8 Harwich Family Cruise Reviews

Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room ... Read More
Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room was not properly cleaned, esp. the balcony (there were slippers, pills from previous guests underneath the bed and plates from breakfast were left in the balcony for days). The windows throughout the ship were dirty, floors in common areas were disgusting by dinner time. The worst entertainment program and cruise director we ever experienced (dull bingo and questions activities, a couple playing songs on playback at centrum, four presentations of MJ's thriller with guests and the list goes on). There is a feeling that the crew is overworked and that a bad working environment is affecting the quality of service. We heard rumours that crew's salary were paid by our gratuities. We were appalled to receive an envelope for extra gratuities the last day, given we paid 18% mandatory gratuity in advance and over each service we bought on the cruise. We gladly tip services that are excellent but we dislike the effect of "being invited" to do so in such a forceful manner. We did a wonderful caribbean cruise with RC but this trip made us reconsider our next travel arrangements. I hope you read my review bf booking this. Plus, if you can, leave from Stockholm. Nothing to do in harwich and it adds 3 days to the cruise that are a killer... Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as ... Read More
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as the week went on, but started off ok. I shall start with the food. I found the food to be poor at best in the main dining room. One evening we had the choice of the Roast beef. Out of 8, 6 had the beef, 6 left the beef. Not once did anyone ask us what was wrong & why we did not eat the food. Who ever choose what went with the beef I question, why would you supply a grilled tomato with roast beef & gravy? If you don't like the food in the main restaurant, forget trying to get anything from the self service, that closes early & you have to wait 10.30pm before it reopens & offers poor pizza, and other rather tasteless items. The entertainment, well it was shocking at best! The main band could not play basic tunes that most wedding bands (yes I play in one) perform week after week. The singer could not sing in tune, the band were playing the wrong chords! They were probably the worst ships band I have ever seen. I even took recordings to play to real professional musicians, they found it highly amusing that these were no better than a UK pub band. In fact, I have seen & heard better. The main shows in the theatre were drab, although we had an excellent magician one night. The ships cast again struggled to sing the correct chords to the song, not good when the backing track, yes backing track, played the correct chords. Now my hearing at 46 is not how it used to be, but far better than theirs clearly. Don't expect any entertainment to be put on if you are not able to get ashore, they provided none when we had a howler of a day with the weather, but they will try to keep selling you things instead. We had an outbreak of novo virus on board, my wife is an insulin dependant diabetic, we had heard rumours that there was an outbreak, but it was finally announced 24hrs later. That didn't stop guests who had it still going out on deck. The staff did not stop them! Back to my wife.....the virus can affect her sugar levels, which is dangerous to her, so she went and asked at reception about the virus. She wanted to know if the outbreak gets worse, could she be informed, if nothing else than for us to stay in our cabin so she would not catch it. They advised her that she would be told along with everyone else, which she responded that could be too late. The following day we had over 24hrs sail back home, so to get ill in the middle of the North Sea is not ideal. The final insult was from a member of staff who mentioned on many occasions that she wished she were somewhere else as Norway is cold. Well sorry, I didn't go for the weather, I went for the spectacular scenery. If I heard her say 'if you seen one Fjord, you seen them all' again, I would go nuts. Sorry if you have to work where I want to go & see, sorry if they don't have the beaches of the Caribbean.....I don't care, I don't like wasting my life sitting on a beach. Im paying to come here, you are being paid, tough! One last thing, never book excursions onboard, they are a rip off....as I felt was being on that ship! Holland America, you should hold your head in shame, just because you have sold this ship, does not mean that I do not deserve the holiday I am paying you for. I feel cheated & know after sailing with other cruise's, that they don't offer value for money. I will not pay to sail with these ever again, especially as they couldn't even be bothered to respond to me....SHOCKING! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
