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81 Southampton to Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

This was the ship’s first ‘shake-down’ cruise with passengers and we accepted that not everything would be functioning – the maiden voyage was still a week away, and there was still a huge amount of general organisation and staff ... Read More
This was the ship’s first ‘shake-down’ cruise with passengers and we accepted that not everything would be functioning – the maiden voyage was still a week away, and there was still a huge amount of general organisation and staff training to do – but all the staff proved to be really friendly and helpful and the level of service was good.Our initial impression as we drove onto the dock was that the ship looked more RCCL than Princess. Gone was the vertical stern structure that you find on the Ruby and Emerald ships, together with the cantilevered bridge supported by the angled struts; but the Princess stack profile was still there as was the blue glass.Once on board it was clear that the general internal layout seems much the same as the older ships – a good point if you like it, not so good if you don’t - and you would have thought they would have overcome the problem of the rear dining room that cannot be accessed without changing levels. But the larger size has meant a much grander central atrium with more bars, shops and eateries, with the new Alfredo Pizzeria and a seafood bar that you pay for – though I am sure sushi used to be free at Vines. Potentially this space should be buzzing when the ship is full of passengers - but we were only 50%. They tried out the champagne waterfall and that went well with good views all round.The theatre at the front looks to be smaller than usual, but is apparently the biggest in the fleet, and a real plus is that it’s column free. However access to the end of the rows, for those of us who like to leave early sometimes, is not so easy now. The new separate television studio is a great idea and will work well for demonstrations and talks. The public circulation spaces on the stateroom floors seem low (a short person could touch the ceiling easily), and the stairs feel tight (with very high handrails), as do the lifts. The library is small as is the Internet Café - we assume they expect everyone to have their own laptops/tablets. The carpets in the lift lobbies reminded us of Cunard but the traditional Princess idea of having different coloured carpet in the port and starboard corridors has gone – a pity.Overall the décor is very ‘brown', lots of dark 'wood' panelling - and where it is not dark it's a beige colour. It felt old fashioned. The deck space is generous and the water feature between the two main pools looks good. The walkway with a glazed floor overhanging the sea is fine, but it's a gimmick, and it means that the stateroom balconies below it are completely open to public view. Using the front of the ship at high level to be a pay-for sun deck is a good idea we thought, and moving the spa to a lower deck is even better.On the food front there are three main dining rooms, the Symphony, Concerto and Allegro (accessed by stair and lift only). Any time dining is our preference and the food and service was fine, and the wine seemed reasonably priced. The rooms are still too low in our view and the décor was again uninspiring. There are no new specialty restaurants, Sabatinis looks the same as usual, and is now lower down in the ship, but the Crown Grill is now more open to the Wheelhouse bar, prices are a reasonable 20 and 25 dollars. There are also a ‘variety of other specialty 'offers', held in part of the upstairs buffet in the evening,at a 20 dollar premium. Upstairs the buffet is split into two, the Horizon Bistro - more geared for salads and sandwiches, and the Horizon Court, where there are more hot choices and Chinese, Italian counters etc – the food range was not well sign posted and you have to look hard to find what you want. We thought the Bistro had much the best feel with its bright off-white tables and chairs – we also liked the new higher ‘bar style’ seating.Our standard balcony cabin seemed small. The entry door was very narrow as was the entry corridor. There was no sofa but the bed was large and comfortable. We looked in a couple of rooms with single beds and they looked very crowded. The bathroom is not generous - a well-designed integral basin and worktop is spoiled by no provision for a soap dish, and whoever designed the toilet paper dispenser behind, and under, the unit, should be shot. There are no UK spec plug outlets in the room - but maybe the ship won't sail out of Southampton again, but there is a good sized flat screen television – unfortunately with an unbelievably clunky operating system - or perhaps it had not been sorted out yet. The balcony was also very narrow. You felt that the cabin had been seriously cost engineered and the junior suites that used to have the more generous balconies at low level are now the same as all the other cabins.Overall we were under-whelmed, we had looked at the promotional videos again at home the night before and were expecting something more radical, it’s just more of the same and, in one to two instances, less of it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We are back from the 14th-16th June 2night cruise. A lot of what we experienced and our thoughts about the Royal Princess are echoed in previous reviews so rather than just repeat what has already been said we will try and highlight other ... Read More
We are back from the 14th-16th June 2night cruise. A lot of what we experienced and our thoughts about the Royal Princess are echoed in previous reviews so rather than just repeat what has already been said we will try and highlight other areas . We have done a number of short cruises so knew that we wouldn't get to see or experience everything however for us we saw this as an opportunity to experience 2 days of what we thought would princess showcasing a new an innovative ship as well as a first time experience with Princess Cruises. We normally sail with P&O, NCL or RCI. With all the hype surrounding the ship we were looking forward to 2 exciting days however we were somewhat disappointed, not just the ship but the whole experience.To start, there Is no doubt that the ship is amazing from the outside, and in our opinion in places stunning inside, however we found some areas were very dark, dark wood, decor etc uninspiring. For us overall and first impressions of the ship was that it did not have that initial WOW factor. Embarkation was the longest wait, slowest queues and generally the most chaotic experience and to top it all we were checked in by a very dis-interested check in person. From other reviews it seems like delays and waits were a common issue. Not sure why as we have travelled out of Ocean terminal several times and have never had any problems. Keeping in mind that both 2 night cruises did not have full compliment of passengers, so not sure how they would have coped if it was full. The welcome onto the ship was poor, at the end of the walkway two members of staff directing passengers either left or right depending on room numbers. Once onto the ship passengers were by passed the Atrium and ushered directly to the elevator lobby mid ship. A big disappointment,the first sight of the Atrium is the initial Inside Wow factor for us, and the hub of the ship, and where were all the various staff welcoming you on board, representing the restaurants taking bookings, spa raffle, etc etc.?On a positive note cabins were ready on embarkation. We booked a Deluxe Balcony which is the category we normally travel on P&O and so thought we knew what we would be getting, size wise. However we were very shocked, the cabin, balcony and bathroom all very very small and felt cramped. We have no idea how more than 2 people would manage in here, but yes there was a sofa bed, and when set up would mean there would be no way to get to the balcony or move around maybe a problem if you travel with young children and want to end the evening sitting on the balcony whilst they are asleep. Storage space was also very limited. The balcony was just a ledge with two narrow chairs, and one very small table size of a footstool. Interestingly the room directory mentions ultimate balcony dining experience, but we have no idea how this could be achieved in such a small space. We did sleep well the bed was very comfortable, pillows large and squishy, air con worked very well, the TV and ship info did not, no kettle allowed in room so reliant on room service for beverages.. This room felt smaller than the standard cabin on other cruise lines, and we are still wondering what bit was the deluxe, no extras, not even bath robes, in our opinion this grade of cabin is not worth the money. We used horizons restaurant for lunch, good food, lots of choice, friendly staff, nice light airy decor in the bistro, gloomy dark wood in the other section. Nice outside seating/dining area to back of ship. The main Pool deck area was pleasant enough, there is a good selection of sunbeds, rattan furniture and comfy chairs however, although there seemed a lot of seating i think this area might become challenged on hot sunny sea days when the ship is full and there are lots of people wanting to sunbath. This area also has the movie screen which had amazing picture quality even in bright sunshine as well as great sound quality. We did notice that you cannot walk a full circuit of the ship without changing levels up and down steps which was a shame and whilst walking the various top deck levels it just felt like there was a lot of empty space, maybe on the longer cruises this is filled with sun beds? What was missing for me was the aft pool, this is an area on other ships I just love. The aft area of the Royal was kind of empty, nondescript really. From the main pool are moving forward is the very nice Adults only area, pool, cabana's, comfy sun beds and standard sun beds. Relaxing music playing etc. Further forward the Sanctuary, a really gorgeous pay to use area however would be well worth it even if only once. We had seen this online and had planned to spend a day here however only to find out it was not available until the main cruise starting on 16th - very disappointing.We were excited about the sail away however this turned out to be nothing special at all. The cruise director was on the pool deck, a few people got up to dance and a DJ played music. As we sailed away the ships horn played the love boat theme and that was it really. I think Princess could have made more of an effort. The sea walk did have the wow factor, well the first and second time we walked across after that it was just the sea walk. What seemed to amaze most passengers was the fact that the balcony cabins below could be seen easily, just something to think about if planning to book one. Service across the ship was excellent to poor, excellent being in the Crown Grill, good in Horizons and poor from our room attendant who was most of the time invisible. Generally most staff were friendly and said hello or had a chat. We did notice that we did not see one senior officer around the ship. The public address system did not work in our room nor on the outside decks so when the Captain announced we could not tender in Guernsey I had to open the cabin door slightly so we could hear what was being said, and then at 12.30 we heard nothing as we were by the pool, we never did see or hear from the Captain again.MUT's yes we like this idea however it was a little disorganised. The first night the sun beds had the MUT's comfy cushions, pop corn was bought around and blankets available. The second night, no comfy cushions and when we asked where they were the attendant said, good point, it's accommodation who do that but they haven't. No offer of let me find out for you. This was a featured event, so why wasn't it organised, someone should have ensured everything was in place. Water Fountains- advertised in Patter as a feature, the first night they came on at 10.05pm and lasted no more than maybe 5 mins. Nice touch, good to see etc. the second night they were due to come on at 9.45pm. More people than at the first night gathered, they came on again for a few mins. People started to leave the area and then suddenly they came on again longer this time and even more impressive, they ended and again more people left, suddenly they were back on again. So again the question is if is was a new feature why wasn't more made of it? The weather and sea conditions overnight and the next day were mix, at times there was a fair swell and although the ship seemed to handle it well we did notice it rolled quite a bit, will be interesting to see how she handles in very rough weather. Our cabin was at the back so we did experience that wiggle as well as some thuds as if the back of the ship was being dropped in the water, could have been the wind hitting the side of the ship hard to tell, all in all though it was a smooth and very quite ship.Day time Pool deck movies - now I know it's going to be very hard to show a film that will please 100% of passengers but please Les Miserables on a Saturday afternoon, nothing wrong with the film itself but a little hard going when you are trying to relax by the pool. We just thought it a strange choice, but like I said hard to please everyone.As we couldn't tender in Guernsey there was no sail away, now even so surely the CD and entertainments team could have done something on the pool deck, but no the last day for the 2 night cruisers just came and went. I had read online before we sailed that the outside fountains area will be a stage where the entertainments team will dance etc, maybe they could have showcased an extract of that.Overall it was nice to get away for a couple of days, and yes overall we did enjoy the cruise, we got some rest and relaxation as well as saw the parts of the ship we wanted to however it did feel a bit like you were left to just get on with it. Yes this was a preview cruise No it wasn't highly discounted infant we paid the same for this cruse as a four night on a speciality cruise on P&O in April. When we booked we knew possibly we were paying over the odds however is was a great opportunity to see a brand new ship and spend a couple of what we thought would be exciting days in board. However Princess did not deliver. If this was a shakedown cruise then they should have advertised it that way and reflected that in the price. I can't say I would not book with princess again however it would not be my first choice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I have just returned from a two night break to expereince the new cruise liner, that the Duchess of Kent will be opening. The videos of the cruise look amazing but actually when you finally do embark after the chaos queing its ... Read More
I have just returned from a two night break to expereince the new cruise liner, that the Duchess of Kent will be opening. The videos of the cruise look amazing but actually when you finally do embark after the chaos queing its disappointing!! It doesn't have the wow factor at all. The promenade isn't what i thought, a few shops here and there.  If you have children under 3yrs they can not use the pool even if wearing swimmers. No facilities for them to play, although as ship didn't have many children we were allowed to as a one off. There is kids clubs for 3yrs and older which do have some great games etc. The children are not supposed to sleep in the bunks if younger than 10yrs, even though they new the ages of my children when we booked. Balcony rooms are a lot smaller than other ships. Some good parts, movies under the stars, with popcorn!! The Horizon buffet area was set out well, food was very nice. The spa looked great but we didn't use as very expensive! Watch your bill!! Paid before we left, charges of $11.50pp every day added on as gratitutes even though when you buy a drink 15% is added on. You can get this taken off, but i feel it should be explained before you embark. Summary, wouldn't waste my money again!! If you are 60yrs and over, very rich then this cruise is for you!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We have just returned from the first Preview sailing on the Royal Princess. Considering the ship was only about 50% full the check-in and boarding seemed rather chaotic. We went straight to our Deluxe balcony cabin and first impressions ... Read More
