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63 Canary Islands Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was advertised as a Christmas and New Year Cruise aboard the Marco Polo. We booked this cruise on the basis of our first experience on this ship in September 2012 when we enjoyed the 'Round the Islands Cruise', we could not ... Read More
This was advertised as a Christmas and New Year Cruise aboard the Marco Polo. We booked this cruise on the basis of our first experience on this ship in September 2012 when we enjoyed the 'Round the Islands Cruise', we could not have wished for a more comfortable and enjoyable time with first class service and food. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of this one. Not an enjoyable cruise by any standards. This ship isn't furnished or fitted for very bad weather, furniture is not fixed and in very bad weather, as we experienced, and all furniture in the public areas was flying everywhere, and I do mean flying, and some passengers were seriously injured as well as many minor injuries. In the 'Gym' the majority of the equipment was out of order. Other activities, such as quizzes and other games and activities were good. The service was absolutely disgusting, On our first night, Sunday 22nd December I ordered soup which did not arrive even though I complained. Waiters dress appearance was poor with collars unbuttoned and ties pulled down. long wait to order wine (25 minutes on first night), better after complaining. All food, without exception was poorly presented and just warm with some main courses leaving much to be desired. (Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce was one of the main courses on three occasions, irrespective of what they called it) Service in the 'Captains Club, the main bar, was slow and the waiters appeared not to care less; some were downright rude. When I complained of the service and treatment I was told by one of the management team that 70 percent of the crew was new and had received 5 days training ashore before joining the Marco Polo for this cruise were mostly from Eastern Europe. This was marketed as a 'Christmas and New Year Cruise' No real Christmas celebrations were organised, no Christmas decorations, not even a Happy Christmas banner and virtually no decorations. Not even a decent Christmas dinner in the evening, our table had not been laid and we had to complain that we had not had our main course when they started serving tea and coffee Except for two occasions, the 'Cruise Director' was nowhere to be seen, and when he was seen he was scruffily dressed, not befitting that of a senior representative of Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Our cabin, a Junior Suite, was ok but the furnishings were poor and so was the plumbing. Our Cabin Steward was superb. Entertainment was excellent and very professional. Disembarkation was swift and one of the highlights of the voyage. So many passengers were dissatisfied that a large percentage, including my wife and I, had gratuities removed from our final statement. BAZZER   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not ... Read More
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not much. The ship advertises for the 60+ age group but realistically it is aimed at 80+ and all the events on board are aimed at this age group. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. I have not approached the company as I do not want recompense for my trip. I just want others to know what it is really like. The entertainment was average to poor. Imagine on New Year's Eve at 55 years to be given a song sheet from the first World War. A woman in our group nearly cried! I was not the only person feeling like this. I was told that 26 people had left the ship at various destinations on route. Some were ill but I was led to believe that most just could not stand it any longer. I met many people on the cruise and very few had a good word to say about it. Some may argue that I am moaning for the sake of it. No - I still work and work hard for my money and my time out, as does my partner. I have never been on a holiday before and not only wished the days to pass quicker, but did start to feel depressed and would have preferred being at work. If you are looking for a holiday with good food and entertainment, LOOK ELSEWHERE! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. ... Read More
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. Windjammer food was overall good but breakfast items like bacon, sausages etc were only ever warm and cold after 5/10 minutes on the plate. Several days I opted for a freshly cooked omelette which was always piping hot. Variety at other mealtimes was very good I found the chicken coconut curry especially nice. We used the main dining room most nights where the food was fine but lacked much variety perhaps we expected too much. The staff were nice, friendly great with the girls but not as professional as we had encountered on Adventure and Voyager. Cutlery for different courses had to be asked for a couple of times, we weren't always told what the recommended dishes were and they were unable to answer fairly basic questions about the ports despite being on board for a few months. They announced during the cruise that our dining room staff had won the best in company award for 2011 so we may have just been unlucky or spoiled previously. I opted for the basic beer package which included house wines for $39 per day, it also allows 20% discount on any other drinks purchased so I used it as a way to buy reduced priced drinks for my wife who was in our second cabin. No additional tip is added. Overall it was good value and I will use it again. Our children had soda fountain packages. Room stewards were very good and worked around our erratic timings. The mini bars were emptied on request and fresh ice was supplied every day. The entertainment was good not great apart from the ice show which was very good.We tried mystery theatre and that was good fun. New year Eve was very busy especially on the promenade but was no different from most town centres at this time of year. Countdown had everyone joining in, decked out in the hats, beads and rattles supplied by RCI. Our children loved the Living Room and made many new friends doing all the activities arranged by the staff. Living room staff do a difficult job dealing with teenagers remarkably well. We didn't pay much attention to the Lisbon or Vigo preferring to spend time off ship at the Canaries and Madeira. We did get off at La Curuna for a wonder round. Madeira was our favourite port probably due to tobogganing. The mix of passengers was overwhelmingly British with a sprinkling of American, European and few South Americans. Overall an enjoyable cruise were we met lots of friendly folk including a few from our home town! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We were so disappointed in our cruise with Thomson at Christmas 2014 around the Canary Islands. We have cruised many times with Thomsons, last Christmas was great on the Celebration, but this year was a shambles. We were on the Majesty a ... Read More
We were so disappointed in our cruise with Thomson at Christmas 2014 around the Canary Islands. We have cruised many times with Thomsons, last Christmas was great on the Celebration, but this year was a shambles. We were on the Majesty a year last February when 5 crew members were killed, (so we know the ship) as you can imagine this was very upseting for us at the time. However I can only sing the praises of Thomson in dealing with us as passengers then. Our evacuation of the ship was done with military procedure, representatives from our home area were flown over to the ship to aid us to understand what was to happen. This was a very thoughtful endeavour to reassure the passengers. This is Thomsons at its best and the one we know and love. Unfortunately this year it felt as if someone had lifted the ship up, shook it, dropped it, and it all fell back wrong. There was so many things we were not happy with we do not know where to start. We will try to list what was not right about this cruise??? * our flight.. not that impressed with Thomson planes and the new way of having to print off our own boarding passes. This leads to having to pay for seat that suit us. * we landed in Gran Canaria at 5pm did not leave the airport until 7pm ( we had left home at 8am) when we got on board no one seemed to know where our 'boat drill' was to be held, we were sent every where only to be told not here. this was not good after a long delay at the airport of 2 hours waiting for our laggage to be recovered ( Thomson plane) * £15 per week for the safe, not good *then a bit of food on deck 10 not good, too tiered to complain. *the cabins were small and tired, the towels were old grey and threadbare * weather bad to start ( not Thomsons fault) got better latter in the week. * there were plenty of sunbeds available if you were prepared to help yourself and find a sunny spot on deck. usually the sunbeds are waiting for you but on the Majesty they are stacked high and not easy to get at, and we are 68 and 66 years old and arthritic. * there was no shuttle service available and for somewhere like Funchal its a long walk into the centre and we both suffer from arthritise. * because the facilitis are old, the cleanliness was hard to maintain There was a bout of Norovirus on board a lot went down with it. The public toilets were old with broken waste pipes. There was no sanitiser available either inside or outside the toilets different to other ships we have been on. * the food was poor not much choice and not hot, Christmas Gala Dinner was not much better did not feel special. *the cabins were small and tired. The towels were grey and grubby. and the room smelled odd. * the cruise was a total waste of money, and being Christmas it was not cheap. *the staff lacked interest, and on occasions, quite rude. We asked the head waiter, in one of the restraunts one night, if we could have a table for two, we thought he was quite rude telling us, why don't we sit with others and make friends. We have family and freinds a plenty at home, this particular night, we just wanted some peice and quiet with some quality time together. How dare he dictate to us what we should do and make us think we were being awkward. * there did not seem to be any organisation or management. One hand does not know what the other one is doing half the time. * we were in cabin 3045 and the cabin staff were very good concidering what they had to work with, our dog has better towels, but the staff kept changing them. * entertainment was average. However the MOULIN ROUGE was very good but the Beatles were terrible. The comedian was good but we are elderly not suitable for the younger passengers. * I could go on with this list, but the Majesty has had enough of my time. best thing to do with this ship is to scrap it. * we are suppose to go on a Thomson cruise again to the Caribbean in April 2015, and however we have only put a small deposit down so far, and before we part with more money, we require a satisfactory answer to this complaint. Yours Truly Mr & Mrs I Watkin   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Having cruised with Thomson before on both Destiny and Celebration we were looking forward to a fantastic Christmas cruise on Thomson Majesty. This was the first time we had been away from home at Christmas and following our experience it ... Read More
