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1,125 Southampton to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Shocking is the only work I would say after paying £25,000+ for a Suite cabin (no bigger than an Oceana Mini Suite) on the Ventura for 5 weeks to Central America and the Caribbean. The food was diabolical and reasonably sophisticated ... Read More
Shocking is the only work I would say after paying £25,000+ for a Suite cabin (no bigger than an Oceana Mini Suite) on the Ventura for 5 weeks to Central America and the Caribbean. The food was diabolical and reasonably sophisticated entertainment non- existent. The never ending daily amount of rubbish fed in the daily paper about commercial 'pamper parties' 'aches and pains parties' and the like was not what most passengers want. Especially when you have to buy something at the end of it!!!. There was only one classical pianist. He was wonderful and played to a packed house for only 4 nights. I was told by the Entertainments Manager that Ventura didn't do classical as it was a family ship!!!! What!! People were crying out for some decent classical concerts in the afternoon. No children on board in this cruise,!!! The shops had old and dirty stock, discontinued lines, and clothes that had all been well fingered over the last 4 cruises. The staff in the shops were unmotivated. Who would buy anything there???? The Chef Trevor Glass should be ashamed of himself to put his name to misrepresentation on the menus. I could go on forever but the food which looked so appetizing on the Menu Cards but when it arrived was no better than school cafeteria fodder. For instance the last Black Tie had 'lobster' on the menu. Anyone who ate it would know it wasn't 'lobster', but a mixture of pulverised 'prawns' and white fish stuffed into a lobster shell with breadcrumbs on the top. Are they allowed to con the food ignorant and unsophisticated people with food like this????? This sort of thing went on the whole cruise. This Company should be brought to book Trading Standards comes to mind. The wines are exorbitant for mediocre wines and most on the ship did not drink wine at dinner. I wonder why???? The Buffets also were like school food. Same, same and same all under different names!! Portuguese buffet ! what a laugh!! As a suite passenger we had the opportunity to breakfast in the White Room. We only did it once as it took 30 minutes to get overcooked black poached eggs and inedible dry hard bacon. There were absolutely no extras on a five week trip e.g.(a Captains/Officers reception etc) for passengers who paid 3 times the price of others. This is quite unacceptable if you want to look after your passengers. Our cabin was kept beautifully and we have no issue with quality of the sheets and towels and cleanliness from our excellent cabin attendant. Absolutely loved Cartegena, Curacao, Bonaire, Puerto Rico, Panama Canal (Colon) Fabulous places!! WOW. Pity the food on Ventura wasn't fabulous too, Will never travel P & O again. Treated like a 3rd class citizen. Predictable. Done and dusted ......for the next fools.......... Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Well last cruised 10 years ago, when we used to cruise with our 2 sons who were children then. Booked this cruise following the cancellation of the Dubai cruise. At first port Madeira sent a text to both my sons to say how good it was. ... Read More
Well last cruised 10 years ago, when we used to cruise with our 2 sons who were children then. Booked this cruise following the cancellation of the Dubai cruise. At first port Madeira sent a text to both my sons to say how good it was. Cabin was just an inside with queen bed, perfect for us, cabin steward was excellent. Food in buffet was always hot, fresh and plentiful. Enjoyed the restaurant at night as we had a great table of 4 other couples, good chat but I did find the food a bit poor, however I am a very fussy eater. I also didn’t find our waiter very accommodating of any special requests. Ports were all enjoyable but least favourite was Lisbon, on next cruise , yes we booked another while on this, we will plan to take underground out of main Lisbon centre. Entertainment was good, great comedian and soul group, headliners a bit showy and shouty for us but again personal choice. Found on some evenings there were no free seats in any of the bars or atrium, bit disappointing. It was my 50th birthday and my husband purchased a cake on the ship, which was brought to our dinning table and was a beautiful cake iced with my name. This had only cost £10 which was excellent value. Overall had a great time and looking forward to next one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
To keep someone company. More fool me. Good job I like to read. Entertainment was more like a travelling Hi-de-hi camp. Very hard to find somewhere quiet if you only wanted a read for an hour. Music or entertainment everywhere - a bit ... Read More
To keep someone company. More fool me. Good job I like to read. Entertainment was more like a travelling Hi-de-hi camp. Very hard to find somewhere quiet if you only wanted a read for an hour. Music or entertainment everywhere - a bit overdone. Maybe a review of your retired speakers etc needed - appreciate their knowledge but it takes more than that to keep people interested. Food needs a step up in quality etc in the main dining room. Food ready plated with veg and obviously kept warm is not very enticing. Seating needs to be looked at and allowance for people wanting to move tables should be accommodated. Not all people get along sufficiently to be expected to sit together every evening for a whole cruise. People make friends and would rather sit to eat with them. Fred Olsen saving grace is their Cabin, Restuarant and Bar staff - they are amazing. They made the cruise as pleasurable as they could. Without them it would have been a very sad trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there ... Read More
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there standards drop cold food tough stake Very small portions very little veg boring choice whent to beach house 4 times only time we had a good meal .staff were lovely and helpfull could not fault them . We cruise regularly with p and o but it's time for a change entertainment was boring also kept changing venue to what was advertised very confusing .ports of call all very nice loved Valencia . Loved oceaner our second cruise on her but the food and entertainment let her down we can usually find something food wise to suite use but very poor food this time I enjoyed our cruise but will be looking to cruise with some one else next time its bean a slow decline with p and o for the last 3 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose this cruise to celebrate New Year in style and also to see Amsterdam and Bruges having never been there before or travelled on P&O before. Embarkation was fantastic with boarding passes being printed out at home before we ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate New Year in style and also to see Amsterdam and Bruges having never been there before or travelled on P&O before. Embarkation was fantastic with boarding passes being printed out at home before we travelled which cut out the waiting time to board the ship. All went without a hitch and we were straight on board in no time. Our cabin was very good, clean and tidy and our steward was just excellent with great attention to detail - nothing was too much trouble. Food was also very good and the service could not be faulted, especially as my husband has a nut allergy. Every care was taken when preparing his food. The entertainment on-board in the theatre was first class and the magic show was just amazing. The ship was very nice however there were a few places where a bit of TLC would not have gone amiss. It was a disappointment when we were invited to attend the Captain's party only for him to not show - understandably we were informed he was busy on the bridge but when we were told the Deputy Captain would attend it would have been nice of him/her to make himself known!!!! After about 15 minutes the majority of people dwindled away! Next came New Year's Eve and the party we had been looking forward to. Unfortunately there was no "big party", only the bars doing their own thing. The staff worked hard but it was not what we expected. Then for the sail away party - or not. Admittedly it was very cold and the staff tried to get the few people involved who had shown up but where were the flags, etc. After a song from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England (which were not the usual songs played at a sail away party) the staff disappeared. There was not the atmosphere there that there usually is. Would we travel with P&O again? In short Yes but not for New Year -sorry P&O! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a ... Read More
