arrived we were greeted with a load of dirty cups and no milk in the coffee machine, this was only an hour after boarding!; 22. Card room - no cards and dangling wires; 23. No Aqua Show, and formal communication about its cancellation; 24. Lifts breaking down; Thank goodness we had no children with us otherwise they would have been very disappointed - no children's activities seemed to be organised. What should have been a wonderful experience was the worst cruise we have ever had - the ship has the potential to be fantastic. Much of the work required needs to be totally redone due to the shabby finishes - holes in decks/ damaged steps can't just be patched, nor should they on a new ship! Royal Caribbean claim to think that all guests knew it was a preview cruise. We certainly didn't and the price certainly didn't reflect that. If the ship wasn't ready, then cruisers should have been notified, and given the option to cancel or made aware of its unfinished state. We expected the usual high standards and quality we have experienced on other ships in the fleet - sadly this one was a let down. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Southampton is so easy to get on the cruise ship the staff are lovely and very helpful. We have cruised a few times before and fancied going on a brand new ship. We went with another couple that had not cruised before. We had a ... Read More
Southampton is so easy to get on the cruise ship the staff are lovely and very helpful. We have cruised a few times before and fancied going on a brand new ship. We went with another couple that had not cruised before. We had a balcony cabin which was beautiful I can't find anything wrong with it at all. Our room was cleaned twice a day the young man that looked after us was so lovely. There are so many places to eat. We had the majority of our meals in the Windjammer restaurant the food was amazing. The shows were really good, we saw a few comedians and went to a couple of quizzes. I tried something that I have wanted to do for ages, which was the sky diving simulator it was brilliant. There is also bumper cars, flow rider they also do trapeze. There is so much to do and if you don't want to do anything go to the solarium and relax in the Jacuzzi. Great fitness centre. Lots of classes. We went to 2 places in France and we went to Belgium, but we only went on the cruise to experience the ship and we have already been to France and Belgium so we did not bother getting off the ship. At the end of our cruise we decided to carry off our own cases which was very straight forward and saves waiting around. We got off the ship at 6.30 back home in the Midlands by 10.30am. Our friends were so amazed at how brilliant a cruise is, they are already looking into booking another one. We are already booked to go on Independence for the third time in October. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Where to start!!! A positive..... There are 2!!! We will rock you was incredible. I have seen this show 3 times before. The vocals were outstanding. (Although timings weren't great). The 2nd positive is the online check in. All very ... Read More
Where to start!!! A positive..... There are 2!!! We will rock you was incredible. I have seen this show 3 times before. The vocals were outstanding. (Although timings weren't great). The 2nd positive is the online check in. All very easy. Ok time for the not so positives. Let's start with the food..... I was travelling with a 9 month old baby (who was charged full price! And hardly used any facilities). There were hardly any provisions for her. She ate so many crackers and and bread. She had plain pasta and lots of mash. But at the sit down meals I ordered her adult meals which was pretty salty that she was not that interested in. I didn't bother with anything the next night she just had bread. At the buffet I saw them bringing out some strawberries for the dinner. I asked if I could get a couple for my daughter. They were rude and didn't answer or give me any indication if I could or not. Sit down meals were not hot and very average tasting. Service was crap. More staff stood outside with iPad chatting then inside serving. I asked for a cearser salad with no cheese. I got lettuce and crutons. I asked for some sauce twice and it took over 10 mins and they gave me another one. By this point everyone else on the table had finished starters. Bread rolls I had to ask twice for and took over 10 mins. Over 2 hours to eat a 3 course meal. Menu were boring and not much choice. Not a spectacular dining experience unlike independence of the seas. Worst part about the food my husband had some rice at the buffet and bit into a stone. He chipped his tooth and was in pain for hours after. Had to go to the medical centre to get pain killers. Tour was expensive and boring. No help to find places to eat. No baby changing facilities anywhere. Luckily passengers in the bus were ok for us to change her nappy on the seats. Went to book the tour 3 times but no one was at the desk. Went to customer service desk and they gave me 2 false time when they will be here to help answer some questions. I was told not to worry there are loads of spaces. When I finally managed to speak to someone they said it was full. Cabins were ok. Tiny gym not very wow like independence. The shops and parade were like a shopping centre. Not very wow. Very bored on ship when we were in Belgium. No activities to do. The North Star was a massive cue all the time. Not waiting outside with a 9 month old in the cold for an hour. Too much technology and not enough staff so it wasn't very welcoming and warm feeling of a cruise. Drill was sooooo hot. Never home was sweating. Didn't like that smoking is allowed in the casino. Booking shows was a waste of time. You didn't need to book and they would let you in. To sum up it was a waste of time and money. Would have had a better holiday at home. This ship really disappointed us. There were many other things we were not happy about. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This cruise wasn't all bad, but the negatives just outweighed the positives; and I wouldn't recommend this cruise line. The basic issue is that in general (with a few exceptions) the staff were disinterested, disengaged and ... Read More
