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16 Southampton to Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise to facilitate our onward journey to Victoria falls hence the title. It was the poshest ferry we've ever been on. Embarking was a doodle, on board within 30 minutes. Lovely cabin (wheelchair adapted) very spacious ... Read More
We booked this cruise to facilitate our onward journey to Victoria falls hence the title. It was the poshest ferry we've ever been on. Embarking was a doodle, on board within 30 minutes. Lovely cabin (wheelchair adapted) very spacious and with a large balcony, our cabin steward was one of the best we've had nothing was too much trouble. Getting around the ship was much easier than the Queen Mary and the decor was better. My wife enjoyed the craft class and the painting class and I enjoyed the peace and quiet to read which brings me to the library one of the best at sea. Not so keen on the Brittania restaurant food but the other venues were good especially the Golden Lion. The on board show company put on good shows slightly spoiled by the two girl singers who seemed to clash. The guest artists were excellent a wonderful flautist and an opera singer I nicknamed the pocket rocket. All in all an excellent trip. As for Victoria falls well that's another story. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife and I have just returned from the first two and a half legs of a QM2 world cruise. We were both in excellent health when we boarded this vessel but are now both suffering from coughs which we caught on QM2. I started coughing on ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the first two and a half legs of a QM2 world cruise. We were both in excellent health when we boarded this vessel but are now both suffering from coughs which we caught on QM2. I started coughing on 6th day of a 39 day cruise and although I paid to see the ships doctor the best he could do was offer a cough medicine, In Cape Town we did manage to get antibiotics which appeared to be working , the cough nearly cleared up but after a few further days came back with a vengeance, My wife's cough started about 4 weeks into the cruise and she had to visit a doctor in Melbourne as we were worried about the long flight home. About 1800 passengers left the cruise in Cape Town, about 25% of these were coughing. Coughing on the ship quietened down for a few days and then returned. Speaking to several long term Cunard cruisers it appears they either bring antibiotics and steroids from home or alternatively buy these in Tenerife which was our second stop. The onboard shops carried a few brand medicines and “strepsils” were being sold sometimes on the tables outside the shops they were so popular Although the cough is blamed by the captain on passengers getting on in Northern Region I feel there is a bug endemic to the ship probably spread through the air conditioning system. Be as it may when a cruise of this type is booked we should be warned of the possibility of getting a cough as this is something the cruise lines themselves will never take responsibility Turning to the Cruise itself we did not realise the wind and gales that would occur which for a lot of the time people were unable to sit on the side of the ship or at the top. This meant that the only place to sit out was at the rear at which there was no shade. With regards to facilities on the ship we dined in The Britannia dining room, the food was good and the service was first class. Our cabin 4133 was again very good and the cabin steward could not have been more helpful. Reception staff, contrary to what I have read in some reviews were always courteous and extremely helpful. I also liked the way they handled our passports, Once we had cleared South African customs the passports were taken from us and returned a couple of days before we reached Freemantle when we had face to face with Australian customs officials onboard. This made our visit to Australia so much easier. Entertainment Shows were good and some of the speakers, both celebrity and enrichment were first class. My view of this cruise is obviously tainted by the continuous coughing affecting the ship, My wife and I have done in excess of 25 cruises and hopefully this will not be our last but we will be very careful in choosing length of cruise, time of year and cruise company. This cruise was to get away in January and February but from now on we will stick to Canaries Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very ... Read More
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very little input from Princess Cruises themselves to explain their failings has not helped and that their only offering of their ‘sincere apologies’ (5 times over in the same ‘reply) does tend to wears a bit thin! A recent ‘final twist’ should however prove to be to the added benefit of many cruise passengers when visiting certain Indian Cruise Ports in the future, saving them significant costs, time and inconvenience This was to be our 35-36th cruise (if you count the 2 sectors) and we are well used to making allowances for some operator failings and loss in our expectations. Earlier last year we had also completed a comparable 50 Night cruise on the P&O Arcadia, only our second P&O if discounting their former Ocean Village brand. We had hopes and expectations of Princess equaling or surpassing it but sadly it did not even come close. There were only 4 new ports of call for us, Phuket, Ko Samui, Bali and Busselton, all of which were to be tendered. Most of our cruises have been with Princess but our strong allegiance to the brand was to be sorely tested on this occasion. From the onset the now well-written about ‘Indian Visa Farce’, along with the multiple mis-management issues affecting most passengers, were so far-removed from the standards of customer service portrayed in the recent Royal Princess ITV cruise series. We had sailed on this ship in the Baltic for 14 N in 2014 and was brilliant. Lest we were to forget the positives of this cruise we did find the staff, away from the customer services desk area, to be excellent - in terms of their levels of service, engagement and their maintaining good eye-contact throughout the cruise! The freedom dining service within the Michelangelo Dining Room, along with that in the International Café; both located on the deck 4 as and our cabin; were also at their best. To be able to walk-around the ship on the promenade deck on this class of ship is an appealing feature for us. Sadly this is fast disappearing from current cruise ship designs In our early reading of the ‘Roll-Call’ for this cruise we had identified that there were many troubles and issues being raised in obtaining the Indian Visa, in a variety of countries – both in cost-terms and sheer frustration in form-filling, visiting VFS offices, etc. We know that Princess have delivered so much to us in the past, hence we have remained loyal to them. We can only hope that despite their unwillingness to formally accept constructive criticism from many more that, they will address these and other concerns already expressed to them. With our having been to Cochin twice before we drew those visa problems to Princess Cruises attention and sought their approval to being allowed to stay on-board ship without our having to purchase a visa – cited as being possible in some cruise passengers previously posted reviews. After 3 weeks deliberation they confirmed, that “all guests visiting India must have a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa. Visas must be obtained prior to the cruises and cannot be obtained onboard. Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation”. “You need to check with your travel agent or the government Authorities (VFS Global) and refer to CIBT (their preferred visa agent)”. Princess went on to REPEAT that “If you arrive at the terminal in Southampton without the relevant paper work then you will be denied boarding.” Faced with the latter ‘ultimatum’, were we not to adhere to their repeated directives and been refused boarding, we would likely be considered to be in breach of our (all?) travel insurance company’s cover. Like many more who would have preferred to have been given that same option, we felt that we had no choice but to get the visa - which both VFS & CIBT were also then recommending (advising?) as also being needed. The passenger mix on-board was far different to any of our previous cruises. For the first leg it was given out as the ship being Full – 3,028 Passengers with 1,405 – UK/ Ireland, 939 – Australia/NZ, 612 - USA / Canada We had also read on the passenger ‘roll-call’ that the cruise had been ‘over-booked’, as quite a number of them had received some amazing offers to stand-down. Some were being offered stand-downs during the cruise and as late as disembarking in Melbourne instead of Sydney. On the day of embarkation there was chaos and confusion at the check-in desks at the Southampton terminal. We subsequently learned that it was caused and compounded by conflicting directives being given by Princess Management to their personnel. Again, please excuse there being more details than I would normally wish to include in a review as it may help to fill – in some of the facts surrounding the circumstances of this ‘unique’ (all for the wrong reasons) cruise experience, to fellow passenger. The situations played-out at the Cruise Terminal can be summarised:- 1) Check-in staff had only been briefed that very morning to process all passengers without the correct visa documentation and to allow them to board the ship - but were to initially ‘fine-them’ £200 / $200?pp 2) One passenger we met was advised by Princess check-in staff that ‘over half’ the passengers were expected to arrive with the wrong visa or no visa at all and that the ship would be sailing half-empty and therefore the staff are being told to accept them for boarding”. 3) The check-in staff were later instructed l to drop those charges and to allow any further such passengers to check-in and to board. (those that had been ‘fined’ were re-credited). 4) Some of those passengers with no / incorrect visa were warned that they may have to depart the ship in Dubai and fly to Phuket and later rejoin the ship - which seemed most odd! 5) Others were told that their Cruise Cards would be ‘blocked’ so as to prevent them disembarking in India, which also seemed to be at odds with those ‘Dubai’ references. 6) Even the check-in personnel were openly questioning the indecisions and inconsistencies given by their own management team (Princess?). Princess had obviously not thought-through the significant consequences of making an extremely late decision - to effectively break / ignore their own ‘binding’ Contracted Booking Conditions - which they themselves had dictated and ‘imposed’ upon all of their fare-paying passenger’s. Least of all in their minds were the affects that their unilateral decision would have upon the vast majority of their loyal passengers – all those of us that, at some considerable cost(s) and time, had fully complied with those now very questionable Princess Conditions. A passenger we spoke with frequently (first-time cruisers), had met the Captain in the bar and asked him as to why all those passengers had been allowed to board. He was advised that, ‘because there were so many without visas; ‘upwards of 230’; it was felt that we could not leave so many in the port’ – ‘It may be that the Indian authorities will fine them $300 or so?’ Princess on-board management rather shamefully, chose instead to laud all the blame on to India for their having supposedly ‘changing of their rules – again!’ That was totally unfounded, as even CIBT (Princess recommended Visa Agents) have subsequently advised that there had not been any recent changes to India’s Visa requirements. Customer Services Supervisor when asked 10 days in to the cruise for the actual affected passenger numbers said ‘we do not know’ and 2 days later their Senior Manager was ‘not at liberty to divulge’. Neither would they clarify, then or since, those passenger numbers involved or as to why they had decided to breach their own conditions. Impressions were given of a major cover-up going on? With a further circa 300 passenger change-over in Dubai, references were made to most of those as not having a visa for India either. That may account to comments upon previously published reviews, referring to there being ‘several hundred’ without ‘the correct documentation’. As ‘converts’ of Princess to the benefits of their Freedom / shared dining (now adopted by other cruise-lines) this issue inevitably would get raised by someone during the table conversation at virtually all mealtimes. On a number of occasions we were also unfortunate enough to be witness to some of the shameful behaviour by staff Passenger Services members , who were disrespectfully shouting and / or talking down to passengers. Most distressing for those passenger and very upsetting for all those around the desk area at the times, including ourselves. Other passenger comments on this have also been previously aired in reviews. Immigration officials from India had boarded in Dubai and started their processing of visa checking the next day and were completed by the following afternoon. With immigration checks being completed the day before we were to arrive in Cochin a standard open-letter from the Princess Legal Department was issued to all cabins, seen as a belated attempt to try to defuse the situation. Passengers wishing to make claims were asked to ‘please reach out to a member of our Customer Relations staff upon your return home’. It also included 3 different e-mail addresses, one for the UK, Australia/NZ and USA/ Canada. Not to be interpreted as having taken benefit from their visas, there were 70 plus with correct visas not wanting to go ashore, ourselves included, elected to remain on-board - in the company of the ‘several hundred’ or so of those without ‘correct documentation’. We were also joined by large numbers of Indian families sampling the on-board bars and dining facilities Potentially, this should allow those passengers to reclaim the visa cost from Princess for their breaching of their own conditions - or so you may have thought! The UK & USA seemed to be given the ‘short-straw’ in that their e-mail addresses included ‘customer services’ as a prefix. Those of us from the UK seeking reimbursement of their visa costs from the UK have been advised to the effect “nor am I able to reimburse you for the visas you purchased”. Do not know what the USA passengers have since been advised? The Australian / NZ passengers were however assigned an e-mail address with a ‘claims’ prefix – but currently do not know how their claims have been dealt with either. This is not helped by Princess installing ‘firewalls’ between those 3 regions – to prevent cross-reading / interrogations of information including their differential pricings, etc. What has since been determined is that Carnival Group adopt a ‘Will be denied boarding ..without the correct documentation’ conditions wording (seemingly now only when it suits them?). However their P&O Australia brand independently conveys ‘May be denied boarding’ –in line with that conveyed by the RCI & Fred Olsen cruise line brands. Got to give it to the Aussies - they get to say it as it is! (They also remove fixed gratuity charges and insist £AUD on-board currency on cruises out of Australia - another lesson for the UK?) None of the cruise-lines, nor VFS Global and CIBT (+other agents?), elect to specifically cite and / or promote the Consulate General of India’s (CGI ) directive which confirms that there is definitely no need to obtain a visa if you remain on-board any ship whilst it is in any Indian Port. Only common-sense really, when most of the crew do exactly the same when the cruise ships are in port. Why therefore should passengers be discriminated against by Princess (+ other cruise lines?) Instead Princess attempt to thwart those same Indian Statutory rights from being recognised, for their own fare-paying passengers - by adopting a form of ‘weasel words’ to try to convey otherwise? At the time of this cruise Princess had included a reference in the Cruise Personaliser; only readable via your insertion of a bespoke passenger booking reference number; that read “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices“– (this has however since been removed from their current cruise conditions – see later). Both VFS Global and CBIT have repeatedly failed to advise applicants of that same very clear CGI directive. More recently and rather selectively both of those bodies’ had no such problems in their recognising and passing-on to applicants the recent directive issued by CGI to increase the price for the Indian Tourist Visa by a further £10. Particularly for the benefit of those who also experienced this cruise I paste here a post-cruise ‘explanation’ offered-up by Princess. Not only does it differ to that conveyed in a separate e-mail from ‘them’ (Carnival), it is also at odds with the content of their own letter issued some 2 weeks in to the cruise to all those passengers registering formal complainants (presumably in an attempt to try to diffuse the situation?). Fact versus fiction you may say – “As explained during your cruise, the Indian Immigration Authorities decided that as they had allowed one couple to board without the required visa, they decided others would be permitted to do so as well, but would not be permitted to go ashore in Cochin. This meant those guests who decided to not purchase a visa prior to travel were allowed to board on immigration officials agreement, as opposed to being denied boarding as would normally be the case.” Compare that with, thirteen days in to the cruise – those passengers with no / incorrect visa had still not been notified officially of being able to stay on ship without incurring a penalty etc. for their doing so (confirmed by the Customer Services Desk). Also at that time Princess were still awaiting feed-back from the Indian Immigration authorities, as to whether those with no visas / incorrect visas would even be allowed to even stay on the ship’. A number of those we spoke to ‘without visas’ were still worried that they may have to disembark in Dubai – poor communications to them by Princess and so long after leaving Southampton! The 80-90+% of passengers that had complied fully with Princess Cruises conditions; paying sums which varied greatly between £250 to $1300 per couple (for the sake of an 8 hour stop in Cochin) had not been given any thoughts or respect they deserved by Princess. On the face of it, those passengers allowed to board without having laid out any expense (money and substantial time, etc) for an Indian visas were effectively made in to ‘winners’ - entirely due to Princess not invoking their own Conditions with them. They were not fined as some of them had expected to be. However, an e-mail between one of those passengers without a visa dated the 30.08.16; to / from the CGI (Consulate General India) Birmingham office; was presented and copies made and readily circulated as proof by them that they had personally done nothing wrong. They had merely exercised the very clear and precisely conveyed option, granted to ‘a foreigner’ to remain on board (in any Indian Port) without there being a need to obtain a visa. CGI are the very body that regulates Indian Visas (VFS Global are only their bespoke visa handling agents). That CGI e-mail statement has since been independently validated, along with the same information from their Visa Support Centre, that states:- “A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same.”……. Etc. This tended to put the blame fairly and squarely back on to Princess’s own shoulders. Seemingly the likes of both VFS + CIBT + other agents (?) were all too readily to have ‘supported’ them, however all make their living (money) out of the selling of Tourist visas. Despite this very specific information being re-presented to all of them, up to 12 weeks ago they continued to be in denial of that being an alternative option to buying a visa. Princess however still wanted to maintain that their ‘passengers will be denied boarding etc…’stance. VFS Global when pressed quoted that “You need to check with the Cruise Company as it all depends on their requirements”! Princess of course originally contended “I hope that you can understand Princess Cruises have no influence in this (VISAS)”. Had Princess decided to adhere to their own rules for this cruise, it is not difficult to work out that they would have potentially lost-out upon a 10 -15% benefit from their on-board spend, expensive excursions and their ever-increasing gratuities. Could it be the ‘$ker-ching’, factor had ruled their heads? This is the first Princess cruise that we have heard of some USA passengers exercising their right to sign-out of the daily gratuity charge. What message does that send- out I wonder? I subsequently put to Princess Cruises a number of simple but pertinent questions. In-keeping with everything else presented to them, they have declined to answer. Examples :- Would Princess expect 230+ - 500+ (subject of Princess Ratification) individual passengers to turn up for the cruise embarkation (in Southampton + Dubai) with no India Visa? Would all those passengers have independently risked contravening / breaching of Princess’s Booking & T&C’s and thereby render their own Insurance covers null and void, had they not been given professional advices that they could stay on ship? For Princess check-in staff to have been given conflicting advices by their management on allowing those with no visas to board the cruise; in direct conflict with the Princess’s own conditions; Princess management must have somehow ‘gleaned’ some time beforehand that there would be a major problem on that day concerning visas and how could they have known? By now it was getting to feel a bit like ‘Miss Marple’at this point? PRINCESS HAVING A ‘PREVIOUS HISTORY’ Princess have been asked repeatedly to confirm any of their cruise ships that have ever refused boarding, solely for their not having the correct visa documentation - at the time and since and have failed to do so. Had they done, it may well have served to quash the matter as it would likely have been verifiable from past posted cruise reviews? Princess have however seemingly ‘pulled the same trick’ on their much smaller Pacific Princess World cruise only 2 years ago – see:- http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2229888&page=19 – shelldo1 2.11.16. This only serves to convey contempt for the opinions of their loyal passengers, adding to the already loss of faith and trust that we personally now have of Princess as a leading cruise brand. Our lesson learned is to never believe what Princess Staff tell you whilst on-board, as seemingly it counts for nothing, even if you record them! It is as though no-one in the Princess organisation is willing or expected to take ‘ownership’ and / or responsibility for their own repeated serious staff-failures. Their important Information messages - about Visas, Passports, etc., instead of being conveyed on the front page of the Princess Patter, were only being presented on the Wake Show. Only a small percentage of passengers find the time to watch and on this cruise was further compounded by the frequent time-zone adjustments. 