21 Dover Romantic Cruise Reviews

Our British Isles Cruise was wonderful! The ship, the excursions and believe it or not the weather were all great! The Pacific Princess is a wonderful small ship. I wanted a balcony, but had to go with a porthole. I didn't think I ... Read More
Our British Isles Cruise was wonderful! The ship, the excursions and believe it or not the weather were all great! The Pacific Princess is a wonderful small ship. I wanted a balcony, but had to go with a porthole. I didn't think I could enjoy being on the lowest deck with only a porthole, but the room was lovely. It was quiet with very little motion. The only bad side was that you could only use the Aft elevators and stairs, otherwise you were in the crew's quarters. I did accidentally visit the crew a few times before I got the floor plan straight! The food was great. I only had a couple of items that were only good. We made friends with our table mates and many others on the ship since it was small. Our main interest was to see the beautiful countryside and culture. Jersey - great tour to Mont Orgueil Castle and Gorey. Our bus guide was great and our castle guide was amazing.The castle was great, a little scary on the stairs. I was worried about the steep walk but it wasn’t bad with a hiking stick. We enjoyed time on our own after the tour. Be careful if paying for something, you might get change in Jersey money. My husband enjoyed a Liberation beer at a local pub. One of my favorite days! Portland - we went on a private tour with Daren Gapper @ Dorset Day Tours. He was great! The weather was a bit windy and wet in the beginning, but cleared. Check out Daren, you won't be disappointed.We covered so much territory Wonderful day! Cornwall - Ship Excursion Land's End and Scenic Drive, I was a little disappointed in this excursion although our guide was full of information. I tried to find a private excursion but they were all very long and expensive. Waterford - Ship excursion Rural Ireland and Jerpoint Abbey. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed this excursion. I thought with it being short, we would have some time for exploring the town. I wasn't interested in the glass factory so really didn't enjoy wandering the town. I should have done more research before we left. Also, the shuttle to town was $20 round trip. Waterford - Rural Ireland and Jerpoint Abbey: the abbey was very interesting with an excellent guide. The excursion was over at 12:30. You can’t walk to anything from the port but they had a shuttle for $10 one way. Unless you want to visit the Waterford Glass, there wasn’t very interesting shopping. Llanfair. Holyhead, Wales - Ship excursion, Conwy Castle & Llanfair PG. We thoroughly enjoyed this excursion. The castle was interesting and the little town was colorful. We enjoyed some Welsh beer at the Blue Bell Pub. Dublin - Dublin & Glendalough ship excursion. So many choices, but I really wanted to see the countryside. Our guide was very informative and the countryside was beautiful. We had a lovely lunch at Avoca and were able to shop for woolens, very expensive. I have to say I was a bit disappointed because there was not time allowed to see the lakes! Although it was a good tour, I wish I could have booked a private tour for Dublin. Belfast - Giant's Causeway and Antrim Coast ship excursion. This was another favorite day. Our guide was full of history and a bit of blarney, making it a fun day. The countryside was gorgeous.. Portree (Isle of Skye) - Private excursion with GoSkye. Unfortunately, it was a bit foggy so the views weren't as great as they could have been. It was a good excursion, beautiful countryside, waterfalls, cliffs and heather, a distillery, and 3 rainbows! Portree is a tender port. We found a bank at the top of the stairs from the tender that had an ATM with a great rate for changing dollars to pounds. Orkney Islands - Private tour, Orkney Island Tour. Very nice even though the weather was cold, windy and wet! We saw lots of standing stones, Hairy cows, hairy pigs, Italian Chapel, Maeshowe, and more. We saw everything the ship tour did plus more and cheaper. The only change I would make other than the weather is the timing. We had purchased a tour to Maeshowe online ahead of time for 3 o'clock. We only had 15 minutes to spare getting back to the ship. Edinburgh - private tour with Duncan McNab. Absolutely wonderful. Duncan broke his leg so we had a different guide. It turned out that she was an Outlander fan so she included a few tidbits from the show (A quick look at Lallybroch and McKensie castle). We saw castles, beautiful countryside, a distillery and much more. Newcastle - Private tour to Hadrians Wall. Very interesting, but I would have preferred less wall and more local culture. We made 3 stops to see the wall. The first 2 were great, but by the 3rd, I was ready for something else. The only complaint I would have for the ship, is too little shopping. It only has 2 shops which is fine, but the merchandise didn't reflect the ports. They had Caribbean t-shirts and Russian dolls, I don't understand the philosophy. The drawings for jewelry were always at 7:30 which was our dinner time and you had to be present to win. Also, if you play Mahjong, they have the tiles but be sure to take a current card. Otherwise, I loved it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We loved the itinerary of visiting all the different ports in a two week period. The service on board was fantastic and the overall experience exceeded our expectations!! The Pacific Princess is a smaller cruise ship so we were able to get ... Read More
We loved the itinerary of visiting all the different ports in a two week period. The service on board was fantastic and the overall experience exceeded our expectations!! The Pacific Princess is a smaller cruise ship so we were able to get into ports that other larger ones couldn't. The British Isles, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were incredible places to visit. So green and beautiful. We only had 2 days of light misty rain so, the decision to go in September was wise and beneficial. Each port was exciting and memorable. The passengers on board were very friendly and engaging. The staff and entertainment on board sealed the deal, they put an exclamation point on an incredible journey filled with friendship, laughter and many unforgettable experiences!! Princess Cruise, YOU DELIVERED!! Having worked for the Ritz Carlton for 13 years, I've had the opportunity and experience to see quality. Princess Cruises THANKS for the attention to detail, personalized service, and exceeding our expectations to make our 25th Wedding Anniversary truly special. JOB WELL DONE!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
With the help of a travel agent we discovered the Princess British isles cruise for Sept,2019 on the Pacific Princess. The 650 guest ship was perfect. Big enough to offer great resources, small enough to be easily accessible. We ... Read More
With the help of a travel agent we discovered the Princess British isles cruise for Sept,2019 on the Pacific Princess. The 650 guest ship was perfect. Big enough to offer great resources, small enough to be easily accessible. We were fortunate to have terrific weather and smooth seas even over the Orkneys atop Scotland Princess gave a reasonable a la Carte rate, even tho there were continual extra costs. Many such as over priced tours, drinks on board and internet to name three were avoidable. The staff were terrific exhibiting a sincere and customer focused attitude. The entertainment was way above what we expected from other reviews. We ( and other reviewers ) can often be critical, so this is a true compliment. Irish and scotch shows were great. Nick Page of London’s Le Mis fame was an incredible final show. The ship band and dancers were also terrific as was the comedian, magician and other solo artists. We had 13 stops in 15 days all of which were negotiated by a safety conscious crew. One downside was occasional inconvenient access to city centers for those not on a Princess tours especially Edinburg. However there were easily accessible local tours, hop on off busses,(Dublin) local trains (Holyhead) and interesting walks (Edinburg) among others. We took three Princess tours to Lands end in Cornwall, to the standing stones in the Orkney’s and the bus thru London which were well guided tho overpriced. Food was plentiful, well prepared and efficiently and sweetly served in the buffet and regular dining room. We tried one dinner in one of the two special cover charged Dining rooms which while ok was not worth the extra cost. The exercise room was comparable to a Planet fitness gym. We avoided the costly spa and other similar services My T-Mobile phone gave me free and good internet access near and ashore vs the costly Princess plans. We ignored the small casino, and jewelry store as did most it seemed. we travelled with our adult son and spouse which was fun. A sept cruise avoided lots of annoying kids! In summary it was a terrific first cruise, great itinerary, super staff and smartly negotiated by us to be reasonably priced. The great weather made it a total success We chose a lower level cabin which was comfortable, nicely furnished and very stable. I’d do that again vs the overpriced higher levels. We used it largely to sleep in the very comfortable bed and consume some liquors purchased in cities. We purchased our own air travel at a discount and avoided the over priced Princess pre tour hotels. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Absolutely great cruise. The crew and staff on the Pacific Princess was outstanding. The accommodations were great and the itinerary was everything we hope it would be. Every port was beyond our expectations. The tours had excellent guides ... Read More