We have just returned from the first Preview sailing on the Royal Princess. Considering the ship was only about 50% full the check-in and boarding seemed rather chaotic. We went straight to our Deluxe balcony cabin and first impressions were not that great. The decor was dull and beige and rather old-fashioned, I expected something much nicer. We have sailed on several Princess ships and the cabin looked pretty similar to the older ships. However the minute balcony was a bit of a shock and we struggled to turn the metal and plastic chairs to face the sea, really they only fitted on the balcony when facing each other. We were on deck 15 and the overhang above us was awful and would block any sun. The bathroom only had a shower and an awfully positioned toilet roll holder which meant we just used the spare roll which we popped on the counter by the sink. We were shocked by the complete disorganisation of events onboard. Some information stated that there were two smart casual nights whilst other things said a smart casual and a Formal night. The evening entertainments were altered, we turned up at one venue and asked what was on and no-one had any idea as the time and event and been changed.The Princess Live was horrible, very dark and dingy with incredibly uncomfortable seats. It also does not seat that many people and the view was not good. It seemed a shame to lose a bar with a stage to a venue that you can’t relax in for an evening.The theatre looked smaller to me than the one on the Grand. However I think it has far more seats as the rows are much closer together. The waiters were struggling to take orders and give out drinks to anyone who wasn’t sat at the end of a row and once you had your drink there was nowhere to put it as the side tables have gone. Beware if sitting further back near the end of the row as the high hand-rails will seriously block your view of the stage. The seats themselves were comfortable but taller passengers may find the lack of legroom an issue.The Atrium was a lovely space, light and airy with the tempting cafe full of delicious pastry treats to hand. However the entertainment seemed a bit hit and miss, one minute we were listening to a classical quartet and the next I had a strapping Russian gymnast stripping off his shirt 6 inches from my seat! I thought it was quite entertaining but many of the older passengers did not look amused as it didn’t really fit in with the calm, dignified surroundings. The Vista lounge was a lovely venue with plenty of seating and areas suitable for larger groups to sit together.The main dining rooms also looked very traditional; there was nothing to show that you were on an all new ship. However the staff were good and I felt the service was much better than I had received when using Anytime Dining on Princess before. The food was all delicious but only one small potato with a main course?We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. I felt that the breakfast selection was rather poor. The layout was a bit difficult but I couldn’t find a waffle station or an egg station which I expected. I don’t know if they were there and I missed them or if they just weren’t available.At lunch there was a larger selection but there seemed to be a huge emphasis on Asian cuisine and on the second day I actually struggled to find anything I wanted. This wasn’t helped by the fact that all of the signs are above the warmers and at only 5ft tall I struggled to read them, it would be impossibility for children or anyone in a wheelchair. The salad selection was very poor and none of the dressings even had labels. The desserts were through in the Bistro area which also had a good selection of sandwiches. I could imagine this will be difficult when the ship is full and people are having to walk around a lot to find what they want. There were so many staff that they were falling over themselves to help (I think they were bored!). However even if you asked for lemonade or water it seemed to take an age for them to get it, I would far rather just help myself. I liked the decor of the Bistro better as it was light and bright but it was also very cold so we stayed on the buffet tables. I noticed that the tables were all in sixes and eights which will make it hard to find a table when the ship is full and people spread out. I did notice a lot more tables for two in the main dining rooms which I thought was a good idea as many people don’t want to share.The pool areas looked lovely although I don’t think I like the cabanas, especially if people shut the curtains as it will ruin the beautiful vista of the pool from the other chairs. The Skywalk was OK but only fun once, I wouldn't want a cabin underneath as there is no privacy. We didn’t get to see the fountain show as it was shown on the formal night and it was so cold that my formal dress was not conducive to standing on the top deck.Overall I thought that the Royal Princess was a nice cruise ship but it wasn’t as special as I had hope. We had already booked another cruise on the ship for next year but I am seriously considering cancelling it. The Deluxe Balcony cabin felt small and the balcony was tiny and I am not happy to spend two weeks in that sort of accommodation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I must try to be fair in this review, and take account of the fact that this was a Preview Cruise. I realise we were mainly there to iron out any glitches or problems prior to the maiden voyage, but the fact remains, there were several ... Read More
I must try to be fair in this review, and take account of the fact that this was a Preview Cruise. I realise we were mainly there to iron out any glitches or problems prior to the maiden voyage, but the fact remains, there were several basic issues on the ship and with Princess that cannot simply be passed off as "teething problems" Embarkation Parking at the docks was straightforward, so in awe of the wonderful first sight of the Royal Princess we I must try to be fair in this review, and take account of the fact that this was a Preview Cruise. I realise we were mainly there to iron out any glitches or problems prior to the maiden voyage, but the fact remains, there were several basic issues on the ship and with Princess that cannot simply be passed off as "teething problems" Embarkation Parking at the docks was straightforward, so in awe of the wonderful first sight of the Royal Princess we entered the Ocean Terminal - to be greeted with queues spiraling both the downstairs and upstairs check in areas. We were given by 2 ladies a green card with a letter on it and advised to grab a seat because it would be at least an hour, "due to the ship not releasing the passes until 11" whatever that meant. Anyway, an hour and 20 minutes later we were called forward to check in, which, along with the security checks were thankfully swift, so within a couple of hours from arriving we were climbing the gang plank. A month ago we boarded the Disney dream by being asked our name and walking alone through the atrium to the applause of the officers and staff, and a warm greeting over the tannoy. Princess chose the alternative greeting. Shove us along the promenade deck, in through a side door, and steered into a packed elevator area along with equally lost passengers and the occasional staff member who didnt have a clue. The biggest Atrium at sea, and we are ushered to the corridors. Big big opportunity lost Princess. We could have said WOW when when came aboard. Instead our reaction was "what the....." Cabin We were in Deck 9 Dolphin 709, a standard balcony room. This is the first big issue I have with the Royal. The room was minute, and this coming from someone who usually prefers inside cabins. The beds were stupidly short. Im 6ft 3" and my legs went well over the end of the bed, not to mention the narrowness, which bing a big bloke was very much an issue. It was rock hard as well. I thanked my foresight in only booking the 2 nighter. Much more in this bed would have crippled me. As we discovered that night, the walls were paper thin. We could hear clearly normal conversations next door, and was treated to Skyfall at 1.00am that morning. Again something I had never experienced before. The bathroom was adequate and cupboard space quite good, so no real issue there. The TV function was poor. The GPS location map didn't work, nor was there any Account access to see what you had spent - standard for every previous cruise I had been on. The Ship Much has been written about the new royal Princess, but I must say, it failed to impress this reviewer. Don’t get me wrong. I love cruise ships. I love the aura, the atmosphere, the grand atrium, the show bars and the quiet piano lounges. The Royal however just didn't offer anything additional that impressed. I'd seen it all before, and though I would no doubt enjoy a trip on her, I view other ships in a better light, with better layout, better organisation, better food and a bigger WOW factor to be seen on Cunard, Independence of the Seas, even the Sapphire Princess. I just didn't take to her. The crew Poorly trained. Over enthusiastic when you wanted to be left alone. Not interested when a bit of assistance would have been appreciated.. My biggest gripe is reserved for the Cruise Director, Ron Goodman, however. I likened him to Hughie Green - oozing insincerity from every pore. Too slick. Too smug. To pleased with himself to be opening his eyes and looking at the obvious issues the ship has. The shows were good - loved the big production number with the lighting in the main theatre, and the ABBA tribute band were better than most act I have seen on a ship. The bar staff tried hard to please, with the best service witnessed in the Wheelhouse bar. The worst at the Seaview Bar. Inept. The bars around the Atrium closed at 11 on the last night, yet the waiter seemed happy to serve their mates but refuse others sat nearby. I expect that behaviour in a dodgy local pub, and not the supposed pride of the Princess fleet. The Restaurants Horizon Court. The first breakfast was horrible. Nothing tasted right or nice. The worst Corned Beef hash I have ever had, and that’s saying something. The bacon was inedible. Eggs were sloppy. Very very poor fayre. The meals in the main dining room were an improvement. Nice Beef Wellington and nice steak on 2nd night, but I wasnt a fan of the decor or layout, however. The waiters were good - fair play to them, they tried and tried to give us what we wanted. Cant ask for any more from them. Overall we paid £300+ each for a 2 day trip which to be blunt was simply not worth it. We willingly paid over the odds expecting to be given a memorable introduction to a wonderful new ship. The entire setup seemed to be with the objective of fleecing you - getting every available buck out of you, but with none of the class or charm offered by Cunard or Celebrity. We were given sub standard fayre, and we left with a firm conviction that we would in future stick with the names we usually stick with.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I felt that after reading the reviews given so far it didn't paint a proper image of the Royal Princess for future cruisers, so I will give an accurate overview from an experienced cruiser who normally travels with Princess, Royal ... Read More
I felt that after reading the reviews given so far it didn't paint a proper image of the Royal Princess for future cruisers, so I will give an accurate overview from an experienced cruiser who normally travels with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Overview:-Stunning ship from outside and interior. The atrium must be the the most impressive centre point of any ship I have seen and princess have done well to make it a destination of its own full of bars, restaurants and eateries, all of which are beautifully designed. The entire ship was sparkling (as it should being a few days old )Embarkation:-As quick an easy as any other cruise line. With a grand entrance to the piazza. Public Rooms:-Princess have done a great job with integrating bars and restaurants to compliment each other. E.g. Wheelhouse and crown grill. Sabatines and vines. The show lounges look great and I have to agree with other reviewers that the main theatre looked pretty small but I loved having the vista lounge back instead of club fusion which featured on other recent ships. Princess live is interesting but I didn't really attend anything in this area so hard to give a review on, I must say I liked the explorers lounge and feel I will miss having this area to the ship. Club 6, the new lounge/late night entertainment venue is stunning. Well designed and a great idea to bring it closer to the atrium area. I do feel that it was a miss not to have an dedicated observation lounge which I think princess passengers would have enjoyed being of the older clientele . The shops look very similar to other princess ships, just more spread out and the casino looked as to be expected. Bars:-So many bars to choose from you will not be disappointed. Crooners looks great but very similar to how it is on other ships. Other bars include Bellini's, wheelhouse, vines, lobby bar and sea view bar. Have to say I was a little disappointed in the sea view bar. I think they could have made more of this in terms of using it as a mini indoor observation lounge, but still a great idea. Restaurants:- again, very similar to other ships in terms of main dinning rooms but these have been enhanced and are truly stunning with spacious seating and more tables for 2 than ever before. Sabatinies has been expanded and located to near the piazza. Looked fab. As does Crown Grill. Both of these restaurants have a reasonable fee of $20-25. Alfredo's the new pizzeria is great. Amazing food , atmosphere, menu and its fee free. The sushi bar in the main atrium looks beautiful and food delicious but never got a chance to try. Main difference on this ship is the horizon court/bistro. This area has been majorly expanded and Princess have taken this to another level dividing it into a bistro for a quick bite, and court for a substantial buffet meal including indian, Mexican, Chinese and others. They have also incorporated the crab shack and fondu in this area-for a small fee. Top deck:-Fantastic top deck with the largest pools I have seen at sea. Movies under the stars has been expanded and the screen is double the size. I feel princess could make more of this at night by putting a few movies on instead of one or two. The adults only area is wonderful, especially the sanctuary and pool area. Stunning and the best in the industry! Cabins:- We had a standard balcony cabin on caribe deck. Very comfortable cabin but I was slightly disappointed with the shower curtain coming back. Think the way other cruise lines have gone with the glass door is the way to go. TV is great as is the new entertainment system "movies on demand" Crew:-Excellent and friendly crew who seem to be getting to ropes with the new ship. Give the staff a few weeks to settle in and this will be up to scratch. Overall, great 2 day cruise. We have booked in September which we are very excited aboutAnd feel the little niggles will have been sorted out by the. The ship as I have previously stated is wonderful, a huge improvement to other princess ships with the azing piazza, expanded pool deck and fabulous dinning options. Royal Princess is now a real contender in its industry. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We booked this Cruise in January 2013 to celebrate a friends special birthday. We have sailed with Princess on five previous occasions and have been upgraded to Platinum status. Princess have, for the past year made a huge deal about this ... Read More
