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11 Spain First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

i did costa fascinosa and other than less availability of vegetarian food, didnt face any problem whatsoever.bothe embarkation and disembarcarion were smooth. the food was good and well presented except for the fact that they ran out of ... Read More
i did costa fascinosa and other than less availability of vegetarian food, didnt face any problem whatsoever.bothe embarkation and disembarcarion were smooth. the food was good and well presented except for the fact that they ran out of foon sometimes. the cabin was well cleaned and made up everyday. the staff was amazing and catered to all our needs. we were provided with indaian food which was delicious. the hygiene and other things onn the cruise were good. though i felt their swimming pool wasnt big enouygh. the every day show were excellent and perfect. the tours were slightly costly. the bars and the restaurants were well eqipped. the staff was amazingly courteoua and was at our disposal all the time. the restaurant staff didnt make us feel foreign even for one moment and went to all lengths to make us comfortable. we were provided with egg less desserts specially on requestg. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
On board the Black Watch is like stepping back in time. The decor and fittings are very 1970s although clean, there is no WOW factor anywhere on the ship. This was our first cruise and based our poor experience it could be our last. ... Read More
On board the Black Watch is like stepping back in time. The decor and fittings are very 1970s although clean, there is no WOW factor anywhere on the ship. This was our first cruise and based our poor experience it could be our last. The boarding process at the port was one of the worst travel experiences I have had. Hundreds of passengers crammed into a hangar waiting their numbers to be called and we waited for 1hr 50 minutes and were the last to board even though we arrived exactly at the time we were instructed to on our boarding instructions. There was no explanation given just occasional apologies. So we arrived at our cabin fighting disappointment at our introductory experience with Fred Olsen. The next blow was that we learned that we would not be stopping at our first port of call, la Coruna, due to some mechanical problem. This port and the onshore trip to Santiago was the reason I booked the trip. The food was good. The alcohol reasonably priced and the service of a high standard with one or two surly exceptions. The shows were unoriginal. There was a very good comedian. The onboard activities were ok. The highlight of the trip was the Observatory Lounge where we enjoyed lovely cocktails while listening to an excellent trio. We met people who we will keep in touch with. Overall we both feel we spent a lot of money on a poor holiday and that same sum could have got us a luxury hotel for longer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was the first cruise i had done with Celebrity. In the past i have always traveled in a Grand suite or better on the RCCL and was looking for that little bit more, you read all the promises they offer and not all are meet. When ... Read More
This was the first cruise i had done with Celebrity. In the past i have always traveled in a Grand suite or better on the RCCL and was looking for that little bit more, you read all the promises they offer and not all are meet. When you approach the book-in counter you are ushered to a separate area, then meet by a senior office or consiegure who escorts you onto the vessel and taken to the Michael,s Club. They then explained what you are entitled too and all other extras you can receive. After that you are then escorted to your room and introduced to your stateroom butler and 2 room attendants. What a pleasant surprise with your separate Dinning room for breakfast, lunch and dinner at a time to suite you. The food was great and as usual plenty off, the Ocean view Cafe had variety, presentation and Taste, the service was just great. The events put on at Michael's Club are just great again you could not ask for more. The Presentation of the ships other facilities were well above what i have had in the past. The Stateroom not as big as previously experienced, but the layout with separate Bedroom made it more user friendly. The Bathroom is not big but again the right size for 1 person at a time. Who spends much time in a room when on-board the ship, but the Balcony was great for a bit of piece and quite. Overall i would recommend spending that little bit more, the difference is just unbelievable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Me, my wife and 16 year old daughter have just returned from our first ever cruise.....and we're hooked. We sailed through the Bay of Biscay down to Cadiz and back up, calling in at Portugal on the way back. All the staff on board the ... Read More
