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27 Canary Islands Holiday Cruise Reviews

I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the ... Read More
I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the oldest in their fleet, I will not lie we were a little apprehensive but we went with an open mind and took into account the ships age the cost of cruise. Embarkation, was straight forward Service, we only encountered friendly and polite service Cabin, is of age but had everything and more of what you require and of good size, clean, comfortable and well kept, (please update the hairdryer) Public sitting areas did have some signs of age but were clean comfortable and well kept. The other public areas stairways/corridors were very clean, well kept and looked new in places. Dining in Windows we did not require to wait any evening the meals were good with a wide range each evening, some evenings the service could be a little slow but lets be honest who is in a hurry, you are on vacation and I will add the servers were nothing but polite and helpful. Entertainment left a little to be desired (be honest more than a little) the last two evening shows were their best. (we were spoiled as on the inaugural Getaway sailing the entertainment was outstanding) Shore excursions I will make this short, miss out Casablanca and the rest were fine. Spa, This ship has had a number of refits over the years, I can understand they have not managed a pool within the spa area, but this day and age they should have managed a unisex spa area,as they have on their other ships. Value-for-Money, again I will keep short 'excellent'   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
It was my first time cruising with family, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter 16 and grandson 10. Having cruises previously with different cruise lines, it was my first time with MSC and they did not disappoint. From the moment the music ... Read More
It was my first time cruising with family, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter 16 and grandson 10. Having cruises previously with different cruise lines, it was my first time with MSC and they did not disappoint. From the moment the music started in Bar Duomo each night, I was danced off my feet by the wonderful entertainment team. Can't wait to get back on board!!! The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas with Festive music playing in the background. The staff without exception, were wonderful and friendly. I didn't see a sad or lonely face at any time. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board within 10 minutes. Bags were delivered within the hour. My cabin was a balcony cabin which was really adequate for only 1 person, and the balcony was on the small size. There was plenty of storage space and my bag slipped under the bed quite easily. The bathroom was small but everything worked and I had plenty of hot water at all hours, with good pressure in the shower. I was glad to see that I had a shower enclosure instead of the dreaded curtain! The bed was just as comfortable as my own, with pristine white linen and the whole place was clinically clean. There were plenty of sun beds on the upper decks and in the adult areas. The only fault that I found was in the Marco Polo dining room. The food let the ship down! It was beautifully presented by wonderful waiters, but left a lot to be desired. However, in the buffet there was plenty variety and I was never hungry. I purchased the drinks package and gave that a good rattling!!! However, I did come off the ship 3lbs lighter. My teenage granddaughter joined the teens club and made some nice friends, with whom she had a blast, and the grandson was like a little gentleman, strolling around, using his card!!! At night the entertainment was varied and good, with a few different little bands playing in different bars and venues. We didn't take any of the shore excursions as we had holidayed on each of the islands, but did get off in Funchal which was magical, and went to Church on Christmas day in La Palma. Disembarkation was in turmoil, I got separated from the others, with the result that they were waiting on the pier for over an hour, while I hunted throughout the ship for them. Eventually a phone call or two by one of those lovely young Italian gentlemen and all was sorted!! All in all, it was a fabulous cruise and I can't wait to get on board again! A Beautiful ship with a wonderful crews. Thank you all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We chose to spend our Christmas on msc Armonia, and we had a wonderful week. First let me point out the not so good aspects: the transfer and flight we had from Rome was very bad: time, transfer and flight itself with Meridiana from Rome ... Read More
We chose to spend our Christmas on msc Armonia, and we had a wonderful week. First let me point out the not so good aspects: the transfer and flight we had from Rome was very bad: time, transfer and flight itself with Meridiana from Rome were extremely unconfortable and ill planned. Also, the entertainment was below the average we have come to love on our cruises: of the evening shows, only the spanish dancers were superb. Apart from that, the cruise was perfect: great service at dinner (thanks Mohammed), our cabin was kept perfectly clean at all times, the ship facilities were always a pleasure to use: I particularly enjoyed the gym and the spa, both with a wonderful sea view. The itinerary is great, and we loved the night stop in Madeira, with plenty of time to visit the beautiful island both during the day and at night. I really cannot understand people complaining about the food and service: we beleive both are far better than NCL and Carnival, which we tried before. Every single crew member was friendly and helpful (by the way many many thanks to Giusy at the reception, if you read this, you were great!) The ship never felt crowded, and even if it's true that sometimes we felt some movement while at sea, we never found it terribly disturbing.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first cruise with NCL, but it will not be our last. To sum it up in a few words it was excellent. We showed up for embarkation at 11:45 and the line up was less than 15 minutes. We had our photo taken and then found out that ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL, but it will not be our last. To sum it up in a few words it was excellent. We showed up for embarkation at 11:45 and the line up was less than 15 minutes. We had our photo taken and then found out that we were surprisingly upgraded to VIP status which was a great way to start the cruise. Yahira the concierge escorted us to the VIP lounge and explained the perks. Then we were taken to Cagney's for lunch and to wait until our cabin was ready, which was prior to 1PM. At Cagney's we met Edrex, a waiter we ran into several times on the trip. He was very pleasant and friendly, we could hear him singing big band tunes when he left the dining room and entered the kitchen. We had a complimentary fruit basket and a bottle of wine in our room from Armando the director of hotel services. Subsequently we received either hors d'oeurves or chocolate covered strawberries each evening. We had 32 CRuise Critic members show up for the M&G on the first sea day and Armando and most of the senior officers were present. They served coffee, juice and had sandwiches and sweets. We ate most meals at Raffles, the buffet and the food was good, but not great. The most difficult part was finding a seat. We had one supper in the garden and the food and service was excellent. We had one supper at Trattoria, a specialty restaurant, and it was excellent. We had passed bt the Blue Lagoon several times, but only tried it for the first time about day 5. We ate there several times after that, as the pub style food was a nice treat after a busy day, without having to fight to find a table in Raffles. Henry's Pub prepared popcorn every afternoon and it became a routine for us to pick up a couple of bags to have when we watched an in room movie. The casino was nice and we visited it a few times. We attended several art lectures, which was a new experience for me. We even ended up winning some free art. The shore excursions were great, the Mosque in Morroco was fascinating. In Tenerife I went to see Mt. Tiede and in the afternoon we walked around Santa Cruz. In Lanzarote we visited Timanfaya national park and this was a amazing as was los Hervideros, where the waves crashing on the rocks was breathtaking. In Malaga we went to Mijas a town set in the side of a mountain. This was my wife's favourite excursion. She did some shopping while I toured the village with the group. The white buildings and narrow streets reminded her of Santorini. They also had Donkey taxis, but we just walked. The views were spectacular. Anne was our housekeeping lady and our room was always well taken care of. My wife loved the towel animals and Anne always greeted us by name and asked about our day. We only went to a couple of shows as we were involved in other activities, but the ones we attended were very good. Though the ship is old it is well maintained and the view of the atrium while descending is stunning. I would like to finish by stating that although we were upgraded to VIP, which was almost embarrassing at times, it was the friendliness of Anne, Edrex and all of the other staff, who were not aware of this status, that made this our best cruise ever. Way to go NCL.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was the first time we've been on a Cunard ship, I knew all the history, Queen Mary, Elizabeth, QE2, QM2 etc and always wondered what it would be like. We went as a family of nine to have the ultimate Christmas and New Year to ... Read More