Absolutely great cruise. The crew and staff on the Pacific Princess was outstanding. The accommodations were great and the itinerary was everything we hope it would be. Every port was beyond our expectations. The tours had excellent guides and transportation. The information shared about each location visited was well done. Many ports gave us the opportunity to walk the towns and cities before or after our organized tours. This was an added bonus. Particularly enjoyed the fjord tours in Norway. They were spectacular. The dining on board the Pacific Princess was ideal. Also the ship has recently been refurbished to the decor was beautiful and comfortable. We would highly recommend a cruise on this ship. We added a third week to our cruise and also did the British Isles. This was a great decision. We love to do this cruise again. We can't say enough about the staff on board ship. All were gracious and made our trip very special and personal. Take a cruise on the Pacific Princess. You won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Celtic Explorer started in Dover and traveled to Jersey, Falmouth, Fishguard, Greenock, Skye, Mull, Dublin (2 days), Zebrugge, Antwerp (2 days) and Amsterdam. The main problem with this 12-day itinerary was that with only two sea ... Read More
The Celtic Explorer started in Dover and traveled to Jersey, Falmouth, Fishguard, Greenock, Skye, Mull, Dublin (2 days), Zebrugge, Antwerp (2 days) and Amsterdam. The main problem with this 12-day itinerary was that with only two sea days, ports came fast and furious. There was no sea day between embarkation and Jersey. For folks flying directly from the States there was no time to recover from jet lag. If you get travel fatigue or suffer from jet lag this is something to consider. This itinerary also had 4 tender ports. Two of them (Jersey and Fishguard) tended in rough seas. Some people opted not to go ashore or could not because of disability. Other tender ports were Skye, Mull. We enjoyed all the ports. In Jersey we went to the Maritime Museum and while we hadn’t intended it, the museum took up most of our day, it was so engaging. We walked around town a little after the museum. In Falmouth we walked around town, went to the Maritime Museum and took the train to Truro. If you do that you may should know that there is a railway station at Falmouth Port, not just downtown. We walked to the downtown station, it was a nice walk, and returned to the port station.. In Fishguard we wanted to go to St. Davids, but because of the short port call we could not get there and back on public transport, so we took the HAL tour. It was worth it, with an engaging guide who was a natural story teller. St. Davids has a beautiful gothic cathedral, bishop’s house ruins. It is a charming small town where we enjoyed tea and scones before walking through the town market, In Greenock we visited with friends in Glasgow, but also took time to go to St. Mungo’s Museum, a museum presenting information and art from the different religions practiced in Glasgow. The art was inspiring but the exhibit I liked the best took us through the stages of life as celebrated by each of the religions covered, birth, coming of age, marriage, adulthood, elderhood and death. We arrived in Skye (Portee) on a Sunday so local buses were not running. We went ashore and found a skipper giving wildlife tours from a boat. When the tour was over some of our cruise mates who had booked taxis for a morning tour were back and we were able to take a taxi to some of the places outside of town that we wanted to see. Helen, our cab driver, was the last baby born in the Skye hospital before it closed down. She was full of stories and local lore. On Mull (Tobermory) we enjoyed walking around town, stopping at the aquarium where all the inmates are there only for a month before being returned to the sea. There was a touch tank and exhibitions on local sea life. The Tobermory distillery offers scotch tastings. The shops were multi-purpose, books and fishing tackle or iron monger (hardware) with wine and spirits. We lost ourselves in the book store for a while, got into conversation with the book seller, and the iron monger. We enjoyed scones and tea in a café that used to be a church. Dublin was a two day stop. The dock is away from downtown. There was a shuttle bus available for a hefty fee. It drops you off across from the Oscar Wilde statue in Marion Park. I recommend being on deck for the docking. The ship had to make some tight maneuvers interesting to watch. We pulled up close to downtown before turning around to face the mouth of the River Liffey when we docked. In Dublin we wandered the streets and when we saw something interesting, we went in. This included The Church, a bar set in the former St. Mary’s church which, appropriately, had been the family church of the Guinness family. We also had tea and scones in Brewley’s Café, which houses a luncheon theater, where we enjoyed a one act play. We found several small galleries and exhibits and wandered Temple Bar. When we heard music we liked we went in to listen. This was a relaxing way to see Dublin. It’s not our first time so we were not in a rush to see the Book of Kells and other well knows sights. After a much-needed sea day it was Zeebrugge. Since we’ve spent a lot of time in Belgium, we had no need to take the train to either Bruges or Ghent. Instead we bought a day pass on the tram that runs along the coast from the Dutch border practically to France. We could get on and off whenever we wanted. We had lunch in De Hann Ann Zee, a charming late 19 century beach resort where Albert Einstein spent some time after leaving Germany. If you’ve been to Bruges or Ghent this is a good alternative. Two days in Antwerp were not enough. We bought a mass transit day pass and enjoyed going the Art Nouveau neighborhoods. We also enjoyed the Cathedral, the Central Railway Station, Antwerp’s “second cathedral” and visiting churches filled with baroque art, including works by Rubens. We went to the Mas Museum and walked the old town and red-light districts. As much time as we had spent in Belgium we had never been to Antwerp. It was the most wonderful surprise of the cruise. We were tired when we arrived in Amsterdam because of the fast pace of the cruise so we took the tram to Central Station and enjoyed an hour-long cruise on the canals before getting on for the Norwegian Fjords Explorer cruise. When we got off the ship in Amsterdam from the Celtic Explorer, they did not stamp our passport because we were going back on the ship. When we got off after the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there was no one to stamp our passport because everyone had gotten on in Amsterdam. As a result We were detained at the airport leaving Amsterdam because we did not have a proper entry stamp. The immigration people were polite and helpful, there was no problem there, but it was time consuming. Had we not arrived at the airport three and a half hours before the flight, instead of the recommended two we would have missed our flight. We finally got to the plane at the tail end of boarding. Part of the problem was the 30-minute walk from immigration to the gate. Be prepared if you fly out of AMS. Here are a couple of other notes. Because of the small number of sea days there was no outside lecturer on board. We missed this but Brett, the EXC Guide gave good port talks. May was a good time to cruise. We had unusually good weather and the ship was not nearly full. Prinsendam has a capacity of 835. On the Celtic Explorer there were 567 passengers on board, no lines for dinner, an uncrowded lido, no need to arrive early to get a good seat for evening shows, and for less hassle tendering. I’m sorry to see Prinsendam go out of Holland America service. We’ve enjoyed Prinsendam in the past. She’s an older ship but we like her size, her aft saltwater pool good for swimming laps, her classic but understated appointments, her generous cabins and her walk-in closets. We’ve been on other HAL ships and enjoyed ourselves, but not as much as on Prinsendam. We will be reading Cruise Critic Reviews to try to find an new favorite. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that ... Read More