Me, my wife and 16 year old daughter have just returned from our first ever cruise.....and we're hooked. We sailed through the Bay of Biscay down to Cadiz and back up, calling in at Portugal on the way back. All the staff on board the Azura were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Particularly the restaurant staff. Food was plentiful in whichever restaurant we chose and very tasty. The specialist Indian restaurant on board was also very good indeed.....as was afternoon tea in the Peninsular. Don't miss it! The entertainment provided was varied and perfectly adequate (Tom O'Connor topped the bill on two nights in the main theatre) while, during the at-sea days there were plenty of Sun lounges available around any of the busy and less busy pools. We were also regular visitors to the Spa and Gym area. Again, very impressive. We'll certainly be booking again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Excellent organisation from valet parking, to luggage loading and embarkation. We were with toddler and grandparents and it all worked out well. Room steward welcomed us and was very pleasant throughout the trip. He attended the cabin ... Read More
Excellent organisation from valet parking, to luggage loading and embarkation. We were with toddler and grandparents and it all worked out well. Room steward welcomed us and was very pleasant throughout the trip. He attended the cabin three times a day and was always on hand to give advice. The cabin itself was with balcony, well appointed, very comfortable bed and compact as you would expect. We chose freedom dining but actually never used it as the buffet suited us better with the needs of our toddler takign over. The food and service was excellent and the waiters and chefs made a fuss over baby. Ports of call were enjoyable (Guernesey, Coruna, Bilbao, La Rocelle). We didn't opt for excursions so mosied around independently. The tender to Guernsey was well organised, we were able to walk off ship into town in Coruna and buses were laid on in Bilbao and La Rochelle. The kids clubs were excellent and again well organised withe excellent staff and facilities. Our child not being two yet meant that we had to stay with her, but over two's can register for the clubs with supervision while parents can go off and leave them. Overall, we enjoyed our experience. The ship was very comfortable, staff were friendly and helpful, organisation was excellent and facilities very good. We would recommend and travel on Brittania again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Returned today from the france and spain cruise , the organisation on this cruise was very poor as was the entertainment , i really dont want to attend a session on how to fold a napkin correctly ! there were ques just about everywhere on ... Read More
Returned today from the france and spain cruise , the organisation on this cruise was very poor as was the entertainment , i really dont want to attend a session on how to fold a napkin correctly ! there were ques just about everywhere on the ship couldn't get a seat alot of the time in the cafe's or promenade which was basically 2 shops ! The duty free shop was closed for our whole trip , though i have to say the food was excellent i really dont have any complaints of food or cleanliness as it was brilliant ! and the staff were fantastically hard working and mostly happy and helpful at all times especially in the strauss dining room food was superb and sameer ross and ervak who were our waiters were fantastic all week very professional at all times and couldn't do enough for us infact they made our cruise bearable ! if you like ques and poor entertainment then i recommend lol the ports were boring we stopped at le harve which was our last stop and it was yet another shopping centre like the last 3 stops but this time all shops were closed well most of them due to it being a bank holiday which they failed to tell us before we booked transport ! excursions were overpriced as was everything else :( Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
First cruise. Really impressed. There was a gastro outbreak on the previous trip which led to delays on boarding due to the captain ordering a deep clean of the ship. While the delay was frustrating I prefer waiting than being ill so as a ... Read More
First cruise. Really impressed. There was a gastro outbreak on the previous trip which led to delays on boarding due to the captain ordering a deep clean of the ship. While the delay was frustrating I prefer waiting than being ill so as a one off I can’t really fault this. The restaurants were great. The main dining room was beautiful, the staff brilliant and the food amazing. The Windjammer restaurant was very nice with great views from all windows and lovely food. I don’t normally like buffets but this was great. Always plenty of choice and I could always get more if I wished due to it being self-service. Only struggled to get a table at breakfast but always managed after a couple of minutes looking. Cleanliness was to a high standard. Our room attendant was a very nice chap who looked after us and left us towel animals to amuse my 8 year old. He deserved his tip. I really am finding it hard to fault this cruise. Even the security staff were friendly and polite. We were treated like royalty from start to finish.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK ... Read More