This was the first time we've been on a Cunard ship, I knew all the history, Queen Mary, Elizabeth, QE2, QM2 etc and always wondered what it would be like. We went as a family of nine to have the ultimate Christmas and New Year to remember. Ages from two to early 60's. Queen Victoria is a beautiful ship, she looks stunning. The first thing you see inside is the Grand Lobby, that sets the tone for the rest of the ship. We had a ocean view cabin on deck one and we were impressed. The best cabin we've stayed in so far. Queen Victoria is big enough to hold her own, but small enough to feel intimate. Actually it's the first time we've built up relationships with the crew. I love the feeling when you wake up early and it feels like you're the only one on board. Magically feeling. You can feel the history and spirit of the past, but in a modern setting. The Playroom (2-7 year olds) kids club is amazing. The best kids club on the seas. The team transformed our voyage by providing the best care possible for our two year old son, just enough time for us to have a break but able to leave him with confidence. Queen Victoria provided carol singing on Christmas Eve in the Grand Lobby, kids party with presents from Santa in the Queens Room. New Years Eve was very special, amazing atmosphere, the best one ever. Negatives: Some of the older passengers can be rude and at the start of the cruise look down at you because you have kids. But then again we're Cunard's future passengers and the crew made us feel amazing and loved the kids, they made such a fuss of them, they got to know them on first name terms. And by the middle of the cruise the older generations had mellowed out and enjoyed the company of the kids. We were really impressed with Cunard's Queen Victoria, the history oozes out in the right way on an ultra modern ship. We can't wait to get back on board or even try out Queen Mary 2 or Queen Elizabeth.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sailed from Southampton on 21st Dec. for the Canaries. This is the first time we have sailed with P and O,although we have sailed before with their sister company, Princess. Well what can I say, although the ship is in need of updating as ... Read More
Sailed from Southampton on 21st Dec. for the Canaries. This is the first time we have sailed with P and O,although we have sailed before with their sister company, Princess. Well what can I say, although the ship is in need of updating as the decor was a little tired, this did not spoil anything for us at all. We found the staff polite and friendly although sometimes we had to wait for a drink. Our cabin steward Reagan was exceptional, always ready to help and assist us with anything that we asked for. The entertainment on board was good. We used the theatre on most nights as there was always something on that we wished to see. The food was to die for. There were some people on board who were moaning about it but I expect those people usually eat every night at the Ritz. The Captain Neil Turnbull was brilliant, he kept us informed about everything and was often seen about the ship talking to the passengers. What a nice man. The only thing that I didn't like or appreciate where some of the passengers who thought that they were better than anyone else. Sheer snobbery abounds still on P and O and a lot of the older passengers are guilty of this. Some of them are downright rude with no manners (which they usually accuse the youngsters of) To these passengers I would say , this is 2014. Not 1924 the class system on cruises no longer exists. My money is the same colour as yours lose the attitude. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are just returning from an excellent cruise to Canary Islands on Norwegian Spirit. Everything was wonderful from Embarkation to disambarkation, all employees on the ship try to please you in anyway they can, the tours we took from the ... Read More
We are just returning from an excellent cruise to Canary Islands on Norwegian Spirit. Everything was wonderful from Embarkation to disambarkation, all employees on the ship try to please you in anyway they can, the tours we took from the ship was excellent for Lanzarote (best of Lanzarote) in the way that we visited a lot of things and it was very nice and the meal on the tour was excellent too, but we took a tour a Casablanca (exclusive Casablanca and Rabat) and it was not worthed to pay extra money to be in a small group in the way that we did not visit everything we were supposed to (the guide was upset with some of the questions he was asked...) )the tour was supposed to last approx. 9 hours...we left at 8h15 and we returned at 15h45 (according to the original schedule we were supposed to be back at around 17h15) and the tour on the big bus with more people took the time to visit everything and more...but I told the facts to the shore excursion personnel and they took care of my complaint right away in the sense they give me some money back...I really appreciate the fact they listen to me and take care of the situation... One other thing we appreciate is that we told at the reception personnel that a suitcase was broken by one of the porters (from the bus to the room) and they took the time to repair that suitcase...it was greatly apprciate... All the meals we took on board was excellent (at RAFFLES for breakfast and lunch except for the days we were on excursions and at WINDOWS for dinner) and the waiters and their help gave a really good service....we usually eat at around 5h30 PM and we had a table right away (no waiti) and by the Windows... Al the shows were excellent and we went to all daily shows (3 shows with dancers and singers, 2 shows of magic, 1 show with 2 excellent acrobatic, 1 Broadway show and more)... They have very good music onboard (ship band, 1 other band with 2 singers and they were excellent, 1 trio, duo, 1 pianist, 1 guitarist)....so they have music for everybody and evry taste with those 6 groups... The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and fast....(for the disimbarkation, it took only 30 minutes from the time we left our room on the ship to the finish of checkin at the airport....I never experience a disembarkation, transport to the airport by taxi and chek-in for the plane so fast...we left the ship at around 7h00 in the morning))... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My husband and I just returned from our first European trip (from United States). We spent two days in Barcelona before boarding the NCL Spirit. We had a surprising quick check-in process and experiences nothing but superb service and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our first European trip (from United States). We spent two days in Barcelona before boarding the NCL Spirit. We had a surprising quick check-in process and experiences nothing but superb service and friendliness of the crew and staff from beginning to end. Our room attendant, Charlie, was fantastic. A wonderful smiling face to see everyday. As other reviews have mentioned, the food was just OK. We had a great food and service at Cagney's, and were happy with that we ordered at Trattoria and as for the complimentary eateries, we found Windows to be the most pleasant. We didn't particularly love the shows as the talent felt like small town community theater, but could tell the performers were really trying to put on a good show. Our first port, Lanzarote, was OK. We just walked around, lacked stores/places to visit outside of excursions. Tenerife was also OK. Unfortunately, this stop was on New Years Day so most of the city was closed. We did take a highlights tour in Casablanca and were extremely disappointed. The whole tour felt like a cattle heard and after we were shuffled through the Mosque, we spent the next 4 hours of the tour wasting time with random stops--- one at a small hotel where we were given a soda, and told we could sit in the lounge for 40 minutes (while 6-8 other tour busses did the same thing). We were dropped at some small store with souvenirs... crammed like sardines with way too many tour busses stopping at the same store. One bathroom for use, no toilet paper. Casablanca was a sad city, very dirty, and the people were not friendly.... very negative experience. We LOVED Málaga. LOVED it. Cannot wait to go back just to visit that city again. Other than the iffy stops, we were overall very happy with our NCL experience. The boat may not have had many bells and whistles and the activities felt a little hit or miss, but the Crew and Staff were phenomenal. There was always SOMETHING to do. Every NCL employee we encountered was upbeat, helpful, and friendly. Will definitely look into future trips with NCL- especially their newer ships.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We wanted to escape the Xmas madness in the UK and treated ourselves to a Xmas and new year cruise to get some sun. We have had two previous summer cruises so were looking forward to trying a winter one. We had a fantastic time. Staff as ... Read More