After a superb experience cruising the Mediterranean last year aboard the Celebrity Silhouette, we took our daughters on a cruise around the British Isles this summer on the Celebrity Infinity, hoping for a similar experience. Sadly, our ... Read More
After a superb experience cruising the Mediterranean last year aboard the Celebrity Silhouette, we took our daughters on a cruise around the British Isles this summer on the Celebrity Infinity, hoping for a similar experience. Sadly, our experience aboard the Infinity did not meet our expectations. The cruise embarked from the port of Harwich, approximately a 2-hour drive from London. We opted for the Celebrity transportation from Heathrow Airport to Harwich and we were immediately disappointed. The company providing the transportation did not make themselves easily visible, although we did locate them. We were told that our bus would be here in 60-90 minutes and we were encouraged to explore Heathrow for coffee and breakfast and told to return in an hour. Ten minutes later, after our grown daughters had gone for shopping and coffee, we were told to get on the bus. This necessitated a mad dash around the airport on my part trying to reassemble our family, made all the more unpleasant by the rudeness of the transportation company which had just precipitated the problem with their misinformation. Perhaps the most unpleasant aspect of the cruise was the inaccurate itinerary advertised by Celebrity. All of the online material, the printed itinerary, and the dining itinerary indicated that on Day 8 (Monday August 11, 2014) and Day 9 (Tuesday August 12, 2014), the ship would be ported at Greenock, Scotland near Glasgow and about 2 hours from Edinburgh. This was very misleading. The ship arrived in port at Greenock at 7 am on 8/11/14 and departed 19 hours later at 2 am on 8/12/14. Thus, Day 9 was a day spent at sea, not in the port of Greenock. Thus, we had one day to see both Glasgow and Edinburgh, not two. I checked with multiple other passengers who had also interpreted the published schedule to mean that we had 2 days in port near Glasgow, not one. No one on the ship could explain why the itinerary did not mention that 8/12/14 was a Sea Day. We had signed up to see The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the evening of 8/11/14, not realizing that taking this excursion through Celebrity precluded us from touring the city of Edinburgh, which was one of the principle goals of the trip. For some reason, Celebrity constructed the excursion to Edinburgh for the Military Tattoo in such a manner that one could not tour the city in the morning and afternoon and see the show in the evening, which I suspect most passengers would have preferred. The other ports of call on the trip were fine, the highlight being a non-Celebrity tour of Cork, Cobh, Kinsale and the Blarney Castle in Ireland by eCoach tours. The food on the Infinity was good, the crew was pleasant if somewhat unenthusiastic, and the entertainment was superb. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The dining experience was fair. The servers in the dining rooms were great. They were very helpful about the next days ports and any other information we wanted to discuss. I would say the food wasnt the best - I expected better. There ... Read More
The dining experience was fair. The servers in the dining rooms were great. They were very helpful about the next days ports and any other information we wanted to discuss. I would say the food wasnt the best - I expected better. There certainly was a lot of food but the quality wasnt very good. We ate at both of specialty restuarants; Gioviani's and Chops. Both of them were good, we liked Gioviani's better. If traveling on Royal Caribbean just watch out for how much they nickle and dime you. Everywhere you turn there is a small fee for something. Even booking something on the ship cost extra. They also add gratuity for all the drinks without you noticing and then put a line for you to add extra gratuity. My biggest complaint with Royal Caribbean is the lack of communication within the team and the bad customer service. About 5 days before the cruise left one of the rooms (we had 5 total in our party) was cancelled - and with it all the excursions and dinners. Royal Caribbean couldn't figure out what happened and told us to book the excursions on board. When we got on board the team had no idea about the situation and honestly didn't really seem to care. They told us how the Miami office doesn't really communicate with them. I have to say the communication between the main office and the ship, and even on the ship itself was horrendous. Nobody ever knew what was going on or why something mysteriously happened. On our last day for excursions the night before our excursion got cancelled. Which it turns out it wasn't cancelled for all 8 of us, but just for the 2 people who's room had gotten cancelled prior to the cruise. However the people on board didn't know that until we figured it out and told them. Also before the