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8 Southampton to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Embarkation at Southampton was excellent, very fast and efficient and we were onboard by 10.45am. Cold, wet and windy weather meant a rocky journey to Gibraltar and the Royal Parade was extremely busy as everyone was indoors for 2 days. ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was excellent, very fast and efficient and we were onboard by 10.45am. Cold, wet and windy weather meant a rocky journey to Gibraltar and the Royal Parade was extremely busy as everyone was indoors for 2 days. (The 2 days back at the end though were sunny and warm so we were able to stay around the pool.) Our cabin , a grand suite, was lovely, and we enjoyed breakfast on the balcony several times. Our stateroom attendant was great, very friendly, efficient and attentive, knowing all our names from day 1. The windjammer buffet restaurant was great for breakfast and lunches generally, something for everyone, but didn’t cater brilliantly for egg, dairy and nut allergies as nothing was labelled and I had to ask the chefs’ advice everyday. The main dining room menus were very good, service was good, although Giovanni ‘s I have to say was better and more like the standard we enjoyed in the main dining room on previous cruises. It was a bit disappointing to be placed in 5 different areas of the dining room over ther 2 weeks as it was difficult to build a rapport with the waiters but our Headwaiter on day 1 checked up on us every single day which was much appreciated. Shows in the theatre were very good and a broad range of artistes were presented to us. The ports that we encountered were lovely, and the shore excursions that we did really enhanced the experience, apart from Montserrat , a 5 hour round trip with only 45 minutes there. Seville and Lisbon were particular favourites with us. Disembarkation with the concierge was excellent, swiftly off at 8.15 and taken straight to our cases. Our main issue with the ship were the hoards of teenage who gathered every night in each of the stairwells from decks 6 to 10, with pretty poor behaviour and bad language, unsupervised and unchallenged by staff or parents, and running along deck 11 above our stateroom until the early hours. This would prevent me from sailing on Navigator in the future. The other issue that spoiled our evenings was the lack of seating in the smaller bars around the ship where there was live music. We only managed to get a seat on 1 night out of 14. Despite all that, we did have a really good holiday and I would sail with Royal Caribbean again, but probably on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Always wanted to see Normandy, and Uniworld offered a Paris-Normandy-Paris cruise. We've been on the typical big ship cruises, but never a river cruise, and this one had fewer than 100 guests. We really didn't know what to ... Read More
Always wanted to see Normandy, and Uniworld offered a Paris-Normandy-Paris cruise. We've been on the typical big ship cruises, but never a river cruise, and this one had fewer than 100 guests. We really didn't know what to expect. Well, it greatly exceeded our expectations! The service was unbelievable and the food was extraordinary! The excursions were perfect, including the knowledgeable - and English speaking - tour guides. And all-inclusive meant all-inclusive. The only money we spent was on souvenirs. And oh yes, in a cafe on the Champs Elysees! They picked us up and dropped us back to the airport. What we didn't expect was that as part of the return trip to Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris, a Uniworld representative met us there, took our bags, checked us in, put our bags on the carousel, and personally took us to Security -- now that's service! We'll take another Uniworld cruise, and would highly recommend Uniworld to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We wanted to do the German Rivers Cruise and this lived up to our expectations with the towns visited. We have now cruised on Braema twice and find this ship is 'homely' and has a good atmosphere. As always the crew are ... Read More
We wanted to do the German Rivers Cruise and this lived up to our expectations with the towns visited. We have now cruised on Braema twice and find this ship is 'homely' and has a good atmosphere. As always the crew are brilliant, the food good. Our frustration surrounds the fact that the ship was extended and more cabins added, which was clearly a commercial decision to improve the cost effectiveness of running this ship. The fact that the Neptune Lounge was not redesigned/ extended is a major weakness. Port Talks on sea days are a nightmare as you have to be up very early to get a seat in the lounge. Watching these in the cabin on the television is a VERY POOR substitute. We are not saying NEVER AGAIN - but we will be considering it very carefully and the itinerary will have to be very good. Over and Out Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
As many have stated the ship is small and this possibly encourages the mainly friendly atmosphere. The demographic is narrow with significant numbers of elderly people and few families. A small number of so called "Chavs" still ... Read More
As many have stated the ship is small and this possibly encourages the mainly friendly atmosphere. The demographic is narrow with significant numbers of elderly people and few families. A small number of so called "Chavs" still managed to feature on board and at times made a concerted effort to cause disruption. This was particularly bad one evening with one chap making a nuisance of himself in the corridor after his partner had locked him out of their cabin.. I was more surprised that it seemed there is no CCTV in the walkways that picked up on this. It will have been threatening for some of the older people already in their cabins in that vicinity as the volume was very high with threats being issued.. The staff were consistently good and well motivated, they were so pleasant to deal with. Cabins are outdated and noticeably small but very clean and well serviced. Food was generally speaking good with an odd blip and there was plenty of choice. We took one organised shore trip and opted out for independent