Having cruised with Thomson before on both Destiny and Celebration we were looking forward to a fantastic Christmas cruise on Thomson Majesty. This was the first time we had been away from home at Christmas and following our experience it will also be the last. We logged our complaints prior to disembarking on 26th December 2014, and followed this up with an email on our return. I am so glad I did, because what we complained about is repeated in many reviews I have since read. In fact when I read the reviews and showed my Mother with whom I traveled, you would have thought my complaints had been taken from the reviews. Just to confirm our complaints in brief, ship very tired and not very clean. On arrival in our cabin there was a very strong smell of sewage/dirty drains throughout the cabin which we reported. Food choice was very poor, never had a meal that was hot always only luke warm [food hygiene/safety issue]. Remember this was a Christmas cruise and at afternoon tea they were serving peanut butter sandwiches! biscuits that all looked different but all tasted the same. Christmas dinner in the restaurant was also very poor again only luke warm, service was very slow and didn't get out until 2245 so missed the 1st 15 mins of show in the theatre. There was an outbreak of what they said was Norovirus, but wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't due to the food! This outbreak caused absolute chaos, staff didn't seem to have a clue what they were doing and caused long delays in the buffet areas. There were always shortages of milk and cups at meal times. With the exception of the Entertainment staff who all worked very hard to put on excellent shows, most other staff were quite rude. We forgot to mention in our complaints about the towels, but agree with others that they were mostly threadbare and grey not white [our dog has better towels]! Jacuzzi had dirty brown coloured water in them, when empty it looked like rust in the bottom. We were asked to provide an email address so that Thomson could contact us a few days after our return to get our feedback, we are still waiting. The places we visited and the weather was good. The ship was a big let down and would advise anyone thinking of going on Thomson Majesty to think again! I could go on and on but would just be repeating what most others have already written. Surely we cant all be wrong? Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our third cruise on the Celebration this year and since April we have seen a decline . We did voice our concerns in August but was informed by Thomson Customer Service that they were sorry they did not meet our expectations but ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Celebration this year and since April we have seen a decline . We did voice our concerns in August but was informed by Thomson Customer Service that they were sorry they did not meet our expectations but had for the majority ! So we went for our first Christmas & New Year cruise with the hopes and expectations that all would be perfect, not so, how wrong were we. Drinks service on board is really poor a wait of at least 45 mins to get an order in and maybe an other 15 mins to get the drinks. Not by any means the staff's fault , they are just not enough. All our previous cruises with Thompson up to 2013, staff had sections, they had time to talk to you, your drinks were topped up , you didn't spend time you have to be relaxing looking for bar staff !! We bought the drinks package and we have lost out badly, we just could not get served even when going to bar yourself you had to wait ages. The drinks package just keeps adding concessions , and now you have the lovely new coffee shop which replaces Explorers and that is not included in the drinks package, although they did reduce hot drinks for you. This still makes Hemmingways crowded from those who may have sat in explorers now go in here , so there is lack of seats and of course bar service a major struggle as they look after the casino too. If it wasn't for the fantastic casino staff you would never get a drink while playing ! One of the biggest disappointments was we were expecting a WOW factor on arrival, big company , big brand , was expecting big decorations. So not the case, was truly lacking and Horrizons had none at all !No Christmas shows just repeats from what they have done throughout the year, same quizes, same jokes! same play. No build up to Christmas or New Year from Cruise Director Gavin, if a announcement was made by him it was geared around selling something! You were constantly hassled to buy wine packages, wine taster evening's , pictures (of which 1 night they had 5 areas on board they set up to grab you ), We sailed Christmas Eve but docked Christmas Day when all shops were closed ? No fireworks New Years Eve as we were sailing ! They even hassled you to buy champagne for New Year , no offense the price we paid I was expecting it to be free ! No little touches for Christmas, mince pies in cabins? mulled wine ? just a repeated CD playing same Christmas tunes. Even the Cruise News was the same , could it not have come with Christmas Colours ? They did do Santa for little ones. Food was cold, repeated and you could see the servings of certain foods in the Lido was reused on another seating. Food was the same as what was served in August, except Christmas and New Years Day.The Lido is now no longer 24hr dining and closes at 1am, which although I can see opening all the time is silly I do feel it should close when all the entertainment is closed. On New Year Eve it still closed at 1am although people were still on the Lido deck drinking and dancing! We had a feeling there was norovirus on board as they switched to serving us, drinks menu's were taken in. When I asked why drinks menu's were taken in I was informed it was due to passing on any germs, I sort of understood that , but the menu's for drinks and snacks you had to buy in full were still out ? If you got a large straw with a drink the tip of the paper cover was on but if you had a smaller straw it didn't ? This was to stop spread but did not make sense why one and not the other. Everything now on board seams geared around extracting as much money as possible from you. You no longer feel important to Thomson, we made a written complaint and left it with reception, we were not contacted by anyone to say they would look into it or that they had received it! Nothing from the cruise director!. Constant vibration throughout the ship even in dock! Basically we paid for a Christmas cruise and we actually got a very poor normal cruise. Certainly not standards you would expect from Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We went on the Celebration for Christmas and the New Year and after a fantastic time on the Majesty last year we had high expectations for a great time this year. After promoting the ship as a 'Platinum' ship we were expecting ... Read More
We went on the Celebration for Christmas and the New Year and after a fantastic time on the Majesty last year we had high expectations for a great time this year. After promoting the ship as a 'Platinum' ship we were expecting the standards to be high but they were appauling. The food was cold and repetative and in most cased tasteless. We were constantly bombarded by photographers and there were 4 formal evenings instead of two but we were not informed before the cruise. Several people had not packed for the additional evenings. The set dining was a shambles. There was absolutely no reason for everyone to be at the dining room for 8.15pm on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve. Many people were still waiting for a table after 9.30pm. It also put pressure on the waiting and galley staff. What should have been a special New Year's Eve was a bit of a flop. The entertainment staff at the back of the ship with some poppers was not exactly high end entertainment for New Year's Eve. Many people could not understand why Madeira was not on the itinerary with it's world renown firework display. Probably more cut backs by Thomson. The staff tried their best but service was poor in some areas and on one occasion we walked out of the Horizon bar after waiting 30 minutes for a drink. The coffee shop has a charge even if you are on 'all inclusive' and there are cabins instead of the cinema which make the ship busier.There was a serious lack of space when everyone was on board. The food finished at 1pm although you could order room service at an additonal charge yet again. On the second week my husband contracted Noro Virus and we were confined to our cabin for 48 hours. Many passengers and staff contracted the infection causing more problems with staff shortages. Although staff were seen to be wiping tables and mopping