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a night and on, on more than one night. The drinks package is completely pointless unless you become friendly with the bar staff or walk from bar to bar as theres a 15 minute wait time on the drink and they serve the drinks in the smallest glasses possible it may as well be served neat. The customer service is appalling there is no Ps or Qs upon that ship and all the staff look unhappy except clifford in the Havana bar and he was the only one with any manor or able to crack a joke with you. Security dont know what day of the week it is let alone helping you out. Someone also made a noise complaint about me and my mate next thing there was two guys at 4am in the morning outside our cabin who came in arguing with us in relations to this and was very unprofessional. To top the entire experience of i was charged over £1300 when i got of the ship and had to get the bank to cancel payments as I was charged twice as well as that I was considerably over charged for the mini bar in the room. The toliet blocked over four times on the cruise and the last night we was informed it would be sorted but it never was.Overall would recommed celebrity, NCL or royal Caribbean. You get what you pay for on P&O and no more, if not less. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After over half a dozen wonderful cruises on Arcadia, we booked this special new years cruise without hesitation and again we were not disappointed! Everything from start to finish was very good indeed. From a smooth and quick ... Read More
After over half a dozen wonderful cruises on Arcadia, we booked this special new years cruise without hesitation and again we were not disappointed! Everything from start to finish was very good indeed. From a smooth and quick embarkation, the very tasteful Christmas Decorations in Arcadia's already classy public areas to our lovely mini suite and generally attentive and happy crew it really was a 'new year' to remember. It was also nice to see routine maintenance such as painting the hull being done after my concern of her rather 'stained' condition from a previous cruise to Venice. Just those handrails on the balconies to do now P&O! ;-) We couldn't have been happier with our mini-suite cabin. Clean, tidy and well appointed with plenty of space and good amounts of storage. A lovely sized balcony and being slightly larger it had space for a a table and chairs as well as a couple of loungers. Our steward was always polite and friendly but it does worry us just how many cabins they are having to do - it's amazing the standards they achieve. Enjoyed just about everything we ate whether it be in the main restaurant, buffet or Sindhu - the speciality fusion restaurant on-board. One or two dishes came out a little 'different' to what we expected in the main restaurant but still tasted good! However we really did notice the sheer workload of the restaurant stewards (we were club dining)- almost looking rather rushed and frantic at times! A good selection of entertainment was provided - especially being a new years cruise. The Palladium theatre is without doubt the best theatre of the fleet and the headliners did a good job with 'Astonishing' and the 'Burt Bacharach' tribute show - both really enjoyable with high quality audio and lighting. P&O really are upping there game across the fleet in this respect! Overall we found all the service on-board polite and attentive and there's always a few wonderful 'characters' who really help to make your holiday. Of course if you treat them with respect then you get the same in return - a lesson a number of passengers could take note of.... Only ports of call were Amsterdam and Zeebrugge. Both always enjoyable and worth a visit. This was my 18th cruise - most of which were on all the various P&O ships as well as one or two on Cunard, and for me Arcadia is the most special indeed. The right mix of facilities and spaces, quite understated (not too much fake ritze and glitz) and of course the real wow factor and beautiful lines of a Vista Class Vessel - not to mention being by the most stable and comfortable of the fleet! Yes her Atrium is small and a little underwhelming at first but it does make an excellent social space throughout the day and especially in the evenings - something many other atrium's can't boast being often just too big! Remember people are much quicker to complain and moan often using these forums to air their gripes rather than just discussing directly with P&O. The fact that P&O is having no problem filling this lovely ship with a VERY high level of loyal and returning custom speaks for itself. Loved it so much we just booked the full world cruise on her in 2021 - can't give it a higher recommendation than that! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We’ve just returned from a most enjoyable new year cruise to Amsterdam on the Arcadia. The experience was absolutely fantastic with friendly and attentive staff, excellent standard of food in the Meridian restaurant and some quality ... Read More
We’ve just returned from a most enjoyable new year cruise to Amsterdam on the Arcadia. The experience was absolutely fantastic with friendly and attentive staff, excellent standard of food in the Meridian restaurant and some quality entertainment. We have cruised with other companies before and found that P&O is much better value in terms of cruise price and also the price of services and drinks on board. The bars and communal areas are all very comfortable with plenty of different options to choose from; all are well decorated and it’s easy for time to pass by on a sea day. The cabins are standard size and whilst, as other reviews comment, the decor is a little tired, our cabin was clean, comfortable and out steward made every effort to ensure our trip was as enjoyable as possible. The food in the meridian restaurant was of a very good standard and well presented with plenty of choice. The vegetarian menu was by the the best we’ve seen. We’ll definitely be booking another cruise with P&O again in the future. Overall, absolutely no complaints! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I ... Read More
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I recently went on New Year Cruise UK Departure Date 29 Dec 19 Total Trip Nights: 5 I was very disappointed in the food and service. Food was of a very poor quality and standard, and presented like kids had prepared it. The service in all catering and bar areas was appalling. Enclose is a diary i kept. Day 1 29th Dec When we arrived at the terminal we were asked if we had checked in on line . We all had but then got told had we registered our credit card . No where did it say to do this . We was told no drink package on this cruise, every one moaned and you could feel tensions getting high. P O opened the exchange bar to purchase the drinks package, long que formed and took a hour to purchase . We went to buffet for lunch, small area and even smaller choice of food. Salads look like the end of the night at pizza hut and not much choice. Cheap food item were on offer. Went to room, this was good . First night dinner took 20 minutes to get in to restaurant, rolls were of a poor quality . Starters was good but main pork roast not so good, stuffing no taste, roast potatoes deep fried then roasted hard in middle and dark brown . Gravy had been left on hot plate to long. The steak pie that my father chose looked like a school meal, peas and carrots and a scoop of mash. Raspberry pavlova that i chose for dessert was not a pavlova. It was one of our guests 75th birthday . One of the head waiters I think white uniform ask who's Mark Acton . Mark said hello the head waiter just plonked this dry old cake by him and ran and I mean ran off . No candles or happy birthday singing . We went to the Havana bar it took 30 minutes to get a drink . Then ages for another. Day 2 Went to watch rocket man in the Havana bar no chairs out left to our own devices. Dinner took 42min to get a drink after I caught a head waiter sort of guy. Lamb steak full of bone tough and small portion. Sent it back another came, tougher then the first one. Powder mash, on other guests dinners the quality was poor . I had the Cheese and biscuits for sweet, says continental and British isles but all were British cheese . We did the elimination quiz they held it in the buffet restaurant. Only one drinks waiter on then was told the bar was closed at 1130 and could not get another drink. So we went with out. Day 3 Getting off to Hamburg we decided to get a take away tea. Was asked cold milk we said yes please . The lady asked the waiter to pass the cold milk. He ignored her and shook the hand of another waiter wished him happy new year. Wasnt new year yet. Lucky the pastry girl saw this and jumped in. Went to buffet once again small, poor choose and quality of food. News eve gala dinner . No one explained our menu and what we had to do. So we missed out on the sorbet course. The chicken soup should have had croutons none of us got croutons . The lobster tail on three of our plates were inedible had to be sent back. The creme brulee was definitely not a creme brulee but a mousse no egg custard or caramel to be seen. Cheese board had Parmesan cheese on. Not really a cheese for the cheese board but a cooking cheese. We sat out in the outside bar, for News Eve. No waiter service at all had to que to place our orders. Day 4 Machines in buffet restaurant only dispensing water no other drinks available. We booked the Afternoon tea in the white room. Was good but not enough savoury too much sweet stuff and very sweet. We waited once again ages for drinks at dinner . Only one wine waiter that we could see. Day 5 I chose the pork and sage roll to start at dinner . It was a two inch sausage roll not what i would call a starter. Mixed grill was small i asked for two. lamb cutlet was tiny over cooked steak and liver . No egg, gammon, sausage or onion rings that you would hope to find on a mixed grill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