cruise I had booked the specialty restaurants and the person helping me told me they would give me a credit of $160 on board for my troubles (spent 4 hours on the phone with them). However when I got on board they had no idea what I was talking about and refused to give me the credit. I believe Royal Caribbean can do a lot better with the customer service aspect and communication. I cannot begin to explain how frustrated I was standing in line for Guest Services or Excursions almost every day - wasting my vacation time. And the worst part was that we booked the cruise a year in advance and the excursions and dinners 5 months in advance to avoid this. I am very unhappy with Royal Caribbeans customer service and can say that I will not be cruising with them again until I am confident things will be better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
On the whole we didn't have a very good experience on this ship. My wife and I are both pensioners but we still like a bit of life. Most lounges were quite comfortable but the entertainment was quite boring. I suppose we are used to ... Read More
On the whole we didn't have a very good experience on this ship. My wife and I are both pensioners but we still like a bit of life. Most lounges were quite comfortable but the entertainment was quite boring. I suppose we are used to having karaoke nights and maybe singalongs with Thomsons or Princess. The shows we saw were poor compared to Thomson's. Also not a lot to do for us on the ship. These are a few suggestions that would improve this ship:- 1. Improve quality of food in the MDR and state clearly what is added to the meal, i.e. vinegarette, mayonnaise, cheese etc. (A lot of people like myself don't like things like this added to a meal) 2. Make sure meals are served hot 3. Reduce waiting time for courses to be served in main restaurant 4. When people are sharing a table and have to wait for other people to join the table don't let us have to wait too long for them. (Sometimes 20 minutes or more) 5. Add more tables to the ocean bar self service restaurant (Probably not possible) 6. Arrange food in a more orderly manner in the ocean bar without having to search for different foods 7. Keep coffee and tea hot 8. Ensure milk is constantly available 9. Reduce the price of drinks 10. Reduce the price of excursions 11. Improve the evening theatre entertainment 13. Have karaoke nights 14. Have midnight buffets 15. Have better entertainment in lounges 16. Make gratuities voluntary   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I have had 8 cruises and my wife has had over a dozen. We cruised on the Celebrity Infinity only because it was going to our ports of interest.  Overall, I was not pleased. Although the ship was well maintained and the staff members we ... Read More
I have had 8 cruises and my wife has had over a dozen. We cruised on the Celebrity Infinity only because it was going to our ports of interest.  Overall, I was not pleased. Although the ship was well maintained and the staff members we interacted with were exceptionally nice, several going beyond the call of duty to resolve some scheduling and excursion issues, I won't do this ship again. Reason #1 to not go on this ship is the "Stars of the Infinity" and the productions. It seemed that not only had none of the lead singers ever heard the originals, their voices were totally unsuitable for the songs assigned. With the concept that more is better, the stage was often flooded with people who could not and would not sing together. If you do not have the range, do not insert falsettos into songs that never had them. I was not sure if the sound manager was trying to cover up the horrible singing with the WORST mixing ever or perhaps is a half deaf sadist. Admittedly, the orchestra and choreography were very good, but they could not save the show. Everyone I asked seemed to have the same opinion except for one couple from Canada who thought the show was good. It was their first cruise. NOTE: A Beatles tribute band that played after we visited Liverpool was the highlight of the cruise entertainment as people were dancing in the isles, verses when they used the isles to leave bad performances by the "Stars". Reason #2 to not go on this ship is dining options. Dining in the main 'open' dining room was very good and our waiters were excellent and fun. There were 4 other dining options with up-charges ranging from $15 to $35 each per seating. Every other ship I have been on had a single specialty restaurant, which we normally visit, but we would have preferred additional regular dining options. My travel group did think the buffet was well done and especially enjoyed the ice cream bar and the pizza bar. Reason #3 to not go on this ship is drink prices. We are a captive audience and I expect to pay more but $9 for a bottle of Newcastle or can of Guiness! We were sailing out of London around the Emerald Isles. My wife and I typically spend about $300+ in drinks on a 7 day cruise, but alcohol, and especially wine prices just hurt my feelings too much. We spent $27 at the bars on the ship and all the rest on shore. In context, I was buying $90 bottles of Scotch on shore so I am not a Bud Lite kind of guy. I was also not paying $6 for a liter of water to take on the excursions. Bring your own bottle. I am sure we have been spoiled by being on much bigger ships and Disney cruises. If you don't know any better, this cruse was OK. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Well this was our first experience of a Celebrity cruise. We have cruised many times with Princess, RCL, Holland America, P&O (just once) and Scenic Tours. Up until now, our worst cruise was with P&O on the Oriana, but this comes a ... Read More