floors we never saw them actually rinse the cloths in hot soapy water and the mops were filthy. The ladies' toilets outside the coffee shop and Horizons bar were a disgrace in the evening. When I reported this to the reception I was told house keeping had been informed but 3 hours later nothing had been done to clean them or unblock the toilets. The waitresses in Hemmingways did try their best and the standard of service delivered by Manny and Jasper in the Meridian restaurant saved out holiday. Apollo our cabin steward worked hard and kept our cabin spotless. We have always had fantastic holidays with Thomson Cruises but if this is the future of their 'Platinum' fleet we will not be chosing them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the beginning of this review, that it is without a doubt, the worse cruise our family has taken. Firstly, I will highlight the good points. The cabins were good and kept totally clean throughout the cruise by our steward, who spoke little English, but was good at his job. Some of the reception staff were helpful and friendly, but some were not. We were allocated a table in the Peninsular restaurant, and, although we would normally use alternative dining due to my sons dietary needs and disabilities, we had to use the Peninsular as food in the conservatory was so awful! During our cruise, there were a number of Norovirus cases, and apparently, due to this, precautions were obviously taken with regards to stopping self service in the conservatory and Alfresco's. We do feel that if the use of hand gel had been insisted upon earlier in the cruise, this may not have happened. It always amazes us that some people absolutely refuse to use the gel that is there to safeguard them! We feel that if there was one member of staff allocated to making sure this was used, it would save problems in the long run. The food in the conservatory was dire. The choice was extremely limited and the themed dinner buffets made it useless to us as all food in there was spicy. The themes were Indian, Thai, Mexican, Caribbean, Country and Western, with no alternatives. We have never been on a ship where the is so little choice. Also, portion control was practised, which again, we have never had on any ship we have been on. This is the first cruise where 3 of our party has not put on any weight at all. On one occasion, I asked for some Cheddar cheese to accompany crackers in the conservatory. I was given a piece of cheese which was approximately the size of half a cheese triangle. I asked if I could have more and was told that was a portion. We accept that the staff had to serve the food due to the virus on board, but many dozens of people felt that P & O saved an awful lot of money on food during the cruise. We also appreciate that some people are greedy and take food they do not eat. This was not the case, the portions were minute. Alfresco was where we ate our breakfast most days. The staff were good, but again, portion control was practised. My son eats only soft food and so a cheese omelette was the perfect choice. The omelettes were thinner than most crepes and although he has a small appetite, we needed to go back for another omelette for him each day. We were served to one piece of bacon and half a tomato. Scramble eggs were being served by the half spoonful. The Peninsular was good and they tried very hard to cater for my children. I cannot fault them at all. As this was a Christmas cruise, we expected the atmosphere to be festive and the entertainment to match the season. This was absolutely not the case! After the first 3 days, I found myself apologising to my family for taking them away from Christmas. Even the staff were unable to disagree that it seemed Christmas was cancelled. On Christmas Eve, it seemed we may have Christmas after all. Santa arrived on deck accompanied by Christmas music. The choir sang and were really good. Later, the crew sang Carols, and the show, 'Jingle all the way' was very festive. Apart from church services, that's where it ended! Christmas day was a huge anti-climax with very little to do. The only difference to the normal days entertainment was that words were added, ie frosty shuffleboard, Rudolph carpet bowls etc. It was pathetic! Christmas dinner in the Peninsular was good and quite festive. I can truthfully say that I have never heard so many people saying that they couldn't wait to get back to Southampton. I am not just talking about the usual moaners that all ships have, but families and people who had travelled with P & O many times. We spoke to many, many people who felt this way and the staff were apologising for the lack of Christmas. I had people who were horrible to my children, which has never happened on any other cruise. I have never been so glad to leave a ship and return home and will never travel with P & O again. I will also not recommend them to family or friends. We feel we lost our Christmas Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard ... Read More
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard of long delays for passengers arriving earlier also requiring assistance. First impressions - As expected but little extra effort put into festive decorations. Dining - First sitting in Brittania Restaurant. Fixed dining on table for six. My wife and I like to mix with other people so chose a six table. This has its downside as we discovered. For three of the first five nights our companion diners did not appear so we were lone diners on a table set for six. It seems our companion diners preferred later dining and obviously have no responsibility to us. On the sixth night we did move to another six table nearby who had suffered the same fate and were also joined by another couple who moved from the later sitting. I cannot blame Cunard for the whims of fellow diners but the system is flawed. On Princess and Celebrity you are allocated early or late dining and then led to a table size of your choice on entering the restaurant. The waiters ensure minimum delay by filling tables efficiently. Fortunately our dining companions for the rest of the voyage were great. The food was at best acceptable for most nights and mainly consisted of basic fodder dressed up with fancy wording on the menu. On several nights there were 3 Vegetarian meals out of the six on offer. There were some good offerings such as Lobster, scallops and a Chateau Briande but seen together on one night only never to appear again. Is this penny pinching or what? Entertainment - Very Poor. This is our opinion but seemed to be the concensus of most passengers we spoke with. The comedian (one night only) was declared as very good by most. Other one night acts such as a female singer, a male singer, pianist, flautist and the acrobats(Power of Two) met with mixed reviews but none would be considered as a top line act. As for ship's company entertainment this was exceptionally poor. Three of their four singers were really poor and the dancers mediocre at best. The entertainment around the ship was just as poor with three piano players(come singers) offering some noise. The harpist and violin quartet provide acceptable background music. However it was the theatre entertainment that was the most dissapointing. Activities - barely passable but we did not partake in all of them. Table Tennis much the same as other cruises with minimal crew involvement. Knitting circle had no dedicated facilitator. The Bridge tuition and organised "Duplicate Bridge" sessions were exceptionally well run and much enjoyed by all participants. Quiz sessions mainly held in the Golden Lion were OK and well attended. The Golden Lion pub had a good ambiance but the beer(Bitter) served on tap was much too cold. At least one bitter should have been served on tap at cellar temperature. I drank bottled London Pride which had been left out of the fridge as a best alternative. In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Embarkation in Barcelona was swift and smooth, and to avoid crowds we went straight to the windows restaurant for lunch. Food was fine, then to cabin where cases had arrived and then to explore the ship. NCL have a big problem here and ... Read More
Embarkation in Barcelona was swift and smooth, and to avoid crowds we went straight to the windows restaurant for lunch. Food was fine, then to cabin where cases had arrived and then to explore the ship. NCL have a big problem here and that is the temperature of the food ..although it is ok, in the Garden restaurant and the Windows restaurant, it always arrives nearly cold, and every mealtime we had to ask for the food to be re-heated. This is a big problem and really needs to be sorted out. The best food is in the Raffles buffet ,beautiful joints of beef there etc and piping hot.and what is offered in the buffet at lunch time is the same as the menu in the restaurants for the nighttime...so you can see what will be offered and plan your evening meal. After one lukewarm breakfast in Windows we only breakfasted afterwards in the buffet, which was good, hot and a wide choice to suit all tastes. Our highlight of the day was the jam ,fresh cream and scones served in the buffet from about 3 til 4.30...which we never missed.For some reason i really look forward to afternoon teas on board and it would have been nice to have a separate venue for this making it an event, serving light sandwiches and cakes etc. The Blue lagoon is a concept that really works well. ..offering food, tea and coffee 24/7. there is a nice chatty atmosphere here, and although a limited menu, the food here is always nice and hot. Drinks are terrible over-priced on this ship ..we paid over 100 dollars for four bottles of cheap wine, which would cost 12 pounds for the four in any supermarket. I don`t really understand this pricing, and an inclusive drinks package will cost each cabin about 100 dollars per day. halving the price of this package would make sense and make for happier cruisers i think. On the 9 day cruise we had only 1 happy hour offered which is just meanness. ..otherwise tip-top prices plus 15% tax. A happy hour should be available every day in my opinion. A free liquor