This cruise wasn't all bad, but the negatives just outweighed the positives; and I wouldn't recommend this cruise line. The basic issue is that in general (with a few exceptions) the staff were disinterested, disengaged and sometimes downright rude. They also seemed to have little confidence in being able to advise or help you, constantly referring up their chain of command and the ethos of the ship seemed to be around what made life easier for the cruiseline, rather than its customers. Some examples: *There is a laundry service, but unlike any hotel or ship I've ever experienced, you are expected to queue in guest relations with your dirty laundry, as it doesn't get picked up in your cabin. *No free water at mealtimes. You have to buy every drop of water on the ship, (other than out of a vending machine at the buffet restaurant, which is frequently like a zoo.) Not even the gym has a water fountain. *We were in a suite, but I never met our steward as he couldn't be bothered to introduce himself - so any questions we had, we had to ask other guests or queue, again, at guest relations for information which may or may not be available. *Guest relations were, generally disinterested in helping or downright rude. For example when we queried drinks packages we were refused even the most basic information and told to speak to bar staff. Not, we were told, guest relation's job. Next please! *Your account details eventually go on your TV, but then vanish, never to return, and we didn't get out final bill until the morning of departure. *The ship had passengers embark and disembark at almost every port. Each time the new passengers had to undergo the security and safety drill and this was relayed in six languages - all piped directly into your room, even if it didn't apply to you. *The multi-lingual general announcements were frequent and, frankly, intrusive as you couldn't switch them off or turn the volume down. *If you want a served breakfast (rather than a buffet) you have to get up early, as it finishes at 9am - hardly what we wanted on holiday! *If you choose to have breakfast in your room there are no hot options - only continental. And, you must be precise with boxes you tick as museli, cereal tea and coffee doesn't come with milk unless you expressly ask for it. Neither will you get butter with your toast. *Heavy doors used frequently by staff are not always fitted with the mechanism which allows them to close slowly and softly. Every night/early morning the banging woke us up. *The buffet restaurant is under-staffed, and often ran out of food choices, and food was usually cold. It was zoo-like, with people jostling for tables as there just wasn't enough of them. *The gym is the smallest I've ever seen on a cruise ship, and often so full I had to queue for machines. Only 5 treadmills and 3 cross-trainers, for example. And, as I said, no free water. *Only one small hand-gel offered on a stand outside the restaurants, and no staff at all urging you to use it. *Little if any visual evidence of handrails/lift buttons, etc being regularly cleaned and they often felt gritty or greasy. *Wireless is advertised as being available throughout the ship and in all cabins, but it didn't work in ours at all, even after signing up to a package. *Staff forgot to pick up our luggage the evening before we disembarked, causing a panic when we woke up. My husband called guest relations who put us on hold and then ignored us! He had to ring through again and was then told that it would be reported to the manager. That was a prime example of disempowered staff, as they should have been authorised to sort this out themselves, not report the issue on! (Eventually the luggage was collected, but we could have done without the stress.) *Coming back from excursions no-one smiled or welcomed you back to the ship. *You had no clue about the time of those excursions until they were printed on the daily schedule, delivered to your cabin late in the evening. We had booked one day for Honfleur, for example, but went to dinner not knowing if we needed to get up early or if it was in the afternoon, as there was no details on the tickets. When we asked at the excursion desk even the staff didn't know! *The cheapest and lumpiest pillows I've ever had to sleep on. They actually hurt my head. *Shampoo and bodywash supplied in refillable decanters, but no other toiletries, which was a bit grim for a suite! *Our room had the slightly sour smell of old cigarette smoke. OK - so I did say it wasn't all bad. So here are some of the good points: *Very inexpensive cruise - but you do get what you pay for, so this may not be enough of a good point! *Stunning ship, if you like your cruise ships full of glitz and bling. The theatre decor was amazing. *My husband, who loves coffee, said it was excellent. (Down side is that it wasn't