Cruise Ratings
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467
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142
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
Background We have cruised 15+ times on various lines and usually go for the itinerary. We’ve always wanted to do Norway and this cruise popped up on Vacations To Go and away we were. We did book it rather late, probably a couple ... Read More
Background We have cruised 15+ times on various lines and usually go for the itinerary. We’ve always wanted to do Norway and this cruise popped up on Vacations To Go and away we were. We did book it rather late, probably a couple months prior. We had gone on Celebrity once before so we knew we had a good cruise line with a great itinerary. Little did we know just how great both would be. Traveling to the Port We flew two days earlier from the States so we would arrive a day early to get a night’s rest before embarkation. We used Celebrity for booking the flights, primarily American Airlines since we collect their miles, but the major flight over, from Philadelphia to Heathrow, was British Airways which was quite good. Upon our arrival at Heathrow, Passport Control was quite simple and we collected our luggage, albeit waiting a while for it, and met our driver just outside of baggage collection. We had arranged for a car from Smith’s for Airports and he was great. Hotel Since I’ve been collecting points at Best Western, we had decided to see if our points would pay off and booked the Best Western at Chillworth Manor. We thought that, in worst case, we’d have a bed and a shower and off we would go to embarkation. Were we pleasantly surprised! The hotel is, indeed, a former Manor. Not Downton Abbey, but quite nice and interesting. The grounds were lovely to walk about and we had a wonderful stay. The staff was excellent. We had dinner in the restaurant (highly recommend) and the breakfast, in the restaurant, was probably the best “free” breakfast we had ever had. Room was nice and comfy and we were very happy we selected the Manor. Embarkation We left the hotel via a hotel-arranged taxi at 10:00 AM and arrived less than thirty minutes later. We went through check-in quite quickly and easily and had a seat in the waiting lounge for no more than 5-6 minutes before our “number” was called to board. All-in-all, a great embarkation experience all around!! Stateroom Our stateroom was a balcony, 9109, quite far forward (about 5 rooms back from the front, but we found it to be great and quiet. There was a bit of a walk to the elevators, but that’s okay with us! Our cabin steward kept the room exceptionally neat and we had not a complaint. My wife has a CPAP machine and, having arranged it ahead of time, we had a gallon of distilled water and, much to our surprise, an extension cord awaiting us in the room. The room also had a water heater and we had tea out on our deck most days. As far as standard ship balcony rooms go, this was a good one. The Ship We had been on the Equinox and knew the general layout of the Silhouette. I have to admit that, when we found out after booking that she would be in drydock soon after our trip, I was a bit concerned that we were going on an “old” ship. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many of us on board commented to each other that we didn’t really know why it was even being refurbished! It was a beautiful ship from stem to stern. Getting around the ship was easy. There were three decks of inside “evening” areas, including dining, shops, lounges, etc. Deck 5 had an outdoor walking area but did not entirely circumvent the ship, which is disappointing but appears to be the way with these ships nowadays. I long for the “Promenade deck” of old! The pool area got some use though this was a cooler itinerary. The indoor solarium pool was more the place to be if swimming is what you looked for. Given the itinerary, we didn’t even pack bathing suits! Dining We usually opt for freestyle dining as Norwegian calls it but, having booked so late, we were forced to have 6:00PM dining. It was okay but we would prefer not to eat that early again. Our wait staff was excellent and we had two other couples, one from the UK and one from Israel, at our table and we became fast friends. Food selection was very good as was the food itself. Specialty Dining We availed ourselves to one of the 3-night specialty packages and, though we probably wouldn’t do the package again, we were not disappointed with the experience. I think we’d stay in the MDR and just take one arbitrary night to do a specialty restaurant, if at all. Our first experience was the Lawn Club Grille, an “outside” venue – though it was fairly enclosed with the plastic walls. This is the place for steaks as they cook them right there on the grille and they were fantastic! Second experience was the Tuscan Grille. Here’s a tip – if you ever do the Norwegian Fjords itinerary, and you plan on eating here at all during the cruise, do so on the day you sail away from Flam. The restaurant is the aft-most one can be with large viewing windows and sailing away down the fjord is just magnificent. This is an Italian steakhouse and, once again, the food and staff were excellent. Our last experience, our last dinner on this cruise, was at Qsine. The “Les Petits Chefs’ experience is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that must be experienced. The table top animation is just tremendous, but that doesn’t take away from the great food and excellent service they provide. If you only do one specialty restaurant, make this one your choice. Activities There are activities every day and we admittedly did not participate much. The few we did – Question of the Day, Riddle of the Day, Movie/TV music themes – were fun and well-done and we probably did ourselves a disservice not participating more but there are only so many hours in a day. Suffice it to say that if Activities are your thing, there are plenty and seem to be well done. Entertainment We went to every one of the 7 theater shows and we were very impressed with all. The production team did three shows, all of them spectacular. The aerialists and acrobats were outstanding, as were the singers and dancers. One show was a local UK singer/pianist who did a very good job, especially on the piano. Another night was a comedian who was quite good and funny. The Flyboys were on board and they are a quartet of singers who transform “modern” songs into swing era style. The Overtures, the best 60’s band in the world according to Elton John, performed one night to rousing ovations and applause and did a quick set the last night in the Foyer area. The live music throughout the ship was top-notch. Two bands, once of which played a lot of 60s – 80s rock and roll, a solo guitarist/vocalist, a string duo (violin and cello) doing modern tunes with strings, were all great. We went to one of the “game shows”, Liars Club or some such thing, which was hilarious and I’m certain other shows were equally well done. On the final day, Captain George gave a talk about the ship and navigation and had a lengthy Q&A which was all very interesting. Ports The itinerary consisted of four fabulous ports. We used Celebrity for all tour excursions. We arrived in Bergen, Norway, at noon. Our tour was a little later and was simply a panorama tour of Bergen and the surrounding hills. Our guide was excellent and the tour was good. Also at Bergen is the ability to take a funicular up the hillside for views of the city. We did not do so but others on board did and report that it was great. Our second stop was at Alesund, Norway. Two things of note: If you go do Alesund and don’t do the Path of the Trolls tour, you have not been to Norway! And, though I know lots of cruise critics eschew ship tours, I heartily recommend you do the ship tour for this one or be prepared to fly yourself out to the next port. This is a LONG tour and is subject to so many possibilities of delays. Anyhow, the tour is excellent. You get to go well into the interior of Norway with its tremendous views. The third stop is the reason for taking a cruise to Norway, this cruise into and out of Flam. This town of only 400 is nestled at the end of an arm of Norway’s longest fjord. The cruise in and out is spectacular, with waterfalls almost within reach of the ship. We took the Flam railway up to the end, climbing up through the mountains with outstanding views of the Flam River valley and the various waterfalls. Flam is also a great town to walk about and get some souvenirs. The final stop was Stavanger which is a pretty good sized city at the southern end of Norway. From the ship, we took the cruise of the Lysefjord fjord. This was a great trip, despite the only real serious rain of the whole cruise. We had views of the great waterfalls and the famous Pulpit Rock. An interesting stop for waffles and coffee was also made and much appreciated. Disembarkation We elected to have our luggage taken off the ship and meeting it on shore, though a leisurely walk-off is also available. Getting off the ship was a breeze. We found our luggage quickly as that is well-organized. Customs was nothing since we had nothing to declare. We, again, had a ride organized with Smith’s for Airports and he collected us on time and had us to Heathrow with time to spare. Summary All in all, this was one of the best cruises we have ever taken. Admittedly, much of that credit goes to the itinerary, but the ship, staff, service, food and everything about the Silhouette was top-notch. Well done, Celebrity! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult to get the right level of entertainment for him on previous cruises as he’s not a baby but still too little to go into any clubs/groups. There was a fantastic aqua park for him with a baby area which was great. The water was heated too which was a brilliant idea. There wasn’t much else going on for him though, there were a few toys laid out in a nightclub area in the day but very limited. We could pay $6 an hour to put him in a under 3’s club which we didn’t do. The food was comparable to NCL, a good standard and plenty to chose from. However, there were strict times on when food was available. On previous ships there was always food available in the buffet but it closed in the day for 3 hours and at 9:00pm in the evening which seems a bit early considering there is nearly 5k guests on board and there was a wait for a table. The only other option if you missed the buffet or dining room was pizza which is very limited, especially if you have dietary requests. We ate in the main dining room every night which we do on every cruise, A manager came to the table every night to ask how our dinning experience was which was great. We love the formalities of cruising and were disappointed when the waiters started doing the Macarena in the middle of dinner service, it really wasn’t great. Also on formal night, a guy wearing jeans and muddy running trainers was sat next to us in the main dining room while we were wearing a tuxedo and a cocktail dress. It’s disappointing that people can’t make the effort but also respect that people don’t always want to however, I feel on formal nights especially, trousers and shoes should be worn as a minimum to get into the main dining room. We decided to have an inside cabin as we were only sailing for 3 days. When we got to the cabin I was so disappointed. It was very dated, even though the independence had apparently had a refurb recently, the carpet was grubby and the sofa had stains on it. The cabin wasn’t cleaned properly with stains on the mirrors and marks on the walls. The cabin was really knocked about, dents in the wood work, paint chipped and just really dated. We did feel the need to complain about the cleanliness and someone was sent to shampoo the carpet and sofa but I feel for the price of a RC cruise, this shouldn’t be happening and I expected a much better standard. The toilets in the public areas were not cleaned all the time like on other ships. Bins were over flowing in the toilets and no toilet paper. The main promenade was dated too, i don’t understand where on this ship there has been a refurb. There were plenty of lifts which meant the wait time for one wasn’t too long, this is a plus when you have a buggy. For a taster cruise, I thought all the stops would be pulled out to ensure further bookings on RC but I felt it wasn’t, I think it was a true representation of RC. Would I sail with them again? Yes but only on a new ship which I think would be completely out of my price bracket. For the price of RC I think the standard should be a lot higher and couldn’t help but think it was a bit ‘butlins at sea’. I would definitely pick other lines over RC especially for the price of them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a great cruise. The ship was marvellous. The food was only just acceptable. Tea and coffee in the buffet was always cold. The attitude towards you was more like cargo than passengers. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a great cruise. The ship was marvellous. The food was only just acceptable. Tea and coffee in the buffet was always cold. The attitude towards you was more like cargo than passengers. Complained to manager but it fell on deaf ears. Getting off the ship at each port costs €18.99 each and you have to pay it no matter what. This is for the compulsory shuttle bus. The 4D cinema and F1 racing car you have to pay for. The sauna you have to pay for. There is a big outdoor cinema screen that don't show any films only advertising to buy their packages. Most bars on board throughout the day are closed. The only bars I see open were in the casino and by the shopping area. The bars come alive about 7pm. Bored all day. I have cruised with P&O and they were brilliant. MSC does not seem interested in your cruise experience. Many passengers said they have been put off cruising forever. I did excursion to Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Paris which were good excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship ... Read More
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship from the week before we sailed) But thankfully we only experienced well behaved children and young adults on our cruise . Totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of this ship . Went on and explored at approximately 11am . Our time was 1-30 pm to embark but it really doesn’t matter what time you get there. The facilities are outstanding , from the pools to the flow rider to the theatres and dining rooms unbelievable ship . A couple of negatives , 1) the windjammer is an ‘buffet type diner’ I just personally found it stressful , just too busy , but the food was fantastic. Brilliant choice. 2) I didn’t have drink package for myself just my daughter and sometimes I felt like that I had took the cheap way to cruise when occasionally bar person would say ‘oh just a soda package ‘ 3) My room , nothing wrong with it but my daughter got chocolate on the cover the first night and it was not change throughout our stay , and even be night her sheet was missing so I found a trolley in the corridor and took one of it. Maybe I should have said something? Also I love the animal towels they put on your bed but we only got one , my daughter was so excited wish they could have done more has a friend she met had three, but I do understand they are busy. But all small things compared to the rest of the positives . Pool fantastic my daughter loved the jacuzzis Entertainment absolutely brilliant loved it all , went to grease , comedians , brilliant ice show, best night was silent disco we had great time , it was all just fab! Loads to do on ship , never got chance in the 6 nights to do it all and relax and we only left the ship once in Spain for couple of hours. My daughter loved the quiz at 8 pm every night even though we were not too good at it, then we did the family game show and then watched whatever was in that evening in the theatre fantastic! We also ordered the complimentary continental breakfast 2 days to our room , we loved it , what a treat. But the best experience we had on our holiday, was the dining . Our waiter and waitress was fantastic Lisele and Remidios . They made us feel so special catering to our every needs.. going out of there way to please us . We had great view of the sea from our table absolutely loved going down for dinner. Fantastic food, from duck to steaks to lamb chops and large shrimps !! We had an internal room which had plenty of space for the two of us and I loved it was so dark so slept later. Brilliant time we just want to go again . Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very Happy with our room attendant Sugi who was always smiling and kept our cabin in good order. We had a little problem with the Pullman bed on the first evening and that was dealt within minutes followed by an apology letter. We opted for “my time dinning” although booked our time slots in the planner before we sailed this way we still could be allocated the same table and waiter each night. Our waiter Beemal was great kept us entertained and was very attentive. Could not fault the food in any of the restaurants, bars or Cafe’s. We mainly ate in the main restaurant for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We used the Windjammer a couple of time and found the food to be very good, huge choice and although it was busy we didn’t have a problem finding a table. Johnny Rockets was also really good, milkshakes were amazing and worth the additional $9.95 per person on there own. The pool areas were quite busy especially on sea days when it was more difficult to find a sun bed, also it was school holidays so ship was generally busy, it never seemed overly crowded and we liked the adult solarium. We never had much of a wait getting drinks around the pool bars, the sky bar was our favourite, the staff were the friendliest, not that you need to go to the bar as there are plenty of waiters walking round delivering directly to our sun beds. Ice show, dance shows and Grease were amazing. My partner used the gym which was well equipped and he had a great view when arriving a ports first thing. We had the Key package and I would recommend it, it come with quite a few perks including the reserved seating for all the shows and the internet. We also were allocated time slots for the climbing wall, flow rider, ice skating and trampolines (we didn’t get round to doing most of them) The first day lunch was served in the main dining room but used the chops grill menu, It was a lovely and relaxed way to start our cruise. It was also nice to leave the ship when we wanted to rather than waiting to be called. Overall for what we paid which was about £17 per per person per day it was good value and would get again if offered at the name price. The only thing I would say is that it’s not fully advertised on the ship and you have to ask when you go into the theatre and shows to be seated. We had to select a showing for the Grease performance and was advised to meet in the bar and would be taken to our seats, this didn't happen so we made our own way and was shown to our seats. We left the ship at both ports in Spain but just had a walk around did not do any trips but would consider on our next cruise (already booked) it’s a shame the independence is not sailing from the UK next year as we really loved it, just hoping Athem lives up to it. Overall we had a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