sampling was offered on deck 5 offering thimble sized tests of drinks. I went up 3 times to get samples for myself and my elderly parents, who had managed to get a seat in the nearby coffee bar.and on the 3rd time was told very rudely by the Romanian server I could not take samples for other people. i explained that my parents were elderly, and did not want to queue up, but was refused service. This was unacceptable, and to be honest I was furious. We had paid over 3,500 pounds for this cruise, and i am sure to expect a few thimbles full of liquor without any extra charge or hassle was not asking for too much. The shows in the theatre really were very very amateurish, the exception being the acrobats who were excellent. Upstairs in the galaxy the band of Philippinos were also very good, and the trio also fine ..but the `cover stories duo` often in the `champagne bar ` were very poor. this girl cannot sing!!! The ports of call were also fine, the highlights being Madeira and Malaga, though i think on a 9 day cruise at least another port could have been added. Our cabin was fine , and our steward excellent. The general atmosphere on the ship was nice with a lot of friendly well -traveled people, but complaints were many and all the same. ..the cold food ..the weak shows .the price of the drinks , and the high price they had paid for the experience. Would i go on this ship again? yes I would but only if I found a very good offer. Would i do another cruise with NCL again?...ii think first, i would look at other cruise-lines for a similar itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I have come to the conclusion that RCI are the most inward looking company I have ever dealt wit, their quest for profit comes above all else. Let me explain: Things went wrong before we even got to the cruise. They more or less insist ... Read More
I have come to the conclusion that RCI are the most inward looking company I have ever dealt wit, their quest for profit comes above all else. Let me explain: Things went wrong before we even got to the cruise. They more or less insist that you log in on line and print off your cruise booklet and order baggage tags. To do this you need a special log in that RCI are supposed to send you 14 days before the cruise. We had to call our travel agent to get the log in as none had come via email, as had been promised. We ordered baggage tags but none came. I phoned a week before the cruise but was told it was too late to reorder. No baggage tags then. We flew to Malaga from Gatwick, upon arrival we went to the coach, which was waiting for us. The RCI rep took our cruise brochure from us, tore out a page and handed the remains back to us. We got on the coach and were swiftly taken to the docks to embark. The queue was huge but there were lots of agents so we got to one pretty quickly. We gave her our cruise booklet but she said she could not check us in because the page torn out by her colleague was missing. When I tried to explain what had happened she was quite rude and abrupt and thrust a form at me to fill in. It had all the information that I had spent some time filling in on line. She then needed my credit card, even though I had already registered that on line. It was now about 13:30, we had been traveling since 3 am, we were hungry and tired, I was not impressed!!! We headed straight for the Windjammer where we had a pretty decent lunch and then made our way to our cabin. The cabin was well laid out with lots of storage but boy was it looking tired. The ship is 10 years old and it really looks it in places. Things like a well rusted waste bin and a filthy toilet seat spoiled the overall effect. Right from the word go everything seemed to be about extracting the maximum amount of money from their guests. We had paid gratuities up front but soon discovered that 15 % got added to everything anyway. Everything on board was at sky high prices, the cost of drinks seemed to put most people off drinking altogether. It really was a rip of culture - 2 examples: Price of massage advertised at from $139 - 2 people went as a couple and ended up with a $510 bill plus a $5 gratuity!!! On the day we went to Lanzarote they were selling 500ml bottles of water for $4.95 then telling people that on land they would be over$6. Utter rubbish - any supermarket will sell you one for under a euro. It's one thing to rip people off but quite another when you start lying to them as well. One thing that really got to me is on the last evening we tried to find somewhere for a reasonably quite drink, all the public areas were full to bursting. We went to the sports bar and asked for a Bacardi and diet Coke only to be told they had no Bacardi. OK says I, just a diet Coke then. They didn't have any of that either. Unbelievable, they go to all that effort to empty your wallet then run out of the basics. Be wary if they offer you freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast, they will charge you for it, same as they will charge for a "speciality coffee" after dinner. Look, RCI if you are going to charge me - tell me up front, otherwise I will feel like I have been conned. Be very careful of what they sell in the shops too. If you go for a quite drink you will have the peace shattered by somebody shouting sales messages over a pa system, it's like being in a market. They were trying to sell cheap Chinese watch sets at 20 bucks, the same stuff our local market sells at a quarter of that. The other thing you need to be aware of that RCI have not cottoned on to yet is that when you fly these days any toiletries of over 100ml will be confiscated at the airport if they are in you hand baggage. Given that many people may want to freshen up as soon as they are on board I am guessing that many people may carry some bits and pieces on with them. RCI do not put any toiletries in the cabins except for a small bar of soap. I find this astonishing. I have travelled all over the world and stayed in the best and the worst of hotels, B&B's guest houses and cruise ships and this is the first time I have ever gone to my room to find no toiletries. To make matters worse not one shop had any shampoo for sale, we had to buy some in Tenerife. Come on RCI, at least stock the essentials or give "pamper packs" like all the other cruise lines do. The ship has some great areas, the food was pretty good although teh steak on the first nigh was inedible, the mash was always so salty that most people left it and in general it was nowhere near the standards we are used to on P&O or Cunard. We won't be going RCI again, we will be going back to P&O where we will get much better value for money and be with a company that cares as much about teh customer experience as they care about profit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience ... Read More
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience - they were geared for entertaining children - not passengers of a mature age - and calling for Santa on Christmas Eve to come out of the funnel went down like a ton of bricks - perhaps Christmas Carols might have been more appropriate- so we waited with baited breath to see what had been planned for Christmas Day apart from a five course dinner - in a word -.nothing - the Horiszon was the same as the previous day with the exception of a film - BFG at 2pm which we went to to pass the afternoon - boredom was setttimg in fast - I was quizzed out but the end of the trip - wasn't into line dancing - didn't want to learn bridge - and wondered occasionally if passengers were asleep or dead - The evening entertainment left a lot to be desired apart from a coup,e of acts - and News Years Eve - was thrown together at the last moment - three or four venues all doing different things - the captain managed to prevent the usual countdown to midnight in the Harlequin- 8 bells eithervside of midnight and that was it - bit of a damp squid - and the dancing re started - The food was excellent as was the service in the dining room and our cabin - but P& O may have a a large fan base but they want to pull their socks up and not take us for granted - change the entertainment and entertainers - don't treat elderly passengers as if we are all on our last legs - Yes I am aware I will have people telling me to stop moanimg etc - but we spent a lot of money for a Christmas Cruise expecting something really special - Apart from the tan - I wish I had stayed at home Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is our 5th xmas/new year cruise with Thomson and I am afraid to say probably our last! The staff have changed from being happy/chatty to dull and miserable looking. I am not saying they do not work hard, as most do, but a smile now ... Read More
This is our 5th xmas/new year cruise with Thomson and I am afraid to say probably our last! The staff have changed from being happy/chatty to dull and miserable looking. I am not saying they do not work hard, as most do, but a smile now and then would make all the difference. We found the service to be very poor this year, the entertainment program was repeated exactly for both weeks, except the comedian changed. We enjoyed the food and service in the 4 seasons, however found the service in the 7 seas lacking. The self service option was removed after 2 or 3 days and crew did not know what they were doing most of the time and queuing became the norm. We have only every cruised with Thomson (12+) and up until now loved the product, I have two cruises booked already for next year and unless things improve on the next one, they will be our last! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were on the Christmas Cruise to the Canary Islands, we paid the Cunard Fare so we had a very nice cabin with balcony, The food was very good except for Christmas Day we were expecting something a bit special but were disappointed. the ... Read More