rewards for oceans members appalling compared to previously: no fred olsen pens [surely this is a free advert when cruisers leave them around or lend them , miserable selection snacks as only reward for diamond oceans members [one between ... Read More
rewards for oceans members appalling compared to previously: no fred olsen pens [surely this is a free advert when cruisers leave them around or lend them , miserable selection snacks as only reward for diamond oceans members [one between two!!]. guest entertainers very poor. tap dancers may be talented but who want to have to endure two shows of them. comedian OK but other musicians no one wants to see more than once. opportunity for swapping guest entertainers when in same port as black watch was an opportunity that shouldn't have been missed. what else do you want me to waffle about? nothing wrong with the ship. pity to miss morocco and the opportunity to visit funchal on NYE but captain knows best. a few noisy children on board - belonging to crew. crew very helpful dealing with wheelchair . not sure why there were so many 'free' cocktail parties for oceans members when the presents given as rewards for loyalty were so poor Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't suitable for a Christmas cruise, and a lack of entertainment during the day unless you are a fitness fanatic The dance lessons were in the central Atrium - who wants to learn with two left feet with people walking in and out I went to a talk in the Art Gallery - people were struggling to stand (if there were 40 chairs there were 60 people, not counting those that left!) - you couldn't lean on the walls or posts so people with zimmer frames and walking sticks struggling to stay. They did say it would be repeated for those that couldn't stay but no mention of when The same could be said for the Salsa class - got cancelled (understandably due to ship movement) after waiting in the room, to be rescheduled at a later time that never materialised (or wasn't made clear!) The cabin was fine, though again cut backs - no flannels, soap not being replaced when used, shampoo not being refilled. The bathrobes were available to buy, but as the threads were loose and "well worn" why wasn't the option to buy new ones? Also, considering it recently had a refit the area around the patio doors was less than acceptable The dining room and staff were excellent - food top notch in the restaurant, The buffet not so much, and you'd expect the same food to be in throughout the buffet - not so! Some things, like brown sauce and black pudding, were very difficult to find! Often there, but literally walking the full length of the buffet to find The gym was well equipped, but difficult to find - I went three times before realising I was in the right place due to pushy spa people wanting to sell a massage and what-not - you couldn't get to the gym without getting past them! Lastly, the route was ridiculous with the first port cancelled, it meant we didn't actually get to first port until the fifth day of a twelve-day cruise - four days, five nights at sea were slowly getting to us Would I use P&O again? Not this ship (The Arcadia trip I was on the previous year was fabulous - second to none!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & quickly found our balcony cabin on B deck. T The Horizon buffet was very well arranged & a very pleasant area to sit in, there always seemed enough seats for everybody. As we expected the food was the same as Britannia. We were freedom dining so dined in the Medina dining room each evening. This was lovely, sometimes we shared a table & other times we had our own table. If a table for 2 was not available we only had to wait a few minutes. The food was excellent, served beautifully & always hot. The waiting staff were on the whole very friendly & efficient. We also had afternoon tea (at 4 p.m.) in this restaurant which was superb. The entertainment on board was outstanding especially the Headliners Theatre Company who were fabulous, there was also a good variety of other entertainers & most evenings we saw two shows - on either side of dinner. On the sea day afternoons there was a concert pianist who gave a an enjoyable recital of well known classical pieces. The weather as we set off & on the first sea day was windy (force 8) but Aurora handled it well, in order that we were able to dock in Hamburg the captain sailed at full speed & we docked in Hamburg about 10 hours early - the alternative would have been out at sea waiting it out in very rough conditions. Our first port of call was Hamburg, there was a shuttle bus which dropped & picked us up close to the Rathaus (town hall). It was an interesting city & had a great Christmas Market. It was damp & cold but it didn't spoil our visit. In Oslo, our second stop, we docked next to the fortress which was brilliant & handy .It was extremely chilly but dry & a great place to visit before Christmas. Next stop was Copenhagen, a shuttle bus dropped us off in the centre & we walked backed to the ship both days. Our final stop was Zeebrugge - here a shuttle bus took us to nearby Blankenburg. From here there are hourly trains to Brugge, which take 15 minutes & cost 5 euros return. A beautiful city which looked extra special with the Christmas decorations. By the end of the cruise we loved Aurora & would probably now choose her over Britannia - never thought we'd say that! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional ... Read More
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional Hilda as our steward and she took care of usvand was always smiling. Most of the staff were wonderful and so happy. On boarding we decided to loaf around in the pool area and had to leave pretty quick as the pool was empty and being painted. I have asthma and paint doesn't serve me well. The paint stench last a few days. The Meridien restaurant was superb and the staff were magical professionals. MAINTENANCE... For a few nights we heard something like a ball continually bouncing above our cabin....then scraping and banging. It kept us awake for hours and we eventually informed reception who said we should call when it's happening (snotty attitude). Must say that Katarina at reception was superb and suggested a wonderful walking tour of Lisbon which included history and shopping at smaller stores. Our walking talking tour was the highlight of our cruise and we thank Katarina. MAINTENANCE... Bang, bang at night again. We called reception and someone was sent to check it out (above cabin A 098) We were told that it was kitchen staff washing dishes and prepping food which we thought was a lie as the ships map didn't show a kitchen above us. The banging eventually stopped and we couldn't sleep as we were too wound up. We are happy go lucky and easy going but this was too much. Next day I heard banging and scraping whilst in the buffet and there was a white sheet covering an area which hid a worker banging and scraping. I have a video recorded ready for YouTube. It seems the floor area and the mural above were more important than us passengers. Everyone was upset. I was as this was my 68th birthday and I was but days out of hospital and in need of peace. The first part of the cruise we were often, snottily, told that we couldn't sit in a certain area as it was for officers only. That's fair enough but a whole side which was never full??? One night there was a lot of banging in the balcony area of our cabin and a polite maintenance guy came and fixed it in the morning. We were given $200 extra onboard spend and a beautiful bouquet of flowers as an apology but what price an unhappy holiday? Is there anything that can be done to stop the stench of cigarettes wafting into the buffet? Or the awful people that smoke in the public toilets???? We thought the entertainment wasn't up to much and the sound testing could have been more professional - continual 1 2 ing is not necessary these days. The four piece in the Rising Sun looked terribly miserable. The food and service was very good in the Belvedere although the continual upselling at the tables was too much. The Meridien food, service and ambience was high quality. I hate giving bad reviews but be careful folks. I've been in the Hotel, Club and Entertainment business for most of my life and, ironically, not fussy but this was way too annoying for us. I feel cheated DS Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Firstly the price paid is a huge factor in the context of any review - your expectations are naturally higher paying £1000 per night than our bargain £79.00 each for a balcony cabin. At this value my expectations were certainly exceeded. ... Read More