We wanted to escape the Xmas madness in the UK and treated ourselves to a Xmas and new year cruise to get some sun. We have had two previous summer cruises so were looking forward to trying a winter one. We had a fantastic time. Staff as always were exceptional, though we agree that service was a little slow at times. Entertainment was extremely high quality and we always found a seat (on popular nights like the formal nights you just have to get there in good time). Food was varied, tasty and always hot. We had an inside cabin which we thought was bigger than others we have had. The Horizon bar was lovely to get away from the busier areas of the ship and enjoy lovely views. There were a lot of people complaining and moaning constantly throughout the cruise and most of the time we could see no genuine reason for it - I guess some people like to moan! My teenagers were shocked by it - and that's saying something! Sunshine on most days and a comfortable 'home' to come back to - what more could we want? Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have cruised on almost every major cruiseline and heard many derogatory remarks regarding NCL. Last year we cruised on the NCL Jade twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We recently cruised on a B2B on the Spirit over ... Read More
We have cruised on almost every major cruiseline and heard many derogatory remarks regarding NCL. Last year we cruised on the NCL Jade twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We recently cruised on a B2B on the Spirit over Christmas. This is a very special ship - obviously not built to NCL's requirements, which showed in the placement of the Blue Lagoon. However, she has a most attractive Asian decor, with some interesting and unusual artefacts dotted around. The balcony cabin was on the small side, but perfectly functional, clean and pleasant. The staff are truly exceptional - very friendly and service oriented. The food was very good and well presented and we enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The Casino was very hot and smokey - which prevented us spending as much time there as we usually do, which was a pity, as the staff there were very attentive. We really enjoyed this ship - its the perfect size - not too large, but large enough to have all the entertainment facilities we needed. No climbing wall etc., but there was a very nice pool area for small children. The music on board was excellent - varied enough to suit most tastes. The senior officers were very approachable and, except for the Captain, very visible. We can't comment on the ports, as we spent sixteen days on board without getting off once!! We cruise for the ships not the ports. I can thoroughly recommend this ship - perhaps older in style than the new glitzy ships, but very elegant and offering a very enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Embarkation, after a taxi from Barcelona Airport (half the price of NCL bus!), took merely minutes and we were on board before cabins were available - so we took advantage of lunch in Blue Lagoon, a 24/7 cafe. The cabin was beautifully ... Read More
Embarkation, after a taxi from Barcelona Airport (half the price of NCL bus!), took merely minutes and we were on board before cabins were available - so we took advantage of lunch in Blue Lagoon, a 24/7 cafe. The cabin was beautifully clean and well presented. Cabin steward was courteous, friendly and efficient. It was a delight to get reports from the bridge over the PA, and the Finnish captain was friendly and kept us regularly informed (whereas with MSC we never heard from the captain, and feel he may not have sailed with us!) DINING was a delight, and better than we experienced on Jewel or Jade. Using mainly the free dining rooms (Alizar and Grand Pacific) for dinner each evening, service was excellent, menu selection was good, and food was produced quickly, beautifully cooked and well presented! The Brazilian diner was an extra cost restaurant - but was worth the $20 surcharge for the different dining experience! As on other NCL ships, the Garden Cafe buffet was exceptionally good, with great variety, and only modest quantities being on display (to prevent drying out), but topped up continually! Always courteous friendly service ... And an exceptional attention at all times and in all dining rooms to passengers being made to use hand sanitizer! Sincere congratulations to the head chef for his superb food! DRINKS on this ship the bar service was less high pressured than on Gem or Jewel, waiters were around when required and service was great. Sadly, prices were rather high (especially wines at dinner), and whilst adding 15% is tolerable for waiter service, I deeply resented going to the bar to get a dring, and still getting a 15% surcharge for self service! ENTERTAINMENT ... The best of any ship I have been on! Frequently full houses for both shows each evening, and variety, polish and presentation were excellent! Shows ran for at least 45 min. And the star show 'Elements' was a breathtaking tribute to Cirque du Soleil, mixed with magic and live music! Better than brilliant!!! ...and almost 75 mins! ... And the technicians who 'operated' the theatre deserve great credit for their skill and professionalism, changing lavish 'sets' each day ... And never a slip in their presentations! (again, on MSC a lavish theatre seemed to have one amateur operator, and one show was only 12 mins!) On the down side, the shore excursions seemed expensive, but in most ports, busses operated free or for token charges into the towns, and the hop-on hop-off City Tour busses were great for getting round the towns (Funchal, Teneriffe, Lanzarotte and Malaga). Yes, as reported in another review, bags were x-rayed, but NCL seem very security conscious - and I thank them for that! Altogether, FREESTYLE cruising (formality optional and not essential) works well for me! The lack of tipping (daily cabin surcharge) means the staff are friendly and efficient ... Great food, great entertainment, it all made it a great holiday for me! Thanks NCL! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Spending Christmas with the Queen of the Iceni ? Don't worry, no time travel required just a delightfully smooth train journey to Portsmouth Harbour where a complimentary shuttle was waiting to whisk us to the sparkling Cruise Ferry ... Read More
Spending Christmas with the Queen of the Iceni ? Don't worry, no time travel required just a delightfully smooth train journey to Portsmouth Harbour where a complimentary shuttle was waiting to whisk us to the sparkling Cruise Ferry Terminal where we first caught a glimpse of our final destination, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' M.V. Boudicca. It is so nice to be taken care of. Apart from dragging my over-packed bag off the train to shuttle bus, from there it was taken care of only to reappear in my cabin. After a hassle free check-in I strolled around the light and airy terminal building, met up with my two travelling companions and had a nice 'cuppa' while we waited to board. When our group were called to board there was an orderly rush for the boarding gate. While in the inevitable queue to stride up the gangway it was great to be personally greeted by our Cruise Director, Stein Dyb. It is these little touches that enhance Fred. Olsen's reputation for friendliness. Once onboard and, having been processed, we made our way to our Deck 4 cabins. After fighting my pals for wardrobe space (ladies -- please don't worry, there is plenty of hanging space) we set out to discover the geography of our floating hotel. Boudicca has 9 'public' decks (10 if you count the golf nets and putting green). The Beauty Salon was on our deck but all of us were beyond