We were on the Christmas Cruise to the Canary Islands, we paid the Cunard Fare so we had a very nice cabin with balcony, The food was very good except for Christmas Day we were expecting something a bit special but were disappointed. the entertainment was very poor, in fact, some of it was an insult to our intelligence I have seen better entertainment at children,s parties. Santa visited the ballroom in the afternoon and then nothing , not even a little party for the children, just photographs. The staff were excellent in the dining room and the Lido and the cabin staff. The Entertainment needs shaking up a bit it was very poorly organised especially during the day. We booked a tour before we went on the cruise , it was in la Coruna, what a rip off. it cost us 75 dollars for two, it was an easy walking trip, The tour was for two and a quarter hours and we were stopped for one and a quarter, we went through the empty fish market to a lighthouse which was up a hill we couldn't climb, then on to a café for coffee and cake for 45 mins then 15 mins it took to return to the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I know some people thought this cruise was fine and have even re-booked for next year but for the life of me I cannot understand why. I don't go on holiday to pick fault but I have nothing good to say about the Celebration. Our ... Read More
I know some people thought this cruise was fine and have even re-booked for next year but for the life of me I cannot understand why. I don't go on holiday to pick fault but I have nothing good to say about the Celebration. Our problems started way before we even embarked - with the awful customer service we received from the call centres (having booked on line). It took well over half an hour just to make a payment, they then gave us the wrong telephone number to book excurisions and in the end we had to call into one of the Thompson shops where they confirmed that the call centre service was a matter of some concern to customers. However that said we were looking forward to our week's cruise to the Canary Islands and Madiera. The ship is old and no amount of refit is going to change the lack of space and facilities. The food was pretty awful. cold, repeditive and recycled. There was an outbreak of novo virus (we spoke to two ladies who were confined to their cabin for 2 days). The staff for the most part, were friendly although terribly overworked. Service in the bars was slow and on no account would you get value for money if you had paid for the drinks package (we got our included as we had booked early). We had to ask for milk for the complimentary tea/coffee and had to request pool towels which should have been in our cabin and we never got replacement toiletries. Entertainment was abismal ranging from a song and dance group who could neither sing or dance to Butlins style games. We spent one day at sea and the next day was Christmas Day when we docked and everything was closed on shore. It would have been much better if we could have had 2 days in Madiera but I feel everything was cost cutting so it was cheaper to have the ship at sea. They have formal nights (we had 2 although nothing in the booking advised that there was one extra one as it is usually one per week I think) but the great majority of people did not conform to 'black tie' and there were many men very casually dressed so if Thompson aren't going to enforce formal dressing on these occasions I would suggest they drop this as this cruise is pitched , in my opinion, at the low end of the market and I would be hard pressed to give it a 3 star rating. I was going to book the Dream for next Christmas but I am going back to P & O. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our cruise began on the 21st Dec 13 at Southampton, the process of getting onboard was stress free, and took in total around 15 minutes. We pulled up at the ship dropped off the luggage (and my wife) I then drove the car over to the ... Read More
Our cruise began on the 21st Dec 13 at Southampton, the process of getting onboard was stress free, and took in total around 15 minutes. We pulled up at the ship dropped off the luggage (and my wife) I then drove the car over to the parking area where I gave the keys to CPS parking who took the car away to the parking area. Rejoining my wife who was on her mobility scooter. We were immediately told to go to the disabled desk to check in, to be honest there wasn't much of a que anywhere. We were booked in, photos taken and given our sail account cards and then followed the rest of the people to the security area. Again not much of a que. Once onboard we went direct to our cabin 6001, which was a disabled cabin with a balcony. It was at the very front of deck 6 on the stbd side. The cabin was bigger than we expected although quite an odd shape. Loads of drawer and wardrobe space. We didn't actually fill all the drawers up. One good gesture from Cunard was the half bottle of sparkling wine in the ice bucket. Which we drank almost immediately. The bathroom was of a good size with a pull down shower seat. One problem though was the size of the sink in the bathroom, very small kind of like you would add to a corner in your toilet at home (just big enough to get your hands in). Also there was very little space to put your toiletries with no cupboard space at all. There was a uk plug socket along with a European type socket, in the bathroom was a shaver type socket. Although I found that the uk socket was turned upside down, and there was no space really to plug a uk plug into the European adapter. Lunch was being served in the Lido on deck 9 which was quite nice although by the time we found a spare table the food was cold, and we were asked by the ships staff to move the scooter. We didn't mind that. As the cruise went on we found a table first my wife sat there and I went off to get the food and drink. The standard of food from the Lido was generally good, with quite a good variety on offer, the sweets were good also. Copious amounts of tea and coffee (although not very good coffee) and cold orange juice, lemonade and cranberry were always available. Plus a help yourself vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We knew from other cruises that the coffee was not always very good so took a pack of Kenco with us. Dinner in the Britannia was generally good although saying that the ribeye steak we had one night was so tough we couldn't eat it. My wife always found the food to be over salted. I usually put salt on my food but during our cruise I never put any on at all. The fillet steak was very good. We never went to any alternate dining restaurents so I cannot comment on them. When going to dinner in the Britannia it was either informal or formal dress. Informal was trousers, shirt (tie optional) and a jacket (always) The staff do tell you a jacket is required to dine. The formal nights (we had four on our cruise - including Christmas day and new years eve) were good. The waiters like to please and will get you anything you ask for. Again the coffee quality was not very good and my wife asked for a cappacino (sorry for the spelling) and they got her it (which was free of charge). Day time entertainment was in our view not very good at all. if reading a book and falling asleep in the chair is your thing then its good. On our previous cruises with other cruise lines there were usually someone playing a guitar and singing or a dj playing tunes etc. but nothing like this at all on the Victoria. The same in the evening, except for hemispheres where their four piece band played. Elsewhere in the ship there was a harpist, a four piece violin/cello and in the Queens room was a band playing ballroom type music. In the Golden Lion pub there was usually a chap playing the piano which was a bit more lively. They also had quizzes every night which on the whole were quite good. Bar staff and bar waiters were good, especially Quinton in the Golden Lion. One thing to remember though is that they charge you for soda water, as though it were lemonade. We enquired as to how much a jug of pimms would be with diet lemonade instead of the full fat stuff. The normal price is $18 however they would charge you extra for the diet lemonade. Bit of a rip off really. Next time we will purchase an unlimited soda ticket as it would be cheaper in the long run. Christmas day festivities were a bit of a let down, with nothing special being put on. New years eve was a bit better however the festivities centered around the central staircase (over three decks) and unless you got there very early there was not a seat to be found free. we saw the new year in there and wandered off to the Golden Lion pub to listen and join in with the singsong and pianist. Just by the Golden Lion pub is the casino, which is quite small, around four tables and 20 or so one arm bandits. My wife did win $500 on the card machine so it is not all bad. In the theatre there is very limited disabled seating. On deck 2 there is enough room for 2 wheelchairs or scooters on either side of the theatre. There is also very limited seating for the disabled persons escort. There is however power points very near the disabled areas so if your low on power you can plug in, providing you have the relevant adapter for your charger, we had the US and European with us so covered all options. There is also a couple of disabled spaces in the stalls on deck 1 but its a bit of a job getting the wheelchair or scooter in the right position. We usually got to the theatre half an hour prior to the start of the show only to find the spaces already gone. We left our scooter at the back and walked down to the seats (which my wife could fortunately do) if you cannot then you may not be able to see the show. It seemed to us that at the slightest bad weather the outside decks were closed off, which was a shame really. You can always go out onto your balcony (if you have one), although I had to fight with the door to open it, with the strong wind and the inside pressure. On port days we were always in quite early. Queen Victoria always laid on shuttle buses to the local town which was good of them. One thing though is that there is only usually one disabled bus so you may have to wait some considerable time to get on it. Fortunately for us my wife could walk a little so we put the scooter into the bus hold and got onto the bus. On the whole we enjoyed the cruise (as we always do) but were disappointed with the entertainment. It could have and should have been better. I hope my review helps you in your decision to go with Cunard Queen Victoria. For us though it is a one off with Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have cruised for the passed 5 Christmasses so when P&O Azura was cruising to the Canaries on 15th Dec for 12 nights we thought we would book the cruise. Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly and preference was made for ... Read More