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK passengers, a box of tissues in your cabin is no longer standard, but available if you ask, the sun decks were not cleaned to previous high standards and used crockery etc. was not cleared away as rapidly, and, unlike other US lines sailing from the UK, they don’t provide tea or coffee making facilities in your cabin. But by far the biggest disappointment was in the standard of the food, we always found that dining on Princess was exciting with each course savoured, this was no longer the case and the quality of some of the cuts of meat was well below our previous experience. Probably the biggest deterioration was in the breakfasts, we found a lot of the food items in the buffet were at best only lukewarm, whilst in the MDR we experienced very slow service. I highlighted some of these issues during the cruise and to be fair passenger services did take them seriously and we ended up with 3 boxes of tissues! But more importantly the buffet breakfasts did get much hotter. Overall the cruise was still very enjoyable, especially since we were with our 2 sons and their families, and we did get some very good service from most of the bar waiters and those in the MDR. Was it good value, well yes but only because we got 2 price drops honoured by Princess which resulted in the overall cost reducing by 40% from the original booking fee. Whilst Princess continue to give price drops they will likely remain competitive, but their launch prices in the UK are much higher than RCCL/Celebrity or now, on this year’s launch, even their partner company P&O, and as we need to book early to secure an accessible cabin then they would need to be providing a must have itinerary for us to give them our future business. Entertainment. This was typical cruise ship fare with production shows and guest artists in the theatre, but unlike P&O there were no guest artists in the other venues only the ships staff musicians, DJ music or the entertainment staff organising trivia type shows or the Princess Pop Star passenger talent contests. There were however some guest acts performing in the Piazza as well as a couple of pseudo shows from the ships singers and dancers. But Princess do try to pack more features into their Piazza area, as a result it can get very crowded at some times and finding a seat is well-nigh impossible. The lack of guest artists in the other lounges was probably fortunate for us since we found that both the lounges had poorer viewing access of the stage areas than their P&O equivalents, but for canned music this is not a problem. We also found that Explorers lounge had worse access for wheelchairs than P&O’s Tamarind or Malabar equivalents, and as a result we did not use this lounge. There were a fair mix of musicians on board including a string duo, a couple of pianists, a C&W duo, a guitarist and a party band, generally sufficient to find some bar with your type of entertainment. Ports of call. All the Ports of call were our first visits, at none of which did we take any ship’s excursions, mainly because Princess did not offer any accessible tours at all on this cruise, but they did provide free accessible shuttles where needed. La Coruna – The ship berths close enough to the town centre so that a shuttle bus is not needed. It is quite a large town on a peninsular, similar to Cadiz but much bigger and more modern, with a promenade, the Paseo Maritima, following the coast line and providing a reasonably level walk whereas the town centre is quite hilly in places. We did not venture as far as the Tower of Hercules but wandered around the old town and then into the town hall square which has sidewalk cafes all around it. We enjoyed a tapas lunch and then a short stroll back to the ship. Bilbao – The berth is at Getxo which is about 3 miles from Bilbao centre and requires a shuttle transfer of 20-30 mins, provided free by Princess. Unfortunately there was only one accessible bus and it did not run to the provided timetable, as a result we just missed it and decided to let the rest of our party use the normal bus and we went back on board, so I have no real information on Bilbao, other than the family enjoyed it and said it was very pleasant. Le Verdon (for Bordeaux) – The berth is a 3 hr. drive away from Bordeaux and Princess only provide shore excursion tours to Bordeaux or the vinery’s, but they do provide a free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, however the shore excursion team and even the Captain go out of their way to disparage Soulac, and one of the team even told me that it had little to offer and any beach Soulac had was quite poor and too far away for an easy walk, all of which is quite wrong. The town is only about 20 mins away and although fairly modern is quite a charming little seaside resort. The main shopping street is about a quarter to half mile long leading from the main square where the shuttle drops you right to the sea front which has a magnificent beach and a pleasant promenade. It obviously began as a tourist resort back at the start of the last century and has one or two interesting old hotel buildings on the sea front, and quite a large old market building along the main street with the usual shops selling all sorts of interesting food produce. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. St Peter Port, Guernsey – This is a tender port and since I was informed that my wife would need to be able to take a few steps in and out of the ships tender and that there were also steps from the dock in the town we decided to stay on board. So we were rather disappointed to find that Princess were also using a larger shore based tender and we saw at least one wheelchair and passenger carried on board this vessel, but by this time the rest of our family had already gone ashore. Conclusions. We had a very enjoyable cruise and cruising still provides a high quality holiday at a reasonable price, but for those of us who have been cruising over the last 10 – 20 yrs. the cutbacks in quality of food and standards of service are quite noticeable. Comparing Princess with other lines we sail, we think they are now very similar to P&O, but have fallen behind Celebrity’s standards, and are probably closer to RCI and CCL itself. This is perhaps not surprising as both Princess and P&O are part of Carnival, but this now leaves Carnival without a main stream high end offering since HAL is a much smaller operation.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Adventure of the seas Review - France and Spain 27oct - 04nov 2013 Ports of call: Southampton - Cherbourg - Vigo - Gijon - Bilbao -Southampton Embarkation: Smooth and very easy at the So’ton City terminal. Loyalty lanes were clearly ... Read More
Adventure of the seas Review - France and Spain 27oct - 04nov 2013 Ports of call: Southampton - Cherbourg - Vigo - Gijon - Bilbao -Southampton Embarkation: Smooth and very easy at the So’ton City terminal. Loyalty lanes were clearly labelled and took advantage of that as a crown and anchor member, saving up to 20 minutes of queuing. Once onboard by 1pm we headed to the windjammer for our first meal. Very busy as expected. By 2pm the cabins were ready. Our interior stateroom 6377 was roomier than expected and the stateroom attendant looked after our room extremely well throughout the cruise. It was a windy departure and captain Sorensen had adjusted the itinerary to ensure a smooth sailing as much as he could amid storms and low pressure systems developing in the atlantic ocean that were moving east, creating rough conditions in the sea. I liked the insightful updates in TV channel 27 between the captain and the cruise director informing everyone about the weather and showing their thinking on a daily basis. Portofino was excellent and we went twice. The second time we went with a lovely couple we met in dining room table #464. The risotto was great and the T-bone steak in particular was succulent, not to mention the tiramisu. Service was exceptional. Some of the servers were one of the most experienced with RCI. The Ice show and quest show were great. My girlfriend and I participated in a flashmob dance which was fun and took place at Studio B just before the Quest show; it was a nice touch to receive a certificate from the entertainment staff for our dedication to have fun during our rehearsals on sea days. Also attended the ballroom dance classes with the experienced couple “Val and Vira” and zumba fitness lesson in Jesters Disco during the sea days. It was great to get involved. Had nearly forgotten it was Halloween during our cruise but the Monster bash in the Royal Promenade was a lot of fun and we were surprised how many people dressed up. There was definitely a great atmosphere that evening. Took advantage of the martini happy hour for 6.00 USD each, Brilliantly served and by far excellent value for money when compared to the London standard; Similar story with the cocktails. For 8 dollars you could get a decent cocktail and for spirits and mixers served on double measure would equate to half price compared to London. My girlfriend was really happy she could keep the glasses as well. We hope RCI will continue doing it! We attended the two crown and anchor events. The captain was very cheerful speaking to us about his experience, working as a captain and shared his excitement about working for the company. Julio Gomez, our cruise sales manager made us feel very welcome and treated us as truly loyal passengers. It certainly made me feel at home. Two thirds of the cruise passengers were first time cruisers with Royal, of which many have not cruised ever before. Enough said, RCI is doing well in attracting not only the loyal, but new people onboard. One of the reasons I booked the cruise besides the ship, of which I will write about in the next paragraph, was the itinerary. At Vigo, we booked the excursion to Santiago de Compostela; a very notorious city for its cathedral and renowned for its Pilgrimage trail. At Gijon, we booked for Oviedo, the capital of the principality of Asturias, very beautiful and with plenty of local traditions such as the chorizo and its cider. At Bilbao, we only docked until 1:30pm, which was our new early departure time back to Southampton. Despite the short time we booked an excursion the previous night but we managed to oversleep the following morning! We were concerned about the money we had paid (67USD each) but after visiting the shore excursions desk in Deck 5 at 6pm, they were understanding and we were delighted to get a full refund.... which bought me a sale price Citizen watch later that evening ;) The departure time change was due to the weather coming into Bay of Biscay the next day so we wanted to make sure not to get caught in it although that evening it got very rough with up to 8m waves! But it was safe and an interesting experience. I must admit I could not sleep very well that night but on the flipside my tolearance to rougher weather is greater. The Ship: This is for me between 60 and 75% of my cruise holiday and with Royal Caribbean I am certainly not too choosy about which ship to go for because I trust all ships are kept to a high standard (It only takes 5 minutes or so to pay attention