We booked this Cruise in January 2013 to celebrate a friends special birthday. We have sailed with Princess on five previous occasions and have been upgraded to Platinum status. Princess have, for the past year made a huge deal about this Cruise with loads on videos and emails. To be honest, we were very excited at the thought of going to this trip.   Embarkation was fine. As a Platinum guest we had priority. We were lucky enough to be amongst the first new guests on board. The looked great. Although the length of the ship does not seem any longer than other ships we have been on, Crown Princess, Sea Princess, Ruby Princess it is a lot taller. Everything smelt brand new. The Atrium is a marvel. top points to Princess for the new design. The layout of this was somewhat different from the norm, which was a pleasant surprise.   Upon embarking, as one does, we headed straight up to the Horizon Court. The Horizon Court was very light and airy with the décor being very pleasant. Instead of the usual buffet lines, the design is totally different with long self service counters with a variety of different foods. Unfortunately, a lot of the food was repeated and what appeared to be a great choice turned out not to be. The hot food was not hot. The food was very bland with many passengers making derogatory comments. The service was good.   After lunch we headed to our Cabin. The cabin was very nice. Similar in size to what one would expect. We had a balcony cabin made up with a queen bed. A nice touch was the wall mounted wide screen TV with a great selection of films and TV box sets on demand at no extra cost. The cabin steward was great., Our room was clean and tidy at all times. The guy was polite and unobtrusive. Room service was good and on time.   Princess then, in my opinion really messed up. The first night was billed as a Formal night. The customary champagne waterfall was scheduled. We arrived as billed. No fuss was made of the new ship and the captain said nothing. Only a few drinks were handed around and I didn't see any canapés. A huge opportunity to welcome everyone aboard and to make everyone feel special was missed.   We opted, with our friends for anytime dining. In the afternoon we had phoned and made a reservation. No complaints surrounding this process. The food however was unimaginative, was cold and bland. Very disappointing.   After Dinner, having explored the ship we headed for the Show. The Princess Theatre on this ship has been designed differently than the other ships. Whilst the seats are more comfortable they no longer have trays to put your drinks. Only two narrow walkways now existing from the top to the bottom. The scenery and lighting was excellent as was the sound. The Princess Dancers were fantastic although the show itself was not to my taste.   In my opinion, the real let down of this trip was the Cruise Director and his staff. We have been unfortunate enough to have had the same Cruise Director, Ron Goodman on a previous trip. The guy was never around the ship and I don't think we saw his staff more than once. The guy is totally false.   We were due to visit Guernsey, but due to poor weather we could not dock. Princess had a captive audience. Hundreds of people were milling around the central atrium most sitting bored. The ship hurriedly produced a new Princess Patter but it was clear that the Ship not only had no B plan, but didn't have a C, D or E Plan. A friend of mine approach Goodman and said to the effect, hey, do something, you have a captive audience, this is a new ship, people are bored all he said was, 'thanks for your comments' and walked off. This guy and his team are doing Princess no favours.   All in all, having taken a number of cruises before, our party of 8 all felt let down by this whole experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This is without a doubt a lovely ship and my review like others will detail some aspects that need improving. It is a subjective thing to write a review such as this but im a firm believer that reviews like this can make other peoples ... Read More
This is without a doubt a lovely ship and my review like others will detail some aspects that need improving. It is a subjective thing to write a review such as this but im a firm believer that reviews like this can make other peoples vacations better for the future. Bare in mind this was a 2 night trip. The Positives. Shows were fantastic and generally all the areas of the ship worked very well. Loved the big bed in the Stateroom along with the massive TV. Food was excellent at all times. Nice selection of films in the stateroom. Loved the idea of a full TV film studio, that’s an excellent choice. Negatives. I do wonder who buys the WiFi package on these ships for some $70 !! Shower in room 530 packed up one evening at peak time, this might just be a glitch. The main Theatre has no room to place a drink. Mid Ship stair well, there is none, you get a lift or nothing. Stairs only front and back. No colour coded carpets on Port / Starboard. Serving staff don’t always understand English. They got it wrong a few times. I asked for Porridge and no one knew what I was on about. No BINGO, oh come on, all ships have something like Bingo to entertain. Missing a trick here guys. No Party feel to this launch week event, where was the Party feel, there was nothing. No Souvenir too, it’s a special week, would you not expect a small gift? Staff in Restraints can be variable, we were a bit rushed the second night and there was not really a choice to come back to same serving staff the next night. We had to book over the phone. Last night no Party feel, they closed the Casino at 12 !! as we had entered UK waters. Could we not have just stayed back a bit, it was the last night? We went to Guernsey and back but could not get off, this was outside the control of the crew and ship of course but could we not at least have seen Guernsey from a point at sea, we saw nothing, we could have been anywhere. The Buffet has no real flow, you go to get some fruit and then wonder where you might get a bowl from. Staff take plates and bits away from you before your really finished. Oh and can we just apply our own tips to staff. This works better on other companies like Thomson's as those guys really work for their tips. All in all this was a good trip and we would go on the ship again. It does need to have a better feel though, it just felt a bit stilted. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their ... Read More
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their mates and some of the family to celebrate. The ages ranged from about 20 to 60, and a great time was had by all!!! Me and my husband have cruised a few times before with Celebrity to the Caribbean, but we did realise that the cruise we were on was not comparable due to the large amount of hen and stag parties aboard, all looking for a good time with lots to drink!!! And boy did they drink, they danced, they joked, were loud and had so much fun!!! In fact my sons mate, became quite a Celebrity doing his own version of Peter Andree's mysterious girl and a Mick Hucknall song while in the hot tub, everyone on deck joined in, it was great. From then on, he became known by us and loads of passengers as 'Hot tub guy'...LOL We have to say the general service was pretty poor, they have waiters everywhere asking to take your drink orders, then you have to wait 20 minutes for it to arrive, because they only seemed to have a couple of bartenders behind the bar, even in the crowded venues. Also trying to purchase photo's was a complete shambles with 2 girls trying to serve people, which resulted in huge queues, which completely blocked the entire area. We gave up in the end, and didn't bother to purchase any for this reason. (About an hours wait) We found the casino quite small after the Celebrity ships, but as we were only on board for a couple of days this didn't bother us (we normally like a flutter). The food in the main dining rooms was very average and I have to say wasn't a patch on Celebritys. Hurried, disorganised service, food luke warm at best, the accompanying veggies tended to arrive about 10 minutes after my rack of lamb was served, then to add insult, what could only have been a bright orange/yellow potato croquet was served to me, looking like it had just come off of the shelf at Iceland....not sure what that was all about, but hardly fine dining!!! We ordered drinks well before our starters and these arrived when we were just finishing our desserts. The main dining room wasn't anywhere near as glam as the Celebrity ships. But having said this P&O do a really good English brekky, but with the usual - people milling about with trays of food, unable to find a table to sit at. We had room R254 on the Riviera deck, we were not overlooked from above. All ok, except the fridge didn't work, we did report it but nothing happened, and the TV remote had a mind of its own, not really a problem on a 2 dayer, but I would have wanted these little niggles sorted on a longer trip. Getting off was a complete disorganised shambles, we queued for 3/4's of an hour, through winding corridors, with our luggage. We spoke to a member of the crew, and asked if it was always this bad, she replied only on the booze cruises, as the company cut back on the amount of staff, which explained the slow drinks service................. You really have to take this 2 day cruise for what it is, everyone on board was calling it the booze cruise, which to be honest it was. If you accept it as that you'll have a great laugh and a really good time!!!! We felt it was like an old fashioned beano....LOL..... In fact we're all planning to do it all again next year......... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I have sailed with a number of cruise lines , but to be honest Royal Caribbean has never been one we have through personal choice fancied travelling with. However, in light of the extensive media there is in the UK as to how ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with a number of cruise lines , but to be honest Royal Caribbean has never been one we have through personal choice fancied travelling with. However, in light of the extensive media there is in the UK as to how 'wonderful' their cruises are my wife and I decided to give them a 'fair and open' chance to prove us wrong by taking a two day sampler cruise to nowhere. We specifically chose this cruise as there was not a planned port of call as we know that when in port, venues etc are closed onboard and therefore with them being open it would gives us a good opportunity to in effect make a personal review, to decide whether we would book a longer cruise at a later date. About 4 days prior to sailing, we received an email to say the ship would now make a port of call stop to Cherbourg (France) which defeated the reason why we chose the cruise in the first place. Day one - Embarkation at Southampton, this was swift and fairly painless and was much inline with our normal experiences of the port. At check there were people giving out information sheets advising of the revised cruise to include Cherbourg due to Custom & Excise regulations which would have prevented them opening the spa and casino etc......... As they needed to be seen to dock in international waters. Once checked in we went onto the ship and having not eaten anything we made our way up to the buffet restaurant. This was about 11:30 in the morning, and already the hot food was not only 'Luke warm' but totally tasteless. I had two different types of chicken, which were in addition to being Luke warm, were so over cooked I could have leathered the soles of my shoes with them. As a couple who previously owned the rights to use a 3 bedroom time share villa in Orlando, we are fully appreciative of our experiences of American service, but as we sat and ate our meal, the body language and indeed verbal language of some of the staff, really surprised us. Later in the day, after un-packing our luggage in our cabin, we made our way to the 'freedom' style restaurant to make a reservation for a table for two for our preferred eating time, to be advised that they only make reservations for tables for two at 17:30 or 17:45. When we sat down for our meal (which typically on previous cruises we would expect to take around 90 minutes over) we were in and out in less than 40 minutes...was like being on a conveyor belt, indeed the waiters were clearing plates of the first person, before the second had finished. Day Two - the buffet restaurant started cooked breakfast from 7am, because of medical tablets I have to take, this was absolutely perfect, however on reaching the buffet at 07:02 yet again the so called 'hot food' was at best described as Luke warm.......... My hash browns were actually cold. We chose not to get off at Cherbourg having been there número use times independently. Our evening meal experience mirrored that of the previous night....... Conveyor belly, but unlike the previous night where the food was quite tasty, the main course was at best described as tasteless. We ended up in the drinks/ entertainment lounge on deck 5 that has an eastern name (had a mental block as to it's name as I write this). We were two of about 18 people in there and after waiting 10 minutes for a drinks waiter to come to us, we walked out. During this time, the waiter spent the whole time chatting to the person behind the bar, and took drinks to one table only........ Totally appalling! Day one and two......... During the cruise the open air 'inline skating' rink was shut because the track was wet!!!!! ............... The general store (duty free) was shut displaying a sign, that as the ship was not leaving territorial waters for international waters they could not open; but that is exactly why they added the port call to Cherbourg for to ensure they were in international waters. My wife wanted to go rock climbing but on each occasion we went to the wall it was shut, and I was advised by a teenager that he had been told it was shut for the duration of the cruise. The most ludicrous issue was that on a Cashless cruise to play the casino including slots, we had to go to the casino cashier to physically 'BUY' dollars as the slots could not be used by entering your cruise card as the facility was not available on the cruise. So we were charged 3% to buy dollars, whereas had we known, we could have brought some along with us, as we keep a supply of dollars at home. To be honest we feel totally let down by Royal Caribbean, indeed the UK Head Office has not even responded to a let of complaint sent, which does lead us to a total negative experience. We fully appreciate others will say RCI is the best thing since sliced bread, but it would be interesting to see what your genuine thoughts would be if you experienced what we did! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Thought the QM 2 was a lovely ship. Difficult to find one's way around in the five days! Would love to do the transatlantic trip with her as the activities we understood to be on offer on those trips would have been marvellous. ... Read More