The ship is really nice large ship great for families with the splash park slide and pool, kids club ran all day pretty much until 23.00 whixh ours loved. The food in my opinion was great when you think abou thr value against a 4* hotel in ... Read More
The ship is really nice large ship great for families with the splash park slide and pool, kids club ran all day pretty much until 23.00 whixh ours loved. The food in my opinion was great when you think abou thr value against a 4* hotel in Europe you can't compare yes the portions aren't massive but it's a l carte and you get 3 courses and bread so was absoutely plenty and a great standard. The kids menu was the usual burgers nuggets pizzas etc so they were happy. The entertainment was good with lots of choose throughout the ship the show not the best but again I have to compare against the price you would pay for a royal Caribbean ship for example so its not going to be on the same league. But we lways found something to watch on an evening. Overall can't complain and would definetly sail with msc again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at the port, left the cases by the car and they were delivered to our cabin a couple of hours later. We drove from Manchester and were sat in the bar at 12.30pm enjoying our holiday without any airports. I would recommend carrying off your own luggage if you can - the luggage collection area was manic. In terms of the ship itself, I was a bit concerned about some of the negative reviews but we all loved it. OK there may be room for improvement in some areas but honestly if I didn't know the ship was being refurbished next year I wouldn't have noticed. It is in good condition and there are plenty of nice bars and good sun decks. Overall I thought there was a great atmosphere and a great mix of people onboard. Cabins were basic but fine and the cabin stewards worked super hard and cabin was always spotless - could not fault it. Plus the beds were very comfy - have never slept so well in my life! The dining was good. We did buffet for breakfast and lunch and the selections were vast and always delicious. The MDR was also good and we had 2 great waitors taking care of us. The food wasn't always amazing but honestly can't complain when they are serving that many people with that many food choices. Some nights the food was outstanding. We dined in Izumi which was truly amazing, so much so that we went twice. Definately worth the cost. Also Giovannis table was nice and a pleasant change from the MDR. Bars were great. Perry Grant in the Schooners bar literally made our holiday - he was hilarious and he packed the place out every night - fantastic. We had the drinks pacakge which was expensive at £41 per day each but was worth it when we worked out what we would have spent. The service in the bars was great and was never without a drink. Entertainment was a bit average but it is a personal choice of course and we were happy to watch Perry everynight (or the guitar player in Crown and Kettle). The ice show was good but some of the others not so good. The ports varied from great to poor but we expected that before we went and we had good weather which helped. The pool decks were good - generally very busy in areas but there were a couple of quieter spots where a sunbed could always be found. Loved the music and general atmosphere around the pools.Drinks flowing too and lots of waitors around. The teenaged boys enjoyed their holiday as the cruise allowed them more freedom than a typical holiday so they spent a lot of time with their friends and in the arcade. Some of the newer ships perhaps have more fancy entertainment but they enjoyed it. Overall we had a great holiday - the ship is great and the staff were excellent without exception. We would definately travel with RCI again (have only previously taken a P&O cruise which had a more "stuffy" atmosphere which didn't suit us as well). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose the 12-Night British Isles cruise for the itinerary. The itinerary was FANTASTIC. The ship and dining services - not so much. Can be an excellent cruise if your ship expectations aren't too high. We found the only way to ... Read More
We chose the 12-Night British Isles cruise for the itinerary. The itinerary was FANTASTIC. The ship and dining services - not so much. Can be an excellent cruise if your ship expectations aren't too high. We found the only way to get good dining was to visit the Specialty Dining Rooms, the International Cafe, the Salty Dog on the Pool deck or the Pizza service - and those were better than expected. The selections and quality of selections in the main dining rooms and Horizons Buffet were way below our our previous cruising experiences across any line. We read in advance that the ship was refurbished in April of 2018 - a year and a half ago. We thought the ship looked dated, the stateroom furniture worn and in need of replacement and in general the hallway walls, trim and carpet were tired-looking. Tendering for over 3,000 passengers in popular ports creates long waiting lines (over an hour each time), and when you add the time to tender you to and from shore, you've lost just about three hours of your in-port time. We see a definite decrease in value and general "cruise experience" of a Princess Cruise from our previous cruises with Princess and especially compared to comparable cruise lines in this price/star-rating range. In closing, the new Medallion-Class ships offer faster-than-expected Medallion-Net (on-board and internet networking services) and an electronic "Medallion" instead of a "key-Card." The Medallion experience in general and related apps can enhance a cruise experience for tech-savvy and even non-tech savvy guest by making crew recognition, stateroom access and room charging processes faster and easier than it ever was with cards. The two Princess excursions we took to the Royal Tattoo in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland and the Normandy Excursion in France (to Omaha and Gold beaches and the US cemetery) were very organized, informative and we thought well-worth the cost. We would definately do these again with Princess. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
The British Isles itinerary looked appealing but did not live up to expectations. The ship was OK but the food was lacking in choices and most proteins were dry and tough. The water in the cabin was expensive and Princess has no ... Read More
The British Isles itinerary looked appealing but did not live up to expectations. The ship was OK but the food was lacking in choices and most proteins were dry and tough. The water in the cabin was expensive and Princess has no multi-bottle packages available. You're better off buying water at one of the ports. Everything was nickel-dimes to death and the tours were very expensive so we booked a couple from an outside source. The stops were uninteresting and unappealing. They had shuttle buses to the town centers but charged $16 each for the short trip. Also, the cabin had a queen bed but you could only get out from one side due to the large nightstand. The photos were $25 each which is another example of their gouging. The cruise was reasonably priced but, when you add all the excursions, it becomes bloated. All in all, this will probably be our second and last Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The ports were fantastic! We did not use any princess excursions. I found independent tour companies on line. I highly recommend Butler's in Ireland, Uniquely Scotland (ask for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The ports were fantastic! We did not use any princess excursions. I found independent tour companies on line. I highly recommend Butler's in Ireland, Uniquely Scotland (ask for Mark) and Spearhead tours at Le Havre (Florin is incredibly knowledgeable about D Day) . The time on the ship was disappointing. Crown Princess looked old and shabby. There was no drink served when we got on the ship. No towel animals on the bed at night. The activities on board were repetitive and not exciting. Even the entertainment was so-so. Nothing was terrible, but nothing stellar either. Food in the main dining room was hit or miss. Some meals were wonderful others not good at all. The buffet was awful. We worked hard to not eat there since it was so bad. We had one dinner at the Crown Grill which again was just OK. The one excellent thing on the ship was the staff. Our cabin steward Norman was awesome! Our waiter, JP, was excellent when we ate at our assigned time. The nights we had to go to anytime dining the staff was not great. It tended to be slow. In conclusion, our cruise was not bad. However I have been on better cruises on other lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first time oversees and we wanted to visit Ireland, Scotland and France. We flew into Heathrow, Airport and after getting through customs we found the Princess cruise personnel. Then we took a princess connection (bus ride) ... Read More