4No. ‘Serious Messages’ were conveyed by the Customer Services Director for the morning of the 24th October- two days after Cochin (had been pr-recorded hence was worded for the day at Sea after Cochin). – See https://youtu.be/EP4mFEEjlZE - 24.10.16 – Item 4of4 which conveys:- “The last ‘serious’ -I want to talk about on the Wake Show is the Visa Issue with India. As you know we have had a Lot of Passengers upset about the India Visa situation. We do know, we do understand. We have sent a letter to your cabin that the Corporate office is dealing with this and I wanted everyone to know a little bit of follow-up”. We had a huge meeting yesterday. Corporate officials flew in from Santa Clarita.” We met with the Chief Immigration and the Chief in Charge of the Ports as well to discuss all the issues that we have with them this cruise, including the onboard issues and some of the visa issues, some of the face to face issues - a lot of various problems. Ah, they know that, they understand that, it is being discussed still.” I am sorry there is no outcome that I am going to be able to give you – this year!” It is something India is slowly working on and trying to fix and at this point I can let you know to watch the near future and see what happens” Princess Cruises have been frequently requested to explain what that message was all about but have declined to do so. So why then did they choose to have put-it-out on TV if Princess (?) and their passengers would not understand it? My perception is that crew members are normally allowed ashore without themselves or Princess having to ‘buy’ a visa for them and that on this particular occasion the ‘local port authorities’ were creating difficulties for them – possibly because they had lost-out on the income from those visas? - See what you can make of the video clip! Tendering - On the same Wake Show / video, another of the CR Director’s ‘Important Messages’ concerned a decision to suspend / cancel priority tendering for Elite Passengers. This seriously questions their skill of basic maths, with 900 Elite out of 3000 passenger (30%) being determined by them as - “ So, as you know as an Elite passenger we normally have priority tendering we can do in some ports unfortunately that’s almost the whole ship so unfortunately we will not be having an Elite tendering lounge for our tendering in to Thailand”. Passports – The taking and late returning of passports was also farcical and rather irresponsibly executed on the part of Princess. They had recently decided to adopt a system whereby the cabin stewards are charged with collecting your passports at various set times, but do not give you a receipt card for them - as normal practice (still common practice on other cruise-lines?). Rather hypocritically of their system, the steward has to get a passenger’s signature each time they return the passports to the guest’s cabins- why different? An added role and responsibility for already over-worked cabin stewards you may think? – Good guess may well be it reduces staffing costs and does not cost the company? Their CS Manager subsequently explained that it is part of a ‘new Princess System’, introduced earlier in the year "in order to save paperwork”! When mentioning the unnecessary nightly junk-mail in our box to him – he rather flippantly responded with ‘that is another department sir’. I also reminded him that there are some very expensive visas inside most passenger’s passports (ours also having the even more expensive 2 Year China Visa). Their ‘new system’ however effectively places their passengers in breach of most, if not all, of the UK Holiday Insurance Company’s T&C’s. It also conveys that Princess are being rather ‘cavalier’ when it comes to the safeguarding of their guests personal and ‘intellectual property’, data etc. The need to obtain a receipt when parting with your passport has been mentioned several times on recent UK Holiday and consumer TV programmes as a ‘savvy tourist -reminder’! Yet another blinkered obsession of considering only their company interests ahead of their passengers when looking at cost-cutting! As one passenger has already posted on this site - “On the last day of the cruise the cabin steward was giving back our passports they were stacked on his Trolley for anyone to touch …………. A bit lax to say the least!” - Wood, Leeds http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/princess-cruises/emerald-princess/read-review-114479/ Re-boarding the ship in Singapore, our passports were again collected, only this time from inside the Terminal bridge link to the ship (no receipt given!). The Customer Services manager advised that they had to account for all of the passports as a Port Authority pre-requisite to leave the port and for Princess to ‘scan- them in’(?). About an hour later, the Captain came over the PA system, apologising for the delay to departure – as they were still missing 19 Passports which were “preventing the ship from leaving the port”. Some passengers were obviously rather more assertive in holding on to their passports with no receipt than we were? As Princess do not seem to want to know about this serious flaw; assuming of course that they intend to continue with it; I would advise taking your passports to the desk (on those stated collection dates) and insist that they give you a receipt for them. Another bit of cost-nibbling to watch out for is the free internet minutes available to Captains Circle members, Platinum and above. The threshold for the 500 minutes free package coming-in has recently been raised to 21+night cruise durations (from 17). The 250 minutes is still however a nice ‘loyalty reward’ to derive benefit from. Also look out for changes to their Future Cruise Deposit (FCD) forms which do not now benefit those passengers without internet access / skills. The option for passengers to be issued with a hard-copy confirmation (to your cabin) has been withdrawn so you can now only receive one by e-mail. The FCD is also no longer useable on future cruises over 45 Days duration (replaced by a supposed 3% price reduction?) – All this is in the very small ‘Specsaver-proof’ print included on the form. A widow-friend on-board had no e-mail address (then) but had been assured by the FC consultant that she would receive a hard-copy confirmation for the 2 further future cruise credits she had recorded on her form. No hard-copy was ever received. Although her credit card had been debited for 2 some three months later her TA advised her that Princess had only credited her with 1. Her companion, who had not even filled in a form for any FCC, had her credit card debited £75 for a single FCC. These are very basic errors and although since corrected, you may wish to carefully check your own Princess particulars on their web-site and upon your Credit Card statement in the future. Feeling reticent about taking out a further FCC it was late-on in the cruise that I tried to drop off our own form with the FC consultant but she was always busy. For the very first and last time, I decided to use their drop-box service. I had taken a photo of the form and only when I had not received an e-mail confirmation did I open the photo file and noticed that, whilst I had completed and signed the form, I had failed to insert our cabin number (my error). Being no hard-copy confirmations issued whilst you are still on-board ship allows them to process these forms post- cruise. However they cannot subsequently ‘manually’ rectify any missing or incorrect details, as indeed common-sense may have otherwise dictated if processed on-board? They are also adamant that this cannot be done retrospectively either. Had it been missing from a form for a cruise excursion I would imagine that someone would have had the ‘nouse’ to have obtained a cabin number? As things have panned-out since, with Princess being in denial of their staff failing or decisions, we had no plans to risk them again in the foreseeable future. Rather disappointing to experience that Princess standards had fallen so fast on this particular cruise, particularly when our recent experiences of ‘sister companies’, on bothP&O and Cunard, they have managed to have ‘upped-their-game’ and standards!. By Princess not wanting to take ownership / responsibility for their own personnel failures and management decisions I can now relate somewhat to the judges cover-up summation in the $40m 'magic pipe' case in which Princess Cruises were given a record fine for dumping waste at sea. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/02/the-40m-magic-pipe-princess-cruises-given-record-fine-for-dumping-oil-at-sea Entertainment Always subjective in terms of personal likes /dislikes and by our past experiences we have found that Princess usually manages to strike it somewhere ‘in the middle”. For the first 10 days or so the main shows were pretty good but then, apart from the odd exception eg. Jo little, they failed to impress many. This showed itself by the drastic fall-off in audience numbers, particularly for the late shows. The Princess show-team were judged by many to be below average, even resorting to miming songs on some occasions. Daytime activities were much the same, poor by any standard. If you strip-away the potential revenue- generating activities of spa treatment, therapy ‘demonstrations’, art auctions, ever-expensive bingo etc there was not much left. Carpet bowls, croquet (infrequent) and the like were all-over-the-place in terms of venue(s) and / or timings. Even the Champagne (fizzy water?-cheap) hoop-la started off on deck with 6 bottles (to be ‘hooped’). This was later replaced to 4pegs to be ‘hooped’ – best of 3 go’s - with only the one bottle prize when brought indoors (most days). Health & Safety gone mad they say – another cost-cutting scheme more-like? The first mention of Remembrance Day was in the Patter & the Wake Show for that very morning - mentioning the Service 11/11 held in the theatre - even the organisers were taken-aback as it proved to be standing room only. There was no pre-selling of poppies either and with their bringing forward the auctioning off of the Navigational Chart 3 days to that same afternoon we had expected the proceeds would have been donated to the Poppy Appeal (as P&O do). The $1,100 approx was however allocated for a Princess Charity. Has supporting the war-dead and associated charities now become yet another victim of being too ‘PC’? I trust that this additional information has served to enlighten those who experienced this cruise and that it may ultimately bring-about a change to Princess’s approach to their cost-cutting programme. Likewise, consider changes to the Indian Visa situation and to assist those when contemplating their future cruise itineraries, with Princess and / or other cruise lines. And now for the Twist - Indian Visa ‘breaking news’:- I am very surprised that this significant change has not been presented in the Main Tourist Media. From the 1st April 2017 the Indian High Commission (HCI) / Consular General of India(CGI) have included 3 ports (Cochin, Goa & Mangalore) to their on-line e-Visa system. Previously this was just for airports and effectively reduces the cost to $50 US pp - reported by initial users as being issued in circa 3 days. You can now find the instructions for an e-visa in the following web-site link - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html Their site information, responsibly and commendably, even warns of the on-line search engine risk of sending you to the wrong site link, by virtue of – “It is advised not to believe or fall in trap of any such unscrupulous elements