travel after this. We visited Nantes by coach followed by a trip up river. The coach tour segment focused on redundant warehouses and old cranes which was bizarre with the guide literally forgetting the outstanding cathedral. Her commentary was dull and delivered in a monotone which rapidly became irritating. Some comments were inappropriate, for example she pointed out a nursery onboard a barge type of vessel for small children and said that when the Teachers became sick of the children they could throw them out into the river. With 250 people on board chances are someone has been involved in a tragedy with children or water, not good. The ensiung trip on the river boat proved suffocating due to the heat and despite being assured the the Shore Trip FO Rep that the windows opened, this was not the case. Oversold and under delivered never a good combination, so take care when choosing trips! The other downside of this ship is the flat bottom that allows access to the shallow water ways. We had two bouts of seas described as moderate swell by the Captain and this caused significant rolling. At one point all the children were washed out of the pool and then back into it, by the water sluicing from side to side where it was captured by the retaining wall built for this purpose. Would I cruise with FO again, possibly, but on a different ship mainly due to the effect of the seas on the quality of the journey. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I cannot believe the reviews I am reading with regards msc opera. We sailed the 9th of july as a party of 14. We have cruised many times (over 25) before with different companies this was our first cruise with msc. We read all the negative ... Read More
I cannot believe the reviews I am reading with regards msc opera. We sailed the 9th of july as a party of 14. We have cruised many times (over 25) before with different companies this was our first cruise with msc. We read all the negative reviews before boarding and we very apprehensive almost cancelling our holiday. We were pleased to say that msc far exceeded our expectations on every level. Embarkation at southhampton was quick and easy. we were onboard for 11.30. check in opened at 11. Ship was spotlessly clean. cabins were cleaned 3 times a day. Food in the restaurant was spectacular always warm and plentiful  always something for the children either grilled chicken beef pasta pizza. Waiters and chefs willing to accommodate if we wanted something other than what was on the menu. Many evenings my husband ordered ceasar salad etc things which were not on the main menu. Food in the buffet was just as good although sometimes long queues put us of and we had lunch in the restaurant also. Our children couldn’t get enough of the fresh pizza and pasta which was cooked to order. Wine was brought to the table by the bottle if on the drinks package. No waiting for drinks at dinner on many evenings our waiters had drinks waiting for us at 6.30 promptly by our table. Staff were always pleasant and friendly. We loved the coffee bar  Entertainment provided by the kids club was fantastic and scheduled. Entertainment on deck for adults was fab. Fitness/bingo/music etc Shows were a good standard and good length. Cotton club was the best bar for entertainment and dancing. Staff wish to serve you and ask you to sit down to wait on drink rather than go to the bar and that’s why you pay service charge the are both Friendly and courteous. Ship was very well run and set up. Drinks package well worth the money. We added up our receipts and between 5 of us would of spent £1300. We had a fantastic holiday on board the opera….. we would of liked longer in each port. We have no complaints whatsoever in fact consider the standard of service and food to be higher than we have ever received before. We also commend the medical team onboard our small child had an incident and required stiches. Has was seen within 5 minutes of it happening and out again within 20. On nhs this would of taken 6 hours. We could not have paid for the service we received. To offer free child places is a bonus also as with other companies children pay the same price as adults. Fantastic job MSC to be commended keep up the good work. We will definitely be returning. Some people choose to complain about everything for nothing……..it is really off putting to other holiday makers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This cruise went to Rouen, Amsterdam and Hamburg. In each port we stayed overnight. It was lovely cruising up the Seine to Rouen and also the Elbe into Hamburg. Very interesting and enjoyable. It was our first time on the Black Watch and ... Read More
This cruise went to Rouen, Amsterdam and Hamburg. In each port we stayed overnight. It was lovely cruising up the Seine to Rouen and also the Elbe into Hamburg. Very interesting and enjoyable. It was our first time on the Black Watch and although there were some things we liked, she really is getting very shabby. There were holes in the teak decks, the varnished rails were in dire need of varnish and the windows throughout the ship were very dirty. As the weather was not very warm, we obviously spent some time inside apart from when we were ashore. The food was fairly good, but having been on the Balmoral in January, the menus were exactly the same. At 67 I felt young. the majority of passengers were older than me. although I like the smaller ships, Black Watch felt rather too small for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I are just back from a 2 night mini cruise on P&O's Azura from Southampton to Zeebrugge, back to Southampton. This was our 2nd ever cruise, our first being last August for a 2 week roundtrip cruise from Southampton to ... Read More