This was our first time oversees and we wanted to visit Ireland, Scotland and France. We flew into Heathrow, Airport and after getting through customs we found the Princess cruise personnel. Then we took a princess connection (bus ride) to Southampton. From there we checked in and received our medallions. The Crown could use some refurnishing, however the ships crew was top notch. Especially in the main dining and night clubs. Food was good in the main dining always something different was added each night. The buffet was average (but always available). The princess excursions were really good especially the Cork Sea Safari at Cork, Ireland. We also enjoyed the carriage ride at Stark, Island. Our favorite castle was Glamis in Scotland. We also took the excursion to the Louvre Museum in France well worth it. The medallions worked great! There was four of us the youngest 19. We had a balcony room. We would definitely cruise again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he ... Read More
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he joined only in the last port - Gibraltar. Our inside cabin on Deck 12 was adequate, comfortable and clean. Entertainment overall excellent - especially the Headliner`s Once Upon a Time show. The dancers were talented but the singers not so. The Entertainment manager Neil was absolute fantastic - we enjoyed the pool parties, sail aways, the flamenco program on Lido Deck in Barcelona day. The Cookery Club was something new and unique, I and my 8 year old daughter participated the chocolate cooking and we really loved it. However the children club Reef program was well below the P&O standard we use to on Ventura and Azura: sometimes boring, unimaginative and some of the reef rangers did not show interest towards the kids. We enjoyed the Lido Deck, the pools were clean, always found sun lounger or chairs. The only complaint I can raise is, that some of the bar staff was rude and selective of what drink they want to serve. The preferred to serve only alcohol, even mornings, and several times when I asked for freshly pressed orange juice - which was available in one of the pool side bars - the bar waiter said it is not available. So I just woke up from the sun chair, went to the bar, pointed to the pile of fresh orange and the juicer machine - and the bar tender made the juice for me. This happened to me few times and one matured bar steward even wanted me to change my order from fresh orange juice to Pepsi Cola - I guess it is easier to serve and the price is same. I really would love to see more healthy drinks to be available on a school holiday cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Sail from Southampton was to be our first. 14 day western Med cruise. We are family of four so we booked a vista e733 and my daughters in a ocean view e709 close by. I had read bits about being above club fusion, but the suite was great ... Read More
Sail from Southampton was to be our first. 14 day western Med cruise. We are family of four so we booked a vista e733 and my daughters in a ocean view e709 close by. I had read bits about being above club fusion, but the suite was great and very quiet. It is a bit tired but very clean and very good balcony with no issue with the beam. We are regular cruisers with Princess, but our last was with Celebrity which was so good that I worried we would not go back to Princess. However the crew on Sapphire were so very very good, food was excellent and we are foodies, so well done Sapphire. Entertainment was first class, great singers and guest performers, best ever had on any cruise. The Sapphire is a smaller than Royal class Princess ships, but is a lovely ship, bathrooms do need complete refurb. Otherwise a great cruise and renewed my prefence to Princess. Booked onto Enchanted next summer as a result of this positive experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from ... Read More
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from P&O Embarkation was relatively smooth apart from the appallingly managaged car parking which resulted in a half hour wait to drop off the car. Although strictly speaking not P&O's fault is is their recommended parking provider and provided as part of the select deal. We were traveling with other family members, two adults and two children, who had a family suite. Once parked check-in and security clearance was quick and even though we headed straight to our cabin once on board our bags beat us to the cabin - a promising start. We met our cabin steward, Cathy, who was friendly and personable - a good start to the onboard experience …… little did we know at the time this would almost be the zenith of the cruise. The safety drill was an improvement as you are no longer required to take your life jacket with you, although the demonstration was somewhat undermined by loud, fellow passengers noisily talking over the demonstration and / or finding the whole thing a joke. We had selected “Freedom Dining” as we didn’t want to be tied to a fixed dining time, this also means you are on a different table each night and this led to a mixed experience. We took advantage of Freedom Dining on four of the nights, twice with just the adults and twice with the children as well. Service was decidedly mixed, on two of the nights the service was really good, as one would expect, on the other two totally indifferent with the waiting staff simply going through the motions. It may be coincidence but the two better experiences were when we dined with the children. On another night we dined in the Sindhu restaurant and the service, as well as the food was exemplary with one of the best waiters we’ve ever encountered. In terms of the staff generally we were shocked by the contrasts. A large number offered the standard of service you would expect from P&O, however a very significant minority had an almost, couldn’t care less attitude. The ship just felt generally unhappy. A couple of examples, at one of the food outlets, the woman serving looked as though she had sucked a lemon and acted as if she was doing you a favour by serving you. Indeed a fair percentage of staff seemed to have lost the ability to smile or to be affable. Yes, there has always been the odd staff member on any cruise but here it was much more noticeable and prevalent. On another occasion we wanted an ice cream milkshake and were having trouble finding any on board. I went to reception to ask if any were available on board to be given the response “I don’t know, ask at one of the bars.” The jolliest person on board seemed to be the Captain, who also seemed to think he was a stand up comedian …… he was certainly a refreshing change from some of the aloof Captain’s we’ve come across but I have to admit, after a week, some of of his jokes were becoming a bit boring. I wasn’t overly impressed when he suggested two latecomers were cheered and applauded on board after being late back in Bergen – they may well have had a good reason for being late and the “welcome” could have been humiliating. The sail away from Olden was brilliant - although this is down to the town rather than P&O Turning to food, the food in the main dining rooms was of the usual high standard, although I don’t think I’m alone in being under the impression portion sizes are shrinking. Food in the buffet was more variable ranging from good to inedible – I made the mistake of going for toad in the hole one night – the single sausage was OK but the batter was stodgy and undercooked. The buffet was also too small for the numbers on board, especially at breakfast on the sea days. On the final evening a "Family Disco" was advertised .... the children were looking forward to this but it was a con and a shambles. It wasn't a disco and there were no staff running it ..... basically it was a dance floor with a pre-recorded sound track, most of which was unsuitable for children. The only staff were bar staff trying to sell alcohol to the parents. When one of the parents complined to one of the bar staff, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Obviously we speak to fellow passengers on board and it was interesting to note that everyone we spoke to who had sailed with P&O before all thought the standards on this cruise had dropped dramatically. More tellingly, the family members we travelled with are both ex-P&O bridge officers and this is the first time they have been on a P&O ship in ten years and they were appalled by the drop in standards. I wonder if it is down to the removal of the service charge and subsequent reduction in pay for staff …. Is this causing a reduction in morale? We also found from a cabin steward, not ours in case P&O read this and decide to victimise our steward, they are now being asked to look after more cabins than they used to. Whilst on board I had planned to book a future cruise with P&O to take advantage of the discounts and other benefits – after this experience I did not bother. In the past I’ve been happy to pay more for the superior level of service with P&O. I am now of the view I can experience the same level of service with another Carnival company, Costa, for around two-thirds the price of P&O. It will be a long time, if ever, before I sail with P&O again and that’s something I thought I would never say. It seems P&O are aiming to dumb down to the lowest common denominator rather than providing a class service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our family travelled from Australia for the Ireland/Iceland cruise this was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and they just seem to keep getting better, food first class in the buffet and dining room plus we went to the Murano which was amazing, ... Read More