offered after dinner) *Some meals were really nice - others less so *The on-board photography was of a higher quality *Drinks packages were reasonable and thankfully included mineral water! *Suite had loads of storage space and was nicely decorated Some general advice if you do go on this ship: * Meals in the main restaurant have a number of courses, and all of them are small (even the main course). This, I believe, is Italian-style eating, so order lots of different courses rather than two or three, and you'll be fine. Otherwise, you may find you're left hungry when the miniscule main course arrives. * Aim to be ashore in the afternoon when the latest batch of guests have their security drill, to escape the announcements! You really don't need to hear how to put on a life-jacket in six languages. * Negotiate spa prices - it wasn't a busy spa and you can get 50% off treatments if they are particularly quiet. *Expect minimal service, weigh it up against the price you pay, to alleviate disappointment. *Bring earplugs! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the ... Read More
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the same thing. This seems to be a marketing ploy by P and O to pressurise you in to making a booking. When we got on the ship we found the cabin was of a good size and the balcony although obstructed was very large and still very pleasurable to sit out on. The majority of the ship looks old before its time with lots of dark would and poor lighting, it is also very obvious that the ship is the same design as used by princess as some areas are almost identical in layout. The only true exception being the Glass house bar which is far more contemporary in colour and design. Food on the ship is very inconsistent and the organisation of the top floor buffet restaurant being a complete nightmare, tables where left uncleared and cups not being available at the beverage stations. The thing that really was disappointing was P and O's portion control on food and drink. If you order duck breast for dinner you would expect a whole breast but P and O give you two thin slices. This was the same for all portions at lunch and dinner. Drinks where another joke. We have never been on any other ship where they are measured to the point where a martini is served in what could be described as not much more than a thimble. The beds and pillows are so old and knackered that did not allow us to get a good night's sleep and desperately need replacing. Staff on the ship are also with few exceptions disinterested and not particularly helpful. This was our first cruise on P and O and as you may have guessed we won't be going back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We were on this ship from 4 to 14th September for a roundtrip from Southampton to Lisbon with several ports of call. Having read the reviews on here we were a little concerned as to what we would find, but overall the ship was fine, and ... Read More
We were on this ship from 4 to 14th September for a roundtrip from Southampton to Lisbon with several ports of call. Having read the reviews on here we were a little concerned as to what we would find, but overall the ship was fine, and we had a good cruise. I have to say, this was helped by the fact that we were part of the 400 plus people who were on-board for a Ceroc dance cruise. However, even without this we would have enjoyed the ship and its facilities. The Opera was launched in 2004, and it is starting to show, with rust in evidence around the window in our cabin and in some other parts of the ship. Also, in a few places the carpets are looking a little threadbare. Overall though the ship was in good condition with the crew working constantly to keep it clean. I don't know if it is because of the ship's age that the stabiliser system is old fashioned, but even a fairly small swell made the ship rock. Although there is a reasonable amount of storage space in the cabins and en suite bathrooms, they are quite small by the standards of other ships we have been on. My wife and I are fairly slim, but we struggled to use the tiny shower, so I don't know how larger people coped. On the whole the food was good both in the buffet and main dining room, but occasionally in the buffet it was not very warm, and on the odd occasion in both restaurants the meat was quite tough. At peak times the buffet was very busy, but you could get a seat if you were prepared to share, and the food was constantly being replenished. As you would expect on an Italian ship there was plenty of pasta choices if you wanted them, and they were very tasty. We also enjoyed the outdoor Pizza, Burger, Sandwich and Ice-cream bars, with the pizzas especially being delicious. We had the all-inclusive package which was very good and included many of the items on the drinks menus, and some of the ice-creams. The service from our cabin steward, the waiters, reception etc was mostly very good, although you sometimes had to wait a while for drinks from the bars. The entertainment was much better than we expected, with the excellent and friendly Animation Team working tirelessly from early morning until after midnight. Daytime activities were fewer than experienced on other ships, with very few lectures, but this was because there were several nationalities on-board. Every evening there was a show in the theatre, and different music, dancing and activities in four bars and a show lounge. On most evenings we went to one of the bars and a show before taking part in the Ceroc dancing on the open deck. As is common with other shipping companies the excursions were expensive. Due to the distance from the port to the town in both Amsterdam and Bilbao, and also time limitation, there was very little choice but to take a ship's tour or the expensive shuttle bus. Would we take another MSC cruise; yes if the itinerary and price were right.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our ... Read More