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that was the right decision, we fancied a winter Norwegian Cruise, and one which specifically aimed at experiencing the Northern Lights seemed an exciting prospect As ever every detail was taken care of, from being picked up at your front door with your luggage through a seemless boarding process at Dover all promised a wonderful holiday experience,which is exactly what we got An upgrade to deck 10 was an unexpected bonus,but all passengers got the same attentive service wherever their cabin was. The whole cruise was ammended to all inclusive which was another nice touch,and we opted for fixed dining which was a delight. The food on this ship is awesome, and the after dinner cheeseboard is the best we have ever experienced anywhere Evening shows were professional and Ancora joining the cruise for week two ensured some never to be forgotten performances, the whole entertainment package was outstanding for a relatively small ship Lectures from accomplished speakers about destinations and other related subjects were interesting and thought provoking, and the library would meet anyone’s taste, complete with librarian. This is proper cruising, no razzmatazz or gimmicks, just traditional formal nights, sumptuous food and well chosen wines and a feeling everyone simply wanted you to enjoy yourselves Saga Sapphire is an old ship, but she is immaculately kept and polished to within a inch of her life morning, noon and night. At every port a free shuttle bus service to the town is available unless the berth is literally in the town centre We were incredibly lucky to see the Northern Lights on three separate nights due to high levels of sunspot activity and on our official included trip to “hunt” the Lights in a dark sky area we were treated to an hour long display of the Northern Lights which were absolutely breathtaking Overall we had a wonderful cruise, seeing the Lights was the proverbial icing on the cake Let’s be clear, Saga isn’t the cheapest cruise provider, but the quality of their cruise experience is truly 5star and on an all inclusive cruise like this you genuinely don’t need to spend any money for the whole cruise unless of course you choose to go on optional excursions The real test is would we Cruise with Saga again; in our case the answer is definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This small ship is big enough and if it's going to your destination of choice then I think it's a done deal. We chose the late dining option with 3 other couples and made great friends. I liked the "sip and sail" ... Read More
This small ship is big enough and if it's going to your destination of choice then I think it's a done deal. We chose the late dining option with 3 other couples and made great friends. I liked the "sip and sail" option but not because of the endless alcohol but because you could have what ever beverage you wanted anytime. But I suppose that "sip and sail" option is for early bookers such as we happened to be. As per usual the excursions were not used as you could get much better deal elsewhere . We would gladly rebook if the destinations matched, but I'm not a cruiser as this was my first sea cruise ever. I loved that this was the Love Boat. It even looked like it a bit like it too. I thought the pizza/hot dog/ burger kiosk was lame and wouldn't recommend it unless you were in severe calorie deficit which would be quite unlikely. My favourite place for a drink was outside of the Panorama Buffet as the views were super. The upper floor library had reasonable views and looked stately; but I never used it for reading. it never seemed busy. We did do a non buffet breakfast once and found again that meeting people was the real advantage of it. The service staff at the restaurants and rooms were always pleasant Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this trip for the itinerary--Cornwall in England, especially (Fowey)--small Irish ports and then crossing to Belgium and Amsterdam. Our porthole cabin, 421, was smaller than we expected (hard to walk past the foot of the bed) but ... Read More
We chose this trip for the itinerary--Cornwall in England, especially (Fowey)--small Irish ports and then crossing to Belgium and Amsterdam. Our porthole cabin, 421, was smaller than we expected (hard to walk past the foot of the bed) but comfortable and we liked the bathroom--we had a bathtub, although all porthole cabins do not, so check if you prefer a shower or bath. The service onboard was consistently excellent and the food was pretty delicious! For anytime dining in the dining room we always got a table for two immediately. We enjoyed the pretty touches, such as flowers, especially orchids, in all the public rooms. We celebrated my husband's birthday and our anniversary in Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, and enjoyed it. For his birthday, he got a large piece of cake and they sang to him. For our anniversary the hotel director, who had talked to us in one of the bars, sent a bottle of champagne to our table. Much appreciated surprise! We ate in Pinnacle for a lunch given to us by our travel agent. It is a pretty room and the food was good. We had to tender in to one port (Waterford) that we were supposed to dock for, but there was heavy fog. The captain and crew seemed very concerned that we were able to still do excursions. We liked the excursions although next time we will check to make sure there are stops rather than mostly driving as one went on too long. Next time we will also try to have a cruise with fewer tender ports simply because they take up more time and sometimes the sea is rather rough. We liked the bar venues, especially the Java Bar area. The Crow's Nest has great views. My husband enjoyed the steam room and sauna (free in the men's bathroom spa area) and the hot tubs. The casino is small and several machines didn't work. The library area, where the internet computers are located, is large and very nice. The entertainment was good. The onboard performers gave it their all and some of the guest performers were very enjoyable. We liked watching some of the movies in the theatre or on tv. There weren't many tv channels offering programming, mostly news and obscure sports rather than the "big games." We didn't go to the test kitchen or the digital workshops or the book club and the shops on board are small, so sea days were pretty quiet for us. The passengers were, for the most part, over age 60, so we often had to wait for elevators to the buffet on the 11th deck since many people used them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Loved the itinerary with lots of ports of call on a 14 day cruise from Dover and back. The countries in the Baltic were wonderful to visit. Our favorite cities we visited were Saint Petersburg, Stockholm and Amsterdam. The three and a ... Read More
Loved the itinerary with lots of ports of call on a 14 day cruise from Dover and back. The countries in the Baltic were wonderful to visit. Our favorite cities we visited were Saint Petersburg, Stockholm and Amsterdam. The three and a half hour sail up the channel into and out of Stockholm was beautiful and memorable. The Pacific Princess is our favorite ship to cruise on . We love the small ship 600 passengers vs the large ships with over 2000 passengers. The crew is truly the best on the Pacific Princess. The crew gets to know you and treats you as a person not just a passenger. Also we were able to really get to know many of the passengers during our cruise because of the smaller number of people. Part of our trip was sailing thru the Kiel canal which only smaller ships can sail thru. Also we were able to dock closer to most of the cities we visited because of the smaller size of the Pacific Princess. We will have memories for a lifetime from this cruise, truly special. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended ... Read More
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended up right at the front of the ship. It was absolutely fine most of the time, but we did have one rather rocky night in the Bay of Biscay! Embarkation was remarkable. We were very lucky to be within driving distance of Dover, where our cruise started. From leaving the car, we were in the Crystal Dining Room within 15 minutes – having stopped off to check out our room on the way! We have stayed in this room category on Symphony previously (PS), so it was just as expected and very comfortable. As I have said in previous reviews, I do think a little updating is required and hopefully this will happen in the upcoming dry dock. In particular, the TVs are very small and somewhat dated and some of the furnishings are looking a little tired. However, it is a well-planned and thought out space with plenty of storage, and a good-sized and equipped bathroom. The bed was very comfortable with quality linens and pillows. We forgot to bring a phone charger, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was an integral charger in the clock. We sampled many of the facilities on the ship – the gym, spa, cinema (rather weird choices of films sometimes!), Vintage Room, lectures, casino, shops etc. We also enjoyed several specialty restaurant reservations. Service throughout the cruise was outstanding. Where we did have an issue, it was resolved quickly, efficiently and with good grace. The crew, across the board, were unfailingly friendly and helpful – I know they are trained to be so and ‘have’ to be, but it makes for a great ambience nevertheless. We found the food to be excellent, as previously. We did eat several times in the specialties and never tired of either. The CDR was also good, but I felt service was a little below par at times and that they were over-stretched with so many people to take care of especially on the BTO evenings. This resulted in either long waits before ordering and between courses, or conversely one plate being whipped away and the next course being served almost simultaneously. We found the included wines to be very drinkable and of course there was always the option to purchase wines when we felt like splurging. I wish they had a better included champagne though! We are reluctant to buy a bottle of champagne because we would never get anywhere near finishing it, but I cannot drink the included stuff. We had signed up for the Ultimate Vintage Room, but perhaps there wasn’t enough interest because it was not offered. Instead we did the regular Vintage Room dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, wine and company.. a really good evening. We thought all the ports were well worth visiting, but perhaps didn’t make the best choices with a couple of our excursions which were a bit long/boring/expensive. We didn’t get to all the shows but enjoyed those that we saw, with the exception of the new light show which wasn’t to our taste, but I’m sure many would disagree. We also found the lectures interesting, informative and entertaining. All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to our next Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We arrived 3 days early in London before our cruise. We took a Big Bus Tour and their night tour & visited Kensington Palace. We also took a tour of Paris through Premium Tours, a really long day but worth it, I really recommend this ... Read More
