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14 Southampton to Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, ... Read More
We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, but with an improved bathroom. The balcony cabin had a shower cubicle, the junior suite had a shower occupying the side of the bathroom with room for two (if desired!). Similarly the balcony cabin had a single basin, the junior suite a double basin trough. Soap and shower gel was available from dispensers, there were no amenities such as cotton wool, buds etc nor fluffy dressing gowns. The room was equipped with a coffee machine, one tea bag, sugar and no coffee. On enquiry we were told that coffee pods were not being provided for the one night cruises. We had only one shower towel between the two of us. I rang down for an extra one and was told that one would be sent but two hours later it had not. I rang again and it then came quickly. But ringing for help was not easy as the operator did not answer the phone, on several occasions, for a considerable time. We did not have a shower mat, assumed these were not provided, but later found out that our friends had one. They also had the conventional decorative towel on the bed which we did not, but we were not too fussed about that. The bed was large and comfortable, but there was no real suite amenities. The only furnishing difference from the balcony cabin was a bench - type settee instead of a chair. There is not a lot of storage space for a longer cruise. This is an enormous ship, though not an attractive one externally as it has the appearance of an office block on water. Internally the colours are muted and restrained and the better for it. The general internal appearance is pleasing. Facilities are many and varied, including high level 'assault course' type wire walking, plank walking. Facilities for children included excellent-looking water slides and a crèche. Not all of the facilities were working. We enjoyed the crazy golf but this would have been better if there had been more than 4 balls available - in total. We used 2 for our party of 4 and gave the other 2 to another party. There were lots of clubs available but others could not play for lack of balls. It seemed as though many of the balls had been broken under pressure of the clubs, as there were broken balls around including in the target shoots. We asked a member of staff but were told there were none more on board. Similarly we would have loved to play ten pin bowling, and did see some others doing so, but for most of the time this was out of order with technicians seemingly unable to fix the machine. Quite a number of the other machines also were out of order, which seemed surprising for a ship less than a week into service. Norwegian need to do something about their public address system. Announcements were largely inaudible over the general hubbub, despite us trying to hear them. The only person who could be heard clearly was the captain, when telling us of the importance of attending the muster station drill. He did not otherwise speak. However the other announcements during the drill returned to the inaudible standard. The drill was worryingly lax. Passengers seemed to have no idea where to go and were arriving throughout the demonstration, and being sent to other stations. Lifebelts were not given out and we were supposed to watch one being put on, but the place at which it was being put on was obscured by other passengers so we could see nothing. No attempt appeared to be made to check that all passengers attended. The self service Garden restaurant served food of a reasonable standard. No attempt was made to invite passengers to use the hand cleaning dispensers, and most did not. As a striking apparent design flaw, the aft lifts (elevators for American readers) emerge in the middle of the Garden restaurant, so passengers wishing to use these for the remainder of the attractions of that deck walk straight through the serving and eating areas. Not clever. The plates in this restaurant are plastic, reminiscent of picnics. Mid-way through the afternoon we looked on the information screens throughout the ship and found that the 10.00 p.m. performance of the theatre show was full and there were only 170 seats left for the 7.00 p.m., so we booked that. The theatre appears nowhere near big enough for the number of passengers. Tip: book early. We were required to be in our seats 10 minutes before the performance started, reasonably enough, i.e. 6.50. This ruled out a served dinner beforehand. But the result was that when the theatre emptied at 8.30 we, together with all the others attending, all attempted to access the freestyle dining in the main restaurants. They were full, including by those passengers intending to attend the 10.00 o'clock performance, and could not cope leading to lengthy queues, then passengers turned away for an hour or so. Some further consideration needs to be given to the show times. The show, Million Dollar Quartet, was outstanding, probably the best we have seen on any ship. It appeared to be a bought-in production, and we cannot speak as to the in house team. Regrettably the comedy club was not open during this cruise. Dinner was a mixed experience. Two of our party had meat options which were considered very good. There was no fish option except lobster/other shellfish. The two non-carnivores therefore had a filled pasta dish, the only vegetarian option. This was appalling, insufficiently cooked, hard, tasteless, cold. They asked to see the maître d'. This took 10 or more minutes and when he came he was offhand, not very apologetic. One particular gripe was the