Our family travelled from Australia for the Ireland/Iceland cruise this was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and they just seem to keep getting better, food first class in the buffet and dining room plus we went to the Murano which was amazing, teens club first rate, shows weren't that great but there were plenty of other things to do, spent a bit of time at the Martini Bar where Kadek, Umit and co were very entertaining, our wait staff at dinner Lilja and Anton were fantastic and couldn't do enough for us, the band on board Shuffle were also fantastic and actually more entertaining than the main shows, our room attendant Risky was sensational and actually performed on the second last night in one of the shows and his voice was better than any other singer we heard on the ship, attention Celebrity Silhouette entertainment managers get Risky on stage more he is to talented to be cleaning staterooms. We will be back on Celebrity for sure and totally recommend anyone thinking of going on a Celebrity Cruise. Cheers Robdogz Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Embarkation - went quickly and smoothly, we had no problem with the alcohol we were brining on board at all - a box of wine, several bottles of wine and many mall bottles of gin, rum and port. At ports we had no problem bringing tonics ... Read More
Embarkation - went quickly and smoothly, we had no problem with the alcohol we were brining on board at all - a box of wine, several bottles of wine and many mall bottles of gin, rum and port. At ports we had no problem bringing tonics and coke on board as our mixers. We have never sailed Cunard before, previously only sailing on more casual cruise ships, so were somewhat apprehensive about the dress code. Dress Code - The apprehension was missplaced completely. In the two week cruise there were 3 ball nights, and we knew the ladies and gents dress codes for them. Apart from that, if you were going to eat in the main Brittania restaurant men had to wear trousers, jacket and shirt (no tie necessary) and ladies normal smart going out clothes. If you wanted to wear jeans and t-shirt and stay completely casual, you could eat in the Lido buffet and drink in the Golden Lion pub, but could not go to the ball room, other bars, the main Brittania restaurant or the theatre. Some nights we stayed completely casual. Staff customer service - staff always had a smile and a 'good morning/afternoon/evening' whenever they walked past you or dealt with you. We had an enquiry at embarkation when a case was missing. The customer service team where friendly and helpful, finding the case within 10 minutes. Our cabin steward was friendly and welcoming, keeping our cabin immaculate and was always able to bring additional towels or other items we wanted without delay. Other facilities - there was access to several lauderies on the ship, and these were free!! This included the washing powder as well. The laundry included washers, dryers, washing sink, iron and ironing board. An invaluable resource on a cruise of 14 nights. State of the ship - the ship was kept spotless and any faults seemed to be sorted quickly - there was some water ingress in the ceiling of the central buffet area in the Lido. When in port the ship looked stunning and traditional in comparison to other cruise ships. The decor of the ship is art deco, with lovely wood panelled interiors and themed art work for each stair well. Food - there was excellent choice in the Lido buffet most of the time, ranging from early breakfast, main breakfast, snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, early main tea, later main tea, to later evening snacks (till 1.30am). There was shortages of some items, such as the clotted cream for the afternoon tea, hot chocolate drinks, earl grey teabags etc during the last few days - The main Brittania restaurant, we were on early sitting at 6.00pm, also had at least 4 - 6 choices for starter, main and dessert. On one occasion my daughter and I could not decide which dessert we wanted, and then asked if we could order two each - no problem at all. You left the restaurant feeling pleasently full but not stuffed. - There were snack options during the day available in the Cafe Carinthia. Lunch and dinner were also available in the Golden Lion Pub, we enjoyed Friday fish and chips at lunch time here. Waiter served afternoon tea was available on sea days in the Queends Room, this is not to be missed as the sandwich and cake selection is extremely appetising. We also use the Lido grill, deck 9 stern, at lunch time for fish, burgers and chips etc. - We did not try any of the paid restaurants and were not grills passengers. Room Service - On some mornings, and one evening, we chose to have breakfast and dinner in our cabin. It was such a treat being able to be served just what you wanted for breakfast rather than get up and queue up. The evening menu was not as varied, burgers and pizzas mainly. The room service menu was included in the cruise and not an additional extra, which was very good. Drinks - the bars and deck bars were all welcoming and very good, and we did treat ourselves to an occasional glass of wine with dinner, cocktail at sail away, or cider/beer in the evening or day time. The only issue, is that with the value of the pound to the dollar the cost of drinks is very expensive, especially if you are from the north east of England! If we had not brought our own wine, gins, rums and ports on board, plus mixers, it would have been a somewhat dry cruise! Entertainment - the theatre was exceptional, with proper theatre tiered seating, boxes and an exceptional theatre orchestra!! The ships crew were good (but not exceptional) in the two shows we saw them do. We also saw The Opera Boys both times they performed, they were brilliant. We say a violinist once, she was excellent. There was also a pianist/commedian, Jon Courtenay for the last nights of the cruise who was extremely good. The ball room/Queens Room was a bit of a let down as it was almost like a corridor between the front and back of the ship to one side separating the seating, and there was not enough seating for the passengers who wanted to enjoy the dancing most evenings. There was a ball room orchestra as well, who were also excellent. We did attend some dancing classes during the day and put our steps into practice in the evening when we could. There are some very serious dancers on board, so it did make it a bit awkward for novice dancers if they felt they were getting in the way. Other entertainment we enjoyed was the band Next Steps, both on sailaway celebrations and at the Yacht Club. Also, most evenings, we attended, and enjoyed, quizes in the Garden Lounge and later in the Golden Lion pub - we even won the Husband and Wife quiz in the Golden Lion. As you wandered around the ship in the evening there were other muscians and ensembles to enjoy listening to, such as pianist Andy Law in the Golden Lion, who could play/sing anything. Sea days - My daughter and husband thoroughly enjoyed the talks by Robin Scagett, about astronomy, space and time - my daughter, as a primary teacher she took a lot away from those talks. My daughter and I both enjoyed the inspiring John Peters talk and question/answer session. There was another speaker throughout the cruise, but we did not attend his talks. I went to the beginners bridge classes with Chris Jarosz, which was pitched at the right level. I attended on my own and that was a slight problem as many others attended as a couple, but Chris found solutions to this. I certainly hope to continue to learn bridge. Otherwise, I loved the afternoon social craft group in the Garden Lounge. I did also treat myself to an afternoon in the spa pool, warm loungers and steam rooms but I did not have any spa treatments. My husband attended the ships choir, who gave a wonderful performance on the last sea day. He made many friends through this group. I would say that all but one of the passengers we encountered, or met through groups, were lovely, engaging and warm people and came from all over the world. Aside from what we did, there was a wealth of activities to enjoy on sea days, outside there was a full bowling green and other outdoor sports, plus two swimming pools and 4 bubble pools. Indoors, there were card tables, board games, puzzles and puzzle tables, and a two story library that gave out daily quizes, cross words and sudoko. If you just wanted to relax, there were lots of indoor and outdoor quite areas to relax, read and sleep. Disembarkation - we were going to take our own luggage off, but a very experienced cruiser said to put it out, and explained that at the port luggage was arranged by deck number. She said that you could take yourself off at your own convenience rather than follow the instructions if you wanted to make an early get away - we had a long drive back up north, so got off at 9.00am, and collected our luggage very easily ready for the pre booked taxi back to collect our car from the hotel. Overall, we would definately cruise with Cunard again. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise with excellent choice of activities, ports that we wanted to visit and the chance to meet some fantastic people. Our party only did one shore excursion, my daughter and our friend did the segway in Copenhagen and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was $99, which I could have booked on my own for about $79, but not for the times that were best for our days plans. As my daughter and our friend were novice cruisers we felt better leaving them in the care of the excursion team. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, superb, entertainment, superb, buffet food, good, MDR food, much improved over the last cruise on Oasis, where the food was really awful in the MDR, so perhaps RCCL have listened. Ship, looking a bit tired but still very nice, cabin, good, we had a Junior suite at the stern on deck 10, and it was large and pleasant to stay in for 2 weeks. Then there was the unexpected part, which in 30 years of cruising with many different lines I haven’t experienced. Groups of unsupervised teens running amok on the ship at all hours, up to 3am. Balls thrown from 4 floors up onto the main concourse, pizza thrown about in lifts, lift doors getting progressively more and more dented as the cruise progressed, elderly people knocked over in corridors, and the meagre numbers of security staff struggling to cope with what I would assume they do not normally have to deal with, Culminating in a full on fist fight, with a teenager tazered by security to stop a violent assault on security staff, and as the ports went by, more and more people were “Offloaded” another thing I am pleased to say I have not experienced before. So I’m sure the Indy crew were pleased to see Southampton on the 24th August, and I hope for their sakes that they don’t get a repeat on the next cruise. So for us this will be the last RCCL cruise, and probably the last peak school holiday cruise full stop. I think that possibly the AI drinks package may have left a lot of parents in the bars not really worrying what their kids were up to, and thus the issues I have highlighted occurring, we as parents certainly want to know where our son is and what he is up to, and supervised his 1am curfew religiously. So to summarise the cruise, nice ship, ok ports (But we have done the med to death over the years) great crew, friendly attentive and always helpful, Great shows, and good food. Just maybe not in the height of the holidays for us again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
As it was our first cruise and we always wanted to visit the Fjords, we chose P&O as it gave us everything we required. Embarkation was straightforward and well organised and we were on the ship 30 minutes after arriving at ... Read More
As it was our first cruise and we always wanted to visit the Fjords, we chose P&O as it gave us everything we required. Embarkation was straightforward and well organised and we were on the ship 30 minutes after arriving at Southampton. The ship looked fantastic and we were impressed by the cabin that was clean and well maintained. The buffet restaurant was a real disappointment. I read a number of reviews that compared it to a cross-channel ferry and its no exaggeration. The feel of the place is one of a factory canteen with bland food choices based around roast dinners, chips and tasteless soups. The Oriental Restaurant was better but the menu was unadventurous and very same-ish, with several dishes on offer the same each evening. Breakfast at this restaurant was very good though. The staff working in the dining areas were excellent though and very attentive. The kids club and staff were also very good for our 10 year old but the older club was poor. Biggest disappointment was the amount of off-duty British staff milling around the boat, especially in the dining areas and bars. A number of times I noticed guests having to queue for food in the pool area waiting for a number of off-duty staff to get food. In the evening, a large number would take residence in a section of ‘Brodies’ bar meaning guests had nowhere to sit. I noticed this on at least 2 of the 7 nights. Personally, I see this as highly unprofessional and gave me a poor impression of P&O. Overall I would recommend the boat and the itinerary was very good but P&O need to get a grip of the management of staff. If you went to a restaurant to be told to wait for your table or for food as the staff were being served first, you wouldn’t accept it so why should it be acceptable on Britannia? To me, staff remain in staff quarters. We enjoyed our first cruise experience and will definitely do it again but I question if it would be with P&O. As one guest explained it to me, ‘it’s a 2-3 star all inclusive in 5 star surroundings’. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Where do I begin .... or should I just say wow I'm glad i'm off this ship. We have sailed with many companies down the years including Royal Caribbean and always had wonderful experiences with excellent ports of call, lovely ... Read More
Where do I begin .... or should I just say wow I'm glad i'm off this ship. We have sailed with many companies down the years including Royal Caribbean and always had wonderful experiences with excellent ports of call, lovely fellow passengers and fantastic service. However, we have never sailed from a UK port in the height of the holiday season and I have to say we will NEVER do this again. I really do not have words to use to describe this latest experience but disastrous might be the best expression. What happened to manners, courtesy, politeness and general awareness amongst the British public. It is obviously a lost art. The clientele that Royal Caribbean are obviously trying to attract on this ship is not what you would expect on a cruise ship. During out 14 day cruise we had numerous families removed from the ship at various ports, fighting in the lifts which caused the lifts to be closed to clean up the blood, numerous random acts of nudity, severe drunken behaviour and one incident of a youth being detained in the ships cells for the last 2 days of the cruise. Even our comedian commented that the price of cruising has obviously gone down due to the clientele on board. People would stampede into the lifts before allowing anyone to get out and the entire ship just became survival of the fittest. Even on quiet day when there was an abundance of sunbeds available there were certain families from the North West of England who would hover around the consierge sunbed area and wait for the deck patrol members to walk away before charging on mass into the area to occupy as many sunbeds as possible then argue and refuse to move when advised they were not allowed to stay there due to the fact they had not paid for this service. It was all about taking as many 'selfies' as possible in this area for bragging rights when they got home. They constantly threatened the staff that if any of their property was removed they would claim against the company for theft and damage so the staff just gave up. This was the general attitude around the ship so in the end most of the service staff just gave up due to the way they were being treated and the whole ship just ended up looking dirty and untidy with plates, glasses and food left lying around all day. It was a real shame for the genuine passengers on board who had manners and thoughtfulness and polite children with manners. The other major problem on board is that this ship has been refitted to accommodate a further 500 passengers without any increase in facilities or deck space. This just makes the whole ship tight for room and again the waiting staff in the dining rooms had to pass food over tables, aisles and squeeze between tables like i have never seen before. Our ports of call were very good and we did enjoy getting away from the football style hooligans on board for the long days in port. Embarkation and disembarkation was always smooth and swift even if we always avoided the thought of getting back on board fr as long as possible. So to sum up if you want to feel like you are on a cheap holiday camp with rude and obnoxious passengers who think the world owes them a living then spend 14 days aboard this cruise from hell. If not I would suggest you sail with another cruise company out of any port that is not in the UK. We, and many other passengers we spoke to, will never sail on this cruise ship again from Southampton in the summer holidays. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty ... Read More
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty bad when we left in force 10 gale! We travelled with family and most of us felt a bit 'off' for the first 3 days. My teenage granddaughter was quite ill. But after that the sun shone and the seas calmed and we were able to enjoy all the benefits of the ship. Yes, the ship is old and tired but it didn't bother us. We had an inside cabin on C deck so no window but it was fine - we didn't spend much time there. Very small cabin but plenty of hanging space and decent shower and a comfortable bed. It was a quiet area of the ship so our sleep wasn't disturbed. Food in the buffets was a bit repetitive but very good overall. Staff always pleasant and helpful. We used the restaurants in the evenings where things were more relaxed and the food more varied. Waiter service was excellent - all staff very helpful and considerate. Entertainment was very good, especially the Headliners. Very talented young people. Didn't do many activities but did a quiz or two and had a bash at Pilates! Watched a few films on the on-deck screen which were pretty good. Our cabin steward, Vasilio, was a gem. Nothing too much trouble. Well worth a tip! Embarking and disembarking was very well run. We parked in the NCP car park so our car was taken from us, along with our main cases. Disembarking was much the same - very ordered and smooth. No complaints. Excursions were all enjoyable, (as was the weather). Most towns were close to the ports so very easy. Made use of the hop on buses to see the sights. Barcelona was particularly good as the architecture was amazing. We made the mistake of booking a tour to Mercia and then returning to Cartagina. Mercia was (for us) not worth the time and left such a short time to see Cartagina, which was really interesting and full of history. So we shall have to return there some time! The excursion to Pisa and Florence was very good. We found the information we were given on board very helpful for the port visits. They were not just trying to sell the excursions, which was noticeable to us, compared with our last cruise. All in all, a very pleasant experience and we will certainly consider cruising with P & O again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose Princess Cruise Line because of the itinerary of Norway ports I wanted to visit, and, based on a previous cruise with Princess to Alaska, we were confident Princess Cruise line would provide an Excellent cruise, with ample ... Read More