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our Cabin was R718, aft on the ship, but perfectly comfortable and convenient. Good things: We've always had pleasant experiences with crew, dining hall staff, stewards, and this was true on this cruise as well. Crew worked to be very attentive and helpful, with only one invisible exception I'll mention later. Always found if we are courteous and respectful of crew, they'll be likewise to us. We have liked Princess for social dancing, more floors and venues, space in general for dancing than we have found on Carnival or Royal C. That said, often live bands played very short sets (30 to 45 minutes) and then were wisked off to another venue. The ship has four dance venues. They make generally poor use of the Skywalker Club at the top of the ship, and the objective there didn't seem to be dance but selling drinks.. They kept a band in Wheelhouse Bar regularly most evenings capable of a wide selection of music. Only problem there was length of time between selections, waiting for computers to pull up their music. Explorer's Lounge was underutilized for dancing, bands starting late and leaving early so one of the over-done cruse staff games could be shuffled through, and those well worn performances were eternal, never ending. Club Fusion was mostly DJ music,and often slow without much being offered for dance, just an empty room. It is used some, but could be used much more effectively without huge overhead. I've read some downer reviews on food. In regular dining rooms, two things helped for anytime dining. First, don't ask for a table for two or you will wait a long time. Be willing to mix with others, and you are seated quickly. This cruise was very international, and we always enjoyed meeting others, Brits, Israeli's South Africans, many Asians, Aussies and New Zealanders. One of the great aspects of the trip was only about half of of the guests were American. The second thing that helped was to ask the waiter for a recommendation. A couple of times I went on my own, a steak, or a seafood item I had attraction too. Usually, if it was an every night available or if it was beef, it tended to be a bit ordinary. When I followed wait staff recommendations, I always got a good entree. On desserts, creme bulee is always a good choice. We found food to generally be a bump better than Carnival or RC. Some of the Excursions on this cruise were a mistake. Getting the more expensive excursion where you depart in the morning and meet the ship at Geiranger was a mistake. . Lots of down and wasted time, and the best sites can generally be seen from the Geirnanger side. We opted for a rental car in Bergen, a mistake (use Hop On Hop Off bus). For Flaam, buy railway tickets in Bergen the day before and save a few bucks. Stavenger is a walk on your own city, everything in good proximity of the ship; called that one right. Use public transportation in Tromso (we walked too much).. We were generally disappointed in the shows. Couple of weak entertainers, a magician and comic who brought no energy to the show and the audience was unable to generate any either. Because there were 3 shows each night (limitation of seating in theatre), shows were short, about 45 minutes. On this cruise, four or five times 45 minutes was actually enough. Sameness about them, lack of creative choreography. If not for midriff and sexual inuendo, there wasn't much else to carry them. Nice string group that was used in very limited capacity. A good group where most of the band was from Barbados, but again they were under utilized. My disappointment came in the Admin officers and his staff to help correct an error I made. I use a CPAP machine at night. In packing it, I had inadvertently left the silicone portion of the mask behind, the piece that sits directly upon one's face. I realized my error on the plane before landing at LHR. As soon as I boarded ship, I went to the Purser's desk and asked for an address to have the missing portion of the mask shipped too. We were in Bergen, Norway's second largest city following a day at sea, and I was told that if it were shipped there it would be delivered to the ship. I was provided an address, we called home and my daughter was off to the UPS Store with the address provided within the hour. She paid UPS Global $140+, had them box the item ship it out on overnight delivery. Upon returning to ship, an hour and a half ahead of departure, I asked if the package had arrived. At second request, a call was made to the port agent, who said he hadn't received the package. I was told there would be an effort to get the package traced, and they were certain it would be delivered possibly at North Cape, but certainly by either Tromso or Stavenger. I went by the Medical Office. Staff there was wonderful. We tried to take a regular oxygen mask, which cost about $200, and amend it to work. Good effort, but unfortunately it was $200 down the drain. Doctor there and staff were very responsive and polite. We checked in every couple of days to see if Admin officer had located the package, and answer varied as to whether the mask was in Oslo or Bergen. It never showed up. Six days into