We have cruised for the passed 5 Christmasses so when P&O Azura was cruising to the Canaries on 15th Dec for 12 nights we thought we would book the cruise. Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly and preference was made for scooter and wheelchair users. The balcony cabin was a good size, big enough for the scooter but the balcony, although large, was very dark due to the top being covered by the deck above. Very little daylight. The cabin steward, Rony, was excellent and tried his best to find me a stool for the shower to no avail. Being disabled it is hard for me to stand in theses small showers. Having had Neurovirus on board on the previous sailing the use of hand wash was enforced during the first few days but seemed to rely on passengers to do it voluntary with no supervision after that. Resultently it reappeared during the cruise. The food and service was excellent up to Xmas Eve but seemed to fall apart after that. Fortunately we elected to dine in the Sindu restaurant on Xmas Day and had a marvellious meal. The passengers who used the dining rooms were not as fortunate. Poor service and shortages in the various courses. The atmosphere on Xmas Day was like a morgue. Other than a show for the children on board and the officers putting on a bit of a panto in the theatre for an hour there was no further evidence of Xmas spirit. We expected Carol singers to circulate around the ship. No such luck. In the Atrium they were giving a Samba lesson for half an hour after lunch. That was it. The waiting staff, in the dining rooms and cafes and bars took all the time to crack a smile. The entertainment, on the whole, was good. Only one bad comedian spoilt it. Disembarkation was smooth enough. Last time with P&O I'm afraid. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The start of the holiday was via Eavesway transfer, big mistake; the coach was the type used for school runs, the toilet did not function and it was like a day out from the chest hospital with lots of people coughing very flemmy coughs ... Read More
The start of the holiday was via Eavesway transfer, big mistake; the coach was the type used for school runs, the toilet did not function and it was like a day out from the chest hospital with lots of people coughing very flemmy coughs turning you sick. Just wondered how many declared them at the terminal? Embarkation went very well as we had priority but others had to wait around 3 hours. the cabin was ready when we arrived and our luggage was ready. Using the balcony was a nightmare as we had chain smokers either side, nothing we can do about it but it must be coming to an end soon now that it has been banned on celebrity. Entertainment on the whole was good except on Christmas day when it was just the entertainers singing Christmas songs that had more whiskers on than Father Christmas. Not a lot of atmosphere for Christmas, there were the usual trees and gingerbread houses but it just lacked "Christmas". Food and service started good in the "Orient" restaurant, until Christmas eve when the waiters just gave up. We were left sitting with our dirty dinner plates in front of us one and a half hours after we sat down. The head waiter had the cheek to ask if our meal was OK, when I told him the service was unacceptable; instead of moving the plates he just walked away. So we got up and left and completed our meal in the buffet (more about that later). Later that evening I bumped into the H/W in the corridor, he asked why we had left, when I told him he blamed the kitchen staff. When I told him that everyone around us had been served and gone after being fed by the same kitchen he had no answer. The next day I asked to see the manager, again he tried to blame the kitchen. He told me he would make it "special" for Christmas day but I told him I did not want it to be false and that the H/W should have made the previous night work effectively. We chose not to dine there for the rest of the cruise as it would have been a bad atmosphere with the waiters. I feel the service has gone down hill with the waiting staff since auto tipping, they just don't need to work for it. Back to the buffet, only limited serving areas were open and for a full ship this did cause some overcrowding around the food. The food was very samey if you don't like curry at lunch then hard luck. late night food consisted of pasties made from whatever meat was left over from dinner. Finding a seat never seemed a problem but a lot of inconsiderate people taking up a table of four sitting on the outside or diagonal to deter anyone sharing, if you did ask to share they made some strange grunting noises or said they were waiting for someone but they never seemed to turn up. Cabin lad did his job well and deserved his tips, not much more to be said that's his job. We sat with two ladies in a bar on the first day who told us they had been up all night with the runs, now we know how it gets on board, ships don't make it people bring it on. We left them quite quickly. P & O still owe us money for trips we booked on the new cruise personaliser that went wrong, still waiting for them reimburse us. Had a run in with the "Loyalty Manager" who does not know even the simplest detail about loyalty benefits. Because he couldn't get his way he said he would have us thrown off, bearing in mind we were returning via the Bay of Biscay with the next stop Southampton I am not sure if he intended to set us adrift or walk the plank. Definitely last chance and last time with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just returned from a New Years cruise from Southampton to the Canaries. The Highlights were Madeira for New Year, where there was a fantastic atmosphere during the day and then the firework display which was absolutely fantastic. If you ... Read More
Just returned from a New Years cruise from Southampton to the Canaries. The Highlights were Madeira for New Year, where there was a fantastic atmosphere during the day and then the firework display which was absolutely fantastic. If you get the chance to go there for New Year - go. Sindhu speciality restaurant was extremely good. Lovely attentive service, spacious and the food was easily of Michelin starred quality. Undoubtedly the best Indian food I have ever eaten! Now the downside- This ship despite being relatively modern is showing signs of wear. The design of the ship also made it act rather unusually in rough weather, with a lot of sideways vibration and some huge occasional bangs where it 'slapped' the water after coming through a wave (but this was a force 11....) In the main dining restaurant the food, whilst having the odd gem, was repetitive and predictable. Fish and chips and roast beef, no matter how described and presented are still exactly what they are. Having said this the food was of a fairly good standard and well presented. The same with buffet lunches - Little variation, especially in the cold section. The entertainment was the worst aspect. Why they have all these short shows, repeated in the same venue, in various bars around the ship is beyond me. You end up watching a 45 minute show then walking to the next bar for the next show. You therefore tend to spend a considerable amount of the evening walking to venues and trying to find a seat(a suggestion would be to move the entertainers around and not the passengers! - They may even sell more drinks that way...) The entertainment tended to be totally outdated (loads of quizzes, bingo and karaoke every day)and geared to 'middle of the road' pensioners. The headlining guest celebrity was Tom O'Conner (need I say more!) The dance lessons were held in the Atrium (so overlooked by everyone) but as this is a relatively small area this soon became congested, with couples repeatedly treading on each other's feet and barging into each other (why not hold the dance classes in one of the bars with a reasonable size dance floor?). Another gripe was that children were allowed in all the bars unsupervised even late at night (we had a couple of kids sitting in the Casino area of Brodie's well after midnight on a black tie night, they literally sitting at the bar, playing around. This bar was immediately adjacent to the Roulette table). The staff tended to be cold and distant and too eager to take orders and clear plates as fast as they possibly could (I suspect that the bar staff were on a targeted bonus scheme given the way they acted). There were notable exceptions to this but these particular people stood out a mile and were few and far between. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, ... Read More