mark-ups on the wine. Cruisers expect a service charge on drinks (in this case a steep 18%). But Norwegian also added VAT and duty, apparently justifying this by a note on menus in minute type that in certain ports local taxes were added (we had the meal at sea but never mind). The result was to increase the menu price by around 50% in total. Breakfast was very slow. 1 hour 10 minutes from entering the restaurant until our hot courses came. A grapefruit was cut in half but not segmented. Difficult to eat an unsegmented grapefruit, especially when the only spoon provided is a soup spoon! We asked for marmalade for the toast but this never came. Overall, Norwegian have spent a fortune on this ship and there is the potential for some excellent facilities for those who like them. But there is a low staff to passenger ratio and it shows. The passenger-facing staff were friendly and doing their best but rushed off their feet and in many cases insufficiently trained. Things may well improve when the staff have worked together on this ship for longer. There was an unpleasant apparent fear of their middle-managers who could be seen berating staff but not lending a hand to show an example when things were busy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of ... Read More
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of paying customers at sea. This review is therefore mainly my opinion on the layout and decor as opposed to the service etc which only cruisers experiencing a longer period aboard can really comment. First glance the ship.is big and nice to look at but nothing particularly spectacular. Boarding is on deck 5 which has nothing much on it so first impressions are of a very long voting corridor. No grand atrium entrance as is the norm. The decor in the ship is very modern and dark brown. Think boutique hotel meets Ikea. The interior is quite dark and not particularly open. There's not much height variation as you walk through the ship and I felt claustrophobic and I don't normally feel that on a ship. The atrium is very basic and not at the central hub as in so many ships. It is small and lack lustre and has fruit machines around the top level. Really? What were they thinking of? The lifts are enclosed and there's no nice look out when you leave them. It's all very dull and dreary I feel. The promenade deck is very lacking too. It's covered mostly with lifeboats so there's no nice walk to have around the ship nor any seats to sit on. The show was excellent. A 50's musical play featuring 'Jerry Lee Lewis' and gang who were amazing musicians but not the usual singing and dancing revue I was perhaps hankering after. It did last over an hour and a glad which I thought was good. The meal in the restaurant was excellent quality however the tables were so close together and the noise horrendous. The casino was more of a walk through and looked a bit like a nice working men's club rather than a cruise ship. The buffet was again quite penned in a d dark and claustrophobic compared to what I'm used to. Was like being in a department store cafeteria rather than a cruise ship. The food was okay at the buffet but not especially good. The room was very nice with all amenities including hairdryer, safe, LCD tv etc. The bed was amazingly comfy. The bathroom was fab with loads of room and a proper nice big shower cubicle. The top deck of the ship was really good with two nice pools, big waterslides and a really cool overhead ropes course which all our party enjoyed. A bit like Go Ape but smaller. The outside disco sail away was good with excellent sound system and deejay. All in all I wouldn't really want to spend any more time on this ship. I much prefer a bit of bling and the refinement and great customer service that you get on Princess and the fab entertainment on Royal Caribbean. It might suit some people but not for.me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the ... Read More
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the embarkation procedure was fine, took quite a bit of time but you have to wait at an airport don't you?? Our cabin was lovely and the double bed in it was soon separated for us by the steward (we are two ladies) - only two teabags in the room though - could have done with at least a couple more. Unfortunately we were woken twice in the night. The first time by a young girl walking in the cabin, chatting on a mobile and turning all the lights on - she soon left after she realised her mistake but we are still curious how she got in at all??? The second intrusion was a annoy announcement advising that "bravo drill" had been cancelled!! This announcement was made we believe three times at about 3 in the morning - probably someone pressed a wrong button somewhere. We were not impressed. We had a lovely meal in Taste BUT our biggest mistake and one which we feel is tantamount to being criminal, was that we ordered two glasses of red wine. At the end of the meal, the invoice was handed to us and it was for £33.46 - we could not believe it - £16.73 for one small glass??? Absolutely outrageous - how can this possibly be justified? Apart from this, we were handed, on disembarkation, an invoice in the sum of £60.46 being the heavily overpriced glasses of wine together with two service charges of £27.00. I'm sure someone will say "its in the small print" but it shouldn't be, it should be in very large print. Finally we managed to go to the Theatre to see The Million Dollar Quartet - excellent show but we only got there by chance. We tried to book the 7.00 p.m. show on the onboard reservation screens, only to be advised that there were no seats left!!! We took the chance after our meal just to have a look at the theatre, only to find there were plenty of seats available so had we not bothered and taken the touchscreen as being gospel, we would have missed it. What is wrong with the touch screen bookings? All staff we encountered were very helpful and polite but some found it difficult to understand what we were saying (English) and had to get another staff member to help. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily ... Read More