Well this was our first experience of a Celebrity cruise. We have cruised many times with Princess, RCL, Holland America, P&O (just once) and Scenic Tours. Up until now, our worst cruise was with P&O on the Oriana, but this comes a very close second. It was advertised a an Immersive Wine Cruise. That was of little interest to us, but we needed an accessible cabin with a twin next to it and this was the only option at the time of booking. I was assured that Celebrity was 5 star and we would have a great time. I would firstly like to say what was good about the cruise: Embarkation was speedy and efficient and we were in the buffet with a cup of tea in hand within 45 minutes of arriving at Harwich. We found all of the staff amazing. Without exception, they looked after both my disabled son and daughter and myself and partner. The staff in the buffet couldn't do enough for us and always had time to speak to my son and daughter and ask about their day. The cabins were adequate. We had two inside cabins on deck 3 and the beds were very comfortable, although the cabins were 'tired' and our valance was ripped and stained. I have to say that a plastic shower curtain sticking to your legs did not seem 5 star to me. Our two cabin stewards did their job, just, but we have had much better. On two occasions, the sheet on our bed was not even straightened and we had to pull the bottom of it down and tuck in ourselves before getting into bed. Guest relations were extremely helpful and we have no complaints at all with their friendliness or service. Now onto things that were not good; Firstly, I have never been on a ship where there were so many extremely rude and arrogant guests. There are always a certain number of people with no manners, but I would say 80% were positively Neanderthal! I cannot believe that people could stand at the buffet demanding omelettes, pastas, stir fry's etc without so much as a please or thank you! Shame on you. Unfortunately, I would rate the food in general as poor. We did eat mainly in the buffet as the restaurant did not have suitable choices for my son. The emphasis seems to be an Asian cuisine with and without the grill station, we would have been lost. The grill station was also the only way of getting hot food. The temperature of the food on the general buffet almost cold. The cleanliness of the ship also left a lot to be desired. I ran my finger along some of the chrome work in the buffet area and had to go and wash my hands. There was far less evidence of ongoing cleaning than on any other ship we had travelled on. Entertainment was generally good in the theatre, with the exception of the magician, who we watched pulling things out of his coat. The entertainment around the ship was not so good with the female resident singer being positively out of tune on every song....... not good for the ears and to be avoided at all costs. The shops sold very little that well travelled folks would want, mainly what we refer to in the UK as junk. To top it all, one of our cases was ripped on disembarkation. As we had to wait for our cases to be found, we didn't check them over. My new Antler case now has a two inch rip in the underside and apparently we cannot claim from Celebrity because we did not notice until we arrived home. I have to say that I am now worried as we booked with Celebrity for next year at the same time that we booked this cruise. We are doing 3 b to b's on the Eclipse, a total of 37 days. I hope that someone will tell me that the standard is going to be an awful lot better than the Infinity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Let me preface the following by saying we chose the cruise exclusively based upon the ports (La Coruna for Santiago, Porto, Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, and Malaga for Granada/Alhambra). We had never cruised on HAL before, with two prior ... Read More