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, quiet and comfortable with a working loo and air-con! The staffing on Thomson has changed quite a lot. Most of the staff we met, with the exception of those in the bar, were Eastern European and not really that cheerful or as accommodating. It does make a difference, and maybe cultural, but you go on holiday to relax. The food was pretty repetitive but to a good standard and the AI drinks not bad at all. We booked early so got it free - my wife can drink for England (probably Europe on a good day) and got through 105 double Malibu's in a week plus wine, Mojitos, and cleaning fluid - she read the bar tariff before the lifebelt instructions to make sure she could get what she wanted. I still reckon that her liver is a life force of its own. The AI list has shrunk from previous years and the only beer on draft is a lager, but its okay. The day before we got on the ship I had my wallet stolen. No problems getting cash from my bank but no replacement cards. I had to deposit £200 at reception, which was okay, but on the last day I wanted to nip ashore with my son to buy some presents - alarm went off when I handed my card to security and I had to go back to reception to settle my bill (they owed me £100) before I could go ashore. One very unhappy little bunny, who did not appreciate the snigger's from others getting off. Could barely understand the receptionist but got the message that they could have stopped me at the exit and held me while they called the purser? That would have been a better way then? It could just be my shifty look I suppose but I felt that this whole incident was poor customer service especially as my account was in credit and another member of my party, sharing a cabin with me, was still aboard. I know some people will say this isn't their fault etc but you had to be there! Must say that the fireworks in Maderia on New Years Eve were the best I have ever seen - worth the cost of the trip alone! Two formal nights - Captains Cocktail Party was attended by people in shorts and football shirts! Dress code does not, obviously, apply. Would I go with Thomson again? Yes, I probably would but they don't improve and after quite a few cruises with them, they are getting worse - price and the AI makes them look attractive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our ... Read More
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our only real complaint was that we had asked for a special menu as I am diabetic and also have raised cholesterol. In spite of asking several times no special menu was forthcoming and I was told by the waiter to choose from the Vitality menu. This rather spoilt the cruise as I wasn't sure what the ingredients were in the dishes. Before we cruised my children tried to arrange a Celebration package for me and early in December rang RCI office in England. The member of staff didn't seem to know much about this and told them to ring again after Xmas. They did and were told it was too late now to arrange anything. Unless you were very keen on quizzing there was very little in the way of daytime entertainment except for some excellent lectures on the Ports of Call. The evening entertainment was a but hit and miss the comedy magician was awful as was one of the comedians and the Productions shows were tedious. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in ... Read More
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in the future. We had previously had two very happy times on Navigator, so were looking forward to a repeat performance on the bigger ship. I'll begin at the beginning. Arrival in our own car at Southampton was handled in as efficient manner as one can expect considering the volume of passengers. Check in, following that seemingly endless zig zag queuing system was quick and handled by a very friendly young lady. Once up the gangway we were accosted by what was to be eleven days of having a camera shoved in our faces by the over enthusiastic onboard photo staff. The Windjammer was, even at about 1pm, very busy but seating for five was effortlessly obtained, a feat never to be easily repeated thereafter. Cabins or staterooms as they are naively now called, were spotless, our luggage was already on site and our cabin attendant made himself known and said that if we needed anything at all, to let him know. He was true to his word, a very nice guy. We had picked first sitting for dinner, 6pm, hoping to do a bit of dancing and then go to the 10-30 theatre show. This plan was immediately shot to pieces as, some nights the theatre show was 8-45 and 10-30 and some nights 7pm and 8-45. We asked to change to second sitting and this was happily arranged without problem by the Head Waiter. This presented its own problems for us as the 7pm theatre show interfered with the ladies 'getting ready' time. Why there was a need to constantly change show times is unknown. We did most of the performances though, sometimes not being present quite at the start but what a disappointment they were. Only one dancing and singing show and we had enjoyed several on Navigator, mostly to set themes, you know what I mean. This time, with the exception of Bernie Flint, tears of laughter from us, and 'Kev' a very funny guy from Armenia (really?) and what a brilliant piano player he was. The rest of the performers were fourth rate. A Beatles 'tribute' band, a Scottish woman who screeched her way through her stage time, a guitar group who insisted that we all clapped our way through the act, to drown their appalling playing one assumes, and a juggler, fifty minutes of juggling, or so we were told, we left halfway. One night there was 'Mr & Mrs' and another 'The Quest'. Both were audience participation shows where guests were invited to 'make fools of themselves' basically. All for cheapness? We were told by a staff member that the entertainment was tailored to the type of client on each cruise and the Brits were people who liked to sit and booze. Fellow cruisers we spoke to had done the Carribean on Independence and they said the entertainment was remarkably different. Plenty of dancing and stunning stage shows, so perhaps there is some truth in what we were told. Certainly the few yanks on board this cruise were dissatisfied. A noticeable thing was the profusion of wheelchairs and motor buggies. There is some embarrasement in commenting on these as I know those who are wheelchair bound have as much right to a cruise as I. But there was rather a lot. Perhaps it was that they do not normally find themselves among such a large amount of other beings but they did barge their way through crowded areas at time. Toes were repeatedly run over especially in the lifts. In the theatre they were allowed to 'park' behind the back row of the auditorium apparently with disregard to their numbers. Should there have been an emergency, either they or the rest of us would have been in a panic situation. The Ice Show was something else. Only one show, performed several times to accommodate everybody. Spectacular, Stunning, Amazing, Extravagant we absolutely loved it. But no adherence to the rules. There was a specific request that nobody sat in the aisles, for safety reasons I suppose. So they sat in the aisles and no staff member intervened, yet there were empty seats. Who would believe that smoking is allowed in the Labyrinth disco? Of all places when you are gyrating about, breathing heavier than normal, smoking is in order. Except........that normally there is nobody dancing. The DJ plays what he thinks and not what the punters ask for. But the punters go in......and come out just as quickly because of that and the fug. The food on board was up to the standard we expect, as was the waitress service in the Macbeth Dining room. What an unfortunate name for a dining room, but all were Shakespeare themed. Nothing was too much trouble, if there was anything we disliked after trying, it was replaced with something else of our choice. The pre cruise literature informed us that there would be two formal nights on an eleven night cruise. There was in fact three. That caused some concern in the wardrobe department for sure. Same person organised that, who books the entertainment, I shouldn't wonder. Dress codes are not adhered to however. Scruffy turn out on informal nights, and only marginally tidy on formal nights. We spoke to several people who were upset that formal did not mean formal. As for no shorts and swim wear in the dining areas etc....forget it. Lots of youngsters dressing as they wished to. In Windjammers there was the expected excellent range of choices. Finding seating for five was near impossible. Why do couples always sit at tables for six I wonder? Our solution and well recommended to you dear reader, get up a bit early have breakfast and later lunch in the dining rooms. Much more civilised and refined. Waiter service. You get what you get. No piled high plates but you certainly don't starve. The talks/lectures were mainly aimed at selling us stuff. Jewellery, smellies, no 'bargains', all it seemed at shore prices and go to the spa if you dare. Tour selling and bingo mad. This puzzles me! Buy a Bingo ticket and get one free!! Is that a bargain or a gimmick? Strikes me you are working twice as hard for no extra advantage over the next guy. Overall; Fairly enjoyable. Food, good. All the staff, pleasant. Ship, clean. Organisation in general, iffy. Entertainment, not good. Sail with ship again, No! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was ... Read More
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was more exciting the first time, there were several other reasons. The ships are broadly similar, but for us the Azura was better. The Ventura had no darts or pool table and the table tennis tables are located under the sliding roof on the top deck, where the floor was slippery and it was very hot and humid there. As a vegetarian, I found the Italian restaurant on the Azura excellent with a variety of vegetarian options. Unfortunately, the alternatives to the main restaurant on The Ventura are extremely poor. We went to the non-buffet one, which did pizza, but were told they could only do Margherita and when it arrived, it compared unfavourably to a cheap supermarket pizza. Alternative options there were not much better. After that experience we stayed in the main restaurant throughout, which was ok, but not much fun if you are vegetarian as you only ever have one option. By the end of the cruise, I was getting pretty fed up with mushrooms! On one occasion, one of the "special" main courses turned out to be vegetarian, but our table staff were unable to tell us this when we asked at the time we ordered. Breakfast, buffet lunch and the poolside pizza were all very good. There was no organised bridge, but there was an organised whist drive. This made no sense as more people wanted to play bridge than whist. We were given some spiel about it being because some ships were trying to be modern and others trying to be traditional that made very little sense. Why not provide both, and why deliberately not provide something there is demand for? Eventually, we