the cruise, UPS called my home phone in the states and left a message that they didn't have a deliverable address. UPS offered to ship the package back to my home address for another $170. Upon returning to the states, and running tracking info, there had only been one inquiry with UPS (other than the two I made by internet), and outside of about three crew packages, I don't think any other packages shipped to passengers could have ever happened given the lack of address, and the poor communication between crew and the largest American shipper. I tended to be more angry about this problem with UPS. My wife was more upset with Princess, as she felt there was no link or possibility for success put in place by Princess. With 1300 Americans on the ship as passengers, it seems to me that Princess should have in place a probablilty for successful delivery of a package from the states on a twelve day trip. They clearly did not. I would still recommend this cruise, and taking it with Princess. Holland America typically runs the same route, perhaps a day longer every summer. While a Princess fan for most of the past 20 years, I'll tell you we have generally had good cruises with Carnival, one great cruise on Pride of America in Hawaii, and we are giving RC Liberty of the Seas a shot next month. Our only terribly disappointing experience in cruising was with RC ten years ago, and their fumble made me reluctant to return and had Princess not been screwing up pricing and mismanaging their website this February, my wife would still not be open to returning to RC. Our view is for the money, Carnival offers a good cruise; Food not quite as good, unless one uses pay dining. The ships are gaudy, but crew nice and a fun experience. RC likes big ships, tends to herd passengers around like cattle, lots of unique on ship activity sometimes difficult to access and good shows, but from mid management up service is terribly lacking. Norwegian tends to have fewer frills, but good service; lots of not bad on NCL from my conversations with their cruisers. Hear very good reports on Disney and Cunard, but neither have offered a cruise to the right place and the right price for me. All the older people I know love Holland America, one couples' comment the hubby says "they have the nicest suites and most comfortable beds on the seas," but wife commented, "yeah, but you always walk around the ship feeling like you are going to trip on somebody's oxygen line." In short, if one goes with a good attitude, not aiming to be critical, and makes no mistakes on their end, you can have a good cruise at a reasonable price with a half dozen companies. Each has a target niche. . Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. ... Read More
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. My husband hates flying so a cruise from Southampton seemed ideal. We normally holiday in the UK and enjoy walks, photography, good food and in my husband's case, a pint of two of real ale. This cruise appealed because is was sure to be scenic and seemed like a good introduction to holidaying at sea. We travelled by train from Nottingham to Southampton to avoid the stress of driving and the expense of parking. It was easier than getting to the pick up point for the coach. As soon as we got out of the taxi at the Mayflower Pier our cases were immediately whisked away and we joined the line for check in. The queue moved fairly swiftly and within about 30 mins we were on board. We felt a bit lost and not sure what to do but were handed a map of the ship and wandered off to find our cabin. On our way we came across our cases which were waiting on the corridor and wheeled them the rest of the way down to our cabin towards the aft end of the C deck. We'd decided on aft to save £100 each and had read that C deck cabins have the best balconies. This is true. Our cabin had everything we needed, was well tastefully decorated, comfortable and a reasonable size. Our cabin steward, Grazie, introduced herself almost as soon as we'd moved in. She told us where to find our muster station and made sure we were happy with our cabin. She did a great job keeping our home for the week clean and tidy and was always smiling and chirpy. After unpacking (and yes there was plenty of room for our stuff, our cases and enough hangers) we went for a wander and afternoon tea. Then it was time for the safety talk at the muster station (Havana). This didn't take long and was straight forward. We spent the first afternoon exploring although we still managed to get lost a few times, even towards the end of the week! The floors are a bit confusing as some areas don't seem to link up from all 3 staircases but we had some extra exercise finding our way round. We'd opted for freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon restaurant each evening, We didn't see the point of paying extra to eat in the "select" restaurants as the food and service were very good in our allocated restaurant. We elected not to share tables and never had to wait long for a table for 2. We ate close to 6pm most evenings and were shown a window seat several times. We have no complaints about the food. There was plenty of choice and it was possible to request items that weren't on the menu if you're especially fussy. The service from the waiters was prompt and efficient. Some were more smiley and friendly than others but they were all good at their jobs. We sampled most of the bars on board and preferred the Metropolis bar over all due to the relaxed atmosphere and great views. We also liked the Red Bar