Thought the QM 2 was a lovely ship. Difficult to find one's way around in the five days! Would love to do the transatlantic trip with her as the activities we understood to be on offer on those trips would have been marvellous. Just a few negatives: The check in was very slow, people not due to check in until the afternoon had arrived in the morning and were processed which seemed to annul totally the point of staggering check ins. We arrived at the designated time 12 md and were left an hour and a half. The couple we sat with were due to check in at three but had arrived at 11 and were processed as we arrived. There seemed be a great deal of negativity amongst the staff particularly in the cafeteria where internal wrangles were obvious. There was insufficient bar staff particularly in the Casino but those that were there 1 or 2 were excellent considering the pressure they were consistently under. All in all we had a great trip enjoying Rotterdam, Zeebrugger and Le Havre. Used River Taxis in Rotterdam, Trams in Zeebrugger and a taxi with 4 others in Lehavre to go to Hons Fleur. Fun! Car Parking Firm However, we would just like to extol the virtue of and say how efficient the Car Parking Service of APH, Airport Parking & Hotels were and we felt that their charges were very reasonable too. All we had to do was to phone a number 20 mins before arrival, a member of staff was then alerted to our arrival, gave us instructions to park in the short term car park where he awaited to take the car over. All took five - ten minutes. The same procedure on the way back. We left the ship at 0855 and were on the road on our way home by 09:10 hrs. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
When my husband and I saw this mini cruise on the Queen Elizabeth for 5 days to and from Southampton (we live about and hour away) we thought what an ideal opportunity to try this iconic brand. Our past experience consists of seven cruises ... Read More
When my husband and I saw this mini cruise on the Queen Elizabeth for 5 days to and from Southampton (we live about and hour away) we thought what an ideal opportunity to try this iconic brand. Our past experience consists of seven cruises on Celebrity, Royal Carribean and more recently Azamara Club and Oceania.We were expecting great things from Cunard! Embarkation from start to finish took about 50 minutes so no complaints and there was a welcome bottle of champagne in our stateroom. The stateroom itself was a bit basic in decor considering Queen Elizabeth is only 2 years old but that sort of thing dosen`t spoil a holiday for us. What does however is bad service and mediocre food. The Lido buffet was like a bun fight at breakfast and lunch, with not enough food areas open and the standard of food was the worst we have had on any of the mentioned cruise lines. I ordered a fresh pizza one lunchtime which was O.K. but received such surly service from the chef I wanted to apologise for being so awkward! The Britannia dining room food was nice enough but again the worst out of all the cruise lines mentioned. The service was good apart from the sommelier who had so many tables to look after we got to our main course before he had time to take our wine order. You could not help but feel sorry for him. Likewise service in the Golden Lion was not good/ bordering on chaotic; we waited 35 minutes for some drinks and when they came they were wrong. This seemed to be the norm rather than the exception. The service around the pool area and on deck was virtually non existant. If you wanted a drink you had to get it yourself and at one point I saw an old lady march off to find an officer and some waiters to come and clear the dirty glasses and cups that were on almost every table. Needless to say they did not make it up to the top level where we were, so we just sat staring at the mess! I don`t want to appear like a professional moaner so I must mention The Verandah restaurant which we paid to eat in on the 2nd night and went back to on our last night (also we could not face the Britannia dining room again). The food was worthy of a michelin star and the service was the best I have ever had.The head waiter made crepes suzette at the table which was impressive and delicious. The public areas on the ship were all very nice and we particularly enjoyed The Commodore Club and the Yacht Club. A fantastic pianist and an amazing Caribbean band made for great entertainment,and dancing in the nightclub. We aways try and make the best of any situation so it would be wrong to say we did not have a good time but it is with regret that we will not be travelling with Cunard again. Take my advise and try someone else where the food and service is up to scratch. I find it slightly amusing that Cunard insists on high standards of dress from its passengers and yet is unable to deliver high standards itself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
After a 60 minute wait we boarded the ship at 1pm, dropped off our luggage at the cabin, and had a quick lunch at the Lido buffet. We enjoyed everything about our cruise, especially eating in the Britania Club restaurant, most of our ... Read More
After a 60 minute wait we boarded the ship at 1pm, dropped off our luggage at the cabin, and had a quick lunch at the Lido buffet. We enjoyed everything about our cruise, especially eating in the Britania Club restaurant, most of our meals were taken there, we were looked after most royaly by our waiters Emmanual and Dennis. Nothing was too much trouble for them, eg. extra sauces, extra vegetables. A bonus of eating in this restaurant was having the freedom to eat when we chose, without the cost of the grills. We ate fish and chips at the Golden Lion one lunchtime, always very popular,and sometimes hard to get a table. We had afternoon tea most days in the Lido buffet as there were long queues at the Queens room, and we had previously enjoyed this experience on the Queen Victoria. Ditno, out cabin steward soon knew our routine, and our cabin was always cleaned on our return from breakfast, he also regularaly checked if there was anything else we needed. We had a wonderful sailaway from Hamburg on the Sunday,the marathon had been held earlier in the day, and crowds lined the banks to wave us off. I have read previous reviews of this cruise, and I can only comment on our experiences. We had a wonderful cruise, we were treated with respect and friendliness by all,and we are counting the days for our next cruise on the Queen Mary for the Queens Jubilee. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
What other company design all their contracts so that THEY can break them at will and be so unforgiving when unfortunate circumstances occur to their customers. This was a round the world cruise of 106 nights on two liners QE and QM2 ... Read More
What other company design all their contracts so that THEY can break them at will and be so unforgiving when unfortunate circumstances occur to their customers. This was a round the world cruise of 106 nights on two liners QE and QM2 and booked 18 months before departure at a cost of 20,000+to include 7 day stay in Sydney ,all gratuities ,"round the world" dinners in Sydney and Dubai and on board spend and various other RTW goodies. Unfortunately I was sick 7 months before embarkation and did not get fit to travel until a day before embarkation date. Had to cancel first part due to the illness but advised Cunard and agent that I wanted to pick up the cruise ASAP hopefully New York. Got doctors clearance and approached agent (ROL). No problem but Cunard want full payment again!!!. I couldn't believe that this could be so and took to contact them myself, and it was this that should have sounded warning bells about Cunards attitudes, but to cut a long story short I managed after many calls to get them, or rather Amy, the only Cunard employee who had any resemblance of customer service about her, to re-instate the second half, Sydney home, and I paid for first half again on QE to Sydney from San Francisco. Swallow hard and get under way with the aim to enjoy ourselves and forget it. Embarked at San Francisco on QE then we felt the full force of Cunards meanness. They are completely soulless, have no empathy and only after the fast buck which they relieve you of by the bucket loads. They had removed our "round the world" status and cancelled all our benefits, no dinners in Sydney and Dubai, we received no invitations' to Cocktail parties etc, no onboard spend although I did manage to get a small amount on second leg, no tips paid, no gifts of shawl decanters etc and no 7 day hotel stay in Sydney, which left us to find our own accommodation . This after them collecting a cool £10,000extra, pure profit, from my unforseen circumstances and charging us again to get to Sydney, plus their usual make from RTW fare. No luck on QE so tried on QM2 and no amount of discussions with the pursers or senior officers had any effect and found that saying "NO" had to be a company policy and it will be sorted out by Southampton. The fact that we would not be back to Southampton for nearly 4 months didn't seem to feature in their thinking. They really couldn't have cared less from the Captain down. Two fellow round the worlders wrote to the Captain, no reply, and the Hotel Manager who invited us to sit on his table for dinner. Hopefully we might be getting somewhere but he never said a word about any of it. I suppose he patronisingly thought the honour of sitting on his table would remedy all. Wrong it made it worse and it was galling to see on their blog the treatment he received when he recently retired. This situation caused embarrassment to the rest of the party but we just had to get on with it and try not to let it affect our trip. Near impossible. So why wait some six months after disembarkation to do this review. It has taken this long to sort out two other minor matters that only the Cunard brick wall needed penetrating. Not easy and it was was only after court proceedings had begun for a ruined blazer that they very very grudgingly paid up. They, Cunard, spent 3 months arguing and stonewalling over a ruined blazer that was so obviously and blatantly their fault. To this day they cannot bring themselves to just confirm that one of my bags went missing on disembarkation. I did forget to collect it but contacted them 90 minutes after disembarkation. Of course nothing to do with Cunard all my fault even though the bag should have been kept secure by them. They even intimated that passengers collect their own bags and then claim insinuating that I was a liar. They did nothing to try and trace it. I have two letters from the same person written on the same day giving four different dates, none of them for the day I reported it. So what about the cruise itself. Even though we had our problems the plus side was definitely the QM2 which was very smooth and only showed any sign of being affected by the wind while crossing the Bay of Biscay. The down side of the QM2 though was that we lost complete power on 2 occasions to add to the 2 on the outward trip. Glad it happened on calm days. A rough sea would have been a more unpleasant experience. The cabins were adequate but not over spacious, we found the food pretty good in Britannia restaurant and also the speciality nights in the Kings Court very good. Not so in the Todd English restaurant which I thought was disgusting and very over priced and over hyped. They could not even cook a scallop, well they could and did for god knows how long and they emerged like marbles. The staff were excellent in the Britannia restaurant and the cabins, the entertainment was very average to poor and why do they keep employing singers whose only repertoire consists of Les Miserable and Phantom. Believe me after 3 months you run for cover whenever they open their mouths. No not impressive, nor do I recall one memorable show. Some lectures were good. Gerald Scarfe brilliant, sometimes near the mark, and a lecturer from the salvage firm of Schmidt, whose name escapes me was knowledgeable and a very good presenter and was involved in the Russian submarine sinking. "Cruising" is somewhat of a misnomer, you are in fact just subsidising a huge ferry to get round the world. As round the world customers, well we weren't in CUNARDS eyes, but we were in fares if not in miles, and were treated no differently than those that used it to do short segments. These caused disruption to the routines and changed the character of the ship every time, and sometimes not for the better. As many as 1500 can come and go at some major ports. Shore trips very expensive and comes under the heading things they don't tell you. The main problem is that QM2 is so large that most cruise terminals cannot accommodate it. This means that it has to dock in container terminals, not attractive and usually a long way from where you want to be. Worst example was Bangkok. 3 hour coach trip to have just 4 hours there and then 3 hours back and this was often the case and well you can imagine the driving conditions in some of these places. Even Hong Kong was a 40 minute tender trip to shore. These are some of the other extortionate schemes they devised to relieve you of your cash.. The internet is like pouring money down the drain. It just does not work and you pay for all the down time. A picture that they take by the hundreds will set you back $25, every drink you buy they add 15% irrespective of any service and all activities in the Spa will set you back a pretty penny. They then have these supposedly luxury shops who then transform themselves into market traders to try and get rid of there very average goods by setting up in the corridors and blocking the way for those trying to get through. If you have been to Petticoat Lane you will have a very good idea of what they were like. Having booked early CUNARD dropped three important ports of call from the itinerary at their whim. Hiroshima which we were particularly looking forward to and replaced by an extra day in Sydney (we had already had 7 days there) Napier NZ where we were to meet up with friends. They didn't even bother to advise us that this was cancelled. The last one was Lisbon which was replaced by Malaga!! From a senior officers comments it appeared that they would not pay for the extra fuel to run the gas turbines. Of course there is no comeback, it is all in the small print and not their fault. You would have thought they might establish these visits long before the cruise date and not advertise them and cancel them after you have paid. Never mind they always have the small print. This must be a CUNARD habit as there were a number of seasoned cruisers who could not recall missing a scheduled call on any other line except for weather. The final confirmation that CUNARD are not the company to do business with was after writing a personal letter addressed to the MD Peter Shanks, addressee only , just asking him for "his" comments to our CUNARD experience, not customer services comments as I already had a large file of them. You probably guessed, he did not even read it and it was answered by a customer service clerk with the usual insincere clap trap. I thought it was just me who had problems and so I had a quick look at others comments before I put it on the critics sites and it was somewhat re-assuring to see that It was not only me who had become bitter and twisted but there are many others with similar views of CUNARD and seemingly angrier than me. e.g." All the gloss on the surface and deeply cold and uncaring to the core" " The Internet, In essence a divisive and sly 'con'" "Will I go on a World cruise again, never we are the forgotten passengers." "Once they have your money, you're almost forgotten" "Their replies to complaints have been grossly insulting implying I am a liar." And one from someone whose mother died and they would not transfer names so he forfeited his money in disgust. We also experienced all of the above. So there it is you pay your money and take your choice. I am sure many people like Cunard probably because they haven't had a problem. Make sure you know the rules if it all goes wrong because there is absolutely no one who you can turn to for help on shore or on ship. Come to think of it if there was someone they would not help as I found to my cost as it is not one of Cunards mission statements to deal with customers other than to relieve them of cash. On the plus side we met many new friends who have kept together since and some ports of call were good, Vietnam to name one. The only fly in the ointment are CUNARD themselves. Their inability to deal with any complaint is obviously company policy and they will swear black is white and treat you like an imbecile or even worse a liar. So farewell CUNARD. It would be nice to think that someone of some authority in Cunard reads these and just might think we may have a problem here. Dream on, we believed the hype and we paid for it, literally. We shall not be tempted again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