persuaded the entertainment officer to allow us to play bridge alongside the whist drive, which we organised ourselves, and eventually they also added it to the daily bulletin. It was a shame they did not advertise it in the first place, as it was no effort on their part to allow us to organise it ourselves. Unfortunately, there was no bridge equipment and initially we were told we couldn't even use the cards because they were needed for the whist drive! Probably it is just luck, but on The Azura we had a very diligent steward, and every time we left our room, when we returned it had been cleaned. This was probably beyond the call of duty, but in contrast on The Ventura, our cabin steward did the minimum possible, and if we had not left the room in the morning when she deemed it was time to clean it, we could return late in the afternoon to find it still had not been cleaned. The staff in the restaurants were all very pleasant, but I would have to say that overall we found the staff on the Azura much better. We wouldn't recommend wandering around Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. There seemed there of much interest. After walking for a couple of hours, we got to the old town, but there really wasn't anything much to see. Not a great destination. Maybe one of the tours would have been more interesting, though they didn't look that appealing. Lisbon and Cadiz were both very nice places to visit, and we also enjoyed Funchal. We just wandered around all of these doing our own thing. A trip around Mount Teide on Tenerife was good, though it was a shame there wasn't time to climb Mount Teide. We were impressed with the efficiency and speed of embarkation and Southampton. We were considerably less impressed with the disembarkation. First, queuing for ages because an escalator to get off the ship had broken. Then the label had come off one of our suitcases, although it had been securely fastened and rather than being placed in an area of unidentified suitcases, it was placed randomly with the suitcases of some other deck we weren't on, so it took over an hour to find. The headliner theatre company we had already seen on the Azura, but still enjoyed. Most of the tribute music groups were not that great. There was a comedian Fogwell Flax we saw twice, who was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable ... Read More
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable surroundings and plenty of options for entertainment. We paid the 'Cunard Fare' for our cruise which gave us the option of free valet parking at Southampton. This was handled brilliantly. We arrived at the port, unloaded our luggage and then left the keys with the parking staff. Check-in was smooth and within 45 minutes of arrival were were in our cabin with all luggage waiting for us and our cabin steward on hand to advise us of all the necessary information on our cabin and facilities. We had a BE Category outside cabin on Deck 7 with balcony and were pleased with the location just behind and down one deck from the ship's bridge. Being near to bow of the ship the pitching was more noticeable but it was much quieter than cabins and entertainment areas near the stern where there was a little vibration (although not uncomfortably so). We ate on the early sitting in the Britannia restaurant Deck 3 area and meals were of a very high quality. Wines were, however, expensive for the quality offered. We elected to take the 'Captain's Choice', providing a bottle of what turned out to be rather mediocre wines each evening. This was $495, not terribly good value for money in our opinion, however, the experience of being served and topped up regularly by the sommelier partly compensated for this. Waiter service by Mohammad and Miguel was friendly and efficient, if a little rushed at times. I think we'd possibly take the later sitting in future. Cabin service by our steward James was excellent. It has to be said that, at times, the ship felt a little like a floating care home. That's not in any way a criticism, just an observation - we met some delightful people of all ages. Just something to bear in mind when booking a festive cruise. Our friend who used to work in the travel industry has told us since that Christmas cruises do tend to have a lot of elderly folk shipped off on cruises by relatives during the festive season! Overall a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I can't say this holiday has us now hooked on cruising, but a Baltic or Norwegian Fjord cruise is something we'd consider in the future and, if possible, on the QE which we liked very much. That's just our personal preference - we're more solitary beings and being on board with around 2,000 other people was not something we are used to. Having said that, it was good to talk to other folk and there are still plenty of places on the ship where some privacy can be found. I spent most mornings at sea in the Commodore Club on Deck 10 reading and sipping hot chocolate while my other half was at his water-colour art classes. Shore excursions were quite good, We did three (Madeira, La Palma and a trip from La Coruna to Santiago de Compostela). For two 6 foot + chaps the coaches were incredibly cramped and uncomfortable. At $50 plus per person they were pretty expensive and the tour guides were satisfactory but not brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have just returned from our Christmas Cruise on Queen Victoria to Madeira and the Canary Islands. We travelled to Southampton the day before and stayed at the Meon Valley Marriott Hotel. This included a nights stay and car parking for ... Read More
We have just returned from our Christmas Cruise on Queen Victoria to Madeira and the Canary Islands. We travelled to Southampton the day before and stayed at the Meon Valley Marriott Hotel. This included a nights stay and car parking for the duration of the cruise, transfer to and from the ship and the cost was £70 per person. A lovely Hotel and golf complex. The first day at sea was very rocky across the bay of biscay and 3 out of 4 of us were very unwell. We did get some bands and sea sickness pills from reception which thankfully helped. The ship is very elegant and especially so at Christmas. Food in the Britannia restaurant was good and we used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service on Cunard is very good and much better than a lot of other ships. The first 3 days were at sea until we arrived in Madeira. This is a lovely island that we had been to before and really enjoy. We did our own thing here and it was easy to get a taxi. Our driver charged $20 each and took the 4 of us to Monte Gardens which is well worth a visit (very hilly) we spent an hour and a half there and then the taxi took us to the ride in the basket down 2k of steep hilly roads.It was great and at the bottom we purchased a photo taken halfway down for just 10 euros. We were met again by our taxi and taken on a lovely ride to the other side of the island to a new viewing point where you stand on glass very high above the cliffs. Then on to a lovely fishing village where Winston Churchill stayed and did a lot of his paintings. We returned to the ship after about 5 hours. This was a great way to see a lot more of the island and far less expensive than the ships tours. Tenerife was the next port and we did do the ships tour to Loro Parque. Again we had been there before but enjoy it each time especially the penquins and sea life shows. La Palma is a very small island and here we did our own thing and just wandered around the town and sea front which are only a few minutes walk from the ship. Lanzarote was to be the next port of call however, according to the captain the wind was too strong to get us into port safely although 2 other ships had beaten us to it. So another day at sea. La Coruna in Spain was the last port of call. Here we did a ships tour to Santiago de Compostillo. About an hour in the coach to this very old Spanish City that is a pilgrimage site 3rd only to Jerusalem and Lourdes. Very rough again across that wretched bay but the bands and pills did there job! The entertainment on the ship was very good. The Singers and dancers in the theatre were brilliant and I would go as far as to say the best we have ever seen on a ship. The Opera Boys were wonderful and 3 girls from west end shows were great. There was always something to do during the days at sea and 2 of us did the Watercolour Art classes which although not very good at it I really enjoyed and went to five 2 hour classes. Patricia was a great teacher. The evenings in the Queens room were a little disappointing as they had an American singer who sang dreary jazz type songs and we found it boring but that was just our opinion. It is wonderful to have a full size dance floor on a ship. Don't dance but love to watch. Now for the gripes - The price of photos was the highest we've ever seen. $34.99 for formal evening photos and $24.99 for all the others. Didn't buy any. The most annoying thing of all was the lectures about Concorde had been really great and we had seen 3 of them. We were looking forward to the last one which should have been on the last sea day and was to be about the crash and the reasons behind taking it out of service. It wasn't shown! No explanation and despite several enquiries including to the entertainment manager who looked suprised when we asked (surely she is in charge) I told her it was like reading a book and finding the last chapter ripped out. Most annoying. It was a good "voyage" as Cunard prefer to call it but 7 days at sea out of 12 rather too many. We met some lovely people and enjoyed our Christmas break. Lastly, on arriving at Southampton we should have disembarked in groups according to your luggage label colour and ours was 9am. However, there was an announcement that there was a 20 minute delay and that was actually an hour with no explanation whatsoever. People were getting very twitchy with taxis booked etc and would have understood the situation had been explained. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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