as it was comfortable. The drink prices were reasonable and the service was attentive without being pushy. Even in busy venues, such as the theatre and Havana bar the staff did a great job in getting to you when you needed a refill and remembering who ordered what. I don't know how they do it! Hubby was happy with the range of real ales and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail list and sampling the occasional liquor. We went to some of the shows in the theatre. The Headliners singers and dancers were very good and their shows were professional and entertaining. The comedians were ok but we didn't see any of them for a second time. The Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute acts were very good. The older ladies in the audience especially enjoyed the banter from the Tom Jones act! We didn't partake in the entertainment every evening. We were happy just to sit in the Metropolis bar with a drink, enjoying the sunsets and chilled out music. There was a fairly comprehensive programme of daytime activities but most of it wasn't really our cup of tea. We did use the gym which was very well equipped. The classes were a bit expensive but the free "fab abs" class was good. The treadmills and cardio equipment are arranged to give a great view out to sea at the front of the ship. Who needs MTV! There are plenty of swimming pools on Ventura but only a few brave souls made use of them. It was rather nippy in April! If you want to do "proper" swimming you'll find them a bit small. The endless pool wasn't working most of the time but it was too cold to use it anyway. The temperature around the only covered pool was reasonable and if that had been bigger or "endless" we might have used it. Ventura is a family ship so this area was a bit noisy for us although most of the time we didn't really notice many children elsewhere on board as it was term time. You can always get something to eat on the ship without having to pay extra for it. The 24hr buffet had a good choice of food. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were fairly varied and of good quality. Seating was rather limited and at times we walked circuits around both sides of Waterfront and Beach house to find a table. It probably would be less congested in warmer climates when you could make use of the exterior seating. On our cruise we had 2 sea days and visited ports on 4 days. The excursions were very expensive. We only booked one - the Flam railway trip. This was also pricey but we don't regret booking it. There wasn't a lot to do in the ports other than enjoy the scenery. This was enough for us. Flam and Bergen are covered below. We also visited Stavanger and Olden. Both were interesting and pleasant to wander around. We liked the old town in Stavanger but it felt as though Ventura and its passengers took over the town in a rather imposing and intrusive way. It seemed as though it wasn't quite ready for the tourist season as not everywhere was open and quite a lot of work was being done in the port. Olden has some shops geared towards tourists. We didn't buy anything but lots of people did - they were packed! We found the old wooden church which was worth the short walk to find. Again, some of the shops were closed - they missed a trick there! The prettiest area can be found by turning left and walking down the road back along the Fjord. There's a wooden pier by some conifer trees where we took some lovely photos which look like paintings. There is something surreal about the colours of the landscape and the snow-capped mountains reflected in the water. Yes, Norway is expensive but cruising is a cheaper way to visit as there is no need to pay for food and drinks - you can get them on the ship! We only wandered around in the ports for a few hours between breakfast and lunch so didn't need to get on and off too many times. This was a good thing as queuing to get through security was a bit of a chore, albeit necessary and understandable. We had been a bit nervous before our holiday about rough seas. One night was quite bad although the staff were reassuring, especially the captain who had warned us that there would be a big swell and some noise from the bow slapping down on the sea (gulp!) We wore our anti sea sickness bands and didn't feel ill, just a little anxious. We propped ourselves up in bed and watched the TV most of the night to distract us from the noise and motion. There was some vibration from the stabilisers which i understand was worse on the lower decks. The rest of the time we were lucky to have fairly smooth seas and good weather. We knew it would be cold and packed accordingly. Disembarkation was swift and well organised but no drinks were offered wile we waited to be led off the ship. We would have happily paid for a cuppa in the bar as we'd had to vacate our room by 8am and were not due to leave until after 10am. We could have left earlier, taking our bags off ourselves but we'd have had a long wait at Southampton station. We were expecting the buffet breakfast to be rammed on disembarkation but we beat the crowds by eating before 7am. It was the quietest we'd seen it all week! We would definitely recommend P&O and Ventura and the Norwegian Fjords. In fact I've been missing the ship since we came home! It would be interesting to see how different the experience would be in warm weather when you could sit on deck and enjoy the pools. Maybe next time... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Having been on the inaugural cruise of 'Silhouette' last year out of Hamburg, we were expecting great things from a 14 night Eastern Meditterranean cruise on 'Reflection', beginning in beautiful Venice, with a really ... Read More