We chose Princess Cruise Line because of the itinerary of Norway ports I wanted to visit, and, based on a previous cruise with Princess to Alaska, we were confident Princess Cruise line would provide an Excellent cruise, with ample opportunities to get to know Norway, a place I'd always wanted to visit, but never had. Although the ship is not brand new, it had been refurbished just last year so we were sure it would be fine for us, and we weren't disappointed! We decided to get a mini-suite with special perks available to those who opt for the Club Class experience, which includes your own special dining room, and staff, with NO waits when you're ready to eat, whatever that time may be! Also included with Club Class was Priority Embarkation AND disembarkation, which helped us get on the ship by bypassing the long lines! Our cabin was almost center of the ship, which gives the least motion even during some of the rougher action of the North Sea! D407 had an excellent view of the starboard (right) side, and we only had to walk down 3 flights of stairs (unless you want to wait for the elevator) to our dining room. The excursions we chose helped us get to know the Norwegian people, their history, likes and dislikes, and even got a "language course" from one of the guides in Olden to help us understand how to pronounce the Norwegian words, and the different parts of the Norwegian names that identified the reason they were named that. How fun!! We did not have very many children on board, probably due to the time of the year and the destination, but all of those I saw were very busy with activities of their own on board the ship, and even had ares where "only" certain ages could visit... Although this ship does have a Casino on board, we did not see very many using it while at sea, and we also noticed that it was a "No smoking" area of the ship, atho it may not always have been, as there was a slight smell of smoke if you chose to walk through. Since we had an excursion at every port of call, there was little time left over to shop for souvenirs, but I did find time to pick up my official Norwegian sweater at a Susan Fosse shop in Bergen, and was waited on by her son, who was very knowledgeable and helpful, and helped me find a very pretty sweater with Norwegian viking ships on the buttons. If you do this cruise, I would HIGHLY recommend the "over the mountain" excursion, Best of Geirangerfjord, HE2-100, which allows you to have a full day of sightseeing from the port Hellesylt to Geiranger, with an unbelievable trip to the top of Mt. Dalsnibba and a view of Geiranger which many people never see! (Look at the picture on the Geiranger excursions page on Princess.com to get an idea of what it looks like, then multiply that view by 100!!) Overall, a WONDERFUL cruise with an optional excursion upon returning to Southampton to get a transfer to Gatwick airport via a detour to StoneHenge!! What a bonus, if you've never seen it! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I chose this cruise as I was travelling with 2 teenage kids and there seemed to be a lot for the family to enjoy together. Also, I am not a great fan of very hot weather, so the Med in August was out. This was a first cruise for us ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I was travelling with 2 teenage kids and there seemed to be a lot for the family to enjoy together. Also, I am not a great fan of very hot weather, so the Med in August was out. This was a first cruise for us all. I was interested to see the wide variety of people travelling from families with very young babies/children to the quite elderly. People who were working class to upper class from many different nationalities, so I could appreciate that there must be difficulties catering to every taste. On formal nights, dress ran from dinner jackets and full-length dresses to not bothered to dress up at all! I loved seeing the fjords; the highlight was Geirangerfjord. Stunning. What spoilt the cruise somewhat for me were the constant interventions to try and push you to spend more money. Would you like to attend the Art Auction, Wine Tasting, etc. Every time you left the boat, the crew would dress up in silly costumes and grab you as you disembarked to get your photo taken, which they would then try to sell you at $25 a pop. For one photo! Ditto on formal nights. As we were sailing away from Geirangerfjord, I was watching the beautiful scenery from the aft of the ship with a G&T in hand. Within the space of an hour, we were approached 4 times to be asked if we wanted to attend the Wine Tasting "for only $9.50" (but then they would try and sell you cases of the wine). Ditto with jewellery events, make-up events, etc. Sell, sell, sell constantly. It seemed like I could not find a quiet spot anywhere without getting pestered to pay for something extra. As a treat, I booked a couples massage for my husband and I (in itself expensive). At the end when we were delightfully woozy and relaxed, the therapists 'recommended' the products used which totalled more than $300!! Including a body brush for $45!!! (I paid £8 for mine). I asked where we could go to relax and 'come to' and have a drink of water and was told that it would cost an additional $40 to use the lounge!!! Outrageous! I have NEVER been for spa treatment without routinely being shown to a chill-out lounge area afterwards so that you can relax and slowly come to your senses and rehydrate. When you spend a LOT of money on an over-priced massage, you expect at least a sit-down and a glass of water to be thrown in. It has really made me think twice about doing another cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I’ll keep this short as I find I stop reading if people write to much. In bullet point fashion. Embarkation: great Cabin steward: absolutely marvellous and they always are. Ship: a bit tired looking, could do with new carpets ... Read More
I’ll keep this short as I find I stop reading if people write to much. In bullet point fashion. Embarkation: great Cabin steward: absolutely marvellous and they always are. Ship: a bit tired looking, could do with new carpets and paint etc. Staff: reception: awful. If a smile is all your after, that’s all you will get. They really are dreadful. Waiting staff: at breakfast they are miserable and slow even though we were all extremely polite and patient. The evening the attitude is slightly better. Other guests: Rude, arrogant and miserable. Honestly why come on holiday if your going to be like that. I’ve found this to be true on Victoria as well. I think this contributes to the mood of the staff. Food: very good. Kids club: great Pools: dirty (all of them) I went in with my son wearing goggles and wished I hadn’t! Perhaps I’ve gone on too much but really I don’t expect anything to change and if Your only interest is to tell people you’ve been on Cunard you’ll probably continue to put up with it. Holland America beats them hands down (I’m English btw). Enough droning as I’ve definitely gone on too long. Happy cruising Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, ... Read More
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, sharing the same (but smaller) Deck 5 central shopping mall idea, Schooners Bar, triple-floor Sapphire Dining Rooms, Windjammer buffet, ice rink, FlowRider and Dizzys/Sky Bar etc. The August cruise from Southampton to Northern Europe was perfectly pleasant. Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Skagen (Denmark) and Stavanger (Norway) and the weather was kind, but lazing in the sun on the main deck was possible on one day out of 14, although I spotted several people, probably from Newcastle on Tyne, out there in their bikinis in Force 8 winds! This is an easy cruise to access all the cities visited. All ports were quayside docking and all within easy walking distance of the city centres (Helsinki and Stockholm a couple of miles away but with cheap public transport from the quayside). Don’t fall for the cruise-line’s nonsense of buying their organised trips or paying an extortionate $40 for their own local shuttles - every city had cheap (typically $3 per trip or $10 for a 24 hour ticket covering all busses, trams, water taxis and metros) and regular public transport always right from the quayside. We organised our own tours through local operators, but in cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tallinn you can walk everywhere. In every case, local tours were 50% cheaper than the cruise line’s official tour, and usually better. In Skagen we just walked but a friend rented a car for $35 for the day and visited everything there was to see - more than any of the organised tours. In Stavanger we booked a 3 hour fjord cruise with Rödne Tours from a booth right next to the cruise terminal for $40 each when we arrived, but I’d recommend pre-booking in case there’s more than one cruise ship in port. In St Petersburg we booked a 2 day tour with TJ Tours just 5 days before arriving and had a great experience with our own guide and a comfortable Mercedes minibus, all meals and water included, visiting more locations and for longer than the best available cruise-line tour for half the price ($250 each). You must book with an official Russian tour operator to get your necessary temporary Russian visa - you can’t visit St. Petersburg unaccompanied (well, not officially) but it’s as simple as booking online with a tour operator such as TJTours, SPB or Alla Tours. We found many fellow Americans were scared stiff of Russia, thinking the “Reds” might not like them. Well, that’s simply not the case. They are lovely! The guests on this cruise were 60-70% British. Some Americans and Australians for whom this was usually one half of their European cruising (the other half being a Mediterranean cruise, but not always with RCI). The Brits were a mix of classes, lots of blue collar families but nice, friendly and honest in the way Brits usually are. A couple of dozen feral kids under 10 running around, living in the elevators with no parents or ship security enforcing some manners. A public keel hauling of the worst offender would soon restore discipline (this is a joke, btw). . The negatives on this trip were all on board the ship. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean several times a few years ago, these are the noticeable differences – a general decline in standards whilst RCI try even harder to screw every last penny out of their guests: - Sapphire Dining Room - food still ok but menus not quite as varied as before and some dishes simply not up to scratch. Service definitely slower and poorer than we’ve experienced on any other cruise or cruiseline. One night we waited 30 minutes for our order to be taken. Another couple next to us waited 90 minutes for their main course. Lots of complaints heard about this. The dining rooms seem to have more tables crammed in and they’ve dispensed with the nightly “Showtime” singalong by the waiters. Coffee and liqueurs used to be offered automatically, now you have to ask. No chocolate mints anymore. MyTime Dining is a shambles. Dress codes are not enforced at all - families in tee shirts and shorts - even on Formal Night. This is not what I pay my cruise bucks for. If diners want to dress in shorts, send them to the Windjammer. There IS a choice! Hey, Royal Caribbean - stop this race to the bottom and restore some semblance of style to your ships. - Bars. There seem to be fewer waiters going round taking orders. Best bar for cocktails is still Schooner. Dizzy’s on the 14th floor has a good atmosphere (but the air con is always too cold). Some evenings it’s taken over by a “silent” disco, which actually means drunken guests singing the chorus of two different songs out of tune at the top of their voices. Silent it is not! Why on earth they can’t hold this in one of the disco clubs is beyond me. Drink prices noticeably up. $6-10 for a beer, ordinary branded spirits $10-15 and wine at $11-16 a glass. Cocktails typically $12 and up. - On board sales bargains - e.g. watches and jewellery. Quality and variety on offer is poor and prices are the same as high street. The rest of the goods on offer was tourist tat, overpriced by 50% compared to identical tourist tat in each port. On board bargains used to be one of the joys of cruising. It isn’t any longer. Art and overpriced jewellery auctions did zero business. I never understand how they make money, but this cruise full of savvy Brits wasn’t going to part them from their money. - Windjammer Buffet. A glorious spectacle of excess. Food quality is awfully variable, from awful to variable yet never excellent. If you want to watch fat people getting even fatter, pushing and vying to see who can pile their plates highest and yet still leave enough waste food to feed New York’s entire homeless community, then this is the best free entertainment venue on the entire ship! The number of electric buggies plus the constant feeding frenzy was like that scene out of Wally...... Not offendin’ anyone, just sayin’.... - Theatre Entertainment. The in house ‘orchestra’ is a great bunch of talented musicians tied to performing holiday camp-standard routines. The in-house song and dance reviews were nothing special, in fact highly avoidable. A couple of guest bands were excellent, though - a Beatles tribute band and The Wild Boys in particular were very good. A visiting West End singer, magician and a hypnotist who were all pretty mundane. I fell asleep during the hypnotist act. No idea why. - Round the Ship entertainment. There’s a talented solo guitarist playing a repertoire of 30 almost recognisable pop hits in a vaguely classical style. He looks tired and bored, but go and ask him to play something decent, like Tarrega or Rodriguez, and he perks up! The House Band is OK, best when they are doing live karaoke. Lead vocalist loves herself but the drummer is the better singer. The reggae band are very good. There’s a very camp Liberace clone who knows his downmarket audience to a Tee! Straight from Phoenix Nights! Truly awful....unless you like that kind of thing. - The usual selection of half hour games and quizzes, presented in a generally lacklustre way, always in a hurry, formulaic and rushed. Too few staff? - Casino. Never more than 1/4 full. The Brits obviously don’t gamble. The ship did nothing to entice them in, so each night it was the same 50 American faces playing the slots and a handful of tables. At least half the croupiers looked dead or asleep. They could have jumped ship for two weeks and no one would have noticed. A missed opportunity. - Cruise Director. Every other Cruise Director we’ve had has been the life and soul of the ship - always about, saying hello, geeing people up. Not this one. Known as “Hello Clo”. Been in the business 27 years, apparently. Never saw her round the ship saying hello to passengers, never saw her on the gangplank, only on-stage introducing the acts. Something missing here. - Photographs. Still expensive but with many more photographers and backdrops. The old style of printing out thousands of photos on paper for you to peruse has been replaced with a dreadful touch screen system. The staff said it was more popular but I doubt it. - State Room Stewards. Great, as ever. These people work the hardest on the ship and deserve the biggest tips. - On Sea Days the ship was heaving with people because it was too cold out on deck. 3,500 bored passengers wandering round inside an already crowded ship, all looking for something to do. You would think the Entertainment staff would make a bit more effort and lay on extra entertainments when it’s too increment to go outside, but no. Nada. Nothing. This, above all else, was the weakest element of the cruise. The Ship. 20 years old and looking its age. It had a refit in 2015 but there are a lot of defects. Lifts out of action, PA systems on their last legs, cutlery in the dining rooms old and knackered, large viewing windows which had gone opaque, furniture a bit tatty. Lots of maintenance engineers fixing things discretely. Many staff just seem to be tired, going through the motions. Even the Captain’s daily announcement was delivered in a flat, monotonic voice. The only time he sounded enthused was in Stockholm, probably his home town. I heard that Explorer of the Seas is due another refit to take away some public areas and add more cabins, so this ship is likely to get even more crowded. I hope the staff-guest ratio increases but somehow I doubt it. Would I cruise with Explorer of the Seas again? No. Has my opinion of a Royal Caribbean been tarnished? Yes. Cruise destinations. 9/10 Ship. 5/10 Entertainment. 4/10 Dining. 6/10 Steward. 10/10. Value for Money. 7/10 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 & 12 and would have had to go to separate clubs because of their ages they didn’t want to go alone & there was no leeway with this they also had to stop using the pools after the first week as they came out with terrible skin rashes all of our party did I reported it to customer services they said it was because someone had been sick in the pool so had to be drained and stronger chemicals put in !! There was another mum complaining at the same time and families around the pool were not using them for the same reason! My family and I were absolutely fuming that there was an extortionate fee for the shuttle busses there was 4 adults and 4 children only in Helsinki did they not charge for the children I can’t believe that RC did not receive most of this money as why did we have to pay directly to RC We were all very disappointed with the entertainment nothing for the children no pool party’s games on deck we had good weather most of the cruise so there was no reason for this The food was ok very samey but nice we only ate in the windjammer as we had 4 fussy children so it was great for them to just try things We only did the Russia trip preferring to do our own trips the guide was very knowledgeable but it was a bit manic as in on off the coach and they took us to a very expensive tourist gift shop but we were allowed to use the toilets The ship itself was looking a bit warn out and tired its due a refit I believe Most of the staff were really nice but they fussed around the alcohol drinkers more In short we won’t be travelling with RC again Read Less

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