In my mind, this appears to be.... 'the mother of all ships'. I'm interested to see that there are other large liners on here that get higher votes. I like that. It gives me other options. This ship is immense, beautiful, ... Read More
In my mind, this appears to be.... 'the mother of all ships'. I'm interested to see that there are other large liners on here that get higher votes. I like that. It gives me other options. This ship is immense, beautiful, and finished to a very very high standard. We selected club dining so had a table that we could use at anytime. It really worked for us. The staff were brilliant. The wine waiter Jakob was fantastic. We couldn't have asked for more. Nothing was too much trouble. Jakob took us on a journey each evening with our wine choices. He knew roughly what we liked so we accepted his choice. Very very entertaining. Stunning food. Fantastic dining area. We loved it. The entertainment onboard was equally as fantastic. There was sooo much choice. The Red Lion pub quizzes were a big hit. The bands playing in the various bars equally good. A cinema on board with a few hundred seats. A fantastic theatre. A beautiful ballroom. We loved the black tie captains evening. We loved Blake on the last night. Lots of stuff to keep people entertained whilst crossing the Oceans, (not for me I'd rather get on once it's crossed). LeHavre was a pleasant enough port. Not much there. I wanted to visit Hornfleur but with so much to see on the ship in such a small time slot we decided not to. Brugge was beautiful. A lovely lovely city. We took a cab from the side of the QM2 and used the same people to get back. We loved every minute of this once onboard. A little glitch getting on board as the ship wasn't ready and we kind of got stuck for a couple of hours in a holding area in Southampton. Not too much of a problem though. Thank you Cunard for creating a really special experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
sailed from Southampton to Guernsey and Laharve France. Cost was £948 for Three days. This was our first and and did not know really what to expect apart from high standards of service and exquisite cuisine as we had been told by other ... Read More
sailed from Southampton to Guernsey and Laharve France. Cost was £948 for Three days. This was our first and and did not know really what to expect apart from high standards of service and exquisite cuisine as we had been told by other cruisers. Well what a shock we had instore! Very disappointed in the cruise as a whole! very little entertainment provided throughout the day, We were very bored especially when we could not get off the ship to go to Guernsey due to bad weather! I feel the activities team should have been more pro-active and provided some entertaiment knowing this.The Entertainment that was already scheduled was for the older generations and we are not gamblers! Therefore there was nothing for us to do but watch TV!!!!!Very poor indeed!!! Could not book into any restaurants as serial cruises had already booked all the places months in advance!!! Food in buffet was bog standard with very cheap cuts of meat and lacking in vegetables, all meals were just warm or cold!and not enough seats for everyone, we had to sit on deck near the pool to eat!!!!!!! Room was nice though, lovely and clean with fresh towels Twice daily! Beds were hard though and gave me terrible backache and the pillows stank of stale sweaty heads!!!! I used a bath towel rolled up for a pillow. Drinks on board were very expensive and gratuity of 15% is added onto every receipt!!! along with $22 per person per day gratuity!!!! This is disgusting!!! I AM A NURSE MANAGER AND NO ONE TIPS ME FOR MY service!!!!! Our first and last cruise I might add!!! never again OUr Bill was $400 for 2.5 days we boarded on Saturday at 3pm and was kicked out of our room at 8am on Tuesday we only spent $15 dollars in a shop!! the rest was about $200+ Gratuities and the cost of alcholic beverages for Two people!!!!! We were not even spoken to on departure after being robbed for Three days!!!!! they could have at least acknowledged us, they were too busy welcoming the next bunch of unsuspecting victims!!!!!!! If Ihis is cruising you can stick it!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were lucky to be invited to visit Adonia Sunday 22nd May. Would we like it?FIrst impressions... how small she is... we have never been on a small ship before.. smallest being Oriana etc.What a surprise then to find what splendid ' ... Read More
We were lucky to be invited to visit Adonia Sunday 22nd May. Would we like it?FIrst impressions... how small she is... we have never been on a small ship before.. smallest being Oriana etc.What a surprise then to find what splendid ' hotel ' at sea. If you like dark wood rich fabrics and plush sofas.. she could be for you... It had the feeling of a luxurious country house hotel..Every area had plenty of seating.. and remembering she holds 710 passangers I would doubt any where would ever get crowded.SHe lacks a wrap around prom deck but does have a jogging track up on the top deck which I expect will fast become a walking track 14.5 times around for a mile.No casino.. disco.. pub.. or cinama... but for us 3 out of 4 of these we dont use... so we could manage without a cinama..No theatre but a lovely large show lounge with large stage.Again plenty of seating in here , also this is where the dance floor is and it seemed very large so Im sure the dancers will be happy with that.There is two alturnative dining resturnants and the self serve consertatory was spacious and even had an outside seating area..The library was a surprise as its massive.. with views acorss the deck and pool and plenty of comfy seating to be had.. the PC's were located in here as well.DOwn side was the cabins seemed small !! but in scale with a small ship... the balconies seemed small but again compared to Azura where we had a massive balcony again small ship small balcony.. BUT the bathrooms were tiny... and there seemed to be less wardrobes than oriana/ Aurora.. so dont bring too much !!For some reason the hair dryer is over the loo !! but as the bathroom is tiny you could lean towards the mirror to do your hair.. but they are the sort you get in swimming pools and not the best for styling your hair for a night out.We had a lovely lunch in Sorrento.. the Italian style resturnant.. which was lovley and bright and very white in decor,Would we sail on her?Yes... as the fewer passangers mean less queueing getting on and off... and you can visit different ports on her that only the smaller ships reach.If you like the idea of a hotel at sea...it could be for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We were recommended by a friend to go on the Celebrity Eclipse. He told us that others were like "Premier Inns" and that Celebrity was of a much higher standard. We were amazed at the size of the ship and also our cabin. It had a ... Read More
We were recommended by a friend to go on the Celebrity Eclipse. He told us that others were like "Premier Inns" and that Celebrity was of a much higher standard. We were amazed at the size of the ship and also our cabin. It had a wonderfully comfortable bed, large flat screen television, settee and a good sized bathroom. We chose a balcony cabin so that we could sit out late at night enjoying the view.Having purchased the "premium alcohol pack" which is quite expensive we decided to experiment with all the cocktails we could manage! - which was great fun without getting silly. I'd recommend this pack because the drinks on board can be quite expensive.You couldn't tell the ship was moving in spite of white horses on the sea and a bit of a blowing gale, the food was like none other I've had - from Filet Mignon to snails etc. Waiterscouldn't do enough but probably should have left us alone more. I don't want to be told "Here is your delicious steak sir, cooked to perfection", I'll decide that (although it was!). Having been blown away by the ship (and that's after only seeing a bit of it) and before we left Southampton we'd already decided on another cruise, to the Med in September on the Celebrity Silhouette.I think we've been spoilt because, now having got the cruise bug, were thinking of another one to France in July with another company and, having read revues, will stick with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced ... Read More
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced cruisers we wanted to taste the delights of P.& O. which we thought would be a real treat and cut above the others (Royal Caribbean and Princess). From the very beginning organisation was a real issue. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Southampton) to be handed the colour coded cards with letters on, with no explanation as to the procedure other passengers filled us in, and over an hour later waiting in a huge hot hanger (please please tell me that's air conditioned in summer ?) we were called. Then you que for check in, then you que for security now I understand that some queing when dealing with 3000+ passengers must be inevitable but there are ways to handle large groups with courtesy and tact rather than making them feel like cattle, and this was not attempted here.We arrived on board and a few staff were "hanging around" and we managed to find out where are cabin was ,but on previous cruises this has been handled as a warm welcome with smiles and grace, not so here.Best Bit of cruise was the brass band on the dock which played us off, magic. Our cabin was adequate, with furnishings as expected but the overall feel was that the decor, fabrics and flooring were very tired. A small TV on which little information was ever displayed and PAY per view films ! unlike Princess or Royal Caribbean where the latest movies run for free, with plenty of choice of other channels and information is updated daily in a rolling show recorded by the cruise director. (Dont even think P&O have a cruise director).In the bathroom were decent size toiletries, but a shower curtain rather than a door. In the Room were tea and coffee making facilities and a fresh daisy, all small nice touches. On the balcony, nice furniture two loungers, one foot stool (every one else had two??) and an occasional table (what do occasional tables do the rest of the time? [I digress]).We went for a wander around the ship and came back to find our case had been left outside someone else's cabin, luckily we walked past that particular cabin so reclaimed our case !!! can you imagine the problems we could have had had we not been lucky enough to spot it?There was no explanation of where we could eat (this was the major problem of this cruise there was never any information or help or organisation), we ended up on the deck eating hot dogs and burgers although, I believe, we could have eaten a nice afternoon tea in the buffet but no one told us!The restaurant was pleasant, the food and service excellent, we had first sitting 6.30pm and a table with two other couples and although we were strangers we got on well and I have no complaints about the restaurant and my partner was pleased to note that on the formal night people were denied access to the dining room if they were not adhering to the specified dress code. The breakfast (which we took in the buffet on deck 15) was also excellent with masses of choice and very nice food. My partner had full English and I had continental with fruit and yogurt all lovely and well presented. We will give credit where credit is due the staff and food served on this ship were top notch.The entertainment on board for this two night cruise were awful, a bad comedian, two X-factor rejects, a sub standard tribute to the four tops and a George Micheal tribute act. I hope that normally on longer cruises the shows would be good but might have expected at £350 a head for two nights we deserved better. The crew also seemed to think this was a "Party Cruise" nobody billed it as a party cruise when we booked it, it was described as a "Taster" and we expected a taste of P.& O.'s usual standards.Bruge and the shore excursion- We booked the four hour tour, boat ride and shopping advertised as "A Taste Of Bruge" £40 a head.Our coach was half an hour late leaving the ship due to lots of chatting and checking lists by the P&O staff, so we were instantly late starting our walking tour. No problem for the guide who was 6'4" with a stride to match and decided to do the whole thing at top speed with no "comfort stops", in the end three of us ladies had to demand a toilet break which went down very badly and he went into a complete sulk when half the group decided not to continue with the tour and make their own way back to the ship (at considerable expense). If I were you I would book the "Bruge at your own pace" (£28)which is basically a transfer to and from the ship and look round Bruge at your leisure. A lady however told me that this was also fraught with disaster for some people as when they went to get the buses back, some how the buses filled before every one who had paid were seated on them. The driver of the last bus refused to carry these passengers, despite their having tickets and turning up in good time ( one was even in a wheelchair), and left them to make their own way back to the ship, ten miles away. Perhaps to make your own way to and from Bruge via the train is the best option as many more experienced passengers did. Bruge by the way is lovely. The boat "driver" we had was very funny and we tipped him because he was the best bit of the tour.Disembarkation- We have been on many cruises and are used to the system, you keep the bare essentials with you and put your main case(s) outside the night before you dock. In the morning those who want to get off quick (and didn't put their cases out the night before) get off first. Then the others are kept in different lounges and called in order (usually colour coded) to avoid chaos, no one ques for longer than necessary and you wait in comfort! That's how they do it on other ships, not here though, lip service was paid to the organised way, we waited for the calls for disembarkation but after nothing for an half an hour my partner went to find out what was happening. He was told by a member of staff that they'd abandoned any attempt at organisation and everyone was now queing (3000+ people) to leave the ship by one gang plank!!! madness which we then had to join. What a rubbish way to end a rubbish weekend. Everyone was hot,tired and very fed up, it didn't have to be like that, the fact that the ship was late docking should not have caused this chaos.When we got home a P.&O. brochure was awaiting us, and leafing through I was amazed to find that this ship is only 3 years old, it has not aged well. It needs a deep clean and preferably a complete refurbishment, it needs someone to organise the staff and provide more information, where are the little cards with maps of the ship ? (so handy on other cruises we've been on). The staff need to up their game be polite and informative (one spoke to me so rudely he alone would have put me off P.& O. single handedly) the general attitude seemed to be it's only a two day cruise we dont give a damn about the passengers. You will not be surprised that we will not be travelling with P.& O. again and are having our next cruise with Princess, they know how to treat their customers (and we've already booked it).It saddens me that a great British company has been reduced to this. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was ... Read More