Firstly the price paid is a huge factor in the context of any review - your expectations are naturally higher paying £1000 per night than our bargain £79.00 each for a balcony cabin. At this value my expectations were certainly exceeded. We have sailed on 20 cruises, mostly Cunard, and this was our first trip on an adult only ship. I hadn’t expected much difference but it was SO much calmer without noisy children rushing around. The weather was dreadful on the departure day from Southampton and rather than put us all through hell the captain delayed leaving until 3.00 am the next morning when things were forecast to be calmer - at no doubt a considerable cost to P&O in port fees. Impressive touch. Tip - if you are a delicate sailor when seas get rough there is considerably less movement in the cabins midship compared to where we were at the front. And you don’t hear the loud bangs of the waves hitting the bow. Food was excellent and even better in the speciality dining venues - worth waiting for the special offers to sample. In fact no meal disappointed but the Lido was a bit of a scrum at breakfast and lunch. Much more relaxing in the dining rooms. We opted for Freedom Dining but the queues and waits were so long unless you ate right at the beginning or towards the end of the session, when the food took a while to arrive. Next time we will go for fixed dining and have our table waiting for us. The ships interior wasn’t up to Cunards high boutique standards but then the price was considerably lower. And it felt comfortable all round. Cabin fine, You do have to climb into a uselessly small bath to have a shower which could be a mobility issue but beds were comfy. Not many tv channels. Our cabin steward Maria was just lovely - prepared everything with such care. The was a smell of sewage at times in the central atrium area but perhaps they will sort this next April in the refurbishment. No tips or service charge on the drinks which along with the excellent shore excursions were much cheaper than Cunard. Excellent entertainment in a stunning theatre. Lovely spa too and one acupuncture session instantly cured my frozen shoulder after two years. Would we go back? For the right destinations at the right price definitely! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left ... Read More
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left little chocolates on our pillows which went down very well with our children! There was jam packed entertainment on throughout the day! The theatre shows were like going to the west end every night! Most of all we couldn’t get over how amazing the food was. A 4 course sit down meal every night! It was Michelin star quality. Even breakfast was a sit down meal! You could go to a buffet that served fabulous food all day if u liked but the dining in the main restaurants was too good to miss! The main restaurants even did afternoon tea every day at 4pm which was incredible! We ate like kings on this holiday and were treated like royalty. I read someone has put the food was basic in the buffet?? Is this person joking? I don’t know where these people eat but the food in the buffet was the best buffet I’ve ever experienced! I don’t know how anybody could complain about this cruise, I read reviews before we went away and some people said they didn’t like the captains sense of humour and that the service was slipping? What is wrong with people? Do people want slaves??? Every single member on the cruise gave top class service and was a joy to come across! The waiters couldn’t do enough for you, we were greeted with smiles from all sorts of staff everywhere we went on the ship. Even the man who stood at the front of the restaurant giving people hand sanitizer was smiling non stop and happily joking with our children making them laugh hysterically! P & O should be very very proud of all their staff, because they were honestly top class. I can’t wait to book again! This is an honest review, by a real family who went on this cruise hoping for a nice time. What we got was a holiday of a lifetime. Thank you so much. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in ... Read More
Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in E227 before then. Ferdinand the cabin steward was self-effacing and well worth the personal tip on the last day of the cruise. E227 is on Deck 8, just above the Promenade Deck starboard side a quarter of the way back. It is an Ocean View with no balcony and its window part obscured by the mechanics of the lifeboat davits. However, it is as big as a standard balcony cabin, albeit without the balcony, and at £812 pp with free parking was excellent value for this cruise. Since, apart from the mid-voyage part, it was generally cold and wet outside, not having a balcony was no disadvantage. P&O no longer do the bed ‘turndown’ service with free chocs’ on Day One, no face flannels are supplied unless requested and our fridge was 100% empty – in other words if we wanted drinks from it, we had to order and pay upfront. We never used the shipboard internet as our phones with data were included by the service provider when we were in the EU ports. Food? Main served restaurants were Holiday Inn ‘Plus’ standard I would say, as I have before about Britannia. Alternative dining? Sindhu is well worth the cover charge but it is best to go on Day One or Two of the cruise as they give either a free bottle of house wine for two or a third off the £20 pp charge. Glass House? On this cruise the service was diabolical. The food was excellent as always, but the service dismal. So dismal in fact that a group of us complained and we all got the food (eventually) for free. The deserts are to die for. A meal for two with drinks will be around £22<£30 total. Beach House? Huge portions and the basic cover charge is only £7.50pp. Drinks across the board on P&O are almost as low as Wetherspoon prices and if you have done 15 or more days or so with P&O then you get 5% discount as well. The other passengers? Michael Macintyre would have a field day! For example, in the Tamarind Club venue one morning they were having a talk about their Iceland and Norway cruises. We arrived, the venue was quite full and as usual couples (elderly usually) had selected the middle two of any four seats, clearly wanting to guard their individual space. Asking them nicely if they would mind moving up one seat this particular couple refused, so we sat either side and talked over them to their annoyance! They got the message and left soon after moaning about sub-standard passengers nowadays! The same sort of thing happened on disembarkation day when our meeting point was Deck 6 of the Arena Theatre for off-loading at 8.45. We arrived at approx. 8am to find without exception ALL the end couple of seats of the rows were occupied, no doubt so the inhabitants could be first out of the blocks to the gangway at the ‘call’ time. Since everyone had carry-on cases/coats/bags etc., it meant the ‘end sitters’ were climbed all over to their annoyance as 100’s more guests then arrived which served them right when the obvious thing to do was to move up the row to let in the new arrivals. As it so happened sitting at the end of a row also made no difference since we were, as always, called off by row and on this day to the opposite side of the ship! In other words, it seems to me that some people don’t like to be challenged and are inherently selfish. A final example of this was in the buffet one day, when an able but elderly lady, was peering at the offerings just as a new batch of omelettes were put out. She pushed in, grabbed the flat metal server, put it under an omelette, stepped back with it and then gasped ‘I have no plate’ looking at me as if it were my fault, and she then promptly dropped the selected fresh omelette on the floor! So, be prepared for a degree of selfishness amongst the passengers, many of whom were old(ish). Entertainment? The Turnaround Kids were good and Paul Stickler who gave six talks on unsolved or solved but possible miscarriages of justice murders, was good and he always had a full-house – lots of single seats either sides of couples until the entertainment staff told them to move. Ports of call? Lisbon it rained – we took a taxi to El Corte Ingles - a huge department store like Selfridges in