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily avoided it. Departure party on deck lively but bars completely disorganised waited for 15 minutes for glass of wine, apparently had no glasses. Counted 9 waiters for the forward bar dreadful service many peopole gave up. First meal food good but again waited long time for wine,into main course before it arrived, friendly waiting staff but not organised and little sign of maitre d. The ship is beautiful, the art collection lovely, but why not label each picture ? Introduction by captain very short, as was his final announcement before disembarking, how nice iot would have been to have had a few officers by the gang plank smiling and saying goodbye. In fact at no time signs of officers. will be difficult to build a cxharacter of a ship without commnication, no questionaire on departure presumably we will be sent or emailed one at some juncture. P and O haver been in the cruising game for ever so should have ironed out the little niceties, speak to your customers, make them feel special, appoint a cruise director and do not rely on technology for everything and | hope the rumour that she has already been re registered to Hamilton is just a rumour   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Recently returned from a cruise to Norway (solo) I feel let down , the food on board has lost some of its quality since I last sailed on her ,the Shore excursions were a complete rip off , I could have paid 75% less by getting a ... Read More
Recently returned from a cruise to Norway (solo) I feel let down , the food on board has lost some of its quality since I last sailed on her ,the Shore excursions were a complete rip off , I could have paid 75% less by getting a coach/train at the port ,Norway must be one of the most expensive places I have visited (P&O not to blame)However I do blame them for selling Wi-Fi time when you can not use it for 2 days during the cruise ,when I spoke to the Internet Manager about it she just shrugged her shoulders and said it happens every trip , why sell it then, However I did have a good time ,I did do some of the shows and they were pretty good , met a lot of nice people , the crew were very helpful and polite except for one . My cabin attendant Stanley was very helpful and cheerful and deserves a special mention I am sailing on the Oceana again in November , I hope they have listened to my concerns about the food Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
A 1 night cruise aboard pre-inaugural Norwegian Getaway was too good an opportunity to pass up, so we joined her yesterday on a sunny January day in Southampton, the port unusually quiet after the departure of all the world cruises. We ... Read More
A 1 night cruise aboard pre-inaugural Norwegian Getaway was too good an opportunity to pass up, so we joined her yesterday on a sunny January day in Southampton, the port unusually quiet after the departure of all the world cruises. We were delayed a little before embarkation began, due to the ship's late arrival, but once the process started, we were speedily trying to get a proper look at the huge hull painting Miami artist David Lebo Batard, with its surf and mermaids. We found our way to our outside, forward facing cabin, functional, pleasantly spacious,with neutral and turquoise decor a well thought out bathroom, with nicely curved, decent storage shelves and proper shower cubicle. As it was lunchtime, we decided against totally casual dining, but settled for the O'Sheehans pub, choosing salads and traditional fish and chips. There is a limited, available 24 hours , pub menu, served by cheerful staff. We went out into the January sunshine to explore this large resort ship, finding her a twin of sister Breakaway apart from a few minor decor changes. The enormous top deck has wonderful activity facilities, for adults, teens and smaller children. There's a huge aqua park , climbing wall, rope walks suspended high over the deck, huge water slides and several pools, some especially for toddlers and young children. A few brave souls were enjoying the outdoor pool, pleasantly warm, but cold to get out of!, A fun pirate mini golf is on one side, and enormous sports courts to keep the more active happy. A jogging track winds it's way past the rows of sun chairs, and one deck down, at the stern is a huge, adult only SpiceH2O, with outdoor cinema screen, hot tubs and rows of loungers, with cocktail bar tucked in one corner. We explored the amazing Mandara spa, with its state of the art beauty rooms, gorgeous relaxation areas, range of pools and hot tubs and an enthusiastic team of trained therapists and beauticians. We took the opportunity to take a look at some of the other cabin choices on offer, from the gorgeous Haven suites, each with lovely decor, gorgeous bathroom with ocean facing tub and access to the Haven sunbathing and relaxing areas, the lovely corner suites, with living and dining area, second bedroom for other family members and a beautiful bathroom, with both ocean view tub and amazing multi jet shower in separate cubicle. Naturally the toilet is in its own screened cubicle. We managed to take a look at the tiny , nicely planned