We arrived 3 days early in London before our cruise. We took a Big Bus Tour and their night tour & visited Kensington Palace. We also took a tour of Paris through Premium Tours, a really long day but worth it, I really recommend this tour company. Embarkation & Disembarkation was the best I had every been through, We pretty much walked on the ship. We had a little bit of a problem before we left, air in the fuel line, and we missed our first port, but we were compensated very nicely so no problems there. The rain was hit and miss but that's pretty much par for the course in the British Isles. We had a balcony cabin 7020, very nice cabin, roomy, plenty of storage space, big balcony and the bathroom wasn't bad for a small ship. The dining room was worth going to every night. We had wonderful wait staff, the food was beautifully prepared and we were welcomed with a smile every night. In Waterford we took the Kilkenny Castle & Waterford Crystal tour, very nice tour. In Dublin we took the Guinness tour, no where near enough time there, I would book it on my own next time. In Edinburgh I booked Iconic tours to take us to Stirling country-Will was a superb guide and I totally recommend Iconic tours. Our ship was delayed and Will still managed to hit all of the places we wanted to go to, then dropped us off for the Military Tattoo. If you every get the chance to go to the Military Tattoo, book you tickets early through the Tattoo and get a taxi to and from the ship, it's cheaper. The second day in Edinburgh we took the big tour of Edinburgh through Princess, Yacht, Edinburgh Castle & city drive, it too was a great tour. The Pacific Princess is a beautiful ship, easy to find where you are going and a lot smoother than most larger ships I've been on. If I get the chance I'd bee back on her in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
On Saturday 30th April my partner and I travelled with Fred Olsen on Balmoral to Norway. My partner and I are in our early 20's, so much younger than most travellers. We found that the design of Balmoral was quite dated and feel that ... Read More
On Saturday 30th April my partner and I travelled with Fred Olsen on Balmoral to Norway. My partner and I are in our early 20's, so much younger than most travellers. We found that the design of Balmoral was quite dated and feel that it could do with a make-over, new carpets, chairs etc. but no problems with the facilities so we couldn't complain. We arrived at Dover at 12pm (the times given were between 12pm and 2pm) and check in was smooth and fast. We did have to wait until 2pm before they started embarkation which was a bit of a pain as we expected to get straight on as I did in my previous cruise with Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Once we were invited to the ship we were directed straight to our room where our luggage was waiting for us outside - very fast service. We asked for a table of 2 in the restaurant as we were hoping for a romantic holiday together as it was our first, and we were given this! We were in the main (Ballindalloch) restaurant which was very spacious and waiters were great. With dinner you are given a choice of wine, beer or water, but no choice for soft drinks. As we had paid for the all inclusive package and expected to have soft drinks available to us with our dinner, as advertised, but when we asked we were informed that we would have to pay for our soft drinks. Aside from this there was a lot of variety of food available and waiters were very fast in taking orders, and serving food. Very nice people. The drinks... As mentioned above we had paid for all inclusive when we booked with Fred Olsen. With the all inclusive you are offered a variety of house wines and spirits, and selected beers and ciders. Cocktails are NOT included in the AI which I feel should have been. The cocktail selection was not great either. Having the AI package you receive a 50% discount on cocktails and branded drinks, which is better than nothing and understandable with branded alcohol. Tea and coffee are only available from the restaurants and if you wish to have them from the bar you are asked to pay which is not acceptable. There were no self service machines either so you couldn't go and help yourself when you want one. The waiters serve you tea and coffee after your meals but there is no selection of tea or coffee, you just get what you are given. The entertainment and Activities provided on board was phenomenal. Fantastic staff and incredible shows every night to end the day on a good note. The Balmoral Show Company, who were new to the cruise were amazing and had incredible voices, Barnaby (the ship comedian) was very funny and Matt Cairnes (another vocalist) was fab too. 4th Dimension, who played in the Lido Lounge every night, were great and always got the crowd up dancing of an evening. The waiter service in the bars was good, fast service and always quick to take orders. We waited a max of 20 minutes but was understandable as the Lounge was very busy during the show. The Excursions provided at the Port of Calls were great. In Bergen we went to the Fløibanen funicular which was a great day out, in Olden we visited the Briksdal Glacier on Nordfjord which was beautiful and in Flam we travelled on the Flam Railway which was a little bit disappointing at this time of year. Overall, we had a fantastic cruise with Fred Olsen and would recommend travelling on Balmoral. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of a Newcastle departure,we live in the north of England and wanted to avoid flying. Check in was easy and boarding was well organised. We had a cabin in the forward section on the 4th ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of a Newcastle departure,we live in the north of England and wanted to avoid flying. Check in was easy and boarding was well organised. We had a cabin in the forward section on the 4th deck,lots of storage and kept nice and clean by housekeeping. When we sailed away the sun was shining and temperatures made us feel as if in the med ,not Tyneside! The ship was a good size,and although full we always found little quiet spots. I made use of the pool and Jacuzzis as the sun shone throughout. We ate dinner in the Ballindalloc restaurant most evenings though enjoyed a delicious Asian buffet in the Palm cafe on last night. We loved the group 4th dimension in Lido lounge which got going after the show in the theatre. We had a drinks package that we took full advantage of! It was great to be able to explore Bergen independently,very easy as we docked in the centre. Likewise with Eidefjord,where we took a scenic walk along the river up to some Viking graves,with good views on the way back. The ship then sailed along the beautiful scenery. We felt sad to be leaving. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. ... Read More
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. Some we hope to remain friends with in the future. The food was poor, in our opinion, and so heavily salted that my wife and I had to ask for no-salt meals. The entertainment was mediocre, except for the electronic string quartet. The service in the restaurants was very slow, at times. Our propulsion system failed as we were approaching Florida, causing us to skip Miami and proceed to Tampa, where we arrived a day early, but had to leave the ship. We were shuttled from one hotel to another and spent most of our final day standing in lines with no information as to where we were staying. It was a very poorly handled situation, and I understand, that it was the second time in the past several months that the Star had a similar problem. It is highly doubtful that I can be persuaded to ever step foot on another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of ... Read More