London where you could stay all day if you wanted, and not that expensive either. Madeira it rained until lunchtime. Warning – if you want to use the cable car to see the botanical gardens etc., there are long queues. An organised trip might be better. Gran Canaria? The main city, Las Palmas which is where the cruise ships dock, is like a smaller version of Lisbon and good for quality shopping with big discounts. Lanzarote on a Sunday has little to commend it in Arrecife where the cruise ships dock, but the Mountains of Fire excursion into the Timanfaya Volcano National Park was very good with an excellent guide. You cannot do the drive around the volcanos by taxi or car, so an organised coach trip is best, Santa Cruz, De La Palma, can be easily walked from the cruise terminal. Quite a nice small naval museum, cathedral and a monastery if they interest you. Main street has a range of traditional shops and bars. Ventura as usual suffered a minor hiccup with her machinery on the way South from Southampton and on the way back we made an emergency unscheduled brief alongside stop at Vigo to offload an unfixable medical emergency. It was all a bit tasteless as passengers were standing four deep on Promenade Deck 7 to see the unfortunate lady being offloaded into an ambulance with local doctor, nurse and paramedics. In summary: Good value, decent enough cabin, adequate food (but you have to pay extra for something really special) and the drinks definitely won’t bankrupt you. No auto gratuities nowadays and if you book a future cruise but then want to change it before the balance deadline, there is also no £100 special charge. The other passengers if the cruise is from Southampton (and not in school holidays) will largely be from the older generation. Most are pleasant, but one or two can be quite inconsiderate. Although we did not use Scubas, the P&O childcare nursery facility, it looked good and seemed to be popular. P&O will NOT book more children on a cruise than it can accommodate. I know this because we are taking our entire family mob on Iona next year and the adviser confirmed this fact and we have also booked another cruise on Ventura just for us, which says it all I guess. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Hello !! We were sailing on the Ventura in November in the Canary islands and we have really enjoy it. The ship had everything that you needed.The room was spacious and always clean and tidy. the food could be better, I expected more ... Read More
Hello !! We were sailing on the Ventura in November in the Canary islands and we have really enjoy it. The ship had everything that you needed.The room was spacious and always clean and tidy. the food could be better, I expected more quality but there was enough variety. Making friends is easy on the boat and you never get bored. The ports where we arrive are quite accessible. without thier the reef is quite ugly, dirty. The city of Arrecife is far and not pretty. Unfortunatly the trips they offered we found to be expensiv. We came across a company by accident called Lanzarote experience tours, on their web site they offered their tours in small groups for cruise ships and only in English. What a discovery!! We were 8 in the group and only English. Truthfully if you are in the same situation I would recomend them 100% Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise on the spur of the moment when we spotted a bargain fare. We drove down to Southampton and were quickly on board and exploring. Our first impressions were that the ship was in good condition. We headed up to the buffet ... Read More
Chose this cruise on the spur of the moment when we spotted a bargain fare. We drove down to Southampton and were quickly on board and exploring. Our first impressions were that the ship was in good condition. We headed up to the buffet for lunch. Having only been on larger ships my husband was surprised by the small size of the buffet and was looking for the rest of it lol. Having said that we found that there was plenty of choice and everything was hot and tasty. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 9. Everything here was fine and the bed was very comfortable. The dining was mostly very good. We had freedom dining and had no problems getting a table. We shared a few nights but we don't mind that and our table companions were so nice we shared with them again on the last night. Food was always good but the service was not as attentive as usual. We had to keep asking for the water to be topped up and service was very slow sometimes. One evening a table mate asked for a small portion of the main course of mussels as a starter and it was made very clear that the waiter didn't want to provide it. He was told that this would make everyone else's starter late . the waiter did agree to provide it and so i also asked if i could have the same and was then told the same thing about everyone else would have to wait longer for their starter . i pointed out that if the other man could have it then i didn't see why i couldn't. It did arrive and was possibly the best starter of the cruise. The main course took ages to arrive and only did after a word with the head waiter. We also ate in the beach house which we really enjoyed and would do again. The lava rock cooked fillet steak was amazing. Drinks - fairly well priced and we had lots of onboard credit to use up BUT the cocktails were so very weak - I'm not much of a drinker and usually find one cocktail will effect me but on here it was as though i was drinking pop. Not worth the £6 -£7 price tag. The entertainment was not so good. Fogwell Flax the comedian was on a few too many times - 3 evenings out of 7 is too much, We saw him once but didn't want to see him again. The Runaround boys were excellent and we saw them twice. Astonish was astonishing even though we have seen it on another ship - excellent. The quizzes were good but the cumulative quiz was only on one day - we turned up for the second sea day and it wasn't on- all a bit strange and no one seemed to know why it wasn't happening. The service was OK, not as good as on other ships , Our steward was excellent but the dining staff were nowhere near as good as on other cruises - maybe the tipping policy change hasn't been good for them. Ports were Amsterdam (about ship shuttle 45 mins away), Zeebrugge (shuttle to Blankenburg and then a 5 euro train into Brugge) and Hamburg (another shuttle). All were excellent and we had good weather so had a great time. The aft pool was open and heated and the changing rooms had a sauna and steam room in them which were FREE ! I made much use of this and it was fab being up on deck in the hot tubs while others were wandering around in their winter coats. Pricing Policy. We booked a select fare which is more expensive buy about £200. This gets you credit, choose your cabin, shuttles and choice of dining. Although we got a lot of onboard credit We couldn't choose our cabin and more annoying all of the shuttles were free to everyone (If that's a benefit to select then they should be charging the saver fare passengers). The only benefit to us was the choice of dining and i really don't think that booking select is worth it unless you get all of those benefits. We were struggling to spend the credit and we wouldn't have spent anywhere near as much if we had booked the saver fare with no credit. Moral of the story is do your research and only book select if the benefits are useful to you. Reading this back it looks as though we didn't have a good time but Overall it was a very good cruise, we met some lovely people and had a very relaxing time, We have already booked a black friday bargain for next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made ... Read More