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was not an option if it is not done. Lots of lamb and poultry like duck and guinea fowl. Tasty meat was a few times. Coffee was one day too weak and too strong the other day. Really good but a few times. And endive salad was just lettuce with very few ingredients. Potatoes were not cooked and was therefore mostly rice. Quality food absolutely no 5 *. Only the Veranda restaurant, met the 5 * (super).Operation: Waiters fought a lot among themselves and were only controlled by their superiors. Mostly lazy and uninterested staff and often to clear the table mid-meal. In short, they do not know their stuff.Entertainment: In a world cruise repetitions and often shows for kids like morons, or a juggler or magician. There were beautiful costumes but we have seen them only 2 times. The theater was seldom full and people rarely walked quickly away. The sound of the orchestra was often more important and thus harder than the performing artist as a harpist and singer. Shortly, quality was very poor.Accommodation: The air conditioning was sometimes off and sometimes in some places it was 15 degrees and often in the restaurant almost 30 degrees. The coffee machines have been broken for days and a cup of cappuccino could not be donated. The TV has two British and two American stations but only one sports channel in the air for three weeks. Furthermore you missed all the sport.Dress Code: Lots formally a malfunctioning air conditioning does not contribute to a nice meal. Always one to suit what's wrong with a nice shirt or a polo.Passengers: On board Russians and Muslims in their own way travel experience. This is very different from the other passengers. Many children on board which is not helping to create a pleasant cruise.Information: Every day there will be a newspaper (daily program) that cut and paste is put together and full of errors. Furthermore, we did not enter Aruba and Bali but it is canceled for some unknown reason why we never communicated. This seems to be normal. Daily also published a newspaper in your own language, but you have to ask 4 times before this is settled. Furthermore, also in English (especially the cruise director) is not known that other countries in the world than England.Disembark: Upon arrival at Southampton, I had to first pick up the car. Asked when leaving the ship on 3 persons of security or should I return after the car was retrieved. No problem if you show the boarding pass but there is no problem. After all, you paid for these days and this date is also mentioned. Showing you never come back on board and after information from four individuals showed that this was impossible. So the telephone to call the ship and asked if anyone wanted to empty my cabin (there were 3 bags) it lasted a whole 2.5 hours and the result that the train to France that was made was not reached. It costs nearly 100 euros over again.Summary: The Queen Elizabeth is a 5 star ship and the whole earn less than 4 stars it was also evident in the evenings where a retirement home just after eleven which was 95% in bed Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Limitations of this review I was kindly invited on a short UK preview cruise from Southampton in June 2010. This was a few days after Epic had been delivered from the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France (where the QM2 was built) and ... Read More
Limitations of this review I was kindly invited on a short UK preview cruise from Southampton in June 2010. This was a few days after Epic had been delivered from the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France (where the QM2 was built) and entered service. I obviously cannot comment on the quality of the full range of dining and entertainment options as one would ideally need two weeks to sample everything. Only 2,500 guests were invited so I also did not experience the ship operating at full passenger capacity. Norwegian Epic has an impressive 18 decks, although decks 1- 4 are not public decks. Decks 6 , 7 and most of 5 are almost exclusively dedicated to public rooms. Their are 18 bars and lounges, 20 dining options, plus multiple entertainment venues to choose from, in keeping with NCL's 'Freestyle' concept. Most of the public rooms are single height, but not all. Embarkation Although I arrived at Southampton's 'City Cruise Terminal' a few hours after embarkation had began I had to join a long queue which snaked out of the terminal building. It took me almost an hour of slowly shuffling along to actually board the ship. In contrast it took me just fifteen minutes to board 'Oasis' at RCI's new terminal at Port Everglades a few months ago. Maybe the Southampton cruise terminals organization is to blame rather than the ship? For example, I noticed that there were five X-ray machines but only three were being staffed. Such big ships clearly need big infrastructure to operate efficiently, which something that RCI has recognised and put in place with 'Oasis'. Passengers boarded via Epic's 'lobby' which is quite understated being only two decks high. It contains the usual reception desk, shore excursions desk and an atrium cafe. The first thing that struck me was how very wide and spacious the lobby was which instantly reveals the scale of the ship. The lobby has an enormous two story high-definition video screen which instantly signifies that you are on an informal 'fun' ship. It is used to show anything from tranquil seascapes to sporting events. The second thing that struck me is that NCL have re-branded their internal dEcor. The often 'garish' semi-Carnival-esq dEcor of the 'Jewel' class has been replaced with an altogether more sedate approach. Many of the interiors are quite 'classy' and often not as 'glitzy' as RCI, in fact some aspects of the dEcor reminded me more of 'Celebrity'. For example, stair landing featured giant oval mirror designs and many elevator landings feature dark wood panels, reminding me of the QM2 at times. Most of the carpets are much less 'acid-trip' inspired than on previous NCL ships. I will now give you a deck by deck tour of the ship: The front half of the first public deck, deck 5, is exclusively public rooms, the rear half being crew spaces. At the very bow of deck 5 is the 'Epic Theatre'. The Theatre is of course state-of-the-art, but somewhat smaller than you would expect from such a big ship holding just 900 passengers. We are of course used to seeing theatres that accommodate approximately half of a ships passenger compliment in one sitting. However this 'NCL Freestyle' and there are alternative entertainment venues. The theatre has raked seating spread across two decks; there is no balcony/circle. The Theatre offers excellent sight lines. However all the other entertainment venues are much smaller so can offer a higher level of intimacy, ideal for live performance. Working our way aft, after the theatre, there is a photo shop and a very large 'art sales' area. 'I-connect' the internet cafe is located adjacent to the 'art sales' (starboard) and a little further towards the aft is the 'Click' photo gallery, which has 'digital' printing facilities. Adjacent to the photo gallery (port) is 'Le Bistro', French restaurant which is featured on board all NCL ships. Continuing aft, we reach the main Lobby. Just beyond the lobby are two escalators (one up and one down) to deck 6, emerging in the Casino area. Continuing aft, we reach 'Taste' restaurant which like many of the dining rooms onboard, quite intimate. The tables are in its own atrium which has a very impressive 'contemporay' LCD chadelier hanging above it. However passengers above can look down upon the dinners, so it's not ideal for the paranoid. Deck 6 is entirely dedicated to public rooms. At the bow there is the upper level of the 'Epic Theatre'. Proceeding aft, we have the 'entertainment kiosk' which is a booking desk for all of the entertainment. All bookings are held on your pass card/room key, which is scanned on arrival to each show. Continuing aft a little there is the 'Speigel Tent' on the port side, which is a circular double height show lounge which offers the "Cirque Dreams and Dinner" show. The 'Speigel Tent' takes its name from a travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, originally built in Belgium during the late 19th Century. It is a circular room, with tables, a small center perfornce floor space and a balconly with addotoiponal tables, looking down. Compared to the orignal artist renderings it does not look as circus-tent like and is quite a dark sparse room. It has just 275 seats, but this of course adds to theatmosphere of the live performance. The furniture is flexible; however there were some seats which had their back to the show, which made little sense. The show carries a $15-$20 surcharge, depending where you sit. Adjacent to the 'Speigel Tent' is the intimate 'Headliner's Comedy Club' which speaks for itself. 'O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill' is located amidships. This 'Irish Pub' style lounge, which serves food and is one of the the bigger lounges on the ship. It is very atmospheric and very popular. It looks down onto the lobby and it's video screen. It also has three bowling lanes, dart boards, pool tables, foosball and arcade games (a further three bowling lanes are located in Bliss). Continuing aft, there are two escalators emerge from deck 5 into the Casino area which is located amidships. It is very extensive with 340 slot machines and many gaming tables. Unusually the Casino overlooks the Atrium below, whereas most Casino's on other ships are an enclosed room. I often found myself having to pass through the Casino to get to front or back of deck 6. Unfortunaely it is often quite smokey. Moving further aft we reach 'Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant (starboard). The 'Cascade' bar serves the Casino and is located centrally, and 'Fat Cats' Jazz Club, which is an intimate 280 seat venue. The two level Manhattan Room Restaurant occupies the very aft of the ship. The Manhatten Dining Room is the biggest dining room on bord and takes up the full width of the ship. It has a two deck high ceiling in the centre, although dining is only on the lower level. It has a charming art deco design with square windows overlooking the ships wake. I was initially a little disappointed as the original renderings made the room look larger with an enormous dance floor - more like a Cunard 'Queens Room' with dining tables. In reality the dance floor is somewhat smaller than illistrated. The furniture is flexible so tables, chairs and buffet stations are often set out on part or all of dance floor, at times. In fact the room was used a lot as a meeting venue during the preview cruise with a theatre style chair layout covering the dance floor. I had breakfast in this reseruant and it was very good. Hot items are ordered from the menu. Cold items were available from some buffet stations. Deck 7 has two promenades raunning down each side of the ship. There are 'deck games' on the port side and a 'jogging track' on the starboard side. The Prom offers virtually no sea views as it is almost entirely obstructed by ten very big lifeboats, per side. However no cabins views are obstructed by the lifeboats. The lifeboat follows the modern tend of taking place in various public rooms without the passengers being required to wear lifejackets. The best sea views on Epic are from the many balcony cabins. There is no observation lounge, althoug unuseally the 'Garden cafe' (self service resterant) is located high at the front of the ship of the ship (deck 15) and has some good sea views. At the bow of deck 7 is the 'Bliss Ultra lounge' which is one of the biggest lounges on the ship, along with O'Sheehan's. It is a very trendy and very popular lounge/nightclub, being packed each evening during the preview cruise. The decor is more typical of the 'Bliss' lounges on other NCL ships (i.e. rather eccentric.) Continuing aft, we have the 'Ice Bar' on the port side. This is an interesting novelty. The room holds 25 people, although I think you could easily fit 30 in. The room is quite sparse with an bar (made of ice) a few large ice sculptures and a few ice chairs. You are given a thermal poncho with hood and gloves to wear. In fear of stating the obvious, it's very cold inside. I was dissapointed that our glasses were made of 'glass' not 'ice'. Passengers are allocated a 45 minute slot in the ice bar. Most of my fellow Brits withstood the full 45 minutes apart from women who were wearing skirts and or open toed sandals, who lasted around 20-30 minutes. The ice bar carries a surcharge of $20 but you do get two free drinks of flavored vodka. It was extremely difficult to get a booking for the ice bar on my preview cruise. The opening hours will be surprisingly limited: nightly from 5oopm -10pm. I wonder if the demand will outstrip capacity. I was expecting 12.00pm to 1.00am daily which might ber more realistic? Continuing aft we find the 'Tepanyakki' dining room, 'Wasabi Sushi Bar' and 'Sake' bar (starboard). I had Sushi for lunch which was very good indeed. Also on the port side is 'Shakers Martini Bar'. Continuing aft, we have 'Maltings' whisky bar, the 'Humadore Cigar Lounge', the shops and a barbers shop, where a man can get a haircut and wet shave. There were pictures on the wall of 1970's hairstyles, which now look humerous of course. At the very aft is 'Cagney's Steak house and Churrascaria' which overlook the Manhatten room. As NCL put it: "We've taken our traditional steakhouse and fused it with a trendy, energetic Argentinean-inspired Churrascaria". Decks 8 - 13 are purely accommodation decks, apart from the Medical Centre on deck 10 and the private studio lounge (formerly named the 'Living room') on deck 11/12, serving the 128 small 'Studio' cabins spread over both of those decks. Deck 13 also has a 'bridge viewing' window. Deck 14 has cabins located forward and the 'Recess Kids Club' located amidships. Moving aft is the first squash court at sea, then the 'Pusle' fitness centre/aerobics room, hair and beauty salon and fully aft, the 'Mandarin' Spa. This 'health & beuaty'complex is particularly extensive. Located on this deck are a total of 39 spa suites, which have private entry to the luxurious thermal suite and fitness center. Eight spa suites each feature an in-room whirlpool, although this compremises the cabin space available. Deck 15 features the first level of the very ungainly forward deck extension (sometimes known as the 'carbuncle'). The lower level contains the 'Garden Cafe & The Great Outdoors' which is the self-service buffet area and lido (open air) dining area. The Garden Cafe is is not unlike those on any other modern ship. It is of reasonable size, but not enormous. The food choice and quality is pretty good. The plates and cups were china, but trays were notavailable. However the Garden Cafe was prone to getting crowded on my cruise, so what would happen if most of the 4000+ guests decided they all wanted breakfst there at once? Unuseally when dining in the 'Great Outdoors' passengers get a view of the Aqua Park, rather thasn the sea. Having the buffet located forward, rather than aft, as on most modern ship caused me some navigational disorientation at first, but I soon got over it. The main entrance to 'La Cucina', the Tuscan-style eatery on deck 14 is via the Garden cafe buffet (deck 15) making it quite difficult to find, until you know. The centre piece of 'La Cucina' and its Italian decor is a real tree. The resterants also offers some nice sea views being purched high above the bow. Moving aft, into the open air is 'Waves bar' and 'Aqua Park/Kids Aqua Park' and 'Sun Deck'. The 'Epic Plunge', is the only tube slide with a bowl slide and a 200-foot long tube. The Aqua Park also includes two main pools five hot tubs, a wading pool and a kid's pool that features whimsical sculptures, water sprays and a slide. Behind the twin funnels are two rock climbing wall. We then pass through an area called 'The Marketplace' which was not in operation, but I belive it will be an open air sales area (is there no excape from consumerism?) Beyond that is the 'Spice H2O' pool and bar. This area has an aft pool which turns into a dance floor/disco at night. There is another giant