repair. On Deck 5 -- Main Deck were the shops, reception, tours desk and future cruise sales office. Deck 6 was where all the restaurants were situated together with lounges, the show lounge and swimming pool, Jacuzzis and lap pool. Deck 7 was home to the Internet Cafe (6 units), library, card room, gambling tables and the Lido Lounge. Deck 8 was the Bridge deck and Deck 9 housed the Observatory ( perched above the Bridge and offering a great 180 degree view) and aft (towards the blunt end) was the Marquee 'Fine Weather' Snack Bar and a plunge pool. Not that we crossed its threshold but up on Deck 9 was the Gym. To make the dining facilities feel more cozy the area has been divided into 3 semi-separate areas and also includes an alternative dining restaurant 'The Secret Garden'. The ship was in full festive mode with Christmas trees laden with decorations abounding and holly, bells and baubles glistening everywhere. With the dulcet tones of Christmas songs issuing from every broadcasting orifice how could we not embrace the spirit of Christmas? Our cruise was to take us to Casablanca for a quick visit to Rick's Bar (for our slightly older readers), all the Canary Islands and, to finish off with a flourish, New Year's Eve in Funchal, Madeira where, I have to tell you, the firework display was quite fantastic. Anyone who wonders where the variety show has disappeared to, it has grabbed it's passport and joined the plethora of cruise ships that now sail the many seas. Boudicca is no exception and boasted a good selection of acts to keep the full complement of passengers amused. These include an excellent crooner, Geoff Taylor who brought to life greats like Frank Sinatra, Matt Monroe and Sammy Davis Junior to name a few, Gabor Podhorszki, a classical guitarist who held his audiences in rapture during his afternoon recitals and Rikki Jay, a comedian who built up his act as the cruise progressed until he had the audience in stitches on the last night. Day time fun included reindeer racing, deck quoits, shuffle board, table tennis (in a force 9), putting, carpet bowls and for less excitement but full of interest, port talks, enhancement lecturers and Gillian Slade's Flower and Spice Craft 'classes'. This is definitely the way to spend Christmas and New Year. No washing up, six opportunities a day to eat, interesting ports of call with a nice range of tour options if you want explore beyond the ports and Fred. Olsen's super friendly girls and boys to take care of you. Even your social calendar is filled to capacity with the Captain's Welcome and Farewell cocktail parties, formal nights, Caribbean nights, an international night and, of course, special meals to celebrate Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Add to that the fun of several sail away deck parties and you get the picture -- a great time was had. My sincere thanks go to Captain Robert Bamburg (It used to be that you felt old when policemen looked young but now, even masters of cruise ships look young) and his crew for a thoroughly enjoyable experience with special mentions for Hotel Manager Clive Ramshaw, Cruise Director Stein Dyb, the Tours Team of Adela & Derrick and finally, our favourite supplier of cocktails in the Observatory, 'Princess' Paula. Don't miss out - to make sure you grab your place on one of this year's Christmas and New Year cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Smooth and well organised embarkation, nice welcome from staff as we entered the ship. The cabin was spacious with ample storage, we had a wardrobe each with space for shoes & suitcases, the cabin was clean & tidy and the beds were ... Read More
Smooth and well organised embarkation, nice welcome from staff as we entered the ship. The cabin was spacious with ample storage, we had a wardrobe each with space for shoes & suitcases, the cabin was clean & tidy and the beds were really comfortable, the cabin steward made up our beds and cleaned the cabin whilst we were at lunch & dinner. The highlight for me was the standard and quality of the food served at all meals, our table waiter (Danzil)was first class friendly & very professional what we really liked was that the staff had time to stop and chat unlike the P&O staff on our last cruise who were surly and too busy to care.The soups served at lunch & dinner were hot extremely tasty and well presented, the meals were good sized portions and were always hot and well presented (unlike the lukewarm effort one gets with P&O). Entertainment wasn't always to our choice but the 3 shows we did choose to watch were excellent, I would say that the majority of passengers went to most of the nightly shows. The weather wasn't always good enough to have a sail away party when leaving ports but the one we did have was great fun and we were even given complimentary rum punch unlike P&O who charge an average of £3.50 per drink. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation we were driving out of Dover within 1 hour of getting up and we even had time for breakfast! We will certainly be going with Fred.Olsen again they seem to have everything right, the ships are not the huge liners that one sees these days but for quality of service, food and the right balance of all day entertainment small is definitely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Only problem with this cruise is the very few but rather outspoken critics - especially if you sit with them at breakfast - best to go to the bistro then you will not be forced to sit with them. Chose this cruise for convenience of ... Read More
Only problem with this cruise is the very few but rather outspoken critics - especially if you sit with them at breakfast - best to go to the bistro then you will not be forced to sit with them. Chose this cruise for convenience of travelling and because we would hate a large impersonal ship with the sort of entertainment that some people seem to long for - X factor it ain't but a talented team provide a variety of shows and Richard (who is multi-talented, charming and ready to improvise entertainment at the drop of a hat if the weather alters the programme) organises the entertainment with imagination and flair. The staff are excellent from the cabin maids to the waiters, never complaining and serving with curtesy and a smile (even when dealing with the odd difficult passenger). How one of the critics can say the boat was dirty is just unbelievable - it is spotless and continually cleaned and tidied throughout the day and how another complains of lack of choice at breakfast: continental breakfast or full English, freshly cooked omelettes, fish, etc. plus a wide selection of fresh fruit, fresh rolls, bread and toast, etc. If you want a large, noisy boat with so many people on it that getting on and off is a nightmare the Marco Polo is not for you. If you want a calm atmosphere, good service and (much as we love our own children) a child free environment then choose this ship. Many people return year after year - we have only been on two cruises with them and are novices compared to most. Horses for courses I would hate a large impersonal ship and wish that those that enjoy such cruises would keep well away from the Marco Polo and leave those of us who appreciate it's charm in peace. The Marco Polo will continue to thrive with the return year after year of people like me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
By 12.15am every night the only place with any music playing was from a disc in the disco!All the bars closed down by before midnight or 12.30 in the Casino and the only place to get a drink was in the disco where there were never more ... Read More