Studio cabins, designed for single travellers, and with a central Studio lounge for guests to socialize. The main entertainment decks and dining are on lower decks, centred round the huge atrium with its cascading chandelier. There's a huge theatre, showing the Broadway show Legally Blonde , the magical Illusionarium, which will offer dine and show evenings, delightful bars, several club venues and a large , rather confusing casino. Sandwiched between is the inevitable art gallery. To one side of the atrium is a terrific IceBar, offering a chilly experience, whilst wearing insulated capes and frozen glasses of vodka, and vodka based cocktails, served in ice glasses. Getaway has a total of 26 choices for dining, 3 main dining rooms, one that will host dance shows, several variations on steak restaurants, several with an oriental menu , and Ocean Blu, speciality seafood restaurant with its ancillary Raw Bar. There is a roomy Italian restaurant La Cucina, and a French cafe Le Bistro. We later chose the former, preferring Italian menus, but were disappointed by the food, over salted and heavy. Many of the restaurants have a charming outdoor eating area along the delightful Waterfront, sure to be the place of choice once Getaway arrives into its home port of Miami. Dinner over , found the Grammy club, with displays of pop memorabilia, the venue for Grammy winning performers, but settled on the popular Headliners. This club is home to the Howl at the Moon duelling piano act, with talented pianists playing audience requests with verve and enthusiasm. Other nightspots are dotted round the ship, and became busy as the night wore on, as did the casino. The theatre show was excellent, with talented young singers and dancers interpreting the delightful film and subsequent Broadway show, getting huge applause and many laughs at the comedy moments from the enthusiastic audience. The only thing missing was Buster the dog! We thought the theatre lacked side aisles, and anyone with mobility problems would find it quite a challenge as there are no hand rails on the sides After our one night in our quiet comfortable cabin, we enjoyed breakfast in the busy ocean cafe, but thought tables very close together. There were plenty of breakfast choices, including eggs cooked to order,   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. ... Read More
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. Plus we had a £100 voucher to use up. So-- it's good, considering what you pay. Having an inside cabin (what's the point of a balcony on such a short trip?), we were please with the accommodation. Actually felt larger than I had prepared for. Good dressing area and the shower isn't terribly tight (and I'm a big lad!. Fellow guests were fine in the main although it's going to be the case that on these trips you get people who would never normally cruise and that includes a large number of parties (stag/hen/birthday). The atmosphere on deck is extremely different and largely about drinking. Neither of us drink and to be honest we found that a little off-putting. Having sailed on the sister ship we knew the tricks (such as head away from main areas, eat in the alternative restaurant near the buffet for free and go straight to the bar on the top deck for drinks)- all the things others may not work out until later in their trip. Makes for a comfortable spacious experience. Embarkation was fine as was finding Bruges at the other end. I'd worried about the complication but need not have. You take the free shuttle to Blankenburg and from there buy a very affordable return train ticket to Bruges (at the weekend that was 4euro each!). Fab dual deck trains- quite fun. And to be honest everyone else is doing the same so follow the crowd! From Bruges station its a 20 minute walk to the tourist area which is fine on foot. Not sure this is one for the wheelchair user (that might be a silly assumption, so do your own homework on that). Bruges itself is a beauty. Despite the rain, river trip (about 8euro I think) and listening to the bells in the square was a perfect little day out. Ventura itself is fine. Very clean. Lovely areas. Hated the Glasshouse (because it's so beautiful on Azura and here it's just a half converted area that lacks style entirely). Food a problem in Glasshouse, not up to par with previous experience. Standard Freedom restaurant was fine. I'm sure everyone's said it before but with party-people onboard (some of whom are bored onboard!) this isn't a quiet and relaxing trip. IF you have an edge of snobbery about you (be fair, some of us do!), you're going to freak out a little. I saw one couple making use of the Retreat area-- could have done that in better weather to escape entirely. However, nobody was drunk to the point of illness (that I saw) and it was all in the aim of good fun. I might never forget being approached by a young lady and being asked for a smoke while she interrogated me about the destination however--- "Bruges, so is that in Europe-- Is South America in Europe--- so are we passing Ireland???" I am guessing she might not have been travelling for the sake of getting anywhere. My advice in summary: Don't take a mini-cruise to experience cruising. Do take a mini-cruise to get to a fine city for the weekend and leave your normal world behind for a bit. Top marks to P&O for the important things (feeding us all, cleaning the ship, having some fun). Do take the kids- what an amazing weekend for them, it's still very exciting to take a little trip like this. Only true complaint and it's a tiny one: We are AA so we really like the mocktails in the Metropolis bar. Why take their menu away on the mini-cruise