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made up for it. Due to recent events in the Gulf, Oceana was repositioned from it’s planned itinerary and this meant there were some really good bargains to be had. We decided to book a 7 night cruise in the English Channel and the North Sea in November. Despite the great value we felt it was a bit of a risk as we knew we would have to spend plenty of time inside the ship. As the Captain joked such an itinerary allows you to see all “50 shades of Grey”. Since last sailing on Oceana we have always preferred other ships in the P&O fleet and have sailed many times on Cunard and Princess (our most recent cruise being 2 weeks in August on Queen Victoria, which we always find to be absolutely immaculate in terms of decor). I have to say that Oceana really delivered, firstly the ship is looking far better than it was in 2015. All of the pool areas have had brand new tiling, new AstroTurf and loungers. The Yacht and Compass bar and Winners have been transformed with brand new furnishings and carpets. The Yacht and Compass is in my view the best looking pub at sea, far better than the Golden Lion on Cunard ships and Brodie’s bars on Britannia and Azura. It just seems a shame that the Hand pulled Real Ales have been added to the Winners bar. Despite this there is a brilliant selection of Real Ales and the Beer flights on offer in the Yacht and Compass (at good value). The Atrium has seen the dated Palm trees disappear and brand new carpeting throughout. It is without doubt the most impressive and most functional atrium in the fleet. It is the absolute hub of activity on the ship, in a way that even a refitted Britannia atrium can’t achieve. To put it into context the 4 level atrium can simultaneously host, professionally organised dancing on the lowest level, shopping on the level above, a musical act (whether it be a pianist, band or guitarist on the deck above) and the fantastic Cafe Jardin on the top tier overlooking all the action. Even by the end of the week you couldn’t help be wowed by the beautiful views, the Glass lifts, Grand staircases, Water features and Tiffany glass ceilings. Cafe Jardin is a real stand out! Serving complimentary breakfast and lunch, freshly cooked to order. Breakfast runs from 8am-10:30am and Lunch from 11am until 5pm. The food is delicious and it’s an offering incomparable to that found on other P&O and Cunard ships. You also have a buffet station with fresh salads and desserts should you wish to add further to your ordered dish. It’s especially brilliant when you return at 4pm from a trip to be able to sit down, order from a menu and have water, tea and coffee served to your table. We paid the additional £8.50 cost for the evening meal and had a really tasty meal. I wouldn’t describe the food as gourmet, it certainly isn’t as good as Epicurean or the Verandah on Cunard before they turned it into a steakhouse. However it’s well worth the cost and is a really refreshing alternative to the Main Dining Room. We didn’t try the Beach House on this cruise. We did back in 2015 and it was one of our stand out nights on the ship as we dined al fresco on the terrace. I think we may no longer be here if we had attempted to relive the experience on the North Sea. Despite the plaza buffet being more attractive in design than most ship buffets I felt the inside Beach House area was a little close to the buffet stations to convey the ambience you would expect of a select dining venue. The main dining room was good, dishes ranged from outstanding to generally good to occasionally poor. The Plaza buffet doesn’t have as wider choice as that on Cunard or the larger P&O ships but we found breakfast to be every bit as good on Cunard or the bigger ships. Lunch however was more average. The Plaza however has a great location at the front of the ship with great views and it’s all been completely refreshed since 2015. It has a really lovely ambience especially of am evening. Where Oceana really excelled was in terms of the entertainment. The theatre isn’t huge so the brilliant bonus of this is that each night the ship has two simultaneous shows. On our cruise that would be the Headliners (who seriously were far and away the best cast we have seen in dozens of cruises on P&O, Cunard, Princess, Thomson and RCI) in one venue a comedian/guest singer/group in the other. There would also be at least two other acts on from the resident entertainers, which included a fantastic singer and guitarist, vocal duo, pianist, party band and big band. We were often really disappointed on P&O Britannia (sailed on it 3 times) that despite the vastness of the ships there were often times from 6pm until 8pm when there was very little good live music (The same can often be said for Cunard). In terms of improvements we would love a Glass House, we are still surprised they didn’t convert Winners bar. However the bar has been really improved after the refit. The plumbing system is still a little ropey and we had one toilet failure that lasted a few hours and the occasional odour in places on the ship (it didn’t last for more than a couple of hours and was due to emptying or venting of tanks). The theatre lacks the brilliant LCD screens found on Britannia and the Cunard ships, which slightly compromised certain scenes in “Astonishing”, which required a wait for the old fashioned projector screen to move down and awkwardly projected unwanted images onto the cast. The TV system in the rooms is very dated and my iPad has a bigger display. The bedrooms are equivalent to those on Azura, not as nice as those on Britannia and the Cunard ships but storage space is the best I’ve seen. The bathroom however was probably superior to those on the Cunard ships in terms of layout and space. I really like the Sindhu Indian restaurant as well, so I’d love to see that onboard but not at the cost of Cafe Jardin which offers far more to the ship, as it was a venue we used twice every day. I’d only visit Sindhu once per cruise. In terms of drink prices P&O continue to remain very competitive in the cruise industry. The prices on Cunard, RCI and Princess have become ridiculous in our view and on Cunard in the summer meant many bars were empty and lacked any atmosphere. You are talking £9 for 250ml of wine (third of a bottle) on Cunard and £6 on P&O (£27 bottle Cunard compared with £18 P&O) and £5.50 for pint of Beer on Cunard compared with £4 on P&O) RCI are even more expensive than Cunard. In summary we fell in love with Oceana once again. It proved to us that small ships have a real charm and character that perhaps the really big ships (that we also love) lack. The atrium is spectacular and has a superb atmosphere and other public rooms such as the Yacht and Compass are absolutely top draw. The Headliners theatre cast were utterly outstanding (definitely the best we’ve seen) and the ship was always buzzing with music and life. Having two proper shows running simultaneously every night offers brilliant choice and sets he ship aside. Cafe Jardin is the best daytime complimentary venue on any P&O or Cunard ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise having enjoyed a similar cruise in 2015.Same ship, same time of the year but very different. 6 of us travelled together to celebrate a significant birthday and, as a group, we could enjoy each other's company and ... Read More
We chose this cruise having enjoyed a similar cruise in 2015.Same ship, same time of the year but very different. 6 of us travelled together to celebrate a significant birthday and, as a group, we could enjoy each other's company and the facilities of the ship which made this a better experience than it would have been had we been on our own. The weather was pretty rough all the way to the Canaries and back tho' we did have enough good weather to enjoy each of the destinations.Many passengers (which included a lot of first timers) were sick on the sea days which made the public areas quieter than they might have been as everyone was 'trapped' inside the ship for most of the time spent at sea. The ship was very noisy with excessive background noise all the time and musicians who behaved as entertainers rather than cocktail artistes.We raised this with the hotel management who acknowledged our comments but had no success in changing things. Fortunately the Glass House bar was reasonably quiet. We were surprised that many of the passengers were elderly and/or infirm. In the past we only noticed this on longer P&O cruises. We suspect that the very competitive pricing and the short duration of the cruise may have influenced this. But we made some lovely contacts and there was always a buzz about the ship. Check in was very fast and efficient but the first day gave us some surprises. Firstly the room stewards went off duty for the evening after we sailed. We didn't mind this at all as the room was already made up and the stewards have a very heavy day in Southampton. However we were missing some items in the bathroom and despite our calling Reception, nothing happened until the morning. In the (Freedom Dining) restaurants the waiters now have tablets to take all orders, including drinks. The 'wine waiters' were therefore reduced to running around trying to find out who had ordered what. On shore, these arrangements are pretty standard but it doesn't work well in a big, busy ship's restaurant. We were told that Ventura was trialling these arrangements for Iona. In Club dining the original arrangements applied. Presumably this is because wine waiters are very busy at the beginning of each sitting in Club (while the load is spread in Freedom) and the same applies to the load in the Club galley. However the staff throughout the ship were very competent, efficient and cheerful and Captain Willard was engaging and 'led from the front'. We fully exploited the speciality restaurants - Glass House, Beach House, Sindu and Epicurean. The latter was exquisite and well worth the high cover charge. The tours provided at each port were quite adequate and we enjoyed several. The lecturer who talked on Air Accident Investigation was very good, as was the classical pianist (altho' the amplification did distort the piano's sound sadly). The weather truncated Headliner's shows unfortunately - they were very good. The craft instructor 'missed the ship' which upset the artist in our group. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose a last minute cheap offer 12nights around Canaries on Ventura....beautiful ship, good size inside cabin which was very clean and service from cabin steward top rate. Excellent entertainment every night and freedom dining the ... Read More