My wife and I are just back from a 2 night mini cruise on P&O's Azura from Southampton to Zeebrugge, back to Southampton. This was our 2nd ever cruise, our first being last August for a 2 week roundtrip cruise from Southampton to the Med, on Princess' Crown Princess. Azura and the Crown are the same ship, just run by different cruise operators, so we knew what to expect from the ship in terms of size and layout. The similarities between the two ships sadly ended there for us... Let me start by saying we aren't snobs by any stretch of the imagination, and we are down-to-earth and easy going people (both in our mid-late 20's). BUT... we see cruising as a very expensive top-notch holiday choice; and as a result, it is reasonable to expect good service and quality. Princess more than exceeded ALL our expectations and as a result, obviously this has set our expectations for future cruises. I know i am comparing a 2 week £1600 per person cruise to a 2 night £220 per person cruise, but per night, the price isnt massively different. However, as one of the bar staff said to me just after we boarded, "this will be a different experience to a 2 week cruise, you will see people being carried away on stretchers and all sorts". I think what he was trying to say is this "cruise" is going to be like booze cruise. Obviously because its only a couple of hundred pounds per person, it is affordable to alot more people, which means the "class" (for want of a better word) of people on a 2 night cruise will be somewhat different to a 2 week cruise. OK, i accept that, and thats fine; as a result, i found the atmosphere to be quite good - lots more going on, the entertainment seemed to be enjoyed better etc. Buit thats no excuse in my opinion for the staff to let their hair down and lower their standards... Maybe this is just the way P&O operate, and I shouldnt be comparing to Princess (a far superior cruise operator in my opinion), but I found the following thing unacceptable: Despite multiple requests at all the bars we visited, not one of them could provide us with a cocktail menu or wine menu (except for the Peninsular Restaurant where a wine menu was provided). This is VERY poor in my opinion. The laundry service ruined my brand new shirt which i sent to be ironed. The shirt came back with 4 or 5 different crease lines down the sleeves (instead of one running all the way down). I complained to my room steward, who responded with a big smile and a chuckle!!!??? I then visited the reception desk to complain and after a phone call to someone, the receptionist told me they had refunded the laundry charge. There was no apology from anyone! Our room steward and the laundry person delivering our laundry both let themselves into our cabin unannounced whilst we were in it; once whilst i was in the middle of getting changed! Unacceptable in my opinion! The length of time it took to be served at the bars (even though they weren't busy) was also unacceptable. The bar staff seemingly ignored me in favour of doing other things! The formal evening dress code was not policed in the restaurants. My wife and I were dressed appropriately and in the middle of a quiet meal in the Glass House (think that's its name) when a group of people came in with T-shirts and jeans and sat next to us! The restaurant staff then told us to move our table away from them so that we weren't so close! We were not very impressed at all! You could probably argue that all of the above *must* have been one-off isolated incidents, but the attitude of all the staff was the same, and we quite often witnessed things which we said "you wouldn't see that on Princess". Lots of other finishing touch sort of details that were there on Princess were missing from P&O - tiny things which i would probably get slated for if i mentioned them on here, but to us, its the small finishing touches that differentiates between good and excellent. I would be very interested to hear from people who have cruised P&O and Princess to see what your thoughts are. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Upon arrival to the ship, all went like clockwork until we got to the buffet line. Then, it was like 1000 people hadn't eaten for a month! There was pushing, almost shoving to get to the buffet line. Welcome to your cruise! Having ... Read More
Upon arrival to the ship, all went like clockwork until we got to the buffet line. Then, it was like 1000 people hadn't eaten for a month! There was pushing, almost shoving to get to the buffet line. Welcome to your cruise! Having a walking disability, made it difficult to maneuver. Why Celebrity didn't have the restaurant open, when they knew the number of passengers boarding (at the same time)? Le Havre, Bordeaux, Bilbao our first three port's were interesting, most chose tours due to these being primarily shipping ports. (Except Bilbao) Tours were very expensive. More definition is needed for tours! Many tours were marked "moderate" were more strenuous! Who defines these? Obviously NOT a disabled person! Vigo Spain: Enjoyable tour of town. Fatima Portugal: Best deal of our cruise (although 5 hour bus ride to Fatima and back). Thoroughly enjoyed this tour, although our guide was lost for lunch. Had dinner at the Tuscan Grille (awesome). I wish I could say the same for the food at the San Marco dining room. Average at best. Loved the Poolside grill. This was a "Wine Immmersive" Cruise in yet the corkage charge was applied. Why? We purchased wine during our vineyard tours then had to open our bottle in our cabin as to not incur this obscene charge! Why wouldn't Celebrity have given a discount on corkage fee? Especially when you pay up to $199 for a wine tour. Seems like a small thing, but a liquor bill can add up very quickly. Room Steward (Matt) was terrific! I only wish maintenance would have waited to work on the hand rail on the deck. They decided to paint and stain our deck rail and left a terrible mess, but Matt was on-the-spot cleaning up their mess. This was our 3rd Celebrity Cruise was somewhat disappointed with this ship and personnel. This ship (although somewhat refurbed) is in dire need of a thorough updating (not just painting here and there, during a cruise). Personnel not very helpful with tours/handicap accessibility. Considering the average age of this cruise had to be mid to high 60's! Tried to go to one of the shows, unfortunately there were no places to sit. Spent days at sea (at night) in the casino. Casino very fun (during sea nights). Loved "Happy Hour" specials. Overall, loved this itinerary, tours cost much more than anticipated, but this trip was terrific. Glad we came in early and did Paris before the cruise. Wouldn't have had time to see Paris AND Normandy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012

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