who claim speedy/express grant of e-Visa and charge money for it” Recent access to the Princess Cruise Personaliser (only accessible after booking a cruise and then using a booking reference) for the current Majestic Princess cruise visiting Cochin in June17 has revealed that Princess have now made some very significant changes to their own Conditions - relatively ‘on the quiet’! It would seem that it had been re-compiled prior to the 1.04.17. and had already removed their previous conditions that we had cited to them as being potentially inequitable, namely:- “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation.” Likewise they had replaced their “Must have a multi entry Tourist Visa” with “staying onboard or going ashore require an Indian visa”. However, being compiled prior to the 1.04.17, this should be subsequently reworded as it is now negated by the introduction of the eTV for Cochin. Likewise the CGI (+HCI) statements should also now be automatically recognised / accepted (whereby the alternative option of staying on-board, without the need for a visa is an Indian statutory entitlement) Conversely, still included was an addition of “Please note that a regular Tourist visa is required; the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) is not valid for cruise passengers” as this would also now become redundant - by virtue of the introduction of the e-TV ie, for all cruise ship arrivals / departures for the current 3 ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore. However it took Princess 26 days in to April before formally ‘recognising’ this eTV change. This was done by notifying their passengers by e-mails (+ by respective Cruise Personalisers), however they can still be considered rather ambiguous and misleading by their very wording:- “Please be advised that the visa information for India has recently been updated on your voyage. Most nationalities require a visa for India if staying aboard or going ashore and it must be obtained in advance. Electronic Tourist Visas (eTVs) are now available for visitors entering India via the Cochin Seaport. We do not recommend eTVs for guests going ashore on Princess excursions or independent tours, as processing time at the port may be lengthy and we cannot be responsible if you miss your scheduled tour due to immigration delays.” Effectively, they are advising passengers; despite the much cheaper and easier to obtain eTV being valid; to obtain a full tourist visa at a cost £135- £260 pp (UK) for Princess to be able to guarantee that passengers can take, or rather make, their normally more expensive tours - preferring that their client’s should pay out a further £95-£220 more pp for their 8 hour stay? Wow! This comes across as ‘a really big-ask’ of their passengers (see later Cochin port advices). Princess still do not convey that you do not even need any Visa for any Indian Port if you were to chose instead to remain on-board ship as reaffirmed by both the official Consular General / High Commission of India confirmations That was even the case before and post 1.04.17. It has even been further reaffirmed by CGI / HCI after the 1st April by both those parties (and now endorsed by VFS since):- 1. A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. 2. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same. 3. Else, you may apply for an e-Visa which is valid for entry through 3 designated seaports (i.e. Cochin, Goa, Mangalore). The validity of e-Visa will be 60 days from the date of arrival in India. This is also verifiable should you wish to do so via these UK e-mail address links:- info.cgibirmingham@gmail.com - Consulate General of India Birmingham (CGI) info.london@hcilondon.in – High Commission of India London (HCI) (similar offices in other countries I suspect?) This ‘remain onboard’ entitlement applies to any Indian port (not just the 3ports accepting the eVT) and is applicable to ‘any foreigner’. VFS Global have now finally accepted this to be the case (despite there being no commission for them). This followed on from their failure to advise an applicant ‘post 1.04.17’ of the e-TV change or the remain on ship /no visa option, and their subsequent confirmation:- “However considering the fact that the Consulate General of India in Birmingham has advised you otherwise. We will raise this with the concerned authority and resolve this urgently for the benefit of our applicants and update our teams accordingly. In the meanwhile we will suggest you to please follow the instructions provided to you by the Consulate General of India, Birmingham”. With the availability of the significantly lower cost and ease in obtaining the new eVT this should now become less of an issue. Those with limited physical abilities and those of us who have been before may opt to save upon unnecessary expenditure. Although it has proved very difficult to get these points across to a number of the various parties over these last six months, it now seems that such persistence has gone some way to produce a significant change. Future cruise passengers should derive significant benefits from these changes, hopefully for many years to come. Or to put it another way - based upon 3,000 passengers; using the UK data; this could now potentially save cruiser passengers an average of £95 - £220 pp = £285 – 660K ($370 - 858K US) per ship! If only Princess were to be more transparent and clear and precise as the Indian Authorities have now proved to be! Their ambiguity only serves to confuse and disappoint. Americans who are offered the option of a 10 year full Indian visa may however wish to consider the individual longer term benefits to them. Apparently the Princess Cruise Personaliser for China is still insisting upon a double-entry visa, even though this was in fact superseded by a 2 year multiple entry visa back In January 2016 in the UK and almost doubled the price. We can only hope that Princess can somehow start to turn things around and begin to act upon genuine well intended customer feed-back? Happy Cruising. Ports of Call Tips Civitavecchia –Have visited here many times. Port shuttle coaches now drop you at a coach terminus which is further from the station for the trains in to Rome (10 Euro return) – now a 20 Min walk . At the coach terminus we noticed there were min-buses waiting with wi-fi facility for 20 Euro pp return journey in to Rome. Naples – Our having done Pompeii, Herculaneum and Amalfi coast ‘to death’ we tried one of the underground Walking Tours – particularly good if the weather turns. The one we did was Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground) only 10 Euro pp and took just 90 minutes to do, Others include the Catacombs. Those who did Capri by hydrofoil reported as being too rushed and very busy. Messina – Previously done the Godfather tour + Coastline & Etna (all good).A showery day so this time we opted for a leisurely walk in the town taking in the Messina Cathedral’s Musical Bell Tower at 12 noon. There were plenty of taxis at the port gates with really good value alternative tour options available. Suez Canal – A perfect sunny and mill-pond like waters transit. Narration of the points of interest over the PA was quite informative. Aqaba (Jordan) – Petra tour is a must if not done before. Whilst not cheap, those who did it independently as a group reported their experiencing more and their’s being far better value than the ship tour. The Waddi Rum experience also had good feed-back from those who did it – one for us next time around. There was no visa charge made nor was there a $25US admin fee levied (as was conveyed in the Princess Cruise Personaliser)! A free locally arranged transit port shuttle bus service was provided in to the town terminus and tourist centre where taxis and open-top Ho-Ho tourist bus connections were available Dubai – Do not rely on any references to a ‘Free Shuttle’ as this was a ‘no-show’ - despite the Wake Show announcing there was a service and the Reception Desk ‘making-up’ times when asked. Just take a taxi (cheap) to Dubai World Trade Centre from where you can either walk to the Souk and / or catch the underground to the elevated mono rail to the Burj Khalifa etc. (Pre-book the tower on –line beforehand – circa 16:00 is good (if time allows) to get the sunset as well). Make sure you use the official metered cream coloured Dubai Transport Corporation taxi cabs (pink trim have female drivers). Cochin – The presentation was for us to arrive in to the ‘new terminal’ but the day before it was changed back to the former ‘coal-yard’ berths. They had however managed to tidy it up a little in 6 years and aligned a fair number of Gazebo covered stallholders to screen-off – as we looked down from the ship! If you choose to purchase the eTV /visa and go ashore try the tuk tuk’s – far better experience than any tour. You see more, interact with the lovely locals and it is so cheap. We were told by those that took them that inside the port they were $25US but outside the gates $10US (2-seater) Phuket – Berth was changed to a deep water port and tendering in – shared with an RCI ship. The tender now dropped you some 5-6 miles distance from the town but there were no shuttle buses (free or pay) laid on. The advised 45 minute tender transfer times - turned out to be 15min out & 20 min on return. Port talk gave out false information – ‘you will get ripped off by taxis’ but, as others have commented, it seemingly just got rid of their unsold tours. Not surprisingly the 3 hour tender-wait was to prove very off-putting for some! Taxis were accommodating and cost less than made-out. Singapore – Having done 3 end-of-cruise stays here and this our second port of call we have done all the popular venues ( Sentosa Island, Ho-ho buses, gardens, even Universal Studios, etc) ‘to-death’. Visibility permitting I would recommend the top of Marina Bay Hotel for the best and varied iconic views. Costs of drink and dining-out seem to have risen sharply in 18 months – as some now liken the Singapore Sling at Raffles to ‘taking on a mortgage’! A walk from the cruise terminal to the Marina Bay Centre, to burn off some of those added-calories – took us approx 1 hour (If tempted to do, keep to the RHS pathway leaving the terminal to pick up on road crossing points). Taxi return was 10 minutes and cost us only $5 SGD ($3US). If at Peak traffic times / costs may vary as the city congestion charge is triggered on the meter. Princess made a charge of $8US pp each way for their organised shuttle bus! Laem Chebang – Princess Shuttle bus was laid on in to Pattaya at the seeming ‘standard $8US each way pp’! If doing again we would consider share / negotiate taxi from the port to see the sights en- route in to Pattaya - as some passengers opted to do. Bali – The CS Director came on the Wake Show to say that Bali was dropping the Visa charge claiming the Bali (Philippines) web site was wrong! The web-site was always correct as there never was a charge. Even their Princess Cruise Personaliser had conveyed the same, but also referred to a Princess $25 admin charge which was not levied or referred to– More proof that Princess are literally ‘all-over the place’ with their conflicting Visas advices. https://youtu.be/MJrujPZ2ZG0 - 2.11.16 Benoa / Bali - This venue was really talked-down by the port-talks advisor who gave out scares of high risk of malaria , bag snatchers, muggings etc leading to a number not wanting to risk it (my wife included). Fortunately she relented so we went ashore with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the town and taking a couple of beers on Kuta beach. Tender transfer time was only 15mins not the 40 that was given out! We shared a taxi from Benoa