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of the price point and the specifics of what the cruise line advertises and offers as compared to their competitors. Having recently traveled on Viking (river cruise in China which we absolutely loved!), we wanted to try another ship with a small number of passengers. After a thorough search, we decided to give Windstar (and the Star Legend) our business - per their advertisement - "fully refurbished boat, approximately 200 passengers, gourmet food and wine, world class gym, elegant staterooms and unique and memorable shore excursions'. So let's discuss what was accurate and what was off the mark - the pro's - very spacious stateroom, cabin attendant was excellent, on-board entertainment was very enjoyable, Candles dinning was great, majority of crew worked very hard to make the trip memorable, and select staff management (Elena and Bianca) worked very hard to listen to our concerns and to the extent practical within their control make our travels and pleasant as possible, and the people were so much fun to meet. The cons - (1) for a refurbished ship, the interior was in dire need of a fresh paint and varnish (age of the ship was not well hidden), the bathroom was not updated - pealing paint and wall tiles in shower were old and separating), (2) wine - not paired with dinner or the countries visited, wine tastings were poorly planned and executed (rushed so the room could be turned over for dinner, no wait staff to serve additional portions to the customers, and wine selections ran out during dinner, "wine expert" was not organized and could not keep the attention of the customers) - we stopped going after day four, quality of wines served were average to below average at best and had low Wine Spectator ratings, (3) on-board dinning service - very dis-jointed for the first three days - meals were late (i.e. not everyone was served at the same time), side dished were missing or wrong, and if you ordered fish it was guaranteed to arrive overcooked and dry, (4) food quality - got better as the days went by but serving three shrimps on top of rice is not gourmet, (5) bar service - with the exception of a few bar staff, very inconsistent service for mixed drinks - long wait (10 minutes), wrong order, glass half-filled - deferred to wine and beer to avoid the the hassle which was not our preference, (6) broken water system during seal day - no showers or running water - things happen at sea so my issue is not that this happened but how the ship handled the situation - the captain made an announcement at approximately 9 am and mentioned that the water system broke and we would make a stop at Brest for repairs - not apologetic in any form and tried to make a joke about it - not funny for the guests who were stuck on board without a bathroom or shower - in terms of compensation - NONE...we asked them to open the bar and provide free drinks and were denied....the system was repaired and then broke again around 10 pm (no notice from the captain) - I called the front desk and the staffer did not understand why I was mad as he did not get a chance to shower (paying customer versus employee....where is the training...), (7) off-board dinner in Bordeaux - very elegant, classical music, wine in the courtyard and then dinner - only one selection - a meat dish that was served raw to myself and three others at our table - after 15 minutes and sending it back twice I decided not to eat the dried out mass in front of me. Two wines were served of which one was a beautiful 2001 Margaux - we each had one glass and asked for another bottle - they "ran out" even then we observed other tables actively getting additional bottles, (8) world class gym - broken equipment and missing weights - need I say more, (9) excursions - unlike Viking or other high end cruise lines, Windstar only includes two free shore excursions and the guests have to pay for any other trips so desired - the selections were marginal at best with the most notable being a wine tour of a local vineyard in the Medoc region of Bordeaux - expected elegant wines and encountered less than marginal samples - would have expected a higher quality vineyard to be made available. We did email Hans (CEO) a note summarizing our experiences and have not received any reply as of this review - not terribly surprised since he already has our money and from the experiences listed above, apparently does not have a keen focus on customer service. Some final thoughts and impressions - we probably wont use this cruise line again unless Han's contacts us and don't recommend anyone else using them unless you do a full due-diligence on all high end cruise and read the review, the ship management fell flat on attention to details and building/maintaining a strong and consistent team to perform and execute their respective duties flawlessly every time, and if you are going to offer a marginal experience then charge a marginal price so expectations can be tempered with reality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our second cruise with Fred. Olsen, our first was aboard Boudicca last year. Braemar's friendly staff and quality of cuisine lived up to the high standard we experienced on Boudicca. We chose the smaller Grampian Restaurant ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Fred. Olsen, our first was aboard Boudicca last year. Braemar's friendly staff and quality of cuisine lived up to the high standard we experienced on Boudicca. We chose the smaller Grampian Restaurant on Deck 8. With exemplary waiters and large areas of glass, it offered stunning evening sunsets that provided an unforgettable ambiance. There were a range of activities and entertainment to suit most people’s tastes. In the evenings, we alternated between The Observatory Lounge on Deck 8, with the very talented pianist Enrique Cabilina playing our choice of relaxing music, and the Morning Light Pub on Deck 5 with Kieron Cox providing a livelier selection of guitar music and song. Our only visit to the Neptune Show Lounge on Deck 5 was to Braemar’s Crew Show…and what a show the crew put on. The girls (all amateur) dancing dressed in their national costumes from the Philippines and Tailand were exquisite. They were followed by the lads, dressed in naval costumes…they had a ball; their versions of In the Navy, and YMCA, had us in tears. You could see on their faces how much they genuinely enjoyed entertaining us. Finally, tears of a different kind could easily be shed in Gerard’s moving sand animation using sand and music to illustrate a story on a projected screen that ended with the scheme of the crucifixion. A massive brownie point for the cruise was the beautiful city of Bordeaux. A number of regular Fred. Olsen cruisers told us the organised shore trips were a waste of time and money; it was far better to arrange something yourself…fine, if you were offered a free shuttle bus, otherwise try to share a taxi between four of you, and see how much money you’d save…how right they were! FortunatelyBordeaux made up for the disappointment we experienced in our two shore trips costing us £174.00. There was so much to enjoy here. A delightful city in daylight, with majestic fountains and immaculate gardens was transformed after sunset. A breathtaking panorama of coloured lights along four kilometres of waterfront led the eye to distant mystical lights along Napolean’s Pont de pierre bridge. It was lovely to see families sat in the park alongside Braemar giving us a wave as they enjoyed their picnics. We were tempted to join them. No wonder the city is described: Little Paris. Our first tour: The River Erdre – Gateway to the Loire Valley. We circumnavigated Nantes’ city centre on at least three occasions, past the fortress walls and Giggs Irish Pub, our ears being bombarded with a constant flow of uninteresting names and dates by our French tour guide. One early stop to take photographs was so uninspiring half the passengers stayed aboard the coach. The second at the Cathedral, I’ll agree was worthwhile, allowing us to light a couple of candles and offer a silent prayer then crane our necks to wonder at the height and majesty of the arched roof. After two hours on the coach, and a visit to the WC, we boarded our boat. The lower deck was full; the passengers on the upper deck with the odd vacant seat here and there were packed together like sardines on plastic garden chairs. I spent the whole of the cruise three rows behind my wife who was sitting alongside two stony faced women who ignored her for the whole cruise. We were later told that the second boat that followed us was only half full. Yes, the river was beautiful, but the tour brochure states: Several castles and elegant manors. There were several elegant manors...but I cannot remember any castles. When we commenced the cruise, we immediately passed a sign prohibiting creating waves and advising an 8 kph speed limit. Reaching the limit of the cruise the sign was a distant memory as the charge for home began with the second boat in hot pursuit. To me, the most memorable sight was the countless number of low flying cormorants that crisscrossed the boat or flew past on either side. I was surprised by the elegance of their flight and beautiful lines of their bodies. Returning to Braemar after another circuit of Nantes, we were forced to queue for over half an hour while the crew assisted a large number of elderly passengers aboard up a very steep ramp. Eventually, someone must have read my mind, when with about thirty or so passengers remaining, a second ramp was provided. I dread imagining the mood of the passengers if it had been raining. Surely, with a tide table to hand this problem could have been foreseen beforehand and a second ramp provided on arrival. With due respect to some lovely people we befriended – each with heart-rending problems – Braemar attracts a large number of infirm passengers, so be prepared for similar delays. Also I wouldn’t recommend it to families with young children. Our second tour: The ‘Must Do Green Venice Tour. This was equally disappointing. Yes, it was a tranquil experience, but the waterways passed uninteresting fields, the most notable event, one duck and a number of cattle; the only burst of colour: the flowers and shrubs in the gardens of an occasional fishermen’s cottage. Disembarking, the appalling WC facility was an experience! At least the coach journey to and from the main event was pleasurable passing fields of sunflowers and variety of other crops. Think very carefully before you book any tour. I’d advise you to consult seasoned passengers on board before you do so. I recall somewhere a mention that Braemar had a degree of refurbishment in 2014…this obviously didn’t include our cabin. The power sockets were archaic; I cannot remember when I last needed adaptors for our toothbrushes and hair styling equipment. Furthermore, there was some kind of junction box attached to the dressing table with a conglomeration of dangling cables that served the kettle and hair drier. Returning to our cabin after an enjoyable evening in the Observatory Lounge, I was annoyed to read the following note left on our bed: Dear Guest, As part of our commitment to improve the standard of our cabins onboard the MS Braemar, we courteously advise you that we will be changing the wash basin drain in your cabin tomorrow…between 1300h and 1600h. If you have any objections, please contact the Reception desk. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding… I rang early the following morning and refused them access. Later, I was told other passengers had had an identical request and had agreed for them to carry out the work. I accept access dealing with an emergency must be allowed… however, it appears that Fred. Olsen was (at the expense of their guest's comfort) adopting a regime to upgrade the vessel while at sea. We spent our last day at sea sunbathing with alfresco lunch and dolphins on our port side bidding us ‘‘au revoir.’’ Bliss... The on board All-Inclusive Drinks Package was a real value for money. Without overindulging yourself, it was very easy to overtake the £10.00 per day levy. With a total of 68 miles sailing along the uninspiring River Loire to and from Nantes, I feel the cruise would be greatly enhanced if this was removed from the itinerary and a third night spent in Bordeaux. I would be interested to learn comments from fellow passengers to this suggestion. Finally, Eavesway Travel’s coaches need special mention. The coaches were so comfortable, with unbelievable leg room, reclining leather seats and for anyone needing relief between comfort stops, an onboard WC. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
For our 40th wedding anniversary we decided on a cruise and as it was our 1st time we chose Saga because of their reputation and smaller ships. When we spoke to the sale advisor's we emphasized why we were booking the holiday and ... Read More
For our 40th wedding anniversary we decided on a cruise and as it was our 1st time we chose Saga because of their reputation and smaller ships. When we spoke to the sale advisor's we emphasized why we were booking the holiday and requested a larger Superior cabin with a balcony as this was a special occasion. Their brochure quotes “Larger cabins up to 270 square feet”. When calling their office regarding other queries we double checked that this cabin would meet our requirements and was assured this was the case. We were surprised and disappointed how small this cabin was, it only had a low oval coffee table with one lounge chair and a dining chair at the other side of the bed as a result it was impracticable to have an intimate meal, which was one of the reasons for choosing the Superior cabin. The balcony of our cabin was so narrow it was impossible to sit down on the chairs provided. A travel lodge room is bigger than this cabin with 2 proper chairs. We later discovered from visiting a fellow cruiser’s standard outside cabin on deck 6 was larger and more like a “large hotel room than a ship cabin” as quoted in their brochure. At no point whilst speaking to the sales advisor's was this explained nor does it show this in the brochure or on line. Had we been informed at the time of booking of these differences we would not have chosen a Superior cabin with a balcony. Having paid £754.00 extra for a smaller cabin with a balcony of little use seems excessive at least. We would also comment on the dining arrangements, these were advertised as being available in the evenings from 6:45pm until 9:00pm as a single sitting, after arriving back from a trip late one evening we went down to dinner only to find we were rushed at every stage from order to dessert Norway was a lovely country but our experience of this cruise was spoilt by the comments above and found the cruise was certainly not value for money. Don't get sucked in to higher priced cabins unless you are fully aware of what is on offer, as all is not as it appears. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all ... Read More
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all interesting enough, with the exception of Aarhus (we should have gone to Visby instead). Copenhagen was the least interesting, and the dirtiest, but Stockholm and St. Petersburg both deserved the two days each they got, and were well worth it. The food and service on board the Ryndam were both excellent, and when we complained that our room was below the kitchen (and thus very noisy late at night and early in the morning), we were moved to another room without hesitation. Although I would chose my cabin more carefully next time, I would not hesitate to sail on the Ryndam again. The entertainment was on the level of a high school production, but that is to be expected on a ship of this size. We have had much better entertainment, but always on much larger ships. We never had a problem with lines or waiting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A little background information; I am 52, DH is 56. This was our 18th cruise, but first experience on a cruise that didn’t include the America’s. Other cruises have been on Princess (10), Carnival (4), and one each on RCCL, HAL, and ... Read More
A little background information; I am 52, DH is 56. This was our 18th cruise, but first experience on a cruise that didn’t include the America’s. Other cruises have been on Princess (10), Carnival (4), and one each on RCCL, HAL, and NCL. We selected this particular cruise because of the itinerary, and the date and length fit my DH vacation availability. We used Princess Air and Transfers for convenience and because I was never able to find cheaper air online (Also liked the next port guarantee). Our cruise was scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 6th, and we flew out of IAD (Washington, DC) at 9:55 PM on Monday. Of course real sleep was nearly impossible in coach class so we arrived at Heathrow at about 9:30AM local time bleary-eyed and very sleepy. Immigration and customs was fairly fast, and just beyond customs we easily found the Princess rep, who directed us to a waiting area for the next bus to Dover. This was a bit of a wait. I think we waited nearly two hours for the next bus. Once on the bus, the ride to Dover was at least 2-hours, maybe a bit longer, but we were able to doze a bit. We arrived at Dover Terminal around 3PM. Check in was a breeze, although I was a bit taken back that our passports were held (We could have them back after the ship left Dublin, Ireland). First a quick stop to our cabin to drop off hand-held luggage, and then off to the buffet to get a quick bite before the 4:00 muster drill. At the muster drill our cruise cards were scanned to ensure we had actually taken part. Once done, we went topside to watch sail away. We had beautiful weather, and not only did we have an excellent view of the White Cliffs of Dover, but we could see France and their not quite as famous white cliffs. We had late sitting (8:15) and didn’t dare take a nap, so we explored the ship and jumped into a hot tub until time for dinner. The Ship-This is the smallest ship we have ever been on, 670 PAX. The passenger make up was approximately 570 American’s, 65 British, and the rest were made up of Canadians and Europeans. I was surprised by the number of children on board. With fewer amenities than a larger ship I thought this cruise would have attracted fewer families, for the most part though the children were well behaved. I loved the size of the ship-very easy to get around, and while missing a few of the bells and whistles of larger ships it had everything we required. Cabin- We had an interior. It was roomy and quiet, and we had good service from our room steward. The bed was very comfortable, and we were asleep by time our heads hit the pillow nearly every night. Dining- There is no Anytime Dining on the Ocean Princess, our usual preference, instead there were two seating’s in the traditional manner; Early Seating (6:00 I think), or Late Seating (8:15). We ate in the main dining room every night with the exception of the night of the Tattoo in Edinburgh. There were several reasons for this. First the food was very good, and we never had difficulty finding something to eat. We also had excellent service from our waiter Darwin, and assist. waiter Bobby, and finally we were seated with two charming couples; one from Bristol, England, and the other from New York, New York. Great conversation, good food, and fabulous service meant that there was never a need to eat at one of the specialty restaurants. There are two specialty restaurants; Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini’s. They are not both open the same evenings, it appeared that they alternated nights opened. The casual dining option in