Having been on the inaugural cruise of 'Silhouette' last year out of Hamburg, we were expecting great things from a 14 night Eastern Meditterranean cruise on 'Reflection', beginning in beautiful Venice, with a really good itinerary, and ending in Barcelona. We had a good Celebrity Reflection organised boat excursion around the Venice lagoon and islands with a very good commentary, on our first full day, before setting off towards Dubrovnik. We took the bus into the old town and had a lovely walk around this jewel of a city, before leaving that night heading towards Rhodes. The weather was not too kind to us and we were buffeted by continual very strong winds and rain, and at around 7.00pm there was a very loud bang and 'graunching' noise, on the starboard side of the ship, followed by the ship shuddering. We immediately looked out over our balcony at the aft of the ship and saw that instead of leaving two white wakes behind the ship, we were down to one, and checking on the navigation channel on our TV screens, our speed had reduced hugely! Bearing in mind that we heard this from Deck 11 on the ship, then it was fairly clear that something major had happened to the starboard engine pod or propellor. We expected some kind of an explanation during the evening, but explanation came there none!! That evening, we were treating ourselves to dinner at the Tuscan Grill, and during our meal we became aware that the remaining engine pod went silent too, (not accompanied by a bang this time!), but it was only for about 20 mins., and then the engine noise and vibration began again. It was not until the next morning that the Captain deigned to tell us that there had been a technical problem with a switch and that because our speed was reduced, we would NOT be visiting Rhodes--a huge disappointment. And this was our disappointment---the fact that the Captain was not honest about what the problem had been and what was going to be needed to cure it----for our whole cruise! We finally arrived in Barcelona, still being pushed in the main by the port propulsion system, and although we had not felt that the ship was in any danger at any time, I would NOT have wanted to continue across the Atlantic without a properly working ship.Fully operational ship. Why, oh why, we're our requests for information ignored. Why was the Captain 'economical with the truth' . His attitude merely encouraged the hundreds of different stories that we're circulating around the bars and dining rooms. I was amazed at how much dissatisfaction there was amongst so many people. Dissatisfaction with the motion and vibration of the ship,(certainly noticeable at the aft of the ship---we had practically the same stateroom on Silhouette, and experienced NONE of the vibration that we had to put up with for nearly all of this trip---despite crossing the Bay of Biscay!); dissatisfaction with the 'cruise director' Nick Weir, his attitude really annoyed many Americans , and we found his constant insistence that we 'showed our appreciation' more than a little irritating; dissatisfaction with on board shore excursions---they cancelled one of ours-----again! Good things: Reflection is a lovely ship(or will be when she is sorted). The staff in the bars, cafe al Bacio, waiting staff and sommeliers were all superb. Stateroom care not quite as good as Silhouette, which was a shame, but the mattress was less comfortable than on Silhouette, so did not sleep well. Food excellent,especially Murano.Shows often very good, as were some of the lectures. Used the gym 3times---very good. Had a wonderful manicure in the Beauty Salon, by a very proficient girl. Really bad things:Guest Relations!!!! They would listen, note down, and then ignore!!! Shore Excursions: too quick to cancel! Have not yet received any account of how our Premium Package was spent, despite being promised! All in all, we will think hard about whether to take another Celebrity Cruise as we don't want to be further disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no ... Read More
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no complaints. The ship had previously experienced noro virus outbreaks so no self service and no ice on the martini bar. The crew were well prepared with gel etc so we experienced no problems. We has a premium non-alcoholic package and this was an excellent choice. I thoroughly recommend this package. I have previously used the premium alcoholic package but I think the non-alcoholic package met our needs better. We did have some Martinis and had fun with the flight of martinis once or twice. We also tried Ocean Liners and this was a highlight of our cruise. We also went for the champagne afternoon tea and this was the first one on a cruise I have enjoyed. Even Cunard had been a disappointment. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the Cafe Baccio, enjoying the coffee. Staff again were excellent. We paid for access to the perfumed garden but I am not sure if I would do that again. The entertainment was hit or miss. I enjoyed the acts placed around the ship but did not enjoy Perry. However, Michaels club was packed out when he played, so we were not missed. Some acts in the theatre were good, others ok. All a matter of taste. Celebrity delivered the break we needed and we will definitely cruise with hem again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012

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