to Khuta Town / Beach (12-13km) – Port-controlled taxi outward was $25US. The return fare from town was only $15US . Princess shuttle-bus with a set time out and return was a staggering $49 return pp! https://www.whatsinport.com/Bali.htm Plans are afoot for the construction of a New Cruise Terminal (berth?) to take 3 ships for 2018. Freemantle – Our second visit here. First-timers, consider an ‘On Your Own option’ - Prison Tour (from $17AUD), free local shuttle bus service laid-on in to the town (walk-able) + a free circuit bus service from town out to the beaches which runs continually during the day. The Round Tower (donation box) and the Little Creatures Micro-Brewery (even do samples). There are also frequent trains in to Perth (20mins travel time) with station just 10 mins walk from ship. Busselton – This was really talked-down badly by the tours advisor; resulting in a fair number, not wanting another long tender crossing (15mins again not the 40 given out!); deciding to give it a miss. Others had suggested again that this was a likely a tactical ploy to get rid of unsold tours? Recent Cunard cruise conveys it to be “surrounded by calm waters and white-sand beaches is a family friendly town that has lots to do for everyone” ‘An absolute gem’ of a stop, noted for being home to the longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere, stretching almost 2 km out to sea. The locals were very warm and welcoming. A nice stroll in to the town but a free local bus was laid on for those that preferred. Display of vintage cars, Craft Stalls, historic court-house / prison cells (free access). There was even a reasonable selection of shops & supermarkets for the size of the places, with local pies + fish and chips proving to be too tempting to resist for many of us. Melbourne – This was our third-time port of call here and arranged to meet-up with relatives. Good Tourist advice provided in the Terminal Building which also serves the ferries service links to Tasmania. There is a convenient tram-link from the port in to and around the city. There is so much to see on-foot in the city that a tour, for many first-timers, may be a waste of money for agile passengers amongst us. Was a shame that we had to depart the port so early for Sydney. Sydney – A very early morning entry, mostly under a full moon with cloud. The Emerald was the largest cruise ship to have berthed here – only to be ‘trumped’ a month later by the RCI Ovation of the Seas. An announced fireworks and tug fire-sprays reception failed to live up to the hype but the iconic entry in itself did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Suez canal, suez canal, 5 day land tour of india, staff friendly & met our every need. Halloween was eventful for families though we did not cruise w/children. Tours ashore were well organized. Enrichment lecturers were tops and ... Read More
Suez canal, suez canal, 5 day land tour of india, staff friendly & met our every need. Halloween was eventful for families though we did not cruise w/children. Tours ashore were well organized. Enrichment lecturers were tops and informative the whole cruise. lounge band liquid blue was the best ever. One night beatles group, phillip brown also jo little were excellent entertainers. Grange tower hotel is 5 star religious services were were regularly conducted and very much appreciated. Pop choir was entertaining for passengers and singers alike embarkation and disembarkation very smooth boutique values very reasonable weather was agreeable for the long cruise .very glad we did 11 day canary islands prior to 49 day repo . E-card is very thoughtful for keeping touch reasonably w/ family back home we were able to vote in the usa national election w/ the help of crew. BEST CRUISE EVER WOULD DO IT AGAIN EXCEPT INDIA Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was a relocation cruise and so there were quite a few 3,4,5, seadays. This was our 6 Princess cruise and by far the worst, the standards on the ship entertainment and food has dropped to a very poor level. My Wife and I purchases top ... Read More
This was a relocation cruise and so there were quite a few 3,4,5, seadays. This was our 6 Princess cruise and by far the worst, the standards on the ship entertainment and food has dropped to a very poor level. My Wife and I purchases top drinks package and at Singapore we were told that the 2 top wines we liked had run out and there was no more and they would not be getting more before Australia. I had to complain bitterly to passenger services and to the bars manager, and they eventually found some more in Fremantle. I was told buy one of the waiters that they had been told to send all of the top wines down to the dinning rooms as they could sell them by the bottle there not by the glass as in the bars. The food in general was very average so much so that we ate in the specialty dinning at a surcharge of 29 to 39 USD. Any way this will be our last Princess cruise will take our dollars and try elsewere next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been ... Read More
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been refurbished and all of the public rooms were very nicely presented. We especially liked the East Bar and Intermezzo was very comfortable. There were a lot of elderly passengers but, as this was a world cruise with a total duration of over 100 nights, we expected this. However, the vast majority of passengers were able bodied, whatever their age. Some reviews comment on boorish behaviour; personally, I found the behaviour of almost all of the passengers exemplary. There are also some comments about obesity and greed - many people cruise to eat a lot and why not? I do agree with comments about the cabins; our cabin was always slightly grubby, I am not sure that the bathroom floor was washed while we were resident and there was dust under the bed and in the wardrobe. The bed was changed frequently but the sheets, quilt cover and pillowcases were not good quality, never smelt fresh, and were sometimes marked. I expected better. We did comment in our questionnaire about the poor quality of the pillows and they were replaced - for the final night of our cruise! The food was very good and occasionally exceptional. There was a wide choice at every meal. The waiters and wine waiter were brilliant and endeavoured to meet every need. Some passengers did become ill – probably no more than would have fallen ill in the UK in January and February. I saw people coughing without covering their mouths and people who were clearly unwell still attended shows and went on trips etc. However, only a small minority of people were ill. There is a medical centre on the ship but it is not the NHS and anyone visiting the doctor does have to pay similar costs to private medical care at home. There was always plenty to do, whatever your age, for example: Spanish classes; art classes; cinema; ‘boot camp’; yoga; port talks; barbecues; ice-carving; library; bingo; casino; guest speakers; craft lessons; chocaholics buffet, etc. We visited some marvellous ports and, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise. Arcadia’s cabins do need an upgrade but the holiday represented good value for money. Don’t be put off by the negativity – do take medicines for minor complaints.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it ... Read More
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with The Glasshouse which was noticably deserted for most of our cruise. Her well stocked Library is now crammed into the Cyber Cafe (dont think of sitting there quietly with a good book). The Sindhu restaurant has replaced the Library - OK for those who want a particular style of Indian food. Clealy the new features are centered around profit generation, but I doubt they will realise significant revenue as they are not in keeping with the British style of cruising. The change from the Pennant Grill to the Beach House does offer an alternative dining experience on the back of deck 12 which is recommended in the warmer climbs, possibly not so appealing on the Atlantic routes. The newly installed bulkhead which now divides the Vanderbilt room to provide a kitchen for the Sindhu restaurant lacks the original build quality, evidenced by the creaking whenever the ship gets into a lively sea - something which both Aurora and Oriana have not suffered previously. The multi million pound refit could have benifitted from removing the flaking paint and rust which is particularly evident around Deck 7 and elsewhere. On a more positive note Aurora still rides very well in rough seas - Coming through the Tasmin Sea in a Force 11 she remained very stable - so if your sea legs are not the greatest, this is the ship to choose. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan ... Read More
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan 10th., finally disembarking in Auckland on Feb 27th. Having enjoyed over 40 cruises to date, reaching Diamond Tier on both Seabourn and Cunard, I feel more than qualified to give a frank and fair review of my own experiences of the Queen Elizabeth My first cruise on the ship was in April 2014 from Dubai to Southampton and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I did decide that April that my next trip would be in a Club Class cabin in order that I would dine in the splendid and comfortable surroundings of the elegant Club Restaurant. There I recently enjoyed over 2 months of wonderful service. The Maitre'd Tetiana was first class. Elegant, attentive and charming. As were my server Lhea and Sommelier Miroslav. 3 top professionals who all went to great lengths to ensure that my every wish was catered for. On the first night, I requested bread sticks.These were brought immediately and presented on my table every night without further reminders. Miroslav's knowledge of wines, plus him charm and humour were exemplary and between us I explored a wonderful wine selection throughout my cruise. Personally, I found the Eastern European staff to be mainly very good. Of course, some are better than others and this applies to ALL nationalities, but '' you'll never please.............'' Due to the high number of cruises I have enjoyed on Seabourn, one of the world's top lines I am aware that standards are higher on that line. However, cost for cost, I find Cunard better value £ for £ I am booked again on the Elizabeth for 7 weeks starting November 18th and very much looking forward to embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Dawn Princess for us is now rather like a comfortable pair of old shoes. A little tatty around the edges. The polish and shine doesn't really hide the signs of ageing, but you love them to bits as they have taken you to places ... Read More