the evening was the Bistro, which was in the buffet. I did not notice any dinner buffet except the night of the Tattoo. The delicious pizza was available for lunch, snack, and dinner. Entertainment-With smaller venues there were scaled down versions of several production shows, as well as a magician and a comedian or two. We had late seating for dinner, but the shows were scheduled to ensure late or early seating one could enjoy the shows. Several nights into the cruise we discovered Musical Trivia in one of the lounges at 9:30. Each evening there would be a different theme. Night after night we would participate, finishing second or third, until the final night we were victorious with a little help from our table mates. Trivia was also available once in the morning and again in the afternoon. On such a small ship there was no Thermal Suite in the spa (A great disappointment for my DH who loves the heated tile beds found on larger ships). They did have a “Relaxation Area” that was outdoors that could only be accessed through the spa. This area included teak loungers that had pads, as well as a large hot tub. There was a fee to use it. I think it was $20 pp per day, or $178 for a couple for the cruise duration. We signed up, and for the most part had the area to ourselves day after day. We used it nearly every evening and both sea days (We had excellent weather for most of the cruise). Ports of Call-We stopped at St. Peter’s Port (Guernsey), Dartmouth, Waterford, Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, and Edinburgh, Scotland. We did a combination of Ship Sponsored Shore Excursions and Independent Sight-seeing. Guernsey-St. Peter’s Port (Tender port)- We experience our only truly bad-weather day here, and it wasn’t all that awful. Sure it was overcast all day, and yes, it did rain off and on, but it wasn’t a driving rain and we were able to stay dry with the cheap rain ponchos I had purchased just days before we left. We signed up for bicycle riding on the isle of Sark. We took an early tender to Guernsey and transferred to a ferry to Sark. With the exception of tractors there is no motorized traffic on Sark.; everyone gets around by bike, foot or horse drawn cart. Our ferry was apparently a private ferry, and we got to the island well ahead of the scheduled ferry. This was nice because it got quite crowded once the first scheduled ferry showed up. Once we got our bicycles we were on our own to explore the island. I loved this island. You feel like you have truly stepped back in time. The village was quaint, with directional sign posts that gave destinations in the minutes it would take to walk, rather than miles. Dartmouth (Tender Port)-The best weather day of the entire trip. Clear blue skies, nary a cloud in sight, and temperatures in the high 70’s to low 80’s. Dartmouth was picturesque and one of my favorite stops. We had signed up for another ship-sponsored excursion “Dartmouth Steam Railway & Buckfast Abbey”. DH and I loved the train ride on the old-fashion carriages, and the scenery was beautiful, but there was a lot of time wasted (About 45-minutes) waiting on the train platform for the train, which was on-time, to arrive. I felt that our guide was a little amiss in giving us all the needed information such as telling us where on the platform we should wait for the train, or that when the train arrived at our destination we needed to get off ASAP and make our way to the buses, with no time to linger at the gift shop. Due to traffic we only had 35 minutes at Buckfast Abbey instead of the hour promised. However, once we made it back to Dartmouth we had time to explore on our own. We found a pub called The Cupid which was housed in the oldest building (ca. 1380) in Dartmouth, and had a delightful crab sandwich, which didn’t taste anything like a Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich (And wasn’t suppose to), and cider on tap. DH also tried a Cornish Meat Pie (Pork, apples, and cider simmered inside a pastry) that he proclaimed wonderful. Waterford-Another ship sponsored excursion-Jerpoint Abbey, which were ruins, but enough remained to get an idea of what the place must have looked like in its heyday. After the abbey tour, which took about an hour, we made a quick stop at a quaint Irish village for a photo opportunity, and we drove through the lovely Irish countryside. We then made what was supposed to be a quick 20-minute stop so a couple of passengers could use an ATM, but it turned into a 40-minute stop when 2 of our fellow riders apparently got lost inside a Starbucks and lost track of the time. They were NOT popular when they finally made their way back to the bus (No apologies either for keeping the rest of us waiting). Anyway, back at the ship we took the free shuttle into Waterford, which stopped in the front of The House of Waterford. We stepped inside where there are a number of pieces of Waterford Crystal on display and for sale. I took one look at the prices and hustled my lumbering lug of a husband out of there before something gotten broken and I became broke. There are a few sights to see such as Reginald’s Tower, built by the Vikings around 800 AD, but there is a fee to go inside and the ceilings are very low-We passed. Mostly we walked around, looked at the varied buildings & popped inside a few gift shops. Dublin-We took the shuttle from the pier, which cost $16 pp roundtrip. Here we did our own thing, opting for a hop on/off tour bus. Where the shuttle dropped us off was near stop #3, so we decided that we would just get off at any sight that struck our fancy, and complete the circuit in time to make the last shuttle. Our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse. DH was leery of making this our first stop so early in the day (About 10 AM), but I pointed out that it is the #1 attraction in Ireland, and it was bound to become a madhouse later in the day. It was 16.50 euro to get in, and for that you got a self-paced tour and a pint at the end of the tour. I did like the bar on the 7th floor, which afforded wonderful views of Dublin, but I feel the tour is way overpriced (You can buy tickets online for a 10% discount). I was right about it getting crowded. As we left, tour bus after tour bus was pulling up, dispensing hordes of tourists. Next was the Old Jameson Distillery. I actually liked this place better than Guinness. This was also popular with the masses, and was rather crowded. If I remember correctly it was 15 euro pp to take the tour. They had a very nice bar on the ground floor (Try the hot apple cider w/Jameson’s and apple slices-divine), and a restaurant that looked good, but was pricey. Finally we went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. We had been told that if you go in the morning there might be a wait of up to 3-hours. We got there at about 1:35 and decided to take the 2 PM walking tour of the college grounds (10 euro) which included the Book of Kells. Just to see the Book of Kells costs 9 euro, so 1 euro more for the tour was the best value in Dublin. The tour was given by a 3rd year student. The half hour tour was quite informative, and included a brief history of the Book of Kells. At 2:30 we were in line to see the book, and our wait was about half an hour. We finally got in, and made our way to the darken room, and waited some more to actually get close enough to take a look. By this time it was getting late so we hurried to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Of the three sights we stopped at in Dublin the only one I would do again is Jameson’s, and that’s for the bar. However, I’m glad we did all 3, and next time we can see more of this very beautiful city. Edinburgh-We were going to the Tattoo that evening (Through the ship), but wanted to explore the city on our own during the day. We took the shuttle from the pier to the train station (16 pp roundtrip), and from there bought round trip tickets to Edinburgh. I have no idea how much they cost. I gave up trying to convert US dollars into pounds and euro at this point. I know we were traveling off peak, which makes a huge difference in price. Anyway when the train arrived it was packed, so we rode the entire way standing up, but it was only about 20 minutes as we had gotten on an express train. Once we arrived we made our way to the hop on/off tour buses, which were across the street from main entrence of the train station. The price was 16 pounds pp. This time, since we were at stop one, we rode the entire circuit to hear the tour, and then rode again, this time getting off where we wanted. Our first stop was to see the statue of Greyfriers Bobby, then we stopped in at Greyfriers Bobby Pub and tried haggis. So what did I think of haggis? It was okay. If I was at a dinner party and it was served I would eat it, but if at a restaurant and there were other choices I would probably go with something else. We then popped into the National Museum, which is free, to see the exhibit of Mary, Queen of Scots, which is not free (9 pounds pp). After that we got back on the bus and went down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood Palace. To just see the palace is 11 pounds, to see the palace and The Queen’s Gallery was 15.5 pounds. Time was running short (We had a train to catch) so we opted for the palace only. It’s beautiful. I especially like Mary, Queen of Scots bedroom. Then it was back to the train station, where a very helpful attendant got us on the right train back. Soon we were back on the ship, having