By 12.15am every night the only place with any music playing was from a disc in the disco!All the bars closed down by before midnight or 12.30 in the Casino and the only place to get a drink was in the disco where there were never more than a couple of dozen people. And this was a Christmas Cruise!!! After the last performances in the Footlights theatre and Starlights Lounge ended at latest 11.30 the ship died. By midnight every night there were about 20 or so in the Yacht and Compass bar, most of 10 in the casino,and a handful of people dotted around the beautiful Atrium. With no drinks being served, no late night piano being played passengers went off to bed! Mind you the average age was well into the late 60s but even us older ones want a bit of sparkle and a late night chat/entertainment. The Entertainment Team were brilliant and did their best to get some atmosphere going but they were thwarted mainly by the layout of the ship itself. With no large floor area, like a level show lounge or dance floor, it was not physically possible to engage a large enough gathering on one level floor, hence things like carol singing etc took place in the foot of the Atrium with passengers having to stand on different deck levels and on the stairs! The speed of embarkation and disembarkation was very good. Our balcony cabin was by far the smallest we have ever had and the bathroom was crazily small. It was nigh impossible to turn round from the sink to the toilet to the shower or vice-versa. And if you wanted to partly dress in the bathroom, like put on your underwear, then you had to be a contortionist. The decor was fine and the service of the cabin steward was excellent. The food generally was very good. As we have always tended to gear our eating round the shows, we take advantage of the buffet and this was on deck 14 with panoramic views. Whilst the food was very good, the ambiance also good, the two important things to me which let it down was 1.About 50/60% of the various foods/dishes on offer were not labelled and you had to guess what they were . 2...Very many times especially at dinner, the napkins were 1/2 ply cheap and nasty paper ones! Not good.The food in the main dining room was excellent as was the service. However, one evening we ate in the so called Marc Pierre White restaurant which was located on deck 8 in the Cafe Jardin. Lovely ambiance, wonderful quality service. There was a £6.50 supplement to dine there and then another supplement if one wanted the 21 day reared rib eye steak. Well I have had better down my local pub for £6.99, better taste, better cooked and better presented. Such a let down. The entertainment generally was very good. Broken down into: duos, pianists, trios; guest artists and the Headliners Theatre Company. One particular duo was Serendipity who were very talented indeed. With Lyn playing the tenor and alto sax, the flute, the clarinet and can also play piano, guitar and bassoon. She also has a great voice too. Stewart on the keyboard and guitar was brilliant. The pianist were ok but nothing special and were not seen playing very much. Would have been lovely to have some late late night music or even a sing song, especially as this was billed as a Christmas Cruise. The comedians on the first part of the cruise were pretty awful but another Steve Tandy was very good as was Maxime Mazunder who did a Lulu tribute one night and a Dusty Springfield another. A lovely voice . However the group of young guys and girls who were just fantastic were the Headliners Theatre Company. They performed six DIFFERENT shows over the 12 nights, playing three times on those nights. The energy was outstanding and the quality of the two main dancers Darren and ? was superb as were the vocalists. Each show as a knock-out and saved the day as far as the overall cruise was concerned. The Cruise Director Leanne was lovely, so natural, so easy, so friendly and caring too. He Assistant Paul had a beautiful velvet voice when they did their spot one night, with him singing a Michael Buble number...great voice Paul. The overall cleanliness of the ship was very good, but then the cleaners had a clear run from just after midnight!!!! One slightly irritating thing was the slowness of the lifts. Somehow for most of the times we used them they were all either up or all down and a bit like the No.10 bus you wait for, for ages then two or three come along. Now to the weather! Within about 12 hours of leaving Southampton we started to encounter very rough seas which gathered pace for almost 36 hours culminating in a Force 9/10. The ship became deserted with many passengers being frightened to venture out of their cabins for fear of falling. There were casualties and a cabin window blown in. A lot of sickness of course, but fortunately I was not affected and in fact I quite enjoyed the experience as this was the first time in some 20+ cruises when it has not been calm seas. We only took one shore excursion and that was down to Playa de Americas in Tenerife. The other ports of call we did our own thing. P & O are very good with their shuttle buses as they do not charge for this useful service. The prices of drinks was very good compared to those on Royal Caribbean for example. P & O also play down the "gratuities" and have a very relaxed attitude towards tipping again compared to Royal Caribbean which thrust it at you several times in a cruise (One cruise of 10 nights on RCL the reminder about gratuities was mentioned 9 nights in the daily news letters, once by the cruise director and once by the two dining room waiters)...so well down P & O. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, me more than my wife, as I wanted to escape Christmas as much as possible. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton port were seamless. Ventura is a huge ship but all its facilities and where they are takes some fathoming out especially when some of the lifts don't go to where you want to go. Our aft ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton port were seamless. Ventura is a huge ship but all its facilities and where they are takes some fathoming out especially when some of the lifts don't go to where you want to go. Our aft cabin was lovely, except for the broken drawer, and had a large balcony. Tea and coffee making facilities were a boon and very welcome early morning, whilst getting ready for dinner and late at night before retiring. Socorro, our cabin steward, kept everything ship shape except for the broken drawer which attempted to kick me several times. Oh and did I mention the frilled half moon balcony mat which tripped me up a couple of times. I moved it. Not all the service staff had read P & O's 'be friendly to the cruisers' booklet but on average they were fine even if some appeared preoccupied or fed up. Maybe they were thinking of the Caribbean, who wouldn't, the ship's next destination. The food was lovely and varied. However I never got a piece of decent toast or a fried egg to my liking. Must have gone to the Buffet at the wrong time, so my fault both were elusive. We didn't partake of all the entertainment but what we saw was really good. Booked three trips out and all were great. Although I prefer smaller cruise ships, with no broken drawers or frilled mats, I would travel on Ventura again if the itinery was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on ... Read More
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on anything. It was PERFECT! I booked this cruise over 18mths ago direct with RCI. I pre-registered online for 2011 before the dates of the cruises were released. In March 2010 RCI phoned and asked if we were still serious about a cruise as they had now got the dates for October 2011. I told them yes and was offered an unbelievable cruise package, which consisted of a suite for the 5 of us, onboard spend, free parking for 2 cars plus other benefits that you get when you book a suite. As the months passed and the cruise date finally arrived we all left for Southampton, directions are easy and the parking a doddle. (Word of advice make sure your luggage labels are attached before you leave and get to Southampton as the porters unload your car as soon as you get through the gates, and don't take suite/dress bags as you have to carry these on. We had put all our evening wear into the specialist bags but ended up having to carry them onboard ourselves as the coat hangers won't go through the scanning machine. This was not really a problem as we boarded at 12.45pm and we were allowed into the suite at 1pm. If we had of boarded earlier which you can, we would of had to of carried them around until 1pm which would of been a pain) Boarding was stress free and very easy, then it hits you just how huge this ship really is. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of the sheer size and how spectacular she looks; she really does give you the WOW factor. We went straight to our deck and waited until 1pm then an announcement was made that all passengers could go to their staterooms. Again we had the WOW factor; the suite was beautiful and very spacious for the 5 of us. We had ordered a fruit, cheese and wine basket to be delivered for the start of the cruise for an incredible £28. The sparkling wine cheese and fruit were delicious. I had also ordered for my husband a Romance Package, which consisted of Sparkling Wine, Breakfast in Bed (or on the balcony), a silver frame for a photo taken on a formal night and pre dinner nibbles this cost £63. I think both of these items were value for money. Our suit cases were delivered, in my opinion quite quickly, the first one arrived within 15 mins of us being in the suite, the last one to arrive, which was mine, arrived an hour and half later. This did not cause us a problem, but when we were walking down the corridor to go to Muster Station, at 4pm some passengers were complaining that they had not yet had their luggage. RCI do inform you that it can sometimes take up to 9pm until you get your luggage and to carry on a small bag with a change of clothes and medication. My son and I had taken out the soda package on line. The queue for the soda package when you boarded was very busy, with fraught parents and kids wanted drinks right away. My advice, do it on line it saves so much hassle and your soda cups will be waiting for you in your stateroom. That way you have more time to explore and find were things are. We also took out the wine package which you can do at the table on the first evening your waiter will sort this out for you. We chose the "My Time" Dining option; we found this really worked for us. We found the food to be wonderful and plenty of choice, my mother in law as food allergies but was catered for without any problems at all. The one thing that was worrying both my husband and I were the beds. I have M.E. and I need a comfortable bed. I don't like staying away from home as I can never get comfortable in any other bed. I have to say the beds were fabulous. There was no need to worry. The bedding was soft and there was a memory foam topper on the mattress. I never had any trouble sleeping. On our first morning we all went to breakfast, you have several choices, Windjammer, Al le carte on deck 4, buffet in the restaurant on deck 3 and then the promenade cafe which serves drinks and freshly baked pastries or room service. Over the cruise we tried all the options, and we found the self service on deck 3 the best option for us. The Windjammer is brilliant and as mountains of choice (more than the restaurant on deck 3) but if you are not a morning person and you don't like crowds stay away, it gets very crowded and can be difficult to find a table. There is less choice on deck 3, but you are shown to a table and juice, tea and coffee are served to you. The first day is a sea day and it can be quite cold and rough on deck in October so make sure you pack a fleece or something warm. The kids on board don't seem to feel the cold and were in and out of the pools for most of the day. I booked myself a manicure as a treat, also this is the first formal night as well. The manicure was very pleasant and the young lady, Natalie, soon put me at ease. I booked to have a massage further into the week which was not a pleasant experience; it was a Swedish massage which is a very deep manipulation of the muscle tissue. I was advised by one of the girls on the desk to have this treatment and it was totally the wrong treatment for me. It was extremely painful. However this did not put me off as I had 2 different treatments which were very relaxing and most enjoyable. Do not book on the internet before you leave, the Spa runs some deals on certain days at a fraction of the cost that's advertised on the webpage. Look out in your cruise Compass leaflet that your cabin attendant leaves for you every evening. Word of warning all the spa treatments have a 15% surcharge and you do get subjected to some hard sell after your treatment. Be polite but firm, and then you don't get pestered after that. Before we booked our cruise we had spoken to several people that had cruised before, and every one of them had advised us that if you don't feel like getting off the ship Don't! Enjoy the ship and its facilities. So with that in mind we had already decided that we would not get off at every port. The first port of call was Vigo which to my surprise was a very nice city. The shops etc are a 5 min walk from the ship, there is a lovely square as you walk through the town and we stopped at a cafe/bistro for a beer. Vigo was very easy to get to and very clean. We did a bit of window shopping then went back onboard. We did not book any trips from the ship for any port of call. Next port was Lisbon. We had already decided not to get off the ship here. Where the ship docks (just under the bridge) it's not a very nice place and there is a 35min transfer into the city from the ship. We enjoyed the sundeck and pools as it was 31c and the ship was very quiet. We later found out that several passengers had been victims of pick-pockets and had several items stolen. So if you do decide to get off the ship, do not take any valuables with you and be extremely careful. Gran Can aria was next on the agenda; we got off the ship here and spent an hour at the beach. There is a beach which you can see from the ship, but we walked for approx 10mins into town and found a much nicer beach. There are sun beds you can hire for a fee, or take a towel with you and lie on the beach. Worth seeing are the sand sculptures they are quite remarkable. Tenerife was next, and on the day we went the local market was on. It's quite a walk so if you are going it alone and not doing the organised trips get a taxi or bus, we regret not doing this. Madeira for me was the highlight of all the ports of call. It's a beautiful place to visit. Again we did not do the organised trips, we paid 6 dollars return for a coach to take you into the town then we got a yellow taxi. What a bargain this trip was. We paid 20euro each to go where the organised trips were going which were $89 each on ship. The taxi driver was very informative and spoke excellent English. The taxi trip lasted approx 3hrs. This was by far the best way to see Madeira. The sledge ride was an extra 15euro each, which when you got to the bottom they had your photo waiting for you which they had taken at the start. To purchase this it was 10euro which if did not want to you did not have to buy. Final destination before Southampton was La Coruna. Easy place to get to shopping centre next port to do your final present buying. This is a nice town with some beautiful old buildings. The organised trips are expensive, and if you don't mind sitting on a hot coach for a few hrs and you like to be shown around, then organised trips are your best option. We went on this cruise to relax and to enjoy the ship and what it had to offer. The ports of call to us were not important. The ship is just a fantastic place to be and to be honest I would of spent all my time onboard. The food is to die for, the crew treat you like royalty, they are always smiling and nothing is too much trouble. Every minute of the day the ship is being cleaned and maintained. Our suite attendant Edwin was so helpful and obliging nothing was too much trouble. Our waiters Leoncia and Alan made our dining experience so enjoyable; to the extent we actually cancelled our booking at Portofino's. We did not attend any shows as we enjoyed the entertainment that was being offered in the Pyramid Lounge and again the staff in there were very attentive. I think value for money you will not beat this cruise, get the soda packages, wine packages etc and you won't go wrong. The duty free shop is cheaper than the ports. Royal Caribbean International have got this format perfect, I don't see how they can perfect it any further. Enjoy your experience. We did, we are hooked and can't wait for the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for ... Read More
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for nothing. Yes, I think the QM2 is well in need for her forth coming refit but that did not stop me having a wonderful cruise aboard her earlier this month. Least of all she needs to have that unsightly dent in her rear sponson knocked out. But I have been reliably informed that every square inch of her carpeting is to be ripped up and replaced. This is after extensive repairs have been carried out on the decking. I did notice her decks beneath the carpet were extremely pot holed where the leveling compounds had collapsed and I did note this was probably a health and safety issue. The external decking also is to have a face lift whereby all the sealant between deck-boards will be gouged out and resealed correctly and not left proud of the decking. The 'Lion Pub' is also in for a major re-design, apparently going for the more traditional pub setting of more intimate cubicle/cubbyhole layout. Unfortunately, I didn't hear of any extensive changes to the 'G32' nightclub, which I feel would be advantageous. It just does not have that nightclub atmosphere I have seen on other ships.The cruise itself was lovely, the food was excellent, although I did hear some having a moan. The staff were as cheerful, helpful and as professional as I would expect and have no complaints there. I feel Cunard could go a lot further with the entertainment on board and I found this also the case on the QV last year. I feel as well as the nightclub which is not everyone's cup of tea, they could nominate one of her bars on a daily basis being a late bar. The evening shows should be extended to take into account the second restaurant sitting. And the acts both in the theatre and bars could be a little more varied. Certainly in the theatre we don't all wish to watch singers and dancers. Maybe they could introduce the odd juggling or acrobat show. Solo guitarists also wouldn't go amiss - it seems to be all piano/harpist/string quartet. I also felt the band was not varied enough, mainly Caribbean music which is ok if you are cruising there. And my big disappointment was in the 'G32' the band played too much there and didn't have a regular DJ who who could 'feel' the night revellers and have a repertoire with them. All this said, whilst I found the QV had the edge over QM2 because I feel she is more intimate and elegant. it would not prevent me going on another cruise aboard her. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less ... Read More