The Dawn Princess for us is now rather like a comfortable pair of old shoes. A little tatty around the edges. The polish and shine doesn't really hide the signs of ageing, but you love them to bits as they have taken you to places you'll always remember. We are no strangers to this ship, having first cruised in 2011 doing most of the World Cruise as ill health had affected the ability to fly to the UK and back. It changed our lives in so many ways that maybe we tend to look at the ship through rose tinted glasses. For us, cruising now consists of several important aspects. Princess would have you believe it is all about the destinations first and the shipboard experience second. We beg to differ. It is now as much about the people you cruise with and renewing past friendships, possibly ahead of the destinations. When I say the people we cruise with, that includes the staff who are just fantastic. Only one or two haven't learned to smile at everyone, but the remainder really enhance the sea days. We hadn't crossed the Atlantic before so most ports were new to us. Generally, we'd breakfast in the buffet which is excellent and if for example, baked beans or smoked salmon aren't available on a specific day, a polite request to the buffet staff will usually resolve that. With 1900 passengers, this isn't as large as many cruise ships, but it does have a griddle on each side where the chef will produce omelettes or fried eggs to order. In my case, it was a daily serve of fried onions and all it needed was a wave to catch the chefs eye and the onions were on the griddle. Lunch was the one meal we tried to cut out, so we'd go after the daily 'at sea speciality' was finished and make do with soup and a roll. We'd skip afternoon tea too... My only food complaint would be that the evening dining room mains tended to vary in size but a standing request by the table to the waiters for extra green vegetables resolved some of that. The fresh baked rolls at dinner are legendary and responsible for my weight gain. Something to do with eating too many. The pizzeria was a popular place for an occasional late lunch or as an alternative to the dining room and free soft serve ice cream on deck was welcomed on the warmer days. Half the entertainment staff were well known to us and that renewal of friendships plus new additions enhanced the trip. The Production Shows however were a big disappointment as the troupe make up looked odd (one tall male dancer and one squat dancer looked unbalanced) and one of the two male singers didn't add much. What really let them down though was the lack of stage dressing. In this area, the Dawn is either showing its age, or as several remarked, 'If we'd been American passengers rather than Australian, they wouldn't dare put on such lack lustre shows.' Whereas in the past, we had the amazing Alana teaching dancing and then with her brother Alan in the Atrium at night, it became our social centre and an opportunity to practice and lots of laughs at the silly quizzes. So, putting a self centred pianist/singer who growled at anyone daring to dance 'I'm the entertainment here' every night killed the atrium totally, so by 9:30pm, his few acolytes had already gone to bed and he sang along to entertain himself. To his credit, the cruise director did try and rearrange things and reduced his hours and put a musical duo in for an hour or two most nights, but it wasn't enough. The guest entertainers varied from just brilliant musicians (violinist Chris Waltkins and multi instrumentalist Kuba Kawnik for example) and impressionist comedians to a couple of acts where about a quarter of the audience walked out! Overall, we (still) love the ship and the staff, but we are under no illusions that it doesn't matter how many layers of paint you slap over it, rust never sleeps. Would we travel on the Dawn again? Too true.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
With family and friends giving us an excuse to visit the UK in December, and with prior balcony cruise experience on the Arcadia in 2013, my wife and I decided to leisurely cruise home to Australia on Aurora in January 2014, visiting the ... Read More
With family and friends giving us an excuse to visit the UK in December, and with prior balcony cruise experience on the Arcadia in 2013, my wife and I decided to leisurely cruise home to Australia on Aurora in January 2014, visiting the Caribbean, Panama Canal, San Francisco, Honolulu and the central Pacific Islands, again in a Balcony Cabin. P&O (UK) and P&O(Aust) seem to have too much of a captive or revolving market, and so have not real interest or care with non-UK clients (in particular). When we paid upfront for our Arcadia cruise in mid-2012, nothing on earth could get either organization to issue our eTickets before we departed for Europe/UK in late November. And in 2013, lightning almost struck again! With Aurora we were initially denied recognition of our Peninsula Club status, and only a threat of legal action in an Australian court got the problem attended to. Our travel agent reckons that these companies are not worth the trouble…there are better cruise lines to spend our hard earned dollars with. But we have to admit, we quite like the British style of cruising, so it will be hard not to return for some more “pain”. Moving on to our latest adventure…6 weeks from Southampton to Brisbane. Despite the terrible weather in Southern England in January/February 2014, we had a half decent day for our early boarding time of 1pm, with the experience being surprisingly efficient (compared to last year). We were on board in time for lunch, and in our A deck balcony cabin (with luggage) no later than 2:30pm. Ample time unpack bags and to explore before safety drill and early dinner! Our A Deck Balcony Cabin A118 was a little smaller than our E Deck Balcony Cabin E26 on Arcadia, but according to my wife it had more useful storage space. Having said that, the desk area was a little too cramped to work comfortably on my eBook. The Arcadia spoiled me, that’s for sure. Both cabins were equally tired in terms of carpet and curtain state of repair. Having said all that, both were more than comfortable, and in the case of Aurora, the bed so comfortable that back and leg complaints eased within a few days of boarding. An added bonus, both cabins are very close to on board free laundries, useful for doing some washing at times when these facilities are least used…and so avoid the usual spats over machines and dryers. As other cruisers have noted about Aurora and Arcadia doing world cruises, the average age of the clientele is into the 70s, and being in our early active 60s, we kind of didn’t fit in with the majority. But that was a plus, for us and the other 100 to 200 physically and mentally active souls on board. The pools were rarely crowded, table tennis and other physical games/competitions were not overly popular (ie not too many to run a comp), and later night shows and movies were not over-crowded. Even the promenade deck was usually quite comfortable for daily after breakfast and dinner walks…the majority having found the bountiful deck chairs and assumed the sleeping / reading positions. Maybe not kind, but true! Generally speaking, the food served on Aurora was quite good – be it in the dining rooms or the Orangery. Unfortunately the latter resembled a piggery at peak times, highly popular with those who didn’t like dressing reasonably for meals(formal or casual), those not really familiar with how to use tongs knives and forks, and those not happy with comfortable portion sizes served in the Meridian. While we are not snobs, we found it far more civilized to eat most meals in the formal restaurant, with portion size suggestions at all times, and a modicum of cleanliness near our plates. Our table waiters were always polite and attentive, and never once prevented our having an extra serving of anything. In fact, we mostly had “extra” ice cream with every dessert. I doubt that many onshore restaurants could offer the Menu choices on offer at every meal, that alone not repeat very much over each cruise sector. And as for the specialty restaurants, nothing on their menus could tempt me to pay extra. I don’t really know why cruise lines bother with this bit of snobbery. Entertainment provided in the theatres was fair most nights, with acts being flown into various ports of call. Unfortunately, P&Os own troop of young singers and dancers (Headliners) were too inexperienced for the unsuitable stages Aurora provided, and after a few disappointments, were rarely seen. The Sportsman's Bar was a joke...sports TV was either turned off or the sound muted when Quizzes were on, or some on board band/singer decided to play. Fair enough if sports were broadcast to cabin TV, but it isn't. As a result, it is not even a good watering hole. The Aurora itinerary for our trip to Brisbane was quite interesting, although shore excursions arranged by P&O are certainly over priced (google Viator to see what I mean). Excursions in Antigua, Nicaragua and Honolulu (Pearl Harbour) were good value however. Being seasoned independent travellers, we found the other ports quite easy to do on our own. Like others though, I need to point out that the good old USA does not deserve cruise ship visits, especially from it’s so called friendly nations (Aussies, Brits and Kiwis). With all of us paying for our ESTAS, there is no possible reasonable excuse for holding 1800 odd passengers on board in San Francisco for at least 5 hours, while Immigration staff insolently went about nonsensical face to face interviews. Australia certainly does not treat it’s tourists this badly, and we’ve had our share of terrorist related deaths (remember Bali, twice?). Nor does Britain or New Zealand! Maybe we and P&O should avoid the USA until such time as they can perform a reasonable immigration procedure. For our Aurora cruise we had a nice touch from a very cordial and capable Italian Captain. Apart from communicating regularly from the bridge, he was often seen walking the decks, and lunching with his wife in the Sidewalk Café or Orangery. Even better, his wife made a point of mixing with passengers, usually at breakfast. Finally, I have to congratulate P&O for finally seeing sense and taking the Aurora up the Brisbane River, under the Gateway Bridge, to berth at the city cruise terminal. Most if not all passengers expected to berth at the Fisherman’s Island grain terminal, and it was not until a day or so out of Sydney that a change of plan was confirmed. The terminal staff at the city terminal did a wonderful job, as did the Customs Officers who did their best to move all passengers through in next to no time…so much so that we had to wait for our daughter to collect us. Normally she has to wait for us to be processed. Well done Brisbane, and rasberries to the USA and San Francisco.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first ... Read More