and replace it with only alcohol? Well, we know why-- to keep them all drinking. To be fair it was brought on request but taken away again every time we'd ordered. Odd. Would we sail P&O again-- maybe. We're a bit bored of it after two experiences (Venture and Azura) and we might be the kind of people seeking something more refined. Cunard is next on the list (following an amazing Crystal, one terrible MSC, three 'ok' NCL and two average P&O). PS- I'm gluten intollerant and found everythind I needed (this time!) Oh... and if you are having a hen do-- go for it, looks like a giggle x   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We booked this 2 nighter as we had never sailed from Southampton and only ever done Caribbean Fly Cruises in December/January/February. The journey to Southampton was a good one and parking was relatively simple but we had asked for a ... Read More
We booked this 2 nighter as we had never sailed from Southampton and only ever done Caribbean Fly Cruises in December/January/February. The journey to Southampton was a good one and parking was relatively simple but we had asked for a disabled space (due to doors having to be opened really wide to enable my husband to get out of the car) but this was totally ignored and we had to park where the able bodied had parked. Not too much of a problem as we did arrive early and it was not too far to walk to the terminal building. Check in was fairly slow but this was to be expected as there would be 3600 people waiting to get on. We were on board by 12.45pm (we got there are 12pm) and went directly to our cabin which was very easy to find. On first impressions it looked good but fairly small considering it was a balcony cabin, we have had far bigger inside cabins on other ships. Everything was pristine and looked good. We did not encounter any problems with anything in the room everything worked as it should have done but the loo took a long time to flush, you had to press the button 3 or 4 times but not a major issue.We took the time to look around the ship before our luggage arrived in the room and were impressed with the majority of the areas around the ship. The sanctuary is absolutely beautiful but very pricey. To use the sauna and steam room it is $49 dollars but we were told it was for the length of the cruise - 2 days, way too expensive.Beer prices are very expensive $6 for a 440ml can of Boddingtons, $5.50 for a spirit and $1.95 for a mixer plus 15% gratuity on every drink. I personally object to the $11.50pppn gratuity charge added to your onboard account for tipping. Our stateroom steward was really nice and attentive so I would rather have given him the money personally and it not go into a pot and shared out. If Princess paid the staff a reasonable rate they would not have to rely on tips. You pay enough money for your cruise without being penalised by extra charges. The 15% gratuity on drinks is charged whether you have a waiter bring it or you fetch it yourself!!! We loved the ship but would not go with Princess on principle - its P&O all the way for us as you know what you are paying and its in sterling. Also when Princess take your credit card details at the start of your cruise, when it is converted to sterling from dollars you are ripped off again - P&O charge in £s the whole time so you know exactly what you are paying. When we booked this cruise we were told there was one formal night and one smart casual. When we got on board we received the Princess Patter in our room and it said both nights were smart casual. As we had taken formal dress we thought we would have stood out like a sore thumb so we checked with the Atrium staff and they said that the Captain was going to announce at Muster which night would be the formal one. At Muster no mention of the formal night so we asked an Officer and were told - We do not have formal nights on a 2 night cruise! We checked again with the Atrium and they said the same. The next night we received our Princess Patter and guess what, the dress for that evening was Formal???? If the Atrium and Officers can't get it right, I now know why on Princess Cruises people do not dress to impress!!On the evening before disembarkation (the formal night) we rang the Atrium and asked about putting suitcases out at night as on previous cruises this has been the norm. We were told they need to be out by 9 pm! Great, you are still having your meal and you need to run back upstairs and get changed out of your formal gear to put it in your suitcase and then go back in your scruffs to finish your meal - I don't think so. We knew this could not be right so we asked our Cabin Steward and he said put it out when you are ready, be it 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock whatever it will get taken downstairs. Now you know why I would rather have given the tipping money to the Cabin Steward, he knew more about procedure than the more highly paid staff and Officers!All in all I can only say the ship is beautiful but the way it is being run will not encourage me to go back on a Princess Cruise again. I have had one truly awful experience on Princess in 2005 and a good one in 2011 but this has just confirmed that I will be reverting back to P&O again and I will not deviate again.Sorry about the length of this review but I thought I would say it is as I see it!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
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
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
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
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

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