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less than 1/2 an hour, good start to the cruise. Cabin - Balcony on deck 7, very happy with it, plenty of storage space and everything we needed (except of course the no iron rule). Cabin Steward - Nikolai was very friendly and helpful and kept the cabin very tidy with towel animals every other night; a nice touch. He always stopped for a chat whenever we saw him and we were very happy with the service. Facilities - Impressed with the many and varied facilities aboard and enjoyed reading the daily 'Compass' newsletter to check on the day's activities. Shows - Really enjoyed the 'Armenian' comedian, (sorry forgot his name), his was the stand-out show, closely followed by the ice-show, impressive with spectacular costumes. The ships Singers and Dancers shows were not to our taste so only saw the 1st one. The other shows were ok but no more than that. Casino - Very nice facility, never too crowded. Evening Dining - We were allocated a table in the Romeo and Juliet dining room and thought the food was very good, well presented and with a good choice, hence we never felt the need to try one of the pay restaurants. We were lucky to have tablemates that we got on with and pleasant professional service which made the whole dining experience enjoyable. Breakfasts - We had room service on all but the last day and a relaxed breakfast suited us as opposed to the more hectic Windjammer. On the few occasions we did uses the Windjammer for lunch we always found a table without too much trouble but picked our times to avoid peak-time. The food was plentiful and we had no complaints. Excursions - We booked an RCCI excursion in every port and they were a mixed bag, particularly enjoyed Madeira and Tenerife but think that Ferrol should be dropped from the itinerary, boring was the best way to describe it. Disembarkation - Even easier that embarkation, simply walked off the boat with our luggage. Most of my comments have been positive but there are always a few areas which can be improved. The Negatives - (Some of these were known before we cruised) Cost of Alcohol - Extortionate Alcohol policy - whereby you can't even buy a bottle of local wine to enjoy on board - unnecessary Ice-Show - Queueing for tickets should be eliminated and reserved through the TV screen. The organisation to get access to the venue was a shambles, this whole process needs a revamp. Bingo - A total rip-off, prices too expensive and prizes inadequate leaving a large profit for RCCI. I read numerous reviews before selecting this cruise so had a very good idea what to expect. We were restricted in timeframes and choose this cruise as we thought there wouldn't be lots of children or teenagers on board. This proved to be the case and apart from the pool area we rarely saw them. The majority of passengers were in the 60+ bracket, as we are, but so many of them must offer warning signs to the NHS as the incidence of obesity was at alarming levels. At first I thought the pool area was a beached whale sanctuary and then thought it must be a maternity facility as so many of the men appeared to be in the third trimester. We look forward to cruising again and would have no issues in cruising on the Independence of the Seas but will try another line next time in order try a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating in the main dining room is like eating in the Hilton hotel.The staff cater to all your needs and would be offended if you didn't have a good time or had a meal you didn't like and you didn't tell them so they could rectify it. DRINKS:Me and the wife got two beer and wine packages it worked out around 550 English pounds for them both and we thought that was excellent value for money.any cocktails we just bought extra at a reasonable amount. ENTERTAINMENT:the entertainment is excellent and with the ship being so big you don't feel like you are crammed in just to see a performance.the highlight of the cruise was kev orkian of Britains got talent what a funny funny guy he is and also the main man korey simon in the schooner bar.he is a hidden gem on the boat and we found ourselves in the schooner bar most nights being entertained off him and some nights i would sing Elvis with him and it made our holiday. PORTS OF CALL:Being the canaries the ports of call our nearly all the same but because you can get on and off the ship during the day we just popped off for a couple of hours but really the ships that good you want to be back on and enjoying the what the ship has to offer. we cant wait to go next year you really have to go on the cruise to appreciate how good it is.roll on next September 2 weeks round the med.Awesome holiday thank you rci Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and ... Read More
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and the balcony was the biggest we have ever had.I liked the shower cubicle,no water splashing on the bathroom floor! Not too far from the elevators. Great food with a good choice in Windjammer although occasionally it could have done with being hotter. It did get a bit busy at times although we always manged to find a table - I guess most ships are like that though. Restaurant food was great as well the meat was so tender and yummy puds! We enjoyed all of the ports and the weather was kind to us. Shows --- fantastic as was the Strings ice show. We had to be in the theatre for 8.30pm for the 9.00pm show or we couldn't get a seat! Very popular! Found the outdoor pools a bit cold and the hot tubs the opposite we boiled like lobsters! Enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs though. Drinks - yes they are a tad pricey unfortunately. Newspapers can be bought for $3 at the coffee shop in the promenade. We went with trepidation because of the ships size --- but have been won over and have booked again for next year --- same ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy ... Read More
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy it puts airports to shame. Within little over an hour we were on board and another hour later we checked into our cabin. The suitcases arrived soon after so we could unpack and start our holiday. We hadnt realised that by taking our cruise over Easter a number of the shops in the Ports of call would be closed but we just enjoyed a short walk around each port. We went with our 11 year old son so we ate informally in the Windjammer cafe. There was always a great choice at all meals although it sometimes got busy at breakfast and lunch. By dressing informally we did feel a little underdressed later in the evening when mixing with people who were dressed up for the formal nights in the main restaurant. The entertainments team were great, expecially James the Cruise Director and his sidekick Jason. Treatments in the Spa proved quite expensive and they did try and sell extra services/products whilst doing the treatment. There were 4300 on board including 1200 children but it never seemed really busy or crowded at any time. Although our son did not join in with the kids clubs there was plenty to do with a varied daily programme. Our stateroom attendant was first class and every evening he laid out an animal made from towels which our son was always keen to rush back after dinner to see what was waiting for us. We were very lucky that for the majority of the cruise we had really good weather and only had one bad day with rough seas. The most offputting thing was that evening they had put sickbags in various locations around the ship so were obviously expecting a problem!! Departure was as easy as arrival with a well planned timescale. We opted to take our own bags off to save leaving them out the night before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would certainly do another. I think we were spoilt with RCCL as there was so much to do so any other liner will not seem as good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Myself (31) and my partner (37) have just returned from an 11 day Canaries and Morocco cruise aboard NCL Jade and felt that I just had to write a review to dispel some of the negative comments which are posted on these sites. I had read so ... Read More