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first experience of Arcadia and of P&O -and it will certainly be our last. Anyone who has booked, or is contemplating booking a 'Grand Voyage' cruise on P&O's Arcadia should very seriously think again. The Cruise : The first half of the cruise from Southampton to Sydney was a nightmare - by the time the ship reached Sydney the morale of the passengers was such that as well as the 600 plus Australian passengers who were desperately glad to be disembarking, the vast majority of those remaining on board would have joined them if they possibly could. Particular details of all that went wrong can be gleaned from the vast number of adverse reviews and comments already on the Internet relating to how passengers on the Arcadia were treated on this voyage. In short, no-one likes feeling that they have been duped, cheated, short changed, commercially exploited and are being treated with dismissive contempt. Moreover, the dismissive contempt continued once back on dry land. Communications with P&O regarding their gross negligence in NOT complying with their own 'Booking Conditions' were replied to 'cut and paste' responses consisting of sequences of platitudes and gibberish totally unrelated to the issues raised IF P&O had fulfilled its contractual obligations and the ship's management had treated passengers as if they were on a Cruise Liner rather than as interlopers on a Cargo Vessel - would we have enjoyed the cruise ? - Definitely not - and here are some of the reasons why : The 'Grand Voyage' : The Arcadia carries well over 2000 passengers - and at any one time 75-80% are on board for only one or occasionally two sectors of the 'Grand Voyage' Arcadia is one of the newer breed of 'Vegas' resort ships designed to provide the mass market with relatively short 'fun' cruises with lots of alcohol,gambling, mindless loud music and very dim lighting in all public areas from 1800hrs onwards, holiday camp/end of pier quality entertainment and singalongs coupled with the provision to gorge for 24hrs a day on mass produced,low quality meals typical of a works canteen or supermarket cafeteria. The so called 'Grand Voyage' was nothing more than four such 'fun' cruises (sectors) strung together. When the first sector was complete everything (menus, entertainment, lecture topics, films etc - even the errors and mis-spellings in the daily entertainment guide were for the most part repeated on each following sector. The 'Ship' ; Consistent with the 'resort ship' model large areas of Arcadia are devoted to revenue generating activities in contrast to the minimal space afforded to non-revenue services addressing the interests and comfort of passengers. eg: the small library with cramped seating for 10, the 30 seat 'cinema' and the ridiculous laundries are 'not fit for purpose'. In contrast the casino,totally unoccupied for most of the day has an enormous floor area housing four card tables, two roulette tables and 65 slot machines and boasts a seating capacity for 112 passengers. Public toilets are small in both space and number, are often 'out of order' and very basically equipped. The buffet restaurant has the ambiance of a motorway cafe with formica topped tables,unset for breakfast and lunch - pick up a tray,plate and cutlery, join the long queue to choose your food and then search for a seat !! Again consistent with the 'resort ship' model all vestiges of past elegance and refinement associated with cruising - particularly on Cunard - and to a lesser extent on P&O - have disappeared from Arcadia and been replaced with pretentious nonsense which fools but few. The most glaring examples relate to evening dining in the main restaurant: To gain access one must adhere to the ship's 'dress codes' - Problems occur when the dress code is 'Smart' - interpreted by P&O as meaning 'gentlemen must wear a jacket' - Hence, males wandering around the decks in trainers, baggy trousers and T-shirts can grab a jacket and gain access unchallenged whilst gentlemen elegantly dressed for dinner in tailored trousers,smart shirt and tie are refused entry! Upon gaining entry you will be presented with a menu adorned with dishes described in mouth-watering language with lots of 'juz' and 'drizzles' which bear little relation to what eventually appears from the kitchen. Set plates are augmented by 'silver service' - consisting of never more than potatoes cooked in a different style from those already on the set plate plus one other,usually overcooked and tepid vegetable. On the topic of food, apart from the general low quality of what is provided in the 'set menu' restaurant, prospective passengers should be aware that many items- particularly fruit, salads and cold meats and seafood - displayed in the 'buffet restaurant' are often well past their 'sell by' date - photographs of heaps of sweating, rotten bananas, pears etc are available on request. Also on view in the buffet from 3.00am onward would be tray after tray of pre-cooked fried eggs left to rubberise until being reheated when the restaurant opens!!! I could go on and on but .....!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
After reading reviews of the Aurora, I wondered if we were on a different Aurora. I was so busy with activities, I couldn't fit them all in a day whereas my husband was quite content to sit and read or just watch the horizon - and he ... Read More
After reading reviews of the Aurora, I wondered if we were on a different Aurora. I was so busy with activities, I couldn't fit them all in a day whereas my husband was quite content to sit and read or just watch the horizon - and he saw many things I was sorry to miss. We found our cabin to be clean (as was the entire ship) and comfortable and our steward was a lovely friendly man. We didn't have a balcony, but always found somewhere to sit on deck - much more sociable. We even enjoyed our meals, I can't recall one complaint. Our table companions have become friends and when we were in Sydney twelve months later when Aurora was there, we happened to run into our table steward who recognised us and greeted us by name. We even enjoyed the entertainment - a couple were not so good, but we laughed them off. The Pursers were competent as were those who organised the shore excursions. And we loved dressing up for formal nights. The Cruise Director and his crew were great fun and talented. The bar staff were alert, friendly and always remembered our tastes - we also looked forward to chatting to them. We even enjoyed the 'sea days' - we often wondered why people went on a cruise and then complained about sea days. Isn't that what it is all about! We are looking forward to our next cruise on Aurora in 2015. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time ... Read More
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time cruisers & knew that we were taking a risk but we saw it as a romantic adventure travelling with a well established company, P & O Cruises. Our first disappointment was the cancellation of the visits to all the Argentine ports. We were not able to pull out without losing our deposit but our primary reason for going had been removed from the schedule. The 4 days missed were replaced with one day in Salvadore & an extra day in Montevideo - hardly a generous substitution. When we embarked at Southampton there were long delays in the process and we took 2 hours to get on board. Our cabin was quite adequate, but what a tiny TV screen and the bedside lights were archaic, placed behind the head. Lets hope that the planned refit sees to some upgrading of the cabin fittings. Our first days were an eye opener. Everyone seemed to have cruised extensively and many had done world cruises several times. They were only too pleased to relay their experiences, but most ended up with a litany of complaints, especially against P & O, which seemed odd as they were returning cruisers. We determined not to moan but to enjoy the good parts. But the cruise turned into a curate's egg - good in some parts but poor in others. The good parts were that the ship was very stable and although we rocked & rolled a bit she comfortable to travel on. The whole vessel was very well maintained and the cabins and public rooms were very clean & cared for. Our cabin girl, Jocelyn was first class. Likewise all the staff were approachable and cheerful - none more so than our waiters in the Meridian who were quick and efficient, cheerful and nothing too much trouble. We found that this extended to all the other service areas. First class gym and amazing Palladium theatre. Very good shows at night and plenty of activities to choose from during the sea days. Good sail away parties and pool events like the crossing of the equator. We felt that the Entertainments Team worked very hard and maintained an incredible cheerfulness in all circumstances! Also some of the more ad hoc shows such as the Arcadia Pantomime and talent show were well recieved. The food was good in the Meridian - not over-facing and the Belvedere self service offered a good choice. The daily Horizon was well produced, informative and always on time. But the down-side starts with the Arcadia cough - well catalogued from previous cruises. In the Palladium theatre the coughing & wheezing had to be heard to be believed. Whilst most of the germs were probably transmitted person to person there has to be a question about the air conditioning. How often are the ducts & filters cleaned? Is this an item that will be followed up on the refit? One boards the ship in good health and disembarks with a barking cough which some 3 weeks later still persists. Someone at a senior level should take responsibility for sorting this out. Perhaps the ship should have a red cross painted on her to designate a hospital ship until the cause is found & rectified! The ports that were missed have already been mentioned, but the turn round & flight from the Falklands was another disappointment. Easter Island was a slow cruise by, too far out to see much. The excursions were well planned and executed, but there was always the time pressure to get back before the ship was due to sail. The internet facilities and cost were not appreciated. Often very poor connections (we were advised to use our Notebook in our cabin with the door open to get better reception), and from time to time the ship left the cover of one satellite before coming to another. We needed to stay in touch with family & business in the UK throughout the cruise but were often frustrated. The exodus of passengers and staff to use the WiFi facilities at the ports was noticeable and this was sometimes free or charged at modest rates. As the majority of passengers nowadays have laptops, notebooks, Ipads etc could not the internet facilities be charged in the ticket price? Most good hotels provide WiFi foc nowadays. And will a better internet facility be installed at the refit? Overall we enjoyed the cruise but there are so many frustrations not least all the queuing and short tempers that then ensued. For a first timer it was an experience. We are glad that we did it and we saw the periphery of South America & some South Pacific Islands that we would never have seen otherwise. Would we do it again? I am afraid not because we found that we lost our independence. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. ... Read More
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. The cruise started for us with asking P&O office for assistance or at least the right information in case of a lacking India Visa. We were told by P&O office that without the Indian Visa we are not allowed to enter the ship which later on at the departure date turned out as not being the correct information that was given to us. Because of that we needed to change flight schedules for several hundred's of dollars and phone calls for over a 100,00 Euros because of being forwarded from one department to the other without not getting helpful information. Finally the result was that all these expenses were not necessary but because of non sufficient information given from P&O office and Visa department in Southampton. An employee from P&O at Southampton Port allowed us to enter the ship but informed us that if we didn't have this Visa we would be unable to board but would have to disembark in a port prior to India. So I would say there is a lack of information from one office to another with P&O employees. At the same time we received the information that the port in Acapulco/Mexico was canceled because of safety issues without replacement nor any compensation. Shortly after we got announced that also Cochin as the second Indian port was canceled, but later on replaced with Muscat/Oman. We were told because of problems with landing slot's in Cochin!? The day as we entered the ship we were told that the so called "Noro virus" (vomiting and diarrhea) was on the ship. The rumors in between the passengers was that the virus was already on board before embarkation. Aurora's captain told it was brought by the passengers. From the first day we were bothered with several daily announcements about this issue and got "forced" to hand sanitizing around every corner of the ship until the rest of the cruise even that it was told later the situation was solved before the port of San Francisco. The next change was made in Colombo/Sri Lanka (regular scheduled inbetween 6 am. and 16:30 h) because of the tide in Mumbai. The stay at this port of call from finally 8 am. To 12:30 h was reduced by another 5 1/2 hours. After Madeira the ship started leaking in certain sections through broken and corroded water pipes. There were buckets placed all over the ship so that later on officials made jokes "that is for providing drinking water to the drug sniffing dogs". Towards the end of the cruise more buckets got added because the problem got worse. I am talking about having buckets on the ship, in the theatre, hallways and staircases over more than 90 days! We were just lucky that we did not sit down in the "Curzon" theater as a pipe broke there and caused lots of damage and flooded the place that there was no entertainment for almost 2 weeks available. There was a drug bust starting in San Francisco which caused inconvenience for lots of passengers including us who were not even involved. Drugs were found on the ship which is of course not a problem of P&O but to keep going with their standards and comforts as well as the promised itinerary for us passengers I will count P&O cruise line responsible for it. We were just lucky that our cabin (might!) not have been searched by officials getting under common suspicion and having drug dogs sniffing through our personal stuff. The next complication out of that was another cancellation of the port of call in "Yorkey's knob" Australia without replacement nor compensation. This because of demands from the authorities having again drug searching facilities available on the landing site. Because the new allocated landing spot was too far to reach by the tender boats the port was canceled entirely with the single replacement of another 5 hours in Abu Dabi. Further on at least on 23 ports of call (including Singapore) we had no proper cruise terminal. It was either a container port or tender boat operation for disembarkation within all it's inconvenience that it takes. I know that the landing fee's for those proper cruise ports are probably high 5 digit if not 6 digits amounts for those like Singapore and Sydney! Because of "security issues" the stay in the port of Istanbul was also reduced by approx. 12 hours not allowing us to leave the ship again at night on the first day and on the second day like the itinerary stated. Then early in the morning at 6:45 am a short term announcement was made that the ship will leave at 7:00 am. We were expecting to have a breakfast and coffee outside the port at the same day and having had left some Turkish currency for that reason besides the general inconvenience being involved in another change or reduction while expecting the presence of the scheduled itinerary until 11 am. for the 4 th of april. Passengers were not allowed to leave the ship anymore after 10:30 pm the 3rd of April. As the ship was leaving the port of Istanbul another big cruise liner came in and it was looking like we were almost "pushed out" of the pier. The above mentioned problems I would call general organization and maintenance matters as well as not taking care or not feeling responsible for advertised itineraries like promoted prior to booking. Now I want to mention the following situation on our stateroom on C-deck. The cabin was making noise all day and night due to the location above the engine section. The subdivision and ceiling panels of the cabin were vibrating on a high frequency so that I needed to get up almost every night to press or shake the panels to just interrupt it for a while. After complaining we were told that there is a ventilation unit behind the cabin and offered to move to another cabin. Because the shown cabin was far from the convenient aft deck and was also making noise we decided to stay in our crackling cabin. The toilet flush in our cabin was malfunctioning at least once every other week so that sometimes bad smelling sewage was drafting back from the entire system because we were the last cabin on this deck. Sometimes the bad smell remained for hours in the cabin because of that problem. And it was a repeating problem. Also one night the bathroom was flooded by water back drafting out of the toilet. Of course it is P&O's decision to do major maintenance on railings during a 3 month world cruise but I have never seen before that the entire wooden railings got taken off step by step and got sanded and varnished and replaced during regular cruise business as well as paint jobs. For more than 2 month there were signs "wet varnish" sticking on the railings and floors upfront one after the other day telling you not to touch them. Those inconvenient procedures were nor mentioned nor expected when booking the cruise and they seem to be very strange to us. By the way we believe it's wise to mention in P&O world cruise advertisement that the promenade deck will be shut from 6 pm until 6 am. because of probable piracy attacks. The promenade deck including illumination was shut down for approx. 2 weeks of the cruise and not available at these times inbetween Mumbai and Port Suez. Of course all this in consideration of safety concerns!? During several tender boat operations the engines broke down at least 3 times as far as we know and caused huge delays for all passengers besides our booked Cairo excursion at 3:30 am that day as they started fueling the tender boat before we could get on board. We were sitting 45 min. in the boat because of an actually 10 min. boat ride that morning as the engine of a tender boat broke down in front of us. The peak of it all was our "wake up call" at 1:30 am on the 9th of April as a waterfall caused by a corroded pipe was running down the cabin door and started pouring in our room. The water was pouring in huge amounts for almost an hour and flooded inside the cabin as well. To minimize damage we had to put towels in front of the door and lift up certain things and gather personnel items at 2:30 in the morning before getting relocated to another cabin on deck 10 with a tooth brush, wet jeans and flip flops. Putting our impression and experience of this P&O world cruise together even though comparing an average daily price we paid for this trip towards former cruises we have taken in the past by receiving higher quality standards regarding the ship itself and level of entertainment to a way lower average rate for instance with Cunard, Holland America and Celebrity. We must say that we were far from our own expectation and far from P&O promised and advertised standards which made it an unforgetable experience of vacation which of course it was but in the opposite way. We were also far from almost every scheduled itinerary and the amount of ports of call which was an important fact for booking this cruise on the Aurora. P&O never responded to any complaint If I put it together in one short term: forget about P&O! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Embarkation in Southampton was good it took less than one hour to get on board the ship. the initial observation of the vessel was good large bars and lounges and plenty of deck space. The balcony cabin was fine , bathroom was large ... Read More
Embarkation in Southampton was good it took less than one hour to get on board the ship. the initial observation of the vessel was good large bars and lounges and plenty of deck space. The balcony cabin was fine , bathroom was large and seemed fine. But after 3 days all this changed. the toilet kept on breaking down 10 times on the whole journey 3 times spilling water and raw sewage onto the bathroom floor.Each time when we complaint the problem was fixed so we thought but again and again it happened.We asked to be moved on 3 occasions but the request was totally ignored. the Headliner shows were great the best we have seen on a cruise ship for a long while.but otherwise the daily entertainment was to say mediocre the cruise director was never to be found and the cruise staff are very badly trained. Food in the Belvedere leaves a lot to be desired, always cold and very little variety. Our waiters in the main dining room were fine and the food was of good quality. Food in the Rhodes is excellent well worth the extra cover charge. The screening room must be the joke of the century, 30 seats for a ship with 2000 passengers.Would we ever go again on this vessel NO WAY. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My Wife and I Sailed on the Arcadia ,part World Cruise ,Departing Southhanpton 5th Jan 2011 Disembarking Sydney 13 Feb 2011.Boarding was very Slow 2hrs to get on Board then another 2hrs to gain Cabin Access.Our Cabin was E51 a Balcony on E ... Read More
My Wife and I Sailed on the Arcadia ,part World Cruise ,Departing Southhanpton 5th Jan 2011 Disembarking Sydney 13 Feb 2011.Boarding was very Slow 2hrs to get on Board then another 2hrs to gain Cabin Access.Our Cabin was E51 a Balcony on E deck ,very Clean and with a Great view.2nd Day out we Sailed into a FORCE 11 or 12 Violent Storm 9 to 12 mt WAVESDuring the storm the ship had to SLOW Down Because of Wave Breaking over the Ship.The reduction in speed meant that Arcadia would be forced to miss her first port of call Ponta Delgada .When I inquired to the reason I was told that to increase the speed to make up time was to costly .We were very Disappointed.The Noise of the Ship in the Storm was at times Very scarey.During the Storm and In rough weather a LOUD Banging noise coming from the Lift well kept us Awake ,when we complained ,we were told that they could NOT fix the Problem .and it would have to wait for the next REFIT.Luck for us there was more Calm Days than Rough.The Belvedere Bistro, you had to Queue up Sometimes as they closed one side OFF in think they were short on staff.The Food was Cold SometimesThe staff had NO MANNER and that includes the Head Waiter .After people used a Table and you wanted to sit there, the tables were NOT CLEANED ,and as there was No Table Cloths ,We had to wipe them down ,Breakfast ,& Lunch with a paper towel. Dinner we use a Serviette Sure the The Waiter removed the Dirty Plates etc .I spoke to the Head waiter about the problem and he just smiled at me .The Daily Entertainment in the main Theater was 2rd Rate (compared to the Sun Princess )Cruise Director was all smiles but again 2nd rate & no where to be Found to make comment.The Daily Entertainment in the Bars was very Good at the start of the Cruise but they seamed to lose interest along the way one group played Moon River Over and Over again,A great song But.The Picture Theater only seated 30 people with 2000 + on board you had to get up Early.The Pool , it must have been designed by someone doing work experience, a bit of rough weather and they Closed it,and to make thing worse they tested the water in the Pool around 9am ,a bit late for the Early swimmer after 2000 people swam in it the day before.The staff on the Tour desk were Not very Helpful to our questions ,my wife went on an excursion in Barbados on her own ,and when she got off the ship she found nobody to guide her to the tour Bus, the problem was that she was not informed by the tour staff on the procedure,as she especially asked for this information.The one Thing that go up my Nose was the Cost On board ,Hair Cut 39 pound 4 pound for a Pint of Beer and the Exchange Rate was a Joke.On the Plus Side Cabin Steward Was First Class The Meridian Restaurant was Spotless .Good Food & ALL the Were on the BallGreat Gym with Very Good Equipment With NOO CHARGE.The Crew in General were Good.I must mention The Purser How Good was he TopI do not Rate this Ship very high and would I sail on Her Again NOGood Luck Ned Read Less
Sail Date January 2011

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