time for a quick bite before it was off to the Tattoo. The Tattoo-My main reason for wanting to do this cruise during this time frame was to see the Tattoo. Princess has it down to a science. We gathered in the main lounge where we were assigned a bus number. From there we were escorted by bus number to the pier where we got on the bus. Our guide then handed out tickets based on the number in your party. The bus took us to a side street in Edinburgh, where we were told it would pick us up after the show. Then we had a bit of a trek, all uphill, to get to Edinburgh Castel. The guide took us at an easy pace, but it is over cobblestone streets and sidewalks, something to keep in mind if mobility is an issue. From there we got into a queue and waited until they opened the gates. The show starts promptly at 9PM and lasts 1.5 hours. I must say I was impressed, as were everyone around us. I was worried about us being able to find the bus in the dark after the show, but it was not an issue. There was someone stationed at every corner to point us in the right direction, and we didn’t leave a single person behind. Princess had kept the buffet opened late as it was well past midnight by time we got back so that anyone that wished to grab a bite could. Our last day was a beautiful sunny day in the North Sea, and we had the chance to finally catch our breath, and digest all that we had seen and done. Dis embarkion was a breeze, no customs to go through. We were one of the first off because we had purchased airport transfers through the ship that included a city tour of London. This was actually a pleasant surprise as I had no idea we would be able to see as much as we did in so short of a time. We had a brief stop at a vantage point to take photos of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London, then we drove over Tower Bridge and got closer to The Tower. We saw part of the original wall from Roman times, The Eye, Big Ben, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, etc. We had about an hour of free time at Covent Garden, and even a brief stop at Buckingham Palace just in time to see the changing of the guard, and we were still at the airport at 1:00 on the dot-British efficiency at its finest. To wrap up, I loved every minute of this trip. Although originally disappointed that we were not able to do the 12-day British Isle cruise, I now feel that the longer cruise, while it includes more opportunity to see the sights, with its only one sea day, may be just a bit too frenetic. This 8–day trip allowed us to see many of the major sites, yet gave us the opportunity to relax a little, which is what a vacation is suppose to be about.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first time on Celebrity was we was a little unsure what to expect after reading so many reviews on cruise critic and other sites after reading review after review with people saying "It's full of old people" we ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity was we was a little unsure what to expect after reading so many reviews on cruise critic and other sites after reading review after review with people saying "It's full of old people" we are 38 & 43 and I would say the average age was 50-60 and we had more fun with the people we met on this cruise then any other we have ever taken. Embarkation was a dream we arrived at 10:20am and was on the ship at 11am what a great start to the cruise. We opted for Aqua-class and had cabin 1603 a hump cabin with balcony and boy was we pleased such a great location in the middle of the ship and right near the lifts and no we never heard any noise apart from one afternoon when getting changed we could hear the band playing at the poolside. Blu... we had read so much about Blu and was really looking forward to dining there however the first night was not good they had a very small selection of starters and nothing I liked :( so I ordered the steak for the main course that arrived cold so ended up ordering room service not good when you pawy the extra for Blu and end up with burger and frys in your cabin however the following night we was informed there had been alot of problems in Blu and this would not happen again,the food in Blu is good but only ever warm I made a point of telling them I liked my food piping hot and this was seen to with no problem another point worth mentioning was three times we was given a plate or saucer with a chip in it surely the kitchen should see this when plating up ? so for all of the above I would give Blu 3 out of 5 the main benefit for us was not having to dine in the main dining room that was very crowded and the tables and chairs far to close to one another. The brunch buffet was a total nightmare it was more like a bun fight :(( there was huge ques both sides of the dining room and you could not even see the food the chefs had prepared because of the amount of people so we left and had lunch in the ocean view cafe it was lovely and quiet bliss :)) I think Celebrity should address the brunch better in future so everyone gets to enjoy it. So overall for food I would again rate it 3 out of 5. The entertainment was brilliant and the best we we have seen so far in St-P they had some Russian dancers come aboard to do a show for us and this was great. The circus act was also very good and worth seeing again. Service was probably the best we have ever received on a cruise ship every member of staff smiled and said hello when walking past you from the cleaners to the captain and nothing was ever to much for the staff to ensure you was happy and enjoying your holiday. Shore Excursions.. next time I will do far more research on ports because like all cruise company's Celebrity love selling you there shuttle tickets and some points of interest was only 10-15 Min's walk from the ship and they charged you $10-15 a time. OK we had issues with the warm food and poor service in Blu the first night but would we book again ? you bet we have booked to return next year :)) Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
First Carnival cruise - Jubilee - about 15 years ago. This was a Panama Canal (part way in) to near the Equator...NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! No, it didn't break down on our cruise; it actually broke on the cruise before ours. Of ... Read More
First Carnival cruise - Jubilee - about 15 years ago. This was a Panama Canal (part way in) to near the Equator...NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! No, it didn't break down on our cruise; it actually broke on the cruise before ours. Of course, they didn't bother to tell any of the passengers who were boarding for the next trip...nor did they try to fix the A/C. Heaven help you if you were a diabetic...the only sugar reduced dessert was yellow cake. Every night they did change the frosting to another color and they gave it a different name (i.e., pink was strawberry; yellow was lemon; green was mint, etc., etc.). Okay, this was an old ship even at that time but it was always very dirty (perhaps, it was also too uncomfortable for the crew to keep things shipshape (no pun intended). After this cruise, my husband and I swore we would never sail with Carnival again. So much for swearing...move forward about 15 years... Our second (and, without a doubt our very last, forever, no way) cruise was on the Splendor. It was a brand new ship with only two voyages before ours. It was cruising out of Dover, England and would be visiting Northern Europe/Baltic ports. Our brother and sister-in-law talked us into joining them on this trip. Although we were very hesitant to go on this cruise, we decided we would give Carnival another try. I mean a brand new ship - how bad could itt be? Pretty bad, if you want my opinion. . We were on the Spa deck (10) in a handicap room (at the very front of the ship - there are two locations on board the ship for handicap access rooms (the very front or the very back (right next to the crew's metal stairway!). The doorways to these cabins have a wall opposite them making maneuverability difficult if you're using a motorized scooter. They door to the room does open automatically to let you get in when you put your card in the slot (we didn't know about this feature until we were five days into the trip because the door was not functioning when we got on the ship). One problem with that was that the door automatically closed whether you were in the room or in the doorway...smash!!!!!!!!!!! goes the door into your scooter, leg, etc. . Food was alright (nothing special). The desserts (sugar-free) were the same as on our first cruise... The food court was very disorganized and at some points on the line you actually had to reach across food to get to other food (yuck!). . The Styrofoam carvings were - well - there! Ugly - if they didn't want to do fruit carvings or ice carvings... okay, but Styrofoam with plastic flowers just didn't meet our standards. . Shore excursions - who knows! If you were unable to walk well or couldn't climb steps - you needn't bother to book any tours. You can get off the ship and ride your scooter or wheelchair up and down the dock - but, don't expect to go sightseeing. I could go on and on, but I won't. I would like to add one bit of information though, 10 years prior to this cruise we went on the Royal Princess to the same ports (with the exception of Germany) and it was FABULOUS!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008

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