to the video of Royal in the interactive channel in your stateroom to appreciate that). The only variable would be the size and the number of amenities. Service is what counts followed by food quality and entertainment, in that order. I am pleased to share that the crew did a fantastic job. However, I feel shows in the theatre have degraded a bit and it’s lacking preparation, colourful stages and costumes (Serenade on December 2012 and Brilliance December 2010 was much better). Guests were ok. Bingo we only played on the jackpot which was a whopping 3900USD, the Lyric theatre was full of people, but I do feel the cartons are overpriced!! Jenny and Bjorn made the Bingo experience more fun. Also it was nice to have giveaways in between games. This is definitely a good idea! The Casino staff was wonderful, the tournaments on sea days are a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much but still have a laugh and who knows, you could win something, like I did with a 2nd place in Blackjack, taking 100USD. I also used the gym which was big enough with a Jacuzzi in the centre. Great layout, maybe the machines are a bit outdated but seeing as this vessel will undergo a revitalisation it might just get the treat, as well as many other additions and upgrades just before her second round at Southampton next year. Another spectacular cruise packed with unforgettable memories. Overall I am very satisfied and looking forward to my next cruise holiday with Royal Caribbean International. In fact, knowing that Adventure is coming next spring to Southampton I would sail on her again. But I might consider Independence of the seas this time if not both. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on the Legend of the Seas for our honeymoon in October of 2013, leaving from Venice, Italy and ending up in Barcelona, Spain. This was our first cruise and we had a phenomenal time. We stayed in a Junior Suite, room 8046, and ... Read More
We sailed on the Legend of the Seas for our honeymoon in October of 2013, leaving from Venice, Italy and ending up in Barcelona, Spain. This was our first cruise and we had a phenomenal time. We stayed in a Junior Suite, room 8046, and found the room to be spacious and well-maintained however during the early mornings we could sometimes hear chairs scraping from the deck above (pool deck), as the chairs were set up for the day. Our room steward was great and very courteous. We let RCL know it was our honeymoon upon booking and when we boarded our room was decorated for the honeymoon, and we were invited to a bonus honeymoon event where we were given complimentary champagne and cake (as though we didn't already get enough dessert on the trip). Overall we found the service on the ship to be great. The dining staff were very courteous and solicitous, and at a level we would expect to experience at a fancy restaurant. The staff at the casino were likewise very engaged and friendly. A blackjack dealer I played with was from Marseille France and spent the time I was at the table giving us tips for what to do when we stopped at Marseille. I did not have negative interactions with any staff members. The ports were also great. We stopped (not in this order) in Rome, Naples, Taormina Sicily, Florence, Kotor Montenegro, Marseilles France, and ended in Barcelona. The only port locations we weren't impressed with were Kotor and Marseilles, but we probably should have done some sort of excursion in Marseilles, just wandering around the city was uninteresting. Exploring Pompeii and hiking to the top of Mount Vesuvius in Naples was probably the highlight of our trip. The final destination of Barcelona was also a great and fun city where we spent a few extra nights after our cruise was over. The food on the trip was excellent. We ate every dinner in the main dining room, and found the food to be delicious and varied. Since this cruise we have taken two other cruises (one on the Norwegian Dawn, and one on the Celebrity Summit), and the food on Legend was far superior to the other cruises we have been on. The ship is smaller then some of its contemporaries, and older, but it was well maintained, and we did not feel wanting for any activities, especially given the quality of the ports that the ship stopped in. We didn't really make it to any shows so I can't comment on them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was ... Read More
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was strong and turned out to be completely different to other parts of Southern Europe. WE also went to see the old city of Rabat mainly to visit the souks and old forts. The it wa soff to Lisbon as the final port. We would strongly recommend Lisbon and Portugal - great sights as a discounted cost to Spain. The trams in Lisbon are magical. The Riviera is a top class ship with all the bells and whistles. We found the food and dining room service exceptional and other facilities enough to keep us happy for the time we were actually on the boat. Evening entertainment starts late and is hard work if you have spent the day sightseeing on land. The only major gripe was the cost of Internet facilities. The cost was real penny pinching considering the quality of other services and the cost of the cruise in general. P.S. Ricks Café was shut. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013

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