video screen which is flanked by two of the biggest speakers that you have ever seen. It is likely to prove very poular in the warm Caribbean climate although the bar can quickly get over crowded. Of course if it's raining or windy, the passengers will all migrate to 'Bliss' which in all likely hood would already be full. Deck 16 forward, features the 'ship-within-a-ship' suite complex. This was not open or even complete on the preview cruise. Deck 17 Aft is the 'sports deck', full-sized basketball court, climbing wall and a very strange 24-foot tall enclosed climbing cage called the Spider Web. Deck 18 is the roof of the 'villa' complex. This features a private courtyard sundeck and public sundeck, port and starboard and the private 'posh beach club'. So I assume the 'have nots' can look at the 'haves' in envy? Cabins NCL have really though 'outside the box' with this one - no other ship in the world has anything similar. All outside cabins have balconies and many have their 'new wave' curved walls. All grades of cabin are uber-trendy and look great in my opinion. The cabin corridors are once again quite 'understated', although not unattractive. NCL still have that clever 'wheel' gadget next to each cabin door which is used to indicate "do not disturb", "please make up may room" etc. without the need for cardboard door hangers. Many of the cabins are an interlocking (mirror-image) design, a bit like a '69' configuration. This is not a new idea as many of the great ocean liners used this design to save space. However 'Epics' cabins have curved walls that help disguise the fact that the standard and deluxe balcony cabins are narrower than most cabins on other modern ships. I was in a deluxe balcony cabin, number 11080. Controversially in the vast majority of the cabins, including mine, have the toilet and shower split into two separate compartments, with frosted glass sliding doors, either side of the entrance door. This design cleverly saves space and allows the creation of a narrower cabin (hence more passengers). There is a vanity sink is next to the toilet cubicle. This wet area has a wooden affect floor, the bedroom area, carpet. Now the lack of toilet and shower privacy is an issue for some people. You can see a person's silhouette through the frosted glass doors of both the toilet and shower. However there is a curtain which can be drawn closing off the wet area (toilet and shower only, not the sink) from the bedroom area - so really it is a non-issue in my opinion. However it could be embarrassing if housekeeping is trying to gain access while you are towelling down as the cabin door is effectively in the wet area. The 'pedestal' style vanity sink looks trendy, but it is nearly useless. Firstly the water constantly leaves the bowl, flooding the surrounding surface and floor. Secondly it has a large fixed spout with does not move, so if you tried to wash you face directly in the sink you would head-butt the spout. (I have since heard that NCL will address this matter). There is a shaving socket by the sink and a mirror. The deluxe balcony cabin has a very large (in fact long) shower with a big shower head on a flexible pipe. The water pressure was very good for a shipboard shower. A glass door beats a curtain any day and the water did not tend to leave the shower and flood the floor. The vacuum toilet barked like a dog as usual, but at more decibels than normal. The deluxe balcony cabins appear to no wider than the standard balcony cabins, but they are much longer. You get an extra wardrobe and cupboards. In fact I counted 15 different cupboards of various shapes and sizes. However the wardrobes were not very deep which will be O.K. in the Caribbean but may cause problems for European garb. When opened, the wardrobe doors block the limited through-way. The shower has shower gel and shampoo dispenser and the sink a soap dispenser (no individually wrapped Molton Brown luxury bath products here). A large sofa (which takes up a disproportional amount of space in the cabins) pulls out to become a third berth. The main bed has rounded ends and tall passengers have complained that it is too short. The cabin lighting is trendy and quite effective, compared to some other ships. The balcony was of a very good size and easily accommodated two upright chairs and a very small table. The dressing table area has a hairdryer underneath it. There is a safe and mini bar. The only power socket (the US type) and under the vanity desk and are difficult to access. I believe the cabin LCD TV's are 'interactive' but none of them worked at all so I don't know. There was also a coffee making machine. The art was also missing from the walls of my cabin - but hey, this stuff will be fixed. The 128 studio cabins located on deck 11 and 12 are just 100 sq ft. They are the nautical equivalent of 'bedsits', yet they are very cute to look at, at least. Unusally have big round windows looking onto the corridor, but people cannot see in. The corridor itself is bathed in a blue light and looks very sci-fi. These cabins were originally designed for couples (obviously small couples) but are now redesignated as 'single occupancy' with no single supliment. Reducing the studio cabins capacity makes the 'studio lounge' twice as spacious, although it appeared rather sterile and univiting to me. (Contrary to the first press releases the studio lounge does not have two levels, just an upper stair case serving the studio cabins on the deck above.) Entertainment I saw the 'Blue Man Group' in the Epic Theatre which was a full 1.5 hour show. Now if you have never seen the BMG (which I had not) it is almost impossible to explain what they do - but here goes: It's a humorous musical and visual show, with no dialogue, featuring the Blue Men drumming, sometimes on plastic plumbing, some rock music, some avant guard slapstick and audience participation: see I told you it was impossible to explain. Anyway it's unique and unconventional which exactly matches how NCL have promoted Epic as being. I really enjoyed the show, although some traditionalists would probably prefer 'Chicago' (soon to be offered on 'Allure of the Seas'). It worth reflecting how much a ticket to this show would cost shore-side, but on board it's free. "Cirque Dreams and Dinner" show, held in the purpose built 'Speigel Tent' room is two hours long. It starts rather slowly with lots of comical dialogue and general tomfoolery. However, after 20 minutes, once the show got going and the proper circius acts performed, the show became a high-energy, interactive spectacle. The acts included a tight-rope walker with a very slack rope, balancing, juggling and strong man acts, to name but a few. There was even a man cavorting in a bath of water and flying on ribbons, much to the delight female members of the audiences. There was also a woman who can instantly change her clothes - I wish she could teach my wife that trick. At several points in the show I feared that I might have to say "waiter there is a performer in my soup" (although soup was not served). The 'dinner' on the other hand was one of the worst meals that I have ever had at sea. This was hardly a good move given the fact that the audience were journalists including Douglas Ward of Berlitz Guide to Cruising and me. Firstly It was a set meal of only three courses, so there was no choice. The first course was a quarter of an iceberg (or similar) lettuce with some mediocre dressing, so hardlyy a salad. The second course was chicken and beef: the chicken being a 'reformed' piece with stuffing in it, mainly tasting of salt. The beef was mediocre and cooked 'medium' with no choice being given as to how you wanted it. The vegetables were relatively stewed and tasteless. A brown gravy coved the meal. The desert was made such dense chocolate that three quarters of my table were unable to stomach it. I recall that NCL said in a press release something like: " you will remember the show but you will not remember what you had for dinner". If only that were ture. That meal is burnt into my taste buds! It's a pity the Chefs were not as talented as the circus performers. On a positive not the waiters did extremely well to work around the show and even joined in occasionally. So it was a poor meal, great show. I belive the surcharge is considerbably less than you would pay for the show shore-side. I walked past 'Howl at the Moon' show (dueling pianos) in 'Headliners' and the crowd seemed to be having a ball. Space /Layout Epic is a floating resort and a reasonably high density ship, in terms of passenger numbers. Another way to look at it, is that 'Epic' has a similar internal volume to the Cunard's 'Queen Mary 2', but will often carry up to 1500 more passengers. However It's not a fair comparison, although an interesting one, because that's the difference between 'Premium' and 'Mass Market'. Epic's fares are likely to be considerably lower than the likes of Cunard. Epic only has two stair towers and respective banks of elevators, so there is a very long walk between them. Some considerably smaller ships have three stair towers/elevators. The elevators are not the fastest or biggest that I've experienced either, those were on 'Oasis'. Oasis only has two stair towers but the speed and size of her elevators compensated. My preview cruise only carried 2,500 guests but the ship already seemed very busy. In fact I found it difficult to get served at any bar in the evening, although the invited guests probaly consumed more alcohol than the normal cruise passenger do. There did not seem to be a 'quiet bar' on offer. The TV screens around the ship which should display how crowded each didning room was were not functioning as yet. It will be essential to book your entertaiment, ice bar and dining choices in advance as all the venues and dining rooms onboard Epic are generally small and will most likely sell-out very quickly. Summary It is refreshing to see NCL finally build a ship which truly competes with the big two and close the gap. Essentially Epic is like an NCL 'Jewel' class ship on steroids. In fact Epic makes the rest of the NCL fleet feel 'intimate' in comparison. In my opinion 'freestyle' matches the tastes of the modern (often younger) passenger better than the traditional system: the inflexible 'two sittings' for diner followed by a main show. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and most cruise lines now operate a form of 'freestyle' on a more limited basis. However 'freestyle' is not perfect and restaurants can become crowded at peak times and queues can form. Epic's major selling point is her multiple dining and entertainment options. I would hesitate to call her 'truly' innovative as this particular innovation took place back in 2001 when NCL introduced 'freestyle' with the 'Norwegian Sun' being the first ship to be designed specifically for 'Freestyle' with eight dining options. However, Epic takes the 'Freestyle third generation' concept further with even more dining options, enhanced entertainment and multiple venues. The cabins may not be conventional or the most spacious at sea, but they are definitely the trendiest. Epic has all the advantages and disadvantages of a big ship. For example the corridors are endless and the stair cases go on forever, so not an ideal ship for those passengers with mobility problems. Epic is a relatively high density ship in terms of passenger numbers. I am not sure how well she will handle her full compliment in terms of embarkation, disembarkation, on board congestion and deck space. Whatever the outcome, you would certainly never be lonely onboard. I will also be interested to hear how the cruising public feels about the quality of her non-surcharge dining and cost of the various surcharge dining options. Although 'Norwegian Epic' with 'Oasis of the Seas' are very different ships, people are bound to draw comparisons. After all, they are the two biggest new ships, operating similar itineraries, in the Caribbean mass-market. So should you book 'Oasis' or should you book 'Epic'? Oasis of course wins on size and her groundbreaking public spaces such as the 'Royal Promenade', 'Central Park' and the 'Boardwalk'. Some aspects of the RCI experience are quite traditional: one main dining rooms, one main theatre with two sitting and two formal nights per week (although there are additional dining and entertainment options). Epic wins on the number of dining choices, dining flexibility and informality (no need to ever dress up if you don't want to) not forgetting the trendy cabins. Both ships have certainly upped the quality of entertainment at sea. Epic offers single 'Studio' cabins with no single supplement which is unique in the industry. Oasis has its 'Loft Suites' and Epic has it's 'ship within a ship' 'Villa' complex. So would I recommend Norwegian Epic? Yes certainly for the young, the young at heart and families looking for a more informal 'fun' experience, with a vast array of dining options, on a very impressive, floating resort. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Given that this was the maiden voyage for fare paying passengers, it started badly when the check in at Southampton ground to a halt, due to "system failure" for quite some time resulting in a significant queue of un-checked ... Read More
Given that this was the maiden voyage for fare paying passengers, it started badly when the check in at Southampton ground to a halt, due to "system failure" for quite some time resulting in a significant queue of un-checked passengers - made worse by the complete lack of information being broadcast to those waiting. Finally through check-in and onboard, complete with a glass of complimentary "fizz", first impressions were positive. This is a substantial ship, airy with lots of open space and multiple choices for both casual or more refined dining, as well as a seemingly inexhaustible list of places to enjoy a drink or two - I lost count after 10. The cabin was comfortable and well appointed; plenty of storage/hanging space and an extremely comfortable bed, with the ablutions department well up to scratch. Tea, but surprisingly for an American Line, no coffee making facilities - not everybody wants to wake up to a single choice of beverage. The cabin steward couldn't provide coffee sachets - "we don't have any, Sir", but a trip to the Ocean View Cafe provided a source of Instant Coffee sachets - not what I would have expected to either find out for myself, or self provide! We were disappointed by the send off from the pier at Southampton, as there wasn't one! We've had more dramatic departures on a cross channel ferry! Though to be fare the standard of ship handling during this 3 day jaunt was at a very high level indeed - arrival at Le Havre went unnoticed, so gently did the "Master" tie up, as was the situation when arriving at Southampton. It was very apparent that this was a "shake-down" voyage, as most of the crew and systems weren't working as seamlessly as one would expect. Starting with the life boat drill, our "station" was in the Moonlight Sonata dining room, where we were seated, not being required to carry or wear our lifejackets!!, by the crew, only to be moved after a delay, as we were all facing the wrong way to see the video screen, and I'm talking about some 100+ passengers here! Many of the features on the impressive in-suite interactive TV system weren't operational "This feature is not operational" seemed to be the most consistent response from the device; and indeed when trying to order room service at lunchtime on the Tuesday, we were informed that this was not available! A phone system glitch apparently, but not helped by attempts to contact Guest Relations, by phone, who then connected me to the same message, not once but twice!! Even in the dining and bar areas most senior Celebrity staff were clearly visible, with mobile phones held to their ears, resolving some problem or other, so all was not running as smoothly as they wanted either. Also for no clear reason the main dining area, the Moonlight Sonata, wasn't open for lunch on 2 of the days, leaving you only with the choice of self service, or pay a supplement to be "properly" waited on - not what we look for on a cruise of this supposed standard. If I wanted to eat in what is effectively a motorway service station (albeit a pretty impressive one) I would have opted for one of the down market lines. Having said that the meals were of a very high standard, and offering a wide choice, and when served, served well. All in all a cruise that could have been so much better, reminding me of one of my reports from my school days "Has the potential, but hasn't applied himself enough!" Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My partner and I were invited onboard Equinox for a one night cruise to nowhere so our time onboard was limited but had a lasting impression!Although I'm not a seasoned cruiser I have been onboard numerous other ships for similar ... Read More