We chose a last minute cheap offer 12nights around Canaries on Ventura....beautiful ship, good size inside cabin which was very clean and service from cabin steward top rate. Excellent entertainment every night and freedom dining the best ever, but ding experience met our expectations especially Sindu. All the staff very attentive but not in your face which we like. I fell and banged my head in one of the ports, fortunately for me a shuttle bus on its way back to the ship stopped and radio messaged Ventura to say bringing an injured passenger back to port. Emergency staff were on quayside waiting for me and I was in medical centre with a Doctor within minutes. Excellent medical treatment given by all qualified medical team. We love all the P&O ships, they really cater well for the type of cruises we like. Plenty to do onboard day and night, typical entertainment not too loud and brash, good theatres and show lounges with an array of excellent singers, dancers, comedians and musicians. Dancing every evening for the energetic and lovel quiet bars with serene music for those who want to sit back and relax. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which did not disappoint, especially both Petra in Aqaba and Herculaneum in Naples were amazing. Sad to say the Sapphire Princess did ,the food served up was at best ordinary and at worst ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which did not disappoint, especially both Petra in Aqaba and Herculaneum in Naples were amazing. Sad to say the Sapphire Princess did ,the food served up was at best ordinary and at worst downright bad, bad veggies, rotton fruit. Menu repeated over and over with no regional menus associated with our port calls. Drinks were overpriced. The shows were mixed some very good others not. You had to be there 1/2 early to get in to some of the entertainment venues which were too small to accomodate the 3000. passengers on board. The lectures offered were too few , Bridge was not offered by the ship and was organised by one of the passengers and this was a godsend to many of us on the many sea days. The library was very poorly stocked. We had to pay exorbitant fees for shuttles that were in the past complimentary when the port was a distance away from the nearest town.We only had one chair provided in the cabin and had to ask for another which was provided .On a positive note, the staff in the main, were both cheerful and helpful . Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 3rd Cruise, two of which were only 7 days each.Our last one being with Princess in Alaska. We were happy then so tried them again. This time it was 37 days at sea on the Sapphire Princess ship from Southampton to ... Read More
This was our 3rd Cruise, two of which were only 7 days each.Our last one being with Princess in Alaska. We were happy then so tried them again. This time it was 37 days at sea on the Sapphire Princess ship from Southampton to Singapore. Before we booked we wondered if it was too long a cruise and also could we cope with the 6 days in a row at sea? This cruise was AMAZING!! its itinerary with long shore days, mostly 7am -7pm. It was such an interesting itinerary with amazing ports of call. We found plenty to do on our 6 day stint at sea, so we were never bored. The staff are so professional and really look after all their passengers as if they are family. From Booking, Boarding, dining, entertaining, service, cabin steward, shore excursions it is all a breeze. They are ultra organized!!! We had a balcony cabin which had plenty room inside and out. We have been on another cruise with a different company and the balcony was too small. Fantastic entertainment onboard and it was very varied. So many dining options. We were informed regularly on where we were, where we were going and what to do onboard. Some days we did not have enough time to do all we wanted to do. Activities covered all age groups and interests. We only did 2 offshore tours with them and they again were really organized. We loved hearing the Destination Presentation in the Theatre so we had a idea on what to expect from when you left the ship to go ashore to returning. these were so helpful in planning you day ashore. Whether you were doing one of their tours or doing it independently so much information was given eg: what the terrain was like and how many steps you might need to climb. etc etc etc. Everything ran smoothly from booking, boarding to disembarking. We did not want to leave this ship after 37 days so this tells you how impressive this company and cruise was. We are already looking at where to go again with PRINCESS CRUISES. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is where it goes a little off course---so to speak. Do to this being the first time the Sapphire did this route. Well the weather dictated the what, when and how the cruise would unfold. We wanted and did the cruise for 2 reasons: ... Read More
This is where it goes a little off course---so to speak. Do to this being the first time the Sapphire did this route. Well the weather dictated the what, when and how the cruise would unfold. We wanted and did the cruise for 2 reasons: To see the Eiffel Tower ---weather made us bypass that port---the the Vatican---Oh guess what "closed" on our tour date. That made our trip of a lifetime with a party of 10 almost unbelievable to say the least. The ship was great---people, food and entertainment ---expected and near 5 stars. But missing the ONLY two points of interest NOT to our liking at all. Then being booked by your cruise line person and putting us all over the place instead of exactly where WE wanted was also unforgivable...but being halfway around the world and on the ship---making a point to those in power on the ship ---well we stayed where we did not request the whole cruise...not happy campers. Then our seating for dinner (5 star food and waiters) NOT where we requested through our cruise agent by Princess---a party of 10 of us---no--we got seated on the main food delivery route...and the window seat for our party which we have had several times on other trips (we do family cruises) the whole trip there was only 4 people max to use that table. Again requested by the powers that be and told where you are is where you stay... Travel time by air and those seats booked by our Princess agent also were terrible...and the very last day---follow me here---up at 4am to get off ship---tour of around the area where we were supposed to see the Vatican (saw the roof) to get there on a bus and that took an hour and 45 minutes---walking for 3 hours plus---back on the bus to the airport--check in---wait another 2 hours---fly to France (in the dark---no Eiffel Tower in sight) wait at that airport another 13 hours---get on a airbus travel by air to Los Angeles by air like 13 hours---going back in time as opposed to "loosing time" on our cruise that not one of us was even told about---then wait a couple hours then fly HOME to San Diego...over a total of some 27 hours plus---it took almost 4 days to recover from this "trip of a lifetime" before we could go back to work---owners of our own business that made it even worse not to be able to "bounce" back do totally in fact to our Princess booking agent who needs to be fired for doing such and injustice to a party of 10 that spent A LOT of money for this once in a lifetime trip. We have even gone so far as to write a long letter to corporate that we certified. I would not recommend this trip to Europe to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I cruised on the Sapphire to the Canary Islands this time last year. It was a great experience. The ship was then going onto Dubai and Singapore so I thought this year I’d do the London to Dubai leg through the Suez. It was considered 2 ... Read More