Let me preface the following by saying we chose the cruise exclusively based upon the ports (La Coruna for Santiago, Porto, Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, and Malaga for Granada/Alhambra). We had never cruised on HAL before, with two prior European cruises being on Carnival and Princess. There were four of us in our traveling party, utilizing 2 inside cabins on the Main deck. Though the cruise began in Rotterdam, we joined the cruise in Harwich. Embarkation only had a slight hitch as the computers were down, yet we boarded around 11:30 a.m. and our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabins. Our first impression was the age of our fellow passengers, especially embarking with us in Harwich. As our party consisted of a 59, 62, 72, and 81 year old, we felt like youngsters among the cruisers. Our second impression was the size of our cabin. It was significantly larger than ones we have experienced on Princess or Carnival. It even included a couch! The room steward was efficient(which, as I will later relay, an unusual occurrance on the ship). The public areas were very classy and attractive, especially for an older, smaller ship than we had previously used. Our first experience with the staff, other than the room steward was dealing with the front office regarding their taking our passports prior to embarking on the ship. There was no reason given and there was no stating when they would be returned. When asked, the first gentleman just said we would get them when we get them. Thanks for the insight. Eventually, we demanded them the next day and they were given to us by another person at the front desk. Apparently, those who did not ask had them returned days later. The Lido and Dining room were staffed by people who either had limited English abilities or lacked the incentive to quickly deliver meals. Most meals were lukewarm or cold. In some cases, in the dining room orders were forgotten or misunderstood. As such the food was just okay. In the Lido, it looked like for every one person working, there were two watching. At the "burger" place on the Lido deck, slow would be a euphemism. The staff was totally indifferent. When we would see a staff member appearing to be enthusiastic, he or she would really stand out (e.g., at the late night desert party). At one of the Lido outside dinners, they ran out of items within the first hour. Room service was very efficient. The room steward provided us with fresh fruit, though the bananas were usually quite old. As for entertainment, the best was the first night singer and the second night "Broadway" singers and dancers. Unfortunately, it went down hill from there. There was a particularly unfunny gentleman who showed up twice (Broadway and Duet shows) and significantly put a damper on the other talented performers. The entertainment director did his best to promote enthusiasm, but the general age of the majority of the cruisers limited his effectiveness. The piano/singer seemed to work hard, but his music sounded more like elevator music. Indeed, the best entertainment was that provided by the house band and a singer in the upstairs lounge. Unlike other ships, there were no comedians.Overall, we found the activities on the ship, especially on sea days either limited or boring. The person who gave the 2 talks on the ports(about 30 minutes each or about 10 minutes per port) seemed to be giving them by rote memory. When we asked him for approximate cab costs from the port to the city(Porto), he turned out be off by 100%( it cost 10 euros not 20 euros). Overall, he seemed to exude the same indifference as much of the rest of the staff. We did appreciate the "lack" of constant announcements and selling as we had experienced on other lines. The shops were extremely limited in their offerings. For example, there were no t shirts representing the cruise. Instead, you could buy t shirts from the Baltic cruises. We found it difficult to purchase on board miscellaneous sundries. The casino was relatively tiny, but it appeared that the machines were not as tight as most cruise ships. The internet/Explorers lounge was rarely busy, so computers were readily available, though as on other ships, quite slow and costly. The person supervising the computers was helpful and knowledgeable. We did not use the pool area, though it was often covered, which made it comfortable. It looked like vary few people ever used the pool. The fitness room was up to date and rarely used by other cruisers. The wrap around deck 3 was great for power walking. I especially appreciated their Cancer Walk on the last sea day. As mentioned before, the ports were the primary reason for the trip and they did not disappoint. We used a private tour company at 3 of the ports, as they were at least 30-40% less than the HAL excursions. At the other ports we just walked off and did "our thing". I should add that the "hotel director/manager" did a wonderful job organizing a cruise critic meet and greet as well as inviting me to participate in post cruise evaluation(on the last day prior to our arrival in Barcelona). Overall, we found the ship to be adequate, but the staff not so much. We did not feel we belonged to the demographic of our fellow cruisers.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013

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