My partner and I were invited onboard Equinox for a one night cruise to nowhere so our time onboard was limited but had a lasting impression!Although I'm not a seasoned cruiser I have been onboard numerous other ships for similar events and this is the first time I've walked away with such a strong opinion on a ship of this scale.This ship has such elegancy and class throughout that I was quite stunned.We had an Ocean View Stateroom, which was neat and compact with plenty of storage. The colour scheme and design was very calming and it really felt like somewhere you could relax for weeks at sea.The bathrooms also have ample storage, which has always been rare in my experience.We only had time for a few drinks in Cellars and then we ate in the Silk Harvest, which is their Asian Fusion restaurant. The food and service was superb and would fit in well in any trendy European City.The whole Promenade Deck is extremely classy, with a fabulous Martini bar.Even though I had a very limited view this really felt like a ship Celebrity can be proud of and a huge pat on the back for the designers! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Don't be fooled, Southampton is an hour and a half from London but well served by the transfers provided. As we stepped on boards four giant words in twinkling colored jewels greeted us in the huge atrium - Here comes the sun. ... Read More
Don't be fooled, Southampton is an hour and a half from London but well served by the transfers provided. As we stepped on boards four giant words in twinkling colored jewels greeted us in the huge atrium - Here comes the sun. Yes this is the song of the Equinox and we were so lucky to be on board for the Inaugural Naming Cruise. Having not sailed on a Solstice class ship we were immediately lost, no problem! The floor guide who was to meet us outside the elevator on Deck 7 did not materialized but we thought lets go and find our cabin - oh but wait, what an amazing globe and table by the elevators *makes mental note to consider how it could become part of my carry offs* We found our room very easily and after a push me pull you effort that was to typify the next two days we did eventually open the door. Its no problem, we just needed reprogramming. We are used to suites but as we were allocated rooms and guessed we would be low in the pecking order we had a 2a. Now this is where Celebrity may have shot themselves in the foot - the room was far bigger than we imagined, we loved the comfy sofa by the window and we thought the layout of the bathroom was far better than some of the suites. Loved the design in the room and found good storage, so maybe we need to think, why have a suite. Anyway small amount of unpacking done we ventured to find the Buffet - great at last a buffet that does not resemble the school dinner lunch queue. Beautiful crockery and a lovely selection of food. We were on board for the naming celebration so we were in evening gear by 1600 listening to the band of RAF Halton on the lawn. Yes the lawn which I thought would be naff, no its great and there are big sofas up there and a lovely bar at the back of the ship, somewhere I would certainly use again for pre dinner drinks. The naming ceremony was pure theatre and the godmother was inspirational. Pre dinner, the Martini Bar was mobbed (probably because it was free) but we found Mark who had looked after us on Century was running the Ensemble Bar beside the special restaurants and we decided this is where we will drink! Silhouettes is a stylish restaurant and the food and service we enjoyed each night was excellent, well cooked and beautifully presented. On this trip it was open seating so we could not build up a longer term relationship with staff but each server was friendly and attentive. After the show (the theatre clearly is technically far superior to any of the other Celebrity ships and I think some great show designs will result) we went wandering around the ship to find so much beautiful art. Loved also the layout with the disco, small theatre and large theatre all together. Loved also you could move around the ship without having to walk through the casino. Made for much better traffic flow. Having been rocked gently to sleep, next morning the sun shone over the English Channel and we made way to breakfast (no room service on this trip) and again a great range of buffet items and more lovely crockery. After a morning curled up on one of the sofas by the lawn with a book we ventured to Bistro on 5 for lunch. Other half is so reluctant, he does not like crepes he announces. Cowboy crepe later he declares that maybe he has never had crepes before or if he had they were bad ones and this was fabulous. I have to agree, that plus a bowl of gelato and I was well set up for the most lovely afternoon back at the lawn. The other half clearly thought he had challenged his waistline too much so he went to the gym which he commended as being very well set up with good kit and a separate area for classes and spin bikes. In two days we did not have enough time to try everything, all the speciality restaurants offered mini tastings and inspired us for visits in the future, the cellar masters with the little dollar shot tasting card looked good and the library was in a lovely open place and had a very good range of books to borrow There were no on board quiz or entertainment activities other than the 2 shows but it was clear there was a lot of potential for great experiences, the Accapela group and poolbands only did short stints but they were good. So it was a two day trip to nowhere, the sun did come out, but even if we could not sing Here Comes the Sun every day, this is a great ship to cruise on Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
For the first time ever, I have felt compelled to write a review within the first hour of returning from a cruise (albeit short). This was a mini cruise but with maximum impact. What an extraordinarily beautiful and classy ship this is. Oh ... Read More
For the first time ever, I have felt compelled to write a review within the first hour of returning from a cruise (albeit short). This was a mini cruise but with maximum impact. What an extraordinarily beautiful and classy ship this is. Oh yes, from the outside it does look like a 'block of flats' but once inside it is full of intimate spaces, soaring light filled atrium and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Rarely have I been astonished by 'modern' design as I am a traditional Gal at heart and my home is Edwardian comfort. However,  everywhere you look is a feast of inspired detail where no expense has been spared in the materials used, from the various marbles to the ice blue textured curtain fabric in the 'ice topped' Martini bar. We spent a good few hours exploring the ship.  The marathon was made long because we had to try out/sit in/lay on every chair/seating unit/couch! You probably think I am mad, but if you want to see the best and most interesting collection of 'designer' seating then forget shops and book a cruise on Equinox. Talking of shops, to be honest I am not a great lover of cruise ship shops.  But these give you the feel of being in the Burlington Arcade in London with their 'shop windows' and their elegant spaces. I understand that Equinox is sister to the Solstice but the decor is warmer in tone and colour. I liked the 'Entertainment Court' idea. The nightclub Quasar and the Equinox Theatre, as well as a smaller cabaret space, is there on Decks 4 & 5. The theatre has a large stage with a semi circular apron and three tiers. Sight lines are excellent and the seating appears to curve around the stage. It seats around 1200 and there is lots of leg room. No need to stand up to let people through! Wide walkways and at the back of each tier there are long curving marble bars with bar stools. I have only once come across this type of 'arrangement' in a theatre and that was on Ocean Village 1 ! It works very well.  The show was also surprisingly similar to Ocean Village's Planet show on their top deck rigging over the pools, with the same 'out of this world' music. It was also very like the show on P&O's Ventura.  Here they use backing track for the singers to sing to and the singers barely moved, in fact when they did it was on little platforms which slide across the stage by remote control. It took a while to realise that the singers were singing as it sounded pre recorded. However that is more a salute to their talent than anything else.  The costumes were stunning but the choreography was lacking.  Even the best dancers look ridiculous with bad choreography. The acrobats though were extraordinary.  Some even 'flew' above the audience as they performed with their 'silks' and rings.  For me, the balancing act and the contortionist were highlights.In a similar way to the entertainment court there is a 'court' of restaurants. We ate in the Italian- themed Tuscan Grille. This is one of 5 speciality 'extra charge' restaurants and the Tournedo Rossini melted in the mouth. The standard of food was sublime and the setting, across the back of the ship with a deep expanse of glass, was lovely. Each restaurant was beautifully designed but my favorite has to be (remember I'm traditional) Murano, with its private dining area off the main restaurant. Opulent. The main restaurant, Silhouette, is dazzling with its white and stainless steel. It is two tiers high and I understand the food was excellent. I did wonder why there was no Alcohol Gel anywhere on the ship for ones hands but I asked and was told, not only that I was the first to ask! but that it is normal to have the dispensers throughout the ship but the dispensers had not arrived yet. They will be in situ before the inaugural cruise. Finally, the main 24hr Buffet eatery called Oceanview Cafe was very well laid out with lots of space between each 'island' style serving station. There was plenty of room in the seating areas (one outside) with a variety of table sizes. I was very impressed. It is similar to the layout in Grand Princess but the seating area is more spacious. Again, P&O should see how it should be done and sort out Ventura!Music varied from classical to Jazz and we were treated to a superb performance by 'All Angels' on the pool deck as we sailed away from Southampton in blazing sunshine. There was a Big Band performance in the ten story high sunlit atrium and in the Sky Observation lounge, there was a dance band in the evening. This enormous lounge, during the day, has wonderful 180 degree views over the front of the ship.  It is also the only indoor space where smoking is allowed (port side).  For the smokers among you (or for those who wish to avoid) smoking is only allowed in 5 areas, 1 inside and 4 outside. No smoking is allowed in the cabins or on balconies. Now to the cabins.  We had a balcony cabin on deck 9. My husband was impressed that the TV was wall hung, flat screen and fully interactive with the keyboard for the Internet combined with the TV controls. Oh, he also was very pleased with the number of power sockets (American) and that the 'Ethernet Port' was in a very convenient place!  The doors to the cabin are recessed. Why? The cabin doors (and indeed the loo doors in the public toilets) all open outwards into the corridor.  Although this makes for more space in the cabin, it would cause problems to those with wheelchairs, walking aids and pushchairs as one would have to block the corridor to get into the cabin and there will be no keeping of wheelchairs etc. outside your cabin door anymore!  That makes the lack of width in the cabin critical. I could barely get past the curved end of the bed. The decor is soft with a cream leather sofa. The dressing table is the smallest I have ever come across, approx 2' wide, with a well lit mirror. The wardrobe is small with sliding doors barely 18" from the edge of the bed but the hangers 'hook' onto the rail - hooray. There is a very high sill AND change of floor level into the shower room. It is very small but with a reasonable corner entry shower area, with GLASS doors. The sink is an oval basin on top of the work surface.  A clever way of using the narrow space it sits on, however, not child friendly. Nor is there any indent in the work surface to put your wet, slippery soap. Although there are little drawers and a tall slim, glass fronted cabinet, one is struggling for space to lay out make up etc.  In the main cabin there is a decided lack of drawer space and the bedside 'tables' were mentioned by many as looking out of place (dark wood) and useless as they were basically three small shelves without sides to them, so things just fell off. The top shelf did have a 'lip' though. The balcony furniture was the same as Ventura but with a much better round teak topped table. P&O take note ! My conclusion was that the cabin was adequate.  The larger suites though are out of this world. Oh, I nearly forgot. No more fiddling with light switches guessing which did what on your way in or out of the cabin - there is one named 'Master' - brilliant! There is so much more that I could wax lyrical on but it is some of the little touches one appreciates the most. The lifts are summoned by pressing the buttons on a 'pod' standing before the lifts. The lift has arrived when the glass ceiling above and in front of the lift, turns from blue to pink (no little arrows here). There is a stand with a perspex 'ship' perched on it in the lift vestibule. This shows where you are in the Equinox and also has a flat 'plan' or map of the deck showing clearly where everything is including walkways and the public toilets. The 'Relaxation Lounge' is next to the two level Library which is a stunning space open to the atrium with its 'hanging tree' (yes it is real). The Aquaspa is gorgeous and has its own cafe and the Sports Court resembles a squash court in that it is sunken with solid walls.  You can really play a game in there ! Nice touch - the Aquaspa shop and the sports shop are next to the spa and the Lawn Club. Ah! The Lawn. I really though this was an idea too far and laughed cynically when I heard about it but - it really does work. It is a HUGE area of the most perfect grass and is a joy to sit on and to relax beside as croquet or bowls are played. Very English. I leave it to you to discover all the rest that this ship has to offer.  Now, just for the record, I have never cruised with Celebrity before and the views expressed are not influenced by anyone or anything, they are genuine. We cruise 2 or 3 times a year, paid for by us and no one else. We were on this event by invitation from our travel company. We have been on various Sun Cruises ships, Island Star, Oriana, Oceana, Arcadia, Aurora, Ventura (09), Ocean Village, Seabourn Legend (09), Voyages of Discovery, Sea Princess, Grand Princess, Star Princess and NCL Jade. Would we cruise with Celebrity ? Yes. Would we cruise on a Solstice Class ship at 122,000 tons with 2850 max passengers? Yes. Never thought we would say that after Seabourn Legend, but Yes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009

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