I cruised on the Sapphire to the Canary Islands this time last year. It was a great experience. The ship was then going onto Dubai and Singapore so I thought this year I’d do the London to Dubai leg through the Suez. It was considered 2 cruises- London to Rome where about half the boat got off and the Rome to Singapore although loads got off in Dubai. I took the NEX bus from LHR T3 down to Southampton for a cost of £24 and stayed overnight. Embarkation at around 12.30pm took about 10-15 mins. I had an interior cabin. The steward brought me a small table as they are no longer provided and I like somewhere to put my breakfast tray. I loved the new lamps which have the USB port in the base and also the lamp arm can be moved closer to the bed for reading. So handy for my phone and fitbit. Shortly after we set sail the Captain announced that due to bad weather we would not be going to Le Havre. Many people were upset at missing out on Paris, the Landing Beaches or just meeting relatives. I’d been to Paris and Le Havre before so it didn’t affect me. We went to Vigo in Spain instead. Around midnight Captain Ravera who fortunately is very calmly spoken, advised us that we would detour to somewhere off the south coast of England so a medical evacuation could take place. It would be at sea. It was like being woken up by say the TV and not the usual roar you get over the PA that gives you a fright. On embarkation, in my room, there was a 4 page A4 leaflet from Guest Services with Immigration, Tips and Shuttle and Taxi Services for each port from London to Rome and another given in Rome for Rome to Singapore. It listed what was needed, when they would collect/give back passports, where we were docking, costs of any shuttles running and so on. Of course this was updated in the Princess Patter/ port talks if there were changes. Unless you had difficulty reading English it was all very clearly laid for you. I was pleased to see Debbie Shields on board. She’s an excellent port lecturer with so much knowledge of history, practical information and visuals to make the most out of your day in port. The lectures are later put on TV and she is available for questions. She even prepared lecturers for the 2 unexpected ports. I ate dinner in the International Dining Room most nights with a few nights in the buffet. The menus were varied but repeated now and then, but I never got sick of the food for the 26 days. I like breakfast in my room as I rarely dress for breakfast. Its continental but I always go up the night before and grab some snack from the buffet and keep it in the fridge to go with it. Room Service during sea days was hopeless. I tried on two different days for over an hour to get through and couldn’t. They just don’t have enough staff working that area. So if I wanted a coffee and biscuit I’d just go up and get it from the buffet myself. Annoying, but hardly a deal breaker. My cabin was mid-aft, the buffet was aft so the walk probably did me good. I noticed quite a few people with thermal cups so I’ll get one for my next cruise. The staff were always professional, cheerful, helpful and hard working. I had to laugh in Abu Dhabi where I saw quite a line of them buying fridge magnets! Must be newbies who haven’t been there before. Laundry facilities were very good with 4 washers and 4 dryers on each deck. The token machine played up and charged me 3 times. Guest services quickly removed the two I didn’t get tokens for. I always check my account each day on my mobile so I can query anything straight away. Vigo was followed by Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Toulon, Livorno, Rome and Naples. Seemingly all went well. I enjoyed all the shows and guest performers but as usual the theatre usually filled up about 20-30 mins before the show started. The shows were repeated on the second leg of the cruise but I usually only went the once. The guest performers also did a show elsewhere on the ship. As we were leaving Naples around 6pm, the Captain announces there was a storm brewing and we wouldn’t be going to Messina but heading for Santorini instead. I was a bit disappointed because I hadn’t been to Sicily but had spent 5 nights on Santorini. The ship experienced force 11 winds and I woke up in the night yelling “stop it, stop it”. It felt like someone was at the end of my bed jolting it backwards and forwards. I didn’t eat much the next day and rested. Sick bags were hanging all over the place but fortunately I didn’t need one. Santorini was a tender port which I try to avoid where possible. From the info given it seemed there could be quite a wait to get on the cable car which took 30 at a time. I decided, along with about 200 others, to opt for the “Santorini on you own” which was advertised as “beat the queues” with around 4h free time. We waited in the theatre for 70 mins! Too many people for the buses (some sneaked on I think). So much time wasting we ended up having 1h 40 mins free time. Then halfway back to the ship the shuttle went back to the pier and picked up more people! Why I don’t know as they had to stand as no-one would sit up top as it was raining. Time wasting and stuffing around in the extreme. I’ve never been on such a dreadful excursion. If it was free fair enough but they charged US$50 for what was basically a transfer, an absolute total ripoff. I complained as did many others to no avail. No excuses Princess. They regularly call in at Santorini and should be organised. After a glass of wine or two I’d recovered and thought well if that’s the worst that happens in a month its not too bad and then I focused on Rhodes our next port. Delightful experience. After Rhodes we started what I consider the adventure part of the cruise. We anchored of Port Said overnight, then early morning we headed into the Suez. We were ship number 4 in a convoy of 22. Its single file. At around 6.30 – 7.00am Debbie started her commentary pointing out things of interest. She was a trooper. She kept this up on and off all day until 4pm when we reached Port Suez. It was great. I spent most of the day on deck. We passed the northbound convoy in a part of the Canal they have widened and divided into a two lane canal. When I returned to my cabin that evening there was a Certificate of the journey waiting for me. The next port was Aqaba followed by for me, the dreaded 6 sea days in a row. I thought Princess did a good job of occupying people. My dinner companions loved trivia and they had 3 or 4 games a day. There were crafts, dancing, learn musical instrument and so on although I think these filled up quickly. They even put on a couple of matinee sessions of the production show from the night before. The Cruise Director Matt and staff worked tirelessly entertaining everyone. Passengers also performed in a talent quest or showing off their skills learnt on board. I like the lectures best. I went to Russell Twomey’s maritime history and contemporary lectures. I loaded up some new computer games and had been to the op shop before I left home and got a few books which I donated to the library onboard. I did walk around the upper and lower decks at least once a day but with the ship going so fast it was windy sitting out there. The officers did a couple of lecturers on how the ship works and operates. I’d never thought of it before. Learning about pirates was interesting. In the area of the Red Sea and Horn of Africa they have pressure hoses set up everywhere ready to squirt any pirate boats but they mainly outrun them. The ship goes much faster in these parts. The promenade deck was closed after dark while the security people took their stations but everything else went on as normal. They had expanded their Internet room and there would have been at least 20 computers and lots of comfy seats. I spent a few happy hours in here researching future cruises. Princess.com is available in there free of charge. Internet was slow particularly on the second leg of the cruise. I got 500 mins free plus bought another 200 mins for US$40. I reduced my food intake because I wasn’t doing much but the time went and the bottom line is you either want to go through the Suez or you don’t. I wouldn’t bother doing a cruise with so many sea days in a row just to cruise. I’d buy a plane ticket and spend the time on land. We did make an unscheduled stop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a medical evacuation. It was supposed to take place at sea but we ended up docking in the port. The lady managed to climb into the waiting ambulance with most people on the ship looking on. She had to put on a head scarf as did one of the doctors. Two travel companions went with her. It ended up taking over 4 hours to complete the formalities for this stop but the ship had plenty of time to make up the lost time. Then onto Abu Dhabi and Dubai. There wasn’t much departure info on Dubai as its not considered an end port, although many get off. Princess didn’t offer transfers. I was told there were taxis outside the terminal so I got one to my hotel near the airport. I’d been to Dubai before so I then took the metro and connecting bus to the Miracle Gardens. They’re wonderful. Princess offered the Gardens followed by lunch for US$200. Go yourself for less than US$30. Must have been a nice lunch. I then flew home the following morning as the ship continued on to Singapore. I see the Sapphire is coming to Australia late next year so perhaps I’ll get to sail on her again. We had 2670 guests, a nice number that makes activities most viable without the overcrowding and long queues. I’d thoroughly recommend this cruise as you get to see a lot of different things in a short space of time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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