Myself (31) and my partner (37) have just returned from an 11 day Canaries and Morocco cruise aboard NCL Jade and felt that I just had to write a review to dispel some of the negative comments which are posted on these sites. I had read so many that we were beginning to dread our trip. We have cruised before with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean & P&O and until now Royal Caribbean were our favourites and P&O were despicable and we would never ever cruise with them again. I was worried about the freestyle aspect of NCL and thought that maybe it wouldn't be as special as a regular cruise and would be far more informal in terms of customer service provided however need not have worried. We booked the cruise with cruise.co.uk for an amazing price and booked our own flights and an overnight stop in Barcelona the night before. This was an excellent money saver and no hassle of flying early morning or missing the ship, with an added bonus of a whole day in Barcelona to sight see. We reached the cruise terminal by taxi at 12 midday and were on the ship by 12.45pm, we were greeted by efficient and friendly staff checking us in and printing our cruise cards and there were no queues longer than 2 or3 people at a time. Every person was asked to have their hands sanitized before boarding to try and contain any germs aboard and this continued to my satisfaction all cruise, staff members placed in strategic areas giving hands one quick spray is hardly a chore and is for everyone's own good except the odd dirty few who refused. We left our hand luggage in a holding area so were free to roam the ship comfortably and had lunch in the garden cafe buffet which was a bit busy and manic but nothing new for the first day until people settle. Plentiful choice of foods and everyone well catered for. Fruit and salad stations, hot meat Carvery's, pasta as you want it cooked with any sauce etc, breads, soups, cheeses, cold meats and daily specials anything you can think of really. Staff served the food for the 1st couple days just to be sure of no virus outbreaks on board but was back to normal on 3rd morning. Our cabin on deck 11 was ready by 3pm and was compact but as expected, the bathroom was larger than expected however and lovely sized fully enclosed shower and lots shelves. Wardrobe space and dressing tables, drawers etc all ample for a couple. Very clean and cosy with extremely comfortable beds. We ate in Alizar restuarant most nights (which was a "free" restaurant as well as Grand Pacific and the Garden Cafe Buffet) and it's the same as walking into a restaurant at home, wait 2 or 3 mins for a table size of your choice and enjoy. The menu was always varied and had an always available section with prawn cocktail, Caesar salad, 8oz sirloin steak, chicken breast or salmon for those not wanting the daily choice. The remarkable thing was it opened until 10.30pm so never any trouble having a proper meal if you fancied eating late. We mainly ate at 10pm as by the time you eat breakfast and lunch you are always so full !!! We ate in the garden cafe too one evening and this was also very good with so much choice available and always hot and fresh. The speciality restaurants were also very good and were worth splashing out at least once whilst you are on holiday. We were kindly treated to a complimentary meal in Cagney's steak house and the difference could really be seen. The food is brilliant in the free restaurants but was just that little bit more extra special in the extra charge ones. The 16oz T-bone steak and lobster were amazing! For the 1st hour of opening many of the restaurants were 2 for 1 so the price was not too bad at all We found the beer expensive on board with a pint costing $7.38 with all taxes added, be careful of the 8% spanish tax which was added when the ship was in Spanish waters! However cocktails were pretty much always on offer and mainly buy one get one free so two cocktails for $6.40 or happy hour Martinis for $4.95 which is fair. I bought the soda package which allows unlimited pepsi, 7Up, diet sodas etc for $69 for the entire cruise which was very good value. There was a wine package but I didn't pay much attention to the price and we were also given 2 complimentary bottles so we were very happy. We stopped in Casablanca, Agadir, Las Palmas Gran Canarias, Madeira and Malaga, We made our own way to the Hassian II Mosque in Casablanca as there wasn't much else to do but we made our way back to ship after a couple of hours as it wasn't the nicest port. All other ports however were lovely and would not hesitate to return. My partner is from Madeira so that was our favourite day and all our family and friends met us in the Marina and waved us off again that evening. We went on an NCL excursion in Agadir as I was a bit apprehensive about the port however it was actually better than expected and not as scary as made out to be. We went to a typical show area and watched horseman with guns and belly dancing and snake charmers etc which was worth the price for an enjoyable afternoon. The activities on board were very good and varied and we were never ever bored or short of places to go or things to do. The ship is beautiful, not crowded at all and not gaudy as some people make out. It is brightly coloured with a Hawaiian theme but is very tasteful and fun. The pools were always clean and warm and the ship was kept spotless at all times. There were not many children aboard and they were kept well entertained so no problems there for a quiet time. The Captain was always proudly walking up and down and interacted with the passengers and staff very often which was lovely to see. The staff we encountered were all amazing and could not do enough for you, I will be keeping on contact with many of them. It was a pleasure to see such a happy workforce, a stark comparison to the staff on P&O ships. Even the bar staff were always playing little magic tricks or jokes to entertain us. The Shows were all very very good especially Elements and 4Ever which were amazing and not to be missed. We watched every show and was very impressed with the standard of entertainment. The cruise director Karen and her crew were also very friendly and fun. This is a long review but is totally unbiased and honest and we would not hesitate at all to book with NCL again, the freestyle cruising was very nice without having to think what time is dinner? do i need to dress up tonight etc? We dressed up when we wanted to and it didn't matter if some people did or some didn't. It was lovely to eat at any time too. Do not let the reviews put you off, this was by far the best cruise we have been on with RCI Voyager a very close second . Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had been on Calypso last year and knew that Spirit would be as good. The plus for these ships is that every passenger is friendly and ready to talk and at each meal you meet someone different to talk to. The cabin staff are very ... Read More
We had been on Calypso last year and knew that Spirit would be as good. The plus for these ships is that every passenger is friendly and ready to talk and at each meal you meet someone different to talk to. The cabin staff are very friendly (perhaps with a view to a monetary gain at the end of the cruise!!) The shows are terrific and the crews talent contest not to be missed. We were lucky to have Elvis as a waiter and entertainer on that night. He was a star! The one place that should be missed out on this cruise is Agadir - not worth going to do. Everyone we talked to who had been was of the same opinion. Some places could do with a shuttle transfer from docks. A shuttle was available at Lanzarote but Madiera could hae really done with one. Thoroughly recommend Thompson Cruises. I have been on nine Pricess Cruises - which I have enjoyed, but my next one will be on Thompsons. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My first Christmas on holiday and now I know why some people choose to spend them holidaying..... I deliberately chose a fairly small ship as I was travelling solo. I wanted friendliness and was not disappointed. Such a ... Read More
My first Christmas on holiday and now I know why some people choose to spend them holidaying..... I deliberately chose a fairly small ship as I was travelling solo. I wanted friendliness and was not disappointed. Such a variety of food - being a fish lover I tasted the best fish dishes ever: including grilled hake, flaked salmon, tuna, cod, poached salmon. What really helped to make it was the entertainment - 5* Christmas Day I watched a pantomime with a real traditional flavour and all 7 evening performances including a comedian and Dean Martin impersonator. All were great!! On entering the main restaurant Christmas morning I was greeted with - Madam, would you like bucks fizz or champagne with your breakfast? Lovely Will definitely be sailing on the ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010

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